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Project Hyperessay: Conclusion

Conclusion: synthesizing the elements of your project, how does the project bridge your artistic practice with OSS concepts and ideas? What were some of the key ideas about net-based artistic work that were new to your experience of working with new media? What issues were exposed through your project that allowed you to critically examine them? And finally, how did your project evolve as a result of your research into the Internet as a medium for artistic production?


When I was writing my Introduction to the hyperessay, I was completely clueless as to what I want to do because all these concepts about post-humanism, internet culture, and so on were very new to me, so I never would have envisioned my final project to evolve into something that I have at the moment.

It’s a definite that I will involve sound in my project, but I never quite pictured it involving the web culture. Somehow through the course of the semester, it had managed to evolve into one that is very net-based, and very open-source—the idea of breaking down all the copyright boundaries and just having the audience take and submit things as well as the open-source content on the internet like tutorials that helped me to realise my Ableton & VDMX audiovisual work.

I think I encountered and assimilated quite a few qualities about ‘net art’ such as completely ignoring the concept of intellectual property since protection of content on the internet is pretty much…non-existent or ignored, 24/7 ongoing audience participation, cross-platform usage meaning that I am utilising various sites as infrastructure for my work (Vimeo for videos, Soundcloud for Sounds, Tumblr for the main collation), and in particular I’m gif-ing a lot of stuff, which is in my opinion the one thing that really cements my project’s relation with the internet because gifs are the product of the computer and internet art.

One particular aspect that has been difficult to realise since it is not within my control is audience participation. Although I’ve laid out a foundation and gave instructions on how to take part, it occurred to me that there was a lot more ground I needed to cover and that there were perhaps too many routes that the audience could take, so this complicated participation aspect was not effective. So this experience did make me understand how much hard work and beta-testing are required to gather support and promote a guerrilla idea; it is definitely not one that can be done or achieve overwhelming responses in just a few weeks.

Another aspect that I have come to realise is that once I’d opened my project out for submissions, I kind of lost control over it. In fact, it feels as though my audience are controlling me because they are sending in submissions for me to remix rather than remixing the content, and I am quite amused by that. I guess that is one of the qualities of net-based work—”the bi-directional nature of control”.

Lastly, as Randall had mentioned about jonCates reblogging my video, the hierarchy between people is flattened on the web, that it does not quite matter if one is an established artist or just a beginner at the craft.

It’s so surreal that the semester has come to an end, I think it’s a bittersweet situation because I had a lot of fun experimenting and exploring the different ideas and software that I had always wanted to learn. The meetings in the third space as well as everyone’s individual project were very enjoyable too.

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RMC | Publicity + Submissions Update

Submissions update:

Big thank you to Jing Xiang, Chin Fang, & Nasir for your submissions! & also Xiao Yan for being the first outside OSS to submit 😀

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& systemsapproach is following me on Tumblr

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1_Thank You to Chin Fang, Nasir, & Prakash for the promos on FB!

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2_Posting on my own Facebook

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3_Reddit

Posting in Reddit’s ‘favors’ subreddit in hopes of gathering some more submissions and support.

Post on Reddit is here: http://www.reddit.com/r/Favors/comments/22v1p8/request_help_me_out_by_submitting_some_of_your/

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4_Spam following users on Tumblr

Following what Diana suggested during class, I have been trying to spam follow some blogs on Tumblr, though it seemed deceptively easy to find up-to-date remix blogs, and in the end I only followed a few relevant ones. I think you have to be ‘in the loop’ for a while to know which are the blogs that are still regularly active such as:

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Did jonCates just reblog my video?!?!?!

Update for 1 APRIL 2014

Yaaaaay first submission from Ashley!! Thank you 😀

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Update for 31 MARCH 2014

Just looking through my Tumblr dashboard Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 4.15.00 pm

Hey this username looks interesting

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wow gl1tchf4c3

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Nice glitch aesthetics, who’s this person?

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Wait, who? The jonCates I learnt about during class?!?!?!

