life goes on

That’s it. Over. I give up.

I don’t know why I’m here, I don’t know what I’m doing and at some point — I just don’t care about what people want anymore. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and realise oh my fucking god I have [][][][] class and I wish that a train would just run me over and save me the problem of living. Or a car. I walk along the edge of the platform (oh, you tease) and the merciless sky just taunts me with it’s expansive blueness. I’d estimate, the train platform is about 3floors up, just high enough to get paralysed but not enough to die. How I long for the decadent heights of skyscrapers and social housing. I feel so away from home and yet so close, it’s just a skype call or tweet away but it doesn’t feel like anything much — not when the horses and spurs come up and people’s expectations and desires like a wanting pull of gravity; face down, asphalt.

Going through the motions of thesis, and still no answers. Why should I live? Why should this exist? That question puzzles me so much. All this thesis is, really — beyond what I think of is, seems to be made up of other peoples’ expectations. Is it really my thesis? At this point? I have never wanted to be a hero. Not to change the world, not to ‘save’ anyone or make the universe a better place. All I’ve ever wanted, was just the freedom to live — not for my family, not for love, not for the burden of other people; I just want to be able to breathe. It’s been so many years. I’m finally here. After 20 years of hate turned apathy turned pity, can’t I just catch a break? This was supposed to be a reward for being ‘good’. 姿 be good, remember? I was. I did the classes you wanted, I said the right things, I did my duty and now I just can’t see anything else beyond more drudgery. It seems like I’ve escaped from one trap only to be shackled into another.

Maybe I’ll fail. Scott has implied as much. Maybe when I fail I can finally grab my passport, pull all the money out of the bank and disappear. Maybe then I’ll finally have an excuse to ditch living without dread-guilty feelings of making other people upset or disappointed. Maybe all that’s left is a dream — oh she had so much potential they’ll shake their head sadly what a waste others will say, underneath they’ll mutter total cop-out. Maybe they’ll never understand it, the kiss of cold metal on the skin; the smell of gunpowder heady like burnt opium and the odd sensuality of wrapping your lips around the bitingly hard muzzle. Who knows how close fantasy can get, when reality is nothing but a papery dance?

Thesis just makes everything worse. I pour everything into this, in a way it’s the absolution of work — my heart, I gift to you. (a gift from a person who is surprised to be alive)  At the same time…………… all the questions, the modules, it doesn’t answer the most fundamental question: why?

Maybe the measure of success, to evaluate it – is how will it one day be extinct. Will people understand that? The extinction of the idea, means that is is completely crystallised so it’s no longer needed and it has achieved the necessary process and then — extinction. I know we have reached progress when things go extinct. That’s a sign of moving ages, the ‘end of era’ so to speak….. Maybe the success of this project, is how many ‘mind-forged manacles’ I have left; and that plays into the desire of staying alive. All the projects I have done after all, is a kind of therapy. The success of it? Do I still have will to live? How do you share that in a presentation?

But, enough of this (!) What’s important is 1. finishing the 3D models for printing (whyyyy errors!) 2. thesis presentation + glossary 3. web advanced homework

forest full of evenings

Still caught with 3D printing crazyness…. tomorrow will be another round of it (new errors!) It’s one thing to debug for code, but another to debug for fabrication, sometimes the only solution is to rebuild the entire thing from scratch. *sigh*  especially the marionette one, that one has so many errors it’s like hell D:

2pm was supposed to meet K.Wark, but we missed each other? So I left a note on fb + outside his door paper, and he fb’ed me back when he reached his office and presto! magic of social networking! Anyway I showed him the prototype and he seemed to like it & get it…. but most important he agreed to consider doing an independent study with him (YESSSSS!!!!!!!) I really want to do one with, just because I’m curious about him and like what he does (Dave thinks I’m starstuck since I read his work as an undergrad lol, maybe a bit of truth innit too. thankfully he manages to exceed expectations so I can preserve the omg so cool! feeling ) Anyway I don’t really know what to do research with him about, but he has a couple of ideas and we could do a proposal together? idk? I’m pretty sure we could find a touchpoint in any case

Went to ARC to talk to Mo&Mike about the 3d printing errors (again!) argh I fucking hate this project so much. I wish it would end. I wish so much in so many levels but since I promised and so much is running on this and I *did* get a great opportunity to go Documenta and everything so…. *sigh* I think once I get it over and done with it will be a giant relief and I can breathe and focus on thesis permanently. This entire project, just makes me so exhausted :*( I’m sure this feeling will be reflected again during the last few weeks of thesis but in any case once the show is up I will be SO. DAMN. HAPPY. (and sleep in. omg. all fantasties fulfilled)

