Framing vs. Transversality

Blog 6:

When we reflect on traditional forms of news media, information was communicated to the public either through speech or some form of print (if we go back to ancient times, then engravings). Today, however, with the never ending array of technology continuously blossoming, communication techniques have changed and more than likely will proceed to. The traditional framework of print publication such as newspapers, where layout (arrangement and relationship of press images, articles, headlines and advertisement) is essential, has crossed over to digital platforms. We now see news organisation have turned to the internet, with online journalism flourishing – with tablets and Smartphone’s providing quick access to news content, either through free means or paid for subscriptions.

This transformation of traditional print media to the online environment can be described as ‘transversality’. The process of which pre-established frameworks become challenged, changed, or even destroyed as new technologies and their related behaviours cut across other lines or fields (Murphie, 2006).  Thus, with online news platforms, traditional lines of expressing and displaying news content (through hardcopy newspapers) have crossed against pre-established frameworks.

As new platforms for displaying news content came into fruition, including such mobile devices as tablets and smart phones (as previously mentioned) – the media world went into panic. Why? Well they went into panic the very same way they did when VCRs came out back in the day… remember in the 1980s when audiences began to watch films on their home VCRS?  Of course this sent film studios into frenzy because they thought this would be the death of the cinema. It (obviously) wasn’t; if anything it provided (and continues too) further means of profit and turn over for the movie industry.

Sound familiar? Just as traditional forms of displaying film were challenged through the invention of VCRs, now dvd, blu ray players and other mobile forms (Smartphone’s, tablets, laptops etc) we again see this notion of transversality with news organisations turning to the online as well as electronic platform. As I was saying, the internet caused media organisations to spin out; they believed crossing the line over to the digital world would cause newspaper factories and the printing presses to shut shop. Just like the VCR scenario this did not happen – what has happened is that news organisations have had to tweak their business models, change the way they display news content due to the online environment (providing multiplatform journalism: video content, photo galleries, articles and so on) and cater for different layouts (e.g. electronic newspaper subsritptions for tablets and smartphones). At the same time, many news organisations (Fairfax, Murdoch) have survived and are able to maintain their original business models too – that is, good old ink of your fingers news papers.

This notion of transversality, that is, the idea of surpassing traditional forms of communication will defiantly be examined in my final assignment, as I will be comparing traditional art forms and communication techniques (looking at Renaissance) to new emerging artistic forms such as augmented reality art. By looking through the lenses of transversality I hope to understand and see if, how, and to what extent such media forms as augmented reality art cross against the pre-existing notions of traditional art, such as Renaissance. It should be an interesting topic to delve into!

Word: Data

References:

Murphie, A 2006, ‘Editorial’, [on transversality], the Fibreculture Journal, 9, < http://nine.fibreculturejournal.org/>.

Advertisements

Data and Media – An Unexpected Love Affair!

Blog 5:

Global warming – a hot topic (excuse the pun) by all means! It’s one of those issues that constantly appears in the media. But how do we know about the concept of global warming? It all comes down to data – data that has been collected from various and multiple studies that have looked at past and present climate and weather patterns. Paul Edwards (2010) delves into this very issue of global warming in “A Vast Machine”, where he looks at the reliability of the sources and basis of information from where global warming theories have derived. Edwards (2010) acknowledges the significance of models in collecting weather information, clearly stating that “without models, there is no data”. What intrigued me about this reading was that it allowed me to gain an understanding of how weather forecasts are predicted. In saying that, to predict future weather, examination and investigation of past weather patterns must be conducted. As Edwards explains, “models we use to project the future of climate are not pure theories, ungrounded in observation. Instead, they are data – data that bind models to measurable realities.”

Data to the everyday person (like myself) can be boring, more so it can be confusing – facts and statistics on topics you may or may not know. This is where the media dive in and (I believe) create a beautiful love affair with data, because they “act as the bridge between the data and the people” (Rogger, 2011) – they research, clarify and explain the data in terms that can be understood by the general public. This is known as “data journalism”, and as explained by Rogger it has been around as long as data itself. I’m particularly intrigued by the vast amount of analysis this form of journalism requires, as explained by Rogger’s (2011) it can take anywhere from weeks of investigative data management to grab an incredible scoop. However, due to the incredibly fast pace that news clocks over, a new short-form of data journalism demands journalists to swiftly analyse key data, and present it to readers in a comprehensive manner while the story is still current.

Of course the issue of ‘anyone’ being able to take data and transcribe it through free tools such as Google Fusion Tables, Google Charts, Many Eyes and Timetric conveys the flexibility of ‘storytelling’ (Rogger 2011) and can be viewed as increasing competition against data journalists because it is no longer a specialised procedure. I argue, however, that many (not all) amateurs would bypass what the journalists do – thoroughly investigate and analyse the data in order to visually present the correct translation of data. Not only do data journalistic have to be spot on with their data analysis but they have to tell the story in the best way possible, “sometimes that will be a visualisation or a map” or even a number/s (Rogger 2011).

The Guardian has a section on its website dedicated to data journalism – The Guardian Datablog. This is a good example of the various ways that data can be visually translated, mapped or put into easy to understand numbers. The image below is an example of one of The Guardians visual interactive guides.  The visualisation displays data based on government spending.

