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

    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.





    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 15:52 on 6 March 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , sculpture, versioning   

    Future Breed Machine update (email to Ed & Jonathan) 

    *quick recap*

    it will be a combination of various media I’ve been using over the course, under the name of “Future Breed Machine“.
    I will include some elements from last year’s summer show in a new video and a sound piece using Vocaloid which I’ll “dub” with live vocals performing everyday during that week.

    so, it would be composed by three parts:

    • “primordial soup” VIDEO (monitor / tv screen) – green screen videos of VFX material, 3D smoke, particles. I might do a generative smoke in unity/unreal engine instead of making a video.

    I might also add a second video on a smaller screen, focusing on machines made of found 3D models and tribal tattoos (I was thinking of using my kindle fire HD tablet, it worked well for Digital Meze last year)

    • microphone stand/performance area
    • sound system – here’s the tricky part where I need your help most:

    I’ve been thinking of making a sculpture, a vertical DNA double helix made of metal (I’m open to other options) where to hang some “naked” speakers with cable ties.
    It should be around 6/6.5ft (2mt) high in order to have enough space to orient the speakers…




    overall tech list:

    • big monitor / tv screen (studio tv if available?)
    • Kindle Fire HD tablet
    • desktop computer
    • sound / speakers (1 or 2 12” subwoofers, 4 tweeters – at least)
    • amplifier
    • mic (SM57) + FX Helicon H1
    • small mixer (mic + computer input)


  • manuellnon 15:40 on 5 September 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: milan, serial classic, versioning   

    serial classic 

    During my recent trip to my hometown, Milan, I had the chance to visit a new spot for contemporary art, a luxury gallery space run by Fondazione Prada. The massive brand-new building designed by Rem Koolhaas is conceived around the architectural configuration of an old distillery from the 1910’s. It contains a variety of materials, from polished mirror walls to pavement sections made of wooden tiles, and its symbol is the main tower of the pre-existent structure which has been restored and covered with gold foil.

    The whole site is an amazing sequence of white cubes, big rooms offering a view to the post-industrial landscape of the area, basement cinema spaces and warehouses. It also includes the cheap version of a typical 50s-inspired café powered by director Wes Anderson (“cheap” version, definitely not its prices).




    Serial Classic, the main exhibition, was an interesting journey through Greek and Roman sculpture, underlining the aspects of seriality, replication and appropriation in the Classical age. I genuinely enjoyed how the themes worked as an outlook on contemporary culture, using sources from both big international museums, small local archives and academic researches. Here an excerpt from the introductive text by its curator Salvatore Settis:

    The artistic heritage of antiquity has been almost entirely lost, and no more than 2 percent remains. Today, scarcely one hundred more or less complete Greek bronzes survive, almost all of which were rediscovered in the past 120 years, often pulled up from the sea millennia after having sunk along with the ships that carried them. But the Romans developed a passion for Greek art, and had many copies made of Greek statues which, thanks to their sheer numbers, survived better than their original prototypes. The copies give us an idea of what the lost originals looked like, because they were the product of a mechanical, serial process of reproduction. It is in these copies that we can rediscover traces of the originals by great master sculptors (Phidias, Myron, Polyclitus, Praxiteles) mentioned in Greek and Roman sources.

    This exhibition represents the lost originals with an empty pedestal, on which are placed summaries of the ancient sources that describe Myron’s Discobolus, Polyclitus’s Doryphorus or Praxiteles’s Satyr. Alongside is a section of Roman copies of the respective originals: the tension between original copies is therefore presented as one of the main themes of the exhibition. Thanks to archaeological research, today we no longer need a more or less complete copy to recognize a Discobolus: a simple torso, head or hand holding a disc can be enough. Yet for centuries the torsos of copies of the work, not identified, were restored arbitrarily, for example as a fallen warrior. Analogous examples can be seen in other sculptural types, as Paraciteles’s Resting Satyr, or Doidalsas’s Crouching Venus.

    Nevertheless, seriality was not limited to copies: the exhibition reaches back to a series of terracotta busts from Medma (a small Greek city in Tyrrhenian Calabria), produced between 500 and 450 B.C., which strongly resemble one another because they were produced in molds. Just like the expensive marble korai from the Arcopolis in Athens, these terracottas were made after the same original type, yet they vary in hairstyle, decoration, narrative detail (for example a flower held in one hand) and, in ancient times, their color, even though it is now missing.

    Serial-Classic-1 fondazione-prada-Serial-Classic-Foto-Attilio-Maranzano-620x388

  • manuellnon 13:04 on 4 February 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , versioning   

    blob village live (cox18 version) 

    Last saturday (24/1) I went back to Milan for a live visual set in collaboration with Jack with our latest work. We played a 2hr set during the main act of a dance music event, a DJ set by the Bristol-based producer Alex Coulton.




