The re-creation

This week we took our research skills and core practice from the previous 6 weeks and used them to re-interpretation/ re-create/ re-stage of a work correlating to our main interests.

In a group, consisting of Briana, Joel, Shaun and myself we looked into our shared interest in multisensory interaction, deciding to look at the work of James Turrell, particularly into his Afrum piece, which consisted of a projection based piece through the displacement of light and illusion. This worked well for my specific interesting in distortion through light interaction, projection and the use of mirrors.

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Jame Turrell’s work Afrum

 

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Afrum with radiant colour panel

Turrell’s practice is with light and projection creating works that amplify perception, through installations that activate a heightened sensory awareness that promotes discovery. To understand Turrell’s work we had to first gain an understanding of the constructs of how the work was made by reverse engineering it. Initially, we thought there was a cube in front of a wall with a light in the middle of it reflecting out, however, through our research, we found that it was, in fact, two flat panels of projected light; with a rectangular piece of radiant colour hovering in front of the wall. With this setup, Turrell wished to “coax the viewer into a state of self-reflexivity in which one can see oneself seeing” (Collection Online, 2017).

“Turrell has consistently utilized the sparest formal means to perpetuate the consciousness of perception. As demonstrated by the projected geometric “cube” of Afrum I, in which light creates the illusion of volume, the artist’s work derives its power from simplicity.”

Turrell’s practice into the psychological implications of perception involved within sensory deprivation stated in 1968 where he participated in the art and technology program alongside scientist Edward Wortz, who at the time was investigating the perceptual alterations encountered in space travel.

When it came to re-staging this piece, we went through multiple ideas before putting it into practice, we talked about the use of light and projection but ultimately choice projection as that was Turrell’s medium.

There was a lot of experimentation done with this piece, in regards to creating the shape to mimic that of Turrell’s cube shape made with projected panels. To create ours we started by getting a cardboard box and cutting out a hexagon shape to project the light through.

We did start with a diamond cut out but we soon realised that it was not going to be effective when creating a cube shape onto the wall. Starting with only one projector we found that the shape was coming out rather flat and wasn’t giving the 3-dimensional shape needed that Turrell’s work had.

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Attempt 1

Therefore we decided to add another projector sitting one top of the first to give an overlapping effect, this gave the projection more depth and also gave off an accidental illusion aspect, which ended up working for the overall piece.

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Attempt 2

This process worked really well in conjunction with what I had in mind for the final project. I want to create a piece that uses distortion as a way to get the audience not only to interaction with the piece but also to leave with something to think about.

Project Pitch

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In my last blog post, I made reference to the Out of Hand exhibition regarding Mattew Gardiner and his work “The Future Unfolds” as an inspiration for my final piece of materialising the digital. But unlike last week I have some sort of idea that uses Gardiner’s work as the foundation for creating my own piece through some of the elements used in his work.

To begin with, I didn’t know what aspects I wanted to take from Gardiner’s work, however, by reverse engineering his process, I was able to gain a better understanding of the different elements, which ultimately gave me a few ideas of my own.

How was the work made?
The work was made by using sensors, lighting and a polyester fabric placing them together to bridge the elements of nature, origami, and robotics.

What materials was used?
Lights.
Sensors.
Polyester fabrics which is “deformable by heat and can be programmed with an oribotic pattern that will last for the life of the material and over repeated interactions” (AEC, 2010).

What kinds of processes were used?
Gardiner first developed the idea by researching the biological side of folding proteins in nature and the robotics field of sensors and lights.

Was there much experimentation involved? What purpose did these experimentations serve?
Experimentation was done throughout the process of this work, however, was heavily conducted during the initial stage of folding paper to create a pattern. It was through this experimentation that Gardiner realised paper was not durable enough for the excessive movement he wanted it for so took to a 3D printer to create a polyester fabric which to be more durable to the works movement.

From this research, I found two elements that I wish to develop further into my final piece. The use of light and distortion to create an interactive work. In a brainstorming session in class today, I came up with a few ideas that incorporate light and distortion that could be refined into an interactive piece.

