Le débat public & France Télévisions

C’est avec enthousiasme que je me suis rendue à ce débat public de France Télévisions le 1er Mars 20017, au Mucem à Marseille. La salle était comble avec ce nouveau concept de prendre la température des opinions du peuple par les medias publics. Le but étant de discuter le manque de diversité des animateurs, experts et aussi des représentations des couches populaires et des minorités ethniques de la France …La question a été abordée par des intervenants travaillant auprès de service d’animation des quartiers nord de Marseille. C’est vers la fin du débat que j’ai trouvé les questions les plus pertinentes sur la représentation des medias et en particulier une demande de ne plus stigmatiser une partie de la population populaire et également d’avoir d’avantage de sujet positif sur les habitants des quartiers nord.

ines-france-televisions-4

L’anglais comme outil d’apprentissage pour les enfants..

Ma fille Ines s’est aussi initiée au débat, etant très attachée à la culture anglo-saxonne, elle a proposé d’avoir des dessins animés et films en anglais. Avec surprise, une grande partie de l’audience a répondu favorablement par des applaudissements.

Je ne pensais pas que l’apprentissage de l’anglais pouvait autant intéressé le public.On a des surprises lorsque l’on participe à ce type de débat….En espérant qu’il y aura d’autres initiative des medias et public.

Ci-dessous la rencontre la rencontre téléspectateurs de Marseille, notamment en présence de Delphine Ernotte Cunci, Présidente de France Télévisions. #NotreTélé

Computerised City

Nowadays, we can see the increasing use of computerised technologies in our daily lives. These technologies run with software and remain unnoticed as they are in the background of our activities. The work place and transport, such as new cars or trains are run by computers. The city itself is run by software in the background, like CCTV camera systems.

Nigel Thrift and Shaun French (2002) studied the changing nature of space and quoted Ron Horvath’s (1974) argument around ‘machine space’, whereby Western cities are becoming like a ‘new kind of machine wilderness’. The idea is that the machine is taking more and more space in the city. He talked about the increasing quantity of space allocated to US cars in cities. We can see with the example of cars that physical spaces are transformed when new technologies arrive and it is mostly noticeable in the cities where there is a concentration of people, technologies and infrastructures.

Software programs use the language of text and code to operate. After the development in recent decades of sophisticated software, large corporations such as Facebook, Google and Apple are developing new technologies with artificial intelligence, like Google Now or Apple Siri (video below).

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKRwV3DTVLo – Apple Siri

Theorist Alan Turing, in the 1950’s with the birth of computing, raised the question of whether a machine thinks. We can see on Siri video that we are increasing the development of oral language software, hence, writing texts is the dominant form of communication today. At work we use mainly emails and at home we use mainly text message on our phones. The oral language is not yet fully adopted to interact between computers and humans as it is a complex task that machines cannot yet fully accomplish.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzV6mXIOVl4 – ‘Her’, 2013 by Spike Jonze

The movie ‘Her’, 2013 by Spike Jonze, tells the story of a man who falls in love with his smart device’s operating system called Samantha, a female voice, sensitive and funny. This film could raise a question around whether a machine could replace a human and fulfils its emotional needs.

Some other virtual assistant technologies are developed in telephony and are today widespread, such as HM Revenue & Customs’ phone line whereby you have a set of questions to answer to a voice-recognition system before getting to a human operator. The contact with a machine is cold and monotonous and the main challenge that face artificial intelligence laboratories is to replicate human conversation with a machine. The task is very complicated as there is not only words involved in a conversation, there are also feelings and emotions. When you are interacting with a voice-recognition technology, the human has to adapt to the machine to be understood. It should be the other way round where the machine has to adapt to human. These tendencies could pose a threat to humanity, and see human in the service of the machine adapting their voices like robots to be understood and to get a service from those technologies. We can think about the future and see all government services using more machine technologies and less human. We can also think about the people who speak English with foreign accents and thus had difficulties interfacing with the machine. This could pose a democratic threat to citizens in not having an equal access to public services.

References:

Horvath, R J. (1974) Machine space The geographical Review

Thrift, N. and French, S. (2002) The automatic production of space -Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Vol. 27, No. 3.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/29/artificial-intelligence-how-clever-do-want-machines-to-be [Accessed 10/12/2014]

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/609739/Alan-Turing/214879/Artificial-intelligence-pioneer [Accessed 10/12/2014]

Cinema Jenin and emotional urban places

Source: Pierre Johne - www.cinemajenin.org

Source: Pierre Johne – http://www.cinemajenin.org .

Euro-American cinema buildings expanded together with the growth of cities in the 20th century. The cinema became part of the city in terms of buildings but also developed culturally with the flourishing of the Hollywood film industry that looked for distribution channel.

The ideas of Cinema Jenin came from a Filmmaker Chloe Ruthven who’s film ‘The Do Gooders’ (2013) was screened and discussed with grassroots community audience at  Dalston this year. In the discussion topics, one member of the audience asked ‘what is so special about cinema Jenin?’

