Here are some more recent images and videos of the circuit Ed has put together for my piece. I’m very excited to install it in the doorway. Fingers crossed it goes smoothly! There have been a few technical hitches (see video at the bottom).
As Ed will tell you, its been a mission to get the circuit working properly. Through his extensive experience in electronics he’s managed to get it working, whilst correcting an online Instructable! Success all round. I’m incredibly appreciative for his help with this. From my experiments last year with sensors and LEDs, to using an LED screen, to Ed’s Halogen circuit.
The circuit will allow for my main concept across these experiments to come to life. The reaction of an artwork to its audience.
Originally, the plan was to make a piece on Perspex with electrical tape. In recent weeks, I’ve realised that this can be done in a much better way. I’m now getting an acetate print the size of the doorway. This will be placed in between a white scrim in the doorway and the halogen lights. As the viewer approaches the door, the door will illuminate, revealing an abstract impression of internet connections. This aims to replicate the way that we trigger our devices to access information on the internet.
As you can see from the photos below, there have been a few different prototypes.
Printing the revised Custom Boards:
Disaster: Exploding Resistors on the first Circuit Design.
Ed has managed to design a beautiful looking circuit board for my final work.
THANK YOU ED!!
It’s currently bare but its an exciting step forward. Particularly the fear of death.
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?
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?
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.
The Siren, Edward Armitage, 1888
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?
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
“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.”
Another interesting aspect of Candy Crush, you gain lives if you manage to invite friends to the game…..
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.
Digital Identity clearly has a weighty, ever-increasing balloon of a definition. As the digital is infused into the everyday, the crossover between identity and digital identity narrows, hence the balloon, but does it / will it burst? At the same time, we could illustrate our actual identity in the same way. The more different experiences we have, the more it shifts. It is almost as if corporeal and digital identity are going through a state of reverse mitosis (although, thats obviously impossible).
As our everyday dependence on the digital increases, so does the tangibility of this phrase “digital identity”.
How often do you find something new on the internet? A video, article, clip, piece of information, image, link, etc. The likelihood, unless the example is grossly niche, is that the majority of elements you “discover” have been regurgitated through a number of people before hand. This sense of discovering something new is an exciting moment especially if it is in the box of what you would deem your passion. For example, a music lover discovering a new singer.
At the same time, the first port of call for understanding a new topic / subject is to go to the internet. Here, unlike in the library, lists of well catalogued, tried and tested, reviewed material can be found. It would be counter-productive to do anything else. This platform makes it very difficult for something new to be discovered. Then again, maybe a new discovery will never happen online, as it would have had to be posted first. Anyway, I’m wrongly comparing the internet as a space to that of the earth. When trekking through a cave, there is better potential for a new discovery, as the space’s composition is natural. If the path is uncharted, you could discover something completely new. On the internet, I feel that the endless potential connections from page to page and the vast quantity of these pages allow everyone to go on different paths. If this person were to consider using the internet and its surrounding technology as second nature, this path could be considered a sort of digital thinking process. Although what endpoint and all the stops along the way may not be new discoveries, the movement from link to link will be completely individual. This obviously depends on the depth of the search.
The Wikipedia Game: Pick a start and end point, these can be topics / people / places / anything on wikipedia, and see who can get from A to B in as few clicks possible. This idea gives an example of how the way we interact with information on the internet can help to explain our actual thinking process. The connections (clicks) we make will often differ from person to person. Obviously, within a technical, well studied topic, these connections will more probably be similar than if someone were to be looking up “dance music”. Music is a good example for this. Youtube, Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud, 8Tracks, MySpace, TuneIn, etc, all allow you to never have to listen to the same song ever again. There are so many options that if you wanted to, you could try to listen to it all, and die before its over. When somebody discovers new music, although many others will have already come across it, it comes with it a sense of validity and excitement.
“New Discoveries” is a terrible working title for a project looking into these false discoveries. This work is based on an LED and Arduino circuit that uses an ultrasonic sensor to allow the LEDs to brighten as the viewer approaches. This mimics the feeling of having a head torch or a lantern in front of you. It also aims to reflect a consumer technology’s user experience. Giving the audience power to see the narrative in the same way we open websites and apps.
Arduino / LEDs Test:
1. LED A to B when sensor is activated.
2. LEDs brighten as distance sensor is activated.
3. Reflective Background, LED shines through Prototype cutout.
4. Blocking projection light and successful back projection.
We spoke about my experimentation. Having looked into a variety of mixed media, my intention is to find a balance. Physically I’ve been drawing a lot, painting is something I continue to do, however so far in my research work, I haven’t really found its place. I’ve only been interested to use paint figuratively, as it allows me to be more durable with the final image. Recently my work has been focused on visualising device signals. The progression of this, is to look into how these patterns can be augmented with reality or created in virtual environments. (Mixed Signals I + II, Somewhere Beyond the.com, 01022015 and 03022015). All of this work has hoped to create an abstract impression of everyday connections. Recent tests with blender have been positive, the impact of creating light and shade brings a more realistic impression to these signals. This will help when including architecture and urban infrastructure to the images. I will continue to work with blender, and potentially UE4.
The main point I took from the tutorial was the importance of making maquettes. With my mixed media approach, it allows me to create a miniature of my intentions. The second point was to look at stained glass windows. I’ve recently been testing an LED / Ultrasonic circuit with an arduino, with little luck so far. After speaking with Jonathan, though I should really be asking Ed about this, ultrasonic sensors are notoriously difficult, and it would be better to look into leap motion or an Xbox kinect. The action I’m trying to perform is for LEDs, placed behind a frosted glass panel illuminating gradually as a person approaches. This is to mimic the effect of a head-torch, or lantern, to create a sense of discovery when stumbling across it. In front of the glass will be a laser cut scene, first drawn, and then turned to vector. I’m focused on this idea of the artwork recognising that it has a viewer, and I aim to make small-scale examples of my intentions. Another technological aspect we discussed was the inclusion of projectors. It is not easy to find enough suitable space for a projector to be working through the back of the canvas, as i’d hoped, (though i will continue to experiment with this). Jonathan mentioned short throw projectors, pico projectors, or using one with a 45degree mirror and adjusting the keystoning. These are all possibilities I hope to explore. We talked about the difference between LED and LCD projectors, LEDs have a greater depth of focus, and therefore will remain in focus when placed on a curve. This could be useful when looking at more sculptural experiments.
Other than this, we looked at the work of Daniel Rozen, and compared the similarities between exploring technology through simple materiality, as well as the audience participation involved in his work. Daniel Rozen ‘Wooden Mirror’ 1999:
Another important point for me was to focus on organising and updating my blog. At the beginning of the course, I felt the blog an intrusive force on my practice, and although i realise I must to learn to deal with it, recent weeks have proved particularly unsuccessful. I really do need to organise its functionality, i.e categories, tags, a menu… There is a lot to be done!