Making Things Easy: Virtual Reality -Episode 1

 

Welcome to episode one of ‘Making Things Easy’. This project follows my journey as I dive head first into the world of virtual reality animation.

Episode one essentially gives an introduction to the project. I intend to document my whole experience and create a series of short videos that depict my research and learning processes. I hope that this series can serve as an introduction to VR for people who have no experience with the technology and are curious to learn more about how to develop basic virtual reality animation.

So far I have only just begun tinkering with VR so this video essentially is a depiction of my thoughts and experiences as I download the required software (Unity) and begin to set-up the program to create an animation.

 

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My first creation using Unity software, titled “The Cube”. 

 

Over the next six weeks, I will upload more videos to this blog and produce short posts that explain my thinking, as well as ideas that I formulate surrounding the relationship between virtual reality and cybercultures. It seems so far that virtual reality technology is entirely different to any other design projects I have attempted. Trying to create a virtual reality requires a new mode of thinking for me, as I am trying to design an immersive experience, rather than a simple  2D or 3D CAD image. I suspect that virtual reality is creating a paradigm shift within cyberculture. This idea I look forward to exploring further as this project progresses.

Please leave any feedback or suggestions in the comments section below

Understanding Television Spaces

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Photo credit: http:/postmanbass.weebly.com/postmans-claims.html

 

Marshal McLuhan penned the famous quote “the medium is the message” in his 1964 book, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (McLuhan, 1964). McLuhan hypothesised that the medium through which content is carried affects society by the characteristics of the medium itself, rather than the messages it hosts. McLuhan used the light bulb to demonstrate this notion, stating that “a light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence”. A light bulb does not have ‘content’ in the way that a television has programs, yet the medium itself has a profound social effect. The social effect being that a light bulb enables people to create space during nighttime that would otherwise be cloaked in darkness.

With this in mind, I decided to sit and have a chat with my friend Isaac about his childhood television experiences. I was curious to find out what role the medium of television played in creating spaces in the family home.
Isaac spent his formative years living in a town called Inverell, situated in rural New South Wales. He moved from Inverell to Canberra at the turn of the century, age eight, yet he can still clearly detail the space created by the television in his family home during that time. “The TV room was separated from the kitchen by a walkway. The TV was in the corner next to a big window that faced outside into the yard area. There was a bookshelf, Dads guitar, a rocking chair, a spinning wheel, two couches and a bean bag”, he recalled. As we spoke Isaac remarked that he was surprised at how vividly he could remember the exact layout of the space.

Isaac then explained that the television was not the focal point of the ‘TV room’, and that the room could be better described as the home’s entertainment quarters. As a family of devout Catholics, TV was considered somewhat taboo. Furniture was deliberately arranged by Isaac’s parents so that the television was tucked away in the corner, almost out of sight. The primary television’s primary function was for showing VHS tapes, Saturday morning cartoons, and a platform for his parents to watch the evening news. The TV was used, and it was useful, but due to their religious faith, it was also important to Isaacs family that their entertainment quarters were not surrendered as a space for TV worship.

Isaac’s description of his family’s entertainment quarters can be explained, in part, by McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” theory by highlighting the profound impact mediums can introduce into human affairs. The family’s opinion of the television medium being somewhat sacrilegious resulted in the family arranging their entertainment quarter to deliberately ensure that the television was not the focal point. Simply placing a television in a space resulted in the space being reformatted to accommodate its presence.


References
McLuhan, M., 1964. Understanding media: The extensions of man. MIT press.

Edward Snowden, Not So Anonymous

This podcast briefly describes the work of cyber activist Edward Snowden.

Snowden was responsible for leaking many private documents from the National Security Agency in America. Many people see Snowden’s actions as heroic, although the American government is currently seeking to extradite him back to The United States to face espionage charges.

Burke’s Walled Backyard

Walled gardens have emerged from within the distributed network of the Internet. These pockets of the Internet, such as Apple App store, Facebook, Amazon, are controlled by centralised, hierarchical power structures. They differ from the the egalitarian nature of the open internet where every node acts as an entry point to the network and every node has the ability to broadcast to the entire network.

