Monday, December 19, 2011

ITP Showcase


Digidrench was one of the first displays upon entering the exhibit. It consisted of a tv screen, the image split into thirds, each third containing a person onscreen. In front of the screen, there was a setup of three pitchers and containers, each holding a different colored liquid. When the liquid was poured from pitcher to container, which held a water-level sensor of sorts, the onscreen person was drenched in something similar to what was being poured from the pitcher, with the video being played in accordance to the water level. As the container was drained however, the video of the onscreen persona would play in reverse, effectively resulting in a dry person. I found this display to be rather interesting because it seemed like a playfully simple concept overall, om top of which it incorporated an element of interactivity between the physical and the digital.

Tweet Laser-Scribe (what I call it):

There was the  display that consisted of a mechanism which used a laser pointer to write out certain tweets that it would pull from the twitter API, containing the word "fade", on a phosphorescent board. What resonated most about this was the fact that each letter that the mechanism wrote had to be manually programmed in. -I'm assuming it was something along the lines of letter by letter telling which gear/motor/what have you, to turn just the right amount to form the letter. For some reason I found the idea behind that to be somewhat intimate, for lack of a better term. -It was something that showed a certain level of personal involvement that I especially appreciated. I don't however mean to say that the other projects didn't show personal involvement, because surly they were all hand-built for the most part, I guess just the fact that the output seemed to have somewhat human qualities struck a chord.


Lastly there is eyeware, something that I right away recognized as none other than the eye-writer that had been demoed in class. It turned out that this was actually a modification to that existing code. This display consisted of the wearer/creator wearing a pair of glasses with a camera facing her eye, and facing out. A monitor that she'd been wearing on her front side displayed her eye, and its position, as well as what the second camera was looking at. This second output would pan relative to where the eye was shown to be looking. Ultimately, to me, this created the illusion of seeing through someone else's eyes, or at least, as portrayed on a screen. This resonated with me simply because of the fact that it offered this perspective of someone else, or proposed the idea. Because really, you can never really in a literal sense, see things through anyone's eyes but your own, which silly as it seems,  had honestly been a thought that's bothered me since I've been about four or five years old, thinking about life's big problem's already. Thank you, eyeware, for letting me sleep just that little bit better at night!.

Favorite Themes/Concepts, New Museum, Post-Digital

  • Augmented Reality: I can say that this has been something rather influential this semester for a number of reasons. For one, I'd never heard of it. I may have been exposed to it previously somewhere or other, but my experience with it has definitely blown up this past semester. I find augmented reality particularly interesting because to me, it really seems like a next-step of sorts, as far as introducing digital media into a new dimension or plane goes: the physical. Or at least, what we consider to to be the physical plane. 
  • Data visualization: Again, not something that I'd been explicitly familiar with prior to this semester. Of course I'd seen many visual representations of data before, but actually going out of my way to examine new and innovative ways in which different kinds of data is being depicted in comparison to others has definitely proven interesting. With all the data that we're generating, and all the ways that we have to show it, I think it's especially interesting to think about data visualization as an art form. 
  • Ken Perlin: As mentioned in an earlier post, I especially appreciated Ken's lecture because he really seems to live the rule of "if you're not doing something you love...". Particularly, what resonated with me as far as the content of his lecture goes, was the idea of being able to manipulate things such as animations in real-time, deviating from the sort of standard of a linear grind to get something done.
Relational Aesthetics:

Relational Aesthetics, deals with the idea of something being interactive, and as such the question comes up of why we as people are so attracted to that with which we can interact. Holler plays very much with this idea in his exhibit, and admits to go out of his way not only to examine how and why people interact with things, but more importantly, to see how he can modify what is being interacted with, and the non-conventional results that are bound to occur. By non-conventional, i mean that he focuses on taking regular reactions and feelings that the exhibit-goers might have, and try and either amplify or distort them in various ways, hopefully making even the person question hi or her own reactions. 

Eric Rosenthal: 

I must say, what stands out to me the most about Mr. Rosenthal, the one definitive factor, is his history as the vice-president at Disney imagineering. Having an aunt that works as an administrator at one of the disney resorts, always going on about how they're working on this or that crazy new and innovative ride, this seems to paint quite the picture in and of itself. Judging by the webpage, he seems to know his stuff when it comes not only to being somewhat technically savvy, but practically and aesthetically innovative as well. 


