Category: Unit 1: Reflection / Analysis

Unit 1 + 2 = Thoughts.

Unit 1 has given me the opportunity to experiment with my ideas and methodology. As I’ve tried to establish a balance between a physical and digital art practice, my work has taken many different directions. The focus of my research has been on representing digital identities in the Internet as a physical space. This pre-determines the commercial potential of virtual / augmented and mixed reality products in evaluating the Internet as a public space. Further on during the course I’ve established my interest in the inclusion of religious / iconographic elements to the creation of tradition and culture. This is as an explanation of the effects of specific imagery on a users mindset.

Understanding the web as a place calls for an architecture to be created. My experiments have helped me establish a visual language that considers the functions, actions and interactions between online users whilst forming abstract linear environments. The duplicated figurative drawings hope to show the multiplicity of online profiles each person has.
My project proposal explains my interest in deciphering digital identity, however my work so far on the MA hasn’t quite made this push. My experimentation over the past year has had some successes and of course some failures, however I don’t feel I’ve quite established this balance. I do believe, going forward, that I’ve loaded enough in the armoury to produce a critically extensive, aesthetically interesting and thought-provoking body of work for the final show based on the concepts in my original and revised project proposal.
In Unit 2 I aim to further my progress with this visual language and incorporate more identities. I hope to further the work by crossing the connections between user, device and environment by integrating their essential systems. (The systems of information movement, architectural structure, circuit structure, human anatomy and neural networks). By combining my interests in religion, stained glass windows, virtual space and audience participation in revealing the narrative, I’ll create reactive paintings on the addiction and ideologies of personal computing and the public space we all inhabit. I’ll continue to further my understanding of contemporary art production and analysis in this field, as well as furthering my abilities in the necessary technological areas.
As I have with Unit 1, I’ll continue to create physical sketchbooks for me to further understand and reflect on the work I’ve produced. I’ve found the number of sketchbooks and notebooks I’ve been using to be brilliant springboards for next steps. I’ve at times found the blog difficult for this.

Research Paper Tutorial 23092015

Just wanted to do a quick post on last week’s tutorial for the Research Paper. Unfortunately, due to traffic, I wasn’t able to attend the tutorial, but instead managed to do it on loudspeaker in the car from Vauxhall Bridge to Camberwell.

From what was said, the feedback was positive, though there’s still a lot of work to be done. My argument, and particularly my abstract need to be whittled down to its key points. I naturally have a tendency to waffle, so trimming the fat on the paper will be my focus over the next few weeks. Having read a previous version of the essay, it already contains only half of the sources it originally did….. Some of these sources I’m not sure why i even read them in the first place.. Richard Dawkins isn’t the most inspiring writer.

During the research period, I read far beyond my subject and naturally tried to include these sources into my argument. It wasn’t until I read through that i realised how diluted the core question had become. I took my scissors to the essay and produced the first draft, which, after speaking with Gareth, still needs to be set in the right direction.

The first section looks into the evolution of Paik’s TV Buddha, and more specifically its ability to question the ever-evolving relationship between user and device. I’m happy with how this has gone, however the remaining sections begin to tail off. Considering this, I’m going to focus more on the implications of Paik’s Buddha, rather than the slightly questionable sections that followed.

Overall, Gareth seemed happy with the quality of the writing and the basis of the question, the main issues seemed to be in solidifying the argument. He suggested that this would come from re-organising the abstract. At the moment, my abstract is 800 words long….. Gareth suggests it should be around 3/400.. So… here lies the problem, I’m trying to pack too much into a 4000 word essay… Standard over-thinking things.

I’m continuing my work on the essay, as I don’t want to lose momentum, and it needs to be finished! However, as Jonathan said, I will be focussing more of my time on making work, and getting prepared for the Unit 1 Assessment.

16092015 – Back to School Shoeshine

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My research has focussed on two elements. Digital Beings….. and the Virtual Space they inhabit….. The way I have attempted to represent these ideas has been highly experimental, and the hearty balance of media I wished for at the beginning of the course has yet to reach fruition. The act of researching the alternative to a real being in physical space from the point of view of a physical person naturally promotes a level of balance between the two but practically, in some cases, I’ve found more comfort in digital process over physical. My desire to physically paint has hopelessly diminished over the past 6 months, and instead an interest in combining physical drawings with 3D animation and processing has evolved.

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A mixed media approach has always been my direction, however, their integration with one another is crucial. I feel my successes in the previous year have been in one medium, never the integration of many.  For both the mini workshop and the Interim show, I’ve produced physical canvases, one oils, one inks (and wool)… the concepts behind these works have differed, “Society of Spectacle” visualised the ‘meta-city’ and its disconnected inhabitants, constantly missing the spectacles in front of their eyes whilst focussing on endless handheld distractions. “Congregation” is a composition of red-blooded empty shells of people each captivated by their own individualised sermon being read to the them by their personal devices. These works have focused on information addiction, which maybe goes hand in hand when trying to decipher the definition of Digital Identity, but then again, each individual represents identity differently, and its definitely a horribly broad umbrella term. After spending most of first year looking at the definition of digital identity in a very singular way, towards the end, I began to realise my interest in the representation of religion. I’m not a religious person, but I’m fascinated by religious art. In my eyes, nothing more important could have happened to humanity than the invention of religion. The ethics, arts and evolutions that have come from it are unrivalled. There are of course some very nasty moments in history where religion can be blamed, but I’m looking at it positively. Many of the worlds treasures would not have been created without a belief in God, and in simpler times, the question of the Unknown may have been a much more frightening prospect.

