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.