There are three aspects to the Wabbitware software project: the software itself, a website for distribution and collation of versions and most importantly the contributors.
EXECUTE / MODIFY / PRECOMPILE / COMPILE - visualised here http://wabbitware.garethfoote.co.uk/images/wabbitprocess_nostrokes.svg
When the software executable (binary) is executed it will distribute a copy of the source code onto the host machine. You are then free to make any modifications to the source code. After this the original binary can be used to pre-compile those modifications ensuring that they are carried forward to the next generation of Wabbitware. The final stage is to compile the software, creating the next instantiation/generation/version of Wabbitware.
The process is then looped ad infinitum. The software is therefore never complete or whole but always in process.
The website whilst acting as a code repository for the first version of the code also aggregates any newly submitted versions of Wabbitware. There are instructions in the Versions section of the Wabbitware site (http:://wabbitware.garethfoote.co.uk), which state that once a new instance of software has been created there is an option to attach and email your binary to the email address: email@example.com. This collection process is a simplified concurrent version system which enables the rhizomatic growth of Wabbitware.
Although it may seem that, despite the forceful access to the software source code, there is a knowledge barrier for open contributions. In normal circumstances you do need to understand some of the grammar and syntax involved in programming to able to make functional code. However on the website there are step by step instructions for creating your own instance of Wabbitware. There is not however a guide on how to program software in general. For anyone who would like to contribute but doesn't have the programming experience you can simple add comments to the source code. A comment is a section of the source code which is ignored by the compiler in the process of making software. They are there to enable programmers to write notes to themselves and to other programmers who they may be collaborating with.
In many cases these are purely functional:
/* count the occurances of each $keyword (supplied with categories) in the given $cmt */
/* assuming you're in /usr/src/linux/ (and linux .c and .h are present) */
in other cases create a collaborative narrative or psychological snapshot of a programmers state of mind:
/* It looks like I can't do a simple tweak with this structure because the IRIX
* version is just *too* stupid. Ok, here's a new version of it..
/* This is fucking braindead. There is NO WAY of doing this without
the CONFIG_SYSCTL unless you don't want to detect errors.
Grrr... --RR */
As you can see form these examples - which are all taken from the Linux kernel - a comment is started with a /* and closed with a */. Feel free to use this practice in Wabbitware.
One affordance of the Wabbitware project is that it has NO functional goals and NO beta release schedules. This is mainly due to its principle characteristic of being permanently incomplete or in a state of flux. The definition of the software does not end at its code, it continues into the social dynamics that are made up by the collaborative practice. The project is about the process as much as the code itself so any contributions are welcome and they do not need to be grand or well thought out.
//a favourite piece of code
//a malicious piece of code - see http://runme.org/project/+forkbomb/ - (Feel free to right code that will break the software)
//pointless code - see http://runme.org/project/+highestnumber/
If you don't have a preferred piece of code then comments are just as welcome. You could add:
//prose, poetry, song lyrics, a quote, an insult, a link, a statement, a political message, a joke, etc, etc,etc
This is part of the We are All Transistors Graduate Exposition.
The Graduate Showcase for the MA Interactive Media: Critical Theory and Practice course at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Closing Party Thursday 15 July 6-9pm
Tue 13 July 3-8 pm
Wed 14 July 3-8 pm
Thu 15 July 12-9 pm
We are all transistors. We amplify. We resist. We always operate in a space, whether social, political or Hertzian. We navigate through these spaces, sometimes crashing into oblivion. We are switches that direct the current.
Through our ability to switch, we exercise our power to create turbulence in media systems. We collect and emit signals, messages and relays, make noise. We feel this matters because we live in a control society.
We are materialists. We are things that make possible the objects used everyday, such as electronic computers, radios and mobile phones. Stockhausen who famously coined the phrase ‘we are all transistors’ limited ‘all’ to human beings. We want to include the machines we interact with. We number in billions.
Our work intersects with various disciplines, from design to anthropology and from geography to science. We wish to bring such varied disciplines together by focusing on process.
For this exposition, we attempt to turn traditional research methodologies on their head. We investigate diverse areas like poetics of computing, event narratives in the real and virtual city, teleutopias, bodies in motion, enabling displaced groups with mobile technology, visuospatial impairments, cultural confusions and crashing bogus colleges into Goldsmiths.
