August 27, 2008
Remarkable is nothing.
Viral ideals divide.
You are what you left.
Private Snaufu was a collaboration between Frank “It’s A Wonderful Life” Capra, Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, Directors such as Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, and Mel “Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Barney Rubble, Mr. Cosmo “You’re Fired!” Spacely” Blanc and the genius Frank “funny bone” Tashlin.
June 10, 2008
Reactavision, in action, can be seen here, rocking out with Bjork, no less.
You see the blocks they are using on the table? The underside has an image, which is a key, which connects to other objects in predefined ways – programmed as the image.
But the images,they’re great fun, just as images. They all have a MutantTeddyBearNess to them.
I couldn’t …resists…meddling.
Bit of context with warm sunny light.
Mocking something up on a side of something, gives context of sorts.
Viscousy and silk-screening; tacky pop.
TV themed, in a poltergeist kind of way.
And something you’d find on a techno album cover.
They kinda got darker as I went along, into the night, Gimping. I sucjk at photoshop.
Now, as they (the images) are ‘keys’, and he says they need only be binary (black and white), so colour has no impact on their function (their geometry gives the uniqueness, thus there can be maaaaaaany of them.), therefore, I guess they will still work, even if hacked with some poor ‘photoshopping‘ gimping.
Exploring the idea of keys having personalities, to the point where you don’t need the physical ‘key’.
Kind of like the ‘book people’ in Fahrenheit 451.
QR codes don’t really do it for me. They need to have more ‘personality’. Though I do like the term paper storage. Did you know you could get video encoded into coloured QR codes? You can, you know. Not available yet though.
As much as I liked pixelated animations, it takes some extremes to work in a (full functioning) QR code.
Here’s some photos.
What a wonderworld that must be, if they could all live in a Truman show kind of thing.
Clear characters, with purpose in life, looking for friends, happy to help and eternally young.
It could be a world where brands could bred freely.
Could a multi-branded version of Spore, the new eagerly awaited game from EA, be educational or really annoying? (<- use this link if the video below has given up the game.)
See, a platform like reactivision, affords many, many, maaaaaaaaaany clear characters to exist, with purpose in life, looking for friends, happy to help and eternally young.
Platforms inspire a million characters, if they have a clear purpose within the context.
But, these characters are roles, if they have purpose. Roles are agents conspiring to bring conformation through differentiation; the fiducial teddy bears are the affordance of the platform; conformed in geometry logic, diversified through irrationalities.
The benefit to this: transmission.
Finding friction free, high capacity storage ‘objects’, needs for one thing – be able to transmit.
Technology is a real time story, looking to make objects that transmit.
Objects, that receive is not a request of technology, or any facate of craft, but a burden of language.
Language doesn’t learn to be better, users adjust it to work within changing frameworks.
To store changes, we have to extend language to work as containers, to which we can place ‘understandings’.
We create languages to store objects that relate; sub-languages such as slang, is used within peer groups, who want to describe ‘understandings’ in their social-economic contexts.
The relationship between language and object, is technology – the crafting – the act of transmission is a scribe within the objects construct. Technology gives us a timestamp to decode the relationships between objects, but cant itself create languages. Technology may give us daily, monthly, yearly, new parameters for ‘creating’, but the ability to create ‘storage’ objects comes from the limitations of expression within time.
Could it be possible to make zillions of boxes, and automate the storage of things as they ‘appear’ to us?
Without an understanding of surface, a complete understanding or the properties of the perception plane, the answer is no. The translation of ‘insight’ to the ‘physical’ requires a mapping of time to material – unless we can find ways of making things outside a linear production model. Open Source, which you may not consider a linear production model, is just that. Although all the tributaries flowing into a single build, the linearity occurs at the ‘gateway’.
It’s because things are not divisible by things. Everything is estimate; precision lies.
Although storage is amenable to the most awkward items, it handle infinite variants very well.
As soon as a wrapper is applied to an object, the immediate context changes and thus invokes the story of the relationship between the storage and the contents.
This relationship is the root of the factoid, the point where fabrication and digestion of the narrative’s objects commences, unleashing it’s trivium. Because you apply a language to something, you are creating the relationship.
Another Thomas Ruff.
Note the jaggy jpg compression tearing (the pixelation), that’s intended. These are huge digital prints, made up of recursive colouring of the pixels. Here’s some more, so you get the idea. (I saw these in NYC last November, and feeling blown away by them.)
