Tag Archives: Chang Jiang

Week Five (week beginning March 26): How we know what is real

When we are sitting in the library and looking through the window, how do we know the trees outside are real rather than artificial? The answers vary. For most of the time, it could be the colour, the texture, the growing pattern, the structure and their surroundings. The criteria are based on our knowledge, and depend on our vision or a sense of feeling that helps us to decide whether the trees outside the window are real or not. However, is seeing really believing? My answer is no. Because the physical limitation of humans’ vision fails to fully see what are actually there and tell what is reality. Sometimes illusion creates a sense of reality in which the illusionary scenes go beyond humans’ vision ability. As a result, illusion is considered as reality. Interestingly, people tend to blur the boundary between virtual reality and reality in the networked society nowadays. It seems that reality is no more restricted in the meaning of sense, rather, it has been updated to the affordances of objects. That is to say the functionalities of an agent regarding what can be achieved tend to be considered as the criteria of reality in today’s technology-intensified world. The reading’s example of monkeys only using brain and virtual body to “move an avatar hand and identify the texture of virtual objects”, try to achieve the fully interaction between the world of virtual reality and reality (ScienceDaily, 2011). To the monkeys, the reality is achieved and ‘sensed’ when the monkeys’ consciousnesses simultaneously move with the avatars’ hand.
How about our meaning of reality? Is it similar to the reaction of monkeys’ consciousnesses and avatars’ hand? My answer is similar and humans can do better. Here is an example of virtual reality training for coal miners.

The mining simulation dramatically reduces the potentiality of life risks during mining process, and increases the efficiency of mining. Moreover, if the presupposition of Nicolelis et al. (2011) (the ones did the ‘monkeys-VR’ experiment) became true – i.e. “Someday in the near future, quadriplegic patients will take advantage of this technology not only to move their arms and hands and to walk again, but also to sense the texture of objects placed in their hands, or experience the nuances of the terrain on which they stroll with the help of a wearable robotic exoskeleton,” then what I assume is that some day in the near future, miners will not participate in the underground risky mining process; instead, mining robots will complete underground mining tasks via merely humans’ brain commanding the avatars on the screen.
In this sense, the combination of Neuroengineering and media technology enable us to participate differently in the virtuality of the world, meanwhile, achieving the result that means reality to us is how we perceive reality in the technology-intensified world.
Anon. (2011) ‘Monkeys ‘Move and Feel’ Virtual Objects Using Only Their Brains’, ScienceDaily, October 5, <;.

O’Doherty, JE, Lebedev, MA, Ifft, PJ, Zhuang,KZ, Shokur, S, Bleuler, H, Nicolelis, MAL 2011, ‘Active tactile exploration using a brain–machine–brain interface’, Nature, 479, pp. 228–231.

‘Roof bolter’,, <;.


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Publishing does not change “his mind” but “outfit”

Publishing is challenging the perceptions of the public. Nowadays the presentations of publishing has been profoundly transformed, which give the public a speechless surprise of the upcoming potentials of publishing in modern times, such as the appearance of skin printers etcetera. However, heated debates are arising from the mutual transformative systems of communication nowadays, which tend to threaten the existence of publishing. in this essay, publishing in itself, which is regarded as the nature of publishing, defines as “make public or generally known …”(OED Online 2003) so as to apply publishing in a modern sense. I argue that publishing, in itself, is evolving all the time with the advancement of the society rather than disruption in a narrow sense. Three arguments are involved: firstly, false impression of disruptive publishing caused by the rapid innovation of publishing technologies; secondly, public reactions triggered social forums enable the continuation of publishing; lastly, humankinds themselves provide continual sources for the mode of self-publishing.