And since we are all transistors, we contest the two terms, interactive and media by placing our energy, our potential, to the task.
Six Sided Strange is a net-artwork series built from unsolvable Rubik’s cubes and hidden narratives, from pixilated game character collages to abstract streams of color and lines. The cube is central to how we organize and understand. It is a puzzle of unsolvable junctures, a humanistic shape created to order and organize. Six Sided Strange disrupts the cube, wandering inside/around the recombinatory playground of Rubik’s 56 squares, exploring how images and designs relate to narrative. These are interactive/dynamic sculptures, brief storylands, and all manner of wonderments. There is nothing to win, but then again there never was.
This recent commission from Turbulence is a series of interactive/dynamic sculptures each taking the form of animate and unsolvable ‘Rubikesque Creatures’. This work follows the messy, lively and content heavy aesthetic that permeates some of Jason’s previous work. It also uses an interface, the rubik’s cube, that implies an (albeit challenging) end goal to the experience however thanks to the animate and nongeometric nature of the each cube face the puzzle is unsolvable. A futility that has also been explored in Jason’s previous game-based work.
Most of Jason’s work has been programmed in ActionScript to run on Adobe’s Flash platform. The Flash platform has recently been taking a fairly significant battering by open web advocates (as well as Steve Jobs whose interest are clearly different and predominately vested). Although there is rationed argument for open standards in web technologies there is also a chapter in the evolution of the Internet that Flash is a significant part of.
GIFMARKET.net is a recent project from Kim Asendorf and Ole Fach. They have created an instant digital art market for selling unique digital files in the form of the increasingly art-friendly format of animated GIFs.
The GIF Market anticipates and encourages the acceptance of digital artworks as a collector’s item. Digital files, particularly those that began life on the Internet, naturally lend themselves to being copied, remixed and shared and therefore do not naturally align with a traditional artwork; the value of which is determined by exclusive ownership and scarcity. Rhizome have previously sold GIFs at a New York art market and validated the exchange by delivering the file in a more tangible format (USB drive) but more importantly by also taking the file offline to guarantee exclusivity. It seems an odd choice to make an artwork in a medium that lends itself to ease of transmission (and also owes it’s own popularity to this affordance) and to then take it out of circulation once sold. Tom Moody had an exchange with the artist regarding the rationale for ‘taking it offline‘ that is worth reading. The artists states that as part of her practice she is continually adding and removing work from her website.
In contrast to Rhizomes approach the GIF market is both a platform for sale and ongoing exhibition of work. They validate the exchange by providing a receipt of payment and also putting the owners name with hyperlink against the particular piece. Since the GIF is hosted there and online I can use standard Internet protocols to display it here and not hide it away from the world: (Below is my own – #247)
Each work in the GIF market has a mathematically determined form both from the perspective of its creation and display using code/software (as all computer generated files are) and the determination of value through its relative uniqueness within the market (explained below). I also assume that each GIF was generated using an algorithmic process, opposed to being drawn frame by frame using a graphics editing program, although I cannot be certain about this without the artists input.
This alignment of medium, form and concept adds to the aesthetic of each piece and the market as a whole. On top of all of this my GIF has already tripled in value, which can’t be bad. =]
Artist explanation of the series and calculated cost:
The project contains a series of 1024 animated GIFs, each named by a #number. The GIFs show a black line which marks the centre for the 1px large particles rotating around it. #1 is the most unique, it has only 1 pixel flying around, and therefore the most expensive. Down to the end there are so many particles that you can’t see the difference between #950 and #1000.
The price gets calculated by this formula:
PRICE = SALES / NUMBER * 16
The latest online exhibition at the Fach & Aschendorf Gallery is a collection of animated GIFs by Max Capacity. The show is called We’ll Be Right Back!. Each work is a snippet of The Itchy and Scratchy Show created using the unique graphical restrictions (or affordances) of a ZX Spectrum such as colour palette and resolution.
I have taken a still from one of the gifs to give a general idea of the results of Max’s techniques but since it is only a single segment of a motion graphic you must visit Fach & Asendorf to see the full show.
