Principles of New Media

In Manovich Lev’s ‘The Language of the New Media’ he identifies new media to fall under five categories: Numerical Representation which is the language used to generate outputs in machinery; Modularity which means it has various components of which a new media work can be separated; Automation which is the removal of human intentionality in the work; Variability which means that the work can have a range of outputs/outcomes/reactions; and finally Transcoding which is the ability to turn ‘physical information’ like sound, text, etc, into a set of code that can be read by the computer.

For mine and En Cui’s project, we make use of four out of five of this categories, namely numerical representation, modularity, variability and transcoding.

When we are oconsider the idea of numerical representation, so long as we are creating things on a digital platform, our written codes for our project to function is a form of numerical representation. Numerical representation is the digital language that machinery use to communicate hence it is present in all projects that make use of technology.

Subsequently, We have the idea of modularity. Modularity is shown in various layers in thir work. It could be seen in the components that make up the body of the project, like the wires, LEDs and microphone.

It could also refer to our project’s ability to capture data at different points in time in the form of different coloured LED lights, and within that collection, create another collective image of the environment at different points in time.

A bit like Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s work ‘Pulse Index’, we are looking at how the individual components make up a bigger collective, and how that collective changes over time, which changes the outcome of the work at each time.

Moving on to the idea of variability, the entire idea of our work revolves around the idea of different sounds, merging overlapping and melding to the point that you cannot figure out if it is your own voice or an influence of the environment. Hence the variable in our project comes in the form of the sound input and a corresponding unique coloured light output. Each output would depend on the pitch and volume of the sound recorded by the microphone. Since different people have different pitches in tone, and volume of which they speak each led at different points in time will be different.

Finally, there is the idea of Transcoding where physical information is translated into data code that can be read by the computer. In this case it is the idea of sound that has been picked up by the microphone, being converted into code that is later translated into the values of RGB and brightness that is reflected on the LED.

 

Project Idea Development — Be Gentle with Door-chan, She is VERY Sensitive.

I had discussed with En Cui of two projects, and while she is expanding on the idea of the bilboard, I’m expanding on the idea of the talking door.

At first I had talked to Celine about a few ideas, and this one took on a concept that is very similar to hers, revolving around the idea of the door. However, this interstices revolves around the space between your hand and the door, and how you touch something.

The idea was mainly have the door react to your touch according to how you open it.

There will be a sensor attached to the handle, that would sense the vibrations along the door handle, and it would let out a response accordingly. The idea is to have the door say rather accusatory things, like “Who gave you the right to touch me!?”, mostly to give the people who touch the door a shock, let go of the door, and hopefully not enter the room at all :3

 

I Light Critique

I managed to catch a few of the interactive works when I went for I Light. The first being ‘Facey Thing’ by Uji Studios which was a sort of satirical take on the selfie culture amongst the masses in this day and age.

Fig 1. Facey Thing by Uji Studios, 2019, I Light, Singapore.
pictures screenshot from video taken by: En Cui

When you first encounter it, ‘Facey Thing’ is a bright huge screen that is twice the height of an ordinary human.

Diagram 1, mock up of Facey Thing

So the set up is simple, consisting of a screen which is hooked up to a single camera that captures the passerbys that are oving in front of the work. The code that runs this work is set to capture the faces of the people who are standing in front of it.

Fig 2. Facey Thing by Uji Studios, 2019, I Light, Singapore.
pictures screenshot from video taken by: En Cui

Fig 3. Facey Thing by Uji Studios, 2019, I Light, Singapore.
pictures screenshot from video taken by: En Cui

When your face is recognised by the screen it is boxed up as seen in fig 2 above and would later evolve to fig 3. In Fig 3, the faces of the passerbys are blown up and dragged upward almost as though painting the canvas with their face. So in this case the images on the screen are temporarily changed by the people who interact with it, if not it is no more then an ordinary close circuit video recording. It warps the initial intention of Selfies to be one that portray one self as ‘glam’ to being very ‘unglam’ instead by warping the passerby’s faces. 

Fig 4. Facey Thing by Uji Studios, 2019, I Light, Singapore.
pictures screenshot from video taken by: En Cui

The people that decided to interact it were waving their hands of moving about oddly to try and get their face recognised by the system.