Firstly, what makes the false impression of disruptive publishing is not publishing in itself but impending disruption of technology for publishing. More precisely, it is the selection of the method for content distribution that really matters, a print publishing or a digital publishing or other modes of publishing. The advancement of the publishing technologies enables a rapid updating of diverse ways of content transference and transformation. However, it does not alter the nature of publishing regarding the orientated information dissemination and ideological system. For example, the advent of tablet publishing, such as iPad, Kindle etcetera, extends and articulates the purposes of communication through the tablet-enabled interactivity and vibration of content representation. As well, the aggregations of the applications on iPad, iPhone as such enable the diversity of information consumption via the innovation of tablet technology. Karp (2007) contends that the driving force of the shift from print publishing to digital publishing is that the availability of open-access content facilitates the great potential of online publishing consumption. It was found that “the value of the distribution and the value of the content itself was always deeply intertwined — now it’s separable,” which has shown by the public through the willingness to make a payment for certain digital content, but not for the expenditure on the distribution (Karp, 2007). Therefore, it can be seen that the nature of the publishing content in itself haven’t changed. What alters instead is the value of distribution, which multimedia-enabled publishing platforms provide a wider range of choices for the public’s content consumption.

By contrast, Cuban (2010) argues that aggregation is the crucial component of publishing disruption in a business view.

[T]here are those that believe that any business that is doing business like they always have will inevitably be disrupted by the internet. Change or die. Right? Wrong. If my memory serves me right, the common thread among those industries that were disrupted is that they all sold their products ala carte (Cuban, 2010).

The majority of the successful business model online is the aggregation of the content, which inevitably makes the disruption of publishing industry. Cuban (2010) emphasizes the examples of Apple products and iTunes store: the aggregation of all possible content forces the bundle purchase.

However, in Cuban’s (2010) view, it perceives the definition of publishing in a narrow sense by ignorance the mode of online publishing. He tends to confine the meaning of publishing as print publishing. Moreover, Clarke (2010), who opposes the notion of a disruption process in scientific publishing, realizes that

[N]ew technologies are opening the door for entirely new products and services built on top of – and adjacent to – the existing scientific publishing system (Clarke 2010).

Therefore, the updating innovation of publishing technologies improve the accordance of publishing content to be able to fulfill the ultimate purposes of publishing in the societies to meet up-to-date needs. The upgradability of age appropriate technologies invigorates the continuation of valued publishing rather than disruption.

Secondly, Interactivity between the public and published content continues the nature of publishing in which the social repercussions on the published information slow down the potential disruption of publishing. To illustrate, there has been strong critics about celebrity wearing costumes with national flag pattern in China since the publishing of the photos of the famous actress WeiZhao wore the costume in Japanese navy pattern as an expression of fashion in 2001 (MHD 2010). [See Image B] The majority of the Chinese public criticized WeiZhao as a militarist pursuer, which forced WeiZhao to make an apology and a clarification of the purposes for wearing the costume in public. However, the controversial issue continued although the Chinese celebrities changed to wear costume in Chinese flag pattern. It was criticized as well because people said that the celebrities paid no respect to the national flag, no matter it was a Chinese flag or Japanese flag (MHD 2010). Later on people who were engaged in the issue made a comparison among the celebrities in different countries, who once wore costumes in national flag patterns. It has been found that the controversial but popular American singers such as Lady Gaga, Beyonce etcetera seem to wear the flags frequently but perceive more often by the public as distinctive presentation (Squidoo 2011). [See Image A] So, this example is to show the impact of the publishing content on the public reaction in which the information revealed in the publishing prompts the ongoing engagement from the public. The changing social repercussions and public value on even the same published content through the interactivity with publishing prolong the ‘lifetime’ of the publishing.


Image Source A: Image Source:

 Caption A: This is the camera shot from MTV of Lady Gaga (left)’s song Telephone. Beyonce
is on the right. New costume with American Flag pattern triggers a great number of followers.


Image Source B:

Caption B: Wei Zhao, one of the most famous actresses in China, provoked the
Chinese public after the publishing of her photos of wearing costumes with
Japanese military pattern.

Nonetheless, the occurrence of the social repercussion associated with published content may depend on the classification of published content. More specifically, the preference of consumption of certain publishing can cause the disruption of other less consumed publishing content. Slovic et al. (1979) found that it was more likely for the individuals to believe the reality of the terror attacks with high frequency of exposure to dramatically arousing news publishing. The primary reason was that heuristic imagination and reminiscence could be easily triggered by terrorism content. The negative case is that people find way of avoidance for out-of-exposure to certain publishing content that they are emotionally sensitive with, such as the feeling of fear due to the information consumption of terrorism. After the research on the American public’s responses to the terrorism news content, Leventhal (1970) suggested that

Most news reports at this time contained threat cues that could have intensified a person’s level of fear. An individual may seek to control his or her level of fear by avoiding such threat cues (Leventhal 1970, p.176).

