Satire Matters

The age of Trump, fake news and turmoil within Australian politics has spawned a gold rush for satire. From Abbott eating raw onions spawning #oniongate to the coverage of Australia’s oppressive gun control laws, satire has provided us with some entertainment and unfortunate truths through a worryingly riotous period in the worldwide political landscape.

The recent online media phenomenon that has caused traditional legacy journalism corporations such as Fairfax Media to drastically cut budgets and jobs, has allowed satirical publications to grow exponentially through platforms such as Facebook. Reaching an audience on social media roughly 4 times smaller than that of the ABC, the Betoota Advocates coverage of political events often generates a similar amount interest in its timely and witty coverage of political events. Their ability to engage with the online audience can be seen below in the Betoota Advocates coverage of Malcolm Roberts citizenship debacle.

The Betoota Advocate                                        ABC News

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 9.30.36 PMFeaturing fictional news pieces, comedic sketches and not being aligned with traditional journalistic practices, satire can easily be written off as having any real ability to inform or cause debate in the community. However, the line between what can be considered journalism and satire is narrowing with online publications such as the Betoota Advocate, The Chaser and The Shovel providing social and political commentary whilst using key journalistic traits to develop their stories.  A 2012 study by the Pew Research Center even found that the US audience favoured Jon Stewart, formerly of The Daily Show, was amongst their ‘most admired’ Journalists. Jon Stewart denied he was a journalist, however, the shows political and news coverage undoubtedly transcends that of a simple comedy act. John Oliver, from John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, is another example of a comedian teetering on the boundary of satire and journalism. Dissecting topics such as global warming and public health care, Last Week Tonight has a clear objective of holding those in power accountable for their actions whilst along with advocating for social issues.

John Oliver advocating for gun control on The Daily Show, before he launched his own satire show on HBO

Although shows such as John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and the Daily Show may be blurring the lines between news and entertainment, the Pew Research Centers research also reminds us that satirical shows do fall short of what we think of as news and traditional journalism. Studying the Daily Show, the Pew Center found that the show was ‘highly selective’ in its coverage, missing key newsworthy events and aired critical coverage of the Republican party three times as often as the Democrats.

Therefore taking into consideration that whilst satire may well contribute to our intake of news, it is not always an objective and complete source. Satire may instead be seen as a subsidiary source that provides comedic commentary on contemporary political and social issues. With satire flourishing online and continuing to place an emphasis on its journalistic qualities, it is clear that it may well be seen as a form of news rather than entertainment.

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Why do we wear clothing? Living with mental health difficulties as a young adult

 

Lucy first began to experience mental health issues at age 17, during the lead up to the year 12 final exams. A manic episode led to misdiagnoses of bipolar disorder from her local GP. As a result, she was prescribed high dosages of anti-depressants without being referring to a mental health specialist.  Over the next 7 years, Lucy continued to battle with her mental health, often seeking out information and consultation herself.

 

‘I had this genius thought to myself, why do we need clothing?… I took off my clothes and started to chase my friends around my home’

 

With over 4 million or 17.5% of Australians currently suffering from a mental health disorder (ABS,2015), Lucy’s experience is one that many Australians encounter at some point during their lifetime. The manic episode that Lucy encountered was a rare case in which her phycologists now believe was likely brought on by anti-depressants. This manic episode led to the misdiagnoses of bipolar, a condition that is characterized by extreme moods being low (depressed) and high/excited (manic) (Beyond Blue, 2017).

 

 ‘It became normal for me to be crying for hours every night in bed by myself … I think that’s when I realized that I had mental health difficulties’

 

Registered Psychologist Mathew Aquilina, says that manic episodes like the one Lucy experienced ‘could occur in the context of anxiety, psychosis, and mood disorders not limited to Bipolar Type 1 or 2’ which would ‘generally be the result of a cumulative effect of underlying stress, trauma, or otherwise unexpressed emotion’. In some cases such as Lucy’s, psychopharmacological substances could be the cause, however, was rare and ‘would likely occur following the prescription of an unsuitable medication or combination of such.’

 

‘You can live a normal life… and I hope that gets emphasized more as we go on to talk about mental health in the community’

 

One of the hardest things Lucy had to deal with was the stigma surrounding mental health and the and the lack of support networks available to her. Lucy believes had she have been referred to mental health specialist and had more support from those around her, the recovery process would have a lot smoother. Mathew Aquilina believes that being proactive and asking someone suffering if they ok from is a pivotal way that friends and family can help their loved ones, ‘avoid telling people to “stop” having their mental health difficulty, and expecting them to always seek help or recover themselves’.

