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Blog Post #5

For my fifth blog post, I wanted to leave a few thoughts about the concept of Panopticism that was put forth in Foucault’s article. The general idea of it, if I read the article correctly, is the idea of being watched when we don’t truly know if we’re being watched or not. In the case of Panopticism, it’s specifically an exercise in which a group of people are placed into cells around a central observation tower, however, they cannot see the tower itself. Therefore, while the observation tower can see all of the prisoners, the prisoners cannot see the tower, and as such, don’t know if they are or are not being watched. This concept can be applied in a variety of ways to other philosophical and technological ideas. For example – are human beings being watched by a higher power? Does the government really listen to us and watch us through cameras in our homes? This is a huge topic – when those questions are answered, either with a yes or a no, a whole layer of new questions will arise beneath them. If there is no higher power – what happens when we die? If the government IS watching us, what do they know? What can they see? Panopticism is an interesting, but frankly horrifying idea – but how much does it actually exist?

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Mini-Project 2

For my second mini-project, I’ll go over a period over this past summer during which I quit social media. It was an interesting experience for a variety of reasons. To begin, my reasoning for doing so was not for this class – frankly, I believe that I gained more from the experience because I did it for myself, rather than for school or for a reason not created by me. I wanted to disconnect from the negatives of social media. Through a lot of thought and introspection, I’ve found that most times, social media is a collection of small pieces of our friends’, families’, or whoever else’s lives. Social media is often comprised of the best slices of the lives of those around us. They’ll post their pictures from their vacation, images with their significant others, and so on. While social media is great to use to keep up with our friends, families, and current news, I found that deleting it took a sort of weight off of my shoulders. Social media is often a hub for self-comparison. We scroll though our timelines and view picture after picture, or tweet after tweet, and sub-consciously compare ourselves to the people who’s posts we scroll past. We forget that social media doesn’t show the reality of one’s whole life – just the reality of the most appealing portion of it. While I’ve since redownloaded my social media apps, I use them less, and when I use them, I have a different mindset in using them. I focus on not forming too much of an opinion on someone based on their social media pages – it’s a very weak and untrue method to do so. While I enjoy using it to keep up with my friends, I’ve found that it must be used carefully so not to send yourself spiraling into a loop of self-comparison.

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Race As Technology

Race is an interesting example of a technology, but by definition, it counts as one. Technology is “the application of scientific knowledge for practical purpose.” Race is a piece of scientific knowledge – we are all born with a certain race – it’s not a choice, it just happens. However, the application of race in society is not an application that is practical at all. Race divides us, oftentimes. Whether it be through stereotypes, through historical boundaries, or anything else, humans have allowed race to become a method of division between us, and this should not be the case. While we’ve advanced from where we were centuries ago, during the days where slavery was widely accepted, we still aren’t close to where we need to be in regards to race as a technology. If you aren’t white, often times you aren’t paid near as much as a white person is, not to mention if you’re not white AND not a man. The United States have been run by the white man since their conception, and we need to continue to fight to change the way the technology of race is applied in our everyday lives in hopes of one day, truly achieving equality between all races.

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Blog Post #3

For my third blog post, I decided to complete the third prompt, which is as follows: “Foucault describes discipline (in the way he is using the term) as something new (in the 18th century) and calls it a ‘“physics” or “anatomy” of power, a technology” (p. 7 of the pdf). Explain what this idea could mean and illustrate it with a contemporary example.”

To me, calling discipline an anatomy/physics in power dynamics is a great sort of definition or ideology of how it applies. Discipline can give power, it can remove it, it can decide whether or not one has it, and for how long they do – allow me to get a little deeper into it. Generally, to get into a position of power, one needs discipline. They have to be disciplined to start somewhere where they don’t have much control – say a politician. If one wanted to run for president some day, they’d need to start as, perhaps, an intern at their local court. Not much power – they’d follow orders, and do busy work, and likely need a lot of discipline on this first step of their journey to more power. They’ll continue needing discipline, but in turn, having discipline, patience, etc, will propel them to the top much quicker than one without it, as well as keep them there much longer than one without it.

Without discipline, there often isn’t much power, but without power, there can still be plenty of discipline.

