So a development in idea process. Instead of a mannequin-like set up that is showcasing technology dying into itself, I’m focusing on a particular technology that is new, but will end up dead. 3D Printing.
Everyone says how this is the next big thing, but track record of emerging technology suggests otherwise. I want to showcase this physically. Take out the mannequin hand that is looking for the next technology to sabotage, and use my 3D printed prosthesis. Then with the kumi, project onto the hand the STL code from the file I got it with. Essentially, the 3D printed hand is a piece of code taken a physical form. This will act as a catalyst for the humanisation of a device.
The dead technology will still sit behind it, however the idea is that the 3D printing phenomena is the “killer” in the momentum of futures. The STL code will loop over a period of time to show all components that go into the piece. The question I want to address is how can we stop this trend? Is a trend of the new futures going to be how quickly we can move onto the next emerging technology?
Iteration and installation will happen next week, this week I just sat within the space and literally looked at the devices. Questioned the motifs behind what it really is I want to understand and was really effective. I want to mind map this all out and basically just throw it up. The aesthetic nature comes last now.
The direction for this installation has gotten me thinking about what it is I want to showcase in this work. Originally the idea I wanted to tangle with, was the notion that technology goes back and forth in iteration, in design, in trends and in functionality. I like the idea that the departure point for this last project was “futures”, and my immediate response was to showcase something that’s framed in the past. I think this is the basis of the work I want to display.
As non-human object, the technological devices we carry everyday constantly run at a pace determined by us. That, meaning they’re only function is determined by our use of them. Autonomy within them are seemingly not far away with the small increments being added to smartphones, however we can still choose most of their function. The thing that is seemingly out of our control though now is the way they’re manufactured to be replaced by the next evolution of the same thing. This leads most to expect another criticism of Apple, however I want to go perhaps a little more broad with examples like the Record – MixTape – CD – MP3 evolution. Or the Film – VHS – DVD – Streaming trajectory of technology that include perhaps require a whole new hardware component to access content. Without discouraging the thought of this, nowadays this seems to have come t a relatively smaller halt, but the upgrades coming WITHIN the device, as a software update.
Consumers now are faced with a device that is in perfectly fine working order, in that it turns on, runs and connects them to content at a leisure. However to gain more or perhaps the most recent available services, the individual must update the device. NOTE: I’m going to be using the smart phone/tablet for this example as it is the most relatable for me. Once the software is updated, the phone has basically been given a no returns sentence. The update is designed to target newer app downloads, but also “laggs” the phone, decreases its swift functionality and tells the story of the device ultimately needing an upgrade.
Something this week that I want to explore is perhaps the trail effect or reckless understanding we have of this. Using the devices from my past, as a reminder of how much this trend of keeping updated and connected, leads to a media archeology of functioning devices that are tossed aside. Perhaps we wish we could stick to the one mobile phone or the one DVD player, but industry doesn’t allow us to. There’s possibility for batteries in devices to last 3 weeks, however corporate bosses don’t allow this to happen. Is there humanity to these devices that ultimately leads to its era ending?
FEFO as it’s commonly known.
Simple fact. It didn’t work. It didn’t showcase what I needed it to. It didn’t convey a sense of nostalgia. It didn’t ask questions of why we are attached to technology. It simply just didn’t resonate with people and again gave off the impression of a workshop/hoarding set up that was filled with Xmas lights and cheaply assembled LED lights.
Thats okay. I’ve got a backup idea to try. Same direction of how we dispose of the technology quickly, this time instead of asking what it is that makes us attached to things, this time i’m asking the question is it the technology within thats making these devices disposable. Is it the embedded marketing within websites and product launches that actually makes us subconsciously upgrade and dispose. Is the idea of AI not a being that can think walk and talk, but switch and make us switch devices at will.
I want to tangle with the idea of automation. Not in that we switch something on and leave it to wander for itself, but within the idea of automatic response. Automatic trajectory of devices, that things are built to break quickly and we just abide this because these machines tell us to.
Stay tuned. Broken tech still stays. LEDs go.
Director J.J. Abrams landed his perhaps most challenging and exciting role when given the opportunity to bring the Star Wars community together again with the newest revamping of the franchise, The Force Awakens, 2015, which is the seventh in the films saga. It also gives the blockbuster as a genre an opportunity at being more than just a estimation of money and American in motif. The film dubbed itself as the Star Wars installation that fans wanted and expected, after a series of seemingly pointless re-cuts of the originals, and popular but widely disliked prequels from George Lucas, director of the initial 6 films. It uses the strategy of J.J. Abrams widely admired filmmaking techniques, as well as leading itself to a pastiche of successful genre transformations.
