media arts

process & showcase MEDA302

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This new approach see’s the physicality of the effects of updates from internal software. I want to dive into the questions surrounding the capitalist mindset of some companies within technology and what this means for future ownership of devices. And then are these implications going to surround all new technologies.

For context, the idea that I’m very sentimental with my devices has got me thinking about what it is about certain elements of technology and devices that people look and empathise with me. This can be cameras, phones, audio equipment, basically anything that was later replaced by something more digital.  eg. Phones were replaced by touch screen phones, walkmans replaced by ipods, ipods inevitably replaced by phones, PCs replaced by laptops again replaced by phones. The hardware still operates okay, as we see with people returning to old hardware such as vinyl records to keep the nostalgia alive.

So is what’s killing technology and any future development the software element? To focus on one particular device, the iPhone. The software updates have become known to be used by the company so that eventually the phone will run slower and the apps will not work unless you do so, causing you in shorter and shorter amounts of time to purchase a new one and discard the original. This is something that I feel if some people didn’t HAVE to change, they wouldn’t. So I believe this works on a digital level. The digital software is perhaps what’s halting alot of technology. So I looked into a technology that uses an abundance of software to perform the newest forms of technology and I stumbled into 3D printing.

3D Printing utilises millions of lines of code that are then programmed into a piece of hardware that releases a physical form. So my question is, as a technology that uses so much software to operate, can it survive? or will it be the destruction of so many other things we’ve had to now rely on photos or memories to enjoy?

 

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POSTGRADUATE > Trickle Down Theory> No Classes

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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:

Trickle Down

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

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Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 4.29.49 pm.png 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.

quick re-visit: wk14

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A second visit to the DMC by myself, Sonny and David was a prep for our last meeting together as we were all available and local. This was more so we weren’t rushed next week (monday the day before we go live).

In this visit we decided to rig up the finished window, and soften the edges of the frame so that the window looked more authentic. We decided to use tape and box a square around the lens of the projector to create this. We also set up the projectors we thought we’d be using including the idea to change the table setting and the way the spiral faces so that the projection can be shined onto a piece of paper on the ground. This was done with a Quime projector under a table with a hole through some sheets, fitted to the frame of the page and run on a loop.

We also decided to cut out individual words as suggested last week and integrate them apart of the central page display as the words rise less of the poem Sonny extracted is displayed until the remaining word is hell.

The poem is as follows:

Last night i wandered into hell

 but i did not find one evil person

just sad human beings searching

desperately for a way out of the dark

Out Of Hand: Materialising the Digital

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“Examines the place and impact of new digital manufacturing technologies – 3D printing in its various forms, CNC machining, Laser cutting, and digital knitting and weaving”

Upon visiting the Powerhouse museum and the showcase that was “Materialising the Digital”, perhaps the greatest observation was that the iteration process and the value in producing a physical artwork, installation or interactive technology is perhaps an solely aesthetic purpose for some of these manufacturing technology. As we know, the act or potentials of some these practises don’t have the traction needed to be an everyday device like our smart phones or laptops, however 3D printing materials that we can emulate to showcase or surroundings, natural occurrences and bring to life, I believe is what Matthew Gardiner has captured perfectly with his art work Oribotics: The Future Unfolds.

Through the entrance of the gallery space at the Powerhouse museum toward ‘Out Of Hand’, Gardiner’s work is in the first room with its luminous pastel greeting of what initially looks like flickering LED bulbs. As encouraged, interaction is key but touch is disallowed, so naturally the audience including myself wanted to get as close as possible the the works to see which had the ability to change, or, that we could manipulate to accommodate each individual experience. ‘Oribotics’ again, maintained my full attention throughout the exhibit due to this personal reason. Every Time I interacted with the work it was based on my movements and my motivations and curiosity towards it. On first viewing and interaction, the robotics involved with the processes of opening and closing, had a blossoming affect. The origami design perhaps helped with this aesthetic and drew connotations to cultural representations of Japanese flora and art. As i drew closer and realised the proximal movement of the work, and began the interaction of judging the implications of standing closer and progressed to using my hands to make them expand and retract. This was all before researching the works, this was purely just my initial thoughts and curiosities. The display was across a rippling wall with each Oribot displaying a different colour light behind it depending on how close any interference was to its sensory trigger. I worked out that the closer the subject to the device, the warmer the colour (red, orange) and subsequently the further one pulled away the cooler (blue, green). The materials came across to me as a web like surrounding around a series of wires that are central to a mechanism that expands and retracts. My interactions with the device were captured at the time that can further explain this idea, thus;

