Transforming the Home into a Studio: Media In The Domestic

Silverstone’s article on the concept of domestication in conjunction to the media is a complex analysis of the way media has evolved to become incorporated into our everyday lives. This analysis is a long theory that draws on sociological aspects as well as semiotic readings of the media. He not only deals with the homogenization of the media, but focuses more so on the ‘moral economy’ and the way media is structured to interact with the ‘user’ and vice versa. The terms (pg.243); “centripetal mediated cultures” of the 20th century; and; “centrifugal mediated cultures”of the 21st century suggest the transformation of technology into the domestic home. Using  recording audio technologies I will demonstrate how this process  has occured. Preceding this, I will outline how various technologies and concepts have been framed in the context of a metaphor for the world, as Silverstone explains in his introduction. I find this intriguing and quite true, as ideally, concepts do develop from life per se.
Silverstone begins his article explaining that, “concepts take a life of their own. Concepts are metaphors. They stand in place of the world, and concepts address empirical reality. Domesticaton is no exception (for all these statements).” The invention of the computer can be an example of this. Computers “take a life of their own.” We are accustomed users of the computer. In the early stages, the computer was invented to substitute a work-desk. They then developed and took a stance on the world. The internet can be considered as an add on to this concept. It can also be considered as a metaphor for a filling system, on a desk and thus a form of data collection. They have “empirical value” historially, in that they were originally developed to gather specific covert information for governments and military departments. With time, they became affordable, and accessible to the consumer. Computers developed this notion of the transformation from technology to social changes that are now part of our daily lives within and outside of the household. Recording audio devices are another example of this transformation.
The process of recording sound has transformed from what Silverstone explains as, technological or scientific to social changes, and furthered this development in terms of materialism and constructivism, that has a basis on “audience freedom and creativity” then to consumption and thus into the domestic home. Silverstone makes an interesting link to consumption in the domestic. He analyzes consumption to a theory linked to the “domestic animal.” This concept, is based on making technologies (as a metaphor for animals), as part of an individual sphere, training them to suit the domestic laws of space in the home. This can be demonstrated using TV sets, and telephones; however I will show this process in the succeeding sections in regards to recording and audio devices.
Transformation of audio recording devices, and its ‘user’ has significantly changed. It has gone from the Labs, to the Studio, to homes, now to the first generation of screens, such as computers, the second generation as laptops and even available on third screens, i.e our mobile phones that connect to our belts, or arms, and blackberries and so on. The first recording device, was a Reel to Reel tape recorder (eg European Revox A77). This machine looks robust, and sturdy, it was first used in the Studio environment. However, they were very inconvinient to use, in that the editing process involved careful cutting of the magnetic tape. This was not only inconvinient, but also time consuming and expensive. It was inevitable for the recording device to thus transform. This is evident is the next form of recording devices; the Cassett recording device. They became more convinient and eventually portable. Cassett recording devices, became faster and less expensive, however the main problem that did occur with the recorders, were the tapes that did become easily damaged over time. However, due to their efficiency, and design they became widespread in terms of domestication. People would use Cassett recorders in their household to record favorite programs on radio or tapes. Over time as Silverstone describes, technology did become “sensitive to human needs.” MiniDiscs developed within the market. They were protable and designs were made more appealing. I actually carry around a little MiniDisc, attached to a mic. For interviews and generally for spontaneous activities it just seems perfect to record sound. There is a line input to the computer as well. I tend to use a mixture of old and new technologies, although when I shop I attempt to look for quality and price. Anyhow in turn, CD recorders transited into the market. They had nice slick designs appealing to the house. Everyone had a CD player that most commonly had a CD Recorder associated onto it. It is evident that this technology referes to Silverstone’s concept of ‘consumption’.
Comsumption runs on the same idea in the preceding sections based on the idea of ‘domestic animals’. You can choose you animal to your tastes, and then train it to your laws within you space. Speakers, for instance, were set up to a position in the house, based on receiving good quality sound. To gain good sound, particlualry in Home Theatre Systems, loud speakers are most commonly positioned at least 3-5m apart, and best on an angle to reduce sound reflecting on walls. One of my favourite Speakers, is the Spendor S3/R5 Speakers. Anyhow, recently, I bought Logitech Speakers for my computer, they don’t really satisfy taste in terms of good quality sound, but they are portable, and functional for the price, and they came in fancy packaging too.
Home Set Speakers are not necessarily defined in the media context, in terms of what Silverstone describes as ‘objectification’ to ‘incorporation’ in the home in its traditional sense. They don’t overall adhere to the traditional ways of thinking about the ‘User.’ Unlike contemporary research on the TV, of which is studied in terms of gender specific use, audio devices are a little different. For instance, CD Players and DVD Recording devices are domesticated, but they don’t have a stong hold in “the micro-politics of gender, generational and sibling rivalries (p.234-235.)”. This is possibly related to what Silverstone describes as ‘objectivation,’ involving placing and timing. There is no specific body part that connects to the speaker, (unlike a remote for the TV) with the exception of intangible forces. Speakers are not just slick and appealing to the eye, but they also appeal to the ear, the hearing sensory. They are now widely used in the household. Analogue sound developed and became digitalized. Computers and Flash-drives, now preced MiniDiscs, and Cassett Players. Today innovation on technology has taken a turn.
There are are recording devices on mobile phones, IPods, and on laptop systems. Recording devices have transformed from the Studio environment and developed into a ‘taken for granted’ technology, both inside and outside the house. New applications, that derive over the internet, and enable recording systems have redefined the private and public space. You Tube and MySpace appear as extra widgets on websites making recording and public viewing accessible. Silverstone argues that, “private conversations occupy public spaces and their public performance, creating new kinds of public cultures (p.244).” I agree with Silverstone’s arguement, and I have attempted to displayed this concept using one of the most oldest forms of communication media. To conclude, the future is where the private and public “moral economy” do indeed converge with technologies and do become part of the domestication in the household.
Reference
Silverstone, Roger. “Domesticating Domestication. Reflections on the Life of a Concept.” In Berker, Thomas ,et al, eds. Domestication of Media and Technology. Berkshire, UK: Open University Press, 2006, p. 229-248. 
 
