I found several pieces that I liked: ChineseWhispers by Saurabh Datta, Poetry in Motion by St Marie φ Walker, Augenblick by Manasse Pinsuwan and René Henrich, Zimoun's work, and Electrostatic Bell Choir by Darsha Hewitt. I'll choose electrostatic bell choir, by Hewitt to dicussi more about. The Electrostatic Bell Choir is an electromechanical sound installation that plays with the static electricity emitted from discarded CRT television monitors. I really love the atmosphere of the installation it brings to mind a kind of gravesite or shrine that has come alive. Now that I think about it, this is not really a physical computing art piece, in the sense that no new physical computing elements were really created for the completion of this art work (pre-existing circuitry was used). Anyways, I think that Hewitt's recycling of the televisions is a successful re-imagination of the CRT TV's obsolete circuitry.

The Electrostatic Bell Choir (2012-2013) Darsha Hewitt



I thought tenet 13 was interesting: "In the design of the interface, not only skills but also emotions and affections are deployed. How are emotions produced and circulated in interfaces?" Here are a couple of the tenet's propositions/assignments:

  1. Never, never smile when photographed. Stop the happy flow. Even better: pretend to take pictures but instead take videos, and don't tell the person. You'll see how smiles fade away.
  2. Draw your own emoticons
  3. Kiss the screen
  4. From time to time, choose some messages you want to comunicate, and avoid sending an email, post, sms, message and try to do it in real life to see how it feels.
  5. Share your fears in the social networks. Then share your neckline (sorry feminists :S , I don't find a male correlate).

I think the propositions for this tenet are, more than trying to trace how emotions flow, become mediated by, are imbued by, embedded in (etc.) by interfaces, they provide a set of counter-choreographies to the way we "normally" interact with interfaces (or the idea of interfaces). By "normally" I mean that these propositions already carry a preconceived view of our affective relationship with (digital/not-digital) interfaces (the cold screen (inauthentic) VS. the warm cheek (authentic), the text message V. a face-to-face conversation), and seek to repair those affective relationship (see the call to: "Kiss the screen"). Some of the propositions also recognize the agency we have in determining some aspect of how we circulate emotions through interfaces--like drawing your own emoticons. Generally, this tenet is showing how both the materiality and temporality of the person and the interface is implicated in the way emotions are circulated. I also want to say that proposition 5  (above) is lazy and there is no need to replicate sexist language to make a point (we ALL already know what "showing your neckline" does, we see it all the time, and for longer than social networks have ever existed). While I can see that these could be fun experiments to do,  I think that some of these propositions are just amateur sociological experiments (riddled with biases).


References/Examples: For this technical looking-outwards I inspected: createWriter(), video pixels, continuous lines, sound effect, loadJSON(), saveStrings(), and letter.

Most of the references and examples I encountered were all interesting and useful (since I am still learning what is possible in p5js, let alone what kind of interaction is possible with and within the computer). So, I found the loadJSON() function more useful than interesting--in the sense that I now know that I can load data (for my interests, textual data) into p5js using this function (I learnt how to receive data from a JSON file previously in my coding for digital humanities class). The example on how to how to write text (saveStrings() to a file is also useful in tandem with the loadJason function.

Libraries: Looked at: p5.speech, Vida (p5js + motion detection), p5.geolocation, ml5.js (got a peek last week working with Golan on a custom classifier),  p5js +ASCII art, and p5.riso.

All of the libraries I looked at were interesting! But I thought that the p5.riso library was especially intriguing since it is a library designed to eventually generate a physical object (a risograph print)--I have seen this used a few times to convert shader-generated graphics into a static poster. I looked at friendly-words  and hello-magenta on I think friendly-words would be a useful if I need a good bank of words to draw from. Hello-magenta is interesting  because it helps you make music online (might be cool to use for collaborative music composition).


