All posts by anna

The Bible

Not sure if this is helpful, but in one of my classes, we got to see the special collection for Visionaire in the Gimbel Library, which is on the 2nd floor of 2w 13th st building. There was a special issue of these really amazing artistic reinterpretations of passages from The Bible so it made me think of Ricardo’s project. It might be helpful if you need other precedents or inspirations for your project, since we mentioned yesterday that other inspirations should be included on our site. In order to see the collection, you have to schedule a visit with the librarian, they are very careful of how the collection is handled. The collection for other issues of Visionaire is amazing, I recommend it to everyone.

The case for it:

Gabriella Coleman

The various topics Gabriella Coleman covered in terms of anonymous were really interesting. I know I had to Google 4chan and the incident with HBGary Federal. I have never posted or have been on 4chan before and it really does seem like an interesting site. The concept of how it starts off of one image and then the post taking life is a nice way to start a discussion. The fact that they do not have an archive seems unfathomable. It makes me curious as to where these posts go after they disappear. I doubt that they can truly disappear in its entirety.

The incident that anonymous created with HBGary Federal is insane. How is it that I have never heard this story? Being able to hack into what was once deemed a secure network to leak all this information is so dangerous given the repercussions of the incident. I suppose the fact that it is done anonymously only adds to the fire and intrigue of all these careless actions. The fact that that anonymous were referred to as the internet hate machine and they call themselves those that laugh at the face of tragedy amongst others is somewhat disheartening. Is it only making more trouble every time we give anonymous more power and the ability to grow and spread?

I am not a fan of trolling, which seems to happen a lot and really cannot be controlled. Do people have nothing better to do with their time then to troll people and their sites and posts?  I realize that at times the trolling is done for the “lulz” such as with the Tom Cruise Scientology video, but can also result in the bad like when Coleman was defining the term as being coy and mischievous.  It is never a fun thing when you are on the receiving end of all this negativity as a result of the trolling even if it seems fun to be the one trolling.

11/16 Reading Responses

Afghanistan’s Amazing DIY Internet

FabFi seems like such an innovative project. Wanting to create Internet networks for eastern Afghanistan using trash seems unfathomable.  To think that something that we disregard can turn into something useful is really going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to resourcefulness. Although it is low-tech and simple, the fact that it works is already a great achievement. I wish I could see their scalable model in action. I love that their networks operate independently of government control and can be deployed by anyone anywhere. It seems like such a difficult thing to do something of this scale without the government intruding. This project can really change lives and revolutionize the way we operate the Internet.

US Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors

What the Obama administration is doing by leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems seems like something out of a spy movie.  At first I thought that this was such a waste of money just to plant all these secret devices in various locations. But if it is to help with communication, free of government control then it really is not such a bad thing.  If the plan is truly to help them with creating independent networks then I am all for it, but if it is another means to keep tabs on other countries then I am not so sure of such actions.  It could turn sour in the sense that this could turn into some underhanded method of intruding on another country’s privacy as means of spying on them. If it results in such, then it is just another thing fueling the fire on our war on terrorism and another reason for retaliation.

Iran Protests, Tech Tools at Work

Iran restricting the movements of foreign journalists is understandable, but a difficult thing to do considering the numerous outlets for drawing publicity. If any Iranian citizen carrying a cell phone or camera can become an instant journalist, then how is Iran suppose to control foreign media? There is twitter, facebook, DDOS, proxies, youtube, flickr, and so many more outlets. How can anyone control all of them let alone keep track of them all? It can be blocked or taken down from one place and put up in another and spread just as quickly. It is like a virus that spreads from carrier to carrier. I know that I am always weary to post something anywhere because once it is out there in cyberspace, then there is really no way to take it back. I know of celebrities or even government officials that have posted things such as pictures or just a word that is now coming back to haunt them.  There is no reverse button that I am sure each of us would like to press at least once. The worst thing is even when you try to delete something, realizing your careless actions, it was already too late by the time you pressed enter and now at least one other person or entity has a copy of it, free to pass it on to the interconnecting world.

Reading Response 11/9

Storming the Servers: A Social Psychological Analysis of the First Internet War

I could not imagine a day without the Internet. My life is based around the Internet; there is not one day that I am not using it. Being without it for as long as they did during the Internet war in Estonia seems unfathomable. It really does sound like a nightmare.  I am not someone that uses my phone often or watches television as a means of entertainment. I am all about the different ways the Internet acts as a tool for me to not only stay connected, but to enjoy the little moments that I use to relieve stress. My family is in California and I am in New York so I skype them a lot.  Families work that way; you’re parents want to see your face while talking to see how you’re doing. I would not be able to function without the Internet. It is like an addiction, there is no going back once I have already had a taste of it.

