Since 2002
Works in Auckland New Zealand

Luke Duncalfe graduated from the Intermedia Department of Time-Based Arts at Elam in 2002. He works between the mediums of the Internet and video, and is the net.art curator for Window (www.window.auckland.ac.nz). He has contributed to art events in Auckland and shown work in the ICECA New Media Festivals in Chiang Mai and Bangkok, Rencontres Internationales in Paris and Berlin, and Prix Ars Electronica in Linz. He is a part-time tutor at Auckland University of Technology for Visual Arts and a developer, programming in PHP and Ruby. His website is www.pipedreams.net.nz.
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Re: new name for Net Art News?

It would be good if it were renamed using a similar approach to however the name 'Rhizome' was decided on, a name that describes the structures and functions of what is being named instead of labelling them.

The way some of these suggestions are going, Rhizome would have been named 'Media Art Website'. Although the scope of Net Art News is now large, it shouldn't have to tame itself. I think after all, we're artists, and we should be able to handle a name that's a bit unobvious.


Marisa Olson wrote:

> Dear readers,
> I'm writing to solicit your advice. We would like to change the name
> of Net Art News and I'd like your input on a new name.
> As Lauren mentioned in a recent note to you, Rhizome is currently
> redesigning our site. This is an exciting moment in which we are
> thinking about all the recent developments in our field and how
> Rhizome can reflect, support, and foster them.
> On the editorial side, my goal with Net Art News has been to broaden
> our scope and reach, getting more international in our coverage and
> also covering not only internet art but also software art,
> performance, sound art, data visualization, technology-enabled social
> sculpture, locative media, video, and the myriad other branches of new
> media practice.
> While we are by no means giving up on net art, the title Net Art News
> no longer reflects the breadth of the publication. The first and
> simplest title that comes to mind is 'Media Art News,' but of course
> this is potentially dry. I'm also not necessarily looking to split
> hairs over the phrases 'media art' and 'new media art.' The title
> needs to be rather short, self-descriptive, and hopefully also
> inviting.
> What are your suggestions? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
> If you'd like to refamiliarize yourself with Net Art News, you can
> look up previous pieces, by month, here:
> http://rhizome.org/netartnews/index.php
> With thanks,
> Marisa
> + + +
> Marisa Olson
> Editor & Curator at Large
> Rhizome.org


Processing Vision / Toby Collett

Thu Nov 17, 2005 00:00 - Sat Nov 19, 2005

"Processing Vision" / Toby Collett
OnLine & OnSite: Pioneer robot, video projections and web-based Flash stream

17 Nov - 10 Dec
Window OnSite
Foyer of the General Library Building
University of Auckland
Flash stream on Window website

With an eye for spatiality, a pioneer robot with sonar mounts from the Auckland Robot Group is presented by Toby Collett, a PhD Engineering student at the University of Auckland. The robot is the product of the Group's research into robotic vision and navigation, and for the duration of the exhibition has been set the task of roaming around inside Window OnSite generating visual data that is presented on the front of the Window structure via three projections. Glazing has been applied to the glass front of Window OnSite to partially obscure our view of the robot and prioritise the images it is creating, so as to play on a gulf between its means of processing vision and ours. In addition, Window's two spaces have been networked together with data being relayed to the Window website, where a feed of the robot's spatial awareness of its physical environment is mapped within segments of Window's website.

Essay "Processing the Robot" / by Luke Duncalfe:

Like the depressed Marvin from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to Tony Oursler's screaming avatars, we recognise more of ourselves in the disorders of behaviour than in any representation of personality functioning as personality ought to. The pioneer robot by Toby Collett and the Robot Group is prone to error and lapses of judgment, and its perception is liable to exaggerate its position. Often the robot believes it has passed through a wall as its systems of response misfire. If this robot were a human it would be prone to hyperbole and fantasy.

I describe the robots that seem to understand this idea of errors and lapses of judgment as aiding the replication of personality as hailing from the paranoid android school of behavioural computing; they replicate personality through the embracing of the nativity of their bugs, memory leaks, and the poorly structured systems of their own code. They deny themselves the perfection that their Turing-completeness holds to promise.

We have a history of creating avatars of ourselves through our contemporary technology, though this is perhaps the first time that in seeing ourselves reflected within error prone technology we are identifying ourselves as being less than perfect. Once the operational mechanics of our hearts and circulatory systems were conceptualised through the mechanical workings of hydraulic clocks--you know, they both tick and all so it's perfect--as one example1. And likewise, the BBC tends these days to see ourselves as possessing neurological circuitry akin to networked computing, with neurons being the equivalent of servers; the synapses a kind of Internet. The paranoid android then rests alongside a long history of our borrowing from mechanised automata in order to discover selfhood, of a degree of self-understanding that it seems can only be realised through looking to our artifacts, like an artist who makes sense of their identity through self portrait.

Collett's robot crawls, surveys, guesses and responds as if possessing some low-level intelligence, its dimensions make it the size of a child's toy and we tend to view it as such. Its achievements seem endearing, and its quirks make it all the more so. It feels deflationary to realise that for all its displays of spatial recognition, decision-making, of being a day-dreaming wanderer, it is numeric encoding that comprises its “understanding”. Its task is mechanically analogous to, say, the banality of word processing as far as a machine that has been set a computational assignment is concerned. For example, one-tenth of a second of spatial and motional awareness is logged thus:

#Position2D (4:0)
#xpos ypos theta speed sidespeed turn stall
2.698 4.153 4.67748 0.469 0 0.14 0

The spatial dimensions of the Window gallery are to the robot mere packets of data to be processed; awareness to the robot is homogenous binary whether it be colour, space, proximity, or the data structures of its own historical “memory”. This is what Manovich refers to when he describes there being two discrete layers to human-computer interaction that effectively exist in ultimate separation from the other.2 If we allow ourselves to rationalise the mimicry of a behavioural machine as the achievements of a machine solely within its own numerical representation of physical dimensions then a degree of alienation occurs between a robot and oneself; what seemed culturally affirmative becomes only affirmative of the cultural-mechanical divide in the cognitive reality of the two.