Abrams established his career as a director by revealing himself as a master remixer. The idea that he tends to copy, transform and combine the elements of existing stories, seen with some of his earlier works that are built on established templates. This is what drives and makes Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a successful and familiar project. We can take J.J’s previous works, “Taking Care of Business, 1990” about a rich man and a poor man swapping their identities, a story derived from Mark Twain and his story “Prince and the Pauper, 1881”. Or one of his biggest successes, “Lost, 2004-2010”, that incorporates the stranded on an island story from another popular TV show “Survivor: Borneo, 2000” and “Castaway, 2000” and combining it with a non-linear timeline made critically acclaimed by Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction, 1994”. He then showed us Hollywood’s greatest talent, transforming the old into the new, with “Star Trek, 2009″ moving him to the big screen and giving fans familiar material to successfully relaunch a franchise. Abrams took this creative incentive and applied it to the StarWars franchise, however, fans shouldn’t expect anything less from the series, considering the first six films prided itself on the transformation and collaboration of a number of genres and influences.
Star Wars is a film that lands itself in the ‘Blockbuster’ category but with many sub-genres such as fantasy, science fiction and even space opera ( a term usually associated with simplistic writing styles and melodrama set in space). But this genre blend only becomes more complex when looking closely at some of the influences that have given the film its status in box office royalty. The obvious is the idea of a technology driven world that engages in space fairing, allows science fiction critic, then the fantastical nature in the presence of the “Force” means StarWars lands a “Science Fantasy” genre, recognised by fans. By default, to be considered a ‘Blockbuster’, you either had to make a lot of money as a film, or cost a LOT to produce. Sometimes there were the odd cases of doing both or the opposite together. Star Wars was this exception, in that it cost a modest $11million to make and ended up being the second highest grossing film gaining $194 Million in 1977 with A New Hope, directed by George Lucas. However, reason Star Wars gained blockbuster status is the way Lucas originally produces A New Hope, and now J.J. Abrams using this for The Force Awakens have told the story across conventions of genre and film technique.
Blockbusters have came from almost a decade of change to cinema, and A New Hope, the original Star Wars film that we can now see The Force Awakens draws inspiration from, is no different. It draws from the success of TV series’ popularity when the audience prefered the luxury of their own home, in particular “Flash Gordon, 1930s” using soft wipe transitions and more iconically, the opening credits.
Flash Gordon (1936) VS. Star Wars IV (1977)
Lucas also played on the massive success Asian countries were showcasing to western cinema, in response to content bans across borders. Star Wars then made reference to Japanese director and creative Akira Kurosawa’s works, in particular The Hidden Fortress (1958). Spiritual Martial arts of Japanese samurai were the foundations for the Jedi Knights as well as a low ranking duo as main characters, seen in the two droids of A New Hope. Lucas and Star Wars were able to transform potentials and great ideas across genre. Kurosawa used film techniques from American Westerns and detective stories to his own films about the samurai, Lucas liked this idea aswell, and borrowed scenes from Westerns, for example when Luke discovers his family have been murdered resembles the same scene from “The Searchers, 1956” .
A New Hope 1977
The Searchers, 1956
Now what J.J Abrams has brought us with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is a similar but not the same version of the 1977 film. He’s taken the storyline and familiar plot of the original and hugely successful and adapted it for his own. The Force Awakens, needs to be recognised alongside A New Hope(1977), if you’re to see the conventions being readapted by Abrams for this blockbuster. We have a side by side comparison of some of the major storytelling ideas Abrams has treated fans to in his new adaptation.
The Force Awakens (2015) on the left and A New Hope (1977) on the right
An old force wielder is found and showcased as a mentor
Vital information abut enemy secrets is tucked away inside a small companion droid and sent away as a diversion.
The droid is then found by an orphan on a forgotten planet and showcased to this message. Later the message creates a mission to which they discover themselves as a major part in the galaxies future.
The Villains own a destructive planet-planet like weapon thats capable of destroying other planets. Note: This is also J.J. Abrams style from pervious space movies as seen in Star Trek (2009)
The leader of the villains murders an elder figure, in which the orphan views and screams “NO!”
