FOR NEXT WEEK
1. Question: The TETRAD
Marshall McLuhan developed a framework to assist in identifying the properties of new technologies according to four characteristics, which he called the Tetrad. Your task will be to apply the tetrad to recording technology. Think about recording technology in relationship with music and sound at large.
Answer each of the four questions with one point. (Remember: there are no right or wrong answers – you’ll gain a lot just by grappling with these questions.)
1. ENHANCEMENT: What does this new technology enable, enhance, intensify/amplify or accelerate?
2. OBSOLESCENCE: What is pushed aside or obsolesced by this new technology?
3. RETRIEVAL: What recurrence or retrieval of earlier actions and services is brought into play by the new form? (McLuhan: “The content of any medium is an older medium.”)
4. REVERSAL: What characteristics does this technology reverse into when pushed to its limit?
2. Companion Exercise
Make a 5-minute recording of a space with which you are intimately familiar. This space should involve people: either a public space or a more private gathering.
Pass this recording to your assigned listener (the next person on the list) without including any information regarding its context, meaning etc.
The listener should make three categories of notes corresponding to three modes of listening: reduced, causal and semantic. Read about these modes here.
You can also use these questions (associated with Project 2) to help formulate your notes.
Bring both the recording and your notes to discuss in class.
LISTENING CHAIN: FRANK sends it to MARIA —> CHRISTINA —> JESSICA —> JAKE —> SOOA —> RON —> SARAH(H) —> SAM —> GUOLIN —> CARLIE —> DANJING —> ZIXIN —> PAYTON —> JAMES —> SARA(DG) —> JIAYING —> FRANK
socializing without leaving one’s home (party)
centralization of content
marketing – enhancement of the scope of distribution of commercial information
the ability to design a precise persona (“profile page”) for one self based on likes, dislikes, and other attributes, how one hopes to be perceived (resume)
the desirability of making private information public – accelerates the sharing of personal information (vs. other kinds of information)
the potential of creating mass movements through shared activisms
monitoring the behavior of others pervasively
the need to introduce yourself (all you have to do is read the “About Me” page)
sending out physical invitations, mass emails to events
the need to periodically maintain relationships by meeting physically
the necessity of power to get authority (now attention is all that is needed – you no longer need the expensive distribution system)
public display of status and wealth (visible opera boxes) – flaunting consumption (not hiding behind avatars)
the gift economy (the history of gifting is also preserved by unlimited archiving)
social Darwinism – updating statuses, revitalizing one’s cyber identity constantly (new pics)
the “resumé” – one can examine a person’s status in their social circle
shaman or tribe leader (most popular)
urban legends, gossip
small town mentality (everyone knows everything about everyone else) – complete loss of privacy, and even the sense that privacy is important – monitoring the behavior of others
stalking (creeping), observing without divulging one’s presence or one’s persona (one-way surveillance)
depreciation of the quality of friendship vs. quantity of friends
total collapse of the trivial on top of the essential, and an increased inability to distinguish between the two (not seeing the forest from the trees of insignificant details)
becomes a diary rather than a mode of communication
loss of job, status through negative postings
tracking of after hours events by the police
the use of smaller, more targeted, niche aggregations (too many friends on FB)
mistaking the façade of realism (and all the simulations of FB – the “wall”) for real face-to-face encounters
cyber malice – the propensity to inflict greater harm on others because of the lack of physical interface with the targeted individual
into a control mechanism for an individual’s life and sense of self – it doesn’t exist until it has been validated through FB
the ability to remain in constant contact with someone / something, independently of time / location
the ability to blurt out a thought to someone else immediately, with no need for reflection the time it takes to get to a pay phone / landline – i.e. response time
attention deficit disorder – phone always ringing, always interrupting something in the real world
the capacity for out of control telemarketing
quick access to emergency services (no need to look for a pay phone)
access to the internet, from wherever, whenever
email-like interactions, through text messaging wherever / whenever – reincorporation of written language into telephonic communication (telegraph)
the PDA (centralized utilities on the contemporary cell phone)
the corporate office – meetings can take place anywhere there is a cellphone
context in language (when texting), due to size limits
the necessity to communicate with individuals in one’s physical surroundings – friends are only a phone call away anytime / anywhere – the typical example of having a coffee with someone and then them answering the phone
privacy and anonymity (calling in full public view)
the phantom limb phenomenon (the phone buzzing / not buzzing in your pocket)
the telegram (short pithy sentences, like cell phone texting) text + transmission
exchange of symbols (emoticons), shortcuts, hieroglyphs
ball and chain – individuals are no longer tied to their home phone, but are now tied to their cell phones like a leash – it rings, you answer
into surveillance (CSI demonstrated that cell phone signals could be easily tracked by law enforcement)
into dropped calls when the system (computerized) crashes, something that rarely happens with landlines
with heavy usage, into a false sense of relationship (though the phone does this too)
the inability to function when deprived of constant connection through the phone
being cut off from one’s immediate physical surroundings (crossing the street / driving while talking on the phone is a dangerous activity) because one can always be connected to another world in telepresent fashion (present ventriloquized, absent physically)