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Tag "innovation"

Hola!

I have just returned from 3 days at the digital culture festival OFFF in Barcelona, which I had decided to go on for research and inspiration for my MA. It was a really good experience even though I only new a few of the speakers beforehand. Actually, I am sure that this was a really good thing, because I felt that this made me more open to stumble upon new artists.

Here are some of the speakers that inspired me the most:

Lucy McRae

Lucy McRae‘s work has no direct relation to my project, but I was incredibly inspired by her passion for experiments. She calls herself a body architect, and all her work evolves around the human body. I especially enjoyed hearing her talking about her and Bart Hess’ collaborations. Their work was created late nights after work in a amateur studio in Lucy’s apartment.

This gigantic human version of a Chia pet called Germination was a body installation created from saw dust, grass and pantie hoses.

Or their beautiful experiments with detergent and food color …

Lucy very simple taught me that every little observation that you make might (should) be explored. Her curious mind reminded me of the witch brews of everything in the cupboard I would make in my parents kitchen as a child. Though I feel that my ability to conceptualize and ideate is one of my biggest strengths I need to stop doing this all the time and sometimes just experiment more freely! Wow.

 

Found

Scottish band and installation artists Found were on the other hand right up my MA-alley. They do these amazing sound installations, and some of them have a very social aspect to them because they use feed from social media. As a band they had realised that they were getting more and more obssed with how much people were talking about them on social media platforms. So, when they were asked to create a sound installation for the Edinburgh Arts Festival in 2009 they created a machine called Cybraphon that googles itself every 15 minutes and according to what people were saying (and how many were talking about it) the music it plays changes. I like this idea so much, and it also creates some disorder in the way I’ve been talking about True Social Media Art because this installation is both generative and social because the one can influence the output by the way one discussed it through social media. Also it is a very true reflection of the way we bahave on social media.

Another really nice project they made was their installation End of Forgetting. Putting focus on the fact that everything we upload to social media actually stays in cyberspace FOREVER (and might be used against you in some point), this installation would play search for sound recently uploaded sound files on the internet and play them in the gallery in which it was placed. Pretty eary stuff to have your Audioboo played to a bunch of strangers, out of context and without your knowledge …

 

Daniel Eatock

A great surprice was Daniel Eatock. His work was not a techy as the guys from found who were playing around with stuff like Arduino to create their installations. But something that was relevant to my project in another way is that he creates some challenges for people which he displays on his website. Like asking people to take pictures of camera straps – with the camera itself.

… and how he made everyone in the room at OFFF collaborate in his speech (or performance) by making everyone take a picture of the person sitting next to them.

He is obsessed with creating circles, making everything join together.

Also he is a great observer. His website is full of great observations, both in his own art and in phographs or random stuff he encounters on his way.

I have decided that will participate in some of Eatocks challenges as part of my own experiment.

 

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This “Fühlometer” installation uses software that reads emotions out of random peoples faces and vizualises them in realtime. Click the link above to see a video and read a more detailed description of the project.

Fühlometer

What a wonderful idea (I wish I had created this).

 

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Location specific content can also be a great way of creating unique experiences for users:

1. Location based services

A Location-Based Service (LBS) is an information or entertainment service, accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and utilizing the ability to make use of the geographical position of the mobile device
Wikipedia

A classic example of LBS is of course still Foursquare, that allows people to check in to places, collect badges, and get special offers from stores and venues. I also like this ad for Airwalk – where invisible pup-op stores were created using LBS and augmented reality.

Campaign: Airwalk’s Invisible Pop Up Store. Agencies: Y&R New York, USA + Goldrun.

2. Wi-Fi Connect

By creating a free wi-fi hot-spot which directs mobile users to a default web page you can give them certain experiences or let them interact with nearby installations. Example: Wi-fireworks by Takayoshi Kishimoto and Unit9. I like the possibilities in this technology, because of its simplicity and that you don’t have to download a certain app or anything like that to interact with the art piece. You could also create a wi-fi treasure hunt where e.g. special videos could be only be viewed in certain wi-fi hot spots.

