Digital Artefact: Learning Japanese Calligraphy

Digital Asia

I’ve always been intrigued by Japanese culture. I was given the opportunity to study the language and culture for one year in high school but the class only taught the most basic of things. In the past year, I have also developed an interest in typography and brush lettering. This style of lettering has been developed from more traditional forms such as Japanese calligraphy, or Shodo. The research I have conducted surrounding Japanese calligraphy and how it works as an art form is a combination of personal narrative and outsourced information and data. My methodology followed Ellis, et al’s Autoethnography: An Overview. I would be using this method of research to describe and analyse my personal experience as a way of understanding this cultural experience (Ellis, et al 2011).

For my digital artefact, I created a three-part series that showcased myself using different application methods to learning the basic…

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My Four O’Clock 2.0

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https://www.instagram.com/myfouroclock/

https://www.reddit.com/user/myfouroclock/submitted/

Sixty-nine per cent of reddit users that engaged in the three questions asked (1. Do you filter what you post on particular social media sites? 2. What’s something you never thought you would post on social media but in the end, you did anyway? and 3. What’s something you regret ever posting/ sharing on any social media platform?) disclosed that they definitely filter what they post on social media. Some explained that particular social pages of theirs house a particular type of content whereas others were more wary of what they post on social media as a whole.

Awario explain part of this social media filtering in three short quotes.

  1. “The core of Facebook ‘culture’ is friendship”
  2. On Twitter, “your readers are not friends anymore. They are a huge crowd with a very short attention span”
  3. “Instagram… allows you to use filters that could make almost anything look beautiful”

One user explained that they prefer to keep their political views off of social media as they would like to refrain from people they know, who don’t know each other, from starting “a complete shit show in the comments section”.

Another user put their filtering system in simple terms; Facebook was for their least sexual content, Instagram was for mildly sexual content, Snapchat was “basically porn” and Twitter was for all of the above. I couldn’t help but compare this to my own personal filtering system when it comes to social platforms. I find that I share my more personal achievements on Facebook as that is the platform with people that I’ve grown up and communicated with. I’ve also found that my Facebook account has some of the highest security settings. Instagram sees a very filtered version of my life and it’s the platform that I will hardly share anything ‘real’ with. Like the reddit user, my Twitter also sees a combination of everything. I use Twitter to connect to similar communities, whether that be television shows or sporting teams; to share assignments and the projects I’m working on; or to just house my thoughtless rambles.

Forty-four per cent of the responses stated their job as their main reason for filtering their social accounts. Linda Skates reported on ABC that “applicants are being warned it is now standard practice for their social media profile to be checked when it comes to assessing their suitability for jobs.” One response came from a small business owner and they stated “… before I contract employees, I do a general background check which includes a brief glimpse of their social media”. They also continue to say that they personally portray themselves “in a way that accentuates [their] highlights as a person, and choose to omit [their] rather likeable qualities”.

One participant replied that they never really thought they would post anything to do with their day or life, but they have found themselves occasionally doing so.

Fifteen per cent of users that responded stated that the thing they regretted posting the most was NSFW material.

Let’s Play: The Plan

 

As someone who hardly plays video games, I thought I would begin this journey by playing the most basic of basic games – a game that claimed to be a short story game… One that took under 10 minutes to complete. I present to you: The Plan.

A fly ascends to the skies, pondering the pointlessness of its brief existence.

The Plan was developed by Krillbite Studio in 2012/13. The developers describe The Plan as a small side project but it has received a lot of positive attention throughout the years. They describe it as being a short, experimental game about self-discovery. I definitely noticed how calming it was to play.

The Plan offers players an eerie, yet stunning backdrop to fly along the path of life.  The game can be summed up as a simple yet striking metaphor about the circle of life. The picturesque scene is also accompanied with a slightly haunting score that was performed by Oslo Camerata.

Joseph Burnstein from Buzzfeed summed up the experience of The Plan to a tee. He commented “… Here are the emotions I experienced during the three minutes it took me to play The Plan…: confusion, frustration, boredom, fear, amusement, delight, joy, enchantment, and regret.”

Steam categorises The Plan as indie, atmospheric, short and casual. Basically four words that sum up this video game perfectly. Krillbite have developed this game for Windows, Mac and Linux.

As for the rules of this game; they’re as simple as you think. You control the fly with four little buttons. [W] to go up, [A] to fly to the left, [D] to fly to the right and [X] to go down. The objective? Just keep going up. You’ll see what happens. Mobility is a key mechanic in The Plan – the whole point of it is to move around and get through an obstacle or two.

