Monthly Archives: August 2013

We have an idea but we need permission

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Dealing with copyright is a tough situation with today’s law – when having instant access to technology and content from all over the world at the touch of a button, what is the chance that we have downloaded or just seen something that has been copyrighted, or even without knowing that it was copyrighted – we must be a felon!

We are constantly connected to the internet in today’s society and so we have a constant access to what other people do and create, we can watch but cannot touch. However the strict laws that apply with copyright today were not always the case – just around a century ago Walt Disney had an idea of cartoons and music synchronized to form a brand new idea – his creation of Steamboat Willie now famously known as Mickey Mouse. The idea Walt Disney had created went further in utilizing stories that other people had created and giving those stories a new sense of being. Explored by Lessig Walt Disney has created a culture that is still relevant today and without taking the stories of others Disney Inc. would not be what it is today.

The constant development of the internet and the culture that it has created, there is an obvious creation that if copyright was severely enforced there would get a lot of people in trouble. I am talking about the Meme – from cats to people, objects to human imagination, the internet has created and utilized the meme as an expression of today’s time.

Copyright meme

Memes have infiltrated all mediums of communication and are troublesome when it comes to copyright, particularly when dealing with viral memes, as shown in this article on Forbes.com – Warner Brother has been sued for using Nyan Cat and, other cat based memes in one of their games.

The culture that technology and the internet has created is one of freedom for expression and creativity – while the law of copyright still looms, the use of the internet and the collective creations that come from it are an example of what people can do without the restrictions of copyright.

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Analog Coding Exercises – Summary and Analysis

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Over the past 4 weeks we have learned that there are difficulties and considerations when it comes to communication – changing the language that we speak into a transferable item in which can be coded, sent, decoded and understood by people all over the world breakdowns into a simple process that is used by technology. Looking back at the past 4 weeks:

Week 1 dealt with the coding of a visual communication, where we were given a sentence and were required to translate the message into a code using visual gestures and movements, from about 3 stories high and 50 metres away from the receiver of the message, we came up with a process I simply called “Clockwise Clapping” which you can find here.

Clockwise Clapping

Week 2 provided us with the challenge of using sound as a form of communication – using a series of different noises to send a picture from one group to another (only using sounds). This task was to represent what it would be like to be a “human fax” where the image being sent did not leave the person sending it, the receiver of the message would interpret what was being sent to create a copy. We were given Andy Warhol’s Banana and Stiletto to “human fax” from one group to another – follow this link to see the process of what we came up with.

Andy Warhol bananaWeek 3 questioned the principles and what aspect of human interactive art is “art” – brought to our attention by Sol Lewitt’s artistic style – conceptual/minimalist approach, his creations of “Paragraphs” are meant to be explored, interpreted and executed. These works bring into question that it isn’t the physical creation from Sol Lewitt or the people that have a finished product of his work is the art, but the emotional, psychological challenge in deciphering what Sol Lewitt is trying to come across and the different possible outcomes, it is this entire process that is “Art”. We were given the opportunity to try a couple of Sol Lewitt’s artworks for ourselves – here is how we ended up.

Sol LeWitt 232Week 4 compared the procedures undertook by the process of knitting, to the process of how a computer is programed to work. This idea that the basic understanding behind any “domestic”/simple procedure such as knitting, following a recipe or playing a board-game are all forms of the same program to achieve or accomplish something. Given the understanding of the process, we were asked to knit, which I have talked about here in a bit more detail – to utilize the process involved and execute an outcome.

Knitting completeGoing back to Week 3, the constant changing of technology has allowed for a change in what is called “Art” and what is needed to be represented when a piece is created. Nam June Paik focused on the aesthetic when it came to challenging the approach of technology and the way people communicate/interact with technology.

The artistic vision of Nam June Paik challenged the idea of what technology is and what it can be used for, using television, radio and lasers he represented to people the changing aspect that technology can be in a form that resembles the aspect of “how to humanize technology and the electronic medium”, “instead of creating another scientific toy“, said by Nam June Paik.

The creations of Nam June Paik have impacted the forms of communication through video art and to a certain degree the influence on commercial production – by being able to utilize technology with the idea of humanizing the creations he has lead the way for artists and people to develop a different understanding of technology and its uses.

Relating to the conceptual approach of Sol Lewitt there is a constant change for artists and communication through human interaction and development – by challenging the simple art approach it has allowed for a new understanding in communication art. Utilizing the audience as a participant in creating a piece and constructing a conceptual idea to what is art – Sol Lewitt and Nam June Paik have captured different aspects of time and relevance with-in the art community and created a path for others to follow and an art method for translating different understandings of art – from making art more human-like or audience interactive that questions the process of how art is made and who is the artist involved.

