ECA: John Cage – Lecture on Nothing

ECA: John Cage - Lecture on Nothing

ECA: John Cage – Lecture on Nothing

A comic written, drawn and coloured digitally by me, detailing the many ideas and aspects I took from a lecture that was supposedly about  ‘nothing’.

References: [link]

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MNC: The good, the bad, and the terrifying.

The Internet has been an important part of my life for quite a long time now. Which is a funny thing to say, considering the World Wide Web was made public only 10 years ago. When I was around 7 years old, our family bought a clunky, square laptop with an 64MB hard drive running Windows 98 (which no longer exists anymore). Computer technology has certainly come a long way since then. I currently have a Macintosh desktop running OS X (with terabytes of space), and I honestly feel like I couldn’t live without it – which is part of the problem with modern network culture. We love it – and we can’t escape it. Allow me to elaborate on this.

In the late 1980’s, the Internet was invented for what we believe were military and research purposes. During these many years, the agenda for this technology has done a complete 180 degree turn. Obviously, the Internet is still used by government institutions and for researchers to share information, however, everyday people are using it for their own conveniences. Over 82% of Australians had access to the World Wide Web in 2012, and the statistics can only have increased since then. There are many reasons why this amount of people are using the Internet nowadays – from entertainment to research to social networking. I know that personally, I use it for all of the above. Websites like Facebook allow us to interact with each other with the click of a button, and search engines such as Google can tell us basically anything we want to know. It’s far too convenient. Businesses, schools and other institutions are using the Internet every day – for example, most of the enrolments, bill paying, assignments and readings at La Trobe university are done on it’s Learning Management System. All students are connected to other students and teachers via forums and email. It’s quite the efficient academic network.  However, it is physically impossible to attend the University without accessing the Internet at some point. It’s great that we’re able to use this technology, but it’s worrisome that we literally cannot function without it.

Apple computers seem to be the ‘in thing’ at the moment, and we know this is true because there’s an Apple store in almost every major Australian shopping centre (and often they are packed with people too!). Apple earns billions of dollars a year, thanks to it’s credulous customer network of first-world citizens. The question really is: why do we do it? We give in to the commercialism and throw money at Apple like a pack of mindless technology zombies. It’s essentially become the norm for us. We give them exactly what they want, because we consumers are hungry for technology. We love the fact that we can meet people, discuss shared interests, learn new things, and enjoy ourselves to the fullest because of online networking. It really is fantastic.

Apple is clever though, because in the past few years, everything has become linked. When you buy a Mac or iPhone and create an Apple ID (which is necessary), the system asks you to ‘link Facebook to your account’. Once you’ve done that, you can ‘link Instagram‘, ‘link Twitter, and ‘link YouTube‘ – which I should add, is no longer a choice if you’re on Gmail. In 2013, Google decided that everyone owning either a Gmail or YouTube account, would suddenly be connected to a Google+ account (which as one can imagine, brought some incredibly mixed opinions). This is a perfect example of how just by existing online, we’re being forced and persuaded to participate in network culture. Websites like Facebook have algorithms that track our every move – which is why the ads that come up on the side of the screen are often relative to what we type about and ‘like’. It’s scary. The Internet knows every move we make.

The fact is, that in our modern world, we are becoming more and more obsessed with the Internet and network culture. Even if we wanted to avoid it – we couldn’t. This is the most terrifying thing of all.

MNC: Hypertext on TV

There’s clearly a lot of ‘hypertexting’ in modern media. Just in film and television alone, there are references here, there and everywhere. Obvious examples are the Simpsons and Seinfeld – both shows often have episodes that reference well known films, books and pop culture. I’m thinking that it’s the same for Loony Tunes. I don’t remember that much about what actually happened in the many episodes I watched as a kid, but I do remember Bugs and Daffy and all the rest dressing up as well known characters and icons. Now that I think about it, I remember Tweety pretending to be Sherlock Holmes at some point. Of course as a kid, most of these references would’ve flown over my head. But it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a bucket-load of this stuff on television these days.

