On blind spots in our culture and creating changes

(Here is a response or a fusion of all the blogposts I read from Wey so far-still have to read more texts from drop box)

Examples of making our everyday life blind spots more conscioous to us, regarding in how to behave in social public spaces by creating positive chaos (flashmobs). These are examples of overcoming the invisible and oppressing “musts” for conformity that at the end of the day not only keeps everything in order, safe, but also limits people´s ability to feel free and to express themselves. The example below also use media creating a space for change,a t least in our minds. Here comes:

Flashmob of singing Finnish national song in the Helsinki railway station, used for promoting a presidency election candidate number 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaKko3VGAnY

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This is serves in this context as a strong statement on the candidate representing innovativeness, thinking and acting in “out of the box” -way. The happening breaks the illusion of how people are supposed to behave in public and how a strange behaviour is not always bad, but can create joy that resonances a new and creates a sense of unity.

Mtv3 recorded a video clip about dance flashmob here in Helsinki, it involved people from 15-82 years old with an empowering message on how a grey winter city that just turned 200 years can be given some good energy and how everyone can dance and make surprices not regarding the age: http://www.katsomo.fi/?progId=109680#startAt=0:18:03

To me this left a strong feeling of how every individual in community are responsible of the common feeling that exist.

More organized group Improve Everywhere has created successfully chaos and also much happiness in public city spaces around the world, doing flashmob happenings e.g. the “No pants subway ride” in which tens of thousands people took off their pants in subways in 59 cities in 27 countries. All together they´ve had over 100 projects since 2001.

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I really liked their “Meet a Black Person” -video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyRwrrggxok&feature=sh_e_se&list=SL made in Aspen Colorado, where there lives only 0,44% of African American population. To me this was a positive way to make people think about areal segregation of places, what comes to be everyday reality, how we construct what is normal and what is not, what is a norm and what´s out of that, are we conscious of how we´ve constructed these ideas? this has to do with tolerance and acceptance to difference.

“The spinning beach ball of death” -show http://improveverywhere.com/2012/03/09/spinning-beach-ball-of-death/ presented in the innovative TED conference that is focused on “Ideas worth spreading” and made fun of the MAC´s visually nice but always giving a bad sign marks

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“The Sleeper car” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAoHHq8YWPs&feature=autoplay&list=ELHKpic6hunAM&playnext=2 to me made a statement on how the cities have so little room for rest, to be in quiet for a moment, how cities are too much made as the hearts of effectiveness…and how easily this could be changed a bit, by creating these spaces for taking it easy or laugh and gather back the lost energy.

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Frozen Grand central http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwMj3PJDxuo is almost like an installation, to me it makes us think, do we notice other people, or do we just walk and execute our own missions inside our head without noticing others, it is about individuality versus community feeling, feeling of togetherness, which also has to do with a general feeling of security, therefore again all comes to wellbeing.

One more example on tackling to our blind spot by creating different visual and physical happenings is a dance group called Wannabe ballerinas http://www.wannabeballerinas.com/?page_id=2 It comprises of women of different ages, of different body shapes and dancing backgrounds, sharing the same dream of becoming a ballerina. To me this makes it visible how we always take it as normal that this type of dancers are always young and extremely light weighted people moving in perfectionist matter, and we think this is the only way to be a credible ballerina. The group and it´s success shows that anyone can fullfill their dream-that it´s not fixed you have to be certain age, have certain looks and physics to be able to dance, move beautifully and even gain success and admiration from others. Also I think in more general way the stereotypes regarding who can be a credible dancer are shared in western cultures, in African I´ve learned the stereotypes on this are completely different.

Not long ago another blind spot was made visible here in Finland: the leading newspaper had underwater images of supposedly Russian submarines, when a teenage boy noticed it was directly taken from the Titanic movie. He then got a prize as making one of the most important journalistic acts of the year-a news that became one of the most important Finnish ones that spread globally. The blind spot here being people´s blind belief towards the most credible news organization of always giving the true impression on the world, while actually they don´t have time to check on leeds, so this sort of mistakes are possible and actually normal.

 Reflection & thoughts on situated cognition and the culture of learning + blind spots:

The examples I gathered above used people and physical action in public space, mediated to wide audiences by sharing videos in Internet and social medias, the last example penetrating to news media business by using journalism, ideas spread trough print, Internet and actual prize-party.

I assume the real shift of blind spots need more “breaks” of the illusions, since people still are prone to conformity, a critical mass always needs to be gathered first, in order to make bigger changes, trough shaping of the common worldviews. Social media is useful, creating the illusion of “all my friends are now pro-this X factor, therefore they must be right, therefore I´ll go with that flow too, therefore I´m safe and not alone”.