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These thoughts about the online individual, his offline counterpart, how these individuals bunch up together to make communities and their eradication of traditions over facts, have then often been placed in images attempting to visualise the complexity of internet traffic?… The results have been aesthetically complex but conceptually very simplistic. I’ve spread my focus across a number of keen interests, and need to find more depth. Maybe thats the definition of quantitive over qualitative.  But do these ideas not all come hand in hand? If we are to look at the stained glass windows of church interiors, the likelihood is the vast glass areas display what appear to be very complex aesthetics, but the stories behind them are intentionally made to be accessible to the masses. Or in fact maybe its the importance of an ethical question made simple to connect with the masses. Either way, trying to present overly complex ideas only promotes exclusivity, which has been, in my mind, the worst aspect of the contemporary art world in the past century. Then again, overly inclusive themes and concepts can be deemed ‘pop’ and sellable in an increasingly financial art world. As with anything, either side of the spectrum is extreme. I read an interesting article by Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones on Ikeda’s ‘Supersymmetry’ and how he believes that although the work was an impressive spectacle, the perceived complexity of it only strengthened Jones’s belief that Ikeda had no idea what was going on in CERN. Particle physics is complex, and therefore Ikeda represented it with aesthetic complexity…. but unlike Ikeda’s work… the complexity of CERN’s research actually means something. This has brought me back to my own work, and visualising internet traffic… Obviously the internet is a busy place, but empty lines can’t represent its manic behaviour, whats its made up of? what times and when is it used? The lines must be textured with media, or better yet, represent actual data.

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My work with reactive sensors came to a halt over my sheer lack of experience in the area, yet had I successfully completed my aims with the project, I would not have considered the conceptual significance behind the ability to “turn on” a painting with your presence. At first. I felt the crucial aspect was to reflect the necessity for the individual to make an active choice to interact with their tech, and the internet. Now, its about why they want to. There was an interesting sets of stats released in the news about a week ago claiming that collectively people in the UK use their smartphones 1.1 billion times a day…. the average being around 40/50, and some extremists as high as 1000 times a day. What used to be an extension of communication has become an integral part to the way we think about everyday actions. But what are these interactions? Emails? News? Social Media? etc etc… Another approach is the Angler fish, and its use of light to attract its prey. This may be a route I take a little further. Going forward with the light – distance project, I’d love to create physical versions, however for the time being, and the recent success I’ve had with Leap Motion, I’m going to create it digitally. The narratives of these works will be an intersection of anatomy and architecture, fact over faith, the growth of global communications and the rise of narcissism in the online world.

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Digital Architecture – Another vague term I’ve been using… At the start this was to me the information that makes up the web, and the forms they create when moving. This is still the case, however, I want my work to be more accommodating for people, rather than just residing amongst floating bits of spaghetti….

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Its the beginning of 2nd Year, and quite worryingly, I’m beginning to think about my final piece. There a elements of it appearing in some of the work I’ve produced, but the equilibrium is yet to be established both in concept and process. I’m excited to get going, if only I could get into the building! Oh well… More self-obsessed dribble to follow.

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Research Paper Seminar 16062015

Below is the explanation I provided on the Skype Chat. It’s too vague. After some more research this week, I hope to significantly narrow it down to a better and more suitable question / abstract. 

My research paper will focus on Nam June Paik’s ‘TV Buddha’ and elements of Damien Hirst’s ‘A Thousand Years’ to investigate whether the longevity of internet / digital technology use is comparable to religious practice, in terms of shaping the personal “quest for identity.” This will look at the idea of the gaze, and how social media and constant-flow information impact a person’s definition of belief systems.

this is far too broad, and I need to focus in on the main ideas more. Its also mildly obnoxious, for that i apologise but I certainly find the topic interesting and relevant. I’m undecided on Damien Hirst’s inclusion, I’m also considering work by Jake and Dinos Chapman. I need to narrow this down quite dramatically.

My research will be based on Virilio’s idea of the information bomb and Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message amongst others. I aim to contact CODEC and other organisations looking into the diminishing reliance on religion in the age of techno-science.

– the longevity of social media use. the self gaze and the window into others lives.
– Religion as intrinsic on personal and group identity. Relevance with these windows? Is this identity still based on location / situation?
– TV Buddha as a stand off between the religious and the scientific
– A Thousand Years to demonstrate grasping scientific endeavour in artistic practice. The potential life cycles of both the work and the viewers.
– Religious practice, technology use as addiction.

Too broad, too insensitive, too obnoxious, potentially too problematic…. however I still feel theres a serious relevance in this research, and potentially a good research paper.

I explained my paper right at the end of the session due to time constraints, so unfortunately Gareth had to leave and didn’t really manage to make any comments. However, what I did receive from Jonathan and the other students was positive, and very useful.

Below are some of the key notes from their responses:

– Bill Viola,

http://turingchurch.com

– I need to focus on one aspect. The explanation above contained about 5 ideas hahaha. ALWAYS too ambitious. Need to rein it in.

– Marshall McLuhan “Quest for Identity”

– Check out Ars Electronica, there COULD be some interesting info worth exploring. All are in CSM library.

– Art & the Spiritual. Edited by Bill Hall and David Jasper. This  book is in the Camberwell library

http://voyager.arts.ac.uk/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=196611

– Jonathan has loads of other Theological Book examples.

– Allegiances with different computer companies – Apple, IBM, Microsoft.

I’m hoping that when I read over this in a week, I’ll laugh at the simplicity and stupidity of my question. That’s if I achieve the work I hope to in that time. I’ve chosen this subject, because its something that I know I can delve deep into, as naturally, I’m interested in its relevance today. I think this interest will drive it forward to be a suitable research paper to shed light on my work. 

I must admit that I’m still undecided by Damien Hirst’s ‘A Thousand Years.’ Its a great piece, and certainly relevant to the topic, but I think theres something better….. 

The One Show – Church Relics

Just turned on the TV, and The One Show were having a small feature in stolen Church relics, including pieces of stained glass windows, masonry and… Well just parts of old churches really…. But the prices! Some of these pieces would apparently go for £100,000+ at auction…..

This in itself isn’t that unexpected, but it got me to thinking about a conversation I had at Salisbury Cathedral on the prorportion of an economy’s or countrys wealth given to sustain their Religion. Think of all the Cathedrals, and Churches across Europe, or the temples in Asia. the money thats gone into them! some of these architects are today heralded as the greatest of their time, whereas the best architects of today wont be spending their time designing religious buildings. Skyscrapers, bridges, transport infrastructure, urban planning or stadiums are probably the most expensive public megaprojects today. Then there’s the other side of it, science, energy, water and aerospace projects, all costing billions.

