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  • manuellnon 3:07 on 23 June 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: burnout, , dna, , , , , , silicone masks, , 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.


    (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.


    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.


    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: , , , silicone masks, ,   

    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):





  • manuellnon 22:36 on 29 November 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , silicone masks   

    blob 3D tests 


  • manuellnon 19:16 on 27 October 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , silicone masks, , ,   

    project proposal 

    working title

    The real world isn’t real at all


    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.


    • 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


    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.


    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).


    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


    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.


    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


  • manuellnon 15:12 on 27 September 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , silicone masks   

    the blob 

  • manuellnon 22:58 on 23 September 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , silicone masks, ,   

    avatar / skin 

    Senza titolo-2

    >cinematographic brainstorming

    [1]  Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive, 2011
    [2] SPFX’s silicone mask for Drive
    [3] James Cameron, Terminator 2, 1991
    [4] Ridley Scott, Alien, 1979
    [5] Jonathan Glazer, Under the Skin, 2013
    [6] David Cronenberg, Naked Lunch, 1991




    >avatar / skin
    >water can flow or it can crash

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