My thoughts.

NYFW and The Sartorialist

NYFW and The Sartorialist.

Brilliant pics from The Satorialist. Great to see the fashion of the world to inspire you for your clothswap #notdeadthreads


ARTS3091 Week 11 – Fragmentation, Flexibility, Ubiquity: Apps and the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) has long been in peoples minds as the new frontier of human living and technological living. Long has it been used in movies (if you’ve ever wondered how Ironman throws neon pieces of metal around in the air?), it has also been desired to help humans in all areas of life.

The potential for elements of AI, AR and the IoT to enable humans to function more ‘effectively’ is not such a wild idea. However, where does this leave the romantic idea of the human-being?! Long has the idea of technology taking over the human body and what they represent been a disastrous idea banded around. The fear of humans losing their autonomy to a man-made robot is quite a scary reality however what if the app acknowledged your senses in order to act in accordance with your life?

The idea of “radical atoms” that Bratton speaks about, where physical objects are powered and generated by computational media is a concept being worked on at MIT. Here, broad ranging Cloud technology is being developed to accommodate the physical world to amalgamate with that of the technological. For example, with combining simple household elements with the body, humans would be able to ‘sync’ their life with their technology enabling barriers to be broken in order to live a more succinct and productive life, such as what Tony Stark is able to do in his basement. The basis for this lies in the fact that an machine can be connected to focused intelligence on an app linking to particular sensory, sensing, storing, calculative or transmissive affordance. In doing so, the technology will limit addressing the human and demanding their interference in the communication flow.

In a more structural terms, Malcolm McCullough has written of the Ambient Commons where around us, a world of potential interactions exist yet we take them for granted daily. He raises the idea that the potential is there to use our “extended mind” in order to connect with the world around us and experience functions currently beyond our realm of technology. If this were to become a technological reality, the bounds of interacts humans would be able to experience would be seemingly endless.

ARTS3091 Week 10 – Affect & Media

This video highlights the key concepts of how social interaction has a critical interplay with the idea of affect within society.

ARTS3091 Week 9 – Micropolitics: new communities

The idea of collaboration between communities is a positive notion. The ability for a society to be able to work in conjunction with his or her neighbours for either parties benefit is something that must be seriously considered by anyone in society, of any social tier.

Howard Rheingold outlined in his lecture on ‘new way collaborations’ that different societies understand “fairness” to be something extremely different. It is the social institutions within those societies which in turn affect our perception as to what values are.

However, what if we had the ability to manufacture our own understanding and we created new frames for which to see the world?

The idea of Open Modular Hardware is somewhat on the way to enabling society as a whole to manufacture elements for a specific purpose however which can be augmented to enable an alternative action. This idea of standardising elements of society in turn enables much greater social and economic growth for the individual. Here, a collective economy may be able to exist in order to enable interaction between individuals to gain what they seek at the lowest “cost” (in economical and social sense).

As a society, standardisation moves people away from the traditional realms of Macropolitics and immerses us in a state where Micropolitics takes precedence. The internet has enabled what Douglas Rushkoff believes that the Evolution will be Socialized where peer-to-peer networking will aim to break down the restrictions of traditional Internet structures and take on a new meaning. In turn, this gives the individuals more freedom and power to rule themselves however still within the mediated landscape of the Internet.

Examples such as the Transition Movement have enabled people to come together through individual and communal behaviour. Here, networking is essential to the initiative where humans crowd-source resources and trade them for sustainable actions. I don’t truly believe that this works as a central nucleus of power and order is needed in order for these elements to function smoothly.

I believe this is a critical issue in ideas raise in Openness, a necessary revolution into a smarter world written by Michel Bauwens. He writes of the benefits of open sourcing of ideas and how they’re attempting to shape ‘the way for fundamental reorganization into a smarter world’. This may be true to an extent however there will constantly be diversification within human beings involved in said projects. Human beings suffer from the biggest killer of all human beings; Human Nature. This will always bring diversification on the one hand which is great and integral to society but it can result in it’s undoing. Micropolitics is good on a scale where they’re isn’t too many personalities needed, otherwise it becomes a free-for-all.

If controlled by a central source and each operation is targeted to a specific group for their own projects, I believe this can work. People power still carries weight and if harnessed correctly, Micropolitics can have a positive effect on society.

ARTS3091 Week 8 – The Fate of the State

I didn’t overly engage with this weeks readings however they did clarify some of the issues that are becoming much more prevalent in society with modern media. The idea that society can be dictated by a certain amount of computers is a daunting thought for anyone, however the readings suggest a counter to this ever-growing presence.

