After previously discussing my idea which centers around ideas of mass media and its influence on wider society, and particularly how we position ourselves in relation to it, I think the best way of demonstrating this or encouraging greater awareness would be some system of way-finding or navigation. After all, the way we choose to govern ourselves throughout our lives is an issue of navigation – how we navigate the media, what we are susceptible to, what we do or don’t listen to, it’s all an issue of navigation.
We talked about the exhibition being a vehicle for this, and by using current contextual issues and concerns surrounding ‘fake news’, it would be the perfect way to show how much we’re influenced by what goes on around us. Whether it’s more subliminal or a direct choice resulting from what we are exposed to in our lives.
After another tutorial with Matt, I’ve surmised that life is one great ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book. In essence, our lives are made up of the choices we make and the allegiances we take, but also the things we didn’t do or the choices we didn’t want to take. Each one altering the outcome and the journey together – each choice altering the next choice, or the next hurdle, and so on and so forth.
The stories themselves are formatted so that, after a couple of pages of reading, the protagonist faces a number of options, each of which leads to more options, and then to one of many endings. The number of endings is not set, and varies from as many as 44 in the early titles, to as few as 8 in later adventures. There is no clear pattern among the various titles regarding the number of pages per ending, the ratio of good to bad endings, or the reader’s progression backwards and forwards through the pages of the book. This allows for a realistic sense of unpredictability, and leads to the possibility of repeat readings, which is one of the distinguishing features of the books.
The idea that our choices effect outcomes is something I really want to convey in this project, as with a lot of what goes on around us it can be more subliminal than people are aware of. It’s that old analogy of “blink and you’ll miss it” with regards to a life well lived for example, but that’s no good to me if I want to create an awareness in people that they needn’t shuffle around with their eyes closed. It’s also whether this is done purposefully or not. That’s not to say that nobody has any idea of anything, but I would feel confident in suggesting that a lot of things tend to go unnoticed or ignored until it’s rather too late. Communicating the aspect of choice in this whole scenario is really important to the project, but I need to pick something that encourages the viewers to make that choice.
With the current political climate (i.e. Brexit, Trump, & Terrorism), it’s easy to pick a polarising subject and get people to fight about which one is the best. That’s easy. Getting people to understand their viewpoints, that their opinions are more nuanced than a binary yes or no. Stay or Leave in Brexit’s case. That’s harder. The way in which the mass media works is that it often capitalises on fear, or populist subjects that usually cause passionate responses. Post a factual article with no buzzwords and people might take notice. Post some sensationalistic and scandalous tale about terrorism, or plotting some MP against her UKIP rival because they were arguing about the EU and all of a sudden people are baying for blood and it’s far, far more interesting. Then they can report on that instead, call out someone for being too Right or too Left, and the cycle goes around and around and around.
How do you get people to pause? How do you get people to notice? Perhaps most importantly, how do you get people to understand the affect that this has on them? It’s cause and effect, but at the moment I can’t figure out in which direction it goes in.
Does the mass media reflect society, or are we a reflection of it? Is it a commentary on us and our lives, or is it a command?
“Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to a dictatorship.” – Noam Chomsky.
I have since found myself at this TV advertisement from 1964, part of Lyndon Johnson’s campaign for President of the United States.
It’s been widely described as one of the most controversial and effective political adverts in US history, and it’s easy to see why. There is zero fact, it runs on emotional triggers and fear.
2017 Trump campaign anyone?
The media gets to spin their stories and you could probably try and put them into the seven story plots in some way or another. This does depend on who your villain is, and whether he or she succeeds or fails, but I think ultimately there’s something here that I think would work really well alongside the way-finding/navigation aspect that I want to get across. There needs to be a ‘hook’, or something tangible to follow or align yourself with. I mean, the journey you’re on in life is not some blind adventure, there is choice but there’s also rule and command, and doing things you don’t like or didn’t want to. It all comes down to the journey, and how you reach your destination of a life well lived. Of course, ‘well lived’ is different to each of us, but it’s how you pick those things up along the way that’s important. To me, it feels very much like storytelling.
Overcoming the Monster
The protagonist sets out to defeat an antagonistic force (often evil) which threatens the protagonist and/or protagonist’s homeland.
Rags to Riches
The poor protagonist acquires things such as power, wealth, and a mate, before losing it all and gaining it back upon growing as a person.
The protagonist and some companions set out to acquire an important object or to get to a location, facing many obstacles and temptations along the way.
Voyage and Return
The protagonist goes to a strange land and, after overcoming the threats it poses to him or her, returns with experience.
Light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending; a dramatic work in which the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion. Booker makes sure to stress that comedy is more than humour. It refers to a pattern where the conflict becomes more and more confusing, but is at last made plain in a single clarifying event. Most romances fall into this category.
The protagonist is a hero with one major character flaw or great mistake which is ultimately their undoing. Their unfortunate end evokes pity at their folly and the fall of a fundamentally ‘good’ character.
During the course of the story, an important event forces the main character to change their ways, often making them a better person.