All posts tagged with 'identity'
5 p.m., Saturday, April 16, room 701 | Faculty respondent: Barry Salmon
Talking Heads: Speech Visualization of the Past and Present
This project is a study on the oratory style of various politicians and public figures, which attempts to capture their visual and sonic “portrait” through computer analysis of their speeches. Information gathered from analysis is used in conjunction with video footage to form a composite image of a speaker at his/her loudest, or otherwise most emphatic moments, giving a sense of personality and movement, almost like a time-lapse photo. Functioning somewhere between data visualization and portraiture, it can be seen as a way to systematically distill/summarize an entire persona into a single static image or soundbite, which in turn helps us to compare different speakers in a quick and efficient manner.
This addresses many increasingly difficult and relevant issues in contemporary media studies: can human qualities like charisma be measured or quantified digitally? To what extent can the essence of a personality be captured? How can machine algorithms be used to help us understand our organic selves? Interestingly, these pictures often reveal hidden patterns within the movement of very well known figures from the past, providing new insight into what makes them captivating and unique.
Throughout this presentation, I will explain the technical and conceptual process that was used to create this series of images, while addressing other possible uses of digital media to weave narratives and to help us better understand our complex social relationships.
Supplementary materials: Website
Consuming Home: Transnational Television Advertisements, Diasporic Consumption Cultures, and Hybrid Identities Among Bangladeshi New Yorkers
This study examines the role of advertisements on transnational satellite broadcasts in the lives of diasporic viewers, analyzing the links between global media, commercial culture, and identity formation. Highlighting the many contradictions and ambiguities that accompany diasporic experiences, this work explores how these advertisements (and the consumptive habits they encourage) are used as symbolic resources that allow viewers to imagine, perform, and negotiate diasporic identities. While audiences are conceptualized as active agents, this work acknowledges the constraints presented by commercial media structures and examines the ways in which these advertisements simultaneously liberate viewers from national borders and geographic constraints while reaffirming cultural boundaries and canonized local traditions.
Drawing upon depth interviews with Bangladeshi New Yorkers, this project illuminates how media and material consumption is used to negotiate between local cultures and global flows. As diasporic audiences integrate satellite broadcasts from their homelands into their everyday lives, they are able to stay connected with multiple cultures and imagined communities. This allows them to incorporate various aspects of their home and host countries into dynamic, constantly shifting hybrid identities that adapt to changing social, political, and cultural landscapes. However, rather than providing seamless, unproblematic connections between home and host countries, transnational satellite broadcasts often elicit complicated and ambiguous feelings among viewers, sometimes making it impossible to hold on to idealized visions of the homeland. Despite this, satellite television consumption continues to rise in popularity, with many advertisements directly tackling these diasporic challenges and presenting consumption- oriented solutions for crafting and managing hybrid identities.
Soundscape of the Diaspora: The Possibility of Sensory Ethnography
This paper explores the possibility of sensory ethnography as a methodology of urban studies. Just as Benjamin understands the cinema as a technology that makes an experience and a subjectivity anew, I approach sensory ethnography as a vehicle for exploration of a new type of knowledge. Sensory ethnography not only relies on visual and acoustic experiences, but also bring tactile experiences, which invites the audience, the reader in a traditional sense, to participate in embodied and experiential knowledge production. Given this theoretical foundation, this paper examines the multimedia project that I have developed. My project, Soundscape of the Diaspora, is a sensory ethnography of first-generation immigrants’ everyday lives at their workplaces in North Park Slope, Brooklyn, including tire-shops, delis, laundromats, etc. Combining field recordings and photo collages, the project represents and sonifies a process of globalization at the local level. The final form of this project is constructed in dreamweaver and flash, and displayed at www.brooklynsound.site40.net. This paper aims to draw a connection between critical media theories and multi-modal scholarly practice.
Space (In)Between: Mediating the Public
Rooted in the Situationist practice of psychogeography, Space (In)Between is a participatory, live cinema performance that explores the urban landscape as an interconnected realization of subjective experiences that collectively contribute towards the production of space. Remixing participant submitted cell-phone images with location based sound and video, artists Amir Husak and Karl Mendonca propose an inter-subjective narrative of place as a live performance where audio and video signals are continuously inter-transposed to construct a narrative in a constant state of becoming. Variations in the audio, video or participant submitted images affect in the resulting “mix” spanning minimal abstractions to reactive compositions.
With an emphasis on the idea of radical cartography defined by Lize Mogel and Alexis Bhagat as “the practice of mapmaking that subverts conventional notions in order to actively promote social change,” this paper will examine the motivations, implementation and theoretical underpinnings of the project as a form of participatory social documentation. Drawing attention to how claims of “the public” and “publicness” are mediated and in fact, emerge through different media, this paper will also focus on a question raised by Warren Sack that applies to both theorists and practitioners of media: “How can new technologies of representation call into being more democratic publics with richer measures, modes of visualization, and structures of participation?”