An interesting talk about how we allow the Internet to invade our sense of self. Some enlightening statements made here about the effects of persistent, ubiquitous engagement in social networks. Specifically the fact that your personal life becomes a consistent performance and it is during the time out of this limelight that we develop our own sense of self. Secondly Quinn points out that everyone who grows up in this environment becomes an expert in brand management of their own online identity and this is not a good social norm for our children to adhere to.
Kevin Slavin recently (May 2011) delivered an excellent talk on Augmented Reality at the Mobile Monday event in Amsterdam. It is a well constructed and timely critique of what is becoming a widely recognised practice under the guise of a sprawling and ambiguous term.
Any critique of AR will most likely start with the semantics of the phrase I have just used, “creating [augmented] reality”, which from the outset is more grandiose than the practice is revealing itself to be.
Kevin’s critique challenges the predisposition of AR to ‘render reality in front of us’ and suggests, as with the uncanny valley hypothesis in the field of Robotics, that perceived reality is diminished by attempted mimesis. And an attempted mimesis is all that the common approaches in AR extend to. Also that the privileging of vision (occularcentricism), exemplified by conventional practices in AR to offer a translucent layer of ‘enhancements’ or infographics, seeks to change what we already see opposed to how we perceive it.
Kevin proposes a challenge to AR designers to enable the expression and sensation of the world in different ways, which can but does not necessarily have to involve anything you look at or through.
From a developer’s perspective the technical knowledge barrier for creating AR is significantly lower thanks to frameworks created for this purpose. The proliferation of standardised tools appears to have standardised what is expected from these experiences and led to masking of what an augmented reality has the potential to offer.
A new online exhibition space was launched yesterday by architect and artist Ole Fach and the media artist Kim Asendorf. The gallery space will be used for major online exhibitions for net.art and media art.
For the launch they are exhibiting an extremely talented contemporary net artist, Andrey Yazev who has been written about here before. Andrey is also responsible for designing the gallery site and its unconventional navigation.
The other current exhibitor is a Emilio Gomariz who is exploring the glitch aesthetic with some vibrant videos and images. The video manipulation of a Dragon Ball animation is particularly stunning.
Judging by both these talented artists I’m looking forward to future exhibitions at http://fa-g.org. From their press release:
Online exhibitions will become an important part of the art scene in the next years, and for the Fach & Asendorf Gallery it will be the basement and future of their action.
The main focus is on screen or display related art, but you could also see fresh documentations about installations, paintings, performance or sculptures.
But that is just the beginning, they are going to organize in house exhibitions in other galleries, museums and art spaces around the world. And, in (at) the end, they will become a real life gallery.
The Internet, it is everywhere. It is here, it is there and it is where you actually are. It is so huge that nobody ever could print it. It is so deep that no one ever would dive to its end. There is peace and war in it, love and hate and all between. Once you have traveled trough it, you will never forget, and you will come back, asap, lol.
The Internet is a digital reflection of our real life world, but with much more freedom, with the option to be who ever you want, and this is really important, with an off-switch. It is a massive playground, a television with infinite channels and the greatest exhibition space.
In short, we love it.
And we, the Fach & Asendorf Gallery claims to be an important and interesting part of it.
One of the projects that was on show at this years Transmediale was www.lovely-faces.com, an internet dating site populated with personal data and photographs scrapped without consent from Facebook profiles that do not employ stringent privacy settings.
This project is an intentionally antagonistic intrusion into the online existence of some 250,000 arbitrary Facebook users and will inevitably incite abhorrence from some of those users and Facebook lawyers who are affected. lovely-faces.com is another reminder of peoples’ inability to recognise the consequences (on their own privacy) of seemingly innocuous actions such as posting, liking, tagging and sharing on social networking platforms.
Not only this the makers of www.lovely-faces.com are also commenting on the intimate involvement and consistent questioning of our online identity within the ‘social network game’. This perpetual voyeurism is not primarily motivated by a desire to create better social relationships but by the need for consistent gratification within this collective self-positioning.
