CCTP-797: Fall 2012: Week 2



CCT: Wiki Post - Week 2
Kassie Barroquillo

This is one of the most exciting times to be involved in technology studies. The world is changing, new technologies are connecting people all around the world, creating a much smaller perception of the world. Technology is a vast term, which has just recently taken on the meaning most people understand

I believe the most inherent feature of media technologies we still confront on a daily basis coincides with “The Medium is the Message,” which was confronted in McLuhan’s work. Often times, people reach for their phone to look at information, it does not matter what the information is, we just want to look. How many times have you looked at your phone in order to avoid an awkward moment of eye contact? (Watch this video! Perfect example!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3bwBYgiAjA

People tend to use media as a way to avoid personal contact, but still maintain a social presence. In this way, it does not matter who sent the text message, just that the message was sent. In an article published a year ago by time.com, they said over 13% of people use phones to avoid personal contact, I would argue this has increased as sales of smart phones have increased in the past year (__http://techland.time.com/2011/08/16/awkward-13-use-cell-phones-to-avoid-human-contact/__).

A topic, which I find to still be very current is reification, which was approached in the Marx piece. As we bury our personal lives into our online presence, we tend to personify those objects we are using to send our messages. As we personify the objects, we take away the personalization of the people. According to an article in the Tech Journal, in 2009, one in five marriages which ended in divorce blamed Facebook (__http://thetechjournal.com/internet/facebook-is-the-new-cause-of-divorce.xhtml__). The people filing in the article found their partners cheating on Facebook, ergo, Facebook caused their divorce...or it is how the significant others’ view the situation.

The re-mediation theory is very prominent in the “i-world.” Apple continuously reinvents itself. The hype surrounding every Apple release is just ridiculous. While working at AT&T Mobility, I was able to see first hand the number of people who would ask on a daily basis when the new iPhone would be sold. Every year or so, Apple reinvents its products. This past year was the semi-reinvention of the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4s and the iPad 2 to the New iPad. Their products sell because there is so much hype behind the products. Even if the product isn’t revolutionary, i.e. iPhone 4s, iPhone 3gs, people still want to purchase it because it is new.




In Marshall McLuhan’s writings during the early 60’s, he asserts that media has migrated from the mechanical age to that of the new electronic age. The mechanical age embodied the slow movement of information, where content followed more of a singular messaging type of communication construct. As societies progressed to a more highly literate state, movies and film helped to transform the “world from the sequence and connections into the world of creative configuration and construction” (McLuhan 5). With the dramatic advancement of the electronic age, mankind has steadily progressed from the telegraph and telephone to an explosion of communication transformation where the “medium is the message” (McLuhan 4) Revolutionary technologies like the world wide web, wireless communication, and a plethora of social media applications have enabled the extension of oneself to the masses.

One issue that was prominent in Daniel Chandler’s Technological or Media Determinism, was his view on technological determinists. In this outlook, Chandler emphasizes how technology changes society; “new technologies transform society at every level, including institutions, social interaction and individuals” (Chandler). After contemplating this statement, it reminds me how human interaction continues to transform with social technologies prospering. For instance, text messaging has become increasingly popular among all ages and has altered the way we formally communicate. Many prefer this form of communication due to the seemingly instant speed of delivery. Text messaging is especially useful in the case of awkward situations, where a phone call or face to face interaction prove to be difficult. Some may question whether text messaging and similar interpersonal technologies such as email, have caused our social relations to suffer? If our society continues to communicate through these technologies, individuals may lose the innate ability to interact with one another face to face.

Several technological machines are beginning to replace human interactions. At local grocery stores, there are now self-checkout lines that eliminate jobs from people along with the typical social interaction you would experience with the cashier. In the Human-Built World by Thomas P. Hughes, he states “Yet public intellectuals, social scientists, and historians, especially in Germany, questioned popular technological enthusiasm and cast doubts about the social and cultural impact of technology” (Hughes 53). I feel this statement supports my previous assumption that social relations may suffer if we continue to rely on newfound technologies to communicate. It is important for our society to keep an equal balance of communication that does not solely rely on technological devices.

Apple is a wildly successful company that has demonstrated that technology is quite often market-driven. Apple creates and retails many popular digital devices that span from MAC computers, laptops, IPODs, I-Phones, and the revolutionary tablet device known as the IPAD. In the company’s incessant drive to satisfy its vast user base and expand market share/revenues, Apple releases new versions of its products every year. In fact, the Iphone 5 should be coming out shortly. These newer devices often contain advanced user applications, features, and in conformance with Moore’s law of computing, advanced processing power. Such cutting edge technological advances in Apple’s portfolio of products help to ensure that the company maintains its visionary reputation amongst its users. The recent addition of 4G LTE wireless technology across its products will ensure that Apple devices enable ubiquitous communication for its users, both now, and in the future.

Emily Fuerst


Considering Mediology in Altered Books

“Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book.”
Stéphane Mallarmé


As a lover of books and literature, I initially had some hesitation with the concept of an “altered book”. I was not thrilled about cutting up, painting over, and in my mind, “desecrating” valuable reading material, regardless of author, theme, or origin. But then I came across this slideshow of Tom Phillips’ “The Humument”:
page001-birthday-500.jpg

Phillips, an Oxford educated English artist, began work on his masterpiece in 1966. Influenced by William S. Burroughs' cut-up technique, he took it upon himself to push the envelope further by heading to the bookseller and selecting the first “coherent” three-pence book he could find. The text, A Human Document, by W. H. Mallock, set the artist on a journey “to exhume” not one story but a myriad of themes, by changing the look of the text pages in various ways, painting, highlighting, pasting images, and obscuring huge swathes of text. This treatment of an "old victorian novel" gave it new meaning, new history, and a new place in art culture. The result is a body of work over a lifetime that covers five complete editions, multiple storylines, characters that live in today's news and digital bibliomancy.

When looking at “A Humument” from a mediology perspective, it appears to occupy an interval between traditional literature and postmodern art. By altering the technology of display the story (cultural) changes drastically, resulting in vastly different experiences based on the perspective of the observer and his cultural make-up. Functional correlations are visible intrasystème since the manuscript contains both printed text (technology) and the display of art and narrative of texts (cultural aspect). Thinking along the lines of Walter Benjamin, the question is not whether "A Humument" is art, but whether it changes our conception of art. Only time will tell.


Eric Cruet

Debray, Regis. What is Mediology?

 Translation of Régis Debray, "Qu'est-ce que la médiologie?" 
 Le Monde Diplomatique, August 1999, p32.
 By Martin Irvine, Georgetown University

Harrison, Holly. Altered Books, Collaborative Journals, and Other Adventures in Bookmaking. N.p.: Quarry Books, 2003. Web. 11 Sept. 2012.

Phillips, Tom. A Humument. A Treated Victorian Novel. Third ed. N.p.: Humument.com, 2004. 2. Web. 11 Sept. 2012. <http://humument.com/gallery/slideshow.html>.