Change of address

BLASTULA was a (re)blog serving as my personal web space till June 2009.

NOW YOU CAN FIND ME AT PAVELSEDLAK.INFO AND/OR ON FACEBOOK.

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This post was written by admin on March 8, 2012

Special Innovation Zone: Imagination Without Regulation

Existence is the ultimate proof of the possible. Every time a bold new project is tried, and works, we advance our sense of the achievable. Given how much transformation we need in order to meet the challenges we face, we need many more attempts at innovation, and we’re not getting them. The achievable is not advancing quickly enough.

Why does it matter? Because our perception of what’s possible dictates our standards of what’s acceptable, and the biggest barriers to social innovation and bright green experimentation are almost always institutional, legal and regulatory. We may have tons of new technology, promising designs, ambitious plans, but in most of the Global North, it’s exceedingly costly and difficult to try new things at any scale. A few examples:

* Cutting edge green builders often encounter all sorts of local building code barriers that prevent bold designs (sometimes even when those designs are well-proven elsewhere);

* District energy plans are often stymied by national, provincial or local laws governing utilities, which often make it difficult-to-impossible to implement new ideas for improving the grid or building local energy at scale;

* Existing utilities and agencies may resist new ideas because they stand to lose revenue if, for instance, a new water-recycling system with living machines and biodigesters takes a building off the sewer system (and would thus exempt it from paying sewer fees);

* People attempting to make woonerf-style pedestrian streets may find that municipal insurance in the U.S. may demand that streets for which the city is responsible be built at a certain width to accommodate emergency vehicles moving quickly, and companies may oppose street grid innovations which inconvenience cars on the theory that their workers or customers may have difficulties getting to their businesses;

* Banks may refuse to fund new business ideas that depend on governmental permissions or exemptions from rules, and investors may be similarly shy of getting behind projects which are both innovative and face potential regulatory or legal challenges;

* Neighborhood opposition may slow down to the point of infeasibility any project which local NIMBYs think may bring “undesirable” people or activities, even if those activities are perfectly legal and may even be welcomed by other neighbors.

Each of these examples is based on a story I’ve heard of an innovative project that died not because it was a bad idea, but because of societal inertia. Given how tough it is to start new projects (and find financing and support) under normal circumstances, innovators facing this kind of opposition often end up contenting themselves with incremental — sometimes downright meaningless — gains.

This is not just a problem for the innovators, it’s a problem for everyone. Breakthroughs in the way we make our biggest things — buildings, vehicles, infrastructure systems — need to go through a process of trial and error to reach the cutting edge. We may never know how many great ideas were lost forever, simply because the thinkers behind them couldn’t find a place to experiment boldly and in public.

What might that place look like?

In his recent Long Now talk (MP3 here), economist Paul Romer tells a story. In the early 1970s, China was stuck in a societal inertia after the death of Mao. However, right next door, Hong Kong (administered by the British) was a thriving city-state based on trade and innovative manufacturing. Chinese leaders decided to see if they could copy Hong Kong’s success on a limited scale, and set up four “Special Economic Zones” where foreign investment was encouraged and capitalism was unconstrained. The experiments were so successful economically that their rules soon more or less became the guiding principles of the Chinese miracle. As Romer says, “Hong Kong was the most successful economic development program in history.”

In many ways, the Global North is as hamstrung in the face of bright green challenges as China was in the face of capitalism. What if the answer is a sustainability and social innovation equivalent of China’s answers: a sort of “Special Innovation Zone”?

Imagine a place — perhaps a shrinking city, or a badly savaged brownfield neighborhood — where laws were set up to strip rules and regulations down to a do-no-harm minimum (maintaining criminal laws and protecting health, safety, workers’ rights and civil liberties, but perhaps limiting liability and certainly slashing red tape and delays) allowing for wild deviations from existing patterns for buildings, systems and operations. Imagine a free-fire zone for sustainable innovations, where new approaches could be iterated and tested rapidly, and, when they work, sent to proliferate outside the Zone. Conversely, some of the freedom might paradoxically come from imposing boundary limitations that can’t yet be made practical or survive politically outside the Zone, such as bans on broad classes of chemicals or strict greenhouse gas emissions limits.

