Tutorial // FMP

Tutorial with Matt this morning.  I’ve reached and gone through my (possibly) final impasse and perhaps most important point.  I finally know what I’m doing/saying.

Image result for about time meme

So rather than have this great nebulous subject that people are forced to make a decision on, the whole premise would be awareness.  That is awareness of yourself, and of others, within the context of a wider subject.  The crux is about personal positioning, and how we find ourselves drawn to things or forced away from them, and what things we listen to or don’t listen to.  Why do we listen to some news and not others?  Why do we believe in certain politicians but believe the other ones to be liars?  Most importantly, this experience is different for different people and it all depends on so many different factors.  That’s why I’ve reached this point – I was trying to give people a topic or a subject and get them to choose.  Some graphic designed version of Sophie’s Choice.  But I’ve come to realise now that it’s not some binary choice made between black and white, yes or no.  There is a vast middle ground that’s not explored or questioned, which is where my project lies.

What if the goal was to create awareness?  Not of a given thing, but of themselves, and of others.  The whole idea at this point is to demonstrate our differences, how we are the same, and importantly demonstrate what things are important to different people.  This awareness of others comes back to how we position ourselves in a wider whole.  The ‘whole’ in this case is society, not a particular topic.

I can’t give people one thing to pick from, because it needs to come from themselves.  By making a choice, or way finding, they become aware of their needs/wants/desires/dislikes, in relation to different people.

I discussed with Matt the Degree Show itself.  People will be forced to make decisions on unfamiliar topics and unfamiliar things, and be encouraged to think laterally, liberally, and a bit left of centre than perhaps they would have previously.  Matt said “They should leave feeling as though their brains are a little bigger.”

So I saw this the other week which has spurred a lot of my decision.

Getting the attendee to make the graphics in your booth. "Great way to add some interactivity" -triadcreativegroup.com::

I’m not going to recreate this, of course, but something similar that explains the journeys of other people along with some visual aid, that also makes you aware of your position in relation to others.  It becomes this map of “What Made You” – but of course the finished product is the sum of what made a number of different individuals, and not just one person’s choices and feelings.

For my subject and topic area, this would be a little more divisive.  I think the ‘pins’ in my case would be a topic, and the string would be an emotion.  Perhaps if you followed someone’s journey through anger or fear, and what caused those feelings and what encouraged them to feel that way?

Basically, what would be the pins and what would be the string?

Of course by the time I come around to designing this myself I won’t be using this method, but I think the mechanism is there.  I want it to be some visual story of peoples’ journey, their way finding through the topics, and your position in relation to them.  Together, this provides a visual ‘map’ if you will of the way that people think, and the way that people found themselves thinking that way in particular.

I think one of the most important things I’ve always looked for in my practice is to encourage people to think about themselves.  Be excellent to each other is a perfect way of describing what I always want to achieve.  With the Pearson D&AD brief, or the Big Idea, or Real World back at the start of the year, I want people to think differently and for the betterment of themselves, and as a whole.  By creating an awareness of other peoples’ journeys and feelings gives the viewer the perfect opportunity to think of themselves as one of many, and to realise the importance of the journeys of others.  We are always told that we don’t exist in a bubble – nobody does.

If people leave my exhibition with perhaps a little bit more awareness of themselves, and that they are not the only person with a journey and a story, then I’ll have done what I set out to achieve.

Information Is Beautiful // FMP

I’ve been looking at how best to display information, and remember seeing the ‘Information Is Beautiful’ book a few years ago.  I think displaying factual information in an interesting way is something I’d like to do with this project as a way of communicating a wider meaning would be something to try.  Particularly with respect to media and newsworthy information, I think displaying peoples’ distrust of the media would be really impactful.

I need to put a survey together to ask some proper questions so that I can get some proper answers. Things like “Do you trust the media?”

It’s an incredibly loaded question with so, so many shades of grey, but we’re often expected by the media to make binary choices like this in every day life.  For example during the pre-Brexit pantomime, forcing people to arbitrarily pick to stay or to leave, when it was just never that simple.  The real meat of the things that go on around us are impacted by our personal bias, our socio-economic background, and various other factors.

