Though not mentioned in the list of the Exhibitions, I was fascinated by the video footage report of the Short cruise which took place near Balboa, Panama on the 30th of April 2015. The expedition was a site survey to gather data about the region, and was done conducted in an effort to better understand biodiversity in the Benthic communities in the Abyssal plain.
As someone who grew up reading about the adventures of the Trieste and its journey into the Marianas trench, and the journey of Alvin and Jason Jr into the wreck of the Titanic. I was interested in seeing the presented footage, and was yet again reminded about how difficult it can be to document things in the ocean, due to the unpredictability of the weather.
The exhibition feels more like a documentation of the scientific expedition organised by Geomar to document the Ecocide of the region, no doubt caused by human actions. However, I felt that the video as an art piece feels a little more obscurantist and clinical in parts, due to the limited information that is presented.
The chief scientist, Pedro Martinez Arbizu has been involved in other projects, studying the deep-sea mining of polymetallic nodules (Aka manganese, which is used with aluminium for corrosion resistance, and as a catalyst) in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone in the pacific, which I found to be interesting, notably because I’ve read about deep sea mining as a kid, but only as a footnote in an extremely old textbook (1970) about the vision of the future. At around the period, the UN had begun to develop international treaties that did away with an older version of Internatinal sea laws in favor of defining rights and responsibilities of countries in their use of the oceans.
Our project is a Mukbang broadcast. During the broadcast, we all ask ourselves if we’ve ever done something. Another aspect we’ve incorporated into this performance was the use of chroma keying, so as to add an additional dimension into our performance, and not only separate our broadcast laterally, but to show a sense of depth. The theme of the broadcast isn’t necessarily about the Mukbang itself, but is more about ice-breaking, and finding out about ourselves. The hope is that this very intimate moment would break the distances between ourselves.
In short, the project could be summed up as 70% preparation and 30% execution, and even then there were a whole set of unforeseen circumstances that had to be fixed on the spot. The first issue was with the alignment of the perspective. Isaac, Anam and I were able to set the perspective on the foreground elements just fine, but things started to change as we decided on setting it up on isometric, rather than have it converge on a vanishing point. By the time we began setting up the background, the tables were no longer aligned. Due to the dreaded bandwidth latency, adjusting the perspective on any of the 4 broadcasts was difficult. We eventually settled with a collage-styled broadcast, but ran into several more issues with the alignment of table props. Initially, we were able to assemble all of the chroma key screens. However, when the broadcast came up, we had to immediately get into position, as OBS was known to cut intermittently. As a result, we were unable to set the color settings right, and some of the broadcasters ended up becoming keyed out.
To solve the issue of bandwidth latency, we added an additional Skype chat so as to communicate with one another.
Mirei was involved in setting up the broadcast on my end with the help of her laptop. We decided to leave the sound off so as to remove any unintentional feedback loop with the Skype chat. She was also responsible with helping to setup both screens for the chroma keying. However, due to the fact that we were limited in our supplies, and due to the fact that the fabric costs $30 per 4 square yards, we settled with whatever material we had. The issue with using orange for chroma keying rather is that orange slightly matches the skin tone of a person.
Isaac was involved in putting everything together in OBS, and although the broadcast was lagging in parts, and had several broadcast interruptions, he was able to keep the broadcast from being cut off, which was a common occurrence on my end.
Anam was involved with setting up his end of the broadcast, and set up the Skype call for all of us. He was also involved in other logistical aspects of the production. Anywhere from setting up the space and camera orientation.
On my end, I was involved in getting the greensuit made, and did a few tests on the suit to see if the software was able to key myself right. It was crucial that i got the measurements correct as any loose part of the clothing would cast a shadow on my suit and affect the overall chroma keying. Removing it in post-production would not be an option due to the live nature of the feed. I initially thought of making the inside of the suit show another video, but decided against it due to memory usage.
All in all, we’ve spent a total of 2 and a half hours setting up everything, and although the final broadcast was riddled with unexpected issues, there are a few things that I’ve learnt from this experience. It is rather difficult to plan something as complicated as a broadcast. Rather, the approach to go would be to have an improvisational approach, and see where the waves take us. We were inspired by the works of Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, but personally, I had been inspired by the hole in space exhibition that was created in 1980. Some of the ways used to describe the artwork was intriguing in and of itself, with some calling it an “interactive sculpture”, “Satellite arts” and even an “interactive portal”. Though the emotions felt in the exhibit that day were of surprise, intrigue and connection, ours was filled with tension, inquisitiveness (due to the quiz) and vigilance (as we were not only participants in the broadcast, but were monitoring it ourselves)
I think the underlying thing about all of our work is: it has never been about human-to-machine interaction, or machine-to-machine interaction. It’s really been looking at: “what can people who are separated by distance do together through technology?”
