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.
These were my notes from recently watching a video of Steve Jobs giving a speech at a graduation ceremony at Stanford in 2005. I started writing down the words that really resonated with me and stuck with me throughout the video and decided to create a short Lumen5 video for this. This platform allows me to reflect with a visual and audio assisted video that I’m able to then reflect myself as to why these particular parts of the speech are so powerful to me.
It is interesting when reflecting on words from others I’ve personally taken note to. I think theres a particular theme to my narrowing completion of higher studies, that the role of curiosity has played in my own personal development. The idea that my own trajectory isn’t going to be defined in a sense, by others saying yes or no, rather why or why not.
A lot of speculation is often applied to these kinds of motivational speeches and success stories, in the way that “perhaps if they didn’t get these opportunities or there fame wasn’t successful, would they still have that same mindset”. These criticisms are speaking to an attitude that if he (Steve Jobs) didn’t make the fortune from Apple and Pixar, he wouldn’t adopt the same mentality. I disagree with that, and instead turn it around and put myself in the drivers seat. Take an empathetic approach to the idea and use the success he has created for himself as motivation for me. If he can do it, why can’t I? This kind of thinking almost serves as personal motivation, and when asked to reel it back and be realistic about the future (suppose not everyone can be as lucky as Steve Jobs, and most entrepreneurial endeavours are impractical) I invite to read my previous blog on Luck.
I love the idea that we can use other success stories, motivational optimism and self direction to manipulate what we like. I have no doubt that if Apple or Pixar didn’t create the phenomena it has today, we would be all texting on our Uphones and using BananaBook Pro/Air’s instead, Steve never looked like giving up.
Neatly typed version of the scribble I noted down for the video.
Dropout – connecting the dots.
“I should be adopted by college graduates”
I have no idea how college was going to figure out my life.
Curiosity and Intuition was my best experience, fascination over helping with life application.
Looking backwards to connect the dots
Visions of the future vary
Love what I did, You have to find out what it is you love.
Can you wake up in the morning and honestly say you’re happy about what you’re going to do today
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.
Introducing theory, practise, research, art, media and technology into one collective group I believe allows us to draw connections and trajectories between works of art, innovation modules and indeed continue an obligation to broaden the limits for the future.
Firstly, I participated in an activity to draw an draw out or map our thoughts within a Venn Diagram. We split the categories three ways: Research, Craft and Art. With these the base headings, we wanted to discuss how some technologies and works we’ve created in the past fit into some, one or all of these.
The three categories were filled with words or thought stimulators we could come up with. We ultimately decided that if dwelled on for long enough, each of the examples provided could actaully weave their way into all the categories. Which meant we had to be really specific with out choice of examples. For instance, if we say “technology” as a whole, it can definitely be talked about in a Research, Craft and Art bias but when naming a specific technology like VR/AR or 3D Printing, we then have to think about its position in these categories relevant to the time period.
This then lead into a mode of generalised thinking;
Research – Documentation, theory, PAST TENSE, things shaping ideas that have already happened and are revisted for further understanding
Craft – Practical, Skill based, materialistic, for me the act of “doing” could even be placed here. For example, the act of deciding to create or develop, that intrinsic thought applied to turning ideas into a reality.
Art – “the Grey area”, possible outcomes, aesthetic?, subjective, passion
For my own benefit and area of practise, I decided to take the controversial topic of Drone technology and try and outline their significance in each of these categories with an example of the above. I love the conversation this kind of thinking evokes, and how innovation can be seen as an artwork, or someones craft can pave the way for further research. This has happened with me. A lot of my projects have stimulated my own research into drone application for jobs to help people or solve outdated problems. Though indefinite, my research isn’t exactly “aesthetic” or probably wouldn’t be considered by most as an Art piece, doesn’t mean it couldn’t be. A device that provokes discussion for me means that it has potential. When the technology becomes a realistic everyday norm that’s when it gets succeeded.
Examples I want to share and build on the idea of specific pieces of work from drone technology, rather than the broad field they offer.
Next week, I’m excited to dive into the “futures” topic, and further develop this idea of connected links between craft and theory, and how some of the practises I’m involved with had elements of Research, Craft and Art mixed to create a prototyping idea through media art and communications applied to a new area of study in engineering.
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
This week we basically needed to showcase something and backtrack to a piece that worked in the previous weeks and not get caught up on the idea that one thing, this thing we believed could be the deletion of the sheets, as the feedback suggested it wasn’t strong enough unless it was being used as a medium. I decided to try a different approach, this time a literal approach to try and decipher the actual motivations or the story behind the work. The feedback would send us back thinking about the subjective view of the space, and that we needed to inform the responder more than just setting out the space and asking the responder to come up with their own meaning.