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I want to explore the idea of creating a kaleidoscope either in goggle form or through projection of moving shapes onto everyday objects or through arranging mirrors of different sizes with lights shining down on them at different angles to give off a fragmented effect. I also had a thought of combining my ideas with one of my peers, who was looking into augmented reality.
Honestly speaking my ideas are still a little all over the place, however, this has allowed me to get one step further to a final idea.

Out of Hand: Matthew Gardiner

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Multimedia artist, programmer and oribotictist, Matthew Gardiner perfected his practice by following his passion and curiosity for origami, code and interactive new media.

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Although graduating with a BFA in photography, grew Gardiner practice in new media. This training helped solidify this practice and love for the arts under the guidance and mentorship of Peter Hennessey and Patricia Piccinini. To truly integrate all aspects of art and science, Gardiner collaborates with composers, musicians, technicians and the industrial sector throughout the creative process. He also works heavily with different science departments to create interactive instalments, which resonate different messages and themes.

His most well-known work is ‘Oribotics: The Future Unfolds’, which he defines as “a melding of the ancient Japanese art of origami and robotics”.

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Gardiner first coined the term “oribot” in 2004 and has since worked in the field to refine research and build a bridge between art and science. “Oribotics is a field of research that thrives on the aesthetic, biomechanic, and morphological connections between nature, origami and robotics. At the highest level, Oribotics evolves towards the future of self-folding materials” (Matthew Gardiner, 2010).

The inspiration for Gardiner’s piece came from a paper on ‘the geometry of unfolding tree leaves 1’ by Biruta Kresling, he states that the paper revealed the natural mechanisms that later became the foundation of his work. Kresling’s illustrations revealed clarity and understanding, which Gardiner then wanted to explore the mathematical and technical side of his piece.

Gardiner not only wanted to mix art and science together but also wanted to integrate digital mediums into his work. This was implemented with the use of a 3D printer, which created the external fabric for the origami blossoms, “‘origami of nature’ takes microseconds to complete thousands of folds, and a single folding error can profoundly effect the survival of the lifeform” (Matthew Gardiner, 2010). After testing different materials, Gardiner found that creating a material from polyester and printing in a 3D printer would create longer durability. Gardiner also used digital sensors for movement and light to create a systematic pattern that would change when a person got closer or further away from the work.

“Micro-interactions occur with sensors, inside each bot a proximity sensor measures objects in front of it’s “mouth”. As an object (a human hand) approaches, the oribot blossom opens, causing 1050 folds to actuate in the bot. Macro interactions occur via the network and software; each micro interaction is broadcast to every other oribot in the installation, causing the sympathetic movements of over 50,000 folds across the entire installation, creating a stunningly complex moving image” (Matthew Gardiner, 2010).

It is from Gardiner’s sensory movement that I would like to use as part of my final project. I have no ideas as to what I would create but creating a piece that functions off interaction would be something I would like to look into further.


References:

Aphids 2017, Matthew Gardiner, viewed 27 March 2017, <http://www.aphids.net/people/Matthew_Gardiner&gt;

Gardiner, M 2010, Oribotics [futurelab], Matthew Gardiner, viewed 27 March 2017, <http://matthewgardiner.net/art/Oribotics_futurelab&gt;

 

Beautiful Drama or Tragic Disaster?

I think it’s time we get a little personal, and to kick things off I’m going to tell you what my favourite animal is!

ARE YOU READY?!

Drum roll, please…

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PENGUINS!

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As long as I can remember I have love penguins! But it was only after this week’s lecture that, I realised my love for these animals could be drawn from the fact that they are often represented like humans or having human-like qualities, otherwise known as anthropomorphism.

Anthropomorphism – is the term uses when we give “human characteristics to animals, inanimate objects or natural phenomena” (Nauert, 2015).

Desmond Morris a zoologist conducted a study on more that 80,000 British school children, asking them what their favourite animals are and why. The results Morris found, highlight the heavy impact anthropomorphism is having on our minds.

