James Bridle's Talk “Waving at the machines” at Web Directions South 2011

(0)

 James Bridle's  keynote from Web Directions South 2011 (Transcript.)  

Beginning with a picture of a cupcake stand that is pixelated rather than printed in gingham or something more obvious, Bridle considers the allure of 8-bit designs, "augmented reality made physical" like Dear Photograph, the architecture of data centers, biometrics, Street View as a historical record, and iPhone photography. Especially thoughtful near the end, considering ways we might coexist with bots in the digital realm. A thorough look at the contemporary "robot-readable" design aesthetic.

Previously: The New Aesthetic

 

LINK »


Yugodrom, a Tumblr collecting "graphic aesthetics from ex Yugoslavia"

(0)

Images come from Yugodrom, a Tumblr collecting "graphic aesthetics from ex Yugoslavia" (via Prosthetic Knowledge)

READ ON »


Talk to Her: A Conversation with Paola Antonelli

(1)


SMSlingshot, Christian Zöllner, Patrick Tobias Fischer, Thilo Hoffmann, and Sebastian Piatza of VR/Urban (2009) - Photo by VR/Urban

Talk to Me: Design and Communication between People and Objects is an ambitious exhibition at MoMA curated by Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, Paola Antonelli. Focused on new modes of communication and interactivity, the exhibition captures over 194 works from an international group of aritsts and designers. The space is divided into five themes and includes work ranging from Jason Rohrer's minimalist game Passage (2008) to Sputniko!'s role-reversing Menstruation Machine-Takashki's Take (2010). After touring Talk to Me on a rainy weekday with Paola, we met in her office to discuss the importance of collaboration, QR tags, and speculate about the future.


Jason Huff: You have curated numerous shows on the frontier of design and its intersection with technology among other fields. Design and the Elastic Mind, from 2008, stands out because of it’s timing within the latest rush of social technology and interaction that has arguably become the norm over the past few years. What makes Talk to Me distinct in this lineage of exhibitions?

Paola Antonelli: In Design and the Elastic Mind, the communication between people was just one of the facets as it was about design and science in general. Therefore, there was a really big presence of synthetic biology, for instance, or nanotechnology, nanophysics, robotics. There were a lot of different topics involved. Thinking back, pieces like Google Earth, Google Moon and Google Mars from Design and the Elastic Mind would have fit in [Talk to Me]. So could have the One Laptop per Child project.

But it really was about designers working with scientists and scientists working with designers. At that time, the conclusion was that designers and scientists worked very well together because they both had ambitions to occupy a different position in society and in culture. Designers want to be taken more seriously; they are tired of being considered “prettifiers” that go straight to the House and Home section of the New York Times, and scientists want to be considered less lofty, less abstract, disengaged, and disinterested in human beings....

 

READ ON »


Dan O'Hara on Skeuomorphs, JG Ballard, Transhumanism, and the "eradication of individual identity" Through Technology

(0)

A skeumorph is "a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original." Dan O'Hara, lecturer in English and American Literature at the University of Cologne, and editor of the forthcoming book Extreme Metaphors: Selected Interviews with J. G. Ballard, 1967–2008, (co-edited with Simon Sellars, London: Fourth Estate, 2012), studies skeumorphism. Transcript from a Knowledge Centre livechat conversation with Dr. O'Hara:

How does skeumorphism relate to the ideas of post- and trans-humanism? Do you think our bodies will once become skeumorphs?

Certainly Stelarc does! And Orlan, the French performance artist who has plastic surgery under local anaesthetic, suggests that we're already skeuomorphic.

Is the human appendix a skeuomorph?

Already so many parts of our bodies aren't biologically necessary. Yes. Though the appendix isn't ornamental... But hair, nails, pierced nipples, all get used to express a style. In the same way as, in evolution, we have exaption: the repurposing of an obsolete function.

Dan, would you mind telling us how your work with JG Ballard intersects with that of skeuomorphs?

Sure. I see Ballard as the key author, philosopher even, of the age of technology. He's always managed to live five minutes into everyone else's futures, and has focused on the way our natural world has increasingly become a technologized domain we don't fully understand. So skeuomorphs, as a kind of 'memory' capacity of artefacts, can show us the processes that guide the evolution of the forms of technology. And I feel that Ballard affirms the moral necessity of this kind of understanding.

Does that suggest to you that we are already skeuomorphs? All, mind and body?

No, we're not. There are many linguistic skeuomorphs: take for example on line 'newspapers'. Which is more ...

MORE »


Artists' eBooks Unbound: An Interview with James Bridle

(0)

James Bridle, a publisher based in London, is a member of a rising class of digital futurists that fuse multiple professional experiences—for him, a university degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence with an organic interest in literature—to form a dynamic public-facing practice. “Essentially, when any new technology comes along, I try to force literature into it in some way,” he wrote during our recent email exchange.