The heroes of the movie then infiltrate the planet-like weapon to disable defence systems…
Using the information stolen and retrieved from the loveable droid at the start…
To fly down in the trenches and destroy the weapon by hitting a particular spot on a seemingly impenetrable fortress…For the third time in the franchise…
Amongst these similarities, it’s worth pointing out that he has transformed as much as he has used from previous films. Such as a female lead character in Rey, and black actor John Boyega, who was a former storm trooper as the second lead. His villain too, is showcased throughout the film to have huge insecurities and weaknesses, a failed admirer of former villains and removes his mask that makes him threatening.
J.J Abrams took what many believe to be the biggest film franchise of the modern era and revamp it into not only a continuum, but a A list blockbuster that has expanded throughout TV shows (such as The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels), Books (The Last of the Jedi), Video Games (Knights of the Old Republic, The Force Unleashed) with his film The Force Awakens. The film allows the success of the story from a low budget tale, to convey conventions of a blockbuster that are far more sophisticated with a knowledge of its influences. We love the familiar, and The Force Awakens, dawns the new era of popular franchises and old stories in Hollywood becoming box office smashes.
A, Ferrari 2015, J.J. Abrams: His Secret on Directing and Visual Storytelling, Indie Film Hustle, viewed 24th September 2017, <https://indiefilmhustle.com/jj-abrams/>
D, Charpentier 2010, West by East By West: The Influence of Kurosawa on the West and Vice Versa, PopMatters, viewed 24th September, <http://www.popmatters.com/feature/131926-west-by-east-by-west/>
D, Bronzite (year unknown), The Hero’s Journey – Mythic Structure of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth, Movie OutLine, viewed 25th September 2017, <http://www.movieoutline.com/articles/the-hero-journey-mythic-structure-of-joseph-campbell-monomyth.html>
K, Brennan 2006, Kurosawa Films, Star Wars Origins, viewed 25th September 2017, <http://www.moongadget.com/origins/kurosawa.html>
Wookiepedia 2017, Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, Fandom, viewed 25th September 2017, <http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Star_Wars:_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens>
ONE side: dead tech, accumulation of broken things rewired with neon glow
OTHER side: working, automated technology that is upgraded all the time
- think apple ads – one computer or screen playing AD on a loop
Perhaps something feedback suggested this week was that it was very hoarder like. The idea that everything was in a space that resembled a desk or office work space of someone frantically trying to build the next big invention. With this in mind, some of my tutors suggested messing it up, however when blocking more intimately, I found myself “tidying up” the space again. Here’s where my thinking and blocking has led me to…
- Trying to compete
- empathetic towards upgrading so fast
I’m going to try to encapsulate this for my next showcase using the building blocks i’ve already created.
Some questions for discussion and indeed reflection:
How does it make you feel? How do you feel about particular aspects of the work? What do you like/dislike? It makes me feel like I want to keep a conversation about all the old technology I used to collect. Ask others to start talking and observe where the conversation leads. Not necessarily ask them to showcase it or give me the devices physically, but I want this work to spark a conversation by the audience either to myself or each other and start reminiscing about devices they used to have. How can I ignite that with a space in the gallery. My trial this week is going to be with LED and NEON lights inside dead technology.
What is working? I think I touched on this towards the end of getting everything out on the table. People started to wander off into their own stories about what some of the devices I had on show. Perhaps what was working was the idea that the location of the
What possible paths could it develop along? The path I want it to navigate is the focus on how much value we place on these devices, and how it varies from person to person. Perhaps looking at how quickly we are to dispose of things, and being able to look at other peoples collections brings back memories. I really want to capture the idea that something isn’t functional anymore but can create a sense of joy when seeing it in a “life-like” state. This is where the neon/LED lights will come in handy, although the things they’ll be wired into are completely dead, they create the illusion of being “alive” with vibrant colours.
The Swaying light above will serve as a constant reminder of the constant switching between new working devices and the trends that bring back old technology.
This is something I want to play with.
“FUTURES” – symbolic representation with a swaying light, bringing a physicality to technological resurgence. Then it fading away as quickly as it came. VICE-VERSA to new technology and how quickly it is replaced or upgraded. i.e. Apple iPhones.
Some of the best ways I’ve developed a really solid idea into practise is to actually keep telling new people my departure points of thinking and judge their reactions and feedback to better understand my own project.
