December 30, 2008
Network Notebook #2: The Internet of Things

Now that I’ve had some time off teaching over the holidays I’ve been able to catch up on some reading. I posted about Network Notebook #2: The Internet of Things back in October and even though its only a mere 54 pages, I’d not had the chance to do any more than glance at a few pages.

It is worth a read, partially because its short and free but it does discuss a few interesting aspects of the Internet of Things. I did however find it a very narrow vision as it really only considers RFID as the technology of the Internet of Things. It argues the point well from a pervasive/surveillance point of view (invisible technology, a new means of surveillance) but I find it hard to believe that RFID will be the sole (and possibly even major) revolution of new networks since it is currently a passive technology (on the tag side) and codes/tags are prevalent in nearly all Internet of Things technologies e.g. RFID, datamatrix etc. and related apps e.g. ARtoolkit. Surely tags/codes are the most important thing here, how will tags/codes become a part of our landscape? Will they shape the things around us or will they become invisible? In this last question this booklet is very much a counterpoint to Shaping Things however while the later clearly recognises we are on the cusp of a new era of networks, the former really seems to imply we are well into it – I’m not convinced of that.

Posted by: Garrett @ 2:50 pm
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December 27, 2008

Colony is a 12-channel sound, interactive installation consisting of neworked totems controlled by up to 30 people through a combination of iPhone web application and physical proximity. The installation can be played like a collaborative musical instrument. Part artificial lifeform, part icon of a digital media landscape:

The weathered totems use light and sound to communicate with one another in response to human presence. Affect the colour and sound patterns of the artwork by walking through the environment or playing the totems with your iPhone. The work draws upon Innocent’s digital media arts practice that explores the connections between artificial systems such as language and natural processes abundant in life.

Originally seen at Mobile Audience.

Posted by: Garrett @ 11:06 pm
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December 24, 2008
Dept. of Rhythmanalysis: Dupage

The Dept. of Rhythmanalysis: Dupage (images above and below) came through a few weeks on Rhizome’s mailinglist:

This installation features a grid of 60 inter-connected control panels. Through labeled LED indicators, each yellow panel purports to monitor a different condition in the gallery, campus, or the world. Through some actual sensing and some fiction, each panel audibly switches at a distinct rhythm. Interspersed manual switches offer or deny the viewer a chance to influence these conditions, through turnkeys and dials. Some conditions are visibly and audibly interdependent, others autonomous and even questionably verifiable.

The work has an interestingly retro look of pre-digital mechanical interfaces (no screen based GUI’s here) yet is very visibly a network, a mechanical network, boxed controls connected through piped conduits instead of cables or even wireless connections. The work is similar to some installations I’ve posted about before which employ a particular visual style in their presentation (see here).

Posted by: Garrett @ 11:29 pm
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December 20, 2008
Social Networking for my Toaster

This instructable for social networking for a toaster popped up on the Netbehaviour mailinglist a few days ago. It’s similar to some of the projects in Tom Igoe’s book
Making Things Talk

Originally seen on the Netbehaviour mailinglist.

Posted by: Garrett @ 11:29 pm
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December 19, 2008
Between Saying and Doing

So I finally did some work with Second Life of my own, a performance called Between Saying and Doing. This was the result of some ideas I’ve been thinking about for over a year but was also to a large extent an experiment with something I didn’t quite understand (why exactly are artists using this?), something I distrust (the linden dollar economy and it’s similarity to a Ogliarchy) and something I feel is far too over hyped.

In this latter respect the work is a huge success (in other respects that is not up to me to decide). I do now understand why artists have become so fascinated with Second Life, there is a lot to play with in terms of identity, the body and space, very traditional themes for artists. Discussing the work and in general creating work with Second Life, with artists who are much more invested in this than I am has been enlightening.

I still remain skeptical about it all but feel that criticism from within (in this instance) can be very useful so with this in mind I am planning some more work, definitely some performances but also some work that will take other forms. I’m quite interested in collaborating due to the immediacy of the ‘space’ and see it as an opportunity for a large investment of ideas but little investment in time and (ideally) no investment in Linden Dollars. If your interested post a comment here…

Posted by: Garrett @ 11:18 pm
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