Space (In)Between was performed as part of the InLight Richmond 2010 public art festival on Oct. 22, 2010 in Richmond, Virginia.
Supplementary materials: Project website | Early iteration of the audio-video reactive system
11 a.m., Saturday, April 16, room 701 | Faculty respondent: Paolo Carpignano
Hope, Change, and the Pursuit of Political Participation: An Experimental Study to Reveal the External and Internal Hurdles of Youth Online Political Involvements
The Obama administration has introduced a number of government initiatives to increase political participation by young adults via the use of Web 2.0 technologies and their involvement with social media tools such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Though these communication sites have notably received traffic, their effectiveness has been suspect. We conduct an multi-scenario interaction study to investigate whether potential first-time voters who seek engagement with the government are able to successfully search and locate appropriate touching points, and how that process may, or may not, involve new media technologies. We augment the experimental setup with pre and post-surveys along with in-depth, one-on-one exit interviews. Our approach provides rich qualitative insights along with quantitative support. Our study shows how search is impeded by individual and institutional factors, and that social media tools are still underappreciated by users when cues are delivered out of their commonly anticipated usage contexts. Conversely, they may be over-appreciated by the administration, and serve as little more than a political public relations rouse. Through our critical analysis, we hope to deepen the understanding of the relevance of social media for the engagement of underserved groups, and interactions that reach beyond the traditional comfort zone of more experienced social network users.
@chavezcandanga and the Imagined Community of Venezuela
This paper explores how Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez uses his Twitter account to promote the ideas of a “new” nation of Venezuela, where politics is intimately tied to the personal and where the site of political agency lies in social inequality. How does Chavez’s incursion into the technological world construct the imagined community of Venezuela? What does his use of Twitter imply for our understanding of the possibilities of new media politics? Through a textual analysis of all of Chavez’s tweets from his verified account, @chavezcandanga, supplemented by newspaper articles from Venezuelan newspapers, I argue that Chavez’s use of Twitter shows the Internet as a complex site of meaning-making, highlighting both its radical and oppositional possibilities and its reinforcement of hegemonic and capitalist forces.
in diretta: Television and Italy’s Discontent
This project seeks to examine the Italian televisual experience as one absolutely demarcated from other European televisual experiences and especially American televisual culture. As television evolves, the Italian version continues to be the very quintessence of “televisual” in its liveness, talk, and ﬂow as Jane Feuer, Raymond Williams, and others have discussed.
In November 2010, the Italians threw a televisual rally on public television in four parts called “Vieni via con me” in which celebrities, politicians, and citizens came together under Fabio Fazio and exiled author Roberto Saviano to ﬁght against all that ails this beautiful but troubled country. It was in blatant, direct opposition to Silvio Berlusconiʼs longstanding government, his personal scandals, and his private television network, MediaSet.
On December 14, 2010, Berlusconi controversially won a Parliamentary vote of faith by three votes. His loss would have meant impeachment, Italian style. Rome subsequently burned for three days. But in a static place like Italy where talk is money and little changes, this televisual media event opened up unprecedented threads of discourse. The signiﬁcance and possibilities of this will be discussed.
A version of this paper was submitted as a ﬁnal term paper in Paolo Carpignanoʼs Fall 2010 Televisuality class. I would like to present an updated version of the paper along with video clips to discuss the current state of televisual affairs and political discourse in Italy with pointed comparison to Americaʼs televisual and political culture.
Supplementary materials: Come Away with Me – Final Dance | Riots in Rome (Text) | Riots in Rome (Video) | Roberto Saviano – Italian in Exile | Vote of Confidence | Videocracy | Bunga Bunga | Vieni Via Con Me (Come Away with Me)
Remediating the Nation-State
“Incredible India”, “Israel Wonders” or “Destination Germany” – the slogans of national tourism destination marketing are today visible components of everyday life: As advertisement in subways, newspapers, TV spots or over-dimensioned banner-ads. Benedict Anderson saw the nation-state “Imagined Community” (Anderson 1991) created as a narrative of ‘destiny’ of its people to belong together in space and time. This mediation connects through the media and public sphere the trinity of state (power), nation (people) and territory (space). In this paper, I analyze an emerging process of remediating the nation-state in a changed media- and market-environment (Boulter/Grusin 2000) not as local, national imagined community, but as global commodity and branded imagination. I focus on the analysis of the marketing practices of different national tourism marketing agencies. These practices remediate the nation-state in the changed environment of globalization in direct relation to the global flows of capital, people, information and cultural production, but also embedding the branded imagination into the diverse interlinked localities of media-spheres and consumer demand. Therefore my paper gives a theoretical, empirical account of the potentiality of the branded tourist destination in relation to the mediated “imagined community” of the nation-state. I contribute to the theoretical debate on the very issue of globalization and the nation-state, but not in terms of the crisis of the nation-state faced with transformative processes of globalization. Instead, by using the media theoretical concept of mediation, remediation and branding, I try to show the potential for a direct transformation of the very concept nation-state as remediated in the global flows constituting spheres of markets and media.
