Video Evaluation

The videos that I focused on are: 1) Digital Humanities in Practice – Spatial Humanities & Social Justice and 2) Digital Humanities in Practice – Visualising Text. In both cases the names and qualifications of the main speakers in the videos are in the descriptions. Youtube is the source of both videos, and this is a reliable source generally unless either video is taken down – however, it won’t be up for ever and this shouldn’t be considered a permanent source. The date the videos were created don’t seem to be included anywhere – but presumably would have been created after the date in January 2015 when the Dariah Teach initiative began. The description contains the publication date with the first video being published on Nov 23, 2016 and the second published on Oct 19, 2016.

The videos were created for several audiences, students, those interested in the Digital Humanities and those interested in some of the projects. Both were created to inform and share information, as part of Dariah Teachs goals to provide open-source teaching materials. The organisation is a reasonable entity to create this video as it is dealing with specific of Digital Humanities practices and tools used in academia. The level of the audience would be at least of students and other academics, that is those who have academic interest but may not be experts in the area. Because the videos are on Youtube, the scope for other audiences to access these videos are high. The vocabulary of the narration seems to be general adequate for the intended audience. However, the second of my chosen videos uses a lot of dense jargon and technical terms – seen in other videos in the channel too. It is difficult to tell how other groups may react upon seeing this video, particularly with the first video as apartheid is still remembered by those who lived through it.
The goal of the first video is to draw attention to mapping some of the institutionalised human right violations – but also to promote this researchers project. The central theme of the first video is apartheid – and the platform which combines narratives on significant topics e.g. defensive design of Winnie Mandela’s house. But it draws attention to inequalities in everyday life, and in academia generally. The second video many topics they are linked in a manner that makes linear sense. It was probably specifically focusing on scholarly interest in Interactive Textuality: introduce this topic and elaborate on some of the general uses. A lot of information is given about specific cases, as part of a 3d recreation of historically significant locations with the aim of reconstructing Twentieth Century history as a Social Justice/history platform, combining video testimony with a 3d platform – illustrating connections between testimonials with reconstructions e.g. a protective wall built in living spaces to protect from police fire. There is an emphasis the information not previously given to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which highlights the difficulties around telling stories in terms of legality

Authority of the Speaker
In both cases the speakers have academic expertise, quick searches of them would support their authority to speak about chosen topics. We know who the speaker is from the description at the bottom of the video. They have expertise on the topic, at least academically – and would appear to be quite knowledgeable on the subject from the information provided. Similarly, the speakers in the second video are both specialists in specifics area that they are speaking of, knowledgeable around theoretical trends in the field and its capabilities.
The first video has Angel D. Nieves, Professor of Africana Studies and Digital Humanities at Hamilton College, US. The video is about black special humanities, as a subfield of spatial humanities looking at the history of African diaspora. Here we have 2 different approaches to making videos, which may affect the reception of the message. The first video emphasises understanding “what it’s like to be African diaspora”, specifically looking at apartheid regimes and the imposition of restrictions and control on their lives – but also the resistance of those of African descent in their daily lives. The video specifically deals with the concept of restorative social justice through the telling of narratives highlighting injustices during apartheid rule. The organisation lends some credibility to the speaker in the first video, while he may not visibly be of African descent he does seem to know what he’s talking about. He thoroughly explains the field and the issues at hand, specifically social control in this case.
The second video features two speakers: Geoffrey Rockwell, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities Computing at the University of Alberta, Canada and Stéfan Sinclair, Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at McGill University. The second of my chosen videos is concerned with textual visualisation as a process. Here the speakers are concerned with visual textuality, its uses and applications. They come from specific academic field, while the speakers speak about capabilities of technology generally a lot is related to their specific fields. However, they cover multiple different topics. Videogames like Pokemon Go- which we are told is different categorically, though it is related as it is a form of visual image/information literacy

Objectivity/bias

The point of view of the speaker is clear in each video. In the first video, the relationship between the speaker and the organisation creating the video is transparent. He clearly has an agenda, to expose injustices as part of his research – but also to defend the validity of his research. The second video is more aspirational, it is regarding the capability for the application of technology. Both speakers are biased in a sense, working in the field that they defending and promoting – and speculating about the future.
One could evaluate the accuracy of the first videos content of the video by searching through the narratives around apartheid South Africa and looking for evidence of specific events, or looking for publications or review of the study when they are released. The research is for the most part original to the speaker, but also draws on previous research and witness testimonials. The second video is largely opinion, but qualified opinion on their respective fields. Though there are not sources provided, there are many general references

Production Quality
Both videos are high production quality – well-lit and framed like the other videos on Dariah Teach and you can change the quality of video on the Youtube platform and generate subtitles. The content is the ideas presented in clear audio – with clear linear narratives. Titles are used effectively, describing the topic being spoken of as it transitioned from one topic to another. The first has focus primarily on the speaker, though it is furnished with examples as he speaks, showing video narratives and computer platforms. With a variety of transitions used to illustrate what is being spoken of. There are other videos with a similar purpose to the second video, promoting the Digital Humanities and showing their application and it is similar in tone to the others on this Youtube channel. The second of my chosen videos has less additional material on top of the information given by the speakers, who are in a central position onscreen while speaking.