After her own 7-year battle, Lucy has now completed a PhD in Psychology, looking to help others suffering from mental health difficulties.

If you believe that yourself or someone you know may be suffering from mental health difficulties, Mathew Aquilina recommends ‘visiting a GP, asking for a Mental Health Care Plan, and finding a psychologist or mental health professional in the local area’. Resources such as beyondblue, Life Line and Head Space are all also freely available to offer support and guidance if needed.

 

 

References

Aquilina. M Aquilina 2017, Email 13 Oct

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015, National Health Survey: Mental Health and co-existing physical health conditions, cat. no. 4329.0.00.004, viewed 13 October 2017, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/C0A4290EF1E7E7FDCA257F1E001C0B84?Opendocument

beyondblue 2017, Bipolar Disorder, viewed 13 October 2017, https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/bipolar-disorder

Black Dog Institue 2017, viewed 15 October 2017, https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

Headspace 2017, viewed 15 October 2017, https://headspace.org.au/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrLSNkbby1gIVAX-9Ch3JVwUXEAMYAyAAEgJynfD_BwE

Lifeline 2017, viewed 15 October 2017, https://www.lifeline.org.au/

 

 

 

 

 

Med102, Assignment 2

Red Band

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 11.37.37 PM.png

‘Red Band’ is a static piece that is based on the relationship between the digitally synthetic and the ‘real’ of the non-digital world. The piece approached this concept by using a string like series of lines with visible traces of digital elements.

Perlin Noise was used to obtain a randomized however ordered aesthetic image of a series of flowing red lines, creating a natural look to the lines as if they were flowing with some sort of breeze. The artificial component was achieved by including visible traces of its synthetic nature being the pixelated appearance of the lines. The border was added to focus the viewers’ attention towards the red band of lines.

Sol De Witt’s use of flowing lines such as his work in Wall Drawing #1136 2004, was primarily the inspiration for the piece. Although De Witt’s wall drawing #1136 has a large focus on colour and an aesthetic of a smooth digital image, the idea of the line flowing through the piece on a horizontal plane worked well to signify flow and the divide between digital and natural.

 

References

Public Delivery, Sol Lewitt’s influential drawings from around the world, Viewed 21 September 2017 http://publicdelivery.org/sol-lewitt-wall-drawings/

 

 

Code:

void setup() {
size(800, 600);
background(255);
noFill();
strokeWeight (0.1);
noLoop();
}
//aggression of perlin noise deviation
float resolution = 300;

void draw() {
//frame color (black)
stroke(0, 0, 0);
//frame dimensions
rect(100, 100, 600, 400);
//line color (red)
stroke(177, 17, 25);
// Y = Line Count (fills in Y between the two values given), (+ is spacing being the No. of pixels between lines. (Lower No. = more lines))
for (int y = 250; y < 350; y = y + 5) {
beginShape();
//line start and end (border)
for (int i = 100; i < 700; i = i + 1) {
if ( i > 0) {
//shape dimentions & offset of the lines trajectory (2)
vertex( i, y + (noise( i / resolution, y / resolution) * (i-250) – ((i-250)/2)) );
}
//continuation of patt
else {
vertex(i, y);
}
}
endShape();
}
}

Footsteps

 

 

Footsteps, a short Emotional History (EH) piece, was developed around the human emotions of fear and surprise. A short audio piece of 2 minutes, the main aim of ‘Footsteps’ is to draw the listener in with an intriguing narrative whilst building suspense through the use of background ambience tracks and editing of speech. The EH piece features a Women who recounts the night she, as a young teenager, is confronted by an intruder in her house.

 

The interview track was kept largely unedited with only pauses and breaths manipulated. Adding pauses and keeping breaths helped add a ‘natural rhythm’ to the dialogue, this was discussed in Lyssa Mudd’s Editing Sound’ (2017). To structure the interview, I went through the multiple times and highlighted key moments and quotes that the interviewee said. I also asked the interviewee to include a few extra details such why she wasn’t sleeping and probing deeper to discover if there were any details that could add to the conclusion. I then prompted the interviewee to use them in the final take. An example was the ending line ‘the only trace he left was a pair of shoes at the back door’ which although the interviewee didn’t believe it was an important detail and originally left it out of the story, I believe it added to the mystery and ambiguously to the story.

 

Sounds in audio storytelling need to ‘completely inspire an image in the mind of the audience’ Ben Burt explained on the Arts Edge Podcast (2011). Attempting to capture this image in minds of the listeners, my editing incorporated a suspenseful background track, pauses in speech along with silence to attempt to heighten the emotions felt whilst listening.  In Audio Storytelling in Today’s Visual World (2016, p. 24), Jenny Ek in explained that ‘there is no need to use the same object for the sound rather ensuring the use the object that which will represent it best’. I used this concept to mimic footsteps, recording a screeching door and editing it with a large room reverb. The pronounced echo from reverb added to the surreal moment of the intruder coming towards the room.