This got me to thinking about recently built religious structures and their costs. Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, still unfinished, having started in 1884 is the only one that immediately jumped to mind. The ornate detail and otherworldly design is truly incredible, and when completed in 2026!!!!! It’ll be a job well done, finally completing Barcelona’s frustrated landscape. I can’t find much information online about the current funding for the cathedral. Though the budget for 2009 was £18 million…. This might suggest that the overall sum is well into the 100s of millions, maybe even a billion. There is probably a temple of some sorts that’s been built in the last 50 years that exceeds a billion… If anyone knows please let me know… I’m very interested.

Anyway the point of this post was the expense of religion. I guess it’s pretty specific to Christianity as I’m not clued up on any other really, though I’m open to learn! I just find it amazing that the megaprojects of our time are offices / luxury apartments / services, and science / energy / water projects. I believe it reflects the attitude as it has before.

15062015 – TEST Device Signals Clip.

WARNING TO THOSE WITH PHOTOSENSITIVE EPILEPSY

This clip is a test looking at a potential virtual environment. Its leads on from work i did earlier this year looking at manifestations of device signals and information traffic. Supersymmetry certainly struck a chord with me, and its probably evident. I’ve hit a few walls in texturising each line with different pieces of media, yet this is still an ongoing process and I aim to include it eventually.

Similar to Mixed Signals and Somewhere Beyond the .com these lines began as drawings, and have gone through a number of programs to give this result. My next step would be to add realistic figures to this environment.

SOUND!! This will be composed and recorded in the coming weeks. Being someone very interested in music and SFX, I will look to incorporate them. I tried today, but it appears my 5 year old laptop is losing its edge. I’ll try again on the uni computers soon!

My ultrasonic circuit is looking like its not going to be ready for the interim, so I’m considering going down this avenue for the show.

Tutorial 3 11062015

Approaching my third tutorial (4th if I include Keir WIlliams), I had a read through some of the notes from the last ones. The first thing that struck me was an actual sense of progression. Words I’d written, and discussions I’d had with Jonathan, in October, were merely ramblings, but seeing the fact that I’ve put these plans to fruition has given me a sense of satisfaction in the work I’ve done on the MA so far. My post last night was clearly lacking any reflection on my blog, and the things I’ve written. Here are a few extracts from my Tutorial overview in October.

We talked about the hilarity of media consumption, specifically within the news. How can, what should be the most delicate information, be broadcast as entertainment across the world. I am no angel with this and certainly have fallen into the trap of watching the news daily, but after a while I can’t help but think that much of it is a gross exploitation of sensitive information.”

We discussed my interest in embedding BBC news live into a painting of a family in their living room. It aims to highlight the growing issue of daily news consumption and it’s effects on it’s audience. In this piece, I aim to mirror project the live images onto a canvas. In the gallery, I’m focused on it’s first impressions, whether the audience take it for what they came to see, art, or whether they begin to use it as another information point.”

Obviously there have been some changes, the most evident being the fact I used an actual TV rather than a canvas. Also, the family in the living room shows my utter dedication to figurative painting at the time. ‘Monitor’ obviously had no such people.

Last minute pre-tutorial Notes: 

Religion – Stained Glass Windows – Really need to research this. Links to the ultrasonic sensors as well as clear conceptual link (The light, usually an uncontrollable force,) and stylistic link – bold, graphic display. Often figurative, narrative and of course Religious!

Idea of the window into another dimension – The Television (The Media Space) – Virtual Space

The intent of religious iconography and paintings. Telling Stories. Creating meanings.

Self reflection – social media, internet history.

Nam June Paik vs Daniel Rozen?….. Not sure about Rozen. Still undecided.

Multimedia Cityscapes – This has turned to the creation of skyscrapers out of pieces of information. I want to develop this a bit further.

TUTORIAL REFLECTION: 

Although I planned to come into college today, unfortunately I didn’t get the chance, and instead my tutorial was done over Skype.

At first we spoke about my post from last night, and how this level of honesty towards my work was positive. I explained that I’d written some notes immediately before the tutorial (See above). I found that after reading through my previous tutorial posts, I had in fact made positive steps towards fulfilling my intentions. In fact the simple act of doing this, a post last night, and some notes this morning showed me how through small steps I can have such a different insight to my work. At the beginning of the course, this blog was the devil to me, maybe because I didn’t see any legitimacy in what I was doing, or was worried about revealing a thought process. I see now, that the blog does, over time, give an opportunity to better understand the work your doing. When this information is in retrospect, there’s a clearer understanding.

We moved on to begin talking about my research question. I’m going to focus on Religion, yet I’m not entirely sure what aspect as yet, maybe as a practice? Nam June Paik’s TV Buddha is a work that I’ve been familiar with for a while, but like all of Paik’s work, I’ve never properly looked into it. Jonathan explained that he saw the Buddha at Tate Liverpool in 2010, and that this idea of past and present staring back at one another, something that I had written about last night, wasn’t exactly the case. The camera set up should be displaying a live feed. I think some of the reading I did may have looked a little too far into the maybe a second or two delay between the scene and the footage. Nonetheless, its an interesting insight, but its based on old technical hitches.

This piece is particularly interesting because Paik didn’t really plan it. It was a last minute decision to fill space in the gallery. Jonathan made the point that he was so embedded in his practice that even though it was put together quickly, the thoughts behind it were the result of this practice, that had spanned decades. We spoke about how it certainly does connect with Rozen’s mirror works, Weave Mirror, Wooden Mirror, and most recently, the Penguins. My reluctance to use him in my research paper comes from how gimmicky this work comes across. Its something I’ve been thinking about with my Arduino project. Artists, whom aren’t necessarily brilliant technicians, certainly find use with new technologies and specifically electronics, however, Rozen seems to focus on this idea of the mirror, and creating pixels with actual objects. When I was first made aware of the Wooden Mirror I thought it was brilliant, but after seeing other works, that are just the same but with different materials, my enthusiasm dropped significantly. Jonathan made the point that he has other work, and I don’t know it, so until I look further into it, I can’t be too critical.