By getting people to be more aware of their personal bias and its influence and impact on their decision making process would be something I’d be really interested in looking at.

Image result for information is beautiful

Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communications // FMP

“Communication technologies and global interconnectedness provide people with ready direct access to information worldwide independent of time and place and unfettered by institutional and moneyed gatekeepers.  The public is less dependent on a mediated filter-down system of persuasion and enlightenment.  These vastly expanded opportunities for self-directedness underscore the growing primacy of agentic initiative in human adaptation and change in the electronic era.  Ready access to communication technologies will not necessarily enlist active participation unless people believe they can achieve desired results by this means.  Perceived personal and collective efficacy partly determines the extent to which people use this resource and the purposes to which they put it.” – Albert Bandura, Stanford University.

“The media play an indispensable role in the proper functioning of a democracy. Without mass media, openness and accountability are very tough to reach in contemporary democracies. The media can inform the public of how effectively the current government or candidates have performed in the past and help to them to account. Nevertheless, mass media can also hinder political transparency as well as help it. Politicians and political operatives can simulate the political virtues of transparency through rhetorical and media manipulation. There are three major societal functions that mass media perform to the political decisions raised by the political scientist Harold Lasswell: surveillance of the world to report ongoing events, interpretation of the meaning of events, and socialization of individuals into their cultural settings. The mass media regularly present politically crucial information on huge audience and it also represents the reaction from the audience rapidly through the mass media. The government or the political decision makers have the chance to have a better understanding of the real reaction from the public of those decisions they have made.”

 

Fear Tactics // FMP

Oh boy isn’t everyone tired of hearing about Brexit and Trump but whatever, here I go.

Image result for jean ralphio the worst gif

Donald Trump is a fool and Brexit is our most foolish endeavour.  There, I said it.  Two of the most polarising subjects in the Western World at the moment.  The thoughts of American citizens lie with Trump, and ours are on Brexit.  There’s too much fear and sensationalist news articles for anyone to be able to know anything.  The Brexit campaign was based on some untruths (said through gritted teeth at the very least), but it worked.  Why?  How did a campaign with so few relative facts and figures win?  A red bus emblazoned with dodgy stats about raking in millions more pounds for the NHS has since proved to be lies, and it’s all turning out a little bit shit.  If the people up the top with degrees in Economics, Political Science, or EU Law had no idea whether to pick Leave or Stay, how are the UK peasant folk (this includes myself) expected to react?  They will react in the way that people normally do when threatened, which is to lash out and shun the outsiders (here meaning refugees and immigrants), and they voted for a solution based on border control ergo fewer immigrants ergo safer jobs/housing/money/banks etc., but we just know that’s not how it works.

Let’s take a quote from Hermann Goring on how to whip up the populous into voting for and putting their faith in something quite sinister.

“The people don’t want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.  This is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, ad denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger.  It works the same in every country.”

Are the similarities not achingly similar?  God damn it’s too much.

Besides, for me this is all about how your personal position on a topic can be influenced, even without you realising.  It’s about personal preference and personal choice.  By encouraging the viewer to perceive the world through different eyes is that not how we reach greater levels of understanding?  Reading an infinite number of articles on Facebook that may or may not be true, I would argue is making us blind to the real facts of the matter.  Fundamentally we are all human beings with similar needs, and ultimately our position in this life is determined largely before we’re born.  But what if the viewer was encouraged to view or understand themselves in a different way?  In a way that meant that they understood their position in relation to a given topic based on something more real rather than fear tactics or frightening statistics that nobody quite understands?

After speaking with Matt, he said:

What’s missing from your email is the ‘what’.
What are your viewers being asked to position themselves on? Where’s the bit where your viewer empathises, and as a result, becomes uncomfortable?
Are you:
a) Creating an experience that promotes reflection on the nature of positioning and influence in general terms – i.e. the information content is predominantly factual, and maybe deals with stuff like cognitive bias, subliminal messaging, body language etc.
Viewers are directed around your way-finding points with simple exercises that illustrate some of these principles.
b) Creating an experience where the viewer is directed to position themselves within a topic, and the way-finding is more about you curating that personal journey for them.
c) A mix of the two, where the general principles behind your idea form the touch points for the viewer to position themselves on a topic.
I think for me the whole thing is about how to bring those things together.  It’s about how the audience understands it and reacts to it, which will be entirely different based on the viewer themselves.  By navigating through some story or map, I would like the outcome of this to promote questioning, or as a way-finding exercise through some overarching ‘story’.

