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Friday, May 29, 2009

Great Video w/ Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture & How Media is Changing

Really worth watching... five-minute video by Niko Pereira featuring Henry Jenkins, MIT prof and author of "Convergence Culture."

Henry Jenkins on Transmedia - November 2009 from niko on Vimeo.

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  • Henry Jenkins is either an unwavering optimist or deluded. Right now meaningful media is being drowned in a sea of meaningless pap.

    Top videos at this moment on YouTube:
    Dance Off USF vs Uconn 2009
    Jonas Brothers - Paranoid
    Bleach 221 English Subs Part 2
    Jose Canseco MMA Fight Video Knockout
    Summer Look: Purple and Teal

    If you are trying to speak to the choir and rub your ego with people that already believe what you believe, there is a boon happening, but for progressive change? For serious indie filmmakers? For artist struggling to survive?

    The signal to noise ratio is too high.

    By Blogger GBH, at 2:28 PM  

  • i have to agree with GBH on this. When are people going to wake up to the idea that media is not free and is not air or water. It's a consumable product that goes through R&D, production, marketing and distribution processes.

    Who gives a shit that some kid can mash up a disney loop? Maybe the kid and his parents?

    Henry Jenkins has a PhD? Jesus...I should have gone back and did post grad studies as well. Maybe I could stand in New York and tell everyone that mashups and piracy is the way of the future and that all media should be free...

    c'mon have a great blog but this is horseshit.

    By Blogger David Geertz, at 8:36 PM  

  • Hey David-

    For me, the important part of the video is that we are moving away from spectatorial culture and toward participatory culture. Do you disagree?

    By Blogger Scott Kirsner, at 7:08 PM  

  • Scott,

    I agree with you on this issue; however, I do think HOW people participate, what they receive for their participation and how the creative control is managed are going to be hot topics in the coming years.

    I'm of the belief that great cinema is a graduated process just like being a good architect, photographer, or composer. My main concern has always been an acceptance of the mediocre as a result of a glut of too much garbage and not enough time to wade through it.


    By Blogger David Geertz, at 8:11 PM  

  • I'm on with David with this. I just tried to find something animated that was interesting on YouTube. I saw tons of things that had tens or even hundreds of thousands of hits and yet there was no story, the animation looked like the software demo or worse, and the sound was awful.

    (example )

    I'm all for participatory media, but were are we really headed when sites that have well produced shows and films go bankrupt and vanish while YouTube churns along streaming this weeks fart joke and Jackass excerpts?

    By Blogger GBH, at 2:07 AM  

  • That's "where are we really headed"

    I'm a bit dysgraphic.

    By Blogger GBH, at 2:08 AM  

  • YouTube stuff is often narcisstic.
    It's look at me!

    The film biz is collaborative but a division of labour and serves special interest groups - usually the rich and powerful.

    The third way is community film which is participatory and aims for excellence in process and product.

    The International Community Film Forum

    By Blogger Dr Ian McCormick, at 7:10 AM  

  • Participation is still contingent on being able to afford the technology in terms of hardware and services. The ownership and production of these commodities remains in the hands of the powerful. most of the world's population do not have the capacity to make fart jokes, indulge their opinion or contribute art and analysis. Access to the means of production must be democratised before a utopian view can be sustained.

    By Blogger nancy jane, at 2:47 AM  

  • Sorry, seems GBH and Geertz are maybe missing the point here. Yes, we all know that the majority of [insert media form here] is junk, but that value judgment operates from a spectatorial perspective; i.e., you're looking at these media as things to be consumed.

    Geertz, I admit that this is a cheesy video, but please note that Jenkins didn't get his PhD or any of the acclaim that came afterwards by 'standing in New York' but by doing some really insightful, wide-ranging and nuanced work on gender, education, and media subcultures. And regarding your comment that "who gives a shit if some kid can mash up a disney loop?" Maybe the kid does.

    That's precisely Jenkins' point: that we're at a moment now where the means for producing media do NOT necessarily require "R&D, production, marketing and distribution processes". It may produce more rubbish, but at least it might be a little more democratic. And I don't think it signals a choking-off of independent artists, so much as a new flowering ground for independent work. In that regard, I really appreciate McCormick's comments - that a viable third way is grassroots, community-based participation.. which is made possible by the same sets of social/economic/technological conditions Jenkins speaks to and writes about.

    By Blogger Nick T Taylor, at 2:26 PM  

  • For an interesting, insightful analysis of what's happening on YouTube, which he presented at the Library of Congress, see Prof. Michael Wesch's "Anthropological Introduction to YouTube" at

    By Blogger Honor Moorman, at 6:33 PM  

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