data

Hyperpresent Avatars

 

This paper will discuss two student projects, which were developed during a hybrid course between art/design and computer sciences at Sabancı University; both of which involve the creation of two avatars whose visual attributes are determined by data feeds from ‘Real Life’ sources by following up from Biocca's concept of the Cyborg’s Dilemma, we will describe the creative and technological processes which went into the materialization of these two avatars.

Author(s)

Hyperpresence

If the body is the primary communication hardware, then what is its relationship to a medium which is made up of steel, plastic, and silicon given that instead of pulsing blood, pulses of electrons and light animate the computational hardware?

Marshall McLuhan long ago pointed out that communication interfaces attach themselves to the body. In the words of McLuhan, “Media are extensions of the senses,” in that the view of the world associated with print is being replaced by a world view associated with electronic media that stresses feelings and emotions. [1] This is a different vision than Licklider's [2] for whom “mancomputer symbiosis” is a subclass of “man-machine systems” in which the human brain is coupled to its machine counterpart. This coupling of one brain to another made sense in the early days of computing when the communication between human and machine was still one of conversation where instead of a mind communication through a body to another body, we have only two disembodied conversations, a sterile coupling of abstract symbol generators. At the close of 20th century however, the development of advanced computer interfaces is characterized by progressive embodiment. Progressive embodiment is the steadily advancing immersion and coupling of the body to an advanced communication interface.

Intelligence augmentation applies itself to the theory that communication technologies can be cognitive prostheses amplifying or assisting cognitive processes or by developing cognitive skills. This leads to the question, of what it means to be virtually embodied, particularly if this state also contributes to intelligence augmentation. In other words, what arc the psychological effects of goals of embodiment in virtual environments? What are the psychological effects of embodiment in virtual environments? Most commonly these are expressed as various forms of ‘presence,’ which is described as the perceptual sensation of being in a place other than where you physically are, or a sense of transportation to a ‘place’ created by media. [3] It is the illusion of ‘being there’ in a virtual space.

Compounding the dual concepts of (virtual) environment and (virtual) agent are Giuseppe Mantovani and Giuseppe Riva’s findings which point at the social nature of ‘presence,’ challenging the notion that experiencing a simulated environment is merely a matter of perceiving its objective features: Presence (real or simulated) means that individuals perceive themselves, objects, as well as others not only as situated in an external space but as immersed in a socio-cultural web connected through interactions between objects and people. [4]

This social aspect of ‘presence’ is further picked up by Frank Biocca, who seems to question the issue both from an externalized as well as an internalized viewpoint, bringing to the fore the notion of self-presence:

When the user’s body enters the virtual world and inhabits an avatar, a number of changes in self-presence are possible. Self-presence is defined as the effect of virtual environment on the perception of one’s body (i.e., body schema or body image), physiological states, emotional states, perceived traits, and identity. To use a phrase, self-presence refers the effect of the sensory environment on mental models of the self, especially when that model of the self is foregrounded or made salient. As with other forms of presence, designers share the assumption that increases in self-presence are correlated with higher levels of cognitive performance, and, possibly, emotional development. In the words of Socrates, the goal to ‘know thyself’ is a worthy journey. It may be the only journey.” [5]

And it is at this juncture that Biocca formulates a vision, a hypothesis, a wish:

“… it may be possible to develop a medium in which one feels greater “access to the intelligence, intentions, and sensory impressions of another” than is possible in the most intimate face-to-face communication. One aspect of what might be called hyperpresence” (Biocca, 1997) may be possible in the social presence domain as well. Of course, it is hard for us now to imagine a medium that can create greater intimacy than face-to-face communication. But this misses the point of social presence and the very artifice of the body itself. In face-to-face communication the body is used to communicate one’s sensory experiences, observation, and inner states to another. The body is the medium for this transfer. Communication codes such as spoken language and non-verbal codes such as facial expression, posture, touch, and motion are used. But, for example, inner states might be communicated more vividly through the use of sensors that can amplify subtle physiological or nonverbal cues. These can augment the intentional and unintentional cues used in interpersonal communication to assess the emotional states and intentions of others.” [5]

Data Avatars

While Biocca’s deliberations seem to focus on sensor based technologies, there may well be other means of conveying data, which is likely to bring about the communication of inner states, emotional responses and non-verbal clues, including an immediate manifestation of interests and inclinations.

Two avatars which may fulfill such demands, through non-sensor based technologies, were created by two separate groups of students, during different semesters, as course projects for a hybrid art/design and computation course entitled CS450, co-instructed between two artists and one computer scientists at Sabanci University. [6]

Both projects deliberately go against the grain of the prevalent mindsets of metaverse residents which, more often than not, involve a wish for concealment of real life attributes: A study conducted by Brosnan, [7] using 126 participants recruited from Second Life, shows that while the physical persona may be predictive to a certain extent in virtual embodiment, nonetheless in many cases significant differences between physical and virtual appearances and identities is to be expected.

This typical behaviorism is being challenged by bringing data from the physical realm into the metaverse: Rather than create avatars which are vessels of concealment, revelations regarding the physical state of the wearer are being sought. Thus, what is aimed for are wearable virtual technologies which allow their users to be represented in a manner in which both their real life and virtual life traits can be visualized simultaneously, by using data imported from the physical to the virtual realm.

The Miró Avatar

The project originates from the desire to integrate an emotional presence into the World Wide Web. In real life, emotions are not communicated consciously; hence the idea of using Electroencephalography (EEG) to collect a person’s emotions. However, since EEG data cannot have reliable or interpretable meaning concerning any emotional state, one may only speak of collecting the ‘idea’ of one’s emotions. EEG is used to accumulate an individual’s brain signals; signals that occur each moment, unconsciously, in response to the interaction with the immediate environment. Since it was seen to be desirable to interpret these signals as the idea of one’s emotional presence in virtual reality, the three dimensional metaverse of Second Life became a natural platform to apply such a metaphor of reality.

Figure 1: The Miro Avatar, Işıl Demir, Can Şen, Yiğit Yüksel, Second Life, 2008.

The collection of EEG data is done by an open source program, BrainBay, which outputs the biosignal as EDF files. These files are converted to ASCII text files with another open source program, Polyman. The content of these files are integers between -4000 and 4000. The ASCII files are uploaded to a website from which custom made scripts in Linden Scripting Language (LSL) read the files that contain the EEG data.

The avatar changes according to incoming brain wave. When the avatar is activated the script begins reading data from the server and a change in the shape of the avatar according to the incoming integer values is brought about. Thus the user's brain waves form a virtual manifestation that represents his/her virtual appearance which can also be considered as a metaphor for the representation of one's mind; since, figuratively, what is thus visualized are the person's ‘thoughts.’