Something that means people realise at the end that they have in fact made a choice, whether they were aware of it or not.  I just need to find the ‘Something’. 

Choose Your Own Adventure // FMP

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.

Image result for journey under the sea ra montgomery

42 possible endings – limitless fun!

Something to Think About // FMP

Societal norms and how this impacts our decision making process in relation to how we project ourselves and assess our self-worth.

“Social norms or mores are the rules of behaviour that are considered acceptable in a group or society. People who do not follow these norms may be shunned or suffer some kind of consequence. Norms change according to the environment or situation and may change or be modified over time.”

Mass media and its impact on our understanding and collective consciousness – how are we impacted by what we see around us?  Do we make conscious decisions based on this or are we ‘groomed’ into thinking a certain way?

How does a Culture of Fear in modern media impact our general well-being and how we perceive the world around us.  Is it positive or negative?  What is the impact?

In what ways do we ‘choose’ a path.  Are we simply pin-balled between ideas and information at random, eventually finding a path that is linear in line with social norms and what is ‘expected’.  How much of our actions are choice?  How much is inaction?

How does the media influence our perception of what is normal?  What would happen if we were left to our own devices and encouraged to make decisions for ourselves, free from the influence of what is being told to us?

Media provides new information that persuades individuals to accept it (individual channel), but also, media informs listeners about what others learn, thus facilitating coordination (social channel).

https://wp.nyu.edu/ericarias/wp-content/uploads/sites/641/2016/04/AriasCommonKnowledge.pdf

Pessimism, Optimism, empathy and sympathy.

Is the media responsible for the dissemination of facts, or as an influential tool of governments and organisations to impact what is considered normal?

“Social norms marketing includes marketing techniques, such as mass media and face-to-face campaigns, that are designed to alter individuals’ perceptions of social norms, specifically perceptions of attitudes and behaviours that are typical or desirable in their community.”

“Public information not only causes individuals to update their personal beliefs, but
also allows them to update their beliefs about how widely these beliefs are shared (Morris
and Shin, 2002). That is, public information is used to know that others received the information, and that everyone who received the information knows that everybody else that received the information knows this, and so on, creating common knowledge. In this vein, some authors argue that “attempts to change public behaviours by changing private attitudes will not be effective unless some effort is also made to bridge the boundary between the public and the private.”

http://www.personal.psu.edu/bfr3/blogs/applied_social_psychology/2011/11/medias-influence-on-social-norms-and-identity-development-of-youth.html

“So what is identity? For starters, we technically are not born with identity; it is a socially constructed attribute.  The self-concept, which is the knowledge of who we are, combines with self awareness to develop a cognitive representation of the self, called identity (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2010, p.118).  In other words, who we are is controlled by internal and external factors that combine to make us who we become. Add in new media outlets, such as the internet, and media is now considered an “extension of everyday life and a tool of cultural change” (Singh, 2010).  Thus, identity formation, as a social concept, is being transformed in new and even more global ways.”

Cause and effect between Social Norms and Mass Media.
Does Mass Media simply act as a mirror to our social norms, or are our social norms dictated to us by the media?

https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=firefox-b-ab&biw=1280&bih=721&q=impact+of+social+media+on+identity&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjri5fIiLTSAhViIMAKHU35ASoQ1QIIVCgA

https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/rsa-blogs/2013/01/is-social-networking-redefining-identity

https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=firefox-b-ab&biw=1280&bih=721&q=media+influence+on+identity+formation&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjri5fIiLTSAhViIMAKHU35ASoQ1QIIWSgF

Bookers Seven Plots // FMP

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 Quest

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.

Comedy

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.

Tragedy

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.

Rebirth

During the course of the story, an important event forces the main character to change their ways, often making them a better person.