Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blog #12

For some reason, it's incredibly difficult to find the will to write this last blog. But here we go, connections I found between Lawrence Lessig's Remix and the movie RIP! A Remix Manifesto.

One main topic that was covered in Lessig and the movie is "fair use"; it is never discussed for long, but it is definitely touched upon. I liked how the movie cut off the soundtrack to make its point that there is a limit to how much you can get away with when using fair use as an excuse, even if you are using it to make an argument.

The use of Creative Commons is another link I made between the movie and the book, Lessig has been making allusions to them throughout the book, and is pushing for more use of them. RIP! discussed it shortly if I'm not mistaking.

The whole idea of economies can be linked between Lessig and the movie; Lessig speaks of sharing and commercial economies, RIP! speaks of the economy of things versus the economy of ideas. I found it interesting when the movie said something along the lines of "we won't be needing corporations (record companies) anymore"; that was the opposite of Lessig who believes that a balance can be found between the extremes of our society, and that this balance is what will keep us moving forward.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Blog #11

The basic distinction I found between the sharing and commercial economy was the use of money in social transactions. Lessig tells us that in a commercial economy people expect to have some exchange of money, as he says, it would be weird if there wasn't. A sharing economy revolves around a certain relationship we have with the individual we deal with; a friend, a lover, a neighbor, are the examples Lessig uses, where money would bring awkwardness into the relationship. The example he discussed of the young man in the plane was very interesting, where a sharing economy can be created between two individuals who don't necessarily have any connections; the young man did not rip DVDs to sell them, rent them, or make any kind of money off of them; he rips them for himself and does not expect money to share them.

The examples Lessig uses were very helpful in making me understand the different ways in which commercial and sharing economies could appear. The small differences between commercial economies Amazon, Netflix, and Google, and the different expectations we have from each website; and the wide range of sharing websites that have appeared on the NET.

Lessig spends a few pages discussing Wikipedia, its creation, and its popularity. I enjoyed his question of "why do people contribute to this community with no compensation for their time?"; the answer being that people share their knowledge, they do so to better the community they are a part of and in exchange will gain knowledge from some other volunteer. His distinction between "me-regarding" and "thee-regarding" sharing economies is important as well; some of the interactions we have are for our own betterment, but in some cases we choose to do things to help out others rather than ourselves.

Much like the Read/Only and Read/Write Communities he discussed earlier in his book, Lessig insists on the fact that the commercial and sharing economies are not to be taken out of context, studied all on their own; the two are complementary of each other, both must be taken into account. I believe this is important for his main argument, we must learn to live with both cultures and both economies, we do not have to choose one or the other, but integrate both in the way we live our lives.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blog #10

Since I used the example of Elephant Love Medley for a previous Blog, I would keep that link flowing to this blog. The song heard in Moulin Rouge is a already a collage of other songs, so I thought it would be a good song to use when discussing Remixes.
Searching through YouTube, I found an AMV, which links perfectly with Lessig's comments on the importance of Remix in a community setting; the time that is spent by individuals on each of these videos. I would never have the patience to piece together such short pieces of a wide variety of Animes; and as Lessig writes "the aim of these creators is to learn. It is in part to show off. It is in part to create works that are strikingly beautiful. The work is extremely difficult to do well in the creative industries" (77).

This remix (and for that matter most remixes) connects to the idea of media collage that Lessig discusses on page 70. I found it interesting when he writes "collage with physical objects is difficult to do well and expensive to spread broadly. Those barriers either kept many away from this form of expression, or channeled collage into media that could be remixed cheaply" (70). In that point, he states that many individuals remix music rather than film, but when going through YouTube, many creators work with both film and music now-a-day which makes it incredibly interesting to look at. He continues with the idea of collages when he writes "whether text or beyond text, remix is collage; it comes from combining elements of RO culture; it succeeds by leveraging the meaning created by the reference to build something new" (76). The video I chose remixes Elephant Love Medley and then a variety of movie clips, not just from one Anime, but from a dozen.