I grabbed a pen, some paper and some objects and started jamming in a diorama setting. I had this idea that we could literally play two projectors across the space at one another: one with an exploration on the treatment of refugees and one with an exploration of what can happen when refugees assimilate. The treatment video would be attached to the ceiling, whilst the assimilation video would be playing from down below and when the audience entered the space, they would interrupt the video, blocking it. Whilst this video wouldn’t be visible, the treatment video or ‘the past’ would continue to play as we cannot change the past. The idea is that both the pastime of war and the current status of those affected can’t be re-written in history (incorporates the letters) but have to be acknowledged moving forward. The content then doesn’t have to be original it would be a remix of all the different implications of conflict on all nations and cultures.
Another element suggested to us was to split into groups within our formed group and come together with works that interacted with one-another. We took our own approach on this with this new creation, and basically assigned members a good, bad and audio role, whereby no one could see the works or hear the overlaying audio and we’d basically jam it all together when everyone was done. This meant the content wouldn’t have a structure nor would the audio match the visual. We didn’t know how this would pan out but we needed to take a risk this week.
My part i played around with the audio of various film trailers, songs and speeches that all had connotations towards loss, loneliness and war effects and mashed it all together. This was to accompany the montage of visuals by the other groups, however I had no idea what their creations would look like. The plan was then to stage it all in the space and see if it worked.
The feedback we received was that potentially the videos could also include information about the family that lived there and that there should be longer pauses between the clips, so the televisions were flicking on and off. We agreed with this and would like to build on it next week.
BE YOUR OWN CAMERA CREW
As a media and communications student in my final year of university I’m interested in the ways collaboration between industry, emerging technology and myself as a creative can co-exist based on more than just one skillset. I started in Digital media because I wanted to innovate the filmmaking space, using drones to create a start to end video project using only drones as the main camera rig, in all sizes and methods, I wanted to use them for not only the aerial birds eye views, but the spaces at eye level for more intimate shots. Upon leaving, we’ve leveraged a blog, sometimes a YouTube channel and written essays toward topics that often get left in a subject dropbox and forgotten about. I believe new technologies such as autonomous robotics are going to help creative content producers like myself gain an exciting edge over the “creating” gap in industry and graduates.
A digital portfolio was my answer to the question of how individuals can “Be (their) own camera crew” and how a series of previous projects and indeed subject specific works can be organised to showcase themselves to industries in filmmaking and creative spaces as having experience making start to end projects. I wanted to incorporate autonomous film devices such as my drone, so that I may be not only the filmmaker, but now the technology enables us to be the subject. YouTube and consequently video as a platform allowed me to address the creative accumulation of content for a portfolio, as well as showcase the potential these devices have to make professional standard works. YouTube was chosen to continue to produce works in an openly featured platform to invite stakeholders as well as constructive comments to improve elements of a work. Using this type of device highlights my interest area as well as the space left by filmmaking theory thus; “Though there is a range of techniques to automatically control drones for a variety of applications, none have considered the problem of producing cinematographic camera motion in real-time for shooting purposes”(Q Galvane J Fleureau F.L. Tariolle P. Guillotel, 2016)
The filming process included a shot list that i’ve created below, that can all be done by myself whilst riding the board or not, the drone can be programmed to actively track a subject. This is done by clicking and dragging a box on the live video on a smartphone whilst the drone is in the air. This further amplifies the potential of creating a work that I believe can be taken to a major production company to showcase a skillset.
Upon talks with my tutor, the way i’ve presented this is in a 3 part video series titled: “Be YOUR own camera crew” on YouTube. I detailed that this would allow an accumulation of different angles of what can be showcased with a single recording device, an internet connection and a great idea. Some of the anxieties about these emerging technologies, I also wanted to lay to rest, by sparking discussion and address a tool that’s being heavily regulated at the moment. “Despite all of the new tools, drones are still only used in about 10 percent of film productions where a camera drone and crew can cost less than $3,000 compared to $25,000 for a helicopter shoot.” (A Marken, 2017) I believe will change the way not only filmmaking is approached, but also journalism and surveillance.