There is clearly a connection between the works. Jonathan mentioned the ‘gaze’ and the idea of gazing into something, and that giving something back to you. Its obvious in the Buddha, and in any mirror I guess. Jonathan mentioned that this does fit in broadly to what I’m interested in. He went on to mention that it’d be an ideal subject for the research paper as it does shed light on my work, without talking about it specifically. As a sidenote, this idea of the gaze is also relevant to one of my favourite painters Edouard Manet.

This idea of the gaze, Jonathan linked to Narcissus and the understanding of self-identity, which is most definitely relevant in today’s social media world. The sense of forced self-reflection and absorption couldn’t be more relevant, and is certainly an important factor in the definition of digital identity. Its this dedication to something, even though, for many its themselves, that moves me to look into Religion. These feelings that people feel the necessity to update their profiles and share their lives is comparable to a religious practice.

Jonathan began to talk about longevity and made an incredibly important point. Work like TV Buddha naturally focuses on the longevity of the reflection. As its technically been going since the 1970s, this element is integral to the work itself. He went on to compare this to religious practice. It isn’t about the initial gratification, but what religion gives you over a long period of time. Putting this into a digital environment, I’ve had facebook for 10 years, and therefore connections to almost all the friends I’ve had over that time. My social life almost relies on it to keep those connections, as obviously peoples lives move apart from one another. At one point in the future I hope to be in touch with some of these people, and therefore will always have this connection to the site. I’m emotionally tied to it. We didn’t talk about this, but it ties in with the meaning being created through the longevity of the connection, such as is with the Buddha and his reflection.

Religious practice takes time.

Jonathan told me of another work that looks at the gaze. It’s called The Venetian Mirror, and in fact exhibited alongside Rozen’s Wooden Mirror at the V&A. Here’s a Video:

Its a very interesting work. A flat screen TV is suspended in portrait from the ceiling. A member of the audience is invited to sit on a stool behind the TV. Whilst the audience look at the TV. A camera captures the person on the stool, however the shutter speed is particularly low, and for someone to have their image fully displayed on the TV, they would have to sit still for several minutes. It certainly shows similarities to actual portrait work where the sitter would be there for hours.

Again this idea of longevity came up from this work. I mentioned that it reminded me of Damien Hirst’s ‘A Thousand Years,’ 1990, which we both agreed was one of the few of Hirst’s works that was actually any good. I’ve always liked this work, and its definitely my favourite of his. Well, it says it in the title. Longevity is essential to its meaning. It reflects the circle of life and death, and thinking about this now, it’ll be interesting to see again and again over time. It certainly links to Paik’s interest in Time Art, and particularly the Buddha’s 40 year gaze.

I then related these ideas to my recent post ‘Anglerfish, Candy Crush and Ultrasonic Sensors.’ Specifically the nature of Candy Crush as a game. The fact that you only have a certain amount of lives a day, and if you lose them, you either pay or you have to bother someone else to get the game, for some reason makes it more interesting, and addictive! Clearly this isn’t really related to Hirst’s work, but the concept of longevity certainly exists. No one just plays one game and leaves it, just as the scale of meaning for a work like ‘TV Buddha’ or ‘A Thousand Years’ isn’t detected in one instance. Its the history of these works, that they themselves create, that projects the scale of its meaning. Its funny to think that multiple generations of people will live and die before Hirst’s piece finishes, perhaps it can be seen as the longest existing piece of performance art, and the first piece to employ flies as the performers. Anyway, after mentioning Candy Crush, we went a little off track, as my often pointless connections do.

We picked up after I mentioned that religion did play a part in my project proposal, however, not quite as much as i’d like now. History and religion I think have always been what I’ve loved most about paintings. Whether its Realist and political such as Courbet, Millet or Manet (the first two of which also step foot in religious subject matter) or the grand, ornate ceilings and large canvases of the Renaissance. After reading through my previous tutorial notes, I noticed that Jonathan had hinted stained glass windows to me, which is now beginning to really make a lot of sense, and as I aim to continue on this context of religion, I will definitely be drawing inspiration from it.

Jonathan explained that the interesting part of the windows is not just the narrative form of the image but the fact that there’s an external influence on its aesthetic, and experience – The Light. This light is in itself is a metaphor for insight, and something larger, and uncontrollable, perhaps God. The juxtaposition here would be that if I succeed in using sensors to control whether paintings are viewable, the viewer would have that control. This also reflects an understanding and control over unattainable information that would previously be left for prayer, and how digital technology gives the opportunity to find and use that information.

Jonathan told me to look into CODEC, a research center based at Durham. Its not art based research, its philosophy and theology. They actively look into how the internet and other technological elements of the modern world change the face, and / or interact with religion and specifically Christianity. It seems it may be worth researching their endeavours, and maybe even getting in contact. Potentially very interesting and valuable.

A codec is a device, either physical or virtual, hardware or software, for translating, re-coding, re-engineering the analogue and the digital. CODEC is not an acronym: it is a name.

We want to see how the contemporary world interacts with the world of the theology and religion – particularly the Christian faith story.”

I explained that I was aiming to meet with Ed to discuss continuing work on the LED circuit, but because of the strain for some of the 2nd years, as they approach their final show, it seems that it might have to go back on the shelf. It’d be ambitious to believe I can create it in 3 and a half weeks or so. Jonathan sees it not too much of a problem if the full installation was ready for the interim.

Developing Maquettes is still an important part of the work. I’ve been advised not to run away from the painting. My issue has been finding the figures. I can use 3D models to manipulate the poses but there’s no expression, or realism to these. They’re more akin to Greek sculptures from the Doric period. Though I’ll try to use some of the figures from my recent trip to Athens, as well as some photos of Greek Gods themselves. There are a load more photos to go up, some of which will tie in nicely with some of the discussion we had today.

As a final point, I mentioned my continued interest in the possibility of virtual space, and the creation of non-locations etc. Jonathan believes I should continue to look into it, alongside Digital Identity, and let them influence each other. I need to remain open to exploring the cross between the two. I really just need to continue making work, and specifically one for the Interim show, update my project proposal and develop my research question for the discussion with Gareth and the class next week!

Overall, I found the tutorial very useful, and will implement some of these ideas further with my work.

