Deep Style

Neural networks are no stranger to the art world. These networks are used in works such as Ralf Baeker’s, “Rechnender Raum (Computing Space) (1) or SymbioticA’s “MEART – The Semi-Living Artist”. (2)  Neural networks are essentially programs that mimic the human brain when it comes to problem-solving. In other words, it’s a system or network that learns from its mistakes. Deep style uses neural networks a little differently by creating rather than solving a complex problem. Deep style is a free-to-use or “open sourced” program that has been trained to not only recognize objects and textures but also paintings, painting styles, and the artists associated with those styles. It acts as a filter for photos and this filter essentially turns your photos into paintings in the style of the famous artist. (3)

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This works by uploading a photo to a deep style generator and uploading a painting that you want the photo to be styled in, the program takes these two images and re-creates the photo as a painting that is styled based on the reference painting. (4) This algorithm is advertised as an expressionistic tool for people and artists alike to create and share their digital paintings without requiring any painting skills or artistic skills. (5) However, could one consider this impressionistic program “cheating”?  The answer is yes, although this is no more “ cheating” than Photoshop. This takes a similar approach to editing photos as does Photoshop and takes it to another level by being an open sourced program that uses machine learning to create and edit. This algorithmic code has given rise to a community of Deep style creators all over the internet and it falls in line with the culture of communal art yet all works are individualized based on choices made by the participants.

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Lastly, below are links if you’d like to create one yourself:

https://deepdreamgenerator.com/

Create Your Own “Neural Paintings” with DeepStyle & Ubuntu

Sources:

1. Ciechowska, Zofia. “Rechnender Raum (Computing Space).” Art and Electronic Media, Edward Shanken, 24 Mar. 2010, artelectronicmedia.com/artwork/rechnender-raum-computing-space.

2. Smeddinck, Jan. “MEART – SymbioticA’s Fish & Chips.” Art and Electronic Media, Edward Shanken, 17 July 2009, artelectronicmedia.com/artwork/meart-symbioticas-fish-chips

3. 1. French, Aslan. “How Artists Can Use Neural Networks to Make Art.” ART + Marketing, ART + Marketing, 7 Mar. 2017, artplusmarketing.com/how-artists-can-use-neural-networks-to-make-art-714cdab53953

4. Gatys, Leon, et al. “A Neural Algorithm of Artistic Style.” Journal of Vision, vol. 16, no. 12, 2016, p. 326., doi:10.1167/16.12.326

5. Gatys, Leon, et al. “About.” Become a Digital Artist, 2017, deepart.io/page/about/

6. Infante, Andre. “Create Your Own ‘Neural Paintings’ with DeepStyle & Ubuntu.” MakeUseOf, MakeUseOf, 16 Sept. 2015, www.makeuseof.com/tag/create-neural-paintings-deepstyle-ubuntu/

PRISM:The Beacon Frame

Prism is a code name for the program controlled by the US National Security Agency(NSA) who collects internet communications from various US internet companies. It was created in 2007 but hided behind authorities until June 6, 2013, when NSA contractor Edward Snowden who leaked the information to the public to warn people the extent of data collection and surveillance was greater than people thought.[1] 2013 was a big year for NSA and the public because of the leak, but nobody ever knows what is this program, Prism, physically look like. Prism: The Beacon Frame becomes the speculative, functional imagery of this unknown technology. Created by Julian Oliver, Prism: The Beacon Frame, is a series of installations of the manifestation of the artist’s imagery of the Prism program by using the same techniques of wireless device localization and mapping, cell-tower hijacking and wireless packet inspection known to be in use by state sanctioned surveillance agencies such as the GCHQ(UK) and NSA(USA)[2]prism-tower-spiegel.de2.jpg
One of the installations, Prism: the Tower, is the iteration of the project with the field deployable wireless surveillance and GSM interception unit comprising a robust tripod, large glass prism, nano computer, nano projector, GSM antenna and cellular communications basestation. When the installation is activated, the computer scans for local cell towers owned by mobile service providers, copying their list of properties. Then the prism tower will start rotating and impersonate each cell provider one by one. Activated mobile phone under the coverage of those cell towers the installation scanned will automatically hop into the rogue network, recognizing and trusting its properties. Each phone will be sent SMSs of a troubling, humorous and/or sardonic nature. And the data collected from those trusting phones will be projected through the rotating prism onto the wall.prism-tower-flickr.com-artisticbokeh1.jp

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During the opening night of Transmediale 2014 where the installation was presented, PRISM: Tower interacted with over 740 phones. As Shanken writes in Art and Electronic Media, “electronic media have also been used to interrogate and actively fight censorship, corporate hegemony, pollution, gender discrimination and the proliferation of surveillance and control systems that threaten civil liberties.”[3] PRISM: Tower, which gets its name from the surveillance program that the government used against its own nation and public, is a direct response to the absence of information as to what NSA prism program should look like. At the same time, the installation demonstrate the process to the viewers in front of their faces of how easily the government can steal our communication data, which remind and warn to the public again the serious damage from the Prism surveillance and the fact that the shady government still tries to keep the program as a secret.

PRISM: Tower never got restored after the show, since the festival director pointed out that the festival and its umbrella organization could not afford to legally protect the artist from the potential chargers in Germany. Julian Oliver and Danja Vasiliev, the developers of the installation stated:
“We, the creators of "PRISM: The Beacon Frame", wish to express our disappointment at the disabling of a crucial element of this work at Transmediale 2014, with the threat of reporting us to the German Federal Police.
As such we've agreed that it is not in our interests to maintain the work in its original form.
It was our intention to provide an opportunity for public to critically engage precisely the same methods of cellular communications interception used by certain governments against their own people and people in sovereign states. It was not, in any way, our intention to harm anyone and nor did we.
We note that the German Parliament, right next door, has suffered directly by way of such violations.
It is vital that technology-based art remain a frame with which we can develop critical discourses about the world we live in, from the engineered to the cultural and political. Sometimes that requires that we are not limited by exaggerated fears and legal definition, but that we act proportionally and with conscience in our efforts to understand the power struggles and tensions in our (technically mediated) environment.
Sometimes this means taking risks, risks without intention to harm but to engender wider critical insights.
We wish to thank the Festival Director and the Curatorial Team from ArtHackDay and LEAP for representing us to the best of their ability.
"The Critical Engineer considers the exploit to be the most desirable form of exposure”[4]

[1]https://www.biography.com/people/edward-snowden-21262897

[2]https://criticalengineering.org/projects/prism-the-beacon-frame/

[3]Shanken, Edward, Art and Electronic Media, 2009

[4]https://criticalengineering.org/projects/prism-the-beacon-frame/

Metavid

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Metavid
is a free-software site that hosts United States public domain legislative footage. Through closed-captioning text from a “simple Linux box”[1]that records “everything C-SPAN shoots,”[1] Metavid can provide “brief searchable clips”[1] of legislative footage. Online communities can engage with the audio and video media archives which are not usually viewed by the public but told second hand through other media outlets. Metavid captures a non-bias recording of legislative meetings so that the people can draw their own opinions and ideas. The close-captioned text allows users to quickly and easily search through the thousands of hours of archived footage so that all the related media appears in the search results.

Currently, Metavid hosts the “largest free and reusable archive of house and senate legislative footage”[1] which is made available through a partnership with archive.org. The online platform was launched in early 2006 under the advisement of University of California Santa Cruz’s Professor Warren Sack for Michael Dale and Abram Stern’s Digital Arts and New Media MFA thesis project. Metavid sparked interest in the United States House and Senate, and in 2010 the House launched their own online media content source following the Senate’s launch in 2011.

Metadata has inspired Abram Stern’s pieces. Other art projects Abram Stern has created surrounding metadata include Oversight Machines, Unburning 1D3001Part1 and Operational Character Rendition. In Operational Character Rendition, the project performs OCR or optical character recognition for low-resolution documents published by the SSCI (United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence). The data submitted on these documents is unsearchable since they are low-resolution pdf’s, and the metadata doesn’t correlate with the record. Operational Character Rendition analyzes the pdf file turning the picture of words into searchable results and accurate metadata.

Sources:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metavid

Also informed by Stern’s guest-lecture in FILM189, UCSC, Feb 27, 2019.

Banksy: One Nation, Under CCTV

image.jpg?w=676One Nation Under CCTV is a graffiti artwork criticizing the use of surveillance by the government. It was created in 2007 and was located on Newman Street in London. It was created by London-based guerilla artist Banksy [1], whose identity is still not known by the public. He is known for his satirical, dark, yet political grafitti artwork that he randomly places throughout the world without notice. He is known for commonly critiquing the government. 
In this artwork, we can see a child in a red hoodie is paiting the large, "ONE NATION UNDER CCTV" while being surveyed by a police man with his dog. It is ironic and intentional that the piece is right next to a surveillance camera. CCTV stands for "closed-circuit television" and is another way of saying video surveillance. 
In another piece critiquing the government and surveillance, Banksy grafitti's what seem to be 3 spies that are surveying a phone booth with recording and listening devices.

