Archive for the ‘spaces’ Category

h1

interrelated affordance dimensions as systems

November 4, 2010

I am preparing the virtual lecture “Ecology of learning with new media tools” for the master of semiotics program in Helsinki University for the course “Semiotics and media, sciences and technology studies”.

I was looking one article that was inspired by the Lakoff’s book “Metaphors we live bye”.
It assumes that we live by metaphors that actually structure our perceptions and understanding

Our conceptual system, thus, plays a central role in defining our everyday realities. If we are right in suggesting that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we thinks what we experience, and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor.

Interesting in this paper is the assumption that metaphorical concepts that we use form a system.

TIME IS MONEY, TIME IS A LIMITED RESOURCE, and TIME IS A VALUABLE COMMODITY are all metaphorical concepts. They are metaphorical since we are using our everyday experiences with money, limited resources, and valuable commodities to conceptualize time. This isn’t a necessary way for human beings to conceptualize time; it is tied to our culture. There are cultures where time is none of these things.

I started to think if there exists also the personal system within the affordances that we potentially actualize in interaction with the world.

My idea seems not to be exactly the same as affordance network idea conceived by Barab and Roth (2006). Particularly it is elaborating this part where environmental knowledge is used.

Barab and Roth (2006) have noted that connecting learners to ecological networks, where they can learn through engaged participation, activates the affordance networks.
Barab and Roth (2006) assumed that affordance networks are not read onto the world, but instead continually “transact” (are coupled) with the world as part of a perception-action cycle in which each new action potentially expands or contracts one’s affordance network.

Basically i think that:
a) if affordances are our perspectives, the positions that we take in the moment of action/emotion in the multidimensional geo-conceptual hybrid space consisting of conceptual dimensions and geographic dimensions (Pata, 2010; Normak, Pata, Kaipainen, forthcoming), then

b) there exists the personal spatial area within geo-conceptual hybrid space that is frequently defined by these positions
This personal spatial area (a cognitive niche) is simultaneously activated internally and externally as the cognitive distributed space during the cognitive chance-seeking (Bardone, 2010), and people are always “validating” the effectiveness of this space for affording their actions and emotions.

c) and within this personal space WE CAN FIND CONSISTENCY of what dimensions of the space are incorporated into certain affordances as personal perspectives useful for certain action or emotion

d) The accumulation of individual positions within this space (to the geographical and virtual object world and to the interpersonal relational actions) contribute to the formation of the cultural spaces – the niches within geo-conceptual hybrid space.
So some of the affordances are offloaded to the objects which are spatially located, some affordances are run dynamically in the awareness of the persons who are interacting and keeping awareness of bodily and emotional activations of each other and with the object world.

We may have several of such taskspaces.
Taskspace is an array of activities related to a certain environment (Ingold, 2000). A taskspace fosters a range of affordances of an environment, delimiting some and enabling others (Edensor, 2004).

e) Cultural niches within geo-conceptual hybrid space are used by individuals for spatial navigation while they select the positions in their own spaces (basically cultural niches can prompt or inhibit some dimensions that the person can use in the geo-conceptual hybrid space for actualizing affordances.

(dataset and image from Pata, 2009)

Image indicates the community perception of affordances for using an aggregator tool.

Part of the problem is how effectiveness of taking action or having emotion is evaluated by each individual in respect to the community niche, and how such effectiveness may be accumulated to the niche.

If the (geo)tags used for defining some conceptual artifacts are interpreted as the dimensions of the geo-conceptual space (for example if we look blog posts, or bookmarks), there exist some dimensions that are the root- or central dimensions, and other dimensions are additional dimensions.

The pictures of tag-networks allow us to see the “hubs” (root-dimensions) in this multidimensional space.

Here is the affordance dimension network based on my dataset (Pata, 2009a,b). I have used the Bayesian networking tool for finding the best fitting causal model for collaborative activity taskspace with social software tools.

From the previous spatial dimension figure we can see that monitoring is the most frequently perceived affordance of the aggregator. The other affordances frequently perceived while using aggregator are: filtering and mashing; collecting; reading; and evaluating.

We may assume that in the collaborative activity taskspace with different types of social software tools, the monitoring affordance in general is related with searching and evaluating and reading.
The arrow to reading indicates causality that actualizing monitoring affordance allows in turn reading affordance.

Following the same idea of spatial re-location while taking action and having emotion, Lackoff said about conceptual metaphors that Another functionality for metaphors is orientation in space.

I’m feeling up. That boosted my spirits. My spirits rose. you’re in high spirits. Thinking about her always gives me a lift. I’m feeling down. I’m depressed. He’s really low these days. I fell into a depression. My spirits sank.

Lakoff and Núñez suggest that conceptual metaphors form network of bodily grounded entities with inferential organization.

In his book “Philosophy in the Flesh : The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought” Lakoff and Johnson (1999) conceptualized living by metaphors using the embodied mind idea.

“our bodies, brains, and interactions with our environment provide the mostly unconscious basis for our everyday metaphysics, that is, our sense of what is real.”

Together with the “father” of embodied simulation Vittorio Gallese George Lakoff wrote and article “The Brain’s Concepts: The Role of the Sensory-Motor System in Conceptual Knowledge.” (2005).

