Monday, 25 February 2013

My artefact, "A Little Bird Told Me"

 You have hopefully arrived here to view my artefact. I have chosen to use the StoryBird website. I have explained why I chose this particular tool below. As a tool, I found it does have its limitations, so I opted to make a YouTube video as well as a small introduction. Please view this first, then click on the link to StoryBird which appears beneath the video. NB - unfortunately I could not link this directly from the YouTube video itself.

The text below is not part of my artefact. But I just wanted to jot some thoughts down on why I created it whilst they were fresh in my mind

I chose Storybird because:
  1. I liked the way you can randomly select images & create a story around them. Rather than the other way round
  2. This has been a course on "Digital Cultures". Every culture has stories, this was mine, "Frequently, our only truth is narrative truth, the stories we tell each other, and ourselves—the stories we continually recategorize and refine" Oliver Sacks
  3. The biggest theme for me has been the human side. Of the course itself, and in relation to all the material we have covered. I mean the human side in the way we create things, the way we connect, and the way we use stories to share our experiences. I would say the Google Map, the Google Hangouts, the TweetChats, Facebook and Google Communities have all been great examples of this. In my reading, I have been most inspired by the stories where people have been able to apply technology or online media in a way that has improved their life, or opened up their world in a way they would never have expected.
  4. I liked the natural feel to the pictures on StoryBook. Some of the futuristic images and videos we have seen have been so oppressive I wanted to get a more innocent feel back. I think I have become a complete utopian.
  5. I liked the idea that something from the machine (a Twitter bird in this case) could, or would want to, somehow escape into our human world. I thought it flipped the "Matrix" idea on its head. 
The spark of the idea came from this photo. It’s a visual representation of the metaphorical stoy of a pigeon losing its fear and becoming a bluebird. When I first saw it, I misinterpreted it. I saw it as a Twitter bird who had escaped from the computer (or been released? rejected? outcast?). This was the basis for my story. Technology would be my guide, but I would be the one telling the story. The image of a bird "escaping" from Twitter also brought all kinds of themes to mind.
  • Are we addicted or imprisoned by social media & technology?
  • Have we forgotten the natural world?
  • Instead of fearing the rise of an inhuman, soulless technology, might technology actually be a benevolent guide, or just an extension of our own human spirit?
  • If we reach the singularity, what would a computer feel and think? If it could compute things in an instant, it wouldn’t need the space to think & work out answers. But would it also philosophise? Would it ever feel imprisoned and feel the need to escape? And if it did, where would it escape to?
I I had the idea of "sparks" flying around and illuminating people's education and imagination. For this articulate writer it was a love and passion for "gears", but the central point was similar - to "turn computers into instruments flexible enough so that any children can each create for themselves something like what the gears were for me". Thanks to this excellent artefact for introducing me to this idea This artefact also made the interesting comparison between the noise of birds chirping and our keyboards tapping. It was a lovely idea, and deserves a story all of its own! And how about wiring a keyboard so that it did literally chirp when you pressed the keys?