After some inevitable global press about www.lovely-faces.com Facebook’s lawyers have presented the 2 artists responsible for this project a cease and desist order, which has resulted in www.lovely-faces.com being taken offline for the moment. Furthermore they have also requested that the site documenting the project (www.face-to-facebook.net) be removed because it infringes on the Facebook trademark (on a side note here is a long list of Facebook’s trademarks).
The use of the trademark legislation to make artists remove the documentation of an art project is ridiculous. The trademark laws that guarantee a unique sign or indicator for purposes of a commercial endeavour should not be harnessed to restrict the proliferation of artistic practice and cultural commentary. Perhaps one of the motivations lies in the fact that the artists used facial recognition algorithms to group people based around their expressions on the dating site. Facebook are currently rolling out a new feature that uses facial recognition algorithms to make suggestions about who the people in your photos might be based around your existing photos and tags. Automating the process of tagging any of the 100 million photos uploaded daily would inevitably result in an escalation of Facebook’s user data portfolio and therefore any critical activity surrounding the technologies involved could potentially be met with hostility from the Facebook camp.
Below is a recent (April 7th 2011) press release from the 2 artists, Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico:
After sending us a “cease and desist letter” (which led to making the website Lovely-Faces.com unavailable), asking us to give them back the 1M publicly available data and terminating our Facebook personal accounts, Facebook lawyers are continuing to follow up with us. First they are insisting on asking us to remove all the content from the Face-to-Facebook.net domain, which is the website documenting the project. This request sounds quite surreal for us: this website merely contains a collection of texts, materials and links related to Face-to-Facebook project. Even more, we have received a threat from Facebook legal department about the claim that the face-to-facebook.net domain name is violating Facebook trademark. So, why should such a big online corporation push a couple of artists to remove the documentation of their project? Our lawyers are investigating the legal basis of their request.
Global Mass Media Hack Performance:
Meanwhile, the news went through to more than 1000 media reports, reaching a wide audience spread all over the globe. Very different stages were involved like: tv, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, portals and plenty of personal blogs, not counting the thousands of tweets. The pattern of propagation would need time to be properly analyzed, but it definitively is “viral”, especially in some countries like Brazil, Pakistan, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine.
There are plenty of captivating scenes in this mass media performance, like for example the one where 93 per cent of the 7538 participants to the online poll opened by the Australian newspaper The Age answered “Yes” to the question “Should Lovely-faces.com require consent to use your photo?” Maybe that influenced also the blog “Ethics Alarms” to declare Lovely-Faces.com as “Unethical Website of the Month.” And the controversial aspect of the project has been clearly picked up even by some popular U.S. TV news (see links below) sometimes resulting as quite bizarre.
Some selected TV News videos:
MyFox LA, Los Angeles Fox News Tv http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJYRM9VAtsE
WSBTV, Atlanta WSB-TV channel 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye3Qyz-ojvI
Newsy, Online video news analysis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlDs3PdGKSA
Apple daily HK, Taiwan, China, Hong-Kong-based newspaper http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STSNZqoqk24
Tagesschau, German public TV ARD channel 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzCh1XPWlMY
Some selected online Interviews:
CNN, US – Art ‘hacktivists’ take on Facebook: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/02/11/artists.facebook.project
2010LAB (Video), Germany – Facebook and Transmediale – your face is
Artinfo.com, US – The Artist Who’s Out to Liberate Facebook: http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/36912/the-artist-whos-out-to-liberate-facebook-a-qa-with-profile-thief-paolo-cirio
Artline, Switzerland – Sculptors of data - Die Daten-Bildhauer http://www.artline.org/?p=detail&id=10736&back=home&L=0
Jetzt, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany – Feldzug gegen Facebook: http://jetzt.sueddeutsche.de/texte/anzeigen/519492/Feldzug-gegen-Facebook
Politika, Serbia, newspaper http://www.politika.rs/rubrike/spektar/zivot-i-stil/Uzeli-smo-desetine-hiljada-profila-iz-Srbije.sr.html
Ha’aretz, Israel, newspaper http://www.haaretz.co.il/captain/spages/1217717.html
Exhibitions and presentations of Face to Facebook during April:
Share Conferences, presentation , Belgrade – Serbia
ENTER Festival, exhibition & presentation, Prague – Czech Republic
Chilling Effects, exhibition & presentation at TETEM, Enschede – The
REALITYFLOWHACKED, exhibition, Paolo Cirio’s solo show at Aksioma |
Project Space, Ljubljana – Slovenja
* EMAF 2011, presentation, Osnabrück – Germany
Natural Fuse is a ‘micro-scale carbon dioxide protection framework’ created by Usman Haque. The project is an experiment in participatory networks, which attempts to address the reasons why people seem to have difficulty in making coherent and progressive decisions when it comes to global issues such as climate change.