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His results found that the most common animals which were favoured were ones that had hair, could stand on two legs or could be trained to stand on two legs and/or tricks; chimpanzees, bears, pandas, giraffes and dogs were the most common animals in this grouping. Though birds were not highly viewed in this survey, there was one particular one that caught me eye, this particular bird was able to stand much like a human and at the right angle looked to be wearing a tux…take a wild guess and what bird it was?

A penguin!

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I have never thought of penguins having human-like qualities before, however, after watching ‘March of the Penguins’ (2005), I started to understand how human traits were connected to my tuxedo-clad friends. Religious groups associated Penguins with monogamy and the perfect nuclear family, deeming the film as “proof” of intelligent design, thus promoting the documentary’s anthropomorphism further.

However, “some scientists are criticising the movie March of the Penguins for portraying the Antarctic seabirds almost as tiny, two-tone humans” (Mayell, 2005). The emperor penguins are seen making their journey across the cold Antarctic floors in “a quest to find the perfect mate and start a family against impossible odds.” The narration performed by Morgan Freeman provides us with more emphasis of humanisation, “‘[the penguins] are not that different from us, really. They pout, they bellow, they strut, and occasionally they will engage in some contact sports.” It is from language amongst camera techniques and editing that have given this particular documentary the Disney model. Margaret King states that the Disney model is selective of the perception of animal life and is exploited for human desire to find patterns in the natural world that are similar to our own. She further explains, “by subjectifying the animals, the Disney format creates audience identification with animal “stars” and arouses empathy with the affinity for their situations.” The continuation of these elements to emphasis human desire is pressed on firmly throughout the documentary, creating a narrative in which nature is redefined. “Nature, but a very special kind: not an ecosystem, but an ego-system – one viewed through a self-referential human lens: anthropomorphised, sentimentalised and moralised.”

One the other hand you have countless scientists who believe much like the film, anthropomorphism isn’t a negative thing but can be an upside to understanding animals and the start of building a relationship with them. Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal argues that anthropomorphism is the unwillingness to recognise the human-like traits of animals or what he refers to as “anthropodenial”. De Waal’s phenomenon is closely linked to those made by people in the fifteenth century, which saw dogs, pigs and other domesticated animals put on trial for crimes, like any other human being. Within the nineteenth century and to the present day, many naturalists have sought out the connections between animals and human intelligence. This may be odd and completely absurd but this mindset is what we can see now in regards to our views for animals whether they are wild or domesticated. We seem to have forgotten that animals are animals and it is in their nature to have animal’s instincts and be unpredictable with their behaviour.

Research has convinced us that animal’s intelligence is either the same, close to or of a higher level of intelligence than that of humans. However, research doesn’t tell you why these tests are conclusive. Many of these tests fail because the animals are not in the environments they thrive in, they have been tortured by the refusal of food, and because their “intelligence” cannot be described to our level of understanding. This misconception of animal’s intelligence and the opposite of anthropomorphism have led to many incidents at zoo’s, aquarium’s and at the infamous Sea World, Florida with an Orca killing its trainer.

In spite of all the incidences of injury and death, all such claims have been dismissed and covered with the notion of anthropomorphism, that is wasn’t the fault of the animal but of the human in contact with it.

When will we truly understand that animals are animals and there is a distinct line that separates the different species from one another because they are not the same?


References:

Leane, E & Pfennigwerth, S 2011, Marching on Thin Ice: The Politics of Penguin Films. In: Considering Animals: Contemporary Case Studies in Human-Animal Relations, Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, pp. 29-40 <http://eprints.utas.edu.au/17344/>

Mayell, H 2005, “March of the Penguins” Too Lovey-Dovey to Be True?, National Geographic, weblog, 19 August, viewed 22 March 2017, <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/08/0819_050819_march_penguins.html>

Nauert, D 2015, Why Do We Anthropomorphise?, Psych Central, weblog post, viewed 22 March 2017, <https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/03/01/why-do-we-anthropomorphize/11766.html>

Riederer, R 2016, Inky The Octopus And The Upside Of Anthropomorphism, The New Yorker, weblog post, 26 April, viewed 23 March 2017, <http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/inky-the-octopus-and-the-upsides-of-anthropomorphism>

Russo, C 2013, Wildlife documentaries or dramatic science?, PLOS, weblog, 4 February, viewed 23 March 2017, <http://blogs.plos.org/scied/2013/02/04/wildlife-documentaries-or-dramatic-science/>

 

Opportunities and Mentors

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The opportunities running in the field of social media management, digital content creator and media and marketing, are endless with different avenues that can lead to my potential dream job.