Looking through comments on a few remixes on YouTube, I found Lessig's remarques on comments perfectly illustrated, there are the simple comments along the lines of "awesome" and "this is EPIC!!!", the ones that critique video and sound, and the trolls "who live for the fights that they can gin up in these spaces" (64). This doesn't apply to the video I chose, which has only positive feedback, but it was very interesting to see the different comments from video to video.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blog #9

I was glad to find that Lessig's writing style was easier to read than Miller's. It might have to do with the stories of individuals being discussed, where I can imagine it being me in their situation. It was a more enjoyable read.

I feel that the introduction is setting up the question of 'who has the copyrights to a song?' and 'how far do these rights to ownership go?' If Prince in the background, barely perceptible, is a violation and the smallest samples used and reused are an infringement on an artist's copyright, how do we know how far to go? Lessig relays a couple stories with different impacts and outcomes, but it all revolves around someone creating a whole new product using the inspiration of past songs, movies, books, etc.

RW stands for Read/Write culture, a culture where we can listen, read, see something and rework it into a whole new creation. It's a culture of participation, one person puts something out in the world and then the crowd comes back with a modified version.
The RO culture is a Read Only culture, one in which all we can do is listen to a song, watch a movie, but in no way reuse the elements found in them, they are the property of their creators.
In my understanding, these two cultures are important in illustrating Lessig's argument because we seem to become a Read Only culture where no elements of a song can be used instead of turning into a Read/Write culture where everything could be shared and creativity would blossom. Lessig wants us to realize the two options we have and the elements (like Sony) that stop us from reaching our full potential.

Sousa wanted to extend copyright to protect artists, not to gain a grip on the freedom of a society, Lessig writes
"Sousa didn't believe that every use of culture should be regulated. Indeed, he thought it ridiculous to imagine a world where it was 'unlawful to get together and sing.' That part of culture [...] must be left unregulated, Sousa believed, even if another part of culture [...] needed to be regulated more" (32).

I believe Lessig uses Sousa as an example to show that a balance can be found between no copyright and too much copyright. When he writes of Sony's lawsuit for a Prince Song that would not be downloaded and would make no impact on Prince's or Sony's income he shows that this control is going too far. In the story of the Creative Commons Colombia he lets us know that with very little copyright, the outcome is just as good, artists retain their name and are part of constant creation and reinvention.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Blog #8

I'm not sure how much I like this book; I think I will need to spend more time with it before I truly appreciate it.

Rhythmic Cinema
"Sometimes the best way to get an idea across is to simply tell it as a story" (80).
"Whenever you look at an image or listen to a sound, there's a ruthless logic of selection that you have to go through to simply to create a sense of order" (81).

I feel these two quotes are pretty straight forward, it's often easier to grasp a concept when told a story, our mind creates links between images rather than grasping at cold, hard facts. Every image we see and sound we hear will create links to other images and sounds until we can make sense of what we see and hear, it's an impressive process our brain goes through.

Rhythmic Space
"Speaking in code, we live in a world so utterly infused with digitality that it makes even the slightest action ripple across the collection of data bases we call the web" (89).
"Admitting that we do not know and maintaining the attitude that we do not know the direction necessarily to go, permit the possibility of alteration, of thinking, of new contributions and new discoveries for the problem of developing a way to do what we want ultimately, even when we do not know what we want" (92).

The first quote brings a digital aspect to the concepts from "Rhythmic Cinema". Each and every element that is added or taken away from the whole will cause something to happen to the rest of the Internet. The second quote should be taken into account by a lot of people, not many are willing to admit when they don't know something; I believe Miller was on to something when he wrote this quote, that our ability to learn is what leads to creativity and makes us who we are. If we all knew everything, there would be no new creations.

Errata Erratum
"The click of a mouse, the roll of a pair of dice - they both have a kind of intentionality behind them" (93).
"Whatever mix you make of it, it can only be a guess - you have to make your own version, that's kind of the point" (93).
"We're left with the ability to make our own interpretation of a given framework, and are invited to run with it as a kind of game 'system'" (97).

I wasn't quite sure what to do with this section, but Miller's quote about the "intentionality" behind a click or a roll caught my attention; it definitely important, each action has a reaction. The second and third quotes discuss our individual abilities to make our own mixes and interpret things our own way, we take elements from all the things that have impacted us and bring them together into a whole new product.

