Blog 2

DIGC 335 Blog Post 2 – Alex Kilborn 4500994

For the second stage of the project, a travel website/blog based on travelling lesser known locations, my focus became more on how I could relate it to the subject and technology and less about what the digital artefact actually was. For this I ended up doing two separate things. First I looked at how my topic could relate to a utopian/dystopian future and second I looked at how the implementation of technology could influence and affect this.

For the artefact’s relation to utopian and dystopian future my first thought was directed right towards rising levels of tourism. The main problem with publicising lesser travelled locations is that it will likely bring higher rates of tourism and, in turn, could ruin what made these spots so special in the first place. For this, much like the rest of my research, I relied on stories from individuals as much as I did general research. A few locations particularly stuck out to me and nearly all of them were third world countries, such as Phuket and Bali. This, however, created another thought process for me. If these locations did become overrun by tourists, this would greatly increase employment rates in areas which could sorely need it. So while I personally feel that this increase in tourism is dystopian in future for travellers, it could possibly be seen as utopian to someone who is desperate for employment. However, I was creating this assignment not them so I wanted to see how these places could be experienced without the dramatic increases in tourism. This is where technology became involved.

From early on in the assignment I implemented the use of 360 degree photography, even using a camera to take my own 360 degree photos for my website. However, this technology lead to further investigation into the idea of truly experiencing a location without having to actually go there. It was here that virtual reality began to play its part. Implementing the same 360 degree technology used in the photographs and videos I captured, websites, such as Youvisit, are beginning to run virtual tours of locations. While this is currently used for primarily business and tourism purposes, such as guided tours of universities and cities, the applications of this idea are endless. With access to a virtual reality headset an individual could, theoretically, custom tailor a trip to some of the most obscure places in the world without ever setting food in the actual location. Currently Youvisit offer virtual reality trips to many locations in the world, from Philadelphia to Guatemala, but also offer tours of many university campuses, primarily in the US, and even have some concerts recorded. This means that, in the future, individuals could explore all prospective campuses of future Australian and global universities, go to a music concert in Europe and then watch the ocean in South America all in one day, all from the comfort of their living room. While to get the full experience, including movement and full control, all virtual tours recommend visiting their offices; even today the virtual access to these locations is available on mobile phones through sites like Youvisit and 360 World.

It’s this technology I hope will aid in the utopian future I dream of for travel. This has the potential to not only allow people to see the world, but also learn about it and save it. If people could dive in the Great Barrier Reef without having to actually go to the location, than environmental concerns may be more greatly heeded. If ¾ of the people who travelled to Machu Pichu did it virtually then there would likely be no need to section off areas and it would definitely be in far better condition. This would also enable people to travel to their dream destinations who have been otherwise unable, due to circumstances such as a disability or financial hardship. While, in my opinion, virtual travel will never surpass the actual thing, the amount of good to the industry it could do is unavoidable.

Niche Start Up Vlogs

For this second blog, I will be writing about examples of successful niche businesses and outlining my digital artefact.

Amazon is arguably the the most popular long tail business. They have used the internet, to create a platform, that sells rare products, without the need of actually holding the product on a physical shelf. 57% of Amazons sales come from long tail searches.

But the beauty of the long tail is in the variety of available niches.

One of my favourites long tail businesses is Rent A Mourner. They are a United Kingdom based company who provide professional funeral and wake guests. The interesting thing about this business is that it is not new. Similar services were available through the Middle East thousands of years ago. This shows that the long tail is not necessarily about new products, but about using new technology to fill a current market void.

Cuddle party, is a company that works in the United States, Canada and Australia. It is a website, not for profit, that organises parties where adults go and cuddle. Its website states that the organisation hopes to explore communication boundaries and affection. It should be noted that is has had a huge, mostly, scandal free success rate. This example goes to show that even if the idea sounds somewhat crazy, if there is a market, and an appropriate supplier, it will work.

