My project took a creative stab at remediation. It consists of a children’s book, colorful with clipart pictures. The story consists of a young boy and his grandfather. The grandfather goes through his, his father, and his grandfather’s era of life, explaining the technology back then starting in the 1800s. The story ends with the little boy’s explanation of what he has today, the new sensation called the Internet. The goal of this project was to show the advances of technology through the decades as well as explain what remediation is in a simple and fun way that is visually appealing. Remediation can be a confusing topic and I’ll admit I was very confused about the true meaning when I first read about it. This book is a way for everyone, especially younger generations, to understand what remediation is and even take a side on it. They will come out of the book with a positive view on it as Emily and I talked about the pros of remediation. The positives being that remediation causes improvements and progress, which can only lead towards a more successful future. Therefore this project appeals to a younger audience, no older than the teens. It could appeal to kids that are interested in art or technology, ones interested in development of a project or creative thinkers. Our project will formulate ideas in the younger generations’ minds so that they can decide what to do with these thoughts and take action. Young children’s brains are still developing so they are able to explore and take in more ideas without already being bias towards a certain opinion. We hope that these actions will be helpful rather than harmful, leading to more advances in technology but not the overruling of it. We wanted to alleviate any fear or doubts about developing media. For example, people today may think that the Internet and technology is taking over, but we have to think of what we get out of these. We are able to communicate easily and transfer ideas from one country to another. With more ideas comes more innovations, and with more innovations brings more advances. The future is dependent on our actions now. As Raymond Williams says, “If technology is a cause, we can at best modify or seek to control its effects” (Williams 27).
Emily and I decided to do a PowerPoint, because we thought it was the easiest virtual way to display a book format. However, it looked too much like a boring PowerPoint, so we decided to use Flipsnack. The app “Flipsnack” really gives the readers the feeling that they are reading an actual book even if it’s not a physical one in their hands. It takes a PDF and creates a book look-alike. This program automatically flips the pages when you press a button, so it’s as if the reader the flipping the pages of an actual book they are reading. “…young people are at the point in their lives where they are most motivated to construct identities, to forge new social groupings, and to negotiate alternatives…in all of these the media play a central part” (Livingstone 4). At this point in time, media is the best portrayal of ideas. Berger also writes, “We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relation between thing and ourselves. Our vision is continually active…” (Berger 9). We wanted the audience to get a vision of how they would use technology in the old days compared to how they use it now and how it effects them. The use of clipart (childish looking photos) helped the audience get a sense that this was a book for a kid. Every image didn’t have the same characters in them, but that didn’t matter. With each new character, the readers were able to formulate their own, deeper meaning of the story. “Every image embodies a way of seeing…our perception or appreciation of an image depends also upon our own way of seeing” (Berger 10) and “…photographs are often used to bring an sense of immediacys and “reality” to a layout” (Wysocki 9). In addition to images, big colorful font was used to make this story and easier read. “…others use different typefaces and other graphic elements to create a variable surface that can look playful or create a sense of geometric order” (Wysocki 8). With the sense of brightness and boldness, the audience is more attracted to the pages and willing to keep reading. An interesting technique we used was the use of quotation marks throughout most of the story. Since the grandfather told the story we decided to put all his dialogue in quotes, including the dialogue Preston said as well. In most present day stories, readers see sentences the characters say in quotes, in order to organize the piece better and make it easier to understand which character is saying what. The quotations can enclose words or phrases that need certain attention drawn to them.
My group ended up pursuing this plan because it was different and something others wouldn’t really think of. Remediation is a controversial and sophisticated topic, something that one would not relate with children. Emily and I wanted to challenge ourselves and see if we could really simplify this topic down and make it way less complicated than it seems. Using characters that could be real life ones really helps connect to the readers. Also seeing the development of technology over decades is very interesting. It’s amazing to see the progress made from what we were first using to communicate. One example we used was the television. Raymond Williams comments that, “Television was invented as a result of scientific and technical research. As a powerful medium of communication and entertainment it took its place with other factors-such as greatly increased physical mobility, itself the result of other newly invented technologies-in altering the scale and form of our societies” (Williams 28). Another technology described was the camera. “The invention of the camera changed the way men saw. The visible came to mean something different to them” (Berger 18). Using this children’s book, it allows our audience to think about all technology in a way they haven’t thought of before. Putting the technologies in an order like a timeline, from the first telegraph to the Internet, the readers want to see what keeps coming next. The book leaves the reader wondering what new media is going to come out next and if it will be useful to society. It may also leave the readers wanting to go out and be the person to develop that next innovation. “We know from historical studies of past ‘new’ media that the outcome…is often shaped by those expectations and may be amenable to intervention if opportunities are recognized in time” (Livingstone 2).
When looking at the finalized composition, I believe it was a success. Emily and I work efficiently and play off each other with ideas so the project was put together well. We worked on everything together from creating the Flipsnack, to writing in each of the pages or copying and pasting pictures. Organization and neatness were very important to us as well as visual appeal and I think we accomplished that. The only failure I would think of is that fact that we didn’t make an actual bounded book out of this story. That would have really brought our story to life and made it look official. This is a result of lack of resources and materials. Since we didn’t have too much accurate knowledge on past technology, we had to research these ways of communication, which took up some time. However, when it came to present day media, thing became easier and we were able to clearly expand on this. It was hard to think of what kind of composition we wanted to do at first. Remediation is a big topic and trying to tackle it can be difficult. I think simplifying it was the best way to compact what authors today are trying to say about it (how development of new media is refreshing and useful for society). Once our composition was picked, ideas flowed and the rest just came together. Finally, I believe that we proved the point that new media is for the better. After all authors Bolter and Grusin say that, “With these new applications, the desire for immediacy is apparent in claims that digital images are more exciting, lively, and realistic that mere text on a computer screen and that a videoconference will lead to more effective communication that a telephone call” (Bolter and Grusin 23). On the other hand if I were to start this project over again with the same goals, I would maybe do a different lay out like a newspaper or poster. I would have still remediated a piece but showed my thoughts in another creative way. The newspaper would have been a more difficult and complex piece where the poster could have been for younger children again. I would prefer to create hand made project like these because Emily and I found that using book making applications like iBook was difficult and didn’t give us the options we wanted. I could write a piece on my own experiences with old and new technology. Bolter and Grusin do say that, “In order to create a sense of presence, virtual reality should come as close as possible to our daily visual experience” (Bolter and Grusin 22).
Bolter, J. David, and Richard A. Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1999. Print.
Livingstone, Sonia M., and Sonia M. Livingstone. Young People and New Media: Childhood and the Changing Media Environment. London: SAGE, 2002. Print.
Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting, 1973. Print.
Wysocki, Anne F. The Multiple Media of Texts. Vol. Chapter 5. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Williams, Raymond. The Technology and the Society. Vol. Chapter 20. London: Wesleyan UP, 1972. Print.