Penultimate meeting recap

As presentation day looms ever closer, we felt it would be both productive and useful to schedule in a supplementary meeting this week. As such, we met again on Saturday in what proved to be an especially efficient and reassuring discussion.

Since we had devised the barebones structure of what our presentation would entail in the previous meeting, we now focussed upon honing down the details of its format, content, and structure, as well as assigning individual roles and contributions. We decided that our court would be presented as a kind of moral court of appeals, situated externally from any singular culture context or legal parameters, existing in a kind of purgatory, wherein cases that could possibly be deemed to have been failed by real-world legal structures are re-examined within a broader ethical framework. With this in mind, we decided that three of us would provide evidence and testimony -quoting academic reading and various legal precedent- in aid of the appellant, while the other acts as judge. The inclusion of this role within the actual presentation, as opposed to inviting our peers to act as a jury, gives us the opportunity to provide more nuanced explanation of concepts and ideas, as the judge will interject into each individual appeal in order to ask for additional information, point out a counter-argument, and also to simply orchestrate the smooth transition between elements of the presentation. The judge will also provide the opening and closing statements of the case.

In addition to this, various specific yet more minor details of the presentation were also ironed out, including the order in which we will speak, the decisions upon who will assume which role, and also the question of what stylistic elements to include.

The job from here then, is for each of us to use our already extensive bibliography in order to construct our own scripts for the case. After they have each been created, we will peer edit them with a google doc in order to create a singular and coherent script for us all to follow throughout the presentation.

I feel like we are now in an especially solid position, with a manageable workload to be completed before the presentation on Monday. Most questions about what format the presentation will take and in what way it will be presented have been answered, and we already have compiled more than enough academic research to flesh out the presented appeals. What remains then, is to bring everything together into our now fully established mode of presentation, to rehearse, and finally: to present.

Supervised meeting week 7

The first goal of last Tuesday’s session was to specify our research scope. Even if we kept a general question “What is the cost of living online in the 21st century?”, we decided to orientate our research towards the notions of society of control and surveillance state.

Then, we discussed about our presentation structure. The current plan is to divide the presentation into 3 parts. The first one would be more theoretical, the second one analytical and the third one would contain a focus group. We also tried to find ideas to make our presentation more interactive: we thought of using tools like live time polls.

As we did not get the ethical approval yet, it is not sure that we will be able to do a focus group. While waiting for a final response, we plan to work independently on the two first parts to not waste time.

This introduces the second main discussion we had during the supervised meeting: how do we distribute the parts and themes among each group member? How do English, Geography or Politics interfere here? George gave us this as a homework for the next session and asked us to have a presentation plan ready.

 

The rest of the supervised meeting consisted in a brainstorming where George asked precisions about our ideas. Several interesting questions came out:

  • On which geographical area should our research focus? We are thinking to focus on the West and China, China applying possibly Western’s ideas of surveillance more explicitly.
  • How brutal is the functioning of the online life, can the individual notice that he potentially lives in a society of control?
  • What is the importance of language in the application of a society of control? Do the language used in the ‘terms and conditions” provide an insight of manipulations from the power structures?
  • How do gender, race or sexuality interfere with this notion of surveillance state? Do humans interact differently with it?
  • Can some political theories be applied to this presentation? Possible theories are realism, authoritarianism and liberalism.

Most importantly, George reminded us to permanently think about linking our findings to the notion of conflict, to avoid being out of topic.

Week 4 Summary

Through Week 3’s seminar discussion we found that a uniting topic in our areas of interest was the ways in which the identity is socialized in children, leading us to devise our research question: 

Conflict between normative and non-normative identities through childhood. 

The nature of the conflict taken as our focus is therefore between dominant and marginal cultural scripts and narratives. We brainstormed contemporary examples of where this conflict can be identified in order to find a case study for our presentation, and the four possibilities that seemed most appropriate were 

  1. Disney and childhood 
  1. Charlottesville and toxic masculinity 
  1. Genderquake television show 
  1. Mermaids (a charity devoted to helping trans children come into their identity and fund transitioning) 

While this method of brainstorming proved useful in gaining a wide perspective on the possible case studies available to us, in Week 4’s seminar we decided to analyse the applicability of each case study to our relevant major disciplines in order to keep our research succinct. A table comparing the relevance of our case studies can be found here: <https://emckclac-my.sharepoint.com/:w:/r/personal/k1626863_kcl_ac_uk/_layouts/15/Doc.aspx?sourcedoc=%7BF04D80EA-9799-41E3-A0D0-B99EF2380EFD%7D&file=List%20of%20case%20studies%20with%20relevance%20to%20discipline.docx&action=default&mobileredirect=true> 

Charlottesville and Mermaids were relevant to all three disciplines making them the forerunners for our research. We decided that since mermaids related to the topic of childhood more, trans childhood should be our primary research area. 

