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  • manuellnon 4:54 on 7 July 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , digital communities, , ,   

    Unit 2 

    Here we are, at the end of the course. This post will try to summarise the development of my practice-based research over the two years.

     

    unit2

     

     

    Looking at my first proposal I have to say I’m satisfied with both what I kept and what I put aside.

    The working title was ‘The real world isn’t real at all’ and I guess it was as a short statement for what I later developed in the research paper last autumn. It focused on the disillusion in separating the concepts of ‘physical’ and ‘virtual’, while affirming how the first is as much ‘real’ as the second, but it also underlined my dedication in blurring the lines between the two.

    Playing with ‘reality’ is a recurrent habit of mine, I’m not sure how effective for most of the times but I’d say it definitely appears as a leading theme. This could be seen in the live music selection I did for the interim show, playing with the synthetic voice of a Vocaloid avatar, or in staging a disrupted database of a fictional Ukrainian city.

    What is ‘real’ if not just the perception you have of yourself and what surrounds you? There is no truth, just versions.

     

     

    In my first proposal I also mentioned to ‘investigate new forms of social relations’. In terms of relationships this master has been great. I definitely met some amazing artists and built great friendships. Which is fundamental to establish, expand and evolve networks based on sharing knowledge.

    Also because of creative networks, I ended up being part of a marathon at the Serpentine Gallery with some fantastic people interested in the most social aspects of collaboration, a great thing (still can’t understand how that happened though).

    Cool, this post is starting to sound like the diary of a teenager so I’ll just stop before posting a picture of a unicorn and try to move on some more constructed reflections.

     

    Thinking of social aspects, networks and collaborative practice, I have to mention the main project I did in the first year of the course: the Blob Village live set with Jack. It was incredible how quick something like this can ‘click’; a few chats and beers, an email to my homeland/colony/tribe/best place in the world (cox18) and we ended up doing a 2hours long visual live set with an interesting take on a ‘common ground’–relationship with technology, re-tribalisation, underground culture. I’d like to extend that same approach in the future to a project started months ago with some friends from the course, Phisherman’s Net, still an embryo of a possible successful collective (and main big thing to focus on after the course).

    I also related my work as much as possible with ‘communities’: both using content from internet places important to me in social terms, but also experimenting on social interactions – remember Isabbel?

    This is why what I do finds its roots in subcultures before growing in many directions.

    I’ve always been concerned about knowledge-sharing and how the access to information in contemporaneity can be seen (and in some ways has to be) as the best tool in human history. It has its many downsides in being overwhelming and a source of collective anxiety. From a creative perspective it offers tools to generate something new out of pre-existent material, which opens questions of authorship and ethics, besides having to face obsolete structures and systems. A transformation of pre-existent material has been the method I employed in my whole research, but I believe is best expressed in the final piece.

    My focus has moved towards transforming content from places on the Internet that had a relevance for me: databases of communities related to underground cultures such as sound libraries for (mainly ‘bedroom’) music makers, MIDI files of guitar solos, Death Metal lyrics, cinematic-style special FX tutorials.

    I’ve reshaped all of this first into a series of sketches from found tribal tattoos, then into an organic stage for a performance, a living being named FAT UR BREED MACHINE with a (cyber)punk heritage.

    I think of these mutating forms even applied on collaborative entities, collective groups or platforms; another way to interpret the idea of ‘machine’, constantly recombining its elements – like a morpho-genetic evolution…

     

     

    And where does the newborn go from here? The net is vast and infinite.

    Major Motoko Kusanagi, Ghost in the Shell

     
  • manuellnon 3:07 on 23 June 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: burnout, digital communities, dna, , , , , , , , summer show   

    tutorial 11.6.15 

    In light of the chat had with Jonathan last thursday, I am going to try to summarize my work and reflect on the different directions of my current projects. Looking back on the previous tutorial with Keir Williams, he outlined (and I pretty much agreed with him) that my research is generally going on a line about “transformation through material”, working on various series or sub-categories.

