Not too long ago a close friend’s parent proudly admitted to duct taping over the webcam of their newly-purchased laptop. At that time, and perhaps in present day, concern grew around the ability to hack into webcams and spy on the unsuspecting owners. This invasion of privacy left most quivering an Orwellian shudder as they continued to use the technological devices they grew to deem a necessity.
As with most human-made constructs, technology has its share of pros and cons. I type this post while lapping up all that is good in technology, yet a certain unease stirs regarding the fast-paced development of technology and an awareness of all I have yet to learn. In class we are taught tools and shown website on top of website that tracks internet users’ demographics, browsing patterns, and what device they are using to browse (among many other specifics).
Being 27, I am of the age where the world shifted into a digital one. With that said, I almost always feel comfortable with technology’s progression and continue to leave my webcam free of duct tape. However, Digital and Social Media class has taught me digital marketing tricks that I had no idea existed or were so readily available. For example, I wasn’t aware that Facebook was allowed to know what other sites I was browsing and that they tailor their Facebook advertisements to just that. While I admit seeing ads regarding feline dental hygiene (yes I live an exciting internet existence) was eyebrow raising, it was still effective to see on my Facebook panel.
Rather than meeting this information with fear and unease, it is best to use it to my advantage and run with it, for lack of better term. I mentioned in a prior blog post that I volunteer as Chair of Fundraising for send + receive. While planning the Dust + Diamonds 70’s fundraiser, we used the (call it “old fashioned”) knowledge of the Fundraising Committee and festival Board. Just now, months after the fundraiser, I used the Facebook advertisement manager to check in on how many individuals we could have targeted for this fundraiser. As the statistics show me here, there are approximately 1, 200 men and women between the ages of 16-65+ living in Manitoba that are interested in sound art. I could broaden that search to those that enjoy live music, new media art, etc. to target more individuals. Knowing this information could help immensely for our upcoming festival season and any future fundraisers.
I admit to not being tech-savvy in the realm of electronics, which is a realm a bounty of sound artists are privy to. However, the evolution of technology has me thinking of sound art from my perspective, which is one that sees this practice often giving what is organic and natural the priority.
An article found on ArtNews hails John Cage’s 4’33” as the first breach into sound art, which required zero technology :
“He traces sound art back to Cage’s compositions of the 1950s, especially to one work titled 4’33”, in which a piano player walks onstage and sits silently for four minutes and 33 seconds, while the audience is left to listen to the sounds in the concert hall, including nervous coughs and restless movements.”
See and listen to 4’33” here.
While my love/hate/semi-confusing relationship with technology continues, I will strive to embrace it. I cannot say the same for my cat Nermal however, as he without a doubt is cursing the Facebook ad that reminded me to purchase his toothbrush and paste…