 

The main issue that came apparent when recording, was the background sounds around the recording location. A motorcycle revving its engine next door along with my housemate opening the door made multiple takes unusable as it detached the listener from the story. Luckily, I was able to capture a great take without obtrusion from outside noises on the 5th or 6th attempt. Probing out information, I was also wary of home much to prompt the interviewee, morphing the truths from an already great short story.

 

Overall I believe that the EH audio piece was a success and will have the desired emotional effects on the listeners. Had I have worked with the background audio further and collected additional audio samples, a more suitable connection between the blood-curdling scream section and the background audio would have been established. The main takeaway I gained from this assignment is to capture a large variety of sounds when recording to ensure the audio piece does not finish with any ‘missing pieces’, especially those connections that tie together narrative and emotion.

 

 

References

Are16ocean, 2012, Suspense Ambience, 3 February, FreeSound.org, viewed 20 August 2017, https://freesound.org/people/are16ocean/sounds/144981/

Burt, B & Furst, D 2011, D.I.Y. Old-Time Radio: Telling stories with sound, Podcast, 24 October, ARTSEDGE: The Kennedy Center’s Arts Education Network, viewed 26 August 2017, https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/d-i-y-old-time-radio/id474001652?mt=2

Cadere Sounds, 2014, Horror Cinema 2, 10 March, FreeSound.org, viewed 20 August 2017, https://freesound.org/people/CadereSounds/sounds/222549/

Ek, J 2016, Audio Storytelling in Today’s Visual World The necessary components of a successful soundscape for an audio play, Arcadia, pp. 24, Viewed 26 August 2017, http://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/120200/Audio+Storytelling+Jenny+Ek.pdf;jsessionid=20028696D979BCF7F4DD283CD55B65B5?sequence=1

Mudd, L 2017, Editing Sound, B-Side Radio, Viewed 25 August 2017, http://bsideradio.org/learn/editing-sound/

 

Peace through pop-culture

Japan, South Korea and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the regional leaders of East Asia are defined by their differing cultures, languages and their exceptionally tumultuous history. These issues are the primary the basis of the separation and tension that exists between the nations. However, with the rise of cultural hybridization due to globalisation, a new bridge in the form of cinema and pop culture is evolving. Ryoo Woongjae suggested that ‘the [success of the] South Korean film ‘Winter Sonata’ did more politically for South Korea and Japan than the co-hosting of the FIFA World Cup (R. Woongjae, 2009)’. With media transcending borders and blurring culture differences in the region, can pop-culture and cinema help to soften the divide between the nations?

 

Examples of the tension existing within the region today can be seen in the three countries opposing territorial disputes in the South China Sea or the friction caused by the Japanese Occupation of Korea in WWII with Japan even recalling their ambassadors from S. Korea just this year over the dispute (Japan Times, 2017). Traditionally this political strain has carried over to the nations respective media industries with films portraying their neighbours as the antagonists such South Korea’s anti-communist trends (H. Lee, 2000, pp. 48-51) or the anti-Japanese Genre that developed in China post WW2. Until 1998, Japanese performances were even banned in South Korea for fear of the ‘invasion’ of foreign culture (J. Jung, 2015, pp 730-731).

 

The rise of the internet along with the decline of state censorship and nationalism allowed for greater cultural exchanges through mediums such as online streaming services that provide an unprecedented level of music, film and media content. Last year ‘Your name’, a Japanese Anime feature film became the highest grossing Japanese Film in China when it grossed US$78 Million in the Chinese box office (SBS,2016). This rare screening of a Japanese film in Chinas restricted film industry shows the increasing infiltration of foreign culture through media.

 

South Korea’s rise to popular culture dominance known as ‘the Korean Wave’ is one of the most successful cultural phenomena’s the world has seen. Aided by the globalisation of media; Koreas film, music and media industries saw a dramatic boom. With cultural similarities to that of Japanese Pop (J-Pop), Korean Pop (K-Pop) swept up South Asia and become a universally known genre. Japanese and Chinese audiences became some of the largest consumers of content that the new founded cultural hub of South Korean was producing (pp 139).

 

2.9 Billion Views – K-Pop icon PSY’s GANGNAM STYLE

 

Super Junior, a K-pop boy band which recently gained 117 million views for their song ‘Mr Simple’ (YouTube, 2017), has capitalised on the globalisation of media and success of the Korean Wave. The band consists not only of Korean nations however also of Canadian and Chinese members, a concept that would have been impossible some 20 years ago. Performing in both Mandarin and Korean, the band is an example of cross cultural hybridization through globalisation and the success that can be attributed to it.