Both these artists studied under the Bechers , who did lots of this:-
It’s why this campaign is more than an advert. It’s demonstrating personalised recursive storage. The creative multiples the storage of the media space. Spaces within spaces within spaces, all ‘humanised’.
Check out the London underground carriage posters – they all have 3 ‘hidden’ smiles. Brilliant recursive design.
Using anthropomorphic storage platforms enables us to see ‘things’ as people and relationships.
We can engage in these relationships as we would people – on our own terms, our own language systems, our own arguments attended to.
A world of relationships, seen not as things.
A technology of stateless storage, recursively designing, producing and distributing relationships, for personal gain.
Which takes us into the uncanny valley.
An anthropomorphic system that responds with authenticity, requires a depth of experience that equates, not betters, the human relationship. Importantly, feedback time is critical to authenticity. The space of time that something is not doing something indicates factors of the transmissions.
The pauses between our spoke words are just as important as the words themselves.
This is a form of error handling for the transmission. Packets of data are sequenced with silence. Like music…
Scripting Artificial Intelligence will lend itself to one benefit: building a system to judge and attempt- it’s why they are so popular in gaming systems – A good AI is judged on the array of faults you can exploit, not the definition of it’s persona. In fact, the array of faults constructs the personality based upon your Factoid Trivium. Any faults in comprehension remains in the design of the key properties.
So where can character driven arrays take us if sequencing is initiated by investigation?
More likely to be this…
January 4, 2008
If you haven’t watch ‘2 girls and a cup’, then don’t.
If you have, you know you wish you hadn’t.
There’s a whole series of video responses to that video and they show something really good. Media lubricates conversation; it produces a shared moment. We love to spectate another persons response to the unpalatable because a truth reveals itself in the moment of realisation. And these are rare moments.
We used have the water cooler moment when TV was great. Now there is Facebook trying to make every moment a water cooler moment. But it doesn’t. The noise to value ratio is far far too low to retain attention. And why didn’t the applications retain interest? Because they lack depth of affordance due to the paltry information that all users supply about themselves. FB came out of closed beta status far too early to ensure longevity.
Media, episodes, any motion graphics need not be series based now that TV has lost a temporal audience. Timeshifting has broken the habit of watching without intent. Media producers have lost the confidence to make a point; instead aesthetics (post production) is the cliff hanger than destroys the reason for a narrative.
Allegory fell out of art when the minimalists explored formalism; audiences, mass audiences, still stare at Carl Andres ‘Equivalent VIII‘ with horror, in so much that they fail to realise that meaning is something that has been so tightly spun as a moral.
Equally, audiences appreciation of mastery, comes of concern to any media producer. From film to software, what has come of the mastery of manufacturing?
I watched American Gangster the other evening – a production of the highest values as one would expect from Ridley Scott, but the story? Based upon the ‘true strory’ of Frank Lucas, we follow 2 narratives obviously needing to collide. The tale of the honest, but domestically troubled detective and the tale of Lucas, his rise in wealth, capture and ultimately grass on every bent copper in the NYC drugs divisions.
Both come out heroes and the moral vanishes into a plume of heroin smoke.
The first weekend’s box office takings were around $46m. Lucas was reported making $1m a day from ‘Blue Magic’ back in 1970. The profits from moral-less activities go undetected when the lure of aesthetics is promised but without the gloss an audience demand meaning.
Why is this so?
I think it’s because we don’t know the ‘form of truth’, because the values of truth are always migrating away from experience. No one can handle the truth because we want the truth to belong to a notion of ‘Other‘, located across the way in a greener field.
Religion has used the notion of truth to gain a following; centering belief structures within folk allegories. Unfortunately, this power has been duplicated in mass communications. Truth and Sex are equivalents when stripped of any aesthetics – and so our psychological drugs need dressing to bring acceptability to our morals.
Like ‘Blue Magic’, we rate purity higher than a hybrid cocktail. Just like in the movie, Lucas bitches about one of his dealers cutting his ‘pure’ brand with impurities, comparing it to Trademark infringement. You can catch part of the scene at the end of Jay-Z’s inspired track..
You may have spotted the Hirst spin painting behind da man. It’s of no surprise – Hirst’s life’s work celebrates this connection between man’s beliefs and ultimate reality. His aestheticisation of aesthetics, making the palatable digestible; when parodied, it becomes a numbing truth.
I still cant find the answer to why the gloss of aesthetics is so needed; why do we as creatures of such diverse communications require stimulants? As creatures of activity, they make even less sense. Perhaps we cant consume, use or value without pedagogical fears. What could be worse than that?