    1

    (I have never written about this on my blog but seems pointless now to keep it secret)

    The first line I would like to write about, started with stealing the identity of a facebook fake profile of a sexy girl named Isabel Travez – which presumably was an internet bot – who added me about an year ago. What I basically did was creating a parody, a similar looking profile and I added some friends “she” added in her short social network life (unfortunately the original account was deleted after several reports in a couple of days), changing my new profile’s name from “Isabel Travez” to “Isabbel Trave” – an italian urban translation of the term “transgender”. Well, to avoid misunderstandings, the whole thing had nothing to do with disdaining or representing a transgender in a bad way, rather it was a banal joke of twisting elements from the original profile and have random chat with people I didn’t know.

    bbggg

    I still don’t have any idea of how and why, but my profile caught attention by people from transvestite and trangender facebook communities, people with multiple profiles with the same name, a good amount of fake-looking profiles and 5-6 people from Saudi Arabia (?) – the week after I created that profile Isabbel received about 70-80 friend requests in one single night.

    Then I completely forgot about it for a few months until when I noticed that among her suggested friends there were many profiles of people involved in having an online “fictional” identity in many different ways (from rubber masks to cosplay, furry, kigurumi and so on), so I changed her name in “Isabbel Waters” – I guess didn’t want her to be recognisable as transgender –  and started a visual research, sometimes having the chance to chat with people involved in those practises. The concept of an avatar/costumed performance has been since then a nodal point in my research about materials, technologies and online places; so I bought a rubber mask and started uploading content on that profile, playing with hybrids, translating my masked identity on a 3D animated model of it and building a live music performance. That performance, tested on the Interim show we had last March was also about hybrids: I experimented on the transformation of bits of lyrics and sounds from Lee Perry’s song “People Funny Boy” into noisy and obsessive textures, also playing with different “layers” (or “ages”) of technology as I used an old telephone speaker as a microphone, guitar FX pedals and a software (Renoise) to build the live set structure and play random sounds exctracted from a library of samples from that Perry’s dub masterpiece.

    That’s pretty much the context and background of the first project line I wanted to reflect about on this tutorial session. The further developments of this will probably blend with a second line about 3D collages made with found objects (.obj files), a research more oriented on “machines” and materials rather than costumed identity, which also blends with what I am doing in music and sound (a third line?). Also, I am not that interested in wearing Isabbel’s identity at the moment.

    2

    I told Jonathan about a video I am working on, after collecting several “burnout” videos from youtube (stuff like this) and being interested in creating an animated representation of a DNA chain made of found 3D objects of cars, and I feel definitely excited about starting to work on it. That video might be also the starting point for a series of physical objects, as I have been obsessed with melted plastic materials for a while now (rubber and silicon from my research on masks but also polyester sculptures and found materials, engines or parts of car bodies), and I definitely miss messing up with DMX mixers, lights and smoke machines (I did some work as lighting technician for a while…).

    So, doing a series of physical objects would be both a starting point and a final output of my digital research about materials. These technologized materials also connects with my interest in flesh and skin (which I haven’t abandoned); here’s something I forgot to tell Jonathan, at the same time of this “burnout” smoke/DNA chain video, I am making some sketches for a (quickly realizable) series made of google-found tribal tattoos on fake skin sheets (there are some affordable complete kits on ebay) – this might be a solid idea for the summer show.

    I will write something more about my research in sound and music in a couple of days, and a few notes about a “secret” project that after one year and a half is getting to be completed…also I still have to write here about some ideas for the research paper…ouch

     
  • manuellnon 1:55 on 12 June 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: digital communities, , , , ,   

    notes #2 profile images & masks 

    This section is a collection of outcomes from my latest research on masks, online identities and self representation (and lee scratch perry and dog portraits):

    set1

    blog_portraits01t

     

    bb

     
  • manuellnon 15:20 on 11 November 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , digital communities, meme, pedobear   

    about pedobear (or how to learn from 4chan) 

    くまくま━━━━━━ヽ( ・(ェ)・ )ノ━━━━━━ !!

    [1]

    Nestle-pulls-Kit-Kat-Pedo-Bear-image-from-Facebook

    Pedobear is a cartoon mascot that became a well-known icon through its usage on 4chan to signal moderators and other users that illegal pornographic content had been posted. Due to the widespread nature of its application, Pedobear has been often misinterpreted as a symbol of pedophilia and lolita complex, especially in the news media and law enforcement agencies.

