October 26, 2012

Hypermediacy and Daniel's Public Secrets

After examining Daniel's Public Secrets, I found myself not only confused, but overwhelmed as well. I think is what Bolter and Grusin would call a "technological overkill" She really has injected an overwhelming use of media into this, and I don't mean that in a good way. Honestly, I think this project of hers is too overreaching. Who exactly is her audience? Who is supposed to absorb this message?  I know her mission is to "dispel popular misconceptions about the nature of prison and those incarcerated within them," but again, whose popular misconceptions? A man, a woman, the old, young, elite, poor? The "interpretability of her critique" is extremely hard to grasp, unless I'm just being really obtuse.

I found the whole black and white, negative space thing really kitschy, an attempt to be dramatic and unique that's been done so many times before. (I also really didn't like her name dropping the famous artist Hans Holbein's The Ambassadors painting in her opening statement. I've studied that painting, and it really has nothing to do with what I think she's trying to portray, but I digress.)

Anyway, while the female inmate's stories were very interesting I found that the way Daniel created this site to function detracted from by ability to easily navigate around the site. Every time I would find something I wanted to listen to fully I would move my mouse and then something would annoyingly disappear and then it would take me forever to rediscover it. Terms I would use to describe this layout and site would be unwieldy, disorganized, and scattered.

But- maybe that's the whole point. Maybe she made the layout so user unfriendly in an attempt to show us how disjointed and separate these women are from a normal society outside prison. I mean, when do you ever get to hear unfiltered stories like these? You certainly won't hear these kinds of things on an edited version of some reality "life in jail" show. I think another thing that makes it hard for me to connect with these stories is that I want to see a human face. We can hear the voices, hear the emotion, but we're all probably wondering what these people look like. Hearing just only voices puts us in a weird, separate space.  I think it's like when Bolter and Grusin describe the client who can't visualize the house from just a blueprint, that the client wants a walkthrough of the house to get a real feel for things. I feel like "Public Secrets" is big blueprint with lots of intersecting points that will eventually "build" a certain something, but I'm not sure what.  I don't know what Daniels really wants someone to take away from this. Does she want us to examine the prison system, the women, how laws work?  What really needs to be focused on?


Jessica Weaver said...

I found hypermediacy and hypertext to be slightly unnecessary, especailly considering I, like you, was lost from the very beginning. It took me multiple attempts to discover the piece was infact the speaking white and black blocks on the screen. I found her piece difficult yet entertaining; I thought maybe if it was dialed down a notch, her message would be clearer? However I then thought, that maybe the language I am choosing to see and vaguely understand is different from what others see. Much like her piece emphasizes that the public choses what they want to see rather than what actually may or may not be there, maybe I was a perfect example of what she was demonstrating? Near the end, I came to the conclusions that Daniel main focus could have posibly been the reader, how he/she sees the piece or how her audience as a whole views it differently than she does?

HScott3 said...

Maybe the hypermediacy was a little overbearing but it didn't take away from the interpretations of the text. The popular misconceptions were that prison systems aren't as bad as they really are. We fail to comprehend the brutal reality that is public prison systems. Her audience would be the public at large who she wants to (in the end) have the same passions to abolish the current prison system such as she. The images can be distracting with the layout of the site, but they enhance the feelings associated with the text. But I agree seeing the faces would help us connect more as a viewer.

Steven Loer said...

The openness to interpretation is what makes this so unique. What draws more to academic advancement than open discussion? I to agree in the difficulty in navigation yet that isn't what is important and maybe even designed that way intentionally. That would be a good thing to talk about in class.

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