Throx is a US based website who sell socks in threes, not in twos. This way, when you loose a sock, you can use the additional third sock and still have a pair. It is a very simple idea, that any sock making company could have previously done. Throx portrays that a simple twist on an existing idea can lead to a significant success.

YourNovel provides international readers with customised romance novels. The customer builds a character, completes a questionnaire and receives a personal romance novel. Romance novels account for the largest book market, and generates 1.44 billion dollars a year. YourNovel reveals that there is a lot to learn from the mass market, and that niches benefit when working from exisiting trends.

And finally, we have 3beds, a website that reviews air mattresses. It has made a whole science of air mattresses. No niche is too strange. And a niche has a niche. In the long tail of camping equipment, there is a smaller air mattress market. And an even smaller air mattress assessor market.

Between every start up owner I have met, there has been one point of agreement. It will take longer, much longer, than initially expected to create a small business. It is for this reason that I have decided to begin a series of vlogs that will share what I have learned in this process. There will be four (three to four minute) vlogs in my final digital artefact.

The first video is going to explain the Long Tail effect and how this needs to be a part ones niche brand. Long tail market brands are more flexible in their personal concept, but not necessarily in the way they promote. No matter how passionate you are about your product, or how small a market, it is not about you, it is still about your customer. It just happens to be that your customer has unique needs. Meet them. And communicate them in a way that makes you different to other market options.

The second video looks at a Business Plan. Every tangible and intangible part of your business is created and maintained by you. A business plan is a way to ensure your business concept, presence in the market place and finances remain in check over time.

The third video looks at paperworks and legalities. This is a practical guide as to where to find relevant sate documents to obtain ABNs and appropriate licensing. The process sounds simple, but in reality is tedious and requires the patience of a saint. It can take up to one year to complete all the necessary paperwork.

The final video is about overcoming obstacles. From troubles with paperwork, disappearing suppliers and simply losing motivation, there will be so very many obstacles along the way. The video will aim to discuss some ways to work through such occurrences.

After my in class presentation, it was suggested I look further into Long Tail and focus on niche markets. This is what I plan to do before beginning my digital artefact.

header image for article found here.

Virtual Reality Part 2

Through My Eyes!

As mentioned in the first post for my digital artefact, i will be teaching myself how to create VR Spaces using Unreal Engine. My artefact will be a blog series, explaining the processes i undertook to create basic elements of VR. Each post will outline what i was attempting to design, what the outcome of my attempt was. It will also discuss what worked, what didn’t work and what i need to improve on for the next attempt. I will use the skills and knowledge from each trial to work towards creating some sort of virtual environment.

After class discussion it was determined that the easiest virtual reality space to create would be a building or room rather then a landscape. This is because buildings and rooms are very structured and made of basic shapes, and elements can be dragged and dropped from already created content in the software. In…

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How Wacom Works

the change is coming

What About It

Image result for wacom tablet

(source: http://cameratico.com/guides/how-to-choose-wacom-pen-tablet/)

For this blog post, I am going to break down more on what a drawing tablet is and how it works. A drawing tablet can be explained as another input device for your computer. Its use is not limited just to artist. Architects and engineers would need to use these kinds of tables to create accurately-scaled images (Barett, n.d) The tablet comes with two parts, the tablet pad, and a stylus. Another interesting feature about the tablet is that it doesn’t just register only in drawing programs. In a way, you can look at it as a huge trackpad. The same one you would have on your laptop. Even without the stylus, you can use your fingers to interact with it. Clicking on links and scrolling through pages and even using it to zoom into things.

If that’s the case, why do we need the stylus…

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Lucarios Digital Journey

the change is coming

Exploring Digital Art

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Having explored a lot about digital art I have found some interesting points about it. The first point is the community that has been created from digital art. Subreddits such as digital painting, allows users to post their works and get critics about it. I believe that critics are very important because it allows yourself to improve on your work. Sometimes when you keep looking at your own work you don’t see the mistakes you have done, so another pair of eyes are good to re-evaluate it.