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Throughout the exhibit the devices, were embracing a self directed approach while ever there was no interaction. This created an eerie nature to the room it was in due to the colourful contrast. I wanted to know why some movements I did, some being very similar, caused different levels of intensity to which the objects changed. Some of the devices had a more sensitive response to my hand than others, and some didn’t react at all to my hand but then would act autonomously without being provoked by an outside factor.

Matthew Gardiner is an interesting practitioner, in the way that he has so much to do with the values upheld by the University’s digital media encouragement and the way we should approach some of the projects we’re asked to create in a short amount of time. Instead of thinking about how we can use a device or technology to create something aesthetic, he grabs an idea or process that is already complicated and not associated with media art and technology, and uses his own skill-set set and research practise to try and represent this with a technology. Reverse engineering something that’s perhaps static in its practise but can take another simplistic form. This really resonated with my curiosity and perhaps my own creative endeavours in a lot of the technologies I’m personally involved with i’ve had to reverse engineer a practise for them within a creative space. Gardiner is a cross cultural interactor, meaning, he regards his works to be influenced by Japanese traditional (origami = oribotics, blossoming plants), Western ideas of technology (3D printing, sensory technology, LED lights) and the conversations between the two repeatedly as well as the response from the audience. Then he’s also an accomplished designer, working with material science and perfecting a fabric, experimentation and exploration of new ready technology and computer science so that the two can create a work (M, Gardiner 2010, vimeo). His background in a digitally dominated field allows him to exercise these kind of aesthetics within a work but explore deeper meaning associated to biological factors. This immediately got me interested in the way this artist thinks about the world and how process would be an interesting exploration for him when designing this particular piece. 
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Image: Jayne Ion, Facebook 2016

 

The work debuted at the Arts Electronica Festival in 2010, and introduced me to an interesting locational narrative to how the work came to life and dives deeper into the meaning behind materials and how the layers of research ultimately create such a successful work. The installation is situated in the FutureLab, directly above the BioLab and the FabLab. These two interact in the same way he considers himself cross-disciplinary.

 

The BioLab is a space whereby visitors to the centre can be showcased to methods whereby plants are synthetically cloned, it’s also symbolically situated in close proximity to the 3D printer that was used for the materials in the Oribotics. It’s interested in the ways biology interacts and the process connected to life and how artists in residence can represent this in their works, offering the patterns within a lifeform. The FabLab, is a space located opposite, and looks at the ways we can manipulate materials and use new technologies. Things like laser cutting and, for this work, 3D printers are focused on not for their aesthetic presence, but they’re ability to produce the materials within a work. The focus isn’t the process of the print, it’s the ability to be able to tinker with the materials of the work produced. The plastic use for Oribotics: The Future Unfolds, we made from the FabLab, as well as the corresponding folds, manipulations and designs for the devices.  The constant dialogue then from the origins of this work, includes the symbolic representations of the microscopic folds in the material used and thus “highlights the connection to the many contexts where folding occurs in nature, the most significant being the folding of proteins, including DNA” (Arts Electronic, 2010). Where these actions occur in nature and in the work, we can understand that even the slightest of mistakes could have rippling effects on the subject, it’s why Matthew Gardiner has given in-depth thought to the materials he’s chosen through understanding and trial and error.

 

His account of the materials for the Oribotics is best explain by him, where he talks about paper fibres were unsuccessful, due to the material fibres breaking when folded repeatedly. It was revealed at a 900x magnification that this was then going to affect the structural memory and integrity of the device. What his research discovered was that plastic polyester, as mentioned produced in the FabLab, had fibres within the material, that even though don’t break, still allow bending of the materials allowing a fold to be remembered within the device. The polyester therefore was deemed a stronger material to be used for the origami shapes as their entire aesthetic is the way they seamlessly fall back into shape every time. This artwork could then be produced with multiple iterations, with greater durability as well as keeping its structural memory that could then be programmed to perform the blossoming aesthetic.