Nobody really knows what the intentions or meanings behind these works are because Banksy prefers to be primarily anonymous, but he obvioulsy has something to say about the government and surveillance, and it can be 

banksycheltenham.jpgassumed that he is leaving it up to the viewer's interpretation.
CCTV has become a worry since before internet even began, when the government, private detectives and corporations began wire tapping in the late 1800s [2]. It started to become a National American concern during the "Watergate scandal" when the public saw the abuse of wiretapping by the government. The concerned peaked again recently when Edward Snowden released information and databases of the NSA [2]. Currently, the reason to keep surveillance is a matter of national security. Because of this, some people choose to stay disconnected and what is called "off of the grid", which refers to people who only use cash, no permanent phone, and keeping nothing personal. 
Banky's art is a reference to all of the concerns about surveillance. His art evokes a meaning that says that we are controlled by surveillance and that everything that we do is watched or listened by somebody. Overtime, these artworks were eventually taken down by the government or destroyed by unknown sources. 

[1] Banksy, http://www.banksy.co.uk/
[2] April White. A Brief History of Surveillance, The Smithsonian. April 2018. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/brief-history-surveillance-america-180968399/

Jaywalking

Artist Dries DepoorJaywalking_02_Bollman-1-1612x909.pngter’s Jaywalking is an installation that displays live surveillance footage of streets in various countries. Surveillance webcams capture footage of crosswalks and identify jaywalkers. From the monitor, visitors are given a choice as to whether or not they want to press a button that emails screenshots to local police stations. [1] The installation consists of wall-mounted monitors that display the surveillance footage. In front of each monitor is a podium with a simple black button that invites viewers to interact with the installation. This simple presentation already tempts viewers and puts them in an easy position to give their response.
The most interesting aspect of this artwork is that it presents audiences with a moral dilemma. The interactive art questions the viewer’s ethics and forces them to make a choice on the spot by giving the viewer the power to enforce real-world consequences on unsuspecting strangers. Depoorter has commented on his intention regarding his surveillance piece: “You have a choice, to send the screenshot to the police or not…I wanted the visitors to think. To get the feeling of having this power.” [2] Not only is the jaywalker a central part of the artistic outcome, but the audience member is also required to participate and is also observed. 
The ensuing interactions convey a complete disconnect between the surveilled and the installation viewer in charge of their fate. If an individual presses the button, it could be because they perceive laws as absolute, or perhaps because they took advantage of their newfound power to exercise consequences on strangers. On the other hand, an individual might not press the button because he or she believes the violation is not relatively serious, the law should not be respected, or because they may sympathize with the jaywalker and not want to financially burden them with a fine. The reasons are infinite, but whatever the case, the thoughts and questions this installation provokes are meant to examine what people do when given even a minute amount of power over another human being.
Moreover, the integration of choice in this installation is an interesting artistic approach to exploring the structures of morality on both an individual and societal scale. No matter what the participants decide to do with their choice, the disconnect is ever present: pressing the button reinforces the disconnect, but even sympathetic thoughts and attempts to minimize any negative impact onto a stranger’s life still demonstrates the one-way nature of the relationship between people in power and those they affect. The installation also gives the individual some insight about their own morality by forcing them to confront their moral compass.

[1] Dries Depoorter, Jaywalking, https://driesdepoorter.be/jaywalking/
[2] Andy Greenberg, Turning Live Surveillance Feeds Into Unsettling Works of Art, https://www.wired.com/2016/03/turning-live-surveillance-feeds-unsettling-works-art/

Nobody Likes Me

Screen-Shot-2017-05-23-at-6.37.48-PM.pngA Vancouver based artist who goes by the alias of iHeart, has gotten a lot of attention after Banksy, a famous street and graffiti artist, reposted his work on social media.  The work in mention depicts a boy who is obviously distraught and weeping uncontrollably.  However, what makes this work so interesting as well as places the work into the category of both culture jamming as well as post-internet art, is the little bits of aerosol paint that depicts the instagram logos that indicate the amount of likes, comments that a user has.   In an interview with the huffington post, iHeart stated that, "I see people walking down streets barely glancing up from their devices. Digitally we're hyper-connected and yet so disconnected from each other."[1]  Social media has spread throughout the world, connecting people in the virtual and digital world, but disconnecting people in the real world. It has come to a point where people would rather make a false life and digital friends, rather then go out and meet up with real physical human beings.

shutterstock_573798772-825x465.jpgThe viewer that the boy is distraught for the fact that he does not have any followers, likes, or comments, which enables a great social commentary on the effects of the digital and internet driven profiles, as well as, the companies that are responsible for creating such frameworks.  Furthermore, the title, “Nobody Likes Me,” reinforces these critiques and questions on not only the effects of the digital-social world, but the effects that the digital world has affected the way in which art is produced as well.  This form of culture jamming can bring forth many contemporary issues with certain programming, media, capitalistic tendencies, political issues, and the powers that certain corporations have over their customer base.  Instagram and other social media platforms feed off of people completely losing themselves in their profiles, trying to get people to attempt to go “viral,” gaining as many followers as possible to justify their existence within the world.  Although, this framework encourages people to live in a sort of spectacle world, living as an enhanced version of their own self at all times, further disconnecting them from the real world.

Peer-Pressure-And-Social-Media-1.jpegIHeart attempts to bring forth the way in which our digital profiles can come to grasp many aspects of our lives, where many people believe that they have to keep themselves up to certain standards by any means necessary; even by creating facades of the ways in which your life truly is.  These problems should be addressed more often and taken seriously, however, more times than not people are supporting the ways of the digital world, succumbing to the pressures and apprehension that these platforms feed on.

                                             The following is a video interview with the artist himself.

1 – Lenarduzzi, and Lenarduzzi. "Meet The Vancouver Street Artist Who Caught Banksy's Attention." HuffPost Canada. May 13, 2014. Accessed March 12, 2019. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/sunny-lenarduzzi/vancouver-street-artist-banksy-iheart_b_4953880.html.

r/place

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There is an empty canvas.

You may place a tile upon it, but you must wait to place another.

Individually you can create something.

Together you can create something more.

-r/place Reddit Announcement [1]

r/place (pronounced “ar slash place” or simply just “place”) is a collaborative art project created by the community of the website Reddit.com in April of 2017. r/place was a grid of one million pixels (1000×1000) that was initially completely white. Anyone with a reddit account could visit http://www.reddit.com/r/place between the first and third of April of 2017. Once there, users could pick a color, and place a single pixel of the chosen color anywhere on the grid, including pixels that other users had already filled in. Users were allowed to place additional pixels five to twenty minutes after each pixel they placed. r/place was hosted at http://www.reddit.com/r/place, and while the page still exists, users can no longer participate in the project and instead the subreddit is now dedicated to people simply talking about r/place.

r/place was created by the admins and moderators of Reddit as their yearly april fools joke. These april fools jokes are usually social experiments that involve as much of the Reddit community as possible, one of the most notible before r/place was r/thebutton in which there was a page with a button and a countdown timer, if any user pushed the button, the countdown would reset and that user would recieve a flair next to their username that showed how much time was left on the timer when they pushed the button. Nobody knew what would happen when the countdown reached 0, all that was known was that everyone could push the button once and doing so would reset the countdown for literally everyone. The result of this was that communities formed around the button, some people took pride in never pushing the button, whereas others took pride in pushing the button when the countdown was as close to as 0 as possible.

r/place also resulted in communities forming within the project as well, but to a much more notible degree than r/the button. This is because of the fact that in order to create an image on r/place an entire community was completely necessary. Since each user could only place one2-3.jpg pixel every five to twenty minutes, most of the individual images on r/place were contributed to by hundreds of users, not to mention the fact that many images had to be redrawn or “defended” since users could place their pixels over pixels that others had already placed. Many of the largest images in place were created by existing communities on reddit, for example the big red box with black text in the center-top of the canvas is a Star Wars quote created by r/PrequelMemes, a community dedicated to making memes of the star wars prequel trilogy. Some communities also formed with the sole purpose of creating something on r/place, such as r/MonaLisaClan who wanted a recreation of the Mona Lisa in r/place and /rTheBlueCorner, a community dedicated to making the bottom right corner of the canvas as blue as possible.

The final image is a chaotic, detailed, and intriguing work of net art, but I think part of what made r/place so unique was that it was constantly changing, as there are tons of images that made their way onto r/place that did not end up in the final state of the canvas. Thankfully, there are plenty of timelapses showing exactly how this jumbled chaotic image emerged from giving over a million people the ability to add to a single canvas one pixel at a time.

The work has historical precedents in Roy Ascott’s La Plissure du Texte (1988) and Andy Deck’s Glyphiti (2001).

