Tuesday, September 23, 2008

03) Mass Media

When I hear the words ‘mass media’ so many things run through my mind. Then an idea hit me while I was listening, to of all things, the Jonas Brothers. I started thinking about it and how they’re connected to mass media. We-the mass media-are the audience waiting for giant corporations to dish out the latest fad. When you stop and really think about it, the Jonas Brothers are just that. They’ve been manufactured to appeal to the mass media.

The Jonas Brothers are appealing in many ways. They’re a trio of fairly good-looking brothers with great style that make catchy music that all can sing and dance along to no matter the age. Not only that, but they’ve created a wholesome image by publicly stating to be virgins until marriage. They make this look good by wearing stylish chastity rings on their ring fingers. Being Disney stars doesn’t hurt too. This all combined, appeals to parents which then allows the children to purchase their CD’s, watch their movies, go see them in concert, watch their TV shows etc.

I personally think we, the mass media, tend to be a bit jaded when it comes to thinking on our own. Don’t get me wrong, I do secretly love the Jonas Brothers and I do like some of their songs. Mostly the mushy love songs, but I can’t help but now think that they’re just another corporate creation, sort of like a Barbie (or Ken in this case) doll made to perfection, specifically aimed to appeal to the mass media to sell millions.

The sad part is that despite knowing all of this, I eventually give in to it, just like many others do. I’m not going to lie, I do have a Jonas Brothers album on my ipod, and my favourite song right now is ‘Lovebug.’

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Masterpiece With a Message.

I think this has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve done for a class before in my life. It was a perfect balance of challenge as well as excitement. I was not entirely sure of what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted to do something interesting. What I ended up doing was going back to my familiar days of painting. The subject matter of my painting is simply a hand holding a paintbrush. I wanted to keep my message fairly straightforward and uncomplicated. “This is my media. This is how I get my message out.” In my own personal experience, I have always responded more to visual things. I do love to read, but if the topic does not interest me, I sometimes have a harder time finishing whatever it is I have to read. I think most people from my generation and those following ours can say the same thing. Everything in our society is visually stimulated, so our youth are bombarded with so many different advertisements, sales pitches and products, I think eventually we’ve become unsure of what to believe and how to tell the difference between what is reality and what is corporately branded.

In my own experience, I’ve always responded the most to art and photography. I do not think that the majority of people realize that certain art pieces have major political stories behind them. The art world has grown and artists are taking advantage of their canvases to portray their own opinions about everything- small or big- to whoever will stop and take a look. One of the best examples in my own opinion is a graffiti artist by the name of Banksy. Controversial and known through London and now increasingly around the world simply for his political art, takes to the streets to create stencils of political happenings today. One of my favourites is of a young girl with a heart-shaped balloon floating away on a cement staircase. On the right side behind the young girl, it says ‘THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE.” There are plenty of others, some which portray groups of riot police with yellow smiley faces in place of their own with “WRONG WAR” written in between them, others of young children hugging bombs with a heart over their heads, conveniently titled a Banksy Love Bomb. There is one stencil, another that I particularly like, of a young man with a bandana over his face getting ready to throw a bouquet of flowers, titled Flower Chucker. There are hundreds more of his stencils around the streets of London, Brighton and Bournemouth as well as the US and Europe, some of which have been removed. Either way Banksy still manages to get his point across to people everyday. He is using the art of graffiti to state his political viewpoints with others around him.

Overall, I think that even if a person is not an artist, or has never taken an art class, or does not fully pay attention to what is happening in the news around us, one can still stop and appreciate what the artist is trying to do. In my own situation, what I hope to do is raise media awareness through my artwork, whether it is painting, photography, sculpture or film that is being used as a medium. Either way I am still left with my hand holding a paintbrush, a camera or even clay, and an empty canvas to create a masterpiece with a message.

“Banksy.” Art of the State. 2008. 16 September 2008

“Banksy.” Banksy. 16 September 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

02) The Ecology of Media

During our second class of Mass Communications, we were to have read two articles, one of them being "The Humanism of Media Ecology" by Neil Postman. Of course these articles lead to interesting class discussions. One of the new things i learned during that class was the definition of media:

a pl. of
(usually used with a plural verb) the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely.

Up until last week, i had a completely different idea of what media was. I actually felt extremely silly when i was finally told the proper definition and compared it to my own idea. I didn't realize that it was a plural of medium. When Mr.Reilly was explaining it to us, it all just clicked in my head, that media is the way the message is portrayed. It got me thinking about how my generation is being constantly bombarded with advertisements and commericals through all sorts of things; the World Wide Web being one of the most popular.

I've had the internet as long as i can remember. I've generally used it to try and complete homework, and various projects over my educational career. But as time went on, it's sad to say that the internet has become a key part of my life. I hadn't realized it entirely until my first two weeks of classes, how much it actually does mediate my life. The thing that has come to bother me so much though, is how dependent people are with things like Msn Messenger, or Myspace and of course Facebook. Using these things so often, has created a social block amongst people. Some have chosen using techonology like the internet to communicate with others instead of good o'l social skills. Even my sister made a comment on it the other day. When she was in high school she would spend hours on the telephone with her friends, or instead of the phone, she would be out hanging with them outside somewhere. Yet today, youth spend more time 'talking' over MSN or Facebook and have entirely forgotten things like the telephone (unless it's a cellular telephone- that's an entirely different story). I've also found that the internet has enabled humans to create an ideal persona. My example being Facebook once again. While communicating over Facebook, the internet gives the user the power to create a 'perfect' person. One without quirks, or eccentricities that a person might normally notice in a face-to-face situation. It eliminates all possibilities of creating any socially awkward incidents. The question to ask yourself now is if all of that is a bad thing? Or is 'talking on Facebook' a new style of communication for man kind altogether?

Don't get me wrong, i appreciate the internet for all it's worth. It makes my school life much easier in finding information for research projects and homework in general, as well as communicating quickly with teachers if i have a problem or a question about something etc. Also, the internet provides me with applications like MSN or Skype to keep in touch with friends and famliy in far away places while i'm at school. But i can't help but feel old fashioned when i say that i sometimes would rather speak face-to-face with my teachers or find time to get together with my family and my friends to catch up with each other, or go to the library and actually find a book or encylopedia to finish that project. Dare i say i find these 'physical' things more dependable then a techonological source?

"media." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v1.1) Random House, Inc. 15 Sept. 2008.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

01) Academic Blogging.

Setting up my blog went much more smoothly then i had anticipated. I had some trouble with esthetics- which colour to make my background, which photos to put up etc, mostly because i can be an indecisive person. I had a bit of trouble creating an original title. It's hard to create something that is 100% original, there is always some sort of influence or inspiration. I remember in one of my art classes, it was an art history day, my teacher was talking about one of the art periods and how up until that point most things had been tried or done. And now sitting in the twenty-first century originality is even more difficult to achieve in all aspects of our lives.

I know personally, one of my goals is to create something original enough to impact someone elses life in any way shape or form. I want to be able to create something that will evoke some sort of emotion in my generation. Something that will enable a person to forget about reality for just one split second. To forget about how fast-paced our lives have become, how much technology controls our lives, how dependant we've become on materialistic things to make us happy. I want to slow things down- back to step one. I want to contribute a creative piece that will make a person stop and think, and then go on and spread that feeling.

I'm still trying to figure out what that creative piece will be, and how exactly i'm going to achieve it. I'm looking forward to learning many things in this course about the mass media and different channels of communications and understanding human experience and culture. I'm hoping everything i learn will help me get one step closer to my creative piece of originality.