Posts tagged ‘Media Theory’

[11/2/09 3:03:29 PM] Nelson.Ng: yea
[11/2/09 3:03:32 PM] Nelson.Ng: this guy im reading
[11/2/09 3:03:45 PM] Nelson.Ng: hisĀ  background quite sad
[11/2/09 3:04:16 PM] Nelson.Ng: Czech Jew
[11/2/09 3:04:50 PM] Nelson.Ng: when he moved to London for University
[11/2/09 3:05:13 PM] Nelson.Ng: during WWII
[11/2/09 3:05:22 PM] Nelson.Ng: Nazi Germany took over Czech
[11/2/09 3:05:42 PM] Nelson.Ng: and his parents, grandparents and sister and friends all died in concentration camps
[11/2/09 3:06:07 PM] Nelson.Ng: he escaped to Brazil with his wife
[11/2/09 3:06:23 PM] hc: uh huh
[11/2/09 3:06:26 PM] Nelson.Ng: but he felt like his whole life in his early years had just vanished to thin air
[11/2/09 3:06:32 PM] Nelson.Ng: he had no more purpose in life
[11/2/09 3:06:46 PM] Nelson.Ng: his hometown, Prague, destroyed
[11/2/09 3:06:54 PM] Nelson.Ng: everything he knew and everyone he knew gone
[11/2/09 3:07:12 PM] Nelson.Ng: and it was like starting life anew in a new place
[11/2/09 3:07:19 PM] Nelson.Ng: many times he wanted to commit suicide
[11/2/09 3:10:22 PM] hc: uh huh
[11/2/09 3:10:23 PM] hc: sounds like
[11/2/09 3:10:34 PM] hc: that existtential guy
[11/2/09 3:10:40 PM] hc: mm viktor frankl
[11/2/09 3:10:59 PM] hc: also went through the WW in the concentration camp
[11/2/09 3:11:02 PM] hc: what happened to him now
[11/2/09 3:14:49 PM] Nelson.Ng: yea his writings touch abit on existentialism
[11/2/09 3:14:58 PM] Nelson.Ng: he already passed away
[11/2/09 3:15:20 PM] Nelson.Ng: after many years in Brazil
[11/2/09 3:15:21 PM] Nelson.Ng: like 50 years
[11/2/09 3:15:26 PM] Nelson.Ng: he decided to go back to Europe
[11/2/09 3:15:53 PM] Nelson.Ng: then because of a publication, he got famous overnight
[11/2/09 3:16:05 PM] Nelson.Ng: and then got invited to give lectures around Europe
[11/2/09 3:16:09 PM] Nelson.Ng: by then was already 1980s
[11/2/09 3:16:12 PM] Nelson.Ng: peace had returned
[11/2/09 3:16:38 PM] Nelson.Ng: in 1991, his first time back in Prague since the war, he died in a car crash on the way to a lecture
[11/2/09 3:16:49 PM] Nelson.Ng: his wife survived the accident though
[11/2/09 3:17:38 PM] hc: uh huh
[11/2/09 3:18:13 PM] Nelson.Ng: some of his writings touch on the meaning of life affected by media
[11/2/09 3:18:33 PM] Nelson.Ng: that humanity needs to find a reason to live again
[11/2/09 3:18:49 PM] Nelson.Ng: because the pracitice of ‘writing’ will soon disappear
[11/2/09 3:19:12 PM] Nelson.Ng: and how ‘history’ is a product of writing culture
[11/2/09 3:19:29 PM] Nelson.Ng: once writing vanishes, ‘history’ will also vanish
[11/2/09 3:19:54 PM] hc: uh huh
[11/2/09 3:20:02 PM] Nelson.Ng: its actually not that complicated
[11/2/09 3:20:22 PM] Nelson.Ng: basically, for him, writing is a linear sequence of ideas constructed together to form something
[11/2/09 3:20:33 PM] Nelson.Ng: logical linear sequence
[11/2/09 3:20:47 PM] Nelson.Ng: and so, history is the same thing, linear sequence
[11/2/09 3:21:13 PM] Nelson.Ng: before writing was invented, nothing ‘took place’,
[11/2/09 3:21:20 PM] Nelson.Ng: but everything ‘happened’
[11/2/09 3:21:37 PM] Nelson.Ng: history was just a means of putting events into position, in a logical orderly linear sequence
[11/2/09 3:22:00 PM] hc: orh
[11/2/09 3:22:39 PM] Nelson.Ng: so we have huge history textbooks today that arange for us the sequence of events…but soon, because people will stop seeing value in writing and reading, because of TV and new media, historical consciousness will disappear
[11/2/09 3:22:48 PM] hc: ?
[11/2/09 3:22:49 PM] hc: why
[11/2/09 3:22:57 PM] Nelson.Ng: why will reading vanish?
[11/2/09 3:22:58 PM] hc: behind tv and media is still writing
[11/2/09 3:23:16 PM] Nelson.Ng: not really
[11/2/09 3:23:18 PM] Nelson.Ng: what he means is
[11/2/09 3:24:28 PM] Nelson.Ng: because for him, TV and new media (internet) is not ‘linear’
[11/2/09 3:24:43 PM] Nelson.Ng: storytelling is linear progression of events
[11/2/09 3:24:50 PM] Nelson.Ng: but imagery is non-linear
[11/2/09 3:25:09 PM] Nelson.Ng: internet is even more non-linear, more like a network
[11/2/09 3:25:28 PM] Nelson.Ng: so the way we think is different already today
[11/2/09 3:25:57 PM] Nelson.Ng: for him ‘linear-thinking’ will vanish, which is alreayd happening
[11/2/09 3:26:03 PM] Nelson.Ng: and critical thinking too
[11/2/09 3:26:22 PM] Nelson.Ng: critical thinking meaning breaking down of things for analysis
[11/2/09 3:26:31 PM] Nelson.Ng: but people will accept things as is
[11/2/09 3:26:53 PM] Nelson.Ng: anyway, i havent finished the book yet, so maybe theres alot i still dont understand
[11/2/09 3:28:44 PM] Nelson.Ng: anyway, ‘history’ had always been just a way of framing events together to make sense of it, or to justify some sort of view, or what people call ‘progress’
[11/2/09 3:28:49 PM] hc: orh
[11/2/09 3:28:58 PM] hc: i don’t reallly agree
[11/2/09 3:29:04 PM] Nelson.Ng: regarding?
[11/2/09 3:29:05 PM] hc: but i’m not the one reading
[11/2/09 3:29:16 PM] Nelson.Ng: dont really agree with what
[11/2/09 3:29:19 PM] Nelson.Ng: which part
[11/2/09 3:29:29 PM] hc: that ppl don’t do critical thinking
[11/2/09 3:29:39 PM] hc: don’t do framing anymore
[11/2/09 3:29:52 PM] Nelson.Ng: in a way alot of people dont do it anymore
[11/2/09 3:30:01 PM] Nelson.Ng: writing as a practice is slowly vanishing
[11/2/09 3:30:14 PM] Nelson.Ng: imagine, back then before the invention of the camera, words were used to describe pictures
[11/2/09 3:30:35 PM] Nelson.Ng: but now with the camera, and video, we dont need words anymore
[11/2/09 3:30:38 PM] hc: well but the medium for personal expression is more accessible now
[11/2/09 3:30:44 PM] hc: back then history was written by one guy
[11/2/09 3:30:51 PM] hc: and the commonfolk prob don’t know don’t care
[11/2/09 3:31:09 PM] hc: they have their tales passed down in spoken form, story telling
[11/2/09 3:31:24 PM] hc: and now there’s sms internet
[11/2/09 3:31:31 PM] hc: i think ppl don’t talk as much
[11/2/09 3:31:38 PM] Nelson.Ng: mm wait
[11/2/09 3:31:44 PM] hc: and
[11/2/09 3:32:27 PM] Nelson.Ng: i dont think his concern was personal expresson or power or recording events
[11/2/09 3:32:33 PM] Nelson.Ng: but more of
[11/2/09 3:32:33 PM] hc: we hav education, we have access to at least a basic understanding to what the media/historians are saying
[11/2/09 3:32:42 PM] Nelson.Ng: people will stop arranging things in a linear order
[11/2/09 3:32:47 PM] hc: we can recreate, argue our own intepretation
[11/2/09 3:32:51 PM] Nelson.Ng: not about access
[11/2/09 3:33:00 PM] Nelson.Ng: about how people will ‘arrange’ things
[11/2/09 3:33:32 PM] Nelson.Ng: think u’re talking about something else dear..
[11/2/09 3:33:36 PM] hc: i always am
[11/2/09 3:33:47 PM] Nelson.Ng: no, not always -_-
[11/2/09 3:34:04 PM] Nelson.Ng: so
[11/2/09 3:34:07 PM] Nelson.Ng: what u’re saying is
[11/2/09 3:34:14 PM] Nelson.Ng: who has control of the media right
[11/2/09 3:34:24 PM] Nelson.Ng: and whether its better now than before
[11/2/09 3:34:28 PM] Nelson.Ng: but hes not talking about that
[11/2/09 3:34:42 PM] Nelson.Ng: hes just saying that the way media is changing will affect the way everyone thinks
[11/2/09 3:35:02 PM] Nelson.Ng: and once it has fully matured, we will stop thinking in a linear fashion
[11/2/09 3:35:06 PM] Nelson.Ng: and hence stop ‘writing’
[11/2/09 3:35:19 PM] Nelson.Ng: and stop writing events in a linear progression a.k.a history
[11/2/09 3:36:18 PM] Nelson.Ng: and hes not saying its not good
[11/2/09 3:36:27 PM] Nelson.Ng: hes just saying, this is what will happen eventually
[11/2/09 3:36:35 PM] Nelson.Ng: and when it happens, what should we do

The act of storytelling is in essence a linear mode of expression. There is a before and after, a beginning and an end. It is a consequence of the writing revolution, and a model from the universe that existed prior to electronic media. It functions in a way where certain things are hidden and slowly revealed to build tension and excitement, with a payoff in the end to finally sum up the whole story, which in most cases try to tell you some sort of moralistic view. One could probably trace such practices back to its roots of the Shaman or ‘campfire’ stories, where people would gather to hear the tales of the unknown.

Does this still work today? By ‘work’, I mean, will people still find this interesting and convincing? With the presence of electronic media (internet, mobile phones, video, etc), things are starting to change. I might be getting ahead of my argument here, because I’m not giving enough background on how the media is changing the way our minds work, i.e. the way we construct our thoughts and understand the world. To start off, all stories, whether visual or audio, have a frame implied; by that i mean a start and an end, whether it’s a physical frame (like the ones we see on paintings), or a time-frame. Human beings like to see things in that way, because we are affected by notions of life and death, and as such we try to make sense of our short span on Earth. So stories are convincing because they frame a moment to the benefit of their point, but have people ever wondered about what happens after ‘they lived happily ever after?’ What happens to Snow White and the Handsome Prince after they fall in love and get married for many years? Isn’t there a possibility that she might get old and ugly too and turn into the wicked witch that sought to wreck her? Would that, then, change the premise of the story, and set a new tone for its point of view?

Storytelling provides a framework for fragmented viewpoints, all making sense in their own little universes, without consideration of others, which is what makes crossovers interesting. When two worlds collide, we have a juxtaposition of ideas that form new relationships and therefore new ideas. Imagine a movie where Spider-man meets The Dark Knight, how would that play out? They probably already did a comic on that already, and that’s simple enough as they have much in common, with a clear definition on who’s good and evil. ( on a side note, the notion of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is also a concept that only exists within a certain ‘frame’, although this should be left for another essay.) But what if it was say, Spider-man meets Terminator? Not the most predictable combination but even so, would be a bizarre but interesting one to watch, if such a movie was ever made. The concepts that hold each universe together must find a way to merge and make sense of each other. Spider-man projects a thriving civilization that is threatened by some crooks with the likes of the Joker, while Terminator speaks of a dystopian and crumbling vision of the future at the mercy of machines. When civilization is threatened by a greater evil such as the Terminators, would the baddies like the Joker put down their petty goals and fight alongside Spider-man to save humanity? Or, if the Joker lives in a world where time machines exist, would he try to take over one and travel back to own Skynet, and perhaps even assassinate Spider-man’s mother? Whichever the case, it requires alteration and compromise of both sides, sometimes leading to new consequences unforeseen by the authors themselves. In essence, they are two systems conjured up by different creators being put together to co-exist, and the lines that shape their features will also be the ones that cut each other down.

Or what if it was a mash-up of a China war film on the revolution and a war film from maybe Taiwan? Both sides would have different points of views on who is the good and bad, because they have different ‘frames’, and it would be interesting to watch how it pans out, if ever made. Propaganda, is in effect also another function of storytelling, and with the introduction of electronic media, it is hard to keep their story intact with so many other interferences. Electronic media makes information fluid, joins pieces together, even those that weren’t meant to be together (not unlike the new combinations of couples across the globe thanks to sites like match.com). It is difficult to censor information from people today and to convince people of a story that only exists within borders.

Yes, there is life after death; it is continued in our sons and daughters.