May 19, 2008

Database Aesthetic, follow up

I hope my presentation on Database Aesthetic a week ago was at least useful if not enjoyable. I got a lot out of the class participation. Thanks very much!

The presentation itself was done in Keynote, and if you would like a copy, I've uploaded it as zip and gzip'd tar file, depending on your preference. (NOTE: each download is a somewhat large 22.5 MB file, due to the media clips and whatnot.)

See you all next year, if not sooner!

May 14, 2008

Processing (dot org)

I thought we had a great conversation Monday night about Database Aesthetics.

Meng asked about the software system called Processing and I promised to post something to this blog about it. It's pretty easy to remember the website for Processing is - also there are books and plenty of online materials about learning and using this system. You might try going here first.

May 8, 2008

Collaborative, Open Source Filmmaking

I just ran into this site today. Since it is an open-source and collaborative activity, I thought it might be of interest to others. This also speaks to the "leveling" effect of technology that we discussed last Monday. FWIW

May 2, 2008

Database Aesthetic

On May 12th I will be presenting Database Aesthetic for class discussion.

For my material, I have drawn from several sources, in particular articles from the book Database Aesthetics, Art in the Age of Information Overflow, Victoria Vesna, ed. Two of these articles were the focus of my research: (1) Database as Symbolic Form, by Lev Manovich, and (2) The Database: An Aesthetics of Dignity, by Sharon Daniel.

I hope the discussion will traverse the following levels:

  • What is Database, as a concept?

  • Database/Narrative dichotomy, and the spectrum between these endpoints

  • New Media & Database, trends & usage

  • Historical reinterpretation, given this new way of thinking.

Inherent in this last point is the critical question that I am asking:

Is the concept of Database a new construct, or could it simply be a new way of looking at the world? (and then reinterpret our past in terms of Database?)


April 28, 2008

Catherine Richards

Ourr discussions about presence, sensing presence reminded me of the work of
Catherine Richards.

Some of her work focuses on the body and subtle fields of electromagnetic energy, including her explorations of unplugged in what she refers to as a "total immersion in a wireless circuit."

Artwork related to these explorations:

Curiosity Cabinet

Shroud Chrysalis

Shroud Chrysalis II

She discusses her work and relates some of her thinking about the the human body, media environments and technological fields in this excerpt:

"In the cyberspace of contemporary new technologies the theme of self-determination is being replayed in the image of the autonomous cyborg.

Much of this attempt to reconstruct self determination in new media environments focuses on the meeting of body and machine: a cyborg state of half metal and half flesh. In the main stream technological, scientific and pop narratives the cyborg simply appropriates more machine power for the autonomous self.

In contrast I see these electronic computer environments as irrevocably blurring the boundaries between body and machine and multiples of bodies and machines, thereby profoundly shifting any notion of the autonomous self. There are immense implications for our material bodies and our virtual, physic selves in these ambiguous environments. Not only do these states undermine our construction of autonomy but we have not developed any other notion of subjectivity to take its place.

Other works of mine explored this permeable boundary in new technological environments. These pieces used interactive computer technologies to hold up this slippage of the self as we have known it."

April 25, 2008

As We May Think

Originally published in 1945, Vannevar Bush's article, "As We May Think" is often referenced for it prescient suggestion that technological development previously focused on war machines could instead attend to making recorded human knowledge more broadly accessible.

You Are Cyborg

Related to Ceri's and Jane's presentations about cyborgs, this Wired article, Issue 5.02 | Feb 1997 authored by Hari Kunzru proposes that "for Donna Harawy, we are already assimilated."

You Are Cyborg

April 21, 2008

mid thesis exhibition installation

I would like to invite our class to my thesis exhibition installation and get feedback about what people


Cyborg PowerPoint & Readings

Per Diane's request, here is my presentation PowerPoint from a few weeks ago:
Download file (PDF)

As far as recommended readings, some of the most interesting sources I've found so far are...

  • The Cyborg Handbook. Chris Hables Gray, Ed., with Heidi J. Figueroa-Sarriera & Steven Mentor. New York: Routledge, 1995.
  • Haraway, Donna J. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: the Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991.
  • Muri, Allison. The Enlightenment Cyborg: A History of Communications and Control in the Human Machine, 1660-1830. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.
  • Rorvick, David, As Man Becomes Machine: The Evolution of the Cyborg. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1971
  • For machine/memory, check out...

  • Bush, Vannevar, “As We May Think,? in The New Media Reader, Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, Eds. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2003.
  • Wiener, Norbert. “Men, Machines, and the World About,? in The New Media Reader, Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, Eds. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2003.

  • April 14, 2008


    So this is after the fact, but for the sake of posterity, on Monday, April 7, Jane and I presented on cyborgs. I started things off with a brief discussion of what constitutes a cyborg and various authors' definitions thereof, followed by a bit of history of the term and a look at machines and memory. If you're interested in any of the sources I cited, or have any of your own to contribute, please comment away!

    April 12, 2008

    Presentation by Meng Tang

    I'd like to make a presentation on "Technology as an extension of ourselves". Your advice will be much appreciated. Thanks.

    April 10, 2008

    Eric Rodenbeck

    Monday evening April 14th we will meet at

    5:45 p.m. in 100 Rapson Hall

    to hear:

    Eric Rodenbeck

    founder and creative director, Stamen Design, San Francisco
    Visualizing Urban Data Streams

    cabspotting project

    Spring 2008 College of Design lecture

    April 7, 2008

    A Cyborg Manifesto

    In 1985, Donna Haraway wrote "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,"

    This is currently included as a chapter of the book Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991), pp.149-181.

    You can find the Cyborg Manifesto text here

    April 6, 2008

    Presentation and Critique

    At the moment, my hope is to present a project for feedback. I am tossing around the idea of this project taking the form of a workshop, which will lead to the creation of an artwork.