    [2]

    The history of Pedobear is a strong example on how an (high scale) Internet based community such as 4chan, faced with one of the main problems in chats, forums and boards. This cute-cartoon-bear stratagem is a clever usage of online image’s power to ridicule whose users that infested the website’s boards with pedopornographic content without just appeal to ban or censorship.

    pedobear_box

    Pedobear, laser cut on cereal box, 2014

     

    [1] original Pedobear ASCII created on 2chan board. http://aa.2ch.net/test/read.cgi/kao/1046353580/
    [2] Pedobear on KnowYourMeme. http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/pedobear#fn2

     
  • manuellnon 19:16 on 27 October 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: digital communities, , , , , ,   

    project proposal 

    working title

    The real world isn’t real at all

    aims

    Networks are the primary source for my practice based research. I’m interested in creating narratives, objects and platforms, working on the boundaries of the false dichotomy between virtual and physical.
    I would like to evolve my research through collaborative platforms, online and offline, and investigate new forms of social relations.

    objectives

    • steal, copy, paste, combine network related elements in order to experiment the ‘infinite versioning’ effort on entropy
    • support internet communities active on knowledge and tools sharing, and network based researches and arts
    • experience new online identities bots/fake identities and escape the ‘profiling’ process
    • keep it spooky and do it for the lulz

    context

    The following text is a rough edited ‘cut and paste’ of various quotes from books, magazines, song lyrics, anime and film scripts, Wikipedia pages, previous posts from this blog and a panel discussion’s transcript.
    I used these elements with a ‘versioning’ approach, as sources to build a statement in flux.

    Let’s start from the beginning. Out of six million sperm cells, I came in first and won a warm moving body. We all are the ones that won the bodies. There are countless ingredients that make up the human body and mind. Sure I have a face and voice to distinguish myself from others, but my thoughts and memories are unique only to me, and I carry a sense of my own destiny. Each of those things are just a small part of it. Apart from the external perimeter of your body, when you grow up in a digital environment the screen becomes something like to the retina of your mind’s eye.
    I collect information to use in my own way. All of that blends to create a mixture that forms me and gives rise to my conscience. I thought the network wasn’t real, but your mind makes it real. If you’re killed in there, you die here? The body cannot live without the mind. And the network is an additional body for your mind, not a mere copy of your physical one. Have you ever actually seen your brain?
    From Phone Phreaks’ phone calls to BBS, IRC chats, P2P hubs and image boards, physical and virtual are not opposed; rather, the virtual complicates the physical, and vice versa. The user is embodied both in physical and virtual entities sharing the same mind. I am me, and I am the only me there is. Or not?
    Sometimes you can feel confined, only free to expand yourself within boundaries, without the opportunity to dissolve in the collective unconscious; through experiments with network identities you can get close to be formless.

    Life online in web 2.0 tends to be a real time cloud storage of your life, a digital mirror of your everyday experience. Social media corporations owns your profile data in order to reshape the users’ path, and keep yourself connected with your IRL identity in the best way.
    Facebook’s naming policy requires you to use your legal name, asserting that you should only send friend requests to people you have a real-life connection to, like your friends, family, coworkers or classmates; beside online-based communities, the real-world communities conquer the online world, restoring a more traditional communication model under straightforward policies. Escape from profiling has become more and more complicated.
    What is profiling? A silhouette is a bounded shape that sharply delineates an inside from an outside: the information it carries lies entirely in partitioning a field. The verb “to profile” denotes the imposition of such a finite shape onto a set of perceived statistical regularities, as when scientists plot a straight line through an irregular array of data points, disciplining and abstracting inchoate (or sometimes merely imagined) patterns. Profiling is adopted by Google’s PageRank, and most of social network’s statistics, reflecting your data on search results, ads, dashboards, and so on.
    Roger liked to watch her with a telescope and follow her around with a tape recorder; he put the information in the firm’s computer. Comparative analysis, he thought he knew her.
    Your browsing history defines what you’ll find next. Similarly, profiling is related to latest improvement in face recognition, or new smart phone camera technologies capable of matching faces and shapes from your previous social media pictures, to clean images from noise.