BLOG 5

Data Visualisation Example: Interactive guide to government spending (The Guardian 2012)

The simple, minimalistic approach to this visualisation makes it easy to comprehend and attractive to the user, in which a simple click on any circle provides further information on the topic of government spending (go here to see this visualisation in action). This data journalism example supports the idea of how data on government spending is being released on a much greater scale (Quilty-Harper 2010). As expressed by Quilty-Harper (2010) the more that data about how our Governments operate are published in an easy to understand fashion, will in turn inevitably put pressure on Governments to change – because data journalism allows more and more people to understand and see what was previously (as I mentioned) unknown, boring data through a diverse light – that is, through easy to comprehended visualisations, mapping or numbering.

Word: Augmented

References:

Blight, G and Rogers, S 2012, ,Public spending by UK government department 2011-12: an interactive guide’, data visualisation image, the Guardian, December 4, accessed 16 April 2013, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2012/dec/04/public-spending-uk-2011-12-interactive>.

Edwards, P 2010, ‘Introduction’ in A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: xiii-xvii.

Quilty-Harper, C 2010, ’10 ways data is changing how we live’, The Telegraph, August 25, accessed 16 April 2013,  <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/7963311/10-ways-data-is-changing-how-we-live.html>.

Rogers, S 2011, ‘Data journalism at the Guardian: what is it and how do we do it?’, The Guardian, Datablog, July 28, accessed 16 April 2013, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jul/28/data-journalism>.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Blog 4:

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) use a lot of the same technology to provide users with an enriched experience. These two realities differ, in that VR is a complete immersion in a digital world, while AR is a digital overlay onto the real world (Anon n.d.). Games such as Second Life demonstrate how computer technology can create a simulated, three-dimensional world allowing (Anon n.d.) users to explore this VR and become immersed in this alternate world as if it’s actually reality. What is interesting about AR is that you still see the real world but through the enhancement of a virtual layer, and thus I believe this creates a much more exciting environment than VR, where everything surrounding the user is fabricated by the system.

3

Virtual Reality: Flight Simulator
User completely sorrounded by invented virtual world

What I do find effective about VR’s are the functional and learning abilities they can provide. VR training such as flight simulators, have provided the basis of flight training for years by virtually recreating external environmental factors (turbulence, clouds, air density etc) and simulating control reaction to these elements through motion. Of course there is the gaming side to VR, where video games such as Microsoft Flight simulator and Nintendo Wii have provided the entertaining side to VR’s for years. Nevertheless, we can see VR’s have been vastly significant in training purposes (e.g. driving simulators) as well as for medical and scientific research for much time. An example of this includes anxiety therapy – a method often used by psychologists to treat phobias is to make patients face what causes their anxiety. In scenarios where psychologists are dealing with Iraq war soldiers, the only way to recreate war situations is by simulating them in VR’s (Goldmeier 2009).

1

Augmented Reality: Google Glass
Real world, Google Glass virtual overlay

As I mentioned previously, VR users enter a completely immersive world – everything that surrounds the user is fictitious. AR on the other hand combines the real world with digital information, and this is where I believe technology has the ability to blur the line between what is real and what is computer generated by enhancing our sensory experiences. Google Glass is a prime example of AR – you wear the glasses normally, but the lenses are able to display and bring up information in a fashion similar to a Smartphone (basically they are glasses with a computer inside of them). This of course has brought up privacy concerns, privacy analyst Sarah Downey (Annear 2012) has suggested the glasses “could turn anyone wearing them into walking surveillance camera without anyone else knowing”. I do believe privacy issues as such do become a problem, anyone wearing Google Glass could look you straight in the eye and just simply record or photo you without your knowledge (tip: red light means they’re recording). However, that is not to say that such AR doesn’t offer extraordinary advantages – such as eye view GPS or urban exploration (Drell 2012) – ever wanted to jump into a map and follow it? Google Glass is on it!

Similar to what I mentioned about VR’s, augmented technology also provides beneficial aid to enhancing medical and military cause. Drone technology, a small unmanned aerial vehicle used for military purposes (surveillance, bomb/threat detector etc) is just one example of the positive aspects augmented technology has to offer (Hennigan 2012). Prior to this week’s topics I had never heard of the term augmented reality, but had considered the idea of virtual objects merging into the real world. Through initiating some of my own research and in essence with the required readings I now understand this alternate reality and would be interested in a topic that is considered as creating an augmented reality for the final research assignment.

References:

Annear, S 2012, ‘For Some, Google Glasses Raise Privacy Concerns’, Boston Magazine, 2 April, accessed 7 April 2012, <http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2013/04/02/google-glasses-raise-privacy-concerns/>.

Anon, n.d., Augmented Reality, Wikipedia, accessed 7 April 2012, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality>.

Anon, n.d., Virtual Reality, Wikipedia, accessed 7 April 2012, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_reality>.

Drell, L 2012, ‘7 Ways Augmented Reality Will Improve Your Life’, Mashable, December 20, accessed 7 April 2013, <http://mashable.com/2012/12/19/augmented-reality-city/>.

Flight Simulator, digital image, accessed 7 April, http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=google+glass&bav=on.2,or.r>.

Goldmeier, S 2009, ‘7 Virtual Reality Technologies That Actually Work’, Gawker Media, accessed 7 April 2013, <http://io9.com/5288859/7-virtual-reality-technologies-that-actually-work>.

Google Glass, digital image,  accessed 7 April 2012, http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=google+glass&bav=on.2,or.r>.

Google Glass User Perspective, digital image, accessed 7 April 2012, http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=google+glass&bav=on.2,or.r>.

Hennigan, W. J. 2012, ‘New drone has no pilot anywhere, so who’s accountable?’, Los Angeles Times, January 26, accessed 7 April 2013, <http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-auto-drone-20120126,0,740306.story>.

Project Glass: One day, 2012, online video, accessed 7 April 2012, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4&feature=player_embedded>.