To be sure, there are places out there where people are already starting to experiment successfully with this blank-canvas mentality. Vancouver, B.C. has seen wonderful results in urban design from its discretionary zoning policy, which favors case-by-case evaluation of projects in pursuit of regional goals, rather than setting blanket standards. And in Greensburg, Kansas, the devastated landscape left behind after a tornado ripped through the town in May 2007 became a laboratory for innovation, as people from within the community and around the world resolved to rebuild Greensburg as a resilient, efficient and sustainable example of bright green living. Our allies at Re:Vision Dallas have offered up a full block in Texas’s third largest city as the site for a new “sustainable model for the world.” Although the final product will need approval at all levels, the design charrettes for Re:Vision Dallas put city officials and design visionaries in the same room, where they could tackle institutional stumbling blocks with more immediacy. If the winning designers have their say, the Re:Vision renovation will indeed push the envelope and the imagination. But these are small, limited exceptions that prove the rule.

I imagine that anything actually set up to work this way would have a half-life that shortened the better the Zone got at producing innovation, either because it would fly apart (like so many brilliant artistic scenes) or because it would get so profitable that funding would pour in and crush the creativity (as happens to many unfettered intellectual booms). But while it lasted, a Zone like this might well spit out more proven innovation in a handful of years than gets built on the ground in decades during the normal course of things. It might well be a flare that could illuminate a whole series of interesting paths out of the darkness.

Image: The design for “XeroPlace” was one of three winning entries in the Re:Vision Dallas design competition.
Image credit: David Baker and Partners Architects and Fletcher Studio, with rendering assistance from Mike Brown and Megan Morris of Medized.San Francisco, CA.

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(Posted by Alex Steffen in Features at 12:35 PM)


Originally
from Worldchanging: Bright Green

by Alex Steffen


reBlogged

on Jan 1, 1970, 8:00AM

Originally by Alex Steffen from Worldchanging: Bright Green on January 1, 1970, 9:00am

Posted under reblog environment, reblog innovation

This post was written by admin on June 28, 2009

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Low Cost for Saving Climate

by Lisa Stiffler

New analyses of Waxman-Markey say saving the climate won’t cost consumers much coin.

Two new analyses on the economics of Waxman-Markey — the ever-expanding legislation tackling US greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade program and investments in renewable energy — conclude that the bill wouldn’t break the bank for consumers, and in fact could even save people money. Not bad for a law that would bring sweeping changes to the energy economy and wean the United States off carbon.

On Tuesday the Environmental Protection Agency released its latest analysis (see the June 2009 links). It pencils out the cost of the permits under the cap, the amount of power that will come from clean sources, changing energy prices, and the cost and availability of offsets (paying non-regulated polluters to reduce emissions or for the protection/planting of carbon-consuming forests).

Considering scenarios that include different strategies for meeting energy needs, the EPA concludes that by 2020, average electricity prices might not change at all, or might rise by as much as 17 percent. It goes on to say that in the best-case scenario:

“Actual household energy expenditures increase by a lesser amount due to reduced demand for energy. In 2020, the average household’s energy expenditures (excluding motor gasoline) decrease by 7 (percent)…”

In the least favorable scenario, household energy spending increases by 8 percent. Overall, the EPA said the average American could pay between $80 to $111 per year if the bill passes.

For a little more on the EPA report, check out a post on Grist from Daniel Weiss, director of climate strategy at American Progress.

On Friday, the Congressional Budget Office released its latest analysis of Waxman-Markey’s cost to consumers.  The Washington Post had a story on it Tuesday, and blogger Joe Romm offered his take on it as well.

The CBO states “the net annual economywide cost of the cap-and-trade program in
2020 would be $22 billion — or about $175 per household.”

Romm cheerily notes that breaks down to “48
cents per day — a little more than the cost of a postage stamp.”

The CBO goes on to explain that, on net, the poorest one-fifth of U.S. households would actually receive approximately $40 a year in 2020, while the highest income fifth of Americans would pay about $245 more. Those in the second-highest fifth pay more, about $340 a year, perhaps because they don’t own as much stock in coal and oil companies–the value of which would rise in the early years of Waxman-Markey because of free carbon permits.