discovering patterns that have complex expressions that can be repeatedly actuated” (ARS Electronica, 2010)

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Image: Jayne Ion, Facebook 2016

This process was perhaps an indication for fascination personally, due to this lifeless, meaningless and somewhat inanimate process of 3D printing, micro fabrics and robotics, being digitalised to assume life or resonate representations of life and purpose. Within a workshopping exercise in a gallery space at the digital media centre, an area of practise we were trying to discuss in terms of brainstorming potential project explorations. Subconsciously, this work resonated with me for that reason. I’m interested in the way Matthew has managed to duplicate a natural occurrence such as DNA protein folds and the precision involved, yet somehow related it back to his field practise that, initially if spoken about in the same sentence, wouldn’t have had much alignment. The idea of cross disciplines utilising skills and knowledge to create a media artwork that allows some interaction is something I believe amplifies this work.

The interaction process was something I tangled with, and also not perfected in some areas within the space when I visited, the overarching theme was clear. The proximity sensors awaited human presence, back lit with an LED light, so that the above research and groundwork could be showcased as an artwork. The closer the subject got to the oribotics, to more the robot would expand, like a blossoming flower. The colour would also correspond the movements. This simple interaction had yet another layer of complexity, with the folds in the movements of the oribotics reaching 1050 in a single contraction. The idea then in these movements, the oribotics would assume an autonomous trigger point to create a ripple effect of opening and closing for an image across interactions along the wall.

It’s interesting to see this work as technology reflective of life on earth and processes that happen in great detail and often go unnoticed. Perhaps this work explores the possible future, of where life on earth is headed. Through the use of various robotic technology was are almost able to model a DNA system with materials that are artificially created as layers in space. I particularly like the potential these Oribots have to steer the negative narratives away from robotics as a general socially constructed moral panic. These small little flower like devices have a living organism feel to them, and could pave the way into how we think of life with robotics as apart of our everyday life to interact with in daily life. Moving away from the stereotype of ‘robots taking over the world’, these Oribotics are dependant organisms, for those who don’t like the idea of rushing into autonomy, these have some basic autonomous controls, however are programmed by us. Instead of creating devices and robots modelled on the human species and making them look as close to us as possible, Matthew Gardiner has developed the flora equivalent. I believe this could invite a positive attitude from those whom believe artificial intelligence has negative impacts on society. If we created robotics with the attention to detail that Matthew Gardiner showcases with ‘The Future Unfolds”, perhaps the plantation thats been irreversibly damaged could be focused on and instead of remaining bare, we could replace with these ideas of blossoming devices. Perhaps deforestation effects could be replaced by larger scaled oribots that encompass the nature of the plantation affected. Tall blossoming trees, that whilst don’t offer the natural purification elements, would look aesthetically more appealing.

References:

M Gardiner, 2010, Oribotics [the future unfolds], Vimeo, online video, Novemeber 2nd, viewed 26th April 2017, <https://vimeo.com/16429167>

Orobotics, Matthew Gardiner, Oribotics.net, viewed 27th April 2017, <http://www.oribotics.net/>

Arts Electronica, 2010, Artist in Residence: Matthew Gardiner – The Future Unfolds, Repair, 2.9. – 7.9., viewed 27th April 2017, <https://www.aec.at/repair/2010/07/15/artist-in-residence-matthew-gardiner-the-future-unfolds/>

Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, 2017, Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital, MAAS, viewed 28th April 2017, <https://maas.museum/event/out-of-hand-materialising-the-digital/>

M Gardiner, 2012, The functional aesthetic of folding, self similar interactions, ResearchGate, viewed 30th April 2017, <https://www.researchgate.net/figure/221308482_fig1_Figure-1-Oribotics-the-future-unfolds-installation-in-Melbourne-Australia-2010>

 

Project pitch for Media Arts project // Inanimate to Life

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When thinking of a project we’re always looking for the perfect “aesthetic”, and myself included, find this the hardest part of finding an intrinsic motivation to see a project out. This semester we’ve been challenged to reverse engineer our own thinking and take into account where we think our practise could take us. What is my field we were tasked to question, and as a continuum we have been preparing a project pitch if we were to create a work based on our expertise, skill-set and research throughout our career. I’ve always had a passion for creating projects and am always looking to carry over curiosity into further classes and trying my luck as a career, this task is no different.