References:

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/duplicates/62mesr/place/

Nests

A Prague based artist by the name of Jakub Geltner has been working on a series of installations for the past few years that flips the viewpoint of standard surveillance equipment.  The project known as “nest” utilizes surveillance equipment such as video cameras and satellite dishes, and positions them in unique places in congested flocks.  The unique places include but are not limited to beaches, elementary schools, buildings, and bridges where the amalgamations of up to twenty or so cameras or satellites are placed within extremely close proximity to each other; pointing every which direction.  Surveillance by governments, corporations, and even other institutions is becoming an epidemic around the world.  This is Geltner’s way at reminding the world that in a sense, humans are never out of the line of sight; we continually are being watched even when we do not notice.

jakub-geltner-nests-security-cameras-in-

The high saturation of cameras and satellites mimic the spreading of an infection or rash, while also bringing these technological objects that are usually meant to have no heed brought to them into being palpable by the public.[1]  Geltner brings up the point that these surveillance technologies that are being incorporated in almost every place of human interactivity are more of a hindrance than a helping in the world; possibly something that invades not only on the privacy of individuals, but invades on basic human rights and wellbeing.  Even if you are in a private space such as your home, there are multiple devices and technologies that very much might be listening in on you conversations, tracking your internet searches, and distributing your metadata amongst various companies to hone in products that fit to your needs.

jakub-geltner-sculpture-by-the-sea-cctv-These installations are constantly put in places that are meant for leisure and relaxation, creating a question of how often are we being surveilled in our private lives without cognizance?  Is this something that is moral?  This postmodernist view of the conditions of surveillance allude to the negative effects that surveillance can have on society.  Why should humans be subjected to random surveillance by groups that are higher in class or government authority?  Geltner perfectly takes on these questions and presents them to the public to spark the conversations and values which governments and other institutions are doing to their citizens.   Surveillance creates a toxic relationship between social and economic classes, as well as subtly forcing the one’s being “surveilled” to act accordingly to their “surveillors.” 

1-"Jakub Geltner Nests Security Cameras Satellite Dishes in Nature and Architecture." Designboom. December 10, 2015. Accessed March 12, 2019. https://www.designboom.com/art/jakub-geltner-nests-security-cameras-sculpture-by-the-sea-06-30-2015/.

Home made Virtual Soup

 Home made Virtual Soup,  developed by artist Avital Meshi to connect Second Life avatars and Real-Life puppeteers. The meeting was held at St. Columba Catholic School, Second Life during soup time. The artist set up the meeting by visiting the Second Life boarding school multiple times where she talked with Miss Sarah Sandalwood, the editor of O’Hare’s Gap. Together, Miss Tali (Avital Meshi’s Second Life avatar) and Miss Sarah Sandalwood “opened a mystical portal between”[1] both worlds. The meeting was a wonderful real-time experience where realities collided. The artist invited her “school family”[1] to enjoy soup with Second Life students of St. Columba, and they all experienced a “moment of communal fellowship.”[1] 

homemadevirtualsoup_orig.jpg

The artist chose St. Columbia after visiting the site various times and joining the community for soup. The boarding school discussed their lives during soup time, and Avital was intrigued that even though the users were playing a role within the school, there was a strong, genuine, real bond they all shared over soup.

The artist wanted the Home made Virtual Soup meeting to be an extension of St. Columba’s dining room in Second Life. She dressed up her table with the red tablecloth, white placemats and dishes, making an “almost exact”[1] replica of the table in Second Life. The soup prepared for the guests in Real-Life was St. Columba’s super secret yellow cream-based recipe (butternut squash).

Once the meeting started the Real-Life guests spoke directly to the Second Life avatars who would respond with a text. A screen on the wall in St. Columba’s dining room showed the Real-Life guests and the Second Life avatars were screened on a wall in the artists “almost replica”[1] room.

Avital Meshi has done multiple projects involving Second Life. She started studying Second Life to research virtual worlds and how people form relationships and family bonds in them. She has questioned role-playing and identity, exploring the different identities players assume and act out. She has used virtual reality as an artistic medium to create a space for Second Life avatars role-playing to interact with Real-Life personalities colliding various realities. Avital’s work in Home made Virtual Soup has explored ideas on “networked communication”[2] and how it “has shaped behavior and consciousness within and beyond the realm of what is conventionally defined as art.”[2] 

References: 

[1] http://www.avitalmeshi.com/home-made-virtual-soup-2017.html

[2] http://rhizome.org/community/10459/

The Conversation Map

Think about the last time you saw an Instagram photo, facebook post, or an online tweet by a celebrity. How many comments did it get? What about likes? Is it possible to turn that into a work of art? Warren Sack, a current professor of Film and Digital Media[1], developed The Conversation Map in order to visualize a comment/reference chain of certain media posts within a forum or archive. The Conversation Map is an interface that analyzes archives and sites based on words and their relationship to each other[2]. Each line on the interface represents a connection or a citation to the post within an archive, like a Facebook, forum, or reddit post. A dot means that there is no reference or citation made to that specific post. The hottest conversations typically mean it would look more like a spider web of lines in contrast to a post with only one or two lines, representing one or two connections to it. 

themes.gifMuch like Roy Ascott’s La Plissure Du Texte (p125), Sack’s interface brings a whole different perspective on how networking is interpreted. While Ascott’s work provided a connection between groups, artists, and collaborators from all over the world, Sack’s work goes beyond looking at it as a simple connection and draws out a whole system of relations based on multiple conversations within an archive. The creation of the artwork is what makes Sack’s piece so complex, but the graphical component is simple to look at. In a sense, The Conversation Map provides a specific type of beauty. This type of beauty is similar to overseeing a busy city through the eyes of a pilot in a helicopter. 

I would like to see this implemented in research, more specifically in published drafts and studies that doctors and scientists have done. It would show how important the publication or study is and how much of a specific department relies on the article that is being referenced. It can also give the author an idea of how many people are referencing his publication. This can give the author versatility and flexibility with their publication, possibly charging people to reference their work or running an algorithm to check the credibility of referenced posts. 

Another addition that is welcome for this artwork is referencing downloads and views. This can also give corporations and businesses an idea of the type of traffic that comes across the post. Which people are commenting? Which ones are just viewing the post and ignoring it? This type of graphical interface can provide companies vital information for their business, much like Youtube’s analytics software. 

1. http://web.media.mit.edu/~lieber/IUI/Sack/Sack.html

2. https://people.ucsc.edu/~wsack/

3. Roy ASCOTT La Plissure du Texte

Seattle Crime Cams

Artist Dries Depoorter's Seattle Crime Cams is an installation that streams public accessible surveillance videos in real-time to the gallery. Depoorter tapped into Seattle's surveillance systems by finding the feed of the footage buried in code. This gave him access to a continuous stream of video captured by the city's numerous surveillance cameras. He then paired those surveillance feeds with police and fire scanners made publically available as part of Seattle’s open data program [1].

The installation is a synchronization of those emergency response scanners to the camera feeds of the surveillance systems. The installation turns the everyday viewer into ultimate long-distance disaster tourists. The exhibit was displayed by a series of monitors hanged on the exhibit walls. Through the speakers placed around the exhibit visitors could hear recordings of police radio as it happens live throughout the city. When an active police or fire alert is announced one of the monitor’s screens would show videos of the closest camera to the location described in the scanner, creating a voyeuristic experience [2].

Seattle%20Crime.jpg(surveillance monitors displayed across the exhibit walls)

Visitors of the installation had the freedom to choose whether to view video feeds with the most alerts or those with the least. As visitors make their way through the exhibit they become active participants in the surveillance act. Combining these images of emergency services in real-time with the audio recordings of the scanners creates the feeling of an invasion of privacy.

Depoorter goes on to say, “I found it pretty strange, that the police were sharing all this data to the general public,” he claims. “I had to show what you could do with this… You see just how much surveillance there really is.”

References:

1] https://www.wired.com/2016/03/turning-live-surveillance-feeds-unsettling-works-art/#slide-1

2] https://driesdepoorter.be/seattlecrimecams/

Eyeborg (Neil Harbisson’s Cyborg Antenna)

Neil_Harbisson_cyborgist.jpg

Neil Harbisson is a cyborg artist based in New York City. He is described as a cyborg artist because his artwork his artwork is concerned with the concept of cyborgism but also because he himself is technically a cyborg. 

