PROJECT IDEAS

hi everyone,

please use the comment section of this blog post to add you project ideas before class on monday – so that we can all see what everyone’s interests are to work towards creating groups around topics. – GL

Blackboards of Rudolf Steiner

Every Single Word (Week 5)

Here is the link to the YouTube playlist Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color.

I suggest watching it with autoplay, and simply letting the playlist roll. Each video is very short and when you watch video after video, its message has a stronger impact, in my opinion. What really strikes me about this piece is it makes me as a white person more aware of how unaware I am about the lack of representation in film. Some movies I have really enjoyed are in this series and I never stopped to think about their obvious issues of representation. This series has inspired me to be more conscious and critical of the media I engage with.

For more information about the creator of the series, Dylan Marron, you can visit his website which is www.dylanmarron.com. He also has a Tumblr page, which is here.

 

Black-Palestinian Solidarity

The “When I See Them I See Us” video functions much like a solidarity in struggle manifesto, articulating the ways in which both communities choose to stand together against forms of dehumanization that operate in similar ways in their respective contexts and working to present their liberations as tied. Beyond an internally affirming message, it can also prompt an outside audience to educate themselves as to the similarities of the two forms of oppression, that are tied structurally as well as in narrative.

If you’d like to learn more please read the press release for the video, as well as the learn more section of the Black-Palestinian Solidarity website.

Much of the work I will try to do this semester will focus on presenting the history of Palestinian and Black solidarity in a way that prompts a deeper understanding of both contexts in their similarities and differences.

 

Breaking down stereotypes using media

This video is really interesting. Bayete Ross Smith gives personal stories about how people have used stereotypes and assumed he is a bad guy, based on how media portrays Black men. These stereotypes in media are really really harmful and producers need to stop misrepresenting and stereotyping different races because it only perpetuates people’s beliefs about them.

Hip Hop Theory of Social Justice: Political Action

Since the birth of hip hop, rappers have responded to the unjustness of our American criminal justice system. While their voices haven’t always been represented by the mainstream, true hip hop culture has always been rooted in social, economic, and political themes of justice. Though hip hop culture now has enormous economic and cultural power, hip hop has been believed to not have that much political power. However, many iconic rappers, such as Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Kendrick Lamar, and Vic Mensa, are using their positionally to challenge this belief.

http://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000004642370/jay-z-the-war-on-drugs-is-an-epic-fail.html

http://www.hiphopcaucus.org

California State Props

      • Proposition 64: Marijuana Legalization
        • A YES vote on this means: Adults 21 years or older could legally grow, possess, and use marijuana for nonmedical purposes. No minor under 21 would serve time for marijuana-related offenses, instead they would partake in educational and rehabilitative services. The state would regulate nonmedical marijuana businesses and tax marijuana’s growth and sale. Most of the revenue would go to youth programs, environmental protections, and the police
      • Proposition 57: Criminal Sentences Juvenile Criminal Proceedings and Sentencing  
        • A YES vote on this means: Certain state prisoners convicted of nonviolent felony offenses would be considered for earlier release. The state prison system could award additional sentencing credits for good behaviors and rehabilitative or educational achievements. Youth must have a juvenile court hearing before they can be transferred to adult court

 

Netflix takes on mass incarceration

I just saw a trailer for a new Netflix documentary and though it relevant to share.

Its about mass incarceration and how it is exploiting a loophole created by the 13th amendment. It points out a lot of thing so we’ve covered in class, and Netflix is such a powerful medium – as seen by the events that happened after Making of a Murderer was released. Maybe it will actually make a change? Who knows.

The link to the trailer is here, for anyone interested: Netflix Trailer

Detournment as an Obvious Form of Pastiche + Comedy to promote ideology

Watching the Iraq campaign video had a profound emotional effect on me; the combination of entertainment media combined with pro-war propoganda, war footage, and tv commercials gave a schizophrenic quality to the video and made me feel unstable about our world and the US-based propoganda we accept as truth. Detournment is a very effective media strategy to evoke an emotional response from the audience and get across an alternative message. Last year in Intro to Media Studies, we learned about a postmodern film strategy called pastiche, where high and low art are mixed and imitates other works. Is Detournment a form of pastiche or are the two concepts different?

Also, last week I made the connection of memes to Situationist comics and remarked on how “Sassy Socialist Memes”, while funny, promote an ideology similar to situationist comics. I was wondering how, generally, comedy in all forms is utilized to promote an ideology and as a method of social change. How does it function differently than “serious” art forms?

Shifting Perspectives

Today, social media is a powerful tool. From being able to Skype with family members from a different continent to spreading positive messages to millions of people, we can use social media to offer new perspectives and new ideas.