Works Cited

“Digital Humanities in Practice – Spatial Humanities & Social Justice” DariahTeach. Youtube. Web. Published: Nov 23, 2016 . Date Accessed: 30 Nov. 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mAiyn6gMJw&index=1&list=PL77mHK9JuenOnEUrFvNzZB9qKuB3gE892
“Digital Humanities in Practice – Visualising Text” DariahTeach. Youtube. Web. Published: on Oct 19, 2016. Date accessed: 30 Nov. 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uamyLcWtECg

Images on Social Media

Social media is increasingly playing a prominent role in everyday life, especially in the western world.  Large multinational companies are beginning to monopolise particular services “free” to the user like Google search engine, or Facebook, who owns Instagram and has tried to buy Snapchat. They may be free to use, but that is because their product is the user reach that they have for advertisers and business. These profiles are becoming increasingly important as online identity and there has been rising demand in the past number of years for services to be provided on the internet. Images have a prominent position, being eyecatching, identifiable and are generated from a variety of sources.

In fact, it is a barrage of images and information as part of a platform for users to communicate, with significant cultural influence both in terms of user generated culture and the transmission of existing human expression and knowledge. For this reason it also as a place for forming cultural identity, as evidenced by the use of particular sites by subcultures e.g graffiti artist profiles on flickr etc. Groups form and the image can be representative of a unification – a logo if you will. The capability is there for online communities to form and post images, interact with one another and take things away into their daily lives – regardless of the type of image. Associations with images can be made by users online e.g. Evil Kermit and indulging oneself. Furthermore, these “cultures” spreads rapidly amongst a large pool of uses worldwide online through ideas and the image.

Interaction begins to take place in a “third space”, with ideas shared between cultures . Though extensively criticised for his use of dense language, Homi K. Bhabha provides a framework for understanding the clashing and merging of cultures and appropriation of different elements resulting in “hybridity” and “mimicry”. E.g American hip-hop culture, the “gangster” image – and the appropriation of Box hats and baggy trousers. The role that social media plays in trend setting, commercial sales and creating a personal image hasn’t been concretely defined and researched yet but there are undoubtedly links. “Selfies” as a form of image have become incredibly power online, common amongst Facebook, Snapchat and other social media users and the profile photo functions as a form of representation of identity. The potential for the social media to be capitalised on is recognised by advertising, branding and marketing companies who increasingly make efforts to engage audiences onlineOr comic book culture, and its popularisation alongside the release of multiple high budget commercial cinema films merging the Marvel and DC “universes”. they certainly take advantage of hashtags

This third wave post-structuralist theory is adaptable, and can be applied to Social media sees user generated content in the form of profile photos and posting, videos etc. Different platforms see different use: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram all have different uses but the image has significant power in all of them. Construction of identity

Photos have a significant amount the information attached to them like user generated tags, location, captions etc. separate from the codified construction of the image itself. Who are the audience for posted photos? How are they taken symbolically, and what systems are the for “reading them”

Of course this space is shared by Events, businesses, promoters, and advertised who all generate images. Information security and privacy issues aside, how information is disseminated has changed greatly, seeing a blurring of the lines between social or personal communication and media communication.

Postmodernist concerns seem useful for criticism, reality has become increasingly mediated by social media. Memes, “facts” . Even “fake news” has come to the attention of the public, with speculation of its role in the American presidential election – all grab out attention with images. Hyper-reality with connotations of illegitimacy in a Baudrillian sense seems apt, and the simulacrum seems applicable to the social world online. It’s a question of information as well as images. Images can be stolen, manipulated, framed in different manners. “Catfish”is a documentary about uncovering the false information given by an online “friend” who had falsified an entire family history supported with images and addresses. Connotations of illegitimacy and uncertainty mark the image online. Especially considering photoshop and other photo modifying software, but the information attached to an image is equally if not more important

 

Works Cited

Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994. Print.

Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994. Print.

