Year: 2016

narrative reframing

This essay focuses on the first season of the Serial podcast, analyzing the narrative approach used in Sarah Koenig’s investigation of an old murder case. In covering the story, Koenig managed to correct cultural biases/ judgements inherent in the original criminal trial, and revealed a separation between truth and fact in the case, resulting in an upcoming retrial of the person convicted. Much of this was achieved through various techniques and aesthetics used in her reframing of the case narrative. Using the lens of theorists Palmenfelt and Jennings, I hope to illuminate the narrative approaches used, through an ethnographic analysis of aspects of the narration, and through examining theories around oral storytelling traditions employed in the podcast series. Serial’s Season 1 (referred to as ‘Serial’ throughout) is an episodic podcast first available late in Fall 2014. The podcast covers Sarah Koenig’s journalistic investigation into the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a high school student in Baltimore, Maryland. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed was convicted of first degree murder the following year and given a life …

reclaiming identity

Of the myriad of impacts from colonization is the fragmentation of cultural/ ancestral knowledge. At the intersection of technology, identity and creativity for several media artists from indigenous and displaced communities, is the reconstruction and perpetuation of cultural of knowledge. Contemporary media artists from these communities are using emerging technologies to explore, recapture and revitalise cultural knowledge and spiritual connections to reclaim identity and preserve this knowledge for future generations. This essay focuses on projects by Mi’gmaq-Canadian artist and professor, Dr. Lila Pine and Afro-Caribbean-American artist, Vashti Harrison; looking at their use of technology to reclaim indigenous knowledge and to (re)construct identity.    Linguistic Visualizations Dr. Lila Pine is a Mi’gmaq-Canadian new media artist and professor based in Toronto. She combines oral and scholarly traditions, sociolinguistics and media making into her work, to deepen the understanding of the ways we ‘speak’ and ‘know’ (RTA).   Dr. Pine’s “Imag(in)ing Indigeneity in Language” project digitally captures visualizations of linguistic sound. The intention is to uncover visual differences in linguistic structures as a means to explore/ convey impacts …

angry inuk

Just attended the Gala Opening of “Angry Inuk” at the ImagiNative Film Festival. A revealing documentary of how organizations like Greenpeace have profited off (intentionally) misinformed activism around the issue of Canadian Inuit groups killing seal pups… hunting white coats has been illegal in Canada for over 30 years. Inuit communities subsist on older seals, caribou, wolf, etc for food, clothing, and other household uses… bi-products of which are sold commercially on the international market to support these communities and preserve their traditional ways of life. Since the 60s, animal rights organizations have (admittedly) exploited the image of the seal pup to garner millions in fundraising revenue. They admit seal pups are the best image to use for people to loosen the purse strings in the interests of animal rights. Seal species in the Canadian north aren’t even on the endangered species list. In fact their population has grown exponentially in the last few decades.     The European ban on seal products, which continues to economically devastate the Inuit peoples, relies on a western assumption that there is …

where control ends and freedom begins…

This essay explores the permeability of space within technologically constructed realities, in the quest of finding where control ends and freedom begins (for an individual or subculture). The role technology plays within the constructed realities represented in “The Truman Show” and “Neuromancer,” points to media (models, spaces, content, interactions) as being purveyors of cultural control. The concept of ‘culture’ is defined as “an ensemble of beliefs and practices that form a given culture, function as a pervasive technology of control, a set of limits within which social behaviour must be contained, a repertoire of models to which individuals must conform” (Greenblatt 225). In this discussion, technology has two functions: a technical role in the construction of spaces and the impact the space has on the people who use it. This will be explored in the constructed realities evident in ¨The Truman Show¨ and ¨Neuromancer.¨ The attention to detail in the crafting of “The Truman Show,” enables the audience to peel away layers like an onion, in its examination of the manipulation vs. complicity debate in …

takashi murakami: owning the spectrum

“Japanese people accept that art and commerce will be blended; they are surprised by the rigid and pretentious Western hierarchy of ‘high art.’ In the West, it certainly is dangerous to blend the two because people will throw all sorts of stones. But that’s okay— I’m ready with my hard hat.” ~ Takashi Murakami While market size and sales volumes are usually not requirements in looking at an artist’s work, Murakami’s intent to blur boundaries between fine arts and commercial products, alongside the increasingly mainstream demand of his work, necessitates an analysis of the business strategies and models he employs. This should be accompanied by an understanding of how aesthetically and conceptually he crafts his work as an artist, a movement and a brand. Murakami’s approach is far from textbook in how he operates his artistic practice as an international business; how he combines elements of Japanese fine art and popular culture and makes it meaningful to both high art audiences and consumers worldwide. In the Artforum article, “Economies of Scale: Takashi Murakami’s Technics,” the …

how art has evolutionary value…?

“Without the art of storytelling, without the human impulse to catch and hold the attention of others through narratives with expectation-violating, larger-than-life powers, religion could not have arisen [..] Art has played a central function in human lives, not only in itself, but also in giving rise to religion and then reinforcing, through augmenting the impact of ritual, religion’s power to cement group cohesion.”1 In this paper, I use anthropological viewpoints to unpack the task of substantiating how art has evolutionary value. At the centre of this ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, (“Does art have evolutionary value?”) lies the unacknowledged role belief plays in answering it. Drawing on the work of Ellen Dissanayake and others, this essay will illuminate the evolutionary value of art in relation to the core ideas of human adaptation around culture and evolutionary theory.    In the book, “The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art and Evolution,” author Stephen Davies describes the role of art as “a cultural product resting on evolved capacities, that lead us to be creators, transmitters, preservers, and incremental improvers …

boundarylines

A podcast experiment… created from a series of student interviews on the campus of Ryerson University (Toronto) in autumn 2015. CREDITS studio interview / Julia Walters, (Immigrant & Settlement Studies) interviewees / Dana Dwaik (Journalism), Palma Ghatti (Architecture), Mosaur Motage, Ryan Walsh, Olivia Maeder (Journalism), Aziz Alaschquar (Engineering) host, producer, editing / Janine Ramlochan (New Media) Related reading a socio-determinist critique…