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.


Teaching Youth Media

When reading Goodman’s Teaching Youth Media, i began thinking about Black Journal, but then researched to find other organizations that teach different forms of media to the youth. I came across this group called “Street-Level Youth Media.” This is their mission statement:

Street-Level Youth Media educates Chicago’s urban youth in media arts and emerging technologies for use in self-expression, communication, and social change.

Street-Level’s programs build critical thinking skills in youth who have been historically neglected by policy-makers and mass media. Using video and audio production, digital arts, and the internet, Street-Level’s young people address community issues, access advanced communication technology, and gain inclusion in our information-based society.


Mapping Memories

Mapping Memories is a multimedia project led by Elizabeth Miller which focuses on bringing attention to the problems experienced by many different oppressed groups within society including; refugees, LGBTQ members and sexual assault victims. I personally found the one-on-one, interview-style manner in which many of the films in this project are filmed (similar to that employed when creating our microaggression videos) to be a very effective way of conveying the terrible experiences to which the subjects of the project had been exposed. I feel as thought this project is very important as it provides many refugees and migrants who had not previously been given a voice with a platform from which they can share their experiences.

The Iraq Campaign

The 1991 political remix film, titled The Iraq Campaign was created by Phil Patiris and inolves the transformation and convergence of network news footage, clips from Star Trek, and sports coverage to critique the media/industrial complex promoted by television at the time and the 1st Gulf War. The film managed to demonstrate how many television commercials promoted the first Gulf War, whilst also depicting the brutality of the war itself, something which was previously unseen on American television. I personally found this film quite shocking due to its graphic images and the way that it depicted the brutality of war without a filter.

The film itself can be viewed at the link below:

Barbie Liberation Operation

The Barbie Liberation Organization are a group of social activists who engaged in the swapping of voice boxes from talking GI Joes and Barbie dolls in 1993 to combat the gender stereotypes being forced upon children by their toys. This movement was known as the Barbie Liberation Operation and reportedly involved ‘surgery’ on over 500 dolls across America. The operation was picked up and made notorious by many major news networks such as the one shown in the video below. I personally think that this movement was great as it brought attention to the manner in which toys are manipulated by large corporations to perpetuate gender stereotypes. This is also a subject, which had not been addressed to any great detail at the time and therefore this movement was very progressive.


Occupy Wall Street

After reading Manuel Castells’ journal article and watching multiple videos in class on the Occupy Wall Street Movement I found the relationship between physical and online activism to be especially interesting. Personally I believe that there will always need to be some form of physical activism to back up whatever is going on in the online space. I watched this video, linked below, which pinpoints some of the weaknesses of online activism and it can lead to many people feeling as though they are contributing to a cause without actually becoming involved/doing anything to help to any real extent. It is an interesting topic which I would be curious to check out more in the future.


The Yes Men and Tactical Media

The Yes Men was my favourite screening that was viewed throughout the semester as I found it not only extremely interesting and entertaining, but also hilarious due to many of Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos’ antics when impersonating major incorporations. This form of tactical media which involved shock tactics and humour to garner public attention is completely new to me and I have never really seen anything like it before. This movie almost reminded me of the Will Ferrell film, Anchorman, due to it’s hilarious content which revolved around slapstick comedy in a media setting.

Wael Ghonim

After reading about Wael Ghonim’s role in the Egyptian revolution I was pretty inspired and wanted to know what he has been up to since.

I found this TED talk which you guys might find interesting where he talks about how we can use social media to drive activism and change in today’s society. It was especially interesting to hear his perspective on this matter as someone who has successfully triggered drastic social change through his work online in the past.

Here is the link to the talk.

Witness Resources

I loved the Witness website we looked at for class. I think it is a wonderful database for resources in a time when government and ruling class/companies do not want this kind of information or skills to be available to the general public. One thing I especially like about this website and its resources is the fact that it breaks down laws and confusing or tricky legalities for easier consumption by the regular lay person. The “Video as Evidence Field Guide” is really crucial in this area. It describes how to film an event that is happening in such a way as to be able to use it as evidence in a court case. It explains all of the different aspects, details, and facts to make sure to film in order to close up any loopholes and make sure the court will accept the video as sufficient evidence.

This type of resource is so important because one of the ruling class’s most potent tricks is to get out of something through a legal loophole or to exploit the lay person’s lack of knowledge on the subject and on their own rights to get out of trouble and circumvent the system. These resources provide easy to understand documents detailing all of these laws and how to obey them and adhere to the specific sometimes extraneous legalities.

Here is a link to the field guide.

Camera Creates the Event

In my thesis seminar, on of my peers is doing her project on Livestreaming and she made the point that the camera can shape behaviors of people on the other side of the lens and can alter the outcome of events it is recording. She quotes Ariella Azoulay to say, “the camera can draw certain happenings to itself as if with a magnet or even bring them into being, while it can also distance events, disrupt them or prevent them from occurring. The camera has the capacity through its sheer presence to set all of these effects into motion without even taking a single shot.” What Azoulay is saying that even the physical presence of a camera can change the way people react to a situation. A simple example might be in a store, when there is a security camera people may behave more orderly because of its presence. They do not have to know the camera is on and working to feel that way but just the fact it is there may change their behavior. Similarly, body cams have been introduced for police across the country. Presumably this is a way to hold police accountable, recording their actions so they can be replayed in case something goes wrong. However, it may act more readily as a deterrent, if police know that their actions will be recorded they potentially may be more thoughtful and careful with their actions. Finally, this is also very important because many people take what they see on camera as face value for what is happening in a certain situation. So if a politician is saying or doing something on camera or if something good is happening in front of the camera and on TV the audience may become complacent. What really needs to be asked however is, “how have these politicians changed their demeanor to be fit for public viewing through the lens of the camera” OR ” how might this event have happened differently had the camera not been present?” It is an interesting thought to keep in mind.

Active vs Passive Viewing

Active viewing usually requires the audience to do some type of work or action in order to take in a media object. For example, reading is a very active platform, a viewer–or reader–must read the text in order to experience the media object. Television or radio on the other hand is seen as much more passive. In other words, the words or images and sounds wash over the viewer and are targeted at them so that the audience need not do much more than just sit back, watch, and listen. However, it is not true that television, radio and other “passive” media is entirely all that passive. In fact, all media that viewers and audience members or subjects take in is active consumption. This is because everything that we see or hear we interpret and we actively choose to consume and place into our personal ideologies and intellect. Everything that we encounter whether “actively” or “passively” we take into ourselves and we decipher it using our maps of meaning and then we carry it with us in our own understanding of it and we use it, later one, to interpret other media objects.