Whilst the avoidance of certain content consumption, such as the terrorism, might cause the disruption of less preferred publishing due to negative public responses, the group of highly emotive people cannot represent the relationships between the public as a whole and the publishing content. Salwen et al.(2005) found positive public response to the terrorism:

individuals experiencing high level of fear might selectively expose themselves to news reports about the fight against terrorism in an effort to gain reassuring information or obtain information that may be useful in reducing threat (Salwen et al. 2005, p.168)

Moreover, according to Newhagen and Lewenstein (1992)’s study on the effect of  Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, positive responses from the people who extensively exposed themselves to the news publishing to be able to stay informed timely.

Therefore, the possibility of publishing disruption cannot be merely determined by the minor groups with highly emotional sensitivity. Instead, the public forums created by the content of publishing facilitate the frequent interaction between the public and publishing.

Lastly, the existence of human-beings is the continuation of a mode of publishing, which cannot be disrupted until the time of humankind extinction. The recognition of aesthetics during the process of humankind revolution is one of the most crucial and critical period in the development of human perception, from naked to wearing something, which by then has become one of the most distinctive features between human-beings and animals (Voland & Grammer 2003). In modern days, people consciously and subconsciously express unique self through self-publishing in which refers to make individuals’ clothing published through wearing them in public to display physical appearance in this context. However, outfit selections in modern times profoundly differ from the simple thought for prettiness in ancient times. Rather, it is a kind of representation for self-identity, social influence, values etcetera (Chaiken 1986). Furthermore, in the research on presentation of self in everyday life, Goffman (1959) indicated that individuals’ concern about self appearance comprised various motivations “for trying to control the impression they receive of the situation” to be able to achieve a successful social interaction. Additionally, many researchers asserted that the tendency for individuals preferring consumer goods in certain categories to others indicated that what they choose was compatible with “their sense of social identity” (Belk 1987, Csikszentmihalyi & Rochberg-Halton 1981, Solomon 1983) Moreover, self-publishing through clothing is an imperative social symbol because individuals are using clothing in daily activities. Besides, outfits contain a “frequent public display” and “easily manipulatable symbol” (Feinberg et al. 2011, p.18), which enable an up-to-date self-publishing to be appearance appropriate within the realm of current acceptance. So self-publishing through clothing expression and physical appearance could be a reliable source for the continuation of a mode of publishing in the non-stop updating society. [See Images C,D,E]

Identity and purpose through clothing (C,D,E):

Image C     

Image Source C:

Caption C: A combination image shows delegates from ethnic minority groups wearing
traditional clothing. The different patterns and decorations on their clothing reflects their
minority features and represent which minority group they come from.

Image D

Image Source D:

Caption D: Through what they are wearing, you can tell they are hoopmen. They have a main purpose: playing basketball.


Image Source E:

Caption E: “body-painted models parade through Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall at the launch of Westfield’s Style Tour featuring How To Look Good Naked.” This is a kind of “clothing” publishing via the painting on the human body. It is not only a publishing of art and fashion via human body, but also it proves the ongoing refreshing accordance of nowadays’ publishing.

However, according to another research conducted by Feinberg et al. (2011) recently, the result turns out that whereas it is noticeable that outfits may carry meaning, the simplicity revealed in the previous conclusion on the correspondence among clothing, self-identity and social influence has been implied. So, the mode of publishing may be disrupted if the interactions between self and the instantaneous public information tend to be isolated. That is to say that disruption of publishing self occurs if individuals do not concern about the current acceptance for clothing, such as alternative clothing groups.

Thus, self-publishing through clothing is on a daily basis. In this case, no matter the outfits are in the social
trend or a tendency for disruption of self-publishing being as an alternative group, individuals are rarely naked in a public view without any self clothes publishing. As long as something is worn, the self-publishing is on the way.