The cinema Jenin in West Bank city of Jenin was the most impressive cinema in Palestinian territories. Founded in 1960s it comprised 500 seats with three screenings a day. Following the first intifada in 1987, the cinema closed and remained unused for 22 years. The rebuilding of the cinema started in 2008 with German volunteers and Palestinians in the hope to bring peace, self-empowerment and an alternative for young Palestinians to see a positive side of life instead of violence. We can see that the cinema is part of the city’s history and both became affected by the same conflict.  The cinema is reinvented and becomes itself an object in the film “Cinema Jenin – The Story of a Dream”, produced in  2011 by Marcus Vetter.

Source: Pierre Johne – http://www.cinemajenin.org

According to Giuliana Bruno, the cinema becomes an emotional place in the city where people can be transported by narratives in films. Bruno studied the Italian  film  ‘Cinema Paradisio’ (1988) by Giuseppe Tornatore, featuring the destruction of the cinema with an emotional crowd gathered outside the cinema. A scene of the film showed the potential separation between the cinema building and film medium where a film was screened in an outdoor wall. Hence, this idea follows Casetti’s argument of relocation of cinema as a media form and culture outside traditional cinema. The home cinema example is characteristic of this shift, whereby people tend to create a cinema at home with the use of a large screen, a high sound system and DVDs or films streaming online.

References:

Bruno, G. (2008) ‘Motion and emotion: film and the urban fabric’ in Cities In transition: the moving image and the modern metropolis, ed. by Webber, A. and Wilson, E., London: Wallflower Press

Casetti, F. (2011) ‘Cinema lost and found: trajectories of relocation’ Screening the Past Issue 32

Cinema Paradisio  (1988) by Giuseppe Tornatore:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nn1dMInhxk  [Accessed 25/11/2014]

Urban Museum

Location-aware technologies used in the city create new layers of interaction between the people, technologies and the urban environment. Museums are nowadays investing in new technologies to enhance and immerse visitors in city’s history. The urban Museum MTL was launched in 2011 by London company Brothers and Siters in the city of Montreal and it was the first in Canada. It won a Gold Award in ‘Multimédi’Art interactif’ category. The city of Montreal created 150 discovering points in the city linked to an archive collection of Notman photographs of Mc Cord Museum of 1.2 million of photos.

This cutting-edge application works in the city with the use of the GPS on the phone and a pin map that indicates the points of view.The physical locations to explore are indicted by stickers .This works by a superimposition of a 2D actual images on streets to an archive historic 3D images with a display of information such as the date, object name and a description.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdOLMZQvBwQ

Theorist Erwin Goffman approaches with the “going way” whereby citizens in a public social setting escape their physical location with the use of various media technologies (Goffman, 1963). Critics of the use of mobile phones in public spaces argued that anything local around us is ignored while distance things become closer. A more radical view of the use of media on the city is the psychologist and environmentalist David Uzzel, who argued that, “technology in public space is equivalent to a virtual crime against humanity” (Uzzell, 2008).

However, according to Gordon & de Souza e Silva, A (2011), the use of mobile phone technology transformed urban spaces with an increased engagement in local life, community participation and civic engagement. We can think that maybe these new applications are withdrawing citizens from their physical place but, in the meantime, it may bring them another layer of culture and excitement to rediscover the city and its past.

References:

de Souza e Silva, A. and Frith, J. (2012) ‘Location-aware technologies: control and privacy in hybrid spaces’ in Communication matters: materialist approaches to media, mobility and networks, ed. by Packer, J. and Crofts Wiley, S.B., New York: Routledge, pp. 265-275

Goffman, E. (1963) Behavior in Public Places. New York: Free Press

Gordon, E. and de Souza e Silva, A. (2011) Net locality: why location matters in a networked world, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 85-10

Uzzell, D. (2008) People-Environment Relationships in a Digital World. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 25 No.1 : 94-105

Auditory identity in city’s transports

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Source: japan-railway-ipod-ad-290

Nowadays it is common practice to use personal sound devices whilst commuting in the city. In the late seventies, Sony  launched the ‘Walkman’, the first portable sound device, also called the ‘Soundabout’ in the United States. Later the development of technology enabled in 1984 the introduction to the CD player and most recently the MP3 portable devices. The launch of the first IPod (2001) by Apple was an event – this was the first mobile device that enables a personal music library of 1000 songs with an Apple feel and design and slim of a pocket size.

Michael Bull argued that personal sound devices help us in many ways to cope in urban spaces. Firstly, he suggested that users wanted to reclaim time by extending their private experience. Then, to cope with increasing saturated visual urban spaces (Bull, 2000). Indeed the visuality of the city is mainly feeds with commercial messages, the music could help to get away. According to Shaun Moores the music is a medium that enables the doubling of space. Moores applied Scannell (1996) theory of the doubling of space originally for the radio and television to electronic media like the mobile phone, and internet services. He found that those new devices have the same instantaneous transmission of information through large spacial distances (Moores, 1996). We can be in the train physically commuting to work and in the same time be immersed in a private space created via ears plug and MP3 listening solo our preferred songs.