As far as the creative process is concerned, the visualization of one’s emotional presence has been inspired by the idea of the four dimensional painting which Miró proposed in his later years. Thus, the avatar, composed of the various visual elements featured in Miró’s paintings, continuously changes its shape and is redrawn, transcending the two and three dimensionality of painting and sculpture. As expected, this representation stands in contradiction to the prevalent tendencies of metaverse and MMORPG players who, will either create accurate physical reflections of themselves by making an avatar corresponding to their actual appearance or conversely by giving the avatar physical traits to which they aspire to in real life, but which are entirely out of their reach in the physical realm.

As a general rule three dimensional virtual spaces tend to be simulations of real spaces and as such they can solely be interacted with and experienced through mental processes which are the visual, auditory, and cognitive stimulations in the brain. So, instead of creating an avatar based on actual physical traits, the output of the project offers to create an alternative visual entity, usable as an avatar, derived from the fact that users cannot have a real physical presence in virtual spaces and the fact that their mental input is the only factor that creates the illusion of presence in a virtual space. Other users can ‘see’ them, not because they are physically there; but because there is an avatar that is shaped via their thoughts and desires with which one may interact in a manner similar to face-on-face physical interaction. Thus it may be concluded that, in terms of representation, virtual appearance may well rely on the output of unconscious thoughts, which are what is also mirrored in the surrealist approach of Miró’s paintings.

The PersonaSkin Avatar

The second project involves an avatar who carries several body attachments which change color saturation values based upon a data feed which is generated from the arts and entertainment section of a facebook user’s profile. Although the project was initially intended for real life usage, inspired by an RFID based real life event which tied facebook data to physical bodies, launched in Israel in 2010. However, despite this physical precedent it was decided to first discover the possibilities of identity matching through accessories and outfits in a virtual world. Thus, a metaverse resident who also owns a facebook account can utilize these attachments to project his/her interests to the outside (virtual) world.

Figure 2: The Personaskin Avatar, Ayse Naz Pelen, Doğukan Malbora, Mustafa Cağrı Güven, Second Life, 2011.

According to Swann's self verification theory, during most social interactions there is a general desire for outside evaluations which verify self-views; in other words, a wish to get others to see us in the way in which we see ourselves. Given that Facebook users create their profiles themselves, very much along the lines in which they want to represent themselves, self verification theory has become an important part of this project. The aim is to achieve an understanding as to how persons may choose to introduce themselves in social networks, real and/or virtual, in order to attain states of self verification through identity matching: The avatar is expected to bring them to the notice of persons of similar facebook status, in terms of the frequency of interests presented in the arts and entertainments section thereof.

In terms of technology the data is being taken out of Facebook via php and a Facebook api. Subsequently the data is sent to a server and from there imported into Second Life, where LSL is being used to embed the data into the objects which represent the various categories either by heightened/lessened saturation values or alternatively through different levels of transparencies.

Questions such as age, sex and geographic location appear to become increasingly less relevant in a metaverse environment, where people seem to interact mainly through their ideologies and their creativity which are taken to be standalone attributes which exist independently of the ‘real life’ persona behind the keyboard. Under such circumstances an avatar of androgynous appearance, whose adornments are created out of his or her areas of interest seems to be particularly apt design strategy. Since some kind of legend is needed to decipher visualization of the incoming data the skin of the dramatic full avatar also serves as a legend. In cases where residents who wish to go for a more conservative appearance, a t-shirt and various colorized male and female skins are also included in the package.

Conclusion

In the brave new world of three dimensional, online virtual worlds yet another aspect of our grappling with embodiment is coming to the fore. This is in accord with the notion of cyborg as an interface which couples the physical body with technology [8], within which three dimensionally embodied avatars can also be characterized as a form of cyborg coupling. For Biocca this coupling underscores what he calls the cyborg’s dilemma, which for him is nothing less than a Faustian tradeoff: “Choose technological embodiment to amplify the body, but beware that your body schema and identity may adapt to this cyborg form.” [5]

Thus, a germane question would appear to be whether such attire would be powerful enough to provoke change and transformation not only on the virtual agent but extend its influence into the physical realm, bringing forth new modes of presence as well as self-presence not only in three dimensionally embodied online virtual worlds but also in the one which we inhabit with our flesh and blood selves.

Can avatar attire which reveals, rather than conceals a metaverse resident’s persona aid in the process of self-presence and (virtual) self verification? Can personal change be brought about through technologies which not only reveal our pixelated flesh, but also reveal the biological and cultural fields which we weave around us? Can social interactions be transformed and enhanced through virtual wearables which reveal our inner beings to those around us? Can novel states of creativity and play, of unique observations breeding new forms of authorship and understanding, come about through virtual candor?

While both avatars address these issues, when it comes to the Facebook avatar a further consideration is the integration of a heavily used ‘real life’ virtual social media platform (Facebook) into the metaverse as a socialization tool is a prolific area for further study.

This text has attempted to discuss some of the technological and artistic means through which such questions may be posited, through two projects employing such devices for the creation of two data driven avatar costumes.

Acknowledgments

We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to our students Işıl Demir, Can Şen, Yiğit Yüksel (Miro Avatar) and Ayse Naz Pelen, Doğukan Malbora, Mustafa Cağrı Güven (personaskin avatar) for the brilliant work which they accomplished and which provided the material for this text.

References and Notes: 
  1. Marshall Mcluhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Toronto: Signet Books, 1964).

  2. J. C. R. Licklider and Robert W. Taylor, "The Computer as a Communication Device," Science & Technology 76 vol. 2 (1968): 21 - 41.

  3. Jonathan Steuer, "Defining Virtual Reality: Dimensions determining Telepresence," in Communication in the Age of Virtual Reality, eds. F. Biocca and M. Levy (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1995), 33-56.

  4. Giuseppe Mantovani and Giuseppe Riva, “Real Presence: How Different Ontologies Generate Different Criteria for Presence, Telepresence, and Virtual Presence,” Presence: Teleoperators & Virtual Environments 8, no. 5 (1999): 540 - 555.

  5. Frank Biocca, “The Cyborg's Dilemma: Progressive Embodiment in Virtual Environments,” in Human Factors in Information Technology 13 (1999): 113-144.

  6. Elif Ayiter and Selim Balcisoy, “Transdisciplinary Avenues in Education,” Computing and Art, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3942 (2006): 80 – 89.

  7. G. J. Brosnan, M. Doodson and R. Joiner, R., “Using ‘Second Life’ to Support Experiential learning,” PLAT2010: Psychology Learning and Teaching Conference, Edinburgh, UK, Edinburgh Napier University, 2007.