The word cyborg is a combination of the words "cybernetic" and "organism" and describes a being with both biological and mechanical parts. Neil Harbisson is technically considered a cyborg because of his antenna implant, which he calls "the Eyeborg." This device is implanted in his skull and was designed to extend the limitations of human color perception, specifically, it allows him to see colors even though he was born completely color blind, and he can even see infrared and ultraviolet colors. It does this using a camera on the end of the antenna, the camera detects both hue and saturation, and then the antenna sends that information to his brain as an audio signal through the process of bone conduction. [1] Essentially, it allows him to "hear" colors, including colors that humans would normally be unable to see. Before the implant, he was actually completely colorblind, and while he still technically sees everything in greyscale, he is able to percieve more colors than the average person thanks to his implant. [2] Since its initial creation the antenna can do much more than just allow him to percieve colors, it is also bluetooth enabled, allowing him to connect to other devices or the internet. He can also apparently "hear colors that other people are seeing." [3]

Harbisson describes the sensation of "hearing" colors as completely normal to him at this point. He claims that while at first he struggled with learning the names of the different colors he was hearing, but eventually it became a sense to him as intuitive as his others. He claims that now he has favorite colors and is even able to dream in color. He says that  starting to dream in color is when he truly started to feel like a cyborg, because in a dream it would be his brain creating the electronic sounds of the color, not the actual device, so he claims that is when the software of his device and his brain were united. [4]

1172736.jpgHarbisson says that the implant feels like a body part, he said “If you touch the camera or the antenna it’s like touching a tooth or a nail—I feel it, basically, which is weird, because I didn’t feel that before.” [5] Since it is surgically implanted into his skull, he also sleeps and showers with the antenna on. In 2004, Harbisson's british passport renewal was rejected because he was not allowed to appear in his passport photo with an electronic device on his head. Harbisson wrote back claiming that he self identified as a cyborg, and that the device should not be treated as an external electronic device, but rather a part of his body. His passport application was later accepted, making him technically the first cyborg to be recognized by a government.

Harbisson dosn't just see his implant as a functional tool, he describes it as a work of art. When asked about this, he said:

I see this as cyborg art: the art of creating new senses and the art of creating your own body parts. The problem is that it is impossible to share it. It happens in the mind of the artist, so I am both the artist and the only one in the audience because it happens exclusively in my head. The only way to share it is if you also have an antenna implanted in your brain. That is the main issue. [6]

References

[1], [3], [5] https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/9akbaa/the-cyborg-who-can-hear-what-other-people-are-looking-at

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/may/06/neil-harbisson-worlds-first-cyborg-artist

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygRNoieAnzI

[6] https://metalmagazine.eu/en/post/interview/neil-harbisson-the-reality-of-a-cyborg

Allvision

Exploring the medium since the late 1960’s, Steina and Woody Vasulka’s inventive exploration of the new technology coined them as the pioneers of the video arts. The artistic married pair found their inspiration with experimentation of the technology of the moment and social issues of their time. In 1976 Steina (who only goes by her first name) brought her work Allvision to life, born from her research of perception. The installment bears two cameras facing each other on a horizontally rotating axis, in the middle stands a mirrored sphere.  The two cameras, on a turntable, slowly orbit the mirrored sphere. Each camera visualizes one half of the reflected space, making the whole space observable as both cameras’ visual were transmitted to four monitors. [1]

The installation became an interactive piece between the gallery space, the recording, and the viewers themselves. The interaction between these three elements brought a rift between reality and perception. The view of the dismantled and fragmented gallery space was projected onto the flattened monitor screens, discoursing one’s own perception.  Inspired by the “hegemony of the human eye, and why are we showing everything from this point of view, and who is the cameraman to tell the rest of the world what they can see” [1]  Although Steina focused on the exploration of video and the visual reality and perception it creates, she forms a fissure between reality and visual perception. Therefore, implying that what is broadcasted is not necessarily accurate.  

    Unknown_0.jpeg AllVision01.jpg Unknown-1.jpeg

Numerous artists of the seventies like Steina and her husband Woody Vasulka who commandeered “the technologies of surveillance and control” to … “draw attention to the encroachment of privacy by corporations and governments.”[2] And yet as technology advances in this day and age and social issues are resolved, government surveillance is both still existent, and a realm in which artists nevertheless explore. Eric Eberhardt’s Art Radio channel, youarelisteiningto (2010) does just this. Accessing unencrypted police radio, and dissolving it with serene ambient music the listener is enraptured to a world of serenity, delinquency, allure and metropolitan living. The combination is nothing less than unprecedented audible experience. The art radio channel's website, youarelistening.to, originally began with Los Angeles' police stream and has since evolved and swelled to over 28 cities around the world, and in addition includes audible broadcasts from JFK, LAX, NASA and Twitter. Though Eberhardt’s intent originally drew focus from keeping an ear on the people who watch the public, after his creation he remarked, “‘Watching the Watchmen’ (so to speak) is developing an appreciation for how mundane and uncontroversial the majority of police work is” [3] Instead the true gravity of the mixed media project lies in this interaction between juxtaposing audios of the live police radio and the recorded music. Unfolding a haunting yet seductively beautiful commentary of urban living, the stream narrates and humanizes both the telling trivialities and tragedies of our cities. [3]

Citations: 

[1]. Meigh-Andrews, Chris. A History of Video Art: The Development of Form and Function. Oxford: Berg, 2006. 155. Print.

[2]. Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. Berlin: Phaidon, 2014.pg 120.

[3]. Callahan, Sophia. "Police Scanners And Ambient Music Fuse To Form Gorgeous Found Art Radio | The Creators Project." The Creators Project. N.p., 10 Oct. 2014. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/police-scanners-and-ambient-music-fuse-to-form-gorgeous-found-art-radio>.

Images (left to right): 

http://www.movingimagesource.us/articles/good-neighbors-20120503

http://www.vasulka.org/Steina/Steina_AllVision/AllVision.html

http://www.edith-russ-haus.de/no_cache/en/exhibitions/exhibitions/archive.html?tx_kdvzerhapplications_pi4%5Bexhibition%5D=38&tx_kdvzerhapplications_pi4%5Baction%5D=show&tx_kdvzerhapplications_pi4%5Bcontroller%5D=Exhibition

The Yes Men

There are innumerable strategies and motivations behind impersonation on the Internet. Some are legitimate hoaxes, others malicious, others satire. Take this typo for example: Gogle.com. Hypothetically, for every person with a sticky "o" key, or too fast of a double-keystroke, there is someone out there who is able to maliciously attack the unfortunately imperfect typist, logging history, Internet etiquette, and personal data. Inversely, one could hypothetically use similar guerilla tactics to attack companies of questionable moral standing, which is exactly what an internet-hoax group, referred to as “The Yes Men,” have done.

In one famous example the group was able to acquire a website (GATT.org) which gave the appearance of being an official website for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) group. Because GATT is synonymous with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Yes Men decided to design their new domain name to look like it was a part of the WTO Internet presence. In no time, they were receiving invitations for press conferences, politically oriented lobbyism, and most famously, were able to shoehorn some live interviews on BBC and other media outlets. Their tactics were quick and brutal: a Yes Man would go on a show under the pretense that they were representing a company. They would arrange with the radio show to discuss the company they were representing, and completely divulge all of their criminal activity, and promise compensation and full reparations for all damages considered. [1]

Dow Chemical was among these companies to fall “victim” to the hoax. They were a pesticide manufacturing company in India, and had bought out ‘Union Carbide’ after a disastrous gas leak in 1984. 500,000 were suspected to be exposed to the gas, as many as 20,000 having died from related causes. Unfortunately, because Union Carbide sold themselves out to Dow Chemical, there was a bit of finger pointing as to who accrued the liability debt, which resulted in the victims receiving less than a years worth of medical care.

The Yes Men targeted Dow Chemical by having one of their crew pretend to be a representative of their company on a BBC interview. The Yes Man went on to announce Dow Chemical’s full admittance of responsibility, a promise of lifelong health coverage, and a 12 billion dollar stimulus to get the community back on its feet. These sorts of announcements are unheard of. All that occurred was a slight drop in Dow Chemical’s stock, and a tighter security protocol in media outlets. The Yes Men were able to do a couple more guerilla attacks, including impersonating U.S. Department of Housing and urban Development (HUD) and admitting their obvious ploys to destroy lower income areas and punt the land off to private investors. [2]

[1] Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media (Phaidon, 2009) AEM

[2] Nelson, Maggie. The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (W. W. Norton & Company, 2012)

The Physiognomic Scrutinizer

Surveillance and physical stereotyping easily go hand in hand together when explored in the context of software. Programs require fundamental placeholders for values and measurements, and to describe a person using these universal traits requires a very cold and objective approach.

In 2010, the annual STRP festival in the Netherlands witnessed a new take on physical stereotyping when Marnix de Nijs unveiled his Physiognomic Scrutinizer, a sensor that somewhat resembles a metal detector. This contraption uses footage of each participant as input for facial recognition software. The software, however, does not stereotype a person as being part of a certain group or class of similar people, rather it finds the closest resembling entity in a list of 250 infamous celebrities. When the individual is matched, they are released to the other side of the sensor, and their results are projected audibly around the installation in a subtle tone of judgement and accusation.