The Future is Here
"I was presented with something that contemporary America seems to have in abundance, and that other countries are struggling to catch up with - a trend I like to call 'demographic nostalgia'" (104).
"That's the joy of being able to see how this stuff is unfolding in a real way across the globe. It's almost exactly a social approximation of the way web culture collapses distinctions between geography and expression, and it's almost as if the main issues of the day are all about how people are adjusting to the peculiarity of being in a simultaneous yet unevenly distributed world" (105).

I wrote down the first quote because I'd like someone to define "demographic nostalgia" for me. In a few of my classes we've discussed the way the web and most digitization are slowly taking down barriers both in social aspects but also in our geography, the virtual world has NO geographical frontiers, or they are not well defined and we are definitely "adjusting to the peculiarity".

The Prostitute
"[The] 'Taylorization' of urban pattern recognition: that sense of wandering through an indeterminate maze of intentionality is what makes up the creative act - selection and detection, morphology of structure" (108).
"Messages need to be delivered, codes need to be interpreted, and information, always, is hungry for new routes to move through" (112).
"Transactional realism: It's an old sampling of tone form again and again - sampling as a mode of creating, a way of dealing with overflow, of internalizing the machinery of collective culture" (113).
"You can never play a record the same way for the same crowd. That's why remixes happen. Memory demands newness. You have to always update your archive" (113).

I picked out the first and third quotes mainly for the "definitions", I thought they would be important for me to remember. The delivery of messages and the interpretation of codes reminded me of previous readings and of the concepts from previous sections. The fourth quote made me smile, it's true that playing a song twice for the same crowd is difficult, it's like watching a movie twice in theater, you only do so if you've really enjoyed it.
I was listening to David Bowie while writing this so I decided to look him up on to see who sampled his songs and who he sampled. I was surprised that there was two categories, one for his sampling as an artist (7 songs) and one as a producer (1 song). Clicking around, I found that his song "Heroes" was sampled in Moulin Rouge's "Elephant Love Medley" and then I remembered that this song was a mix of many songs. The list is in fact extensive:

All You Need Is Love by The Beatles (1967)
Your Song by Elton John (1970)
Don't Leave Me This Way by Harold Melving & the Blue Notes (1975)
Silly Love Songs by Wings (1976)
I Was Made for Loving You by Kiss (1979)
Up Where We Bong by Joe Cocked and Jennifer Warnes (1982)
One More Night by Phil Collins (1984)
Pride (In the Name of Love) by U2 (1984)
I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston (1992)

This mix of ten songs is a pretty good representation of some of Miller's concepts; for one it definitely required personal interpretation of all these songs to be able to pick out specific passages to bring back together into a complete unit. As I was going through whosampled I was thinking about the quote where Miller wrote "it's an old sampling of tone form again and again - sampling as a mode of creating, a way of dealing with overflow, of internalizing the machinery of collective culture" (113).

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Blog #7

You don't often read an article about the "behind the scenes" of the hip hop world; reading de Bourgoing's piece was extremely interesting. I was extremely interested in the way she discussed the need for artists to collaborate in order to gain more recognition, more respect, from the fans. She briefly discussed the use of Twitter and networking to have shout-outs to other artists, to me this is related to the topics we have covered in the first half of the semester; there is a need for networking, for users to interact and help each other out to gain more global recognition. She also talks about the use of sites like Twitter and sometimes Facebook and other blogs to market their music but also the merchandise that goes along with it; artists have very recognizable names, "in hip hop every artist is its own brand" (de Bourgoing). This use of social networking websites and easily memorized names reminded me of tagging for some reason, names that everyone would use make it easier to reach a certain page where artist-info and merchandise can be found. De Bourgoing also touches upon the fact that our society used to be story-tellers in the oral sense, but has slowly shifted to a "written tradition", she states that "hip hop is an art form that exists in a society with a strong written tradition yet it is an art form that travels mainly orally [...] This explains how it embraces easily a visual aesthetic" (de Bourgoing); I think this is an important point to retain when we know that our culture is going more and more into a digital world where multiple media are expected to be found all at once: text, film and music brought together.