The Plan received very little initial advertising. Krillbite notified the media with a brief mailer and sent a newsletter to their friends. The rest happened through the power of the internet. Let’s plays started popping up all over Youtube and sites like Eurogamer and indiegames started writing about it.

According to the Krillbite website, The Plan was named the 10th most important game of 2013 and has been downloaded just under 800, 000 times. I downloaded my copy from Steam in the ‘free to play’ section. It is also available as a free download from their website.

Screenshot from The Plan. Photo credit: Krillbite Studio

Reference:

Krillbite.com. (n.d.). Krillbite Studio Presskit – The Plan.

Krillbite Studio via steampowered.com (2015). The Plan, two year anniversary!

Game Designing (2017). The Beginner’s Guide to Game Mechanics.

Lifespan of Devices in the Family Home

It’s rare for any one individual to not have some old tech/ devices laying around the family home. Take a look at what was currently found in the house of an average older family.

The Uni Student

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The Everyday Tech

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MacBook Pro (Late 2011), iPhone 6 and iPod Classic

“I’m a big lover of Apple, okay? I’ve never been a total tech head who loves to pull things apart and personalise them, so Apple products are perfect for me. I know the what’s and the who’s and that’s fine by me.”

The Nostalgia Tech

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LG KF700 and iPhone 4

“The LG wasn’t even my first phone so I’m not sure why I still have it. It was a birthday gift from about six years ago, and it even made the house move three years ago. I probably need to get rid of it. The iPhone 4 is my backup. I don’t have great luck with iPhone’s so I like having a spare around”

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iPod Nano (4th Generation)

“I haven’t put music on this since 2010 but I can’t convince myself to part with it. The tunes are too good.”

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Olympus fe and Nikon CoolPix

“I remember asking for a point and shoot camera to keep in my bag. Obviously I forgot that smartphones were a thing.”

The Teenage Gamer

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The Everyday Tech

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PlayStation 4 and LG G4

“I like the software that comes on Android devices- it’s so much better than what you get with Apple. I’m on my PS4 daily. Compared to the XBox, I prefer its in-game features and it’s a better gaming experience. ”

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Customised Gaming PC

“I was given my first gaming tower for my seventeenth birthday. My cousin is a big gamer and he convinced me that building my own system was the best course of action.”

The Nostalgia Tech

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PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3

“As a family, we played the life out of the PS2. Not sure why we haven’t gotten rid of it. It probably doesn’t even turn on anymore. I remember when the PS3 was the only one of the market, and I actually used to go outside. Since the PS4 came out, I haven’t played it but some of the games I have for that system still call to me.”

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Nintendo DS Lite and iPod Nano (5th Generation)

“Honestly, I lost my DS for about four years and I’ve only recently found it. I’m not even sure about the music that’s on my iPod Nano. I couldn’t tell you the last time I picked it up to listen to music. I don’t use iTunes, so I don’t have a use for it anymore.”

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Nokia N97, HTC Velocity 4G and Samsung Galaxy S4

“These phones live on my bookshelf and the only reason I’ve got them is incase someone else needs them. If my current phone broke I would definitely use one of these. The Samsung would have to be my favourite but the insides kind of exploded.”

The Tech Obsessed

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The Everyday Tech

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Samsung Gear S2, iPhone 4 and iPad 3rd Generation

“I like android because of it’s ability to customise- no two phones will ever be the same. The iPad and iPhone are work supplied products.”

*Not pictured is the PC’s used everyday for work purposes*

The Nostalgia Tech

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Samsung Galaxy S3 and Lexar Digital Music Player

“I still have them because they still work. Prior to getting the iPod Shuffle, I used to use the MP3 player when I exercised.”

The ‘Outdoorsy’ One

jhk

The Everyday Tech

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iPad 3rd Generation and iPhone 6s

“I only use my iPad to read my magazines and to look up real estate and holidays. I own Apple products because it’s the brand that I know how to use. It was the first brand to really release a phone that had internet and all that, and they’ve never really changed.”

*Not pictured is the PC used everyday for work purposes*

The Nostalgia Tech

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iPhone 5

“I still have this phone incase my current one breaks. My daughter gave me this iPhone 5 after she got her new phone, and I passed my old one on to my mum. I don’t like keeping old devices- I’ve passed most of the older stuff onto my mum.”