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New Media Forms and an analysis of Gauntlett’s Web 2.0

Gauntlett’s article explores a new form of media that is emerging in our everyday lives. He has defined and compared the traditional method of analyzing media termed, “Media 1.0”, against the alternative media, “Media 2.0”, through the application of a clear and structured format. Although there is some truth in David Gauntlett’s (2007) article that, “media reception is collapsing with the emergence of new technologies”, I argue that the decentralization of information can lead to a meaningless production of information, in regards to the use of media in the social class-system. I use Gauntlett’s article on “Media Studies 2.0,” Ramasundara Yohan’s article, “Preparing for Web 3.0” (March 2009, Issue 136 p.16) in PC Authority and Bourdieu Pierre’s (1993) article, ‘Public Opinion Does Not Exist,’ to outline the concept that technology does change, however the democratization of information, such as forums, apply to the class social system. This is still concerned with the study of media reception, as enabled through an interconnectedness of information.
Media deals with the production of information. The comparison between new media and old media forms is mainly concerned with how the production of information is produced. The Internet and new mediums has democratized this process. Forms of information are now not only accessible to the public but can also be reproduced and critiqued upon. Wikipedia, forums, blogs and DIY Media demonstrates this. Gauntlett’s article, refers to and identifies this very well. In addition, these forms are available and therefore, they enhance an interactive community. This community builds upon the notion of class stratification.
We have all used a forum. However, the forum we interact with relates to a subject that we engage in or know about. With the advancement of “media 2.0 and Web 2.0,’ applications such as MySpace, FaceBook, and Twitter; information becomes widespread, and can thus distort the use of media discourse, as it has provided a democratization of information even further. This argument is explored in Bourdieu’s article (1993 pp.155) stating, “In the next ten years, I think the best basis of prediction is mobilized opinion. The dispositions of some categories do not reach the status of opinion, in the sense of a constitute discourse, aspiring to coherence, seeking to be heard, taken notice of…etc, should not lead us to the conclusion that in crisis situations, people who had no opinion will chose one at random.” It is evident that Bourdieu provides both opinions to the democratization of media, being of a positive and critical aproach.
Essentially, there are many media forms that have now revoluntionized the way we receive the media. In fact the public is at the core of media industry production. However, it is still important not to neglect the social class-system that plays this essential role in the production. The way we use media depends on how we recieve the media as well. It is this conformity that also relates to the social class-system. The approach that I have adapted relates to my experiences with the media. For example forums on climate change and ways of conserving water derive from a problem in the house that someone has, and decides to post it on the internet. The responses are still based on a professional class of people, dedicated to the movement or the issue discussed. Hence, within the new media the concept of old media or “Media 1.0” is still relevant in it’s study of audience reception, and therefore the study of Media 2.0 is not in it’s entirety as Gauntlett (2007) describes, “characterized by a rejection of Media 1.0”.
Gauntlett’s article provides an excellent identification of media changes, and this is constantly changing through emerging new-media technological systems. Web 3.0 provides a new mode of interactivity Ramasundra’s article (2009, p.16) explores Web 3.0, and identifies that, “users will access all their functionality online, forwarding useful tools to firends and colleagues when they become aware of new better ways to accomplish their tasks.” Technology is ever-changing, becoming more and more interactive and thus the use of information is dictated through many ways, and although we are all adapting a form of opinion through democartization, traditional media empires such as the BBC, CNN, and FOX are at the core of our discussions within forums, blogs, wikipedia, even MySpace. We are without doubt adapting to a creative form of individuality, and this individuality complies with our social atompshere and therefore class system that tends to be neglected in the modern studies of media.
 
References,

Bourdieu, Pierre, (1993) ‘Public Opinion Does Not Exist, ‘Sociology in Question’ London:Sage p.155

Gauntlett, David (2007), ‘Media Studies 2.0’ (online) (revised) March 2007,

avaiable at http://www.theory.org.uk/mediastudies2.htm (accessed 14 March 2009)

Ramasundara, Yohan (2009), ‘Preparing for Web 3.0, ‘Australian PC Authority magazine’ , March 2009, Issue 136, (p16)

 

 

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