Interactive Design using Actionscript3 on Flash

For this task, I have chosen a simple animation for my word Warm. The brief  is to create a sense of playfulness in the interactive design catering for visually impaired children. In my design I would like to achieve a sense of familiarity with the word warm. This will be achieved through creating a domestic feel to my design. To begin with my design will be created in a domestic household. For visually impaired children I will have a bold outline of a house. Inside it there will be about 4 clickable objects that will be placed next to each other. The objects are as described:

There will be a jacket and a singlet- the jacket will move (clickable), the singlet won’t.

A tea pot and a fridge.

fire-place and a fan

A bowl of soup and a sandwich.

The design is based on a few concepts to make the interaction between the user and game fun. These concepts are based on discovery, a exploration, creation, and difficulty. I have made the objects so that they develop from an easy level and progressing to a somewhat harder level (soup/sandwich) to make the design more challenging, to also develop hand-eye coordination.

So this is what I had in mind thus far, although I must warn that it may change without any notice. Cheers

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What Lies Beneath Wk10

“Meet the New Poor” was the headline in the Daily Telegraph on Monday 25th May 2009. It is a captivating, dramatic, and an enticing, statement. Can you guess what the article was about? It could be perhaps; the impact of the economic recession, Australia’s unemployment status, and our society. What is most interesting is analyzing this statement and the article from a ‘critical discourse perspective’. However to do this one must understand the definition and meaning of Discourse in Communication and Media studies. Fairclough (1995) provides this basis. He defines the ‘use of language as discourse,’ as “viewing language use as a social practice (implying first), that it is a mode of action, as linguistic philosophy and (also) implies that language is a socially and historically situated mode of action, in a dialectical relationship with other facets of the social (1995 p.54).” Before deconstructing his analysis of ‘discourse;’ and drawing it in with Economou’s articles on Australian and Greek texts, there is a secret that lies beneath his definition and article that is essential in understanding this statement on a practical level. This deeper understanding derives from Foucaultian philosophy. Foucault theorized this concept and came to a conclusion of society and man. This wise man once said, “Man is a thinking being. The way he thinks is related to society, politics, economics, and history and is also related to very general and universal categories and formal structures.” Michel Foucault (1988) (sourced from Website). 

Essentially, every media form conveys a meaning. However it is critical to understand how and why these forms are constructed to ultimately serve their purpose. This is where Fairclough’s discourse analysis proves to be useful. Simply providing a brief description of his analysis, Fairclough looks at a process whereby he studies a Media Form using the concept that he terms as- a ‘communicative event,’ and another concept termed as the ‘order of discourse’. The Communicative Event focuses on three aspects. These include texts, discourse practice and socio-cultural practice. The second part focuses on the ‘order of discourse.’ These are basically tools used to look at the construction of Media Forms.

Texts are ‘concerned with both their meanings and their forms.’ They can be analyzed in three terms that Fairclough summed up as, ‘ideational (ideology behind text), interpersonal (identity and status) and textual (formal, informal, close distant p.58).’ The ‘discourse practice’ is analyzed through examining the text production and the text consumption (p.58). For instance, an example is based on analyzing the inter-textuality (interpretive analysis p.61) and the linguistic analysis (descriptive in nature) of the Medium. This could refer to the text being written in colloquial language so that the reader receives the text (consumption), although the Medium may have gone through a large production process. This all depends on the larger picture, which is based on the way we receive a text, termed as ‘socio-cultural practice;’ the idea of the position in society and culture of a text, or also ‘situational context’ (p62). The second part termed the ‘order of discourse’ has a basis on the idea of genre.

 Using pictures and text, Economou’s article provides a framework of which to look at when analyzing a text. An argument or more so concept which Fairclough construct is closely related to Economou’s analysis. Fairclough when an analyzing a text emphasizes the use of language through power relations. He provides a simple example, “in which a conventional consultation between a doctor and a patient, or a conventional interview between a reporter and a politician.” He goes on to say that such practices are shaped, with their common sense assumptions (eg. Doctor knows all about illnesses), to prevailing relations of power between groups of people (p.54).” The reason that I have made direct links between these two articles can be questionable, but more so interesting.

I have found the power relationship between the viewer/audience/receiver and the production line of a text (reporter, cameraman, editor) to be significant when analyzing a Media Form, in terms of Economou’s perspective. For instance, a photograph could be received as ‘factual’ and ‘attitudinally’ to the audience, and this all depends on the construction of the photograph, including the position, and layout of the page. Economou states that, “photos have the potential to position the viewer to take a positive or negative view, or, even implied, participants whether or not the photo’s selection and presentation is consciously motivated by this potential (p259).” In this power-play relationship in terms of any media form, by the end it is a socio-cultural practice that relates to the final projection of the media form.