When doing this, I’m also reminding myself and being able to talk about it more confidently which I’m sure only helps when finding that niche goal, furthermore to this, I don’t mind personally if this takes the longest.
SO what is it I want to achieve in a physical space. I want to explore, simply, what it is that makes old or broken devices from the past, so interesting, popular or valuable. Take for example the vinyl. Why is this technology that a few years ago wasn’t supported by any means of production for their players and had been superseded, however now is one of the most popular trends of the last two years. Record players, vinyls and even the aesthetic of the cardboard it comes packaged in is now all more expensive than CDs, tapes or even MP3 downloads online. Why?
My own passion for keeping every piece of technology I’ve owned** and when it finally stops working, keeping a log of the reason and the date. I don’t know what it is but it’s satisfying and allows me to make the decision on my next model. I think this works into my own personal device that gives me great joy and the emotion i’m trying to unlock in this project, is the camcorder.
I was researching the idea of “trends”, and the culture associated with it. No doubt manufactures and musicians have caught onto it and started marketing Vinyls as a consumer product, even now we see releasing brand new records in stores like JB HI FI, that claim to be technology giants in retail. I stumbled across the idea of “Trickle down Theory” … thus:
The oldest theory of distribution is the trickle-down theory described by Veblen in 1899. To function, this trickle-down movement depends upon a hierarchical society and a striving for upward mobility among the various social strata. In this model, a style is first offered and adopted by people at the top strata of society and gradually becomes accepted by those lower in the strata (Veblen; Simmel; Laver). This distribution model assumes a social hierarchy in which people seek to identify with the affluent and those at the top seek both distinction and, eventually, distance from those socially below them. Fashion is considered a vehicle of conspicuous consumption and upward mobility for those seeking to copy styles of dress. Once the fashion is adopted by those below, the affluent reject that look for another.
This is a term thrown around not only fashion, but also economics, in the way a model of product adoption in marketing that affects many consumer goods and services. It states that fashion flows vertically from the upper classes to the lower classes within society, each social class influenced by a higher social class.
SO can we apply this trickle down theory towards technology to actively predict future trends, appliances or services? I mean if we take my post last week and focus on the Everything’s a Remix section, we can almost guarantee the next wave of potential huge ideas, big inventions and popular device will be taken and built from something popularised and forgotten. In this line of argument, therefore, I’d say yes, we can apply the trickle down theory towards technology.
Of course trickle UP theory, that is the example that red lobster used to be served as a prison food and is now an expensive luxury. Interesting connections to these things
One friends account of something thats important to him, and my association on how it’s becoming a fad. They’re plenty of examples.
Another is the stack-hat
**excluding a house fire when I was about 10 years old that destroyed everything til that point.
Could a current technology showcase a dead technology? Can we give the illusion or magic feeling combined with a dead technology and lights that presents it as alive.
What is about the revisiting of old technologies? Is it that its:
- nostalgia ? Simple human reflection?
- Is it trends? Will the idea of grasping onto old materials come and go?
- Human development/ progression/dependance on devices
- Reverse magical? What is that feeling we have when we see something from our childhood in fully functioning condition. Is this the same feeling as when we see magic performed live? I want to investigate this feeling of connection and disbelief that something “works”.
- in order to think about the “future” and more specifically technological determinism, do we have to understand and credit the past ideologies of progression.
- We have to acknowledge human interaction and relationships with devices to create helpful trajectories in the future.
- How do I create a setting with dead technology?
Human – technological being – always been apart of evolution
These are some more points of return that look at the way we have used certain technologies or aesthetics once before and are revisiting them more and more. I think for the week returning to class, I’d love to gather all the devices currently in my possession and assemble them around a space. I’ve also got some of the neon wiring that i was to ultimately weave in and around the devices, so that they give the illusion that they’re full of life. Using perhaps a new technology in LED lights and wires, into the old technology giving them a resurgence.
- utopian – when we think back to that era, we had no worries/ no responsibility / fantasy
- synth music
A REMIXERS MANIFESTO: RIP
Some of these examples I want to reflect on within the technological sense of futures. It works nicely with this idea of a loop of attention to certain devices from the past influencing the work of the future. This foregrounds that some of the research we see in trying to create a brand new product or the next gadget or device to change our lives, really needs to take notes from the past, and the human relationship with the particular job its going to create, help or save.
This idea links very closely with some further readings i’ve looked in theoretically, but when comparing all things media, music, art, movies and of course technology.