Ran into Ted, who gave me back my Agamben book (Stanzas) which I’m re-lending to Scott. There’s actually a book I can’t remember where I left but want to re-read: Soft Apocalypse; and the other one (which I found yay) Makers. Actually I share Gibson’s sentiment about speculative fiction being non-predictive. The best speculative fiction is merely extremes of the present, brought back uncannily so it seems like a future.

After that I met with Clive, which was pretty bad :/ totally slammed and shredded (ouch) ‘only 4 lines even talk about your thesis, the rest of it is just phelgm‘ + ‘i have nothing to say at all because it [the writing] says nothing at all‘  and it was just a lot of harsh critique (even remembering it, i cringe a little at how awful it was) and then there was this whole long pause of awkward silence and it was just awful….. I hate feeling like I disappoint people. I really hate it. I don’t deal well with pressure

But okay, afterwards it got a bit better when I tried a different approach (showed him webgl examples and described a scenario. Or scenarios. ) A bit. And once we were on closer footing, he was like: ‘okay I think I get it better.’ and he said I should just skip all that historical context about net.art and corporatisation of the internet domains and focus on architectonics, architecture as memory (so architecture of mind, not architecture of cultural artifacts aka. more schemas less stalinist columns)  and that I should go and read up Borges’ in particular Funes, the Memorious and continue on the thread on Greek/Longinius and Islamic/Arabesque art columns. And then afterwards he was like: ‘for someone with such sophisticated thinking, you can be so immature sometimes… you need to grow up faster’ and also ‘sometimes you lose the forest for the trees’ and ‘from this moment you need to stop taking thesis so personally’

And even though it’s really painful and harsh, it’s really true especially the last part. I think one of the biggest problems with doing thesis (compared to other projects) is the personal quality in it. In some ways it’s good cos it definitely drives me to work harder, but because it’s personal I have difficulty thinking critically about it since it’s like not having any distance at all *sigh* It’s much easier when you don’t have any feeling tied to this, but it’s like dual instincts fighting against which is so fucking exhausting

….. and also I think people forget how old I am. I haven’t even reached the first quarter of the century !!!! I like to read and daydream, and admittedly I have pretty immature tastes — I’m sorry I cannot grow up faster, that sometimes being in DT is an overwhelming experience that is just too stressful, that I deal with pressure and expectations badly, that I’m not sophisticated or emotionally stable or all those kind of things and it’s all just excuses and yet still!!!!! reading theory =/= maturity. I just like to read books, that’s all. I don’t know, I really don’t know anything. And I don’t know how to deal with other people and their expectations of what my thesis is or should be. If there was just some way I could approach this with more distance, to look at it more critically without all that personal muddling/history bullshit

Maybe I just need sleep. I’ve been working on 3D modelling for the last 42 hours and when I close my eyes all I can see is NURBs and polygons

ouroboros

ah, remember the taste of the word ouroboros? Sometimes I think that’s what my thesis is, how strange that a word can look like how it means, and how it sounds is like what it looks like. (totally different note, but the idea of ouroboros is kinda like Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence? can ouroboros be an ethical process?)

Anyway bluefish was like: “ah, your post reminds me of mandalas!” and they are pretty cool:



Interestingly: “….In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the universe from the human perspective” (wiki) What’s interesting is that it seems most religions have some variation of the mandala? cool beans! I’ve decided that yea, if if I’m trying to represent some kind of secular internet divine — might as well go all out on it. I don’t really take it as criticism I think…. more like critique? I guess if I want to make the invisible divine visible, manifest it in architecture I might as well go all out on it – not just the romantic Sublime but just go all out in awesome splendour like that crazy rosetta stone church

Although I personally think that Baroque architecture is not very Sublime. (its too messy!!) For me, Sublime architecture is like the work of Louis Kahn — I love his work! Actually in spring I went to Montreal for exactly that reason, they were doing a retrospective of him in the Museum of Architecture there and it was amazing *o* I think his work is Sublime because it fulfills the qualities necessary for a Sublime experience. Longinus wrote this fantastic work called Treatise on Sublime in the 10th century which I think should be the foundation of historical understanding of the Sublime and the conditions needed to create Sublime experiences (it’s weird, Wiki doesn’t have a page on it… you can get a translation from Gutenberg though)