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Inanimate to life

This is something that resonates really closely with me and something I have a very unique passion for. I am really interested in the way humans respond and act towards inanimate objects and more specifically technology that emerges through rapid prototyping and seeing the results through trial and error. The idea of Inanimate to Life stroked me during a workshopping exercise at the innovation campus. I want to create the aesthetic I was completely blown away with on the excursion to the Powerhouse Museum of the timeline type set up of the old Mac and Apple products and prototypes. Without realising I’ve accumulated a lot of old tech that has either broken or been given an upgrade by a newer device. These range from a phone, tablet, laptop to video cameras and drones to small simple robotics. The physical arrangement of these devices and showcasing what little use they have left I believe would create a dialogue between the works they’re capable of producing.

I would like to have perhaps a series of working video cameras, videoing the cameras that perhaps don’t work anymore. I’d love to have a drone that works perhaps carrying another via a piece of string, and then another tied to a wall that just hovers and also becomes part of the installation that doesn’t move, however not by the autonomy of the device, gps assistance or even pilot control, but by its constraint to a piece of string. Perhaps these devices serve a different purpose now and it’s how they work in sync with one another is how the aesthetic is created. I have the vision of a confetti crazy space designated to this technology on their last limbs of life. Battery running out or malfunction would resonate the sacrifices made to connect to the user and get the particular content.

Interesting tangent on how when left alone with full autonomy, these devices interact with one another. This project proposal is inspired by the works of Cirque du Soleil, ETH Zurich, and Verity Studios that showcases the device gaining a life like quality of curiosity and automation through the use of movement and sound to create a visual aesthetic that we disassociate with the technology of quadcopters.

 short film featuring 10 quadcopters in a flying dance performance. The collaboration resulted in a unique, interactive choreography where humans and drones move in sync. Precise computer control allows for a large performance and movement vocabulary of the quadcopters

I’d like to explore the life-like qualities we give these devices and other devices to interact, so that the responder and audiences feel like that when they step into the installation, their interactive expectations are shut down as I want them to step into a room of crazy interactions and dialogues between the technologies. The power in the way they work/don’t work or assist one another is the experimental art work I hope is achieved and creates something with visual interest. While ever there is devices that are slowly beginning to stop working, have broken already and are serving as a type of graveyard or shell prop, mixed with those fully functional and aiding the decent of the inevitable of the others I believe could be an interesting exploration in what we expect and the pressures we exert onto devices we consume regularly in media arts.

Out of Hand // Ideas, Materials, Media, and Technologies

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Visiting the Powerhouse Museum’s display of ‘Materialising the Digital‘ as well as the accompanying exhibition of ‘Interface‘ allowed me to start design thinking and how a physical display can be showcased in a space. It can take the form of interactive, relying on audience participation, however what resonated with me was the nostalgic aesthetic with Interface. This exhibition examined the way “design has been applied to information technology products”. 

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These works for me showcased how individual consumers have slowly been given complex machines and technologies and have them designed over the years to make them accessible and appealing. It showcases Steve Jobs and his influence of devices being engineered to aesthetic and the reiteration process so that ideas can become products.

It perhaps got me thinking about the nature of devices being un-operational yet still a ‘graveyard’ aesthetic to showcase a timeline effect. I’ve, through my studies and personal works, gone through a few drones that have either partially or fully broken that I’m thinking could take my idea of iteration or physical showcase rather than video (digital) content. I think an arrangement, lighting and content arrangement could explore this notion of “dead” technology.

“Drone graveyard” 

Even having footage from each one hanging with it could be a way of expressing a fallen device or broken device. The evolution idea wouldn’t be justified with each model perhaps being not an iteration of the other, but perhaps to get the perfect “digital video” these are the technological sacrifices needed.

IDEAS // Materials // Technologies

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I’m very interested in the way this opens up E-waste, and how it’s represented as both as an aesthetic and a coded message. Perhaps this could ignite some more exploration in the kinds of devices, perhaps not limited to quadcopters, maybe use the history I’ve researched in previous posts to incorporate into a work. Cam corders, video cameras and even early aerial photography have all progressed and in turn left devices no longer functional. When these devices stop working where do they go and how are they treated?