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Mini-Project 1

For my mini-project, I’ve decided to use the first prompt and apply it’s questions to one of my favorite concepts of existence – perspective. Next to that, I’d like to explain how the relation between the Holdinger piece and perspective is an answer to why we no longer view things, like the Rhine, with the same amount of beauty and grace as it was described with in the hymn. Allow me to explain.

Essentially, we’re looking at how one thing can be assessed, viewed, etc from a technological point of view, vs. how it can be assessed from an artistic, or in my case with perspective, more humanistic point of view. Heidegger, in his work, asked the reader to compare the Rhine in how it is used in today’s society, vs. how it is used in Holderin’s hymn. There are some obvious differences between the two. In Holderin’s hymn, at points the Rhine is spoken of like a human being, and given human traits, in lines such as “his word is a jubilant roar” and “the voice it was of the noblest of rivers, freeborn Rhine…” It seems that in Holderin’s work, the Rhine is a beautiful, almost humanistic being. It has a voice, it has goals – but when compared to today, in it’s current use, it’s just another thing used by humans to fulfill our needs, generate power for us, and so on. It’s another technology that humans have brought to the point of primarily being known and used for our own benefit.

I believe that the comparison between these two – that being Holderin’s piece, and the current use of the Rhine – indicates a lot about how modern technology is created and used, and it relates to the ideology of each of our individual perspectives as I mentioned before. The way these pieces can be compared to the way technological uses have evolved is somewhat obvious. As time has gone on, and industrializing has become more common, often times humans attempt to find the best, most efficient way for technology to work – oftentimes at the sacrifice of it’s beauty, or it’s meaning, or so forth. In this case, the Rhine, once viewed as Holderin has mentioned, as a beautiful, rare part of earth, is now looked at and used as a hydroelectric dam.

This relates to our perspectives now – an important phrase that I learned is that, “Our perspective is our reality.” So, oftentimes, we shape our perspectives to meet our physiological needs so that we can continue to live in some sort of peace. In regards to our perspectives on other things, like the Rhine, we view what was once a beautiful piece of nature as now, just a helpful source of power. The reason behind that, though, is because it is what our perspectives need to live a good life. Our physical technological advancement has been incredibly rapid, but our mental technologies lag behind – we are often too quick to adjust things so that they fit our perspectives, instead of thinking about adjusting our perspectives to see and make the world as a better place.

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The Most Important Technology

One of the most interesting things that I ever read was within a book called, “Your Duality Within,” a philosophical piece by Anderson Silver. The book mainly pertains to our inner duality, that being the daily battle that goes on between our subconscious, and conscious minds. While there are an abundance of interesting pieces in the book, one that stuck out to me, and one that pertains to our class, is the technology that caused homo-sapiens to actually be able to survive to this point.

In layman’s terms (which are also the terms that I use to understand this process), way back, thousands of years ago, there was something of a “hominid war.” Essentially, all of the various families of homogeneous creatures were fighting to continue to live, and for their species to survive on earth. Now, obviously, at this time there were no guns – everyone had the same general knowledge of making tools, hunting and gathering, and using fire. However, what set homo-sapiens apart and gave them the ability to win the hominid wars was their ability to use what has become the most important technology to human life – communication.

While most hominid groups had access to the same basic technologies, homo-sapiens were able to evolve their forms of communications from basic signs or noises so to organize into larger groups, and plan their moves out more specifically in order to win the hominid wars. Communication is incredibly important, and is a cause to almost anything that happens in the world, if not everything. At it’s core, it was the technology that, through it’s use, gave our species the best opportunity to survive in their earliest days.

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Our Philosophical / Technological Journey Begins!

What’s cracking PhilTech friends! I like that phrase, or word jumble, or whatever you want to call it – “PhilTech.” To me, it’s an easy way to shorten our class name – it also sort of sounds like it could be the name of a tech company owned by a guy named Phillip? We’re getting off topic here.

I’m excited to return to my Domain after using it in other classes – as I’m sure you guys have seen, all of my posts from the other courses that I’ve used this domain for have been syndicated into our hypothesis website, so my apologies if there’s a bunch of Zane Burk class posts cluttering up the feed. Anyway, for my first post, I figured it would be cool to touch on what philosophy is to me, and hopefully get some comments from you guys about what it is to you.