  8. Chris Hables Gray, Heidi Figueroa-Sarriera, Steve Mentor, eds., The Cyborg Handbook (New York: Routledge, 1995).

  

Mass Body Index: Bio-OS, a Biological Operating System

Mass Body Index describes an ongoing project being developed by i-DAT called Bio-OS, a Biological Operating System. Bio-OS builds on the i-DAT’s ‘Operating Systems’ (www.op-sy.com) [1] to develop open tools for gathering data from environments (buildings and landscapes) and organisms (crowds and bodies) to dynamically manifest ‘data’ as experience in order to enhance perspectives on a complex world.

Author(s)

Isotonic Aids Recovery

In many ways, apart from the trauma of general bodily ownership or being owned by a body, ‘Bio-OS’ [2] was inspired by a longstanding collaboration with the Artist Donald Rodney. As much as it was a continuation of i-DAT’s Operating Systems mission, Bio-OS built on the production of collaborative projects such as ‘Visceral Canker,’ [3] ‘Psalms’ [4] and ‘Autoicon.’ [5] Donald’s death, in 1998, followed the a long slow degenerative disease of the Darwinian curse Sickle Cell Anaemia which caused his regular incarceration in hospitals and various medical technological apparatus. Donald’s work political work was entwined with the attributes of this genetic decease, providing a rich palette of medical paraphernalia that became incorporated into his work, blurring the edges between a personal, racial and political heritage. 

Visceral Canker’ (1990), now in the Tate collection, was a work that literally incorporated the artist’s bloodline. Like many of his works, Visceral Canker contained elements of his own body, such as skin and scars. ‘Psalms’ (1997), an autonomous wheelchair attempts to articulate the presence or lack of presence of the body. And ‘Donald Rodney Autoicon’ (2000), a collaborative project Rodney was working on at the time of his death. The intention was to integrate his ‘body’ of medical data with an 'expert system' synthesised from interviews, and a rule based montage machine that would allow Autoicon to carry on generating works of art.

From the remnants of Donald’s body, whether it was the politics of a bloodline, the space of an empty wheel chair that defined his absence or the attempt of Autoicon to continue the body of creative work, it was clear that the physical body is more than the material of flesh and blood. The body was defined by an absence, an event, a trace, a measurement and it was essentially perfomative and time based. It is this temporal fragmented entity that Bio-OS engages with. 

The Mass Body index attempts to define a collaborative body that is neither ill nor super fit, but an aggregation. Whilst Bio-OS positions itself within the field of information visualisation/literacy, the generation and collection of bodily information through the use of instruments overlaps coherently with the history and contemporary fascination of body hacking. However, a preoccupation here is often with the body as object for adornment rather than an engagement with bodily process. Where the body hack converges with the performative it is often in framed within the constraints of choreography. Bio-OS builds on a previous engagement with these frames and constraints. 

Previous collaborative projects attempted to capture the body in the form of a Corporeal Archive. The idea of the a corporeal archive emerged as a real time archival process that attempted to capture, articulate and disseminate 'unstable' 'difficult' or 'live' body-based media (particularly forms of dance, theatre, and performance art) through software and conceptual tools. The prototype ‘Liquid Reader’ (Liquid Reader™ v1.1) [6] explored the reciprocal relationship between 'live' performance and its dissemination through other media, how ephemeral, body-based practices can be captured, analysed, shared and communicated. Here the temporality of the body was the focus of attention. Its spatiality was of importance but its transitions as a flow through time, a trace to be captured and communicated, became the important ingredient in understanding the dynamics, mechanics and physics of the physical body.

A historic fascination with the body, its mutability and its relationship to technology runs deep through the modernist machine aesthetic. The trauma of triage in World War One left more than surgical scars on returning troops. Like perspective and social order the nature of the body had suffered a significant rupture. No longer was the marble edifice of David enough to satisfy, the white exterior had fragmented into a car crash of flesh and bone popped inside out by munitions. The contemporary body freely melts into the technology that surrounds it as distinctions between body and instrument dissolve. The symbiosis evident/required in the cyborg is one of meat and metal, a Léger painting manifest, not one of soul and intelligence or intuition and logic. 

As our instruments evolve from an isolated artefact, through physical and social networks into an all-pervading system or process, the nature of our relationship with them will inevitably change. There is now a sophisticated symbiosis between our instruments, and us, what happens to that relationship when the instruments we manufacture become ubiquitous and decentralised from hospitals and medical institutions. Imaging systems and digital instruments have revolutionised our relationship with the inside of our bodies creating a new pornography. This pornography is played out nightly on our TV screens, from House to CSI, or witnessed in the transformative marketing campaigns of soft drink manufactures. What reimagining of the body took place when a drink for sick old people became a drink for the super fit young people?

The Body - not, and, or, if…then, if and only if - ill/well

i-DAT is developing a range of technologies and software under its core program, ‘Operating Systems’ (op-sy.com). The current Operating Systems are: 

  • Arch-OS: [architectural operating system] An ‘Operating System’ for contemporary architecture (Arch-OS, ’software for buildings’).
  • S-OS: [social operating system] - The S-OS project strand provides an Operating System for social life.
  • Eco-OS: [ecological operating system] - Eco-OS collects data from an environment through a mesh network of environmental sensors called ecoids.
  • Dome-OS: Dome-OS is based around i-DAT’s immersive vision theatre (Full Dome). A transdisciplinary instrument for scientific and artistic production of immersive environments and the manifestation of material, immaterial and imaginary worlds.

The intention of Bio-OS is to make the data generated by human biology tangible and readily available to the public, artists, engineers and scientists. The Operating Systems project explores data as an abstract and invisible material that generates a dynamic mirror image of our biological, ecological and social activities. The Operating Systems project proposes a range of tools and initiatives that have the potential to enhance our ability to perceive and orchestrate this mirror world. 

Bio-OS builds on this open technical framework to offer the opportunity to collect and manifest biological data. Dynamic visual and sonic experiences derived from human movement are being tailored to enhance public understanding of the collective, mass biology. In this context Bio-OS and its distribution and engagement mechanisms provide an open tool for public engagement with a domain that is primarily owned by medical, scientific fields.

Bio-OS provides accessible tools (through ‘hacks’, wearable devices, phone Apps and domestic and public health technologies and social media tools) that are being deployed in daily life for monitoring health and activity. Data collected from these tools feed dynamic databases that facilitate a shared understanding of the mass body index through visualisations and sonifications – a data body culture of health. 

The Bio-OS project is supported by the Arts Council England and was delivered through a series of ‘Collaborative Data Lab’s,’ [7] in order to design and share ‘instruments’ or ‘provocative prototypes’ topically described as the ‘Internet of Things’, in this case the human body becomes a networked and shared ‘thing’. 