Managing The Mass-Produced

The-evolution-of-the-iMac

As much as a large majority of people hate everything to do with Apple products, it’s hard to ignore what they’ve done for the world of tech today. They have completely changed the game with what mobile phones can be used for. No longer were mobile phones just for phone calls and text messages. Never before had the average consumer been able to hold, in their pants pocket, a computer that rivalled the capability of a laptop. Since 2007, Apple has sold more than 30 million iPhones. They also introduced the world to the iMac in 1998. It was the first product of the new Apple era that Steve Jobs envisioned. Up until then, “Apple McIntosh were a minority player compared to big brother Microsoft” (Kerr, 2015).  I think it’s very interesting to note that when these came out, they lacked a floppy disc drive. Fast-forward eighteen years and Mac products now lack a CD drive. That is just one example of how fast technology moves in today’s day and age.

I have yet to mention my digital artefact because I’m finding it so difficult to relate it to the topic I’ve chosen.This time around I will be producing a photo essay, looking at how people personalise their mass produced devices and how the devices themselves have evolved over time.  Through random-selection, there will be a focus on both the old, the new and the hand-me-downs. I will be finding out this information through a series of questions that lets the audience get to know the device being photographed. I’m interested in seeing how apple users get around the closed nature of their devices compared to android users and their absolute freedom to personalise as they please.

On a side note, check out this little video I made for DIGC202 comparing some of the features of an LG G4 and an iPhone 6

References:

Weinberger, Matt. “The Whole ‘Mac Vs. PC’ Thing Is So Over, And ‘Android Vs Iphone’ Is Close Behind”. Business Insider Australia. N.p., 2015. Web. 

BRUCE, KERR. 2015. “PC vs Mac? The debate goes on.” Morning Bulletin, 2015. 33. Newspaper Source Plus, EBSCOhost

My Four O’Clock

instagram.com/myfouroclock/

My Four O’clock was created to compare and contrast the everyday life of your everyday person. This digital artefact captured a moment in time from the 18th April 2015 at 4pm. Instagram allowed for this to be captured as it simply showcases the photo with a caption which gave context to what was happening. Hashtags were utilised throughout this digital artefact to showcase the photos on a wide number of feeds and share it with similar communities (#BCM112, #DigitalArtefact). Created in 2010, Instagram currently has 150 million active monthly users (Geoff, 2014). The app was originally only available for iPhone users, but through rapid success, it was developed for Android. The introduction of new features (filters, video, direct messaging, web access and tagging) is what keeps consumers interested and the app as the fastest-growing social site.

When asking around the greater public, most would simply say that Instagram is a platform to share photographs on. Although that is one of the apps functions, it is only the beginning of the theory ‘the medium is the message’ (McLuhan, 1964). Instagram’s message is different for each individual though. An artist can use Instagram as a portfolio for their work, where someone else can use it to simply post photographs of their day-to-day life. McLuhan’s theory suggests that the channels and the means in which society discusses and views messages creates a new meaning. My Four O’clock showcased this idea, as the images that were presented varied quite a lot. It acted as a travel diary to some, and a place to showcase talents for others.

My Four O’clock utilised many of Instagram’s mediums. Features and technologies, such as filters and tagging, were used for the overall aesthetic look and distribution of each photograph. The purpose of this artefact was to showcase how so many people are connected to each other without common knowledge. This was proved by a number of images that related to one another (people at work, someone watching a race from Caulfield on television while another person was working at Caulfield, people playing and watching sport, etc.). Each photograph was edited and uploaded with McLuhan’s theory in mind. Instagram’s mediums of image, text and distribution through hashtags were considered for the overall success of each individual entry. If I could develop this digital artefact further, I would try and get the message out to a larger group of people from as many different places as possible. The creation of this task was very quick and easy, but the distribution was what struggled the most.

The overall outcome of this digital artefact was achieved. Each photo represented a different person and showcased what they were doing on a particular day at a particular time. If this project were to be continued on, or recreated, a clearer set of instructions would have been presented from the start (no filters on photos, no selfies, etc.) so photographs could remain anonymous and focus specifically on the task at hand. A greater time frame would also be used to have a more diverse feed and greater number of images and subjects.

Reference:

Geoff. WERSM (We Are Social Media). 2014. The Complete History of Instagram. [ONLINE]. Available at: http://wersm.com/the-complete-history-of-instagram/

Federman, M (2004). What Is The Meaning Of The Medium Is The Message? [ONLINE] Available at: http://individual.utoronto.ca/markfederman/MeaningTheMediumistheMessage.