The Eye of Twitter | A5

Twitter in this day and age has become a very powerful social network in how it has hosted many social awareness movements and has put a bigger accountability to people of influence. As emphasized by Murthy “Twitter has simple yet powerful methods of connecting tweets to larger themes, specific people, and groups. This is a unique aspect of the medium.” (Murthy, 3).

Twitter’s tools such as the hashtag and the verified symbol are an important part of making this mass connection possible. The hashtag tool allows any person with or without an account to view and comment on tweets relating to it and it allows people to browse through each of them like tv channels and “If the channel piques your attention, you can stay tuned in.” (Murthy, 6). With that concept in mind Twitter accounts themselves can act as a TV channel that can be represented by a celebrity, official news channel account, organizations, and etc. What enforces this idea is the “verified” symbol that’s unique to Twitter which lets a person know the person/organization/etc is in fact who they say they are. Because of how public and accountable it is Twitter can serve as an example of surveillance.

Twitter’s ability to let us publicize our thoughts and to view other’s thoughts goes along with Lyon’s hypothesis that “….all sorts of watching have become commonplace within a ‘viewer society’…” and that “….things once ‘private’ have become open to the ‘public gaze’ of many”. (Lyon 36). And when it comes to the surveillance concepts of panopticon and synopticon Twitter serves as both. Take the Ferguson riots. Twitter becomes the few watching the many whenever it was being used by many journalists that live-tweeted their undercover coverage of the police brutality against rioting citizens. Panopticon is the reverse of this in how it spread rapidly across Twitter. Twitter became an essential part of exposing the Ferguson riots since it gave the public the opportunity to not only record but also view the first-person accounts of Ferguson that major TV news broadcasts couldn’t provide.


In our remix video will be emphasizing our argument of Twitter as a type of surveillance using the Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. We’ll be taking the Eye of Sauron footage from Lord of the Rings and cutting in news videos of major Twitter scandals and movements. Our Eye of Sauron will become our symbol of surveillance and accountability because like how the Eye of Sauron keeps a constant eye of Mordor Twitter serves as the constant eye of injustice. Our Eye of Twitter video will be giving light to many events and scandals just like the Eye of Sauron lights Mordor’s intruders. The scandals and injustices we’ll show will include the police brutality at Ferguson, Glenn Beck favoriting a white supremacist tweet, the spread of the OU scandal and more. Below is a video that emphasizes the Eye of Sauron surveillance symbol by featuring a Leona Lewis song called “I See You”.

Advertisements

There’s no U in IDENTITY

Identity is composed of how one both thinks of oneself and how they present themselves to the world. Under varying aspects or conditions, a person’s identity changes to fit the circumstances. In being oneself, the condition or character of a person is revealed differently to friends, co-workers, superiors, parents, those in authority or in situations involving dating, job interviews, sports competition and more.

‘The technology of the Internet offers its participants unprecedented possibilities for communicating with each other in real time, and for controlling the conditions of their own self-representations in ways impossible in face to face interaction’ (Nakamura)

In Nakamura’s piece, she elaborates on the discussion of differences between physical and assumed digital identities, and with our remix video we intend to look at the evolution of cultural rhetoric surrounding this discussion.

Online, there are an ever increasing number of opportunities to build alternate identities, and because the actual self is separated from this constructed persona, falsifying details or an entire identity is easier while sometimes harder to catch. Being aware of the threat of online predators is now a required lesson in public school safety curriculum, but at the same time, lying about yourself on the internet is accepted as inevitable and joked about on Conan.

Our remix video will be a supercut of clips that track, through repeated themes, the discourse surrounding physical and virtual self. Sources will include movies from when the rise of the internet was raising questions and fears about reality, as well as more contemporary examples which address deliberate falsification of self within the realms of social media and online dating.

To structure our argument, the video will track, through repetitive analysis of multiple genres of falsified online identities. These accounts and profiles cover a broad range of digital identities, from the existential and fearful to casual and humorous. We will then portray and analyze the effects of their falsification. This supercut from Fandango is both thematically and stylistically resonant with what we are planning to achieve with our remix video.

This example is great because it pulls from a series of popular movies with language on the theme of identity linking them together.

