May 18, 2009
Robert Whitman – Telephony Performances

What follows is a chronology of telephony performances by Robert Whitman.

In 1972 Whitman produced his first telephone/radio piece, NEWS. Participants were provided with coins and sent to particular pay phones in Manhattan. Each person moved from phone to phone, reporting about what they saw and the resulting audio was mixed by Whitman and broadcast live on WBAI radio.

Over the next two years, NEWS was also performed in Houston, Texas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and other cities.

Cell Phone Performance (image above) by Robert Whitman performed in 2002, Leeds, England is an updated performance of his 1972 performance, News. This time performers were provided with cell phones to call in reports of their location and what they observed. More than simply a re-enactment of the performance with updated technology, use of cell phones allowed participants to explore their location more freely and to report while on the go.

Local Report (images above), the third and most recent series of performances occurred in 2005. Once again participants employed cell phones but this time to shoot video clips which were sent on to the artist to be mixed both visually and aurally.

Posted by: Garrett @ 11:39 pm
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May 4, 2009
Drawing invisible wireless network fields

Experiments in Field Drawing by the people at Touch consists of a mounted pen connected to and controlled by an RFID reader (image above left). When the reader passes within the field of an RFID tag it is pulled towards a sheet of paper to make a mark, if no RFID field is detected no mark is made. By slowly passing line by line and a certain distance from an RFID tag the device can draw and visualise a cross-section of the tags field (image above right) which can then, by repeating the process a number of different distances from the tag, be built up to form a three dimensional drawing of the tags field. Below are two videos of the device in operation.

Posted by: Garrett @ 7:52 pm
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May 2, 2009
EU Telecommunications Package and the freedom of digital information

Next Tuesday, May 5th, the European Parliament will vote on a Telecommunications Package of measures which will affect the national laws of all EU countries. Effectively the European Parliament is about to give up the rights of European Citizens to open access to the Internet to protect the interests of entertainment and communications multinationals. Amongst other things internet searches may be tailored (even more than they currently are) to suit our ‘consumer needs’ and internet service providers throughout the EU will be able to decide what services are available through their internet subscription packages. This latter point will effectively amount to deals being cut with the big players and their apps (i.e. Windows Messenger, AOL, Skype, iTunes etc.) while the smaller independent peer-to-peer apps go under as their users get denied access.

A civil campaign by organizations of the whole European Community has been launched to prevent the privatization of the Internet and to defend the democratic right to access information and digital tools. To add your voice of protest you can electronically send a letter to members of the European Parliament using the form below (provided by hacktivistas.net):

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You can send a message (regarding the Open Letter to the European Parliament) to the 876 Members of the European Parliament by filling out the following form. You may write whatever you consider appropriate; however, be respectful, otherwise our requests will not be listened.

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For more information about the Telecommunications Package see here:
http://www.blackouteurope.eu/

To track the European Parliament Vote see here:
http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Telecoms_package_directives_1st_reading_by_country

Posted by: Garrett @ 11:11 pm
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Bitquid and Fluid Sculpture

This post relates back to others I’ve posted here including Dept. of Rhythmanalysis: Dupage, EPROM, Taiwa-Hensokuki, Relay Works, Line, Vacuum Filaments, Earphones, Distant Views and Crash and Bloom which all employ a certain manner/style/technique of visually illustrating their use of connections/lines/networks.

As Jean-no pointed out in a comment on the last post the STRP festival happened in Eindhoven in the first two weeks of April and hosted a wealth of interesting events. While I didn’t manage to get there I’ve been looking at a lot of the work online and have to agree with Jean-no that Bitquid (image above) by Jeroen Holthuis seems to have been the undiscovered gem in the exhibition. The artist explains the work on his website.

In my thesis I tried to explore the relationships between what I like to call our ‘parallel worlds’, or our digital and analogue environment. Bitquid explores the relation between these environments by trying to transform digital information to a new analogue equivalent. The system transforms bits in atoms. It therefore plays with the imaginary boundary where digital information stops and the analogue world begins…Bitquid is a complex system of about 800 meters of transparent hoses through which digital information will flow in in the form of ‘analogue’ fluids. In a really darknened and quiet surrounding this information becomes visible and alive because of the use of an fluorescent component in the fluid. With blacklights this fluid lightens up in a green/yellow color. Everytime one of the 32 valves open you hear clicking sound and at that moment one bit becomes an collection of atoms. In the fluid the digital information is still present, though it will be transformed by our analogue environment leaving a stain on the information. In this world the transfer of information isn’t perfect and is subject to interpretation and deterioration. This is the beauty of this world. Bitquid tries to explore a way of making digital information subject to analogue influences. What will have happened with this information after being transformed from bits to atoms? Is it still recognizable?

It seems that thinking about the use of liquid as a means of visualising movement/flows/connections/networks is current. Fluid Sculpture by Charlie Bucket (image above, video below) is a prototype for a work to be shown later in May at the Maker Faire and follows on from numerous other experiments with fluid based works.

Bitquid originally seen at Les Derniers des Blogs.

Posted by: Garrett @ 1:08 pm
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