There are certain qualifications and skills that are needed within this field of work.

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The skills that are predominately used/ needed are:
– Verbal and written communication skills
– Computer skills, such as WordPress, Adobe software and in some cases basic knowledge of HTML
– Video creativity
– Visual art skills
– Self-motivation
– Teamwork skills
– Camera skills
– Problem solving

This week we looked into what jobs and internships we could possibly get and in what ways we would prep for these roles based on the advice we have received from our mentors. I for one had never thought about who my mentors were especially because the people I know are not aiming or in the field, I wish to proceed to. However, I got to thinking about anyone and everyone who had ever given me advice or taught me something I did know or would recommend my skills and knowledge to someone else.

However, I was able narrowed it down to one person who I consider as my mentor in life, whether it be in the field I wish to go into or not.

Mentor – a person who gives a younger or less experienced person help and advice over a period of time, especially at work or school

Cambridge Dictionary 

That person is my friend and ex-colleague, she worked with me and trained me with the in’s and out’s of my job at pandora. She has offered countless advice on selling, the practices of personal and point-of-sale advertising, and the key elements to visual merchandising, but has also given my advice on following my passions and interests. She has since moved on to other work and one of those areas was with a publishing agency, where she kindly offered to give me a recommendation to one of her colleagues working with social media. However, due to my lack of experience and her change of work this opportunity fell through, though I am happy to call this particular person my mentor as I watched her learn a new skill in an area which she was most interested, making it her passion.

I am sure that alongside my career path towards my potential and dream job I will find other people who I feel have influenced and participated in my work and offered advice and guidance.

Poverty Porn: Justice or Exploitation?

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To be completely honest with you, I know nothing about being poor and having very little to get you by. The closest I have come to it is scraping pennies together to buy myself a coffee until my next paycheck comes in. However, my struggle with my finances and trying to make ends meet is nowhere near the hardships many people in Australia and around the world have to go through.

Although when it comes to poverty we usually categorise it with people who have made bad decisions that have led them to live this way or people who had no control over their circumstances. This particular grouping has led to the media’s depiction of poverty has grown into a new genre called poverty porn.

Poverty porn is defined as a medium type either “written, photographed or filmed, that exploits the poor conditions of an individual in order to generate the necessary sympathy for selling newspapers or increasing charitable donations or support for a given cause” (Aid Thought, 2009).

Steven Threadgold (2015) refers to poverty porn as Westerners’ portrayal of global inequality and their ability to distort the presentation of the disadvantage by making it an advantage for themselves.

“Poverty porn objectifying images of the poor through a privileged gaze for privileged gratification” (Threadgold, 2015).

It is argued, however, that the media’s exploitation of underprivileged people has created a negative stereotype that often seems like they have brought the situation on themselves by not taking the help or relying on benefits too heavily.

The media driven “reality TV” and “documentaries” have stirred debate on whether the representation of the poor is ethical and whether or not it serves as a successful purpose at rising awareness of people in need. It is often believed that ‘any publicity is good publicity’, especially when it comes to creating awareness for social issues, however, when can you draw the line from entertainment value and sheer exploitation of the people involved?

The SBS series, Struggle Street, is a documentary that follows individuals and families living poverty showcasing their stories and struggles in the Australian suburb of Mt. Druitt. However series has received great backlash in regards to the portrayal and stereotyped images that they gave the people living in the suburb.

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Steven Threadgold (2015) coined the series as “poverty porn with an extra dose of class racism”. This statement is made clear throughout the different elements of the show, as well as the lack of attention paid to the economic, political and social fators that have created poverty within Australia in the first place.

