Screenshot Experiments

Just completed a bunch of quick image quality degradation  experiments using various techniques following last week’s consultation with Randall – some working much better than others.

Results as follows:

#1 – Window screenshots

Didn’t quite give me the image degradation but produced an interesting  stacking effect nevertheless.

Screen-Shot-2014-02-24-at-11.35.45_Lo-Res-Web

 

 

#2 – Manual screenshots

I tried the same idea again but this time using manual screenshots (not screen grabbing the entire window). Almost negligible difference in image quality.

Screen-Shot-2014-02-24-at-11.36.36_Lo-Res-Web

 

 

#3 – Save For Web at ‘Low’ settings

This method gave me very similar results to method #3. There was some loss of image quality when observed unclose but it was not at a level I was hoping to produce. Could possibly work if I saved it numerous times over (100-200 times perhaps?)

Screen-Shot-2014-02-24-at-11.37.57_Lo-Res-Web

 

 

#4 – Resizing

This method produced the most dramatic of results. I resized the image to a small pixel dimension of 49px and enlarged it subsequently to 1965px. Mostly my preferred method amongst the four attempted. I can control the rate of the degradation by altering the range I reduce and enlarge the image.

Screen-Shot-2014-02-24-at-11.25.34_Lo-Res-Web

Hole In Space – Bridging People In The Third Space

his_windows

 

Hole In Space was an installation piece presented to the public in 1980. It was based on satellite video technology and life size projection of images screened at Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts in New York City, and The Broadway department store in Los Angeles.

See the installation below:

The work was both technologically and conceptually ahead of its time. The seamless projection of a real time video feed on the walls of the two buildings was done before the advent of webcam and Internet technologies we enjoy today. The fact that the public participants experienced a suspension of disbelief, fully immersed in the interactive experience, hardly feeling that they were speaking to a screen, speaks volumes about the technical refinement of the project.

Conceptually, the project ties in with the idea of the Third Space. Beyond just merely watching the video feed, participants who stood before the projection were remotely interacting and having conversations with complete strangers on the other side of the country. They were essentially entering a Third Space, in essence a non-material and  psychological realm where they have conjoined together; interacting and communicating with one another.

In ways, the project can be seen as a precursor to what we have today in terms of webcam and real time video technologies like Skype or Apple’s FaceTime. These technologies symbolically allow us to break down constrains of time and geography, expanding our abilities to distribute and broadcast our ideas, speech, identities etc. across a potentially widespread audience.

Where these technologies were only previously available to large broadcast companies like cable networks and television stations, resulting in a more “one to many” channel of communication, the ease and accessibility of such technology today has resulted in a “many to many” type of communication.

Overall, Hole In Space represents an interesting point in the history of the interactive installation art for breaking new ground and presenting a new and emotive mode of interpersonal communications that had never been experienced before.

Project Hyperessay Influences

Influences:

The following are some preliminary references into related works and writings:

#1 – Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel – Evidence
http://www.ahornmagazine.com/issue_3/review7_shea_mandelsultan/review_shea_evidence2.html

  • a play on found imagery and appropriation
  • the relationship between an it image, its context and the initial intent of its creation

#2 – Michael Wolf – Series of Unfortunate Events
https://www.lensculture.com/articles/michael-wolf-a-series-of-unfortunate-events

  • Using a camera to rephotograph scenes found on Google Street View

#3 – NYT’s “With Cameras Optional, New Directions in Photography”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/arts/design/with-cameras-optional-new-directions-in-photography.html?hp&_r=2

  • A discussion on how artists, especially current day contemporary image-makers, are approaching photography from a conceptual standpoint. Often negating tradition and idiosyncrasies of the photographic medium.

#4 – FRAME.SG
http://oss.adm.ntu.edu.sg/frame-sg-internet-photography-and-the-preservation-of-memories/

  • Eugene Soh’s look at the internet and images with a focus on non-lens based capture.

#5 – Thomas Ruff – JPEGS
http://davidcampany.com/thomas-ruff-the-aesthetics-of-the-pixel/

  • Thomas Ruff’s “agitation” of the digital images surface to create new viewer awareness and image experience.
  • Also deals with appropriation and breaking of photographic traditions
  • The transfer and breakdown of a common JPEG file as it moves from one person to another? (18/2/14)

#6 – Jeff Wall and his compositional techniques
http://www.utata.org/sundaysalon/jeff-wall/

  • The layering of multiple “moments” into a single image through compositing of various images.

#7 – John Clang’s Being Together
http://www.johnclang.com/artwork/beingtogether.html

  • Using projections, the Net and cameras (cameras to record the video chat, a camera to photograph the real time composite projection) to connect and augment interpersonal, spatial and time relationships.

#8 – Dead End Thrills
http://deadendthrills.com

  • Hi-res in-game records of a digitally rendered landscape and in-game characters. The creation of a moment not intended by its the content’s original authors.

