Archive | March, 2012

How we know what is real?!

25 Mar

With this week’s readings being all about virtual and augmented realities, how could I not be excited for the week to come?!

However I must admit some of this excitement is partially due to the fact that I assume that the following week of class will somehow involve some sort of opportunity in playing a virtual reality game…which after the readings, I know is probably not going to happen, considering the pieces of equipment discussed are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So anyway back to the readings. Over the past 2 years previous courses have touched on this aspect of virtual realities, with games utilizing real time and people as well as real time society combined with electronic information specific to the game, as well as virtual realities created online, acting a as alternate online worlds. The readings this week have however explored a more technical and further progressive stance in technology and an augmented reality.


Picture Courtesy of Flickr of William Cromar 2010
If only virtual realities were all fun and games...

In Chris Grayson’s blog he uses a number of contemporary examples in companies utilizing methods in which products or services a virtually shown/placed/ positioned for the viewer/customers approval and inspection. Although many of the examples he refers to are quiet impressive for eg the motor industry and its use of augmented reality in showing consumers the car appearing to be 3D and positioned on top of the magazine/paper (Grayson 2009).

Despite how impressive these methods may seem, there has been little evidence of mass adoption of such methods, which indeed is understandable considering companies are still trying to transfer themselves smoothly to the social networking platform. I think the problem with such tactics as a marketing tool, is first of all the costs, and second of all the consumers’ willingness to adopt such a stance, as it is not simply not an advertisement anymore but a step forward into a whole new complex social system; overstepping the social networking/web 2.0 world.

Upon watching the videos prescribed for the week…particularly the IDEO labs- Amazing 3D immersion (YouTube 2010) I was entertained by the idea that the internet combined with social networking, is only the tip of the iceberg. Virtual worlds, education, advancements in sciences and so much more can be achieved by such a notion.

In another interesting article I read in regards to the notion of ‘soft-controlling’, where players of a virtual/augmented game are directed by a 3rd party to a place or location they desire; in the case of the game Ghost Hunter, this means photographing places (or zapping ‘ghosts’) less visited by people or Flickr users (Science Daily 2012). See more here.


–          Grayson, Chris 2009, ‘Augmented Reality Overview’, GigantiCo <>


–          Science Daily, March 16th 2012, Using Virtual Worlds to ‘Soft Control’ People’s Movements in the Real One, Science Daily, accessed 22/03/2012, <>


–          YouTube, 5 July 2010, IDEO Labs – Amazing 3D Immersion Technology,, <>


– Picture (virtual_reality) from Flickr courtesy William Cromar 2010


and yet another- EMBODIED

18 Mar


I found this week’s readings to be quiet interesting. Firstly not only was I reminded of my own lack of memory retention, but also because it did educate me in this topic.

In the ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis’ reading by Stiegler (Stiegler n.d) I did find this quite ironic, yet plausible:

“A spontaneous memory support, the lithic tool is not however made to store memory : not until the late paleolithic period domnemotechniques as such appear. “

Stiegler goes on too, to further explain the history of mnemotechnology, and how the brain is not our only form of memory retention:

“Ideogrammatic writing springing up after the neolithic period leads to the alphabet – which yet today organizes the agenda of the manager, but this calendary object is henceforth an apparatus: the personal data planner; and it is no longer a mnemotechnic, but a mnemotechnology.”

He goes on to mention the TV, computer, GPS etc to be cognitive technologies where we are able to store a greater part or our memory, which he says goes on in fact to allow us to lose “an ever-greater part of our knowledge”.

The reading does indeed address the external environment as a possible memory form, not just giving our brain the exclusive rights.  In ‘Does thinking Happen in the Brain?’ by Noe (Noe 2010), the notion of the brain being a single unity in memory and emotions is again continued. I especially like the car/engine analogy that is used in comparison to how the brain conveys emotions and that the brain is not doing the work itself:

“How my car drives depends on what goes on inside its engine. Modifying the engine affects the driving behavior. Speeding up, slowing down, and such like, in turn, affect the engine. But it would be bizarre to say that the driving really happens in the engine. If my car has no wheels on it, or is up on the lift, it won’t drive, whatever happens inside the engine.”


When it comes to the brain nothing can be simple...

The other readings showed noteworthy instances and even loopholes so to say with the brain, and memory.

In Alan Kay’s video discussion on ‘Learning’ (Kay, unknown) he explores the concept of user interface design, by using an example of an elderly woman who has never played tennis (or sport for that manner) who learns in 20 minutes. He states that “Learning happens when attention is focused” and in this case interface was removed, and the focus of mentality was sustained, by merely copying actions and what came  naturally; excluding our need to think or the need to talk or comment.

‘The Mind Games – Science’s Attempts at Thought Control’ By Pamoukaghlian (Pamoukaghlian 2011) reading showed the extent that our minds can be controlled through techniques such as Electromagnetic Control (EMR), which scarily enough features to be a strong military interest over the years.

All in all the mind and the power of memory never ceases to amaze me, and this week has showed me its limitations, and its capabilities, and perhaps how to stretch my own.


