Your Project IDEAS

 

Hi everyone,

Please use the comment section of this blog post to add two project ideas for a semester long media project of a social issue that affects campus before class on monday. This way we can all see what everyone’s interests are to work towards creating groups around topics.   Also add one idea for connecting a media project to the larger college community.

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Week 7: Early Video Art Collectives – Media Affect

I thought Jesse Drew’s writing in “Paper Tiger Television and the Roots of DIY” was truly fascinating and incredibly important in terms of laying out a model to be followed for the creation of DIY media. I really appreciate Drew’s energy and spirit when he refers to PTTV’s work as “more than do-it-yourself… this was do-it-despite-the-incredible-obstacles” on page 3. I especially appreciated learning about the way the Videofreex helped make media participatory by broadcasting their phone numbers so that viewers could call in and comment on the broadcast. This made me think about the way strategies like this are used in mainstream media today, with news shows often conducting polls to which viewers can respond. Many news stations even use hashtags so viewers can tweet their thoughts and reactions to news stories, which newscasters then read live on TV. Unfortunately, it seems that many of the strategies that PTTV used to encourage participation with their critical media are now also being used in mainstream media.

Additionally, it is disheartening to realize that movement of critical thinking and consciousness regarding messages in mainstream media that PTTV sparked through DIY media has now been subsumed into a DIY culture of narcissism and commercialization. Page 4 of the reading states that “radical media is a tool for social liberation, not a style, a posture, or a brand”. Thus, it seems that what many of us think when we hear DIY today is quite the opposite of the kind of work activist collectives like PTTV were doing in 1980s. Regardless of the fact that the terminology we use to talk about alternative, activist, independent media making has changed, it is reassuring to know that independent media making is possible with platforms like social media and with each of us having a high quality camera on our phones. However, with the recent FCC vote on Net Neutrality, I am scared about the future of independent, critical media.

Week 14: Occupy Wall Street

When I first read Manuel Castell’s piece on the Occupy Wall Street movement, I was a bit confused as to why the movement did not have any specific, tangible demands besides the call for “DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY”. Castells mentioned in this chapter that many people saw the lack of specific demands as a fundamental flaw of the movement. I agreed with this sentiment as I was read on about Occupy Wall Street. I wasn’t too familiar with the details of this movement before reading Castell’s book, so I was struggling to wrap my mind around a protest with no list of demands. However, after class discussion, I came to realize that I, like those folks to which Castells refers in the reading, was missing the entire point of the movement. Once I realized that the movement’s strategies were an example of a direct democracy and a challenge to our current political practices, I gained a new level of understanding and admiration for the movement’s goals. The fact that I was so stuck on expecting a list of demands that works within our current political and legal systems is a testament to how unwilling we sometimes are to even think about challenging the systems of power under which we live. Seeing an example of a new political model in practice through the Occupy movement reminded me that it is important to be brave enough to propose new forms of democracy, even when the thought of doing so might seem ludicrous or impossible.

Talking Race and Racism – Hooks, week 5

When reading Hooks’s piece, I couldn’t help but relate a lot of what she said to the climate here in the Claremont colleges; specifically the section where she writes about liberal arts colleges. She writes:

“Time and time again I come to do anti-racist work t liberal arts colleges that I am told are “all white” only to find that the majority of support staff and service workers are non-white. The presence of black people and/or people of color who are not seen as class peers is easily ignored in a context where the privileged identity is white.” (page 37)

I, myself, have referred to the Claremont colleges as being very white, since the majority of the students that attend the schools are white. Moreover, as an international student, I was also looking at the number of international students in the claremont colleges. However, Hooks’s statement really taught me a lesson. In schools such as the Claremont Colleges, where many of the students that attend come from privileged families, it is necessary to include the staff/faculty when speaking on the social climate of the schools since they are an integral part of the school’s demographic, even if they are not students.

CSI: Cyber

I love crime shows and one of my favorites that got canceled after only two seasons sadly was CSI: Cyber.  This show focused on cyber crimes and I thought it provided scarily real insight into how integrated media is in our lives and how susceptible it can make us, especially since people are often very lax about cyber security.  It was often too real finding out that baby monitors, houses, and cars can be hacked into and used for bad.  Though it focused on cyber crime done by hackers most of the time, thus contributing to the negative view of hackers the media and general public has, but it also counteracts these by sometimes showing hackers who are hacking for good, fighting against corruption and corporations.  They also have their team be compiled of black hats who have turned into white hats (good hackers) that help to catch the bad guys.  I’m really sad the show was canceled so early.  The IMDb page can be found here. And I have provided a short (30 sec) trailer I found for the series below:

Words and Influenced Meanings: Hacktivism

In Graham Meikle’s “Hack Attacks,” he talks about the connotations of hacking, hackers, and hacktivism and how we perceive them as evil when they are mostly doing good for social justice and the common people.

