Media 6 Reading Week 6

This week’s reading by Howard Gardner states that in order to thrive in this interconnected world, people will need to develop five minds. To further that point, Gardner claims that these five characteristics will indeed be for the greater good of society. These aforementioned minds include; the disciplined mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind and the ethical, mind.

The Disciplined mind refers to the ability to think in ways associated with major scholarly disciplines such as history, math and science, and major professions like law, medicine, management, finance as well as the ability to apply oneself diligently, improving steadily and continuing beyond formal education. The synthesizing mind is able to select crucial information from the copious amounts available, arraying that information in ways that make sense to self and others. The creating mind is able to go beyond existing knowledge and synthesis to pose new questions, offer new solutions, fashion works that stretch existing genres or configure new ones. The respectful mind responds sympathetically and constructively to differences among individuals and among groups, seeking to understand and work with those who are different, extending beyond mere tolerance and political correctness. The Ethical mind is able to merge roles at work and as a citizen and act consistently with those conceptualizations, striving towards good work and good citizenship.

Education is the key to developing these five minds for the future, and while traditional forms of education will bear the burden of training young minds, parents, peers and the media also play an as important role in influencing and developing minds of tomorrow. Moreover, it is important to note that in a world that shows no signs of slowing down, no individual or organisation can afford to rest on his or her intellectual laurels. The future belongs to those that have made an active lifelong commitment to continue to learn. Gardner believes that in the workplace we should be seeking people who possess disciplined, synthesizing, creating, respectful and ethical minds, but should all continue to perennially develop all five minds ourselves.

Media 6 Reading Week 5

The reading by Judy Wajcman is about the paradox that has shaped the 21st century lifestyle.   We are constantly innovating and developing new, ever faster machines with the aim to make our modern lives easier, less stressful but simultaneously it seems that we have less and less free time at our disposal and constantly feel “pressed for time”.  This is something most of us struggle with, which made it relatable to me personally.

It was almost funny to read the prediction by John Maynard Keynes about technological advancements will have on our lives. Work shapes how a person uses their time, but now that the standard eight hour, five day a week roster erodes the clear distinction between “work time” and “my time” has blurred which allowed work to interfere into personal time but consequently has allowed personal time to invade work time. This is especially true when you consider the fact that the same way we can get an email from work demanding our attention despite not physically being at work, we can access social media sites during work time on our devices.

Wajcman’s reading addresses our accelerated pace, pressures on our time, constant connectivity, and lack of intimacy in the age of social media.  We all must learn that it is not about speed; it is about being better and using the tools to this end rather than being used by the tools. I am for this because I do not want to be one of the mindless drones staring at screen but absorbing nothing while the real world moves around them.

Annotated Bibliography Final Version

Natalie, Underberg, M., Zorn, Elayne, (2013). Digital Ethnography: Anthropology, Narrative, and New Media, University of Texas Press, pp. 10-29.

Natalie M. Underberg and Elayne Zorn’s book is about new media enabling audiences to go beyond absorbing facts, computer-based storytelling allows for immersion in the experience of another culture. While certain usages suggest that digital technologies should be seen as forms of communication or mass media, extensions perhaps of the telephone or television, other applications of these same pieces of hardware or software suggest that digital technology should rather be viewed as platforms that create new social and cultural spaces in which communicative and/or expressive interactions can take place. Underberg and Zorn’s discussion mirrors some of the discussions among scholars in the early twentieth century about the role that film should play in ethnographic work. While representational and analytical uses were sometimes seen as mutually exclusive by early ethnographic filmmakers, Underberg and Zorn see a range of possibilities as equally significant in the application of digital technology to ethnographic work.

After reading more I noticed that the contents of the book might not be exactly what I had expected as the title falls victim to the vagueness in the existing terms. The lack of focus on a particular type of new media made the relevance to what I wanted out of this article drop. The authors’ decision to paint this view on interactive narratives with such broad strokes made it feel overly generalized. It also of note that this book is three years old and that might not be a very long time but when writing about new media it needs to be quite recent.

Huszarh, Rachael, (2015). Subtropolis: Breaking New Ground in Immersion and the Power of Theme, The George Washington University, pp. 1-39.

Rachael Huszarh has created Subtropolis, a proposed exhibition for the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center that explores the idea of what life could be like underground. Aimed at children, ages 6–14 that live in city environments, the exhibit will be a new take on incorporating immersive environments and technological interactives to create a strong sense of theme that engages on every level. The development of the exhibition is discussed, considering the various challenges posed and the solutions that led to the ultimate design and narrative choices.

