The future of Cinema

Learning about the history of film this semester opened up my prejudices of film. I understood why we came up with it in the first place, it was not just because of technological advancements but also with the changing social contexts and the need for us to escape from reality.

Isn’t it the same case today as well? Technology is still changing rapidly. The way viewers are able to experience films in different ‘forms’ – through their phones, in an exhibition or through VR lenses. And we still make them because we want to send a message or escape reality, which is essentially being able to ‘experience’ something we are unable to in our everyday lives. Will this ‘window’ that allows audience and filmmakers to look through and experience something new all the time cease to exist? How far are we able to take film further with technology and illusions of reality?

Being an interactive student myself, I realize that even games are becoming more film-like, their plots are even heavier than that of films sometimes and they are more centered on individual entertainment e.g. the use of VR sets. Similarly, they are made so that we can escape reality. However, will this pursuit to build the ultimate experience be too much?

Nowadays, as technology advances faster than ever before, so does our pursuit of the ultimate movie/game experience expand. In the Netflix series, ‘Black Mirror’, there was an episode called Playtest, (spoiler alert) where this user was brought in to the best gaming company’s headquarters as he gets invited to playtest the most immersive horror game. A chip is implanted into the users head and all the game is doing is giving him hallucinations of the game.Things get too real even though the user knows very well that all of that is fake. But the user dies in the end, in 0.04 seconds because his mom rang his phone, which amplified his fearful experience. Is that what the future would be?  Would this pursuit of the American dream or the grass being greener on the other side be too much?

Many topics of say, racism, femininity and the infinite travel into black holes are just some of the topics in films today. There are many facets to think about when it comes to films and what I just described above is just one. It has so many facets because it is essentially our perception of real life, done in a way which we can view it. The importance of film today is paramount, so does the films of the past, that is why this module was so eye-opening to me.

Week4 // responding to Chapter 4 Jan ChipChase

  1. Read and Respond: Ch 4 Jan Chipchase, You are what you carry. chipchase_ch4

Technology is scary. It is scaring me daily how reliant and how ‘smart’ it has become due to mankind’s reliability on it to do virtually everything for us. This constant growth in technology and the amount of things we ask it to do simply because we are ‘lazy’ makes us very unaware of being at the ‘mercy of the network’. Even though we should not entirely trust the network – we can because of it’s increasing amount of things it can do for us and thus feeding the lack of the things we know or rather remember how to do.

Asking the current teenage population of Singapore to live without their phones or even switching it off for an hour would drive them mad. This way, although the network makes up for a lot of things we lack, it makes us entirely reliant on it to run our lives as human beings. Is that a healthy relationship? Is that safe at all to trust the black web, the abyss, bytes?

week 3 // CH5 You are what you carry.

In the TED talk, The Anthropology of Mobile Phones, Jan Chipchase talked about how in pretty much all cultures people carry three things and they were keys, money, and a cell phone. He mentioned how they all are tools used for survival and mentioned how so. Money being a source of getting food, keys giving people access to shelter as well phones cutting out the middleman when it came to tasks that a smartphone could undertake. He also explored his thoughts on the future of culture and other things, touching on the importance of cellphones in connection with culture, innovation and design.

He also questions delegation, delegating roles to not only other humans but technology too. Then the different roles cell phones comes in. Nowadays our cell phones are the embodiment of most of our current spiritual and functional purposes. I think that will represent parts of our personality as well as serve as a way to preserve our culture. With all the information that the internet can hold and the constant improvement of technology, it’s only a matter of time before cell phones replace many of the forums we use to do everyday errands. Jan’s ability to touch on how identity has been related to traditions, norms and other things was imperative to proving how technology is making its way into culture and how it effects it.

Week 2 // Jan ChipChase’s Calibrating your own cultural compass

“There’s a temptation to think that a nuanced understanding of people and places can be found online” :

Isn’t that inevitable with the influx of the digital age? Despite this, Jan Chipchase argues that online documentation, comments or journals written by native people of a certain city or place would only be the ‘crumbs’ of the loaf. This is undoubtedly true because one cannot assume that 101% of the population of that certain place has access to the internet and are very vocal online. This is where Chipchase guides us where else to look for Rapid Cultural Calibration – taking about 30mins to about half a day.

Although the internet seems like the ultimate solution for everything especially in this day and age. Who knew that MNCs such as McDonald’s would be such a great platform for Rapid Cultural Calibration?

Normally MNCs would bring over Homogenous cultures from the city of origin and dilute the in-depth cultural pool of that country. However, since services and products are now tailored towards a User-friendly and User-centered experience, the MNCs are great platforms to see trends and important cultures that are prominent in that certain area. They are considered already ‘aspirational in developing markets’ that is why you will find that they are already doing the Cultural calibration for you! They are platforms which have done the various polls and surveys with the public and environment – e.g. group dynamics and range of distributions. This information then contributes to what they display or sell to the public as time passes by, streamlining only the trendy and important things of that particular culture. Therefore, they are much more important in knowing the local context even though they are foreign companies.

One more point that was interesting to note was the rhetorical question of whether countries are willing to put out physical and in-your-face signs rather than assume what signs you would associate yourself with. Do they just assume what the normal person would identify with or would they have a template somehow that would ensure that the majority of the population would understand their rules and regulations by. With the influx of uprising technological advancements, would signs in the digital age be any different than that?  Even now, we have 2d printed 3d graphics that are an illusion to deter drivers or riders to slow down when they encounter it. Just an additional thinking point.