Little bit of Greek lesson – the word for Sublime in ancient Greek is ‘hypsos‘, which translates to ‘of height’; ‘height’ as in ‘magnitude’. Hypsos was traditionally referred to as the area above a doorway, so literally it’s like ‘beyond the height of a door’. It was through the Greek–>Latin translations (somewhere around 12th century, I believe) that ‘hypsos’ was translated into the Latin ‘sublimis’ (trans. ‘elevated’) but elevation didn’t carry the sense of Greek sense of ‘magnitude’…… in a way, it moved from an XYZ scalar (Greek) into an XY scale (Latin).

Anyway back to Louis Kahn — why did he (and to some extent, the 18th century Romantics) succeed where the Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic did not; despite the excessive splendor?

For me — or at least in my reading of Longinius, it’s the fact that while they did manifest the divine in architecture, they did not manifest any sense of material purity. It wasn’t just about elevation, but of ‘going beyond the height of a door’; so in effect, the path of the non-human (Kant would say, ‘inhuman) experience materialised into human understanding. The infinite, while it cannot be understood, can be glimpse’d. And it is in Kahn’s materiality, that constructed order in chaos (the same way Fiedrich manifested the order of the void in painting, or Fritsch’s sculptural motifs — or even in modernity, the work of the Wachowski siblings who have a peculiarly good understanding of creating epic humanity) It’s a kind of construct, where the human construct reveals itself and through the revealing creates a sense of material purity but that purity is unknowable because it is not human. In a way, it’s kind of like Heidegger’s aletheia, except without essence/daesin but with configurations and assemblages instead. (the black box reveals another black box, which reveals more boxes in boxes in boxes like unfolding strings of pearls; different, repeated, linked, separate)

Ran into Ed K. today along 2 west, and he gave me lots of think about!!! I like him a lot, even if I’m not really into the whole Speculative Realism thing (there are so many elements in it I dislike, but this is a personal bias)  Anyway he gave me a lot of cool readings!!!!

Text: A Massively Addressable Object
“A physical text or manifestation is a provisional unity. There exists a potentially infinite array of such unities, some of which are already lost to us in history […] Grammar, as we understand it now, affords us a level of abstraction at which texts can be stabilized: we lemmatize texts algorithmically before modernizing them, and this lemmatization implies provisional unities in the form of grammatical objects of address.

The Ancestral Text
In this post I want to understand the consequences of “massive addressability” for “philosophies of access”–philosophies which assert that all beings exist only as correlates of our own consciousness. The term “philosophy of access” is used by members of the Speculative Realist school: it seems to have been coined largely as a means of rejecting everything the term names. Members of this school dismiss the idea that any speculative analysis of the nature of beings can be replaced by an apparently more basic inquiry into how we access to the world, an access obtained either through language or consciousness. The major turn to “access” occurs with  Kant, but the move is continued in an explicitly linguistic register by Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Derrida, and a range of post-structuralists.”

Accelerando – Stross
One of his e-mail accounts is halfway to the moon with automatic messages, companies with names like agalmic.holdings.root.8E.F0 screaming for the attention of their transitive director. Each of these companies — and there are currently more than sixteen thousand of them, although the herd is growing day by day — has three directors and is the director of three other companies. Each of them executes a script in a functional language Manfred invented; the directors tell the company what to do, and the instructions include orders to pass instructions on to their children. In effect, they are a flock of cellular automata, like the cells in Conway’s Game of Life, only far more complex and powerful.

Geopolitical Aesthetics – Jameson
all thinking today is also, whatever else it is, an attempt to think the world system as such and that cultural texts can therefore be read as forms of ‘political fantasy which in contradictory fashion articulate […] both the actual and potential social relations which constitute individuals within a specific political economy’. Culture, by this reading, ‘conflates ontology with geography and endlessly processes images of the unmappable system’ of advanced industrial capitalism.

And then afterwards I met Paul N. for advising — I’ve always put him as ‘distant-cool’ type, but actually he’s really funny and quite easy to talk to. Anyway next semester I need 1 academic class (hopefully!!! with K.W!!! as an IS!!!) and one more support elective (something simple, non time-consuming hopefully since all my energy will be in thesis-mode)

Besides that I have some horrible news…. my STL files BROKE! 18 days before the exhibition!! So now I have 3 days to remake all 15 of them for 3D printing. It’s very horrible experience and is stressing me out like mad. I just really need to complete this well not only because I don’t want to disappoint other people, but also because I don’t want to let myself down D: D: D: in some ways, I’m really my own worst critic.

