MA – Next Steps / Technology Usage as Religious Practice? 16052015

There’s no doubt that the work i’ve pursued during this MA has differed physically and in some cases stylistically. I’ve continued to try new processes yet I’ve failed so far to incorporate them into one another. For the next few months of the MA, I’ll focus on creating connections between some of the work I’ve done so far.

“Monitor” has steered me in an unexpected but already practiced direction. I’ve used fishing wire before, and the complex linear patterns possible with these are astounding. To describe the conflicting stories we find through everyday media channels, these patterns will be very important to symbolise this clear effect.  On top of their final finish, a mesh of these wires works perfectly with projection, and lighting. From “Monitor” I’m now aware that metal must be used over wood as the skeleton to these wire sculptures. This certainly complicates the process, however, the final piece will be more robust, and aesthetically, closer  to where I hope it to be. Since “Digital Meze,” the cheap, brittle wood I used has distorted and in some places broken. Some of the wires have become slack and its clear that my woodworking skills need some attention. Metal may be the answer for this, the other issue is to work out a secure way of attaching the fishing wires. I’m considering 3 holes in the metal, one on the inside and two on the outside. The mesh of wires will be within the metal structure, and therefore the wire can be tied through the two holes on the outside. This can then be covered with a strong filler, or glue, and then, potentially even a layer of electrical or duct tape around the metal structure.

After testing this, I would like to add Ultrasonic-LED circuits to the wires. I believe, if an LED is placed at either end of the wire, the light could catch along the whole thing. This will obviously need to be assessed, though I think its possible. The element I’m excited to include is that of perceived awareness. Obviously the sculpture won’t literally be aware that the audience is looking at it, however this reactive Ultrasonic circuit, will give this sense of control and connection between the work and the viewer. This technological connection will be similar to that of any other sensor technology. If anything it could describe the feeling of the symbiotic relationship we have with emerging technology.

140409120218-internet-religion-stock-story-top Technological usage as Religious practice? 

I aim to build a prototype / mannequin for the upcoming interim show. The piece will focus on the internet and its technologies as a religious-like cult. Specifically looking at the rate of converts, i.e. people coming online. Its estimated that a third of the world is online, however this is steadily changing every few months. I like the idea that this is a new religion that encompasses the whole world, and step by step, the message is spreading. Throughout history, religion has been attached to identity. In most of the world, religion still acts as a basis for customs, culture, manners, expectations, and a number of fundamental human principles.

As we’re moving on from simplified social media, where we stick to one provider. I.e Only using Facebook or Twitter. There is a sense of communal understanding of what is expected and acceptable on social networks. The recent election teaches us that Freedom of Speech is still utterly acceptable and practiced. In such a head to head race between parties, or so it seemed, its inevitable that each side will create abusive, or taunting memes, videos and content to curb the legitimacy of their opposition. The last election in 2010 also included such content, however it was in no way to the same degree as we’ve seen this year. Some of the memes/videos reminded me of the reaction to the X Factor finals a few years ago, or to Suarez’s biting in the Brazil World Cup. These examples of teasing, taunting media are important to develop a communal understanding, or feeling towards whats happening in the present. This is obviously not new to any degree. Cartoonists and journalists have been doing such things for centuries, but its the rate of non-professional media creation and the commentary that comes with them thats entirely new. Most young people will now use a variety of social networks. When I was at school, we had Bebo. This then quickly turned to Facebook. At the time, it felt like you were changing something so important, and that the two couldn’t and shouldn’t be used together.

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Farage meme

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Today, there are so many social media channels that its almost expected for each of us to have a number of different profiles. Acknowledging the culmination of this usage, your digital identity, or online identity, means that you are aware that what you are part of is a much larger, and more complex network than before. It used to be, “I have a Facebook profile, I’m part of Facebook.” but now, It’s “I have a Facebook profile, but I also have Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, Youtube, Google+, Snapchat, whatsapp, as well.”  Facebook and each of these other examples are small parts of something much larger. They make up what is now the social side of the internet. This brings to question the anti-social side of the web, but maybe thats for another post…..

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For someone who isn’t religious in any way, I of course have a biased outlook on the eventual effects of social medias, and prolonged internet usage and storage. By not practicing religion myself, and at the same time, trying to investigate whether the net can be considered the beginnings of a quasi-religion, make my findings only partially legitimate. In some way, though I don’t acknowledge this personally, it could be seen that my lack of religion has been fulfilled by my online usage. To me, a God is prayed to, but rarely answers, and if they do answer, its through the perceived imagination of the person praying. I.e, if a man prays for good weather to grow his crops, and the sun comes, he will believe that God has sent him good weather. This emotional attachment to life’s uncontrollable parameters gives a religious man faith that what they hope for will come. In the world of Techno-Science, these uncontrollable parameters are being studied. As we develop the technology to give us the facts about things that we otherwise didn’t understand, there is a more reliable and human and mechanical efficiency to many questions that in the past would have been left for prayer. Obviously, the internet and technology has grown and is prevalent in the world’s larger economies, however its clear that technology such as information updates, and renewable energy sources will help grow the world’s smallest economies.

eplxn How-to-change-a-belief

Below is a link to a Telegraph survey on the religion in countries of the world.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/11530382/Mapped-These-are-the-worlds-most-religious-countries.html#disqus_thread

The interactive map is very interesting and describes trends I believe are pretty clear, though at the same time, it must be wholly questioned as places of interest for this debate in Africa and the Middle East have mostly been left off the list. After reading a few of the comments, a few believe that we should consider that it wasn’t possible to give such a thorough survey to the populations of these countries as it was for the rest. The survey, if in anyway true, confirms that the U.K. is one of the least religious countries in the world, with 30% of those asked saying that they were religious, as opposed to 53% whom said they weren’t. Interestingly only 13% identified themselves as Atheists. My question is within the 66% of British people, involved in the survey, and whom do not recognise themselves to be religious, how much faith to do they have in the internet, the people and machines providing information and content on a daily basis. How often do they use this technology? What is their purpose?

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Many will perceive comparing the internet to religion as an abhorrently stupid thing to do. The reason I have decided to make this comparison is because there doesn’t seem to be much else I could compare the internet to. I’m not even sure if the word “internet” is the best way to describe what I’m getting at / what’s happening. Maybe Online Culture, or Digital Culture are better phrases, but whatever it is, comparing it only to the printing press leaves out much of its scope, as unlike the printing press, the user can not only read, but can search, share, comment, create, question and investigate as well. Previously I’ve described the digital stage as virtual space. I believe this to have a lot of truth, as the verbs stated above are all things we can do in the physical world, as well as the digital. So really, maybe technology usage isn’t comparable to religious practice, and instead is comparable to everyday physical activity, but given the absurd surge of internet activity over the last 30 years, its not impossible to see the similarities with a growing religion / ideology. Potentially, Virtual space, could allow for further cross-cultural debate and participation around the world. On the other hand, it could escalate and deepen divides already present in the physical world.

b15 main-qimg-2385723bb06767a4a62e8c35c641d2c9 To be clear, I don’t see the internet and its use as religion, I see the growing effects as comparable to religious practice. In other words, It seems as important to many to check their social media profiles, as it is for many to pray everyday….. Again, I don’t entirely agree and believe some of the things written in this post, however, I think it sparks an interesting debate. Apologies for this rather convoluted / simplistic post. ELECTION NIGHT MEMES

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