The argue against the cognitive processing

A common philosophical position is that all concepts—even concepts about action and perception—are symbolic and abstract, and therefore must be implemented outside the brain’s sensory-motor system.

and suggest embodied simulation, assuming that

“sensory-motor regions of brain are directly exploited to characterise the so-called “abstract” concepts that constitute the meanings of grammatical constructions and general inference patterns.”

In the recent book “Embodied cognition” Shapiro distinguishes three important themes in embodied cognition (Shapiro, 2010):

Conceptualization – the properties of the organism’s body constrain which concepts an organism can acquire.

Replacement – the organism’s body in interaction with the environment replaces the need for symbolic representational processes. (systems do not include representational states)

Constitution – the body or world plays a constitutive role rather than causal role in cognitive processing.

I am thinking of two interesting aspects:
How is personal cognitive niche/a cultural niche a coherent referential network?

A person can offload some of the affordances to the environment using some artifacts, so the community niche may form and be reused for personal cognitive navigation?

A person interacts with other people directly and the monitored actions and emotions actualize temporarily parts of the community niche as well, which may be used for navigating in personal cognitive niche

How are some dimensions in the geo-cognitive space highlighted among others, and which are in principle these “spaces of flows” within cultural/community spaces and how one person is immersed to these flows.

h1

collaboratively narrated conceptual and geographical places

October 7, 2010

I was reading an article

THE LONG TAIL OF DESTINATION IMAGE AND ONLINE MARKETING
Bing Pan
Xiang (Robert) Li
Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. xx, No. xx, pp. xxx–xxx, 2011

This paper talks of tagged images (so called ontological space for conceptions) and people’s destination in real geographical locations.

It is interesting from two aspects:

It makes me think that in ontological space your position is determined by the frequently perceived ontodimensions in the community (by yourself) and less frequently preferred additional ontodimensions. It may be imagined that there is one central ontological dimension (or plane) and additional dimensions (planes) that shift you in this multidimensional space to certain area in respect from the first plane.

Another interesting aspect is the relationship of conceptual spaces and positions with the real geographical locations and geopositions that people will choose.

——————–

The destination image phrases American travelers use to describe China follow the power-law distribution:
a few phrases or attractions are well-known to many of the respondents;

Top two phrases ‘‘Great Wall’’ and ‘‘Beijing.’’ The two terms contribute to almost half of the phrase volume; about 85% of respondents use at least one of these two.

These may be the most frequent ontodimensions?

b) hundreds of niche phrases are used very few times individually, but collectively they account for a large volume.

Here niche is used in the context of products determined for certain specific user-groups.

These are the additional dimensions that specify the ontoposition?

The distribution of stereotypical and affective image phrases follow both the 80-20 rule and the long tail pattern, if one defines the ‘‘head’’ as the top 10 phrases in the latter case.

The top 10 phrases cover more than 73% of total volume.

The general managerial contribution lies in the validation of the importance of niche products and market in the Internet age. Different ‘‘head’’ and ‘‘tail’’ sections of image phrases might be suitable for different marketing channels.
Notably, there is no apparent cutoff point which divides popular image phrases from niche ones depending on the marketing purpose, the choice of top attributes is
rather arbitrary.

The most popular (i.e., the top 20%) phrases are vital since they represent the majority of tourists; however, it is unlikely that all those attributes could be promoted effectively.
To avoid diluting a brand’s identity or sending confusing brand messages, the positioning literature traditionally suggests destinations to focus on several key themes in their mass media marketing efforts.

This classic strategy accomplishes effectiveness by essentially compromising niche markets to more mainstream market.

The present study argues that such compromise is no longer valid in today’s environment and researchers, should pay more attention to those uncommon even obscure destination images: holders of the ‘‘tail’’ images are not only more knowledgeable about a destination, but also more likely to visit it.

A new segmentation approach might be employed based on the distinctiveness of
phrases the tourists type in. One can take full advantage of the aggregated niche markets.

In addition, providing more niche attractions and unique characteristics can also help alleviate the congestions in popular attractions and implicitly direct tourists to less visited areas.

——————————–
In really such travel images are created by people who visit places, take images and tag images positioning them in the multidimensional ontological space defined certain dimensions. Thereby as a collaborative activity of many travellers certain ontopositions will be attached to certain geographical locations.
Frequent dimensions in ontological and geographical places, which are usually searched first will all also have associations with additional and less frequently percieved dimensions that can lead travellers to discover other ontopositions than initially they could define (and als visit the associated geographical locations).

There is one figure from another article about creating literary places, which i recently tried to elaborate from the point of view of collaboratively created literary places. I have just added some keywords that may be important to distinguish such as:

a) if literary place is associated with one writer’s story, the collaboratively narrated place is created by many individuals as part of their personal narratives

b) if the traditional literary place is a location that is described in the writer’s story, the new collaboratively narrated places are part of each individual’s narrative trajectory, and we may also find from these trajectories some narrative trajectory patterns

c) if a literary place from writer’s story is associated with emotions described in the story, or emotions that readers have experienced while reading the story, the new collaboratively narrated literary places are especially focusing on this second aspect – personal feelings, emotions will become associated with the place and with its representational images as tags, and the associations may be thus aggregated

d) literary places are also real geographical locations the writer has chosen, which may be geotagged, if cretian images and emotions are geotagged by many in the same location, this becomes an attractive geoposition

e) it is suggested to add facilities and services to this geographical location to introduce what is the association with the story. The collaboratively narrated places externalize the activity potentials of the place perceived and activated by many storytellers. These will be associated with the geographical location using the ontospacial plane (tag-dimensions). The embodiment of such activity potenentials will become possible in geographical locations.