To sum up, albeit the communication through publishing is evolving all the time, what has been transformed or disrupted is the ostensible phenomenon. Throughout the research on publishing, three arguments have been presented to respond and critique whether publishing in itself is inevitably going to be disruptive. The result shows that publishing in itself, the nature of publishing, is not inevitably a fate of disruption because: firstly, the disruption of technologies for publishing due to the rapid advancement and replacement of out-of-date
technologies having formed a false concept of disruptive publishing. Instead, the updating innovations of the publishing technologies ameliorate the availability and accordance of diverse publishing content, which effectively articulates the nature of publishing for information dissemination in the public view.
Secondly, public reactions or responses triggered interactive forums between the public and publishing content prolong the lifetime of publishing in itself. Publishing is for the public. As long as an individual is responding, the publishing will not be disruptive. Lastly, it argues that humankinds themselves are incessant sources, which guarantee the continuation of publishing as long as the existence of human race. This argument is justified by the wider definition of publishing in which publishing self through wearing different styles of clothes for a public view carry complex meanings in a modern society. Outfits wearing are not only for self-satisfaction but indeed for controlling the impression of others. Therefore, throughout the three arguments it can be seen that publishing in itself is not inevitably going to be disruptive due to technology innovation, social repercussion and humankinds as a fruitful source for publishing continuation.


Belk, R 1987, ‘Possessions and the extended self’,Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, New York.

Chaiken, S 1986, ‘Physical Appearance and Social Influence’, In C.P.Herman, M.P. Zanna & E.T. Higgins (eds), Physical Appearance, Stigma, and Social Behavior: The Ontario Symposium,vol. 3, pp. 143-177.

Clarke, M., 2010. Why Hasn’t Scientifi c Publishing Been Disrupted Already?. The Scholarly Kitchen, viewed 5 June,2011,

Csikszentmihalyi, M & Rochberg-Halton, E 1981, The meaning of things: Domestic symbols and the self, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Cuban, M 2010, ‘The Rule of Thumb on Disrupting Digital Businesses aka Why The Internet Is Not Disrupting TV’, Blog Maverick: The Mark Cuban Weblog, viewed 5 June, 2011, <>.

Feinberg, LM, Richard A & Burroughs, WJ 1992, ‘Clothing and Social Identity’, Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, vol. 11, no.18, pp. 18-23.

Goffman, E 1959, Presentation of Self in Everyday Life,Doubleday Anchor Books Doubleday & Company, Inc.Carden City, New York.

Karp, S 2007, ‘The Future of Print Publishing and Paid Content’, publishing 2.0: The (r) Evolution of Media, viewed 5 June,2011, <  t/>.

Leventhal, H 1970, ‘Finding the theory in the study of fear communication’, in L.Berkowitz (ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, vol.5, pp. 119-186.

MHD 2010, ‘Zhao Wei’s early life, rumours and controversy, commercial work, personal life, charity work’,
Blogspot, viewed 4 June, 2011, <>.

Newhagen, JE & Lewenstein, M 1992, Cultivation and exposure to television following the 1989 Loma Prieta
earthquake. Mass Comm Review, vol. 19, no.1-2, pp.49-56.

OED Online 2003, Oxford University Press, viewed 4 June, 2011, <>.

Salwen, MB; Garrison, B & Driscoll,PD 2005, Online News and the Public,Lawrence Erlbaurn Associates, New Jersey.

Slovic, P, Fischoff, B & Lichtenstein, S 1979, ‘Rating the Risks’, Environment, vol.  21, no. 3, pp. 14-20.

Solomon, M 1983, ‘The role of products as social stimuli: A symbolic interactionism perspective’, Journal
of Consumer Research
, vol. 10, pp. 319-329.

Squidoo 2011, ‘Lady Gaga Clothes’, viewed 4 June, 2011, <>.

Voland, E & Grammer, K 2003, Evolutionary aesthetics, Springer, Germany.


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Visualization for emotional sound

Every day we perceive sound from the outside of the world. Our ears undertake the heaviest “task” for hearing the sound. Have you ever thought about what sound looks like? Let’s go on a journey of sound visualization.
My visualization group of the course ARTS 2090 at UNSW created a graph for the visualization of emotional sound.  See the graph below:

The graph was created by Chang Jiang, Hoi Leong Lee, Isabelle Summerson.

