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?
Last week I spoke about research, craft and art being a trio of intersecting parameters in which we define our practises in media and technology. One could argue that, based off Terry Eagleton’s book Literary Theory: An Introduction, that theory is more than just a governing body to give reason behind things we do. Some interesting words came about when discussing a solid definition to “theory”:
- Discourse affecting Practise
- Contemplation and Speculation
- A morality behind a curiosity
So what makes theory vary from Research?
- Theory can spark a particular engagement element or a curiosity as mentioned, to perhaps gain an intention.
- I believe these two ideals DO compliment each other in terms of motivation and outlook. Research isn’t sparked on us without wondering the intentions of something.
I want to use my significance of last weeks post to dive deeper into this with my own experiences and try and grasp such a broad topic with the example I’ve had in practise. Suppose my passion for Drones sparked by a love of the skies. Or perhaps it was my interest to reinvent their storytelling narrative by turning them into an all in one robotic device that allows the operator to capture landscape, subjects and if so desired themselves with autonomy function. Actually, it was much more theoretical than that. It was a lecture room and a quadcopter was walked in sitting amongst other technologies that caught my attention and seeing it take off and land indoors with no real direction as to how it can be applied or what its purpose was. More that there’s a camera on the front, and it can fly, next move is yours. Already we have a research path, a craftsman path and a potential for an aesthetic (which was my initial response to how calm it hovered in the air seemingly by itself).
What transpired after getting involved with them, was the motivation and intention that I was going to build one for the intention of a purpose to extend the human potential that would ultimately create a safe environment for practitioners in engineering disciplines, as well as efficiently saving resources in time and money. This is how I intersected theory (my reason behind or rationale) and research (how do I access resources to get hands on in a technological inspired background). I believe that my research approach (whilst not industry professional stereotyped) was effective in that online tutorial and trial and error actually assisted my craft, which was, finding out everything I can about the hardware of robotics.
The Art side of my practise, which is, how was I going to satisfy my aesthetic motivation with these devices. In the years that I’d become interested in drones, so had every other media practitioner wanting to create visual experiences. This is why I get some people think the technology is fast becoming boring and repetitive (to a certain extent I agree, birds eye view of a landscape kinda has to resonate the video’s trajectory or its past its used by date) but I’ve created start to end projects using the lens of the robot in various forms of motion. Not always does the camera have to be hovering in the air to capture unique shots, this personal assistance allows people to Be Their Own Camera Crew.
The idea of futures, I believe relates to how theory can relate to a critical engagement or an inventive narrative that allows concepts to turn into projects through, again, research application. Perhaps we have an obligation, to continue all three aspects so that these technics live on and projected futures don’t become scarce.