The Shape of Things

23 May

Often our interaction with media, historically,  can be an isolating experience. Ironic for a tool that is supposed to connect us through communication can often do the opposite. This said, new media is thought is be more interactive and especially tools like Web 2.0 for example are often bottom up sources that many can contribute to and produce. The users here as we have seen can become the producers. The state of things though as Keith Armstrong in his article on networked practice often sees the audience, even as users who produce can become ultimately passive. Counter to this Armstrong believes that to avoid this kind of slump interdisciplinary collaboration is vital. He sees that in order for new media to actually be that we must have knowledge of the “homo-ecological implications” (Armstrong, 2005) of our practices that involve media of any kind. We, both producers and users, must move towards an “embodied and networked” world that is both “ecosophical and praxis-led” (Armstrong, 2005). Meaning it is an ecology that is embodied and done by the act of doing. So as to stave off complacency and promote action, production and diversity entailed.

The big issue with mass media as it stood, or can stand, is that a sense of community is lost. Armstrong sees that in order to reinstate a sense of community, in ourselves and much as with others, is to offer users of media a place and a role in which “dynamic, interlocking systems” (Armstrong, 2005) can be formed. Armstrong sees that media experiences must now be interactive and must ask questions of the individual in order for the individual to be a part of the process of the communication. Individuals must be involved in the collaborative an ever-changing and shifting nature of new media as we work towards a sense of a networked ecology, that can exist electronically. All this should, and must in a new networked ecology, “seep into our consciousness, and our everyday existence” (Raqs Media Collective, 2005). Meaning that as we process media, we then seek to distribute amongst a network and this works its way into the nature of the experience. We then grow from the media we consume and in turn the world around also flourishes. Armstrong sees that this works in counter to the experience of a media that merely “feeds us… information that we may often feel powerless to process or engage with.” (Armstrong, 2005) What we consume from the media in Armstrong’s opinion must be something that is connection-making and communicative, allowing the users presence to feature and relate to. Through “located, engaged praxis that avodied didacticism” (Armstrong, 2005), Armstrong curated, along with Zelijko Markov a furniture designer, a work called “Bodyshelf” which allows audience to engage with the work with their whole body. Inspired by Suzuki Theatre work where the “energetic center” of the actor puts into motion their relationships with others, the audience and other actors. This allows, as we see clearly in new media, for multiple process of dialogue, exchange and transfer. The combining of the three here is key. In this we audience create their own “transmission and reception paths” (Armstrong, 2005), that inspire a ecologically driven system, but a ecologically driven and networked way of thinking and being.

Reflecting on the course and the tutorials this approach, or moving towards this approach, has been key to the success of collaboration and learning processes. All individuals must interact in a ecologically driven fashion in order of a network to emerge that actually creates. The moments of connection and engagement with the work and with each other is incredibly then reflective of new media, and key to our learning and understanding of it.

This kind of productivity and engagement I found in this campaign for Diesel Jeans. Created alongside the team at Champagne Valentine, this collaborative work suggests exciting new pathways for collaboration, which ultimately is the point of the advent of all this new media after all.

Bibliography

Armstrong, Keith (2005) ‘Intimate Transactions: The Evolution of an Ecosophical Networked Practice’, the Fibreculture Journal 7, http://seven.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-047-intimate-transactions-the-evolution-of-an-ecosophical-networked-practice/

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