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The octopus: the modern day multi-tasker

The notion of distraction assisting us to pay attention in a different manner, or even make it better, is enlightening to mankind and our modern society. If we are distracted, we need to know what has caught our new attention and scrutinise why – from there we are able to analyse and redirect our attention to the desired task. Your mind is preoccupied by what pertains to your interest and what you perceive to be more important.

You are more likely going to be distracted on your personal life’s dramas (as that affects you directly) in comparison to giving your full attention to a monotone lecturer who may be talking about a bland subject – conclusively leading to a distraction and focus on the incorrect task. For example, when the students of the ARTS2090 lecture had to watch the soundless video of leaves and I was asked to pay attention, I could not, for the life of me, keep my full attention on such task. Maybe I just have an underlying issue with being told what to do but that is a separate issue!

It seems that when an individual knows they have to focus their attention on a desired task, they cannot maintain that focus because, subconsciously and possibly even consciously, they do not want to.

In our modern world, attention is a reason for investment – research and creative production is not the sole priority, getting a hold of the public’s attention for long enough is. The manner in which society is now organised, attention is forced to be spread out, adaptable and, quite frankly, rapid. We are swamped by information daily that our minds create their own filters; sometimes personal interests rank higher than political or world news and to an extent I believe it is wrong. We seem to be more interested on trivial events or people who do not really do much (A-list celebrities) and there doesn’t seem to be hard news stories that pertain to our new, evolved attention spans. It is absolutely paramount to assess one’s distractions in order to resume original attention that will eventually become unwavering.

Simply writing this blog, I have had many distractions and I have lost attention completely on several occasions. I am typing this blog on my recently received Samsung tablet for my birthday (which was a few days ago) – first of all the battery died just as I got started, then I received notifications from my emails, followed by giving in to my curiosity and exploring the unseen terrains of my newly beloved tablet. I had a shower and escaped to the comfort of my bed where I haven’t lost focus since (except for replying to my text messages).

From this simple example, the complexity of our fluctuating attention created by the new world is clearly evident – we are now creatures of change, rather than habit; where we expect to engage in all forms of media to ultimately benefit our own wants, while neglecting what we probably should be attentive to. This, as explained in the lecture, results in partial attention and consequently multi-tasking.

As a young woman of modern society, sometimes to keep up with my thoughts (about amount of things I want to do, the amount of things I have to do and what I should be doing) I feel as though I need another six hands. I would be the most productively efficient person on the planet – where all my attention can be focused (or partially focused) on several different tasks. Imagine how quickly everything could be done if our limbs resembled an octopus – there would be no distractions because they are being tended to by another pair of hands: the epitome of the modern day multi-tasker.

Word of the week is ‘commons’ – which I didn’t even mentioned because I was too attentive to attention.

 

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Freedom of Speech or restrainment from knowing the whole truth?

In lecture 4 and in the readings of Derrida, the idea of archives is explored – that is the provenance and structure of data. Archives are comprised of memories, experience and perspectives of the truth. They are structured in such a manner that they reflect our DESIRES (from personal to governmental) – and Derrida highlights the basic need for humans to record their experiences. I studied ‘The Fiftieth Gate’ authored by Mark Raphael Baker (for the HSC) which highlights the importance of distinct correlation and twining of facts and memory to acquire an accurate representation of the past and of truth. (Here is a link to an archive, where people comments their personal reviews of the book http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1294356.The_fiftieth_gate).

Another interesting aspect in the lecture, correlating with the idea of publishing, is that nearly everything we do is archived. Taking photographs and arranging them in folders, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, this blog – they are all examples of archives we use everyday and are our own personal archive of our life and its experiences. This leads to archives within archives – you may have a folder for all the photos you took in 2012. From there you might have other folders that categorize the months, then important occasions, friends and selfies! Everything is archived the way we desire, because we are ingrained to leave our mark behind, to make a name for ourselves and to show that our life was meaningful and should be remembered.

In any form of archives, there are high magnitudes of influence and power – this power ultimately controls what is being made public, who can access the data and the capability to locate shifts in power. Those in power have influence over the people – they choose and deliberate what they want the public to know and what they want to be kept hidden. Wikileaks is a [paradigm shift in archival organisation; archives are stripped of their protection and barriers to be made generally known. This raises alarm in retrospect to our own individual privacy – if someone can hack into government archives and retrive top secret documents to distribute to the public…imagine what they can do with your personal information.

Our world has, and always will be, controlled by a specific individual or group – we believe we have freedom, yet it is a mystery to me that we can even breathe. It forces me to question why we are so constricted and confined by rules and regulations. Is there really a risk if the public knew everything there was to know?

It is not the structure of society that is of concern, nor is it really about who is in power, but rather the hidden structure of archives and and the unaccessibiilty of some archives.

Video

The Future of Communication.

