Steppin’ Out of Reality

steppin-out

bowler-up

 

The 7th Principle of Mass Media Scans is, A new mass media technology will initially borrow the content and imitate the conventions of the mass medium that is currently dominant in a society. As the technology advances, the new medium will consume the older medium, turning it into content.  This  principle and the media text produced in this manner is what is called Necro-Media. This post features some examples of Necro-Media. 

While exploring posts from fellow photography bloggers, I came across some tagged as Polamatic. The Polamatic app enables you to convert your phone shots into a retro aesthetic that turns the shot into a composition that has the features and qualities of an old Polaroid picture.  I have some experience producing the Polaroid look, and PaintShop Pro imaging software includes a simple Polaroid frame effect which allows for the creation of Polaroid Transfer effects.  As a challenge and an experiment, I used two shots I had taken at the local bowling alley, when my daughter was participating in the weekly Special Olympics bowling night.  I tried to emulate as closely as possible the frame & look produced by a Polamatic app.  It took a bit of time to create & modify the frames, and the viewer can judge for themselves these first attempts. 

Let’s now consider how this all fits in with the concept of Necro-Media.  To begin with, the app itself is such an example. The app allows the user to take digital photographs with their phone and turn them into digital representations of old Polaroid pictures. The Mass Media technology allows the user to imitate the codes and conventions of an earlier medium, Polaroid Photography.  What I attempted in my experiment was to use other software to imitate the app.  In one sense I was just doing the same thing as the app, so that is an example of the same type of Necro-Media.  In another way, I was applying the principle to the app itself, by trying to emulate the Polamatic app’s features, including the use of dirt/scratches/folds and colourful text font.  The final compositions are Necro-Media of Necro-Media. 

The Steppin’ Out title for the first composition, brought to mind the classic jazz/swing standard, Steppin’ Out With My Baby, composed by Irving Berlin in 1948 and first performed by Fred Astaire in the movie, Easter Parade.  I selected the 1993 video of Tony Bennet ‘s rendition  of the song.

The music video was very successful at the time of its release. Helping to bring Bennett to the attention of a much younger generation, it established him as an elder statesman of a passing generation of entertainers.  It formed a bridge bridge between very different times. We can see this video composition as both a homage to the past, and as an example of Necro-Media. 

The first obvious  component is the use of B&W to emulate the old classic Fred & Ginger  movie musicals of the 1930s.  The choice of wardrobe combines the Fred & Ginger style with elements of the contemporary look of when the video was released.  The choice of camera angles, distances and staging also plays homage to the past. The mix of the older tap dancer ( could not find his name ) and the younger contemporary black dancers widens the target audience, while acknowledging the past and visually reflecting how much has changed in both the American entertainment industry & society. 

As the technology advances, the new medium will consume the older medium, turning it into content. This is both figuratively and literally true in this video. Besides all the aesthetic imitation and use of codes and conventions, take note of what is included in the limited number of props.  Included were, the early phonograph with the horn amplifier, the large records, the microphones included both 1930s nightclub that Bennett walks up to begin singing and a close-up of a radio studio microphone.  The later goes with the old radio being tuned .  The other technological prop was the fan typical of the early movies as a symbol of emotional heat and cool music.  

Mass Media technology and the forms of media  it generates are constantly changing and adapting. New art forms are created and old one respond to the impact, some adapt while others disappear, still others become specialty forms of art and communication.  The recent changes in the WordPress Reader demonstrate this, but that is for another post.  So now I will conclude & post this analysis; let’s  see  how it looks on the Reader. 

Toronto teen uses app to give visually-impaired a new look at the world | Toronto Star

Mass Media technology creates opportunities and can fill social needs  when appropriate problem solving is applied to daily living conditions to the whole  range of society.

Anmol Tukrel, a 17-year-old grade 12 student at Holy Trinity School in Richmond Hill, has created an app that helps visually impaired people identify objects and text. Tukrel’s free iPhone app, iDentifi, allows users to take a photo of virtually any object, and then describes that item in great detail back to the user. People can also take photos of text and have it read back to them, in one of 27 languages. Tukrel hopes it makes every day tasks — like picking out the can of pop you want — easier for people who are visually impaired.

Source: Toronto teen uses app to give visually-impaired a new look at the world | Toronto Star

Un tango à Paris and The Goat: Constructing a Reality

 Un tango à Paris — Maria Filali & Özgür Karahan

 

Mass Media constructs realities based on specific sets of codes and conventions determined by the nature of each Medium. The constructed reality of cinema derives from photography. Photography makes use of line, perspective, framing, light & shadow, camera angle and distance and in choice of monochrome or colour. Cinematography add motion, both the subject’s and that of camera’s. The nature of illusion of sequential motion that is created through film allows for editing of shots.

 

 

The Goat (1921) , a Buster Keaton two reeler ( A short silent film, of around twenty minutes running time. ),  plays with the construction of reality in multiple ways to create mistaken identity and confusion. Buster’s character is mistaken for the criminal because of a wrongly posted photograph. Mannequins are mistaken for people and a real Indian is mistaken for a cigar shop statue. Cuts and point of view alter the reality in this early Keaton classic.

The Goat 1921 - Buster Keaton

In Un tango à Paris, reality bends with colour and monochrome slipping  into a tango dance. Director Thomas Baspeyras,   admirably makes use of fades, perspectives, camera distance and angles to portray the transformation in time & place as the couple dances. With only two  GH3s cameras and assistant Marie Astier , he found editing the reality of the dancing challenging. Tangos are often improvised and lack of a specific choreographed  piece and this challenged creating a sense of continuity when editing.

 

 

Dancers (Links) : Maria Filali  and Özgür Karahan

 

 

Mediated Matter – Mass Media, Organic Growth & Modified Environments

 

 

Mass Media constructs realities based on specific sets of codes and conventions determined by the nature of each Medium.  Advances in media technology combined with new approaches in physical design and manufacturing means that these constructed  realities can now manifest in the material environment.  When these constructed realities emulate organic forms and growth, a potential hybrid of virtual reality and the physical environment has the potential to come into existence.

 

 

 

The Mediated Matter group focuses on Nature-inspired Design and Design-inspired Nature. Conducting research at the intersection of computational design, digital fabrication, materials science and synthetic biology and apply that knowledge to design across scales from the micro scale to the building scale,  they create biologically inspired and engineered design fabrication tools and technologies and structures aiming to enhance the relation between natural and man-made environments. Their research field, entitled Material Ecology, integrates computational form-finding strategies with biologically inspired fabrication. This design approach enables the mediation between objects and environment; between humans and objects; and between humans and environment. Their goal is to enhance the relation between natural and man-made environments by achieving high degrees of design customization and versatility, environmental performance integration and material efficiency.


 

Seeking to establish new forms of design and novel processes of material practice at the intersection of computer science, material engineering, design and ecology, with broad applications across multiple scales, they are  breaking through the wall between Media constructed realities and  the physical environment, emulating organic growth & forms in a virtual environment and then replicating these as physical environmental elements.