GoggleBox as a Public Sphere?

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“Popular media” in my opinion, is what’s shown on free-to-air programs that create discussion or interest amongst the public because it’s new, thus the new television program “GoggleBox”. This also fits the mediated public sphere category, as the show takes ‘ordinary’ viewers to comment on television shows. These expressions of opinion are then filmed to make the show.

Executive producer David McDonald says “”There’s an assumption that the show is about criticising shows and tearing them apart, but that’s not it at all, it has a lot of heart and warmth, Nor is it about polarising the audience at home with outrageous commentaries, regrettable slips of the tongue or dysfunctional relationships. That’s not the sphere where we exist, that’s not the heart of the show” As well as this, the cast of the show is claimed to be different to other TV shows as they have no reason to be broadcast, which apparently seems to connect and appeal to the ordinary viewer.

Yet in an almost accidental way, Gogglebox taps into the culture of modern TV and its consumption. It is, says McDonald, another version of the now-defunct watercooler conversation, which has fragmented, sped up and migrated from the workplace and coffee shop to Twitter and social media. Even though few of us gather around TV at an appointed time to watch a show on a single screen these days, it’s another version of interacting with and commenting upon TV.


This is an example of the way people are getting their share of debate and opinion about a popular text (such as television viewing). Yet somehow it seems to take away the whole point of having an original opinion. By watching a family or group of people give their opinions of a particular show, you’re perhaps making your conclusions from this without being able to interact and form discussion with the cast. The content of what they’re viewing is also mediated and controlled by the producers, as well as the cast itself and what is being said. The talk generated from the show is often not even about the content the cast viewed, it’s what was said and how it was conveyed in a humorous way that gets people talking, which asks, is the only way your opinion is given exposure influenced in the way you can appeal to others as funny or politically incorrect?

McDonald likens the “cast” to well-crafted sitcom characters; “most of their jokes and humour and pathos stems from their character. They’re not trying to be smart-arses, they’re just who they are and that’s what makes them funny.

Gogglebox could very well contribute to mediated public sphere’s as the people cast are claimed to be “regular” people giving reactions to specific programs, yet some issues relate back to the producers and how much control they have in the way only specific opinions and content is available for discussion. The public is basically given no opportunity to rebut or disagree with the show. Yet the cast is basically free to say what they like, given, when it’s their moment on air.

Let’s get this show on the road!

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This is my first go at uploading something on YouTube, and it’s the start of my Digital artefact for 3D Printing. I’m investigating the possibilities of printing prosthetics for people who have partially developed limbs. Check out the video to see what’s initially been taught in the 3D Printing workshop at UOW.

Media Ownership

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In lectures covered, the concept of ideology was introduced as “the way we imagine the world to be”. As this varies from person to person, the power associated to controlling who listens to your version of how things should operate often come back to media ownership.

The thought I was left with was “Does it matter who owns the media” and in relation to the media I use does it make a difference? The best comparison I can relate this topic to is the recent state election in NSW, and thus elections in general. For news and events my use has changed dramatically since moving to university, to that of when I lived at home. Originally Channel 9 was my source of news and current affairs on television, Channel 9 isn’t owned by any one person, instead private equity firm CVC Asia Pacific has control through its holding of Nine Entertainment yet since becoming more independent and the introduction to a smart phone, my primary source of news is Facebook and Twitter. This is due to the ease of access and the ability to filter what news is brought to me through following providers and hashtags. Facebook is owned by Mark Zuckerberg, and Twitter,  Jack Dorsey.

In relation to the election coverage, I believe the media can sway voters in which ever way they choose. This can be the “idealogical” position of those in ownership, the ties they have with the candidate or simply how they appeal to those on different platforms. The recent one is an example due to how each party was represented on social media, which then appeals to me who uses this service as a news source.

Memes from the NSW election campaign.

Memes from the NSW election campaign. Photo: Supplied


So, in this particular example, yes. I do believe that this makes a difference about who owns the media, as they display content in relation to news and events that is consumed by a target audience such as a state election.

An interesting link that was in the lecture, covers another election in 2013, this time federal, and how the media was able to sway an entire party shift led by Rupert Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph. He released a less then convincing post on Twitter (To perhaps reach in another perspective of his opinion)

“Tele wot won it”! No, Australians just sick of Gillard-Rudd incompetence and infighting wrecking great county.”

— Twitter, @rupertmurdoch, 7th September, 2013


Out of a total of 293 political stories we scored only six as pro Labor. While 43 were pro coalition. On the negative side there were just five articles which we judged to be anti Coalition. While a remarkable 134 were anti Labor. The rest we scored as neutral


If this continues to be the case, politicians will not only have to sway the public, they’ll also have to be in terms with media owners so that they may be presented in the media in a positive light, or effectively be cast out and be shamed in the press.

