Week 14 | Bridge to Next Semester

  • What is it that I am trying to investigate in my media practice? What I am most passionate about?

My driving passion, and the reason I enrolled at The New School, is to investigate the changes that have taken place as media companies have transformed their production and content selection processes.  How have the roles of editors, producers, designers, reporters, and content creators changed with the widespread adoption of data analytics software? Is content being created to fulfill the business objectives of the company or to inform the public? Or both? To what extent does the awareness of the business objectives drive creative decision making?  

  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?

Weaknesses: I have a hard time seeing how types of stories can transcend mediums (video, audio, text, photo) to communicate their message. I feel limited by the technical limitations of the tools used to tell stories.  This is a blockage that can be overcome with more experience.

Strengths: Respect for the organization required in the creative process;  ability to accept feedback; ability to ask for help when something is not going right.

  • What are the core elements missing from my practice? How will I obtain them?

Developing a script and then adhering to it in order to achieve the objective.  This can be adjusted as I have gain more experience developing stories and concepts for different mediums.

  • What was my preferred media before the course? After the course?

I worked as a primarily audio producer for seven years so audio is the form I find most comfortable but after this course I am interested in video editing; how to use various shots, archival footage, and music to weave together a story that makes sense.

  • What is the next topic, theme, or question I would like to investigate in my next project?

Political mannerisms.  How do media elites and politicians use their bodies to convey authority?  What types of body language are common among those who run for office and report on politics?

  • What is something I learned in this class that I could teach to someone else?

Editing video in Premiere.  It was daunting at first but the key to a decent edit is having quality material that can be cut down and refined.

  • What is something I will try to do next semester that I have never done before?

Gain a more thorough grasp of the extents and limitations of technical products that I can use to express and create some of the ideas I’ve had about urban design.

  • What is something I will try to do every day or every week that I did not do before this course?

Deeply analyze the types of video selected for newscasts, films, documentaries and scripted television.  A closer analysis of the types of shots and sequences used to capture moments.

  • What is a creative project that I would do with a budget of $150 million?

A thorough documentary exploring the 2016 election.

  • How could I do the same project with a budget of $150?

I’ve started weaving together downloadable videos set to music and archival audio as an exploration of the myths surrounding the events of 2016 and the consequences of attention obsessed media elites.

 

Week 10 | Designing the Interactive Space, Part I

FAKERY:  All The News That Gets Misused.

Problem:   There is so much fake news out there! How is news faked? Why do people take time to write and produce fake news? Why do some legit news sources publish fake news? Is there such a thing as objective truth?

‘FAKERY’ will collect the most audacious examples of fake news and analyze the content for how it hijacks the six basic emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise) to garner attention and spread misinformation.

FAKERY aims to collect, analyze and explain how content is designed to hijack the six basic emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise) to garner attention.  FAKERY will focus on the headline, photo, video and the language within the information to reveal how the information has been mischaracterized.  Each post will be a case study analyzing the emotions and issues used to persuade and misinform.

FAKERY is not a ‘truth detector,’ or a Snopes.com spinoff, though it will borrow elements of those styles to reveal false, inaccurate or misleading information.  FAKERY’s aim will be as a repository of the tactics and types of content that misinform and go viral.

USER PERSONAS:

ANITA

About: 

  • 25 years old.
  • Works as a desk researcher at major news publication.  Is covering a breaking news story for her organization and is seeing a video on Twitter that might reveal information.

Motivation: 

  • Is the video reliable? Who created it? Has it been used before? Is the information new? Has it been vetted by other media organizations?

Core Needs: 

  • Accurate, definitive information regarding the video content, it’s source, and it’s reliability.

Pain Points: 

  • No reliable Google search data regarding the video or the incident.
  • Clickbait, ad-driven sites like Heavy.com have proven to be ill-informed and unreliable.

FAKERY Solution: 

  • An article detailing the unverified nature of the video, how similar videos have been used in the past to stoke misinformation and fear.

 

JOHN

About: 

  • 34 years old.
  • Works as a sales account representative at a consumer finance firm.
  • Fitness and nutrition are important

Motivation: 

  • Has seen information posted on Facebook about the use of glyphosate in food products and how it is linked to cancer.
  • The list includes dozens of products that John likes to eat.  John is confused.