    Our “Blob Village” is a post-apocalyptic environment populated by 3D animated hybrids, flesh collages with tech implants, internet-inspired characters, human bodies (and part of them) involved in repetitive dance gestures. The idea of this film performance is an attempt to build a live narrative made of digital paintings and sculptures, inspired by the role of GIF animation and appropriationism (as filtering/editing/selecting) in web based art.


    bvscreen1 bvscreen2


    Image textures play an important role, Jack’s glossy materials and sci-fi patterns and lights contrasts with my Facebook’s palette camouflages and skin surfaces. Here’s a series of stills from animations we made with 3D objects found online (showed on a second projection):


    bv_tent bv_crossbw bv_plant bv_twr


    lo-fi documentation during the soundcheck:



    I also made a 3 hours warm up DJ set with a friend crossing experimental sounds about technology, post punk, dub, noise and techno.

    excerpt1 (experimental)

    excerpt2 (techno)


  • manuellnon 15:51 on 12 November 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , versioning,   

    proposal v1.1 

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

    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 17:39 on 13 October 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Boris Groys, Brad Troemel, Domenico Quaranta, Johnny Ryan, Oliver Laric, perpetual beta, remix, Roland Barthes, , Ted Nelson, versioning, wikipedia   

    about versioning 

    perpetual beta

    Johnny Ryan, Senior Researcher at the Institute of International and European Affairs, published in 2010 a book about the history of the Internet, which opens several questions about the digital future. Chapter ten is entitled “Web 2.0 and the Return to the Oral Tradition” and starts with a reflection by Ted Nelson, the creator of hypertext; in the project Xanadu’s website Nelson had criticized the www as just “another imitation of paper”. Ryan describes the “new plasticity of information” through the developments of digital information and distribution which

    as in oral tradition […] digitized information has no ‘final cut’ […] Wikipedia proves the point. The Wikipedia article on John W. Bush has been edited 40723 times as of 15 June 2009. [1]

    This is the ‘perpetual beta’ of Web 2.0 and its properties influences everyone that works with cultural contents inside and outside digital networks.

    a few quotes about Versioning

    A digital image may be one of the many possible versions of a digital “original.” Boris Groys, for one, believes that “original” digital images do not exist, the original of a digital image being the image file: a flow of digital information that becomes visible only when it is executed, or staged, as it were, by a program. Each digital image is therefore the documentation of an invisible original: the file itself. These observations notwithstanding, the notion of originality is reintroduced in the form of a convention – or a mystification, as some will have it – deriving from a power system that associates originality with an established level of quality, a specific kind of certification, a precise placement.
    The above distinctions – mediated reproduction, a poor image, an original – are still conceptually valid, mind you, but the rising generation of users and creators are developing a different sort of sensibility toward them. This is an inevitable process, if we consider that the overwhelming majority of our experiences are connected to nothing other than mediated reproductions and poor images. Indeed, mediated experience is perceived as authentic experience. “I enjoy interpretations and mediated experiences: books about books, exhibition catalogs, interpretations of films. Some of my favorite artworks and movies have only been described to me,” Oliver Laric has declared. Moreover, poor images are considered to be not mere reproductions but legitimate versions of a work, adapted to a specific distribution system; at best, they are seen as intermediate phases of an ongoing process unfolding somewhere between physical space and information space: works in progress that you can always go back to, in any case. As Seth Price explains in his video work Redistribution: “Software works like this; it’s essentially in flux, always pointing to the next version and the last version, but somehow understood to be the same over time. This has transferred to a lot of my work, including this video.” [2]

    The word remix has become emblematic of the collective malaise felt toward the nihilism of postmodern authorship. Kicked off by Roland Barthes’s death of the author, the idea that contemporary culture was merely a combination of parts from the past became very popular in polemicized postmodern discourse. Some variation of Douglas Huebler’s quote “The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more,” has echoed in the artists’ heads ever since. While it’s inevitable that future creations will always be indebted in some way to the past, this totalizing idea—that nothing new can or ever will be created—is routinely disproven by the reality around us. In art, the new is created out of the past’s inability to accurately represent the present. […]
    Rather than destabilizing the role of the author or originality, the A-to-B remix emboldens the legitimacy of the original through the attention it was paid when remaking it anew and the expanded audience it gains as a result. It makes sense that the most commonly remixed songs on YouTube are also the most viewed songs on YouTube. The remix is not confrontational; it’s a tribute of fandom, an admission that the first product was so good that it can be dressed up in a seemingly endless number of variants and still maintain its excellence.
    But what if the remix were to remove its own footnotes? There is a second type of cultural production taking place that is often called remixing but may deserve a term of its own. To borrow from Oliver Laric, I’ll nickname this type of production progressive versioning. Instead of maintaining a connection to the original, progressive versioning loses touch with where it came from, who it was made by, and when it was made. Progressive versioning is the process Plutarch describes when he asked whether a ship that was restored by replacing all of its wooden parts remained the same ship. Progressive versioning is not about the valorization of the original but about losing all ties to it, about adding to and switching out variables until none of the results bare any resemblance to where they started. [3]

    [1] J. Ryan, A History of the Internet and the Digital Future, Reaktion Books, London 2010, pp. 137-140

    [2] D. Quaranta, Collect the WWWorld, Link Editions, Brescia 2011, pp. 9-11

    [3] B. Troemel, The Word Remix Is Corny, DIS Magazine, october 2012. http://dismagazine.com/blog/37255/the-word-remix-is-corny/

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

    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

  • manuellnon 15:53 on 22 September 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , versioning,   

    water portraits 


    The Water Portraits series is an archive of photographic portraits collected through Google Image Search, which after an image input on the search bar, automatically sorts the results for color values and physical appearance of subjects. Every final portrait is the result of multiple morphs between many of these found-images into one.

    These elements are a sample of aesthetic models in social media portraits, advertising and stock images. Each portrait is a kind of representation of the Google Images’ algorithm.

    “Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water.
    If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
    Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

    ― Bruce Lee


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

    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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