Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Task 3 Context of Practice

Comparing and contrasting the two, using quotations as evidence to justify your ideas and arguments. Think how the arguments of the two pieces differ, and which you feel is most convincing.

In the extract written by Raymond Williams, he argues why Television was created and the effects it is having on today's society. Before televisions were widely owned, cinema was more of a one off experience which gave it more enjoyment, however Williams argues that ‘it is clear that television did not supersede cinema because it improved picture quality, but rather because it chimed with the broader economic and cultural move towards a more domesticated and privatized everyday life.’ Today cinema is still popular as a recreational hobby, as it is more of a social activity compared to watching television in the privacy of our own homes whenever and wherever we feel like, especially with the opportunity to record programs and the ability to buy films on DVD and Blueray after the cinema release.

Within film, ‘Programmers, he argues, looked for particularly ‘colourful’ subjects and ideas to exploit this technical development.’ Which can be seen in early colour films, such as Wizard of Oz where the sets and costumes were purposely made as bright and vivid to show off this new medium. He argues that television helped develop many mediums, such as photography, film and animation, as a power for ‘a medium of news and entertainment’ and ‘social communication.’

Less obviously he recalls how television helped adapt and develop electricity. ‘The advantages of electric power were closely related to new industrial needs: for mobility and transfer in the location of power sources, and for flexible and rapid controllable conversion.’ This had a massive effect on the rail system, as electric rail services could be used, saving coal and other resources when using the steam engine. This also reduces labour time, costs and man power, at the same time as increasing the speed in which they can run.

He then goes on to discuss the effect of television, and how that even if it had not have been invented, ‘we would still be manipulated or mindlessly entertained, but in some other way and perhaps less powerfully,’ as boredom and the intellectual need to develop will always win over. Which then leads to how ‘we often discuss, with animation, this or that ‘effect’ of television, or the kinds of social behaviours, the cultural and psychological conditions, which television has ‘led to.’ Television is not always the root cause for these problems however, and can be suggested that it is just an aid for socially unacceptable behaviour to arise and be deemed acceptable.

McLuhan’s essay differs as it is written about ways we think about contemporary mediums, such as ‘‘the medium is in the message’, the global village, the extension and environmental nature of technologies,’ which are all theories which he has created and developed, looking into the psychological nature that technology as a whole has on us, rather than an in-depth discussion on just the medium of television.

Rather than discussing the effects that television has had in developing other mediums, he looks deeper into how technology has integrated itself into our everyday lives, becoming part of us rather than it’s own entity. He understands technology to be an ‘extension of man’, which have effected all of our senses, ‘the eye, the ear, the skin, the hand and the foot. Even the spoken word.’ Allowing communication and development of mankind, whether it be for the good intellectually or entertainment wise, or for the bad by showing inappropriate behaviour as social norms.

Even now, we are adapting more and more to the technology around us, and ‘Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned.’

These ideas differ considerably with Williams, as he doesn’t reflect on any of the negativity that technology can bring, but feels that it can offer us as humans a different way of living for the better, and sees technology in a positive light. Not only as it has helped aid the development of other mediums, but has developed us as humans, and our understanding of the world around us in which we live. 

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