Did you ever have to learn how to play the recorder?

Elizabeth-Burton Jones
Week 12
“Did you ever have to learn how to play the recorder?”

Last week I explored the music world and the technological intersection via Apple products. The class helped me draw conclusions about the functions and software that are used and it also introduced me to the black box of musical apps. In addition, I noticed the physciality and material differences between the actual instruments and the digital reproductions. This study led me to a greater interest in consumerism and the interface. Specifically in stores where they are utilizing the technology of taking an image of the consumer and reproducing that image on a screen.

Certain companies take an image of the consumer and then place that image on an interface. Then the consumer has the freedom to scan any makeup product and apply it to their image on the screen.

This virtual spin has many positive aspect such as eliminating product waste via samples. Also, the digital makeover is very sanitary. However, a negative aspect about the product would be the “numbness” that was discussed last class. In addition, with this new technology, one can forget the connection between the brush and the skin.



Another technology that is starting to become popular is the growth of virtual dressing rooms. http://www.hulu.com/watch/476809 (2:03)

This innovation is a remediated form of the closet and finds notes of dialogism within the retail world and history.

Last week I mentioned the music features of the iPad.



However, for this week we were asked if there was any convergence within the materials covered throughout this course. My answer would be: yes. The convergence is demonstrated by my examples of all of blending of music and technology and fashion and technology. This convergence demonstrates the common thread from our physical world to the “cyber” world. The vibrations and other technological extensions are all part of a greater network. For instance, it is obvious that the technolocial devices such as the iPad and other smart devices are not the actual instruments. They provide a watered down way to play these interesting instruments. However, depending on the context, this nature could be very crucial to education and semiotics. For instance, when teachers incorporate instruments via iPads into their classes they are not only changing the meaning of an instrument but they are also changing the way the instrument is being received. For example, is children are learning how to play the xylophone during class, there’s always the two kids in the corner trying to use the sticks in a sword fight. There’s always the pounding of the sticks on various surfaces or on other humans (to their chagrin).

But when this seemingly mundane switch from analog to digital occurs, then there is a breakdown of communication. I am very interested in writing my final paper on this topic. When we replace instruments with shiny squares of glass, we are loosing the material “street smarts” of the instrument. We are replacing movements with strokes to the machine. Therefore, I think the connection between all of the material would be the loss of cultural memory and the power to change the cultural memory.

Galloway and the Muse:

I am still not 100% positive on Manovich’s opinion of the muse, but I think it is interesting and I think it is a common thread that we can use for later. With regards to the other readings, my main takeaway was the form of the interface through time, the power of software, and the transformation of cyborgs.

I believe that Galloway’s reference to the muse being a vector for information in polytheistic religions is an interesting example. However, it leads to a great point to wonder about:

“This being the same refrain sung
throughout the book, not media but mediation.) One must
look at local relationships within the image and ask how such
relationships create an externalization, an incoherence, an
edging, or a framing? Or in reverse: how does this other spe­
cific local relationship within the apparatus succeed in creat­
ing a coherence, a centering, a localization? But what does this
mean?” (Galloway 36).

This is the connecting point. For every section whether it was linguistics or semiotics, we had to go back to the roots of the issue. We had to reflect on the history and on the meaning. We had to refer back to the cultural encyclopedia hence trying to find the great points in the universal cultural memory. Essentially, for every section, we must as “what does this mean?” to properly assess the information.

Does this contribute to the break down of communication?
Is the shift from analog to digital a good thing?
By losing the tangible instrument lead to a loss of musical history?

I think this could be my final project.