The patronizing element of the voice-over, who makes it clear he has been brought up in a privileged environment and knows little about those who live in poverty. Adds a judgemental and cliched tone to the show, “When life sticks the boot in, it’s about how you fight back,” said true-blue narrator David Field. “If you want to survive you’ve got to keep moving and never give up on your next silver lining.” Gay Alcorn, (2015) adds that it is this tone that shows no sympathy to the despair happening onscreen. The residents of Mt. Druitt were also unpleased with the series as it showed the entire suburb to be stereotyped and showed those who did live in poorer conditions as sensationalised.

Struggle Street, aids as Australian-based questioning if poverty publicity motivates an intention to help the marginalised or if it just acts as a well to allow privileged people feel grateful that they are not in that particular situation.

It can be seen that Struggle Street alongside any other Australian-based series that follows poverty doesn’t receive the same reaction as campaigns and series’ that follow poverty in third world countries.

Jack Blacks meet a homeless boy campaign for Red Nose Day, it a great example of how poverty in a third world country, with children, can have more of an effect towards helping then that of a documentary in a Westernised country.

The Red Nose Day campaign also uses the familiar face of Jack Black, better known for his comedic work, breakdown on camera and ask for help for the young boy who has lost everything and none of it was his fault and completely out of his control.

The topic of poverty porn can be taken in many different directions and the debate over media coverage of these topics is still in the air. I, however, have come to the conclusion that in this situation, having poverty broadcasted for people to see is very subjective depending on who’s watching and what that individual person is like. It is possible to criticise the elements of production from the documentaries, however, everyone’s perceptions are different and some will view voice-overs, camera angles and the stories themselves very differently.


References:

Alcorn, G 2015, Struggle Street Is Only Poverty Porn If We Enjoy Watching, The Turn Away, The Guardian, 15 May, viewed 19 March 2017

Matt 2009, What is ‘poverty porn’ and why does it matter for development?, Aid Thoughts, weblog, 1 July, viewed 19 March 2017, <http://aidthoughts.org/?p=69&gt;

Threadgold, S 2015, Struggle Street is poverty porn with an extra dose of class racism, The Conversation, 6 May, viewed 19 March 2017

The Bad Apple

The birth of the corporation began after the Industrial age in 1712, when the need arose to boost productivity. They have since grown into a dominant and prevalent part of our daily lives as we consume every product and service, which they release to us. We like to believe that the corporation was established to work together with the community, to inspire them towards a more economical future.

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However, with the rise of the cyberpunk genre, the image of an ‘evil corporation’ otherwise known as the megacorp has altered the way we view corporations and their work for the community. William Gibson’s 1984 novel ‘Neuromancer’ captures the niche market of the science fiction genre, cyberpunk, steering heavily towards a “technological near-future dystopia” (Samplereality, 2014).

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Gibson also refers heavily to a recurring political dominance of ‘megacorps’, which suggest a “person” (organisation) who hold “immense power over many markets and often have more power than any conventional government” (Samplereality, 2014). Gibson created this term in the 1980s economy, which saw unprecedented economic mergers, the trilogy resonates with a new sense of the corporation as “the multinationals that shape the course of human history, had transcended old barriers. Viewed as organisms, they had attained a kind of immortality” (Encyclopedia, 2000).

Hollywood has also shown us how the corporation, although may seem humble and wanting to do good by their customers, actually have a different agenda on their minds. This power hungry, artificial creation is seen in many sci-fi movies and TV shows. Quora (2017), has created a list of the most iconic evil megacorporations from science fiction literature and movies (which you can see the whole list here)

But here are a few that you may know, with a brief description of some by Alyssa Johnson who wrote ’15 Evil Corporations in Science Fiction’ (2009):

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– Chronowerx: Startrek Voyager