Zack and I attended a talk on the subjectivity of trans children given by Gender Studies scholar Jacob Breslow, titled ‘Troubling Trans Precocity:  Narratives of Trans Childhood and the Temporalities of Sexuation’ which entailed ‘drawing upon media representations of trans children, a court case involving a six-year old trans girl, and narratives of trans childhood’. The talk provided an insight into how children, trans or otherwise, become sites of political normalization at the hands of adults through a process of psychological projection. Zack suggested watching a documentary on Netflix called ‘Growing Up Coy’, which follows the same court case detailed in the talk. 

After streamlining our topic we decided that for Week 5 we would each look at the topic of trans childhood through the lens of our major discipline, looking at trans legislation for politics, international differences in cultural approaches to trans rights for geography, and more normative and identity-based discussions for English.  

Week 4 Summary

Through Week 3’s seminar discussion we found that a uniting topic in our areas of interest was the ways in which the identity is socialized in children, leading us to devise our research question:

Conflict between normative and non-normative identities through childhood.

The nature of the conflict taken as our focus is therefore between dominant and marginal cultural scripts and narratives. We brainstormed contemporary examples of where this conflict can be identified in order to find a case study for our presentation, and the four possibilities that seemed most appropriate were

  1. Disney and childhood
  2. Charlottesville and toxic masculinity
  3. Genderquake television show
  4. Mermaids (a charity devoted to helping trans children come into their identity and fund transitioning)

While this method of brainstorming proved useful in gaining a wide perspective on the possible case studies available to us, in Week 4’s seminar we decided to analyse the applicability of each case study to our relevant major disciplines in order to keep our research succinct. A table comparing the relevance of our case studies can be found here: <https://emckclac-my.sharepoint.com/:w:/r/personal/k1626863_kcl_ac_uk/_layouts/15/Doc.aspx?sourcedoc=%7BF04D80EA-9799-41E3-A0D0-B99EF2380EFD%7D&file=List%20of%20case%20studies%20with%20relevance%20to%20discipline.docx&action=default&mobileredirect=true>

Charlottesville and Mermaids were relevant to all three disciplines making them the forerunners for our research. We decided that since mermaids related to the topic of childhood more, trans childhood should be our primary research area.

Zack and I attended a talk on the subjectivity of trans children given by Gender Studies scholar Jacob Breslow, titled ‘Troubling Trans Precocity:  Narratives of Trans Childhood and the Temporalities of Sexuation’ which entailed ‘drawing upon media representations of trans children, a court case involving a six-year old trans girl, and narratives of trans childhood’. The talk provided an insight into how children, trans or otherwise, become sites of political normalization at the hands of adults through a process of psychological projection. Zack suggested watching a documentary on Netflix called ‘Growing Up Coy’, which follows the same court case detailed in the talk.

After streamlining our topic we decided that for Week 5 we would each look at the topic of trans childhood through the lens of our major discipline, looking at trans legislation for politics, international differences in cultural approaches to trans rights for geography, and more normative and identity-based discussions for English.

 

Further Notes

Does exhibited art (age of terror exhibition) desensitise our perceptions of conflict?
A study of the Age of Terror exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.

First ideas: Geography offers approaches to analyse space and place, both real and imagined. Exhibited art, implies art that is held in a certain space.

Geography therefore is interested in this direct space, its meaning and specifically, given its nature as exhibited, how it is privileged in so far as by being exhibited in a certain place access is unequal.

Geography is also concerned with the indirect space. That is the spaces/places that relate to the artwork itself, where it comes from, the people involved and the real imagined geographies implied by the artwork. (mixing of different geographies within the exhibition, geographic/ historic ignorance) Impact on perceived versus real geographies.

For the purposes of geography this question concerns both the art itself and its entangled geographies and the exhibition as a space.

Focus: Art in exhibited space

  1. : Who can access it?, who cannot?  Related to where it is and the cost. Therefore privileged/ capitalist. Public versus private art.
  2. The meaning of the space, (the place) aspect of the exhibition.
  3. Entangled Geographies of the artwork. Art as geographic representation and imaginative Geographies.

Relate back geographic readings to group understanding of art/conflict and others’ findings.

Explore our perceptions of conflict…
Bibliography for geographic ignorance…

How space contributes to being desensitized…

Structure:

Question. Definition of elements

  1. Conflict as war
  2. Perceptions of war conflict? What are your perceptions?
  3. Case study
  4. Exhibited art
  5. Methods section… discourse analysis…

Desensitize…

Geographic interest = place…
Artwork as form of meaning making, constructing a perception (imagined) geography of conflict. Therefore creates a representation of conflict, separate from conflict itself.