    So, what happens to the world outside the internet? IRL world is trapped under its multiple representations, images of all sorts, relayed by satellites and caught by the aerials that bristle on the roofs of our remotest hamlets. The ‘local city’ is now only a district, one borough among others of the invisible world meta-city whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference nowhere. The virtual hypercentre, of which real cities are only ever the periphery. And every of these physical places separately are composed and organized as a recap of the entire world.
    In this particular environment, ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ collapses into each other and the entropic force of recombining its elements and removing its own footnotes, is an indispensable condition to create new narratives, blending sources and new materials, without covering up a cultural product in a tribute of fandom or a sterile representation of the world.

    methodology

    My practice-based research is being carried out using a selection of internet sources and tools, images, texts, 3D modeling, sound and digital compositing. Context is directly part of my practice and vice versa. For the forthcoming development of some of those features I’m currently trying to implement more code in my screen-based series (using Java and Processing), and get it involved in a mixture of different elements such as printed objects (flags, blankets), sculptures/hardware devices (Arduino).

    outcomes

    Further development for ‘Water Portraits’ series:

    • video-statements (talking 3d sculptures, web based Java scripts)
    • objects (flags, printed blankets and clothes)
    • silicone masks / inflatable sculptures (Arduino)

    Further development for online identities bots/fake identities:

    • website restyling + new content
    • social media identity experiments

    workplan

    I’m going to work mainly on Water Portraits until the new year, improving my coding skills (Javascripts, Processing) for the web based part of the series, and will start to set up my sculpture series straight after the first term ending.
    I think will start working again on the fake identity website around December or so.

    bibliography

    L. Manovich, The Language of New Media, Leonardo, London 2002
    P. Virilio, The Information Bomb, Verso Books, London 2005
    M. Augé, Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity, Verso Books, London 2009
    J. Aranda, B. Kuan Wood, A. Vidokle, What Is Contemporary Art?, Sternberg Press, New York 2010
    J. Ryan, A History of the Internet and the Digital Future, Reaktion Books, London 2010
    D. Quaranta, Collect the WWWorld, Link Editions, Brescia 2011
    D. Joselit, After Art, Princeton University Press, Princeton 2013

    http://rhizome.org/
    http://www.e-flux.com/
    http://dismagazine.com/
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk

     
  • manuellnon 2:34 on 2 October 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , digital communities, , hito steyerl, , philippe parreno, ,   

    about online identity 

    Life online in web 2.0 tends to be a real time cloud storage of your life, a digital mirror of your everyday experience. Social media corporations owns your profile data in order to reshape the users’ path, and keep yourself connected with your physical-world-identity in the best way.
    Facebook’s naming policy requires you to use your legal name, asserting that you should only “send friend requests to people you have a real-life connection to, like your friends, family, coworkers or classmates” [1].
    Avatar changes name to profile picture, privacy settings increases; beside online-based communities, the real-world communities conquer the online world, restoring a more traditional communication model under straightforward policies.

     

    seth_price [2]

     

    In 2011 the MIT journal October published a piece by David Joselit, Carnegie Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, wherein while writing about Seth Price’s works he distinguished two terms: silhouette and profile.

    “Silhouettes have existed for ages, but profiling is modern—dating from the nineteenth century.
    A silhouette is a bounded shape that sharply delineates an inside from an outside: the information it carries
    lies entirely in partitioning a field. The verb “to profile” denotes the imposition of such a finite shape onto a set of perceived statistical regularities, as when scientists plot a straight line through an irregular array of data points, disciplining and abstracting inchoate (or sometimes merely imagined) patterns. The implicit violence of such projections is conveyed by the connotation of profiling in police work, where persons who belong to particular groups—be they organized by ethnicity, age, economic status, or gender—are believed to be more likely to commit a crime and consequently are more frequently treated as criminals. Profiling
    imposes a profile on populations of data (including visual data)” [3].

    This is the same model adopted by Google’s PageRank, and most of social network’s statistics, reflecting your data on search results, ads, dashboards, and so on. Your browsing history defines what you’ll find next. Similarly, profiling is related to latest improvement in face recognition, or new smart phone camera technologies capable of matching faces and shapes from your previous social media pictures, to clean images from noise [4].

