My collection

  1. [REPORT] 3 rules for winning in the post-digital era — read @forrester‘s new report, sponsored by @wildfireapp: goo.gl/eAidy
  2. Joe Flacco and Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom parade @WaltDisneyWorld #imgoingtodisney #ravens #SuperBowlXLVII http://pic.twitter.com/V4QbVUBI
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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.

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/bpl.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_line_communication

http://cictr.ee.psu.edu/CICTRnews/Electricity-forum.htm

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 http://www.instructables.com/, and http://makezine.com/ 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.
http://youtu.be/RzuQnMNC_b0

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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Symbolik’s “The 4th Dimension” Augmented Reality Hip Hop Scavenger Hunt Project

The development of The 4th Dimension was a challenging and enlightening endeavour.  From concept creation, to redesign, my goal was clear.  I wanted to design an engaging non linear augmented reality experience.  My path however was riddled with challenges that would make for an interesting journey.  Not only did the implementation evolve into something that I could not have foreseen.  I encountered technical, and structural, challenges that kept me on my toes.  In the process I was reminded that divine intervention, also known as found materials, and hard work will always save the day.  I was also introduced to a new friend, Snap Dragon AR, a tool that enables augmented interaction, at a relatively low cost in blood.  This tool allowed for me to focus on the consistency and fullness of the work.  I was able to create the desired effect, while leveraging both from my experience and my repertoire.

On the onset, I knew that I wanted to delve deeper into the world of augmented reality (AR).  I also knew that I had a firm base upon which to build using my poetic, as well as audio-visual, background as my compass and foundation.  At first I planned to use a mobile device in order to process the AR and facilitate the augmentation of the poetic audio-visual narrative.  I intended to use an android device running customized software to add media to the given scene.  Two weeks from the deadline, while reviewing the target date, and project requirements with my Professor, we realized a drastic and swift act of artistic prowess was in order.

I was introduced to snap dragon AR.  This software allows for AR markers to be associated with custom media.  One of the only downsides of the software is that it is Mac only.  Fortunately RyersonUniversitywas able to provide me with a Snap Dragon enabled machine and I was off.  Firstly, I need to explore how the software works.  I did initially find it glitchy when I was testing out the program.  The obvious, or most intuitive, way that one would connect a marker with media did not work.  I went to the instruction manual to resolve the matter.  Sure enough there was a secondary method.  Instead of connecting the media through Snap Dragon’s user interface, I was told that I could rename the materials and drop them into the Snap DragonARroot folder.  This workaround worked like a charm.  Connecting my Sony Eye webcam was for more painless than the aforementioned process.  I simply downloaded universal drivers to the proper location on the Mac and I was good to go.  I also found in researching Snap Dragon AR that it allows for the project implementer to record what the AR software is picking up through the camera, and it places the AR material in place of the marker in the recording.  In other words the implementer gets a video copy of what took place.  This would serve me well for documentation of The 4th Dimension.

Now that I had a functional test I was in a good position.  That took some of the pressure off.  I could now focus on more of the creative and aesthetic aspects of the project.  In fact the testing phase helped propel the creative.  I used existing audio-visual, and poetic, materials as a place holder while testing.  I realized during this phase that I was on to something.  I decided that as well as designing a custom rhyme and accompanying video material, I would select appropriate materials from my repertoire to integrate into The 4th Dimension.  I dug into my vaults and chose materials with strong poetic, and visual appeal.  The final draft pick came down to the following materials, “I Manifest”, “Choose Your Own Dementia”, “Dream Sequence”, and “Happy Earth Day”, which supported the self titled “The 4th Dimension”.

I recorded the title track, “The 4th Dimension” at one of my studios (Shef`s Kitchen), after describing the idea to the owner and engineer, Shef.  We then listened to a number of his beats and agreed upon the one that was used.  Although I had already written lyrics that were intended to speak to a range of areas of study within Ryerson University, due to the reworking of project, using Snap Dragon AR and given our timeline, I decided to rewrite the lyrics into one verse that makes mention to many faculties and disciplines of study within the school.  It took an evening to write and record.  The next day we filmed the supporting video material.  We also booked RCC “Studio C” in order to add green screen footage to the mix.  This video recording session took place on another date.  The green screen material captured was used in the video documentation of this project.

Also on the video production side of the project was the editing and retooling of the audio-visual materials.  This entailed selecting an adequate segment of the original video, editing it, and adding the cues and clues that would drive the user through the scavenger hunt.  It was relatively simple.  Script the words to drive the user.  Add them to the video in Premier CS4, re export the footage, and them convert them to MOV format, the only video format that Snap Dragon AR recognizes.  The process may not have been tremendously complex.  However, it took trial and error to get it just right.  It was also very time consuming.  One must ALWAYS pay for the desired goal.  In this case the currency was hours from one’s life.  Scripting writing, editing, file conversion and rendering take time.