Post-digital seems too deal with a sort of regression back into being human, so to speak. In a day and age where we rely as much as we do in ever-improving technology, it is interesting to think that people have begun to consider it as becoming to be something bad. This is to say, in my opinion at least,  post-digital isnt necessarily something to be considered as a regression, but more as a progression in terms of acknowledging our reliance on technology, and potentially using this as a gateway not necessarily to renounce all technology as we know it, but to begin to gain a better understanding of just how we crutch ourselves sometimes, and how we can continue to use tech in a way such that we don't end up being helpless when something that's been long-automated would need to be done manually. Shortly, I see this as a way of stepping back, acknowledging a weakness, and using that insure a fail-safe. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Assignment 8: The New Museum + Class Demos

Carsten Holler:

  • It is stated that in recent years, art museums have been trying to place more emphasis on the concept of "visitor experiences".
  • said experiences are just that; something that the museum goer experiences with multiple senses, as opposed to just observing something
  • Holler - began professional life a scientist.
  • confusion machines - his works are set out to induce a sort of madness. its rather interesting to think of the art itself residing not in the piece, but in the person's reaction.
  • "I hope everyone will be ok" - best quote pertaining to an exhibit. ever.
  • German-born
  • doctorate in agricultural science
  • began to make art in the 1980's
  • known for creating situations which challenge familiar perceptions throughout his work
  • frankly, the more i read about this exhibit, the more i can't wait to visit.

Lali (Spartacus) Chetwynd:

  • a "proudly unprofessional" performance art piece.
  • supposed to be a fun piece, inspiring laughter through awkward situations.
  • british performance artist
  • changed her first name to spartacus in 2006.
  • known for recreating iconic moments within her work.
  • in her work, she utilizes amateur actors, handmade costumes, sets, drawing on plenty of influences including film, history, etc.

Face Recognition:

  • SceneTap - new app that uses facial recognition technology to cater to certain demographics.
  • While the app doesnt gather personal data, the technology does in fact allow for it.
  • The good: personal catering to people's commercial needs
  • Bad: lack of privacy, at least in the sense that commercial parties have that much more information about you.

Filter Bubbles:

  • Internet activist eli pariser suggests that there is something called the filter bubble.
  • Depending on your on-line habits, websites, search engines, and other providers of information employ algorithms which slowly end up showing the user only what they think is best catered to said user.
  • the problem in this lies in the fact that this essentially coddles the user in such a way that it doesnt provide any sort of controversial material which might in turn trigger thought, as opposed to simply reaffirming one's views all of the time
  • Solution: find a new way to present things that aren't within what would be considered one's filter-bubbled preferences.

Duck Duck Go:

  • Meant to serve as a search engine which would serve as a solution to the the above filter bubble, since it collects no data based off of searches, and therefore has no way to make recommendations or block certain results out.
  • Matt Cutts of Google however, points out that the data-collecting feature can easily be turned off or worked around, and maintains his position that the personalization is not malicious in nature.

  • Hunch is refered to as a "decision making engine".
  • This means, that it helps the user to make decisions based on decision trees, based on the what the user's interests seem to relate to.
  • Whats good about this, is that every pre-existing answer within the database of possible answers that could be given is a user-generated response.
  • In other words, instead of some algorithm trying to tell you what you should and shouldnt be looking at, the decisions are based on answers made by other people, often with similar interests.

Panoramic Iphone Camera:

  • I thought that this gadget was particularly interesting because of the way it worked.
  • Sure, the whole idea panoramic footage on your phone is neat, but i was personally more impressed with the clever way in which they achieved it: The gadget seems to be some sort of mirror that distorts what the camera sees into a circular image. Then, using a separate app, it parses this image accordingly, and allows the viewer to glide through it ant any angle.

Panoramic Helicopter Camera:

  • on top of what is mentioned just above, I thought that this was particularly interesting because of its potential immersive qualities, where it has a different effect on the viewer than any normal bird's-eye-view angle does.
  • Not only does it allow for interactivity, but by doing so, it creates a sense of being somewhat surrounded by what is being looked at.

Brainwave Headset:

  • I remember one thing that initially came to mind after watching the sort of learning curve that would come with properly training oneself to consistently think the same thoughts. -I for one, don't consciously tend to think about when or how i'm thinking, i guess i just sort of... think. Having to think certain things on command and being able to perfectly replicate them in order to carry out the same function definitely seems like it's take some getting used to.

