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Perception experiments

Project Proposal

 

 

 

‘Magic and Merger’

 

 

 

 

 

Project Specification

James Davoll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents  
 

 

 

 

 
  1. Project

1.1 The main aims of project

1.2 Project Description

6. User Experience
   
2. System 7. Theory
   
  1. Software 
8. Placement within Current Academic & Artistic Research

8.1 Literature

8.2 Online Reference

8.3 Software

  1. Hardware

4.1 System Specifications

4.2 Install Diagrams

 

9. Code Examples
  1. Face Recognition

5.1 Illustration

5.2 Viola-Jones Method

 

10. Schedule
  Appendices

 

 

 

 

1. Project

1.1 The main aims of project

  • Create a striking piece of digital art that explores the spectator’s interaction with a responsive system.
  • Invite the audience to self reflect upon their affect on the digital world and vice versa.
  • Animate a highly visible space.
  • Generate greater awareness of experimental digital art amongst the general public by involving them in its creation and exhibiting it in a public space.
  • Encourage an ‘open discourse’ of personal experiences with the work and produce an engaging piece.

 

1.2 Project Description

‘Magic and Merger’ will create an interactive postcard like image. Traditionally a postcard shows a view that the individual can claim ownership of. One can purchase the image and then have the power to select and invite others to view it, the recipients of the postcard, and further give the image meaning by what one chooses to write on it.  The postcard comes to represent the experiences of the  individual and the individual is in full control of the image and its elements.

 

‘Magic and Merger’ will subvert this relationship between image and individual by allowing the image to ‘see’ the viewer and respond to their presence. The closer the viewer looks the more the image will ‘look back’. This will create an open discourse asking the question, who is the viewer and who is being viewed?

 

From afar the image will take the form of a familiar seaside scene as seen on many a postcard. This scene will then be subtly animated drawing the viewers attention to movement. As the viewer approaches the image, the image will zoom and transition between layers, introducing characters that can look at the viewer and track them around the space. If the viewer walks back again the image will return to its original format. If the viewer approaches another area of the image more will be uncovered unveiling other characters that react to the viewers position. This will happen in three stages depending on the distance that the viewer is from the screen. Each level closer to the screen reveals more to the viewer. As the viewer tests and plays with this idea by moving around, the many details of the image will be revealed. This movement within the image will produce a self reflective experience within the viewer as they become aware that it is their body that is causing the shift within the image.

 

  1. System

 

 

 

 

 

‘Magic and Merger’ will be created by producing code that will allow a Web-camera or Kinect to search for a viewer, using face recognition. If a viewer is found the system will configure the location of the viewer and load the relevant image or animation

that has been predetermined for that position. The system will continue to check for viewer movement and repeat this process until the interaction is complete by the viewer leaving the space. The sketch will also be running an audio file in the background so that the view may be further absorbed into the scene.

 

3. Software

The project code will be developed using Processing, with integrated OpenCV, OpenKinect and GSVideo Libraries. Processing is an open source programming language and environment that allows the creation of animations, and interactions. The OpenCV library will allow for a much more advanced facial recognition system to be integrated into the code without having to complete complex calculations, allowing more efficient plotting of the viewers location, after testing Processing’s own facial recognition library it became clear that it was not advanced enough as it became confused when more than one viewer was present and when the viewer left the field of view. The OpenCV library handles these tasks much more accurately with the ability to personalise the sensitivity and functionality. The GSVideo library is an alternative video library for processing that has proven to  be more stable and able to handle a higher bitrate. The OpenKinect library allows Processing to integrate Microsoft Kinect motion sensor device into sketch.

 

Processing allows the sketch code to be exported as an Application. This will allow easy boot-up when the computer is turned on. The system can be completely automated to ensure that the project is up and running at the desired times and powered down when installation is closed.

