Hero Project

Hero Project: GoPro + Community

Archive Date: April 30, 2018
Author:
lrodcollection0 Comments

“…everyone who loved sports and adventure wanted a GoPro, and from a niche brand, it moved to being a household name. With GoPro, anyone can be a star. In a context where everyone is self-obsessed and “selfie-obsessed” GoPro’s success was certain. Gopro BE A HERO. Their slogan, and their focus during their entire journey.” – Guilia Berardinetti

What does it mean to be a hero? Hero of what by definition? Why GoPros? What is a love ethic in regards to approach? What makes GoPros and community work important? What is humane about recording people in the community? In capturing care how do I ethically insert the technology and my presence? What is relevant? What is important?

I started out this semester in the deep pit of these questions. The questions were in surplus and I was unsure about how the work would unfold moving forward. I knew in the beginning that I wanted to work with a community and Champion Intergenerational Center, and the center was a great match to gain wide perspectives through the community of generations with the GoPro Technology. However, I was still missing the scholarly backing for this research for developing my approach and foundation. I felt a little lost and unsure at the beginning of this project.

and then…

Fred Rogers appeared 

While Mr. Rogers is most notoriously known for his popular TV show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, he was more quietly a revolutionary in the pioneering of humane technologies. In the video above we see a humble man make a clear argument for the well-being of children who are absorbing commercialized networking, violence, and inappropriate material through TV’s growing popularity. Mr. Rogers said, “Let’s not get so fascinated by what the technology can do that we forget what it can’t do.” With his argument, he is awarded 20 million for children’s programming that revolutionized young minds forever. The example that Mr. Rogers develops is that the technology can be used for the betterment of humanity and the social platform the TV uses to enhance a young person mind – is limitless. Suddenly I had a lineage to Humane Technology and a framework of care + wellbeing to support my research.

“It’s really easy to fall into the trap of believing that what we do is more
important than what we are. Of course, it’s the opposite that’s true: What
we ultimately determine what we do!” – Fred Rogers

Creative Knot Session

Taking the new information of Mr. Rogers I began to construct my Creative Knot Session for Research Studies. This knot is specifically for the workshop and gathers information that can help forward the research.

Who gets to be a hero was one of the first things I thought when looking through the GoPro webpage. Browse here. So what defines a hero? Merriam Webster records the definition of Hero by 4 main categories:

a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability

b: an illustrious warrior

c: a person admired for achievements and noble qualities

d: one who shows great courage

(Definitions lifted from here)

I am fascinated by the roles that Hero takes on. We go from the extremes of Superman, Ironman, and Wonder Woman to the Doctor, Firefighter, and good samaritan. However, what about the unnoticed heroes that lurk outside of our traditional thinkings? I wanted to explore this in the Creative Knot and with Champion IG Center to recognize those who go unnoticed.

So, thinking ahead that I was going to be integrating myself into the Champion Intergenerational Center, I was thinking about how the guests would wear the technology and what perspectives were central to the end video compilation. Some questions that framed my Creative Knot:

What makes these people heroes compared to everyday heroes? 

What is relevant about filming the interactions of everyday heroes that exist daily vs. the radical interactions of athleticism?

What is it like to be a hero for a day and have your experience captured?

How do peacefulness and tenderness translate on film? What does tenderness look like in actions form?

Here is the first archive of footage (Research Studies peers featured) I gathered and framed by perspectives of movement I was cataloging:

When I think about this stage of research I am experiencing Bell Hooks All about Love reading where she says, “For example, revolutionary new technologies have led us all to accept computers. Our willingness to embrace this “unknown” shows that we are all capable of confronting fears of radical change, that we can cope.” Her words came with such power, I created a vivid response called a Love + Ethic Manifesto. I am drawn to the notion of change and the constant restructuring of how we operate as human beings through interactions and causes. I am searching for radical change step by step inside my own thinking structure and outside of my internal state.

Next came…

Building on Care + Well-being + Ethics

During this course, I read three books that have forever changed my thinking structure: Matters of Care by Maria Puig De La Bellacasa, All about Love by Bell Hooks, and Art of Relevance by Nina Simon. What does care mean? How do we care? What are the staples of caring movement? How are we ethically caring? How do we perform well-being? When using a GoPro what actions of care am I capturing?

