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Class Notes for Monday, 2/14/11

tangerines's picture

Class Notes for Monday, 2/14/11

Review of the readings:

Turkle: online gender-bending and its art

Hausman: transsexuals engineer themselves

Parens: loss of authenticity when parents shape their children?

Reactions as we wrap up the readings & this section of the class:

  • Turkle caused Franklin20 to consider agency & gender identity online.

  • Do we go online to play out the real self?

  • LeaMirella: we do play out our real selves because cyberspace allows you to play out an extension of yourself

  • The question of authenticity: does having surgery to change your body (unnecessarily) result in a loss of authenticity?

  • That depends on our definitions of normal... “normal” is an extremely narrow category that excludes most people and which can't help us define what is “acceptable”

  • Is normal separate from authentic?

  • Two different sides to authenticity: biological and internal

  • Authenticity is beaten out of you early on

  • It's hard for many people to understand body discomfort without having gone through it

  • Parens suggests we are all authentic already; Hausman says authentic is much less defined

  • How do we define authentic? As original, or new and unique? Our definition will change how we approach the issue

  • Maybe authenticity is not aesthetic achievement but instead an empowering agent of change?

  • What about agency vs. social pressure in the performance of gender?


New section of the course: The Science and Technology of Information/

  • What is “information”? What forms does it take?

  • We already redefined gender … now let's redefine information

After listening to a noise band and some Beethoven, our class reactions:

  • Disliked the noise band because there was no discernible pattern

  • Some only knew it was music because of the context in which it was experienced – so perhaps the context in which we receive information affects our understanding?

  • One suggestion was that the perspective of artistry is relevant and that there is no more information in the noise band than in Beethoven

  • Information is filtered based on preexisting knowledge

  • What is white noise? What's sound? Sound has a whole range of frequencies, and when the amplitude of all of those frequencies are the same, then static is created – what we call white noise

  • What affects how we process information? Is it observation of pattern, previous experience, context?

  • If a pattern is not discernible, does that mean it automatically lacks one? Or merely that we are unable to discern the pattern?

  • Is information merely noise?

  • Is noise unpleasant to hear, or does that also depend on the individual?

  • Is noise merely “oral”? Noise can be felt too

  • Is noise a sensation, or is it an interpreted pattern? Perhaps meaning is drawn by the person listening

  • Stimuli, interpretation, noise all need definitions for further discussion

  • Noise and information: differences of interpreter?

  • Information could be just a subcategory of noise and depends entirely on context: it's whatever is presented to us

  • Information is merely an organization of noise to attain meaning




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