“Evil Kermit meme seeks to seduce us all to the dark side (23 Photos)” By Bob. Date of Publication: 17 Nov. 2016. http://thechive.com/2016/11/17/evil-kermit-meme-seeks-to-seduce-us-all-to-the-dark-side-23-photos/

 

“Catfish” 2011 Universial Pictures: C.A.Ariel Schulman; Henry Joost; Ryan Kavanaugh; Brett Ratner; Tucker Tooley; Andrew Jarecki; Marc Smerling; Zac Stuart-Pontier; Mark Mothersbaugh; Yaniv Schulman; Angela Wesselman;

“NSA flickr account”Anon. Flickr. Date of Access: 29 Nov. 2016. https://www.flickr.com/photos/31086919@N04/with/3768589381

   
   

 

Concerns when curating an Image Collection

Curating an image collection presents its own concerns and challenges. Where photos for a collection are sourced can bring up problems, especially around ownership to images and rights to their distribution. Copyright law aside, there are ethical considerations when sourcing images. Especially when images are drawn from private collections. If the photographer is no longer alive to give their permission, like in Finding Vivian Maier, is it acceptable to bring their work into the public domain? This may be an extreme example, but it nonetheless highlights numerous issues around ethics in relation to presentation of image collection, and the attachment of information to the images. Particularly in the digital age when information can be distributed quickly and cheaply to a large audience. The internet provides numerous platforms that can host image collections, with its own set of issues. The photographs taken by Vivian Maier were purchased in an auction by Maloof who scanned them and published them online alongside his blog via popular website ’Flickr’ in August 2009– allowing them to be viewed by a large audience. Though the image collection in this example was largely ‘discovered’ in the form of negatives, physical exhibition required the collection of prints which were sold for monetary gain

Collections of images have to source their material somewhere. The purpose of the collection largely dictates where photos are sourced from and how they are presented. An amateur historian, Maloof bought 30,000 negatives at an auction – later purchasing more from others who had bought them originally. The images in question were mainly taken around New York, and Chicago over a womans lifetime as she worked as a nanny for numerous Chicago families and photographing daily. “Taking snapshots into the late 1990′s, Maier would leave behind a body of work comprising over 100,000 negatives. Additionally Vivian’s passion for documenting extended to a series of homemade documentary films and audio recordings.” (“About Vivian Maier”, Maloof Collections) This provided archival material, original negatives showcasing her natural talent which were previously unpublished and undocumented. The controversy over this collection of images encompasses privacy issues, and it is worth bearing in mind that Vivian Maier had no input in how the work was framed. How images are framed and presented in an image collection affects how they are perceived and consumed by an audience.

Curation of images requires further categorisation and the attachment of information to photos to contextualise them. Largely unknown in her own lifetime, Vivian Maier’s “discovery” began with this collection of images curated by John Maloof being published online, and later being exhibited first in New York and then internationally. She was an enigmatic and elusive character who literally made efforts to hide her work from others, and framing her work in this context gave it mystery and intrigue which was picked up on by various magazine and newspaper articles that brought her to public attention. The ‘public eye‘  has always been a powerful force, with the internet consumer interaction has changed – seeing an increased input into the process which the consumer is interacting with. Maloof attracted a lot of attention and began digging in to her history and this became a big part of the exhibition of her work. Crowdsourcing was used to source funding via popular website Kickstarter and a documentary was made, interviewing the children she used to nanny. His efforts received a lot of media attention, with articles being written about Vivian Maier who became a phenonomon. “Maloof has edited a book of her work, Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, which was published in November, and has raised money for a documentary film about her that is in the works.” (Zax, December 2011) The issue here at hand is the invasive searching for information about Maier resulting in scrutiny of the artist’s life as well as here work. Some controversy was generated by the recording of interviews of many surviving people who knew Vivian Maier during her life, building an interesting picture but also implying mental illness and a darker side to her character. Ethics and the attachment of context and information to images are concerns when curating an image collection – largely in the hands of the collectors and the gallery, but now becoming more complex in the age of information.

 

 

Works Cited

Maloof, John,, et al. Finding Vivian Maier. Widescreen. Sundance Selects, 2014.

Vivian Maier. 2016 Maloof Collections. Web. Date of Access 18 Nov. 2016. http://www.vivianmaier.com/

Maier, Vivian. Self Portrait. Digital image. Vivian Maier. Maloof Collections, Nov. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2016. <http://vivianmaier.maloofcollection.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/VM19XXW03099-04-MC_VM1956W03008-12-MC.jpg?x98642>.

Zax, David. “Vivian Maier: The Unheralded Street Photographer”Smithsonian Magzine. December 2011. Web. Date of Access: 18 Nov. 2016. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/vivian-maier-the-unheralded-street-photographer-43399/