Power of the #

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Upon the lecture on Monday, I’ve realised the power of social media, and how it has rapidly turned into my source for news and updates. This could be due to the creation of the hash-tag (#) and how it has brought global discussions to the media’s attention. The hashtag allows people to easily “trend” a particular topic and allow discussion, with complete freedom.

Chris Messina, creator of the hashtag and former Google designer, says his primary goal was to establish a method for people to converse about topics with little effort on Twitter.

The hashtag has also been a mode of reconciliation, reflection and participation in events which have raised public awareness, such as #i’llridewithyou and memorials such as #911DAY

“Hand”y Technology

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Covered in the lecture of “I ♥ Gadgets”, rose our obsession for ubiquitous connectivity and how we are “always connected, always on”. This triggered my though process in relation to my ideas for my digital artefact, in making gadgets for eventual prosthetics, such as USB ports or even wifi. Then significant news from Exiii creating a 3D printed bionic arm that is controlled by a smartphone! This is ground breaking evidence that in fact, our technology is literally apart of the body!

An EMG sensor on the wearer’s arm sends signals to the smartphone which processes these signals and then sends a signal back to the hand, telling it which movements to make. (http://3dprint.com/52935/exiii-handiii-prosthetic-hand/)

What is even more interesting is that this technology is open source, “so that others can take the design and iterate upon it, hopefully improving the design and functionality in the process.”

MEDA 101 “Authority”

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The notion of Authority could encompass the way we are told to act, or be in a particular way, and the force behind the demands. It can also venture into control and how the power of something or someone can prove to affect the boundaries we set ourselves. The idea is to explore the non-physical and less concentrated power of time or urgency, as authoritative. Slow paced, and by taking a step away and realising the calmness of time as a soothing commodity, clashing with the irony that is 1 minute of your time you won’t get back is practical evidence of the piece. Rhythmic and heavy lengths of sound address perhaps the subtle control of the passing of time. How often has lateness or recording encapsulated your attention? Is this really so different to physical force or barriers? Mesmerising and deep thought is how I’m expecting the responder to  react to this piece, as if in philosophical trance of writing.


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The purpose of copyright, for me, should be the safety that a brilliant new idea or invention in any platform or medium, so that someone else with higher power or resources can gain wealth by stealing it. Now it seems that original warrant for ownership has turned into an obsessive and almost sad law that deprives people of their creative expansion on the new world.

I believe that if someone has an expansion or an idea that will benefit or heaven forbid improve the already published product, then why not try it. Obviously reference the maker, but that’s it. No contracts. No forever. An example doesn’t always have to be gaming, it can be an invention, or a work of art (music, painting, script). There’s an opportunity for all these examples to be kept up with the times of the growing technological future if they would be lenient and patient with peoples remixes of things. Movies are perhaps a little harder to align these points to, as they usually follow phases where people go in and out of entertainment, but why not. Include characters from an already made film as a cameo in another made 10-20 years later, and people are going to rave about it. It could spark a comeback for the original film, people already know its from the original but get excited when they are revisited.

Music is the main point I would like to put forward for discussion. Great makes of art in the music industry have been created, and which I understand needs to be protected, but as far as limiting emerging practitioners and artists to not being able to tinker and remix the pieces seems to negate what the purpose is altogether, which is reaching as many people as possible for as long as possible. The example I want to address is the copyright case of a decade, Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice, Baby” famous copyright infringement on Queen and David Bowie’s hit “Under Pressure”

The way “Vanilla Ice” explains himself is debatable because it’s almost uncanny how much of a resemblance this is to the “original” but what Bowie and Freddy Mercury don’t realise is that, personally, I’ve never heard of their original song “under pressure”, but have heard “Ice, Ice Baby” countless times. By researching this song further, people are alluded to their song. Obviously he didn’t recognise them as much as I think he should have, but the point stands that a 1982 song has rekindled it’s known amongst music audiences.

If this were done in a way that supports my argument, “Vanilla Ice” would have recognised the original song, and went along with the release of his remix or remake of it. I guarantee, with trends of today, the original would have been appreciated and even purchased as vintage value. Take Darude’s 2000 hit “Sandstorm”, it went quiet until recently DJ’s and producers at popular music festivals started playing it again as a remix to their set. He’s now rekindled his career and playing around the world at shows at the age of 40. Perhaps I’m wrong and people don’t want their products or art revisited by pop culture, until their name is lost.