What It’s Like to Participate in Anonymous’ Actions 

The analogy with MasterCard and Paypal as it having to do with membership only access is something that I never really thought about when associating with commentary made by anonymous posts.  Thinking about it as something exclusive that only certain people can gain access to it versus where it is available to everyone plays up to the appeal of anonymous posts. When your identity is hidden, there is more freedom to express yourself. No one can really trace it back to you or at least they will not know who the poster is. If you are a member, there is all this information you have to provide and everyone will know who you are and can constantly keep tabs on your every action. Although I prefer anonymity; it also has its consequences. There are greater chances for someone to abuse the power and that will cause trouble not only for the poster, but the forum/platform in which the commentary was posted on. It can be taken out of proportion if there is a feeling of a threat or something could instill fear, given our current government is always cautious when it comes to what is deemed a part of national security.

Digital Zapatistas

The statement that public spaces are increasingly privatized seems true to a certain degree. I never really noticed it, but if you really stop to think or look around at your surroundings, there are not a lot of public spaces that are readily available. The Digital Zapatistas’ virtual protests has really revealed the ways in which cyberspace itself is occupied and organized as commercial and private, rather than public. Spatiality, Edward Soja argued, “is socially produced, and, like society itself, exists in both substantial forms (concrete spatialities) and as a set of relations between individuals and groups, an ‘embodiment’ and medium of social life itself.” To me this suggests that space does not just have to be just the physical aspect, but a state of mind. It is about the unlimited or expanse in which all material objects are located and all events occur.  Like Soja argued, it depends on who or what is involved for it to be defined or changed.

Reading Response

The Interventionists

The article was quite inspiring in that it was promoting the idea that design can act as a platform to communicate social change. It is like you can say so much without even realizing it, even something subtle can communicate a powerful message. It seems similar to what our guest speaker last week does in using public spaces as a means to campaign, transforming empty space or something we wouldn’t normally notice as something to generate curiosity and thought. It reminds me of a video clip my thesis teacher showed about how IDEO redesigned a grocery cart. It was about thinking about functionality with only the barest of essentials, thinking outside the box of what we expect a cart to look like. The design is a basket placed on a wheel frame that comes with hooks for your shopping bags and wheels to move around. They thought about how to make a design that would also lessen or eliminate the chances of stealing. Thinking about what happens when you remove the basket, who would want to steel an empty metal frame? The design was innovative, but it has still not seen the light of day. I think this was one of the problems I had with the article. No matter how great a design is, how does it get seen? How will people get the message? Will it really generate social change? We pass by some amazing designs on a daily basis and barely notice or acknowledge their existence. It is easy to think about it in design school, but what about everyone else? How do we get the rest of the world to start thinking about social change?

Archive of Socially Engaged Practices from 1991-2011

Paul Ramirez Jonas, Key to the City, New York, New York, 2010

I like the idea that someone can be given a key or access to something that is hidden. It is like a treasure hunt to find all these places that are locked away. It makes me think of one of my favorite books as  a kid, The Secret Garden. My favorite part was when the little girl discovers this hidden world in this garden just by turning the key of the door. It is like she discovered a secret place as a means to escape from the hardships of reality. She could go there to meet friends and have the fun she longed for, discovering something new every time she went.

Reading Response

Users Guide To Demanding The Impossible

The first thing I noticed about the guide is the cover. It is not only visualizing striking, but the subtle hints of its overall message really sets a tone and it makes me excited to read it. The message that I got from the guide, in relation to our class, is that protest is not simply about how it looks, “the fun and pleasure it engenders in our bodies,” but as importantly it is about its success. There has to be reason for why something is happening to make sense or worth it. It is not simply about generating media attention, but connecting the design or concept with the message behind it. Whenever I design something in one of my classes, I have to think about why I am doing this particular design, who is my target audience, and what are people going to take away from it? The important thing is what the design can do. If no one understands the message than no matter how visually appealing it may be, the design is not only a failure, but it loses its initial intent and value.

Boyd: Truth is a Virus, Meme Warfare And Billionaires for Bush

The article discussed topics related to campaigns and advertising that really resonated with me. I am a graphic designer and I would love to pursue a career in advertising, so constantly I am thinking of concepts that require a strategy to implement and the promotional aspect of it. There is always this fine line with advertising that you are basically selling lies because the truth is not “commercial” or something that “sells.” The idea that it spreads like a virus is very true. It is exactly how trends start. It was originally something that traveled through word of mouth, but now there is this bigger connection through the internet. Another thing to think about is also if your campaign or advertisement is not only visually appealing, but if people understand it? I mean there are some amazing designs out there, but they are not exactly the easiest to understand. The fact that movements are created to the point that random people can join or contribute to how a campaign is promoted is unbelievable. I think the most difficult thing is once you have a design or plan, it is a matter of how to get the message out there, so that not only does it spread, but the message that the audience sees is the same as the one the designer intended. What makes something exciting or interesting? How do we get topic starters or trend setters?