The Iraq War: A History of Wikipedia Changelogs (2010)

Bridle runs the conference gamut from book fairs and South by Southwest to the UNESCO World Forum on Cultural Industries in Lombardia, Italy, where he lectured just weeks ago. His presentations are documented on another website devoted to technology and so-called book futurism, http://booktwo.org/, where he posts a series of essays and updates on his myriad projects. The Frankfurt School is an obvious inspirational go-to, given the titles of his posts and projects: Walter Benjamin's Aura: Open Bookmarks and the form of the eBook (2010), The Author of Everything (2011), and Robot Flâneur (2011). Bridle’s better-known efforts include The Iraq War: A History of Wikipedia Changelogs (2010) a twelve-volume set that chronicles, in print, every change made to the Wikipedia article on the Iraq War; Bookkake (2008) is a digital and print-on-demand publishing system for erotic literature, while bkkeepr (2008) and Open Bookmarks (2010) help users track and share their reading experiences through Twitter and social bookmarking.

Artists' eBooks Screenshot

The Iraq War: A History of Wikipedia Changelogs segues elegantly from the digital to the object worlds; the books qualify the data, physically. I see a different, yet equally compelling set of relational possibilities in the project I chose to focus on for our interview—one that I now know Bridle considers a failure (his words; not mine!): Artists' eBooks is, as its title suggests, a digital imprint designed to provide an experimental publishing platform for writers and artists. In the conversation that follows, we discussed the shifting nature of the reading experience from print to screen, and its implications for the book-as-medium...

READ ON »


The New Aesthetic

(0)

The label reads: =if(Label=”“,”RMA”,”?”)

This is an Excel function. It also would work in Microsoft Access. The factory is using Excel or Access to store all the logos for the different jeans they make and then print them onto leather. This is what happens when there is a bug in their software. (broken counterfeit jeans on Flickr.)

Why do we enjoy 8-bit, glitch, and other technological imagery revealing the seams of its construction? "For a while now, I’ve been collecting images and things that seem to approach a new aesthetic of the future, which sounds more portentous than I mean. What I mean is that we’ve got frustrated with the NASA extropianism space-future, the failure of jetpacks, and we need to see the technologies we actually have with a new wonder." says James Bridle about his tumblr, The New Aesthetic. "It’s an aesthetic born of the grain of seeing/computation... the viewpoint of that other next nature, the robot-readable world," comments Matt Jones at BERG.

READ ON »


Storytelling: An Interview With Nicholas Felton

(0)


Nicholas Felton spends much of his time thinking about data, charts and our daily routines. He is the author of several Personal Annual Reports that collate countless measurements into a rich assortment of graphs and maps reflecting the year’s activities. He is the co-founder of Daytum.com, a site for counting and communicating daily data, and a member of the product design team at Facebook. His work has been profiled in publications including the Wall Street Journal, Wired and Creative Review.

READ ON »


Untitled (Standards) (2009) - Michael Guidetti

(0)

Watercolor on canvas with animated digital projection; Approx 3 hour loop [VIDEO]

LINK »


Grafikdemo (2004) - Niklas Roy

(0)


Grafikdemo is a physical wireframe model of a teapot inside a Commodore CBM cabinet. The model can be rotated by pushing keys on the keyboard. Sophisticated lighting of the model makes it hard for the viewer to distinguish whether he sees a real digital model or a fake computer screen. Grafikdemo explores the transition between reality and representation in a playful way.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

LINK »


How Large is an Atom of Music? A Tour through Today’s Spectral Music and Software at UCSD

(3)

Well, the short answer is .093 seconds. That’s about the shortest amount of time mathematicians need to generate a full analysis of a sound’s component frequencies.

On an even smaller scale, computers typically store sound information in 44100 samples per second. This makes up the typical waveform view of sound that most are accustomed to seeing. However, each sample only gives information about amplitude (or volume), which is a pale portrait of sound. Sound in the physical world is essentially an unfolding of waves over time. Therefore, when translating from physical to digital, frequency information over time is essential to give a meaningful atomic definition of any sound.

A waveform view plots time vs. amplitude. A spectrogram plots frequency vs. time with color representing amplitude

Armed with the calculus technique of the Fast Fourier transform, mathematicians typically take the amplitude values from a mere .093 seconds of sound and draw a complete audio portrait. This portrait consists of the volumes of each component frequency that makes up a complex sound.

Thus, the Fourier transform is the key tool for spectralists, a loosely related group of composers and scientists whose goal is to analyze and resynthesize sound using sound’s most basic digital elements. Spectralists literally rip apart sound into its tiniest grains and develop diverse strategies to reconfigure those microsounds into a new sound barely resembling its original form. Between the two poles of granular analysis and synthesis, musicians have only begun to chart a new world of expression.

READ ON »