The other thing that I took out of this project was the fact that although we were looking directly at a greenscreen, and wasn’t able to see the end result (we could only see our own feed without the chroma key effect being applied), we were actively acting as though we were all a part of the same space, and never for a second treated the medium as if it were a barrier. We intentionally left the final touch of the performance in the hands of the audience, who are able to witness the whole exhibit and has effectively completed the narrative of the work.
Anam took a stroll near his place of residence, which was at Pioneer. On the other hand, I decided to take a trip to the Central Business District at Raffles Place as I typically enjoy strolling around the city lights. The initial idea was to have one of us draped, and use footage of that person in third person view. However, since the regulations was a little strict, we dropped the third person camera idea and did something more conventional, which was to juxtapose the city with the residential area, and try to match the perspective and movements together. For safety purposes, I made some directional changes to avoid the oncoming traffic. The end result were two distinctly different pathways.
Towards the midway point of the broadcasting, I tried as much as possible to match the perspective and overall vanishing point, and attempted some panning and tilting to give the illusion of continuing lines. There were some “serendipitous synchronicity” towards the end of the broadcasting, where both our streams led us to a nearby river. I initially tried to match the perspective of the railing, and eventually we got both skylines to match. The end result was a general sense of ambient architecture, and what differentiates the architectural landmarks between an urban space and residential space, even though the buildings are almost of the same height. One key difference was the lack of reflected lights in the residential space, though this may also be explained by the distance between the river and the background structures.
There were a couple of tests which were made during Thursday’s broadcast. Firstly, I decided to test if I was able to set the Chroma Key. That worked, so I decided to test if I was able to do two Chroma Keys simultaneously. Surprisingly, It did. While this was happening, I also decided to change the contrast and color/ saturation levels to see if it improved the keying, and I’ve come to the conclusion that although it worked to a degree, it would’ve been much better if I went to a room with better flat lighting. The test was conducted in a darker room, and as a result there was a lot of grain being picked up by the already low resolution laptop webcam. Another way to fix this would be to borrow the school’s webcam, which wouldn’t be too far out of the realm of possibility.
I also attempted to remove the blue off the projector screen behind me, adding a Gif clip of clouds. In that layer itself, I attempted to saturate the background before keying out the blue skies. Once that worked, I decided to superimpose another image of myself to see if it would affect the latency, which to my knowledge it hasn’t. I also tested the chroma key on my own shirt, which was orange in color. The only thing left to test would be to capture the broadcast from Facebook. Since no direct line of communication and live interaction is necessary (due to the participants eating), the broadcast wouldn’t be a big issue.
I also had a green suit made, which i will be wearing on the day of the broadcast. Another set of orange fabric will be brought forward in the event that I need to key something out separately. That would prove to be a little complicated as the color is close to skin tone.
Second life is basically a simulated reality web game in which players take the form of avatars and interact with one another online.
In my honest opinion, this game is more of a gimmick to me, and I do not understand for the life of me how this web application was able to survive, given the fact that this application emerged around the same time many other popular MMORPGs like Ultima Online, Ragnarok and Final fantasy had emerged, and isn’t entirely a novelty by the time it was released in 2003. I suppose the idea of a online interactions and simulations would be interesting, though the lack of an occlusion pass, normal mapping and displacement mapping pass, a triple specularity system and a raytracing/ global illumination calculation kind of destroys the immersion of the game, and before anyone of those coolies start whining about how not everyone is rich, I’d like to remind them that consumer grade Graphics processing units like the GTX 660 is already affordable, and comparable to consoles.
Obviously, the main gripe I had with the graphics was with the low resolution textures which is in dire need of an upgrade. I feel that at this point, players are more inclined to play more fantastical MMO games, since second life’s chat features and emotes (in game pre-made character animations) is something that is already available with other triple A MMO games. In fact, the Inverse kinematics system and motion captured animations are more realistic compared to second life, taking in more nuanced micro-expressions and gestures. This is not meant to bash on the game itself, but an analysis of how the game could evolve in today’s ever evolving digital consumer market.
I have a few ideas about how the game/ social interaction could offset the uncanny valley effect a little and appeal to a larger audience with a smaller budget. For starters, there is a consumer grade online motion capture solution called Mixamo. In fact, there is already a library of pre-made animations that users can incorporate into a 3d virtual environment. For high resolution textures on the cheap, photogrammetry can create 3d models through an array of photographs taken at a 360 degree angle. Once these features become more streamlined and cheaper, online modding can catch up with professional developers, adding modified content.