Mr. Nijs has created a tool which can help us understand how widely biometrics and recognition software can be applied in application. By confronting the growing archetype which denounces surveillance as a tool used solely for control, Marnix has seized an opportunity to redefine what the intentions of technology are and open the conversation for any capabilities of such sciences.

Of course, Marnix is not the first artist to challenge the socially accepted purpose of a tool or design. Marcel Duchamp used a four legged stool and the fork and wheel of a bicycle to render both objects useless in his sculpture titled Bicycle Wheel. While Duchamp’s deconstruction of these household items discouraged actual use of the final product, the innovations of people like Marnix ultimately led to a modern-day BMX reincarnation of the Bicycle Wheel created by Ryan Humphreys. This cycle of defining and redefining various mediums of artwork is a creative necessity that cannot be accredited to any distinct artist but is perpetuated by every artist with the mindset to do so. Personally, this style of artwork consistently sets the bar higher for other artists who work within the same or a similar medium and perpetuates better and more interesting concepts, especially in the case of Marnix who has taken an otherwise dreaded hassle and turned into an installation for the sole purpose of amusment.

While the humor and satirical nature of the piece warrant many cheerful and approving responses from members of the audience, many of the referenced identities pre-programmed into the installation are infamous for certain heinous crimes or poor lifestyle choices. Even though Marnix utilizes controversial actions to make the Scrutinizer more exciting, the installation overall becomes more prone to misleading admirers into thinking that the software has anything to do with personal morals. Yet, it serves a purpose to remind participants of the ultimate capabilities of any individual specifically and may reiterate the idea that as different as any person might look, collectively we are the same in terms of having to make those choices for ourselves and not rely on a fixed position in the same way as we rely on our physical compositions. Ultimately, I would say that The Physiognomic Scrutinizer is a fantastic piece which not only contributes to the exhibition in which it is installed, but also enhances the world of artwork based on a reflective nature towards both the body and the psyche.

Regine. “The Physiognomic Scrutinizer.” We Make Money, Not Art. N.p., 26 Nov. 2010. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.

Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon, 2009. Print.

Tony, Fat. “Ryan Humphrey’s Fast Forward BMX Art Gallery In Hollywood.” Ride BMX RSS. Transworld RideBMX, 20 June 2011. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.

Contact: A Cybernetic Sculpture

Created by renowned Cybernetic artist Les Levine in 1969, Contact: A Cybernetic Sculpture is a wall of 18 CRT television screens arranged as a pair of three by three grids which show video of the viewer through close-up shots, wide-angle imagery, and a simple medium range portrait. Using an array of eight cameras contained in a stainless steel console and four additional cameras on each side of the grid of televisions all 18 screens showed live footage that was overlayed with images of Gulf & Western employees at work. Every few seconds the images on the screen would switch places with another image on another screen; limiting the amount of time that the viewer spent looking at just one angle. A different shade of colored acrylic gel was placed over each of the nine screens in the first block and the pattern was repeated in the second block forcing the viewer to look at themselves in a distorted version of the thrid person perspective.

Comissioned by a company named Gulf & Western Industries, Contact went on a short tour before it was installed in the lobby of a then-new Gulf & Western building in New York City. Since that time Gulf & Western has merged with Viacom and the company's headquarters were sold off and rebuilt as the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Contact is not presently on display.

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According to Levine himself, “Contact is a system that synthesizes man with his technology. In this system, the people are the software. It relies totally on the image and sensibility of the viewer for its life. It is a responsive mechanism and its personality reflects the attitudes of its viewers. If they are angry, the piece looks angry. Contact is made not only between you and your image, but how you feel about your image, and how you feel about that image in relationship to the things around you. The circuit is open.”

Contact is a work of art that is based around the viewer's perception of themselves. Although the installation modulates the viewer's input to create its output the impact of the piece relies upon the emotions of the viewer. A feedback loop is cerated where Contact's reflection of the viewer's current mood elecits a change in the mood of the viewer. This is why Contact is a cybernetic sculpture; its a machine that uses viewer to make an impact on the viewer and melds man and machine in the process.

It’s interesting to compare early cybernetics work like Contact to more modern surveillance pieces like Sanctum which also displays images of the viewer. Although the aim of these two pieces is very different, they use the same techniques to force the viewer to enter a period of self-reflection and introspection about their external appearance and the underlying feelings that are manifest through their appearance. Admittedly isn’t necessarily the primary goal of Sanctum and you are likely to be distracted by a discussion of the modern surveillance state after considering your own vanity, but it’s a key area where its effect on the viewer aligns with that of Contact.

[1] Edward A. Shaken, 2002, Cybernetic and Art: Cultural Convergence in the 1960s, Pg. 7

[2] Les Levine, n3krozoft

[3] Wikipedia, Les Levine

[4] The Tuscaloosa News – News Paper Cliping

[5] Gulf & Western, The Comissioning Company

Organe et Fonction d’Alice au Pays des Merveilles

ascott_4.jpgAscott created Organe et Fonction d’Alice au Pays des Merveilles (Organ and Function of Alice in Wonderland) for Les Immateriaux, the exhibition curated by Jean-Francois Lyotard at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1985.  Organe et Fonction was accessible to anyone connected to Minitel (the French national videotex system begun in 1981).  Ascott’s use of this system enabled a potential audience of thousands to experience the sort of intertextual pleating the artist had initiated in La Plissure du TexteOrgane et Fonction can be interpreted as an archetypal, postmodern artwork.  Randomly selected quotations from a French translation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland were juxtaposed with quotations from a scientific treatise entitled Organe et Function, creating unexpected relationships and associations.  Conventional notions of originality, authenticity, objecthood, narrative, and style were supplanted by appropriation, duplication, distribution, juxtaposition, and randomness

– Edward A. Shanken, "From Cybernetics to Telematics: The Art, Pedagogy, and Theory of Roy Ascott" in Roy Ascott, Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology, and Consciousness. Berkeley: U California Press, 2003.

Experiments in Galvanism

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Experiments in Galvanism is the culmination of studio and gallery experiments in which a miniature computer is implanted into the dead body of a frog specimen. On the one hand, it is a media-archaeological exploration of Galvani’s early 19th century experiments on the electrical stimulation of dead animals, which influenced Mary Shelly’s conception of Frankenstein’s monster, composed of various dead body parts animated by electricity.

Like Damien Hirst’s animal bodies in formaldehyde, the work is at once horrific and quasi-spiritual.  The frog is suspended in clear liquid contained in a glass cube, with a blue ethernet cable leading into an electrodein in its abdomen. The computer stores a website that enables users to trigger physical movement in the corpse: the resulting movement can be seen in gallery, and through a live streaming webcamera.

 

Source : http://www.conceptlab.com/frog/

Life: A User’s Manual

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From : http://www.ubermatic.org/life/

‘Life: a user’s manual’ is a series of public performances and online mappings that examine the hidden stories captured by private wireless CCTV streams and how they intersect with the visible world around us.


The title ‘Life: a user’s manual’ is taken from a novel of the same name by Georges Perec. In his novel, he peels away the outer wall of a ten story building in Paris and proceeds to describe the interior of each apartment and the stories of its inhabitants. As observers, we are led through a sequence of readings and views as we mentally navigate from one apartment to the next.

 

 

Security by Julia

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From : http://hosting.zkm.de/ctrlspace/e/texts/46?print-friendly=true

Part of the larger discussion of protection and threat as represented by contemporary cultural practices, this work is intended as a reflection and response to questions of psychological surveillance, the production and distribution of false/innocent bias machines and the unrelenting activity of designing defensible space. Surveillance discourse itself triggers reactions in individuals even when a mechanism is not in place (“warning: you are under surveillance”/”guard will be back momentarily” signs permanently on the desk). Superdesk explores why and how electronic mediation and a structure of control paralyzes some viewers, empowering other viewers/citizens/prisoners from action and what effect this disablement ultimately has on viewers and their libidinal structures. The Superdesk is an interruption station along any network of space or place. A place to stop and question the questioning station and yourself. A place where … dismantlement is always a possibility. It confirms the desire to supply, display and dispense control even when what is to be controlled is up for grabs.

My work engages question of control in everyday life. The Superdesk is a temporary and transitory event-space of links, fallible network attributes, shiny and rusty electronics, protection personnel and hands-on narcissistic flexibility. It is organized as a small twisted and swirled security desk ensemble. The Superdesk is a jab at the idea of obtaining consent, with a formal and tacit agreement with space. The Superdesk is a packaging place of the tracking of individuals. The physical manifestation is penetrable, loosely cabled, and perforated. Indeed, the controllers at this station are completely visible as the visitors themselves can “seize control” of the surveillance mechanism.

 

http://www.artelectronicmedia.com/artwork/wiesbadener-kunstsommer

http://wwwwwwwww.jodi.org

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Jodi, or jodi.org, is a collective of two internet artists: Joan Heemskerk (born 1968 in Kaatsheuvel, the Netherlands) and Dirk Paesmans (born 1965 in Brussels, Belgium). Their background is in photography and video art; since the mid-1990s they started to create original artworks for the World Wide Web. A few years later, they also turned to software art and artistic computer game modification.