How the physical structure and aesthetic came about also reflects an interesting series of events.  Weeks before my redesign of The 4th Dimension I was visiting an old friend (a genius artist if I might add).  I saw the coolest thing I’d seen in a while sitting in the corner.  It may have been on a pile of garbage between radioactive materials, and other unidentified substances, that may friend was intending to jettison into space at some point, if my memory serves me correctly.  Sitting there at my friend Gee’s apartment was a giant iPhone.  It stood about 4.5 feet talk and was a great replication of the 3G series of iPhone.  Gee works at a popular phone company.  That’s where he acquired the structure.  He had harvested the screen out of the device and was about to throw away the remaining carcass.  I could not let this happen.  I through the giant shell into the back my car and took it home.

The next day I walk over to my studio space and saw the huge mass.  It was sitting there doing absolutely nothing.  It could do nothing, I was realizing all at once.  All it could do was take up space.  I was duped!  I was regretting my decision to bring the huge iPhone home.  Little did I know, this useless, though slick and realistic, iPhone would bind my final project together into a cohesive presence.

About a week later, after the project development meeting that redirected, and salvaged, The 4th Dimension project.  I realized that my salvaged material was right on theme.  The iPhone is both a symbol of the media of our day, and more importantly, it is amongst the most popular ways of enabling augmented reality.  I didn’t have huge pile of garbage after all.  I was storing a huge, cumbersome, and clunky pile of conceptual gold.  The giant iPhone would turn out to define the project, but not with out its own toll.

The giant phone fell into my lap with relative easy.  But, as I have learned in the past, if it seems too easy, then it probably is.  There were a few issues that needed to be resolved.  Upon measuring the dimensions of the massive iPhone, I realized it wasn’t massive enough for the LCD screen that I needed to mount in it.  I had to figure out how to add depth to the structure, while maintaining the integrity and aesthetic appeal of the casing.  Physical structure
I scavenged materials, and bought wood pegs that I would cut at an appropriate length to add the necessary depth.  After a day and a full night of measuring, cutting, and drilling, I was happy with the look.  The giant iPhone was equipped with the mounts that would support the LCD, and it maintained its slick aesthetic… and Symbolik was pleased.

*Development footage(side ways unfortunately do to conversion issue- will fix at later date)

Another important side of the project design was the signage which needed to be consistent, clean, and informative.  iPhone markersThe signage’s primary goal was to let the user know what to do while tying the entire project aesthetic together.  The iPhone would be my anchor.  Not only is it a culturally familiar character, it is also very firmly associated with augmented reality.  I found images online of the iconic device and used Photoshop to place the necessary augmented realty markers inside the screen area of the iPhone graphic.  I also added instructions to the layout and a few aesthetic touches for conceptual consistency.  Poster sized signs to inform the users were also created to enrich and simplify the experience.

Stepping through the phases of implementation of The 4th Dimension was challenging yet enriching.  The project reinforced the importance of flexibility, discourse, and research.  If it were not for a flexible approach I may not have been able to redefine the project road map, and significantly change the implementation, while maintaining the core goals of the exercise, and still hit our target date.  I also attribute the ability to repurpose and recycle to flexibility.  The implementation was flexible enough to incorporate what we had access to in order to craft the desired experience.  Also, had it not been for drawing from the advice of my Professor I would not have been informed of the option to use Snap Dragon AR to achieve the goal.  It enabled me to focus on the broader concept, and to craft the experience, as opposed to reinventing tools that were already available.  Lastly, it took a good deal of research in order to pull this project off successfully.  I used Premiere and Photoshop skills that I had amassed over the years, but I also added my newly acquired knowledge of Snap Dragon AR to the arsenal.  I researched in order to develop lyrical, and conceptual materials, and to trouble shoot in order to successfully complete the work.  I was pleased with the results when the production was complete.  I was eager to show it in the 3rd year Ryerson University new media exhibit.  I was even more pleased once I heard feedback from those who had experienced The 4th Dimension.

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Fusion Reviewed – A Response to Ryerson University’s Third Year Exhibit

This year’s Ryerson University third year new media exhibit, Fusion, was an amazing mixture of interests and skill sets. It featured a range of artistic styles that made for a unique and profound impact upon its visitors. Artists produced sound pieces, video installations, sculptures, electronic pieces, and every combination of the aforementioned.

