My collection

  1. [REPORT] 3 rules for winning in the post-digital era — read @forrester‘s new report, sponsored by @wildfireapp:
  2. Joe Flacco and Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom parade @WaltDisneyWorld #imgoingtodisney #ravens #SuperBowlXLVII
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Zyklon – Remembering the Pains of the Past Through Video Art

I felt Elida Schogt’ Zyklon Portrait was a painful emotional symphony. It did take a bit to realize the full magnitude of the video art work. Initially it was like a slow inevitable train crash that the rider hopes is not going to follow through. She eludes to where the story is going. She points in the dreadful direction with subtle cues.

The tragic history unfolds gradually. Elida Schogt at first uses seemingly vague references to ground breaking poisons that science had discovered in that eerily pragmatic era of innovation. The subject matter slowly shifts from curious, but disconnected (to the viewer), to personal, painful, and blunt. What in the beginning could be discounted as strange subject matter, though not horrible or sad, soon triggers feelings as intimate and personal as they are the historically catastrophic. The work is compelling, enraging, and brilliant.

The fact that the voices of the interviewees are those of the effected is powerful. These are the voices of the survivors of the brutal and inhuman genocide that is being discussed. These voices could have been silenced long ago. This fact makes viewing and listening even more sobering. Further, it was the voice of the artists mother that appears in the work, telling us about her mother who was a victim of Auschwitz. Zyklon Portrait is not just a mere story, or an artistic work that was created to appease the senses. The story is a truth. It reflects what happened to Elida Schogt’s family.

The delivery and pace of the art work, in a way is consistent with the atrocity that it address. It gradually intensifies until it is too late to turn back. Zyklon Portrait hooks you. If one were asked if they want to experience the painful story that Schogt presents, many may decline. However like history herself, the events unfold in a manor that forces the viewer to continue on until the painful account has been told. The observer has become complicit, if even only as a voyeur. Nevertheless there is a guilt that must be owned by anyone who knows how far humans can travel down the path of inhumanity, and what we are capable of justifying. There is a moral burden that comes with the knowledge itself to do something, to stand up. Never let such atrocities happen around us again. In the times of Elida Schogt’s grand parent’s the slow train crash built momentum over a long time, yet people didn’t do enough, or felt there was nothing to be done. It makes me reflect upon the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, where people were objectified in order to justify monolithic crimes again humanity.

Schogt has delivered an important and telling story that speaks to human nature. It speaks to another era, it’s social “order”, technology, business, and politics. She evokes emotion through the telling of a painful history, delivering a production of value, while not trivializing the matter through its artistic approach.

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Televisioning in the Mental

September 11, 2012

My submission for our first Media Production blog, which was a reflection after watching TV for 20 minutes with it turned off, is two fold. Firstly, I submit this short description of how it went and what came to mind. I will also post a link to a poetic audio visual media piece, produced by myself, that discusses the matter further. The process was quite interesting. I found that the television, even when turned off, propels the mind towards the creative and historic content that was once accessed through the device. I began to ponder, in the void that seems to be opened up by consciously observing the TV when it is off, upon TV shows that were once on air, about historic times, people, and events. I seemed to traverse time and space as I sat there thinking about the device we call the television. It begs to be asked, why do we call it a television. In fact it does allow for us to see and ponder things that previously would not be possible. Today we seem to take it for granted. We also take for granted that within our imagination we have an innate televisual ability. We can project ourselves in thought. Please review the following link to my poetic audio visual blog posting on youtube:

Thanks for reading, and televiewing!

Kwame NB aka Symbolik

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Strange is the New Mundane – Cable Phone Power?! Ridiculous!!!

Cable Phone Power?!  Ridiculous!!!
Well a whole lots changed since way back in the 00’s.  Wireless connectivity is a norm.  Cable companies compete with mobile phone companies, and its all about data…  But power companies seem to have Canadians(maybe Ontarians more so than other, let me know if that’s the case) Check out my short prehistoric post about the matter.

Symbolik Blogger Week 5 – CDNM212 Jan 27nd 2005

“I recently saw an interesting piece of technology. The device is called a Wireless Phone Jack Modem. The device turns a regular power outlet into a phone line. It can be used for phone conversations or for data transfer. This device is only a hundred bucks & it allows for your computer to share resources using existing infrastructure (Power plug & phone line). It has been a long time coming since these technologies have been being discussed for years. Power lines are apparently a very efficient means of transferring data, though using power plugs to connect you to the internet has not yet taken off.”

Power companies still have not made strides to deliver data.  The product that prompted my writing the preceeding can be seen as a proof of concept for the average consumer that it is, or was possible.  It is very reminiscent of the innovative works of the old inventors such as Nicholais Teslah, Bell, Imhotem…

But it seems the ship has sailed on this technology.  Today everyone you see is connected wirelessly at comparable, or at reasonable, data transfer speeds.  But it is interesting to consider the oppurtunities that could have been.  For example data transfer over power lines offered a jump start into high speed using and existing infrastructure.  Here are some links that discuss the technology.