In the graph, four colors distinguish four different emotions. The expression of the colors reflect the visual feeling that specific emotion potentially has. The way that the sound is visually presented is through the graph of sound frequency. We got the shape of the sound frequency through the steps: firstly, select and download the sounds according to the description in the Soundbank at UNSW, which match the best with the selected
emotions. Then, import the sound into the application called Soundbooth to get the credible sound wave. After we got all the sound, we use the application called Fireworks to form our purposed graph. We changed the color of different emotions. More importantly, we overlapped two sets of extreme opposite emotion in one graph to make a comparison and the overlapped areas shown in a different color reveal the similarities of the totally different emotions in the sense of hearing. However, interestingly we found that though the extreme opposite
emotions sound very different, it appears a lot similarities when we actually make it visible.

As for the critique on the data, the shape of the sound wave visualizes the sound we normally hear. We chose this data set to exploit the similarities between the patterns of emotions at opposite extremes. Moreover, the graph gives the public the understanding of the appearance of sound through using the sense of vision. The two main limitation of this visualization, firstly, limited data set cannot indicate the similarity pattern of the emotional sound and the result might vary if the sound produces by different people. Another one is that some of the psychological emotion cannot be visualized and presented through sound wave.


Assessment Two for ARTS2090 at UNSW: Visualization
Project (Graph) was created by Chang Jiang, Hoi Leong Lee, Isabelle Summerson.


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The Use of Vision: Illusion or Truth

A famous saying says that “seeing is believing”. However, in today’s high-tech driven world, can we actually believe or trust what we see? Taking magic performance as an example, all the audiences know it is the tricks of the magician, it is not real, however, it looks real and immersive. Actually it is the use of the weaknesses of our vision so as to create illusion. In the contemporary society, it is similar to the magic performances that the advanced technologies make the most use of the weaknesses of our vision to create illusion, which people sometimes regard illusion as reality.

Visualisation can be the artifice for advertiser to increase the incentive of consumers to buy the commodities. Sometimes it’s the use of the visual illusion. From one of the theories of vision, “visual experience is seen as overwhelming powerful, especially if it involves the technical, fundamentally untrustworthy, or both”
(ARTS 2090 Lecture notes for week 8, pp.10) This theory directly make me think of the updating advanced softwares and applications, such as Photoshop, Fireworks, AfterEffects etc., which are the tools that transform the original actual visual experience to an illusive one or create a new vision with certain purposes. Therefore, advertisers can apply “techniques” in their advertisement to create the illusive qualities of their products, which makes the invisible qualities of the products visible and add visible non-existed qualities as the persuasion of purchase to achieve the potential good selling.

“The world is relative to our ability to see it” (ARTS 2090 Lecture notes for week 8, pp.9). Reality depends on the variations of the species. As a result, the functions of visualization vary from one species to another. How we perceive the world through “vision” firstly depends on what kind of living-beings we are. Look at the pictures below: the comparison of vision between human and bee.

“A: Flower seen through the human eye.

B: Bees can see ultra-violet rays.

C: Bees have different trichromatic

colour vision. Image seen through

a bee’s simulated compound eye.

D: A bee’s hypothetical colour perception.”

(Picture and Capture Source: Dyer,

Dyer A., ‘Through the Eyes of a Bee’, Interview with Adrian Dyer,

Murphie, A 2011, Lecture notes for week8, ARTS2090
Publics and Publishing in transition, UNSW, pp.9-pp.10,


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Wikileaks: at the Crossroad

 The appearance of WikiLeaks creates one of the most controversial online platforms. No one seems to actually know what the ultimate purpose of the establishment of WikiLeaks. Is it in the public good or individual benefit? A lot of debates cover the problem with social panic, WikiLeaks dump and the credibility of the source as such. Although I concern about various potentials and codes behind the screen that WikiLeaks deal with, however, WikiLeaks can still be regarded as a informative source or potential useful reference for main stream media.

“WikiLeaks and the mainstream media still need each other”(cited in Axon, 2010). They need to work together to better the performance of the functionalities of journalism. WikiLeaks needs the support from the main stream media to appeal public attention to the content on WikiLeaks. “no one would have read the logs without someone to grab their attention, give the logs legitimacy and explain why it all mattered”, said Alexander Hotz”(cited in Axon, 2010), teacher of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. The mutual needs between main stream media and WikiLeaks appears a positive direction for the journalists’ role as watch dog. Besides, WikiLeaks, an organization without written restrictions, strict codes of ethics, government inspection etc., is informative and helpful for main stream media such as The New York Times to get “scoops” (Axon, 2010) that they couldn’t get on its own. Nevertheless, those “scoops” (Axon, 2010) might turn out to be meaningless to the public without the verification and explanation from the media.