 

  1. Hardware

4.1 System Specifications

  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core Duo processor
  • 1 GB of system memory (RAM) – dedicated through Processing preferences
  • USB 2.0 for integration with webcam. Also possibility for mouse or keyboard for debugging (these could also be bluetooth).
  • miniDisplay to VGA/HDMI adaptor and cable.
  • Logitech Webcam (chosen for dependability and easy integration as found out by previous projects) or Kinect.
  • Projector (with rear projection settings/ key-stoning)
  • Screen
  • Mirror for back projection if space is limited
  • 2x speakers outputting 70-95db

 

 

4.2 Install Diagrams

 

 

 

The decision to place the hardware for ‘Magic and Merger’ behind the screen has implications for the installation of the work. Hiding the equipment will allow the viewer to gain an unobstructed view and interaction with the piece. This has inherent problems as when rear projecting an image depending on space several qualities must be understood. If their is enough space behind the screen a simple rear projection can be achieved, setting the projector to rear projection mode to flip the image on the horizontal. If there is not enough space a mirror must be incorporated into the install allowing the throw of the projector to double. This technique will need the the horizontal and possibly the vertical flipped depending on projector location.

5. Face Recognition

5.1 Illustration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viewer is encountered by

System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OpenCV facial recognition identifies

viewers face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distance (z co-ordinate) and position

(x co-ordinate) are calculated to

display relevant image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When viewer approaches, z co-ordinate

is calculated  to unveil 2nd level

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the viewer moves perpendicular to the screen (x co-ordinate) is updated to play animation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the viewer approaches the size of the face detection area will be mapped to calculate the distance the viewer is from the screen (z co-ordinate).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the Viewer approaches further layers will be exposed unveiling more detail from the image.

 

 

5.2 Viola-Jones Method

OpenCV’s face detector uses a method that Paul Viola and Michael Jones published in 2001. Usually called simply the Viola-Jones method, or even just Viola-Jones, this approach to detecting objects in images combines four key concepts:

  • Simple rectangular features, called Haar features
  • An Integral Image for rapid feature detection
  • The AdaBoost machine-learning method
  • A cascaded classifier to combine many features efficiently

More information on this can be found at http://www.cognotics.com/opencv/servo_2007_series/part_2/sidebar.html.

 

 

6. User Experience

 

 

 

As the viewer moves across the video playhead/ or still images will be mapped, allowing the DFI to follow the viewer around the screen. This will be done by the system requesting the images either side of the mapped x co-ordinate allowing smooth transitions and no interruption to the program.

 

 

 

 

 

My piece intentionally has no fixed meaning but suggests a narrative, ultimately it is the viewer that will bring their own experiences to the piece.

 

7. Theory

The title of this piece comes from an excerpt from Kevin Robbins’ work, Into the Image: culture and politics in the field of vision. When discussing technological forms Robbins choses the words ‘magic’ and ‘merger’ to describe the process and product of simulation. Robbins observes that the illusion or ‘magic’ of virtual reality is the perfect tool to ‘merge’ the viewer with the computer. ‘Magic and Merger’ will investigate the nature of the viewers investment in digital forms.

 

‘Magic and Merger’ has developed through previous practice carried out on ‘little Brother’ and ‘Emblematic’ projects, these projects are documented on the blog www.dm.ncl.ac.uk/jamesdavoll. ‘Magic and Merger’ has evolved alongside these projects. Theoretical research focused on new digital artwork and media have grounded the themes of this project. For example, Manovich articulates that digital art “is not something fixed once and for all, but something that can exist in different, potentially infinite versions” (2001:36).

 

Digital artworks have been labelled as interactive

implying that the spectator has the power to be an active participant in the unfolding of an artwork’s flow of events. ‘Magic and Merger’ will utilise this knowledge by allowing the spectator to “influence or modify” the artworks form (Lovejoy, 2004:167). Their bodily interaction with the piece will act as a  perceiving device, a tool for them to create and understand the work. The viewers body is no longer a static “shell” for the eyes to peep out of but is alive and animate with interaction (Ponty, 2002). The interaction will be playful and encourage the spectator to experiment with movement. ‘Magic and Merger’ will have a finite number of mathematical variations and details to be revealed however as Manovich (2001) explains with this type of interaction known as branching interaction, although the spectator can only affect a predetermined set of actions,  they experience will be unique and different to anyone else’s.