Last week in class, we talked about perspective and how shifting perspective can change the way we think. A new Netflix documentary called Audrie & Daisy follows several teenage girls who suffer from sexual assault. They also talk about how the internet and social media amplifies the trauma victims face and they hope to increase education and conversation surrounding sexual assault. This film also recreates social media and text exchanges to provide a more realistic experience.

http://www.people.com/article/audrie-daisy-netflix-documentary-preview

Wokémon and Situationist Comics

One of the slides that caught my eye during class was the one that showed that situationist comics because as someone mentioned, they looked a lot like the memes currently circulating on Facebook and Twitter.  I found this to be an interesting relationship because people are trying to get their messages across in a format that is accessible to today’s online users and given that memes have gained popularity, they have become the perfect medium for this. One of my favorite examples is the page Wokémon on facebook because it has a taken a topic that is currently very popular, Pokémon, in order to share messages like the following:

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Before learning about the Situationist comics I thought that this form of spreading awareness was a result of today’s online community so it was interesting to learn that this form of expression had been done before and for similar reasons (accessibility).

24 Hour Capitalism

Along with this class I’m a part of the Ontario program and we are constantly talking about the global industrial complex. I didn’t realize until a few weeks in but these classes seem to complement each other very nicely especially when we discuss the idea of advertisement and how it effects our perception of essentially everything. I was reminded of this one night while with some friends getting gas and the gas pump had a small monitor with advertisements playing while the gas was being pumped. Something that my professor continues to refer back to is this idea of 24 hour capitalism. Its something unique to the information age that our society is currently in. It’s the fact that our senses are constantly being attacked by consumerism and capitalist ideas and how we are always connected to the world. We are constantly checking our phones whether its email or text or social media. not only is it our checking but the speed of responses especially when it comes to email or text. Prior to these devices people only interacted when they were face to face or through the phone and even Professor Lamb said that being a professor was much easier before and that’s understandable because once you left campus students really had no way of contacting you. Now in the present day we are connected in many different ways and we can shoot an email to a professor to explain something. This not only goes for a professor student relationship but any relationship now. this is why the idea of helicopter parents have become so prevalent and why people are in constant work mode. In a world where we are constantly connected we are expected to be in work mode rather than enjoying life.

I think that this relates to what Guy Dubord discusses in his Society of the Spectacle. The shift from survival to commodity seen a shift to mass production of material goods and a focus of people being workers only until the industry decided that it was necessary for the worker to make the product and consume it as well. the introduction of advertisement further pushed commodity and this society of wants and desires. A society where we as a consumer never feel adequate. We can never live up to the expectations of our society so we develop a self hate that advertisements feed off of. Using our self hate to sell a product the industry is able to sell their product as an answer to the consumer’s problem when they know it won’t help.

Currently, I think that our society is in a transition from a dependence on goods to a dependence on services and Dubord notes that in Society of the Spectacle in section 45 Saying “the technical equipment which objectively eliminates labor must at the same time preserve labor as a commodity and as the only source of the commodity ..Services, the tertiary sector, swell the ranks of the army of distribution and are a eulogy to the current commodities”. The “technical equipment” Dubord is referencing is automation. As we’ve shifted from human workers to automated labor we’ve seen an increase in the higher education push and well as a decrease in the societal view of any blue collar workers. Our society is transitioning, or has transitioned, into a service based society where the human beings, especially college educated professionals, have become the desirable occupation. They have become what all should strive for and if they aren’t at that level then that self hate becomes a reality for the younger generation. So now we must constantly be connected to the world as if we, the humans, have come the machines that our society uses to create capital. We are constantly networking and working to reach goals set by  others until we achieve a degree and are able to provide a service for others to pay for. We as professionals become the good. Working constantly to appeal to the needs/wants of our society. It’s an interesting idea and it’s crazy to see how dubord’s words are becoming reality.

Detournement: Changing the Norm Through the Norm

After talking about detournement in the context of our readings and seeing detournement in action in Chris Burden’s commercials and in The Iraq Campaign video, I was incredibly amazed at detournement’s influential impact on myself and its potential impact on society because I have often heard rhetoric about the the master’s tools not being useful in destroying the master’s house. This is a reference that relates back to systematic racism and systematic disadvantages, and that we cannot defeat systematic racism within our current system of operation because the system that creates this institutionalized racism does not allow for that racism to be destroyed unless you change the whole entire system through which this racism operates. Although, I feel that in a way, detournement is using the master’s tools (or the tools that the groups in power use to control the masses) to take down the master’s house (or the norm of a certain group being in control.) Detournement makes use of normalized media that is already out there and alters it in a way to create a message that deviates from the norm and criticizes power structures. I think that the idea of making use of normalized media that people are already familiar with and understand allows for more people to be impacted by change within the same medium, which seems more powerful and relatable than creating a whole new medium that people have to learn to understand and become accustomed to.