Thursday, April 10, 2008

Are you a racist?


This game was meant to test reaction times to suspects who might be carrying a gun. I apparently am a racist accord to the test, as my reaction time to white people holding guns was longer than my reaction time to black people holding guns. I'd like to note that "black" also appeared to include Latinos and possibly other "dark skinned" minorities. I could be wrong because I was too busy trying to tell if these guys were holding guns or not. The other thing was it wasn't really controlled at all, there were many backgrounds used in the game, and I don't know if the researcher is collecting information on this, but on some backgrounds it was harder to see a gun than others. Oddly enough, there's lots of images from Denver, so I was also a bit distracted by that. Anyway, my armed reaction times reverse it: I spent a longer time checking to see if Blacks were unarmed rather than whites. Pretty interesting study! I wish I could compare myself to other people. Feel free to post your scores in the comments.

Try it out here:

Via Poplicks

Hurricane Katrina video tribute - with Anime!

While doing some research on a YouTube user that commented on one of the videos I'm examining in my thesis, I came across this video posted by a user that makes anime music videos. The producer created this as a tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. This one uses images from Naruto, which I haven't seen so I'm not sure if there's some meta-textual story telling going on. Anyone familiar with the series?

Compare it to the one I'm looking at that uses the same song by U2 and Green Day:

They both use methods of production that are hot topics among scholars studying fan-created media - but they're both dedicated to the memory of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and not about extending the fan-object's narrative.

(ps. Just a side note, but I'll be anxious to be done with this chapter and listening to music that I don't associate with Katrina. I treat myself to other tunes when I can right now, but man, I'm anxious to listen to a wider range! I think I could recite the lyrics to nearly every song in the videos I'm examining.)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Maya Lin's last memorial is a piece of activist art.

Maya Lin, the architect of the highly influential Vietnam Veterans Memorial is producing only one more memorial during her career. This time it'll be to the growing number of endangered and extinct species with the purpose of educating and motivating the public to take action:

Lin would like her new memorial to have global reach. She wants to use the Internet, interactive media and a book to tell people specific steps they can take to spare the environment, like avoiding plastic bags, insisting on shade-grown coffee or joining a program to "adopt" an endangered species and help protect it. She wants to unveil donated corporate billboards in locations such as Times Square, with 20-minute videos with images of endangered species and places.

Does this mean she is crossing the line from artist to advocate?

Lin paused for a thoughtful moment. As a child, the burning of toxic contaminants on Lake Erie did spur her to environmental activism. She petitioned the Kroger Co., owner of Ralphs and Food4Less, to ban animal traps and advocated for Greenpeace.

"I've always said I present history. I don't dictate what people think," she began carefully. "I don't try to preach. This one, like the others, makes you aware of it: 'Did you know the sound of the songbirds, as we knew it when we were little, are gone?' But yeah," she added with a shrug, "Definitely, I will be giving groups and people things they can do in their everyday lives."

While I believe that most of Maya Lin's work is activist media in the way challenges the public's normal engagement with memorials; her reshaping of the memorial landscape into spaces of activist art will be very overt in this memorial. I'm anxious to see it come fruition and what sort of new media applications she'll be using.

Read more at the LA Times.

PS. This really just makes me justified in what I'm studying - Hopefully one day I'll be able to incorporate Lin's final memorial into an extended essay on how the public used networked on-line spaces to memorialize and as activist media and how the memorial institutions have incorporated this behavior. Exciting!