Interestingly the definitions of hacktivism tell a different story-one of the actual purpose and social justice reasons for hacktivism.  This is the definition from the Oxford English Dictionary:

The practice of gaining unauthorized access to computer files or networks in order to further social or political ends.

 I actually prefer the one from Wikipedia as I think it shows that there are ethics to hacking and that hacktivism has a social justice purpose:

In Internet activismhacktivism or hactivism (a portmanteau of hack and activism) is the subversive use of computers and computer networks to promote a political agenda or a social change. With roots in hacker culture and hacker ethics, its ends are often related to the free speechhuman rights, or freedom of information movements.

Could our perceptions of hackers/hacktivism have been influenced by corporations trying to protect themselves by blaming hackers?

Birth of a Nation and A Man With a Movie Camera

The excerpts from Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffth 1915 and A Man With a Movie Camera, 1929, Dziga Vertov, showed very interesting perspective on film production at the time. Specifically from Birth of a Nation, the footage was quite disturbing with the amount of racism and blackface within the film. It was honestly hard to watch and I question how the film is introduced and taught in present day media classes. I think we had a full understanding of how problematic the film is, but would have been interested to read more scholarly articles on the film and how it influenced media today.

A Man With a Movie Camera offered another introspective in film. I personally would have never been able to figure out the message the film was trying to portray, however, it still caught my eye. Again, I wish we had gone a bit more into the importance of the film and what it offered to media and social change now.

“Teaching Youth Media” Reflection

“Teaching Youth Media,” brings up a lot of interesting points about the academic gap between urban students of color and middle class white students. One quote in particular stuck out to me. “In other words, to make up for lost time, poor kids need more teacher-directed drill-and-practice vocabulary-building exercises and plenty of tests to make sure they have memorized the words and met the standards. Thus the language gap will be closed,” (Greene 32). This quote stuck out to me because I think there some initial problems with it. Of course, I beleive that all people should have equal access to education and equal quality of education, but there are some holes in saying that less privileged children should have a less fun education system. I think this idea is applicable at first, but should be ultimately fixed with the more solutions to institutional racism.

The Influence of Media

In Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage, my favorite part was from pages 10-24 when he describes all of the ways in which media is affecting or has effected aspects of life.  He breaks it down into individual pages/sections as follows: you, your family, your neighborhood, your job, your government, and “the others.” I really liked the picture motifs that would show up on the following page, but smaller, as this showed the inter-connectivity of not only life but media as well.

On page 14, “your family,” I really liked his text:

The family circle has widened. The worldpool of information fathered by electric media—movies, Telstar, flight–far surpasses any possible influence mom and dad can now bring to bear. Character no longer is shaped by only two earnest, fumbling experts.

This really stuck with me, because of its truth.  Children are now brought up in a world of technology, watching movies, using smartphones or tablets, the Internet, from such young ages that it has become part of a worldview. Even though this was published in 1967, it has so many parallels to our current world, 50 years after it’s inception, which is both scary and amazing.

“Talking Race and Racism”

After reading bell hook’s, “Talking Race and Racism,” there was one quote that stuck out to me and connected to my personal life in many ways. The quote was, “If a movie has only white characters, it is presumed to be marketed in the direction of all consumers; it is for everybody. However if the movie has only black characters, it is perceived to be directed at a black market.”

This quote in itself I think brings up a lot of questions about how people choose to define race and racism in their own life. I even found myself questioning if non-black people chose to watch certain shows like , “Black-ish” because in a lot of ways it is targeted towards a black audience. It is possible to have some things marketed towards different races or in an ideal world, will none of that matter and are we seen as one? I think this quote also brings into question how many people discuss the importance of identity but then also want to forget that race exists. What is the ideal situation, is it a world where no one thinks of race, or one where we are all aware of it but people do their best to respect races that aren’t their own? And is that even possible?

Networked Movements

In week fourteen’s ‘Networks of Outrage and Hope’ text, I was struck by Manuel Castells’ description of Occupy as what he calls a “networked movement.” The networked quality of the demonstrations, he argues, is derived from their use of digital platforms to organize protesters, document state violence, and show solidarity with other movements across the world via social media platforms. To this end, the #occupywallstreet tag, the hundreds of thousands of related tweets documenting the raid of Zuccotti Park, and the creation of the ‘We are the 99%’ tumblr page helped to consolidate an otherwise-disorganized mass of demonstrators into a highly effective group with a coherent message.

In 2017, networked movements that work towards liberation are even more ubiquitous. Black Lives Matter activists expertly utilize the #SayHerName hashtag on Twitter to commemorate Black women lost to police violence. Antifascist groups take to social media to raise bail money for protesters persecuted at the demonstrations against the G20 convention via gofundme and other crowdfunding sites. Independent Journalists can publicly broadcast information gained via the Freedom of Information Act to influence local elections. Thus, as police continue to brutalize black communities, global finance capital continues to dictate the introduction of austerity measures, and the outcomes of mayoral elections across the country continue to be altered by the twitter feeds of investigative journalists, resistance movements will continue to find organizational and educational value in social media platforms.