1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 16, room 715 | Faculty respondent: Jaeho Kang
A Weekend in the Life: Narrative Identity
As a sociological and media phenomenon, sport, particularly soccer is a central issue in many current debates around modernization and globalization. This research paper takes a narrowly scaled approach to analyze forms of identity creation and social cohesion through the lens of international soccer broadcasts. I analyze the content, and to a lesser extent the economic contexts, of two specific match broadcasts from the weekend of November seventh, 2010: A.S. Roma versus S.S. Lazio in Italy and Liverpool FC versus Chelsea FC in England. The goal is to identify structures and themes in narrative formation. Interestingly the two matches feature opposing narratives. The Italian match broadcast privileges the localized passion of the fans in the stadium, while the English match broadcast emphasizes the redemptive story of a key player. By comparing these two very different narrative approaches, I complicate the often mechanistic institutional and economic analysis of soccer’s ever expanding media presence. Drawing from the work of Giulianotti and Castells, I argue that a spirit of cosmopolitanism allows global fans to move beyond market-based identities and creatively adapt global club identification to their own local context. This more aesthetic brand of cosmopolitanism opens the possibility of new avenues for the expression of identity that are limited neither by local historical/cultural nor by market-driven/consumerist dimensions.”
Supplementary materials: Chelsea v. Liverpool Nollywood trailer | Montedio Yamagata supporters sing and choreograph “Blue is the Color”
The Virtualizing Effects of Sports Simulation
Traditionally, the goal of broadcasts of sports on television has been to simulate an “ideal” viewing experience. Cameras are situated so as to recreate for viewers the experience of having the best seats in the house. Most fans, however, will never physically occupied this place; for most, their primary visual experience of sports comes from a different place: video games.
The result is that increasingly, it is through the aesthetic tropes and conventions of video games that fans come to understand and visualize sports. For instance, in many simulation games the camera is disembodied and virtual; rather than presenting the viewpoint of an actor or narrative observer. Figure 1 illustrates this difference in auto racing.
These changes to the collective visual aesthetic conception of sports have had dramatic impact upon the decisions made by broadcasters. While previously the goal of televised virtuality was to “place” the audience at the event, increasingly the goal has been to reproduce the simulated, virtualized place occupied by the camera in video games. Figure 2 compares the camera positions in Madden NFL football and the shot from the “Skycam” during a live NFL broadcast. The result is that reality is increasingly “virtualized” in order to simulate the game world.
While the integration of the video game aesthetic into the dominant media visual aesthetic has been handled ably in previous research, this converse aspect of the process has been largely ignored, and deserves more thorough study. This paper is an attempt to begin such a project
Let the Ball Do the Talk
In recent years youth sporting cultures have started receiving critical attention across disciplinary boundaries. According to Giardina and Donnelly (2008: 9), ‘youth sporting culture has become a battleground of social combatants struggling over the boundary lines of group identity and affiliation, over the very definition of citizenship and belonging’. Significantly, however, the sport practices of young people have yet to receive due critical attention by visual ethnographers and media practitioners. By adopting the visual as a medium rather than an object of analysis (MacDougall, 2006), my doctoral research looks at football, aka soccer, as an arena where “intercultural and transcultural dynamics” (cf. Baumann 1997:15) evolve and where young people can negotiate their individual and collective roles away from the potential restraints of family and school environments. Through textual and audiovisual modalities of representation, this paper will foreground my ethnographically situated doctoral practice with Irish and non-Irish members of two youth football teams – and the adult members of the clubs – in Dublin 15, a residential location with the highest national percentage of immigrant families in Ireland. Using the video camera as a catalytic instrument of inquiry, in my fieldwork I have engaged with questions surrounding the expression of both subjective and collectivized identities among adolescent boys, how sport can create bonds between subjects of different backgrounds or indeed exacerbate cultural differences, and how the insertion of an imaging device shapes and determines the articulation of transcultural exchanges.
Tim Rosenkranz is a graduate student at the New School for Social Research and is finishing his MA in Sociology. He also currently works as Public Relations Coordinator for the German National Tourist Office in NYC. Further he holds a Magister in Political Science from the Georg-August-Universitaet in Goettingen, Germany. His research interest is focused on the marketing of nation-states, especially in tourism, and its diverse implications for the mediation of national identity in globalized structures of media, markets and commodification.