–          Stiegler, Bernard (n.d.) ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis: Plato as the first thinker of the proletarianisation’ accessed 16/3/2012 <>

–          Noë, Alva (2010) ‘Does thinking happen in the brain?’, 13:7 Cosmos and Culture, accessed 16/3/2012 <>

–          Kay, Alan, Learning, YouTube, accessed 17/3/2012 <>

–           Pamoukaghlian, Veronica (2011) ‘Mind Games: Science’s Attempts at Thought Control’,, December 28, accessed 16/3/2012<>

– Picture Courtesy of Jonathan 2007 Flickr

drum roll for the word….ECOLOGIES

9 Mar

First off after reading this week’s readings I was confused. SO bear with me whilst I break it all down…

Media Ecologies. My understanding of this theory, quiet simply put, is technology involvement and effect over society and human life. I did come across technological determinism again, a concept I discussed in last week’s blog, across both the Fuller (Fuller 2005) and Media-ecology website. Essentially this allowed me to make some connection based on my understanding from last week. Media ecologies however seem to expand on this notion and not only focus on technologies as an impinge on human life, but also media in general; techniques that surround this, as well as communication (Strate, 1999,

Dietz provides an interesting example of the said theory, which helped me greatly understand media ecologies in real time. She refers to WikiLeaks and the associations and layers of media and other concepts involved:

“…in order to make digestible the overwhelming amount of material released by his leaked information organisation, founder Julian Assange harnessed mainstream media outlets. Other organisations added to the public conversation quickly unfolding on blogs, Facebook and alternative outlets such as Crikey.” (Dietz, 2010,

She goes on to say..(or type)

The concepts of transparency, participation and collaboration are all producing profound culture change – information that was once protected by insiders and vested interests is now potentially available to all. Big Brother is us.” (Dietz, 2010,

Which Levinson too brings up in his reading ‘The First Digital Medium’ in relation to discussing vested interests and how it affects knowledge, which dates back to ancient Egypt, where those with power/time previously had exclusive access (Levison 1997).

–       A quick side note though (in regards to Fuller’s reading). I couldn’t help but to tie Fuller’s discussion of a meme, to one of the site’s that I visit most regularly:

It did help me understand the concept of a meme is a slightly more entertaining way I must admit…

So very briefly the complexities of today’s intertwining of technology, today’s media and communication (considered with techniques) presents us human’s than with a challenging and selective opportunity in how we consume this, or more so how it consumes us? However more importantly an array, a vast choice of what was previously never available to us.


Dietz, M (23 December 2010) The new media ecology, The National Forum, accessed 3/10/2012, <>

Fuller, M (2005) ‘Introduction: Media Ecologies’ in Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture Cambridge, MA; MIT Press: 1-12

Levinson, P (1997) ‘The First Digital Medium’ in Soft Edge; a natural history and future of the information revolution London: Routledge:11-20

Strate, L (1999) An Overview of Media Ecology, Media Ecology Association, accessed 3/10/2010, < Overview of Media Ecology (Lance Strate)>

Ahhhh transformation- HINT

4 Mar

Firstly to my future tutor…WELCOME!

Now lets get on to business and dissecting this week’s reading and what I think. The two central frameworks from the Murphie and Potts reading include ‘technological determinism’ and ‘cultural materialism’.

My understanding of ‘technological determinism’, can quiet simply be put as, technology being the vehicle or agent for social change. As the reading continues to describe this framework, where technology is seen as an independent factor, I can begin to understand how there are counter arguments in seeing how technology interacts with culture/society.

Marshall McLuhan goes on to further develop this line of ‘technological determinism’, by claiming that the “basic premise is that technologies are extensions of human capacities” (Murphie and Potts, pp13, 2003) and that the “medium is the message” (Murphie and Potts, pp 13 and I agree that his definition of technology is essentially viable, in terms of technology being an extension of human capacities, however the ‘medium rather than the message’ aspect can be argued either way.

Although different mediums can seem to bombard and side track the consumer, perhaps drawing attention away from the message itself, with blogs, you tube, TV, radio etc essentially, this ‘total perceptual field’ (Murphie and Potts, pp 14, 2003) created as a result of choice and widened horizons for the consumer, can go either way. The consumer can either take advantage of this and broaden their horizons, or the consumer can be bombarded with so many mediums and sources that they become overwhelmed. The consumer in themselves has great effect in this sense, which ironically contradicts the ‘technological determinism’ theory.

A total perception field is supposed to increase our information exposure,

but can it really hinder it?

The other spectrum of ‘cultural materialism’ takes most of these other factors that are disregarded by ‘technological determinism’, and puts them into play. Here political and social interests are considered as well as historical accounts.Where the “social shaping of technology” (Murphie and Potts, pp 20, 2003) explains and counters how society “plays a major part in deciding wich technologies are adopted, and how they are implemented and controlled’ (Murphie and Potts, pp 20, 2003).

Between these two frameworks I am able to understand technology’s place in not only society but culture too. By understanding the ‘cultural materialism’ framework and seeing it within today’s society, I think that it is indeed the way that technology is used that determines their cultural impact.


– Murphie, Andrew and Potts, John (2003) ‘Theoretical Frameworks’ in Culture and Technology London: Palgrave Macmillan: 11-38

– Various videos and radio recordings listened to: <>

– Image supplied by <>