The processes that were involved in the different weekly activities offer different perspectives of how communication is created, refined and executed – by limiting the style of communication, such as visual or sound based, there is a bigger challenge in finding what works and what does not. Creating a different form of communication such as the visual communication from week 1 it was easier to distinguish between different actions/gestures used – this method was highly successful. Compared to week 2 the sound communication there was a greater challenge in using only sound to dictate what was needed to be translated. The limitations of the processes created are strictly to their form of communication that was intended but also that they were not always as refined as necessary when it came to certain aspects of trying to communicate. The translation dealing with coding, sending and decoding all depend on the understanding of the codes used and were understandable when dealing with the basics, however when it came time to situations where we did not have a code then our translation of the message was obscure – particularly when it came to sending pictures.

Analog Coding Exercise – Knitting

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Knitting – not just a hobby for the retired women who knit scarfs and jumpers as gifts for their grand-kids, behind the gift is a process that is relate-able to the method in which a computer is programmed and how it makes decisions – knitting, a programmable process.

How does knitting relate to the working process of a computer? To put it simply, both areas break down into simple programming commons – a start, loops, method, properties, objects, forks, functions and an end, these are the basic elements that are fundamental for a working process.

Looking at knitting we were given the opportunity to learn knitting and how a process is implemented in creating a final product. Going through a bunch of “Learn to knit” and “The basics of knitting” tutorials on the internet, we were given the task of representing the braille alphabet letters “B” (left) and “R” (Right) as knitted material.

Braille B Braille R

 

 

 

We chose “knit” to represent the flat part/white space, and a “purl” as the bump/black space of the braille letters. We choose a 12×18 area as the total area of each letter, so a 6×6 knit or pearl in each square.

Knit and PurlTo start we would cast on and loop the amount knit’s/purl’s needed to complete the letter… unfortunately the setting up of instructions was way more easy than the knitting itself so we were not able to finish the letters. Lucky there is an example to show what the final product would look like – I believe it to be the letter “O”.

Knitting complete

Knitting is a programmable activity, much like the process of following a recipe or playing a board game – through looking at the process involved we think logically in creating/getting to an outcome; much like a computer.

Created and “somewhat” finished by Jo, Lydia, Daniel and James.

Mechanize the human

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The technology era has come and is dismantling the once illustrious industrial era career – with instant access to any bit of information, accessibility to anyone anywhere and social media sites such as YouTube – providing people with new opportunities and resources to maintain a job, we have approached a scenario where humans have adapted to technology to an extent where the line of separation of peoples lives, such as work life and social life, have become obscure and dependent on technology.

balancing lifeThe term “presence creep” is used to explain the condition in which people do not separate their work life from the life they have outside work, work obligations have crept into home life. Gregg, M. studies the idea and condition of “presence creep” on a group people – with results reflecting the constant obligation and necessity of wanting to complete, find-out or, the expectation of maintaining a strong work ethic would be beneficial in the long run, the “long-run” being an expectation of future endeavours from the employee, not the employer. The results showing a strain on the performance of doing a job successfully reflects on amount of separation from work life and social life. The introduction of technology has given people the option to do their work (if physical presence is not a constant need) when there are hours that are suitable to the individual – much like myself being up at 2am writing this blog post as this time is beneficial for me being in a zone/state-of-mind that allows me to focus. Highlighted also in the following Ted Talk by Jason Fried “Why work doesn’t happen at work”

I include the Ted Talk as it mentions the environment in which work is built for does not reflect the environment in which people can work in, this idea that the behaviour that has been created by technology and the distraction or “flexibility” that technology allows can gives people the option to take their work home with them.

References:

Picture, balance, www.allcooltips.com

Gregg, M, ‘Function creep: Communication technologies and anticipatory labour in the information workplace.

 

Analog Coding Exercise – Sol Lewitt’s Wall Drawing #232

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Sol Lewitt is an American Artist who connects the constructionist/minimalist art style with an algorithmic approach. Sol Lewitt use paragraphs to aid his conceptual approach, these paragraphs are comprised of algorithms that are then needed to be deciphered, such as Wall Drawing #232:

Sol LeWitt 232The artwork that Sol Lewitt creates is meant to question what part of the process is art. The processes that are involved deal from the deciphering of the message to the execution of the image. The main impact of the artwork is in the execution of the artwork by the public, in the execution of the art lies the visual aesthetic, and the effectiveness of the conceptual art trying to get across. Whether the art comes from the paragraph or the creations from the public who follow the art is all a part of impact of Sol Lewitt and his deeper representation of what is art.