Brain-powered siri:

  • again, most of what I'd just stated above still stands here, but I guess this gets me thinking more about the fact that brainwave-commanded technology is on its way.
  • If they've made it already, they'll probably make it smaller. When they do, everyone will have one. How will this change the way that we interact?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Assignment 7: Michael Strickland, New Media Readings, and More

Michael Strickland on Quidditch, Data Visualization, And New Media Journalism:

  • Michael demoed his website that he'd put together for the Quidditch world cup event, held on Randall's island.
  • A main goal of his site seemed to be participant/event-goer interaction, or ease of use, as far as getting event info, real-time stats, etc. goes.
  • The ipad app seemed like a very clever way to maintain the mentioned real-time stats.
  • Michael mentioned that he did a lot of research before making the site, to see what others offered, compared to what he thought people wanted. Working with that, (borrowing heavily from a NY Times Soccer stat data visualization) he created his own site, conducive to his own needs.
New Media Reader:

Chapter 14: Four Selections by Experiments in Art and Technology

  • EAT - experiments in art and technology
  • Played a pivotal role in advancing tech and art since 1960's
  • Founded in 1966 by by Billy Kluver, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Whitman, Fred Waldhauer.
  • Emphasizes the importance of the relationship between the actual art and the technology that goes into a piece. Looking at the 9Evenings exhibit, it is stated that the audience automatically jumped to the conclusion that there were technical malfunctions, instead of questioning the integrity of the art.
  • "The Garden Party":
  • Kluver starts off here by pointing out that the piece isn't a finished work, and reminds us that it was after all, an experiment. Just as with a scientific experiment, it is something of a work in progress, where there is no true failure, as what would be considered a failure could still be viewed as something gained, knowledge-wise.
  • The machine was conceived "out of total anarchy and freedom"..
  • Looking at the press release for the event, it seems to strive to get the individual more involved in the idea of technological change and innovation, as opposed to technology being something that is being advanced somewhere off in the distance on its own. This makes me think of contemporary consumer ignorance, and how companies and brands generally don't want the consumer to be too involved with a product, other than using it for its intended purpose. i.e. how hacking and modding things tend to void warranties
  • The Pavilion:
  • a piece that involves choice, responsibility, freedom, and participation on the visitor's end.
  • With today's advanced means of sending and receiving info, there is a particular emphasis on the individual's relationship to the environment.
  • the pavilion was a living responsive environment.
  • Artists, in groups of four, would take shifts within the environment to maintain an organic or live program, manipulating the fog, lights, sound, etc. Interesting to think that they needed people to do it. After all, it was to accommodate other people's decisions and such, something an A.I. couldn't conceivably do at the time? -Who knows, not even now, maybe.
Chapter 15: Cybernated Art
  • Nam June Paik - considered to be the first video artist. First to use TV's in art pieces, integrated video into live performances, etc.
  • Uses a cybernetic/Buddhist context for his work, as put forth in his manifesto.
Chapter 31: Will There Be Condominiums in Data Space?

  • Starts by mentioning that interactive video art can be a medium conducive to thinking about new media on a broader scale.
  • Bill viola - high profile video artist.
  • Essay itself starts by commenting on how our existence is continuous. Saying that our entire lives have been one long instance. This seems immediately relevant, especially within the context of video art, where editing and rearranging existing instances is something of a cornerstone.
  • Data space refers to the pre-allocated space or field that is necessary for an idea or concept or even computer graphic to be. Viola seems to be questioning then, the origins and significance of said space.
  • First experience with computer videotape editing in 1976. Holism - the idea of being able to edit and rearrange something while making it, as opposed to making a product, and then having to go back and fix things. Focused on having a WHOLE all along, like with the example of the jigsaw puzzle: you need to see the whole image before you know what to work towards.
  • Seems to relate to hypertext again, with branching, and the possibility of non-linear reception of information.
  • In the end, viola discusses the significance of perception of technology, and how things can be multi-purposed. But we must remain aware of ourselves, to know what we want from technology as it develops.
  • Who doesnt love a self-assured porcupine?
Delicious Posts!

Why your next phone may be bendable:

  • Discusses the potential of phones utilizing bendable-display technology, commenting on things like durability and new forms of input (twisting, etc).
  • Goes beyond phones to speculate how pliable digital screens can also serve to replace tings like newspapers, where they might even be bendable, or conformed to many different surfaces.
Hacking the drug cartels:

  • Someone claiming to be a member of the "hacktivist" group anonymous threatened to expose various data relating to the "Los Zetas" drug cartel.
  • Spokeperson for anonymous has stated that the member in question is acting on his own, and is not backed by anonymous.
  • there has been speculation that the video wasnt by anonymous at all, based on its apparent production value.
History of the Guy Fawkes Masks

  • The mask is representative of Guy Fawkes, 17th century conspirator, a revolutionary of sorts
  • The obvious connection would seem to be the revolutionary bit, overthrowing an oppressive regime, etc.
  • There happen to be some subtle undertones though, as the mask has been adopted by anonymous, and other 4-chan lurkers.
Floating Cars -- Quantum Levitation

  • First things first, I would absolutely love to play with one of these...
  • One thing that comes to mind regarding cars is how our roadways and infrastructure would have to be reordered. Since these wouldn't quite be independent flying cars, in that they'd always need the proper surface for the super conductor to react with, there'd be a need for a massive restructuring of things like roads and highways.
Hacked Kinect -- Projection Device