 

With popular culture trends such as K-pop reaching such a large global following, globalisation and the associated cultural hybridization accompanying it can potentially be of massive economic and cultural benefit to the countries of the South Asia Region. Cultural hybridization between the nations opens not only the possibility to strengthen countries cultural status, however, may also prove to improve the tense relations between the region’s populations.

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Nelson, K. 2015, China suspends WWII drama after complaints, The Shanghaiist, 22 May, Viewed 20 August 2017, http://shanghaiist.com/2015/05/22/china_suspends_wwii_drama_after_com.php

Hillslearning, 2013, the Korean explosion, viewed 18 August 2017, http://www.hillslearning.com/2013/08/15/the-korean-explosion/

Hyangjin, L. Contemporary Korean Cinema: Culture, Identity and Politics, Manchester University Press, UK, 2000

Jung, J. A Historical Consideration into Two Perspectives on Culture Revealed in the New Korean Wave Discourse, International Journal of Social Science and Humanity, vol. 5, no. 8, pp. 730-731

SBS PopAsia HQ, 2016, ‘Your Name’ is now the all-time No.1 Japanese film in China, viewed 15 August 2017, http://www.sbs.com.au/popasia/blog/2016/12/21/your-name-now-all-time-no1-japanese-film-china

Wall Paper Cave, PSY Wallpapers, Viewed 20 August 2017, http://wallpapercave.com/psy-wallpapers

Web-Japan, 1998, BREAKING THE ICE: South Korea Lifts Ban on Japanese Culture, viewed 19 August 2017, http://web-japan.org/trends98/honbun/ntj981207.html

Woongjae, R. 2009, ‘Globalization, or the logic of cultural hybridization: the case of the Korean wave’, Asian journal of communication, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 137-151

Students for Sale

 

Driven to Australia with the promise of excellent living conditions, high minimum wages and a highly-esteemed education, international students are heading to Australian in numbers larger than ever before.  As of July 2017, over 500 000 international students were studying in Australia, a number 14% higher than that of the same month the previous year (Department of Education and Training, 2017). With the financial and legal stresses accompanying many of those currently studying abroad in Australia, a commonplace practice of illicit pay and conditions of a vulnerable and underrepresented minority in Australian has developed.

Along with the recent pay scandals involving 7-Eleven that affected some 20,000 workers (SBS, 2016), a recent survey from the University of Sydney Business School found that 90% of international students working in the retail industry were being underpaid by their employers (The University of Sydney Business School, 2016). Dr Stephen Clibbon, the survey’s director, found that poor language skills, a lack of understanding of workplace rights and standards along with the abundance of students in need of work were key factors leading to the underpayment and exploitation of international students (The University of Sydney Business School, 2016).

The current international student VISA’s permits 40 hours per week whilst studying (Dept. of Immigration and Border Protection, 2017). With many students earning as low as $8 per hour, working extra hours becomes a necessity to afford the high cost of living in Australia’s major cities. To put it in perspective $8 per hour would see a student earning $80 per week under the current VISA permit whilst the University of NSW place the cost of living in Sydney in a share house around $476-$576 (University of NSW,2017). Earning $8 per hour it would take a student over 60 hours a week to just break even with their basic living costs, not taking into account health care and education costs.

With many students forced into working well out of their VISA permits, a catch 22 is presented in which students feel they will not only lose their jobs however also become liable themselves if they approach the authorities. Pranay Alawala, a former worker who was exploited and underpaid by 7-Eleven, told SBS News ‘everyone is scared of deportation’ (SBS, 2016) a fear that many businesses are aware of and actively use to their advantage.

The rampant exploitation of international students in Australia is at risk of spoiling our reputation as not only a global education hub however also as a country that values equality and civil rights. It is in the private education sector and the governments’ interest to ensure students do not feel threated and understand their workplace rights to maintain the $19 billion industries value (Universities of Australia, 2016). Until proper education of workplace rights along with assistance networks are made available, employers will continue to profit on the vulnerability of international students.