    Your profile becomes more real than your-real-self, providing your online based skin, weaken your ghost leaving just a shell of data.

     

    10 annlee [5]

     

     

    [1] Facebook Help Centre. http://www.facebook.com/help/www/101344836677357/

    [2] Seth Price, Untitled, 2008

    [3] David Joselit, What to do with pictures, October 138, 2011, pp. 81-94

    [4] Hito Steyerl, The Spam of the Earth: Withdrawal from Representation. http://www.e-flux.com/journal/the-spam-of-the-earth/

    [5] Philippe Parreno, Anywhere Out of the World, 2000

     
  • manuellnon 0:18 on 16 September 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , digital communities, dub, phone phreaks, ,   

    hello world 

    “Social media and cell-phone cameras have created a zone of mutual mass-surveillance, which adds to the ubiquitous urban networks of control, such as CCTV, cell -phone GPS tracking and face-recognition software. On top of institutional surveillance, people are now also routinely surveilling each other by taking countless pictures and publishing them in almost real time. The social control associated with these practices of horizontal representation has become quite influential.”[1]

    London may serve as the best example of how the Internet could be represented in the real world.

    The web may appear as a multitude of networking cables across the city, aside of the imposing and continuous flux of still and moving images. The overlaps of multiple Emma Clarke’s recorded announcements[2] in the Tube may feel haunting as a speeded up daily journey of a teenage Tumblr user, facing with thousands of images per minute. The orderly chaos of a crossing in its peak time may resemble the clashes between the results of a generic Google search input, issued in a plain layout.

    This frantic metropolis model have pushed artist to devise refuges for investigate human relations and their social context, as in case of the Relational Aesthetics theory founded by Nicholas Bourriaud, that coined the term in 1995. But Rikrit Tiravanija’s dinners may not have “strayed far from the model of 1960’s Happening”[3].

    One of my main interest in London is related to the British colonialism of the XVII century, when the rule of Jamaica started. As a consequence of the two hundred years long British rule in Kingston, Jamaican people formed a big community in London around the 1950s and 1960s; that’s why South London was one of the first places where people was able to listen the first recordings by dub music pioneers as Lee Perry or King Tubby.

    Dub is a term that define the practice of using recorded sound material by a sound engineer, creating multiple mastered “versions” of the same material (doubling). This process is one of the most influential conscious use of media postproduction, aimed to obtain multiple cultural objects from the same raw material, contributing in the birth of musical genres as post-punk, hip hop, house and techno among others.

    Jumping back in time from the Relational Aesthetics, in the same decades when dub music was rising, a 15-years-old boy from Virginia, USA, was about to create one of the first network communities. Joe Engressia was a blind kid interested in telephones, gifted of absolute pitch, better known with his nickname “Joybubbles”. In 1957 he discovered that using a proper tone by whistling with his mouth he was able to open long distance phone calls without paying the AT&T fares. He became one of the first hackers in media communication as a pioneer of the Phone Phreaks community, a group of blind boys networked by open phone calls throughout the country.

    Phone Phreaks were the ancestors of Internet based communities such as BBS networks, or in more recent times of imageboards like 4chan. In 4chan, “the computer layer and the culture layer influence each other” [4], and the social interaction of a network of participants linked together by common interests have originated the infamous Internet memes that daily infest the social networks’ dashboards. Similarly to “dub versioning”, memes consists in multiple evolutions of a media element, a work in progress that generates cultural objects.

    Gazing long into the Internet abyss may show new interesting ways of social relations and cultural production.

    [1] Hito Steyerl, The Spam of the Earth: Withdrawal from Representation. http://www.e-flux.com/journal/the-spam-of-the-earth/

    [2] Emma Clarke is the official voice of the London Underground’s announcements since 1999. http://www.emmaclarke.com/fun/mind-the-gap

    [3] Brad Troemel, What Relational Aesthetics Can Learn from 4chan. http://artfcity.com/2010/09/09/img-mgmt-what-relational-aesthetics-can-learn-from-4chan/

    [4] Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media, p 46, Leonardo, London 2002

     
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