"Where sociologists differ from many other social researchers in researching digital media is their awareness that digital data, like any other type of data, are socially created and have a social life, a vitality, of their own. They are not the neutral products of automatic calculation, but represent deliberate decisions by those who formulate the computer algorithms that collect and manipulate these data (boyd and Crawford 2012; Cheney-Lippold 2011; Ruppert et al. 2013). The data that these devices and software produce structure our concepts of identity, embodiment, relationships, our choices and preferences and even our access to services or spaces. Without the knowledge of digital technology users, algorithms measure and sort them, deciding what choices they may be offered (Beer 2009, 2013a). Algorithms and other elements of software, therefore, are generative, a productive form of power (Lash 2007)."
(Deborah Lupton, 2013, p.4)
Deborah Lupton 'Digital Sociology: Beyond the Digital to the Sociological', Paper presented at The Australian Sociological Association 2013 Conference, Monash University, 27 November 2013.
Friday 31st January 2014 at the London Knowledge Lab: Presentations 1:30–2:30; Demos 2:30–3:30; Discussion and debate: 3:30–4:30.
"Digital media is now ubiquitous and embedded all around us even when we are not connected via our range of devices, so its no surprise that the government sees the creative industries as a priority area for growth. One factor key to its success is that of the so–called 'Fusion Skills': mixes of creative media, STEM and enterprise. The fusion of these three elements is an increasing demand from industry voices and seen as an answer to new digital innovation. In 2012, The Creative Industries Council (that reports to two ministers of state) called Fusion 'the new skills imperative' and one of eight challenges that need to be addressed in order to unlock growth. This 'what the research says' event attempts to unpack and explore Fusion in theory and practice, hearing from industry and educators. It's said that Higher Education faculty and discipline silos necessitate against fusion learning and teaching. ...
How do we co–opt students who are resistant to such abstract ideas, preferring outdated career caricatures from sources of variable quality? Where should interventions be– secondary school? Postgraduate? Is there hard evidence that Fusion skills are needed?"
(London Knowledge Lab)
"Design Fiction is a recent spin–off of Science Fiction, directly inspired by many of the imagined worlds of writers like Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, J.G. Ballard and others. It sets out to do many of the same things as Sci–Fi does, but in a more concrete way, by introducing real physical objects or real sets of rules and scenarios which require the participation (direct or indirect, voluntary or involuntary) of users, beyond just their emotional and intellectual engagement. In this way Design Fiction can 'test' objects or tools or storylines that Science Fiction, until recently, has not been able to. A literary work, has (in general) been a fixed text until very recently, and so even though readers have enjoyed many different readings and interpretations, the author has not been able to adapt or react to their responses. Design Fiction allows the inventor or storytellers to adapt their scenario as it evolves and as the users or participants give their reactions."
(Charles Beckett, How to Think About The Future)
"Over the past months we've seen other destructive aspects of the 'net. From death threats tweeted to female MPs and journalists, to the tragic suicides of cyber–bullied teens. Growing concern about the web is understandable and reviews into safeguarding must continue.
Yet alongside healthy caution it's crucial that the technology itself does not become the focus of the blame. Technology is a tool and we get to choose how we use it. When we blame the tool we take the moral onus off ourselves, the user.
From the ability to control fire, to the invention of the wheel or the printing press, each has the potential for great good, or great harm. No tool is completely neutral of course – but we shape them far more than they shape us. That perspective is crucial & empowering."
(Vicky Beeching, 24 October 2013, BBC Radio 4: Thought for the Day)
"With digital capture and even digital intermediates, it becomes very easy to think of the image in the simplest of terms: contrast, saturation and color bias. But I think too often we forget about texture and sharpness. Film has organic grain texture that simply doesn't exist in digital cinematography. I'm not a film 'purist' but I think it's safe to say that with the advent of radical advances in digital cinema technology there has been a certain homogenization of the cinematographic image in regard to look and texture. It is common to shoot for an evenly distributed rich digital negative (protect the highlights, see into the shadows) with plenty of sharpness to endure the color correction suite and create the look in post. Everybody shoots the sensor the same way.
Painting is a great influence on me. Whenever I can I go to museums and look at the classics, the Dutch masters, Rembrandt and Georges de la Tour. Looking at these old paintings can be inspiring. These are the basics for cameramen because we can learn lighting from them. We can study the classic paintings and try to use that technique of lighting in our photography. I have lots of picture books at home–photography books and art books. When we did McCabe and Mrs. Miller, I showed a book of Andrew Wyeth's paintings to Bob Altman and said, 'What do you think of these faded, soft, pastel images?' And he liked it. Then I took the same book to the lab and explained to them that this was what we were aiming for. They understood right away why we were flashing the film. So it helps; a picture is worth ten thousand words. A picture can immediately tell you your feelings about something.
With digital capture, we have been given a completely different set of tools, trading physical lab processes for computer–driven non–destructive techniques, creating possibilities for the image to be pushed any way we wish in post. In a time when film is disappearing fast and digital is making progress in image quality improvement, it has become important for cinematographers to master these new tools."
(Vilmos Zsigmond ASC HSC, IMAGO European Federation of Cinematographers)