Where do I begin? Maria Puig De La Bellacasa’s Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. Bellacasa says, “Care is a human trouble, but this does not make of care a human only matter” (Bellacasa 2017, 2).  Bellacasa uses Toronto’s definition, “care about” vs. “care for” as a means to situate the dimensions of care into effect for aligning with the ethical and political questions that arise per this poignant matter. I realized I was not going to be able to fulfill this project by dropping in and recording with my GoPros. There was much more of myself that I would have to offer in order to understand this approach and community. I wanted to absorb the community, be present, be still with my observations and trusted the work would develop.

Some keys developments:

Being fully present

Actively Listening

Touch (assist a child or elderly navigate space)

Eye Contact

Engaging in a complete conversation, before changing focus.

Smiles and laughing.

Important Quotes:

“I believe relevance unlocks new ways to build deep connections with people who don’t immediately self-identify with our work” (Simon 2016, 23).

“The sooner we start focusing on becoming relevant to the people we most care about “and “Relevance is relative, and people are busy”, not only approaches the word “care” we were just analyzing, but references something other than yourself or desire (Simon 41-42).

“When we see love as a combination of trust, commitment, care, respect, knowledge, and responsibility, we can work on developing these qualities or, if they are already a part of who we are, we can learn to extend them to ourselves” (Hooks 2001, 54).

Champion Intergenerational Center

This part of my journey hits will full force and I still am unable to move past how deeply I am affected by the human beings in this community. I find myself drawn to the energy and goodness that seeps into the foundation of this center. The community is full of bright lights, old and young, energized, thoughtful, and ready to share at any moment.

Here is where I needed to approach with the Love Ethic Hooks suggests, “A love ethic presupposes that everyone has the right to be free, to live fully and well.” (Hooks 2001). How was I going to approach the room and environments I entered? I started by visiting and be apart of the Sign Language Intergenerational class. I made myself available for interactions and conversations. I did not introduce technology into space for a couple visits. Then when I introduced technology I wore the GoPros and did not live film. Making sure I was available for any interactions and questions the community of elders and children might have.

“To live our lives based on the principles of a love ethic (showing care, respect, knowledge, integrity, and the will to cooperate), we have to be courageous” (Hooks 101).

Over my time there the visits, interactions, ways of filming, and containers for footage has shifted drastically. Eventually, many different ages were wearing and capturing footage, Elizabeth Speidel the director was wearing the GoPros and interacting with the community, and I am set up to teach my session with the IG community around GoPro’s, Care, and love rituals. Thinking about the love ethics and love rituals that are primary in this experience, and really reflect the care that happens in this community. We will also bring in our superhero movements to give energy to the room and spark creativity.

When I think about this work I am currently reflecting on my traces and the artist mantras that I created along the way to support the daily intake of information. These tiny mantras have provided me the support when I am too tired, or unsure of what is next.

Artist Mantra

Don’t lose hope.

Do the work.

There is much to be done.

With Love…

Radicalize the space.

Listen actively.

Love accepts.

Challenge to think collectively.

Think more equality and equity.

Who are the love ethic heroes?

We are not alone.

Being an artist keeps me sane.

There is more to be done.

I am constantly rebelling – it’s ok.

Be free to do the work.

Being an artist defies reality.

I have permission to make what I want to make.

I am constantly changing.

Next & Final Phase:

I still have a session to this Wednesday with IG to deepen the footage and love ritual perspectives, and will have a compiled video of edited material by the end of the week that culminates my time there. This last video should run at 6-8 minutes in reality but my end target is 10 minutes.

Editing will be done through my final artistic perspective on the work framed by the community at Champion Intergenerational Center to celebrate their daily heroics and environment of care they share.

I am looking forward to sharing this footage with them, and seeing their reactions when they see themselves on the TV. The celebration of their daily, caregiving, experience, and community witnessed. I am excited to keep working on projects with them and to see where the next process takes us.

Many thanks to all those involved in this project. This research is made possible by Norah Zuniga-Shaw, Humane Technologies Fellowship, Elizabeth Speidel and Champion Intergeneration Center Community, and Research Studies peers.

 

Citation Station:

Bellacasa, María Puig de la. 2017. Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

hooks, bell. 2001. All about love: new visions. New York: Harper Perennial.

