To convince myself that this year hasn’t just been a complete blur of flashing lights and little else, I’ve scoured my 2010 archive of what I’ve managed to capture on film (dismissing those taken when worse for wear), and in 700pixels width worth of space, my year has been summed up below.
'I'm up in the world, run from the lights, I'm down on my mind, run from the lights, run for your life'
Semester One has come to an end, and so with it was a final ‘exhibition’ of our work to be displayed for assessment. In the images below is my outcome, mainly the manifesto project which is shown in ‘working order’.
Using a very particular shade of both green and red, the portraits/text were layered on top of one another with a ‘hidden’ image only visible through the crafted Nazi armband. The poster then folds up into an A5 booklet, which when folded the correct way reveals yet more secret messages.
After a blank-minded start to this project I’m more than happy with my final outcome. A digital version will appear on this here blog in due course. Meanwhile, I’m going to carry on celebrating the end of this semester by catching up on sleep and video games that were left by the wayside during the course of this project.
Seen a few features here and there praising the new Sagmeister homepage, on taking a visit over there, the idea of using their studio space with ‘buttons’ stuck down on the floor is pretty great.
It wasn’t ‘til something moved in the corner the realisation that it’s actually a 24 hour live stream of their studio kicked in. Very neat idea and definitely an upgrade on their previous site, which had enough flashing images to make your brain melt.
For this final assignment of the semester I have chosen both a book and an article to delve into and relate in someway to my chosen topic of friendship, also taking a look at online relationships.
My chosen book for part of this assignment is ‘The Psychology of Interpersonal Behaviour’ by Michael Argyle. In particular I have chosen the chapter titled ‘Face, gaze and other non-verbal communication’. The reason for this being that it links to my chosen subject of social networking, (over the internet), and how much we rely on being able to see the other persons body language, gestures and other elements that form a social interaction.
The Author focuses in on each element individually, ranging from Eye Contact to Touch, putting forth his argument for why each is important when conversing with another person. There are some experiments documented through tables, where they have tested the ‘recognition of emotions’ between individuals who are English, Italian and Japanese. The results are not surprising considering each culture recognises their own facial emotions better than others, which goes to prove how constant exposure to people of the same nationality allows for better understanding.
In particular, Argyle believes that eye contact is dominant over forms of non-verbal communication and that there are a lot of different details to take into consideration. For example depending on how long you hold someone else’s gaze could cross over from positive communication into negative if the other person starts to feel uncomfortable. Other forms of expression include; pupil dilation, blink rate, direction of breaking gaze, opening of eyes and factors described as ‘looking daggers’, ‘making eyes’, etc
The question I ask is ‘How does this affect those who spend their time communicating online’. Where the face to face factor is removed, how much social interaction do we actually gain. Much the same as speaking on the telephone, however the focus is on voice which helps us gather emotions which is lost when reading typed words. Also without realising, we use body language when on the phone, speaking with our hands, facial expressions etc. Is this lost when typing back and forth? Do we illustrate the same amount of movement or not?
When researching this topic I found a lot of criticism put towards the world of ‘online dating’, considering we rely so much on face to face interaction, physical contact and body language when building relationships, in theory it seems that when all of these elements are lost through interacting online, being able to harbour emotions and feelings for another person solely based on what they type on a keyboard is near impossible. However the success rate of these dating websites and even social networking sites such as facebook and myspace prove the opposite.
Personally I believe the question; Can we interact to the fullest when gestures, eye contact, touch etc is taken out of the equation?
A definite no, these are the elements which make social conversing what it is, how we hold ourselves, our tone of voice and even how many times we blink all form the bulk of our personalities as well as our opinions on other people. If we are heading towards a world where face to face interaction no longer happens, what will become of human nature?
To continue this assignment I have chosen to look at the article ‘Primates on Facebook’ featured in The Economist. This article zooms in particularly on the act of socializing on the network website Facebook, and how we treat our said ‘friends’ over the internet. For many, Facebook has become the main portal of our social lives, with an estimated 500 million users worldwide, a great reliance has been set on the website as the be all and end all of communication with other people.