Lecture 3: There were a few points that resonated with me as we journeyed through the history of printing, from Chinese block printing to the creation of data.
Interesting points in the lecture referred to the complexity of the original printing process – to print one book was excruciatingly time-consuming. This forced me to think if we are reaching our full potential…we seem to have a bountiful supply of resources and technologies, yet our society seems to be less creatively resourceful as we have become highly dependent on our technologies.
We now have a completely different approach to the way we do things; the way we organise our own data and how we rely on certain technologies morphs the process of how we think.
Human nature desires habit and I believe everything we do as separate societies over time is generated in a cycle. For example, scrolls were innovative at the time yet dysfunctional and inefficient – whereas the Codex (the book) established this missing order and organisation. The Ipad is almost like a modern scroll – the organisation is misplaced almost.
In relation to the video (uploaded by Eduardo Giansante on Youtube) it is a “supposed” timeline of what our future may look like and how laws will be abolished due to the changing demographics and technologies. There are a few things that I do not believe are accurate in the video – he mentioned that advertisement has “vanished” in the new media and we all know how incredibly false this is as we are constantly bombarded with advertisements (I think if you watch the video, there will probably be a 30 second ad. before it even starts). Instead of vanished, advertising has prospered in certain ways and almost dominated our media – yet it is primarily controlled by those with money/power.
The ASSEMBLAGE of our future is happening as we speak (or read) with our technological advancements morphing the process of publishing.

The constant evolution of media.

In Lecture 2, Andrew spoke about the ways in which we have changed how we make things publicly known and how these produce different cultures.

l found it extremely interesting that even our face technically is publishing an idea or thought provoking expression to a small public. Everything is so easily published correlating with how difficult it is to remove that piece of information you have made generally known. Just imagine, you are sitting at the dinner table after your mother has spent hours cooking a special meal for your family. You take one mouthful and you have to refrain yourself from vomiting the vile food. But before you grimace or make generally known how badly it tastes, the implications of publishing need to be thought of first – otherwise you may never get a home-cooked meal again!!We have generated a system that almost dismantles our individuality; we are able to distribute our thoughts and ideas and personalities through the new media. While we think we are being individualistic and original, we are simply becoming data.

The very notion of writing changed society, as did the internet … we can only prepare for what is next to impact our society.

The word “electracy” was brought up – a fusion of both orality and literacy – where the written word takes on the characteristics of the spoken word: it can be changed, answer back, and be instantaneous like orality. The written word of a blog is constantly under scrutiny – the author can modify as he sees fit, readers comment and the author responds (going through the motions of orality).

My question always is what is next? When will enough be enough? What else can possibly be developed – unless a technology is invented where no-one will ever have to speak or write, but merely think ? And where is the authenticity?

ALPHABET

 

Musings of a publisher

In regards to the last blog post, I began to panic as I clicked “Publish Post.”

When I saw the blog loading, a wave of fear crashed over me and I was questioning whether I had written it correctly, if people agreed with me or if I was COMPLETELY off base.

Isn’t it silly that we our thoughts are defined by right or wrong, rather than just allowing them to be generic and fluid and mapping your thought processes out in jumbled words and sentences. Why are some people scared to say what is on their mind when it comes to academic situations, yet they can feel comfortable on social media or with friends talking about controversial topics? The whole structure of our society at the moment is bizare – we are tentative, nervous of offending others, afraid of being wrong and labelled/judged as something we may not be and we are blinded by this self-consciousness that we cannot see the implications and benefits of truth and honesty.

Enough rambling …

Image

Let’s hope you don’t run into these E-shoppers on your grocery run.

Publishing ARTS2090

“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”                 – Margaret Thatcher

ImageIn the lecture and the readings, I came to understand that making something public and generally known can be done simply by showing expressions on our faces, speaking or writing. Obviously there are different levels of complexity with deeper meanings that are being expressed throughout the forms of publishing; but I had never thought that every time I am opening my mouth to speak, I am publishing something about myself (whether that is my opinions, my personal details or my goals etc.) to a variety of separate publics.

An interesting point that resonated with me was the idea of public executions that was brought up in the lecture. Public executions were conducted to relay a message of power and an intimidating authority to consequently control society by punishing certain behaviours. I think this is still done today in a sense – not the whole hanging people in front of a crowd, but people in the position of power are able to monitor and influence what is made public. The issues that are publicised and disseminated are done so to make us react and effectively act in a certain manner. It is to remind us of who is in power and who is in control of our actions.

Relating to the Margaret Thatcher quote at the top, the real people in power do not tell us they are powerful. The true power and authority is generated from them moderating and filtering what is shown and distributed to us in a specified manner that will make us think in a biased way.

It is more about the context and the way it is presented to us rather than the context. You will see a stream of news reports that constantly hammer a specific minority and slanders them to excess – my question is why? Why does the media constantly show certain groups or issues in a certain light/spin? Why is there no counter argument? Why does the public choose to believe biased stories that are filtered by powerful, wealth-obsessed corporations? Why is it so hard to find balanced reports in mainstream media?

These questions ultimately highlight that even though we have “freedom of speech,” we are only as free as the powerful people will allow and anything to contradict them is scrapped.

Word of the week: Ereaders