Therefore: Discourse analysis to reveal representation…
Argument:

 

  1. Dealing with our perceptions of conflict not conflict itself.
  2. Exhibited art (age of terror) involves the representing conflict.
  3. This representation is a form

That is it creates a representation of conflict and it is this representation we use to perceive conflict. Therefore it is a perception, not the real thing, or in geographic terms an imagined geography of conflict. This detachment can be argued to be a form of desensitization because we are

PLACE

152, art can play a powerful role in the creation of place/ imagined place…

How was the exhibited art made meaningful by its association with place…

  1. How exhibited art is in a museum that architecturally lends itself to a dissociation of witht the outside world… a sperate space  

“The place of the gallery is more likely to make something considered art”

Is it significant that art on the age of terror is hung in the imperial war museum, or would it be the same anywhere?

Psychogeography… entering place…

Sontang

Representation

Final Meeting + Bibliography

Today we finalised the elements of our presentation, and curated our Facebook profile which we will use to present: “Anna King”

We also reflected on the different sources we’d used and how our different methodologies have come together to form this presentation. Here are a few sources that we have found to be useful inter-disciplinarily across our research:

Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, (London: Les Presse Du Reel, 1998).

Zizi Papacharissi, “Conclusion,” A Networked Self, (Abingdon: Routledge, 2011).

boyd, d. m. and Ellison, N. B. (2007), Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 13: 210-230. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x

YouTube Video, “The Self and the Selfie – Full Debate,” uploaded March 15, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrFNO_KXKBw.

Amber N. Schroeder, Jacqulyn M. Cavanaugh, “Fake it ‘til you make it: Examining faking ability on social media pages,”  – February 13, 2018, Computers in Human Behavior, July 2018, Vol.84, pp.29-35

Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, (New York: Zone Books, 1994).

 

 

 

Narcissism and Social media

 

This is a really interesting debate, asking the question: could focusing on ourselves, rather than others, be a route to happiness and success? There was an interesting point made by Simon Blackburn about the contemporary practice of being in an art gallery and taking pictures of the art on display rather than even looking at it. This implies that social media identity and the constant anticipation of what we can share online is not only at conflict with our real lived experiences, but in some way reductive of our “real” identity. Instead of enjoying the art at the gallery do become narcissistically pre-occupied with portraying a certain impression of ourselves as culturally aware, educated, intelligent?

I became interested in their references to the myth of Narcissus, and it made me think of my favourite painting, Salvador Dali’s Metamorphoses of Narcissus. Dali depicts the title figure, almost stone-like, reflected in the pool of water, transfixed with his reflection. The reflection and the real body of Narcissus become blurred, they seem to merge into one. To some extent is social media identity like the reflection in the water, a virtual representation of ourselves, one that is not tangible but continuously alluring none the less. It is an identity that seems to blur into ourselves.

 

Metamorphosis of Narcissus 1937 Salvador Dal? 1904-1989 Purchased 1979 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T02343

I wanted to incorporate the painting in some way to my part of the presentation because I think it is an interesting allegory of our relationship with online identity. While Dali clearly prefigured the age of social media, by thinking about how contemporary artists have explored the potentially narcissistic aspects of social media, I will look at how we can deconstruct our online personas, bringing into question the performativity of these platforms as a way of forging identity.

Notes on IAE

What role do language and text play in exhibited art and to what extent does it desensitize the audience? 

language has the power to complicate and withhold meaning

as viewers, we are invited to imagine through and beyond the spoken and written word, to think and re-think

International Art English (IAE)

“There are so many people who come to our shows who don’t even look at the programme sheet. They don’t want to look at any writing about art.”

  • serves as an ammunition for those who don’t take art seriously
  • pompous language, endless sentences…
  • They call it “a unique language” that has “everything to do with English, but is emphatically not English. [It] is oddly pornographic: we know it when we see it.” (guardian, journal Triple Canopy, Levine and Rule)
  • “Ordinary words take on non-specific alien functions”
  • IAE has made art harder for non-professionals.” In fact, even art professionals can feel oppressed by it.

(https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/jan/27/users-guide-international-art-english)

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/artinfo/international-art-english-the-joke-that-forgot-it-was-funny_b_3397760.html

  • Visitors use text in a number of ways (Ferguson, et al, 1995):

adults read sections of text aloud for children and other members of their group

adults paraphrase the text out loud

adults read privately and then discuss the text with other visitors

visitors ‘talk back’ to the text and answer the questions it poses

visitors use words from the text in their conversations

How are we defining the ‘self’ ?

Since trying to refine the opening segment of our presentation, I’ve found myself reading a lot about conflicting ideas of the ‘self’ and identity. I wanted to share that I’ve found Erving Goffman’s writing on the topic particularly useful as his performative ideas of impression management I think are particularly applicable to our online social media selves, so perhaps this is a useful thinking point: