Earlier in the class, we discussed the unearthing of the bad ET atari game and its implications to the archive. Now, it seems that these games are being traded around in EBay. This raises some interesting questions in my head. Does unearthing these cartridges somehow damage the authenticity of the idea of having a “bunch of bad games buried in sand”? Then again, what does it mean to be dispersing these cartridges again on EBay? Would these cartridges somehow have more value now that they’ve bit the dust (literally)?

http://www.wired.com/2014/11/atari-2600-et-ebay/?mbid=social_twitter

Leah Buechley in “Art, Craft, and Technology”  brought up a great topic that I feel needs heavy investment made by our education system in America. We need to invest in computer programming classes and teachers for these classes to allow the future generations to be ahead of the technology revolution and be able to compete globally upon graduation.If cost is a major factor on why we haven’t invested in this needed technology, then Leah Buechley does a great job at presenting low cost methods to be able to teach these technical skills at a low cost and  in a way to attract the young techies and the more liberal artsy students in class.

This creation of simple materials into practical technologies;combing art and creativity is trending nation to nation, As digitized projection artist in Jamaica, Don Miller and Drew Burrows, strive to converge the arts with sciences. Miller, who started as an English teacher to making designs with” obsolete re purposed electronics to create low-resolution video art.” This is one way in which he teaches children basic principles of programming in a fun and inventive way, kind of like Leah Buechley.

One of the projects  was to create a musical instrument using a wooden board, nails, and rubber bands.

Artists in residence at Roktowa teach students to create musical instruments from wooden boards, nails, and rubber bands.-Photos by Amitabh Sharma

 

Link to Article:

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130707/arts/arts1.html

 

Exploring the website for the High-Low tech program at MIT allowed for us to explore the past and current projects that interweave technology and creativity. In these projects, technology is used to express creativity in innovative ways. But technology doesn’t just provide a new medium for the creative mind to use, it can also spur on creativity in ways previously unseen. In this line of thought, I cam across an article in Forbes that addresses how technology can enhance the creative process.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2014/01/27/how-technology-enhances-creativity/

The article tries to explain how a society that is hurdling down the path of technological innovation is also creating more creative minds than ever before. I didn’t quite see this at first, but when the author used the comparison that the “gray suited business man is being replaced by the spiky haired hipster with tattoos,” I had to agree. If you look at the minds behind High-Low tech, would all of these minds have been in the creative business 25 years ago with their background in electronics? The article also goes on to explain how today’s fast paced culture can facilitate the creative mind in ways that used to be left up to chance. With a wealth of information at anyone’s fingertips whenever they want information, today’s artist will never be at a loss for information or worldly perspective. The ability to store past works and then take those files and “mix and remix” them has created a whole new genre of art– manipulation of the old into something new. With technology outlining the creative process, I have to say that I agree with the main statements of the article. I previously assumed that technology would inhibit creativity as it optimizes the everyday and brings in machines that have little to no room for error and the humanity that comes with it. However, this article shows that technology doesn’t just provide a medium to work with, but can actually spur on creative thought. Very interesting as we continue down this road to consider our own creative sides and whether our new found bond with the machine brings this out in us or suppresses it. What do you guys think? Is your creative mind helped or hindered?

Research Note #12: Audience Crossover: Media Participation and Attending Live Events (n.d.): n. pag. National Endowment for the Arts. Web. 4 Nov. 2014.

Our discussion on Between Page and Screen got me thinking about the way audiences interact with different media forms. The way we read books is different than the way we watch movies. Even the way we watch television is different than the way we watch movies. So, this train of thought led me to wonder about the connection between how likely a person is to consume certain types of media if they consume a different type of media. Thanks to the power of the internet, I found this handy PDF from the Research Division of the National Endowment for the Arts that relates the correlations between audiences at live performances and media consumption.

The link: http://arts.gov/sites/default/files/12.pdf

Correlation Between Media Activities and Attending Live Events

It goes through what a correlation means statistically for readers who don’t already know, but on the last page is the chart. It notes that while jazz and classical music audiences have a substantial correlation between attending live events and record sales, really no other genre has the same. It also notes market possibilities suggested by these numbers, like the shared audience of classical records and art museums.