April 29, 2007
I thought I’d post about a system that I’ve been using and evolving, basically, to get some feedback from you lovely readers.
As business requests come thick and fast for online projects I’ve needed to formulate a way to match clients needs with users needs. Too many times I get the request that a client wants x, y and z to appear on their website and had to explain the people using the site (customers and potential customers) are the ones who should be asked what they need from the site. It’s the transferal of image based thinking of the old school marketing minds to the knowledge based economy of the nu wave tinterweb school of communications. (Nod to John Grant.)
It’ll be of value if you look at the Creation Plane too, as the number one rule is putting the user at the centre of the experience, not the project sponsor.
The next step, like any good planner will confess, is that the proposition needs a narrative. Under the terms of interactive media, narratives are non-linear, there for you can use the ‘beginning, middle and end’ scope of a movie. For interactive design, pathways are a better concept than narratives, as we want the user to find their way through the work, using the media as they see fit in order for them to achieve their goal. Remember, folks are coming to your website in their terms, not yours. Consumerscapes and demographics are all very well for editorial tone, but they are friggin’ useless when you have no idea what they want from editorial (The times I’ve ransacked Flickr for visual metaphors stands testament to this point.) And users want to engage; use your media, add to your media, participate in your media. Broadcast media fails here but interactive excels if you get it right.
If the user comes to your website to achieve a goal, and you don’t deliver, don’t expect a return visit. Websites are software, emotional data that must be useful, not just entertaining. Software is for repeatability not a single fleeting exchange.
So, we have, what I call, The 4 Humble Demands (of the Prosumer) . The Buddhists and medically inclined might twitch at this point. The title is ripped from Buddhas teachings: The Four Noble Truths (the eight fold pathways don’t factor here, in fact I think they are a bit of red herring in the teachings, but that’s another story).
The Four Noble Truths are:
1. Identify Suffering
2. Understand the cause of the suffering
3. Identifying the cure to the suffering
4. Applying the cure
Many western medical councils use the same 4 steps in diagnosis, prognosis, cure and treatment.
The Four Humble Demands draws attention to the participation of the audience to the service provider, that is, identifying the physiological stages in a user pathway to achieve their goal – whatever it may be. So, I call the four stages:
Let me explain.
You need to attract the user to your service, and once they have discovered you, how are you making yourself and your message attractive. The user needs to admit, “this is looking like this place can help me.” Which is all very well, but if you are addressing an infinite consumerscape, you need to help them refine their questions/quest so that you can help them achieve their goal. This is where Aspiration comes in.
You need to ask the user what they are looking for. Now, most websites have a navigation system that ‘guides’ the user in the right direction. An information architect will convert business requirements to navigation elements, may they be global, secondary or page local. Which is fine to a point. But what you should be thinking is what functions help the user ask the question. Search is fine, but retrieval is a better way to think about it. If you understand the semantic web, then you’ll understand why tag clouds are so brilliant. Because they get the user to the Insight phase fast. This is ‘editoral as navigation.’
Now, as much as I love Jaffe point about insight, I use the word to identify the stuff the user is after, that is editorial. This could be interactive, this could be text, images video, code. It’s the stuff they came to your site for. The better, more useful it is (and that includes being able to use it – and that means using an open licence.) If they can use it, they have achieved a goal. If your audience at this point has a lovely warm fuzzy feeling, a sensation of achievement, you’ve set yourself up for the payoff, that is Acquisition.
So your site visitor has got what they came for. It was quick, easy and fulfilling. Congrats to you pal. But before they go and all you have is some site stats of their visit (w00t!) and possibly some free marketing when they use an image of yours (which has been offered under an open licence), I’d guess you’ll either be a little smug (erm, myopic) or underwhelmed because you have’t sold them your best thingy. What you have to achieve is this transaction. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon.
At the very least you need to get the user to work with you in spreading the idea of your service. If they’re ones listening, then they are the ones who will spread the word. Social bookmarking, ‘send 2 a friend’, subscribe to updates. All these functions can be introduced at this point.
Either way – if you have helped them find what they are after, in their terms of engagement, then they are more likely to come back and purchase your ‘wonder product’.
Further, you can make the Acquisition phase become the driving force behind the project’s ecosystem. If your website users are in a mode of co-creation, or at least rating and promoting editorial, this can influence the navigational elements (remember, your editorial is their navigation). Work with your audience, understand their outputs and make them your inputs. Together, your media becomes more relevant to their network.