The IPod became a cultural icon, the device enables users to project their own identities whilst in public spaces. We talk about the IPod culture, MP3s enable people to have a large playlist of music to choose from (Bull, 2007). The marketing Apple iPod is based around ideas of urban lifestyle, the Apple feel, design and the idea to carry a part of auditory identity.

 

References:                               

Bull, M. (2007) Sound moves: iPod culture and urban experience, London: Routledge

Bull, M. (2000) Sounding out the city: personal stereos and the management of everyday life, Oxford: Berg – Chapter 2

Moores, S. (1996) Satellite Television and Everyday Life, London: John Libbey.

Urban media landscape and advertising

Source: Author own picture – London Waterloo Station main hall

Nowadays, cities train stations are overrun by advertising messages. London Waterloo train station media landscape is covered by a super large digital advertising billboard from JCDecaux. The large billboard itself is not bad but what is worrying is all the advertisings that are taking more and more place in public spaces. The commuters at stations are treated like consumers rather than citizens. It is difficult to avoid a super large electronic billboard of few metres just on top of the train gates facing commuters. Hampp (2007) said “it is the only medium you can’t turn off” (Iveson 2011:155).

The increase of outdoor advertising is due, according to Kurt Iveson, to a new “attention economy” (2011). The JCDecaux company said in 2005 that the form of outdoor advertising is the only mass medium that reaches consumers as they commute daily (Iveson, 2001).

JCDecaux is the second largest international outdoor media company with a headquarters in France, operating in 54 countries and providing various advertising forms such as transit advertising, billboards and street furniture. The first major group is Clear Channel Outdoor with a headquarters in US. (Iveson, 2001:154).

IMG_20141118_081025

Source: Author own picture – Clear Channel Outdoor Bus shelter

The previous example circles around Iveson idea of the private-public partnership for urban infrastructure (2001). Clear Channel Outdoor is financing and maintaining the bus shelter in exchange for the commercialisation of media spaces to third parties. Iveson mentioned that the marriage between urban authorities and media companies corresponds to a neo-liberal approach to urban governance (Iveson, 2011:155). His major critics are the anti democratic access of other media forms to media urban infrastructures and the control and monopolisation of urban outdoor media by advertisers that have the means to buy these spaces. In this context, some counter advertising movements emerged such as Adbusters in the US that are against commercialisation and consumerism society. Their actual campaign ‘buy nothing xmas‘ is significant of their movement.

Source: Adbusters – http://buynothingxmas.org/

References:

Cronin, A. (2008) ‘Calculative spaces: cities, market relations and the commercial vitalism of the outdoor advertising industry’ Environment and Planning A, Vol. 40, No. 11, pp. 2734-2750

Iveson, K. (2012) ‘Branded cities: outdoor advertising, urban governance, and the outdoor media landscape’ Antipode, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 151-174

Iveson, K. (2011) Mobile Media and the Strategies of Urban Citizenship, MIT Press

Moor, L. (2007) ‘Branded spaces: the scope of ‘new marketing’ Journal of Consumer Culture, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 39–60

Street Art Culture and localised urban places

IMG tunnel bis

Source: Author own picture- Waterloo tunnel 2014

Banksy and other graffiti artists turned a tunnel near London Waterloo station into a public exhibition space in June 2008. What is questionable is that usually street art is linked with prohibition and risks with operation carried out at night. Could we think that the example of Waterloo tunnel is transforming into a more formalised culture street art? Could it be it an attempt to control street art culture? Or a recognition of  its existence to have a place in the city for graffiti artists to express themselves without risking being arrested.

Source: Author own picture – Waterloo tunnel 2008

The city of London is a major place for street arts, Banksy is a key artist that promoted and pushed for a recognition of the street art culture. Banksy is well known in London for his political engagement messages on walls and follows Kurt Iveson idea of public address. Where urban spaces are used as public address systems where co-presence is achieved in space but not in time (Iveson, 2011). Indeed, most graffiti are carried out at night and some in difficult-to-access places such as roofs and high walls. This means that people will later connect with the arts hazardously by passing by.

Source: Author own picture

Street art and graffiti texts were not very well considered before the 80’s. New York City was the first experimental place that moved street art walls to high street art galleries. Banksy through his company’ Pictures On Wall’ (POW) promotes himself but aslo a range of street artists such as ‘Space Invaders’. Luke Dickens ethnographic studies described the POW works from their beginning to a more professional production and distribution of street arts (Dickens, 2010).

Waterloo tunnel is very popular nowadays for street artists and visitors. This two groups are able to meet at the same time in one location. This example of localised street art,  is not going to stop artists to go and put their mark on various locations such as Banky that continues to display his work in various city’s walls across the globe.

Source: Author own picture – Waterloo tunnel 2014

Source: Author own picture – Waterloo tunnel 2014

References:

Austin, J. (2001) Taking the train: how graffiti art became an urban crisis in New York City, New York: Columbia University Press – Chapter 2

Dickens, L. (2010) ‘Pictures on walls’ Producing, pricing and collecting the street art screen print’ City, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 63-81

Iveson, K. (2011). Mobile Media and the Strategies of Urban Citizenship, MIT Press

http://www.picturesonwalls.com [Accessed 11/11/2014]