Reading Response: Boyd/Duncombe

One of the underlining themes mentioned in the articles written by Boyd and Duncombe is propaganda. Some of the propaganda in the U.S. got out of hand when the government gave the “public’s flight from facts a helping hand,” but it was effective because they knew people prefer a dramatic story to the uncomfortable truth. Propaganda is everywhere such as in advertisements, television shows, and movies. It is certainly something that I have done or used to my advantage when I have to create a campaign for one of my classes or the company I am working at. We have learned to find comfort in compelling narratives and distrust open-ended stories or messy facts. A climate of fear can fuel fantasy, as the Bush Administration has so effectively demonstrated. No matter how irrational the story may be, people will find a way to go with the story as it gives them a sense of security. What we need is the truth. When we are told the truth, how will we be able to believe it after all these lies?

One particular term that stood out to me was cultural resistance and how it contributes to political activity against the powers-that-be. Results of this resistance may range from suffering repression to forcing meaningful reform, yet all of this occurs within the framework of the dominant power. Cultural resistance creates a “free space,” providing a language, practice, and community to ease the way into political activity political activity. This is my first time reading about this term and it fascinates me, especially the various definitions behind it. The words themselves sound so powerful that the combination of it creates another level of meaning.

Project

Proposal:

The project I am creating involves starting a mentoring program based on this idea of “lil sis, big sis,” which includes internships. The mentorship program will be similar to that of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of New York City. The difference would be to encourage young girls between the ages of 15-18 to not only pursue a college degree, but to pursue careers/degrees in management, technology, and science. This sort of group is considered one of the fastest growing industries, but it lacks a strong female voice. I was thinking specifically about WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) who try to increase the number of girls/women pursing degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, while fostering their future success.

Goal:

I hope to implement my mentorship program or find a way to bridge ideas at an actual school, such as the Bronx Guild. The reason for this particular school is that their entire curriculum is based on internships. They have a program that is not only well-established, but is based on a system that works. I want to to make a demand or a want for girls to aim for something that is not currently provided for them at this school and I hope to get successful women within this industry to talk to girls about pursuing a better future for themselves.

Progress:

Right now, I have a lot of research and people that I have been contacting.

I just got back a response from the principal at the Bronx Guild and he seems very interested in my project. He said he was busy this week so i’m planning on scheduling a meeting for next week. The woman that Jonathan recommended from an association of female physicists just contacted me and said that she could help. Since she is currently in Switzerland, she said she would contact her friend at Stanford who is in the National Science Foundation committee. Hopefully this will lead to volunteers of professional women within the scientific community that can help with the mentorship or internship.

I contacted both WISE and the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of New York City but no responses as of yet.

 

—Open to suggestions, help, or leads to more resources

Occupy Wall Street Response

The experience of being at the protest at Wall Street was beyond memorable. The sounds, the smells, and the crowds of people were intense. It was my first time at any type of protest so I was unsure of what to expect. I could barely hear anything through the sirens. There was definitely a strong smell of burning incense. I would assume the incense was to help purify the mind and air. Maybe it was to make the experience better spiritually? I certainly saw a large meditation circle near our class’ meeting spot. The fact that they were so able to tune out the sounds and the craziness of the surrounding area is quite a feat. The large crowds of people and the handmade signs were unexpected. Some signs were treated as art objects, while others seemed more like the cardboard signs that the homeless carry as you pass them on the street. The fact that there were sections or stations for everything shows that protests can be well-organized or rather they must be in order to sustain longevity. One of the most interesting things I saw was that there were protestors cleaning up the area with a broom and dustpan, picking bits of trash. I suppose since this area is not only a shared place but a home away from home for some; it is best to keep things neat and tidy. Overall, I learned that nothing beats seeing it all yourself in order to truly experience and learn about something.

Reading Response: Augusto Boal

In reading about the work done by Augusto Boal, I feel so much more inspired yet discouraged at the same time. He seems like an amazing person to have achieved so much through speech in terms of his interactive techniques. I cannot believe Boal has been to jail for practicing his interactive techniques. How could he have withstood the violence inflicted upon him and his colleagues by the military government? I do not know if I could be that strong if I were in his position. It is one thing to get your voice heard but when it turns to violence, then what is everything we have done so far for? Is it worth continuing if it puts others in danger?