  • being that this is a very rough prototype, I'd hardly consider something like stylishness as a worthwhile factor.
  • It is interesting to think of a world where we wouldnt need anything physical to carry around as far as media goes, when we'd have the ability to project anything on any surface, including your own body.
  • in the end though, as far as I can think of it now, i think that there is still something more intimate and personal about having say, a book, or phone to fiddle with.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Assignment 6: OWS, Ken Perlin, and of course, the New Media Reader



  • Occupy Wall St. (OWS) is an ongoing protest/large demonstration being held in NYC's Zuccotti Park.
  • started on September 17, 2011, by Canadian activist group, Adbusters.
  • protests against social and economic inequality, corporate greed, and corruption in the government.
  • Originated as an idea from the aforementioned Canadian group, known for its advertisement-free publlication.
  • The internet group Anonymous supported the movement, and perpetuated it by encouraging its members to join the peaceful protest by joining and setting up shop at the park.
  • The demonstration is said to have been enacted so late after the start of the financial crisis because people were under the impression that Obama would do something about.
  • Zuccotti was chosen because it was private property, where police could not intervene unless requested to do so by the property owners.
  • "We are the 99%" is the slogan of the Occupy movement, and refers to the imbalanced concentration of wealth within the population, wherein the top 1% holds a great portion of the wealth.
  • There is a mixed bag as far as a demographic among the demonstrators goes. Its quite a diverse group, varying in age, ethnicity, and political views.
  • As for organization of the demonstration, there is what is referred to as an assembly, where meetings are open to the public, and there is no actual leadership. The group is somewhat self-moderated. The protest was often criticized, as there was no formal mission statement until mid-october. Since then the website with the demands seems to have been deleted by an administrator.
  • While there are mixed goals among the group, there is a general message that asks for better jobs, equal distribution of income, bank reform, and less corporate influence on politics.
  • Protesters communicate among themselves via "human microphone", where a message will be repeated in unison throughout the crowd, due to lack of amplified sound permit.
  • The whole movement is said to have been inspired by the protests in Cairo
  • 52 cities are participating in protests as of 9/27
  • Professional unions are among the protesters.
928 Offshoots Overnight:

  •, a social networking site meant specifically for offline meetings reached out to the OWS movement to help with technical publication and promotion of the protests.
  • The site had previously worked with Adbusters.
  • While the simple Meetup organization seems superior to that of Facebook, as far as it being a platform conducive to such get-togethers, facebook events pages seem to trump those of Meetups, where the number of attendees is concerned.
  • In the end, the article states that both are somewhat chaotic platforms, and that's what matters to some degree, the decentralization of the movement.
OWS Hackathons:

  • Programmers in support of the OWS movement started hosting Hackathons, to develop, work on, and discuss the various technological needs that will be necessary. Things like running the main website, allocating proper server space, developing helpful communication apps and platforms, online privacy, etc.
  • Decentralization is also key here, to prevent one integral communication platform of being shutdown permanently from one location.
  • FreedomBox seems like something very conducive OWS communication, as it provides a decentralized computer/web server, where on external source could completely shut it down from any one point.
Twitter Buzz:

  • Activity and participation within OWS is seemingly easily being tracked and statistically recorded by following various OWS-related tweets.

Ken Perlin's Lecture:

Ken's lecture was nothing short of fascinating. For one thing, just sitting there in his presence was something in and of itself, almost like being starstruck. I really don't mean to flatter, but I feel its a similar effect, when for example, there is something prominent in everyday life that most people take for granted, like I don't know, facebook. -It isn't everyday that anyone gets to not only sit and chat with Mark Zuckerberg, but have him demo some of his new and upcoming work, as well as the thought process that's gone into it. With all the bells and whistles out there today, ranging from 3d animations in silly advertisements that no one really pays attention to, to things like people playing their microsoft kinects, there really are a multitude of complexities that are simply overlooked. I mention this because for one thing, the chance to listen to Ken go into his thought process behind innovating things like the 3D bubbles and cubes that he'd demoed reminded me that things like these are built and thought up by living, breathing people. I know this seems like an odd point to be getting at, but I feel as though with a lot of consumer technology out there today, and even a lot in the past, what goes on behind the scenes in all the gadgets and gizmos that people have become dependent on may as well be some sort of incomprehensible magic to the greater population of said consumers. Moving on to the lecture itself though, I must say that what really resonated with the most was Ken's outlook on his process. For one thing, with his animated fish example, he demonstrated the idea of sort of animating in real-time, more like digital puppeteering even, as opposed to the grind of drawing something frame by frame. He also mentioned a scholarly paper, which pretty much points out that mathematics shouldn't be something that is taught for the sake of drilling it into kid's heads, as opposed to something that should learned through playing and being creative with it, not unlike music. In the end, I guess I'd like to comment on how admirable I find it that he truly seems to be doing what he enjoys doing.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Assignment 5: New Media Reader Ch. 48 + 49

You Say You Want a Revolution?