Hello ! So, I wasn't able to implement my idea yet for Wednesday, but I want to reflect a bit on what I was trying to make and the hurdles I encountered along the way:

For this project I was thinking about the following things:

  • the gaze of the camera and its relationship to power when it is paired with motion tracking and visual classification software (how are bodies, through visual software and hardware simplified or amplified in data?)
  • the relationship between the gaze of the camera and the gaze of the subject it is viewing (especially in facial tracking) and the tension of power between the two

Thinking of that I want to (and will) create a program that only allows us to see/read something (i.e. an image, text) "clearly" (not blurry) if we squint. We squint when something we see is too bright, and too small (or when we need corrective lenses)--squinting makes us aware of the limits of our eyes when confronted with certain aspects of the material world.

Another limit I came across: the face tracking templates couldn't see the difference between the resting state of my eyes and when they were squinting (mathematically, it was tricky to define a reliable threshold delineating when my eyes (let alone anyone's eyes) were squinting)--I kind of like to think that the face tracker was "squinting"  at my "squinting" eyes.

I then worked with Golan to make a custom classifier that would differentiate between my "resting face" and my "squinting face," but the implementation of this technique went over my head.

I will try to get this up and working with some additional help.

Some thoughts on how this interaction between camera, motion tracking and the subject could exist in the world at large:

I think it would be interesting to see this idea implemented as a method to see images online, especially graphic images. What if "sensitive" images could only be seen "clearly" (in their full resolution) if we squinted at them. The effort of squinting (a lot of facial muscles are involved) reminds us that seeing is an active, bodily function--we aren't just observers, we are witnesses.


















Initially I wanted to make a clock disguised as flies, it would have worked like this: the screen would be filled with flies buzzing about, the moment the mouse interacts with that group of flies, they begin to die (stop moving), until they shape the number to tell the time. I then realized this was much to complicated for me to do at my skill level (well, maybe there is actually a simple way to do it, but I can't conceive of it). So, I simplified the idea by changing how they present the current hour (24-hour cycle) and minute: upon being interacted with (with a fly-swatter mouse-click), all the living flies disappear at once with a few dead (still) ones remaining. Each column of dead flies represents one digit of either the hour or the minute (separated by red circles)-think of the flies as tally marks.

This clock is definitely not representing a different time-scale (which I would have liked), nor is it really providing much interaction for the user (you aren't actually swatting down a fly (not animated), you are simply clicking with a cursor that has a fly-swatter image attached to it). Despite this, I think it is kind of a humorous piece: I went with the fly theme because I associate them with the sense of time I feel when I am bored (i.e. just staring at a fly bumping up against a window in the summertime). I kind of like to imagine this clock in my studio: it is a clock to kill time between rushing around to do "important things."

I will add some images of my sketches ASAP, I don't have them on my as I write this post.






clox-Looking Outwards-03 


Positions of the Unknown is an interactive installation by Quadrature, a Berlin-based artist duo focusing their artistic research on data and physical experiments. The installation is composed of 52 small machines constantly moving to follow the path of 52 corresponding satellites orbiting Earth, whose movement has been tracked, but whose purpose or identity is still unknown (or redacted). The data for these satellites' movement has been catalogued by amateurs coming out of the "Operation Moonwatch" years, during which the government had to train civilians to detect artificial satellites due to the lack of infrastructure to surveille outer space.

While the interaction between the machines and the movement of the unknown satellites is poetic, I think the installation could have given more context to the moving machines (besides a wall text). Basically, I wish the installation referenced or represented more the human work that was done to track the movement of these satellites.



I think my interests vacillate between first word and last word art (plus this status is fundamentally unstable because of the passage of time). New technologies change everything from how we understand our physical bodies, to how we perceive time and space. Here is an example of how technology shapes culture and culture shapes technology:

In 1983 John Updike composed, on his Wang word-processor (an early word processor) a peculiar poem titled, INVALID.KEYSTROKE, which demonstrates his particular encounter with this new writing technology:








At the time, Updike was using an early word-processor, which, like many others at the time, denoted and displayed spaces between words or characters with a floating period. While this formatting convention can be traced back to an older one known as interpunct, which was used for inter-word separation in Latin script, it was unfamiliar enough for Updike to compel him to deploy it both as a formal and symbolic feature of his poem. Regarding the poem's formal qualities, Kirschenbaum observes, "what we Updike substituting an approximation of a special formatting code with an ordinary punctuation mark, a gesture that speaks at once to his sensitivity toward the unique characteristics of the medium he is working in as well as the limits of his personal know-how" (Track Changes, 85).