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Another amazing development due to the presence of digital art is the amount of tutorial videos available on YouTube. There are millions of videos that not only teaches you on how to draw but teaches you on colour theory, brush making, different kinds of drawing functions and much more. The community of digital artist continues to expand because the community…

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Cyber/art activism – a product of cyberculture PART 2

Blog Posts – Part 2

This blog post follows on from my previous one in further outlining my research and my plans for the presentation and research report on cyber/art activism. I will focus more here on how the previously mentioned case studies are; through their art making the most of the advantages of the web and new media technology in order to be politically disruptive and construct aesthetic and political responses. In doing so I will expand more on the feminist punk group Pussy Riot.

Pussy_Riot-A_Punk_Prayer_Poster

Pussy Riot identify as feminist artists, artists who represent feminist notions. As Carty And Onyett claim, women in art nowadays “redefined the public spaces… they look for themselves in the noplaces, in the cloud, places where these cyberfeminist artists are safe from being engulfed by the traditional structures that art inherent in any organised system.”(Carty, V. & Onyett, J 2006. p.1). The online platform is a place that allows an artist to have a bigger audience, to have their message heard by a larger demographic. It is no longer the museum-goer who has exclusive access to these works, they are inherently public. This is the nature of activism itself, it is meant to be heard.

In the case of Pussy Riot, their artistic platforms encourage sharing and involvement from viewers. If their performances weren’t filmed and shared would they have caused such a stir and political up rise? Their performances are surprise performances, with no advertising or ticketing,  online platforms facilitate their performances being heard further than just by the passerby who sees it first hand. Videos being shared online, locations of performances as they happen being tweeted about, allow a wider involvement in their art. Another way Pussy Riot directly engage with cyberculture, is through their recent protests against cyber censorship.

Without the help of the web and cyber communities, Pussy Riot’s audience would be limited, compared to what it is currently. Not only do fans and followers of the band assist in their spread and societal influence, but also the media too facilitate this. While much of the related content in the media is negative towards Pussy Riot it is still gaining significant attention and helping spread their political messages. Much of this media is also more mainstream, so it produces a larger audience, separate to niche groups, which again furthers the spread of Pussy Riot and fosters their support.

  • Pussy Riot’s music videos is another way they take advantage of new technologies to spread their messages.
Presentation plan

The presentation overall will draw upon my two blog posts and will outline the research report. The presentation will begin with an introduction to my topic cyber/art activism, and explain its relevance to cyberculture. I will then briefly delve into examples of art activism, being Women on Waves and Pussy Riot and potentially another example, time permitting. I will include images of the examples and possibly some videos to help explain them. Finally to conclude I will discuss my plans for the research report and the overall planned outcome.

References

Amin, R. (2010). The Empire Strikes Back: Social Media Uprisings and the Future of Cyber Activism. Unlikely Leaders, 10, pp.64-66.

Carty, V. and Onyett, J., 2006. Protest, cyberactivism and new social movements: The reemergence of the peace movement post 9/11. Social Movement Studies, 5(3), pp.229-249.

Creativetime.org. (2017). Women on Waves, Author at The Creative Time Summit. [online] Available at: http://creativetime.org/summit/author/women-on-waves/ [Accessed Mar. 2017].

Harris, A. (2017). Art, activism and our creative future. [online] The Conversation. Available at: http://theconversation.com/art-activism-and-our-creative-future-46185 [Accessed Mar. 2017].

McCaughey, M. and D. Ayers, M. (2003). Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice. 1st ed. New York: Routledge.

McGahan, C. (2008). Racing cybercultures. 1st ed. New York: Routledge.

Tate.org.uk. (2017). Activist art. [online] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/glossary/a/activist-art [Accessed Mar. 2017].

Worrell, M. (2017). Art Projects. [online] Women on Waves. Available at: http://www.womenonwaves.org/en/page/2585/art-projects [Accessed Mar. 2017].