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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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();
}
}

Med102, Analogue Coding

‘Tear’

 

  1. Draw a 15cm x 15cm square on an a4 piece of paper.
  2. Using a compass draw 20 circles with diameters between 10 and 25mm in random locations within the square. Circles may overlap
  3. Shade the circles in carefully with a black sharpie
  4. Roughly rip the square out so its borders become approximately between 10-13 cm on each side.
  5. Rotate so it is in a diamond shape and stick centrally on an A3 piece of paper.

 

Results

 

Analysis

My analogue coding piece is an instructional artwork inspired primarily by Agnes Martin’s 1963 piece ‘The Moment (Egg)’ and Sol LeWitt’s 1998 piece ‘Wall Drawing #328’. Martin’s ‘The Moment (Egg)’, which draws its aesthetic value from the borderless ‘egg’ shape created by a series of imperfect lines. These imperfect lines immediately invite the eye to inspect the finer detail in the lines making up the ‘egg’ shape (A. Martin, 1963). Sol LeWitt’s ‘Wall Drawing #328’ (S. LeWitt, 1980) uses shapes within a shape to create a striking image through the contrasting lines; the parallelogram inside the circle and the circle inside the square frame.

 

 

To create my pragmatic art piece, I used the visually engaging structure of a shape within a shape combined with a large blank background to draw the viewer into the image. I conceptualised my piece titled ‘tear’ as a group of black circles contained within a ‘tear’ in the paper on a sparse white background. This ‘tear’ would give a notion of depth to the image through its window like appearance.

Initially, I conceptualised the tear to be rougher than that of the attempts undertaken, almost gouge-like to contrast the circles enclosed within. A concept which proved difficult to convey through text as the word ‘roughly’ can be quite subjective. Two of the attempts resulted in a quite cleanly torn square that didn’t quite replicate the image I had conceived. The third image by Haylee was closer to what I had intended on. This was my main issue with the pieces.

Upon discussing the instructions with the participants on completion of their pieces, the common issue brought up was the confusion they encountered with the 3rd step, ‘Shade the circles in carefully with a black sharpie’. The participants all found that the instruction was not explicit enough in whether to shade in the circles in differing tones or as a single tone of black. Luckily the sharpie had limited flexibility in its tones and resulted in the participants all finishing with a single shade of black.

The form of the image may be changed by incorporating a black A3 background to further the contrast of the tear, however, may also detract from the impact of the tear on the flat white background. The sharpie worked well; however, the participant’s confusion of shading the circles’ different tones highlighted an excellent point. Using lead pencils to achieve different tones would further the feeling of the ‘window’ within the frame adding extra depth to the image.

Overall I believe the simplicity of instruction and limited wording worked well and resulted in images that were surprisingly extremely similar to that of which I had originally conceived. The main take away I gained was increasing the specificity of instruction when needed to cover shades or physical actions carried out such as the tearing of paper to fully convey my intentions to the participant.

 

 

Bibliography

 

Artsy, Agnes Martin the Egg, Viewed 22 August 2017 <https://www.artsy.net/artwork/agnes-martin-the-egg&gt;

 

RISD Museum, Variations of a drawing, Sol Lewitt and his written instructions, Viewed 22 August 2017 <http://risdmuseum.org/manual/45_variations_of_a_drawing_sol_lewitt_and_his_written_instructions&gt;

Med101, moving image project

My moving image project was created using George Ella Lyon’s poem ‘Where I’m from’ (G. Lyon, 1999), as an inspiration to base my project on. The project uses cool tones and minimalistic settings along with a variety of both harsh and sterile landscapes to project a feeling of an almost dystopian like environment.

Todd Hido, a US landscape photographer that often focuses on human infrastructure in unsettling environments, provided inspiration for the harsh and sterile setting of the video. I often used Hido’s work as a starting point to visualise and storyboard each scene.
My cinematography stemmed from two filmmakers that regular use environments to further their films narrative.  I emulated Stanley Kubrick’s use of hallways and interior space in films such as A Clockwork Orange (S. Kubrick, 1971), was used to focus the viewer’s attention directly on the subject and further draw the viewer into the environment at which the film is set. Jonathan Glazer’s film Under the Skin’s (J. Glazer, 2013) use of simple sounds and scenes was also used to gain a realistic sense of time and place.

The project aims to keep the viewer visually and intellectually engaged throughout to develop their basis of the projects representations and meaning.

References

Hido, T, Landscapes. Viewed 30 May 2017.  http://www.toddhido.com/landscapes.html

Kubrick, S. Viewed 29 May 2017 http://www.stanleykubrick.de/en/

Under The Skin. (2013). (film) Directed by J. Glazer.

The 21st Century Public Sphere

Where is the 21st-century coffee shop discourse occurring?

