Module 3.3

Talk to me

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Module 3.2

Networks of information

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Module 3.1

Inform me!

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Module 2.5

All the world’s a game

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Module 2.4

Play with me ! Having fun with media.

This week was all about gaming with 2 very different readings. The first was “The war between effects and meaning: rethinking the video game violence debate.” by Henry Jenkins

Jenkins’ article discusses the anti-social aspects of gaming including “violence and sexually explicit” game content and the effect these games can have on the gamers. This raises the question, should we shield our children from violence thus making it more shocking or do we desensitise them making violence a part of their lives? Every action can/will have a positive/negative reaction.

Quoting Limbaugh and company as seeing “games as having social and psychological effects” but doesn’t all of life have a social and psychological effect on people. Doesn’t the daily news with it compelling content have social and psychological effect. Daily newspapers, social networking, the internet are all having varying social and psychological effects.

Jenkins wants the reader to understand the distinction between effects and meanings. “Effects are seen as emerging more or less spontaneously, with little conscious effort, and are not accessible to self-examination.”  “New meanings take shape around what we already know and what we already think, and thus each player will come away from a game with a different experience and interpretation.”

Finally Jenkins states that “the burden [is] on the user to make choices and explore their consequences” within a game. The reading finishes with Jenkins discussing the positives of classroom games for learning. This articles main focus was on the effects of gaming on the young and impressionable.

The second reading this week was “Claiming a stake in the videogame: what grown-ups say to rationalise and normalise gaming.” by Helen Thornham

A look at how adults see their use of gaming technology as a “social” thing and not something they do by themselves “like nerds”.

Thornham states that according to a BBC survey in 2005, the average age of a gamer in the UK is 28 and 51% of gamers reside in the 35-50 age group. Games are “set up as escapism, fantasy and play by theorists and the industry alike, but are claimed by adult games as serious, rational and logical pastimes.”

Thornham’s investigations showed that most adults not only owned gaming consoles but regularly played games with friends but none of those interviews would admit to regularly playing games by themselves.

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Module 2.3

Week 5 – 2.3 Entertaining the world

Using media across cultural boundaries

This weeks first reading by Henry Jenkins – Pop Cosmopolitanism talks about how pop culture has gone global. To explain this Jenkins quotes Todd Gitlin:

“If there is a global village, it speaks American. It wears jeans, drinks coke and eats at the golden arches, walks on swooshed shoes, plays electric guitar, recognises Mickey Mouse, James Dean, ET, Bart Simpson R2D2 and Pamela Anderson.”

To show that pop culture has gone global he quotes Jeff Yang:

“The twain of East and West have not only met – they’ve mingled, mated, and produced myriad offspring, inhabitants of one world, without borders or boundaries, but with plenty of style, hype, and attitude. In Beijing, they’re wearing Levis and drinking Coke; in New York, they’re sipping tea and Anna Sui. While Pizzicato Five is spinning heads in the US, Metallica is banging them in Japan.”

Wow what a distinction and what a way to explain how with the internet we are no longer looking at the US but we are looking at the world, we are becoming one world, an all encompassing and accepting culture.

Jenkins also explained media convergence and how a simple thing like a joke that Bert from Sesame Street looks like a Bin-Laden terrorist, has spread on the internet to then be used in a protest halfway around the world for a purpose that is completely out of context to its original intent.

This article then goes on to explain how both Asian and American programming are being adapted to the local market for release, examples of this are Sesame Street changing it’s characters, over dubbing of vocals, pokemon changing dumplings into doughnuts.

Over the years we have gone from watching the odd French film on SBS or at a French Film Festival to being able to watch many different and diverse television shows, movies and cartoons adapted for local market. What we can’t get on TV we are turning to the internet to find.

I have to admit that I am a fan of anime and my favourite show is Pucca.

Pucca has her own fan following & merchandise

Ramesh Srinivasan – Indigenous, ethnic and cultural articulations of new media

A discussion about how indigenous groups can benefit from using the internet to capture and record historical information about their culture preserving their heritage for future generations.

Srinivasan’s paper talks about how scientists have “questioned the potential held by information systems toward forming and sustaining community” and how traditional meeting places in western society are now largely obsolete. He goes on to quote social network theorists  that have stated “that social uses of information systems can positively impact community formation and sustenance” which is in direct contrast to what scientists have said.

Srinivasan moves on to describe a reservation area of San Diego County and how the 4 indigenous nations maintained contact but were largely separate and disconnected. They created a goal “to study the impact of a community-designed and created media system on resolving disconnections that the reservations face.” 

The plan was to bring together  19 reservations through an organisation known as the SCTCA to create a “Tribal Digital Village” through meetings with 50 or more members attending, eventually submitting an initial 75 media pieces that were discussed for appropriateness.

A fantastic look at how with an idea one person can pull together a project of many to create a catalogue of local history, “it takes a village to raise a child” and it takes a community to record history. 

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Module 2.2

Week 4 – 2.2 Don’t touch that!

Copyright, ownership and institutional control

This weeks readings & videos help me to understand the issues of Copyright & Fair Use and the different between the two. Recovering Fair Use by Steve Collins talked about “the internet (especially in the so-called Web 2.0 phase), digital media & file sharing networks have thrust copyright law under public scrutiny, provoking discourses questioning what is fair in the digital age.” So what is fair use and why is there such a divide between fair use and copyright.

Collins stated that copyright started in 18th century England with the Statute of Anne (1710), he goes on to discuss Justice Joseph Story and his formulation of the modern shape of fair use from a wealth of case law extending back to 1740. Collins also brings up the term “Prosumerism”, this is the first time I have heard the term and he goes on to explain. “Creativity blending media consumption with media production to create new works that are freely disseminated online via popular video sharing web sites.

” The first video this week is

This was a fun video explaining Fair Use and Copyright via the use of snippets from Disney movies. What a great idea. I found it a little hard to understand at first as the medium was so unexpected but it became easier as it went along.

The second and last item on the agenda for this week is Lessig and his discussion on The Laws that Choke Creativity. He discusses, as always, user generated content via 3 stories to get to examples.

  1. 1906 – John Phillip Sozer stated “the vocal cords of the millions will be lost” in relation to the “talking machines”. Sozer was concerned that we would become a “read only society” rather than the read/write culture.
  2. 1945 – 2 farmers, Lee & Cosby, complained to Lord Blackstone that planes did not have the permission of the landowners to fly within their lands and were thus trespassers. The Supreme Court concluded that “the doctrine protecting land all the ways to the skies has no place in the modern world” it goes on to say “common sense revolts at the idea.”
  3. 1939 – ASCAP vs BMI and the issue of broadcasting and who was in charge. competition was enough to break the legal cartel over access to music.

The argument that Lessig was trying to get across was the revival of the read/write culture that Sozer was so concerned about losing.

This video made me think about the culture of today and what it was like to be a child when I was young or even when my parents were young. We were pure consumers, we didn’t make anything, the makers made and the consumers consumed. In today’s society the consumers are producing and the producers are consuming. Our children are able to create using digital media and spread what they create on the internet.

Lessig summed it up best with “every single use of culture produces a copy and every single use therefor requires permission, without permission you are a trespasser.” Our children are growing up in a culture where they are unaware of the rules that govern copyright & fair use, the majority of them don’t even know that these things exist but through their ignorance a new generation of competition is emerging that can create balance.

“We made mixed tapes they remix music, we watched TV they make TV, it is technology that has made them different.” (Lessig)

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