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.
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.
Over the summer I purchased a Leap Motion. Within days I was excited about its possibilities and began to play around with it in Processing. The concept for this installation was simple. The Leap Motion as a piece of consumer technology essentially gives the user the ability to interact with the computer in thin air, a sort of realistic attempt at George Lucas’s ‘The Force’… but instead only replacing the use of your mouse. Its a powerful, and very exciting bit of kit. I realised quickly that it would give me the opportunity to create an effect I’d hoped of for a while… for the viewer to customise the artwork to their preference (within set parameters obviously…. so not quite the ultimate customisation i dream of.. but a step in the right direction )…
The simple concept is that those using social media emit identities and have the ability to customise it.
First Attempt, as it appeared on the laptop screen:
In the Gallery:
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.
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 – “T
Just to continue from a previous post. Here’s a slightly more finished video, demonstrating Google’s Project Soli.
Think Minority Report…… without the gloves…..
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.
We had a constructive chat. It was great experience to talk about my work with someone who hadn’t seen it before. We discussed the different concepts surrounding my work such as Interaction, and how really my work is actually Reactive, rather than Interactive. He’s sent me an article on the difference:
Distinguishing Concepts – Lexicons of Interactive Art and Architecture
Keir also sent me a few other things to look at:
An Interactive Art Festival – http://www.aec.at/prix/en/kategorien/
Keir Williams Lecture Work – http://id.uwedigitalmedia.com/
He made distinct connections with my work and the Futurists / Constructivists.
He also compared some of my work to a pretty niche film from the early 90s, The Lawnmower Man. With a similar aesthetic to Second Life, and other early computer generated avatars, I can see how he compared a few of my uses of generic digital figures in the same way. I’ve attached some photos as well as a short description of the film.
The eccentric Dr. Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) puts mentally disabled landscaper Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey) on a regimen of experimental pills and computer-simulated training sequences in hopes of augmenting the man’s intelligence. In time Jobe becomes noticeably brighter and also begins to fare much better with the opposite sex. But, as he develops psychic powers, he realizes that those around him have taken advantage of his simplicity his whole life, and he plots a bloody revenge…..
I’ll be watching this film very soon.
Whilst discussing my idea of making paintings unreadable without an audience, we ended up talking about Valentina Tanni whom released a fox into a gallery, she then created a piece using the gallery’s CCTV footage of the fox.
Obviously this wasn’t completely on topic, though seeing examples of artists playfully mocking the gallery as a space is always intriguing.
Overall the tutorial was very constructive. He introduced me to influences I’d wouldn’t otherwise know, and made me feel very positive about my research. Some points to go forward were for me to try to focus less on perfectly executed ideas, and to experiment more with the mixture of digital and physical processes. He also believed that my concepts surrounding the more linear work had a lot to it, and a lot more to discover with it.