Pre-Tutorial 3 11062015

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I feel my progression in recent weeks has been dyer. I’ve focussed too strongly on work outside of the course, and I feel its beginning to effect my practice. My intention from my application and the first draft of my project proposal was to find an equilibrium between both physical and digital elements in my work. I don’t feel I’ve got much closer to this goal, which is sad but obviously its better now than never that I notice this drop. I’ve succeeded in learning new software and hardware, as well as the opportunities they allow. However, looking over my proposal, there is a lot to be changed.

The title ‘Digital Identity and the Virtual Space Race’ is now too vague for me. “Digital Identity” as a concept in itself is too broad. Its definition is yet set in stone, as it encompasses the entirety of a person’s online contribution. I’ve become more interested in focussing on an element of identity, and what better to investigate for both individuals and communities, than Religion. I mean Religion as “A particular system of faith and worship” and/or “A pursuit or interest followed with great devotion”. These are just two of the definitions of Religion written in the Oxford English dictionary. What better place to start… Obviously I’m not using it alongside any actual, existing, and practiced Religion. Its simply the dedication shown by a person (or user)… Maybe Worship is a better word.

Whatever it is that we use the internet for, there’s certainly a sense of worshipping its functions. The insights into the worlds of others, and of our own, without much effort at all, anywhere, anytime. This fact alone can be seen in how we perceive friendships, relationships, ethics, morales, research, charity, services, communication, entertainment, pleasure, health! All of this and more from one thing. For something to have such an effect on some of the most important elements of your life, you have to trust and worship it.

A Digital Native, if unplugged from the web, would have to compensate for all of these factors and translate them in the real world, which is obviously possible, but would at first be a culture shock. (I mean, imagine going back to letters…..) The phrase “you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone” comes to mind. Growing up in a world surrounded by something that is relentlessly popular amongst everyone you meet will inevitably be engrained in your very existence, unless your the salmon of course. In this way, the digital or internet uprising we’ve experienced in the last few decades is comparable to an international, growing religion

A……. Digital-igion…… hahaha…. the stupidest combination of words possible. how about Techno-ligion….. You get the point. (That point being, that I should never mix two words together again…)

Nam June Paik’s TV Buddha, although not intentionally, sparks debate on religion and technology, the past and present, old and new….. The Buddha in the present sits still whilst being filmed, he watches opposite, as himself stares back at him from the past. At the same time, The Buddha recorded from the past sits opposite watching himself in the present…. This has a number of questions surrounding it. An interesting one would be to compare it to the self-reflection of social media. The fact that you can scroll back through your history like a journal with multiple categories and parameters. Does this idea of self-reflection, or maybe even self-absorption effect that person’s reality? I believe it does, and surely it can’t be good for people to reminisce too often. I despise TimeHop for this reason. Bringing this back, given the fact that Millenials, and the more recent Generation Z are reliant on their online activity, is this comparable to addiction or religion? and if so, can religion be seen as an addiction?

TV Buddha in regards to religion clearly holds its link from the simple fact that a Buddha is at its core. Some have said that the piece represents Western media and the Oriental Deity, but in today’s context, I don’t believe the faith system, or where the tv and camera were made, really matters. For me, its either showing the reflective effects that information technology has had on the legitimacy and relevance of religion, or, I.T. usage as a quasi-religion (or as neo-religious) itself.

In the past, developing news stories were literally word of mouth or hear say through the grapevine. There certainly is still an element of that on Twitter, but, for the most part, we usually receive facts within minutes of an event unfolding. I have faith that the news and social media services will deliver me this information in realtime. I have faith that I will be able to communicate through Facebook and other sites, with people I haven’t seen in years, if I so wished to. A letter is more likely not to arrive on time, or even at all!, whereas I have faith that my Facebook message will. How does this change that persons outlook on friendships and relationships? When “Keeping in touch” is made too easy. Thats slightly off point, that is a whole other element of Digital Identity.

To conclude, what I’m trying to say, is that my project proposal, as it stands, is not specific enough. This Objective: “Decipher the differences between the ‘real self’ and digital identity by unravelling each individually,” incorporates a wide range of elements, all of which I aim to look into, but maybe not all of it can be done on the MA. As for the digital architecture and virtual space race side of my proposal. I have a very focussed interest on the emergence of this technology as a consumer item. By simply defining this NoWhere Space, I believe it gives the opportunity to look into the identities created within it. The other side to this, would be to record and research the loss of identity on a real stage / setting. (Society of Spectacle).

For the Research Paper, I hope to find a contrasting work to Nam June Paik’s TV Buddha. I was considering Daniel Rozin’s new mirror-like work made out of revolving Penguins, but this is something I need to discuss in the tutorial.

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I’ve played around with visual languages. I naturally don’t like to stick to the same thing for too long, which can be seen as a pitfall, however, I’m optimistic with the potential outcomes, especially as we approach the Interim show. In a previous post I’ve mentioned using a similar process to ‘Monitor,’ using fishing wire, and in another post I’ve said I hoped to use the Ultrasonic sensor and LEDs with canvas and duct tape…. I stand by both of  these, and actually aim to incorporate these altogether, though this depends on whether it’ll work…. but I have faith. i’m meeting Ed maybe next week to discuss it.

RIGHT, off to sleep…. or I won’t get the opportunity to discuss this… or even begin work on phishermans.net !!!!!

To Phish – “To try to obtain financial or other confidential information from Internet users, typically by sending an email that looks as if it is from a legitimate organisation, usually a financial institution, but contains link to a fake website that replicates the real one.”

Fishermen1

Anglerfish, Candy Crush and Ultrasonic Sensors 05062015

I’ve been assembling a new version of the circuit I completed last term. With Ed’s help, I’m trying to attach a much larger light source to the Ultrasonic sensor. I’ve had to start using transistors to amplify the current for more LEDs. Alongside this, I’ve also had to add an external power supply. Unfortunately I think the one HC-SR04 sensor I own has broken! So I’ve had to order another, which won’t arrive till next week…. So this is on the shelf till it arrives.

