The design of my final project was set to communicate an atmosphere that the user was being watched. The user will be exposed to an initial web page displaying an animated eyeball, with a button underneath that provides the option to “Begin” the experience. Afterwards, a video will be displayed automatically in full screen of an old tv with a retro-esque aesthetic. The video message has a retro-esque theme and by the end of the video, the user is transitioned into the interactive webpage. I chose to design the website this way to hopefully not have the theme of surveillance dissipate. After the user is transitioned to the interactive webpage, they’ll have the same pair of eyes that had been displayed within the video, follow their cursor. Additionally, they will have four links which redirects them to live video feed of the following locations: New York, Tokyo, San Francisco, and Jerusalem.
I had been originally quite ambitious with the video and visual assets I sought. I thought I would be able to retrieve visual assets but the constraint of time had prevented me from getting much of the visual assets I sought. Although the constraint of time had been a large factor, and I couldn’t manage to incorporate a live video feed displayed within my webpage, I believe the interactive project I had created still portrayed the original message I sought to communicate: surveillance.
The technology that surrounds individuals in their daily life can often be taken for granted, or overlooked. We find ourselves so consumed by the tasks within our daily lives that it can be hard to notice the intricate details within it. However the seemingly flawless integration of technology into society today should not be overlooked. It should concern individuals, such as you and I, how the technology within society could be used, and how it could affect our lives. I bring this concern to light because in regards to privacy, any individual could be at risk with the technology that exists today. The subject I seek to address through my final project will be the prevalent surveillance in society, made possible only by technology. I’ve selected this subject due to the fact that now, information can be collected about an individual more than ever before. Information is made accessible through the individual’s various interactions with technology. While data and information about an individual can be logged physically, the individual can be additionally tracked digitally. Surveillance is prevalent within the livelihoods of individuals, therefore I believe it is essential to address this aspect in order to understand our relationship with technology today.
To clarify, I don’t have a political goal for my project, the subject of surveillance is simply a compelling component within society. For my project however, I do plan to draw reference from modern artists and activists, Shepard Fairey and Ai Weiwei. The artworks of Fairey and Weiwei communicate their political perceptions. In regards to surveillance, the individual is targeted most often only by governments. The more a nation has been developed, the more advanced technology they have, and the less privacy an individual would possess. I choose to reference these two artists specifically because of the way they choose to display their political perspectives. Fairey and Weiwei portray imbalances of power well through their art, and their approach can be relatable to my project. Fairey and Weiwei’s distinctly political works of art draw possess a the much more modern approach, compared with traditional media. The modern political art created by these two activists provide a strong inspiration to the approach I can take, however my approach will be through a different media.
Partners: Cindy and Kyle
Within our project is a film we created which documents the journey of an individual turned thief. Thus, we also justifiably titled the film “Thief.” Within the film, it starts off with an introduction of the individual under a very mysteries and dark setting, with hopes to attract the viewers attention. The film then transitions into a narration which explains the plot to the viewer in order to clarify the background of the story. The narrative follows how the individual had been stressed about financial challenges, and what he had to resort to. The film expresses the financial challenge the Thief faces with a brief scene documenting his debt on NYU Albert. Thus, after communicating to the viewer that he Thief has financial issues, the film transitions into a webpage which the thief has listed the items he’s stolen. However, the “selling” page within the film is also the webpage that the viewer interact with. The items the thief has listen and stolen are four items: a camera, an iPhone, a MacBook, and textbooks. These items are all buttons that transition the viewer to the respective scenes where each item is stolen. At the end of each item scene, a bank note counter and cash register “ding” can be heard, insinuating that the Thief has made some money after his crime. After the viewer watches the video an automatic “sold” identification will be displayed over the item which they’ve chosen. After all items have been watched, no matter the order, the viewer will be directed to a final ending scene of the Thief. This will provide a conclusion to the film and respectfully cue a segment of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.”
The interactive video we created displays the story of Thief and the journey this individual goes on while still providing an immersive experience to the viewer. Looking back in retrospective, I think this project went very well and has, in my opinion, met all of our original goals.
Through the Tedtalk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” a critical component which shapes our perspectives had been indulged upon: the individual’s exposure to knowledge. Chimamanda Adichie’s seminar had spoke upon the often “single story” an individual could be exposed to. Due to this single perspective, the individual can only develop an idea based off of this. The dangers of such an exposure which Chimamanda Adichie had spoke about is applicable to all individuals, regardless of age, race, wealth, or gender. If an individual is exposed to multiple perspectives, we can begin to understand the whole story. I believe the significance we should acknowledge from the Tedtalk is that, in order to better understand anything, individuals must keep an open mind and learn to develop various perspectives. In regards to myself, the significance of Chimamanda’s Tedtalk isn’t only applicable because I am a student, but also because of how I seek to develop my own perspectives. If I continue to expose myself to various perspectives, I can only further my understanding of the overall story. Understanding the overall story is crucial in the development of my own perspective.
A distinction was made apparent by “Ecstasy of Influence.” This distinction was that of influence, and outright plagiarism. Within the reading, Jonathan Lethem compares various artists and possible influences that had been identified within their art. Lethem argues that the influence apparent in an artist’s work should not be considered plagiarism. Due to the amount of sheer influence of prior art on today’s society, we should not consider the “translation” of past work to be plagiarism, but rather different perspectives of a “reoccurring theme.”
Within the reading “On the Right of Molotov Man,” the portrayal and context behind art had been addressed. Specifically, the rights of an image, “Molotov Man,” had been elaborated upon. The issue at hand had been that the image had been used to without the artist’s permission. This copyright infringement, resulted in the progressive communication of contrasting messages from the image’s original context. The usage of the artist’s image, without its’ context, had resulted a misinterpretation of its’ significance, and had been a disfavor to its actual subject. The importance of recognizing the copyright infringement of “Molotov Man” is that within art, an artist can try to convey a message. If individuals begin to recognize the significance behind the contextualization of art, we can see that it is often manipulated. Although no one should have the right to own the struggle depicted within “Molotov Man,” it is important to recognize the context and original meaning behind any form of art.
Marshall McLuhan elaborated upon the ideology that the medium behind communication is just as important as the message itself. As new infrastructure develops, the way an individual consumes information also changes. Although new means of communication can have benefits, a negative characteristic can be the conformity of information available. Parties in control of media infrastructures, such as the radio in McLuhan’s case, can confine public opinion by providing only the information they want the public to know. Additionally, the applicability of this conformity isn’t only limited to the structure present within McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message.” The confinement of public opinion can occur when any mass media infrastructure in place such as television, or even the internet, becomes controlled by a small population of the people. In the case that these media sources are funded by specific corporations or parties, they can preach a biased perspective to benefit their individual beliefs.
The irony regarding the usage of the internet, and what it was meant for, is quite intriguing. The internet had evolved to accommodate much more than its original purpose, which was for the military. Initially developed for a post-nuclear torn America, the internet instead is now used on a global scale with no single individual or nation claiming control over its entirety. However, the internet’s purpose wasn’t the only component that had evolved, the original ideals behind the infrastructure has changed. A high regard of the internet originally was to have a “free and open” infrastructure. Yet, as the usage of the internet evolved, so did this regard. As of 2018, a significant culture that has developed on the internet is that of “memes.” This seemingly arbitrary culture, which the user can be exposed to, can be deemed quite different and odd, but not necessarily bad. Although the usage and ideals behind the internet changes, the infrastructure in place continues to greatly benefit society.