Wi-fireworks by Takayoshi Kishimoto and Unit9

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Besides using crowd-sourcing to create multi-user art pieces, I am extremely interested in the multitude of technologies available that can help us create unique experiences for individual users.

Things that come to mind are:

Facebook Connect (enables pulling data directly from your Facebook account and using it in the art piece) Example: Take This Lollipop by Jason Zada

Behavioral Targeting. Example: Interestbased advertising by Google

Eye/Face Tracking. Example: Here’s a Swedish app that allows you to do online EyeTracking through webcams

Mixing technologies like these, I think it would be interesting  to try to create an empathic piece of art. A platform that understands you and can gives you an experience that is highly individual. Based on personal data and current emotions…

I love this wonderful un-empathic drawing by artist David Shrigley

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NEA: Audience 2.0 report

I drew the above illustration yesterday, and it reminded me of a report that I read when I was doing my application for the MA.

In 2010 the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts, US) released a report with some interesting findings about the relation between art attendance through media and real life art experiences (This report is also mentioned in Ben Davis’ article on social media art).

The report is called is called Audience 2.0 and can be read here.

These are the head conclusions that they made:

  • People who participate in the arts through electronic media are nearly three times as likely to attend live benchmark arts events as non-media participants (59 percent versus 21 percent). In addition, they attend twice as many arts events on average (6 events versus 3 events in one year) and in a greater variety of live art forms. Media-based arts participation appears to encourage – rather than replace – live arts attendance.
  • Education continues to be the best predictor of arts participation among adults – both for live attendance and through electronic media. Survey respondents with at least some college education were more likely than respondents with a grade school education to have used electronic media to participate in the arts.
  • For many Americans (primarily older Americans, lower income, and racial/ethnic minority groups) electronic media is the only way they participate in benchmark arts events.
  • The 15.4 percent of U.S. adults who use media only to engage with the arts are equally likely to be urban or rural.
  • Twenty-one percent (47 million) of all U.S. adults reported using the Internet to view music, theater, or dance performances in the last 12 months. Twenty-four percent (55 million) obtained information about the arts online.

These findings present a number of opportunities and things to be considered when creating social media art projects. Other things to take into consideration could be The Engagement Ladder by Forrester, 2010

I suspect that I would have to rely on three of these groups: The Creators (24%), The Conversationalist (33%), and the Joiners (59%).

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Not so MA related – but it’s just so amazing news that I had share it! We finally have our Apple developers account and are submitting our creativity app; The Concept Maker to Apple’s App Store. Crossing fingers that it will be a speedy process! Check out my presentation video below this post for some screencaptures from the app.

 

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I went to Cannes Lions Ad Festival this summer, and it seemed that half of the seminars there were about how technology is changing creativity. One was actually called: “Technology and its Transformation of Creativity”. It was an unstructured affair moderated by the world wide chairmann of McCann, and with four guests, one of them Will I Am.

I felt that many of these talks were missing the point. I actually don’t think technology alone has the power to change the creative industry. I think it enables change. Is there a difference? Yes, I really think there is, it’s like the old American saying:

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Of course, without all the new possibilities we wouldn’t be were we are now (that’s a given). But if the only thing we care about is how NEW everything is and not how GOOD or RELEVANT it is, art and creativity will soon loose their meaningfulness.

Bill Bernbach (the ad man) once said:

Adapt your techniques to your ideas, and not the other way around.

To me true creativity is not about the media – but the way we use it. Again in the words of Clay Shirky:

These tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.
It isn’t when these shiny new tools show up that their uses start permeating society.
It’s when everyone can start taking them for granted.

Watch the whole video here.

Having this in mind – I think I might like to base my project(s) on media platforms and technologies that are already well known and used by people all over the world … Thus letting them engage with my ideas more effortlessly.

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It’s a big question, and one that can be explored from many different angles. I am eager to explore social media – so that is the angle I have chosen for this post.

LOL CATS* as the stupidest possible creative act.

In social media guru, Clay Shirky’s latest book “Cognitive Surplus” he examines the ways that digital technology are changing our lives by enabling us to put our unused resources to use.Cognitive Surplus is the ability of the worlds population to volunteer tribute and collaborate on sometimes global projects – Or as he describes it in this TED talk from 2010:

Free time and talents + tools that enables us to create and share = Cognitive Surplus.