 

 

tactics [drain away]

[RANT]
oh my god what is it about the art world that attracts the absolute DREGS of humanity? If I had a dollar every time I’ve been propositioned I’ll be a freaking millionaire now. No I don’t want to go to your friend’s apartment in upstate. No thank you to this supersekeret RSVP so you can teach me how to “network” or that sketchy “partylist” of yours. I don’t want to tell you my thesis, where I live or my phone number. No being an artist =/= paid companionship and no I don’t care if you want to sponsor my thesis or art projects or not, I’ll NEVER EVER SLEEP WITH YOU KTHNXBAI

god, times like this I wonder why I want to be an artist. I want to just make art, not deal with all the creepy-leery nature of art world. WHY. WHY. WHY. Is it because being an “artist” now means that not just the art, but the artist is for sale?
[/RANT]

phew. okay. that felt a million times better. Anyway presentations this week for technical module! Here’s my UX:

Isn’t it pretty??? They’re in watercolours & ink ❤ I really like drawing, it’s really fun to do again. Also doing the google page in watercolours made me (and some other people) laugh 😀 Making just pretty pictures, is like the feeling of getting drunk on Renoir flavoured champange<3

Recently I just thought – how funny to make a google search page as a drawing; I imagine that maybe someone did that years ago when they first designed the user interface for it – but in a way its also ridiculously atemporal – it could easily be in the future, where the image is so commonplace (like the way 960 grid exists) that google search page itself is a template the way you can download image templates for devices….. also I think if you draw it without reference (I did) you realise that most people forget the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky” button lol cos it’s not centered correctly….

I got the idea for the overall general shape from arabesque art. A few months back, cable was showing this documentary on Art of Islam and one of the things I remembered most strongly was this idea about freeform column structures, and how the architecture was specifically linked to create a sense of infinity:

also I generally really like arabesque art. I think the idea of pathways widget-thing kinda reflects on the tessallation-style of arabesque – the non-representation of human, except through pattern (re)creation. I don’t really know how much into religious divinity I actually want to get into (by and large, I’m more into Sublime than I am into divine)

My problem is this: Divine/Transcendence always proposes the idea that there is something beyond human i.e. heaven, afterlife, souls and that somehow it can only be reached through some kind of sacrifice or quest element. Transcendence, even in the secular sense; is always about overcoming the body; overcoming sensation and desire; being ‘beyond’ earthliness and somehow reaching an enlightened 2nd mental/astral plane. No matter how you dress it, transcendence is always the unreachable; the ‘other’ or ‘purer’ self (very Plato-ian, classical philosophy)

Sublime/Immanence however, is about the *now*. It doesn’t try to be beyond, it doesn’t involve some annoying mind/body dialectic; or earth/soul binary — rather immanence is about moments and gestures; Sublime is a flicker in the haze, a flash, a monument in time. Wonder is manifested in the materiality of the world – not some promise of an after-future. Like if I was really thinking about the internets as a secular divine, it should be immanence; accessible within the bounds of human as opposed to some kind of external force to transcend into

The critiques were really interesting – Dave’s comments:

1. aesthetics as a persuasive ecstasy; that we need a representation that overwhelms to render scalar relationships; a secular divinity because the Internet has the potential to gather and form the gestalt of humanity (promise of digital humanities); a kind of Baroque alterpiece to the centrality of the Internet as precursor to Singularity

2. reminds me of promise of VRML, beware of vaporware  (I worry about this point too)

3. are you making the case for the literalisms in representations? why do you get to be the person who decides what the space looks like? (A Brahmin caste role somehow authorized to interpret priestly encounter with the universe for the undercastes.)
——3a) what are the rules that should govern representational choices?
——3b) relationship to technical affordances; we design it this way because the technological advances tell us we should render it this way (webgl determines the aesthetic by its specification and implementation)

I don’t really have any defense for why I get to be the one who decides what the space looks like, except that my 15 year old self would have loved it. This is like, the blurry line between what is personal and what is research; they both drive each other (cheap shot: art is my favourite therapy) To some extent, I am making this thesis as a gift – maybe a kind of redemption, a kind of atonement and a wish; for what happened before……. because we were all dreamers, and teenage ignorance doesn’t negate what happened. How is it possible, to cause so much destruction, so very young? Really, we were the clockwork toys that moved assiduously to our own destruction.