I can see how this idea of ‘discourse analysis’ is important, especially when looking at news formats, entertainment and sports. But what I find most intriguing and am quite unsure of is based on the purpose of ‘discourse analysis.’ The purpose could be twofold. Firstly, it could be as a way of measuring ‘accountability’ of reporting, and secondly, within understanding the fabric society and thus construct. An Australian program that is called Media Watch on ABC is based on analyzing Australia’s media. One episode provided a linguist-analysis within news reporting on the term ‘nuclear missiles.’ This program could be an example where the Media is watched, and kept accountable. So essentially my Blog postage has a media discourse associated to it, and if we were to study media discourse we would come back to Foucaultian philosophy and end up singing the song Rome Wasn’t Built in A Day!

References

Fairclough N. “Critical Analysis of Media Discourse” In Media Discourse London Arnold, 1995, 53-74

Economou, Dorothy, “Pulling Readers in: News Photos in Greek and Ausralian Broadsheets” in White PPR and Elizabeth A Thomas Eds. Communicating conflict: Multilingual Case Studies of the News Media. London Continuum 2008 145-152

Website http://www.foucault.qut.edu.au/quote/2005q.html page last updated 10 February 2009 Site created in January 1997 by Clare O’Farrell. Accessed 25th May 2009.

Look, there. It’s a sign :Wk9

Language is universal. This is a fair and acceptable statement to make. However, I have learnt that language is an extensive process that is endless as time goes by. As we enter the realm of Futuristic New Media Forms, and into a more knowledgeable society; the deconstruction of language through linguists, sociologists, and cultural analysts combines to make a lethal mixture for those simply studying Media. I chose to focus this week’s postage on an article by Lunkin, Annabelle, “Reporting War: Grammar as Covert Operation, (in Dissent)” once I finished reading and carefully analyzing her paper, I then had to delve into a furthered understanding of Discourse along with the study of Semiotics, as I will explain further in this post.

Lunkin’s article emphasizes the importance of language within the context of news reporting. This is explained as Lunkin makes the reader understand through her argument that, “any report of any event is selective because of the nature of language.” Hence fundamentally, a media report and the ways language is used in the report can be interpreted and constructed through many ways. This is most interesting as it forms the basis of semiology and the study of meanings and signs. Before I analyze how semiology becomes part of this, I would like to further Lunkin’s concept in interpreting texts.

Lunkin focuses on three primary factors that explain how a statement can be received and thus how it is also constructed. (I will be quoting Lunkin in both her use of examples and explanations.

  • Middle Voice – “ No mention of an external agent who caused (an) event to happen.” (Example used in Lunkin’s article, “Bombs fell on Baghdad”)
  • Active Voice – “(The mention in a statement where there is a) Grammatical agent that caused the event to take place.” (Eg used, “Coalition forces dropped Bombs on Baghdad”)
  • Passive Voice – “Leaving out the agent of action” (Eg used, “Bombs were dropped on Baghdad”)

Both Passive and Active Voices, Lunkin refers to as the “Effective Voice.” Furthermore, the Passive Voice is received by the audience with “a choice of whether or not to make the agent of action explicit.” In terms of the discourse in news statements, and specifically in the reporting of the Iraq War, these are three ways of “constructing the event.” So essentially, the above explains how a statement is written, or the choices available for journalists to write. The next step is based on the study of meanings and the differing ways the audience can interpret them. This is where Schirato’s and Yell’s article on interpreting meanings comes into place.

Schirato and Yell’s article, “Signs and Meanings” describes the concept of semiology. They write that the study of semiotics was developed by the linguist Ferdinard de Saussare. Through exploring Saussare’s concept, it is evident that language has been formed from a common socio-cultural understanding. The article explores Saussare’s idea of signs. They explain that Saussare was “interested in the linguistic sign which he divided into three aspects. (pg 20).”

These include;

Signifier;

Signified and

Sign.

The signifier is (put simply) the word, the signified is concerned with how this is “evoked” (p20) or our idea of the word, and sign is what I’ve understood to be as the word per se. In an example from above taken from Lunkin’s article, I’ve deconstructed the word Bomb to describe this. The signifier would be the word Bomb, the signified would be Bombardment, and the sign is disastrous if I have misunderstood the entire article, but theoretically I’d say it would be a Bomb.