 

‘Magic and Merger’ hopes to allow the viewer to recognise that their movements affect the artwork and that they are the tool, the “embodied human” (Hansen, 2004:129), by which the digital domain and reality are communicating. The spectator experiences a sense of qualia, the sensation of experience and subjective conscious decision making. “Qualia is the sensations you are conscious of” (Ramachandran interview TLC), the spectator is aware of their actions and environment and they can reflect on these. Critical reflection or qualia is integral to the experience of an immersive artwork as the “act of seeing modifies what is seen” (Fraser, 2011). Colson explains this affect of self reflection differently stating that the viewer has a natural suspicion of “environments that seem to be ‘alive’, and aware of the visitors presence”. Colson goes on to state that “it is unnerving to feel that free and spontaneous actions are being recorded and that they have become active agents within an unseen world of hidden control systems” (64).

 

It is this personal connection, fears, concerns, ….. to a piece of art, particularly a photograph that ‘Magic and Merger’ endeavours to explore. Throughout the history of photography there has been discussion around the quality of truth and reliability of a man-made image. A man-made image will always show a constructed reality. However, when encountering a traditional chemical photograph one can be reassured that it is constructed as a direct result from an encounter with the real World. This assurance is not as firm ion the digital age.  With the evolution of digital photography fakery, photoshop and airbrushing is wide spread and what is real or true to life in an image is unclear. The photographic process has now shifted from chemical to digital. A single photograph is broken down into binary numbers the real is represented by these numbers and each number can be altered. With this in mind if the real can be represented with numbers it therefore suggests that this process can be reversed and that the numbers can be used to create a reality of their own. ‘Magic and Merger‘ hopes to raise this suggestion and question its merit. Lister puts forward that the image is created by digital technology represent a  ‘derealised’ World. ‘Magic and Merger’ will explore the role of the viewer in this relationship.

 

Henning (1995:219) observed that chemical photography “held a mirror to reality”. ‘Magic and Merger’ will attempt to hold a mirror up to its own derealised world in order to highlight the power struggle between viewer and image. This ties in with Rokeby (1995:133) theory that “interactive technology is a medium through which we communicate with ourselves – a mirror”.

 

In turn the piece will address the polar and apocalyptic claims surrounding the future of digital technology. Does this uncertain field of ‘Magic and Merger‘ hold a future of control or freedom?

 

 

  1. Placement within Current Academic & Artistic Research

 

8.1 Literature

Barthes R. (1993) Image Music Text. Fontana Press

 

Baxandall. (1991) Exhibiting Intention. Smitsonian Institute Press

 

Bentkowska-Kafel. (2005) Digital Art History. Intellect Books

 

Berger J X. (1990) Other Than Itself. Aperture

 

Berger J X. (1972) Ways of Seeing. Penguin Books Ltd

 

Bolter J D, Gromala D. (2003) Windows and Mirrors. MIT Press

Bolter J D, Grusin R. (2000) Remediation. MIT Press

 

Colson R. (2007) The Fundamentals of Digital Art. AVA Publishing

 

Grau O. (2003) Virtual Art From Illusion to Immersion. MIT Press

 

Hansen M. (2004) New Philosophy for New Media. MIT Press

 

Heidegger M. (1978) Being in Time. Wiley-Blackwell

 

Lévy P. (1999) Collective Intelligences: Mankind’s Emerging World of Cyberspace. Basic Books

 

Lister M. (2005) The Photographic Image in Digital Culture. Routeledge

 

Lovejoy M. (2004) Digital Currents: Art in the Electronic Age. Routledge

 

Manovich L. (2001) The Language of New Media. MIT Press

 

Ponty M. (2002) Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge Classics

 

Robbins, K. (1996) Into the Image: culture and politics in the field of vision. Routledge

 

Rokeby .D (1995) Transforming Mirrors: Subjectivity and Control in Interactive Media in Critical Issues in Electronic Media. State University Press

 

Rugg J. (2007) Issues in Curating Contemporary Art and Performance. Intellect Books

 

 

 

 

8.2 Online References

Bartlem E. (2005) Reshaping Spectatorship: Immersive and Distributed Aesthetics

Available at http://seven.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-045-reshaping-spectatorship-immersive-and-distributed-aesthetics/ (Accessed 10/05/2011)

 

Buchenau M, Suri J F. (2000) Experiencing Prototyping.

