October 26, 2012

Daniel Redefines Prison and Shapes Our Action


In class we came up with the claim that mediums are in fact what shape action. After watching Daniel's Public Secrets we have to ask if it is Daniel’s medium that gives her message meaning and therefore prompts action or if the situation(genre) that gives rise to action in and of itself?  

It is in part the hypertextual nature of the project that makes it interpretable. I say this because, all of the visuals combined with text and an audio component make it this is a very layered piece of discourse. The hypertextuality gives Daniel’s words impact because of the stimulation it provokes in the interpreter. Even in the author’s statement, Daniel is making the same argument that she is through out the project but the simple text version isn’t nearly as impactful and therefor isn’t interpreted in the way that Daniel’s means for it to be interpreted if her ultimate goal is to persuade and arouse action. This also leads us to wonder if the way the information is presented, through this hypertextual medium, if that also contributes to our interpretation because of it’s effect on our emotions.

Thus, the emotion will effect our perception. Miller eloquently, describes this phenomenon in her essay, Genre as Social Action.

“Situations are social constructs that are the result, not of “perception, “ but of “definition.” Because human action is based on and guided by meaning not by material causes, at the center of action is a process of interpretation.  Before we can act, we must interpret and indeterminate material environment; we define or “determine” a situation.” (Miller 156)

Is Daniel’s redefining what how we see prison? Is that what will cause us to act, our new definition of prison as a condition similar to slavery? 

6 comments:

A Cycene said...

That's a really good question you bring up concerning the medium and the message. I think in this case it's more of the message that gets across to the viewer/ reader. Although we are hearing the actual voices of the prisoners through the medium, it's still the content of what they are saying that elicits the response of the audience. I think it's the content more than the medium because I'm remembering the case of Pine Point. Remember how we discovered that the narrators never even lived in Pine Point? It completely changed the perspective on how you received the message. What if the women that were reading or speaking turned out to not be prisoners at all? Would that change the way you felt or perceived the content?

Karlyn Mckell said...

I definitely think Daniel is redefining how we see prison. At least for me, I already feel very different about prisons just from viewing this piece. The emotion presented is definitely meant to persuade through an emotional appeal.

I agree with A Cycene that it is the message that does get this emotional appeal out to the reader, but I also think the medium is very powerful in this circumstance. By having the interviews be sound bites instead of video clips, you get this idea that even through this project, these prisoners are "faceless" "nameless" ignored members of society who the world has forgotten to care about. The medium also allows many stories to be heard, as you can scroll over them and stop listening when bored. I can't think of a different medium where I think this message would be better interpreted on.

Kathrynn Ward said...

I agree that this piece is calling for an action. I believe it is trying to amplify the voices of women who are being mistreated in prison. I think she is trying to bring awareness, but not only that. Is she also trying to get us to do Something about it? I see this peice as a form of motivation. Motivation to become more aware and motivation to get in action to a prison reform?

Michelle Macchio said...

I agree with the emotional impact of this piece on the audience. Public Secrets places the reader at a closeness with the voices displayed in a way that arouses empathy and motivates action, if not in an active, external way, definitely in a personal way. The medium definitely facilitates this empathy in a unique way, by combining visual and auditory perceptions in interrelated ways. A medium that does not allow for such intertextuality would limit the reader's interpretability of the information.

Zack Morris said...

I can understand why you might ask those questions after viewing Daniels hypertext but you have to look at the bigger picture. Inmates are treated like that due to precautionary measures that previous inmates forced. Guards put their lives in danger every day inside prison and they didn't break the law to get in there they are just trying to earn a living. Most of the time its the prisons authority that is the only thing that contains a prison from anarchy. This is one article with a few voices its not fair to call out a prison system from a few voices(that are convicted felons). Id think the majority would agree that its the other inmates you should be afraid of not the guards.

John Smith said...

To your point about the "layering" of media, I think what you have brought up is very interesting. Because of the hypertext genre's nature as compiler of "other mediums" where do you think that this would fall in respect to Miller's spacial chart on how "generic fusion" takes place? It might seem to be hard to pinpoint, because the substances it chooses to appropriate, are not solely one level of her proposed chart.

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