-Stuart Moulthrop

-"all distributed computing systems are hypertextual, since they deliver information dynamically in response to a user's demands"

-Moulthrop seems to get at the question of why hypertext hasn't really taken off as a big thing, despite how great it is. He points out that while there is in fact a general consensus of "we need a revolution" relating to the current (written in 1991) system of information, the problem may very well lie within the fact that people don't seem to understand what it is that they're asking for exactly, through the scope of a misunderstanding of technological history.

-Relates back to Nelson's Xanadu, proposing that it would in fact (after being actually realized), help the desired paradigm shift of the information infrastructure: how it is accessed, changed, etc.

-Nelson's hope lies mostly in returning to literacy, as a "cure for the television stupor".

-Populitism: combines "populism" with "elite". Points to the idea of equal access of information to all.

-Looking at Hypertext through the scope of the four basic questions:

"What does Hypertext enhance of intensify?"
Being what it is, Moulthrop argues that hypertext in fact naturally augments peoples' ability to make and recognize patterns. Moulthrop also likens this awareness of a bigger picture to Pynchon's take on "paranoia", which stems from the realization of everything being connected.

"what does Hypertext displace or make obsolete?"
It is stated that the book might seem like the obvious answer. This is somewhat true, insofar that it seems that an ideal hypertext might in fact need to be digitized as opposed to printed, simply for ease of navigation. Thus, hypertext doesn't seek the obsolescence of literature or literacy, as much as what Moulthrop refers to as post-literacy, in other words, the television.

"What does Hypertext retrieve that was previously obsolete?"
As pointed out in the previous question, Moulthrop goes on to state that Hypertext is a very literacy-based system, wherein people will need to actively write and interact with one another as opposed to say, passively sitting and receiving everything that comes out of a TV.

"What does hypertext become when taken to its limit?"
"every form, pushed to the limit of its potential, reverses its characteristics". Thus, one possibility that is pointed out: "an empowering technology turned into a mechanism of cooptation and enslavement". Nelson's perspective combats this, with mention of a negotiated consensus, compared to the idea of a consensual illusion. -Nelson claims that people would in fact go out of their ways to make their voices heard and actively partake, discuss, and compromise as necessary, as opposed to there being those that would simply follow and join something that they think is already set in stone.

The End of Books

-Robert Coover

-Coover starts by pretty much saying that in this digital age, the printed book is slowly but surely nearing its last days.

-Believes the power of the line within conventionally written books to be oppressive. Hypertext of course, is the answer!

-Hypertext provides multiple paths between text segments, or "Lexias".

-It is pointed out that hypertext may be something a bit difficult to fully perceive, with its lack of starting points, boarders, boundaries, etc.

-Taught a Hypertextual writing course. Points out that naturally, some fear the erasure of their known structures, while others embrace venturing into the unknown.

- Coover believes that despite advances in technology, the basic framework of hypertext will stay the same. It will however be difficult to maintain/migrate some hypertexts because of the constant advancement, so there are are some issues with compatibility.

-Navigation also proves to be something of a problem. Coover asks: "how do you move around infinity without getting lost?".

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Assignment 4: Oulipo, Prose, and select demos

First things first: Nelson and Hypertext revisited (briefly):

"Hypertext is text which contains links to other texts. The term was coined by Ted Nelson around 1963 (but an article using the term was published term in 1965).

The prefix hyper- (comes from the Greek prefix "υπερ-" and means "over" or "beyond") signifies the overcoming of the old linear constraints of written text.

The term "hypertext" is often used where the term "hypermedia" might seem appropriate. In 1992, author Ted Nelson – who coined both terms in 1963 – wrote:

    “By now the word "hypertext" has become generally accepted for branching and responding text, but the corresponding word "hypermedia", meaning complexes of branching and responding graphics, movies and sound – as well as text – is much less used. Instead they use the strange term "interactive multimedia": this is four syllables longer, and does not express the idea of extending hypertext. — Nelson, Literary Machines, 1992”

The Oulipo:

- a group interested in examining and creating "potential literature".

-potential literature is something meant to analyze and synthesize the constraints put forth (according to Lionnais) by ordinary literature, including but not limited to vocabulary, syntax, dramatic convention, etc.

-techniques by which this would be achieved include the lipogram and the palindrome.

-"choose your own adventure" as a hypertext, comes up as an example of such boundary breaking as well.

