Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rescuing the Remix

RiP: A Remix manifesto offers a profoundly philosophical thesis on the creative process and its role in societal advancement. Surely culture builds on the past; it takes what is and constantly seeks to improve or enhance it. That’s progress. While technology constantly changes, the values that drive innovation seldom do the same. Too often that value is profit, and it seems a crime that record companies, which have utilized technology to make the music business so lucrative for themselves, now seek to limit the way the common man (or woman) may utilize that same technology.

The Muddy Waters example seemed to effectively demonstrate the way art builds on itself; whether it be a single song note, a word or just the way someone moves their brush, inspiration takes what it knows to create something new and different. Similarly, the film noted how nearly much, if not all, of Disney’s early work was simply an animated and modernized adaptation of some other story, without which Disney could not have enjoyed his monumental success. There is clear irony in the way the Disney Corporation fights so vigorously to keep others from using its characters, as Disney devours other franchises like Marvel and Star Wars. It is only that irony which will continue to compound on itself.

Lawrence Lessig’s Creative Common’s movement seems to be a step that should be taken to restore the freedom to be inspired and to channel that inspiration, for at the heart of remixing is inspiration, and if the freedom to channel inspiration is infringed upon, then record companies would have far fewer artists to leech from in the first place. While the illegal distribution of music is unfavorable to the profit-driven corporations that associate with artists, one can’t help but wonder why publishing companies and those who represent them are so adamantly against the free exposure that comes with a shared remix. Perhaps these corporations are embroiled in a fight to remain relevant in a ring where anyone can use modern technology to present themselves and their music to the world from the comfort of their own home. But in this fight it’s only a matter of time before record companies go the way of the vinyl record, and I sincerely doubt they’ll ever resurface as vintage collectibles.

by Nina J. Easton of the LA Times    
Talk about irony

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

And We're Off...

A link to the site where I'll be working on my 4-week independent study project "Understanding High Functioning Autistic Teens" In the end I hope this will be video compilation of what my son's life is like, the pros and cons of his diagnosis, and facts about HFA teens.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Welcome To My Life - as an autistic teenager

I got it.... a digital media presentation of what it's like to be a high-functioning autistic teenager, like my amazing, wonderful, delightful, son!



Creativity, Inspiration & Procrastination

Great ideas do typically just pop into my head and once I have an idea, I tend to follow a similar process as James Webb Young's principals for developing an idea (A Technique for Producing Ideas).  However my process happens pretty quick as I am like a dog with a bone and/or because I am a horrible procrastinator.  For whatever reason, once I have the idea or the "it" I work at 100mph doing my research, thinking, discussing, and working on "it" until it develops into what I want/need (or it will fizzles out and dies).  That being said, it's the initial idea that I often struggle with and the longer it takes me to figure that out, the more stressed I get, the less creative I get and typically just want to give up.  (Thus the reason I'm getting my BFA at 40 and not 24 because giving up used involve dropping a class and vowing to take it the next semester and year - procrastinating - until it's too late).

Back to Young... I like the idea of Young's principals, but he doesn't address how to get that original thought.  The first step in his process is investigation, but investigation of what?  In advertising, his field of expertise, the "it" was given to him by a client.  Toothpaste, coat, restaurant, book, jewelry, etc. were his "it" and once he had that he could apply his principals for developing a good idea or pitch or commercial or print ad, or whatever it was he needed to do with the "it".  However, what would he have done if the "it" wasn't given to him.  If he were simply instructed to, "create a great advertisement" and that was it.  I'm sure his first question would be "about what?" 

That's where at.  I'm struggling with this first independent study assignment because I don't know stuck at the starting block.  I'm thrilled to have a plan of action for developing my idea and turning it into a finished project.  I'm excited to try Young's principals too, but I can't seem to find the gun to start the race.  Practical just doesn't apply to me.  I'm not an artist (by the true definition of the word).  I like the idea of being an artist, but when I try something artsy, I just get frustrated at how imperfect it is, so I try to avoid putting myself in that situation.  That leaves social, but what?  Hmmm... gotta keep thinking on this.  I've done some research and have a few ideas, but I'm just not really excited about any of them.  Next step will involve calling on my friends.  Brainstorming is almost always a good solution when I'm stuck.
what it should be about.  I don't know what my "it" is going to be and so feel

Regardless of my "stuck-ed-ness", I really enjoyed Young's book.  Articulating a creative process in such a succinct and understandable way, is not an easy thing to do.  Being a process person myself, I really liked reading about a process to be creative, a skill I struggle with.  Young's process is very intellectual and I'm excited to apply it to my project.

So, I'm behind because I can't tell you what my project is going to be yet, but as true procrastinator, now that I'm behind, I'm sure brilliance will strike at any minute.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Play is needed for creativity...

For the past 4 days, I've been on vacation.  Actually it was more like a "Cele-cation" because I was celebrating my 40th birthday and my husband and I were celebrating 14 wonderful years of marriage.

