I’ve finally started a physical version of the digital drawings I worked on earlier the year. I’m loosely basing it on a few of my previous pieces, but I’m trying to allow the process to dictate the composition. Beforehand, I’ve thought that having a detailed and structured plan was important, but the outcome of this continued to vary, so instead with this piece, im giving in to my instincts and seeing how it plays out.
Having recently framed a few of the earlier Signals works, (everything changes in a frame) I was pleased and excited by their outcome. Conceptually, there is an element of architecture to these voids, and their erratic nature gives an impression of the digital landscape but at the same time they lack a narrative. This is of course contradictory to my interest in revealing the narrative through the viewers presence, but you could argue that each viewer would have their own narrative of the compositions (like any art). Then again, with no revealed narrative and instead simply abstract contortions of lines, it becomes a classic example of justifying contradiction and curbing narrative to fit the practice.
Nonetheless, for this piece I’m letting the process create the work. The narrative and concept has been set throughout the MA.
Below I’ve attached 4 newly framed prints from earlier this year.
I’m interested in distorting the lines with a frosted Perspex over the top of the canvas, to give a more screen like impression. (I’d love to add lighting to this piece but I’m open to change).
Jon Rafman’s first solo show at the Zabludowicz was a montage of internet culture in a space that forced the audience to interact. There was an enormous sense of claustrophobia, whilst watching many of the films. it certainly captured the strangling element of life on the internet, as well as the barrage of imagery and its interchanging narrative.
Many of the works were very engaging in this respect, however, as someone incredibly interested in the Oculus Rift, (and in general just VR), experiencing Rafman’s virtual reality piece was really eye opening.
FINALLY I tried the hardware, and was in no way disappointed. Experiencing the animation secured my hopes for the medium. It really is entirely engaging, and gives the user the cinematography role. I can imagine that these early day films, games, animations and artworks will give an impression of its potential. Its the devices’ shift into search engines, interactive websites, social media, online shopping etc. that I’m particularly interested in. For a first time VR experience, Rafman’s piece is brilliant.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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.
Click Link Below for the Full site.
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.
Article by Peter Shadbolt.
(CNN) – What will the internet of the future look like? And what purpose will it be used for?
From augmented reality, which anticipates the information you’ll want just by looking at an object, to smart services that use artificial intelligence to help us manage our workloads, the look, feel and utility of the internet of 2040 is a wide open field.
Already advances in virtual reality technology – Facebook notably bought the virtual reality start-up Oculus VR for $2bn this year – are beginning to change the way we deal with everything from medical science, to military training, to learning difficulties.
To what extent, however, we’ll have control over our own data is one of the future’s great unanswered questions.
For many the future of the internet is already here; and it looks a lot like it did in 1990s.
Called the Darknet, this anonymised section of the net allows everyone from copyright pirates, to drug dealers, to dissidents to communicate and do business without fear of leaving their digital fingerprints.
Jamie Bartlett, whose book “The Dark Net” investigates the digital underworld, told CNN that this opaque and subversive world is inaccessible through normal browsers, and requires special software.
“A special browser called Tor allows a user to browse the internet without their IP address being given away,” Bartlett said. “It uses a clever encryption system that means no one can see what computer a user is on.”
This same encryption system also affords anonymity to the websites that inhabit this corner of the web, meaning that governments and law enforcers have no idea where the site is being hosted.
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That doesn’t mean that the individuals running these operations can forever remain hidden, as the capture of the creator of “Silk Road”, a famous illegal online marketplace, by the FBI in 2013 demonstrates.
Still, the tools to make life difficult for law enforcement seem to be there: “Anyone can set up these websites which are almost impossible to shut down and censor,” he said. “As a result it’s a bit of a Wild West — more or less anything goes.
“You’ve got illegal pornography there, these drugs markets there, assassination markets and hit men for hire. All sorts of terrible stuff but also all sorts of good stuff too.
“Democratic revolutionaries, whistle blowers, human rights activists who are also concerned about giving away their location also want somewhere where they can post stuff illegally and anonymously.”
Bartlett said the browser was initially developed by the U.S. military as a way of traversing the internet secretly, but since then had become an open source project. He suggests the military released the encrypted browser as a way of providing cover for their operations.
Because the Tor browser uses a non-standard protocol, people observing network traffic can identify it easily even if they can’t see what the user is looking at.
“They realised that this is not a good idea if the only people using it are the US military — it’s going to be obvious who they are. For that reason, they turned it into an open source project.”
Today, the Darknet is moving from fringe to mainstream, attracting anyone who wants anonymity — be they hired killers or humble bloggers.
Back to the future
For Bartlett, the Darknet is a return to the labrynthine recesses of the first days of the worldwide web. He said the future of the net is likely to be an increased proliferation of these non-standard protocols that provide ever deeper levels of anonymity.
“It really feels like the early days of the internet … (everything) is hosted on these rudimentary networks. It’s like the internet of the early 90s when things weren’t indexed the way they are now.
“Everything is hyperlinked together and Google can find everything, but back in the day the whole internet was dark — you didn’t know what you were doing or where you were going.
“You even used to write down web addresses on pieces of paper and pass them to each other.”
Just what can be found on the Darknet is often the subject of wild conjecture, but a recent project launched by the !Mediengruppe Bitnik art collective — called “The Darknet — From Memes to Onionland” – shows exactly what is on offer on the Internet’s underbelly.
Arming an automated internet bot with US$100 in bitcoins (the crypto-currency accepted as legal tender on many illicit marketplaces) the “Random Darknet Shopper” trawls its murky corners and every week buys one item at random.
So far, the bot has purchased a “stash can” of Sprite that doubles as a hiding place for either drugs or money, a platinum Visa card for $35, 10 Ecstasy Pills from Germany for US$48, 10 packets of Chesterfield cigarettes from Moldova, and many other items such as jeans, “designer” bags, and books.
One of the most intriguing pieces for the exhibitors at the Kunst Halle St. Gallen gallery in St. Gallen, Switzerland — where all the parcels arrive — has been a fireman’s set of skeleton keys from the United Kingdom.
“Our first question was what do you do with this? What does it open?” Carmen Weisskopf, co-founder of the art collective, told CNN. On the Darknet, the keys are advertised as useful for unlocking toolboxes or “gaining access to communal gates and storage areas.”
‘Thrilling and scary’
She said receiving the parcels at the gallery was at once “thrilling and scary.”
“The motivation for the artwork really came in the light of the Snowden revelations – for internet artists it meant we had to re-evaluate the networks we work in. We became really interested in looking at these anonymous and encrypted networks from an artistic point of view.”
She said the starting point for them had been how to build trust in an anonymous network.
The project has already dented the levels of trust at the art collective who early on in the project called in the services of a lawyer to shore up their legal position should the bot turn up anything that puts them outside the law. Fortunately, Weisskopf said, firearm sales are limited to clients within the United States.
“That’s why we got the idea of going into marketplaces because trust is something you need to build in markets.”
The artists have already gained notoriety by sending a parcel to fugitive whistleblower Julian Assange. The parcel was equipped with a cam that recorded its journey through the postal service to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where Assange is currently holed up.