The difference in the EPA and CBO cost estimates, according to Point Carbon, is because the EPA said its projections are in 2005 dollars (the CBO’s are in 2010 dollars) and account for cost savings
households would realize through energy efficiency provisions included in the bill.

Will these rosy forecasts for consumers compel lawmakers to pass Waxman-Markey (a.k.a. the American Clean Energy and Security Act)? We hope so. Stay tuned — the bill is headed to a floor vote in the House on Friday.

Electrical meter photo courtesy of Flickr user monkeycat! under the Creative Commons license.

This piece originally appeared in Sightline Institute’s blog, The Daily Score.

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(Posted by WorldChanging Team in Climate Change at 2:33 PM)


Originally
from Worldchanging: Bright Green

by WorldChanging Team


reBlogged

on Jan 1, 1970, 8:00AM

Originally by WorldChanging Team from Worldchanging: Bright Green on January 1, 1970, 9:00am

Posted under reblog environment, reblog innovation

This post was written by admin on June 28, 2009

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Reader Report: The World’s First Real Time Carbon Counter

by Bryan Mitchiner

Last Thursday was the launch of the Know The Number greenhouse gas emissions counter: the first real-time counter that advertises the increasing amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

carbon%20counter.jpg

At 10 characters wide and atop its own 70-foot tall billboard, Deutsche Bank’s latest project looms large over all who enter New York City’s Time Square. The digital billboard displays the amount of equivalent greenhouse gas emissions in terms of carbon in the atmosphere, and is constantly updated based on measurements from NASA, NOAA, and supporting research from MIT.

We knew the carbon was there, so why so much hype? Displaying the numbers in real time changes the conversation. NASA and NOAA are able to measure the concentration of gases in the air, but even these measurements cannot constantly update themselves as often as the counter. The counter achieves this by predicting a bit into the future according to recent trends. In addition, the number is a reflection of all greenhouse gas emissions (methane, nitrous oxide, etc.) by their impact equivalencies in carbon. It even accounts for dips and rises in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere due to seasonal changes so not to appear to be slowing down certain times of the year.

Before Thursday, people could find out how much carbon was in the air, but the information was only updated every five years. That means that for four years, conversations about greenhouse gas emissions and about global climate change in general were numerically supported with outdated data. That’s akin to using 2000 census data to talk about cities in 2009. Kevin Parker, the chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank asset management says that displaying the count in real time “allows people to begin to engage in the debate around the issue.” In words that were used repeatedly throughout the event, the counter creates a sense of urgency, a call to action, and is intended to spur action to take the steps necessary in saving our planet.

The choice to install the counter in Times Square references the other famous counter this locale proudly hosts once a year. The countdown for each New Year and the dropping of the ball serves as a reminder of a new beginning, a fresh start, directed not just to New York, but around the world. Robert Socolow, a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton explained the number during the panel discussion as, “a planetary number…the world is connected, this number is exactly the same wherever you are on the planet. So it promotes planetary thinking, planetary identity.”

Professor Socolow says we already have many solutions; we just need to put them in action. While much discussion throughout the event revolved around capping carbon emissions and putting a price on carbon, we were constantly reminded that this is only part of the answer to our problem. Another part of the answer lies in the solutions already out there, including electric vehicles, green building and renewable energy (see the Worldchanging archives for about 10,000 more examples).

The last part of the answer is what we have yet to dream up. This is what makes the counter exciting. The idea that the problem as advertised in the number is an opportunity for growth, for investment, for job and wealth creation.

We’ve been in need of something like this for years now. Ever since climate change has threatened a wide scale transformation of our economy, industry leaders worried that they will lose profits and have been fighting dirty — with disinformation campaign designed to deceive the masses. Yet, these CEOs and executives have either failed to understand the business potential in such a transformation or are too stubborn to commit to change. The call to action and drive towards a bright green economy that this counter provides is a positive reminder. While it does remind us of the doom and gloom that we are climbing towards, it should remind us that we must get going now. What I hope and think we will see in the coming years: meaningful reduction. Let’s do more than just hope.

Bryan Mitchiner studies Community, Environment and Planning at the University of Washington. He is an intern at Worldchanging.com.