From the wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodi_(art_collective)

 

The Real Costs

The Real Costs is a form of eco-visualization that responds in real-time to web-based queries and provides a graphic description of the ecological impact of travel decisions.

The project consists of an open-source Firefox web browser plug-in that inserts CO2 emissions data into airplane travel e-commerce websites such as Orbitz.com, United.com, Delta.com, and so on. Like the nutritional information labeling included on food packaging, this plug-in provides emissions information that is otherwise excluded from travel websites.[1] Instead of a search for travel returning the cost in dollars, The Real Costs informs travellers of the cost of their journey in carbon emisssions and the number of tree-years required to offset it, along with comparative carbon footprint information for other forms of travel. Another graph shows per-capita carbon output by country, with the US off the chart.

Artist Michael Mandiberg explains that “The objective of The Real Costs is to increase awareness of the environmental impact of certain day-to-day choices in the life of an Internet user. By presenting this environmental impact information in the place where decisions are being made, I hope to impact the viewer, encourage a sense of individual agency, start ongoing discussions, and provide a set of alternatives and immediate actions. In the process, the user/viewer might even consider a personal transformation from passive consumer to engaged citizen.”[1]

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[1] http://www.mandiberg.com/a-case-study-of-the-real-costs/

Rhine Water Purification Plant

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Haacke’s Rhinewater Purification Plant stands as the historical precedent for artists like Aviva Rahmani, Natalie Jeremijenko, Tiffany Holmes, and Buster Simpson, whose art concerns water quality. By displaying the Krefeld Sewage Plant’s murky discharge, officially treated enough to return to the Rhine River, Haacke brought attention to the plant’s role in degrading the river. By pumping the water through an additional filtration system and using the surplus water to water the museum’s garden, he introduced gray-water reclamation.

Source : https://web.archive.org/web/20170709025950/http://greenmuseum.org/c/ecovention/rhine.html

They Rule

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They Rule by Josh On

 

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They Rule aims to provide a glimpse of some of the relationships of the US ruling class. It takes as its focus the boards of some of the most powerful U.S. companies, which share many of the same directors. Some individuals sit on 5, 6 or 7 of the top 1000 companies. It allows users to browse through these interlocking directories and run searches on the boards and companies. A user can save a map of connections complete with their annotations and email links to these maps to others. They Rule is a starting point for research about these powerful individuals and corporations. from: http://www.theyrule.net/about

 

 

String Game: Improvisations for Inter-City Video

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String Game: Improvisations for Inter-City Video by Vera Frenkel

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Four monitors are arranged as the extremities of an X. On the front two monitors, players can be  seen during enactment’ on rear monitors, mobile cameras document activity in the studios during transmission.

From : http://www.fondation-langlois.org/html/e/page.php?NumPage=2243

Utopia: Q&A

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1971
Utopia: Q&A, public spaces linked by telex in New York, Ahmedabad, India, Tokyo, and Stockholm, where people could ask people in other countries questions about the future.

Telematic Vision

Telematic Vision

Artistic Statement by Paul Sermon

from http://creativetechnology.salford.ac.uk/paulsermon/vision/

First there was the bed, then came the sofa. The beginnings of this work started with the installation "Telematic Dreaming" produced in June 1992 for the "koti" exhibition in Kajaani, Finland. forwarding the development into the installation "Telematic Vision". In many ways the sofa and the bed amount to much the same thing, they can also transform themselves into each other, becoming a "sofa/bed". The semiology of the bed, that proved to be so effective in "Telematic Dreaming", is also present within the sofa and is equally as effective in "Telematic Vision". Where "Telematic Vision" and its sofa differ from "Telematic Dreaming" and its bed is in the scenario and theater of its spectacle. The sofa finds itself between the bed and the television, whilst it retains the semiotic reference to the bed, it also refers directly to television. The television and sofa are caught up in an inseparable scenario. In "Telematic Vision" the sofa is the seat from which the spectacle of television is viewed and the spectacle that is viewed is the audience that sit on the sofa.

Two identical blue sofas are located in dispersed remote locations. In front of each sofa stands a video monitor and camera. The video camera in each location sends a live video image, via ISDN telephone lines, to the other location. The two images are mixed together, via a video effects generator, and displayed on the monitors in front of each sofa in both remote locations simultaneously. Two more video monitors, displaying the same image, are added to both locations, and stand one meter from the arms on both sides of each sofa. The theater of the spectacle is complete. The viewers in both locations assume the function of the installation and sit down on the sofas to watch television. At this point they enter the telematic space, watching a live image of themselves sat on a sofa next to another person. They start to explore the space and understand they are now in complete physical control of a telepresent body that can interact with the other person. The more intimate and sophisticated the interaction becomes, the further the users enter into the telematic space. The division between the remote telepresent body and actual physical body disappears, leaving only one body that exists in and between both locations. Assisted by the object of the sofa and the scenario of the television consciousness is extended and resides solely within the interaction of the user. "Telematic Vision" is a vacant space of potentiality, it is nothing without the presence of a viewer and the interactions of a user who create their own television program by becoming the voyeurs of their own spectacle.

Terminal Art

Terminal Art by Roy Ascott

The following is taken from http://telematic.walkerart.org/timeline/timeline_shanken.html

Nearly a decade before the first personal computer, and over a quarter century before the advent of web-based, graphical-user-interfaces (GUIs), Ascott had already envisioned the emergence of art created interactively with computers, and artistic collaboration via telecommunications networks.

It took nearly fifteen years for the technology to evolve, and for Ascott to gain access to it, before he could implement these ideas even in a rudimentary form. In 1980, he produced the first telematic artist networking project between the US and the UK. Terminal Art, as the project was called, linked artists across the Atlantic over Jacques Vallée’s Infomedia NOTEPAD computer conferencing system. As Ascott recounted in his essay "Art and Telematics: Toward a Network Consciousness" (1984), he mail[ed] portable terminals to a group of artists in California, New York and Wales to participate in collectively generating ideas from their own studios. One of the group, Don Burgy, chose to take his terminal wherever he was visiting and log-in from there.

Though primitive by today’s standards (the text-only visual display monitors he used, in which a telephone hand-set was lodged in a rubber modem housing integrated with a keyboard and printer, are now collector’s items) Terminal Art was an unprecedented example of Telematic Art at the time. As distinguished from telex or electronic mail, which did not offer “logical control of the conference context or a retrievable group memory,” Vallée claimed that Notepad was, “the first commercial use of a new medium that fully utilize[d] the logical and memory abilities of the modern computer.” In addition to being able to retrieve and add to information stored in the computer’s memory, users could search the database in a directed and associative manner. As Ascott explained at the time, the group could, "tell the computer to turn up any mentions of giraffes and ice cream…" and he added that, "'The surrealists could have a field day.'"

The World in 24 Hours

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The World in 24 Hours by Robert Adrian

See a video on Art and Electronic Media of this work : http://www.artelectronicmedia.com/artwork/slow-scantv-sstv

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A world-wide 24 hour telecommunications project conceived by Robert Adrian for Ars Electronica’82, Linz. Artists and groups contributed from 15 cities around the world (Vienna, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Bath, Wellfleet, Pittsburgh, Toronto, San Francisco, Vancouver, Honolulu, Tokyo, Sydney, Istanbul, Florence and Athens).

Media: 3 telephone lines (including 1 control line) were available in Linz so that, in principle, the remote locations could use up to 3 telephone-based media in any combination – in reality this meant slow-scan TV, Fax, computer network and/or telephone audio.

Program: The project ran for 24 hours beginning and ending at 12 noon in Linz.(C.E.T.). Following the mid-day sun around the world, each location was called from Linz at 12:00 local time and exchanged material with the Linz location for about one hour. But, because the world of electronic communications only included capitalist industrialised countries, vast areas were blank – which meant that in some cases several locations were crammed into the same time zone (i.e. CET and EST) while zones in Asia, India, E. Europe, Africa and S. America are empty.

Concept and network organisation: Robert Adrian

Organisation in Linz: Robert Adrian, Waltraut Cooper, Norbert Hinterberger.

Participants in Linz : Gerald Hackenberg, Gabi Holzhaider, Moidi Kretschmann, Carl Pichler, Jörg Mikesch, Otto Mittmannsgruber.

Organisation in Vienna: Helmut Mark. Participants in Vienna included Markus Geiger, Ruth Labak, Alice Weber, Heimo Zobernig.