Available at http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=347642.347802  (Accessed 10/11/2010)

 

Kovlov V. – Brave New Digital World

http://www.themoscownews.com/arts/20110310/188483181.html (Accessed 02/06/2011)

 

Kwastek K. Interactivity – A Word in Process.

Available at http://theclockspot.com/u/for02-awordinprocess.pdf  (Accessed 08/11/2010)

 

8.3 Software

Shiffman D. (2008) Learning Processing. Elsevier Inc.

Fry B. Visualising Data

Maeda J. (2004) Creative Code. Thames and Hudson

Greenberg I. (2007) Processing; Creative Code and Computational Art. Friendsof

OpenProcessing forum, processing.org

http://ubaa.net/shared/processing/opencv/

 

9. Code Examples

Developing code examples can be found in the online blog documentation, found at www.dm.ncl.ac.uk/jamesdavoll. Many aspects of the code have been developed through smaller projects such as little Brother (documented on blog). By integrating the developing code into smaller projects I am able to complete user studies as well as test the stability of the program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Schedule

 

Week Ending Development

 

10/02/12
  • Begin Code combining previous little Brother Code
  • Sketch out code functions

 

17/02/12
  • Sketch out photographic scene ideas/ movements etc.
  • Story board potential interactions

 

24/02/12
  • Start to pull together Hardware
  • Test webcam options

 

02/03/12
  • Test photographs of scene

 

09/03/12
  • Develop first level of code

 

16/03/12
  • Combine OpenCV face detection into Code

 

23/03/12
  • Test OpenCV recognition distances
  • Photograph scene development

 

30/03/12
  • Work on photographic images
  • Sketch out potential scenarios
  • Develop cinemagraphs/ images

 

06/04/12
  • User Tests on cinemagraphs/ images

 

13/04/12
  • Photograph more scenes
  • Testing out different movements

 

20/04/12
  • Develop first level of code

 

27/04/12
  • Configure face recognition distance and size
  • Work on images

 

04/05/12
  • Finalise distancing with face recognition

 

11/05/12
  • Begin work on x co-ordinate location

 

18/05/12
  • Run the integrated little Brother code within sketch
  • Link up x co-ordinate

 

25/05/12
  • Finalise first level of code with images

 

01/06/12
  • Complete first level of code with images

 

08/06/12
  • Begin to configure z co-ordinate to unveil next layer
  • Produce animation between layers

 

15/06/12
  • Work on second level images
  • Begin to load into sketch

 

22/06/12
  • Begin work on x co-ordinate to animate images/ cinemagraphs

 

29/06/12
  • Finalise second level of code with images

 

06/07/12
  • Complete second level of code
13/07/12
  • Work on third level images
  • Begin to load into sketch
20/07/12
  • Finalise third level of code with images

 

27/07/12
  • Complete third level of code

 

03/08/12
  • Check combination all images within sketch
  • Check referencing of images to distancing and x co-ordinates

 

10/08/12
  • Test system and check for any bugs etc.

 

17/08/12
  • Integrate projector into system

 

24/08/12
  • Projection Testing

 

31/08/12
  • Projection Testing
  • Configure optimum distance for viewer positions
  • Finalise Code

 

07/09/12
  • Final system completed
  • Final Testing of sketch to asses stability and for per-longed periods
  • User experience tests for presentation of installation

 

14/09/12
  • Exhibition duration, including setup and take down
  • 18th September setup
  • Exhibition taking place 20th to 23rd September

 

21/09/12
  • Presentation 21st September
  • Collate visitor feedback
  • Conclusions and development of project

 

 

 

Appendices

Documentation of experiments, thinking and pseudo code can be found on the already mentioned online blog www.dm.ncl.ac.uk/jamesdavoll.

Reality/ Simulation/ Hyperreality

As a photographer – I come from a background of being absorbed by the debate – from the beginning of the photographic process there have been discussion about the truth of the photograph. Now technology with digital photography things are openly fake, i’m interested to see how much we  are willing to believe. The balance of truth in todays photography.