Yet this exhibition has been named Processing Vision. A merely metaphorical use of the word vision it seems at first given that vision to a computer-driven robot is meaningless beyond providing it with feedback to be harvested into binary, until one notes that the resultant vision provided by the projections in Window OnSite and the paths mapped on the pages of Window OnLine are not visions of sight but are in fact visions of data. They are pie graphs, lines of sonar range, x and y pathways of relayed spatial coordinates of Collett's robot in the gallery, which provide insight into the processing means of the machine at the centre of the spew of information.

In these visions the processing is made transparent: We can see this isn't an avatar with human-equivalent faculties of sight but it is instead being presented as a reaper of visual and spatial measurement from its trips around Window OnSite from which it can respond. As curator, Stephen Cleland has cast the robot as a topographical image-maker of the gallery. Through reading this proxy of space on screen we experience the data relationships of the gallery similar to how the robot does through its instrumentation, a kind of augmented spatial reality like the sight of the terminator robot of 1984 where graphical measurements and internal processing flashed up like tool tips.

It could be suggested that this arrangement forms a bridge between Manovich's division by which we can relate to the vision of the robot through a data image devoid of a computationally-false version of spatiality. Due to glazing being applied to the window structure to obscure our view into the site, one understands the movements of the robot through its own computational understanding of its encounter with its environment. The priorities of Collett's robot are based on measurement and so one interprets the projected and streamed corollaries of space on what approximates the robot's own terms. Window's two exhibition spaces, OnSite and OnLine, become screens to the robot's thinking and interfaces from which to peer into the mechanics of robotic vision; the data sources and data outposts of a paranoid android.

Written for Window, November 2005

1. Aram Vartanian, Man-Machine from the Greeks to the Computer, http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/DHI/dhi.cgi?id=dv3-17
2. Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media, p. 46


Re: Re: huh?

Stranger still is that this is the second time they've made him man of the year. Even stranger still, perhaps, is that their criteria for choosing is someone who's affected global events noticeably for good or for bad, and in 2001 they passed up Osama bin Laden, arguably the most suited to the (dis)honour, and picked instead, George Bush, who in 2001 did very little in comparison.

marc garrett wrote:

> Shouldn't that be murderer of the year?
> marc
> Pall Thayer wrote:
> > Time magazine names George W. Bush man of the year.
> >


Window OnLine: Somnambulist / Dale Sattler

Window OnLine: http://www.window.auckland.ac.nz/
Somnambulist / Dale Sattler

Somnambulist is a shockwave and quicktime, for web moderated version of an installation which explored and recorded a Situationist inspired Derive through a local city (recorded as time stamped architectural drawings, short abbreviated notes and sounds) and as a computer hosted application generated 'drift' through error filled media files. Each file, and associated sound represent a 'quarter' of the city, a psychogeographical zone, through which both the user and application traverse through.

Interactivity is restricted to 'pause, or go'. As is with a physical Derive, the drifters motion and direction are dictated by the pyschic pressures of their surrounds. As a user of Somnambulist, you are presented with a choice, which you must decide upon based on the visual and aural activity emanating from the computer. You can either stay in the 'quarter' you are currently located in, or respond and move into a new quarter.

These choices operate at the both the level of the user and at the level of the machine, which has been coded to sample random selections of the screen and respond to the rgb levels it finds there. This data, coupled with sampled audio data and feedback from the human user suggests a similar 'pause or go' choice to the application. The two choices operate in tandem, with the application deciding to move based on how it 'feels' about the visuals and audio it is outputting and the user making similar decisions based on what the application is generating.

Situationist urban theory sort to 're engineer' the impact of city architecture by subverting its use. By drifting, in response to architectural pressures, a person En Derive dislocates themselves from the overarching capitalist use paradigm of contemporary urban architecture. In effect, they drift as 'error'. Through its utilisation of quicktime files manipulated to contain a rendering error Somnambulist is able to dynamically create visual effects outside of the intended engineering of the quicktime media architecture. In effect traversing through the projects files, in error. This approach is also extended into the audio files, which were recorded on substandard equipment to introduce random pops and static in an effort to capture some of the sonic dynamics of a city scape.

Window OnLine: http://www.window.auckland.ac.nz/


Invisible Cities: Alex Monteith

Retrieving pages of images from the AltaVista search engine, Invisible Cities by Alex Monteith sets in movement an infinite zootrope of places, people and random information sourced from the distant cityscapes of the Internet.

Scripted by Sean Kerr, the work reveals images based on 2,000 nouns from Italo Calvino's influential novel of the same name. In Calvino's Invisible Cities the qualities of fictional cityscapes are relayed back home, search engine-like, to the awaiting emperor Khan. In Monteith's work, the landscapes of cities are replaced by the landscapes of information media: the shape the book would have taken if the emperor had been more techno-savvy.

The work is a conceptual play between the retrieval of images, both textual and graphic, and of language (AltaVista means "a view from above"). It is every bit as sharp and quirky as is the novel script it uses as its source; a response to the text and to the invisible architecture of the Internet in equal measure.

At Window: http://www.window.auckland.ac.nz/