A Dalton, 2016, This Sci-fi Film was shot entirely by Autonomous Drones, Engadget, Blogpost, viewed 1st June 2017, <https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/27/in-the-robot-skies-sci-fi-film-shot-autonomous-drones/>
A Marken, 2017, Visable Flight: Drones Raise Filmmaking Opportunities, Robotics Tomorrow, webpage, viewed 1st June 2017, <http://www.roboticstomorrow.com/article/2017/05/visible-flight-drones-raise-filmmaking-opportunities/10110>
Chris Moore, 2016, Cybercultures Week Two 2016 (w.2), Prezi lecture, DIGC335, University of Wollongong, 8th March 2016, viewed 28th May 2017, via <https://prezi.com/poqmln3hslyh/cyberculture-and-cybernetics>
Civil Aviation Safety Authority, 2017, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems: Can I Fly Here?, Australian Government, viewed 30th May 2017, <https://casa.dronecomplier.com/external>
C Rollins, 2017, Mavic Pro – Active Track on a boosted board, May 26th, YouTube, Online Video, viewed 30th May 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mXo6yz4cv4>
L Young, 2016, In the Robot Skies, Vimeo, online video, viewed 1st June 2017, <https://vimeo.com/184429206>
Q Galvane J Fleureau F.L. Tariolle P. Guillotel, 2016, Automated Cinematography with unmanned aerial vehicles, WICED ’16 Proceedings of the Eurographics Workshop on Intelligent Cinematography and Editing, Portugal May 9th, p.p. 23-30, Eurographics Association Switzerland, viewed 29th May 2017, <http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3056987&preflayout=tabs>
Robotic implications and emerging technologies have always been a fascination of mine, and my university career has lead me to want to dive into these potentials usually by obtaining a new device or creating an account on a platform and just using them. Over the years at the University of Wollongong, I’ve created some digital artefacts, media art and written countless blog posts that have attributed to a creative content portfolio that will serve as a resume moving into the digital generation, lead by us in communications and digital media. This aggregated content curation has lead me to drone technology and how this emerging technology will be something this degree and certainly its graduates will have to become aware of as a tool to capture aerial images and video. I’ve been focused on the devices for about 2 years now, ranging from theoretical research and skillsets within ethical privacy, e-waste, production and consumption in the Asian Pacific, commercial and non-commercial use, agricultural implications, aesthetic filming and editing as well as launching a start-up within iAccelerate fuelled by UOW pitch 2016 whereby I’ve designed, built and implemented a drone device in collaboration with the RMS.
What I intend to do for this kind of research is something perhaps down the aesthetic road, whilst still defining my expertise and encouraging others to do so. I was to understand and field test the options that “off-the-shelf” commercial drones offer filmmakers and creatives, essentially out of the box ready to fly. Collision avoidance, active tracking and smart landing features are all components that drone manufacturers have to have as a core to their product if they’re to compete in the market today. These devices are a flying personal camera crew, and I want to create a video that captures myself as the subject that’s filmed by me. The edit is then done by me and my skills in two fields are already being tested and improved. That the act of creating and learning from failure still have more physical work showcase potential than ever before, we now have an evolutionary showreel to showcase what we’d describe in a written resume’ as “flexible, diverse and hard working”. Inevitably, this content creation goes back into my portfolio online and hopefully as media professionals scroll through the years, areas of improvement are evident.
For this digital artefact titled, “Be your Own Camera Crew”, I want to create a series of, or one video, to capture the skills I’ve learnt over the years of university attendance and the skillset from that, and create a visual showcase of this device potential for content creators like us who are trying to create jobs that perhaps aren’t even open for positions yet. The processes of editing, planning shots and ultimately creating a start to finish product that can then be used for a workplace portfolio is something i’d be interested in exploring. The drone I will be using is a product made by DJI, one of the world’s leading manufacturers in quadcopter technology, utilizing what’s called “active track”. This feature allows its user to click and drag a virtual box around a subject on live view from the drone on a smartphone, to then become the focus point of the shot. Once the subject is recognised and focused on, piloting the drone becomes automatic, without the use of the controller or even any piloting gestures. This means the person creating the work doesn’t have to worry about missing a particular moment in the filming process as the drone stays fixed on them. The type of video I would like to create would be something visually aesthetic as well as something with motion. The editing is then done with free software that comes with both personal laptops, in my case iMovie, or at the University. Lastly, the platform YouTube, allows this to be publically available for anyone with an internet upload connection. This will allow feedback for critic, as well as the convenience of a link to embed in future career initiation talks and applications.
I will be tangling with the week 5 topic of “The Object” and the autonomous function found on commercial quadcopters today. With some research, I’ve discovered that I’m not alone in my thinking that drones could serve a real world place in terms of providing accessibility to social, educational and creative disciplines, as theorist Utkarsh Mittal conveniently states that drones will provide new opportunities for content creation and research, users may expect drones to be part of the technology resources available. I use this example broadly, but some specific examples that I’ve been exposed to are the library at the University of Wollongong. The ‘maker-space’ will encourage emerging technologies and new devices on offer for students to complete projects that require an extra layer of physicality or aesthetic. These include drones, 3D printers and virtual reality, all available within a University library, which means the integration of these devices are already being encouraged as academic resources.
In my project, I want to contribute to this discussion from the viewpoint of a creative content creator.The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are linked to all kinds of prejudice and harsh criticisms about privacy, hostility and the unknown realm that is autonomous robotics. My intention is to explore the latter of these categories, and unlock what it means to aspiring media professionals like myself, when devices we use to conduct research and perform our creative tasks suddenly are able to do this without piloting and without supervision.