f) the literary places are usually added in some tourist itineraries, which are certain geographical trajectories. The ontospacial additional space will enable to orientate and choose directions in the geographical place – the narrative trajectory of the crowd may be used for defining personal narrative trajectory and the trajectory in geographical space.

g) If usually the literary places are developed later after the novel becomes popular and remains unchanged in spite of visitors who come there, the collaboratively narrated places emerge and evolve and change dynamically in result of visitor interactions with the places.

h1

An Ontospatial Representation of Writing Narratives in Hybrid Ecosystem

August 29, 2010

Tomorrow i will be at 3rd International Workshop on Social and Personal Computing for
Web‐Supported Learning Communites, DEXA 2010, Bilbao

h1

representing new media as a techno-social ecology

July 31, 2010

I have been preparing the lecture for introduction of new media, and reading Manovich and Castells. In the end i visualized how the techno-social ecology might be represented for students.

Actually, i will use it for explaining what is new media. I find that the explanation in wiki is not the most clear one.
———————————–
Introduction to new media
Lecture 1
What is new media?

Questions to answer in the end:
What characterizes new media?
New media – a technology or culture?
Examine critically new media definitions – can YOU define what is new media?

I. New media history
Manovich (2008): We are largely ignorant of collaborators who have gradually turned computer into a cultural machine it is today.
They knew that they were turning physical media into new media with additional properties to interact with.
Alan Kay & Xerox PARC
Ted Nelson
Douglas Engelbart
Ivan Sutherland
Nicholas Negroponte
W. Russell Newman: Blurring private-public and interpersonal-mass media borders
Andrew L. Shapiro: Shift in controlling information and experiences
etc.….

New media definition
…the amalgamation of traditional media such as film, images, music, spoken and written word, with the interactive power of computer and communications technology, computer-enabled consumer devices and most importantly the Internet (wikipedia)
New media characteristics (wiki page)

Some characteristics:
Blurring the borderlines & evoking interaction: technology, artifacts, contents and people
Mixed media
Cross-media
Interconnected and evolutionary
Interpersonal
Creation, publishing, distribution and consumption are democratic
Creative communities
Participatory culture
Digital interactivity

Is it a good definition or should it be broadened?

a representation for explaining new media conception

Why: Creating new media for new types of interaction
The aim of the inventors of computational media was not to simply create accurate simulations of physical media but in every case the goal was to create “a new medium with new properties” which would allow people to communicate, learn, and create in new ways (Manovich, 2008).

Which ideas from the past have influenced new media development significantly?

Xerox PARC has been responsible for developments as:
personal computer
graphical user interface (GUI) featuring windows and icons, the “look and feel”
Ethernet local area computer network
Smalltalk programming language (object-oriented programming)

Alan Kay’s Universal Media Machine
Turn computers into a “personal dynamic media” which can be used for learning, discovery, and artistic creation.
Involve learner in a two-way conversation
He conceived the Dynabook concept (1968) which defined the conceptual basics for laptop and tablet computers and E-books
The democratization of software development was at the core of Kay’s vision
New media are expandable – Users themselves should be able to easily add new properties, as well as to invent new media.
Smalltalk object-oriented programming language
Kay calls computers the first “metamedium” whose content is “a wide range of already-existing and not-yet-invented media.”
These new media use already existing representational formats as their building blocks, while adding many new previously nonexistent properties.

“remediation”
Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin’s book Remediation: Understanding New Media (2000)
Bolter and Grusin define remediation as “the representation of one medium in another.”
New media always remediate the old ones
Remediation is a defining characteristic of the new digital media
Manovich (2008): Kay and others appear to have locked the computer into being a simulation machine for “old media.”
By developing easy to use GUI-based software to create and edit familiar media types software turned a digital computer into a “remediation machine”.
Manovich (2008): the pioneers of computational media did not have the goal of making the computer into a “remediation machine” which would simply represent older media in new ways.
Instead, knowing well new capabilities provided by digital computers, they set out to create fundamentally new kinds of media for expression and communication.

Branching experience: Vannever Bush (1945), As We May Think
Vannever Bush had the idea of a massive branching structure, a memex – as a better way to organize data and to represent human experience.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1969/12/as-we-may-think/3881/

Science has provided the swiftest communication between individuals; it has provided a record of ideas and has enabled man to manipulate and to make extracts from that record so that knowledge evolves and endures throughout the life of a race rather than that of an individual.

The human mind operates by association. Selection by association, rather than indexing, may yet be mechanized.
Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library. A library of a million volumes could be compressed into one end of a desk.
A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.

“Associative indexing”
Memex affords to associative indexing, the basic idea of which is a provision whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another. This process of tying two items together is the essential feature of the memex.
There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record.
The user finds two items by association and connects them into a trail, and names it. When numerous items have been thus joined together to form a trail, they can be reviewed in turn. Occasionally a comment of his own may be inserted, either linking it into the main trail or joining it by a side trail to a particular item.