Bio-OS generates a rich mix of quantitative and qualitative data. Collectively these processes establish an open participatory ‘techno-ethnography’ - mechanisms for evaluating engagement and participation. It is the body as a temporal event and the trigger for a whole series of interactions that underpins Bio-OS as a platform. Here the body is seen within the context of numerous external frameworks and social cultural and economic systems. For instance, embracing the preoccupation of the Banking system where processes are based around key stages in the life of a body, birth, marriage, divorce and death (not necessarily in that order). Or the body on a more short-term basis, as the source of sewerage or food consumption around which provoke massive engineering, financial and ecological problems. As such, the body acts as an active node in a dynamic network, linking resources, technologies and social processes. 

Human Geography

As a Mass Body Index Bio-OS intends to pervade these human manufactured structures by being part of the material of our shared understanding of our bodies and the collective body. Bernard Stiegler articulates the emergence of this new embedded technological landscape as a “global mnemotechnical system.” [8] With such mnemotechnical system in place, information never leaves the world. It just keeps accumulating, simultaneously more explicit, more available, and more persistent than anything we have experienced. In this context Bio-OS strives to contribute to an emergent definition of interaction design strategies for spimes, sentient objects, blogjects or whatever they are going to be called. Bio-OS instruments become more then just biological probes, they emerge as cultural probes, permanently embedded in the body as part of the physical nature of the ‘thing’ and part of the physical digital ecosystem.

Figure 3. Human Geography, 2011, i-DAT, Atomic Force Microscopy Data in Blender Game Engine. CC BY-SA.

The body operates as conduits for exchange for ideas, knowledge and the passing of physical objects. The body is also a node on more problematic network, such as supply chains for food, traffic and amenities. Bio-OS explores the temporality of the body and the latency of the network of bodies and the impact on the environment. Bio-OS engages with the body and the ‘things’ that cluster around it through a process of participatory design of ‘provocative prototypes’ that will elicit real time data. 

As such it is easy to see how the body becomes institutionalised. How the needs of servicing the organism, feeding, relieving and fixing it become instrumentalised and systematised. A de-humanisation or a re-humanisation? The shift from the body as the focus to the institution that builds up around it is a process of bureaucratic aggregation. Measuring and instrumenting a single body is intimate, a whole hospital of bodies is institutional. Bio-OS is pragmatically engaging with the implantation of instruments into these institutions in order to recover the ‘lost’ or aggregated body. Most notably through the inclusion in the development team of the E-Health and Health Informatics research group and the deployment of Bio-OS prototypes within the National Health Service Derriford Hospital (Plymouth, UK). For instance, the application of sensors to beds not only provides location (the number of misplaced beds is quite shocking) but also context (urine and temperature sensors can inform on bodily activities and occupation – the number of misplaced patience is even more so). 

Without an appreciation of context, interpreting streams of bio signal data is fraught with difficulty. Consider for example attempting to interpret the pulse rate of an individual who is running to catch a bus, without knowledge of what they are doing or why. Human behaviours and external influences interfere with biological signals and can result in misleading data and lead to erroneous inferences. Instrumentation and recognition technologies are not yet sophisticated enough to allow us to accurately distinguishing between different contexts. In order to reliably interpret bio signal data, our focus must shift from considering absolute values to the analysis of relative and somehow correlated values.

Data Body

One such approach to relative values is the use of signal coherence. This concept is easily illustrated with the use of a simple example. During physical exertion, both heart rate (pulse) and breathing rate (respiration) increases. Conversely, during periods of rest both readings will fall. The rates will depend on numerous factors, some of which are accurately measurable, others somewhat less so. As such, these absolute bio signal values tell us little about the health, fitness and general well being of an individual. What is insightful however is the relationship, interdependence and importantly the divergence between these values. This ‘coherence’ provides a much more sophisticated mechanism for interpretation, inference and understanding. Differences in the rate of change (during both increasing and decreasing phases) provide us with an accurate and reliable appreciation of human physical condition. By considering these relative values we can cancel out and remove much of the noise and interference caused by factors such as external stimulus, exertion and conscious control.

Baselines are another value tool in the interpretation of bio data. We can compare an individual's bio signal patterns with a previously recorded baseline set in order to determine variation and deviation. Similarly, we can perform comparisons of collective community patterns with that of community baselines. By comparing like with like (i.e. a community with itself) we can gain insight into the impact of short-term events (e.g. illness, bereavement, or other major life events) as well as revealing longer-term trends (caused by aging, diet, environment, exercise regimes etc). More provocatively, we can compare individuals or communities with idealized baselines - allowing comparison and even competition between them and the most fit or healthiest individuals and communities. This provides us with a unique insight into previously unexplored aspects of group and community health.

Bio-OS will engage in the sharing of the Mass Body Index using a similar paradigm to the recent Open Data governmental initiatives (for example in London and Manchester). These attempts by local and regional government to make their activities, achievements and deficiencies open and transparent have had the effect of revealing (anonymised) data regarding the attributes and behaviours of individual citizens and communities. Bio-OS harnesses the technological infrastructure developed for use with Open Data (namely Resource Description Frameworks, Triple Stores, SPARQL etc) yet with a grass roots, "bottom up" and voluntary ethos. Individuals and communities self-exposing there own Bio signal data in this fashion would result in a culture not unlike that which Sousveillance has achieved within the realms of audio visual data - an evolution of body instrumentation and institutions that smother it, and a further exposure of our most intimate parts.

References and Notes: 

  1. Operating Systems' Web Site, http://www.op-sy.com/ (accessed June 6, 2012).
  2. Bio-OS' Web Site, http://www.bio-os.org/ (accessed June 6, 2012).
  3. Donald Rodney, Viscieral Canker, Tate's official Web Site, http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=98078 (accessed June 6, 2012).
  4. Donald Rodney, AUTOICON, Iniva's official Web Site, http://www.iniva.org/autoicon/ (accessed June 6, 2012).
  5. Guido Bugmnann, An Autonomous Wheelchair at an Art Gallery, Plymouth University's Web Site, http://www.tech.plym.ac.uk/soc/staff/guidbugm/wheelchair/wheelc.htm (accessed June 6, 2012).
  6. Liquid Reader v1.1, DVD Supplement is jointly developed by i-DAT/ Liquid Press, Performance Research e-Publications and DeMo. Liquid Reader v1.1 produced by the Liquid Press, an i-DAT (Institute of Digital Art & Technology) research project: On the Page, in Performance Research 9, no.2 (2004).
  7. The Bio-OS collaboration includes: Artshare - http://www.artshare.com.pt/ , Message – http://www.message-research.org/ , E-Health and Health Informatics, and School of Biomedical and Biological Sciences. i-DAT Artists commisions: Katy Connor, Simon Evans, Simon Johnson, Hannah Wood. Supported by Arts Council England.
  8. Adam Greenfield, Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing (Berkeley: New Riders Publishing, 2006), 128.