  I’ve been thinking about the interim show and what I hope to exhibit. If all goes to plan, I aim to use this circuit with a canvas. Instead of laser cutting an image into board, placing it on top of a square of LEDs, and covering it with a thin white material, (Sheets, paper, etc). I’m going to create my composition on the back of a canvas using duct tape. The duct tape will block the light from coming through the canvas, and the image will be displayed.

My recent post (Followers 03063015) as well as previous experiments with similar multiples of imagery, are examples of the sort of composition I hope to use. The Ultrasonic circuit runs on the idea of false discoveries, believing that your the first to find something, like a piece of information. The experience originally aimed to replicate finding something with a torch or head torch in a dark environment. It aims to mimic the way we interact with consumer technology, in terms of us having to activate its use. There are a few questionable elements to this idea, most importantly the word FUNCTION in artwork. Instead of simply being a reactive gimmick, this element aims to question the necessity of consumer technology’s reaction to the user. Given the intimate and personal nature of smartphones, smart watches, laptops and tablets, the simple, easy to use interfaces give a false perception of connection. Obviously my iPhone works no differently to anyone else’s (other than maybe the cracked screen thats been there for far too long), but still, I feel an intimate connection to it as it stores and gives access to my sensitive information, calendar, social media profiles, contacts, emails, even books and articles. This reliance on the interface, particularly touch screen technology, is fluent in our society and will only grow as we find more uses, or indeed a more advanced interface. (Look at Google’s Soli Project). Alongside this idea of discovery, I’m interest in looking at temptation and addiction.

The AppleWatch, another piece of consumer tech that the naysayers couldn’t find any use for, but since its release, has been particularly successful. One of the most interesting and questionable of its uses is online betting. Late night TV is riddled with adverts for betting apps. All of these sell their product on the fact that its too easy to use, you can bet wherever you like, and in any way you like, be it slots / roulette / black jack / football / boxing etc. The AppleWatch is no different, and as it interacts with the apps on your phone, these betting options take themselves to a new level of accessibility. There is no longer any need to get your phone out of your pocket to place a bet on the football game your watching in the pub. Mix this fact with a few too many drinks, and you have a dangerous interface upgrade for gambling addicts. This idea of digitally enhanced addiction I find very interesting indeed. Can you be addicted to social media? the news? even the weather? (addiction to the weather is obviously absurd, but the desire for constant live updates of any kind is the point of all this). Is there potential for media addiction in this way? and what role does the interface play in this question?

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Can this addiction relate to our bodies? The AppleWatch uses a new type of sensing technology to detect our heart rate and activity levels. This is not a new piece of tech, its just a new way of doing it. I believe they shine a light from the bottom of the watch, onto your wrist, and this somehow detects your blood movement. Health apps and health tech is rising fast as an industry. At the moment, there’s a very serious strain on the NHS, both in the hospitals and GPs. If this sort of technology could count our red blood cells, white blood cells, oxygen intake and every other necessary parameter to understand how healthy we are, could this help the NHS focus their efforts on the people who truly need care. This sort of technology would free up time for doctors and nurses, as they themselves wouldn’t need to take the tests. If we were given this technology, could we become obsessed, even addicted to monitoring our own health? There are many health addicts and gym monkeys around, but what if the first thing you checked in the morning were the parameters of your own body? This is a necessity for people with Diabetes and other serious illness, but if the technology was available, and had an easy interface, why wouldn’t this translate itself to the general, healthy public?

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Android-Xray-Body-Scanner mobile-health-apps

Again, this is a post with a lot of ifs and buts, and unanswerable questions, but there’s no doubt that they are both relevant and interesting to consider.

I’m trying to drive the idea of this Ultrasonic Circuit in the direction of consumer interfaces absorbing the user. This can be both for good and bad reasons. On one side, absorbing the user can benefit the creators (Betting apps, targeted marketing) or on the other it can benefit, not only you, but also the community (Disaster warnings, health advice, large-scale events.) Either way, like a moth to flame, we react to the interface’s perceived awareness. On the negative side of this, I like the idea of comparing it to Anglerfish, the deep sea creatures that use lights to attract their prey, or even the Sirens, who attract men to sail too close to the rocks by the sounds of their voices. This is best known from The Odyssey, yet, Odysseus (or Ulysses) cleverly warned his men and told them to put cotton wool in their ears to stop them from being distracted. In the end, i guess this post has come down to the ideas of discovery, temptation, addiction, their roles in consumer electronics and our role as the user to be aware of both the dangers and the benefits of an increasing reliance on personal, transportable interfaces.

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The Siren, Edward Armitage, 1888

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Ulysses and the Sirens, John William Waterhouse, 1891

An interesting point to end on is Candy Crush. A record breaking app thats played by 93 million players a day started by a company thats now $7.1 billion. Its simple game, heart-warming colours, candy and sounds are a temptation, and unfortunately the nature of the game itself is addictive. It benefits the creators and the users but still is there something a little odd about its popularity?

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These are a few extracts from an article written by Dana Smith, a Psychology Graduate and Science Writer at The Guardian, April 1st 2014:

This is what Candy Crush Saga does to your brain

LINK: http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2014/apr/01/candy-crush-saga-app-brain

First off, it’s simple. The premise of Candy Crush is basic enough for a preschooler – just match three candies of the same colour. Initially, the game allows us to win and pass levels with ease, giving a strong sense of satisfaction. These accomplishments are experienced as mini rewards in our brains, releasing the neurochemical dopamine and tapping into the same neuro-circuitry involved in addiction, reinforcing our actions. Despite its reputation as a pleasure chemical, dopamine also plays a crucial role in learning, cementing our behaviours and training us to continue performing them.”

“Steve Sharman, a PhD student in psychology at the University of Cambridge researching gambling addiction, explains that the impression that we are in control of a game is key to its addictive nature and is vital when playing a slot machine, for example. “The illusion of control is a crucial element in the maintenance of gambling addiction … [as it] instills a feeling of skill or control,” he says. “There are a number of in-game features [such as the boosters in Candy Crush] that allow players to believe they are affecting the outcome of the game, and in some cases they are, but those instances are rare.”

