Digital Media- ‘Rest’ Artefact

My final theme for the artefact section of this module is rest, my artefact has to address this theme while also linking to the ideas of the digital world. When thinking about the idea of rest the first thing that I thought of was sleeping; sleeping is our main form of rest during our lives. I questioned to myself, do we ever truly turn off and does our brain also rest while we sleep? I began my research for this theme by looking at the article, ‘What is Your Brain Doing While You Are Sleeping?‘, this article gave me information about the brain’s activities:

  • When we get tired, sleeping gives us time to rest and rebuild. It seems logical that the brain would follow a similar pattern.
  • When we are sleeping, our brain is extraordinarily active. As it turns out, much of that activity helps the brain to learn and remember.
  • A study conducted by The University of Chicago concluded that sleeping helps the mind learn complicated tasks. It also helps people recover knowledge they thought they had forgotten over the course of a day.
  • These findings suggest that sleeping plays an important role in learning specialized skills, and in stabilizing and protecting memory.
  • A recent study offers new insights into the specific components of emotional memories. It suggests that sleeping plays a key role in determining what we remember – and what we forget. Findings show that sleeping helps the brain to selectively preserve and enhance certain aspects of a memory. Those with the greatest emotional value are enhanced, and simultaneously, those of lesser value are downgraded.
  • Until recently, it has never been clear how the brain keeps track of the chronological sequence in such memories. New research has confirmed that long-term memories are formed while we are sleeping. This is accomplished by the brain replaying the memories of our daily experiences during the night.

I also looked at the article, ‘Does your brain sleep when you do?‘, this furthered my understanding into brain activity:

  • Most of us dream about five times each night. But we only remember a dream if we’ve been woken in the middle of it. Dreams may help us arrange thoughts in our mind.
  • While you sleep, your brain is still active. When you dream your brain is as active as it is when you are awake.
  • No one knows why we need sleep. Without it we can’t think logically and lose co-ordination. Perhaps sleeping gives the brain and body time to recover and sort out the day’s events.

In fact, large slow waves show when the brain is in deep sleep… 1 Wide awake. Billions of brain cells fire separately. 2 Awake and thinking, but with your eyes closed. 3 Dozing off. Your brain’s activity starts to change. 4 Sleeping. Your brain cells fire gently in unison. 5 Within an hour you’re in deep (slow wave) sleep. 6 Dream (REM) sleep. Your brain is as active as when you’re awake.

Both articles told me how the brain is still very active when we are asleep and plays an important role in our memory and learning. I found it interesting that we may look asleep and technically are but our brain and organs are still awake and functioning. I then though about this in relation to the digital world and questioned does the digital world ever sleep? I looked at the article, ‘Does The Internet Ever Sleep? In Some Parts Of The World, It Does‘, the article talked about:

  • In the US, we take for granted that the Internet will be available any time we want to log on and surf on over to our favorite shopping or gaming experiences. A team of researchers, looking into how big the Internet has grown, found that in some places, the Internet “sleeps,” almost like a living person.
  • Giving a greater understanding of how the Internet sleeps to scientists and policymakers will help to end the confusion between a sleeping Internet and an Internet outage (where the internet is temporarily unavailable).
  • For some people, such as those with broadband access in the US and Europe, the Internet is always available. In other areas, such as Asia, South America and Eastern Europe, an individual’s access to the Internet varies over the course of a day.
  • The results show a correlation between strong nighttime Internet access and lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Basically, this correlation means that the richer a country is, the more likely that the Internet in that country will be available 24/7.

In general most counties do have the internet 24/7, unless they are a poorer country; for myself, my lifestyle and the lifestyle of people around me can have access to the internet constantly, therefore meaning to us the internet and digital world never sleeps. This idea of the digital world always being awake could echo the human brain, that even when people are sleeping both the brain and the digital world are awake and working. I am really interested in this idea and link between the brain and digital world, and so I decided to further look into the idea of the digital world always being on.

Refers to a system that is online and ready to go 24 hours a day. Nothing has to be turned on or dialed up in order to use it. DSL and cable modems are examples of always-on technologies. Although ISDN is a dial-up technology, the process is extremely fast and gives the appearance of an always-on connection.
I am very interested in this idea of always on both in technology and the human brain, and so I plan to look at this for my artefact. With the theme of rest, I hope that I can produce a body of work that questions the theme, looking at how both the human brain and the technological world do not rest/sleep. Once I had this direction I then began to think about how I could show the idea of ‘always on’;I live in a city and when walking through the streets late at night I can always see lights or tvs that are left on. I decided to look into the idea of the city never sleeping as this could be a possible subject for my artefact to represent my theme and ideas.
New York is often know as the city that never sleeps, but it is not on its own, the article, ‘Top 10: World cities that never sleep‘ stated that:
A new study about the world’s most 24-hour cities ranks New York 32nd on the list, well behind Cairo, Montevideo, Beirut and Malaga and Zaragoza, both in Spain, which captured the top five spots. The ranking is based on an analysis of 120 million online chats spanning 122 million people in 180 countries, which showed activity peaked in Cairo at nearly 1 am, which is much later than New York.

Nighttime activities that could be seen as showing the city not sleeping could include, night clubbing in which people stay up to the early hours of the morning, watching TV or playing video games into the late night, all reference the idea of not sleeping. However these are human activities that imply that also people are not resting, the city not sleeping could also be shown in lights that are left on, either street lamps or in shops; these light show how the city is still partly awake echoing the idea of the human brain and technology not sleeping.  

Shown below is a famous NASA image that is often called a “satellite photo of earth at night”. It isn’t really a “photo”. Instead it is an image that was compiled using data from a sensor aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite launched in 2011. This sensor allows researchers to observe Earth’s atmosphere and surface during nighttime hours. It is a map of the location of lights on Earth’s surface. Each white dot on the map represents the light of a city, fire, ship at sea, oil well flare or other light source. The full-earth image is shown below along with detail images of especially interesting locations.
Western Europe is aglow with night lights. This image clearly shows that the cities of Europe are along the coasts. The Mediterranean coasts of Italy, France and Spain are a solid line of light as is the southern shorelines of the Black and Caspian Seas. The Sahara of northern Africa and the jungles of south-central Africa are largely void of illuminated cities. One of the most striking features on this image is the high concentration of cities on the Nile River, downstream from the Aswan Dam. NASA Image.

Both photographs show the idea that cities and towns don’t sleep when it comes to lights, the lights have been left on and could echo the idea of not resting like the brain and the digital world. For my artefact I am really interested in look at the link between the digital world and the brain not sleeping; I could look into photographing the city at night using the lights to echo the idea that they are still awake even when people are sleeping. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s