Subsequently I caught “Shades of Temporality” by SWEATSHOPPE – Blake Shaw and Bruno Levy.

Fig 5. Shades of Temporality by SweatShoppe, 2019, I Light Singapore
Text: 你好 Lei <3
Written by: En Cui, Christine and Elizabeth

This work has two elements to it, the first being the visualiser projecting the ‘painted image’ on to the wall, and the second being the paint rollers.

Diagram 2, Mock up of the painting brushes used in Shades of Temporarity

Diagram 3, Mock up of the set up of Shades of Temporarity

When the button in diagram 2 is pressed the paint brush head up turns green. this is then sensed by the camera and the visualiser will send an out put of light that will corespond to the area where the paint brush touched, projecting a loop of graphical illustrations of Singapore.

In this case the audience are encouraged to make temporary graffity designs on the wall, hence creating art. the audience is given the ability to write what ever they want to express themselves in anyway they see fit.

A Critique on Interactivity

Crystal Universe by teamLab, Future World,Art Science Museum, Singapore
picture taken from: https://faithjoyhope.blogspot.com/2016/03/new-what-you-can-expect-artscience.html

 

The first art work that I chose for this critique is ‘Crystal Universe’ by teamLab. What I find intriguing about this work is the way entering the space is like entering a different realm. It is an aesthetic work, if you want to classify it, but what makes it so effective is that because it is so ‘instagram worthy’ it draws crowds of people easily. The work is described as a ‘galaxy of hanging leds’ by vice.com. True enough the LEDs light up like a galaxy of stars in the dark room, and one is allowed to travel through the path created, experiencing the LEDs from different perspectives.  The interactive element comes in two forms, the first being immersing ones self in the atmosphere created by the twinkling LEDs and the subsequent one being actually changing the LEDs programming through your smartphone. By doing so the viewers control the way the LEDs shine, creating a reflective space that suit them. As such the viewer becomes both the audience as well as the artist who shapes their experience of the space.

However, on a more realistic note, the experience of creating your own experience is not always a pleasant one, considering that the number of people that visited the space, and the lack of limitation of the people walking through the work at all times which hinders the viewers experience of the work.

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The Treachery of Sanctuary 2012, by Chris Milk, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
Picture taken from:http://milk.co/treachery

The second piece i chose was Chris Milk’s “The Treachery of Sanctuary”. The piece consists of three monolithic screens that are shone with light. When a person moves in front of the screens their ‘shadow’ is shone over it, triggereing the art to react. What I found interesting about this piece is how it took the image of the person and warped/disinitegrated it. The wor

The work is a representation of its own creative process, which I find hilarious.

The first panel represents “the genesis of the idea, when you finally have a breakthrough.”

The participants then notice a flock of birds above them– as they reach out, their body begins to break down and birds begin to emerge.

this represents the viewers becoming the idea behind the work, and later in the secon panel, the flock continues to rain down on their ‘shadow’ pecking what is left of the shadow. This the artists says represents the hardships faced during the project. Finally, the last panel is the triumph where you become a bird yourself.

The entire work is coded to act in a certain way, but will not be able to do so without the audience interacting with it. Hence in this situation the audience is still sort of the artist shaping what is viewed on the screen.

For this project the audience still plays a huge role in the artwork by interacting with it and creating the visual imagery. However as always the artist has created the code which limits the reaction of the work, meaning they have set the narrative and setting of the art work, everything else is free to be influenced and changed by the audience.

Questions:

  • Interactivity and aesthetics, how do you attract people to your work without prompt
  • Viewer experience and will a large audience affect the experience of the work compared to a small audience

 

References:

Crystal Universe:

  • https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/yp555v/enter-a-real-life-matrix-in-teamlabs-crystal-universe
  • https://www.teamlab.art/w/crystaluniverse/

The Treachery of Sanctuary:

  • https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/53wbw8/chris-milks-the-treachery-of-sanctuary-unveiled-at-londons-digital-revolution
  • https://www.wired.co.uk/article/chris-milk-installation
  • http://milk.co/treachery

Key Work Selection: ‘For the Guggenheim’ by Jenny Holzer

Words projected on the outside of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

(image taken from: https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/jenny-holzers-for-the-guggenheim)

I chose the work ‘For the Guggenheim’ by Jenny Holzer.