It’s a little weird that listening to records of almost any of the given genres has a stronger correlation with attending an art museum than with attending a live event in the same genre. To me, this could indicate that live performance is becoming less a part of the experience of the arts as it is readily available through media formats. I think that the nostalgia of museums appeals to the loss of aura that a lot of music has experienced. Music and dramatic performances are mass marketed, but art museums have managed to retain an air of the sacred.

Leah Buechley shows how the High-Low Tech projects can help teach children about the technology/engineering field. There are many other cool projects that could do the same.

Boys: Have you ever heard of electronic legos? All kids love leggos, right? Well, littleBits has integrated the technology of a circuit with the concept of leggos. To keep it on a child’s level, there is no programming, soldering, or wiring involved. You just put the magnetic pieces together to form a circuit. There are different pieces with different settings like lights, sounds, pulses, and motors and many different projects can be made.

Girls: Most younger girls love to read, but would they want to read about engineering? GoldieBlox has found a fun way for little girls to read about engineering while conducting a simple projects. GoldieBlox is the female character and in each book she conducts a projects. Each book comes with the parts needed for the project and as you read, you will learn how to create the project.

GoldieBlox and the<br>Dunk Tank

The children construct something themselves while learning about all aspects of technology. Being a mother, I find this to be very helpful with getting my daughter to understand what I do at school and also encouraging her, at a young age, to go the same route. Both of these projects increase the materiality of technology and engineering. The hands on aspect increases materiality and also increases the interest in children. For children, materiality matters because that is what keeps them engaged. The more materiality an object has, the more interested the child will be.

For those of you unfamiliar with Vocaloid, it is a singing voice synthesizing software that uses voice recordings to create original songs that is very popular in Japan. Users of the software take a bank of voice recordings, usually from a famous voice actor or singer, and change pitch, intonation , and or tone to create music. The characters created using Vocaloid software act as templates for producers to project their lyrics and melodies on. Most Vocaloid music is written in Japanese, however English, Spanish, and Chinese voice banks exist for some characters.  Perhaps the most famous vocaloid character is Hatsune Miku, who recently appeared on Late Night with David Letterman. 

Hatsune Miku performs “live” on David Letterman

Many people (David Letterman included) seem to be very confused as to why so many people like “fake” singers like Miku and other vocaloids, but what they’re ignoring is the people behind the songs. The composers and producers who create these vocaloid songs are very real people who create very real songs. While you may never be able to interview Hatsune Miku because she doesn’t exist like human musicians exist, there is a real, material element to all of her songs.

Vocaloids aren’t real people and therefore we cannot interact with them like we would our favorite bands. We can’t watch interviews with the Vocaloids themselves and they don’t technically exist without the fans and producers creating their songs and stories. The materiality of a software program is different than that of a flesh-and-blood human being. Producers sometimes address this and play with the idea of existence, particularly the idea of does Miku really exist and if she doesn’t, how do we define existence? What sort of material aspects are Vocaloids missing that deems them “fake” and “nonexistent”?

The ideas presented by Leah Buechley on combining traditional arts and crafts as well as other expressions of art and design with engineering, computer sciences and technology are not only exciting for their artistic implications but also for the yet imagined applications in education and how they may inspire new innovations. Manipulating physical art through shape memory alloy, using software and special pens to create interactive drawings, or creating living artwork with the use of sensors, circuit boards and light all were previously impossible ways to create art and explore the world. These new applications also stretch our ideas and previous constraints associated with certain medium. Interestingly, these techniques tend to promote an opposite effect to that of dematerialization. Instead of objects losing materiality as a byproduct of increased technology, these medium gain a richness and significance previously unavailable to them. They afford and encourage interaction and discovery of the piece. This interaction draws the medium to the forefront of the interaction — moving, touching, and bending the object are encouraged. Where with film, photography and digitization, there is no somatic engagement between user and artifact (often only passive listening or looking), to experience these pieces fully one must interact with them.