  

Data Trash

Data Trash traces the texture and tactility of HTML - looking critically at the evolution of the online interface and its appropriation back into object based artefact; clarifying the pivotal place of the network in our cultural realm.

Author(s)

Does HTML leave a trace of tactility and texture?

Net art first appeared in a geeky corner, a few degrees removed from existing curatorial and museum practices. When Marc Andresson’s Netscape Web Browser was introduced in 1994, it opened up new frontier of immersive, intimate public space unmediated by the art museum. On the net artists believed that they could work without context or censorship, retaining control of their content while constantly connected to a global community.  

The net seemed like an intimate affair - a rich tapestry of connections. There was an element of forging a new craft. Stella Brennan has captured needlepoint, created in cotton on canvas, [Figure1] the Apple Macintosh operating system at the turn of the twenty first century – a view we no longer see as the landscape has radically changed. The approximately one meter square Tuesday, 3 July 2001, 10:38am, simply depicts a screenshot of Brennan’s desktop, encapsulating an era. 

The best networked art often relied on non-standard software and hardware, on glitches and on happy accidents to function. It was built with dynamism, rather than preservation in mind. We’ve already lost many fleeting works from the early experimental days of Internet art through corruption and mutation. Net art archives usually retain a minority of works – ones  which are straightforward to conserve because of their common and stable formats, or their ability to be easily migrated. . With the certainty of either going out with a crash or slowly fading away, online art becomes data trash.

Ironically material culture responded to these issues with a mutant field of migratory practice with artists producing static artefacts from the ephemeral net.art works almost as soon as the works appeared!   The wonderfully whimsical Introduction to net.art (1994-1999) a manifesto formulated by Natalie Bookchin (USA) & Alexie Shulgin (USSR), carved on six marble tablets by Blank & Jeron (Germany). The representation is derived from the Blank & Jerons work Dump your Trash (1998), where a software agent recycles existing web pages into new pages. Pages filed at this site stay stored even after the original has been long lost or shut down. The texts carved in stone secure their presence in the physical world while simultaneously subverting the ephemeral - an ironic commentary on the way we deal with data in the information society.  

The memorial concept is taken further with Nick Crowe’sThe New Medium (1999) – fifteen glass panels hand-engraved with internet memorial pages that had been submitted to a web site called Virtual Heaven. First shown at the long defunct Lux Gallery, London in January 2000, The New Medium examined different forms of internet use including the iconography of personal homepages and the growing use of cyberspace as a spiritual medium. The fragile works glow faintly in the gallery full of sentiment and touching naïvety.

Investigating the point where the mind starts to confuse what is reality and what is illusion, Jan Robert Leegte focuses on the physical experience of the internet. His Scrollbars (2005) installation isolates elements of the Windows interface, which are projected onto various structures. As an artist he moved form being internet-based, to creating physical installations to develop a more meditative relationship between the audience and the work. Pixel depth is perhaps too superficial?

Carving in stone or painting on canvas secures a presence in the physical space of an object-driven art-market.  The Google browser is surely the most painted, sketched, photographed and built interface artefacts, with Japanese artist collective Exenemo’s 3.5x 2.5 m Google (2004) painting being one outstanding example. It is of course owned by the Google collection.

The Rhizome screenshot, drawn on paper with pencil and gouache (2000) by Russian Masha Moriskina, was as well, immediately bought by art portal Rhizome. Moriskina continued to create highly desirable web page renders – important g historical documents which reminding us of the long forgotten stories of Internet art victories such as that of the eToys/Etoy wars! [1] 

It was never an easy fit as existing art forms such as drawing, photography, poetry, video, animation and radio moved to the net, adopting the unique aesthetic of chunky pixelated low res images, low bit sound, and the now vaguely recalled rhythm of slowly downloaded net-art. Networked art challenged but never usurped the well-established commodity value of the discrete art object and the primacy of authorship.

In 2003 Thomson and Craighead created the dot-store - an e-shop environment which delivered a series of artworks  both on and offline. This included  a beautifully crafted set of four tea towels sporting a series of authentic search engine results returned to a user when the criteria, 'Please Help Me', 'Is Anybody there?', 'Please listen to me' and, 'Can you hear me?' were entered into the search field, while using Google in Netscape 4.7 on Mac OS 9.2 or Netscape 6 on Windows 98.” [2]

The printed textiles, embroidery, drawings, engraving, sculptures, paintings, machinima and etchings have a ready-made future while the ephemeral coded works they are derived from do not.   To break the glass, to trash the art, to rip the fabric is to scatter the bleached bones of HTML – the skeletal remains of the lively richness that once connected people across networks.

As we speed into that future, there is a certainty of corruption and mutation and decay.  Online work becomes disposable data trash, environmental and cultural wreckage, littering the web with dysfunctional and lost artworks. But remember today’s data trash will resurface, be revalued and recycled in a not too distant future.

References and Notes: 
  1. Jill Priluck, Etoy: 'This Means War,' Wired's official Web Site, December 21, 1999, http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/1999/12/33189 (accessed June 7, 2012).
  2. Thomson and Craighead, Google Tea Towels, UCL's official Web Site, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/slade/slide/docs/towels.html (accessed June 7, 2012).
  

Colour Data Processing

This paper discusses Colour Data Processing, a live-computing installation that explores contemporary relationships to data and colour representation through the analysis of the video signal of a customized colour rendition chart compared to its original referrant.

Author(s)

Colour Data Processing is a live-computing installation that explores contemporary relationships to data and colour representation through the analysis of the video signal of a customized colour rendition chart compared against the numerical values of each colour represented. The installation has three primary components: a 2m x 3m colour rendition chart, a webcam, and an exposed-circuit linux computer running a colour accuracy algorithm. The lynchpin of this project, both visually and conceptually is the colour rendition chart that situates Colour Data Processing within the realm of colour science and digital reproduction.

Our colour rendition chart is both an homage to, and a deviation from the form and intent of the original Gretag MacBeth ColorChecker1. The installation 2m x 3m colour rendition chart  incorporates the 24 colour set intended to function as a broad/universal basis of representation while adding 40 carefully selected colours representative of the predicted palette of the skin-tones and wardrobes of our attendees.