Simon, Nina. 2016. The art of relevance. Santa Cruz, CA: Museum 2.0

Humane Technology: Fred Rogers

Archive Date: January 20, 2018
Author:
lrodcollection1 Comment

When I was a child I so much enjoyed watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I found this show to be unique in its approach to different topics that my parents or other adults would shy away from at the time. Mr. Rogers provided a model for courage, bravery, and an approach to tough topics that gave me a great sense of joy, inclusion, and understanding. I also received an example of connection and comfort that arose from the content of this show. I do also know I am about to connect yet another white male figure to the cannon of intermedia studies, however, this is relevant to the Hero Project I am working on with the Champion Intergenerational Center.

According to Hedda Sharapan, one of the main consultants for the Fred Rogers Communications philosophy recalls,

“Fred felt strongly that “screens” should not be used as a substitute for human communication. He originally named our production company Family Communications, because his goal was to create experiences that parents and children would watch together and talk about. He firmly believed the best technology connects children with others and the world around them in positive ways.”

In an age where Mr. Roger’s philosophy seems to fade away, I recall this episode from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood examining technology, connection, and learning, please click here. There is currently no getting away from the fact that the digital space is impeding on the analog spaces, and any source for course correction has long past. Mr. Rogers said, “Let’s not get so fascinated by what the technology can do that we forget what it can’t do.” I think the fascination has overtaken our lives and we are slowly forgetting its limitations. This situation is the one I am consumed with at the moment. How can we not forget about love, empathy, joy, relevance, and human connection and interaction? It can be hard to recognize the work that is being done in the realms of technology, film, and TV that address these concerns.

While I connect with my own experience watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood I am also looking at my own children’s consumption and reliance on the screen. I am constantly struggling with the relationship my children have with screens. Noting that this applies to my own struggle I have with disconnecting. I feel like I am constantly trying to find time to enjoy communication and interact by installing no screens at dinnertime, timed interactions, reading a book time, and blackout weekends. However, with all these new provisions to safeguard a child’s learning, I still find a struggle as society becomes more and more embedded through the screen. Here are some recent stats on daily intake. Also see here. 

Is this how it is going to be? Is the humane approach now to find ways to disconnect from the screen and reconnect with the body, environment, and people around us? Or is the humane way to provide content that enhances the connections in the digital space? Maybe it is both at this point.

Considering how TV and screen time can be humane, I glance over at the film industry statistics, which currently claims globally 41.2 billion dollars in 2017. My Humane technology project under Norah Zuniga Shaw’s research is in film and animation, so the impact of the rising power of film interests me. Check out some of the film industries projected numbers here. These numbers raise concern that our relationship towards film is constantly growing in popularity, and the rise of Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks films’ continue to be powerhouses in children’s content. Does the content of the films allow us a moment to escape our lives by providing us with 2-3 hours of visual entertainment? Or the chance to engage in other worlds, human interactions, different experiences, and problem solve? Is this considered humane?

I guess it all comes down to the content provided. I recently reflect on watching the Pixar movie COCO, I consider this experience of witnessing my own culture and family dynamics represented with care, so powerfully on a screen – to be humane. To see for once on the big screen in animation a clear representation of what it means to be Latina/o had a profound impact on me – one I will not forget. Yes, this movie also spoke to my inner child and my obsession surrounding death culture. More on that later.

While these thoughts are just some of the sensibilities I am forming around my project -there is much more to consider. The Champion Intergenerational Center I will be working with provides the opportunity for older and younger people to interact around well-being together.  Some of my growing questions at the moment include: What content needs to be seen? What are the representations I can provide with care? How is my approach considering love and empathy through film?

In 1969 Mr. Rogers made claim and was awarded 20 million to provide a platform of care to children with a television show via the public access network. This show was revolutionary for its time and has been an inspiration for showing the way to deliver content with care. Watch Mr. Rogers give his testimony…

The video above continues to move and inspire me. Not only with Mr. Roger’s ability to provide a sound argument but with the care and approach to his material. Mr. Rogers was able to transform public television and strategically provide an alternative for growing young minds. I think there is much to learn from Mr. Roger’s in the delivery of care and well-being.

Mr. Rogers, you were a pioneer and innovator in the humane technology field.