I still find this technology very interesting and informing.  I think we can learn alot from the missed opportunity, and who knows there may still be some promise to be yeilded from data transfer over poer lines.  One lesson is that cumbersome enities such as corporation, governments, etc…, are not able to think creativly enough to drive these technologies.  Further, it is often against corporate interest to roll out new technologies that will compete with their own products and patents.  I charge DIYers to explore, tinker, and develop to suit your own needs.  Albeit, you’d better know what you’re doing if you are tinkering with power, however i feel as DIY, as it relates to technology, expands and becomes more common, and as more tools such as, and we the people will bend the expected uses of technologies to suit our needs, and not just those who want to profit off of us.

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Strange is the New Mundane – The Odd Reality Where Past is Present

So I went to look up my blog and accidentally typed blogspot instead of wordpress… What do you think happened? If you think it spat out page not found, or a bunch of uninteresting links, you are wrong.

In fact, a page was found and I found some writer talking about technology, art, poetry… Sound familiar. Could it be that this eager poetically inclined tech blogger also took courses that looked oddly similar to courses that I had taken. Judging by the course codes.

I dusted off more and more of the cob-webbs from my mind, trying to remember when… I had written these blog posts… or even started this blog I was reading. Surely enough I did remember, vaguely.

Well we are in a time where our works remain online, on the record, and on file. Just this week my sister showed me some new Facebook functionality that allows a user to mark key points in time on a timeline, and visitors can go back and skim these important key points. its all pretty amazing… and scary! Especially in years to come when we’ve long forgotten what has been posted.

Anyhow, I am going to repost some of these older blogs on this active blog. I hope they are interesting.

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Symbolik on Interactivity & Networking – Ryerson University 2011

I just recently completed one of the more awesome classes of my University experience. Don’t get me wrong, I had some really amazing classes in the past at Ryerson. Prof Slopek was the artistic shizznit! Prof Bouchard, and Dr.Pine also helped me to grow in ways that I would not have imagine at the beginning of my triumphant return to Uni life.  This particular course was a very special experience nevertheless.

You see, Prof. Alex Ball(Interactivity & Networking facilitator) allows for the energies of the present to flow and develop. She does however challenge the classes conception of reality and fact. She is also very knowledgeable. I am not just kissing butt here, my marks are already in the books. I just appreciate the style of this particular Prof’s instruction. We had the freedom to explore a range of topics that where our own interests, and to critically analyst each other’s, as well as our own positions. In class, we sat in a circle as opposed to the standard colonial row by row regiment, and we explored in a holistic way! Two thumbs up!!! Now here is my final project, a video research blog posting that speaks to the lessons learned and the projections of what the future of interactivity and networking may look like.

After pondering the wide range of topics that we covered over the course of the semester, it became apparent how interconnected and interdependent each is with the others. Knowledge and insights into the many reveal where a particular technology or movement will go!  The topics, as mentioned, were plenty.  We discussed Singularity, Artificial Intelligence, Open Source/Open Commons, Post-Humanity, Trans-Humanity, Bio-Ethics, and so much more.  Each week my perspective, and knowledge base grew.  The topic I chose to research was Augmented Reality(AR).  My views about that topic was infinity broadened through what other classmates had to offer about other topics.

Thumbs up to Alex Ball’s Interactivity & Networking course.  Good on Ryerson University New Media for allowing a space for convergence between art, science, humanities, culture, etc…  You know holistic learning and exploring!  This “post-colonial” divided world may return to a state of synthesis and harmony one day after all…  Lets see what we can do to help it along people!


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Another Dimension – Analyzing ‘Ryan’ (NFB Animated Documentary)

How could one most effectively tell the tragic story of a rising Canadian visual artist whose world had been painfully mangled beyond repair? Chris Landreth, a visual artist himself, may have crafted the most appropriate, and stylistic, representation of it’s time. His approach in ‘Ryan’, an unorthodoxed animated documentary, is both an innovative and expressive reflection on the content being covered, the life experiences and emotions of Ryan Larkin. The film cleverly uses audio footage that was compiled from interviews that Landreth recorded with his iconic progenitor. The audio was accompanied by a psychodelic style of 3D animation that could only be married by an artist of a kin spirit, one who could not only appreciate Larkin’s contributions to animation, but who could also sythesize his own style into a telling and revealing narrative.

Intitially, one may not recognize that ‘Ryan’ is in fact a documentary. Its mind bending animations seem more remenicent of a sci-fi flick than a somber and soberly themed documentary. The documentary depicts psychodelic glimspes into the gradual self destruction of Ryan Larkin. This phsychorealistic depiction is the key to the genious of this production. The animated technique twists what one may expect from a documentary piece by infusing carefully delivered representations of biography, emotion, and depictions of personal trauma.