-The main example here though is the featured A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems. It even comes with a very specific algorithm on how to go about rearranging the poem to make a new one, as many times as the reader would like, creating an interactive reading experience.

Brief History of the Oulipo

-founded by Francois Le Lionnais, first met on November 24, 1960.

-Met with the original intention of sitting around composing poems.

-Originally called themselves SLE -roughly translated/expanded to seminar for experimental literature.

-ou-li-po derived from ouvroir, literature, and potential.

-claim (and i guess demonstrate) that language, like a science, is an operable concept, which eventually relates back to the idea of experimenting with the already constructed conventions of literature.

-came to the conclusion of two lipos:
analytic - delves into the text for existing possibilities and meanings that may be unknown to the author himself.
synthetic - creates new possibilites.

Prose and Anticombinatorics

-by Italo Calvino

-discusses the use of computers as an a way to build on a limited number of structures initially put forth by the author, with exponential possibilities.

-Calvino himself discusses his idea of a story in the style of a murder mystery, where the reader is given set number of choices, each within certain categories, that will often lead to different experiences.

-Discusses the algorithms that would need to be in place in order for the story to be made feasible, and outlines a good number of potential outcomes.

-Makes me think of it as a much more intricate choose-your-adventure story.


1. Blockhead - The Music Scene

-I found this video to be particularly interesting mostly because it definitely left an impression on me the first time around, as it had this sort of overwhelming quality to it. Just trying to wrap my head around all that was going on, with all the color and the fluid transition from one scene to another was an experience in and of itself. On top of all of this, you realize that the intricate animation is in fact coordinated with the sound, which makes it all the more mind-blowing in my opinion. One all of that settled in, it hit me that someone sat their and actually drew all of this, in all of its intricacy. Thus, I guess what I have to say is that I appreciate both the sensory overload as well as the faint idea i have of how much work must have gone into it.

2. Reactable

- A demonstration of a new very hands-on electronic music-making interface.

-Basically, it seems to be a table-top computer with some sort of input capability in the screen, which allows it to interact with small blocks, each representing a different sound/loop/modifier.

-Its incredible to see how basic loops can be put together and manipulated to create something seemingly so much greater than the sum of its parts.

3. Music Maze

- A website that allows the user to search for an artist, after which it suggests other artists to listen to, based on the previous. It does this over and over.

-What I found most interesting about this was
a) being able to look up someone I liked, and subsequently end up following a trail of artists that I'd already known and liked. -It was fun to see how certain artists were related to one another
b) being able to branch off into something new that I might like as well.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Assignment 3: Ted Nelson, Ken Perlin, Hypertext, and More.

A File Structure for the Complex:

- Nelson coined "Hypertext", as well as the original concept. It is noted however that it differs from what we generally acknowledge as hypertext today (the internet, with its "chunk-style" info setup, where one static link might lead to another and so on).

-Starts by pointing out the need for a dynamic system of file storage/retrieval, one that can be shifted/rearranged to suit a number of needs at any given moment.

-Proposed solution: Evolutionary List File, or ELF, to be written in PRIDE.

-Began work in 1960, ultimately intent on the Dream file, a sort of file that would hold information just the way the user wanted, in a very user-specific order/layout. Makes sense so far, I absolutely can't stand having to pack up an in-progress workspace, only to have to come back to the project or whatever it is and then unpack again, and take the time to settle back into that familiar zone of comfort/convenience.

-Obstacles: Cost, sense of need, design - actually making the thing

-Relating back to the worksace idea, this seems like it'd strive to be an ultimate workspace tracker, keeping tabs on certain steps the user's taken to make the progress that he or she has, and being able to recall to any previous decision at the push of button, to potentially branch out on a separate idea from there. -Totally hypertextual.

Oh Hey, Some More Ted Nelson: Nelson Wiki

-born in 1937, he is a sociologist, philosopher, and pioneer of information technology

-founded Project Xanadu in 1960, intent on creating an easy to use computer network

-the project never quite came to be. Though it seems as though Nelson was more concerned with the ideology behind it, as it is noted that he still advocates it.

-Co-founded IBM as a retailer, and eventually influenced them to put out their own PC.

-Working on the ZigZag data structure, which seems a bit derivative of some of his original ideas from Xanadu.

-Coined "Populitism", relating to the idea of authority within a writing space should be local and contingient

Nelson's Hyperland:

-also a poet

- as such, i guess its interesting to point out how much the man enjoys the word "hither".

-points out that the world wide web was not in fact his idea, contrary to what some have said of him.

Nelson's Literary Machines:

-Literary Machines - Nelson's first book, published in 1980.