Paul Otlet (1934): forefather of information architecture
He envisioned a new kind of scholar’s workstation:
This new research environment would do more than just let users retrieve documents; it would also let them annotate the relationships between one another, “the connections each [document] has with all other [documents], forming from them what might be called the Universal Book.”
Otlet imagined a day when users would access the database from great distances by means of an “electric telescope” connected through a telephone line, retrieving a facsimile image to be projected remotely on a flat screen.

Everything in the universe, and everything of man, would be registered at a distance as it was produced. In this way a moving image of the world will be established, a true mirror of his memory. From a distance, everyone will be able to read text, enlarged and limited to the desired subject, projected on an individual screen. In this way, everyone from his armchair will be able to contemplate creation, as a whole or in certain of its parts.

Branching experience: Jorge Borges (1941) The Garden of Forking Paths
The book is questioning of the idea of history as a single path or linear process; posing instead the idea of history branching out in an infinite number of different directions at every point in time and space.
Every space-time node is the center of a system of branching or forking paths, an ever-recurring moment/place of choice with profound effects on and links to everything else.
In terms of cyberspace, potential hypertextual journeys and branches are possible at every underlined link, every particle event.

Douglas Englebart & The Research Center for Augmenting Human Intellect
Developed modern office environment as it exists today (1968):
System included word processing with outlining features,
Documents connected through hypertext (rather than using links to drift through the textual universe associatively and “horizontally,” we move “vertically” between more general and more detailed information).
Online collaboration (two people at remote locations working on the same document in real-time), online user manuals,
Online project planning system, and other elements of what is now called “computer-supported collaborative work.”

Ted Nelson’s “hypertext”
1965 – in the article A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing, and the Indeterminate Nelson talks about new complex interconnectivity of texts and pictures without specifying any particular mechanisms that can be employed to achieve it.
Let me introduce the word “hypertext” to mean a body of written or pictorial material interconnected in such a complex way that it could not be conveniently be presented or represented on paper (1965).
’Hypertext’- is not technology but potentially the fullest generalization of documents and literature (2007).

Nelson: ”hyperfilm” and “hypermedia”
Nelson also introduces the terms hyperfilm and hypermedia:
Films, sound recordings, and video recordings are also linear strings, basically for mechanical reasons. But these, too, can now be arranged as non-linear systems – for instance, lattices – for educational purposes, or for display with different emphasis…
The hyperfilm – a browsable or vari-sequenced movie – is only one of the possible hypermedia that require our attention.

Ted Nelson’s “hypertext” and “strechtext”
Technical realizations:
1965 – “chunk style” hypertext – static links that allow the user to one-way jump from page to page.
1967 – an idea of a type of hypertext which would allow a reader to “obtain a greater detail on a specific subject” which he calls “stretchtext.”

Nelson: The Xanadu hypertext project
The Xanadu Model allows
UNBREAKABLE LINKS
COPYRIGHT SIMPLIFICATION AND SOFTENING ORIGIN CONNECTION
TWO-WAY LINKS
SIDE-SIDE INTERCOMPARISON
DEEP VERSION MANAGEMENT
 INCREMENTAL PUBLISHING

Nelson: Consequences of hypertexts
Nelson (1965) understood well what his “hypertext” ideas meant for cultural practices and concepts:
“The philosophical consequences of all this are very grave. Our concepts of ‘reading’, ‘writing’, and ‘book’ fall apart, and we are challenged to design ‘hyperfiles’ and write ‘hypertext’ that may have more teaching power than anything that could ever be printed on paper”.

Manovich (2008): Nelson clearly dislikes “ordinary text” and his emphasis is on complexity and interconnectivity and on breaking up conventional units for organizing information such as a page.

Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad (1962)
Sutherland’s PhD thesis: Sketchpad: A man-machine graphical communication system.
a communication system between two entities: a human and an intelligent machine to draw images
The commercial desktop applications that made software-based media authoring and design widely available to members of different creative professions and, eventually, media consumers
Word (1984), PageMaker (1985), Photoshop (1989)

Negroponte (1995), Being Digital
Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT Media Lab
One Laptop Per Child
The back page for WIRED columns
Book Being Digital, 1995
Humanity is inevitably headed towards a future where everything that can will be digitalized
touch-screen technology as a future interface

http://archives.obs-us.com/obs/english/books/nn/bdcont.htm

Bits from Being Digital, 1995
In the post-information age, we often have an audience the size of one and information is extremely personalized.
In being digital I am me.. Me includes information and events…But that unique information about me determines news services I might want to receive. True personalization is now upon us.
The next decade will see cases of intellectual-property abuse and invasion of our privacy.
As the business world globalizes and the Internet grows, we will start to see a seamless digital workplace
Think of hypermedia as a collection of elastic messages that can stretch and shrink in accordance with the reader’s actions.
Being digital has four very powerful qualities that will result in its ultimate triumph: decentralizing, globalizing, harmonizing, and empowering.

Lev Manovich: The Language of New Media
Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media The MIT Press, 2001.
The computer, as the new universal media machine, is producing new discourses and new terms, and thus a new “language”

New media may look like media, but this is only the surface.
Wrong trend to treat the cultural products of computer (word processing documents, cinema with digital special effects, hypertext) as nothing more than old media enhanced by the flexibility and transportability of digital code and a global network.
The computer suggests the relative autonomy of computable information from its media “surface – computer running software produces digital code which simply is not a medium.