In a group we given the option to decipher the Wall Drawing #232 (above) and create what we interpreted what was being said. We had to read it a couple of times before we understood completely what we were going to create – the deciphering of the algorithm.

The task at hand was more a question of what aspect of the process was considered art – not so much what we ended up drawing. In the end we did not pay enough attention to what was being said and just drew a square – lazy I know.

Going over Sol Lewitt’s Wall Drawing #232 as I right this I see that there is room for ‘mistakes’ and ‘mishaps’ – getting the idea that the art that Sol Lewitt creates goes from the creation of the piece, to the individual understanding and execution, or the tiredness of students trying to decipher what was trying to be created. The art is the entire process.

Executed by Lydia, Jo, Rhiannen, Daniel and James

In the beginning was the mainframe and then it took a selfie

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Exploring all the ends of cyberspace cannot be done but taking advantage and understanding the processes that cyberspace, in particular the creation of the internet, presents to humanity is a step closer to a global village and maybe a cyber-utopia. In this technological age the transition from offline communication to online involvement is a necessary step in future operations and endeavours but what is the cost of this transition.

Kevin Kelly provides a detailed insight into the necessity that a new economy has emerged and this economy can be used effectively to sustain people, we have become engulfed in what has been presented to us – intentionally or by discovery, by cyberspace and the internet and we are in need. So why not take advantage and be a part of cyberspace – the freedom and possibilities are up to the user to create.

Similar positive responses about cyberspace/the internet from Barlow, and Dyson – Barlow presents that the internet is a place of freedom and expression from the oppression and ‘iron-fist’ of governments, as what can be created goes beyond the boundaries of a country and its rules, cyberspace is a place that does not show prejudice to people but, explained by Dyson, that cyberspace is an ecosystem where an individual can create what they want and the world they want to live in.

As open and free cyberspace allows and the dreams that plan to be created through the internet, there are present issues that arise by human use. Presented by Sherry Turkle in the following TED talk “Connected, but alone?”

Turkle explains the interaction that technology has created on people and what effects it has on the individual are not places that are ideal for growth and development of a cyber-utopia. Seeing the internet as an escape from the real world, for an individual to become a spot on the vast space that is cyberspace has created a new generation of social problems – what is being done?  Issues such as trolling and flaming, trends such as selfies and the anonymity that the internet creates provides the current generation with either the possibilities that are helpful to the exploration and creation of what is to come, or hinders this change and is stuck with the understanding of how to search something thought not implement what has been searched.

Analog Coding Exercise – The Human Fax Machine

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Using images of a banana and a stiletto by American artist Andy Warhol we were given an exercise in which we were to recreate the image on another piece of paper only through the use of sounds and noises – we were essentially told to be a human fax machine.

Our process started with folding up the piece of paper into a 12 square area – 3 columns and 4 rows. In each of the 12 squares we created a number plane (only dealing with positive numbers, quadrant one) 10 by 10, 1 to 10 horizontally (x-axis) and 1 to 10 vertically (y-axis) – so we had a set of co-ordinates for each point that was chosen from the pictures we had to ‘fax’. The 12 square set-up and 10 by 10 plane is also used on the banana and stiletto so we could co-ordinate the points on the images and thus create a co-ordinate to share with the receivers of the message. Each co-ordinate sent would connect from the last one to form the image sent.

Using the following sounds and the way we used them we are able to co-ordinate points:
– a number of claps would indicate which of the 12 squares the point/dot was to be placed (1-12)
– Using a drum beat we made out the horizontal number (0-10)
– Banging a harmonica on a table we made out the vertical number (0-10)
For example: 4 claps would be the 4th square, hearing 3 drum beats and 6 harmonica bangs would be point (3,6) – so point (3,6) in the 4th square we would make a point.
This method was repeated for every point, however for the line between the points.

We used a number of open-hand bangs on the table to indicate if the line joining the points would be straight, curved upwards or curved downwards:
– 1 open-hand bang would mean it is a straight line connecting the points
– 2 open-hand bangs would mean the line would curve upwards
– 3 open-hand bangs would mean the line would curve downwards

Starting with example of point (3,6) in the 4th square, if the next set of sounds the receiver hears are 2 claps, 4 drums and 3 harmonica bangs then the point would be in the 2nd square on (4,3) – then hearing 1 open-hand bang on the table would mean these two points – (3,6) in the 4th square and (4,3) in the 2nd square, are connected by a straight line.