 

Source : http://alien.mur.at/rax/BIO/telecom.html

Present Continuous Past(s)

Present Continuous Past(s) is a piece where present time is reflected. This piece was created by a diverse artist named Dan Graham. 1 “Graham was owner of a gallery, art and culture theorist, photographer, film producer, performance and installation artist. A pioneer in performance and video art in the 1970’s, Graham later turned his attention to architectural projects designed for social interaction in public spaces.” The whole process sounds a little confusing when reading it for the first time, but after reading it a few times and understanding the meaning behind the piece, it becomes a little easier to comprehend the process of the work.

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1″The mirrors reflect present time. The video camera tapes what is immediately in front of it and the entire reflection on the opposite mirrored wall. The image seen by the camera (reflecting everything in the room) appears eight seconds later in the video monitor (via a tape delay placed between the video recorder, which is recording, and a second video recorder, which is playing the recording back).

   If a viewer’s body does not directly obscure the lens’s view of the facing mirror the camera is taping the reflection of the room and the reflected image of the monitor (which shows the time recorded eight seconds previously reflected from the mirror). A person viewing the monitor sees both the image of himself or herself of eight seconds earlier, and what was reflected on the mirror from the monitor eight seconds prior to that–sixteen seconds in the past (the camera view of eight seconds prior was playing back on the monitor eight seconds earlier, and this was reflected on the mirror along with the then present reflection to the viewer). An infinite regress of time continuums within time continuums (always separated by eight-second intervals) within time continuums is created.

   The mirror at right angles to the other mirror-wall and to the monitor-wall gives a present-time view of the installation as if observed from an «objective» vantage exterior to the viewer’s subjective experience and to the mechanism that produces the piece’s perceptual effect. It simply reflects (statically) present time.”

 

big_331950_2693_Mudam_Out-of-Sync_grahamdgrahamnet.JPGGRAHAM-PRESENTCONTI-1974-8_1.jpg

The concept of the piece is to bring self-awareness to the viewer of how people perceive them by lagging the time of the present by 8 seconds and allowing them to view the video of themselves. 2 “This impression is something we rarely see and it makes the viewer self-conscious because he now knows how others perceive him (only in the physical sense).” According to Graham, it also allows you to experience a different way of seeing yourself and learning something new about yourself.

It’s definitely a great way for the viewer to participate and interact with the art, which allows for them to step away from the piece with a different outlook on art and themselves.

 

 

 

1 Media Art Net: http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/artist/d.graham/biography/   Accessed December 2, 2012

2 Party Hard with Sova: http://partyhardwithsova.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/dan-graham-present-continuous-pasts/   Accessed December 2, 2012

Designgraphik

Designgraphik is a series of experimental interactive animations, the first of which was created in 1998. Nine total iterations have been created, the most recent of which was released in 2008.

Each installation is based upon a selection of themes and ideas which are expressed through text, imagery, animation, and abstract navigational elements. The pieces explore the capabilities of the web browser as the vehicle for an artistic experience.

 

https://www.michaelpaulyoung.com/2008/designgraphik-09/

http://www.designgraphik.com/eight/index_eight.php

http://designgraphik.com/03/file/index.html

 

A Season in Hell

A Season in Hell is described by the artist as a video opera; a full-length evening theatre piece. The multimedia performance is a collaboration between Randall Packer, Head of the ‘US Department of Art and Technology’, and LA Opera House Singer and former classmate Charles Lane. There are multiple projectors, digital video, an electronic musical score, vocal performances, surround sound, various props and live performances. Zero1 media arts festival of San Jose produced the 01SJ Biennial, where A Season in Hell ran for 3 nights at the San Jose Stage.

The work is based on a poem of the same name by Arthur Rimbaud, discussing the “disintegration of humanity, and how the artist copes with that.” In a post-apocolyptic America, Orph (Charles Lane) takes the audience through a descent into the various layers of the United States’ underworld, beginning with the grave of former President George W. Bush. The premise is the death of the nation at the second inauguration of Bush. Filming takes place in Washington DC, New Orleans post hurricane Katrina, up through the Bible Belt, to an Afircan American cemetary, and ending in Death Valley. In a world where government and big corporations squander resources into oblivion, where is that artist left, and can art ever truly die?

A Season in Hell is controlled by a Max Patch while the musical score runs in Logic. 

Performance Trailor:

Additional Trailors and Video Excerpts: http://www.zakros.com/projects/season/index.html

A Season in Hell by Arthur Rimbaud: http://www.mag4.net/Rimbaud/poesies/Once.html

Randall Packer’s personal webpage: http://www.randallpacker.com/

A Season in Hell press site: http://www.seasoninhell.com/index.html

Interview: http://cycling74.com/2010/09/15/an-interview-with-randall-packer/

 

 

On Traslation

Antoni Muntadas was born in Barcelona, and now lives and works in New York. His work addresses social, political and communications issues, particularly the relationship between public and private space. He explores the distribution and delivery of information and censorship. He works with a variety of mediums and has projects that work with photography, video, publications, web based work, installations and urban space.

On Translation is a multimedia, transnational initiative made up of a series of installations, interventions, websites, public projects, objects, videos, conferences, texts and publications. This work by Antoni Muntadas takes many forms, and is spread out over time and geographic region. One installment of this work was titled The Games, presented in 1996, which examined the exchange of national values and symbols at the Olympic Games. Another installment of On Translation is titled The Internet Project, 1997, this part of the work showed the translation of one sentence through 23 different languages, http://www.adaweb.com/influx/muntadas/. Another installment of this work was at a New York bank in1998 and dealt with the currency trade in the world of international finance. Another facet of this project are stickers that say “perception requires involvement” in various languages. He also looks at the Museum and how this institution affects the translation and interpretation of art.

Muntadas says that he is especially interested in “filters, physical wrappings of exchange which operate between audience and cultural artifact: cultural institutions, architecture, and the media.” Muntadas compares the process of art from start to public presentation as similar to the process of translation. He goal in this project is to bring attention to the fact that information is lost in translation, skewed and or misconstrued. Information has the ability to take on its own life and communication is far from a perfect science. Context and perception come into play and affect understanding. Part of the ongoing project On Translation is that Muntadas explores the way that translation does not only deal with language. The filter, context, location, etc. all affect translation. 

Sources:

http://cielvariablearchives.org/en/component/content/article/253-portfolio-antoni-muntadas-on-translation.html

http://www.adaweb.com/influx/muntadas/

http://www.arte10.com/noticias/monografico-67.html

http://www.macba.cat/en/exhibition-muntadas-on-translation

http://www.museoreinasofia.es/exposiciones/actuales/muntadas_en.html

http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/works/on-translation/images/2/

http://antoni-muntadas-uio.blogspot.com/

Surge Cycle

 

Surge Cycle

 

Andy Deck creates web based interactive projects that often have an open source component. His websites, andyland.net and artcontext.net house his projects. 

 

Surge Cycle incorporates user interactivity with a pre-determined animated clip which shows various figures moving and text appearing and disappearing constantly. The text often contains a political critique or statement about the United States government (particularly foreign affairs). When the user clicks (anywhere on the screen) an automated voice says something similar to the text on the screen (almost always political). The project seems to be trying to instigate awareness of US government practices that are somehow filtered by the media. The opening page has a statement: “BEHOLD THE FRAGILE AND REVERSIBLE PROGRESS.” This seems to in one way or another express that information can be fragile and sometimes incorrect or changeable. The following three pages illustrate a large amount of animated characters (all those appearing in the animation) jumbled together and on top of each other. This helps to emphasize the incredible amount of stimuli the internet and media produce; and how people cannot possibly retain it all. 

 

 

image from: http://www.digicult.it/digimag/article.asp?id=1736

King’s Cross Phone-In

Phone-InThe King’s Cross Phone-In was a co-ordinated effort by British artist Heath Bunting to disrupt the everyday routine of King’s Cross railway station. Bunting utilized various newsgroups and emails lists to distribute instructions for the event staged on August 5th, 1994.

The content of the message included the telephone numbers for over 30 public phones located in the King’s Cross station. Participants came from all over the world, and they were advised to call these numbers in a premeditated manner, whether methodical or chaotic. Bunting suggested that participants could also show up during the event, answering phone calls and chatting with those on the other end of the line.

@ kings xphone inRELEASE

During the day of Friday 5th August 1994
the telephone booth area behind the destination board
at kings X British Rail station will be borrowed
and used for a temporary cybercafe.

It would be good to concentrate activity around 18:00 GMT,
but play as you will.

TELEPHONE Nos.