This podcast employs the concept of the walled garden, as if it where a literal garden with flowers, soil etc. The podcast aims to bring in to question whether walled gardens are actually beneficial, via a satirical gardening show which attempts to explain how the lord of the manor (the garden owner) benefits from a walled garden situation, as opposed to a free and open system (the national park example).

With regards to the concept of feudalism on the Internet, the owner of the walled garden is the feudal lord and guests in his walled garden are the medieval peasants.

After Laughter Comes Remix.

Remix culture can be defined as a “global activity consisting of the creative and efficient exchange of information made possible by digital technologies that is supported by the practice of cut/copy and paste”. This Presentation explores remixing by presenting various reinterpretations of a classic 1960’s RnB song By Singer Wendy Rene. 

Each of the remixes, by Wu Tang clan, Lykee Li and Gramatik are examples of how audiences can access, engage with and remix original content. The different styles of reinterpretation presented are also examples of how remix culture can alter and utilize original content to create new meaning.

See Prezi here: https://prezi.com/plg8zspexvw8/copy-of-explain-any-topic/

Concentrating on Australian newspaper ownership.

Australia has the highest concentration of media ownership in the developed world. This concentration is particularly prevalent in the newspaper business where 11 of the 12 major daily newspapers are distributed by just two conglomerates: News Corp and John Fairfax Holdings. Along with owning 8 of these publications, News Corp also maintains control over a large portion of regional and suburban newspaper distribution.

In a democratic nation such as Australia, high concentrations of media ownership can result in a select few organisations and their owners controlling the power of mass communication. These concentrated ownership structures are concerning because they can lead to Journalistic freedoms being suppressed, abuses of power by those in control and a media landscape lacking in a diversity of opinion. (Jones P. Pusey M. 2011)

In recent years there have been examples where major Australian news publications have used their power to heavily promote agendas that correlate with the owner’s personal ideologies. A key example of this emerged between August and early September of 2013 in the lead up to the Australian federal election. News Corp’s The Daily Telegraph, which is owned by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, ran a total of 293 political stories during the election campaign; 143 of these stories where deemed to be anti-Labor and 5 anti-Liberal. During that same campaign The Daily Telegraph printed 43 pro Liberal stories while only 5 were judged pro-Labor.

Source: Twitter
Source: Twitter

To this end, it is well known that Rupert Murdoch, the owner of News Corp, is a supporter of the current National Liberal Party, and of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. In fact, he is such a firm believer of this political party that a 2013 news article by David Knight expresses that when Murdoch met then opposition leader Abbott in 2011 “he told his editors he liked him.” When one considers this high praise, along with the fact that the Daily Telegraph is producing overwhelmingly pro NLP content it is not hard to infer that Murdoch may be using his influence over his newspapers to push his own political agenda.

During that same 2013 election campaign, Mr. Murdoch publicly shared his belief via twitter that “Australians just sick of Gillard-Rudd incompetence and infighting wrecking Great County”. This admission, coupled with headlines like “kick this mob out” and “Australia needs Tony” have led commentators including veteran Canberra Times journalist Jack Waterford to suggest that some of Mr Murdoch’s papers are now ”megaphones for the Liberal Party.”

Photograph: The Daily Telegraph
Photograph: The Daily Telegraph

However, Mr Waterford also suggests in the same article that Mr Murdoch’s newspapers ”power to change minds is very limited” and a Crikey news editorial from January 2013 year claims that only 48% of people in New South Wales actually trusted what is said in the Daily Telegraph. This indicates that perhaps it doesn’t make much difference what the newspaper owners say, however, as Media Watch explains, whether or not the Daily Telegraph’s editorials helped swing votes or not, there is no question it was trying to.

References,

Pusey, Michael and McCutcheon, Marion (2011), ‘From the Media Moguls to the Money Men? Media Concentration in Australia’, Media International Australia, No 140, pp. 22-31

MC Ted & DJ Convergence- The Audience

This SoundCloud post is a remix of a communications lecture by Dr. Teodor Mitew at the University of Wollongong. Dr. Mitew is heard explaining the role of the audience in relation to media convergence.

I have chosen to remix Dr. Mitew’s lecture in order to demonstrate how as an audience member I can actively engage in the content and remix it to create a new story.

Putting the spoken words of the lecture over a popular music track was intentionally done to help the message of a university lecture become embedded in the medium of SoundCloud in a fun and relevant way.