The ‘friends’ list that each user acquires and builds up with people they know is an interesting topic and is often criticized with being called ‘friends’. In this article this comes up several times, and from studies and research into the matter it seems that ‘acquaintances’ would be a better term to use. The Dunbar number (which was brought up in the recently read ‘The Tipping Point’), is true when looking at Facebook friends.
“Extrapolating from the brain sizes and social networks of apes, Dr Dunbar suggested that the size of the human brain allows stable networks of about 148. Rounded to 150, this has become famous as “the Dunbar number”.”
It is suggested that businesses work better when there is 150 or less employees, as this allows a sense of relationship and networking to form with each person to another. So it’s no surprise according to this article that the average amount of friends a user has on Facebook is around 120. However within this studies show that the amount of fellow users an individual keeps in ‘intimate’ contact with is around 7 – 10 depending on gender. This means the features that Facebook include such as ‘Walls’, ‘Status Updates’ and ‘Private Message’ are used regularly between two people. I know myself that out of my friends list I exploit these features constantly with only a small percentage of the total amount of users linked to my profile. The majority of these people I see in person throughout the week. This is where Facebook almost contradicts itself as although it does let you keep in contact with people who you see rarely/live far away from it is those who you are socializing with face to face constantly that you tend to do the same with but online.
I believe the term they use in this article, where they refer to those who are on your friends list but who you barely interact with online as ‘passive contacts’. Where you are both up to date with each others lives, appreciate being able to do this but don’t keep up a regular social interaction with. However Facebook allows you to ‘like’ comments made, which is really a godsend as with one click you have that instant knowledge that you’re aware the other person exists and what they’ve said is appreciated.
Is this basic interaction the beginning of a new realm of socializing, will in-depth conversations be a thing of the past? Will passive, quick responses be what we rely on in the future?
Personally I believe there’s no denying that social networking is the future, access to the internet is now deemed a human right, it’s near impossible to find a mobile phone that doesn’t feature at least one social networking site which overshadows the ability to make phone calls. Whether we should embrace this generation we are entering where networking is overtaking building solid relationships is something of a hit or a miss. For each person to have the ability to access social media sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter is a great tool, long lost friendships can be rekindled, contact with previously unattainable people is now as easy as searching a name and messaging. Our planet is constantly becoming more and more interlinked, whether this will have any mass side effects is yet to be seen considering this realm of networking is so new, and unpredictable. It’s simply a case of waiting to see if it can expand any further.
The Economist, ‘Primates on Facebook [accessed 21st November 2010]
Argyle, M, The Psychology of Interpersonal Behaviour (London: Pelican Books, 1967).
Gladwell, Malcolm, The Tipping Point (Great Britain: Little, Brown, 2000)
Argyle, M., and Ingham, R., ‘Gaze, Mutual Gaze and Distance’ in Semiotica, (London, 1972) vol. 6, pp. 32-49
Exline, R. V., and Winters, L. C., ‘Affective relations and mutual glances in dyads’, in Affect, Cognition and Personality, ed. By Tomkins, S. (Springer, New York, 1965)
Giles, H., and Powesland, P. F., Speech Style and Social Evaluation (London, Academic Press, 1975)
So thanks to Andy for putting me onto this. An exhibition is currently on display in Berlin courtesy of Design duo Carnovsky. Titled RGB, they have designed a room where the wallpaper reacts to different coloured light. Almost an extension on the ‘Sagmeister - Made you Look’ effect & the technique I’m using for my lithoprinted Manifesto Project (Check here), but on a bigger and more impressive scale.
Featuring beautifully illustrated animals, plants and patterns all in different shades layered on top of each other, depending on what coloured light is on, only certain ones are visible. Mind blowing & hands down the coolest thing I have seen in a long while, here’s hoping the exhibition will move around so I’ll get a chance to see it in reality.