infinite loop or so i thought

lala

The recipe is reflective of Paranoid Android by Radiohead: when I tweet something, the system replies to me with “i may be paranoid but not an android.” To correspond to the lyrics, I chose to tweet “what’s that”:

paranoidandroid

At first I thought this would create an infinite loop of my account tweeting “i may be paranoid but not an android” every five minutes or so but I soon find out that was not the case. Either twitter has a system that blocks tweets that contain the same content as the tweet that came before or IFTTT considers “new tweets” as original tweets and not tweets spawned from IFTTT (highly possible that it’s the latter as they want to avoid a case of the infinite loop). But I still like the recipe, even though its sole function is to amuse myself with the inside joke of “haha, it’s like the machine tweeted back that it’s not an android to me after I asked what’s that.”

I experimented with more recipes, changing my tactics:

paranoidandroid2

This one uses hashtags instead to enable specificity in what gets tweeted after. So for the new tweet, I specified it to have “#whatsthat” so that the action becomes tweeting “#imaybeparanoidbutnotanandroid”. I made another recipe to make use of this hashtag specificity, but this one did not work well. I made the trigger “#imaybeparanoidbutnotanandroid” and the action “#whatsthat” in order for the two recipes to bounce off each other, but the recipes did not react to each other as I had hoped. Meaning, the third recipe did not get triggered at all, probably because of the conjectures I made about “new tweets” in the previous paragraph. Oh well. Technology!

Some thoughts about IFTTT, Art and the API, and Formula for Computer Art: I like how these actions are scripted beforehand. There is a formula for it, which means anyone with the means can do it; they do not have to create the template, as there is already a template. Creativity is left to what they do with the template, which is provided by the API. Interesting thing is, the function of these API is to generate connections, just as art is the bridge between one thing to another, from creator to the viewer, from vision to execution, from idea to consequence.

the student loan industry

It mostly caught my attention because I know Paolo is an educator at a major university that has its students pay $60k a year. Right now I’m trying to discern what kind of tone he carried when tweeting the quote, but I can only attach my own sentiments to it, marking it with my own opinions about how I feel about college tuition in America (it’s mostly cynical and negative like everyone else’s).

I did read it in his voice though.

MELANIE-LookingOutwards-1

1) Matt Pyke et al.: Communion

I’ve looked at this artist’s work as a whole and am impressed at how whimsical and lifelike his digital creatures are. The whole process in making the wondrous room is detailed here, but in summary, Communion is a “generative installation” in the walls of a room comprised of panels. Each panel contains a digital creature that evolves from simple structures to complex human-like organisms as they dance their way through development, as a “celebration of life.”

Just by making these creatures dance, the artist is able to make them become endearing and characterize them; the fact alone is astounding. I’m reminded of Thomas Was Alone, a game that only has rectangles as the characters, but by giving each of the rectangles a personality, suddenly the visuals become trivial and the jumping rectangles become personal to the player. Likewise, these creatures become “characters” and the audience becomes free to attach personalities to the creatures; they might even be named. And as if the dancing itself wasn’t dynamic enough, the creatures change–evolve–in front of the audience’s eyes. Although the creatures are confined to the boxes, they become part of the world by their dynamism. A recurring theme in Pyke’s works, after all, is applying human or animal tendencies to an object. According to an interview, he wants to make viewers empathize with technology, a vision of utopia.

It could have been even more effective (but of course more expensive) if each panel had a motion sensor that could allow the creature to react to the close presence of a viewer. It would create more personality for the creature, and allow for more active participation from the audience rather than the passivity I saw in most documentations. (This is the fullest documentation I could find of the piece without the audience)

2) Disney Research Hub: AIREAL 

This one surprised me because I didn’t know research in tactile interaction was going on, let alone significant progression in the field. Basically, the project, made by a small group of researchers, looks much like a webcam that follows your hands around as it shoots off air pressure at appropriate moments to create a sensation not unlike touching something out of thin air.  It is such a silly solution too–it looks hilariously primitive but effective at the same time. It does what it needs to do. Right now it doesn’t seem to be in the distributing stage, but its inspiration and motivation are mainly for games and interactive environments. When it is ready for distribution, I would like it to not be so obstructive in the interaction, however: it’s kind of obnoxious whenever it moves. Will there be a subtler way to push for tactile interaction, in free air?

3) loop.pH: SonUmbra

This project is beautiful, but highly disappointing. It is an audiovisual experience of standing under the umbrella structure, which takes in the surrounding noise and presence to react accordingly with patterns and lights. I was expecting to be mesmerized, and I was, really, but not as much as I wanted to be. I wanted the visual to react strongly to the biggest sounds, the sounds that stand out, but there were many moments (in multiple documentations found online) where I wasn’t even sure if the structure was reacting to the environment. The patterns are beautiful, yes; they look as if branches are growing in thin air. But it is supposed to be an audiovisual experience, and I only found the visual to be profound. Then again, maybe I will absolutely have to be under the umbrella to get the full effect, to understand the work.

EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL

(pronounced like this)

EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL from ANTIVJ is a visual label on Vimeo.

I was introduced to projection mapping when my architecture major roommate mentioned it to me last semester during our daily swapping of class stories when we weren’t too tired. I saw couple of videos on what she meant by “projection mapping,” and I was mind-blown. Maybe it was my incredible love for all things cubic and glowing, but I remember looking it up a lot online and recalling an image I saw once that resembled a unique form of projection mapping, which I hadn’t had a name for at the time. I hunted down the image, and then managed to find the video of the work. I’ve since seen that digital landscape in my daydreams. It’s probably my obsession with TRON or Digimon from my childhood creating my bias for the work.

But I mostly admire it because it showed me a future for myself, that I didn’t have to abandon drawing in order for me to engage in abstract computational works that appealed to me. I am at my most comfortable when drawing, but at my most frustrated mode at the same time because my ideas feel dead to me when I practice the craft. I am at my most uncomfortable when coding, but at my most enlightened mindset at the same time because these ideas feel fresh and tingly. To combine both crafts like Lemercier did–to invite someone to a space that recurs in my head, to an imagined, otherworldly environment that I feel free to draw but caged when trying to “render” it–is powerful and inspiring.

Since another thing I’m passionate about is game design, Lemercier’s work presents opportunities in projected gaming space, not just a virtual reality, restricted by four corners of a monitor. I am interested in what abstract visual games like The Sense of Connectedness (Michael Brough) or flOw (Jenova Chen) would look like when projected not in front of you, but all around you, so that it is not merely a projection but an environment. I’m pretty sure Lemercier did not have gaming in mind when creating this project, but it’s been cooking in my mind for a while now. It doesn’t even have to be for games though; just imagine this kind of unearthly landscape (yet familiar to us) surrounding your every being. You aren’t just viewing it, you’re there on the precipice, about to fall into the abyss (that sums up my Grand Canyon experience).

In terms of manpower, it seems the installation was entirely done by Joanie Lemercier with additional help from AntiVJ, a group of five artists and one musician. Lemercier came up with the concept and drew the landscape and directed the lights; the artist from AntiVJ, Simon Geilfus, helped with the visuals. Nicholas Boritch, another artist from the self-proclaimed visual label, helped with the production and coordination in order to make the installation happen.

 

GHC, but not that Gates

The Gartner Hype Cycle and first word art/last word art have something in common at their cores: both concern novelty in their respective areas. But these areas converge. Novelty in art and technology go hand in hand, where people make art from the newest technology or develop the newest technology to make art. The technology doesn’t necessarily have to be recent; consider the rediscovering of perspective in Renaissance art.

What is made with the most hyped technology is the first word art. For example, the first art made with 3D printing at the Peak of Inflated Expectations is first word art. What could be the last word art when using the technology present in the cycle? What was made with the technologies in the Trough of Disillusionment before they ended up in the trough could be considered last word art, since last word art implies that whatever work that was made with those technologies couldn’t be overshadowed by another work made with the same media. Since the expectation couldn’t be beaten, people become disillusioned with the technology and kick it into the trough.

My interest is whatever is accessible at first glance. Craft comes from immediate access–if I have the technology in my immediate vicinity, and have an idea to do something with that technology, then I would execute it. I don’t particularly care for creating the first word art because those things happen naturally and most unexpectedly. It’s like history: full of pockets of anomalies driving events. (People would disagree with me.)

In that way, I relate to Schulze because he prefers to work in the Trough of Disillusionment. As he said in the talk, he sees the value in how cheap the technologies are in the Trough of Disillusionment, because they’ve all been done before. There are no expectations for whatever is in the trough. You don’t have to live up to what society deems to be “cool.” You are free to explore, and produce as much as you want, because no one’s really looking. In quantity lies experimentation, and experimentation is the cause of first word art (and a bit of innovation).

awe of implementation

4. The Critical Engineer looks beyond the 'awe of implementation' to determine methods of influence and their specific effects.

In other words, instead of merely implementing something and marveling at how you made it, you should have the foresight to see what kind of influence the work will have, and how exactly the work will influence the world. I found this tenet interesting because it sounds like a tenet many people broke in the past (and still are). The easiest instance would be weapons of mass destruction. These things were created without thought to the future, without what the creations would mean to the world. It’s also relevant to the arts, to know the social and political repercussions you will have from creating your work.

A common example would be running hundreds of simulations for a new implementation of something. This is well practiced in industries today mostly because it’s cost-effective, not because the hand of the economy is looking at the social and political consequences the products would unleash upon the world. Sure, businessmen would look at how it would “engineer” the consumers, but not how it would “engineer” the people. A hypothetical situation would be an editorial on the potential of a new engineered product–though not so hypothetical, since these editorials are published all the time (“What ____ means for you”). Then again, these editorials are from the consumers, not from the creators, so it seems it is rare to find the purest form of this tenet being practiced.