The “trasncoding” zone between culture and software
Manovich (2001): The five principles of new media characterize that zone between, across which the transport between computer and culture is happening
His topology of new media is based on a self-conscious analogy to the conventional “levels” of the computer hardware and software (from microprocessor through operating system to high level application).

Manovich (2001): The five principles of new media
First, through numerical representation, a new object can be described formally (mathematically), and subject to algorithmic manipulation: “in short, media becomes programmable.”
Manovich (2001): The five principles of new media
Second, new media objects have modularity at the level of representation and at the level of code.
Thus, new media objects are composed from an assemblage of elements that sustain their separate identity, and can be operated upon separately, without rendering the rest of the assemblage unusable.
Modular programming speeds the development and maintenance of large-scale software.
Thirdly, numerical coding and modularity “allow for the automation of many operations involved in media creation, manipulation, and access.”
Fourthly, while old media depended upon an original construction of an object that could then be exactly reproduced (for example as printed book or photograph), new media is characterized by variability.
The variability of new media allows for branching-type interactivity, periodic updates, and scalability as to size or detail.
Fifth, new media finds itself at the center of the “transcoding” between the layers of the computer and the layers of culture.
The “computerization of culture gradually accomplishes similar transcoding in relation to all cultural categories and subjects.”

“cultural interface”
The interface is habitually the crucial boundary, or zone of articulation and translation whenever a computer would communicate with technological devices or the human user
“Cultural interfaces”, not just the diverse software interfaces of new media but also the formal traits and user practices with the printed word and cinema, can migrate into, and become part of, the interfaces of new media.
“While operations [like selection] are embedded in software, they are not tied to it. They are employed no only within the computer but also in the social world outside it. They are not only ways of working within the computer but also in the social world outside it. They are… general ways of working, ways of thinking, ways of existing the computer age.”

From media studies, we move to something which can be called software studies; from media theory — to software theory.
1. Specify the software technique and underlying technology of new media
2. Open these techniques and technologies out to the broader cultural practices

Lev Manovich. Software Takes Command – 2008
In the end of the 20th century humans have added a fundamentally new dimension to their culture. This dimension is software in general, and application software for creating and accessing content in particular.
“Adding” software to culture changes the identity of everything which a culture is made from.
Software: Search engines, recommendation systems, mapping applications, blog tools, auction tools, instant messaging clients, and platforms which allow others to write new software – Facebook, Windows, Unix, Android – are in the center of the global economy, culture, social life, and, increasingly, politics.
Software (with the exception of Open Source movement) is still invisible to most academics, artists, and cultural professionals interested in IT and its cultural and social effects.
If we don’t address software itself, we are in danger of always dealing only with its effects rather than the causes: the output that appears on a computer screen rather than the programs and social cultures that produce these outputs.

“cultural software”
Definition: “Cultural software” means software programs which are used to create and access media objects and environments.
“Cultural software” is software directly used by hundreds of millions of people and that it carries “atoms” of culture (media and information, as well as human interactions around these media and information).
Cultural software turned media into metamedia – a fundamentally new semiotic and technological system which includes most previous media techniques and aesthetics as its elements

Types of “cultural software”
Such use of the term “social software” partly overlaps with but is not equivalent with the way this term started to be used to refer to Web 2.0 platforms
Applications for media development (or “content creation”) – It is a subset of application software which enables creation, publishing, accessing, sharing, and remixing images, moving image sequences, 3D designs, texts, maps, interactive elements, as well as various combinations of these elements such as web sites, 2D designs, motion graphics, video games, commercial and artistic interactive installations, etc.
The tools for social communication and sharing of media, information, and knowledge such as web browsers, email clients, instant messaging clients, wikis, social bookmarking, social citation tools, virtual worlds, and so on – in short, “social software”.
Tools for personal information management such as address books, project management applications, and desktop search engines. The boundary between “personal information” and “public information” has started to disappear
The programming environments also can be considered under cultural software.
The media interfaces themselves – icons, folders, sounds, animations, and user interactions – are also cultural software, since these interface mediate people’s interactions with media and other people.

Information society, knowledge society, or network society dimensions are enabled by cultural software.
The “knowledge workers”, the “symbol analysts”, the “creative industries”, and the “service industries” – all these key economic players of information society can’t exist without cultural software.
Software is what also drives the process of globalization.

Target of “software studies”
“I think of software as a layer that permeates all areas of contemporary societies.”
Software Studies has to investigate both the role of software in forming contemporary culture, and cultural, social, and economic forces that are shaping development of software itself.
I am suggesting “software studies” should not be confused with “code studies.”
If we are to focus on software itself, we need a new methodology.
“Software” is a new object of study which should be put on the agenda of existing disciplines and which can be studied using already existing methods – for instance, object-network theory, social semiotics, or media archeology.

“a long tail for applications”
New technologies allow people with very little or no programming experience to create new custom software
But we are far from a true “long tail” for software
How software is shaping our culture, and how it is shaped by culture in its turn?

Software culture and interactivity
Our contemporary society can be characterized as a software society and our culture can be justifiably called a software culture – because today software plays a central role in shaping both the material elements and many of the immaterial structures which together make up “culture.”
The most fundamental dimension of software-driven media experience is interactivity.