Critics have said that we use (Robins) this new technology (digital) to escape form the real World and our fears and to substitute an interaction with the World. With digital media hyperrealities are therefor created. I’m interested on how the dialogue of truth has progressed.

Chemical photography may construct a reality but at least it was the result form an encounter with the real World. This process has now been broken down into binary numbers taking the real and representing it as numbers. It therefore suggests that this process can be reversed and that the numbers can create a reality of their own. Where those the truth lie in this ‘derealised’ (Lister, Martin) World.

These hyperrealities and simulations are not there to imitate the real as photography set out to do, but are creations of their own.

flow diagram

Idea Development

My idea is to create an interactive postcard like image. Traditionally a Postcard shows a view that the individual can purchase and claim as their own. They own it, they have seen this. They are not saying that it has seen them. They are in control of it. They buy a postcard and send it as part of their experience of the place, they are fully in control of the event even down to how they describe it and who they send it to.

A view that is bought, translated by an individual and invites others to view their interpretation. I wish to subvert this… the closer they look the less in control the viewer is. Creating an open discourse of who is the viewer and who is the viewed.

From afar the image will take the form of a recognisable seaside scene. As the viewer approaches the image, the image will zoom into a character that looks at viewer and tracks them around the space if they walk back again the image will return to its original format. If they approach another area of the image another area will be uncovered and zoomed into where another character reacts to the viewers position. I visualise this happening in three stages. Each level closer the viewer gets more becomes apparent of what the image holds.

I’m also hoping to touch upon several Irish legends and myth again to play with this idea of hyperreality. The Banshee and the Selkie would be interesting characters to elude to.

The Dialogue Between Spectator, Artist and the Digital Artwork

The Dialogue Between Spectator, Artist and the Digital Artwork

 

The purpose of this text is to establish what the spectator

brings to the artwork and how this in turn affects their experience. The intention is to explore 20th and 21st century, digital artworks and how their creators utilise the spectator’s capital to establish new participatory experiences and outcomes. In digital artworks the spectator is seen to be user, collaborator and viewer. This essay seeks to investigate the contemporary issues surrounding the spectator’s dialogue with digital artworks using specific examples. Digital art comes in many forms but for the purpose of this essay I am going to concentrate on what Hansen coins Digital Facial Images (DFI) [Hansen, 2004: p127]. These are digitally generated close-up images of a face that are displayed via technology.

The spectator plays a vital role in the reading of any artwork. They are the instigator of the dialogue and willing participant. Barthes explains that the spectator brings to the reading of the artwork their education, their experiences and their ideas [Barthes, 1993: p143]. John Berger echoes these sentiments in his book Ways of Seeing by observing “the way we see things is affected by what we know and believe”[p8]. Berger goes on to relate to Jean-Francois Lyotard suggesting that we are always under the influence of some narrative, that things have already been told to us and we ourselves have already told the story [Berger, 1990: p12]. This idea that the spectator is the author and instigator of their art-viewing experience is not a new concept but it seems to be evolving with technology. Technology allows for even greater scope when it comes to the spectators individual experience of an artwork. New digital artwork or media according to Lev Manovich “is not something fixed once and for all, but something that can exist in different, potentially infinite versions”[Manovich, 2001: p36]. So, not only can the spectator create infinite connections with the artwork the artwork itself can exist in infinite versions, thus emphasising the concept of individual interactions and experiences.

The following digital artists use the spectator’s capital in numerous different ways in their artworks. They draw upon the spectator’s knowledge of the world and how they integrate with it. The interfaces that these artists use are common to the public. The spectator has been exposed to them before and is therefore familiar with their purpose and process.