-Delves greatly into Nelsons's Term "Hypertext", and his Project Xanadu.

-Discusses his theories on "tumblers", "transclusion", and "microPayments".

-The book itself is nonlinear, and can be followed in most any order, so long, I assume, as there is some logical thought behind the chosen order, in terms of "Hey, reading x just made me think of y, let me go and look further into y". Then again, something along the lines of "Hey, while reading about x, y, totally unrelated, came to mind, let me look further into that" seems feasible as well.

Eccescopy, Part 1

-Starts with the idea of "The game is in there, you just can't open the box yet". An interesting sentiment, which pretty much puts forth the notion of setting a goal for the future, and working towards that goal. In this case, the goal was Sims 4, despite Sims 2 still being in production. I guess it also goes to say that having some tangible reminder of your goal is also something important, for the sake of motivation, etc.

-Eccescopy - Ecce stands for eye centered computer environment.

-An eccescope, Perlin says, is a device that enables the user to see an alternate world created within the computer cloud, alongside what is seen in the real world. Augmented Reality.

Eccescopy, Part 2

-one example: Video wherein ideas are shown to be pulled out of thin air and manipulated.

- generally the idea behind augmented reality seems consist of being able to manipulate and interact with images, information, etc, as it is visually represented (not actually there/physically intagible) by some sort of computing technology, whether its a smartphone, through the lens of a computer, projector, etc.

-most interesting to me was the Magic Projection Demo, as it brings the AR into a realm in which many people can interact with it all within the same instance, as opposed to each viewer requiring their own personal viewer.

Eccescopy, Part 3

-Here, Perlin states that an early example of eccescopy can be seen in the original Star Wars films, where characters look at what I originally perceived as being holograms, or projections of images into a shared physical space, similarly to how people watch a television, only the image is projected into thin air.

-Speak of the Devil, (the devill having been referred to in the previous post) Perlin also points out the idea of the eccescope not disrupting the shared physical space, meaning the user/viewer doesn't require his/her own apparatus to view whatever it is thats being shown.

Eccescopy, Part 4

-Holodust eccescopy - a more physical take on the idea of thin-air projection. (Physical being in reference to their being actual particles in the air). The premise here is that a cloud of particles is precisely lit up to create the image of something being projected in thin air.

- Points out that the Heliodisplay technology is not in fact eccescopic, as there isn't interactivity to it. No that the previous example can necessarily be physically fiddled with, but the distinction here lies in the fact that the Holodust renders a multi-dimensional image that can be observed from different angles, where as the Heliodisplay is simply a flat image, and will remain the same no matter how it is viewed.

Eccescopy, Part 10

-Finally the idea of individual eccescopes.

-Perlin mentions that if the eccesope is to be made into something for everyone in everyday life, it must be something unobtrusive, that wouldn't interfere too much with things like being able to make eye contact.

Eccescopy, Part 14

- There are plenty of things to take into consideration when working on technology that will potentially change the way we live our every day lives, such as community, and how we will end up interacting with others because of it.

-Nonetheless, Perlin refers to his previous model of the Sims, though now the Sims 5, and how not quite having the means to achieve your ends yet in no way means that new ends should cease to be thought of.

Eccescopy, Part 18

-Privacy in an ambiscopic world.

-Is there such a thing anymore, now that everyone has the ability to record another?

-Perlin points out there is a good and a bad side to everyone now having some sort of a recording device at the ready.

-Bad: As mentioned, no one really has any privacy anymore, when it comes to public sphere.

-Good: Uses the example of the anti-war protest, and how such injustice would be nearly impossible nowadays, as there is more of a public-generated source of info with which others can compare that which they simply hear or read about in the sometimes heavly edited/agenda-oriented mainstream.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Week 2: Favorite Links


This depicts Nathan "Flutebox" Lee as he plays a flute while simultaneously beatboxing. Also depicted is "Beardyman", another incredibly talented beatboxer, showing off his skills.

I found this video to be particularly interesting as it shows how someone can totally break the conventions of something like playing a certain instrument, and reinvent them by introducing a new element that wouldn't normally be thought to mix well at all, introducing a new medium even.
The same sort of goes for Beardyman. -It's amazing to see someone not only emulating, but making their own noises and beats that usually require some sort of mixing/computer skill, again, breaking convention.

Paint drop sculptures

Still photos taken of paint drops as they react to vibrations in sound, creating the image of a solid sculpture of sorts.
Interesting to see the combination of the the various mediums (paint, sound, photo, tech) coming together to create something that wouldn't quite be perceptible as such to someone who might not know what the components are.

Assignment 2: Borges Articles

The Garden of Forking Paths:

-A link to the story discussed in the previous post.