#9 – Advanced Studies… (Ten Lessons for Life) (added 18/02/14)
http://www.themuse.com.sg/2012/05/advanced-studies…-ten-lessons-for-life/

  • An interesting experimental performance piece by artist Heman Chong who setup the essential perimeters to allow participants to interact with various junior art school students. I enjoy that fact that the project challenges our notion of what can constitute as art by placing the act of conversing with another person at the heart of the piece.
  • Relevance to my project in facilitating and mediating relationships augmented by the Net and the camera?

#10 – Article on the history of smiling for the camera on Petapixel.com (added 18/02/14)
http://petapixel.com/2012/11/04/say-prunes-not-cheese-the-history-of-smiling-in-photographs/

  • Some background and contextual information on how (and why) we “perform” for the camera

#11 – Sensations Of The Super Normal by Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa (added 18/02/14)
http://www.supernormal.co.uk

  • Though not connected entirely per se, they dabbled in an interesting idea of the “super normal” – something to which we encounter daily, and by virtue of its design, slips underneath our direct consciousness when interacting with these objects. The sublime and instinctual.
  • Can the digital image and the camera become “super normal” as well?

jonCates BOLD3RRR…image and sound bl3nd3RRR…and then some

jonCates BOLD3RRR(screenshot of jonCates as he performed BOLD3RRR live)

jonCates’s BOLD3RRR project was performed (and recorded) live via Skype for MediaLive 2012 at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, July 14 2012.

The almost 24 minute long performance mashes sound and images in what is sometimes an incomprehensible mix of sensory triggers. A semiotics overload as it were.

Watch the performance here:

Sonically, jonCates adopts what we can describe loosely as ‘white noise’ (static noises, clicking sounds, distortions etc.), along with a spoken word narration soundtrack – overlaying fragments of the two in a manner that often, interweaves them together as a unibody.

Pictorially, jonCates pulls images and screen grabs from his screen and overlays them with typographical renderings of his spoken word script.

The potent mix of these interject each other, disrupting and interfering with each other in an juxtapositional collage to create a non-linear narrative that challenges the viewer to either negotiate the work in a “meaningful” manner by attempting to understand or rationalise its semiotics, or experience the work for what it is – a mishmash of audio-visual sequences.

BOLD3RRR does not establish a single stream or path that the audience can follow along (unlike more “traditional” art forms). Its multi stream, non-hierarchical semiotic structure is inherent to the success and failure of the work.

While they do not practice in the same discipline, encountering jonCates’ BOLD3RRR reminded me of an interview a local television station did with Singaporean director Kirsten Tan.

Watch the interview below:

Screen-Shot-2014-02-18-at-14.09.03_Lo-Res-Web

(video link: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/tv/tvshows/the-art-of-conversation/life-in-technicolor/988718.html)

At one point during the programme, Tan reflected upon her work and posed the question if we as audiences (or even creators [sic]) are too fixated in attempting to rationalise, intellectualise and find “meaning” in a piece of work that we forgo the ability to just experience and respond in an organic and emotive manner.

Perhaps the underlying subtext to BOLD3RRR is this challenge to the audience: how will we choose to respond when we become overloaded with sensory data? Do we “expand” ourselves and attempt to take it all in or do we let ourselves go and drift in between the consciousness of the “flow”? This is not unlike what the contemporary state of the media is like now. We are constantly surrounded by triggers (wittingly or unwittingly) that prod our stream of consciousness, resulting in a now commonplace lament that our attention spans are becoming increasingly fragmented.

For creators, we have to grapple and walk the uneasy line of rationalising our work or working more instinctively. Sway too far in trying to justify one’s work with critical theories and rational reasoning and we run the risk of making something out of nothing; “over-intellectualising” the work in bids to justify its existence. Work too close to the other end of the spectrum and we now have to deal with looking like modern day pretenders to the legacy of Jackson Pollock and co.; making esoteric work that is inaccessible and self indulgent.

Just as BOLD3RRR is all about navigating through the different sound and picture sequences, we too as art consumers and creators must decide and negotiate how we wish to traverse this wild, wild world sometimes filled with contradicting paths.

Quick Thoughts on Stelarc’s Lecture

It’s always an interesting experience to see what you are studying come alive in front of you. It was the same when I saw the Osaka Castle after reading a history class on Asian Art, it was also the same last night at Stelarc’s public lecture.

On the way to Stelarc's talk(quick picture while walking to LaSalle from Little India MRT)

During the 2 hour talk, I think Stelarc put forth several interesting ideas about art, technology and his work – all the while speaking in a distant, objective and analytical manner.

This came as a surprise for me. Many artists (regardless of their fields and discipline) count intuition, sensitivity and emotions an important aspect of their practice and their craft. For Stelarc to speak in such a removed manner was intriguing.