Daniel Rozin’s work Wooden Mirrors 1999 (fig. 1) resembles the form of a traditional framed mirror placed upon the gallery wall, but rather than a silver coated glass mirror we are confronted by a network of wooden blocks

. These blocks react and respond to whatever passes in front of it. When a person approaches the piece a camera captures their image and changes the photons

reflected by the spectator into pixels. The wooden blocks pivot changing the level of reflection they cast to form the pixelated image of the spectator standing in front of the Mirror. The sound of the tiny motors is directly connected to the spectator’s interaction and highlights the physical change that they are making to the artwork. The piece works on two levels, as a mirror and as a window [Bolter J D, Gromala D., 2003: p33]. Firstly, the spectator recognises the artwork as a mirror, and approaches it accordingly, seeking a reflection. In doing this, they change the network of blocks to form the desired reflection. As Rozin states, “the simple interaction between the viewer and the piece removes any uncertainty regarding its operation, it is a mirror” [ww.siggraph.org, 1999]. Secondly it can be described as a window due to the fact that the interface between the camera and the blocks is transparent. The interface is not seen in it’s own right, like a window, but it is what lies beyond that is seen. The spectator is unaware of or sees-through the technological process used in the artwork and views only beyond the technological function, the mirror. “An interactive technology is a medium through which we communicate with ourselves – a mirror” [Rokeby, 1995: p133]. Rozin can be seen to make a literal interpretation of this through his work.

Fig. 1 Wooden Mirror by Daniel Rozin

Heidegger [1978] talks about the concept of a tool becoming invisible when the user is familiar with it. His concept of the ‘ready-to-hand’ tool is when the tool becomes an extension of the hand and is no longer perceived as an object but a natural extension of ourselves. These sentiments are seen to be true with modern digital technology. In our western society we are immersed in technology everyday and we no longer seem conscious of technological objects. We interact with the computer without thought. It is this idea of transparency seeing through the physical technology to its function, that drives designers today. “Designers…must mix strategies and create an interface that is both transparent and reflective” [Bolter J D, Gromala D, 2003: p68]. In the Digital Artwork Dream of Beauty 2.2 Touch Me, 1999 by Kirsten Geisler (fig. 2) a small framed portrait of a beautiful blemish free woman stares directly back at the spectator. The spectator is invited to touch the portrait both through the title of the piece and accompanying labels. This allows the spectator to physically interact with the Beauty. This is an act usually not associated within the gallery space and so is intriguing to the user. They intuitively understand how a touch screen works due to being exposed to it in everyday life, but perhaps do not know the technological process and components behind it. Heidegger explains this state of transparency by saying that “the World of tools is an invisible realm from which the visible structure of the world emerges” [Heidegger, 1978: p69]. Depending on where the DFI is touched ‘she’ will react with varying emotions, laughing, weeping or even blowing a kiss when touched on the lips. The spectator has control of this virtual woman during the interaction and can manipulate ‘her’ reaction as they wish. Due to the instant response of Dream of Beauty 2.2 the spectator knows that their intervention is what has caused the reaction on the screen. The spectator has power over the narrative of this artwork. Geisler’s work adheres to the theory that “computers can pretend to be intelligent only by tricking us into using a very small part of who we are when we communicate with them” [Lev Manovich, 2001: p34]. Dream of Beauty can only react in predetermined gestures, we cannot change the gestures merely play them in a finite number of mathematical combinations. Manovich goes onto explain this type of interactivity as “branching interactivity” explaining that the user affects a predetermined set off actions, but, they however cannot change these actions. “The artist is seen to create an audience activated choosing mechanism” [Rokeby, 1995: p136] giving the spectator a sense of control (mirror) as the result is due to their intervention.

Fig. 2 Dream of Beauty 2.2 Touch Me by Kirsten Geisler

The author’s own work Little Brother, 2010 depicts a DFI staring back from a screen, it uses a hidden camera to track the position of the spectator and the DFI stares directly at that position. This has an unsettling affect on the spectator when they realise they are being watched. As the spectator moves so does the DFI following them until they are outside of the field of view. Little Brother links the interaction between body and artwork. The spectator recognises that their movements affect the DFI and that they are the tool by which the digital domain and reality are communicating information and the embodied human that they are [Hansen, 2004: p129].