All of these sounds are initiated by the sender of the message.

If the receiver of the message had a problem they would signal with a bang on the table to indicate a ‘re-do’ of the last point transmitted. The receiver of the message was able to know when the message was finished by the last point sent would be the 1st point repeated – indicating that the points connected.

This method of transmitting the images worked well – only major challenge I found was the speed in which the message was sent – we needed more time to decipher the sounds to the corresponding place, so a more steady pace of sounds with distinction between the ending of one sound to the start of the next sound would be allow time to understand where the points were.

Overall the exercise was deemed successful.

Created, produced and executed by MEDA102 students Jo, Lydia, Christine, Dan, Matt and James.

Cyberspace – space for one

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Brought up in a world where everyone is connected to everything and anything, there are still groups of people that I can not completely connect to or let alone understand, such as other generations, and the people that are found by the presence of technology – the people with multiple personalities (one face-to-face, the other on the web). Being a part of generation Y has come at the introduction and coinciding development of technology and with growing up becoming an adult. With the push of technology on us, to be a part of the cyber-culture, the prospects of what life would be, would only get better for everyone involved, going towards ‘utopia’?

Through the change of technology brings this empowerment to the individual that uses the technology to create something interesting and beneficial, something that has developed into an important part of people’s lives – whether it is a mode of communication or a game that utilizes creativity and global interaction such as MUDs. MUDs being text base games – such as Wheel of Time a 15 year long running free playable game.

As easy as empowerment comes to the individual, organizations, if technology savvy, can become bigger contenders at controlling and marketing their agendas on a much larger audience, highlighted in this article by Prospect Magazine. The hopeful change of control from large corporations still has a significant hold on large audiences today – instead of the subliminal messaging and ‘inconspicuous’ brand marketing there is now internet tracking of what people do and records being kept of this information.

The change of technology and the exploration of what the internet has become has influenced and challenged people – creating a cyberspace, created and designed a space for each individual. This ‘individual’ place of content creates issues when surrounded by other ‘individual’ creations, explored by Lessig, cyberspace is meant to be a greater form/medium of communication between people but when certain formalities occur then who is to enforce what should be done and what decision should be made.

Analog Coding Exercise – Clockwise Clapping

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“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

A simple sentence to communicate – just have to say it. However, when limited to getting the sentence across only through using visual communication, it leads to creativity, and problem solving skills are tested.

It is understandable to use pre-existing visual communications such as semaphore flags or Morse code but that would mean to learn what each position of the flag means or what each dash and dot sequence meant, so there has to be an easier way?

Through collective speculation of what we could do, we came up with putting a number to each letter in the alphabet – pretty much the position in-which the alphabet is said: A is 1, B is 2, C is 3… Z is 26. We then took the number and made it a visual gesture – a clap of the hands: A is 1 clap, B is 2 claps… Z is 26 claps. However clapping 26 times to get to the letter Z was inefficient and bothersome, the receiver of the message could easily lose count of the claps so something had to be added.

A suggestion was made to add a sequence of gestures that would also separate the alphabet into smaller groups, 5 groups of letters – a clockwise series of claps, above, right, down, left and patting the chest/stomach (clockwise motion/sequence from sender of message).

Clapping above represents letters A, B, C, D and E
Clapping right represents letters F, G, H, I and J
Clapping down represents letters K, L, M, N and O
Clapping left represents letters P, Q, R, S and T
Patting chest/stomach represents letters U, V, W, X, Y and Z

Clockwise ClappingWith the grouping of letters alongside different gestures of clapping this allowed for a more efficient visual communication. With different groups of letters then we only need to clap to 5/6 to understand what letter is trying to be received.

The clockwise motion is meant for the sender of the message. It was understood that the receiver of the message would see it counter-clockwise so we came to an agreement to have the sender of the message dictate how the message was to be presented. This issue wasn’t a big problem as with the help of a key it was easy to decipher the letters being communicated.

For example with the word “hello”, the sequence of gestures/claps would be:

– 3 claps to the right (H)
– 5 claps above (E)
– 2 claps down (L)
– 2 claps down (L)
– 5 claps down (O)

With the gestures understood for the letters, we then needed to create gestures for spaces and a full stop. We found a space would be easily noticed by have the sender of the message stretch out their arms as if about to do a star jump, a full stop and thus completion of the sentence was more so seen from a sign of glee from the sender of the message but would also be seen as something that would be different from gestures previously used.

This exercise was completed successfully.

Created, produced and executed by MEDA102 students Rhiannen, Jo, Lauren, John ‘Zema’, Ralphie and James.