“Another feature of the game that strongly affects how we respond is the limit on how much we can play at any given time. Candy Crush effectively puts you into “time out” after five losses. This means you can never be completely satiated when playing and always leaves you wanting more. And by not letting you play, the game actually becomes even more rewarding when you are let back into Candyland. This is also how Candy Crush makes its money, letting you buy back into the game if you’re willing to purchase extra lives.

Researchers from Harvard and the University of British Columbia have demonstrated this effect, called hedonic adaptation, in a study using real-life candy bars. Participants were divided into two groups: one was told to abstain from eating chocolate for a week, while the other was given pounds of the stuff and told to go wild. After one week, the participants were brought back into the lab and given a piece of chocolate to savour.

The results? Those who had been deprived rated the chocolate as significantly more pleasurable than those who had been able to eat it freely. So it seems the deprivation makes the reward that much sweeter in the end.

Finally, it is no coincidence that the game is played with pieces of candy. As Sharman points out, food is often used in gambling games (think of the infamous fruit machine), tying our happy associations and the pleasure we derive from eating into the game. King acknowledges that candy’s positive associations help make the game more fun and relaxing.”

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Another interesting aspect of Candy Crush, you gain lives if you manage to invite friends to the game…..

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If you search Candy Crush addiction online, it comes across as a genuine thing, although its mostly people pretending their addicted, and joking about it…. are they joking?

How long do some of these 93 million people play Candy Crush a day? and what happens if they get it on their AppleWatch?….

In 2013 I was an avid Candy Crusher, I can happily say that I’ve gone well over a year without playing, and I have no intention of looking back… Hallelujah

Research Paper – Online Seminar NOTES 02062015

This is a shortened version of the Skype transcript. The online discussion yesterday was very useful. Main points are in BOLD. 

– “The Research paper can give focus and clarity to your practice.” Jonathan 

– Narrowing down the argument / context to specific, defined points.

3000 – 4000 words.

– “Do not write about your own art, instead write about the context for your art.” Jonathan 

– You can refer to some work, if it supports your arguement.

– “Research Paper’ – Objective, Not an essay – Subjective

– “You can never be truly objective but you are trying to write from that position rather than a subjective personal opinion.” Jonathan

– “Research Paper as: Making an observation about an aspect of art that seems relevant and then finding the research (art, references, secondary sources, etc.) that define and support it. Yvonne

– Relate to your work, but don’t write about your work.

– “Critically contextualise the issues you re addressing; and arrive at a justified and independent conclusion.” Yvonne.

– “Look into wider contextual issue that will help shed light on your practice, but not directly related to it.” Jonathan

– “Don’t try and complicate this paper to make it sound more academic. You should aim for clarity and simplicity.” Jonathan 

– “Clarity and Simplicity, Clarity and Simplicity, Clarity and Simplicity, Clarity and Simplicity, Clarity and Simplicity… I hope you get that point” Jonathan. 

– “Choose something you really WANT to research – something you don;t know now but want to know more about – this will keep up the motivation.” Jonathan 

Q: “Why do you think writing this paper is worth doing? what is the rationale? If you were in my position what would you be telling everyone is the reason for doing this? and “because we have to to do the MA, is not a good answer – I only give you things to do that are actually useful and valuable,” Jonathan

– “To dig deeper in to the context and interests that drive our practice” Me

– “It helps articulate our work” Jason 

– “A Variety of reasons: 10 We might find new work/areas that takes us in new directions 20 It will bring together our research into one concise place.” Pete 

– “This is reflection with a capital “R”. It will help us perhaps resolve some questions regarding our work, clarify its direction.” Yvonne 

– “Its important that the topic is more widely known.” Rhiannon 

– “Open our horizon in terms of studying the subject matter we are interested in – and from there, to move ourselves towards new understandings/learnings and to reflect deeper.” Cecilie

– “All very good answers” Jonathan 

– “Daniel Chandler – who is a literary researcher said a challenging thing – ‘in the act of writing you are written’ – it is worth thinking about that for a while later.” Jonathan 

– Daniel Chandler – Semiotician.

– “I would argue that this sort of exercise is important because its developing a critical dialogue within your practice: its contemporary and historical context. Art is not created in a vacuum or by instinct alone.” Jonathan

– “Also contexts are, arguably, generated rather than foundJonathan

– “Also, please don’t stop making work while doing this research paper… It is vital that you continue both elements… theory can be a stimulus (or trigger) to the production of work and not simply its post-production explanation.” Jonathan 

– “We seem stunned” Yvonne. 

– “Research Question: “This should be a question or identify a specific research issue in the context of visual/material culture. (It doesn’t literally have to be in the form of a question though).” Jonathan 

– Simple steps to define the Research Question: Formulating a Question

1. Find a broad subject area.

2. Narrow this interest to a specific topic.

3. Question that topic from several viewpoints.

4. Choose the question whose answer is the most significant to you.

(Do not attempt an all-encompassing narrative spanning centuries of art production and interpretation).

– “If you are having trouble narrowing your subject area ask yourself why YOU consider this topic to be an important and significant cultural issue and derive your research question from this.” Jonathan. 

BAD example: “This paper addresses the issue of appropriation.” Q: “Why do you think this is not good?”

– “Too Broad” Rhiannon. 

– “Appropriation of what?” Pascale

– “Hasn’t been narrowed down” Me 

– “Don’t need to state “this paper” get into the question as a statement.” Yvonne. 

– “Very vague” Jason. 

– “Appropriation when, what of, where, who by?” Rhiannon. 

– “I didn’t know appropriation was an issue…” Sarah LOL

– “Yes so the title needs to explain that a bit, the title suggests there is an issue but it doesn’t say what it is.” Jonathan

“‘This paper addresses the issue of appropriation.’

1) what issue?

2) in which context? (music, literature, photography)?

3) which artists are relevant?

4) how will it be answered?

5) what is this paper about?

____

Better example:

“Through the art of Dubuffet and Tapies this paper examines the epistemic and ethical implications of appropriating visual languages from other cultures.”

– “The research question is better if it gives a glimpse of the approach by using certain words e.g. if one explores the topic founded within social constructivism it would be good to include “… the social construction of….” in the research question.” – Cecilie

– “Don’t worry about the specific artists names or the issue – just look at the preciseness of the question.