Tiffany Holmes’ Nosce Te Ipsum, 1999 utilises the spectator’s movement towards a screen as a tool. The screen depicts a collage and as the spectator approaches, layers of the collage are peeled away. When the spectator gets to a predetermined distance, all the layers are peeled back and reveal the spectators image at the base of the collage. This embodies the concept that the spectator is integral to the production of a piece of artwork and, indeed, the first piece to the puzzle. “The (new media) artist now attempts to construct an environment, a system of communication and production, a collective event that implies its recipients, transforms interpreters into actors, enables interpretation to mentor the loop with collective action…it places us within a creative cycle, a living environment of which we are already co-authors” [Lévy, 1997: p123]. Holmes deliberately leaves the work ‘incomplete’; it is missing the initial image to create the collage. The piece invites the spectator to walk towards it, this movement physically demonstrates their contribution to the artwork, as collaborator, which is rewarded with the piece itself mirroring the spectator. Interactors themselves become referents of the work. “The works are akin to portraits” [Rokeby, 1995: p153].

Fig. 3 Nosce Te Ipsum by Tiffany Holmes

All of the mentioned artworks function on an immediacy and hypermediacy

level. They encompass both interfaces that the spectator is aware of, and those that they are not. The spectator can only experience real immersion when true immediacy is achieved. This level of transparency, however, does not exist due to the co dependence of both reflective and transparent interfaces, “our two contradictory logics not only exist in digital media today but are mutually dependent”[Bolter J. Grusin R., 2000: p9]. Instead of trying to achieve this impossibility, Andy Holtin accepts it and even draws attention to it in his piece Contraption for the Influence of Breath II, 2010 (fig. 4) . Holtin plays with the idea of hypermediacy and does not try to hide the interface of his work. Cables, fans and sensors are deliberately left on view for the spectator to explore in an attempt to understand their function. The spectator is invited to blow on a sensor that sends a signal to a network of fans that in turn blow plastic bags. The interface of fans blowing plastic bags passes down the room until it reaches a screen showing a DFI. The DFI then blows back towards the spectator, triggering the fans and bags to blow back mirroring the exact process that the spectator has undergone. Due to the openness of the technology employed and the design of the interaction the spectator is under no illusions of transparent technology. It’s as if the illusion has ended and we can see exactly where we fit into these processes, understanding our role as collaborator.

Fig. 4 Contraption for the Influence of Breath II by Andy Holtin

“The activity the exhibition exists for is between viewer and maker”[Baxandall, 1991: p8] but it seems that to some extent the spectator trades their subjectivity for this participation. Interactive artwork interferes with the spectator’s subjective process of interpretation [Rokeby, 1995: p141].

“The experience of even simple artefacts does not exist in a vacuum but, rather, in dynamic relationship with other people, places and objects” [Buchenau, 2000: p422]. The relationship between artist and spectator is evolving into a collaborative process within digital art. The spectator still brings their capitol to the artwork but they are now allowed in to finish the piece or make it behave in a manner that another may not, therefore creating an exclusive experience for both artwork, artist and spectator. This creates the idea that new media objects assuring users that their choices, thoughts and desires are unique [Manovich, 2001: p42].

References

Books

Barthes R. (1993) Image Music Text. Fontana Press

Baxandall. (1991) Exhibiting Intention Smitsonian Institute Press

Berger J X. (1990) Other Than Itself. Aperture

Berger J X. (1972) Ways of Seeing. Penguin Books Ltd

Bolter J D, Gromala D. (2003) Windows and Mirrors MIT Press 

Bolter J D, Grusin R. (2000) Remediation MIT Press

Hansen M. (2004) New Philosophy for New Media MIT Press

Heidegger M. (1978) Being in Time Wiley-Blackwell

Lévy P. (1999) Collective Intelligences: Mankind’s Emerging World of Cyberspace, Basic Books

Manovich L. (2001) The Language of New Media MIT Press

Rokeby .D (1995) Transforming Mirrors: Subjectivity and Control in Interactive Media in Critical Issues in Electronic Media State University Press

Online References

Buchenau M, Suri J F. (2000) Experiencing Prototyping. 

Available at http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=347642.347802 [Accessed 10/11/2010]

Kwastek K. Interactivity – A Word in Process.

