Self-Trackers, Anxiety and Eating Disorders- Is there a link?

REFERENCES

“The more I tried to take control, the less I could”. (2019). [Blog] Beat Eating Disorders. Available at: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/your-stories/recovery/more-i-tried-control-less-i-could [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Beyond Blue (2018). Eating disorders, anxiety and depression. Beyond Blue.

Corso, S. (2019). my eating disorder story. (anorexia & bulimia). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ckb3M_p642g&t=1100s [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Dvorska, M. (2018). My Fitness Journey | Weight Loss Transformation, Binge Eating, & Body Image Struggle. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqiktqDQ7sM&t=1074s [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Foucault, M. (1988). The care of the self. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Gabrielle, H. (2017). MY EATING DISORDER STORY (WITH PICTURES) | MY HEALTH STORY #002 | HOLLY GABRIELLE. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nisk6Y0-vt8&t=803s [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Garcia, J. (2015). BODY TRANSFORMATION: Eating Disorder – Binging – IIFYM. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK7P14TZloo&t=756s [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Godart, N., Flament, M., Curt, F., Perdereau, F., Lang, F., Venisse, J., Halfon, O., Bizouard, P., Loas, G., Corcos, M., Jeammet, P. and Fermanian, J. (2003). Anxiety disorders in subjects seeking treatment for eating disorders: a DSM-IV controlled study. Psychiatry Research, [online] 117(3), pp.245-258. Available at: https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0165178103000386 [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Gross, S., Bardzell, J., Bardzell, S. and Stallings, M. (2017). Persuasive Anxiety: Designing and Deploying Material and Formal Explorations of Personal Tracking Devices. Human–Computer Interaction, [online] 32(5-6), pp.297-334. Available at: https://eds-a-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/eds/detail/detail?vid=1&sid=1e5f42f6-0e44-4e43-a07b-2a5c66051b16%40sdc-v-sessmgr03&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#AN=edselc.2-52.0-85017518932&db=edselc [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

In a world of uncontrollable it was something she could control. (2019). [Blog] Beat Eating Disorders. Available at: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/your-stories/recovery/world-uncontrollable-something-could-control [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

It was never about ‘being thin’. (2017). [Blog] Beat-eating disorders. Available at: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/your-stories/it-was-never-about-being-thin [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

ITV News (2019). How fitness apps, trackers and social media are affecting people with eating disorders | ITV News. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo6cW9VRjBQ&t=36s [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Kaye, W., Bulik, C., Thornton, L., Barbarich, N. and Masters, K. (2004). Comorbidity of Anxiety Disorders With Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161(12), pp.2215-2221. Available at: https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.161.12.2215 [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Moore, P. and Robinson, A. (2016). The quantified self: What counts in the neoliberal workplace. New Media & Society, 18(11), pp.2774-2792.

Paege, J. (2019). i’m anorexic. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_6NIAQU4go&t=3s [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Pallister, E. and Waller, G. (2008). Anxiety in the eating disorders: Understanding the overlap. Clinical Psychology Review, [online] 28(3), pp.366-386. Available at: https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0272735807001225#bib48 [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Thebutterflyfoundation.org.au. (2019). Understanding Eating Disorders | The Butterfly Foundation. Available at: https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/understand-eating-disorders/ [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Verstegen, S. (2017). Using MyFitnessPal to Help Your Clients. [Blog] American Council on Exercise. Available at: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/6274/using-myfitnesspal-to-help-your-clients [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Wanders, I. (2019). Anorexia Nearly Killed Me. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45PWhrzE-qI&t=637s [Accessed 13 Jun. 2019].

Moving Image Project- Living Rebel

My last assignment ‘Living Rebel’ serves as a final and intimate exploration of my subject’s day to day life and (as was undertaken in previous projects) provides viewers with an unconventional exploration of the term ‘Rebel’. 

In this film I wanted to capture the overall essence of Andrea, in a documentary inspired format. Every decision in terms of lighting, shot composition, sound design, editing and blocking has been informed by this motivation. 

For this project I envisioned the discovery of the extraordinary in the mundane. This I think is evident in the settings of my scenes, which are not particularly exciting. For example, a coffee being made, a swing or walking and teaching in a studio. However, the voice clips of my subject’s reflections about her life, and the candid emotional responses captured on film, serve to provide the shots with deeper meaning.

For the coffee scene I have incorporated many quick cuts and opted for a fast-paced editing style, drawing on inspiration from Edgar Wright who uses succinct and extremely well timed cuts to convey the action or exposition of a scene. His films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz particularly inspired me, although quick edits are a trademark across his filmography.

In the swing scene I have drawn on the works of Lev Kulishov, who pioneered the famous Kulishov effect, which is an editing technique used to produce meaning and context in a scene. In my piece I have used this effect to demonstrate the affection my subject feels towards animals and nature.