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WOAH. IT IS jonCates.

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And systemsapproach ‘liked’ the video; this is systemsapproach.tumblr.com:

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jonCates liked & reblogged my video. I am just ihnweiguaenr;giupahgpaiughuJKAmsdijsfhouwei #omg.

Here’s my video on his (very NSFW) tumblr page:

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Thank you jonCates!!!!!!!!!!!!

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VDMX + Ableton Adventures [ part iii / iv ]

This is a documentation of the first official audio-visual material to be uploaded onto remixyourcatharsis.

Hardware used: Akai MPD26, Apple iMac
Software used: Ableton Live 9, VDMX 5, Adobe Premiere Pro CS6

Working out how to set the preferences to read the hardware:
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Didn’t quite work out for the previous settings, so I went into forums & managed to set the right preferences & then mapping the midi controllers to Live:
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Using Ultraloops once more to get a quick and decent-sounding soundbite to work with, after which I created another midi track and settled on using drum kits that have the different instruments e.g. cymbals mapped to the Akai MPD26.
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Very excited & happy to use a midi controller for the first time! Frankly, I didn’t get very far with it, but it’s a start. Went ahead to use the Note Repeat option for everything as well.
20140328_200022

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Because this is my third time messing around with VDMX, I have gotten much more familiar with it and understand how it works more. Previously I only used the Clock for all of my effects, but now I’ve gone to utilise more plugins. Moreover, since VDMX is not in the trial version anymore, I have access to v002 glitch plugins!

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A glitch effect I managed to achieve, but was not ‘moving’ yet:
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Brought in Step Sequencers:
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And brought in LFO too:
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In my previous session, I managed to sync the clocks to trigger certain effects, but I suppose a lot of it were just lucky trial and error hits. I remembered my very first VDMX adventure where I managed to change the size of the video, and that’s when I realised how I managed to assign the trigger options—by clicking on the feature I wish to change and then assigning the trigger option through the UI inspector.

In this case (below), I assign the alternate colour values to change accordingly to the LFO waveforms:
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Now, I’ve added a third layer consisting of a Quartz Composer effect.

I also tried out triggering effects with the MPD26, but the effect was not very obvious; just short bursts of it and it only appears at certain taps, so I decided to just stick to using Live to trigger effect automatically.

Video documentation of part of my process as usual:

Final product (that took ages to upload) that is also on the remixyourcatharsis tumblr site!

1

VDMX + Ableton Adventures [ part ii / iii ]

During the Skype consultation, Randall suggested taking works that I consider to be ‘high design’ or ‘high art’ and then remixing them into an audio-visual work, therefore in this Live+VDMX session, I am attempting to produce one example through syncing Live and VDMX.

Somehow the softwares were either in trial version or incomplete, so I could not integrate my ‘daddy by plath’ remix since I used certain instruments like Operator, which were unavailable. Hence, I resorted to taking a default construction kit whilst adding Ultraloop sounds on top of it.

Getting the VST preferences right:
vst plugins

Making key mappings to trigger the loops:

Also finally utilising Ultraloops:
ultraloop

Before moving on to VDMX, I searched the web for images of designs by designers that I look up to, I also decided to include some gifs so that there will be some animation to liven up and contrast with static images. I didn’t quite bother renaming the files (I usually do, so that I can keep track of the source or creator) to keep in line with the idea of rebelling against intellectual property rights on the web—how on the Internet, there isn’t much control of what is yours, people can easily take your image as long as you have put it up online.

collectingimages

In VDMX, I had actually struggled to find the Media Bin option. It took some time of messing around, clicking absolutely everywhere before I found it nestled under the plug-ins option, and before long I could activate the ‘continuous learn’ option to assign key triggers to the clips.

I actually discovered the feature of overlaying 2 layers by chance, and this chance encounter made me understand how VDMX works even more. I was just triggering clips off with one static layer underneath when I accidentally hit the wrong key, which changed the static layer and that moment was #mindblown, which made me analyse what exactly happened.

