Content, Data and Media

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Data Spheres by Adnan Hadzi/ Similarity in media content: artistic perspectives by Christian Frisson, Stéphane Dupont, Xavier Siebert, and Thierry Dutoit/ Intelligent Content and Semantics Algorithms: the next digital artists? by Luis Teixeira/ Self-trackers : Why do they prefer the spreadsheet to the sofa ? by Stephanie Vidal
Friday, 16 September, 2011 - 14:45 - 16:05
Chair Person: 
David Cotterrell
Adnan Hadzi
Christian Frisson
Stéphane Dupont
Xavier Siebert
Thierry Dutoit
Luis Teixeira
Stephanie Vidal

Data Spheres

by Adnan Hadzi

Deptford.TV is an online media database documenting the urban change of Deptford, in South­East London. It operates through the use of free and open source software, which ensures the users continued control over the production and distribution infrastructure. Deptford.TV ( was  initiated by Adnan Hadzi in collaboration with the Deckspace media lab, Bitnik media collective, Boundless project, Liquid Culture initiative, and Goldsmiths College. This paper argues for the importance of:

a) the use of open source software, which ensures the users continued control over the infrastructure for distribution;

b) the capacity building of participants in the technical aspects of developing an on­line distribution infrastructure that they themselves can operate and control, empowering them to share and distribute production work both locally and internationally.

This   paper   continues   the   debate   raised   in   the   Next   5  Minutes  media   conference (Amsterdam, 2003) regarding ‘tactical media in crisis’; a conference which in many ways marked   the   “crash”   of   an   online   activism  based   on   a  merely   tactical   approach. As McKenzie Wark and others stated during  the conference: ‘can  tactical media anticipate, rather than be merely reactive?’

The aim of a strategy is to generate a form of social contract; not only by enunciation or discursive agreements,  but  by actual  practice.  Existing networks,  applications, artefacts and organisations like The Pirate Bay, Steal This Film, Deptford.TV, the network etc. in effect constitute strategic entities that re­write the rules of engagement with digital  media   on   an   everyday   basis.  The   problem  being,   that  many   of   these   entities become deemed  illegal,  quasi­legal  or   illegitimate by   the  current   copyright   legislation, something which can only  really be addressed  through  finding new ethical   frameworks which can appropriate what is already happening but in terms which do not frame it in the old dichotomy of ‘legal’ versus ‘illegal’.

As Michel de Certeau makes us aware of, strategies differ from tactics in that they are not reactive  to an oppressor or enemy. Rather, strategies are self­maintained, autonomous, and – more specifically-spatially situated. If the ‘temporary autonomous zone’ (Bey 1991) of pirates, nomads and vagabonds is characterised not by permanence but by transience, still   it  might   be   seen   as   a  means   to   generate   short   intermissions   of   stability;   the establishment   of   momentary  connectors,   stable   points,   islands   in   the   stream. The establishment of such islands is dependent on location and manual effort: different types of strategies that will become apparent throughout this paper.

An   overarching   issue   for   this   paper   has   been   the   concept of ‘data spheres’ and of strategies aiming  to build,  uphold and defend  these generative spheres. Adnan Hadzi presents a case for the strategic use of copyleft licenses within the datascapes ofpeer­to­peer networks by establishing data spheres: basically, acknowledging the need for a social

Similarity in media content: artistic perspectives

by Christian Frisson, Stéphane Dupont, Xavier Siebert, and Thierry Dutoit

In this paper, we examine how browsing multimedia content by similarity can foster new practices in new media arts, blurring the boundaries between composing and performing, curating and authoring, creating and interpreting… building upon techniques such as Cut-Up, Plunderphonics, Collage, Mash-Ups.

We developed MediaCycle, a framework to design application for browsing multimedia databases by similarity (audio, images, video). We present several artistic works and prototypes making use of this framework: an audio loop manipulation software application for "realtime playlisting", a website for browsing dancers' identities through video recordings, and interactive installations recomposing mixed media. We also propose other possible uses of this framework.

Intelligent Content and Semantics Algorithms: the next digital artists?

by Luis Teixeira

Information Technology continues to foster the confluence of multimedia engineering, web technologies and social networks, and knowledge representation and reasoning. The goal is to promote original approaches and techniques for empowering creative usages and enabling interactive experiences based on an understanding of the content itself. In order to achieve this aim, semantic-based methods are being developed as a tools for extracting actionable knowledge from massive data sets and providing complex and yet flexible, interoperable services.

This paper will explore how these techniques can affect digital art production, how the act of creation an intelligent content may functions as an digital art interpretative process, and will attempt to discuss the future of media through computational archaeology.

Self-trackers : Why do they prefer the spreadsheet to the sofa?

by Stephanie Vidal

My PhD research on data visualization (started under the direction of Anne-Marie Duguet) has led me to the self-tracker community : people who gather, analyze and share their own data. According to their words and numbers (interviews, production analysis...), self-tracking appears as a new practice at the crossroads of technology, digital humanities and art.

 Self-trackers log chosen parameters – reporting on work, sports or sexual achievements, measuring and monitoring mood, food, health or finances - to help, develop or complete a life project. Each tracker works out his own method and his proper goal, be they scientists (Bo Adler from Fujitsu Laboratories of America), artists (Nicholas Feltron) or just practicants.

The trend is growing daily: community sizes vary from hundreds (Me-trics) to thousands (YFD, Daytum) to billions (Runkeeper) of members depending on the parameters they focus on and the tools they use to monitor them. Smartphones are at the core of self-tracking. Trackers upload and share their data anytime and anywhere using specialized social platforms.

Being the experiment and the experimenter of their own laboratory their life is, using Gary Wolf words, a « data-driven » every-day exploration. Extracting meaning out of data, sharing and confronting results, a self-trackers' first will is self-knowledge. They also aspire to a better understanding of mankind (collaborative medical projects...).

Self-tracking tackles the notion of humanity and society in the digital age. It offers new insights on technological applications and reassesses fundamental topics like language, communication, privacy and property.

Based on numbers, self-tracking is seen as an alternative - and a better - way than psychoanalysis to reach the self. Trackers mistrust words which they find too limited: they can lead to misunderstandings or lies and avoid communication with others who don't use them - other humans, animals or plants.

As an extreme examples of data presence in peoples’ lives, self-tracking brings the question of data place and part: who can have access to personal data, why and what for? It also brings light on a social paradigm shift (suggested by Hal Niedzvieck): the progressive abandonment of the concept of privacy in favor of self-attention.