0171 278 2207 ………………….. 0171 387 1736
0171 278 2208 ………………….. 0171 387 1756
0171 837 6028 ………………….. 0171 387 1823
0171 837 5193 ………………….. 0171 278 2179
0171 837 6417 ………………….. 0171 278 2163
0171 278 4290 ………………….. 0171 278 2083
0171 837 1034 ………………….. 0171 387 1362
0171 837 7959 ………………….. 0171 278 2017
0171 837 1644 ………………….. 0171 387 1569
0171 837 7234 ………………….. 0171 387 1526
0171 837 1481 ………………….. 0171 387 1587
0171 837 0867 ………………….. 0171 837 0298
0171 278 7259 ………………….. 0171 837 0399
0171 278 2502 ………………….. 0171 837 1768
0171 278 2501 ………………….. 0171 387 1398
0171 278 2275 ………………….. 0171 837 3758
0171 278 2217 ………………….. 0171 837 0933
0171 278 2260 ………………….. 0171 837 0499
Please do any combination of the following:

(1) call no./nos. and let the phone ring a short while and then hang up
(2) call these nos. in some kind of pattern
(the nos. are listed as a floor plan of the booth)
(3) call and have a chat with an expectant or unexpectant person
(4) go to Kings X station watch public reaction/answer the phones and chat
(5) do something different

This event will be publicised worldwide

I will write a report stating that:
(1) no body rang
(2) a massive techno crowd assembled and danced to the sound of ringing telephones
(3) something unexpected happened

No refreshments will be provided/please bring pack lunch

heath@cybercafe.org

What resulted was an explosion of phone calls in the railway station. The melody and intermittant timing of the calls filling the air with spontaneous noise. People caught unaware at the time were faced with the choice to ignore the activity or participate. Strangers talked with one another and were brought together by the event. For that short period of time King’s Cross railway station became a stage, and passersby became performers.

Using the (then new) internet, and telephone networks in this way is an example of culture jamming that was ahead of its time. It is a beautiful social orchestration to bring awareness to humanity and the burgeoning layers of communication we live together by.

Photo extracted from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26903640@N02/2524624568/in/photostream/

Cowbird

The majority of Jonathan Harris’ work centers around the telling of stories by the people who experienced them, and validating our individual worth by leaving as large of a proverbial mark upon the world as we can. Sometimes recording the memories of a community, and sometimes looking deeply inward, Harris has created a large body of work that serves to explore both the inherent human desire to be public, and be private. 
Inspired by the “I am the 99 percent” blog created in response to the initial Occupy Wall Street movement, Harris developed a website called Cowbird.com. Cowbird is based on the principal of “participatory journalism,” in which history is recorded by those experiencing it firsthand. Sign up for a free account, and you can immediately begin collecting images, videos, text, and audio to submit as your own multimedia diary entry, under the category of whichever major recent event you were personally affected by. Of course the Occupy Saga is a major topic, but everything from the Japanese earthquake to the Greek economic crisis – anything and everything that has touched human lives and helped shape our history – is addressed. 
Cowbird seeks to build a “public library of human experience,” in hopes that future generations will be able to view history from the perpective of a fellow human being, and not just a history textbook. Harris continues to tell the story of the individual in order to help find their place in the whole.

Picnic on the Screen

picnic

picnic

Developed by Manchester artists Charlotte Gould and Paul Sermon, “Picnic on the Screen” was a site-specific installation for Glastonbury 2009. Sermon, who is known for his work concerning augmented reality and interfaces, designed the project to provide a fun and innovative look at interaction from a distance. The installation consisted of two large blue picnic blankets, placed at a distance from each other. Audiences who convened on either blanklet were captured on camera and broadcast on large publically-viewed screens to members of the audience on the other blanket. Encouraged by their separation from the other audience and by their own televised presence, the participants were able to interact with the individuals on-screen despite the lack of an actual physical presence. Gould and Sermon say of the project, “Through the augmentation of the virtual and the real, users can explore alternative telepresent spaces and develop unique playful narrative events. ‘Picnic on the Screen’ explores social play and the way fun and enjoyment interact with and enhance new media content and technologies, through its design, creative development, everyday uses and discursive articulations [1].”

Kidnap

 

Blast Theory, lead by artists Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanit use interactive media to combine performance art, digital broadcasting, surveillance, and the study of human behavior. Their purpose is to challenge how popular culture has us think, and how we react to the technological world in which we live.

Blast Theory ran an experiment in 1998 that started with a contest advertising the opportunity to be (safely) kidnapped for 48 hours. Ten finalists were chosen at random from England and Wales and put under surveillance, and two “winners” were ultimately kidnapped. The two winners were Deborah Burgess, 27, and Russell Ward, 19. Kept inside a ‘safe house’, the two were taped and broadcast online the entire time on a website called “Kidnap HQ”. At this website users could interact and communicate with the victims.

This piece raised a lot of phsycological questions and responses, not just from the kidnappers, but from those interested. They receieved a lot of odd inquiries, many interested in a sort of kidnap fetish. However Blast Theory retains that they had no intention of making light of kidnapping, instead focusing on the serious issues and psychology of a kidnapped victim. Adams said, “The main aspect of it that fascinates me is the idea of
the symbiotic relationship between the kidnapper and the victim [one
manifestation of which is the Stockholm Syndrome, where the captives
start to empathise with the captors]. We’re aware that a kidnap is a
deeply traumatic experience, but it does gives you time to reassess your
life, and it can fundamentally alter your sense of self. Everyone comes
out of a kidnap changed.” (1)

This challenged English laws, that stated one can not consent to a crime that is perpetrated against them. Is one’s body not their own to do with what they wish? This issue is still a relevant question today, making the piece somewhat timeless in nature.

The work was nominated for an International Media Art Award, ZKM Centre for Arts and Media, Karlsruhe, in Germany in 2001and a Creative Freedom Award in the UK in 1999.

 

Sources:

Kidnap HQ (video feed HQ): http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/kidnap/hq.htm

http://contemporaryperformance.com/2009/11/24/featured-blast-theory-brighton-england/

www.blasttheory.co.uk/bt/work_kidnap.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/theatre-kidnapped-and-all-in-the-name-of-art-1162518.html

The Berth of V.ness

The Berth of V.Ness

The Birth of V.ness is an interactive web piece created by Talan Memmott that explores the visual, historical  and contextual relatonships found within The Birth of Venus(Botticelli) and the history and prehistory surrounding the work[1]. The Birth of Venus, along with Primavera and Pallas and Centaur were all commissioned to Botticelli by Lorenzo di Medici of Florence, and the Memmott incorporates them into the piece intermittently. Different aspects of the artworks are explored in its obscure network of menus and animations; the imagery within the paintings, the overall subject matter, symbolism, puns, and themes of destiny and dynasty present within the Medici family and Florentine lifestyle and ideals of the time. The abstract, confusing nature of the work is meant to deconstruct the piece, while contexualizing it in a wildly different form in which viewers explore, investigate, and interact with it just as cryptically as the original[2]. Examining all of it’s properties, from the mythos of Venus herself, to the commissioning of the painting and social context in which it was created, Memmott recontextualizes the work into an interactive experience in which the participant can’t help but feel challenged to interact, explore, and understand.

 

 

 

[1][2]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/webartery/message/15060

http://www.uiowa.edu/~iwp/newmedia/gallery/talan_memmott.html [picture]

 

Venus 2.0

 

 

A well known interactive web artist, Mark Napier, is infamous for his works that can be found on his site, potatoland.org.  On his artwork portal he says, “I create “net art”, online artwork that is about the Internet and is designed to exist in the network environment. My work explores the ideas of ownership, authority, territory, and communication in the virtual world.”1 Furthermore, he defines his work as a process, where he can code and accept unexpected results when creating code that does not always turn out the way you want them to.   Much of his work is critiquing or dematerializing the sometimes oversaturated data within the internet. 

The artpiece, Venus 2.0 is a series of works of PAM, which critiques a celebrity through an interactive interface of a fragmented Pamela Anderson image.  Napier mentioned, “I started with a sympathetic view of the actual Pamela Anderson. She is part of the spectacle of sexuality in contemporary media.”2 In Greek and Roman art history, Venus de Milo or also known as Aphrodite is a well known sculpture that is a symbol of iconic and epitomy of beauty.  How the depiction of ideal beauty of the past also prevails in the present, which is why Napier subjected Pamela Anderson.  She has been a focus of the media for years and her body is always changing through plastic surgery enhancements to perhaps enhance her viewership.  The concept of the body and beauty is examined in the virtual realm of infinite metadata that can be used to mold something completely disfiguring is both interesting and haunting.  This piece brings out the disfiguring and discomfort of how the media and celebrities have a great impact of what people want to see and how one sees themselves.  It also brings to question of the real and the imagined individual, since the internet is a vast and complex  network in itself and questions whether reality even exists anymore.  Similar to this work is a project called Barbie.  

Here is a video interview with the artist, talking about his background and influences…http://www.archive.org/details/TECHNEArtistInterviewMarkNapier

Sources:

http://marknapier.com/presskit/articles/furtherfield_2010/furtherfield_venus.html

http://turbulence.org/blog/2009/12/05/venus-20-mark-napier-berlin/

http://www.chrisjoseph.org/blog/reviews/review-of-mark-napiers-venus-2-0-by-angela-ferraiolo

http://marziasdigitalartreview.blogspot.com/2010/04/mark-napier-venus-20.html