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(Posted by WorldChanging Team in Climate Change at 4:51 PM)


Originally
from Worldchanging: Bright Green

by WorldChanging Team


reBlogged

on Jan 1, 1970, 8:00AM

Originally by WorldChanging Team from Worldchanging: Bright Green on January 1, 1970, 9:00am

Posted under reblog environment

This post was written by admin on June 28, 2009

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Fashion-able. Hacktivism and engaged fashion design

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Just found out that the utterly brilliant and fascinating thesis that Otto von Busch presented last year at the University of Gothenburg is available as an online PDF. So leave Dan Brown on the shelves and take this one on the beach this Summer, ok? continue


Originally
from we make money not art

by Regine


reBlogged

Originally by Regine from we make money not art

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This post was written by admin on June 28, 2009

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Brody Condon at LOOP video art fair in Barcelona

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Just back from LOOP video art festival and fair in Barcelona. The event is for video art lovers only. So what was a video art sceptic like me doing there? Well, i was busy becoming a convert. I’ll come back with the why and how in a lengthier post. In the meantime, here’s an example of an artwork i discovered (and unsurprisingly liked) at LOOP continue


Originally
from we make money not art

by Regine


reBlogged

Originally by Regine from we make money not art

Posted under reblog art

This post was written by admin on June 28, 2009

Green Revolution

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The artists brought together for this show reveal an imagery that has been inspired by the current mutations in our environment. They deal with diverse matters such as Chernobyl, global warming and the rise in oil rates. At times close to science-fiction, these artists imagine new stories which pay witness to the curiosity and fears derived from this changing reality continue


Originally
from we make money not art

by Regine


reBlogged

Originally by Regine from we make money not art

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This post was written by admin on June 28, 2009

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Live Stage: Schmidt + Roosegaarde [Eindhoven]

Upgrade! Eindhoven: Holly Schmidt + Daan Roosegaarde :: June 28, 2009; 3:00 - 5:00 pm :: Philips Natlab on Strijp-S, near the crossing of Kastanjelaan and Schootsestraat.

Upgrade! Eindhoven #6 presents two artists who have each a unique way of approaching art and architecture. At this informal meeting, projects, ideas and ways of working are discussed among artists, curators and interested people. Access is free, as is the coffee. We conclude the afternoon with drinks.

Holly Schmidt (Canada) is artist in residence in Eindhoven, focussing on the research of organic processes in relation to urban environments. As a guest of MAD emergent art center she is developing an installation in the Klokgebouw on Strijp-S, based on the architectural model of Park Strijp.

Daan Roosegaarde is in the news frequently with his remarkable installations, often being playfull and challenging interventions of public space. Well known from STRP, Oerol, Kijkduin and internationally are Liquid Space, Dune and Flow. A number of new projects in public space are presented also.


Originally
from Networked_Performance

by jo


reBlogged

on Jun 23, 2009, 3:00PM

Originally by jo from Networked_Performance on June 23, 2009, 5:00pm

Posted under reblog art, reblog environment, reblog innovation

This post was written by admin on June 28, 2009

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Autonet - An Autonomous Internet

Autonet is a project to create a wireless, global internet that can provide more reliability than corporate phone companies by being community based and freely licensed.

The cutting off access to The Pirate Bay by BT in the UK is just another sign of the beginning of the end. The fact that the Great Firewall of China exists signals that the internet is already obsolete and that the Great Firewall of the US is just around the corner. While moves against net neutrality began years ago and have been fought, nasty laws such as HR4437 and the Total Information Awareness program have a way of coming into existence later in the future, slightly modified, under different names. The internet as we know it, as a place for free exchange of information, as the center of what has been called a second 17th century with new ideas, creativity and innovation emerging daily, is rapidly coming to an end. We must use these last gasps of freedom to route around the disaster and create a truly free network.

How? Advances in wireless technology such as ubiquitous wireless routers, community mesh networks which are easily expandable and self-healing as well as long range wireless efforts such as HPWREN indicate a possible future for a community based internet free of the centralized control of telephone corporations and governments. While this is definitely a fork, more forks are to come and we can only hope that a few networks will emerge which can be broad enough to span most of the globe.