(Mitch Chaiet, Laura M. Krizan, Marc Speir)

Works Cited:

Nakamura, Lisa. “Race In/For Cyberspace: Identity Tourism and Racial Passing on the Internet.” Works and Days: Essays in the Socio-Historical Dimensions of Literature & the Arts 25/26 (1995): 181-93. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.      

Dating Throughout Time

Our video will highlight the fundamental similarities between dating in earlier times and dating now. We will argue that while we now have numerous digital platforms to use to create and maintain relationships, the motives and results of dating remain the same. With the arrival of a technological innovation comes widespread fear throughout society, a fear of the uncanny.  And while in many cases this fear is replaced with a dangerous complacency, in the arena of dating the fear seems to persist atop societal expectations that have hardened throughout time.  Many do not think twice or even care about issues like constant surveillance yet when it comes to dating they see certain technologically-enabled “short cuts” as cheap or insincere.  But it remains that, despite the increasing complexity (or increasing visibility or the complexity) of the dating world, the end product has not changed much from the days of chivalry.

We will be using the song video format.  This format will allow us to juxtapose dating then and dating now, united under a common theme represented in Taylor Swift’s “Style.”  The song is about timeless love, essentially, which fits nicely in line with our emphasis on the unchanging value of romance to humans despite alternate routes to dating, etc., that are available nowadays.  The lyrics speak directly to a lover, pining, “You got that James Dean day dream look in your eye,” which calls back to the days of old, a simpler time, but Swift goes on to decide: “And when we go crashing down, we come back every time, ‘cause we never go out of style.”  Indeed, love is as incessant as popular music, even if the lightly-distorted guitars of the rock and roll of Dean’s day have been replaced by synth bass and electronic kicks and snares.

The video will expand upon the discourse surrounding several themes in the course: networked publics, online identity, and the fear of the uncanny.  As is natural with the theme of love and falling in love, as well as under the influence of our song choice, our video will skew toward youth.  As Danah Boyd notes in “Why Youth Heart Social Network Sites:The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage SocialLife,” the mediation of a public is heavily influential in the growth of sons and lovers. “With an elevated and idealized view of privacy, we often forget the reasons that enslaved peoples desperately wished for access to public life” (137).  The issues of the effects of a privatized romantic environment are hotly debated, surely, though we will be opposing Boyd in taking the stance that these effects are not necessarily detrimental to the goals of the participators.

Here is a commercial for Tinder Plus.  It shows many elements of still-idealized romance available under the guise of technology:

Stop The A.I. Hate – Group B1 Remix Plan

We “propose to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?’” (Turing, 433).

Artificial Intelligence has been largely criminalized and criticized throughout history because society has bound machines to the same standards as humans, rather than treating them as an entirely different entity. They are accused of not being able to think, and because of that cannot create anything new or achieve human-level intelligence. In response to these objections, Turing poses the question “may not machines carry out something which ought to be described as thinking but is very different from what a man does?” (Turing, 435). Because machines are not human, they should not be held to the same standards of “thinking”. They can compute and produce responses that are just as valid as human answers; they are simply inherently different because they are done through entirely different processes. Because, for example, “we do not wish to penalise the machine for its inability to shine in beauty competitions, nor to penalise a man for losing in a race against an aeroplane,” we need to treat each being in its proper context. Haraway further explains this difference between A.I.’s and humans with “the concept of ‘species’,” through “which she locates the cyborg as a ‘junior sibling’” among human companion species, much like a dog (Hayes).  Turing agrees with this idea, stating the difference between man and machine is like the difference “between man and the other animals,” (Turing, 443). Because of this, A.I.’s must be recognized for what they are and not thought of as sub-par mechanical humans. Our project to support this argument will be done through a parody remix video in which we highlight the importance of treating A.I.’s as machines, not humans.