Precedents examined include Coney Island’s Luna Park and the use of elemental spectacle to convert fear into awe. There is also an in depth analysis regarding the human psyche and where the fear of the underground originates from, and how those factors contributed to the overall feel and message of the exhibit. Guided by the narrative and a sense of discovery, visitors will learn about living underground in the natural world, both animals and ancient civilizations, how underground life is imagined in the media, and lastly what a realistic underground city might look like and how it could operate. Subtropolis will serve as a possible model for conveying ideas that have not yet happened into a physical form designed to keep people interested, entertained, and aware in order for them to leave feeling open to new possibilities, namely, that one day and entire city could exist under our feet. This is a nice idea for having an interactive environment that you can explore and develop a narrative around the experiences you have as you go.

Ryan, Marie-Laure, (2016). Narrative as Virtual Reality 2: Revisiting Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media, Revised Edition, Beaverton: Ringgold Inc, pp.17-34.

Marie-Laure Ryan, a prominent literary critic and scholar-in-residence at the University of Colorado at Boulder has written a study that analysis the meaning of the term virtual and what it means to for audience immersion and interaction as the line between the real and the virtual is becoming blurrier. As the technology improves and these virtual worlds become more lifelike, the risk of these virtual plains becoming forms of escapism increases. Ryan also explores the reasons behind the cultural and technological changes as she argues that the two are intertwined as technology conforms to the need of the population and vice versa.

Ryan brings up the point about the virtual space previously being a representation of reality and could potentially become its own reality. This level of immersion is what makes a narrative in this virtual world more impactful and here lies the opportunity and threat of these emerging forms of narratives. The study uses several sources both technological and philosophical ones that she unpacks and applies to the issues brought up. The fact that this was published this year makes it a much more current and relevant source to refer to when making our project. However, despite it being titled as Narrative as Virtual Reality 2, it is not actually a follow up to the first edition as it is a revised version of the first Narrative as Virtual Reality. This might simply mean that there were things in the first edition that are irrelevant now that are simply removed but it also means that no new research or finding were included in this edition.

Welsh, Timothy, J., (2011). Immersive Fictions: Modern Narrative, New Media, Mixed Reality, University of Washington, pp. 59-78.
Dr. Timothy J. Welsh, an assistant professor of English at Loyola University has written about the relationship between the media consumer and the media itself and how it is immersion on a level that has no precedence. Welsh compares traditional mediums such as print media to video games, a ‘newer’ form of media and tests the immersive experience that they offer. What he found is that users were more immersed in a vicarious level though a video game rather than a book. The manner media forms are evolving would suggest that media is becoming more and more immersive.

Welsh explains that the ability to play as yourself in a fictional setting is what truly creates a visceral type of immersion. There are characters that the media user can use to project themselves within the narrative in films and books but is their limitations as none of those mediums can claim to give the user ownership over their actions within the narrative. It is clear that the author has a passion for interactive media as the sheer number of examples of video games. It is always ideal that the author has firsthand experience with the subject matter and Welsh seems to have a considerable amount. The limitation of this source however, is the released date as it was published in 2011. This was a time where the new media that we have today (VR and AR) were not readily available or even viable for consumer consumption. Despite this, the concepts brought up in this study can still be applicable to today’s technology.

Media 6 Reading Week 4

The reading by Carl Newport revolves around the notions of creators having either a Crafts man’s Mindset or the Passion Mindset. Newport introduces us to the former by sharing his experience with a man that lives by that mindset. He makes a point to distinguish between the two as he states that Crafts man’s Mindset focuses on what you can offer the world, while the Passion Mindset is what the world can offer you. It is very clear which one the author prefers as he lists all the positives of the first mindset and all the negatives for the last one.

The section on Steve Martin was unexpected as his quote of “be so good they can’t ignore you” was interesting. This is the quote I wanted to write about the most as there are two competing sides of me that I can’t quite decide to be my singular option. On the one hand it is inspiring as the part where you get to showcase your talent and hard work over a prolonged period of perfecting your craft. Success is then well deserved and it would make you humble that you had to toil to ‘make it’. But here is what I have a problem with it. Steve Martin is a comedic genius that diverged from the norm to create his own unique style at the time. I am not looking to revolutionize the industry, I just want to work in it and it is a bit discouraging that he makes it sound that I have to be at his level to have any kind of success.