Major questions remain to be solved, such as speed issues, routing issues, DNS control, splits and neutrality. The Autonet, or Autonomous Internet project seems to begin to address this rapidly changing situation, where today Germany has installed internet filtering as well and more countries are to come. While today those cut off are defying copyright laws, tomorrow any other political issue may be the cause for being denied access to global networks. While today the FBI is content to steal servers from information providers like Indymedia, perhaps tomorrow they will not be happy until Indymedia is completely cut off of the network, or other open sources of information such as blogs, twitter accounts and social networks of dissident groups.

The popular revolt in Iran and subsequent disruption of network access by the Iranian government is only a glimpse of what is to come in the US and around the world, where the first line of attack against political resistance is to cut off network access. By establishing a community based, wireless, global network we can allow groups of individuals, not corporations, to maintain freedom of communication; We can create out right to communicate instead of asking for it, and continue to route around obsolete intellectual property laws which restrict our dreams and our creativity. Join this effort by going to http://alt-bit.org and contributing to this research, lets start outlining the problems, finding the technical solutions and work out the issues, collectively, as a Free Software / Open Hardware project, using open licensing.

Another urgent reason for Autonet is one that has motivated Free Software hackers for so long: Technological progress without a reliance on corporate support. Given the current financial and economic crises, how long can we expect dinosaurs like phone companies to survive? If one of these crises turns into disaster, the consequence is likely to be the disruption or collapse of the global networks on which we rely. I am not ready to give up what has been gained from these networks, including a worldwide communication between political actors empowered through fast information flows. We must start this long, difficult project today so that we may be ready for unexpected dangers which threaten our capability to communicate as a multitude, globally.

To add to the project, go to http://trac.alt-bit.org/wiki/projects/autonet

To sign up to participate, go to http://trac.alt-bit.org/register

-djlotu5

-chead

Initial Thoughts

“Was discussing pirate radio things with Micha, and I was wondering how hard it would be to create a viable, high-speed, wireless Darknet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_internet). For a few hundred dollars you can buy off-the-shelf gear to create an omni-directional WiFi signal that should go a few miles over relatively flat terrain. To create a proper “Darknet” obviously there would have to be at least one DNS server, etc. RadioLabs (http://radiolabs.com) seems to be the best when it comes to consumer-grade high-gain, omni-directional antennas and amps. Another set-up would be point-to-point long-range links between nodes and omni-directional access-points (so users could hop on the network without running a node). The idea being that there would be NO connection to the commercial Internet (that is, it would not be tied into any ISP). And obviously the more nodes there are, the less terrain becomes an issue, so if this sort of thing took off, it could be amazing, even just on the local level.”

-chead

Features

  • Omni-directional and point-to-point 802.11b links
  • Unmodified TCP stack
  • LAMP nodes
  • Not directly linked to the commercial internet?
  • Distributed DNS?

Resources

Radiolabs.com: 802.11b antennas, amps

Wikipedia: “Dark Internet”

Distributed DNS project

Related Projects

HPWREN


Originally
from Networked_Performance

by jo


reBlogged

on Jun 23, 2009, 3:17PM

Originally by jo from Networked_Performance on June 23, 2009, 5:17pm

Posted under reblog art, reblog innovation, reblog wikinomics

This post was written by admin on June 28, 2009

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ON MAPPING: Lev Manovich + Jenny Marketou

These e-mails between Lev Manovich, San Diego and Jenny Marketou, New York were from January 25 to February 4, 2002 (originally published in Breeder #5

(Athens) 2002):

Lev Manovich wrote: Lets begin by talking about mapping. I see mapping one data set into another, or one media into another, as one of the most common operations in computer culture. For instance, it forms the basis of a whole field of visualization — taking the results of an experiment and visualizing them as a van animation; or taking statistical data and presenting it as a 3-D shape; and so on. These kinds of mappings are also common in new media. For instance, I have come across a few projects where network traffic was translated into music. One of most well known projects which lies at the intersection of science and art (because it seems to function well in both contexts) also involves this kind of mapping — I am thinking of Natalie Jeremijenko’s wire sculpture which translates network behavior into the movements of a suspended wire. Few questions can be posed here. It is not hard to notice that most mappings go from non visual media to visual media. What about mappings which will go into the opposite direction? Another question which we may ask about what exactly is at stake in these projects aesthetically. I always find myself moved by them — but why? Is it because these projects carry the promise of rendering the phenomena which are beyond the scale of human senses into something which is within our reach, something visible and tangible?