The Eightfold pathways, if you felt I’m being a little dismissive about Buddha’s elaboration of ‘treatment’ is aligned to functions of Acquisition. The various emotive frameworks of functions dont seem to fit his original manifesto, mainly because of the ‘righteousness’ of the declaration. I think dictating what righteousness is a little overbearing. In principle, yes, ‘be nice’, but I don’t want to be told what is nice and what isn’t. One man’s niceness is another man’s nagging.
So when you’re planning your interactive work, cross reference your content verticals (about us, what we do, who we do it for, why we do it yadda yadda) with these four stages. Then you’ll see where to drop in functions to pages and when not to. You’ll also see the range of functions you need across the site, thus optimising your production schedule.
If you haven’t read TIGS’ Transmedia planning, you might want to after this. The Four Humble Demands is not restrained to online digital communications. If you want to play nicely with the audience, you need them to feel they can take from you.
Happy to elaborate on any of the above, just let me know in the comments section below.
September 7, 2006
Explains pretty succinctly the concept of the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ / ‘crowd sourcing’ / ‘collaborative projects’.
It’s been difficult trying to sum up the problems with this sharing dynamic, because on the surface it’s a great way of achieving solutions to problems that computers can’t solve. What is clear, without the scaffolding of professional services that support the needs of the community, the community becomes free labour.
Cambrian House and Google Image Labeler are good examples of massaging the talents of an audience in return for value lower than the goals the service provider acquires. With Cambrian House, the goal is to build libraries of code in exchange for shares in prototypes. Google Image Labeler, invented by Luis von Ahn, is a ‘game’ in exchange for adding (valuable) meta-data to the indexing services. Do check out his video presentation about the games.
Thanks Rob for provoking me to make the comparison between tLoB and WotC (and for not being an individual, but unique.)
September 1, 2006
“For every new status symbol I acquire, for every new extension to my identity that I buy, I lose a piece of myself to the brands.” Says Neil Boorman, the 31 year old who will burn all his branded goods on the 17 September 2006.
Complete with a BBC interview, Neil is blogging the project with Blogger here and the book will be published by Canongate. (I thinks it’s worth putting the brands in italics)
The target of the project doesn’t seem to be brands, but the identity that he thinks the manufacturers promised through the labeled goods. Schmuck.
Identity, is not a birth right, it’s something that is developed through your environment. You are born with human instincts and you’ll try and seek out what matters to you. Thinking that destroying your possessions will free you of being influenced by your environment is frankly naive, but also, ignoring the fact that brands seek to innovate at the core, thus producing tools, such as communications, is playground thinking, as he says:-
“Once I had nagged my parents to the point of buying me the shoes I was duly accepted at school, and I became much happier as a result. As long as my parents continued to buy me the brands, life was more fun. Now, at the age of 31, I still behave according to playground law. ” #
Michael Landy produced an artwork called Breakdown (right) in 2001 around the notion of western mentality of possessions, whilst the No Logo ‘manual’ by Naomi Klein tried to tackle the prospects of the global economy fueled with brands.
What is called for is a way to integrate the economic power of brands, their desire to voice values and the cultures that people actually want. This occurs through dialogue (branded or otherwise), not by burning your
bra trainers. If the media want to run with the story (and I expect they will with the kids going back to school soon) – then perhaps the hope is that brands get the opportunity to rework their model of audience participation with consumer partnership rather than consumer attention.
August 12, 2006
An excellent round in the ‘The best of del.icio.us’ with a list who is taking tagging to the next level are listed here.
James Melzer’s own collection of del.icio.us examples are here: http://del.icio.us/jamesmelzer/folksonomy
But who has the time to tidy up their tag bundles? There must be a better for natural grouping. I’d rather train a system than design my own ontology of a tag library.
James tagged Decentralization Writer/Consultant, Clay Shirkys Etech 2005 lecture “Ontology is Overrated”, which is available here as an audio recording [text version here], where he rants his way through a jazz-bookended lecture on link structures. The key point he makes is that folksonomies are the same mode of thinking as taxonomy – a danger he sees as rewriting the library systems of today.
Meanwhile Banksy makes his observations about juxtaposition of objects with equal angst and more clarity.
Both comment on Individual motivation with group value, and more importantly “Does the world make sense or do we make sense of the world?”
Shriky explains this is “beating semantics into submission” whilst noting semantics are in the user not the system, and the context of the user is key to understanding the world around us. Banksy just shows us.