WikiLeaks, like other online “news” organization, provides possible facts, statistics and cases etc rather than opinion that the public actually need. Though conservative view think “WikiLeaks is not a news organization. It is a criminal enterprise”(Thiessen,cited in Axon, 2010). Personally, WikiLeaks is just another new or modern kind of news platform. It actually leaves capacity for individuals to choose which content they need to consume and know more detail about that. However, people question the credibility of the source or fact published on WikiLeaks. There seem to be no reasonable possibilities for the public to fully trust the published content
that is selected by one organization for the purpose of the public notice. Instead, people turn to the main stream media, such as The New York Times for validation or research.

WikiLeaks leads its unique way to the new media form, manifestation of potential journalism functionalities. Whether the potentials is for public benefit or risks, the role of WikiLeaks facilitates another accessible variety of information possibilities and leaves the task of selection in the public interest for individuals to decide.


Axon S, August 20, 2010, ‘ The WikiLeaks Debate: Journalists Weigh In’,

Kurson K, December 3, 2010, ‘Julian Assange is neither
a hero nor a villain.’

Rear Admiral (RETD) K RAJA Menon, ‘WikiLeaks: For public good or Assange’s ego?’,



The Networked Societies and Society

People collectively exist in the world in a way of building networks, which makes sense for people’s existence. It is impossible for a person to live in a one-way network. It is truth that people sometimes do not realize they connect to certain networks in a situation of figuring out complex problems. Therefore, it would be informative for us to understanding our connection with the world if we apply some theory and concepts. In this blog, I will discuss about the “Actor-network theory”,  a new philosophy of society and some related concepts.

ANT, standing for Actor-network theory, is a distinctive method of social theory for the explanation of how material-semiotic networks work as one. For instance, an university is related both a network and an actor, and hook together and perform as a single entity with certain intentions. When it comes to the forming parts of university, the components work conhereently as a whole. Besides, this kind of actor-networks act repeatedly and constantly or the potential repetition stops while the networks will fall apart. However, it assumes that “networks of relations are not intrinsically coherent, and may indeed contain conflicts (there may be adversarial relations between teachers/children, or computer software may be incompatible).”

Moreover, the concept of distinguishing Intermediaries and Mediators is pivotal to ANT. Intermediaries refer to the ignorable entities which make no difference. However, Mediators multiply the variations therefore it is supposed to be the object of study. For example, Ipod amd Meizu mp4, a sociologist might take them as intermediaries, holding that the former “symbolises” the upper classes or tastes and the latter the lower classes. With this opinion the real world Ipod-Meizu mp4 difference is irrelevant because many brand differences do also reveal the class or taste differences. However, acted as mediators the brand differences have to be associated with by the analyst in their specificity: “the internal real-world complexities” of Ipod and Meizu immediately show the relevance.

In addition, a new philosophy of society (ANPS) conceptualizes components into the assemblage theory and social complexity. The main idea primarily focuses on two dimensions: a material-expressive axis and territorializing-deterritorializing axis, implying the progresses in which an element is contained. Taking Ipod as the example again, the mate.rial here can be performed as metal, plastic, aluminum etc. the expressive role is play as its style, type, color etc. territorializing role would be played by factors such as culture trend, available resources, transaction etc. deterritorializing role would be played by factors like technology revolution, updating trend, resource shortage etc. personally, I think this example well presented the role that various components performed in different axis within a networked societies.

To sum up, each networked societies act as components to consist a society as a whole. It works under the theory updating social complexities and human-beings themselves. Individuals perform consciously or subconsciously within the parameters of the societies and ongoing variables.


“A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity”,

Callon M. 1986, “Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fishermen of St Brieuc Bay.” In John Law (ed.), Power, Action and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul)

Law J. 1992, “Notes on the Theory of the Actor Network: Ordering, Strategy, and Heterogeneity.”