FINAL BLOG SUBMISSION

Throughout the semester particularity in the earlier half, I have utilised this blog as a reflection for the subject Making Networked Culture and about what I’ve learnt.

The first blog post chosen is the first one I wrote about What is Networked Culture? It’s interesting that we are all connected to a networked culture and yet, we neither fully understand the grasp it exceed nor do we acknowledge it much outside of an academic outlook. Hugh presented a mind-map of how massive the connection between social media and people are, and I never really thought of those not connected to the social media as “non-existent.” I was really thrown off-guard when there was connection made between the rise of the internet culture and the fall of both the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union.

The second blog post was actually in the second tutorial about the Meaning of Networked Culture, where we discussed the impact of internet on the culture of human interaction. The basis of this discussion was about the negativity of the viral internet campaign Kony 2012 by the Invisible Children Inc., which laid the problem of jumping on the band wagon, without seeing the full picture. This in relation to the social psychological phenomenon “the bystander effect” really heightened my apathy to the collectivity of the internet culture, in which people believe that by discussing it or arguing about it over the internet, action could be done. Also discussed was the Arab Springs demonstrations and the contrast of providing a positive campaign about spreading the word about the current situation. The internet has either regress human interaction or remained static in my opinion.

The third blog post was about  Hyperculture, in which Hugh brought upon to us about hypertext and hyperlinking. By explaining it’s importance to modern culture by the means proto-type of the internet, and sandbox games such as the Grand Theft Auto series, this really intrigued me about the interconnectedness of information and the formation of free will in the hyper-textual media we absord; also I learnt about how hypertext and hyper-linking doesn’t remain in a linear structure but instead moves freely, which was pretty interesting to remember. The fourth blog post was about Making Wavesabout the history behind sound networks, something I was never particularity interested in. However, the history enough was to show how the communication and the technology would advance and in advancing intercontinental networks, and possibly to regress the human interaction to merely through social media and telecommunications.

The fifth  and final blog post was an interesting one, as by using  the Black Plague as an allegory for Viral Mediato explain how networks operate and how the physical illness of the plague can be compared to the global obsession of viral media. I also never would have placed the zombie sub-genre in this category of allegory of viral media and the faults of dependence on media, along with the possible effects of the lack of collective networking information.

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TRANSMEDIA PROJECT

For the final assignment of the Making Networked Culture, we were assigned to create a transmedia video project. We didn’t have to do a whole complete transmedia project, just the idea, a video and if possible placements of our own design. When I started this project, I didn’t really fully understand the transmedia component, I knew that I always wanted to create a product that allows people to buy memories. Because what isn’t more personal and intimate than a memory? Originally, I intended to set this idea in the year 2047, where I would create a short film about the dangers of buying memories pills, which would be part of everyday life (something akin to climate change of our current day). However, after rewriting a initial draft of the idea, I decided that it became less of about transmedia, and something more personal. Instead I took the idea of the memory pills, and instead imagined if it was created in present day, as an inventor’s attempt to get his product into sales. These pills would be dubbed “Perfidia X.”

The idea of Perfidia X and the inventor’s company Ephemeral Inc. was aimed to allow customers the ability to live their personal desires that cannot be obtain or recreating a memories to how they want to perceive it. In a meta-irony, I chose to use words as “perfidia” and “ephemeral” which means false and transient respectively, as if the inventor knew that he would receive criticism for his work, so he used those words to allow the sense that he knew the criticism fully well of manipulating personal memories, or the fear of potential brain damage.

When I planned this out, I didn’t storyboard much as I feel that my style of making videos is based more on instinct than planning; Danish film-maker Nicolas Winding Refn called this method “organic film-making.” But I did storyboard some shots just so I could at least have a clearer idea of how I was approaching this, and while I discarded most of the storyboard for a different point approach, I did follow two of the shots from paper to video, so at least that’s good enough.

IMG_0760IMG_0758

Originally, the plan to advertise this product was a bit more complex than I intended. Three giant posters of QR codes would be placed in three different locations of Melbourne (Melbourne Central/ Federation Square/ Fitzroy), with these QR codes leading them to 24 different locations where they would have a poster of one of eight quotes along with a code. A forum would have been created, for others who would discuss about this, and along the way I would anonymously provide hints to grant the code. This would lead to a website with the code serving as a password for a promotional video for the product. However, I decided that it became too elaborate, so I cut down the content.

1. Three posters of a QR code would be placed in three different locations of Melbourne (Melbourne Central / Federation Square/ Fitzroy).