“software performances”
We now interact with dynamic “software performances.”
I use the word “performance” because what we are experiencing is constructed by software in real time
The final media experience constructed by software can’t be reduced to any single document stored in some media- we are engaging not with pre-defined static documents but with the dynamic outputs of a realtime computation.
When a user interacts with a software application that presents cultural content, this content often does not have definite finite boundaries.
– the user’s experience is only partly defined by the file’s content.
– the “message” which the user “receives” is not just actively “constructed” by her (through a cognitive interpretation) but also actively “managed” (defining what information she is receiving and how.)

“representation”
Manovich (2008): As experienced by a user of interactive application, “representation” consists from two interlinked parts:
– media structured in particular ways and
– the interfaces/tools provided to navigate and work with this media.

“deep remixability”
The move from desktop applications to webware (applications running on the web), social media sites, easy-to-use blogging and media editing tools such as Blogger, iPhoto and iMovie and the addition of full media capabilities to mobile phones – have transformed how ordinary people use media.
What gets remixed today is not only content from different media but also their fundamental techniques, working methods, and ways of representation and expression.

“modularity”
“content wants to be modular”
Modularity is supported by the standardization of parts and how they fit with each other
Although we see a number of important new types of cultural modularity emerged in software era, it is important to remember that modularity is something that only applies to RSS, social bookmarking, or Web Services. We are talking about the larger cultural logic that extends beyond the Web and digital culture.
What seems to be happening is that the “users” themselves have been gradually “modularizing” culture. In other words, modularity has been coming into mass culture from the outside, so to speak, rather than being built-in, as in industrial production.

“Openness of new media”
“New media” is “new” because new properties (i.e., new software techniques) can always be easily added to it (Manovich, 2008)
Experimentations with media during the industrial era became the norm in a software society:
Phase 1: initial invention, new media form
Phase 2: everyday use
Phase 3: “opening up” for new use or inventions

“media hybridization”
Manovich (2008): I believe that we are now living through a second stage in the evolution of a computer metamedium, which follows the first stage of its invention and implementation. This new stage is about media hybridization.
I am not talking about something that already has a name – “computer multimedia,” or simply “multimedia.”

“hybrid media”
I’m putting forward the term hybrid media
Media hybridity is a more fundamental reconfiguration of media universe than multimedia:
In multimedia documents and interactive applications, content in multiple media appears next to each other, multimedia does not threaten the autonomy of different media
In contrast, in the case of media hybrids, interfaces, techniques, and ultimately the most fundamental assumptions of different media forms and traditions are brought together resulting in new species of media.
To represent something differently: to reconfigure media formats in order to create new representations of human collective and individual experiences which fuse objective and subjective dimensions
To provide new ways of navigation and working with existing media formats i.e. new interfaces and tools

Step 4
The replacement of mass consumption of commercial culture in the 20th century by mass production of cultural objects by users in the early 21st century
People build their worlds and identities out of these readily available objects by using different tactics: bricolage, assembly, customization, remix
Products are explicitly designed to be customized by the users

Co-evolving in larger techno-social ecology
the computer metamedium development is like a biological evolution, and the new combinations of media elements are like new biological species
some hybrids that emerge in the course of media evolution will not be “selected” and will not “replicate.”
Other hybrids, on the other hand, may “survive” and successfully “replicate.” Eventually such successful hybrids may become the common conventions in media design
I am not making any claims that the actual mechanisms of media evolution are indeed like the mechanisms of biological evolution.)
None of the software programs and web sites function in isolation but participate in larger techno-social ecology as a whole.
The particular elements and their relationship in this ecology are likely to change over time – for instance, most media content may eventually be available on the network; communication between devices may similarly become fully transparent; and the very rigid physical separation between people, devices they control, and “non-smart” passive space may become blurred

Changes at web 2.0
The new paradigms that emerge in the 2000s are not about new types of media software per ce.
Instead, they have to with the exponential expansion of the number of people who now use it – and the web as a new universal platform for non-professional media circulation.
“Social software,” “social media,” “user-generated content,” “Web 2.0,” “read/write Web” are some of the terms that were coined in this decade to capture these developments.
Functionally: aggregation of microcontents across domains

Richard MacManus and Joshua Porter (2005), “Enter Web 2.0, a vision of the Web in which information is broken up into “microcontent” units that can be distributed over dozens of domains.
The Web of documents has morphed into a Web of data.
We are no longer just looking to the same old sources for information. Now we’re looking to a new set of tools to aggregate and remix microcontent in new and useful ways.”