In the 20th century, German Intellectual Jürgen Habermas likened the public sphere to a European Coffee House, a place where the bourgeoisie and working classes could gather to engage in discourse about the current social issues and needs of society (Habermas 1962)

Featured Image: (Papaspyropoulos, S. 2013)

Jürgen Habermas describes the functioning Public Sphere as a group “made up of private people gathered together as a public and articulating the needs of society with the state”

(Habermas 1962)

So what is our public sphere in the 21st century? It is a meeting place unmediated, that allows us access whenever we desire and able to be accessed by the majority of the population. This public sphere has come through the medium of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and many other outlets allowing the public to voice their own personal opinions on the issues of the day.

The benefits of this all-inclusive conversation are that it allows a broad range of ideas from all genders, races and religions around the world allowing the users to publish their own journalism, advocacy pieces and opinion articles highlighting their own individual voices and ideas.

For this all-inclusive conversation to function correctly, censorship of the media or the internet must not be enforced on the citizens by the State. Reporters Without Borders latest 2016 World Press Freedom Index (RSF 2016), highlights the concerning number of countries still experiencing press censorship by the State.

carte_en__0.jpg

Image: (RSF 2016)

Australia ranked 25th in the world with Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea facing the highest levels of press censorship.

(RSF 2016)

Even with these restrictions imposed, the power of the new age social sphere has been demonstrated recently with dramatic effect. In 2011, the Arab Spring gave birth to a new era of questioning once feared regimes with advocates for change and reform heading to social media to voice their opinions on the State. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Algeria and many other prominent Arab States were swept up in the dramatic protests with social media the outlet of choice for documenting the events to the world while they unfolded.

http://blockedinchina.net/
Use this link to gain an insight of what popular websites (such as Facebook) are banned in China today.  (Blockedinchina.net, 2017)

While it is contended how much of an effect social media had on causing the uprisings and protests due to the majority of the countries population not being connected to the internet. Using Egypt as an example, research showed that ‘84% of those who are online say they visit social networking sites for news about Egypt’s political situation’ (Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, 2012).

Without social media, the voices of the Citizen during the Arab Spring would have been limited to State Censored Journalists and the State itself.

o-SOCIAL-MEDIA-ARAB-SPRING-facebook.jpg

Image: (Getty Images, 2017)

With the It’s clear that this new medium of communication is one that will continue to develop over the years and hopefully become a more inclusive outlet capable of allowing controversial and important topics to be discussed around the world without fear of persecution.

 

 

Bibliography

Blockedinchina.net. (2017). Test if any website is Blocked in China in real-time .Viewed 30 Mar. 2017.<http://blockedinchina.net/&gt;

Brown, H., Guskin, E. and Mitchell, A. (2017). The Role of Social Media in the Arab Uprisings. Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project. Viewed 30 Mar. 2017.<http://www.journalism.org/2012/11/28/role-social-media-arab-uprisings/&gt;

Getty Images, (2011).Viewed 30 Mar. 2017. <http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1648245/images/o-SOCIAL-MEDIA-ARAB-SPRING-facebook.jpg&gt;

Habermas, J. (1962). The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. 1st ed. Hoboken: Wiley.

Papaspyropoulos, S. (2013).Viewed 30 Mar. 2017.<https://www.flickr.com/photos/spyrospapaspyropoulos/11293370385/in/photolist-icXtyv-qbSzGo-dSk6ng-neetM8-4ptVGq-mX5qFZ-9sssSG-CFRfJS-9pXeu6-atea6s-e5iCmT-anqqfd-9Y2JCR-4H1oc8-aXZrMn-9Y2Khz-7w6XdU-7gRPxG-S5ye7z-2tx789-SAbaBY-qbpTD5-eN5EsS-6xYxWn-m83cRd-Ru3EPT-6xYy7M-j6Rv5-7SazeL-6tLGot-jFdntH-ScaL9Y-mXHgdh-5eYiQo-29AWjE-9Y5Cp9-RhtECQ-9Y2GVk-8TX1rQ-8vx1XK-9Y2Jjr-9vKtxM-9Y5C6Y-J9UBqd-aYDb7-4o3p99-m839w7-5SnyJQ-HJWk17-Tc6X8n&gt;

Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. (2017). Chapter 1. Views of Political Change.Viewed 30 Mar. 2017.<http://www.pewglobal.org/2011/04/25/chapter-1-views-of-political-change/&gt;

RSF. (2017). 2016 World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders.Viewed 30 Mar. 2017.<https://rsf.org/en/ranking&gt;

 

 

 

First Blog Post

First blog post! Over the coming months, i’ll be sharing my thoughts primarily on my B. Communications and Media studies and life at UOW along with any articles or opinions that I may find slightly amusing or interesting.

A little bit about myself. I recently let the full-time workforce for a change in both lifestyle and career direction. Studying BCMS over the next few years, I will seek to develop the skills and connections required in the world of digital media and communications with an end goal of establishing myself within the visual media industry.

I look forward to any feedback and comments to come (especially over the coming months)!