IMG_6864_Web
(before the start of Stelarc’s lecture)

That said, Stelarc is no less a devoted artist than his contemporaries. His willingness to test his limits (e.g. suspending himself on hooks), to research and learn (i.e. keeping up with all the cutting edge technologies he incorporates into his work), his ability to reflect upon critically his body of work are but just some of the qualities that I find inspiring as an aspiring artist/creative.

At reception after the event, the group of us had a chance to snap a quick photo with Stelarc himself. After the photo-op, I took the chance to ask him in personal if he was afraid of anything. I was interested to see who the real Stelarc was away from the one we all see and read about.

Group Photo with Stelarc
(a quick photo op with Stelarc!)

He shared that one of his concerns is when things go awry during his performances. He mentioned that he almost lost his arm to a serious infection whilst trying to insert the ear implant. In his words, he almost “traded an arm for an ear”. He also shared with me the importance of taking action at some point, paraphrasing the adage that at some point the talking has to stop, and taking action has to start.

All in all, it was a talk that I really enjoyed. While it was interesting to understand more about the concepts, theories and themes that Stelarc deals with in his work, it was his work ethic, eloquence and tenacity as an artist that created the biggest impression.

Project Hyperessay Introduction

Introduction:

Decisive Moment

(The ‘Decisive Moment’. Left: screenshot by Prakash Haridas, Right: photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson)

In this preliminary ideation process, I am interested in looking at how the Net and its associated technologies augment our use, understanding and experience of photographic images and to an extent, the camera. For example, has these technologies changed or circumvented major photographic concepts such as the decisive moment (coined by photographer Henri Cartier -Bresson)? Has the Net changed how we encounter images, which are just a swipe, click and download away?

 

Strangers

(Performing for the camera, “Strangers” (2013) by Hoong Wei Long)

It might also be interesting to consider that since the photographic medium and the camera often act as social conduits (e.g. how people will formally gather in front of a camera for their photograph to be taken), how these changes also influence or augment our interpersonal relationships.

Lastly, with the constant production and distribution of new images via the Net, it may be interesting to consider the “value” (however we choose to frame and define this) of images. Are more images more important than others? Is this dictated by where we see the images and/or its authorship? How decides this hierarchy? How do search engines and ranking algorithms in Google, Facebook, Instagram etc. come into play? [added 18/02/14)] Do images have a lifespan? Where do images go to “die”?

Saying Hi To Your Other Self in Second Life

In 2010, some seven years after the virtual world Second Life (SL) was launched, director Jason Spingarn-Koff set off into this wild digital world and made the documentary Life 2.0 – charting the lives of people who participation in SL radically changed their real life circumstances.

In one of these instances, a man (herein referred to as ‘John’; his real name was omitted in the documentary) created a female child avatar, Ayya Aabye, in SL and became fixated with the character for some 6 months. He would often clock over 10 hours daily on Second Life, disrupting his daily life and relationship with his fiancée.

Even though John ultimately deleted his avatar, it was too little too late and his engagement crumbled.

Though, the direct cause of their relationship cannot be directly attributed solely to Man’s obsession with SL, it certainly exacerbated existing issues.

Yet in the aftermath of his breakup,  John headed back into SL and create a brand new avatar and began immersing once more into the digital sandbox world – claiming that he would “be in virtual worlds forever, that there would nothing that would keep (him) out of them”.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

It is fascinating to see how one’s real life can become so intertwined with a constructed online/digital life. The lines between the two become blurred and feed into one another, sometimes consuming the other almost wholly.

In the documentary, John would often refer to his avatar by its name and in third person, while acknowledging that they are in ways one and the same. While leading double lives and assuming new identities is nothing new, the ease and expansiveness in which one can undertake such endeavour has never been so prominent.

The ability for the Internet to connect these individuals in a single, almost anonymous platform, to role play together is also another important component in this phenomenon. Participants often speak of the community and connectedness they experience in SL; friendships made online are as authentic (if not more so) as friendships made in real life.

As technology advances even further, we can expect increasingly immersive digital worlds in which we inhabit and “live” in. How this will fracture or enhance interpersonal relationships is anyone’s guess. But life – real, digital or otherwise, as we know it, would certainly never be the same again.

 

 

My Twitter Persona for Micro-project 4: Media Addiction

So we had to assume an identity for micro-project #4.

Here’s what I came up with:

Featured Image for Media Addiction

 

I was basically riffing off the stereotype that the Chinese are great copiers of original works from the West. I “stole” the profile photo from the web (http://etramping.com/photo-gallery-chinese-faces/), appropriated Stelarc’s name and morphed into a money-minded, American culture obsessed ex-Red Guard who became a Chinese contemporary artist for the lure of the potential riches.

Some samples of the tweets Sellarc made:

Sample Tweets 01

Sample tweets 02

 

 

It was fun while it lasted. Getting to play a character quite far removed from my own personality (well, maybe except for the penchant for rap music…aye!). I think I can understand why people get addicted to games/virtual worlds like Second Life…