Our proof-of-concept installation uses a webcam, custom-built computer, and a projector as a capture-processing-output device to implement the exploration and exposing of the colour representation. Processing2 was used to create custom software that determines the accuracy of colour by comparing RGB data to a pre-determined palette using Cartesian distance in three dimensional space. Two different representations are simultaneously processed and displayed by the system. The first feed shows a live representation of the viewers with their colours shifted to a colour palette consisting of 64 different colours. The second video feed displays a black and white representation of the amount of shifting (or error) that occurred when the colours were converted.

Colour Data Processing questions the veracity of photographic and digital reproduction, but not with the intent of challenging the context or state of photography, but rather establishing photography as a flawed method of reproduction.

Our system recontextualizes the functionality of the Gretag MacBeth ColorChecker, addressing the instance of digital reproduction and valuing data over the accuracy of reproducing the physical referent. However, our referent is collected data from a sensor rather than the colour rendition chart, removing our process from traditional calibrations by a full reproductive generation. We embrace the same deviations and error commonly found in digital reproduction to critique and analyze our current methods of digital photographic reproductions throughout the chain of custody of the digital image.

For example: if we reproduce the colour represented by the RGB values R113 G236 B27, the representation of those colours would be perceptibly different regardless of the consistency of data. The malleability of our perception is where we choose to investigate the shift from scientifically represented data to perceived data through translations from digital devices.

Our interests in the reification of this discrepancy arises from the invisibility of these processes. In a sense, these differences are never examined, as multiple versions of the same original are rarely compared to one another. Therefore, each viewer has their own version of the original that is an exact binary reproduction of every other original in existence, but visually and contextually each original is inherently different and unique to each individual viewer.

When a work of art exists first on screen, rather than in print (when reproduction precedes production), there is a lack of a perceptual referrant, a scientific control, if you will. Each instantiation, while an exact data replica, is merely one state of an infinite number of variations of the “original”. Given that the technical reproduction of information is flawless, each presentation and viewing of the piece is still fundamentally unique, but not in a way that can be accounted for or controlled by the author of the image. Colour Data Processing examines this system through the perceptual replication of colour using a modified spectrophotographic method to calculate the numerical shift of perceptual color reproduction.

The first installation of our work was in October at TPTP Art Space in Paris, France. The space, approximately 6x6 meters, consisted of the four essential components: custom colour chart, webcam, custom computer, and projection. The space was designed so that viewers circulated directly in front of the large fields of colour while simultaneously confronting themselves in the two large digital reproductions on the opposing wall. The exposed-circuit computer and webcam (mounted to a tripod) were centrally positioned between the viewers and the projection and therefore was perceived as the nucleus of our work as well as seen an art object that encouraged introspection on the computer processes at work. The sole light source for the large colour target is the direct reflection from the projection of the new representations, providing an evenly lit space which allowed for consistent gathering of image data. Our installation is a closed loop reproductive system, where the viewers are cogs within the process itself.

The software evaluates every pixel in the image generated by comparing the pixel values for their proximity to the nearest colour in the pre-determined palette. The proximity is computed by calculating the Cartesian distance between the current pixel and every colour in the pre-determined palette. The colour in the palette with the smallest Cartesian distance from the current pixel is replaced in the modified image. Once this process is complete the colours in the modified image contain only colours in the pre-determined palette. Cartesian distance is computed as follows with r,g, and b corresponding to the red, green, and blue values of each pixel where each pixel is indicated by a subscript c indicating the current pixel and subscript p indicating the the pixel in the palette for comparison.

d[n]=(rc-rp[n])2+(gc-gp[n])2 + (bc-bp[n])2

A second image is generated by using the smallest Cartesian distance and then mapping that value to a black and white colour palette. The result is that a colour close to the palette will have a darker colour and a colour that is distant from the colour palette will be brighter. This allows the viewer to have a representation of the accuracy of the colour matching algorithm. The threshold for the representation of the error was set to produce the best visual results. It was found through exhibiting the work in Paris, that even if all lighting variables were controlled (Color temperature, light evenness, etc.) and the control colours were adjusted within the software to reflect the actual colours perceived by the camera within the space itself, our system still displays some amount of error. This underscores that variability and imperfection is inherent in any digital reproduction system.

Beyond the accuracy of reproduction, what are the implications of this phenomenon? Most importantly, when a work of art is first presented on the internet, every viewer has an equally authentic experience with the work. If, as Benjamin suggests, “The presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity” each viewer is experiencing a fundamentally different original while sharing in the collective experience of visualizing the exact same data. In this context, each experience is visually different in colour, quality, physical size, and context as well as the more subjective differences of perception.

We share an interest in questioning the representational nature of photography from technological, conceptual, and theoretical perspectives and what affect the instance of reproduction has on the perception of reality, or on the original. Colour Data Processing addresses the theoretical and practical implications of digital reproduction, colour sorting, and the function of algorithms (both practically and aesthetically) in image processing, reproduction, and manipulation.

References and Notes: 
  1. C. S. McCamy, H. Marcus, and J. G. Davidson, A Color Rendition Chart in Journal of Applied Photographic Engineering 2, no. 3 (1976): 95-99.
  2. Processing official Web Site, http://www.processing.org (accessed June 1, 2012).
  

ISEA 2011 Self-trackers: Why do they prefer the spreadsheet to the sofa?

With their smartphone, self-trackers log daily chosen parameters. Being the experiment and the experimenter of their own laboratory, they live a « data-driven » life. Based on numbers, self-tracking is seen as an alternative to psychoanalysis for reaching the self. Trackers mistrust words which they find too limited and prefer to rely on spreadsheet than to lay on sofa.

 

Author(s)

A world in Numbers
 
Personal Note. 11:15, restate my assumptions: 1. Mathematics is the language of nature. 2. Everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers. 3. If you graph these numbers, patterns emerge. Therefore: There are patterns everywhere in nature.” says Maximilan Cohen, number theorist and main character of π, a Darren Aronofsky’s movie released in 1998.
 
From Pythagoras to Descartes, from Kant to Poincaré, philosophy comes with the paradigm that our world is run by invisible numbers and mathematical equations. Nowadays this assumption is deeply established in the mainstream culture and embodied in scientific, business and even artistic projects. Artists choose data as raw material, traders use algorithms, some physicists visualize imperceptible particles while others—among them bestselling author, Brian Greene—seek after a unique and elegant equation to explain the entire universe.
 
Numbers and data streams are everywhere and can be easily collected, analyzed and visualized. Computational technologies we use everyday and everywhere from labs to personal desktops—even the smartphones in our pockets—were originally built to compute. Self-trackers are people who use those technologies to count and quantify themselves. They want to acquire a better understanding of themself through self-experimentation in an innovative way that decreases human sources of vagueness. Their common assumption is if nature can be understood in a mathematical way, why can’t human beings as well?
 