Poster

2. QR code leads to a video of a promotional teaser, asking the viewer the “what if?” question. At the end, there would be a number for them to text. No need for a word, just a empty message.
3. They would receive a message back, providing them with 4 locations to go to.
4. Each of these four places would have one of these four quotes:
“Sometimes in the Falls – 4”
“Don’t you forget about me – 2”
“A trip to Paris, je’taime – 7”
“California Dreamin'” – Q”

2P   QP4P7P
At the bottom of the poster would have “.weebly.com”, hinting at the numbers/letter hints the url of the website.
5. The forum idea may still be in effect, but the participants might be able to solve it by typing in, and if successful, will be on the website with the video and designs for the memories pills’ cover box.

I designed the posters on Photoshop, aiming for a minimalist design, based on the catching onto the current trend of minimal graphic designs, and also because I like the minimalist designs of some advertisements and product boxes. I also designed two cover boxes for the memories pills, continuing the minimalist approach. This in effect, as part of society’s continuation of changing trends over time, elapsing the nostalgia of memory. For the videos, I originally was going to do one promotional video and actually shot a partial amount of footage featuring my friend as the doctor who invented these pills. However, complications arouse with schedule conflicts and other commitments, which by the time I was free to shoot, my friend wasn’t available due to exams. Instead, I decided to split the promotional video into two, one being a teaser to the Perfidia X, and the other being a commercial; I used the editing program Adobe Premiere Pro to edit the videos.

I was able to shoot some footage of another friend for the teaser, though I chose to base on using unused footage of my previous projects to create a quick narrative; it subtly portrays the actual events of the character’s past but at the half way point, it changes to show the possible memories if he took the pills. I decided to use film burns I downloaded as an aesthetic to the fleeting concept of memories, and I’m to say that it was an improvement on the teaser. When I reviewed the footage, I realised that it was problematic on the basis that I was trying to create something professional in a rather unprofessional look. Instead for the commercial, I shot it as if the inventor shot it himself, ala in homage to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia “Kitten Mittens” commercial. I used natural lighting and shot footage without much professionalism or sleekness, as if he was shooting this within an hour (ironically I shot this in 4 days). I took influence from the Lacuna Inc. commercial created for the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

The music I knew I wanted them to appeal to memories, but also have a happy commercial vibe to it. For the teaser, I utilized the song “Sleep” by Kimya Dawson on the Juno OST (2007) as the title reflects on the dreamlike state of memories and the song gave a quiet and set the mood for the pill; the commercial I used the song “Blue Blood” by Heniz Kiessling, featured in both the Lacuna Inc. commercial and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as it gave the memories pill a more positive aspect to them to ensure the sales of the pills to rise.

Overall, I am satisfied with the transmedia project, though I wished that I could have done this at an eariler time than I chose to do it, as time became a challenge to work around, eventually working more independently than I expected. However I succeeded on being more prepared for the challenge, and it taught me how to improve on future projects involving a commercial. I also learnt alot about transmedia,and how not only has it become part of modern culture, but how we quickly adapt into adsorbing it into pop culture.

[WIREFRAME]

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INFLUENCES:

MUSIC USED:

(TEASER)

(COMMERCIAL)

[LOGO]

4C

 

PERFIDIA X COVER BOXES

 

pill 1A pill 2A

 

[WEBSITE]

http://2q47.weebly.com/

[TRANSMEDIA PROJECT 1/2 TEASER]

[TRANSMEDIA PROJECT 2/2 COMMERCIAL]

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060414 (Lecture Nine)

For this lecture, Hugh discussed the the presentation and operation of viral media; how viruses physically and digitally spread was the central metaphor used to create an understanding of how networks operate and how throughout time it has been able to adapt from a physical illness to a global obsession created over the internet.

The Black Death was history’s most devastating virus, wiping out an estimate of 75 to 200 million people during the Middle Ages onwards, from Europe to America. It was both a transformation of the understanding in religious and political beliefs, and how contagions spread and could be avoided. It was believed to have originated from central Asia, and further travelled beyond by the Silk Road and across the ocean. This can be interpreted of how networking doesn’t always spread good information.

Viral media has become the prime example of how people have learnt the trick of selling something with both creativity and the media; it either creates or jumps onto a bandwagon (such as a meme), which both could spread easily and adapt rather quickly into popular culture. The Old Spice television advertisement has accumulated over 50 million views worldwide through Youtube alone. This statistic alone is the equivalent to a quarter of the people wiped out in the plauge, showing how the evolution of network is basing itself off the the Black Death, intertwining the physicality of history, with the digital evolution of the network culture.

