ARTS3091 Blog 6 – Framing Transversals

April 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

In the editorial of Fibreculture Journal found here, Andrew Murphie discusses transversals.  He explores what could be described as a ‘macro’ transversal: -new media, in all its broad forms, in relation to other industries. Murphy states that new media transverses more areas than ever before such as dance, city planning, celebrity, aesthetics and hacking.

While this explanation was helpful I struggled to clearly understand the concept due to the ‘macro’ nature of the topics being discussed. After the lecture I better understood the concept.

I believe a better way of explaining the idea of transversals & framing is through music.

A current genre of music can be seen as a frame. Music in this frame abides to particular rules, It is defined and simultaneously restricted by its frame. Take for example electro/house music; without getting too technical, we can safely say that electro/house is framed by electronically produced sound, strong emphasis on a 4:4 beat, a bpm of around 120 and usually a ‘drop’ (more on the transversal element of the ‘drop’ here).

In comparison swing  music is framed by woodwind and brass instruments, an emphasis on the 2nd  and 4th beat of a 4:4 bar and a strong rhythm component.

As murphie describes: “a transversal is a line that cuts other lines, perhaps across entire fields – bringing the fields together in a new way, recreating fields as something else.”

I would argue that a music transversal can be seen in the mixing of two music genres (frames); for example electroswing. Electroswing brings together  elements of separate frames in a new way.

I argue that transversals are only temporary, a transversal occurs when two frames are crossed, however as soon as meaning is created out of this new transversal, it becomes a frame itself.  By this I mean that electroswing is now a legitimate (if little known) genre, with its own framings. It is possible in the future that we will hear an electroswing/reggae transversal, which could then become its own frame. The way in which we see frames or transversalities is simply a matter of how we ‘frame’ them (oh the irony).

Transversals could be further explored in the area of thought and creativity. In a lecture on creativity John Cleese states ‘Creativity is like humor. In a joke, the laugh comes at a moment when you connect two different frameworks of reference in a new way’  and that ‘a new idea is connecting two separate ideas in a way that generates new meaning’. This would be interesting to consider, is there such a thing as original thought?

The lecture is long, but worth watching.

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ARTS3091 Blog 5 – Data Dominance?

April 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Where on the above diagram does the colour ‘red’ stop occurring?

You would have a hard time saying 0 is not red, but what about 5? If you were to say 5 is pink, then what about 7?

We could play this game continually, moving into smaller and smaller increments and it is still doubtful that we would find an absolute point where the colour ‘red’ ceases to occur.

How does this relate to this week’s topic of Data?

There seems to be a growing suggestion that data will ‘rule the world’ and we will live “a data driven life” (Wolf, 2010: Title)

My argument is that there are some things that cannot be quantified. We can attempt to quantify them, as Chris Anderson (2008) argues in wired magazine “With enough data the numbers speak for themselves.”, but I would say that there are simply some things that cannot be quantified, and for this reason I would argue that data is an imperfect tool for measuring the world and, while it will have a considerable impact, will not control every facet of our life.

For example, a physicist would tell you that the colour red does occur at a specific wavelength of light. A perceptual physcologist will tell you that a combination of signals sent from different cones will result in you perceiving red. And a web designer will tell you red is #FF0000.

These forms of data are all effective at telling us what red is, but cannot tell us when red ceases to be. For example these above data tools can tell us almost certainly that 0 is red and 1 is not red, however would struggle to discern where red stops being. This is because the tool of data does not allow for this distinction to be made.

It is clear that while data provides interesting insights (even if they may be flawed) into aspects of being , it is just another tool we can use to attempt to attain some notion of truth.  As Simon Rogers (2011) states, data journalism is the same as any other form of journalism, be it investigative, citizen, opinion or photo journalism “it’s just journalism”.

I will conclude by saying that the world is both subjective and objective, and to use an objective brush to paint a picture of the world would be to paint an incomplete picture.

For this reason I believe data will not completely take over journalism, self tracking, or many other aspects of life.

Wolf, Gary (2010) ‘The Data-Driven Life’, The New York Times, <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/magazine/02self-measurement-t.html>

Rogers, Simon (2011) ‘Data journalism at the Guardian: what is it and how do we do it?’, The Guardian, Datablog, July 28, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jul/28/data-journalism>
Anderson, Chris (2008) ‘The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete’ < http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/16-07/pb_theory>

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