Lecture Response (16.10.13)

Sean Carroll, who graduated from Coventry University this year, showed us examples of his work from his final year in photography. Carroll highlighted the importance of knowing what you want to do sooner as opposed to later to ensure you’re fully prepared and can fulfill your full potential. And this is what I’m concerned by. Whilst I have vague ideas as to what I want my final pieces to be about, I’m yet to narrow it down, to find my own unique niche or experience. Carroll suggested the project to be relevant to current affairs, a story, which is in the news, a subject that is fitting in modern times or something personal to you, as well as being concise and not too broad. I’ve got plenty of thinking to do!

We then listened to a conversation featuring Fred Ritchin again, focusing on the way in which the media has changed the delivery of news, images and information. There was a running conflict of the speakers seeing these changes as a great opportunity or as something dangerous.

The explosion of the Internet is forcing us to have to rethink and reinvent the ways in which we consume, read and deliver information, which is exciting. In terms of the latter, the vast amount of tools we now have at our disposal means we can relay information in whatever we want, allowing us to be more creative and richer in our story telling. These tools such as blogs, news sites, twitter, smart phones, computers, expand the opportunities to engage. We can communicate and reach out to literally anyone and everyone. The Internet is a phenomenon, which is still evolving, thus humans are still trying to make sense of its overwhelming force, its undeniable access to people worldwide and fluidity. To be honest I think people should just embrace these advances and evolve like the media has. Information is only a click away and I think that’s magical! Everybody can see anything and everything. Before, people would need to handle a physical newspaper to engage with information or watch news reports on television. All of these things would have been fixed and solid but things have changed and I think for the better.

Nowadays, someone has access to any information they seek to locate whether it a plight in some distant land, an image of Prince Williams baby or a celebrities eating habits. And to reiterate I think that is truly amazing!  We know have the power to find out any piece of information, images, text, news and so on. Also, the idea that we now have the power to reconstruct information and reinvent its delivery is truly a gift. However, I understand the skepticism about whom this information reaches and how we make sure people see certain topics without having to actively search for it off their own accord as well as issues around validity.

Sometimes even I feel the Internet can’t keep up with itself let alone us humans. There’s an overload of information. It’s explosive. You post a status on Facebook, within seconds it’s three quarters the way down your news feed, overrun by other peoples status’s. You see an image of a starving child. One click. It’s gone. You see a photo on tumblr. Two seconds later it’s been replaced by another. There’s an endless cycle of information being added to our online spaces, so much so it’s feels beyond our control. And so here lyes the difficulty of relaying information to people efficiently and effectively: to ensure it reaches it’s worthy audiences. It’s this fluidity, access and loss of information, which raises major complexities. Whilst access to all this information is powerful it also feels beyond our control, we cannot compare it to old media, which we understand anymore, thus we need to reinvent and rethink whether the Internet is really working.

“Knowledge is power” a quote from Sir Francis Bacon in the 17th century was the theme of today’s lecture. Of course, it’s a fair judgement, the more informed we are, the greater our judgement and power. However, in today’s society due to technological advances, in particular digital media and the Internet, information, knowledge, reliability and professionalism have somewhat been eroded. The Internet allows access to immense amounts of information quickly and efficiently. However, many of us do not research into the initial source of the information we find. As an outcome the validity and reliability of the information we find and use becomes an issue. How far should we believe the information made available to us online? Is the Internet a reliable source? Another interesting idea is the fact that many websites and pages are not even created by humans, but machines. Does this allow for more or less errors in information? The online world raises many issues surrounding believability and reliability in this digital age, which brings us to the wonderful world of photo manipulation, illusion, hoaxes and propaganda.

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Above, is an image of Tony Blair, posing in front of a bomb, taking a self-portrait on his mobile phone of the event. Believable? Obviously not but some photo manipulations and hoaxes have been so convincing the general public have fell for their trickery. One example we were shown was a short video clip titled, ‘Megawoosh’ by Bruno Kammerl. The video is that of a man on a DIY waterslide, flying through the air then landing safely in a paddling pool. The clip went viral and the public went insane for the stunt, wanting to discover how it was done and others attempting the trick themselves. Convincing as the stunt was, it was in fact fake.

So what do we do? There’s an overload of information, that needs to be limited, or confined in someway to ensure it’s delivery is proper, concise and effective to the masses as well as ensuring that the Internet is a reliable, trusted source. But how do we conquer it? I think the Internet and it’s forever growing information is exciting and one what we should mould and rethink individually. Instead of allocating someone to try and construct and systemize the Internet is ludicrous. Instead, people should limit what they share and view themselves, to decrease an overload of useless information as both the author and consumer. However, even in me saying it like that is difficult as beliefs and opinions differ from one person to the next. Nonetheless, I think this would be most effective. I agree that we need to realise that the Internet does need to be carefully thought about but I’m certainly not skeptical. We just need to learn and grow as it does and set our own limitations.

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