A zoomed-in shot of the Layers option:
layer1_croplayer2_crop

Testing out the over layering effect:

overlayinglayers

 

Here’s a screen recording of what I did after the eureka moment:

A video to show the triggering of the clips through the computer keyboard:

The end product of my first successful syncing is this:

After exporting the first video, I remixed it again into this second video, together with a slightly different audio loop:

In the end I realised that I had so much fun playing around with the effects and triggering VDMX clips that I forgot about triggering the audio, which explains the ultra repetitive loops.

The entire session was actually riddled with bouts of productivity and confusion…mostly confusion as I took quite some time to get the preferences right, find out how to get Ultraloops to work for example, setting up the layers correctly, finally having control of VDMX etc. but I managed to get a result that I would say is quite satisfactory for an amateur on her second exploration with VDMX.

Credit to mr div also for making awesome gifs that helped to add some spice to my remixed video.

& here’s a long lost / long running joke of Skrillex pressing play on his MacBook:

And Skrillex ‘dropping the bee’:

featuredimage_plath

Ableton Adventures [ part ii ]

For this second part of my adventures in Ableton Live, I’ve decided to dive straight into attempting to create one proper remix by following some tutorials diligently instead of ‘jumping around’ like I usually do, so it is pretty intense. I’m doing this remix with the aim to upload it as the first official ‘remixable’ post on the Tumblr page.

Here are some tutorials and remix examples that I watched/referenced:




My process from midnight 14 Mar to 4 a.m. 15 Mar:

1. Chopping up the selected parts of the audio
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2. Adding a sample to the Simpler to make a Dubstep wub wub wub
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3. Making a Sampler using the audio clip
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4. Using a combination of Beat Repeat and Autopan for a stuttering effect, as well as chopped up some vocals to further dramatise it
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5. Following a tutorial showing how to make dub step sounds using Operator
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[ to be continued ]


Featured image glitched & re-glitched through: http://www.airtightinteractive.com/demos/js/imageglitcher/
Photo of Sylvia Plath grabbed from here: http://florenciasmiths.blogspot.sg/2013/03/sylvia-plath-again-again.html

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Project Hyperessay: Technical Realisation

Technical realization: include a technical description with any sketches, drawings, photographs you have done, which help articulate the technical elements of the work, as well as any specific software and/or hardware that is required for the project.


Technical Realisation of this project will mainly involve 2 softwares, Ableton Live and VDMX, and a free blogging platform, Tumblr.

1. Ableton Live for Sound Remixing
* also documented under the Project category

Ableton Live will be the primary software used for this project since the bulk of my remixes will be audio based and they also form the root of the project.

The overall process of Ableton will involve these steps, though they will likely be modified accordingly to the piece that is being remixed:

– selection of / cutting up the parts of the original work to be included in the remix (arrangement view)
– producing MIDI sounds via Simpler, Sampler, Operator etc.
– inputting audio effects such as Beat Repeat, Autopan etc.
– creating loops in session view
– creating loops via Plug-ins like Ultraloop

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Creating sounds in Operator

As of 15 Mar, here is a WIP clip of what I have so far as I am in the process of learning the software, so admittedly the progress is slow but picking up gradually:

(Right now I can give the conclusion that producing computer / electronic music IS NO JOKE.)

For more up-to-date and in-depth documentation of the progress, do check the Project category.

2. VDMX for Making Visuals / Video-Remixing
* also documented under the Project category

To complement some of the audio pieces, as well as to broaden the scope of remixing beyond sounds, a video made in VDMX will be produced as well.

This will be done by syncing Ableton Live to VDMX:

Ableton Live MIDI Preferences

Ableton Live MIDI Track Big

Existing videos will be downloaded and synced to the beats, further enhancing the remixing agenda of the project. Additionally, effects built in Quartz Composer can be used.

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Video of ‘Lies’ by Chvrches with the stripes effect overlaying it.