Walking through each of the three rooms that housed the event was like stepping into an entirely new world all to itself. One room was dominated by sonically driven audio visual art. It featured tactile, and interactive works that spoke to a number of poignant societal issues, including sexuality, the environment, human compulsion, as well as exploring new ways of human interaction with machines, as well as with other humans. The room thundered with sound when some of the pieces were at their climax. Though each room, including that one, was sprinkled with just the right amount of variety to make for an interesting and compelling experience, this area resonated with a forward thinking personality that is indicative of new media artistry.

Another room was dimly lit, and contained somber pieces that questioned freedom, and beckoned the visitor to ponder death, pollution, and other serious, but very real topics. Each of these gloomy issues covered, however, seemed to somehow sprout hope through these works. The discussion being delivered through the creative, and inspired, works, was a conversion of what may be seen as negative into something else. The work exist because someone, namely the artist, cares about the topic, and wants to make an impact upon how we think about these issues. Both through the works themselves, and the spirit of the artists, who stood right by their art seemed to uplift the mood of the darkly lit space. As with each of the exhibit areas, in this room the visitor was free to speak with the artist about the work, the artists inspirations, and the underlining messages. It becomes apparent that this is one of the nuances of Fusion that makes it special, as well as unforgettable. It is very personal and grounded.

In yet another room, there were magical, and equally diverse works that also spoke to the personalities of the artists who designed them. There was a retrofitted, Xbox Kennect mofied turntable, a video enabled globe, multiple-user generated colour splashing software, an ecologically beneficial bicycle that tells the cycler how much they are helping the environment through biking, and much more.

The corridor that connected the pieces was home to equally outstanding material such as the Obama Keyboard which allows for the user to reconstruct US President Barrack Obama’s words using a keyboard that has his words dissected and spread out one one per key. It was amazing to see how people chose to construct sentences using the given words. Again, a very unique and creative work that is characteristic of the interactive nature of new media. Not far from that work was the Chat Lounge. A work that contained no software. No wires. No screen’s. It was the antitheses of what one may perceive to be new media, but there it was in this exhibit. The piece symbolized the push back against technology that exists in society. In that light, a new media exhibit is the perfect place for such a work, and it added a perspective that would be missed had it not been there.

The Fusion exhibit was a wonderful range of artistry. It was thought provoking and creative, while maintaining a very personal feel. Walking between the works of art, and between the spaces that housed the works was often to step between extremes, and to converse with those who care deeply about issues that one may not have even considered. Through their creative discourse artists highlight these topics and bring them to the forefront of our minds, to consider in knew ways, and to potentially alter how we think and what choices we make. The exhibit is a fresh look at a variety of ways we think as a society, and it puts Ryerson University’s new media talents in the lime light.

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Influencing the 4th Dimension – Contextualization Response

My 2011 final project “4th Dimension” is both an amalgimation of a number of my interests, and a natural evolution of my life journey. I have chosen to explore narrative driven augmented reality. There are a number of artists whose work has inspired, informed, and guided my area of interest. Some of these influences’, upon me being more traditional uses of media, such as Claude Lanzmann. While others, David Rokeby to name one, have put forth work that uses new media as a narrative device that furthers popular, and sometimes not so popular, discourse. Still others use media that today may be hard to sell as new, such as Janet Cardiff, yet her appraoch is both relevant and visionary. Drawing from these collective influences, as well as the Professors that introduced them to me, I see new paths and contects that may be forged. I intent to use media of the day, emmerging and more traditional, in an innovative and unique way in order to highlight possibilities of tomorrow, while lending a voice to much needed discussion. Poetry, the narrative, and the audio-visual can form a perfect synthesis in order to provoke thought, and chage our world for the better.

Using new media techniques, David Rokeby enables a space to tell its own story. I find this interesting, not only does his work tell a common but often untold tale. In particular Rokeby’s video installations, give a voice to that which would otherwise be mute. Machine for Taking Time” (2001-2004), for example, in the Oaville gardens allows for the space to narrate its own history. This process gives life to the otherwise inatimate, while beautifying the location. David Rokeby uses evolved new media techniques to give new perspectiv. I am inspired by the work of Rokeby as I am also interested in enabling a space to tell its unique story using emmerging technologies. I am also interested in creating practical artworks that can be repurposed and resituated. Rokeby’s Machine for Taking Time” did find itself reimplemented in 2007. My work “Fourth Dimension” will be site specific, but adaptable to different locations and scenarios. Each implementation will however be unique and original.Gathering” 2004 is yet another video installation by Rokey that rerepresents visual material in a revolutionary way. In this work visual materials are processed and represented with new context. Although this is of great interest to me, it it’s the blurring of the line between audience and art that draws parallels to my work. Another example of a Rokeby work that is inspiring is Taken” (Beijing 2002). Again visual materials are creatively presented while speaking to the true carateristics of the location. I also find the practical nature ofd the work impressive. Data that is collected in any of the aforementioned works can be repurposed and used to gain furether understanding of the place and how people interact and behave within the space. I am also inspired by the practical element of the Audio Diaries. A participant moving through the piece can gain new perspective on a location. It is also notable that the works can be implimented with incredible diversity. It can be manifest as a factual narrative or as a fictional account. One thing that remains constant is that Cardiff draws the participant into a location specific narrative that tears down the wall between art and observer.

