Archive for the ‘doubling of place’ Category

Time Travel

March 29, 2010

I found Shaun Moore’s article, “The Doubling of Place” extremely thought provoking this week. It tied in very nicely with last week’s discussion of time and I really enjoyed this concept of space and the how media can cause things to “double.” To begin with his notion that live broadcasts in a sense double that time and place was rather confusing. I was not sure I bought into the concept that broadcasts caused this doubling effect to occur as conceptually the event is really only happening in one place (i.e. the sports field) and our watching is really only occurring in one place as well (i.e. our living room). However, the more I got into the reading the more I began to understand and accept this notion of doubling. The idea that we use broadcasting to connect with events that we are not directly apart of is rather odd. Not only do we watch these events but we feel as though we are apart of them, that we are personally connected even though the extent of our involvement is sitting in front of the TV with a bag of chips.

How is it that we have become so connected to these events that I will find my dad yelling at the TV when the quarterback messes up a play during American football, causing “us” (aka our team) to lose the ball. Or the example in the reading, of an entire city mourning the death of Princess Diana. In most cases we have never meet these people, we do not play the game, and we certainly are not members of the royal family. It seems rather strange that media has such a grip on our actions that we can take these things so personally. I guess, it is because we have come to a place in time where we believe we are part of the action. We think our voices can be heard through the television cheering on the home team. The fact that we believe we are so involved makes these events real to us, even if we are still just sitting in our living rooms.

The blurred line between media space and real life is something I hardly think about, yet after reading the Moore reading I not only was oddly aware, I was slightly discomforted. For example initially I decided I was going to write this blog as I sat in front of the TV. I knew that I would not really pay attention to the TV and it would just be background noise. After about an hour I surveyed what I had done: 1. Three sentences of the blog. 2. Looked at all the new photo albums my friends posted today on Facebook. 3. iChated with 2 friends from home. 4. BBMed (like text messaging for Blackberrys) a couple friends for approximately 45 minutes straight. 5. Snacked on Nutella. Clearly I was side tracked from real life (what should have been writing this blog) by all the media available to me (and Nutella!). Now I find myself cranking it out on the bus from the city to Randwick. 20 minutes. Three paragraphs. Countless rambling that will need to be edited upon arrival at UNSW but in all, much more productive than last nights attempt when I was surrounded by media (what will happen when buses have WIFI and my Blackberry does not die on me is an entirely new problem).

Now that I recognize that I spend most of my days in 2 places, whether it be on my phone talking to friends from home while I ride the bus, using my computer to Facebook stalk while I am in the library “studying” or whatever else may be going on, how do we remedy this. I realize it’s a problem- I get easily sidetracked and caught up in other people’s lives (as that is essentially what all of this is) and yet I feel as though I am still fully focused on my life, my real time life. Is it so bad that we can be in multiple places at once? When I was little I thought time travel was possible- maybe this is just our first step towards that possibility.

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MODERN DAY SUPERPOWERS-BILOCATION

March 27, 2010

Can we read minds? Become invisible? Have sharp claws like Wolverine? Unless we are part of the X-men team these abilities seem a little out of reach but after reading this week’s article I have found myself believing we all hold the power of bilocation.

I totally agree with the repetitive nature of this article but I did find it a lot easier to read (and more amusing) then the previous readings we have had. Moore’s reading on the “Doubling of Place” takes Scannell’s concept and relays it in terms of modern media, which is electronic media like internet and telephone (specifically mobile phones) and how these technological changes have assisted in the progression of this concept. He describes similarities in television and radio to “internet and telephone precisely because of the common potential that all these media have for constructing experiences of simultaneity, liveness and ‘immediacy’ in what have been termed ‘non-localised’ spaces and encounters”. I agree with this argument Moore makes as media has created a way for us change our “situational geography”. For e.g. a mobile takes us from our physical location and allows us to hear and speak to someone that is out of our physical hearing vicinity or the television allows us to visualise locations that we may, physically, be unable to go to hence this concept of “doubling of place”. We are able to be in two places at once. This advancement in communicative capabilities is a major asset in assisting our lifestyle but arguably can also be seen as an interruption and can cause changing actions within social situations (which we also addressed in earlier readings).

The examples Moore used I found quite amusing in demonstrating this for e.g. the young woman using her mobile on a train. The norm social interaction of strangers in public spaces is to acknowledge their presence then follow the “conventional ‘courtesy’ of averting the gaze”, we all know the drill. However as the young woman brings her “private” conversation into the public domain a passenger avoids this norm and actually listens to the conversation which then cause the lady to protest “do you mind?! This is a private conversation!” is it? I think you can argue that it is not, as we, the public, cannot block our ears or turn deaf. We are unable to avoid hearing this conversation. But is our new social responsibility to pretend we can’t? And hence brings us back to our changing social environment as a consequence of media and its advancements.

 On the Brightside however I also came to agree with his concepts that media like telephones “are technologies that have clearly helped this stretching or extension of relationships”. In some ways media as caused a “shrinking” of the world as our capabilities of reaching people away from our physical location has become easier. New media like Skype and facebook as well as telephones and television have allowed us to reach greater audiences and allow, in a sense, a global community whereas in the past “community” was often restricted to your geographic location.

Here’s a YouTube clip that explains the Skype process

So once again we come back to the question: Is media an asset or is it a detriment? I think this question has a myriad of answers from both ends of the spectrum and I guess I will just have to wait for the next reading to see if I can make a decision yet.