August 5, 2006
“The Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) is posting “Computer Musings,” lectures given by renowned Professor Donald E. Knuth, Stanford University’s Professor Emeritus of the Art of Computer Programming. SCPD is digitizing about one hundred tapes of Knuth’s musings, lectures and selected classes and posting them here. They are available to the public free of charge.” [more]
This is a truly amazing resource of lectures by the renowned computer scientist, while acknowledging his contributions to the field, Knuth comments only that “some people seem to be interested in what I have to say.”
Knuth is famed for his contributions to Literate Programming – code that is readable by humans not just machines. As code and content get closer together with the rise of community video websites, his work is amazing relevant today.
The Aha! sessions are worth a watch to see the man in ‘action’.
His homepage is here.
Fan T-shirts are available here.
August 5, 2006
I do refer to Lessig’s videos in conversation from time to time, so I thought I’d might as well post them here for easy reference. If you enjoy his movies, you may like his books.
Google wants to do nothing more to 20,000,000 books than it does to the Internet: it wants to index them, and it offers anyone in the index the right to opt out. If it is illegal to do that with 20,000,000 books, then why is it legal to do it with the Internet? The “authors’” claims, if true, mean Google itself is illegal. Common sense, or better, commons sense, revolts at the idea. And so too should you. [More]
Alternative freedom Trailer
“A cool new documentary brewing about the free software, free culture movement.” Lessig
Who owns culture?
Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor and cyberspace theorist, is well-known for challenging traditional notions of copyright. A 20-minute video of a recent speech given by Mr. Lessig is making the rounds on some popular blogs. The speech, “Who Owns Culture?,” provides a brief look at how new technologies, starting with the player piano, have challenged traditional models of how copyrighted materials are distributed and how artists are paid. Mr. Lessig says that we’re now in a “remix culture” where people find creative ways to meld existing creative works to make something completely new. He argues that copyright laws need to be reformed to allow such digital creativity to thrive. [via][site]
July 9, 2006
Red Herring comments on this, hinting that it may have an impact on Friendsters rivals, namely LinkedIn and social networks Bebo, Tribe.net, and Tagged, but the following line from the patent opens up a more curious concern about the benifits of these so called social network sites:-
“A user of the system can determine the optimal relationship path (i.e., contact pathway) to reach desired individuals.”
The days when users have to rely upon optimising their relationships are almost behind us. Real life, face to face networking is exactly that – you getting out there to meet people – making your own pathways. Our Internet is about a system that enables an optimised connectivity of data – data finds it’s own pathways. Blogging is good at helping this. Wherever the information is, the network will have access to it, it’s just a matter of how that information is indexed, by whom, and how you want that information visualised.
Restricting self-optimising sytems with user intervention is a commercial, not an engineering solution. Patents are no protection to these types of invention – if anything they are fantastic catalysts for innovation – as any Perl coder will tell you – “There’s more than one way to do it.”
But this only going to be possible if ‘users’ leave information out for others to find them. Again, Blogging is good for this, but an open licence to enable other systems to collate and match-make you and other ‘users’ is fundamental.
Take DJ Shaddow’s seminal album, Entroducing… ,
Josh Davies collated and matched a dozens of audio samples to produce a coherent pathway of audio (ahem, something normally called a tune!). Clearance of all this material must have been a headache, but consider if all the source samples were offered by the original artists as open licence material, then the clearance process would have been non-existent, original artists would have been name checked (and possibly inspiring a new audience to check out their back catalogue) – and everyone would have been happy.
How does this relate to the Friendster patent? Well – I don’t think we need to get permission to engage with another persons data/samples etc. Users need that information to be collected so that they can connect to other users FREELY. If a meaningful relationship is there, the 2 parties can take advantage of this. Preventing this connection, by restricting the process to force users to ‘optimise’ the connecting pathways offers few gains to the community or the ‘user’. If anything, this encourages over protection of data that users think is part of their identity. Data is designed to be shared, and if you think it’s part of your identity – then you need to see that it’s is exactly this inherent overlap in each users life that enables an open creative collaboration which supports creativity and trust. Markets are just conversations, anything preventing this is bad business.
Secondly, the arrangement of Entroducing is based upon aesthetics, the groove and beats are to Davies’ taste and support of the Hip Hop genre. This human intervention to optimise a pathway (erm, tune) made up of samples was based upon a vast knowledge of records, yet the relational aesthetics determine the neighbouring samples. At present there is no computer system that can juxtapose media assets/patterns together and determine the emotion/meaning of the composition, so there is a role for ‘users’ to create pathways: it’s that the pathways should not be predetermined by users.