On showing the effect on consumerist western lifestyle I´ve seen many art installations, TV-programs and photoprojects tackling this. Still, it´s one thing to first make people conscious of the problem, and willing to make changes in their behaviour, but it´s another thing to make them and a bigger group to actually start behaving differently. Improve everywhere uses positive feelings as tactical strategy. I think this works nowadays, in this “entertainment era” better than just informational strategy. Their videos “tickle” the viewers brain, curiosity is gained immediately, and direct answers are not provided.

Thinking of the BBC-program on color coding, the specialist stated that by learning language and concepts we learn to categorize ans structure things, that language has this way effects on how our brain works. Therefore one way to initiate change regarding blind spots is to come up with new concepts and spread those effectively, making those meaningful everyday language to as many as possible. But what is also needed is that one needs to feel the learning of how to see something in specific way is useful, in everyday life, like how the Himba have learn to distinquish different greens, possibly because of usefulness in reading the signs of nature. If there is no exposition to something that triggers the change and if there is no necessity created to really notice and start making changes by learning, nothing actual can change. Needs can be created trough basic logics of commercials, brought to our consciousness by media-technology, but for sure needs are also mediated trough culture. So in order for the Himba to learn to see blue, they need to see in everyday action, from others behaviour, how it is useful to notice this color-how it can even save lives in specific situations (same ideas than with Wilensky states). Then there need to be a sign for expressing this color. The lost in translation -movien anyhow demostrated well the cultural differences on communication, language and common sense.

On how to become aware of my own cultures blind spots I need to keep up an attitude of openness and curiosity, a will to know and understand more and I need to expose myself consciously to situations consisting of encounters with representatives of other cultures-even thinking of aerial differences inside the same country. This I try to do all the time, by traveling and being critical towards my own thinking and perceptional bias. I don´t think Himba need to learn all the same concepts we have, but if it can have an affect to survival in their environment and wellbeing, then learning to see blue is vital to them.

My idea for a concept that could be useful in my culture that is now missing could describe the feeling of bein in-between-state, I refer to people´s troubles to decide on important things in life, while now we have too many possibilities, so being undecided as a word don´t describe the stressfulness and meaningfulness people see in their choices-e.g. Thinking of their career, relationships, how and in what role to spend the rest of their life. One more concept:

Slow Photography-which I´ve created to myself and shared to others  here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Slow-Photography/216833108345273, is to reflect a way of looking at world, documenting meaningful things-to self and/or also others, in the way in which the photographer is present in the moment and the whole image taking process – the concept reflects opposite to fast-food snapshots that are taken without though or presence-but also looked the same way afterwards-not really looking, or thinking or feeling anything.

On teaching and shaping viewers interpretations on things in purpose: in a school that teaches the rights and wrongs the teacher is for sure a propagandist, however if we want to teach people to be as innovative and flexible as possible, to learn to take care of theirs and the worlds wellbeing, teachers should teach pupils to think self-how to create your own worldview in staid of trusting just the mediated truths about the world. So this is what makes a teachers role different from advertiser and propagandist.

On the vide of Bichsel´s story: I watched the video trying to think on notion of happiness, It was hard not to go along the persuasive reader voice and the way he was going, the video anyway showed the power of words and power of images and how our brains are adjusting to anything, we can keep anything we want as the norm, it´s all about attitudes and agreements. This represented the process of art to me, but also the difficult balancing between us having our own worldviews and still being connected to others, by having enough things and concepts in common.

To discuss: I´d like to talk on Monday on these Wey´s questions: What happens, if more and more parts of our communication depends on technical media? What happens when our media for communication shifts in its paradigmatic setting? -these are harder for me to state any answer-like to hear others ideas.

On culture and knowledge and specific worldviews with concepts we all have, depending on the groups we belong to: I´ve thought how to use social media to my parents a bit, it seams the world of that consist of so many nonverbal rules, that come into my consciousness more clearly only when I put those into words, for them to understand better. Still there´s so many of those-also thinking of the benefits, why be part of the social media users group-that it´s hard to find all the words. My parents are doing fine without the Facebook, and it makes me think too, are the arguments why one should be using it very strong anyway. When people have gotten used to using it, they stop questioning this; what if I did´nt use it? How would it change anything? Who benefits from me using it? What do I gain and what do I loose while using it? When things become common knowledge, they become common truths, that remain more and more unquestioned.


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