Because VDMX is used to provide the auxiliary content, I will not be delving as deeply into it as Ableton Live. Thus, what I will be doing in VDMX will centre around the syncing between the two softwares and layering effects onto the visuals.

 

For more up-to-date and in-depth documentation of the progress, do check the Project category.

3. Tumblr for Hosting the Website

I touched on it also in my Role of the Viewer post, but here is a video documentation showing how the reblogging system as well as the submitting feature works.

Hence, each post will be given a tag for organisational purposes and for the post to be searchable in the Tumblr space, and the audience can submit their works via the different categories. Unfortunately, the option for audio submissions is unavailable, to which I have decided to work around this limitation by asking them to submit a link to their work, which will then be manually reposted into an audio format, instead.

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Different post options on the Tumblr dashboard.

Here are the other aspects of the Tumblr page:

– About page: Information on the project as well as its objectives
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– Submitting Guidelines: This page is especially important for it informs the audience on HOW to submit the works as well as the terms and conditions surrounding the works if they wish to participate. E.g. ALL WORKS must be under the Share-Alike license and no one person is to hold entire copyright or use the works for commercial purposes.
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4. MIDI Controllers for Sound Remixing (Tentative)

Depending on the availability of the equipment in school as well as how well I can work with just a Macbook for remixing on Live, I might be hooking up MIDI controllers to help me in my ‘compose’ the remixes in the software.

Advantages of using MIDI controllers are that I would be able to have a wider range of notes; working with just a computer keyboard, I have to manually increase and decrease the octaves. It would probably speed up the process as well, since I am manually adding notes via mouse-clicking. Also, I can set the ‘sensitivity’ of Live to the MIDI controller; to achieve accents, I hit the pads on the controller harder, which cannot be done with a computer keyboard.

Disadvantages would definitely be hardware connection issues, sometimes the software just does not read the hardware, and time may be lost for troubleshooting. Particularly so in my case since I have never worked with MIDI controllers before.

5. Image Remixes

As my remixes also include image formats, I will be using online open source image glitchers for my image creations such as;

http://www.airtightinteractive.com/demos/js/imageglitcher/
http://snorpey.github.io/jpg-glitch/
http://fatiherikli.github.io/image-glitcher/

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Another way is to also use the infamous Photoshop, like the one I did below, which is liquifying:

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La_nascita_di_Venere_Botticelli

The Birth of Warped Expectations 

This is also a way for me to buff up the content of the page so it looks more substantial, which would entice the audience to participate more.

6. Publicity (WIP)

Once I have uploaded at least 1 track and its raw files up on the Tumblr page, I will first advertise it through our OSS community via the Facebook page followed by on my own Facebook wall. I figured that since the OSS community will be familiar to projects like mine, and if I post on my own Facebook profile it will be shown to people who know me, support will be easier to get.

After that, if more works are uploaded and audience participation becomes more substantial, I will then publicise the project to other Facebook groups that have similar interests in remixing and computer music as well as utilising other social networks like Reddit, a powerful platform for viral marketing. One more vital channel would be the official Ableton Live forums, because it is the main software used for the project and people who dabble in Live would most likely be interested in remixing.

I am honestly very apprehensive about this publicity bit and having people respond to what I am trying to achieve because this side of the project is out of my control for the most part, but we will see how it develops.


navigate, navigate
introduction | influences | role of the viewer
technical realisation | conclusion

022

Giving Up Your Data: Life Sharing

During the lecture, there was a question of whether the timestamp on my blog post affected me, to which I responded that it did not, since date and time are very neutral aspects to me, and possibly due to the prevalence of it in blogging, phone messaging, as well as other social network platforms, it seemed like standard protocol.

However, there is a line to be drawn, even though Juan commented on how open I am to the timestamping, I can never imagine myself being as open as what Eva and Franco Mattes did in Life Sharing.

In Life Sharing, the duo shared their personal computer through their website, and everything is visible to the public, including their bank statements and private email. Because everything is open to the public 24/7, they remarked that sometimes their emails were read by the audience before they even got to it.