Quite frankly, I am not sure if I really care about conflating a thing's importance with how well it stands the test of time. New technology, as it was may go obsolete in 30 year's time but the ideas that it embodied most likely will be held within the technology that comes after--experimentation and elaboration are in a feedback loop!
















  1. First I observed the components of the original piece:
    1. uniform black lines distributed across a grid at their midpoint
    2. lines appear to rotate randomly around their midpoint
    3. lines are not always drawn
    4. the gaps in the line grid cluster
  2. Then I tried to break down each observation into steps to recreate this piece
    1. Made a looping function that defines the coordinates of the midpoints for each line
    2. Made a class for drawing a line
    3. Specified the attributes of that line making class:
      1. the line's midpoint
      2. the line's angle (randomly generated)
      3. the line's (ax,ay) and (bx,by) coordinates (calculated using angle and midpoint)
    4. Made a threshold for drawing a line (or not) using Perlin noise function in the for loop that draws the line by calling the line object
      1. I multiplied the Perlin noise value by 0.01 to amplify it
      2. I then chose a threshold that dictates whether a line should be drawn
    5. Finally I used the mousePressed function to refresh the canvas after a click




Question 1A.

This is a plaster cast of an ant hill. Ants are known to have a complex social system that bestows on each ant a certain simple task. On an individual level, it can be difficult to observe how their actions contribute to the colony's complicated organizing principles (i.e. to make underground tunnels, or to organize themselves into a water repellant lattice). I think the effective complexity of an ant colony lies somewhere between fractals/L-systems and Genetic systems/A-life.

 Question 1B.

I am currently working on training a neural network on a corpus of Susan Sontag's (a personal literary 'hero' of mine) writing to create a simple tool that aids my understanding of This idea arose not as a postmodern statement against the empire of "The Author" nor did it come from a desire to make a tool that produces a unique textual artifact. I am making this tool to feel 'closer' to Sontag, to somehow tease out answers to questions I have about her thoughts, her writing practice, in the form of generating new "content" from what she left behind. At the same time, I know that what this tool generates encounters the bowls of oatmeal problem. While the text I have been able to generate is different each time, I am not sure why it is so, or what to 'ask' of the tool to make it generate something more specific--basically, the feedback I get from my neural network is limited, so I must rely on my own knowledge of Sontag's work to guide my tool. This is not really an issue for me since I want this tool to be mediated by a human. Anyways, I am still working on some of the issues around generative text and would love to learn more about the discussions


02--Looking Outwards:

Neural Network Generated Zines (2019), by Everest Pipkin

In this project Everest made two zines (printed and digitized) using an "intensive upscaling algorithm" that reinscribed details in highly compressed thumbnails. Essentially, this project employs a powerful neural network (if I understood it correctly) to add more detail to an image whose format was intentionally designed to be a reduced (but visually effective) version of the original image. I'm interested in how this work touches on Hito Steyerl's discussion of the politics of 'poor images'. Steyerl argues in Defense of the Poor Image that there is a hierarchy of images based on their resolution, and that resolution has been "fetishized as if its lack amounted to the castration of the author."

We could simplify, then, and say that the upscaling algorithm is part of the redemptive 'agenda' of the empire of resolution. Yet, Everest's project complicates that assumption by showing us the limits of such algorithms. While we know that the 'poor images' in the zine have gone through a rigorous process of enrichment, they aren't particularly remarkable--they still fail as (en)riched images. Yet, what we are given in the zine is a kind of unheroic visual document of these two systems trying to compromise their difference--and we are asked to pay attention to that. In this project we already see tension between disorder (the reality of compressed, low res images) and order (the desire for high res, rich images). But with regards to how order and disorder function in this work effective complexity, I see this work hovering around simple-disordered.