The concept that “any sketch can become an interface” is a tempting and exciting thought. Finally, the creativity and design that is integral to yet often under appreciated in engineering and technology can be highlighted. There are so many individuals who if only inspired and encouraged to use and learn about technology in an nonthreatening manner, will create incredibly important work and become the foundations necessary to continue to improve and advance our society. On a personal note, as a girl I was always interested in arts and crafts, and yet felt little interest in the different science kits my father would bring home. Now, I love and enjoy creating and working through the puzzles offered to me in computational media, design and the computer sciences. It took until my second year in college before I understood how these areas could be exciting and relevant to my life and my perceived strengths. Embedding technology and exploration of the aforementioned fields into mediums that make the topics relevant to individuals of varied skill levels and interests is a worthy and important venture, and a movement I am excited to see the fruits of as entirely new demographics begin to take ownership in the field.

 

Last week, we discussed Between Page and Screen, which made a rather direct point that print and digital do not have to be so separate. The work of Leah Buechley and her students makes the same statement, except instead they take this digital technology to the paper instead of simply supporting it. These projects at MIT certainly blur the lines between print media and digital media. My personal favorite is StoryClip (http://highlowtech.org/?p=2923), which allows you to record your own audio and connect this audio to certain images in your drawing, essentially making responsive “buttons” out of a regular drawing or painting. This got me thinking– what if Between Page and Screen had done this? Would the point have been more clear that print and digital need each other? Instead of pointing the image toward your laptop webcam, trying to get it to go the right direction and finally getting the words that were supposed to be on the page, you would just flip through the pages and touch the images to get the same result. I feel that certain nuances of the book would not have had such an impact, like the anagrams– but the paragraphs of letters back and forth from “P” and “S” would probably have felt the same. It certainly would have been less frustrating to use had it have taken the actions that Buechley and her team did. I feel that High-Low Tech takes more of a stance on blending all aspects of print and digital– in the YouTube clip we watched, not only can you record speech but an example of a musical instrument drawn on paper was shown as well. Perhaps in the future this technology can be blended into more advanced aspects of society today.

After watching Leah Buchely explain the potential of paper circuitry, I decided to explore the High-Low Tech website, and found this painting (in the loosest sense) by Jie Qi, Pu Gong Ying Tong: Dandelion Painting

It is an interactive work: the yellow lights over some of the bulbs turn into white clusters, which in turn can be blown off, much like dandelions. In a video accompanying the article, the outer paper (the layer with the calligraphy) is pulled back to reveal the circuitry underneath. Unsurprisingly, given the context of Buchely’s video, the circuitry is itself another painting, a functional re-interpretation of the dandelions in front of it. These multiple definitions are the most fascinating intellectual possibility of this combination of high and low technology. The “epistemological pluralism” touched on by Leah at the end of the video is a spectacular concept: her example of a circuit, which contained the words ‘this is a circuit’, within the diagram of a circuit, which is itself a working circuit. The synthesizing of low and high tech into new meaning and material was also demonstrated through the self folding origami and the paper synthesizer: folding folded cranes and musical music notes. The practical possibilities are also enticing. Imagine a whole new kind of graffiti, one that lights up when commanded, or can be played by passing pedestrians like a wall mounted marimba, all painted on with great speed and concentration.

– Garrett

Twitter is a popular social media site that allows users to send quick tweets of 140 characters about how they are feeling. Now, twitter is being used in many different ways. Its vast and frequently updating databases are put to use to study epidemiology, social trends, movements, etc. Twitter provided an avenue for people to easily obtain vary kinds of data. As more and more celebrities, politicians, CEOs jump on the this platform, Twitter becomes more and more relevant to the discussion of demateriality.

Some of the unique positions that Twitter has when it comes to dematerializing the material world comes from the idea of providing the world with a massive stream of short messages that, once put together, formulates a story. Since users are able to follow any of these stories that interest them, it seems that Twitter is not only a site that dematerializes instances of events, rather, Twitter has the ability to dematerialize its user’s whole world. Users now are able to find out what is happening around them, to the people they care about, to the event that they are about, without even having to leave their beds.

While Twitter certainly have an effect on how we are viewing the world and it’s materiality, I think it is in a unique position to affect much more than that. I wonder, then, what is the potential of this product? While it is very much an anti-thesis to an archive, could it have archival value?