Although the project was done more than a decade ago, I think it is even more relevant in today’s context especially with the dominance of multiple social networking sites and applications now. For example, in Facebook, people can know more about me than myself, or know information about me even before I do.

Similar to the ‘snooping activity’ in Life Sharing, I think some of us are guilty of looking through a person’s social network profile, such as reading up their ‘about’ page which might provide us information of their past education or websites (that might lead to more snooping), looking through their photos, reading their activity feed and so on. And the thing is, this person might not even be a friend of ours, but we’re curious to find out more about him or her.

Judging from the above writeup, I think Life Sharing is a work that touches on many areas of concern. Besides the issue of ownership and privacy as well as what Eva and Franco Mattes said about voyeurism and exhibitionism, after writing about the ‘snooping activity’, Life Sharing also extends itself to the question of values and reflection of human behaviour when granted full access to things.

Besides that, the piece is indeed a critique on how we give up information about ourselves so easily. Taking the example of Facebook again, when I want to link up a certain application to my account, I will go through rounds of granting permission to access to my data, but I will rarely read through the messages and just click ‘OK’ since my main goal is to link up the application. The first times this happened, I was wary and would reject the offer, but now that it has become so commonplace, I do not care or feel that much fear anymore.

However, there are utopic sides to this project—since the artists used open source software, the audience could take those that could be of use to them. Nowadays, there are a number of open source softwares available online that are extremely helpful (e.g. SourceForge). I see open source softwares as particularly useful for self-educational purposes since it is a free way for me to learn, for instance, I could download Audacity as a first step to understanding basic audio editing and then move on to professional DAWs afterwards if I find that I want to delve into audio production further, but if I do not, I would have wasted no cent.

Here is a quote from the website that I found pretty thought-provoking:

“Working with a computer on a daily basis, over the years you will share most of your time, your culture, your relationships, your memories, ideas and future projects. With the passing of time a computer starts resembling its owner’s brain. So we felt that sharing our computer was more than sharing a desktop or a book, more than File Sharing, something we called Life Sharing.”

—Eva & Franco Mattes

 

I’ve always seen the computer as just a tool for communication, work, storage space and so on, something very detached from the human element, so the quote made me realise that my computer is a map of who I am. It is fascinating and unsettling at the same time to know that this non-living object is, in a way, morphing into my brain structure and capturing aspects of who I am.

The artists later mentioned how they “were totally obsessed with traffic logs, waking up in the middle of the night to check ‘the traffic'”. I may be wrong about this, but it seems as though the artists themselves have also become the audience to their work, or rather become controlled by their work; of how we are slaves to data.

Regarding the domain name, I ran it through a binary decoder, hoping that it would provide an answer but was instead given an equally puzzling one: K�

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I suppose it can be taken to be an abbreviation of “OKAY?”, maybe the artists is asking the audience, “Even though we opened up our private computer, IS IT OKAY for you to be prying into our private information?” or “IS IT OKAY for people to be giving up our data so casually and willingly over the net?”

Back to the timestamping debate I had talked about in the introduction, I am reminded of one application where it bothered me: whatsapp, or any mobile messaging platforms with similar “tracking system”. I suppose it is quite ironic, and I am also perplexed by this contradiction, but I think why I am okay with timestamping in blog posts as well as sent messages because in a way I am “in control”, whereas in whatsapp the timestamping is like a spy bug that is on me.

When I said “in control”, I guess it is like how, if I take constructing this post for example, I can type drafts after drafts and save it until I feel ready to publish it publicly. So in a sense, I have given the permission for the platform to timestamp my post. In whatsapp, there is a “tracker” that timestamps when I last used the application, so perhaps I have read a message my friend sent, but do not feel the need to reply in that instant, but my friend can tell that I have seen the message, which might give rise to certain misunderstandings. Hence, in whatsapp, I am not willingly giving up the information of my actions, which is why I am uncomfortable with timestamping in this case.