Available at http://theclockspot.com/u/for02-awordinprocess.pdf [Accessed 08/11/2010]

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/photon

www.sigraph.org

Geisler – Dream of Beauty

 

 

 

 

In the Digital Artwork Dream of Beauty 2.2 Touch Me, 1999 by Kirsten Geisler  a small framed portrait of a beautiful blemish free woman stares directly back at the spectator. The spectator is invited to touch the portrait both through the title of the piece and accompanying labels. This allows the spectator to physically interact with the Beauty. This is an act usually not associated within the gallery space and so is intriguing to the user. They intuitively understand how a touch screen works due to being exposed to it in everyday life, but perhaps do not know the technological process and components behind it. Heidegger explains this state of transparency by saying that “the World of tools is an invisible realm from which the visible structure of the world emerges” [Heidegger, 1978: p69]. Depending on where the DFI is touched ‘she’ will react with varying emotions, laughing, weeping or even blowing a kiss when touched on the lips. The spectator has control of this virtual woman during the interaction and can manipulate ‘her’ reaction as they wish. Due to the instant response of Dream of Beauty 2.2 the spectator knows that their intervention is what has caused the reaction on the screen. The spectator has power over the narrative of this artwork. Geisler’s work adheres to the theory that “computers can pretend to be intelligent only by tricking us into using a very small part of who we are when we communicate with them” [Lev Manovich, 2001: p34]. Dream of Beauty can only react in predetermined gestures, we cannot change the gestures merely play them in a finite number of mathematical combinations. Manovich goes onto explain this type of interactivity as “branching interactivity” explaining that the user affects a predetermined set off actions, but, they however cannot change these actions. “The artist is seen to create an audience activated choosing mechanism” [Rokeby, 1995: p136] giving the spectator a sense of control (mirror) as the result is due to their intervention.

 

 

 

 

Tiffany Holmes – Nosce te Ipsum

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Tiffany Holmes’ Nosce Te Ipsum, 1999 utilises the spectator’s movement towards a screen as a tool. The screen depicts a collage and as the spectator approaches, layers of the collage are peeled away. When the spectator gets to a predetermined distance, all the layers are peeled back and reveal the spectators image at the base of the collage. This embodies the concept that the spectator is integral to the production of a piece of artwork and, indeed, the first piece to the puzzle. “The (new media) artist now attempts to construct an environment, a system of communication and production, a collective event that implies its recipients, transforms interpreters into actors, enables interpretation to mentor the loop with collective action…it places us within a creative cycle, a living environment of which we are already co-authors” [Lévy, 1997: p123]. Holmes deliberately leaves the work ‘incomplete’; it is missing the initial image to create the collage. The piece invites the spectator to walk towards it, this movement physically demonstrates their contribution to the artwork, as collaborator, which is rewarded with the piece itself mirroring the spectator. Interactors themselves become referents of the work. “The works are akin to portraits” [Rokeby, 1995: p153].

Facial Expression Inherent or Cultural

Relavists – facial expressions akin to language and learned within each culture.

Darwin(1872) – facial expressions of emotion are inherent. Certain facial movements were acquired to serva a biological adapture function. Their association with emotion over time has become innate. Darwin states that there is a difference between facial expressions of emotions, which are innate and universal, and facial gestures, which are learned and therefore culturally variable.

Tomkins(1962) – innate facial/ emotional expressions, but variations occur between cultures.

LaBarre(1947) – “There is no ‘natural’ language of emotional gesture”.

Birdwhistell(1963) – major central claim that facial and body behaviour is a language, with the same types of units and levels of organisation as a spoken language.

Ekman(1968) – agrees along the same lines as Darwin. He has two rules for controlling facial expression. One which is Universal and the other culturally different.

 

With the Humanities Project we are proposing to use text from tweeter (language) and ascertain its mood or emotion. This emotion will then drive prerecorded facial expressions that follow theorised moulds allowing any culture to ascertain what emotion has been scraped from the internet.

 

Ekman

Ekman diagram looking into the way that a persons facial expression develops with environment/ cultural variability. Eckman agrees with Darwin stating that there are 2 rules for controlling facial expression. One which is Universal and the other that is culturally different. Ekman’s research goes on to explain key basic facial expressions that occur biologically universal to all humans.