I acknowledge the idea that Morozov expels in “utility computing” where society is given tools which to live their life through in the form of computers. However with the ever increasing presence of ‘forces’ online, staunch monitoring is needed on what abilities these forces have over human’s online lives. Spiros Simitis puts this best where he says, “when privacy is dismantled, opportunity of maintaining a style of life fades”. I believe this statement to be in true in that due to the accessibility within the internet, we as humans are vulnerable to losing a sense of identity in the first place, let alone after the government and technology companies implement their own interests.

The reading I found most interesting and relevant to the idea of the state controlling individuals came in a digital form (video) about what was once not in the slightest way digital; education. Ken Robinson’s video on societies manufacturing of children into institutionalised entities without true individualism and the ability to pursue what they truly desire outlines state control first-hand. The detrimental effects which “divergent thinking” has on society therefore came much earlier than the internet and it’s overarching ideas of control.

However, it has now progressed to a level where issues such as online astro turfing, give rise to the ability for deception and unwarranted criticism in a modern age on a much greater scale than ever before. However, all is not lost!

Crowd-sourcing technology and reactionary measures are being created to highlight the tyrannous nature of the changing state. In Finland for example, society has created the concept of crowd-sourcing ideas for legislative amendments in parliament. Or the idea coined in Sousveillance as a response to Surveillance, where members of society ‘film’ the negative behaviour of those in positions of power in order to bring about justice.

Possibilities are here. Technology is here. It is just a matter of time and effort until society truly masters a way of countering the state.

ARTS3091 Wk 7 – Framing & vectors.

This video shows Lakoff speaking about the way in which the human mind ‘understands’ and ‘interprets’ the world around us through ‘framing’. Each frame confronts the individual, and society for that matter with a scenario and consequentially a set of rules or ideas which join the certain frame. He believes these are the ‘frames’ which enable us to truly gauge what the world around us is and this is integral to our existence as human beings.

This video is somewhat menial in the context of this subject and task however it outlines the ‘ways’ cognitive patterns of communication are being taken advantage of by society. This video is a first-hand look into how these technologies are being implemented into society. The video raises the idea of whether or not this can be linked to “progressive” thought patterns and the was media can reflect a political parties desire to appear more “modern” to potential voters.

The final video is a fascinating insight into how the brain functions and how we’re influenced/directed to think about certain issues. This video bases itself on the study of neural patterns and which side of the brain, be it the left or right, will determine which ‘frame’ you the individual implement in your action. This video has links with Lakoff’s ideas on brain functionality and narrows it down to what is ‘really’ occuring in s

USA. The Masters of sport.

With the NCAA Basketball competition coming to a conclusion this week and the NCAA Mens Ice Hockey finale just around the corner, it is a fantastic time to be a sports fan. To conclude all this, The Masters golf is streaming live from Augusta National for the next three suspenseful days.

While the NCAA and the PGA may be worlds apart in terms of roles and responsibilities, they are in fact playing to each and every one of us. They enable what we all love. Sport.

Watching the Ice Hockey NCAA semi-final today between number-one-ranked Minnesota University and unranked North Dakota University, I couldn’t help but be taken back by the quality of the game. To watch 12 young men battle it out until 0.6 seconds remained on the clock was something special (the last two minutes saw 11 on the rink with the victorious Minnesota having one man in the bin). The tenacity and determination showed by each team was something to be admired.

However more encouraging was the fact that following the NCAA Basketball final on Tuesday morning (Australian time), US College sport surged ahead to it’s next big moment. It didn’t let up on the pain and the glory, on the tears of jubilation and those of despair. It kept firing on all cylinders. Did I mention the Masters was on this weekend? 

To have such a consecutive array of sports being experienced across the nation brings the community together. It encourages children, it encourages schools and most of all it encourages society. It teaches us despair and also the essence of hard work and dedication. I’m sure we’ll see a few holes of despair over the coming days at Augusta and if Phil Mickelson’s form is anything to go by we are in for some jubilation too. 

Enjoy the weekend of sports wherever in the world you are.

What a great time to be a sports fan.

ARTS3091 Week 6 – Blog Code, Media and Data: A complex relationship

It is obvious today that we as a society are surrounded by code. To a larger extent, it is obvious we are surrounded by a serious amount of data. It is everywhere. It is within everything. In our bodies, speech, general forms of communication, various actions, even our sleep. We are constantly conducting a series of movements or actions to convey certain data to certain people or things. These movements are believed by many in this weeks reading to be consequential of algorithms.