Therefore, I think in the case of sharing one’s information, permission of the individual is particularly important, and it is the line that determines the violation of privacy.


Reference
http://0100101110101101.org/home/lifesharing/index.html

Screen Recording 2

VDMX Adventures [ part i ]

I started off not without using the available templates but by using a downloaded YouTube video as that is how I usually learn when dealing with online tutorials.

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At the beginning, it was more of familiarising myself with the interface, knowing how the layers feature operate as well as looking through the different effects available.

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And I stumbled on one that uses iSight!

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Meddling with the bezier curves to see how it affects the final outcome.

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First part of my ‘getting to know VDMX’ process:

After a while, I delved slightly deeper into it and searched on how an audio clip (mp3) can possibly trigger visuals in VDMX. I do not think I got my answer directly, but was instead introduced to another software called Quartz Composer that can be ‘paired up’ with VDMX to achieve something like this:

Through this particular tutorial, I tried to get my cube, but I unfortunately failed in my mission.

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I then moved on to syncing Ableton with VDMX. I tried to use a default midi project to trigger visuals on VDMX, but somehow the ‘MIDI to’ aspect will always change into ‘Audio to’, which cancels the option of sending the signals to VDMX and I took a while to get around it.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 8.45.51 PM   Screen Recording 2

 

Eventually, in the later more productive part of my self-learning session, I managed to distort my video layer via the clock, but could not do the same to the second gradient layer. And it I am not sure if I managed to trigger the movement through the signals from Ableton Live since I could not hear any sounds though the audio bar was moving, but I have a strong feeling that it did not happen.

Here’s the second part of my ‘getting to know VDMX’ process:

 

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Project Hyperessay: Role of the Viewer

Role of the viewer: describe the role of the viewer, for example, if there is any interactivity, networked participation, collaboration, etc. How does the viewer interact with the work, and even more importantly, affect its outcome.


Adopting the model of remixthebook, viewers are encouraged to:

1. Submit tracks for remixing
2. Download the raw and/or remixed tracks for their own versions
3. Submit their own remixes
4. Reblog Reblog Reblog! Using the power of social media to spread the idea and/or content around

This interactivity will keep up the open-source nature of the blog, which will be hosted on Tumblr. The interactivity is most likely not in real-time, but free to happen at any time. Although this project starts out as an individual one, hopefully it will attract active participation and gain its own following or cult status.

Since the open source element is a big factor, the concept of copyright or intellectual property will be challenged as people either appropriate content from other sources and/or clips provided through the blog, or keep remixing a previous version of the remix such that a ‘remix inception’ is produced. Through that, the original content will be  Using the CreativeCommons license generator, I am thinking that all the work on the blog will be licensed as this:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Overview on the usage of Tumblr

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 2.36.47 pm

The tumblr interface is very similar to how a lot of social networking or blogging sites work nowadays; through hashtags the user is able to find a variety of posts, and reblogging is easily done with a click of the button as circled in the picture above. Additionally, I can classify the remixes on the blog accordingly with the hashtags and create something akin to ‘categories’ on wordpress as a way of organising content and information.

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 2.35.50 pm

 

There are currently quite a number of remix blogs like the example above, however for mine it is slightly different since it is (1) more about dissolving works that are considered ‘high art’ such as classical music, and (2) the remixes are not limited to just sounds, pictorial and video remixes are welcomed as well.

As circled in the picture above, the audience can and are also encouraged to follow the blog for updates.

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Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 3.03.07 pm

Tumblr is perhaps also one of the first to provide or introduce an in-built submitting system besides the reblogging feature, rather than having people take the extra step of crafting an email to submit to the moderator.

As shown in the two screenshots above, the Tumblr submissions form support the 3 main media I am aiming to work with.

Tentative URL: http://remixyourcatharsis.tumblr.com/


navigate, navigate
introduction | influences | role of the viewer
technical realisation | conclusion