As for second front however, they are more involved in performance art, with kool aid mascots and anime characters joining in the lobby to interact with one another. The chat was a chaos of activity, with people from all walks of life putting all thoughts into words. In my opinion, I think almost all of the front’s “activities” are actually skits that are edited together, rather than actual heists. There is an alternative modding site by the name of Garry’s mod that does skits much better.
Simply put, people enter a virtual setting mainly as a form of escapism, rather than to match realism. Yet, second life’s main selling point, which was the “realism”, was undermined by the lack of graphical fidelity.
Another feature, which was the currency system, could be traded for real money. As a result, the server has been a hotbed of numerous unethical and shady dealings. In fact, an task force from Germany had been set up specifically to track down people who deal with child pornography. There was another instance in which people have been using the game mechanics against minors in order forms. An online game by the name of “counter strike: Global Offensive” even has an RNG (random number generation) reward system in the form of a roulette machine. Users can pay more in order to stand a better chance of winning better weapon modifications or skins. Due to a legal loophole, developers were able to get away with selling weapon skins, saying that it isn’t equivalent to real money, even though the items themselves can be traded in for cash. Things become even shadier when ProSyndicate and TmarTn claimed to be winning in third party roulette sites, only to be exposed as the developers of the roulette sites.
Unfortunately, we’ve become a generation of special snowflakes, with helicopter parents and social justice warrior types conflating hi jinks with sexual harassment. They’ve asserted that women are under threat from “virtual rape”due to the fact that some of the game has violent material. I would suggest to those people to actually play the games and find out that the game mechanics blatantly doesn’t encourage players from actively going after female non-playable characters. In games like GTA 5, killing civilians is actually discouraged, as it gains you a wanted level, and in Hitman, your character is penalized for incurring collateral damage. There is also a feature to change lobbies, mute or ban teammates if they become rowdy.
Anyone who played those games would immediately understand the nuance in game mechanics, but since these are progressives we’re talking about, they’ve decided to make it their mission to ruin it for everyone else, mis-informing the public about sites such as these. Critics such as Anita Sarkeesian, Sam Maggs and Zoey quinn cite examples like Grand Theft Auto V and Saints row, even though they have been debunked thoroughly. I foresee that virtual reality sites and second-front groups such as these ones will probably exist on the fringe, until legislation is rewritten to make cyber-bullying laws less vague and open to interpretation.
Addendum: On thoughts about the actual work itself, I feel that there isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said. There is definitely something interesting about the pokemon skit that was shown in class on Thursday as a parallel commentary on our obsession on acquisition. We as a species seem to be caught up so much on the virtual space that we appear to look awkward or silly in real life. Case in point: the people who were involved in accidents while playing Pokemon:go due to their inability to be aware of their surroundings.
Howard Rheingold and Christiane Paul to commit a parodied staging of a bank hold-up of the Linden treasury.
From what i can tell from the Grand theft avatar performance, it is merely a skit, since no one would want to risk investing thousands of dollars in property development, only to have someone steal from them in a raid. Raids and hacks are common on the digital front so no one is going to take the extra effort to render a 3D model of a bank and program a feature in which people can effectively steal your money.
Their key feature is openness: openness and plurality of visions and perspectives, quite blatant in this interview (where almost each one of them decided to give his/her answer to the same question); they are open about a wide range of interventions, from reenactment to improvisation to code performing
As to Thursday’s question on why people find violence fascinating, I can sum it up easily with one word: Catharsis. I believe that no matter what, people should be allowed to express their own beliefs or be allowed expressions of any other sort, as long as their not committing crimes in the process.The openness and plurality of visions (aka diversity in thought) is something that I can jive with. I also enjoy the idea of playing the role of a bank robber, if only to see where that fantasy would take us. It could also serve as a cautionary tale, to show people just how difficult it is, even on an online gaming match. It is also a good starting point to showcase the inner workings of an artists’ mind in a three dimensional space.
“I’m trying to prove the point that no matter what you look like, you’re still just as interesting as people on the TV or in the magazines.”
During the interview with David Letterman, Jenny brought up something interesting: the fact that there is a whole lot of things to watch on television. The fact that users still tune in to watch someone else’s apartment tells us a little bit more about our voyeuristic tendencies, and our curiosity to consume media of this sort, even though there isn’t really anything inherently interesting on an average day.
From a personal perspective, there isn’t a lot that I do outside of my computer when I am at home, so if i were to broadcast myself, i would tend to do it via OBS or Facebook live.
