[Report] T1・T2 Workshop: 風景写真とデジタル・プラットフォーム(2019.03.02)


On March 2, 2019, we ran a series of workshops titled “Landscape Photos and Digital Platform” that were designed as “Type 1 (T1)” and “Type 2 (T2)” workshop models. The aims of T1 and T2 workshops are to “reflect on one’s media infrastructure usage” and “critically reflect on the existence of media infrastructure” respectively (see “Theoretical background” for details of the categorization.)

The titles of the three workshops (translated from Japanese) are as follows:

  • Workshop 1 (WS1): Let’s rank the sceneries  – T1
  • Workshop 2 (WS2): Where were the photos taken?  – T1
  • Workshop 3 (WS3): What it was like to “search” in those days?  – T2

As the titles suggest, the participants were asked to search for the locations of the sceneries under certain conditions (details to follow.) Through these workshops, we wanted the participants to become conscious of the existence of media infrastructure – in this case search engines in particular – and to critically reflect on them.

Participants were 16 people between their late teens and mid 70s who were snowball sampled. They were divided into four groups, with each group having members whose age, gender and occupation varied to reflect our assumption that in a group discussion setting, having people with different media experiences may help participants become more objective towards their own media experiences.

WS1: Let’s rank the sceneries – T1

In this 40-minute workshop, participants were asked to choose 5 out of 10 different sceneries we prepared in advance and vote them in the order of which places they want to visit. Responses were entered through an online form, and the participants used their smartphones and finished the task within 10 minutes. Two different algorithms were immediately applied to the data gathered, and two sets of top 5 rankings chosen by the participants were meted out.  As the results were shown, one of the facilitators explained the difference between the two algorithms that were applied and demonstrated how the outcomes of rankings can vary even though the same data is used.

(Sorry, video is only in  Japanese)

WS2: Where were the photos taken? – T1

photos of WS2
Two photos of WS2

In this 45-minute workshop, participants worked as a group to find out the locations of two photos. Some people came forward, took pictures of the two photos and found their answers by utilizing reverse image search function on Google. Most were successful, although few of them didn’t reach the right answers despite taking the same step. Meanwhile, one group reached the answers by simply googling the key words they came up with. What was common among all participants was that everyone used Google, which led them to realize how much the search engine have become part of their daily lives.

(Sorry, video is only in Japanese)

WS3. What it was like to “search” in those days? – T2 

Participants were then given the next task, which is our WS 3: How would you search for the answers to the same questions as WS2 if you were back in a certain time, namely, in 1988 and 1998? We chose these two years because 1988 is the year when the Internet was not popular, and 1998 was the year right before Google search engine took off in society. For reference, we provided few data regarding the media environment of those times along with books and magazines related to those years. In the final part of the 130-minute workshop, each group was to give a presentation of their ideas.

(Sorry, video is only in Japanese)

Once the discussions began, senior members of the group began to reflect and talk about their media experiences back in those years, while the younger participants listened and asked questions. Everyone used their smartphones or computers to further search for information while the discussions continued.

In the end, the groups from 1988 said this is how they would have found the answers back then:

  • Visit the library and look for books and information
  • Look up the encyclopedia
  • Ask friends and others who love to travel and may have some clues
  • Consult experts who may have knowledge, such as travel agents and researchers
  • Reach out to the media, such as TV stations and newspapers
  • Travel

The 1998 groups also mentioned several other possibilities in addition to the above:

  • Use internet forums and ask
  • Utilize your own website and seek answers
  • Ask friends via e-mail with the photos attached

Preliminary analysis

Online surveys were carried out before and after the workshop activities. In the post-workshop survey, a large majority, or 94 percent, said they enjoyed the workshop, and over 80 percent also acknowledged that they became more conscious of online platforms. When asked if they feel the need for more people to experience such workshops, 93 percent agreed. Here are some of their comments:

  • It is valuable for the young people to consider the pros and cons of platforms
  • We don’t have the opportunity to reflect on the media environment of the years before we were born, so this is a valuable experience
  • It is necessary to redefine the contemporary world by comparing how we gather information in the past and today
  • I have been concerned about relying heavily on platforms like Google and amazon that are so dominant

Our preliminary analysis shows that the three workshops have achieved their aims, which are to “reflect on one’s media infrastructure usage” and “critically reflect on the existence of media infrastructure.”

(Setsuko Kamiya & Atsushi Udagawa)



  • WS1. 風景写真ランキングを作ってみよう(40分):T1
  • WS2. 風景写真の場所を探してみよう(45分):T1
  • WS3. 過去の「検索」を想像してみよう(130分):T2


WS1. 風景写真ランキングを作ってみよう






result of WS1


WS2. 風景写真の場所を探してみよう

photos of WS2





WS3. 過去の「検索」を想像してみよう

過去にタイムスリップしたとして、その時代にWS2で使った写真の風景がどこかを探すにはどうすればよいか? WS3ではこれをグループ内で話し合い、まとめ、その内容を発表してもらった。タイムスリップ先は1988年と1998年。前者はインターネットがまだ一般に使われていなかった時代、後者はGoogle登場の年であり、検索エンジン黎明期である。




output of WS3





  • 教育現場でプラットホームの功罪を若い人たちに考えてもらうことは、とても価値があり、是非広まってほしい
  • 自分が生きていない時代背景やメディア環境について、詳しく知ることができる機会はなかなか無い
  • 昔の時代背景や情報を得るための行動と今を比較して、現代を再定義しなおすことは必要だ
  • Googleやamason(原文ママ)が支配的なプラットフォームを持っている中、物事がそれに頼り切っていいのか考えることが多い


(神谷 説子・宇田川 敦史)