INITIAL REFLECTIVE TASK
- How has data and technology affected your perception of the reality in terms of identity, truth, ambition, dreams and working life?
- How do you feel about the data you create being harvested and sold on to third party companies?
- Do you think you should be able to sell the data you generate yourself?
Overall, our experiences of reality have all been commodified. Companies profit off biographies which have already begun to write themselves pre-birth, post-pregnancy test purchase. Whilst I honestly have no real problem with my data being sold to third party companies, I do believe there is a need for complete transparency of the exchange (there's probably a special place in hell for exploitative internet giants). Once online, "we're the product not the customer" which is so much of the internet is "free" to users (Bruce Schneier). Which is weird to think about in regards to collaborative filtering, and how my past actions impact future me and my community. Like, how different would I be if I just completely ignored Amazon's recommendations?
- Is the internet a public, private or semi-public?
- Do you have privacy online?
Because I don't think anyone can argue for a concrete or objective definition of what is "private" or "public", I'd probably call the internet a semi-public space.
- How different would you and your experience of reality be if the internet did not exist?
Contrary to popular baby boomer beliefs (double plosive and triple onomatopoeia used for enhanced effect), I really don't think the internet has harmed my ability to be a productive member of society or connect with the world around me. Without the internet, I would certainly know a lot less about the world around me because all information would be a lot harder to access. There is nothing endearing or "authentic" about having to trek to a library to access basic information about the world. The internet's great for many things, e.g. the internet may be the only place which offers some people a voice. Liu Cixin's 1989 "critical utopian" sci-fi novel remains banned and unpublished to this day, circulating only on the internet. The internet has allowed dissidents to gather mass followings, and expose censorial loopholes. Ai Wei Wei has previously called his blog "the modern drawing", and praised its potential as platform for activism. I think this is a pretty nice way of showing the internet's ability to record generational zeitgeists and concerns (thus easing the work of future historians, and benefiting future us). Sure there are many dark and scary corners of the web, but that's really not the fault of the internet's existing in and of itself.
Last night I listened to a podcast on genetically engineered CRISPR babies in China. The presenters seemed adamant that that this was a challenge towards the definition of a "human being", but I slightly disagree. The definition of what a human being actually has always been elusive - and to define a human by the purity of its DNA sequencing is borderline dystopian, if you ask me. I think being human may be much less about biology and aesthetics than it is to do with psyche. Which makes me think about how the internet and technology has changed what it means to be human in a far greater, yet subtler way, and separated us from our primitive, animal selves. It constantly effects how we think, how we move, and how we speak/ how we interact with each other.
Today I visited the Anni Albers exhibition at the Tate Modern. I'm interested in exploring the relationship between tactile patterns and data, as well as how my being "datafied" has effected my sense of touch. Have I become "out of touch" with reality in more ways than physical?
Today I decided to go to Chiharu Shiota's exhibition,'Me Elsewhere', as it seemed visually very similar to the work that inspired me at the Anni Albers exhbition. It was quite interesting observing how people chose to interact with the piece, e.g. there was a line of people waiting to take pictures in the center of the installation to then upload them onto Instagram. Watching people go on their phones as they walked around this specific exhibition really highlighted for me the fact that technology and social media allow us to be in two places (or more) at once. And that's really cool, though at times morally ambiguous.
Today I went to KX to borrow some books. The one I am finding most interesting so far is N.Katherine Hailes' 'How We Became Post-Human', who defines post-humanism as firstly a view that "privileges informational pattern over material instantiation, so that embodiment in a biological substrate is seen as an accident of history rather than an inevitability of life". This makes me think about how on the internet, we exist without physical form, we do not need to meet someone in person for them to know what we look like - when our birthday is, our likes and dislikes, etc. and - drawing on from my last workflow post - how being human is no longer about the biological self.
I then made a cardboard weaving loom. I've decided that I am going to use the colour blue as it the colour most favoured by social media sites, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
This morning I had a tutorial with my tutor. We talked about the book I was reading, 'How We Became Post-Human' by N.Katherine Hailes, and she suggested that I research into trans-humanism. I spent the rest of the afternoon weaving.
1. I should download an app which tracks my social media hours, and convert these hours into time spent weaving in order to create a visual representation of my digital footprint.
2.Perhaps I create mono prints using to texture of my weaving in order to explore its surface texture. Since weaving is basically a series of lines and loops, I might be able to create some random binary code through this printing process and convert it into words. (Edit: I tried this out and it would be an extremely long and tedious process, considering the fact that the binary code for the word "hello" alone is 0100100001000101010011000100110001001111. Since I am already invested in a 40 hour weaving, I would rather not attempt this idea.)
I've realised that I haven't considered how the shape of my weaving will effect the audience's interpretation. I simply chose a random piece of cardboard to make a weaving loom out of. However, I think that having its long rectangular shape will emulate the shape of most smartphones, and it could be interpreted as a physical representation of a very long social media feed. Letting it drape naturally onto a wall or leave it on the floor in a pile will, in contrast, also give it quite an organic form - as if it were some living organism. On the other hand I could also display my weaving on a wall, as a substitute for a screen of some sort. But I think that would be quite a boring and typical way of trying to make an explicit link between my weaving and technology. I may project a video of myself weaving onto the weaving instead, creating some sort of meta dialogue about repetitive performance on the internet; underling the amount of data I produce on a daily basis.
some key words floating around my head regarding this project have been: productivity, meaning, time, existence, body movements, gestures, tactile sensitivity, ownership, privacy, possession, obsession, and control.
Today I experimented with projecting onto my weaving. To do this, I gathered some footage of me weaving using different PhotoBooth filters and tried to see which one I liked best. I thought the negative filter was the most successful as it created a monotone projection, and blended into the weaving naturally. I also noticed that I could utilise the corners of walls to distort my body movements. I think focusing on my repetitive hand gestures when weaving is a good parallel to our repetitive hand gestures when scrolling on our phones/ using technology in general.
22.01.2019 - CRIT
Today's crit was very successful in three ways:
- it communicated what I wanted it to
- it caught people's attention
- people agreed that was both visually and conceptually interesting
My classmates agreed that the piece was very interesting visually, and that it immediately grabs the attention of the audience mainly due to its scale, but also because of the relationship between the video projection and the material. Due to the grid like texture of the weaving, the projection looked as if it was pixelated. This was enhanced by my use of a negative colouring filter on the video. Someone also said that it reminded them on Annlee. Someone also liked how I let the weaving fall to the floor naturally. From far away, the projection onto the weaving texture could also be mistaken as some sort of binary code. I was worried that the audience wouldn't see how the piece was linked to technology straight away, but it seems I was wrong. However, someone suggested that this link could have been made even more explicit if I had displayed my phone next to the my sculpture, on the wall, showing my a graph with details of my weekly social media activity.
After school, I experimented with displaying my work in a different way. I hung it so that there was a gap between the wall and the weaving, distorting the image projection. In my opinion, I think that this made it look quite holographic and really added to the piece. I angled the projection so that my face and torso would remain inside the weaving, whilst my weaving movements would move freely - creating a dialogue about possession, control and mental psyche whilst online. I also experimented with adding music, and feel like Daft Punk's 'Technologic' goes quite well, although I'm not sure how to justify using one specific song over another when it comes to art, i.e. I'm still unsure about how to use audio effectively in my work.