Changes at web 2.0
A much large number of producers publish content into “a global media cloud”; the users create personalized mixes by choosing from this cloud.
In the new communication model that has been emerging after 2000, information is becoming more atomized. You can access individual atoms of information without having to read/view the larger packages in which it is enclosed.
Information is gradually becoming presentation and device independent
– “conversations about media”
– “conversations through media”

Manuel Castells: The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture
The Rise of the Network Society (1996)
The Power of Identity (1997)
End of Millennium (1998)
“Our societies are increasingly structured around the bipolar opposition of the Net and the Self”

Manuel Castells (1989): the “space of places”, versus the “space of flows”
Space is not a refection of the society, it is its expressions.
Spatial forms and processes are formed by the dynamics of the overall social structure.
Social processes influence space by acting on the built environment inherited from the previous social-spatial structures.
A new industrial space is the changed formation of the space as a consequence of technological innovations

“space of flows”
The information age is ushering in a new urban form, the informational city.
The new society is based upon knowledge, organized around networks, and largely made up of flows.
Flow is a purposeful, repetitive, programmable sequence of exchange and interaction between social actors
The “space of flows” is the material organization of time-sharing social practices that work through flows.
“the space of flows” . . . links up distant locales around shared functions and meanings on the basis of electronic circuits and fast transportation corridors, while isolating and subduing the logic of experience embodied in the “space of places”.
In the network of interaction no place exists by itself, since the positions are defined by flows.
Places do not disappear, but their logic and meaning becomes adsorbed in the network.
The space of flow is not placeless – some places are exchangers, communication hubs; other places are nods of the network for strategically important functions.
A place is a locale, people still live in places but function and power in societies are organized in the space of flows.
The global city is not a place, it’s a process. A process by which centers of productions and consumptions of advanced services, and their ancillary local societies are connected in a global network, while simultaneously downplaying the linkages with their hitherlands, on the basis of information flows.

Marshall McLuhan: modern media theory

The Guttenberg Galaxy: the making of typographic man (1962)
Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man (1964)

“the medium is the message”
“transmission” view of culture describes mass communication (and sometimes culture in general) as a communication process between the authors who create “messages” and audiences that “receive” them.

- the centrality of the physical medium of communication: media (environment) determines (human) culture
– what media do in the mind

“You see, Dad, Professor McLuhan says the environment that man creates becomes his medium for defining his role in it. The invention of type created linear, or sequential, thought, separating thought from action. Now, with TV and folk singing, thought and action are closer and social involvement is greater. We again live in a village. Get it?”

“the medium is the massage”
the transformation of the 1st slogan into its somatic extension: emphasizing the way the physical contours of a medium conditions production, use and experience of media
how bodies can dispose themselves while communicating
The wheel…
…. is the extension of the foot
Shaped by the nature of the media
Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication.
In the name of progress our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old.
We approach the new with the psychological conditioning and sensory responses of the old.

New media encourages unification and involvement
The medium, or process, of our time—electric technology—is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life.
It is forcing us to reconsider and reevaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted.
Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement.
our claim to privacy versus the community’s need to know
Electrical information devices for universal, tyrannical womb-totomb surveillance are causing a very serious dilemma between our claim to privacy and the community’s need to know. The older, traditional ideas of private, isolated thoughts and actions—the patterns of mechanistic technologies—are very seriously threatened by new methods of instantaneous electric information retrieval, by the electrically computerized dossier bank—that one big gossip column that is unforgiving, unforgetful and from which there is no redemption, no erasure of early “mistakes.”
Electric circuitry has overthrown the regime of “time” and “space” and pours upon us instantly and continuously the concerns of all other men. It has reconstituted dialogue on a global scale.
The old civic, state, and national groupings have become unworkable.
You can’t go home again.

“creative, participating force”
The public, in the sense of a great consensus of separate and distinct viewpoints, is finished. Today, the mass audience (the successor to the “public”) can be used as a creative, participating force.
The shock of recognition! In an electric information environment, minority groups can no longer be contained—ignored. Too many people know too much about each other. Our new environment compels commitment and participation. We have become irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other.

The role of technology?
The environment as a processor of information is propaganda. Propaganda ends where dialogue begins. You must talk to the media, not to the programmer.
To talk to the programmer is like complaining to a hot dog vendor at a ballpark about how badly your favorite team is playing.

Temporary train station
If a traditional twentieth century model of cultural communication described movement of information in one direction from a source to a receiver,
…now the reception point is just a temporary station on information’s path.
If we compare information or media object with a train, then each receiver can be compared to a train station.
Information arrives, gets remixed with other information, and then the new package travels to other destination where the process is repeated (Manovich, 2008).

Globalization
– new media drives the globalization
– the globalized public sphere
– making physical location much less significant for our social relationships

The Internet Galaxy (2001), a book by Manual Castells

Castells created the term “Internet galaxy” by analogy to media theorist Marshall McLuhan’s term, “Gutenberg galaxy.”
McLuhan used the term to describe a complex set of social changes in European society that resulted from the development of the printing press.
Castells’s book title implicitly signals that he believes the Internet is as significant as Gutenberg’s movable-type printing press.

“Networks are very old forms of human practice, but they have taken on a new life in our time by becoming information networks, powered by the Internet.
the Net is creating a new form of “networked individualism” by helping Netizens develop “portfolios of sociability” and “communities of choice.”

The elasticity of the Internet makes it particularly susceptible to intensifying the contradictory trends present in our world. Neither utopia nor dystopia, the Internet is the expression of ourselves – through a specific code of communication, which we must understand if we want to change our reality,”

Technological determinism?
“The culture of the Internet is made up of a technocratic belief in the progress of humans through technology, enacted by communities of hackers thriving on free and open technological creativity, embedded in virtual networks aimed at reinventing society, and materialized by money-driven entrepreneurs into the workings of the new economy,”
“Technological systems are socially produced. The Internet is, above all else, a cultural creation. The Internet culture today is characterized by a four-layer structure: the techno-meritocratic culture, the hacker culture, the virtual communitarian culture, and the entrepreneurial culture,”

h1

How digital ecosystem changes learning

May 24, 2010

My TEDx Tallinn talk 25th of May, 2010 in KUMU.

h1

Spatial niches of medieval knights

May 19, 2010

Anatole Fuksas, has been explaining the niche ideas in medieval courtly novels.

