Out of Order

Assignment:

We have Debbie Chachra of Olin college coming to speak this week. She’ll be talking about Ursula Franklin’s ideas.You are reading (PDF in class dropbox)  or listening to some Ursula Franklin. At minimum listen to the first lecture. You may want to keep going!
Here are a couple things for you to watch in advance that Mia and Kio will speak about briefly.Janet Cardiff Killing Machine
Dumbtype Memorandum

Here are some questions to have in mind in preparation for class discussion.

  1. What counts as tech in your view, and what makes it tech?
  2. What questions do we want to ask ourselves before we decide to engage tech in our storytelling? 
  3. Why use tech in a narrative project? Do we really need it? When is it utilized to push the forms forward?
  4. How do our choices affect the stories?
  5. What ethical questions do we want to ask about tech before we use it?
  6. How do we think about narrative in projects that don’t necessarily begin with story– e.g. games, VR, data projects, many others?

Feelings after viewing the Killing Machine

  • for me, it tells a story of ruthlessness of the skeleton-shaped robots executing the torture to an empty dentist chair and ended with a celebratory dance by the two robots. Then everything goes back to square zero, waiting for another innocent audience to push the button to start the scene.
  • The whole performance by the robots are so intriguing. Lots of thoughts rushed through my mind:
    • Are the robots metaphor for humans since they have similar skeletons?
    • Is the scene inspired by the dentist visit or the death sentence in prison?
    • Are the robots evil by nature or is the audience who interacted with the button guilty of the outcome?
  • Those questions are applicable to our daily life with technology as well, which me fear for the misuse of the technology even more.
  • The lighting, music, and sound design are exceptional. The lighting turned from several white spot lights into, red, then blue, then white disco light, changing the tone of the scene immediately along with the score. I really loved it. The speed of the story is also perfect in a way, it tells the story that does not seem too long or too short. It is super intriguing all the way through.

Feelings after viewing Memorandum

  • Loved how the performance of real dancers and screen behind them form a collaboration for the piece
  • But could not relate from the name to the performance
  • I know it has pieces of information projected on the screen from behind – more like glimpse of life.
  • And dancers dance to tell a certain story of their emotions.

My thoughts

1. What counts as tech in your view, and what makes it tech?

Tech that helps people to do things more efficiently, extensions of ourselves.

visual and sounds – tech that i am most drone to – the space between the audeince and the project – Find the things I am drawn to – inspiration with others

2. What questions do we want to ask ourselves before we decide to engage tech in our storytelling? 

Why do I choose this tech? What impacts may it make? Do I have to use this tech? What are the alternatives? Is tech really important in my storytelling? What is the priority when I decide to make the project with the tech?

3. Why use tech in a narrative project? Do we really need it? When is it utilized to push the forms forward?

Using tech in a narrative project has benefits in:

  • allowing broader audience to engage with it
  • enhance senses – audio through headphones or visuals through projections,VR/AR

We need it if the using of the tech allows us to achieve the means without doing extra laboring/wasted time.

When there are better ways or more appropriate ways (growth model from Ursula Franklin) to enhance whatever I am trying to achieve. XR/AR/VR etc.

4. How do our choices affect the stories?

From the beginning of approaching the stories: expectations affect how we read/feel into the story. In the middle of the story: certain technological difficulties may interfere with the smoothness of the storytelling. It may become a more central impression for the audience rather than the story itself. When after the story: how the audience decide, if they do, to reflect upon what they see. It is the same for the creator. How I choose to reflect, learn from others, my experience as a creator, and what I learned for the experience would be affecting to how I view my project and updates my project in the future.

5. What ethical questions do we want to ask about tech before we use it?

Can tech be misused in this situation? If so, what would the misusage be? How should we avoid so, if not, create a secure environment for people to give feedback to build a system that to fix it? How should we frame it to allow people to collaborate as builders rather than solely players? Make everyone more responsible for their actions in using the technology?

who can access it? who’s your audience? who is not your audience?

6. How do we think about narrative in projects that don’t necessarily begin with story– e.g. games, VR, data projects, many others?

I sort of disagree with the question. Games and VR and data projects do tell a story but I guess it depends on how you present the story in the first place. Sometimes these projects often have a short intro that give hint of the storyline before you download a game or start playing with VR.

But for projects that have no intro or do not give a clue for the audience. I think it is important to gear people away from the technology while focusing on the story. Yet, I think with every introduction of new technology, there will be a sense of curiosity that makes people eager to play because it is new and it is high-tech. I am beginning to feel VR and games are no longer new in a sense that people will get excited solely because it is a game or it is in VR.

I think we should be careful in interacting with the projects and still keep in mind that how the projects are doing to tell a story rather than putting the tech as the focus?

It is a hard question for me tho. I do feel like narrative begins before we let ourselves engage in the story through any medium. We, as the audience, play as a part to choose to start the story first.

Published by Yiting Liu

NYU ITP '21

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