The understanding of this word would be termed according to Saussare in Schirato’s and Yell’s article as having an arbitrary meaning, i.e. it is socio-culturally explained. To explain this, we all know what Bomb is. The problem I have with Saussare’s concept is that with the emergence of cultural differences, words such as terrorists and freedom fighters would be quite difficult to adapt within his concept. Therefore, when it comes to studies of the Media and language, Lunkin puts it best. As she questions us to think about Media discourse. She talks about the “coverage of war,” and poses questions such as, “what emphasis is given to the coverage of the impact of war on citizen, versus discussions of technological, military deployments and strategies, versus what politicians have said, ordered, claimed, derued, denounced, reiterated, suggested, abhorred, acknowledged, added insisted etc.?” and ends with stating that these “complex questions can be researched; such research would uncover the covert grammatical operations in reports of war, that is how certain kinds of grammatical selections might be favored over others. The Australian Public would be in a much more informed position to debate the significance and consequence of how the experience of war is mediated for us.” (p.36)

References

Lunkin, A, “Reporting War: Grammar as Covert Operation” Dissent (2003) pp. 14-20

Schirato T, and Yell, S. “Signs and Meaning.” Communication and Cultural Literacy: An Introduction .Sydney: Allen and Unwin 2000, pp.18-33

A New and Improved Audience :Wk8

I shall confess that thus far my perspective of ‘the audience’ has been critical. Originally, I had maintained this concept of a ‘homogenized audience’. It primarily followed the idea of commodification and convergence of the media which for me, was due to the formation of new and updated technologies. My previous blog post ‘American Homogenization and Media Convergence’ outlined this perspective on a basic level. As I read Nick Couldry’s chapter I must admit that it has challenged me to think beyond this, as I will describe later in this blog post. Furthermore reading this chapter, I identified my original perspective with Nicholas Abercrombie and Brian Longhurst’s arguement. Other than Nick Couldry’s ‘Extended Audience’ chapter which challenged the traditional notions of audience reception studies, an interview that I was listening to on ABC Classic this morning between 10am-11am with Margret Throsby and Hossein Valamanesh as guest provided me with a complete different ideology on audiences and ‘publics’.

As I was sitting on the bus on the way to university, I listened to this particular interview with Hossein Valamanesh, on the play ‘When the Rain Stops Falling.’ Listening to this broadcast, I travelled to many places of the Middle East in terms of the music. I relaxed to chill out sounds and learnt quite a lot about the world around me. However, I awoke from my imagination through a quote by Hossein Valamanesh, which made me think, and also shattered my original idea on audiences. In order to gain a better understanding of this quote I re-listened to the broadcast via abc.net.au/classic/throsby/default.htm#listen, and I have provided a short quote below.

Margret Throsby (host) states in the interview- “(I think it’s save to assume that) Today’s audiences are more sophisticated in the way they accept a story being told to them, because of film. Because we’ve seen stories told in non-linear ways on film.”                                                                                                                                                                              Hossein Valamanesh– “(I think) We at times underestimate public intellect.”

From these quotes I have come to learn that the media is part of our daily lives, however rather than it being passive (underestimating the public); we actually do think about the media in various ways and forms, and with the advent of new technologies we are able to personalise and choose what we like whether it is to hear, watch or read, and even take part in. RSS feeds, and YouTube are amongst this growing trend. In addition, Couldry argues in his article that, “as audiences become more ‘media literate’ the idea of what it might be like to be a performer on television is more wide-spread than it once was.”

Nick Couldry’s article on the Extended Audience challenges and makes the reader question previous studies of audience reception; through examples that include advertisements, mobile media (such as the webcam) and the DotComGuy. These examples show how the audience has changed. For instance, through the advertisement he draws on the concept that it could be seen as a way of media performance. This is argued in Abercrombie/Longhurst’s argument on the ‘diffused audience’. Where we have been so very accustomed to the media, and reality TV shows that the concept of having an audience is diminishing. Alternatively, he argues that the advertisement can be seen as being part of what maybe called a ‘traditional media process,’ or even better what he argues (throughout the article) as an ‘extended audience’ and thus having an intended audience.  

The concept of an extended audience refers to a further understanding of spatiality. A good example in the article is based on the notion of ‘fandom.’  The article describes DisneyWorld as available for a consumer to visit and be a part of. Overall, his article challenges the notions of reception studies with the interaction of the audience and consumer, especially with the idea of a ‘diffused audience’ that is based on the concept of the media immersing everyday lives through a plethora of mediums.