Remix, according to Virginia Kuhn, is “a scholarly pursuit: it cites, synthesizes, and juxtaposes its sources,” in order to make an argument (Kuhn). “When one rips, edits, and renders video, one is transformed into a speaker of that discourse who can intervene and contest its truth claims,” creating a new argument out of existing ideas (Kuhn). We plan to do exactly this through parody remix in order to support out A.I. argument. Using the template of SPCA Sarah McLachlan commercials, we will make a parallel between the proposed companion species (dogs and A.I.’s) as well as use the empathetic tone of the video to illustrate the misunderstanding of machines’ potential. This will also argue that, like the treatment of animals, humans directly control the treatment of A.I.’s and the discourses surrounding them. We hope this will encourage viewers to think of A.I.’s in a different light and realize that machines can think in their own way, and that this thought is just as valid and important as human thought. This Redhead PSA parody captures the idea of our proposed video, serving to both satirize current ways of thinking as well as promote new ways: This video is successful in using the music to set the sympathetic tone, the genre to give it structure and context, and foster a sense of empathy (though sarcastic in this case) about the cause they are raising awareness about. It is also entertaining because it is parodying a popular commercial and using remix to clearly engage multiple stereotypes associated with redheads and satirically attempt to dispel them. We plan to make a similar case for machines with our video.


Works Cited

“ASPCA Parody – American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Redheads.” YouTube. YouTube, 14 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

Haraway, Donna. “A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s.” Australian Feminist Studies 2.4 (1987): 1-42. Web.

Hayles, N. K. “Unfinished Work: From Cyborg to Cognisphere.” Theory, Culture & Society 23.7-8 (2006): 159-66. Web.

Kuhn, Virginia. “Transformative Works and Cultures.” The Rhetoric of Remix. Transformative Works and Cultures, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

Turing, A. M. “I.—Computing Machinery And Intelligence.” Mind LIX.236 (1950): 433-60. Web.

World Star Scopophilia Supercut Extravaganza! Group A6

We as a group will be creating a mashup supercut hybrid between amateur videos of fist fights and the feature length film Gamer to explore the effect scopophilia and a viewer society has on violence. As David Lyon explains, within a viewer society “as much attention should be paid to viewing as being viewed.” Lyon expands on the value of being watched by referring to Lacanian psychoanalysis where he draws the explanation “to see ourselves as others is key to identity formation.” With this in mind, our project will raise the question of how someone’s perception of him or herself shift when they are being praised for attacking someone else.
There is a quantitative way to measure how much public support or, at least, reception a recording of a fight gets on a site like Youtube or World Star Hip Hop, through the number of likes and views the video receives. Some of the 30 second to two minute videos that we want to include excerpts from in our remix have garnered upwards of a million views implying that these fights- even for the viewers who don’t know either of the people in the video personally- provide viewers with a pleasurable experience. Apart from how these videos of violent skirmishes are received on the internet, my group wants to consider another dimension of how the subjects’ behave when they’re conscious of the attention that bystanders are paying to them. Much like someone viewing a video of themselves inflicting pain on someone else causes a subject to reflect on who they are, could the awareness of a third party watching cause an ordinarily heated argument to come to blows?
What my group intends to argue is that a viewer society can project malice on those being viewed and propagate it to the wider society. Where the synopticon is defined as the many watching the few to encourage self control and good behavior viewer society and, more particularly, the perverse love of viewing can lead those subject to the view of the many to act indecently.

This video demonstrates the aesthetic qualities of a supercut video that we wish to make, however we are aiming to make a supercut/mashup hybrid by including clips from the film Gamer and any other example that helps our argument. The argument that we are trying to make along with the footage we plan to work with, the form of a supercut remix works the best due to its ability to repeat a common action almost to the point of redundancy, providing plenty of proof for the argument.

Archiving the Digital Photograph – Group A2

With the creation of new digital technology, humans have periodically transitioned things that were once analog into a newer digital form.  This transition happened with text, sound, and in the past few decades pictures and videos.  With the creation and wide adoption of the smartphone, snapping a picture to remember a moment in time is easier than ever.  By repeatedly doing this, we are effectively creating a digital archive of the memories tucked away deep inside our brains. The act of archiving memories using pictures is similar to the idea of the memex, in the sense that once we archive a memory (or save it forever as a digital photograph) we can then come back and experience that time once again though the physical moment has long passed.  This supports Vannevar Bush’s claim that “improved technology has become as extension of our capabilities.”  Once a moment is over, we physically are never able to experience it again, however archiving the moment makes repeating the emotional experience very possible, giving us the power of “time travel.”