The spread of individual opinions and information has adapted into the global connectedness gathering information; the Ted conference videos were created for that single purpose as their tagline suggests (Ideas worth spreading). They are usually presented in a small amount of time and usually packaged to be ‘family-friendly’, allowing almost everyone to be able to view and understand this.

The sub-genre of Zombie films have always been a popular topic to adapt, as starting from the pioneer film of this genre George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). It allowed the concept of the spread of a virus happening in a rapid timeline, which was a critique on the belief that capitalism and consumerism are plundering us into a state of repression and un-renewal. Recent films such as Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion (2011) elaborates on how modern civilisation’s belief in celebrating our networks, that when a certain global crisis happens, we are paralysed by the lack of collective networking information that would usually be presented to us, establishing the faults of dependence on the viral media and spread of information through the internet network.

File:Night of the Living Dead affiche.jpg

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NETWORKED STORYTELLING ASSIGNMENT

For the third assignment of the Making Networked Culture, we were assigned to get into a group of four to five and devise a narrative that will be created in a series of  interactive short videos and connect them with allowing the option for the viewer to decide which path they want to take. This is called Networked Storytelling.

I joined a group of five consisting of Rosie, Ryan, Grace, Delon and myself; we spent our two hours of tutorial in Week 7 coming up with ideas, the closet of my mine to be chosen was a series of short films of the same events shot with the distinctive style of our chosen filmmaker. However we decided to go with Delon’s idea of doing four roads leading to four different scenarios happening, and we actually had a schedule to go with. However circumstances such as distance and availability in one’s schedule proved difficult for us, though me, Delon and Ryan were able to film two of the scenarios for the assignment. We decided to film the other two scenarios on campus, but when the day came we decided we wouldn’t be able to capture our idea with the limited time we had to film. So within 5 minutes of discussion, we scraped the original idea and went with a new idea.

The new idea was simple: Class at a university gets cancelled so Rosie, Ryan and Grace decide to go the city and explore their choices. Though the final product had three options, there was originally meant to be four. I was actually meant to be the fourth person, but since I had to go to my tutorial along Delon, we were forced to downsize to three. There was an alternative of showing Delon going home, but we decided that looking through the window on trains was pointless enough.

After the day ended, each person had captured footage of their day. However on the Wednesday we were meant to edit, we found out that they had forgotten to film the options of their city experiences, so they filmed their missing footage the following day. Once done, everyone uploaded footage and voice-overs onto the Facebook page we created for this assignment. However despite this, we all individually worked on one of the videos. I actually worked on two of the videos (Opening and book store), since Grace was too busy to commit time to editing it. That was okay, since it would allow me to work a bit on my editing skills. I edited the opening sequence with lots of jump cuts to quicken the pacing, but for the book store sequence, I utilise it to a minimal, as too much jump cuts rendered the sequence in less than 12 seconds. Finally, through patience and rapid editing, we were able to finish the project in the limited time we had given ourselves.

In the end, I learnt that working as a group will allow complications to arise, and since all lived in different parts of Melbourne and had different time schedules, it was proven challenging to work around. However we were able to overcome it, and we developed good communication and dealt with the problems faced, along with helping each other out when needed. Though I think that we should learn to be more prepared for any challenges like this, I had a good time with this assignment and I learnt alot from doing this assignment.

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MUSIC USED:

(OPENING)

(CAFE)

(BOOKSTORE)


(CLOTHES SHOPPING)

http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1400006
http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1300025
http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1300045

[NETWORKED STORYTELLING PROJECT]

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SOUND ENVIRONMENT

For the second assignment of the Making Networked Culture, we were to get into a group of three to five, and re-create a sound environment through individual recording; I formed a group with Justin and Delon, and that we decided to recreate a Night Club environment. The role were assigned with Justin did the music, Delon did the door, I did the voice of the bouncer and we all co-operated on recording the crowd. Originally there was meant a small conversation recorded, but I felt that this would only complicate matters, and that simplicity was the best move for this assignment.

I used the audio-editing program Audacity to edit my recordings and manipulate it to resemble the sound environment. I originally recorded the bouncer at university in various locations, but the problem was that the background noise would often be louder than my voice. After hearing this in Audacity, I decided to record it at home, using my bathroom as my make-shift recording area. I tried various conversational pieces that a bouncer might use, to give more choices to use from. Once I finished recording, I went on Audacity to edit the audio. First, I removed the noise using the the noise removal tool, then I proceeded to utilise the Amplify tool to increase the volume of my voice. Afterwards I experimented with the levels of the bass and treble, to which a considerable amount of bass was decreased, and finally I used the Normalizer tool to increase the noises a slight bit, to make a more natural sound to the audio.