Jenny Holzer is well known for her aphorism and condense narratives on LED billboards, engraved in plaques or projected on buildings.  They generally are condensed into the various series of ‘laments’, ‘truisms’ and ‘Inflammatory Essays’

Holzer’s work ‘For the Guggenheim’ is a large scale projection of various aphorisms and condense narratives over the Guggenheim museum. The building was overlaid with scrolling bold, white texts that ranged from one liners and short narratives.  They pull various emotions and intrigue the audience to think upon the words of advice flashing on the Guggenheim, some almost haunting drawing one to think of past memories. An example of such quotes, “the little soul roams among, those landscapes, disappear, returns, draws near, moves away, evasive…” it somehow intrigues one to imagine, wander and maybe reflect on what these words mean to them.

Holzer believes in both message and the medium used, as such her words are a call to the general public to make them think Critically. One of her most famous sentences, ‘Protect Me from What I Want’ and ‘Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise’ are used to draw people to social injustice.

References:

  • The Art Story. (2018). Jenny Holzer Overview and Analysis. [online] Available at: https://www.theartstory.org/artist-holzer-jenny.htm [Accessed 9 Sep. 2018].
  • Guggenheim. (2018). Jenny Holzer: For the Guggenheim. [online] Available at: https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/jenny-holzers-for-the-guggenheim [Accessed 9 Sep. 2018].
  • Smith, R. (2018). Review/Art; Holzer Makes the Guggenheim a Museum of Many Messages. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1989/12/13/arts/review-art-holzer-makes-the-guggenheim-a-museum-of-many-messages.html [Accessed 9 Sep. 2018].

Playing Stranger Things

The Final Project

For our final project for Experimental interaction we are asked to create a social project that will allow us to interact with others. We formed small groups and began brainstorming what we could do for the interaction portion. Mostly our project revolves around ‘playing games’ with strangers that we meet on the streets, in a way to see how willing people are to interact with other strangers. The end result is ‘Play Stranger Things’.

Play Stranger Things

‘Play Stranger Things’ is a collaborative art piece where strangers become the artist and is tasked to draw a human face. The only catch is that each stranger can only draw a single feature of the human face, and each feature is dictated by the coloured sheet that they draw from our ‘box of features’.

The point of the game is to get as many people to play as possible, and document the developement of the image on an instgram page, @letsplaystrangerthings (https://www.instagram.com/letsplaystrangerthings/). Also each time we are rejected by a stranger we record it in the form of a black screen, indicating a glitch our collaborative work which referenced Glitch art. Subsequently, the final picture is placed side by side by a character or person a stranger said it looks like.

 

(Screenshot taken from our instagram)

(Screenshot taken from our instagram)

Creating the project

Initially, the project took the direction of drawing a well known person, for example ‘Amos Yee’. However after a quick test run, we realised that even as art students, interpreting a facial feature like ‘long curly hair’ would take form in many different ways, and the resulting image will not look exactly like the human.

Hence, we scrapped the idea of creating a known person, and researched variations of each facial features, example ‘eyes’, ‘nose’ and ‘ears’ and have someone guess who they are at the end of the drawing.

The features colour coded:

Yellow: face shape

Red: Eyebrows

Purple: Ears

Green: Hair

Pink: Mouth

Orange: Nose

Blue: Eyes

We then put them in box and went out to Northspine NTU to conduct our project.

Reviewing the project

The point of the game is as mentioned before, the test the willingness of strangers to play and interact with other strangers, and so far, most of the people we approach are quite willing to be approached and contribute to the art.

Of course there was quite a fair bit of rejection as well, and we were intimidated by how busy everyone seemed to look, and sometimes did not want to intrude in their time. We also approached a lot of groups of people after awhile, as they seem more keen to play the game with their friends. Overall the interaction seemed to be more positive when in the presence of their friends.

We also ran into a group of sponsers at the Humanties and Social sciences building, which we had a trade with. We do their survey and they played games with us.

In Conclusion

I feel that our project is like Blast Theory in the way that we let pur audience take control of the project, and we let them interpret the instructions that we give them and react in the way that they want.