David Rokeby’s work:
http://homepage.mac.com/davidrokeby/installations.html

Janet Cardiff uses a more tradional media. However, she uses a nonetradional approach to her audio visual compositions. She actively develops site specific narratives that push the boundaries or audio visual story telling. In her work. In her series Audio Walks Cardiff delivers a narratives to observers who physically move through spaces in order to put the pieces of the story together. I find this inspiring, and more than just novel. The boundries of involvement between the observer and the art work are shifted. I will use Augment Reality in a way that also hazes the boundaries between observer and the work. Her material can be reimplemented and given new context that is unique to both location and content. In essence her general concept is a medium that allows for a variety of implementations. The range of themes is aparant in some of the titles of her works, while they maintain comon threads. They are narratives that often send the observer to another place, or to another time, and give new context to the location. Cardiff’s first Audio Walk, “Forest Walk” (1991) set the tone for the series. It was the prototype of an inreguing new way to enjoy site specific sonic experience. The participant is guided a series of locations where the narrative is continued. The work does in relation to her other works emphasize the range of content and technoques that the series can accommodate. In Bathroom Stories” (1991) Cardiff experiments with layering audio that speaks to the specific location. In this case it is the bathroom. The narrative travels to different locations and times but is anchored in the fact that the locations are all bathrooms. Her technique of layering and connecting time and space in her compositions are remenicent of emmerging AR technology, where prerecorded data can give a location new context. Cardiff speaks to a phenomina that takes place upon participating in this type of work. A sort of sureal sensation is promoted through the participant observing the past in the present moment. In Ghost Machine” (2005)Janet Cardiff moves the participant through a theater and her story evolves. I see this work as relevent and informative to 4thDimension project. It evolves how we participate in art though her work uses traditional tools in its implementation.

Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller Website:
http://www.cardiffmiller.com/artworks/walks/index.html

Another influence upon my work is French film maker Claude Lanzman, whose seminal works including “Shoah” (1985) speak to collective memory and the importance of recorded history. Where as, Lanzmann’s notable work speaks to the Jewish holocaust, my work is a new media framework that allows for varied discourse. I am inspired by the film makers acts of perpetuating history within the social conscience. Lanzmann’s works are not site specific, yet I do see his content as enabling to site specific new media composition. For example, how may the a viewer be affected by watching a powerful depiction of Nazi Germany, or the extermination camps, were they to be watching the film in the very place that the history took place. It would seem Cardiff’s displacement phenomenon would certainly have a profound impact in this case. In this way history is revived, and a participant can experience a more tactile an informed perspective. By connecting emerging technologies, namely AR, with the testimonies of those who experienced and interacted with a given space, a more profound impact may be achieved. Again in Tsahal” (1970)Lanzmann infuses a world that would be little known into the public conscience. In this work Lanzmann interviews Isreali soldiers and allows for them to reveal their own truths. This approach of reviving a time gels well with the site specific narrative that I am designing.

Wiki that describes Shoah:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoah_(film)

Eduardo Kac adds another perspective to this discussion when he says:

“I see telepresence art as a way to produce an open and engaging experience that manifests the cultural changes brought about by remote control, remote vision, telekinesis, and real-time exchange of audiovisual information.”

In effect the mobile device that enables augmented reality also may act as a remote. It connects the art and the observer and tears down the barriers that traditionally exist between the art work and the viewer. In the case of 4th Dimension the narrative projects the participant into another time, in a way that is reminiscent of the work of Janet Cardiff. AR presents a suitable medium for enabling the evolution of audio visual art. David Rokeby’s work exemplifies some of the tools that visual artist may explore in this age of new media. He also speaks to the social content that may be explored. I do feel however that the work of Claude Lanzmann speaks powerfully to the non fictional historic narrative device. All of these artists, and many more have informed and inspired the direction and evolution of the 4th Dimension.


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