Jenny Marketou wrote: Before I can answer your questions I would like to let my mind wander among some random thoughts about mapping and data esthetics.

Last night I had the opportunity to view the large-scale installation “Cloaca” by Wim Delvoye, the Belgian artist at The New Museum in New York. This extreme work is built from chemical beakers, electric pumps, and plastic tubing arrayed on a series of seven stainless steel tables, fully computer monitored in order to duplicate and map the human digestive system. I found this contemplation of mapping bodily wastes another good example of how art,technology and science intersect.

I found the piece challenging and although this simulacrum mapping path of what we eat from the mouth to the anus allows us to see the mechanical process and catch ourselves in the act of self identification, surprisingly it lacks the possibility and the sensibility of meaning located in the magical randomness.

In general I tend to think of mapping data in a broad sense like genetics blocks which generates a recombination of elements, systems, algorithms, happenings. This recombination generates the emergence of new structures for visualization which explores an iconography of media pictures. What attracts me into this forms is that they represent the artifacts of our times which have been generated by taking into account our everyday functions behaviors and information input.

So for me the question here is how any kind of data mapping can create beauty and meaning uncovered by applying loose formal structures, randomness and forms which take into account information behaviors which take into account everyday life.

As you know I am also attracted to crawlers and extractors which function as data collection systems but in their accidental search through the web show each time how we have mapped our world. Like “flaneurs2 their aim is to uncover paths through the topology of our data system of knowledge and it is up to the users and artists to interpret the data in any way they want..

But how can we create the magic of randomness in a visualization from non visual media to visual media as you suggest without losing the magic of the process? How we can express the beauty of the “trajectory” as you once said talking about info esthetics? Certainly the beauty of data is different from the beauty in the “cannon” which we learn at art schools. But again what happens to the content in a meaningless visualization which lends itself in a pure data formalism like this of a “wallpaper”?

LM: I can think of at least one example of mapping which has both meaning and beauty. This is Jewish Museum Berlin by Daniel Liberskind. The architect put together a map which showed the addresses of Jews who were living in the neighborhood of the museum site before World World II. He then connected different points on the map together and projected the resulting net onto the surfaces of the building. The intersections of the net projection and the design became multiple irregular windows. Cutting through the walls and the ceilings at different angles, the windows point to many visual references: narrow eyepiece of a tank; windows of a Medieval cathedral; exploded forms of the cubist/ abstract/ supermatist paintings of the 1910s-1920s. Just as in the case of Janet Cardiff’s audio walks, here the virtual becomes a powerful force which re-shapes the physical. In Jewish Museum, the past literally cuts into the present. Rather than something ephemeral, here data space is materialized, becoming a sort of monumental sculpture. But there was one problem which I kept thinking about when I was visiting the museum building. On the one hand, Liberskind’s procedure to find the addresses, make a map and connect all the lines appears very rational, almost the work of scientist. On the other hand, as far as I know, he does not tell us anything about why he projected the net in a particular way as opposed to any other way. So I find something contradictory in fact that all painstakingly collected and organized data then just “thrown” over the shapes of the building in a arbitrary way. And this is the basic problem of the whole mapping paradigm. Usually there are endless ways to map one data set onto another, and the particular mapping chosen by the artist typically is not motivated. As a result the work feels arbitrary. We are always told that in good art “form and content form a single whole”, “content motivates form,” and so on. Maybe in a “good” work of data art the mapping used have to somehow relate to the content and context of data — although I am not sure how this would work in general. On the question of the beauty of data: permit me to quote something I wrote in a different context: “Ultimately we would not want to submit information to the standards of conventional, classical beauty. Ultimately, we will have to discover what the new beauty of information is. It may turn out to have nothing to do with a smile of a girl on a beach or the shape of iMac or the machine-like sounds of Kraftwerk. If we are unlucky, it may be something that even our machines will find ugly. At this point, we just don’t known yet.”