ECA: An exhibition to discuss

ACMI currently has an exhibition named ‘Screen Worlds’, which explores the story of ‘film, television and visual culture’. The exhibition is both visually appealing and interactive, with lots of bright lights and buttons to press. The thing that I first noticed when walking in was a few people playing Mario Kart Wii projected onto a large screen. Surrounding it was all sorts of new and old gaming platforms – which being a gamer myself, brought me a nostalgic feeling and many memories of my childhood.  If one wasn’t at the exhibition to learn, they could easily sit there and play games for 24 hours. Fortunately, it was detailed with signage explaining the gaming systems and their history. It was interesting playing a Commodore 64 game considering I had never seen one in person, let alone use the old fashioned joystick to move the characters in their very limited movement.

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Not only were there props from iconic movies Moulin Rouge and Pirates of the Caribbean (to which I may have freaked out a little), but there were the original concept art and 3D models for the Australian video game ‘Ty the Tasmanian Tiger’. To most people, this may not seem like a big deal, but for me: someone who played this game over and over as a child, it was a VERY big deal. Something interesting about this part of the exhibit was a mesmerising rotating carousel in a room with strobe lights with what seemed to be robotically moving figurines from Ty. However, once the strobe lights stopped, all you could see was a display of figurines rotating around – the ‘robotics’ had never been there in the first place – it was an illusion.

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Moulin Rouge! (2001)

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Ty the Tasmanian Tiger (2002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t realise the impact this exhibition made on me until I entered a square room with a film playing on 3 walls – like surround sound, but with video too. It was intense – like we were in the film ourselves. It occurred to me that this is potentially what the future of cinema could be like. We’ve come so far from our old Mario Bros games on small 2D screens, to be able to to be physically surrounded by a high quality film. It’s slightly scary, but also an incredible thing. I would recommend this exhibition to anyone and everyone with a love or interest in screens of any kind.

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*Photos all taken by me at ACMI Screen Worlds

MNC: Slacktivism

So today I learned a  new word. ‘Slacktivism’ – which I believe to essentially mean ‘slack activism’. It’s quite clever, actually. But it’s amusing how much of this is actually going on. A good example is the constant Facebook posts that say ‘Like if you think this is wrong!’ with a picture of a dog in a cage or children dying in third world countries. (To be honest I can’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it – thousands of people ‘liking’ a sad picture, as if it’ll actually do something.)

We talked about ‘Kony 2012’ in this discussion. I remember this phase of popular culture very well. It almost went above and beyond slacktivism – we were so close to actually doing something for once – until we found out that it wasn’t even all factual. First the video was put online (I found it on Tumblr), then it went viral (I found it on Facebook and 500 times more on Tumblr), then the world outside the Internet knew about it (my media teacher found it and forced us to discuss it) and suddenly it was this HUGE THING. I even remember ‘Stop Kony 2012’ posters stuck up on walls around the school and graffiti around car-parks of local shopping centers.

Although i don’t remember much of the actual video. Funny that.

MNC: Not solving world issues

So we’ve discussed the fact that we know about the many problems the world has, and we have the Internet – which is a possible solution, yet we don’t do anything about it. For example there’s the fact that companies as rich as Apple don’t pay any tax, yet the everyday person pays a hell of a lot. We haven’t done anything about this. We were posed the question ‘WHY?’. Why don’t we do anything? Why are we sitting here hardly even talking about it when we have the ability to do something? There were a lot of philosophical and clever answers presented as to the reason why, but to be honest I think it’s a lot more simple than that. (note: massive generalisations ahead.)

The human race is lazy.

Regular people from the modern world are too concerned with their own everyday life to put the the common good at the top of their list. Even if we know it benefits us. We’d rather not get into things that are complicated, and we’d rather not risk any trouble it may cause us. It’s easier to ignore it. We have this defeatist attitude that says ‘we can’t do anything about it’ so ‘leave it to the people with power’, even though we know very well that as a whole, we actually DO have the ability and technology. We’re lazy. I honestly think it’s as simple as that.

MNC: Hyperlinking

[This] is a hyperlink. WARNING: It might be a cat.

How to hyperlink: In a new post, write wome words, select it, click the ‘link’ button, and paste the URL into the box that comes up.

Obligatory first post!

I may as well be lame and introduce myself here.

Maddy. 18. Melbourne. La Trobe University. Bachelor of Media.

I created this blog for the purpose of said Media course.

I like video games and sparkly things. That’s it.