We all wear masks…metaphorically speaking

Commedia dell’arte is known as the first form of professional theatre. An ancient greek theatre practice, performed in an amphitheater which comprised of the same stock characters every performance. These stock characters were easily distinguishable, entertaining and known and loved by the audience.

They were distinguished by the use of masks, as many actors played them in many places across a long period of time. Each mask was vibrant and bold, noticeably portraying a different character.

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Commedia dell’arte character masks 

I know what you’re thinking, these masks are F***ing terrifying. I totally agree. That orange one will definitely give me nightmares tonight.

In case you’re wondering why I’m talking about ancient greek theatre, which most people probably are. In fact, you’re probably wondering that at the beginning of all my blog posts, let me explain.

These masks were a way of distinguishing a public persona, and making this persona known to the audience. Isn’t this in a way, similar to our online persona?

For our online persona is kind of like a mask, we may hide behind it or thrive with it. But it’s a form of ourselves we are purposely trying to convey. The persona we want everyone to see and know, just like a mask.

Original meme 

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I can Build a Phone???

There are many instances where people have built thier own phone. Doing this using parts bought and found from an array of sources. I have always seen these examples and figured this was something amazing tech genius’s could do. Not me, obviously, definitely not me.

I am possibly the furthest thing from a tech genius you will ever meet. It amazes me I have come this far in life only ever getting 2 viruses on my computer. And then someone told me just how easy it can be to build a phone, which I just thought was ridiculous, but it occurred to me, could I possibly build my own phone?

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Of course I didn’t actually try this myself, because not only am I the furthest thing from a tech genius I am also the furthest thing from a motivated human. However I got my lazy self moving and went researching.

I first stumbled upon a man who built his own iPhone using parts in China. This seemed miraculous. However when realizing how all the parts are made in China anyway, I realized he really wasn’t that amazing (funny joke) and continued my search.

My laziness then led me to a google project called Project Ara. This project lets people change and piece together their own phone using the parts provided. They call it the ‘modular phone’, stating its built to last and simple to mix, match and swap.

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What each of these technologies can do, and what building your own phone can do is create a generative platform. This generative platform is different from a locked appliance, which only lets you create and buy from one source. What all of these generative platforms are producing, are ways to create, code, and enhance technology yourself. But I still don’t think I could build a Phone.

Harry Potter and the Transmedia Experience

In 1997, J.k Rowling released a novel, titled ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone’. A fantasy, youth fiction novel about witches and wizards and the life of one in particular. 20 years later, this novel has created a mass Transmedia enterprise that was not to be expected.

Throughout the course of 10 years, 6 more books were written as part of the Harry Potter series, each creating more success than the last. In 1999, Warner Bros. purchased the rights of the Harry potter series from Rowling. And in 2001, the first film ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone’ was released.

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8 films were created over 10 years for the Harry Potter film series, this creating a multimedia franchise. However Rowling did not stop there.

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In 2012, Rowling founded the ‘Pottermore‘ website. An interactive website where fans of the series can interact with the books, get placed in houses and also read about the earlier happenings and backgrounds of characters and events which were not included in the books or films. This creating the start of the transmedia experience of Harry Potter.

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Throughout the course of the Harry Potter series, many books and ideas are introduced, such as ‘The Tales of Beedle and the Bard’ and ‘Fantastic beasts and where to find them’. These of which she not only released as books to the public, yet has also begun to create a whole new spin-off franchise.

The Fantastic Beasts series was introduced in 2016, as part of the Harry Potter universe. A spin-off franchise about one of the authors mentioned in the Harry Potter series set in 1920s New York. This series shows a different side of the Harry Potter universe and also includes many of the beloved characters, creatures and information the Harry Potter series introduced in the first place.

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To add another media form altogether, ‘The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ play was then released in 2016. A brand new story created by Rowling set 19 years after the last Harry Potter book about the lives of the characters of the series and their children.

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Throughout all of these creations, a Transmedia enterprise has been created. Which brings together lovers of books, films, websites and plays, each to experience this Harry Potter Universe no matter where they start.

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Thanks Disney

I want to create something.

Something new and fresh.

Something that I love and want to share with everyone so they can see it, and experience it, and love it too.

Does that sound good?

Oh, and yeah I only want this exact 5% of western culture to be able to see it and anyone else who does has to be arrested, ok?

Yes, a pretty intense and exaggerated example, however, to some extent is this not what copyright is? A way of securely censoring what we create and intended to share in the first place?

There are many ways this censoring is done, and many confusing rules and regulations around it which continue to baffle me even further.

The current US copyright law states that a monopoly exists on the creation 70 years after the authors death. For corporate authorship, the monopoly exists 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication. And who do we have to thank for these monopolies? 

Disney.

Corporations these days…

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What do you mean this new movie isn’t new?!?!

I’m not even going to attempt to explain the idea of ‘Remix Culture‘ in terms of Hip Hop and Rap music, which is how it was explained to me. I didn’t understand one part of it. Despite being unsure I understood this idea of ‘Remix Culture’, I am going to attempt to explain it in a way I do understand, through film.

Anything can be remixed. You can remix music which is perhaps the most obvious example. However you can also remix films, or more specifically, film ideas.

This is a more abstract term, but when you think about it, most films these days aren’t from original ideas. They are prequels, sequels, origin stories, adaptations of books and comic books, remakes of the films themselves, reimagining’s and the list goes on.

In fact, of the 5 highest grossing films if 2016, 4 out of the 5 were ‘remixed’ in some way.

