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I was curious to get some feedback on an idea I want to explore in my final paper.

I’m going to continue looking at newzealand.com and semiotics.  One of the papers I’m referencing talks quite a bit about how someone who is a ‘tourist’ claims to seek the authentic but the authentic is unintelligible to them because it is so far removed from their normal lives that what they really end up seeking out is an imitation.  So to explain with an example, an American visiting Paris might want to see an authentic representation of Paris, but the places they go will have French people speaking English with a French accent.  If it were really authentic, they would speak French which could be unintelligible to the tourist.  So tourist seek out authentic experiences, but only so far as they can understand them, which may mean that they are not truly authentic.

So what I want to look at is how newzealand.com uses semiotics to create a merging of horizons.  If they presented a truly authentic representation of New Zealand, it might not be successful.  However by using semiotics to create a less than authentic representation they can merge horizons and appeal to people.

If anyone has feedback that would be appreciated.

Hey everyone, I will start a dropbox or google doc if people want to share semiotics sources.  I am using semiotics on my final paper and I would be happy to share what I have.  Just post your email if you want to join.  I’ll probably start it as a dropbox unless someone has a preference.

I was curious if anyone could help me with some diagetic/non-diagetic elements I am having some confusion with.  I get the basic idea but I thought of a couple of particular examples that I’m not sure I understand.

I understand that non-diagetic sounds come from outside the storyworld.  Recently I’ve watched some episodes of Luck on HBO, which is done by Michael Mann.  In his work he often completely silences the storyworld and inserts music instead.  This is pretty common in his work.  I know the music is non-diagetic, but what about the complete absence of the storyworld sounds?  Is that non-diagetic also?  And what kind of message might someone try to portray with this technique?

My other example comes from specific scenes in LOST or Walking Dead.  When a character whispers something to another character, and the audience is completely left out of the loop as to what was said.  Is this non-diagetic?  It doesn’t seem so.

Any clarification on these would be appreciated.

I’ll try not to spoil anything in the game but if you’re worried you might want to wait to read this post.  All of the stuff I talk about happens almost immediately in the game though.

So we have discussed how games have taken some storytelling techniques from movies.  Over spring break I started playing Mass Effect 3 and almost immediately noticed a technique they used that was also used in the movie Schindler’s List.

Not to spoil anything in the game but early on you run into a child that your character wants to save, but cannot.  You are haunted by this throughout the game, or at least as far as I’ve gotten.  What was interesting though was that throughout all of the destruction happening and people dying around him, the main character focused on that 1 child only.

If you have seen Schindler’s List, Spielberg used a similar technique with the girl in the red coat scene(s).  Again there were many people dying all around but Schindler was focused on this one child.

Hey everyone I was curious to get some input on the topic I was thinking of doing for the final paper.  The interactive technology I was going to look at are a few of the food apps that are out there.  Things such as Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Open Table, Google places, Local Eats, and Foodspotting.  What I am looking at is the kind of behavior they promote and whom they are geared towards.  I’m looking at healthy and sustainable eating habits.  I have worked some on this with Gopi already in a different context.

I’m not sure what techniques I might be using to critique these with yet.  I haven’t started to dive into the topic.

I was curious what everyone’s thoughts on this were.  I’m also kind of on the fence if I should perhaps deal with only 1 of these apps, or deal with them as a group.  I’m not sure if dealing with them as a group will be too much or not.  For what I want to look at I prefer to deal with them as a group.  Any feedback is appreciated.

Hey all,  if there are other people that are using semiotics besides me, I thought it might be worthwhile to pool our resources.  We all have the same readings available from the class, but I thought maybe we could share other readings we find from non-class sources.

If anyone is interested let me know and I’ll set up and share a dropbox folder.  Just leave your email.

I’m trying to figure out what topic to write about for the pre-writing assignment.  I’ve narrowed it down to two things but I was curious to see what input people might have about them.

The first one is Waze.  It is a gps/social networking app that Marie showed me.  This is the website for it, also it is a free iphone app, not sure about android.  http://www.waze.com/

The other one I was looking at was http://www.newzealand.com

As for the techniques I’m using, I think I’m going to use the artifact perspective, maybe semiotics for the technique to critique.

So I’ve been thinking about making this post the past couple of weeks.  I mostly curious what everyone’s thoughts are on the topic.

What I’ve been thinking about is that as a culture we seem to love technology.  When we look at movies though, we often portray technology as good only to a certain point, then it becomes not good (I don’t want to say evil).  If you look at movies like Terminator, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or The Matrix you can see this trend of how technology is portrayed.  It is this great and useful thing until we push it too far, then it becomes an adversary.

In thinking of the Terminator movies in particular I see this trend.  I have two critiques of the movie and I’m not sure which might be more accurate.

1 critique is that if technology becomes too advance it could usurp the human’s place as the top lifeform, and become an adversary.  So the implication is that we should be wary of technology.  It is good as long as it serves us, mindlessly.  Should it become intelligent though, that might not be a good thing.

2. The other critique that I would levy says that maybe this movie is a critique against humans.  We like the technology when it is a mindless servant.  Once it becomes more “human-like” though and develops intelligence equal or surpassing ours that we have an adversary that we will either destroy or will destroy us.

So I’m curious as to what other people make of these movies in way of a critique and what that says about our culture.  Do we fear a rival for the spot of being the most intelligent being on the planet?  Do we secretly fear technology?  Is attempting to create another form of intelligence a bad thing?

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I just wanted to share some of the highlights from the cultural design talk Erik Dahl gave at the interaction conference.  There is supposed to be a place where you can download the slideshows from each presenter, so once I find that if Erik’s is there I’ll share it.  Hopefully this doesn’t seem to disjoint, and maybe Marie can add more from her notes in the next few days, but here it goes.

He began by saying that technology affect the culture of our lives.  He gave an example of the “phone stack” game, where you go to lunch, everyone stacks their phones, and the first person to touch one has to buy lunch.  This type of game highlights how technology has changed this thing that hung on our walls to something we have a dependence on now.

He continued to talk about how a good design(product) should be a window that let’s you experience life more richly.  He was advocating that we need to use culture in our designs so that they become not just things we have, but things that enrich our lives.

He had 3 building blocks of culture which were:

1. Patterns- these let us see culture, they are they form or syntax of culture

2. Stories- culture is a set of stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves.  Stories are sense-making.  They tell who we are, and how the world works.  Stories help us understand culture, they are the semantics of culture.

3.  Interpretation- we need to make complex connections, interpretations help us know, they are the pragmatics of culture.

He also talked about how culture is generative and that culture is a type of performance.  Culture is a behavior.

The idea of enculturation is that we learn culture through doing.  So if we read a fashion magazine and pick up clothing tips, then dress in that way, that is a form of enculturation.

Meaning making is culture.  So using a cultural lens allows us as designers to create what culture needs and what world we want to live in.

So all of this is just some of the notes I got from Erik’s talk which was quite good.   There is a ton I missed though.  Feel free to comment or ask questions if something isn’t clear from that.

So I think I might be missing something but I was doing the Geiger reading and something popped into my head.  The reading was talking about the same concept we have been discussing in class, that a film can have deep levels of meaning that reflect historical and cultural ideas of the time.

My question kind of ties into the Japanese wacky toy example we were talking about in class, but if something is from another culture, are we ill equipped to properly critique it?

I had an example, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is a Swedish book, Swedish film, and American film.  I have read the book and seen the American version of the film, but did not watch the Swedish version.  So out of those 3 examples of the same content, am I only well equipped to critique the American film since it is the one that will most likely align to my cultural knowledge?

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