When we presented our unfinished piece in the computer lab for feedback on Wednesday, Hugh told us that our main problem was that the door and the bouncer didn’t feel a part of the spacial environment and that we needed to further edit our sounds to closely be effective in that space. Later that day, I took Hugh’s advice of experimenting with the reverb time to make the audio more in tune with an outdoor feel to it. So back on Audacity, I used the GVerb effect by which I placed all the effects back to a default sound in order to begin my experiment. I mainly focused on the Reverb time, Dry signal level and Tail level to give a light echo to my voice, which only lowered the volume which was effective for the sound of someone who voice was drowned by the loud music; Roomsize was only leveled if the others didn’t sound aligned perfectly. Finally to finish, I again used the Amplify effect to decrease the volume of my voice to further enhance the lowered voice, drowned in a pool of loud noises.

I uploaded my audio onto Soundcloud, and linked it to Delon to further edit. He later sent me the final product, and I am actually surprised at how well our sound environment turned out. While there could be improvements on the work, I think for what the final product was, I am happy with the result; I particularity liked how Delon soften the second part of the bouncer’s conversations to further enhance the realism of the audio once the door is opened to the loud music.

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020414 (Tutorial Five)

For this tutorial, Hugh gave us our group assignments of manipulating sounds in order to create a sound environment. Hugh gave the ability to choose our own groups of 2-4 people, as he cited that we were old enough and within our fifth week to decide who we want to be in our group. I was formed into a group of three, and this was where the group assignment feel apart.

While I won’t say who, let’s just say that me and a member of our group have a mutual dislike for each other, though we were willing to put aside our differences to achieve our goal. I reluctantly decided to go the majority on their choice of recreating a sound environment of a nightclub; I wanted to do something more geared towards a sound environment of an empty and mysterious setting that would appear in movies, but two reasons made me agree with the group. One was that Hugh wanted to get the assignments done by the following week, which didn’t give us reasonable prep time to recreate an authentic sound environment, while the second reason was that judging by the group’s reactions towards my initial lack of interest towards the chosen sound environment, I decided to go along for the sake of getting the job done.

We had trouble attempting to brainstorm three distinctive sounds that we could recreate, and we had Hugh to help us out, by watching a Chemical Brothers music video which depicted a nightclub for ideas. We chose to do something similar to a nightclub, in which we would create someone entering a nightclub. Our problems grew bigger over me and my other member’s disagreements over how the sound recording should go. They seem reluctant to record the sound of conversation on how I felt it should be done, and also on how accurate I was. He began to micro-manage us, and even took the role of the other member’s job, which weaken and gave us two minimal jobs to recreate a door opening, and a bouncer at the club.

This assignment showed that I had to allow to let my personal feelings stand aside of assignments, but that shouldn’t mean that any ideas I have towards it should be argued over. I bonded with the other member of the group and found how we both had similar approaches and that if possible, we could achieve more with the sound environment, had I let my personal feelings remain doormat for the time-being.

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010414 (Lecture Five)

I arrived to the lecture 15 minutes late, and no idea how to make up for the fact that I shut the door with force. But on an academic point, I was able to pick up easily on what Hugh was discussing during the lecture: the history of sound networks.

From what I’ve gathered, when the first Morse code between 1870 – 1880s ,was sent from Britain to the United States, the first ever message was “Hello”. This was a major breakthrough in not only networked communication, but also international relations. Before the creation of the Morse code, the only way of communication was through written letters, which would take up to months to be delivered to the recipient; the invention of the Morse code meant that communication had advanced by the sheer use of copper wires in the bottom of the ocean. However the American’s response was rather long, and because of the sheer manpower to send the message across, the wire broke. The improvement on the Morse code messaging meant that message could be sent at a rather rapid pace, and is still a form of communication in the military, particularity during wartimes. By international relations, the first Morse code from Britain to America was a major step in mending the relationship between the two nations, as their relationship was strained by the American War of Independence, and further strained by the War of 1812 and Britain’s support of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War.

The telephone was technically invented by Antonio Meucci in 1854, but Alexander Graham Bell patent it in 1976 which by law made him the inventor of the modern day telephone. This was a further advancement of communication, as now rather than send message through code, the message could be send through a electromagnetic transmission of vocal sound by electric current; the concept of receiving message through a speaker and receiving the recipient’s response with little to no delay by an earphone was an extraordinary leap in communication.

Because of the need for electric current to utilise the phone communcations, wires are placed underneath the sea, connecting networks to different countries (Australia has 10); Hugh told a story of how during the early 2000s, a submarine accidentally destroyed one of the wires, which affected most of the communication blackout including his workplace.

End of lecture.

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