  1. Finding Dory‘: A sequel

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2. ‘Rogue one: A star wars story’: A reimagining of a world already created

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3. ‘Captain America: Civil War’: An adaptation of a comic book

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4. ‘The Jungle Book’: A remake of an old film

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Each of these films is in some way ‘remixed’, and I struggle to think of any films that haven’t been ‘remixed’ in some way.

Instead of trying to ‘remix’ my own film in some way, which I don’t even know is possible with my skill level, I have decided to instead remix a wonderful and heartfelt speech from my favorite film (pure sarcasm intended).

Meme Warfare: A serious statement???

Not once in my life have I ever taken a meme seriously. Not ever. Like ever, ever. Sure, I see them as entertainment, a source of humor, a lighthearted image to make my hours spent scrolling Facebook seem worth it. And I’m sure there are a lot of people that agree and feel the same. I definitely have favorite memes, and ones I will always find funny, like this guy:

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But taken him seriously??? Nah

Not only have I never taken them seriously, but I’ve never seen them as a source of propaganda. That just sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? A meme as propaganda!?!? It’s an outrage! A scandal! (Yaaas first Harry Potter quote)  However, yesterday, I learnt that a meme can be just that.

Due to our constant open source media outlet of the internet, and all the ways we are in fact no longer the audience, I guess this can’t come as too much of a shock. We use the internet to influence a multitude of happenings and issues, and one of the ways we are seen doing this is through memes.

We all hate Trump, yes? However, due to the way we were all made to think of him during the election, and still today, I began to wonder if things like this were becoming propaganda and influencing people:

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Because the internet started looking like this:

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So, are memes more than just a source of hilarity? Are they propaganda?

Formerly known as the audience

Lets take a trip back in time boys and girls. Back to when time was simpler and food was cheaper. Now in this time, news was not what it is today. In fact, it was a completely different system, where news came from one source and thats all everyone read. News was just news.

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Now lets jump forward to today. News is not just news. It is an endless stream that comes from anywhere. We are the people formerly known as the audience. We can choose to be passive consumers or active makers through the internet, social media and every other form of communication available. This is due to the beauty of our now ongoing  internet which is dialogic by design. Something that cannot be controlled and anyone can broadcast any message.

This shift of the audiences participation has created a whole new spectrum of news and just what audience can really mean. As the audience is no longer passive observers, but anything they want to be.

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GIFS are much craft

‘Are GIFs craft?’ a young, innocent minded Jordie asked herself. She pondered this thought for a while, contemplating just what craft might mean. At first, to her, when she thought of craft she thought of Art, which consisted of painting and drawing. However, Ted had a different idea…

After a long, long, long time of thought processing (about a day), she decided that craft could be anything, and why can’t it be a GIF. Or in fact, why can’t it be the whole internet. An endless experimentation and transformation of craft.

Despite this absurd seeming story, I wanted to bring attention to the idea of craftsmanship and the process of craftsmanship through digital transformation. Or in other words, the craft of a GIF. David Pye believed craftsmanship to be“workmanship using any kind of technique of apparatus,” (Pye 1968). So, in saying that, why can’t craft be a GIF?

If you are wondering about this idea of craft, here is a GIF, look at this medium and think about the message 😉

 

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References

Pye, D., The Nature and Art of Workmanship, 1968, date accessed: 21/3/17

 

The medium is the massage

The way we choose to send our messages means so much more than the message itself.

This notion is the very basis and basic understanding of Marshall Mcluhan’s idea of ‘The medium is the message’. When I first fathomed this notion I thought I was just so deep. Of course it was later when I actually realized there is so much more to understand and I am really only just beginning to understand it. Ultimately, my original understanding is the general idea.

A medium is anything  that puts our thoughts into actions. It can range from any form of technology, or something even as simple as body language. A message on the other hand, refers to what is being communicated. Although, the audience we are sending our message to is highly influenced by the medium in which we are sending the message, even if they don’t notice it themselves.

For example, you send a text to your mum exclaiming “Yo mum, whats for dinner?”. Your mum replies to your message, “cHickEn andsaLad J*GBV”. You sigh in frustration. Although, If I had asked my mum in person, and she had replied with the same intention, her idea would have come across more clearly, and she would have heard my frustrated sigh for real. The vocal expression and body language significantly changes the way my message is perceived.

Therefore, we can see that the message being sent isn’t necessarily as significant as the medium I’m choosing to send it through. In fact, the mediums are constantly changing and interpreting our messages in different ways constantly.

I will admit I am still very confused and trying to understand this concept, but I don’t think I really ever will fully wrap my head around it.

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A Digital Artefact and me

I don’t necessarily know what a digital artefact is or have an clue what I will create for my own. However despite this confusion and the confusion that surrounds me with all of university I must power through.

It is almost impossible to think of an idea that is completely original that I can create, or let alone compare with the ones that have been created previously. I have only thought of a few possible ideas based of things that I am interested in and for some reason they all seem to coincide with YouTube (which seems terrifying).

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  1. One idea I had was based of my inundated obsession with movies and celebrities. I could turn this obsession into some sort of movie rating or explaining Facebook page or Youtube channel. More specifically something like explaining a popular movie in a 20 sec video and creating a series of these for those not bothered to actually ever see the movie.
  2.  Another idea that crossed my mind was due to my time last year spent in the USA. I again could create a YouTube channel or Facebook page where in each video I have a particular topic and explain what it is like to be an Australian dealing with this topic in the USA. Such as where to find vegemite, driving on the other side of the road, or how to survive Trumps America (its harder than you would think).

There are so many more ideas out there, but that is the most terrifying thing about this task, that it can be anything! I’m not used to this much freedom.