I was also largely inspired by the works of Quentin Tarentino, particularly his film Kill Bill and the use throughout his filmography of extreme close-ups, specifically, feet. I used close ups and extreme close up shots to pay homage to Tarentino’s quirky characters, drawing parallels to my subject.

One specific scene that took a large amount of work to perfect was the long shot, comprised of three shots of the walk down to the studio. I found this scene challenging in the production process, as my subject wasn’t aware of how smoothly the edits needed to be, and would often complete a different action each take. In editing I found it difficult to cut together those three shots smoothly while keeping the Foley footsteps lined up.

Ultimately, while it’s not perfect this was a learning process and I am proud of the finished product and the skills I have developed through the production and post-production process.

Soundscapes Fit for A Rebel

I designed ‘Soundscapes fit for a Rebel’ to serve as a further immersion into the day-to-day life of an unconventional rebel. Rather than focus on the obscene and exciting, I have chosen to focus my sound project on the mundane such as atmospheric noise and the composition of different foley sounds (including wiring a cloth for coffee beans, rustling plastic for boiling water and squishing satay noodles for milk)to create the sounds of a morning coffee (influenced by ‘Big Coffee’ (Stocco 2013). However, that’s not to say that there isn’t beauty to be found in those sounds. As John Cage famously stated ‘There is always something to see, something to hear…try as we may to make a silence, we cannot,’ (Cage 1961).

Within my sound project I have tried to encapsulate the aspects of life that the Rebel considers most dear and have composed the piece in a linear time structure to make it seem as if the listener is joining us for a coffee and a chat.

Underscoring the majority of the composition is an original music piece, which was created by asking the Rebel to play what first came mind. Quite a few podcast sound designs informed this decision (especially the variance in volume in accordance with the interview such as Serial (Serial Productions 2014) and You Must Remember This (Longworth 2014). Additionally, the underscore helped to convey a chilled out- relaxed tone throughout the piece which further exemplifies the Rebel subject I have chosen to explore.

References 
Diego Stocco 2013, Big Coffee, Youtube Video, 3rd July, viewed 1st May 2019, < www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmJN1WL_uLo > 
Cage J 1961, Silence: Lectures and Writings, Middleton : Wesleyan University Press. 
Serial Productions, 2014, Serial, Podcast, This American Life, accessed 3rd April 2019. 
Longworth, K 2014, You Must Remember This, podcast, accessed April 2018.

The Enivronments of the Rebel- Essay Photo Series.

My essay photoseries ‘The Environments of the Rebel’, aims to encapsulate an active subverter of society’s perceived ‘rebel’. The image of the stereotypical rebel is synonymous with anti-establishment culture; violence, drugs, sex and rock & roll. However, I wanted to examine the nuances of rebellion through my subject (who by all appearances fits the typical stereotype).

The rebel in my photo series is a characterised view into the life of Andrea Harrison, a close friend and lady I live with. I wanted this photo series to candidly capture everything that makes her a unique individual.

This motivation has helped to inform everything from the colloquial captions with a strong emphasis on literary devices, to the composition of most photos in personal distance proximity according to Edward Halls 1963 Proxemic Theory to portray the rebel as a close friend.

Through the curation of these different environments, I have subsequently uncovered the ambiverted nature of my subject. This is conveyed by the equal ratio between solo subject shots and shots with others, highlighting the extroverted but equally introverted personality of my subject.

For the majority of photos I have opted to keep aperture low so to keep the Rebel as the main focus, highlighting how the lens through which society chooses to view her does not bother her. I have also chosen warm lighting and bright yet subdued colours to further symbolise her presence as fun yet calming.

In the composition of my work I was inspired by both the photographic style of Nan Goldin and the subject focus of Diane Arbus. Misty in Sheridan Square NYC 1991 (Goldin 1991) particularly resonated with me and I wanted to apply the same style of colorful environments with wide aperture and blurred backgrounds. For the first photo of my series, I drew inspiration from Lucus Samaras, 1966 (Arbus 1966), which focuses on light and shadow in the frame.

In ‘The Rebel sings to generations old and new at the Mercantile, “On the Rocks”, Sydney’, I wanted to explore perspective and the dynamic nature of live performance. I waited for the ‘decisive moment’ when the younger couple dancing in the middle ground matched with the older couple in the foreground, whilst focusing on Andrea in the background. My inspiration for this shot came from Cotton Mill Girl (Hine 1908).

I experienced distinct challenges while shooting, particularly when it came to lighting. At the Mercantile, the low, ever-changing lighting meant I had to keep adjusting the ISO and shutter speed to prevent subject blur. With outdoor shooting, glare prevented any ISO adjustments from working and meant that my photos were overexposed. This is something I aim to improve on for future photography projects.

