The abundance of provision of environmental data and their diffusion on the Internet through idiosyncratic methods without unified standards for disclosure, has brought about a situation in which data is available but difficult to aggregate, synthesize and interpret. This article explores the roots and implications of practices of “scraping”, i.e. automatic unauthorized collection of data published on the web, enacted by public and private subjects for the purposes of sustainability. Drawing from the concept of ‘datascape’ to describe the overall socio-technical environment this data circulates, the paper explores two case studies. The first, EDGI/DataRefuge, deals with a systematic attempt to collect and preserve environmental data and documents published by environmental management agencies, which is subject of cancellation by US Government policies. The second case, WorldAQI, examines a platform collecting, refining and publishing on maps the air quality indexes of hundreds of countries in the world. The first case allows us to see the human component of large-scale web scraping efforts of highly heterogeneous data, which highlights the need for resources. The second case highlights how the processes of collation, formatting and normalization of heterogeneous data to maximize readability have implications for data quality and representativeness. In conclusion, we observe how through data scraping stakeholders can enhance the spatial and temporal comparability of data and provide new avenues for public participation into complex decision-making processes.
Chinese student environmental associations play a significant role in promoting environmental education and awareness among college students, advocating pro-environmental lifestyles, and organizing sustainable development activities on and off campus. The study explores the WeChat communication performances of ten student-led environmental clubs located in Beijing, contributing to the understanding of NGOs communication practices in China. Data are retrieved from indepth interviews with associations’ staff members, participant observations of their environmental activities, and the qualitative content analysis of their WeChat public accounts. Results show that student clubs act as knowledge-brokers, playing a significant role in transferring knowledge about pressing environmental challenges, and communicating the social value of the green groups; and as knowledge-translators, serving an important function in translating knowledge into action.
Italian territory is largely exposed to landslides and floods. For this reason, preventive hydrogeological risk communication is essential. To communicate hydrogeological risk represents a hard challenge, due to the complexity and uncertainty of these phenomena. At the same time, informing citizens and implementing action to prevent hydrogeological risk are among the Public Administrations’ duties. To date, a lot has been analysed about risk and its communication from different perspectives, such as communication during emergencies or citizens’ perceptions about risk, but preventive risk communication is still a less examined research area. To fill this gap, we have considered the communication in four Italian valleys with high hydrogeological risk: Limentra Valley, Cervaro Valley, Valdigne, and Alta Valtellina. We have studied two variables that may influence communication: touristic flows and the presence in the last 50 years of significant hydrogeological disasters. The results reveal that municipalities are more involved in risk communication during emergencies, rather than in a preventive phase. At the same time, citizens seem to be aware of the high hydrogeological risk and their consequences, with no relevant differences between the research areas.
Video games have come to play a significant role in the media habits of various generational cohorts, but particularly of the younger ones. Because of this, serious games have emerged in the past two decades as a viable way to sensitize to sociopolitical issues and today they’re employed also for sensitizing about environmental issues. This research examines the “To The Last Tree Standing” (“Ostatnie drzewo”) campaign carried out in 2017 by advertising agency Ogilvy Poland for Greenpeace to stop the deforestation of the Białowieża forest. To generate awareness among younger segments of the audience, the campaign leveraged the popularity of the sandbox video game Minecraft, within which a 1:1 digital copy of the forest was developed, and of famous Polish videogame “streamers” (i.e. people broadcasting their gameplay sessions). Methodologically, the research relied on interviews to executives and designers (n=4), as well as content analysis of the campaign and related discourses in Polish media (n=19). The findings suggest that a) sandbox games can generate innovative storytelling practices overcoming the political polarization of environmental communication; b) sandbox games as Minecraft, thanks to the high degree of manipulation of its worlds and the freedom of creation it allows, represent a salient framework for the meaning-making of ecological facts; c) streamers represent an “educational leverage” for the development of ecological attitudes. This evidence highlights new development trajectories for the study of environmental communication.