– International Genetic Technologies: Jurassic Park

– Kaos: Get Smart

– SPECTRE/SMERCH: James Bond movies

– Momcorp: Futurama

– Cyberdyne Systems: Terminator series – While the corporation is said to be benign in the first two films, manufacturing parts for bigger companies, they then make the mistake of creating Skynet, a system of artificially intelligent supercomputers that control (among other things) nuclear missiles. This was not a smart move. In fact, it’s just un-smart enough to warrant Cyberdyne’s inclusion on this list. (Johnson, 2009)

– LuthorCorp: Superman – Hailed as one of the largest, most diversified multinational corporations in the world, it also happens to be founded by Lex Luthor, who runs it with his characteristic ruthlessness. The list of cities and countries where the corporation has holdings is basically as long as the list of cities and countries on Earth, and the number of companies controlled by LexCorp is almost as long and just as varied. (Johnson, 2009)

– Tyrell Corp: Blade Runner – The Tyrell Corporation produces the replicants, lifelike androids designed to the work deemed to dangerous and demeaning for humans, and is named for Dr. Eldon Tyrell, the founder and genius inventor of the replicants. While it’s debatable how truly “evil” the Tyrell Corporation is, there is a definite sinister quality to their dealings and it’s nigh impossible to deny that they definitely smack of “evil corporation.” (Johnson, 2009)

It is these fictional representations of corporations that bring to light the reality of real, functioning corporations. The documentary ‘The Corporation’ (2004), highlights how like Dr. Frankenstein’s creation overpowered him, corporations are doing that to us as they lie and deceive us constantly to remain on top. Profiler Robert Hare declares “corporations can be categorised as psychopathic because they exhibit a personality disorder: that of single-mindedly pursuing their objectives without regard for people in and around them” (Top Documentary Films, 2004).

Annette Kuhn writer of ‘Alien Zone: Cultural Theory and Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema’ (1990, p. 45), helps us understand that the depictions of corporations though they are fictional, hold a sense of reality within their behaviour. Stating that movies like Alien and Blade Runner justify megacorps by “presenting an entirely different version of the capitalist future…question, but also the bourgeois patriarchal structures of power and values that give rise to these ways of behaving…where conformity to the demands of these structures is dehumanising and dangerous.” However, reflections and criticism about the ‘real-world’ “pre-exists and determines representation, and that representation portrays the real world in unmediated fashion.”

It is obvious that real-life will always be worse than what is represented in fiction, as it happens on a greater scale and to us in real time. The documentary highlights how much damage corporations have had on our communities, how much they have been harming their worker, the environment and how many fines they have had to pay out in order to fix what they have ruined. However, the consequences don’t seem to catch up to these corporations whether they are fictional or not.

Therefore for my digital artifact, I wish to expose these corporations for who they really are…CRIMINALS! I want to create a podcast series of 3/4 episodes, of about 3 minutes long taking on a who did it approach to the topic. Taking inspiration from my favourite crime shows like Waking The Dead, Broadchurch, CSI, Cold Case, 48 Hours and the documentary The Corporation. I want to unfold Gibson’s take on fictional megacorps and highlight them in real-world corporations and how they have caused as much damaged in the real world as the fictional ones did in their world.


References:

Encyclopedia 2000, Gibson, William (1948-), Encyclopedia, weblog, viewed 16 March 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gibson-william-1948&gt;

Johnson, A 2009, 15 Evil Corporations in Science Fiction, i09, weblog, 18 April, viewed 16 March 2017 <http://io9.gizmodo.com/5217560/15-evil-corporations-in-science-fiction&gt;

Kuhn, A 1990, Alien Zone Cultural Theory and Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema, Verso, Finland

Quora, 2017, What are the most iconic evil megacorporations from science fiction literature and movies?, Quora, weblog, viewed 16 March 2017 <https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-most-iconic-evil-megacorporations-from-science-fiction-literature-and-movies&gt;

Sample Reality, 2014, Megacorporations: How Close Are We?, weblog, 14 September, viewed 16 March 2017 <http://samplereality.com/davidson/dig101/2014/09/14/megacorporations-how-close-are-we/&gt;

Top Documentary Films 2004, The Corporations, Top Documentary Films, weblog, viewed 16 March 2017 <http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-corporation/&gt;