the art of copying

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Looking closer at things you create and what you're inspired by is an easy example of something such as a remix. You clearly take what you like, and make it your own. Being an artist, this is something I've been doing since the beginning of my drawing career - pausing scenes of tv shows I loved and drawing them. I took photographs I loved and did the same. I tried to draw like my inspirations and emulate their work as closely as possible to help learn their style. As Belshaw said, "we learn through imitation" - which is absolutely true. That was how I improved when I was a lot younger. I even copied a Rubens sketch a few weeks back for a class assignment to help learn from the masters. However, a significant part of copying and stealing ideas and reinventing them of course comes with prices if you emulate them too closely and give no credit.

All the time, specifically through Instagram, a lot of my friends have had their artwork that they posted stolen, and try to be passed off as their own. People would do what I do with copying, but give no original credit whatsoever. In terms of copyright and such, of course that isn't allowed. People who even attempt to pass things off as their own and blatantly copy is something so outlandish and surprising - I don't even know how or why people try to do it when there is no difference. It isn't a bad thing to copy explicitly in terms of art etc, but just give credit when it is due. It isn't the most difficult thing to do.

Copying and input of self is so important for today to be looked at as inspiration or to be copied down the line to help something better come out of it. From the greatest inventions came imitation, like the first Xerox computer led its way to the everyday Macintosh. Steve Jobs was always transparent about his evident copying, and was never ashamed of it. Because of copying and transformation, we have just about everything that exists today. But when people can copy something word for word, stroke for stroke, and give zero credit - do they truly think they can even get away with it?

man, men stink

Sunday, February 28, 2016

None of the materials before me surprised me at all, and the hating of women seems to be growing more evident and stronger every day. Every single statistic had much shock factor, don’t get me wrong - however, I have been studying and recognizing these problems for years just by being a woman and experiencing things first hand and my friends’ experiences as well. What made me the most surprised, however, was from the Documentary Miss Representation, was that even though women were in high positions, they were still ridiculed and downsized to what they were wearing and their attitudes, and they weren’t criticized for their actions or ambitions. Particularly, it was the audacity of what people had to say. Sarah Palin was “masturbation material”, who cares that she was running for Vice President? Hilary Clinton did well after Obama because after Black History Month is Bitch of the Month, who cares that she was Secretary of State? Men never get these sort of remarks. There is clearly a difference. It’s so disappointing because even though we try to lift up women and encourage them to be more ambitious and go for positions that usually discourage them, when they’re there, they get put down no matter what they do. It’s a disgusting vicious cycle that we have implemented, and it seems as if it’s never going to get better. I take this stuff to heart so much because I'm going to be a woman all my life, and I'm not excited for the road ahead. I know there are endless improvements we can make.

I have tried to think about my personal experiences, but too many incidents come up that I don’t even know which one to begin with. Throughout years, I have seen extensive times girls being pinned against each other for a man’s attention and affection, myself being in those situations sometimes. If I channeled that energy into something much more worthwhile like my education or sleeping, I would have spent time so much better. A few weeks ago, MAC also had a picture of a black woman’s lips wearing one of their lipsticks, which led to numerous racist comments about how “too” big they were, and other outlandish observations. Monica Lewinsky couldn’t speak out in public until last year because of threats when she gave a TED Talk - 17 years after the scandal came out with Bill Clinton. Women bullied and bulliers in all these situations to no end. It’s shocking to see in particular that although a lot of backlash and ridicule come from men about women - but also women to women. Shouldn’t we be lifting each other up and trying to do the best for each other, rather than being enemies, benefitting men further? There are numerous skewed problems that seem so countless, that it seems hard for there to be a solution - if there even is any.

As Audrey Watters said: “the answer is not silence.” To me, the answer is to throw out every man in power and start fresh. That, of course, is not the best of suggestions, but being able to speak up and out about these issues should be something we really should seek to do. Self esteem is getting lower, and women are just being degraded further and further to the point of fear, insecurity, and disorders. However, how can we get white men to shut the hell up for a minute, listen, and understand that the world isn’t just their oyster?

digital activism, and how raising awareness can be just enough.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

As there are critiques with all changes, a huge one of current society is the benefits and cons of the current Digital Age: is it more helpful or hurtful? Some believe it causes more people to be socially inadequate, and care less about conversations happening in front of you, and preferring what’s happening on whatever electronic device of choice. However, the world truly gets smaller and smaller with things such as the Internet, bringing people who used to be so far closer together in many areas. We have more access to our overseas relatives, more awareness about foreign issues- and easier ways to connect with anyone, anywhere, at any time.

A great benefit to today’s Digital Age is the ability to have an idea and spread it to everyone who has access to the Internet, making it a central place for starting to take action on specific issues. Digital Activism is exactly that, making it easy to express ideas and inform people on things that could be of serious interest and concern, helping them move towards a positive change to combat it. Facebook and Twitter have been the biggest social platforms for these sorts of things, from raising awareness about 200+ kidnapped schoolgirls by Boko Haram (#BringBackOurGirls), to encouraging women to share their stories of misogyny and harassment by men (#YesAllWomen). Being whatever is mostly talked about or frequently repeated in conversation on these platforms, Facebook and Twitter do post them, making it even more accessible to those who have yet to be informed by it. Of course, however, there are numerous critiques, such as from Reset: “...while activists did successfully mobilize using social media, they did not achieve their campaign goal, be it to overturn an allegedly fraudulent election result or the wide range of social and political reforms demanded by the strike organizers.” Not much was done for #BringBackOurGirls, and the movement was for the most part forgotten. Misogyny will continue in our society until we view women in a more positive light and value them better. What can we do to improve this?