“Through the art of Dubuffet and Tapies this paper examines the epistemic and ethical implications of appropriating visual languages from other cultures.”

1) with this title the subject is clearer – appropriating visual languages from other cultures

2) the writer will use just 2 artists to explore this.

3) She will also use another angle to look at it – i.e. the epistemological and ethical implication

_______

Right now, don’t worry about the meanings, just look at the structure.” Jonathan

– “The title may well change during the writing of the paper.” Jonathan

Another example:

“By contrasting the work of Rineke Dijkstra and Philip Lorca di Corcia this paper will argue that the consent of the photographed subject is central to an ethics of photographing others.”

subject – consent in photography – is it important.

look at it through the work of 2 artists (Dijkstra always asked the permssion of those she photographs – di Corcia famously won a court case where someone sued him for using his image captured secretly in the street – the artist won the case.) Jonathan 

– “In the work for the research paper, this writer discovered another idea that was useful to her argument…

so the title actually ended up being….

“By contrasting the work of Rineke Dijkstra and Philip Lorca di Corcia this paper will argue that the consent of the photographed subject is central to an ethics of photographing others. This analysis will take place within Emmanual Levinas’ philosophy of ‘care’ for the other.'” Jonathan

– “Another example, this time with not just only 2 artists as the focus, this time only 2 individual works of art as a focus…

“People in a crowd: the cityscape and its meanings, a comparison between L.S. Lowry’s An Accident 1926 and Edward Waden’s Liverpool Street Station 1960” 

Although it comes across broad, the focus could be specific to “people in a crowd”.

– “The title will also be clarified by the abstract.” Jonathan 

– “The abstract is NOT the introduction it is a summary of the whole paper. Writing a title and an abstract will be finalised at the end after doing the work but setting it early in the process can really help give a framework and direction – even if it changes a bit as you go along.

______

here is an example where the title is probably too broad, or not specific enough but the abstract works very well to bring clarity:

“Dwelling poetically in modern technology: Exploring Heidegger’s theory of dwelling.”

The focus of this paper is to analyse the relationship between ‘dwellings’ and modern technology. It starts by giving some information about Heidegger’s understanding of the term dwelling and then goes on to look at technology and other relevant theories. The paper’s major finding is that technology transforms humanities’ way of life and controls the nature of a dwelling. Finally, it comes to the conclusion that we should keep poetic thinking to free our humanity, which is the best way to maintain the original meaning of dwelling within the technological era.” Jonathan 

– “In two weeks from today (YESTERDAY) you will have the first group session with the supervisor, I suggest that you have a rough idea of your title AND a rough draft of an abstract for then – the details can change a bit but and as you do the research things might emerge – but having a focus early on is vital. In the session in 2 weeks you will all discuss each others ideas.” Jonathan 

– “The Research Paper really can be one of the most important stages in the MA – although often students are a bit fearful as they see themselves as artists making work not writers and theorists – I have seen this paper bring clarity and direction to practice again and again.” Jonathan.

– “Having said all this I am acutely aware that sometimes analysing work is in danger of stifling the life out of the often intuitive process of making – this is partly why you don’t write about your own work – but overall I am open to be challenged about even this structure.”Jonathan

– “Bibliography – Most important – DO NOT leave this until the end. It will take hours and hours to get it right – keep information about what you are looking at and reading all the way through.

UAL uses the Harvard system of citation – check it out carefully http://arts.ac.libguides.com/citethemright ” Jonathan 

Zotero – Helps gather online sources. http://www.zotero.org

– app – RefMe – point the camera at the barcode of the book and it grabs all the important information and formats it in Harvard citation.

– “Q: Order in level of importance and value some of the potential sources you could use.” Jonathan

– “Images, original papers, books, artists websites, speeches,” Pete. 

– “People, Interviews” – Rhiannon

– “Lecture Vids / audio recordings, e-journals” Me. 

– “elibrary, specific art, new media,” Yvonne. 

– “colleagues blogs” Pete

– “Documentaries” – Sarah

– “In terms of hierarchy I would say primary sources first” Pete

– “Generally at the top level you have anything that is ‘peer reviewed’ i.e. a group of people qualified to a high level have agreed that a paper or book is of suitable value to be published – alongside this is ‘primary sources’ i.e. something direct from the source.

Books or research papers from peer reviewed journals are very good – but they can date quickly.

it is important to be aware of the value of the source you are quoting from.

classic example – wikipedia – which i think is actually very good – but it would not look good if your bibliography is full of wikipedia links – maybe 1 or 2 but no more!” Jonathan. 

– “Often the “talk” channel behind the wikipedia page – where the debate on editing the page goes on is more interesting. On the wiki is a helpful little animated video to explain the difference between primary and secondary sources – https://vimeo.com/87001150 ” Jonathan 

Sign up as an editor to see the Talk channel on Wikipedia.

– In keeping the paper objective – “never make a claim if you can’t justify it – on the other hand that is the challenge of the MA, finding a critically reflective position.” Jonathan. 

Justify, Justify, Justify, Justify, Justify, Justify!!!!

– “There is often temptation to explore issues around psychology, or sociology. Be a bit careful as you are not studying psychology etc – use these other fields of study absolutely but use them wisely and carefully” Jonathan 

– “Two of several good things artists bring to the world:

1) Comfort with Ambiguity

2) Cross-Disciplinary Research 

Both of these things are really useful” Jonathan. 

– ” Be aware of the danger of only presenting one side of the argument.” Jonathan. 

– “Having a conclusion now is not a problem as long as you are open to be challenged and maybe change your mind in the process of researching.” Jonathan. 

– “You write this paper now so that you can benefit from what you discover, if this was written at the end of the course you would probably miss out on what you could gain from it” Jonathan. 

–           July 7th – Tutorials       July 21st – Tutorials

– “Also, you will undoubtedly find loads more stuff than you can include in one short paper, this is where the title and abstract will keep you on track and focused, you can keep other stuff for a later date, or further research.” Jonathan

– “See this as a great opportunity to investigate something exciting and useful.” Jonathan. 

INTERIM SHOW OPENS 16th JULY.