Overall, I feel my essay photo series is an accurate portrayal of the ‘not-so-rebel’ Rebel.

Arbus, D. (1966), Lucas Samaras, Image, Artnet, viewed 20th March 2019,http://www.artnet.com/artists/diane-arbus/lucas-samaras-a-jFvwCvbXqAHZ0bH7Hj_ucQ2

Goldin, N. (1991), Misty in Sheridan Square NYC 1991, Image, Artnet, viewed 20th March 2019, http://www.artnet.com/artists/nan-goldin/misty-in-sheridan-square-nyc-a-oCSpSZ5m3aLCYaXavSAQnA2

Hine, L. (1908), Cotton Mill Girl, Image, Bored Panda, viewed 20th March 2019,  https://www.boredpanda.com/top-100-world-photos-influential-all-time

Morning dawns for the Rebel residing in Dillwynnia Grove.
The Rebel stops in for a chat with neighbours across the fence.
The ‘garden-variety’ Rebel gets back to nature.
Saturday night spent in with the Rebel, an old friend and Thai food.
The Rebel shares a moment of affection with her darling Pushkins.
The Rebel in her natural environment, fostering young musical minds for years to come.
The Rebel sings to generations old and new at the Mercantile, “On the Rocks”, Sydney.
The Rebel rejects reality.

The rise of Robots and the Elimination of Human Agency? Idea Blog

I have always found the concept of ‘The Robot’ fascinating, but not in the way most people would think. I am less interested in the parts and operating systems of robots then I am by the human reaction to the assimilation of robots into society.

Now I can see that immediately the mind would wander to the cliché ‘robots are going to kill us all’ plot point that is all too common of the Hollywood sci-fi. While this is one perspective to cover, I feel there’s more to robots in media then their surface- level portrayals.

I am far more interested in exploring the concept of humans as extensions of the robot. As a transformative technology, robots have (and will continue) to shape human experience and I would like to examine these technologies and their implications across  facets of human life.

There has been two recent phenomena’s I have observed which have sparked my curiosity. One concerns the collective obsession society has with self-improvement; the other concerns the politics of shame and humiliation online. They both however, deal with the concept of human agency- or rather the removal of agency in the presence of a binary mindset.

The first instance was inspired by my personal experience using self-improvement apps such as sleep trackers, meditation apps, fitness apps and thought trackers. As someone with anxiety I was under the perception that being able to track how much I slept, when and what I ate, and setting aside 10 minutes a day to meditate would help alleviate internalised stress. What I found in reality was that I was getting increasingly anxious when I failed to reach these ‘goals’ then I ever had before! I was suddenly categorising things into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ habits. This dichotomous language led me to consider whether self improvement apps on smartphones take away individual agency by determining an “ideal” way to live our lives.  

The second instance of inspiration arose somewhat innocuously at a Tim Minchin concert. Throughout his show he talked at length about the politics of shame and callout culture as well as the devastating ramifications it causes for individuals involved. He spoke specifically about his own anxieties about voicing his personal opinions on issues as a public figure and comedian for fear of offending people of his own ‘Tribe‘. In fact, he wrote a whole song about it!

Fun songs aside, it caused me to dive deeper into ‘Shame Culture’ and in particular, the absolute condemnation and scrutiny an individual experiences online when they make a mistake (as all humans inextricably do) .  I would like to know what causes us as humans, to behave in such inhuman ways- dealing exclusively with facts and logic often at the downfall of context, empathy, human connection and the recognition that this person we are collectively determined to obliterate is in fact a person not a persona. As a result  I would like to explore whether a binary ‘with us or against us’ mindset exists on twitter and if it impacts a public figures agency to speak freely on societal issues. 

Why is this significant?

I think both concepts are extremely significant . The removal of individual agency through the use of self-improvement apps, bears strong social significance as I believe we are delving into ambiguous territory once we allow apps to determine our sleep patterns, our exercise routes, when and what food we put into our bodies. “Smartphones have become ubiquitous and technology more accurate, an industry of snooping on people’s daily habits has spread and grown more intrusive (DeVries et al. 2018)”. In the new societal landscape of neoliberalism we are being convinced that we “need to upgrade all parts of ourselves, all at once… We are under pressure to show that we know how to lead the perfect life” (Schwartz 2018) . However the reality is, human lives are not perfect and to hold ourselves to ‘ideal’ standards can limit our agency as free, self- determinate humans.

