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Theory

It was my 4th trip to Cannes Lions this year and it was even bigger than ever – a lot more new categories, more speakers, more submissions, more winners. And on top of all that it was the 60th year anniversary of the festival also.

I like the mix og viewing work and going to seminars and this year I tried to focus on anything about social media. So, naturally one of the people I knew I had to see was Twitter’s Chief Media Scientist Deb Roy (also an associate professor at MIT). His talk was called ‘Social Soundtrack’ and was a in depth look at how social media (and especially live social media like Twitter) effects the way we experience the world. Using examples from TV – it’s a well known fact that TV is now a two-screen experience – he talked about how expression of an experience is both an amplifier and a memory trigger. He made two points.

1. When we share and experience we remember it better.

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2. Because we are social beings, we are automatic drawn to do what others are doing. 
E.G. I f we walk on the street and someone looks up we naturally will do the same.

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His conclusion was lent from physics force = mass x acceleration.

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It feels like almost everyone is talking about how important it is to learn to code these days, and I really had been planning on getting started with Codecademy since I started on the MA, I just hadn’t  gotten around to it. But due to my new projects I’ve recently been getting more and more frustrated with my limited coding knowledge. So after Ed Kelly reminded me about Codecademy in my latest tutorial, I decided to get cracking with the course from the very top. And it’s amazing! It’s just as addictive as all the different iPhone puzzles that I can’t help waisting my time on, but the upside is that I’m actually learning to code. There are some glitches in the system though, e.g like it will sometimes let you pass a lesson with faulty code (grrr), and in the PHP section you would sometimes not pass with the right code. But all in all I’m so pleased with the site and I just hope I will be able to remember all the amazing stuff that I’m learning! At this point I’ve completed 229 exercises and received 31 badges (don’t you just love gamification). I’ve covered Basic HTML (and CSS) 1-3, a 50% of PHP and 40% of jQuery. Gotta run I want to get back to slide toggling some more stuff …

Jquery

 

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I was listening to the radio as I was driving home from my parents house tonight and I happened to hear a radio program about Big Data. I was not familiar with the term before, but basically Big Data is the combined data that is pulled from web 2.0. It is called Big Data because the amount of data that is created through web 2.0 and the social actions on the Internet is staggering.

The interviewee was the senior Vice President, John Boswell from the American  data analytics company SAS, and he was explaining the great possibilities of Big Data. According to him a lot can be predicted from what conversations are trending in the social web.

One very nice example was the Google Flu Trends. Google have found out that they can predict a flu epidemic before it happens by the nature of people’s online searches. This can help predict outbreaks of epidemics and therefore hospitals can ensure that there are doctors and medicine available before the real problems start.

= Google Flu Trends estimate  = United States Data

This image is taken directly from Google Flu Trends.

Other examples of use of Big Data from the radio program were how SAS use topics of online conversations to predict growth in unemployment.

 

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I will probably end up focussing more on the way Fluxus artists gave the audience firsthand experience in the Fluxus art, but I am also fascinated with the role George Maciunas in the creation of the Flux fests, the Fluxus boxes, the Flux house and the Fluxus magazine. He was indeed the curator that I keep babbling about. Fluxus was not him alone and he didn’t own all the different art works and events the contributing created, but he created a platform and a context that joined art together and gave it context.

From the movie: Zefiro Torna Or Scenes From the Life Of George Maciunas

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I bought the book “2016 – Beyond the horizon” a few months back, but only got round to start to read it now. The book is about new technologies and features a pretty nifty augmented reality app called Zapper – Zapper let’s you create ar experiences to scan without the need of qr codes or custom scanning apps – pretty cool!

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Just before Easter I attended a three day Hyper Island course in London – it was three full packed days about mobile directed at the movie industry.

We had a load of speakers – especially one speaker the photographer Christian Payne (@Documentally) really made sense in regards to my project. He really lives social media – constantly tweeting and video blogging. He talked about how social networks kick started his career giving him the oppurtunity to publish much more of his work (e.g. war photos) than if he only published his work through traditional media.

I especially loved a picture in one of his slides – a Foursquare check in at a Terrorist Training Camp :D

He also told us a wonderful story about a time where he crashed his car and posted a videoblog about it from the site of the accident. He instantly got help from his followers and one woman even started a online donation in his name … He was amazed that so many people were actually listening.

Christian Payne proved how powerful social media can be if you truly want them to – but you need to die into them and play with them to get the full potential out of them.

Another speaker, Per Håkanson (@perhakanson) , a real digital entrepreneur talked about how technology should be completely seamless. A statement I really agree on, Things just need to work otherwise thy won’t be used. Technology should be intuitive and basically just like glue.

 

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In my tutorial Wednesday, Jonathan told me that there was research to what the ideal group size should be. I find this very interesting so I’ve been looking around the web and found a couple of post regarding this issue. Anthropologist Robin Dunbar has done some of the leading work on the subject, he has come up with the number 150 as the maximum number of relations that people can keep up with.

These two post by Allan Kelsey and Ross Mayfield look very helpful, I shall dig into them and see what I find for my project …

 

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Wow – long time no blog! I’ve been reading quite a bit – will get back to that in a later post. Now I just want to share some thoughts on the Blast Theory lecture that Jonathan uploaded recently.

I plugged my computer to our flat screen TV and enjoyed the lecture in large scale. I actually already knew most of the works described in the talk, but it was great to hear some background info from Matt Adams and to get knowledge of some of the difficulties of creating work like this.

One work that I have to check out is the “Rider Spoke”. This i a work based on mobile and geo-location, but it challenges authorship issues in the same sense that I expect my own work to do. A good point here was to “make work that allows people to speak on their own terms”.

Even though Blast Theory create interactive work, I found that most of the featured works were very controlled. Matt Adams argued that even in these controlled environments their was room for play. I still felt that the artist was looking for some very specific emotions and reactions from their audiences.

A thought: The talk about TV companies was also inspiring. I like the idea that participation doesn’t have to limit to updates and sharing of TV content – but through connectivity we might actually air movies that people can participate in, like this German advert for a TV Channel that was aired in movie theaters two years ago. With a special app that uses voice recognition and connects you smart-phone to your TV you might guide a protagonist through a situation – or remote control a car through a city in a car chase …

13th Street interactive movie, Agency: Jung Von Matt

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I stumbled across the book “Digital Folklore” a couple of weeks ago on the website netart.org. The title fascinated me, so I ordered it and it arrived today. It seems to focus on something very relevant to my personal project, the big gray mass of amateur creators who inhabit the Internet and outnumber the professionals by far. And when everyone can create and produce – how do we decide who the real professionals are? I would like to quote the foreword by webartist Cory Arcangel:

… But while these artist were doing strange things with the Internet, the online “everybody else” was doing the same. And what is art but human expression?

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