The Garden of Forking Paths Wiki:

-This article seems to focus mostly on Borges' work as hypertextual, and how arguably, it has paved the way for most other hypertext to come, including modern examples such as the Choose your own adventure books, and the novel Hopscotch. Reading about both of these brought to mind some personal examples, including the Fable videogame series (among quite a few others) that offers the player more than one way to play the game, where it allows the player to make various moral choices, which ultimately affect the ending. Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves also comes to mind (coincidentally enough, it happens to be by the same publishing company as Hopscotch, Pantheon), where there are essentially two stories being told at the same time (they're related for the most part), with tons of footnotes. -while the two alternate throughout the novel, it is ultimately up to the reader to decide if they want to follow one and then the other, or if they want to try and make sense of everything simultaneously. I personally need two bookmarks..

Borges Wiki:

-Born in Argentina in 1899, Borges was a writer, essayist, librarian, concerning himself with the themes of dreams, labyrinths, time, all of which are evident throughout Garden of Forking paths, among a lot of his other work apparently.

-Opposed communism, believed in the strength and significance of the individual self. Interesting to see how this might connect to his concerning himself so much with people being able to see as many various outcomes as possible for themselves.

Borges Biographical Sketch:

-This article goes more into detail regarding his childhood, emphasizing how he (along with his family felt like outsiders) starting from when he'd moved to Palermo, perpetuated by his "bookish" tendencies. It is pointed out that this class difference would influence his later writings.

-Very much into writing and even critical thinking from a young age, making observations such the ones mentioned above. Seems due in part to his parents being educated.

Modern word - Borges:

-This site seems to be the product of all that is J.L. Borges, including everything from references pertaining to "Books he never wrote" to sources to purchase his works, etc.

-One thing I found particularly interesting here was the one-liner heading the criticisms page, as it reads: "to refute him is to become contaminated with unreality". -Suggesting that there really isn't much that could go wrong by just taking the time to even think or consider any sort of alternative, when it comes to the now, what it will be, and what else it could be.

-Interestingly enough, the aforementioned House of Leaves is cited as being influenced by Borges:


- For one thing, this seems like great tribute to Borges, with a handful of authors paying their utmost respects to him, saying things like even his "driest paragraph is somehow compelling."

- His concise yet ever-meaningful prose is praised for the ways in which it engages its readers and provokes thought.

Borges and the Foreseeable Future/ Borges and the Web:

-Here, the idea is proposed that Borges played a great role in "preconfiguring the world wide web" as we know it, with his notions of infinite libraries and and never-ending encyclopedias, and overall endless streams of information. using examples such as wikipedia, where anyone can contribute, have their facts checked, check others' facts, and just constantly document things.

Borge's Buenos Aires:

- A travel article that explores Buenos Aires within the scope of Borges and his life there, pointing out places/areas he used to frequent as well as things like exhibits and other sites in his honor. The article also goes out of its way to quote Borges in talking about how he'd established his own sort of phantasmal presence in the city throughout the years, pointing out certain areas where he's experienced certain emotions, happenings, etc.

On Exactitude in Science:

-When first reading through this story, I thought I had somehow made the silly mistake of interpreting it as the cartographers having made a map literally the same size as the empire. Then I realized that this idea being silly seemed to have been part of the point of the story itself. Here, Borges pretty much comments on how there may be no point to trying to replicate or represent something with complete accuracy, detail for detail, because at that point, why not just experience the original?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Assignment 1: The Garden of Forking Paths

The Garden of Forking Paths
by Jorge Luis Borges

-Right away (starting in the intro at least), there seems to be a prevalent idea of innovation being somewhat directly related to Thomas Kuhn's concept of divergence vs. convergence, when it comes to the innovators themselves. -Where those that diverge from the norm cannot quite be left to their own devices, as there wouldn't be too much order, or anything to follow, though at the same time, those that converge after all, cannot be left to stagnate.

-1941 - Borge proposes the idea that there are multiple ways to read a novel.

-Story of the German Soldier desperately trying to escape what he thought to be his fate (something that he took as a given, or norm), by thinking of a plan and following it sort of on the fly. I find that this exemplifies the idea of diverging from the norm, and that which is expected, to help eventually point to something new and unheard of, all the while using preconceived knowledge (like the trick to labyrinths) to aid him on his way there.

-Interestingly relevant quote: "I felt myself to be, for an unknown period of time, an abstract perceiver of the world"(32).

-The idea of the infinite book: What comes to mind is something that doesn't quite have a cap on it, something that can always be added to, edited, updated, what else have you, with more knowledge. Something like the internet today, maybe?

-Moreover though, it would seem that the infinite book refers more to the idea of a figurative (though somewhat very real) web of potential paths and subsequent realities that exist, just by thinking "what if..?"