Each Natural Fuse unit consists of a houseplant and a power socket. The power socket can then be used to power any of your thirsty household applicances. That is, it will provide power within the plant’s capacity to offset the carbon footprint of the appliance.
Clearly the carbon-sinking threshold of one plant is not enough for the majority of standard household appliances therefore each unit is connected to a single network through which fuses that are not in use can share there capacity for carbon offsetting.
The conscience testing social dynamic within this network is engineered within the fuses ability to exist in one of two ‘on states’. Whilst operating the fuse can be manually changed between selfless and selfish states, either affecting a (selfish) drain on the whole community resources or a (selfless) state of community wide equilibrium. The consequences of selfish action are that the community can end up with a negative carbon footprint, which results in one plant/fuse being given a (lethal) vinegar injection.
This is a very direct and affective method of fostering individual accountability for globalised problem such as climate change. The availability of more options than just on or off when it comes to dealing with resource consumption seems more likely to move people toward communally beneficial decisions than if they are being admonished by authority figures with scary statistics.
Matthew Fuller’s interview with Usman also explores some interesting ideas in the project such as the apparent ‘design to fail’ approach employed in Natural Fuses and how foreign this is to most computer-based, networked systems where failure/crashes/error are seen as abhorrent.
Above is the finished, edited demonstration video produced for the Funware exhibition in MU Eindhoven. Due to the fact that this was a screen recording and I did not adjust my resolution whilst recording it I ended up having to use some funny codecs which exported at 1280×800 and at decent quality. Rendering took approximately 30 hours for a less than 30 minute video. With hindsight it seems foresight is everything.
And finally here is an interview with Olga about the curation of the show.
Auto-illustrator is a fully functioning vector graphics application that on the surface (GUI) appears to be no different from the proprietary or FLOSS alternatives such as Illustrator or Inkscape (respectively). However the difference appears when the software, during use, transfers a great deal of control and creative decision making from the user to the software algorithms. The software is partially generative and overtly semi-autonomous.
It questions the control that we have when working with these types of proprietary ‘creative suites’, in which we have no access to study or modify the algorithms which define the ‘paint brush’ or the ‘pen’ tool. When we draw with these tools we are working within the parameters defined by the authors of the algorithms and also within the lineage of an inadequate canvas and paintbrush metaphor. Auto-illustrator both brings these facts to the surface and offers and alternative to software as a tool but instead as a collaborative creative experience that involves both the user and software with agency.
At the Transmediale.01 festival for art and digital culture, Auto-illustrator was given what is considered to be the first award soley dedicated to software art. The artwork is currently being revived at an exhibition, curated by Olga Goriunova (the curator of the software art repository RunMe.org), called Fun with Software which is currently at the Arnolfi gallery in Bristol and will continue to MU in Eindhoven.
Fun with Software looks at the history of software, and its relation to humour and fun.
Making and using software can be experimental, humorous, and eventful. Alongside today’s rather dull use of forms, databases, schedules and processors, an element of fun has informed and guided the development of software from its beginnings. A good example of this is Love Letter Generator, conceived in the 1950s by one of the first programmers, Christopher Strachey, working with Alan Turing at Manchester University on one of the first computers, and reconstructed in this exhibition by David Link. This exhibition follows the development of software over the last fifty years through playful experimentation and art. – Statement from Arnolfi
Olga has kindly asked me to make a recorded (screen captured) demonstration of Auto-illustrator in use that can be shown at the exhibition. I will attempt to create my own vectored artwork with my silent, code based partner but of what, I am not quite sure yet. Despite my own intent and direction there is no guarantee of the outcome. Any suggestions are welcome.