Seeing Ourselves Through Technology Chapter 2: Notes

Key terms 

  • ‘Filter’:  ‘to process or reformat using a filter so as to remove unwanted content’, can be used as noun or verb
  • ‘terministic screens’ are the terms in our language thought which our understanding is filtered
  • neoliberal: relating to a modified form of liberalism tending to favor free-market capitalism
  • Defamiliarization: the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way in order to enhance perception of the familiar
  • ‘Shirley cards’: Lighting and balance in photographs were often calibrated using white women with dark hair

Cultural and cognitive filters can be transferred to technological filters.

Connection 

In February of 2018, a classmate told me that one of my personal favorite authors, Sherman Alexie, had been accused of sexual harassment. This was difficult because that particular topic hit close to home. While I enjoyed Alexie’s work, I now had to think of him through this lens of what he had done. Other artists that I regularly listen to, read from, and generally consume the content of: their lives, you could say, are much more filtered. My favorite artist, Frank Iero, (if you have a problem with me somehow bringing him up in every post, I’ll guide you to the door) regularly tweets about what is going on in his household and what his family is up to. Though there are things that I can see he filters, such as when he covers up the faces of his children in photographs for their own safety, I’m certain that he keeps things from his public audience, for security or for privacy. Crime is obviously a different case, but not everyone needs to know every detail of a person’s life, from what they ate for breakfast to how messy their bedrooms are.

 

Unorganized notes 

  • ‘Filter’ is everywhere
    • there is more content than people know what to do with
    • ‘to process or reformat using a filter so as to remove unwanted content’, can be used as noun or verb
    • Instagram filters often add and subtract much like coffee filters
    • Filters can wear out after time
    • ‘terministic screens’ are the terms in our language thought which our understanding is filtered
    • Pre-formatting can be a filter
      • This can limit personal expression or constrain it, like most filters
    • Twitter filters out long-form, Reddit uses up/down-votes
      • You need to dig to see what is filtered out
  • ‘The ideal neoliberal citizen is an entrepreneur’
    • Most likely to succeed in social media
  • Facebook experiment found that minor changes in positive word count would change the viewer’s use of positive words
  • cultural filters
    • don’t include the lowlights
    • what moments and milestones should be shared and what should not
    • change over time
  • Smartphone photos carry a sense of realism for documentarists
    • Filters, Alper ‘all photography as a manipulated interaction between style and substance’ ‘aestheticization of what we see in the media emotionally and morally insulates viewers from the suffering of others’
    • ‘the filter anesthetizes our everyday lives’
    • A filter makes it clear that the image isn’t all ours
      • Shows a machine’s vision, impartial and unfocused
      • ‘defamiliarisation’ is the key device in literature and art. Shklovsky
        • Filters can become a cliche
      • Filtering distances selfies from ourselves
  • Cognitive filters are inescapable
    • Stereotypical drawings of Africans in 20th century showed cultural filter
  • Cultural filters affect technological filters
    • ie iPhone reads location but not sweat
    • ‘SkinneePix’ to make people look thinner
    • Lighting and balance in photographs were often calibrated using white women with dark hair ‘Shirley cards’, those with darker skin would hardly be discernible
      • This has recently changed
    • 1950s, there were parent complaints of class photos that did not show the faces of the black children
      • It was assumed that this was a product of science and unchangeable
    • Many African Americans more recently choose to take self portraits
  • Genres are often filters
    • Diet blogs ‘must’ aim for success
      • Facebook lists weight loss as something you can add to your time, but it does not list weight gain
      • Pro-anorexic blogs
    • Progress narratives can be inverted

 

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