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Week 1 Response // Norman’s UDD

Ps: As i am writing this after everything we have gone through this semester, i would be taking a different approach with this response to Donald Norman's chapter on the Design of Everyday things.

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Designing well is not easy. Why? It is not just about the aesthetics of the object. It needs to sell well. It needs to function well. It needs the minimum amount of maintenance once is it bought by the public. With so many people wanting something to be achieved by the product – the manufacturer, the seller, the repair servicemen and ultimately the user. Even though the Norman ultimately encourages User-centered design as the framework for many of the products or services we use today, it must essentially benefit everyone else who had a part to play in this process as they are all correlated to one another. Norman states that these needs of those concerned are very different and often collide, all the more do the people involved, from the designer to the repairman himself, need to put down their ‘disciplinary viewpoint’ to look at the user’s point of view. This is to essentially ensure that people would still want to buy the product after it comes out.

This simple consideration of all the different disciplines can be seen in our most recent proposal for ilight, we had to think for the IEM team who are virtually our fellow engineers and manufacturers who knew all the tech and facts that takes to run our installation. We had to come up with a feasible form and design of audience interaction to cater to their needs (for the course) and abilities (only one EEE course). Then there is the virtual ‘repairmen’. We had to proofread our design so that the repairmen could easily access the electronics without having to dismantle the whole setup. Last but not least, we had to add signifiers and light displays to guide and attract the users of the installation. All these different disciplines must not just be perfect in their own ways but to norman, they must be perfectly in sync so that the design ultimately ‘sells’.

Question 1:

How many different disciplines must be taken into consideration for the whole design? does it differ in different contexts or do all the contributors of the project have to cooperate to create the best project?

Question 2:

Despite having the seven stages of action, does the item have to serve a specific purpose to fulfill this or can it include multi-purpose products? With this does it still have to be seen in the perspective of the world?

The Femme Fatale // Final Online Response.

The Femme Fatale. 

The origin of the femme fatale actually started way before it flourished in film noir in the 1940s. They were depicted in ancient history in characters such as the Greek goddess–Aphrodite, the Egyptian goddess– Cleopatra and various Hindu goddesses. They were categorized as femme fatale as they portrayed dangers of unbridled female sexuality – something that the world was not used to. But it was not something for the male population of those times to be threatened about because there were only those few icons that stuck up like a golden sore thumb in the grand scheme of the males’ independence and eternal superiority.

They were no longer the ladies that men cried with lust over due to the sensual contortions of her body. Through Film Noir, females as a whole were revealed and portrayed as goddesses of hysteria, the curse of supreme beauty itself.

In the Context of War

WW2 created profound changes to the American dream. A female at home was not happy with just a husband that she would welcome home. She was not okay with just staying at home to take care of their children. She planned to do as much as the other breed did, this was encouraged by the war itself – indirectly. Majority of the jobs inland were given to the females now that the males were mostly deployed out of the country to be the strongest front of the country. Although this in itself was an action that showed men were the more dependable ones to protect the country, to lead the country towards freedom, from the males’ point of view, there was a movement towards female liberation and independence inland.

‘The Blue Dahlia’ and ‘Gun Crazy’

In both films they portray the Femme Fatale as females who wanted more in their lives.

Image result for blue dahlia film noirImage result for blue dahlia film noirImage result for blue dahlia film noir

In ‘the Blue Dahlia’, women seem entitled to do what they want since they have been the lady-in-charge when the men have been gone. The women seem angry that the men want to take charge even though they have been gone, and they fully understand that ‘heroes’ a.k.a men who are war veterans always seem to be right. In this movie, there was a rhetorical question of whether the home the male antagonist was returning to was really a home before the femme fatale died.

In ‘Gun crazy’, it is taken out of the household and portrayed a melodramatic crime romance. The female antagonist – Annie, used her feline prowess talent and sexuality to attract Bart – the male antagonist. She then used her domineering personality to threaten Bart that she would stay together with him if he does not have ‘spirit and guts’ to perform a heist. This is done so that she gets what she wants, a lifestyle of crime and violence, which is not exactly what one would expect from a woman.

The last similarity is that the Femme Fatale needed to die first, even seconds before the male antagonist does the same seconds later (as seen in ‘Gun Crazy’). It is almost that the only answer a female would get by chasing her dreams which are radical for women but normal for men is death. To have ambition beyond your reach woman, you will die.

The Irony

Last but not least, I would want to touch on the irony of the production of these films. These films were directed by males of the era, male writers who were aware of this deterioration of the American Dream. Was this a movement purely to narrate the normal situations in the American households and relationships at the point in time? Or were they trying to give the females their power that they wanted to be entitled to?

If they wanted to portray any of the above, why did the Femme Fatale have to die first?  Given the context that the women at that time had jobs to do and could go out more than before, they were able to go out and see these movies. So what exactly was the message the male directors try to portray to the females? Were they asking them to back down and stay at home so everything could be what it used to be? Was it their way of narrating the present yet reminisincing the past which was calm and peaceful when men were more entitled and the women were easily content? The questions still stand.

I personally think they purposely made this feature of the Femme Fatale so that the male population can also have a say against possible female liberation and independence. Anyone could have died first in those situations as portrayed in the movies, but the directors went ahead and portrayed the females in this light. Therefore, i feel as though film is a very powerful media of Art that can actively portray scenes yet make strong and impactful messages through different devices as it is a 4 dimensional media.