I find the following points really interesting because for me they are related with tags as space dimensions and how we may create such spaces in course of action, what such spaces might allow us, and how we perceive and interact with the reduced tag-dimensions of the space.

The medieval courtly novel describes a world of adventures which is built around the knights and their much needed achievements.

Topographic descriptions define the right path to adventure, a narrow scenario which stays the same over time so as to preserve untouched the opportunities for adventure it entails and the challenges it potentially offers to the knight who finds it.

Environmental descriptions in medieval courtly novels feature very consistent «taskscapes» instead of proper landscapes.

The protagonists of medieval courtly novels are mostly knights who belong to the same ‘species’ and the same ‘race’, so that their different reactions to the environmental challenges do not define the borders of different ecological niches.

This is a bit confusing in his explanation, i think that the species as such can define a niche, not one knight as the specimen of the species. Actually… The question is, do knights represent one species-specific niche, or do their different goals will represent different niches. What i believe is that in case of adopting ecology terms (specimen, species, community, niche) to humans we need to consider that the different goals/mindsets one human can take might enable a human to simultaneously be part of and develop different niches. What i say is human defined niches are goal-specific taskspaces, and we can adapt ourselves to many taskspaces

Provided that they share a common idea of society and nature, they perceive the very same affordances. Accordingly, the different way they respond to the environmental challenges does not imply that their conflicting options define the borders of different realities, even when their approaches to adventure radically differ.

Different adaptation of protagonists (knights) to the very same environment define the borders of different niches, to the point that multiple autonomous or overlapping niches may either conflict or merge into the very same novel.

Here i would say that individuals knights take perspectives of the niche space – this will determine their trajectories, or positions in the knightly species niche.

Conflicting niches /or perspectives/ typically emerge from the adoption of different character-specific perspectives for describing the very same events.

Conflictual interaction between different character-specific perspectives, which define the borders of different ecological niches, determines both the extent and the complexity of the ecosystem described in a novel.

It is not clearly described how conflict interaction would define the borders of such niches. I think borders of taskspecific niches will create the potential for conflicts – especially if the same person has to choose in the course of adoption which taskspace (niche) he should adapt himself in the current moment.

Basically,  medieval novelists seem to be interested in describing conflictual situations which emerge among conspecific individuals who adopt different positions in the very same ecological niche.

I think knights adopt different positions in the taskspaces (subspaces or niches) that are situated in the bigger knightly species-specific niche.

In novels, time is fragmented in segments so as to subserve the description of various adventures which take place in a deformed space resulting from a subjective emotional play with distance and proximity.

It would be interesting to elaborate the issue of spatial trajectories in the niche and consider what is the role of time and events in this spatial movement in taskspecific niches of the knightly niche.

I believe that the spatial view of courtly novel storytelling, if we take the niche as this tasksspace where people interact, will show few positions in taskspace where certain knight is, and the trajectory of the novel would fluctuate between these spatial attractor points.

The beauty in what Anatole wrote is the idea, that deliberately, to make the novel space perceptible, its dimensions are lessened compared with the reality.

And thus the reader can imagine better the niche as a multidimensional space which has only certain (not too many) dimensions.

So it becomes possible to visualise the adventures as the movement between few spatial areas in this knightly niche.

Anyway, i think this idea is wonderfully well in line and inspiring to my own spatial storytelling experiments in hybrid ecosystem.

h1

Professor position call: digital ecosystems

April 8, 2010

Institute of Informatics, Tallinn University, ESTONIA*

The Institute of Informatics invites applications for a position of
Professor of Digital Ecosystems.

Deadline of applications: June 10, 2010.
Expected start of the work January 1st, 2011.

The employment period for the position is for 5 years and shall undergo re-elections after that. Tenure at Tallinn University can be achieved after two successful periods. The new position has been established with a significant financial contribution from European Social Fund.

The Institute of Informatics has undertaken a major development by evolving international programmes and research groups in ICT.
The significant part of ongoing research in the institute is focusing on social media ecosystems in the context of e-learning, e-governance, e-participation and network enterprise. Our international R&D team is using mainly participatory design research approach and intervention studies to envisage and develop prototypes of the next generation social media tools, with the special attention to their semantic interoperability, identity management, user experience design, activity pattern mining and semantic annotation for metadata.
The successful applicant for a professorship is expected to make a significant contribution to the development of the Interactive Media and Knowledge Environments master curriculum as well as of the Information Society Technologies PhD curriculum. (S)he is also expected to supervise PhD and master students, to be a mentor for less experienced teachers of the institute, to develop new initiatives and to start a research programme related to the field of professorship.

Applicants should possess:
1) A PhD degree in a field related to the professorship;
2) An outstanding international reputation for excellence in scholarly research;
3) Demonstrable ability to teach effectively at both graduate and undergraduate levels;

4) Excellent oral and written communication skills in English;

5) An understanding of and commitment to the role of the University to the world innovation stage, experience in cooperating with the industry is particularly welcome.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.