Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Code and Economics


"Joy To Ode" by Dominik Podsiadly

The latest in an ongoing series of themed collections of creative projects assembled by Prosthetic Knowledge. This edition takes a look at creative projects and cultural implications that emerge from the meeting of computing culture and economics.

It's interesting that the etymology of the word "economics" goes back to the Greek oikonomikos, meaning "practiced in the management of a household or family," "frugal" or "thrifty," especially considering the term's modern-day association with big capitalism. On a small or large scale, economics has always been concerned with the distribution of wealth and the management of resources, and its principles can therefore be applied in a range of other fields. For example: In the mid-70's, the subject entered into dialogue with the biology (such as Gary Becker's paper "Altruism, Egoism and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology" and "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint" by Jack Hirshleifer), where resources such as fitness, energy, disease, or environment were studied in an economic framework.


Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: The Year of the Oculus Rift


The latest in an ongoing series of themed collections of creative projects assembled by Prosthetic Knowledge. This edition brings together projects that make use of the Oculus Rift, a device that has reignited interest in virtual reality and provided creative inspiration for hackers and artists alike.

 Kim Laughton, Timefly.

Every year, there is usually at least one piece of technology that stands out, that captures the attention of engineers and creatives, that inspires new ideas and makes new experiences possible. At various times in the past, you could have said this in relation to (for example) the Kinect, Arduino, 3D printing, the Processing programming language, or projection mapping software. This year, one piece of tech stood out, one which reinvigorated an idea from the 1980s and 1990s, making it exciting and within the reach of anyone with a computer or console: the Oculus Rift.

Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Computational Photography


The latest in an ongoing series of themed collections of creative projects assembled by Prosthetic Knowledge. This edition brings together works dealing with computational photography, featuring new technologies which may alter the experience, relationship, and even definition of "the image."
 
The digital eye is an ubiquitous feature of current portable technology—webcams, DSLRs, mobile phones, tablets, even MP3 players. The Black Mirror-like ability to capture a moment and share it on social networks has shifted image recording from the creation of discrete analog mementos to an ongoing process of self-identification.

There are, however, new possibilities opening up around the next generation of mediated experiences. Of course, the artistic possibilities are tremendous, but the implications are far greater for many fields which may be struggling with their digital upkeep. From advertising to fashion, art to pornography, the photograph will not be "flat" anymore. The image can be seen from any angle, from the swipe of a touchscreen or drag from a mouse, or explored step-by-step with a headset and motion detector. "Photoshopping" will be 3D. It is not only industry-class endeavours that will change, as depth-sensing is now smaller and portable, and could give the (word-of-the-year contender) selfie an added dimension. Will the Facebooks or Flickrs support this new format? Or will another contender arise to facilitate a new process of creative self-identification?


Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Net Artist Music Videos


The latest in an ongoing series of themed collections of creative projects assembled by Prosthetic Knowledge. This edition brings together music videos by artists for whom the internet is a primary medium.

Rosa Menkman, ‪03: Karate aka ☵ ☲ // 010 101 // kǎn lí‬. GIF extract from music video for Little Scale. 

The terms "net art" and "music video" are, while useful, close to becoming retronyms. With electronic technology becoming more easily available and ubiquitous, we are in a time where "new media" is not necessarily "new". As McLuhan famously punned his own phrase, "The Medium Is The Massage:" "All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive...that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered." This applies to the internet, which is becoming more and more familiar and available, making the boundaries and definition of Net Art less and less clear. 

Music videos (or at least, how music is promoted and delivered) are also changing—we are seeing more and more examples which are not necessarily traditional viewing experiences. For example: Machine Stop by Duologue, which uses WebGL to display Kinect-gathered performances which the participant can edit; Skrillex Quest, an online interactive game; works by Aaron Koblin. Maybe the word "video" is returning to one of its possible etymological origins, in which it was linked to the word "idea," and away from its more familiar definition...

Despite these shifts, though, both are still enjoyable cultural forms with plenty of creative possibilities still to be explored. In this short playlist, I bring together several works by unique creatives most often associated with Net Art applying their talents to the music video. Enjoy.


Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: The Polygon Glitch


A collection of items from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr and around the web that involve constructive distortions and creative error in 3D computer graphics.


The glitch aesthetic is now mainstream, appearing in Wreck-It Ralph, Adventure TimeMan of Steel and even Skyfall, and when we see it we immediately recognize it. What constitutes a glitch can be contradictory—some can be genuine errors, others merely noise. What they all have in common is a broken appearance interrupting, for a moment, the seamless design of human media consumption, an embrace of encryption entropism.

The pop-cultural examples listed above mostly involve two-dimentional signal errors, but the polygon glitch, in contrast with these, is more sculptural. Polygons are used to model 3D graphical environments in real time (particularly for video games), resulting in a carefully constructed realism that often breaks down momentarily, which means that polygon glitches are familiar to players and developers alike. Processing power and software availability has brought such glitches into further dimensions of visual complexity, with richer palettes and lighting. Tools that were originally designed for 3D construction and online game environments have now become interactive canvases for creative or accidental sculpture, a pseudo-Vorticism.
 
Below is a collection of examples which highlight this aesthetic.