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What will eBooks change?

Previously I spoke of how we rarely ever leave our homes, as everything can be streamed directly to our computers, an act I too am guilty of.

Another favourite past time of mine however, is reading. It has been since I was a child, as I understand it has been/is for many others.

But unlike a select few, a lot of readers seem to dislike eReaders and eBooks.

In no way am I saying eReaders and eBooks don’t have merit. They do, as pointed out by those referenced above. They are convenient, lightweight and in the long-term cheap. Yet most seem to dislike them.

But the question asked here is, what will eBooks change in our society?

EBooks are no new technology by any means but their changing of the way we receive literature has been slow and steady.

An image of a common book, pre-printing press

An image of a common book, pre-printing press

One change that happened to our literature was that a lot of novels had images until the printing press was invented. So questions such as ‘Will images be added to books again, now that they’re all done electronically? Or will they just stay the same’ – avid local reader and writer Alex Rigby-Wild. ‘I think I would kind of like pictures in books again.’

Callie Price is a fan of eBooks as well. As a reader she says ‘It’s so easy. Say you’re reading a series, then finish one book, if you’re reading on paper you have to leave and go to a book store. But reading eBooks you can just buy the next instalment. It’s also great if you’re buying a really embarrassing book.’ This is a fact that many have been quick to discount.

On the other hand, a local fiction editor, Jonathan Mills said ‘I miss the smell of real books. EBooks are convenient and light, but it’s not the same as holding a real book in your hand. There’s a lot of history in real books. Old editions are passed on through generations. I own a book that was once owned by my great grandfather. There’s a story to books and I think we may lose that as we go towards the electronic edition.’

There are clearly positives and negatives to both sides. Neither can be considered correct at the present moment. Only time will tell.

Richard Russo (author of Empire Falls) says:

‘We’re beginning to see electronic books reach their natural level …  people who are just so caught up in the technology  … are now returning to physical books with a sense of a long lost friend … So I think there’s going to be a place in the reading world for both.’

USA today


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Webgrrl profile

Firdaus Emir is a local, Wollongong digital artist ‘absorbing life and creating it into art.’ She describes herself as: ‘Intuitive, multi genre digital artist with a diverse and a passion for creating innovative visual artistry through graphic design and photography. Available for custom design work and event photography for personal and businesses in Australia and worldwide.’

Webgrrl's ear-rings

Webgrrl’s ear-rings

Going by her artist pseudonym her Webgrrl Facebook page aims to draw in new fans.

I conducted an interview with her recently and here is a summary her responses.

“I am mainly digital media (digital art & photography) but i am self-taught so i don’t have any educational background (eg. a graphic design diploma or any type of art courses/university degrees).

 “I have always loved all types of art and

A phone case by webgrrl

A phone case by webgrrl

creativity since I was a kid and was told by my art teacher and others that i should pursue it. When I was in high school I was offered an Art Scholarship but unfortunately I missed that opportunity. Then I was married, divorced and a single mum at young age (21)  and art/creativity became just a ‘hobby’ and something I would do occasionally or to escape from the ‘normal’ life.

“In 1995 i touched my first ever computer and this reawaken my repressed love for creativity. I found and realised that these digital tools (computer, software and a year later in Jan 1996, the internet!) that could give me a vehicle to try and learn without costing me money. I could do all this at home and most importantly there was an amazing amount of people online that would help, teach and answer any questions I had.

“For the next 12 months I taught myself everyday about using and understanding the computer and trying out different graphics and desktop publishing software. I would volunteer to anyone to do any graphics, newsletters, anything really, so that I could practice beyond tutorials and put what I was learning into use.

Webgrrl's customisable plates

Webgrrl’s customisable plates

“It wasn’t until 10years later that I actually, technically, started calling myself a ‘Digital Artist’ and started selling my art/designs online. Prior to that I landed two year traineeship at a Newspaper in Queensland as a Graphic Artist/Photographer. That job gave me my first opportunity as Media Photograher.

“I think my story and journey is an interesting and important one for others to hear ’cause what/who we think we are today might not be us at all in the future, but the core of it is all the same and the clues can be found in one’s childhood.”

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Are video games art?

Are video games art? In the past this was unquestionable, of course not. But times may be changing, and the question is being asked more and more.

For years video games have been a way for people to spend their time when bored.

A classic video game, Pacman

A classic video game, Pacman

A way to pass the time when there was nothing to be done. One could head down to the arcade and play Pacman or Space Invaders. But times of arcades seem to be long gone, and the home consoles replaced them with still relatively poor graphics and story lines, then they both got better. Gamers have typically said that Final Fantasy is art because of its complex and compelling story line. Local, avid gamer, Jayden Gaston has been playing video games for as long as he can remember.  Currently playing on an Xbox 360 Jayden says:

‘Video games are an art. Arts a composition if ideas expressed through a medium, only this time games are a medium. You’re not expressing ideas

An image, taken from a video game, classed by many as art

An image, taken from a video game, classed by many as art

through words, pictures, music or strategy/problem solving you’re presenting those ideas across every medium. You cannot make a good game without immersion from every single element from a combination of mediums. For example a game can have awesome visuals but fail at the actual playing, consisting of no immersion from the players actions.’

Madeleine Pitt is a digital media student at the University of Wollongong. She says, on the issue ‘Games must be an art form, how else can you explain the success and popularity of high res[olution] and detailed games like Assassin’s Creed that has the real life aspect. Bring you [the player] into another form of our world, just like paintings do. One of the other most important parts of a game is story line. We [the player] will be interested in graphics and it may be enough to get us to finish the game but we need a good story, otherwise it’s like reading a book thinking that even though the story isn’t good, at least the pictures are.’

Another image from a video game, also considered art

As one delves into this issue more and more, it becomes increasingly evident that most people involved at all in the industry as a consumer or developer,people  participating in anyway, consider video games a form of art.

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Art, all conveniently in our laptops

Life is becoming somewhat easier, at least from an entertainment viewpoint.

One can buy a whole season of our new favourite show, download it onto their laptop and watch the whole thing at home. Youtube even has clips, (numbered) so that when watched together in order, one can view a whole production without ever leaving the house.

The most common ‘live’ event we watch on our computers: music performances Another option is that some productions can be streamed right into our laptops so, again, the audience is given the opportunity to experience new things without leaving their comfort zone.

‘Stop watching your favourite show and talk to me.’
Image from morguefile

It is a very convenient and cost effective system (audience members commonly do not even have to pay for tickets). It’s all working out right? Sure. But one does wonder ‘What if real theatre, live shows–you know where we go to the theatre and watch a production–ceases to exist?’ – Ella Mundey (local performer and theatre goer). ‘It [films and productions being accessible from home] is good, but it takes away the aura.’ She says, referencing Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

Benjamin stated that whenever a work of art is reproduced, such as being filmed then distributed, its aura is lost. The idea has been likened to how looking at a photograph of the Mona Lisa doesn’t allow the viewer to experience the artworks aura and part of its meaning is lost.

There are some who would disagree with Walter Benjamin though. One such person is Aaron Newton, an avid fan of both film and theatre and its evolution.

Aaron says ‘It’s fun to go see a play but it’s way more convenient and reasonable to  watch it at home. All the plays I like have been turned into films anyway so it’s just as good to watch them on screen. Nothing is really that different anyway.’

Family movie night is far more portable now

Family movie night is far more portable now

So which is better? Well one cannot really decide something like that. Evolution, biologically speaking, is caused natural selection. So we, as a people, must have naturally selected the new technological way.  So what will be the next evolution?

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