This experiment also reminded me of a similar project that i saw a couple of years ago, in which a man would take a portrait photographs of himself over a period of 6 years. I dabbled in this idea myself, and even tried out some self portrait stop motion animation just to see how effective it was. I preferred this project as most of the photographs exist without context, something that I’d much rather do in comparison to streaming my house. In fact, Jennifer’s early streams were simply black and white images uploaded in 3 minute increments.
I also believe that teaching internet etiquette and responsible internet use should be included as part of the curriculum as there have been instances of people getting into trouble online for something that was taken out of context. Pewdiepie had recently gotten into trouble for using the N word on one of his live streams. Although it was obvious that the word was uttered in the heat of the moment, the court of public opinion was unwilling to read between the lines, and was quick to grab the proverbial pitchfork. (here is his public apology).
There was another incident involving a Youtuber/ streamer by the username DSPgaming (there’s an encyclopedia dramatica page dedicated to this man). Basically, Phillip Burnell is a let’s player who streams himself playing video games. Unfortunately, during one of his streams, he somehow forgot to switch his camera off after the show, and proceeded to, shall we say, shine his saber. This act was caught on the stream, leading to his ridicule. Incidents like these are permanently on the public domain (Thanks to sites like the wayback machine), and although some like Phil are simply ridiculed, there are others who has had their reputations affected (Pewdiepie fiverr incident) and others who had been arrested (Amos Yee)
The rules of engagement in this scenario would be to play it cool and just “own it ” so to speak . The amazing atheist a.k.a. TJ kirk did it right by plainly admitting his transgressions when it was leaked online. However, Phillip on the other hand, did the exact opposite thing and tried to deny it awkwardly, leading to more ridicule.
In the case of Jennifer Ringley, she ran into a different set of problems. It all began when she had volunteered to do a striptease on the stream. This continued until she was hacked and sent death threats, telling her to “show more”. Thankfully, she was able to take control of the situation and laugh it off. I’m not sure if this generation of children will be as thick-skinned as she was.
In conclusion, I believe that in this age of moral indignation, self-righteousness and virtue signalling, streamers and other online personalities would have to be extra careful about what they say online, especially for streamers and those hosting podcasts, as the latter instances are almost always impromptu and unrehearsed.
This session of the shared broadcasting worked out much better than in OSS, so I was able to do a little bit more. However, I noticed that in both this instance and in the first ever Facebook broadcast, I was unable to speak coherently without having the urge and compulsion to check if the broadcast was working, or if I was broadcasting anything that would be shady. I also refrained from talking a little as my mind kept switching back to the real world, and I was getting a little more conscious about how other people would perceive me if they saw me laughing to myself and talking to an inanimate object. (they wouldn’t know the context of the broadcast)
Upon returning back to school, I met back up with Anam, and noticed that there were some sound feedback looping, but the thing that intrigued me more was the idea of arranging both camera phones back to back and showing a front and back view of the scene as a panorama. Another idea would be to use a couple of mirrors to create a kaleidoscope effect. ( Facebook live might have a couple of filters which may allow this to happen.)
The last idea would be to blindfold someone with a makeshift “VR headset ” and broadcast the person in third person view. The idea is to have someone be disconnected from his own self.
For this to work, a third camera phone would be needed. This camera, which would be mounted on the person’s VR headset would not be broadcasting anything, but would be watching someone else’s broadcast. Both broadcasters would then be walking around with their camera, constantly changing their vantage points so as to disorientate the user. A lot of preparation would be needed for this to work.
Material wise, all I would need are a couple of cardboard pieces, some duct tape, and an elastic band.
Thie headset wouldn’t technically be an actual VR headset as it doesn’t use a pair of lenses, and it wouldn’t need to, since virtual reality headsets warp the imagery for immersion purposes, and are used primarily to see things in a first person perspective.
Of all the items presented in the exhibit, the one that intrigued me the most, in concept was the avatar machine exhibit by Marc Owens. Although I wasn’t able to try the rig myself. I was able to understand how it functions.
Avatar machine is basically a video camera attached to the back of the user. The user is blindfolded, with his only way of navigating through the streets is by camera footage. The idea of this exhibition was to give this individual a third person point of view in real life and see how he/she would navigate.
As someone who has played lots of video games, including third person combat games such as grand theft auto, Arkham Asylum and The Witcher 2, I find it fascinating that such an exhibition exists where you get to play these fantasies out for real. I can only imagine such an experience to be disorienting as you no longer feel like you’re in total control. In fact, one might even develop an out of body experience
Though simple in concept, there are a few tricks when navigating via the avatar machine. First of all, the footage may be slightly delayed due to latency, making the user unsure as to whether they have accomplished a task. Secondly, they may be able to see themselves, but would be have to take note of the fact that the rig is still behind a user. I found footage of someone standing in the middle of the highway with the device. If he had turned his head a little, one of the passing vehicles would have slammed into it, tripping the user into oncoming traffic.