Landreth, being the first figure represented in the film sets the tone in a telling dialogue where he justifies his damaged physical form, outlining traumas that had mangled his inner state. The fact that Landreth chose to reflect the inner state of the characters through their physical representation is what makes ‘Ryan’ monumental. Landreth, for example, as he is introduced in a dingy men’s room, is depicted as a man with a gaping hole in his head, revealing a webby mass of energy, flowers, and who knows what else, where his brain should be. Landreth points out parts of his scarred body. He explains some of the painful events and revelations that propelled him from being a comon human to a broken disfigured version of who he once was.

In the introduction to the documentary Landreth points to scars on his face and explains that these particular injuries were as a result of his, “… unbridled romantic world view [being] perminently shattered”. He then goes on to point out the further disfugurement suffered when, as he puts it, “[He] underwent a catastrophic loss of [the] ability to organize [his] finances in any meaningful way”. The bodily damages were pronounced and visible, furthermore, they looked surreal and unbelieveable. The injuries where an artists depiction of emotions that could not be expresses in a photorealistic mannor. Landreth then describes the torment caused by an earlier trauma, he says, “before all that, I took on a paralyzing, self defeating, all pervading dread of personnal failure”. The imagery accompanying this statement was stifling. Multicolored tenticles snapped around the man’s face, leaving him blind and helpless.

The introduction gave a perfect context to the psychorealistic approach that Landreth chose to tell this story. The set the stage and established a framework for the symbolic representations used in the documentary. This may be even more important since many features of this work seem far from standard to the genre. Upon completing his short, but necessary rant, Landreth strolls across a dreary cafeteria to introduce us to Ryan Larkin. In passing the vewer sees a number of other malfromed characters, mangled by life itself, however the only other character that we meet in the film is Ryan Larkin himself. Compared to Landreth, and most of the other secondary cast, Ryan Larkin is barely palpable. Only shreds of his physical are depicted, Landreth is carfully showing the sever inner traumas that Larkin endures. Larkin’s arms are like vines that wearily protrude from his thin torso. His head has barely enough substance to keep his hair from falling to the ground. His face being only about one third of that of Landreth was clearly consumed by is experience, and his life choices. This is unique phsychorealistic documentary style is in fact what makes ‘Ryan’ a classic in its genre.

It may be thought that an animated documentary may be a contradiction, being that many feel only photorealism can capture the essance of our history. ‘Ryan’ has shattered that myth. The film shows us that it it is sometimes possible to depict more using animation, and the surreal, than with photorealistic methods. How might one otherwise for example travel back in time, as was done in ‘Ryan’, to a time long passed, and place sometimes conflicting truths, forgotten histories, and hidden lessons out on display for the viewer to consider in a palatable way. Chris Landreth’s answer was Psychorealism. He, instead of only recounting stories of the past in a dry historical framework, Landreth pulls the spectator into the past, were Larkin is once again an upcomming Canadian prodigy. Chris Landreth revives that marvelous personnality that pulses through Larkin’s original works. Insteaded of only speaking of the feelings that torment our scarred characters, Landreth shows us in a highly stylized manor that is carefully infused with meaning.

Furthermore, Landreth has loaded ‘Ryan’ with a potent historical facts that may be largly lost in any other format. It the Phsychorealistic techniques employed seem to be a most appropriate way for an artist to document the artists own history. The film, in very tangible terms, highlighs a very important portion of the history Canadian animation. It catapults the viewer between times in the late 1960s, when hand drawn phsycho-realism had just been born, and a time when 3D modelling can depict the spirit of these times passed in a an incredible tribute to the psychorealistic style, that invokes the soul of the original inspiration. We are introduced some of Ryan Larkin’s triumphs and accomplishments, as Larkin describes the experience of devoloping ground breaking, award winning, animations for the Canadian National Film Borad. We also see his work represented in the documentary, and are introduced to some of the people Ryan Larkin held close to him. The documentary equally powerfully depicts some of the demons that have haunted Ryan larkin, some of which that continue to. Unlike with the photo-realistic techniques that we are used to in the documentary format, we can physically gage the change in the character’s form in realation to the trauma’s that are deipicted. We can also hear a loving chant, and see the arms periodically reaching out towards Ryan Larkin from his alcoholic beverage during the interview. All of this punctuates the facts, and does not detract from its authenticity as a documentary.

Although, animated documentaries have since been produced. They are by no means the norm. Of those that exist, such as ‘The Story of Stuff’, or ‘Waking Life’, very few use as dramatic and profound phsychorealistic technique as ‘Ryan’. Fewer yet use 3D modeling as their format. Maybe even more impressive is that this documentary is an artistic work that sheds light on the life, frustrations, and triumphs of an artist. Landreth has created art that advances, to some degree promotes, and teaches us about art. It would not be surprising if in the future, young artist continue his legacy and tell the story of art in this most compelling and approppriate format. Maybe one day someone will recount the life of Chris Landreth using cutting edge animation techniques of the day, while paying tribute to what he has done to redefine the documentary.

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