In the complex network of phenomena and practices related to the use and dissemination of digital media within the scenic and performative device that takes the name of intermediality performance, the issue of environmental sustainability is certainly central. In the performing arts, a particular sustainability model is negotiated and staged. First of all, just the particular conformation of the scenic medium that, since the advent of the cultural industry, becomes a space in which to think about technological obsolescence, and therefore about the sustainability of digital technologies, allows a close reflection on the themes of technology and environmental sustainability. Precisely for this reason, theater can be considered a sort of medium zombie, that is, as an obsolescent medium that continues its existence in the mediascape in different forms and continually reinvents itself, thus producing a sort of resistance to obsolescence itself in the name of a new model of sustainability. The theatrical show Black Clouds (2016) of the Belgian company Cie Artara, directed by Fabrice Murgia, is emblematic in this regard. The show focuses on the dark side of digital technology, in fact, it is set in a landfill where digital devices end up, which is populated by a guiding spirit that shows their decay, the difficulty of reuse and the substantial transformation into toxic waste. Black clouds shows the difficulty of producing a thought of sustainability through digital media where, in a materialistic perspective, they always turn out to be waste. But if on the one hand theater unmasks the flip side of digital media and their ambivalent relationship with the notion of sustainability (think, for example, of the often dramatic results of the production of our digital devices in Asia and Africa), on the other Contemporary intermediality performances produce new models of sustainability both on the technological level and on that of the shared imagination. In this regard, another paradigmatic show is interesting: Fra’ Diavolo (2017) directed by Giorgio Barberio Corsetti for which the entire scenography was produced by the WASP company with special 3D printers loaded with a corn paste, so that it can be re-compacted and reused once it has stopped being useful. The peculiarity of the scenography produced by WASP is that it is at the center of a dialectic between sustainability of materials and the lack of sustainability of the production process, showing how in reality, behind a thought of sustainability there is always a dark side made of garbage and waste. Finally, within the production of contemporary digital performances and online performances, it is possible to isolate notions and practices of sustainability whose foundation is the production of political performance with digital media coming out of the scenic space to invade the urban space. Thus producing pockets of awareness and social resistance.
For environmental activists and ecological pressure groups, Covid-19 gives an opportunity to readdress the urgencies of climate change as well as humanity’s exploitative habits, including extended travelling, meat consumption and the exploitation of wild life. In this article, we employ multi-sited online ethnography to analyze three frames of environmental communication that emerged during the early stages of the pandemic: ‘humans are the biggest virus’, ‘against animal exploitation’ and ‘changing our lifestyle’. We bring attention to how these anti-anthropocentric frames suggest interconnecting with nature and the planet through the digital apparatus of communication, which captures critique in instantaneous recursive loops. We suggest that the paradigm of ‘ecological abstraction’, magnified through the pandemic crisis, can be seen as an exemplary present and futurist assemblage through which environmental concerns are addressed.
This article proposes a “diffraction reading” that tackles one of the most successful and interesting theatrical experiences of the last decades in Europe, Pippo Delbono’s work, using an evocative comparison with the professional way of life and trade of the Italian Commedia dell’Arte. There is no phylogenetic evolution from the old form, and Delbono’s performances are certainly not among the many contemporary works that found outright inspiration in what has become a‘mythical’ genre. Still, the contemporary troupe in its “inexhaustible wandering”, European identity and mutual solidarity between all its members, seems to collect some of the greatest legacies of those comici who were authentic foreigners that provoked and aroused disturbance in the public, attracting, bewildering and fomenting scandal. The comparative approach, centered on the core relationship between historical and contemporary scenes, seems also to give a contribution to the debate on contemporary theatre studies, placing present and past phenomena in a long-term perspective to avoid the risk of focusing solely on the present.
The serialization of Tex Willer’s character is one of the longest-running devices in the Italian cultural industry. Linked to the comics media experience, Tex is a prototype of the renewal process of the imaginary and the national identity, started in the immediate post-war period by the socio-economic ferments of the Reconstruction. The recent interest shown by the exponent of cultural studies Elisabeth Leake underlines Tex’s relevance in the social analysis and in the Italian media system, rediscovering its role in the debate on the mutations of serial narrative forms. This contribution intends to propose a reflection on the transformations of the Italian industrial mechanisms of storytelling, showing how the morphology of a progressively de-massified public rewrote the established routines of late modern consumption.
In France, wine has been considered a part of everyday life from a long time. It is a cultural object that builds an identity and an intangible heritage. This weighs on Occidental television as a pattern often to describe a typical ambience but also as a subject itself, almost a fictional character, even. This paper investigates French TV series, in order to analyse how wine is represented, how it stresses a cultural identity and a sense of belonging. Wine was often perceived as “food”, but not only. Our research shows its peculiar relationship with time – historic and symbolic time – through sharing, family, brotherhood and conviviality, as per its depiction in the media. A form of ritual is always described in wine TV fictions, and this brings a social and cultural description of the drink, its culture and its actors. The intangible heritage of wine is staged in ways that confine it to ritual: visits, tastings and feasts show wine in an archetypal way. A “quality wine” is described through a heavy codification of gestures, words and space. Lexical features combine technical words, communitarian lingo and poetic licence that betray an emotional involvement and a moral and sensitive valuation. All those patterns lead wine to assume characteristics of ritualization, with repetition and comfort habits but also with the initiation of the Profane. The object works then as a semiotic transition within the receiving audience of the media. This making of a rituality brings wine to impersonate a reassuring and legitimising reference of French culture). For every national production, television scenarios enable an expected relationship between the viewer andthis cultural heritage. They design a precise frame of perceptions which convey a certain idea of how society works, and above all, a vision of daily life, of work and family, that are all part of a legitimate socio-cultural continuity.