In the end, however, the device looks like fun, and I would think about doing something like that in the considerable future if I have the time.
In the past few posts, I’ve gone at great lengths to discuss about the technicalities of open broadcasting. This time, however, I shall instead talk about the psychological components of open broadcasting and interactions.
When live streaming on Facebook for the first time, I was initially hesitant to even start as I’m the kind of person that does not enjoy putting up endless vlog-styled content for the sake of exposure. I’ve never liked it when someone else does it, and I never really enjoyed partaking in it. As a result, most of my posts have been silent, focusing instead of my surroundings.
When it came to communicating with others, the result is slightly less relaxed. I’ve mentioned before that micro-expressions aren’t well captured online, be it because of the camera resolution, or due to bandwidth latency. I’ve learnt to restrain myself from talking too much as I didn’t want to accidentally interrupt the speaker from the other side and truncate or distort the conversation. In real time, any interruptions would be handled fine, but in the third space, both parties are constantly having to ask whether they can hear each other. I found myself speaking in a very rigid and plain manner to make sure the words came through. This phenomena was echoed in the hole in space art exhibition, where many of the users were simplifying their words in order to avoid any potential confusion. Others, who weren’t used to the communication medium found themselves repeatedly yelling “what?” and “can you hear me?”, only to have their peers reply “yes, yes, yes” over and over.
In another example, my teammates and I had communication issues during the cross stream broadcast assignment. Issac, who has the phone, would go around the campus asking people what their personal idols were, and I would be asked via Facebook to include images of them on a virtual collage. However, as time passed, the latency would start to compound, leading him to throw in more orders without me being able to acknowledge in time. The end result would be a one sided dialogue.
More interestingly, however, was something that had happened by accident. While recording the stream, I left my earphones on the table, unaware that the broadcast was playing music through Youtube and getting picked up by OBS. This led to an audio feedback loop which increased in chaos. This reminded me of the BOLD3RRR performance art which was done by Jon Cates back in 2012. I’m a newbie when it comes to music, but if I’m ever to compose music, I would start through procedural generation or trip-hop style sampling.
The world’s longest drunk sentence is exactly as stated on the tin. To be honest, i don’t really have much to say about the entire article, save a portion of it which grew in size exponentially. I’m also not really sure what the point of it was considering that psychography has been a well established phenomena for a long period of time. However, this article had reminded me about a few other things, some of which i shall talk about here.
A few years ago, I came upon a writer by the name of Robert shields, who was a former minister. Robert was afflicted with Hypergraphia, a mental disorder that causes the individual to constantly write, type or sculpt, and In 20 years, he had been fervently typing every five minutes, taking short naps every few hours. (think of Desmond Hume from the TV show Lost ). Unfortunately, his passed away from a stroke had and explicitly stated in his will not to reveal all 25 million words of his diary until 2057.
Another prolific writer was a janitor by the name of Henry Darger, who had also passed away silently. Landowners who went in to clear his room were shocked to find 25,000 pages of what would later be referred to as “The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What Is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion” . Before passing away, he made it clear to his peers to burn every page of his work in the event of his death. Fortunately, and unfortunately, his request was not honored, and was, for the most part put in display in New York. The common theme in both cases was the fact that both of them never intended to have their private musings be put up in a public forum, sparking the ethics of intrusively psychoanalyzing human behavior. In this exhibition, however, the opposite is true, and instead of having one single mind spouting everything in his or her mind, we have people from all works of life, spouting their inner thoughts anonymously. The problem I see here is that if the names aren’t cataloged, then it’s really hard to get a general sense of the overall human zeitgeist, seeing as to how insignificant the sample size was.
“Jesus Fucking Christ GET OFF MY ASS—JUST GET OFF MY ASS and for god’s sake USE YOUR FUCKING BLINKERS WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE A TURN WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THING I AM A FUCKING MIND READER Jesus people USE YOUR FUCKING BLINKERS that’s all I have to say people suck life sucks people suck life sucks but technology sucks more why must I take my life into my own hands–won’t somebody help me “
I feel that without any frame of reference or an infograph of any sort, It’ll be pretty hard to visualize everything and come to any conclusion. The best i was able to do was to search individual words and see if there were any professional thespians planning anything nefarious.
Maybe if possible, servers would be able to extrapolate the origin of the post and to represent all of the data in the form of a real-time typographical map. Another way of working around the information would be to write a program to recognize speech repetition and map human behavior.