Remediation

1. In your own words, briefly describe the process of remediating your text.

After pondering a variety of options for this project, I decided that I would like to remediate Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech, which went viral on YouTube after it was made in the Australian Federal Parliament on October 9th, 2012.

I found the speech on YouTube (uploaded by the ABC) in full, which was fifteen minutes long. Since the requirements for the remediation were much shorter, I had to select the most pertinent parts of the speech and discard the other unneeded parts. I wanted to add images to the audio of the speech, so I used an online YouTube to MP3 converter (http://www.youtube-mp3.org/) and edited the sections I wanted to use in another program called Audacity.

It occurred to me that the video I wanted to create might have more impact if Julia Gillard’s speech were contrasted with words spoken by the former Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott. So, I hunted down some pertinent statements he made, highlighting the validity of her observations regarding his sexist tendencies and the issue of misogyny in Australia. Once I found some of Tony Abbott’s relevant comments, they went through the same process of being converted to MP3 audio and edited in Audacity.

I then spent time searching for images and articles that I deemed to be appropriate. The images I selected were intended to be confronting, highlighting the hypocrisy of the public’s reactions to Gillard and how she was treated as the first female Prime Minister of Australia. I either managed to locate images which I could freely reuse, or emailed bloggers and web site publishers for their permission to reuse the images for educational purposes in the video I made.

The issues I encountered whilst working on my remediation were related to Copyright. Some of the YouTube files that I found were licensed under a ‘Standard YouTube License’, which restricted my reuse or editing of them. However, since parliamentary proceedings are in the public domain, I could reuse all of the audio I located for this video. An interesting thing to note though, was that in the version of the Australian Anthem I found, the author of the YouTube video makes this comment in the video’s description: “I hope you find it useful”. But, he has licensed the video under a Standard YouTube License, which does not allow remix or reuse. I decided to contact the YouTube user directly, asking for his permission to reuse the music, to which he responded positively, allowing me to reuse the music. This helped me to sidestep the video’s restriction, which he overlooked when uploading it to YouTube.

It was because of all these permissions to reuse I obtained, that I licensed the video I created under a Standard YouTube License (to restrict further reuse). I also marked the video as ‘Unlisted’, so that it could not be found easily through a regular search and was only viewable to those that I provided the link to, i.e. for the purposes of my remediation project.

I used Final Cut Pro software for the final edit of this video. After assembling all of my audio and image files together, I stayed back late at work to make my final video on Final Cut Pro, using a Mac computer. I found this software more user-friendly than Adobe Premiere, or any of the free video editing software tools I played briefly with. Plus, I wanted to avoid a branding watermark being visible because some of the free options came with that condition of use. I haven’t edited video for a number of years, so the time I spent on Final Cut Pro was a little longer than I had anticipated, as I was refreshing my memory, as well as getting acquainted with the new features of the latest version of the software. I learnt more about layering sound and slide transitions throughout the editing process. All in all, it was complete and ready for upload to YouTube within an hour.

2. In what ways does your remediated text demonstrate an understanding of how remediation impacts on the contemporary media environment?

As mentioned earlier, I wanted the audio to accompany images that could be considered confronting. I was seeking to hit home the idea that misogyny is alive and well in Australia, as there still are those who don’t believe it exists, or are in denial about it. Thus, I inserted a warning image at the beginning of the video, and restricted the age of viewers in the video’s settings.

I have asked others about their thoughts on Julia Gillard’s speech, and a lot of the people I have spoken to mention that they thought it was a little exaggerated or over the top. I could also see that comments posted on YouTube and elsewhere on the web about Julia Gillard were dismissive or even downright insulting. I thought that taking Gillard’s and Abbott’s words out of their original context and accompanying them with images made by other Australians would have more impact and highlight the opinion that the existence of sexism and misogyny is a valid one. I sought to saturate the video with images, so that the viewer would feel inundated with as many examples as possible within the 3+ minute time-frame. I was seeking to provide the viewer with, at least, pause for thought before reacting dismissively, arguing that our society wasn’t that proliferated with these positive opinions and images of women.

Words are powerful, but they are even more so, when accompanied by equally powerful images, emotion and commentary. This is my opinion.