Core Needs: 

  • John wants to know if his breakfast cereal will give him cancer. He has read through several websites but hasn’t found conclusive information.

Pain Points: 

  • Google search results are all over the place.
  • Several websites are more interested in selling him supplements than answering his question.

FAKERY Solution: 

  • Fakery will provide an article examining the history of the glyphosate content and reveal the motivations and questionable credentials behind the people pushing the misinformation.

 

LOU

About: 

  • 53 years old.
  • Works as an operations manager at a wholesale processing warehouse.
  • Has a child with addiction issues.

Motivation: 

  • Finds the information regarding different treatment options confusing.
  • Looking for unbiased information

Core Needs: 

  • Find reliable information
  • Doesn’t want to be duped or tricked into selecting the best treatment

Pain Points: 

  • Google search results are all over the place.
  • Inability to determine the motivations of treatment centers

FAKERY Solution: 

  • An article warning about the misinformation around treatment options, describing the tactics for profit treatment centers use to lure unsuspecting families in need of help. FAKERY will provide vetted, medically proven resources for various types of treatment with links to respected institutions.

Week 9 | Wabi-Sabi

What is wabi-sabi and why is it difficult to define?

Wabi sabi is a feeling, not an emotion, or worldview, or even a definitive set of rules governing aesthetic.  It is difficult to define because it embraces eternal permanence and constant change.  An object in nature eventually succumbs to the ravages of nature. That doesn’t make the object less desirable, it makes it more compatible with the environment.

How is wabi-sabi different from modernism? How is it the same?

The terms Wabi-sabi and modernism both denote elements of architecture, style, design, philosophy and art.  Both are minimalist, seeking to reveal the structures that support their existence.  They’re also breaks from long held traditional notions of style.

Their difference is in how they reveal themselves.  Modernism is public, wabi-sabi private. Modernism encourages manmade objects, wabi-sabi opts for natural forms and objects.  Modernism seeks a utopia of permanence while wabi-sabi accepts the fate of natural decay.

What is the metaphysical basis of wabi-sabi? What are its spiritual values?

This one stumped me, but Leonard Koren defines it as “things that are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness.”  To me that sounds as if an object, arrangement, or design is intended to appear out of ‘nothing,’ and be at peace with the eventual state of disintegration.  Wabi-sabi accepts that the universe is in a constant state of motion.

What is the wabi-sabi state of mind? What are its moral precepts?

The state of mind is to recognize the emotions and chaos in the everyday environment and to   remove all that is unnecessary by  ‘treading lightly’ on the planet and ‘letting things be.’  Wabi-sabi is to be considerate of the natural state of constant change and recognize that preoccupations with ‘status, power and luxury’ are distractions.

What are the material qualities of wabi-sabi?

  • Irregular:  Objects and patterns may have a ‘broken’ or unfinished look.
  • Intimate:  Places and things that reduce the physical size of the universe.
  • Unpretentious: Wabi-sabi objects are not in need of outside affirmation.
  • Earthy: Materials that highlight the raw textures in their natural form.
  • Murky: Acceptance of the discolorations and foggy formations.  Colors that are light mixtures of black, grey, brown and blue.
  • Simple: Restraint in arranging objects, patterns and colors.  Constructing the place and form to make it appear obvious and open to exploration.

How can I apply the concepts of wabi-sabi to my own life/work/creative process/way of thinking?

A finite state of ordered, logical, aesthetic perfection is unattainable.  The natural processes of wear and decay must be considered when conceptualizing any design, even digital.  Planning for the eventual decay of things is critical when choosing materials, colors, patterns.

 

The Getty Museum perched on the hills overlooking Brentwood is a monument to late 90’s minimalism.  Designed by Richard Meier, it is a 100 acre campus of disconnected buildings featuring art from the collections of John Paul Getty.  Between the buildings are small water features that elicit the appreciation of the cosmic order espoused by wabi-sabi.  These intimate spaces are made of roughly textured limestone that has changed color and shape in the 20 years since the Getty first opened to the public. The smell of wet limestone, the sound of the water accumulating and rushing over these rocks is a reminder of the constant state of change and the inevitable disintegration of space.  These are quiet, intimate spaces that offer a reprieve from the steel, glass and aluminum buildings housing Greek, Roman and Egyptian  antiquities; the objects that speak to Getty’s wealth and taste for the unobtainable.  These are my favorite spaces.