In our video, we will display the idea of archiving memories using a cover of the song Photograph by Nickelback.  Our songvid will overlay images and videos of things such as people taking, posting, and deleting digital photos, while attempting to also show the transition that occurred as the digital revolution changed the how the photograph actually existed..  The song, which is about reminiscing and remembering the past based off of pictures and other items connected to our past selves, directly relates to this idea.  We also intend to show how by archiving using photographs, you can travel back through time by simply scrolling through a timeline.

In class when we talked about Google and Wikipedia, it was noted that the importance of archiving is to make information more accessible.  Though this was in relation to text and information, the exact same concept is true when applied to photographs.  Social media such as Facebook or Instagram act as our “memex,” making it so that each and every one of the things we want remembered, are indexed and saved into history forever.  Vannevar Bush in his essay originally outlining the memex said, “A library of a million volumes could be compressed into one end of a desk.”  This is essentially what these various social media platforms have become for us––though rather than in the end of a desk, they live in the palm of our hands.

An example of the songvid genre of remix is shown below.  We will be utilizing the same techniques demonstrated in the video for argumentative purposes rather than purely for entertainment, however the premise of the video will be much of the same.

Remixing the “Machines with Various Disabilities”

With society progressing at the exponential rate it has over the last century, it is not surprising to see how much we increasingly have come to rely on the support of artificial intelligence to facilitate all manners of everyday life. With this increased dependency on technology has come the need to have machines with computing capacity extensive enough to analyze the complex algorithms we input and to be able to act on those algorithms and respond in real time. Actions that one generation previously thought impossible for computers to achieve are now not only possibilities in our modern digital landscape, but have in many ways come to be expected by our technocratic society. But in spite of all that has been accomplished to give artificial intelligence greater capability as well as to generate a more humanistic interface, the debate is still heard to this day that constitutes the following sentiment: “I grant you that you can make machines do all the things you have mentioned, but you will never be able to make one to do ‘x.'” This declaration is the statement that Alan Turing uses to refute the argument for “machines with various disabilities,” wherein many people posit that although history has proven time and again that we are still only uncovering the surface of what these machines can do, there remains an explicit certainty in their conviction that there are specific operations which are forever out of reach for an operating system to execute.

While Turing makes no direct claim that the ensuing disabilities in his argument could indeed be overcome or not, his rationale dictates that he believes achieving these results are entirely plausible once the processing power of machines improves (practically a forgone conclusion when taking Moore’s Law into consideration). Our group’s argument will be to uphold the views put forth by Turing, while simultaneously examining and critiquing the modern conventions in which Hollywood movies try to either discredit or deny that these various disabilities exist. We will determine to analyze the unrealistic expectations the film industry has in presenting these futuristic models, as well as showing how this world of fantasy contradicts itself against the real-life expectation the layman has that these various disabilities are insurmountable impediments. Our “genre” of remix will comply with the basic format of a video essay, which we feel is perhaps the most appropriate medium to be able to convey the information in our argument in a concise and delineative style.

This video is indicative of the style we wish to emulate in our remix project, due primarily to its effectiveness in showing how machines are systematically replacing the human workforce and performing many other menial tasks previously not thought possible by artificial intelligence. Its narrative style and display of referential material are in keeping with what we hope to accomplish in our project.

Chell’s Perfect Day

The interactivity of video games allows players to project their own imagined narrative on top of (or instead of) the game’s programmed story. This extends the idea of a multiform story as articulated by Murray, “when the writer expands the story to include multiple possibilities, the reader assumes a more active role.” (39) In the case of video games, when the designer includes interactivity, the narrative of the video game must expand to include multiple possibilities, which gives the player agency over how the story plays out. Much like a written narrative or choose-your-own adventure novel, video games give players a lot of freedom to choose, if not an ending, at least the path in which they reach their destination.

