Sunday, November 22, 2009

MX: Reading response #4 (page 103-115)

The first thing that made me think in the Fourth reading was this: "... the viewing subject, who now exists in two spaces: the familiar physical space of her real body and the virtual space of an image within the screen" (p. 104) How many people take pictures when they visit a new place or see friends they haven't seen for a long time? That moment does not exist anymore, but it is captured on your screen that has the uploaded image. With the WWW people can access information that embodies a specific space or moment of the physical space and partake in the experience. This could only become possible with the development of digital photography that lets you see what happened on the other side of the world in less then ten minutes after it happened.

Digital photography, however, leaves no surprises. We take a snapshot, look at the LCD display and voila! or image is ready. You don't even have to print it out: it is more detailed on the screen. This type of photography is good for people who merely want to take a picture and don't have to add depth to the image. The paragraph about the tented camera and the early processes of printing and developing images makes was educational and helpful. Patience and surprise that were two essential components of photography. Preparations for it were difficult and slow and you could never guess what the image would look like. That carries a huge appeal to me. How can this be introduced into or design projects, both printed and digital? This is a big question for me because of my interest in print media that has so much potential for discovery and surprise.

The beginning of the paragraph about personalized cinema (p.107) says that classical film made a connection with each viewer and positioned him inside its virtual world. I think that good photography can do the same thing, sometimes better. When watching a film we are accepting the reality of the character or the director that depicted their perception of the world. When looking at photography, a still image with a specific moment depicted on a sheet of paper, we make the image our own. We see what WE want to see for as long as we want to see it. Because of photography's static nature, we can be fully absorbed in it. How many times have you looked at an image for a minute, just to realize you've spent half an hour looking? I see photography inviting the viewer to look and think and the moving image to view and then think. Baudry sees the immobility of the spectator seen in photography an essential condition of cinematic pleasure (p. 109). It is a little bit disturbing that this reading crosses out everything good about the older technology in order to "promote" the newer one. Nobody in the reading says that the moving image is better that photography, but the bias is still there. This is the aspect of this reading I do not enjoy.

The part where the reading discusses Visual Reality is touching upon some interesting points. The viewer was attached to the computer like a mouse while offered physical "freedom" of digital interaction. Even thought the modern-day iPhones and other technology like that are not literally VR, it transports us from our real physical reality to whatever we choose to see. It may not offer us a literal absorption in virtuality, but it gives us freedom to participate in the reality we choose on-the-go.
Overall, the reading gave pretty good insight in how much technology developed and advanced and made me think of the advantages and disadvantages of the older media.

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