[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 3 on -empyre-: Internet/Online Representation

B. Bogart ben at ekran.org
Thu Apr 23 03:22:51 AEST 2015

Hello Murat!

You may be interested in this 2003 followup:
http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~eschwitz/SchwitzPapers/MidRepl.pdf and then
again with subjects of different cultural background in 2006:

In the 2006 paper, they report that there is a lot of individual
variation. If reporting dreams as low/mono chromatic is due to exposure
to low/mono chromatic media, then one would expect there would be a lot
of individual difference. I agree the choice of label is problematic,
but colloquially, B&W seems to refer to monochromatic material
containing only variations in luminosity. I totally agree that how the
subjects interpret "Do you see colors in your dreams?" would greatly
effect the results.

Indeed we are stuck with verbal and written reports of dreams. I don't
think Schwitzgebel argues that some are actually dreaming in low/mono
chroma, but rather they describe / remember them as being low/mono
chroma. For many many years, we believed that dreams only happened in
REM sleep. When researchers asked them "what they were dreaming about"
on waking from non-REM sleep, most reported nothing. It was not until
the question was changed to "What do you remember?" or "What were you
experiencing?" that it became clear that visual experiences did indeed
occur in non-REM. Words are very important, and frame / constrain / bias

I still think its an interesting line of enquiry to examine how / if
narrative media impacts our consideration (if not experience) of our
imagination / internal simulation.


On 15-04-22 05:51 AM, Murat Nemet-Nejat wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Ben, I have read the Schwitzgebel essay. As a piece of analysis, it has
> so many holes that I do not know where to begin. First, the variations
> among statistical results, even among studies done during the same
> period, are so big that they are basically meaningless. The similarities
> may lie in the eye of the beholder.
> Second hole is in the term "black-and-white movies." Who says black and
> white movies are black and white? They are made with multiple, in the
> good ones endless, varieties of shades between these two (purely black
> or purely white is very rarely the color of a black-and-white movies).
> Very often, they are these subtle gradations that create the quality
> (one might say the aura) of black and white movies. "Film noir" are not
> films with no colors, only that their color palette is more austere.
> Purely based on this fact, the question "do people dream in color or
> not" by connecting them to the history of film is based on a false
> analogy, seduced by the incidental fact that these thirties and earlier
> films (and photographs) are called "black and white." The mind plays the
> addictional (a revealing typo here) trick and forgets that "black" and
> "white" themselves are colors.
> This brings me to the third point. We talk of dreams with words; that is
> what we have of them. In a very perceptive comment in the essay, someone
> says, for example, that one may say that he/she dreamt of his/her sister
> without what is dreamt looking at all like the sister. What we have, and
> call dream, is the word "sister" that feels true. The word (what we
> have) is separated from the dream that remains elusive, unreachable,
> equally true.
> Ciao,
> Murat
> On Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 8:41 PM, B. Bogart <ben at ekran.org
> <mailto:ben at ekran.org>> wrote:
>     ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>     Hello Soraya,
>     Phantasmal Media looks very interesting, thanks for mentioning it. I
>     have many questions now after this brief introduction and perusing the
>     book description on the MIT press website. By virtue of computational
>     media being "expressive" does not also imply it's imbued with ideology?
>     Personally, I see computation as any other media, imbued with
>     affordances that privilege particular uses. (This is getting close to
>     another -empyre- topic on tools.) The notion of "phantasms" is very
>     resonant in the context of my interest in mind wandering and dreaming as
>     processes of internal simulation (imagining oneself in different
>     scenarios). I have wondered whether all media are externalizations of
>     these processes of internal simulation. This is especially interesting
>     when one considers the links between black and white narrative media and
>     dreams (for details, see footnote *). It seems reasonable that identity
>     would play into this, as we could even consider self itself as a
>     function of social interactions and the sense of other as other and not
>     environment.
>     There is clearly an issue with diversity of viewpoints and values in
>     computation and I have often wondered about how operating systems would
>     be designed if computers originated outside of the western world.
>     * Schwitzgebel, E. (2002). Why did we think we dreamed in black and
>     white? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 33(4),
>     649–660. http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/267/1/dreamb&w010430.pdf
>     Ben
>     On 15-04-21 02:43 PM, Soraya Murray wrote:
>     > ----------empyre- soft-skinned space---------------------- Thanks to
>     > Anna and Ben for jumping in and engaging so much!
>     >
>     > I hope for more of this -- and of course there is much room for
>     > vigorous debate, especially in such an interdisciplinary gathering.
>     > And, insofar as new media is concerned, learning what the key debates
>     > around the interstices of identity are—and how to even give adequate
>     > expression to them—is still in process. I'm excited that -empyre- is
>     > supporting this, and encourage other listeners to join in.
>     >
>     > One of the recent texts I've been chewing on, as regards the
>     > relationship between computer science and specific subjectivities is
>     > D. Fox Harrell's recent work, Phantasmal Media (2013). Though I am in
>     > a different discipline, and it is clearly directed toward a computer
>     > science audience, I'm very interested in the way it asserts that all
>     > media (including computational) are expressive, and that they
>     > construct and manifest "phantasms". He describes phantasms not as
>     > specters, but as "combinations of mental images and and ideology
>     > constructed  by embodied, distributed, and situated cognitive
>     > processes" (343) and "cognitive phenomena that include sense of self,
>     > metaphors, social categories, narrative, and poetic thinking— [that]
>     > influence almost all our everyday experiences."  (from the book
>     > description) Among his many arguments, he seems to advocate for
>     > considering the centrality of this while a computational system is
>     > being developed, to allow for expanded potentials around how we think
>     > about and include a broader range of cultural norms and capacities.
>     > This strikes me as a direct and also very unabashed statement about
>     > the cultural narrowness of existing systems, and a call to do
>     > better-- but it's all within the language of computational science.
>     >
>     > As someone in visual studies, this is an approach that differs from
>     > how I might come at it. In my own discipline, we've long since
>     > understood how subjectivity plays its role in and through expressions
>     > within our own objects of study (though we may debate the degree to
>     > which it should inform our understanding). But Harrell's work seems
>     > to represent an intervention into issues of representation and
>     > identity politics at play in computational media. At the very least,
>     > he puts ideology at the center of a conversation that usually places
>     > it at the activist fringe.  It's not my intention to "cheerlead" for
>     > this text, and it may be that this intervention has been made in
>     > other areas of software studies. However, my experience of software
>     > studies theorization (except, perhaps, Wendy Chun) definitely falls
>     > squarely into formal discussion.
>     >
>     > Soraya
>     >
>     >
>     > ___________________________ Soraya Murray, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
>     >  Film + Digital Media Department University of California, Santa
>     > Cruz
>     >
>     >
>     > _______________________________________________ empyre forum
>     > empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>     <mailto:empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>
>     http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>     >
>     _______________________________________________
>     empyre forum
>     empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>     <mailto:empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>
>     http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

More information about the empyre mailing list