November 28, 2010
Humlab; Yoshikaze, Up in the Air Residency

From 01/12/2010 to the 31/01/2011, I will be artist in residence at Humlabs, Yoshikaze Up in the Air Residency in Second Life (teleport there). Please feel free to drop in and see work in progress. What follows are details of what the residency will entail.

Since January 2007 I have created performances and installations in Second Life. The basis of all my work has been identity. Creating an avatar that is not an alter-ego, what is usually an artists opportunity to start afresh and explore new practices, methods or even themselves being new, my avatar is instead a projection of my ‘real’ world identity into a ‘virtual’ world. It looks, dresses, acts and even bears the same name as me, yet my avatar is not me. It is a representation of how I am In Real Life (IRL).

My residency at Humlab’s Yoshikaze space will continue to explore these ideas of identity as they relate to Second Life and its relation to or representation of ‘real’ place. As such emphasis will for the duration of the residency focus particularly on the specifics of place and how it can inform/influence identity. How does place, our ‘real’ location and our ability to simultaneously represent ourselves within a ‘virtual’ world, define what becomes a new facet of our total identity? How can a singular dispersed identity (as opposed to a dualistic identity) enhance our cumulative experience of both ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ places?

A series of works will be produced during the residency that respond to these ideas and the location of the residency at Yoshikaze. These will, due to their subject matter, investigate a number of mixed and augmented reality techniques and entail outcomes including objects, devices and environments. On completion of the residency these will be intended for display and use in an exhibition and may form the basis of a performance.

Posted by: Garrett @ 5:05 pm
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November 17, 2010
Bruce Sterling & REFF RomaEuropa FakeFactory

Bruce Sterling who wrote the foreword for REFF RomaEuropa FakeFactory gets his hands on the publication for the first time and tests out the various tags:

It’s interesting to watch as Bruce wrote Shaping Things five years ago about these very same technologies and scenarios. In a very real sense he is watching his predictions come true.

Posted by: Garrett @ 10:02 pm
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November 10, 2010
REFF RomaEuropa FakeFactory

REFF, RomaEuropa FakeFactory published in Italy by DeriveApprodi and FakePress has just come out this month with some of my work in it. Yes any publication of my work is a good thing but I’m particularily proud of this one due to it being a connected/augmented publication which has used free/open culture software right through its creation, publication and how the end user interacts/reads the publication.

The publication has been published with the byline:

The reinvention of the real through critical practices of remix, mash-up, re-contextualization, reenactment.

however is itself a reinvention of what a ‘book’ such as this can be and do these days through combinations of innovative new/print media, tags of various types, augmented reality and pervasive networks. Building this publication has from the start been a collaborative process between the editorial team and contributors (artists, writers etc.) who could, through a wordpress website and a plugin designed specifically by Fakepress (more info on that here) for this style of next generation collborative publishing, constantly add to/amend/correct and ultimately compile the book as a print ready pdf for publication from the site. Now, post-publication, the website is part (the online part) of the finished book but the site has also been the ‘site’ of collaborative networking to make this very forward thinking publication happen.

The publication is essentially in three parts;

1. The print version (available here).
2. The website.
3. The iPhone/iPad app (click here to download via iTunes).

The print version contains Fiducial Markers and QR Codes. The Fiducial Markers can be used to view extra augmented reality content on the website via a computer with a webcam (click into the section Augmented Reality). The iPhone/iPad app can be downloaded and used to access the QR Codes. These connect to online multimedia including extra texts, music, videos, photos and maps of the book’s contents/authors.

The image above shows me using the augmented reality section of the site with one of the Fiducial Markers featuring my work (I don’t have a copy of the book yet so I had to improvise with a marker on my iPhone).

Above a screenshot of the iPad app and below a Flickr slideshow of the iPad app in use at the preview launch of the publication at the Share Festival, in Turin, Italy.

An innovative book of course needs an innovative foreword and who better than Bruce Sterling to write it:

Right now, the behaviors and activities commemorated in this book are bizarre. Very. They are so peculiar that they are inherently difficult to describe, because they come from the outer reaches of an emergent network-culture…Basically, they resemble the activities of time travellers. Time travellers don’t actually exist. However, they can be hypothesized. They can be faked. Time travellers would be people among us who come from a different historical epoch. By their nature, they have a different set of attitudes and expectations from our own. Time travellers would be people behaving differently, and also effortlessly. They are not being perverse, arcane or difficult. The time travellers have just as much custom and logic as we do. Their behavior would make perfect sense some day. Only, not just yet.

Read the full foreword here.

Posted by: Garrett @ 1:45 pm
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November 3, 2010
Txt-Me-1st

Txt-Me-1st by Eva Schindling is another work with a textual/language theme. An interactive table based installation which allows users to:

create their own spam message by sending a SMS text with their mobile phone to a ‘machine’ installed inside the museum. The machine comprises different old typewriter’s parts and a computer program that turns the incoming text into a spam message through a series of physical interactions and computational algorithms. After the final text is generated, it will be sent back to the visitor’s mobile phone.

More than anything else the purpose of this particular work is to reveal the process involved in the composition of a, ultimately, digital text (spam), through largely mechanical production and visualisation.

Txt-Me-1st is a response to the generative process of spam messages we receive daily. While people try hard to prevent them to enter their mailbox, there is much creativity in the way how spam messages are composed in order to avoid from being caught by anti-spam program. The most common methods are the use of misspelled words and trimming down of whole sentences into keywords only…Txt-Me-1st is inspired by the evolution of this new writing method. It shares a lot of similarities with some early text-based new media art in terms of the ‘randomness’ and ‘emptiness’ revealed in the works. It also reminds us of the playful and the rebellious nature in DaDa’s phonetic poetry in the early 20th century…By implementing the influence of the ambient environment and the interactions between digital text projection and the old typewriter’s mechanical arms, visitors are witnessing how their message is decomposed and recomposed…Txt-Me-1st can be seen as an experience generator rather than just a computational machine that writes on its own. It tries to emphases the playful experience between writing (sending text message) and reading (receiving spam message). It is also experimenting a new way of audience participation by turning the museum into a remote factory which allows the audience to take part in the work even if they are not on site.

Posted by: Garrett @ 12:07 pm
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