 

 

Bibliography :

Department of Education and Training, 2017, International Student Data Monthly Summary June 2017 Report, Canberra viewed 12 August 2017, https://internationaleducation.gov.au/research/International-Student-Data/Documents/MONTHLY%20SUMMARIES/2017/Jun%202017%20MonthlyInfographic.pdf

Ministers of Education, Australia’s international education sector worth more than previously estimated, Viewed 8 August 2017, https://ministers.education.gov.au/colbeck/australias-international-education-sector-worth-more-previously-estimated

University of NSW, 2017,  Approximate weekly costs, Viewed 10 August 2017,  https://student.unsw.edu.au/approximate-weekly-costs

Universities Australia, International education generates a record 20.3 billion for Australia, Viewed 10 August 2017, https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/Media-and-Events/media-releases/International-education-generates-a-record–20-3-billion-for-Australia#.WZakxZOg8_U

The Digital Divide

 

Featured Image: (J. Stanmeyer/VII, 2013)

As we move into the age of globalization, information is being shared and produced at an unprecedented level. The prospect of bridging the gap between the developed world and the developing world looks ever closer. The term ‘Global Village’ refers to this concept as ‘the world viewed as a community in which distance and isolation have been dramatically reduced by electronic media (Merriam Webster, 2017)’. However, are we truly heading towards a utopian global community, or is the information age creating a further divide between those with big data power and those without?

‘Information technology is to this revolution what new sources of energy were to the successive industrial revolutions’ (Manuel Castells, 2010, pp. 33)

O’Shaughnessy discussed the issue of the developing world & its relationship with globalisation in ‘Globalisation’ in Media and society’ commenting on the ‘debilitating effect of the digital divide on developing nations (O’Shaughnessy, 2012, pp. 465).’ O’Shaughnessy also mentioned the implications of not being connected to an economy that is driven by data (O’Shaughnessy, 2012, pp. 465).’ Two industries that could dramatically affect the impacts of globalisation on the developing world are the thriving information and community technology (ICT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries.

The ICT industry is quickly becoming an integral part of the global economy with the US experiencing ‘an average annual growth rate of over 4% a year, almost 3 times that of overall business sector employment (OECD, Measuring the Information Economy, p24)’. In a world which is increasingly placing value on its ICT capabilities, developing nations which often do not have not the infrastructure or economic stability required to invest in ICT are at increasing risk of becoming more isolated. The disparity between the developed and the developing digital capability is staggering with ‘98.5 per cent of Korean homes connected compared to 2 per cent of the populations in Guinea, Somalia, Burundi and Eritrea (UN,2017)’. Known as information poverty (O’Shaughnessy, 2012, pp. 465), this issue may be furthering the isolation of developing countries and limiting international trade and economic growth of the nations.

With the rise in minimum wages, globalization of corporations and increase in demand for human resource roles, both international and domestic marketplaces are increasingly looking to fulfil new roles utilizing business process outsourcing (BPO). With lower labour costs countries such as the Philippines and India have quickly become hubs in the BPO marketplace. In 2016, the Philippine’s BPO industry was estimated to have employed over 1 Million Filipinos whilst representing 8% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) Lee, Vári-Kovács and Q Yu, 2014, P23). However, the BPO industry is largely dominated by the call centre sector, accounting for almost 70% of industry employment (N. Magtibay-Ramos, G. Estrada, and J. Felipe, 2007, P2). Furthermore, with the increased use of AI and automation by corporations to take on roles such as call centre support, the decline of the BPO industry may begin just as quickly as it rose in the globalized marketplace. These BPO hubs will need to rely on their ability to keep up with trends in the ICT industry along with re-skilling into more technical roles as AI integration manifests its place in the industry to maintain their foothold in the BPO industry.

Whilst currently there is a market for the outsourcing of jobs to developing countries, investment in higher skilled ICT and HR services may be required as AI integration manifests its place in the industry. Without a competitive communications network and ICT industry, the gap between the developing and developed world looks to be increasingly divided by not only the nation’s economies but also their ability to play a role in the global marketplace.

 

 

Bibliography

Castells, M. 2010, The Rise of the Network Society, 2nd edition, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK, pp. 33

Linked In, 2017, Accenture, viewed 14 August 2017, https://au.linkedin.com/company/accenture

Lee, A., Vári-Kovács, Z. and Q Yu, S. 2014. Business Process Outsourcing in the Philippines. Microsoft Case Studies Series on Information Technology, Public Policy and Society. Philipines: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, pp. P23.

Magtibay-Ramos, N. Estrada, G. and Felipe, J. 2007 An Analysis of the Philippine Business Process Outsourcing Industry, Economics and Research Department Working Paper Series No.93, Asian Development Bank, pp. 2.

O’Shaughnessy, M. 2012, ‘Globalisation’ in Media and society, 5th edition, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic, pp. 465

Stanmeyer, J /VII, 2013 Calmness, image, World Press Photo, viewed 10 August 2017, https://www.worldpressphoto.org/collection/photo/2014/contemporary-issues/john-stanmeyer