1. Randall Packer

    The Post-Human Condition

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    Stelarc and his prosthetic third arm It has been said that tools are more than a function of their use, rather, they in turn reshape the minds who use them (Alan Kay). It has also been said that our tools have become an extension of our collective nervous system, (Marshall McLuhan). And finally, it has been said that all of us who are active participants in the Network are always in a potential state of global embrace (Roy Ascott). For those of us who have come to inhabit the third space, perhaps to a greater degree than we care to admit, the notion of how our technological tools have reshaped us, extended us, as far as the Net can reach, is fundamental to our understanding of what is implied by the post-human condition. For in the third space, where boundaries are blurred, connections are instantaneous, and everyone is just a click away, we have to wonder, and quite critically so, how this is effecting what we consider to be our innately human qualities. What does it mean to be human in the first place? That is a question perhaps too large to be answered by any one mortal soul. But if being human means we occupy space, exist in time, create relationships with others, nourish ourselves physically and intellectually: well all of those human necessities have been irrevocably altered by our exposure to technologies and our increasing immersion in the third space. In the photo above of the Australian performance […]
  2. Randall Packer

    Media & Performance begins @ ADM

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    This week we had our first class of Media & Performance introducing course concepts and the Open Source Studio site. This coming Tuesday at 7:30, we will have one more class in person at ADM in Art B1-14, before I go back to Washingon, DC and resume the course remotely from my studio. I look forward to seeing your Video Double micro-projects on Tuesday, when we'll spend time setting up our Wordpress sites and reviewing Adobe Connect. I have also sent invitations this pass week to join our Flickr and Facebook groups, so be sure you followup before class on Tuesday. Also, be sure you review the syllabus for all assignments from Week 1: Introduction to Media & Performance due this coming Tuesday, as well as upcoming lecture material for Week 2: Between the Real and the Virtual.
  3. Randall Packer

    The WordPress Reader

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    Testing the WordPress Reader as an alternative mechanism for aggregating blog posts into a centralized location. Given the issues of WordPress, or perhaps until all the issues are ironed out, this may be an excellent temporary solution.
  4. Randall Packer

    Micro-project 1: Video Double

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    Due: Tuesday, January 20

    Video Double:  Using your smart phone, create an approximately one minute video double of yourself that constructs your "artistic alter ego." Choose a location that you find best expresses this constructed sense of identity: studio, campus, apartment, park, café, garden, etc. Do not write a script or edit your piece, although you can shoot more than one take, picking the best one. Be sure you are in the video, though it doesn’t need to be a traditional headshot. You can be walking, standing, working, sitting, or lying down. Consider any ambient noise, background movement, etc. to be part of the composition and the setting. The goal of the project is to spontaneously and improvisationally create a sense of an imaginary double in video form. The project asks the following questions: How can video be used to alter identity? How might video be used to conceal identity? How do the objects that surround you create a mutable identity? When the video introduction is completed, embed it in a blog post on your Wordpress site, and give the post a title. Include a short text description (one or two sentences) as a "caption" for the video, that concisely or enigmatically describes who you are (or imagine yourself to be) in the video.
  5. Randall Packer

    Micro-project 2: The Collective Body

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    Due Tuesday, January 28

    The Collective Body: We will create a "collective body" made up of all of our body parts randomly reassembled and reconfigured into a single composite body. Using a smart phone or digital camera, shoot ten photographs of yourself close-up: eye, mouth, nose, foot, hand, shoulder, etc.  Transfer the images to Flicker and load them into the 'Open Source Studio NTU' Flickr group. Over the course of the week the collective body will take shape, and each time the Flickr feed page is visited, the body will be randomly reconfigured, creating a near infinite number of possibilities. How does this project alter the way we think about the body as a malleable figure? How does the project allow us to rethink the human figure in the digital age, when the authenticity of the image has been subverted through manipulation. How might we think about the body as a "collective" entity, made up not as a single individual, but as a composite of selves. And finally how does the composite body reflect on the "deeply intertwingled" nature of social media: the intertwining of identities and relationships?
  6. Randall Packer

    Micro-project 3: Virtual Soundscape

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    Due: Tuesday, February 4

    Soundscape: Using only Soundcloud and a smart phone, narrate an approximately two-minute walk: no editing, cuts, or montage, a real-time recording. The goal of the project is to disrupt the "reality" of the situation by superimposing a fictitious spoken narrative, In other words, invent a narrative that transforms the environment, creating instead, an imaginary soundscape that you invent yourself. For example, if you are walking down the street and there is loud construction, or rain falling, or children playing, you insert your own interpretation, layering into the situation something disturbing, jarring, nonsensical, humorous, strange, etc. You are essentially changing the context of what we hear and transforming it into a new scenario of your own invention. You can either plan out the narrative in advance, or make it up on the spot, reacting and improvising to the sounds around you. This is an opportunity to explore the juxtaposition of the virtual and the real, the fictional and the actual, and the imaginary and the concrete. It is an exploration of the malleability of realty: to layer the soundscape, to create a virtual situation from fictional narrative. When you have completed the Virtual Soundscape (you may try multiple takes), upload the final piece to Soundcloud, embed it in a blog post, and write a short description (stay in character) as a caption.
  7. Randall Packer

    Micro-project 4: Media Addiction

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    Due: Tuesday, February 11 Twitter is often referred to as “micro-blogging,” in which short texts are written in 140 characters or less. This has resulted in a form of writing that is quick, immediate, and spontaneous. In this assignment, we are creating a form of “micro-theater,” in which we will role play via Twitter, assuming a Twitter / avatar-identity through which we will interact with one another through improvised exchanges. Building on the Video Double project, we will assume an identity (use the same one if you like), engaging between our characters through micro-conversation, micro-gesture, micro-action: a form of micro-theater. Yet, unlike traditional theater, our micro-theater will be distributed across the network in the third space, our interaction will be asynchronous, without the need for simultaneity or real-time exchange. The subject matter of our micro-drama will be: “media addiction.” Imagine a world in which we no longer communicate face-to-face, where all exchanges are mediated, where we prefer to be remote participants in our own social lives. (It’s not hard to imagine!) And why? Because we are addicted to media, we prefer to communicate telematically via our devices because it is safer, easier, and perhaps even more inventive. Now, situate yourself in a world of addictive media with other addictive students, using the #ossntu hashtag as a kind of symbol of your collective addiction. (You can ask other friends to join us using the #ossntu hashtag). Don’t force it, you already live (at least partly) in this “addictive” world, so it […]
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