In my (relatively short, but phenomenally enlightening) experience with philosophy thus far, it’s been a sort of religion to me, purely as it pertains to the definition of the religion. Religion is defined as “belief or worship in a superhuman / controlling power” and in that sense, philosophy holds a place in my heart and soul. While I don’t necessarily know if there is a specific ruling power over us all, there is something more to all humans – our capacity of reason (idea originally from Stoicist book Discourses ) and so I believe that something, somewhere, indeed instilled that capability of reason and consciousness upon us. In summary, I follow some philosophy sort of like a religion, but I view it more as a way of thinking.

I hope you enjoyed reading some basic thoughts of mine on philosophy! I look forward to hearing what everyone else has to say.

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Creative Coding Portfolio

Hey, Professor Walen! Zane here – it’s been an interesting summer semester, and I’ve learned a lot through my first coding course! I’m glad to have completed it, and happy that with our final, I’ve been able to go back and implement some new things into my assignments.

  1. Glitch: Firstly, I created glitch art that was more “glitchy” I guess you could say. Originally, I created a compilation of different video game glitches, and created a few of my own glitch art pieces in photoshop. However, when I was trying to figure out inspiration for some social media posts for our school basketball team, our class came to mind, and I decided to theme some of the posts around glitchy art. The end result is here:

2. Creating an Audacity Glitched image: For my second portfolio item, I figured that I would create a glitched image with audacity, as I didn’t get to do so over the course of the semester. I took a selfie with my webcam, and then figured out how to glitch it up through audacity – the results are a bit haunting. The original:

And the glitch:

I applied a little bit of “Echo” in audacity, and got an interesting result.

3. Screensaver: With my screensaver, I added a little bit of flare, and implemented an outline to the “Hello!” in my screensaver. I’ve been trying to figure out how to connect the lines within the screensaver – hopefully I can figure that out soon, as though I like the somewhat glitchy look of the screensaver, I’d like it to look a little cleaner. You can see that here – also, I attached an image of how it looks, because as I click on the link, for whatever reason, the blue outline isn’t showing up on the text. https://editor.p5js.org/zaneburk9/full/96I_KOT0b

4. Bot: Going back to the first week of class, I decided to work a little bit on my bot to make it a bit more personal to Spongebob. I added more variables in the bot that are direct quotes from Spongebob himself, and imrpoved the general grammar in the bot as well so that the tweets are a bit more coherent. Find that here:

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Week 14: Final Project

For my final project, as I said before, I completed a trailer for my upcoming series that I will be completing on my youtube channel. The most fun, but also challenging aspect of completing the trailer, was creating the concept/themed art for each series, and making an information card to put on the trailer that matched up with the artistic theme of each series. For my Viewer’s Choice series, I themed it around being colorful, and splatters of paint, as I see that series as being one that a variety of people have a hand in creating, as I ask for opinions from all of my social media followers as to what the video should be. For my weekly vlogs, I wanted a clean, sharp look that was attractive to look at and memorable, but also flexible, which I believe I achieved. Finally, for my Zane After Dark series, I was looking for a night-like, neon lights type of look, which again, I believe I did a good job of creating. Apart from that, however, I used clean transitions and some intro cards to build up suspense for the upcoming series. Check out the trailer below! Warning, the song I selected does have some vulgar words in it – I selected it because it is currently one of my favorite songs, however it’s new and I couldn’t find a clean version when I created the trailer.

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Final Project Progress Report

For my final project, I decided to implement my current hobby, which is my youtube channel, with the 80s theme of the class. Originally, for my videos, I was completing daily vlogs. However, after some careful thought and deliberation, I decided to instead change over to a three day a week schedule, with each day corresponding with a different show. These shows will be firstly, a weekly vlog, secondly, a “audience’s choice” show where my followers decide what the video will be, and finally, and almost most importantly, “Zane After Dark,” a talk-show that I plan to host. My final project will be the trailer for my new shows that I will create, which I am very excited to do. I have completed some basic logo art to start, however, which I have attached.