Looking to the proposal I’d like to explore the material element of the devices we use in media art to produce screen based works. Perhaps the tools we use for our works need to be showcased as a trophy for the content it’s produced. I’d like to then see how this could tie into E-waste elements and the idea of non-working inanimate objects being the aesthetic.

 

Plan YOUR internship // Create A Job

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If you were to ask me what my plans are for work after university or what kind of role I’ll play for a particular company or organisation until I get my big break, I’d hate to come off rude or naive, instead trade it for ambitious and unknown. A reoccurring theme perhaps with my direct is the unknown. This isn’t due to lack of research or lack of practice and me throwing the towel in with no real ideas on what I want to do, it’s the fact that what I want to do or aspire to do doesn’t exist yet. This particular mindset I can thank those whom I consider a mentor and friend in Ted Mitew and Chris Moore from the university of Wollongong. That and my introduction to Casey Neistat, where the idea of an idea is now dead and unless you jump into something you love and just “do it” or make something that shows you’re keen it will never grow into something and perhaps you’ll be stuck looking for a set of instructions on how to make it with the training we get in media arts/digital media.

To give some context, I’ve been working on a project for the RMS where we are aiming to reduce time taken, safety and costs in surveying and inspecting a bridge using drone devices and 360 degree video technology. This lead to the build of a custom drone that we are prototyping into a MVP (minimum viable product) that is ready for field testing. This stemmed from projects I completed throughout university and developed a passion for drone technology and their commercial and aesthetic application.

At the moment i’m learning as much as I can at iAccelerate, a business incubator for local businesses giving them a learning environment, a physical space and a wealth of support that allows people like myself that love to rapid prototype and test things as soon as possible, to keep creating new content and getting in touch with people that can assist in entrepreneurial endeavours.

This work is one I created last year as a showcase (very quick very unedited) to a glimpse of the potential the device can be used to inspect a bridge. This was uploaded to YouTube on the lowest settings to ensure fluid movement around the screen. This was done so that I could then quickly link this video to those at the Roads and Maritime Services from here in Wollongong, working with a team from Parkes, NSW. The software that runs the footage, allows 4K images, as well as a zoom option that would obviously be used in real scenarios, this just showcased and allowed feedback on stability, and the true potential of 360 degree film.

Perhaps something I created less as a working portfolio and more as an exploration of just testing what else this device could do was filming my friend Sonny riding a skateboard around a carpark. This kind of got me thinking how i’d target this device perhaps for a greater or wider audience. All this was me trying to emerge this practise as a career. How could I weave the device used for infrastructure into an aesthetic, and I decided to market the footage giving the audience or viewer of the content freedom to click and drag to view whatever section of the 360 video they wanted.

I achieved this by creating a mount for the bottom of the drone, that was basically used for anything below the horizontal access, but could easily and quickly be then switched to the top too. If I was going to give the product a go in a market thats quite contested I had to stand out with both uses with it and practicality.

Lastly this device went for a pure aesthetic location with the aerial altitude tested and the camera views being the subject.

These works along with a collection of files on the software that stitches these videos to the product we see here are some things I like to keep on record for when I start to really give this a shot. At the moment and for the last year i’ve taken my research to the physical, field testing and asking as much as I can from the engineers that will hopefully be using this device. I have said yes to countless free labour offers and learning opportunities and only ever request that I can use them in a professional collection afterwards. I believe this, along with working on this majority solo, has resulted and is continuing to result in me knowing the product very thoroughly and the market need.

The three target organisations that I have in my sights would be

  • Firstly, the RMS: These people funded and took me under a project with the LookUp. This device will be first and foremost for them and their work with infrastructure
  • Secondly, creatives:  What can YOU do with this. The ability to look up or down from an aerial device in 360 degree HD footage. What can a creative do with this kind of freedom and the ability to do both at the same time. The footage can be viewed in VR goggles and product a live feed. The commercial market can decide
  • Thirdly, hobbyists and tinkerers: the people I assume want to get into drones and building their own modifications. This device could be something that people take apart and re-assemble to fit their individual needs or trial some of their own ideas.

I think where I need to direct myself, also resonates with what our Guest Lecturer Paul Jones said about keeping a positive work ethic, keep making works that resonate the line of work you want to be in and then talk to the people you need to whether it be lecturers, mentors or potential employers and show them that you’re dedicated to your craft.