As McKenzie puts it, algorithms both naturalize orders and animate certain movements. To quote him he says an algorithm “…it naturalizes who does what to whom by subsuming existing patterns and orderings of cognition, communication and movement.” Therefore, we see that all elements of life are reliant on an intricate series of data and data algorithms. On the surface this may seem to far-fetched beyond belief, however think of the brain as a computer board. There are constant movements, the fastest we could imagine navigating their way around. Simplifying this, think of buying a coffee. We construct our actions from leaving the car to getting back in through a series of smaller steps; grab the change, jeez that girls cute, “long black thanks”, (Do I want milk though?), my ankle hurts, Yes “I will have a flat white thanks, sorry!”, all the way back to manipulating your way into the car without spilling a drop of boiling milk from the new baristas trial shift. This series of movements was based on a series of deep-seeded algorithms, much we do unconsciously yet have such a profound effect on our everyday life.

Even though these actions are subconscious, there is becoming a growing culture of ‘tracking’ our actions (The Data Driven Life, NY Times) where we see first hand how data exists in our life day by day. Much like Tracking a City’s Emissions, the NYT article explores how our incessant thirst to explore our own psychology has garnered an ever-increasing amount of technology where we observe neurological patterns. The break down of the barrier between the technological and the humane is a real thing and we’re faced with the possibility of it ceasing to exist entirely. Who knows, maybe technology will see my health doesn’t need a coffee. Green tea thanks!

ARTS3091 Week 5 – Interaction and Virtual

This week’s readings explored the concept of virtual and its current abilities. Though different in application, virtual reality and augmented reality developed a new realm of existence where humans were able to interact on a seemingly natural level, with an ‘unnatural’ (for lack of a better word) element.

The computer-simulated environment of virtual reality was the catalyst for artificial reality with Myron Kruger developing the idea of a space outside the space we exist daily. AR is amazing! It was created as a live, copy view of a physical real-world environment where its elements were augmented by computer generated sensory inputs such as sound or graphics. The result: a mediated reality. It becomes a place where information becomes interactive and digitally manipulable.

Lauren Drell’s article showed this in real-life, modern day applications. From Urban Exploration to Museum, each example she used to outline the capabilities of the new technology showed how we now have the ability to interact on a higher level with information and data. This is obviously explored in both Havens and Eltham’s articles where they highlight negative overflows of the increase in these technologies. However, Eltham’s article requires closer attention. He writes about the non-skilled to reasonably-skilled workforce being replaced with “long-tailing”; Robots taking their jobs. I understand clearly that on one hand, these people lose their jobs, however on the other these people are now able to develop skills to work in different areas and create.

Dourish’s article really opened the ideas up for how the development of technology has enabled us far greater reach as humans, within the interactive world of computers. Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a key way that expanding the context which we use our power with computers is exploring our possible interactions with them. Here, we have the capabilities of graphical interaction, characterized by its use of space within the computer screen. I found Dourish’s idea of tangible computing, social computing and embodied interaction to be unbelievably relevant in today’s world. The fact that these exist within the computer (Or are they?) enables a new world of interactions.

ARTS3091 Wk 4 – Media, minds and bodies: a brief history of the main models of these and the real consequences of these models.

This week’s content focused on the mind and the ability the mind has in its interactions with different medias it encounters. The readings cover a broad range of media from studies of neural pathways, to external abilities of the brain, to video analysis of how each individual perceives differing situations.

Much of the readings this week focused on the idea of experience. Experience was investigated to show how each individual is just that, an individual who’s ability to perceive a situation is based on their experiences. Here, Bergson stated that perception is an individual experience and within this construct our body is a special image seemingly at the centre of our perceptions. He then goes on to say that this is due greatly to our perception being influenced by our experiences. It is in our ‘being’ in the occurrence of the Sender-Message-Receiver process that our ability to understand the Message is based on our experiences as either a Sender or Receiver. This concept is relative to the media in that we gain many of our perceptions of things in the world around us through our experience of them.

This idea is greatly related to the ideas of Cybernetics, where our experiences and perceptions are based on our role in a signaling loop; action within the system causes change that is reflected in the system. This then leads further into the human brain gaining necessary experiences in order to perceive and experience different occurrences. The theories of Embodied Cognition, Enactivism, the Extended Mind, I believe, outline this most.

The ideas of Stiegler were similar to those of cybernetics in that he believed the human brain was continually extended for better or worse. His idea that human’s reliance on technology was becoming a detriment to their ability to exist independently supports the idea of extended cognitivism. Paul Virilio argued along the same line in that he believed technology has created its own time, different to that of everyday life. It is in however, this new time that information and independence is at risk of being lost. Von Neumann and Noë’s ideas on both computer and mind acting of storage and memory strengthen the idea that experience truly does affect the mind.