Although a lot of Digital activism is heavily critiqued and frequently under fire, as is the Internet in general, people forget about how much accomplishment there is in awareness instead of just action. Through the Black Lives Matter movement starting in America due to the innocent shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, by George Zimmerman, a white neighborhood watchman, many people became more aware of the racial issues in America, and around the world. The movement has also continued to trump social media, especially when there’s police brutality against African Americans, such as Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri, and Tamir Rice, 12, in Cleveland, Ohio. Although as not frequently covered by the mainstream media, and if so, with a bias, it stayed prevalent on platforms like Twitter, leaking first hand information from protestors in Ferguson. Incidents like these made these problems more transparent, and more talked about. 

From my personal experience, through social media and these incidents, I have become more aware of the inequalities people of colour in this country have to face, and how beyond unfair, and irrational the reasoning is. Knowing this helps me inform others, and let them know of the problems that still exist very blatantly. Sometimes, raising awareness about issues is all that needs to be done, so when it is able to move towards change, we can. Not all of us can protest or write letters to Congress, since in day to day life many people are caught up in other things. Even though that is admittedly not enough for many, if others feel that passionately, they can take action. However, letting everyone know about the issue, that when change is to come, we can agree and support it to help have something done. That is a great step forward that is under appreciated.

knowing yourself online: privacy, identity, and apps you've never heard of

Sunday, February 14, 2016

What was one of the most surprising aspects of online privacy most likely was how many accounts can access all of your information, just because you wanted to take that one quiz on Facebook one time three years ago. This all can add up, leading to millions of apps you've never known existed taking your information. When doing my own spring cleaning for my accounts, I was again, shocked, at how minimal apps and such were on my Twitter and other accounts. I thought there would be a lot more, especially because of the horrors of hundreds I've heard others had. It was such a relief, mostly because I don't want to sit for hours x'ing applications out, when my hands already ache enough from all the time I'm on my computer. Like Nick Bilton in the New York Times stated perfectly: "..and that’s it. Spring cleaning of your social sites is complete. That is, until next spring." However, I’ll be checking this much more frequently than seasonal, because things like this are very worrying.

Also having a free night, I was able to watch a documentary on Edward Snowden and the exposure of the NSA, tracking numerous phone calls and other data of everyday people who had very low suspicion rates. It was very eye opening but also very terrifying. Things like tracking people who are innocent and aren’t of suspicion: why do it? Even if so, why not let the everyday people know, so they don’t feel as uneasy when it’s all top secret and exposed? A feeling of being constantly watched can lead to massive paranoia. I remember in class specifically, one of my professors was saying that Facebook had access to her credit card information, which absolutely no one would ever want! It's also crazy to even wonder: how long ago did I click 'Allow' to that application connecting to my account? How did it even get there? Andy Oram’s article from Radar sums it up the best: “...our identity is defined by the web site we just visited about surveillance cameras, the tube of spermicidal jelly we bought on vacation in Florida[...] The result may be a knock on the door from Interpol or just a targeted ad for romantic getaways.” With such extensive tracking of everyone, I will try my best to be taking even more precaution than before - especially with setting up so many new social media accounts through this class. Thankfully I haven't had many before this either, so I can start off on the right foot, and clean up the mistakes for the future.

Who even knows what will show up as a linked application next "spring cleaning" session?

a social comment on the human condition: how people such as myself come up online

Sunday, February 7, 2016

I was told in my Islamic Arts class last week that the ancient Turks were wonderful scribes- noting every transaction and little things that went on in their society. I was amazed by this, especially because how similar it really is to today with something like the internet- recording not only everything you do, but even down to suggesting what else you might enjoy. As cool as it is, it's worrisome to some people like me. I find it lovely that my every move can be traceable, but I would like that to be a private thing rather public, as most of the internet unfortunately is today. Is there any way to be able to clean up some of these things on your own?

When trying to research my phone number, address, and name, for the most part, not much came up. To my liking, looking up myself on Spokeo, Intellus, etc., I didn't come up. When I researched my address too, nothing came up thankfully, and neither did anything about my family, except actual information about the house. It's surreal to see your house on Google Maps, but it also makes you realise how far we've come in terms of technology, and it's truly an achievement in general how we can trace and scribe so much, regardless of how creepy. If you Google Image search my name, some of my high school achievements come up (as does my old hair- so unkept and a poor colour choice). Thankfully a lot of my stuff is private, also since I don't expose much on social media etc, but the game changed when I researched all of my e-mails.

When looking up my e-mail addresses on Spokeo, a lot of my social media and pictures came up. For the most part, this was fine, since I tried as much as possible to separate e-mails: one being for social media accounts, and one for professionalism. Despite that separation, there was a lot of affiliation with my professional account with social media, which surprised me. It makes me want to reconsider the e-mails I use for accounts, and organise myself better. One thing I found interesting nonetheless was when searching my e-mails, an old drawing I did came up. It was a self portrait of me holding a hat over my head, concealing my face completely. Clever.