Our remix video will take scenes from Portal and Portal 2, and mash them up with “Perfect Day” by Hoku.  The goal is to create a video in a style that pulls elements from both the traditional “songvid” and the fake trailer that reimagines Portal’s Chell not as “Test Subject #1” trying to escape from Aperture Laboratories, but as a young, outgoing girl who is eager to take on a variety of challenges.  While the song suggests that there is literally “nothing standing in [Chell’s] way,” perhaps referring to the obstacles in each level of the game or more trivially as a carefree display of motivation, the lyrics also function as an analysis of the limitless nature of video games. By combining the song with repurposed visuals from the game, we will illustrate that although there are programmatic confines within a game, players are otherwise unrestricted from playing through the game however they please.

A similar approach was taken in “The Shining (happy version).”  By recutting the trailer and setting it to upbeat music, the creator comments on how a story can be reframed with a little viewer imagination. We will take this one step further by creating a remix video bordering on a fake music video in order to enhance the weight placed on the song itself. We believe this will be more effective rhetorically, as it will reframe the existing storyline of Portal by drawing upon imagery provided by the song, not just the tone.


Works Cited:

Murray, Janet Horowitz. “Harbingers of the Holodeck.” Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. Cambridge: MIT, 1999. 27-64.

 

Hide yo kids, Hide yo wives, and Hide yo husbands, cuz they stalking errybody out here

Someone or something is always watching you, the question is do you care? In reality, you may be able to track people who are stalking you by observation and get help from the police. However online, this area becomes murky and people or corporations may or may not know if they are being watched. As Andrejevic states, “These various enclosures facilitate vastly different types of information gathering and transmission…Google may be able to track movements to a much higher degree of resolution and to correlate these with the content of search engine requests and e-mail correspondence.” (Andrejevic 300)

Our main argument is that people don’t exactly know what is happening with the information they allow corporations to take from them. Large companies like Facebook and Google have privacy policies that are all encompassing and most people don’t know what it is they are taking. In reality we are more cognizant of the information we give to people and feel that the information we give, even the most basic information we give online, is something we should not give out in person and yet still do it anyway. This video attempts to shed light on that irony by comparing how we interact in person with people who try to get too close to us without our permission, and how we interact with large corporations online that want to take our information.

We will structure this argument by telling the story of the movie Stalker (2014), and injecting clips of people using large corporate web based media sources. This will create strong imagery and a parallel to the theft of information and privacy in the real world, and how it is taken from us online. By injecting clips from Google and Facebook advertisements and commercials, that portray people as ever so happy using their programs, and using a horror film about stalking, it will create a strong juxtaposition in our remix video that will back up our argument substantially.

We hope that by comparing these two different cases of privacy invasion, this will open the eyes of the viewing audience to the dangers of putting too much information online freely.

Dark Hallways are Scarier in Video Games

Shot of the hallway in P.T.

Shot of the hallway in P.T.

Horror has been a prevalent movie genre since the beginning of film. Scary movies are oftentimes made when the director wants the viewer to be completely immersed in fear. In more recent times, directors have been looking for better ways to convey fear and have turned to video games to deliver their content.

Such is the story for P.T., a short horror game released in 2014 that captivated gamers all over the nation. The name P.T. stands for the “playable teaser” of the new Silent Hill game, a critically acclaimed and iconic horror series. The game is directed by Hideo Kojima (creator of the Metal Gear franchise) and film director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim). Even as a “teaser,” P.T. is widely regarded as one of the scariest, realistic, and immerse horror video games to ever hit the market.

In the context of the remix project, our group is aiming to create a supercut video where we plan to match up scenes from iconic horror films like The ShiningThe Babadook, and Saw among others, to P.T.’s gameplay. We aim to compare and contrast the use of atmosphere and ideas between both the video game and the horror films. The goal is to show how much scary video games take away from horror cinema, while also highlighting what makes video games such an attractive and unique medium for scary storytellers to immerse their audience beyond what film allows.

Here is an example of a supercut of some shots from iconic Stanley Kubrick films (thank you Kyle). Our group plans to match up shots from horror movies to shots in the gameplay.

To make this remix video relevant to class, we are drawing a lot of inspiration from Alexander Galloway’s “Gamic Action, Four Moments” chapter in Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture where he states that, “computers and in particular video games…foundation is not in looking and reading, but in the instigation of material change through action” (Galloway 4). With the remix video, we plan to show how video games can work as a way to tell a story like a movie, but with an interactivity that immerses the consumer.