References

Couldry, Nick “The Extended Audience: Scanning the Horizon” In Gillespie, Marie Ed. Media Audiences. Berkshire: Open University Press, 2005 184-196 and 210-220.

Interview- 11th May 2009, “Mornings with Margret Throsby”- 10:05-11am with Hossein Valamanesh http://www.abc.net.au/classic/throsby/default.htm#listen accessed 11th May 2009.

A Networked Society: Wk 7

It has taken me at least one year to buy myself a camera. It is not as though I have been without a camera for a year it is just that I am attached to my heavy duty, manual based  Spotmatic Pentax camera. In order shoot a photo using my camera, you must lift the camera to your eyes, focus the lens towards the picture and shoot. Now with my new Olympus digital camera, I am able to take photos in a variety of ways. However, I did not purchase a digital camera for the purpose of snapping images. Rather, I purchased one for ‘file-sharing’ reasons, to e-mail, and upload my photographs to family and friends both in Sydney and overseas.  Long gone are the days, where you’d take out a photo album around the coffee table.

As Dylan states ‘Times They are Changing.’ I am constantly on the road, and sometimes, if I don’t have my digital camera, I use my mobile phone if I find something strange, unusual or that I like on the spot. I then snap it and forward it to a friend that I think, may also find it interesting via WiFi technology. When I get home I tend to then upload my photos on Flickr, and Facebook. I also sometimes skim through other photos on these websites that friends have forwarded to me that are of interest, and spend a few hours on end using this concept of a ‘Network Media’ to connect and also personalize my world. This is an example where concepts such as costomization, personalization, individualization, mobility, interactivity, and engagement are explored in articles on Media Networks; in particular it is explored in Terea Rizzo’s paper, “Programming your own Channel,” of which I will be refering to in this post.

I have to start embracing or more precisely, using digital technologies around me. Reading Rizzo’s article I admit, I have become more aware of the idea of ‘productive engagement,’ especially with the Foxtel IQ, PDR systems. Furthermore, Rizzo used three cases to demonstrate a the idea of network societies. Foxtel IQ, YouTube and Ipods are the mediums explored, that demonstrate how playlists are created by consumers. One argument is that “by creating a playlist of personal viewing choices, scheduling, and programming is taken out of the hands of the programmer and into the hands of the viewer. (p112)” I don’t actually have an Ipod, but occassionally I’d use my sisters Ipod. I use the Ipod for mobility purposes (dowloading CDs onto Ipod, and into my pocket), rather than networking with Itunes, clicking through songs and file sharing. Having said this, Rizzo argues that, “customisation and personalisation go hand in hand with mobility in relation to the Ipod, and ( furthers this idea of networking by stating that,) while the Ipod may need an internet connection for downloading programs, once downloaded they can be viewed anywhere without a connection.(p.116)”

Another arguement that is essential in Rizzo’s paper is based on the everyday life and how it has changed from a broadcasting, temporal concept to a more spatial, flexible way of life enabled through networks.  This is mostly evident with the case study that Rizzo outlines on Foxtel IQ. She states an interesting point that, “PDRs, such as IQ and TiVo, (are interesting for their) ability to time shift (which) encourages viewing practices that are vastly different from broadcast television’s appointment-based or temporal mode of viewing. (p110)” Essentially the  there is a shift from a temporal mode of viewing to a spatial mode of viewing. This concept is also supported through an arguement based on the way new media flows, via creating playlists. She argues that, “instead of relying on a notion of flow that is defined by a one-way process that draws audiences into its stream, what is required is a theory of flow that can account for an interactive and productive engagement. (p121)” The entire article enduces these concepts of networking digital technologies, with the user. The consumer, using these technologies, has the ability to personalise their content to their preferences. I am recently using RSS feeds to personalise my content, and am able to keep up to date with regular updates, from both my friends’ pages, and informative sources. Furthermore, I now use delicious, where I can learn, and share new websites/bookmarks that are of interest to me. I also keep in touch with the world through newsvine. These are taken for granted technologies that we network with, use, recieve information and that has thus shifted our notion of daily time, to a concept of “spatial modes of viewing”.

Rizzo, Teresa. “Prgramming Your Own Channel: An archaeology of the Playlist.” In Kenyon, Andrew Ed. TV Futures: Digital Television Policy in Australia. Carlton, VIC: Melbourne University Press, 2007 108-134.

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