I think the idea of a binary mindset limiting a public figures agency to speak freely on twitter not only of moral significance but definitely of social significance. The polarisation of views is a prevalent feature of social media, and particularly twitter where the medium lends itself to opinion polarisation. Jon Ronson touches on this phenomena in his 2015 TED Talk:

‘Twitter is basically a mutual approval machine. We surround ourselves with people who feel the same way we do, and we approve each other, and that’s a really good feeling. And if somebody gets in the way, we scream them out. And do you know what that’s the opposite of? It’s the opposite of democracy. ‘ (Ronson 2015)

This poses additional significance once it determines how a person in the public eye will choose to portray themselves simply to avoid becoming the next target by people in their ideological tribe. There have been various accounts of  lives being destroyed by angry twitter mobs (most recently the Kevin Hart Oscar controversy) and the culture of humiliation is perpetuated by  people who refuse to have a voice for fear of being next. These are some of the issues I hold as deeply significant in the landscape of media and communications and what I hope to explore my thoroughly through my research project.

References

Minchin, T. (2019). 15 Minutes. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePsW0wEtKt8 [Accessed 18 Mar. 2019].

Ronson, J. (2015). When Online Shaming Goes Too Far. Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/jon_ronson_what_happens_when_online_shaming_spirals_out_of_control [Accessed 19 Mar. 2019].

Schwartz, A. (2018). Improving Ourselves to Death. [online] The New Yorker. Available at: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/15/improving-ourselves-to-death [Accessed 19 Mar. 2019].

Valentino-DeVries, J., Singer, N., Keller, M. and Krolik, A. (2018). Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/10/business/location-data-privacy-apps.html [Accessed 19 Mar. 2019].

IOT can it be?

It seems as if the Simpsons (as ironic and far- fetched as it sounds) act as an omniscient purveyor of truth. They have accurately predicted many things, leading people to believe the Simpsons to be the modern day Nostradamus.

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Just another accidental prediction was the IOT or Internet of Things. In Treehouse of Horror XII there is a segment (which parodies 2001: A Space Odyssey) in which the Simpsons family buy a smart house which in turn falls in love with Marge and attempts to murder Homer. Now the Simpsons didn’t realise it at the time but they predicted the digital trajectory of the future.

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In the very near future control over every aspect of our lives will be commonplace. In fact it is already in its infancy. If you are feeling like you may want to improve your sleep, one look at your phone and you can see exactly how long you slept, when you went to bed, when you woke up etc. While you were sleeping your phone was relentlessly gathering and storing data about you.

sleeping

Personally I find the IOT to be a very scary concept, especially when it comes to privacy. Mitew (2014 pg.9 ) echoes my own qualms with this new paradigm in stating:

‘while pervasive tracking, logging, and observation are necessary functions of this stratum, they have profoundly disturbing implications for notions of public and private space.’

Is the IOT facilitating just another aspect of the surveillance culture we are already a part of in the digital age? And how is the IOT safeguarded from hackers who could manipulate these objects to gain valuable information? Let me know in the comments below!

-Lizzellbee 🙂

References

Mitew, T 2014,’Do Objects Dream of an Internet of Things?’,The Fibreculture Journal ,vol.1449, no.23, p.9

 

Tomorrow when the Cyberwar began.

Ignorance was truly bliss for me when it came to understanding our current digital landscape. Knowing what I know now I kind of just want to initiate the foetal position and never touch a digital device again. From phishing, to bot nets, sock puppets and cyber warfare it seems the internet is not the safe-haven I perceived to be.

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For those who don’t know what a sock puppet is, allow me to burst your bubble of blissful internet existence. Sock puppets are whereby fake profiles and personas are created and maintained by governments and corporations to engage with others online and shape public discourse.This is quite a scary thing to wrap your head around as it’s pretty much subliminal propaganda .Only recently this information came to light after Snowden released confidential documents validating sock puppets existence.

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Now combine this with cyber- warfare and it’s clear that a pretty bleak future awaits us on the internet.  Cyber-warfare involves a governments and military attacking other countries via digital methods such as hacking, viruses, malware etc. to drastically alter a country’s industrial infrastructure. This can clearly be seen in the Stuxnet virus of 2010 which infected thousands of machines and interrupted operations at Iran’s nuclear facilities. As Zetter (2011) states:

‘When an infected USB stick was inserted into a computer…the exploit code awakened and surreptitiously dropped a large, partially encrypted file onto the computer, like a military transport plane dropping camouflaged soldiers into target territory.’

This just highlights the worrying potential for what cyber-warfare can achieve. I truely believe that were World War III to happen, it will take place via the internet. What is your opinion? Let me know in the comments below!

-Lizzellbee 🙂

References 

Zetter, K 2011, ‘How Digital Detectives Deciphered Stuxnet, the Most Menacing Malware in History’, Wired, 11 July, viewed 13 October, <https://www.wired.com/2011/07/how-digital-detectives-deciphered-stuxnet/all/&gt;

 

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