It’s basically the old web 2.0 story: New technology is moving the public from consumers to content makers…

One of the cases he uses are the everlasting LOL cats. If you by a slim chance you haven’t come across LOL cats, they are an Internet phenomen consisting of a picture of a cute kitty with a cute caption (always misspelled).

The LOL cats are inviting because of their simplicity, the concept CUTE KITTEN + FUNNY CAPTION IN A SANSERIF FONT is easy to understand and copy. They say “this is a game and I can join in”. The fact is that anyone with a computer and internet access can create and publish them.While Shirky admits that this phenomena as an art form can probably be classified as one of the stupidest possible creative acts, it illustrates the difference between doing anything and doing nothing. According to Shirky this act has both personal and communal value.

LOL Cats

* Bonus info: Clay Shirky thoughts about LOL cats in Cognitive Surplus actually inspired the name of my blog – So I guess it is fitting to mention him early in my process.

If you want to find out more about LOL cats this is the right place to go!

Watch the TED talk here:

 

Social Media art

Web 2.0 and social media enables these new possibilities in creative expression, so what should we call them? Social Media Art? Searching under that name I found this interesting article on Artnet.com by associate editor Ben Davis.

Davis starts his article out by trying to define the concepts “art” and “social media” for as he puts it:


“Maybe it’s worth noting that, of all the buzzwords of the present-day lexicon, “social media” is perhaps the only one that is more vaguely defined than “art.”"


An example of art that uses social media but does not really have a social dimension is Don’t tell Aschton, by Berghs School of Communication.

Davis points out that though contradictionary the two concepts aren’t opposites. There is a contradiction between the two concepts: Art is widely considered an exclusive, closed-in type of expression and social media is a relatively open, relation-based operation. Social Media Art has a lot in common with the “relational esthetics” tradition. The idea of art as “relational” meaning incorporation of social interaction. One thing I find very interesting was is he also notes that there are many art projects that involve social media but still don’t have a social dimension.

Davis starts out by defining the true opposites to “art” and “social media” …

  • Art  < vs > Amateur creative production 
  • Social media < vs > Non social technology

… he then places them in Greimas’ Semiotic Square to illustrate the large spectre Social Media Art lies within

Ben Davis graph

Ben Davis uses A.J. Greimas’ Semiotic Square to illustrate his point, I redrew the graph because the original was very low in resolution.

Ben Davis concludes that while the Semiotic Square helps illustrate the initial boundaries that the phenonmen lies within, it should not be taken to serious. In his own words:

… our Square is not a map of absolute possibilities. It is a chart of different possibilities to be explored and exhausted. It’s not a frame to think within. It’s a box that needs to be escaped.

 

My own thoughts

I found Ben Davis’ graph quite eluminating, and I am interested in exploring both “social art collaborations” and “art that uses social media”. I am not that keen on how “social art collaboration” is placed between “social media” and “amateur creative production”. The word amateur is in my mind very negative. While I admit that LOL cats definitely fit this label, I also find that talented professional creative often choose to use communal platforms also. Maybe we just need to think about the word “amateur” differently. According to Wikipedia “amateur” just meens “for the love of it”.

An amateur (French amateur “lover of”, from Old French and ultimately from Latin amatorem nom. amator, “lover”)

Examples as Flickr and Soundcloud show us that social media platforms can pull high quality contributors. Also, good curation is important for these kinds of projects. Ben Davis’ own example the Johnny Cash project is a brilliant example of this.

 

A few examples of Social Media Art projects

To round things up I have digged through my bookmarks and found some bookmarks of interesting Social Media Art projects, some are collaborative art projects and some are art projects that use social media. Note that these aren’t my own projects – they are just things I like!

http://dearphotograph.com/

http://mrdoob.com/projects/multiuserpad/

This example is from the multiuser sketchpad blog

http://inbflat.net/

http://thru-you.com/

And finally this wonderful music video “One Frame of Fame”

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