The two of us have always wanted to do a trip to New York, where we saw as many shows as possible and so that's what we've done.  Our goal was to see 4 shows in 3 days.

Arriving at JFK from Raleigh on Thursday morning, we started our cele-cation off with our top choice show, The Book of Mormon. Then on Friday we went to TKTS and were able to get discounted tickets to Pippin for that night at Once for Saturday matinee.  That made 3 shows and we'd planned to see Sleep No More on Saturday night, but they were sold out.  Thinking we wouldn't reach out goal, we happened to be passing the Gershwin where Wicked is playing, just minutes before the front row lottery was going to start. We put our names in and hoped for the best.  We'd met a couple from NJ while we were waiting in line and made an agreement that if my name and my husbands name got selected, they could have 2 of the 4 tickets we'd have and they agreed to do the same for us.  Unfortunately neither my name nor my husband's name was called out, but luckily both the husband and wife from NJ got tickets (2 each), we paid them for the 2 extra and saw Wicked at 8pm, in the front row.


We'd seen 4 shows in 3 days and the next day my husband had to fly home to be with our son & foster son.  I'm still in the city for work and will return home on Wednesday (leaving the hotel at 530a, for an 8a flight, driving directly to work, then driving to meet my boys at church for Wednesday night programs and THEN FINALLY driving to my house and then returning HOME).

All of that is to say, I've had zero opportunity to create my video since I've been on cele-cation all week. However now that I've had all this fun, relaxation and exposure to theater, I'm sure it will inspire greatness when I do get my video done over the weekend (10/5-10/6).

The Language of New Media by Lev Manovich

Lev Manovich (2002), in The Language of New Media, writes about the concepts of the new media in society. He explains his concepts using five principles, which include numerical representation, transcoding, variability, automation and modularity. These principles help in distinguishing old from new media.

Numerical representation explains the manipulation and programming of new media objects to their mathematical form. Here, converting data into the new numerical form entails sampling and quantization. These steps help in making continuous data measurable, distinct and numerically defined into ranges. In making animations, numerical representation is used to create motion.

Modularity involves the use of independent elements, which are modified when doing other kinds of
works.  In Adobe Photoshop, an image can contain more than one layer whereby each layer is distinct from another. In addition, the World Wide Web consists of various websites, which are distinct media and web elements.
Automation is the process that uses built-in computer systems and software to perform its processes. It depends on both numerical representation and modularity to minimize human intervention during its processes (Manovich, 2002). Automatic processes are used in new media for example using software like Microsoft Word, which has designed templates for document design or the use of grammar and spell check, which automates corrections

New media exists in different forms, which explains the principle of new media variability. Unlike old media that needed manual assembling, new media uses automated systems, digital storage media and the chronology of events and steps. For example, with a single click on an icon, on an interface,multiple versions of processes may be performed.

Transcoding entails converting media from one format to another and the manipulation of media to be compatible with various devices. The computer layer generally affects the cultural layer (Manovich, 2002). New media enables transcoding whereas old media does not.
Based on these principles, a person is able to differentiate between new and old media. The differentiation may be based on measurability, automation, variation, distinction and consistency with the devices.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Internet = Salvation?????

The internet isn’t just a global network of computers connected together. It may have a much higher purpose. Many experts argue that the internet may enable us (as human beings) to move forward as a civilization. 
 For instance, Kaku (2010), a physicist, argues that we are trending towards a Type One civilization, from a Type Zero. Currently, as a Type Zero civilization, we harness energy
from oil and old plants. As we our society advances it's technology and ability, we are moving towards becoming a Type One civilization, which is a planetary civilization, where we'll harness all the energy output of our planet. If we become a Type 1 civilization, Kaku believes we will also be a more multicultural, scientific and tolerant society. He also believes that the internet is an example of a Type One telephone system, where we have the ability to connect with every single person in the world.

Similarly, Rifkin (2010) argues that the internet can help us empathize with

the whole world, as if they were our brothers and sisters. For instance, when Haiti was hit by an earthquake, within three hours the whole world was getting real-time news through the internet and people around the world were able to empathize and began taking action to help the devastated areas and people.

But why did people react?  Research suggests that we are soft-wired with mirror neurons. This means that we tend to mirror the emotion that another person is feeling and this helps us empathize with them. During the

initial stages of civilization, our empathy only extended to our blood ties and our tribes. Later, our empathy extended to religious associations. Since the industrial revolution, our ties have been extended based on national identity. Rifkin argues that we have the technology to extend our empathy to the whole world. 

Is it possible that the internet can help us extend our identities, understanding and empathy to the whole human race? Looking at where we are now, with terrorist attacks in shopping malls, Sarin gas being used on fellow humans and the simple ignorance of not allowing two people who love each other to marry, it seems like we are a long way from that happening. At the same time, I'm the daughter of a somewhat closed minded and (dare I say it) racist family (on my Dad's side), yet I am not myself, close minded or racist. So maybe there’s hope, one generation at a time, for our species to connect and move to the next level.