JM: Lev, I like very much your comments about Daniel Liberskind’s mapping in the Jewish Museum in Berlin and about Janet’s Gardiff’s walks. But talking about mappings of walks, I am always fascinated with the situationist mappings. It comes to my mind something that I read about mapping from an anonymous post “…The 19th Century opium eater Thomas de Quincey with no other goals in mind spent entire days randomly strolling around London. In the 60 ties the Situationists took this activity to the next level by developing psychogeography: the science of the dérive, the drift.” Of course these dérives were not random, but persuaded the psychogeographer to use his or her imagination to experience the urban surroundings in a new way which was unpredictable and for this reason irrational and unstable. Methods they adopted for these mappings were for instance to literally follow their nose by chasing smells or navigating through Paris on a map of London.

From my experience,J anet Gardiff’s audio walks introduce to the viewer a parallel mapping of visual and censorial data which is very engaging to the viewers because the audio effects subordinate to the demands of the narrative and create a fantasy.

For the same reason I find extremely appealing the spectacular impact of the audio visual special effects in science fiction cinema which exist in their own rights and offer the pleasures of excitement, fantasy, magic and escape in the electronically mapped and textured fabric of space and time. Perhaps the audiovisual effects differ widely when applied in the setting of the big screen instead of the context of walk in the museum or public space. But there is no question in my mind that the popularity and enjoyment of audiovisual effects lies exactly in the pleasure of enjoying the awareness of the illusion in which we partake.

Love it or loath it but we cannot ignore it, that one of the reasons why net art is perceived without content or meaning, is the fact that a large number of viewers/ users are not comfortable to seek meaning along the lines of the esthetics which is related on the dynamics of code and data mappings on a single computer without any audio visual censorial input. So the issue here is not about the form nor the content in which the data is mapped but how we experience art generated by pure data.

Many times in my work e.g. in Taystesroom, I find this necessity to create a tangible situation to integrate the viewers, where the physical space echoes the virtual worlds of the net to create a “single whole” as you say. The problem with this is that we fall again into the same conventional methods of presenting traditional and monumental art. Perhaps there is no answer yet but already we can experience beautiful sounds on an ipod computer or via wireless phones or we can see videos on wireless wrist monitors.

LM: Navigating through Paris using a map of London — how wonderful! This is the kind of poetry and conceptual elegance mappings in contemporary “data-art” rarely achieve, if ever. Most often they are driven by the rational impulse to make sense out our complex world, the world there many process and forces are invisible and are out of our reach. So they take some data — Internet traffic, market indicators, amazon.com book recommendation, statistics of text access in rhizome.org database, or even weather — and map it in some way. (I should note that the similar impulse to “read off” underlying social relations from the visible reality animated many artists in the 1920s, including the main hero of my ‘The Language of New Media,’ Dziga Vertov. Vertov’ 1929 film ‘A Man With a Movie Camera’ is brave attempt to do visual epistemology - to reinterpret the often banal and seemingly insignificant images of everyday life as the result of the struggle between old and the new).

To come back to the present: Important as these projects may be, they miss something else. As opposed to being a kind of “data-epistemology,” trying to make sense of data surrounding us, art has also another function to play — show us other realities embedded in our own, show us the ambiguity always present in our perception and experience, show us what we normally don’t notice or don’t pay attention to. Traditional and normal “representational arts” — literature, painting, photography, cinema — can do this very well. For me, the real challenge for “data-art” is not how to map some abstract and impersonal data into something meaningful and beautiful — economists, graphic designers, and scientists can do this quite well. The real challenge is how to speak on the level of a personal subjective experience. How can we represent this experience in new ways? How can new media allow us to experience the ambiguity, the otherness, the multi-dimensionality of our experience in new ways, thus enriching our lives - for this, this is the real challenge lying before us.

JM: I agree with you Lev that new media has challenged our perception and practice in all kind of ways. I would like to end with a few sentences that I heard once from Hans Haacke … make something which experiences, reacts to its environment, changes, is non-stable … make something indeterminate, which always looks different, the shape of which cannot be predicted precisely … make something which the ’spectator’ handles, with which he plays and thus animates…


Originally
from Networked_Performance

by jo


reBlogged

on Jun 23, 2009, 3:51PM

Originally by jo from Networked_Performance on June 23, 2009, 5:51pm

Posted under reblog art, reblog innovation

This post was written by admin on June 28, 2009

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