Miller was a little tougher to read; a few things did stick out to me, I'm not sure if they are considered his key arguments, but I figure they will be important none-the-less. The first idea that I caught on to was the importance of touching upon more than one thing to keep renewing your 'style' rather than sticking with one topic that will become boring and overworked, Miller writes "by being a hobbyist, a kind of flanneur or somebody who jumps around, it keeps things fresh and new", this to me linked to the past discussions we have had, especially the way information is constantly worked on, changed and added to in order to stay 'fresh', interesting, and constantly on top of things. Another idea from Miller is the way we have "multiplex consciousness" because of our surroundings full of data, I suppose my mind linked this to previous readings because of the word "data", once again, our changing world from non-digital to digital is also changing our society and the humans that are part of it. Two quotes that can be considered important are:
"There's so much information about who you should be or what you should be that you're not left with the option of trying to create a mix of your very self. Mix culture, with its emphasis on exchange and nomadism, serves as a precedent for the hypertextual conceits that later arrived from the realms of the academy. The mix absorbs almost anything it can engage - and much that it can't" (64).
"But today, the voice you speak with may not be your own. The mechanization of war, the electro-colonization of information, the hypercommidification of culture, the exponential growth of mass media - all of these point to a machinic/semiotic hierarchy of representation that models human thought as a distributed network" (69).
These two quotes describe the way our use of all this digitized information is working towards making us less humans, this is a detail that many people truly believe in, one of the reason many individuals refuse to use computers, afraid that they may lose their sense of identity.

Both de Bourgoing and Miller discuss the use of multimedia to gain more recognition and keep things new and up-to-date. That links right into Weinberger's and O'Reilly's need for things on the Internet to be constantly viewed and reviewed, changed and added to in order to keep customers (or fans) happy, and not click away from such or such page to find current information elsewhere.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Blog #6

Obviously, the main concept found in Jenkins is that of convergence, "the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who will go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want" (Jenkins 2). Jenkins states on page 16 that convergence is not an endpoint but a process, I found that to be an interesting take on it. In a way it reminded me of Weinberger and the constant organization that goes on in the digital world compared to the first and second order of order. Adding tags constantly in order to find things keeps modifying the way an item is organized.

At one point Weinberger talked about who was in charge of organization; Jenkins goes over the fact that corporations or individuals associated with said corporation have more power, he writes on page 3 that "not all participants are created equal". I'm writing about this in another class so this jumped out a me. On page 17 he does mention that the public taking the media into their own hands can lead to both positive and negative results.

One key aspect of Jenkins article is the way he links convergence and the media. He writes that "in the 1990s, rhetoric about a coming digital revolution contained an implicit and often explicit assumption that new media was going to push aside old media, that the Internet was going to displace broadcasting, and that all of this would enable consumers to more easily access media content that was personally meaningful to them" (Jenkins 5).
First of all, I like the implicit/explicit part, connection to Weinberger in the form of the writing if not the meaning behind it.
Second, the comment about "easily access media content that was personally meaningful to them" is exactly what we are doing with tagging, with the way Weinberger organized thing, it made items easy to find, easy to store, easy to share.

Continuing along the line of new and old media, I think this is one of the important key points from Jenkins, the way new media is replacing old media but the old media will always remain. Jenkins writes "history teaches us that old media never die-and they don't even necessarily fade away. What dies are simply the tools we use to access the media content" (13), he then goes on to define what a delivery technology is, making the distinction between the product we use to get our media (tape player, ipod) and the actual media being produced. I liked his example when he says that the cinema did not kill the theater and the TV did not kill the radio, that was a great way to make his point.
Jenkins defines what media is, it helped me apply his concepts a bit better: "a medium is a technology that enables communication [...] a medium is a set of associated 'protocols' or social and cultural practices that have grown up around that technology" (Jenkins 13).

To link Jenkins ideas of convergence and media back to Weinberger, they both state that things have to be available to everyone in a fast-paced manner, lag is becoming more and more unacceptable as we get used to Facebook and Twitter.

So to make it even simpler, from my take on Jenkins, the important thing to understand is that convergence is constantly transitioning, therefore the media we use is being transformed and "replacing" the old media we've been using, and could potentially still use.

As a side note, I really liked the term "tele-cocooning" =)