As a new practice at the crossroads of technology, digital humanities and art, self-tracking aims to better understand behaviors by finding hidden patterns in daily routine. Self-trackers believe in the truth of numbers more than in the power of storytelling. That is why they use self-tracking as a way to reach the self, an alternative method they consider even better than psychoanalysis. Moreover, some of them use self-tracking in a political gesture, wishing to empower with numbers.
 
This article aims to present this practice and to show how new contemporary behaviors, that bet on mathematical language and on digital equipments, redefine or redesign established concepts. Self-trackers can be seen as an extreme example of the presence of data in human life. The premises and methods of self-tracking challenge the notions on humanity and society as well as the ways to study humanity in the attention and information age.
 

The Geek Diary
 
Self-trackers are people who gather, analyze and share their own data. They log chosen parameters—reporting on work, sports or sexual achievements, measuring and monitoring mood, food, health or finances—to develop a personal project.
 
Each tracker works out his proper methods. Even if they know what they are seeking at the start of theirs adventures, they are generally surprised what they find. Some are artists, others scientists, but most of the time they are just curious.
 
Self-tracking is already a massive trend, 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 themselves. Tools and applications are fundamental; they allow personal logs and create the communities.
 
Self-tracking is conceived as a geek version of a diary where words are replaced by numbers and paper by digital spreadsheets. Self-tracking starts with a life-logging to begin gathering their data. Leading a kind of anthropological study of which they are the subject; they are looking for self-knowledge and personal insights through imponderability.
 
Used for the first time by Bronislaw Malinowski, imponderability is defined in his book Argonauts of the Western Pacific as "a series of phenomena of great importance which cannot possibly be recorded by questioning or computing documents, but have to be observed in their full actuality (…) such things as the routine of a man's working day, the details of his care of the body, of the manner of taking food and preparing it....” That imponderability are precisely what trackers are looking for and recording thanks to personal devices that did not exist yet in 1984.
 
Memory Tools
 
My Life bits, the Gordon Bell’s project can be seen as an extreme example of life-logging. It aspires to be an exhaustive recording of his life thanks to several devices that save everything about him. He wears a microphone that keeps all his conversations and a special camera that takes pictures each time there is a change of light in his environment. And all of his physical and digital activities are saved, as are his movements and his web navigations.
 
The logging process is fundamental for self-tracking; it is the first step to create the appropriate development of the procedure. Trackers note what could be seen as humdrum and insignificant moments, keeping them in external storages. Machines, in opposition to human beings, are not subject to memory distortion or oblivion.
 
Even if self-tracking is based on life-logging, the example of Gordon Bell gives rise to the differences between these two practices: self-trackers only track the parameters they have chosen, finding them relevant for their personal research. Life-logging and self-tracking diverge in their final goals: the first only cares about saving traces and the second wants to make sense of them. By both leaning and relying on technological devices, they give their equipment the status of memory tools.
 
If some cases of self-tracking has have been noticed before, the trivialization and ubiquity of technological devices makes the process now easier. Trackers still crave for more automation of the gathering process and crave for digital devices called sensors to elude the manual log. They would save and send the information directly to thz analysis softwares. They would seek to make the logging phase less time-consuming and to decrease the rate of human errors in the process.
 
Transforming daily routine into quantifiable facts the trackers paraphernalia is made of personal devices that are used as scientific instruments. Iphones and Androids, always in the pocket of a self-tracker, enable precision and repetition of experiments that suits this continuous and rigorous process. Smartphones are at the core of self-tracking. Thanks to them, trackers upload and share their data anytime, anywhere, using specialized social platforms. Those platforms such as YourFlowingData or Daytum generate the graphical representation of the collected data that lead to their analysis.
 
Daytum was created by the designer Nicholas Felton, also called Feltron, famous for its Annual Report. Edited each year, using various concepts, patterns and datasets, the Feltron’s Annual Report is a graphic and statistic review of the artist past twelve months.
 
He started to self-track to produce innovative designs using his own data as free and endless raw material. The young designer, Florent Guerlain, works in the same way making artwork out of his everyday food consumption. The project called Hyper, started 3 years ago, is still running today (Fig 1 and Fig 2).
 
The Life Lab
 
For both designers, self-knowledge through numbers was not the initial goal of their data practice. However they have come to learn funny things about themselves and would not stop collecting data. Data become a material for personal investigation, artistic creation and self-knowledge production.
 
Trackers tend to grasp their imponderability and to weight it, studying data streams they have composed. Translating their tastes and behaviors in lists of numbers, they develop a rational process to reach the hidden order that secretly drives their self.
 
“For many self-trackers, the goal is unknown. Although they may take up tracking with a specific question in mind, they continue because they believe their numbers hold secrets that they can’t afford to ignore, including answers to questions they have not yet thought to ask,” says Gary Wolf, editor of the magazine Wired and co-founder with Kevin Kelly of the website Quantified Self. Being the experiment and the experimenter of their own laboratory, self-trackers’ life is a daily “data-driven” exploration.
 
Extracting meaning out of data, sharing and confronting results, a self-trackers' first will is “self-knowledge through numbers,” which is also the motto of Quantified Self. They implement a scientific method to curiosity. Self-exploration intends to make sense out of daily routines and transforms non-factual things into meaningful insights. Self-trackers often confront several parameters—like their coffee consumption and their work productivity—to observe if parameters they feel correlate are truly linked. Often numbers disabuse their intuitions.
 
Spreadsheet versus sofa
 
Numbers versus intuitions, statistics versus memorabilia, spreadsheet versus sofa: self-tracking is all about that! Self-trackers consider that numbers fit better than words to access the personality core and to reveal patterns hidden between habits. That is why they prefer the spreadsheet to the sofa.

The mathematical language was once based on the verbal one. Then it became more and more complex and needed to develop its own and separate form. Its history is—to use critic Georges Steiner’s words— the history of a progressive untranslatability. Since the separation of verbal and numerical language, experience and reality perception have been separated in two aesthetic vision. In The retreat from the word Steiner explains that some phenomenons like time-space continuum or relativity theory have been conceptualized outside verbal language. Expressed through words they look like "animated fictions". Does the world can be better understood with numbers than with words ? Do they express and reveal the true nature of the universe as world never would? Trackers do not work with difficult equation to explain the world mysteries, they tend to understand their own complexity with simple numbers. They do not spend their life in a scientific laboratory, they are the laboratory. The trackers proclaim and mainstreamize the mathematical language triumph over the word one with their practice.
As they use machines to compensate for what human memory lacks, they too find in numbers the solution to words’ failures. Indeed, with self-tracking all spoken language is globally criticized as an obsolete and incompetent system for efficient self-investigation. As psychoanalysis is based on verb, memory and storytelling, we can understand the self-trackers reluctance to subscribe to it.