One pauses for thought when one considers the role of media producers, distributors and audiences in the new media environment. When one has the ability to remix information with relative ease, and can change the tone of an initial version of media of some kind, it is a evocative experience. It is possible to alert the consumer of the media to other points of view that may not have been previously considered. It can change opinions, persuade consumers to alter their attitudes and the judgements they automatically make about a topic or an issue. The roles that are played in such new media environments can be of great import, as they can directly impact upon the general attitude of an entire society if the messages sent are powerful enough. Passive audiences, who do not pause to consider the media they are consuming from as many perspectives as possible, can be easily swayed and trained to think in the ways that the media they are consuming dictates.

However, this remediation exercise has also taught me that the audience are not just passive consumers. New media has enabled the audience to become producers and distributors if they choose to be. The existence of such technology makes it easier for us to disseminate our opinions, as most of us have the ability and means to create, share and consume media in a participatory culture, if we want to do so.

3. What key themes and/or concepts covered in the unit do you think are raised by your remediation? Why/How?

I recognise that even though this project has allowed me to voice my personal opinions about Australian society’s reaction to the first female Prime Minister, I am also provided with a false sense of making a difference in Australian society. Blank et al. (2012) concur, arguing that “While new media allow ordinary people to directly voice opinions and tell stories in different ways, the perception of (making) a difference creates an illusion of democracy”(pp. 257-258).

I can also see that Jenkins (2006) would refer to what I created for this project is a form of pop cosmopolitanism. As a Cosmopolitan, I have endeavoured to “embrace cultural difference, seeking to escape the gravitational pull of (my) local communit(y) in order to enter a broader sphere of cultural experience”(p. 155). I do not accept the Australian status quo, where women, generally speaking, are compelled to fall in line with society’s expectations. However, since this remediation focuses on Australian attitudes to women in politics, it is evident that other cultures experience similar repression. Gillard’s speech resonated with me, as it did with many other women around the world.

I think that my remediation might exemplify trends in the development of new media in that it adheres to providing an unorthodox view of Australian politics: one that allows for dissent, inventiveness, and alternative activist views (Lievrouw, 2006, p. 115). It is relatively uncommon for such confronting imagery, which I selected for the remediation, to be juxtaposed with Gillard’s parliamentary speech, or with Abbott’s questionable public comments. I view the final video as a form of protest, arguing the case for women who have to live with these examples of sexism on a daily basis. Although the general consensus is that these acts are slight and benign in nature, they all add up to a general acceptance by the majority that it is okay to treat women this way.

I think that my remediation also presses the importance of traditional media by highlighting a serious parliamentary speech made by an Australian Prime Minister and showing viewers how it has been ridiculed in the public arena. As Gillard mentioned, such comments would not be directed to a male Prime Minister, no matter how much disagreement is evoked in parliament. Such videos of politicians’ speeches should be treated with the respect they deserve, so taking it out of its traditional context goes far in furthering the case for bringing misogynistic societal responses to light.

The new video reflects Bolter and Grusin’s observation that aggressive remediation, as I have presented, enables it to “become a mosaic in which we are simultaneously aware of the individual pieces and their new, inappropriate setting” (1999, p. 47). Once again, the anticipated shock of the imagery, presented alongside original audio, will hopefully go some way to “function in a constant dialectic with earlier media” (1999, p. 50). Taking these political speeches out of their original context might disturb some viewers enough to reconsider their attitudes within an Australian milieu.

REFERENCE LIST:

Blank, P., Brown, W., Deuze, M., Ems, L., Lewis, N., McWilliams, J., & Speers, L. (2012). Participatory culture and media life: approaching freedom. In A. Delwiche & J.J. Henderson (Eds.), The Participatory Cultures Handbook (pp. 257-265): Taylor and Francis. http://www.curtin.eblib.com.au.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=1024648

Bolter, J.D. & Grusin, R. (1999). Immediacy, hypermediacy, and remediation. In J.D. Bolter & R. Grusin, Remediation: Understanding New Media (pp. 44-50). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Retrieved from http://edocs.library.curtin.edu.au/eres_display.cgi?url=dc60264672.pdf

Jenkins, H. (2006). Pop cosmopolitanism: mapping cultural flows in an age of media convergence. In H. Jenkins, Fans, bloggers and gamers: exploring participatory culture (pp. 152-172). New York: New York University Press. Retrieved from http://link.library.curtin.edu.au/p?pid=CUR_ALMA51109282150001951

Lievrouw, L. (2006). Oppositional and activist new media: remediation, reconfiguration, participation. In PDC ’06, Proceedings of the ninth conference on Participatory design: Expanding boundaries in design – Volume 1 (pp. 115-124). http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1145/1147261.1147279

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