Trackers upbraid verbal language for several reasons: its linearity and length, its lack of objectivity and expressiveness, its propensity for misunderstanding, its possibility of lying and the impossibility to communicate to whom who do not know this particular code—like people who do not understand a particular language or even animals or plants that are not equipped with sensors.

Seen as biased and incomplete, verbal method is avoided during the gathering and analyzing process. Even if trackers agree that psychoanalysis might help to find troubles that influence mood, they believe that it does not offer solutions as data analysis can. Trackers want to be able to modify their comportments in order to experiment with it directly.

Moreover, they think that people can lie or feel uncomfortable lying on a sofa, talking to a psychoanalyst. Arguing that it is also possible to lie to a machine, trackers answer that there is no personal interest to do so. Machine’s main strength is they do not lie or please. Charts guarantee to obtain objective and trustful results.

In this system, the disappearance of human interactions during the process seems to grant a better knowledge of human behavior. But human interactions are not totally eclipsed. They come later when trackers present their methods and results to their community during meetings or let them accessible on social platforms.

Form Collective Intelligence to Collected Consciousness?

Even if the goal of self-tracking is not to figure out mankind in general, it is about finding personal comfort in everyday situations; trackers sometimes contribute to collective events, sharing their data and method to go further.

Sometimes they get along and collaborate on wider projects—most of them are dealing with medical care or emotions tracking—putting their results into a common conversation. On websites like curetogether.com, founded by Alexandra Carmichael, sick people can track their vital parameters and join together to study their illness. She gives an example of patients affected by amyotrophic lateralsclerosis (ALS) who decided to observe the effect of lithium on their health state. Even if the results were not conclusive, a study seldom involves so many patients for so little time and money.

If data can be used for good, we are yet to discover the potential of these personal datasets. This information can have different use once available on a network. It brings up questions: who has access to personal data, why and what for but also what is considered now as personal data? Indeed, the notion of personal data seems to overtake its juridical definition.

Personal data is not limited to that which allows the identification of human beings, but extends to things that contribute, once viewed together, to build or reveal identity. In this understanding, personal data is not only what people produce or interact with, but also what they decided to gather as an extension of their self. Personal data is then contextual, earning its status by the individual and through the voluntary process of saving. This is perhaps why a data set on coffee consumption or a list of books can reach the status of personal data.

No one likes to lose the content of their hard-drives containing music, pictures, and texts and such. In this way the Collectif 1.0.3 uses the content of personal hard drives to shape digital portraits and Michele Gauler keeps memories of dead people compiling their data in storages that are, at the same time, the material proof of their legacy and everlasting presence.

As we absorb external content to transform it into personal data, we also leave traces of our path everywhere we go in the digital world. Sometimes, like trackers, we digitalize them on purpose, and sometimes we even forget that we do so. In their bachelors thesis called ~IDENTITÄT – The »Gestalt« of digital identity, Jonas Loh & Steffen Fiedler have created sculptures that represent the digital identities of people based on their activities on cultural and communicational websites. Here is a relevant insight into 21st Century society: there are no longer innocent surfaces today.

Information can now be considered as a value and so is attention. In our digitalized society, time is precious and information is massively available and recordable. Our behavior seems to mimic managerial and scientific methods: find what is profitable and, thanks to software, extrude meaningful results out of it. The culturonomics, the study of culture through the amount of digitalized books, can be seen as an other example of this trend. Books are not read anymore, but the words they contain are transformed into data to shape a diagrammatic portrait of our culture. Perhaps the social paradigm shifts following this move. From words to numbers, from information to attention; people seem to progressively abandon privacy for self-attention, sofa for spreadsheet, imponderability and memorabilia for digitalized and quantified facts.

 

References and Notes: 

Bronislaw Malinowski, Argonauts of the western Pacific : an account of native enterprise and adventure in the archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea (Prospect Heights Ill.: Waveland Press, 1984).

 
George Steiner, Language and silence : essays on language, literature, and the inhuman, Yale University Press, 1998.
 
Jim Gemmell, Gordon Bell, and Roger Lueder, “MyLifeBits: a personal database for everything”, in Communications of the ACM (CACM), vol. 49, no. 1, (January 2006) pp. 88-95, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.
 
Roberts, S. Self-experimentation as a source of new ideas: Exemple about sleep, mood, health and weight. Behavioural and Brain Sciences, (2004) 27, pp. 227-262.
 
Gary Wolf, The Data-driven Life, The New York Times. Website Publication: Avril, 28 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/magazine/02self-measurement-t.html
Print Publication : May 2, 2010, page MM38, Sunday Magazine.
 
Alexandra Carmichael, Self-Tracking: The Quandtified Life is Worth Living, H+Magazine. Website publication: February 8, 2010.
http://hplusmagazine.com/2010/02/08/self-tracking-quantified-life-worth-living

Matthew Fuller’s official website, Freaks of numbers, March 2004. http://www.spc.org/fuller/texts/freaks-of-number

 

 

  

Cosmopolitics of Food Interactions: Design Fiction on Food Cults

We will build design prototypes and document design fiction related to future “diet-tribes” and “food-cults” that use emergent technologies for novel dining and social practices related to food.
Dates: 
Monday, 19 September, 2011 - 10:00 - 18:00
Secret Cooks Dinner Sous Vide Dinner in Singapore
Authors: 
Denisa Kera
Authors: 
Marc Tuters

Workshop Leader: Denisa Kera, denisa [at] nus.edu.sg
2nd Leader: Marc Tuters, mtuters [at] gmail.com

The Matter with Media

* What frameworks for conceptualizing “the digital” best emphasize its tangible appeal and consequence, as well as its ecological and systemic repercussions? * How do we best challenge the abstract rhetorics of cyber-theory and virtuality of later-day 20th-Century new media and interactive art discourse? * What is the material of “raw data,” and what are its canonical or iconic forms? ...
Dates: 
Saturday, 17 September, 2011 - 09:00 - 10:30
Chair Person: 
Jamie Allen
Chair Person: 
Tom Schofield
Presenters: 
Martijn Stevens
Presenters: 
Alejandro Schianchi
Presenters: 
Ceci Moss
Presenters: 
Shintaro Miyazaki
Presenters: 
Thomas Zummer

Panel Chair: Jamie Allen
2nd Chair: Tom Schofield

Along with invited panelists, the selected participants will be welcomed to discuss their ideas, artworks, media and other forms of practice-infused research in response to the following ideas:

The early human artists who tapped into this expressive reservoir for their cave paintings, body tattoos, and ritual ceremonies, far from introducing artistry into the world were simply adding one more voice to an ongoing material chorus.” – Manuel DeLanda

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