So, in a way, the project is dedicated to you or maybe just us – not the you of now or whatever ‘truth’ ever existed; but the symbolic you; the one whom I saved and was saved at as well, ignoring the bitterness of growing up and drifting away; but the dreams of a hill with an eternal sunset with the colours of music around us like shadows enclosing; we would sit under the tree overlooking the music in the endless moment of forever… the bus stop, moment in time

This is my promise to myself, and the memory of you.

In a way, we never really grew up (whatever that means). We just try to find meaning in other ways. This year and maybe last year, is the first time we are truly really apart — not that anyone else will ever understand. (maybe even we don’t)  So this is maybe a kind of moot point??? maybe??? I’m just so tired of living in a neither-past-nor-future…… so this is my gift to a memory of us (not to you, or to me; just to lay rest: a memory) Maybe we have finally enough space away, to finally look from a distance — and this thesis project, is not really about what really happened at all but what I feel from my side. So there. Also I think I’ve said enough about this. And I don’t really want to talk about it cos it goes no where. We were for one thing, never the type for words. (although it’s funny how we ended up in similar/different/similar areas with you writing and i drawing and both of us making random comics for ourselves)

The rest of it, about creating a secular divinity through architecture; on the premise that architecture (especially those related to religion) makes the unseen Sublime visible– I will think about it.

———— Critical Media Theory Today Panel———————-

Thursday I ran into T.B on the way to the panel and his advice was for me to look at tessellations (but not penrose) since pixel-hexagonal thingys were not very interesting (‘why not make it an l-system?’) was his comment. I was actually considering it since I know enough to l-systems to code it…. but that would be like the 3rd semester of me doing l-systems =_=;;;; I already did it for bootcamp, for CC lab, for rhino, for independent study and like I feel sometimes it’s a bit of a copout to make things cool for the sake of it. Maybe. I’ll think about it.

The panel today was Ken Wark, Geert Lovink and Alexander Galloway. John D. actually sent me a msg saying: ‘you should go because Galloway is really hot!’ and to that, I can attest that Galloway is So. NOT. Hot. Maybe John just has appalling taste idek (it’s not that Galloway is ugly, but from John’s description I expected drop dead modelesque gorgeousness which didn’t happen) I also ran into Ed K.! he was my tutor last semester for deisgn for century — very cool guy who has weird taste. Here is my slighty shoddy transcript (the panel was done in Q&A style):

media still object worth talking about?

g: asked sinced the 90s; 90s era of media – media about mediation, channels, signals going through machines and stuff — today realtime, aren’t we beyond that? media is all fine, isn’t it something of the past? power, politics and twitter – is this the current state of affairs? (why so much institutional media stance)? The Media or the media? back into institutional, drawn back into realm of influence’

w: are google/facebook the new media corporations, would terminology legitimatise it? I wish, if only; abolishment of the media term is utopian

a: utopia as absence of media, immediacy, immanence – getting rid of representation; throwing out rep = non-world?

my comments: [what about scanning? images as magical? network forum – is it even media? doesn’t conform about media principles: distance/closeness, transparency, commuication. net working = not working(?) breaking conception of what media are]

a: presence of representation and nothing else. pure network with no references utopia = non-place; social contract of world, not applying

a: how do we occupy back?

w: occupy wall street — wall street as a symbolic meaning, our money isn’t even really there; the disjoint of a physical occupation of a symbolic space. sacrifice of time and comfort; it has to be physical? post-media-space. occupying wallstreet is not occupying the symbol of it. presence?? politics???

w: critical theory of media, might media not exist? ‘god is dead’ threshold?

[where is magic?]

g:  we are all not historians, the way 68ers were historians. we have to rewrite the history — don’t feel we have the same drive. what is lacking is the history, we are not historians

[but what about 90s kids? we want to remember) how do we deal with this issue of history?]
[isn’t all practice grounded in context, which is a kind of history??]
[variantology??Zielinski]

w: gestures to history; role of looking at past – doing a work on the 30s, so perhaps making gestures towards historiography
g: can we be writing — running away from it?
a: critical internet practice – net.art, net-time as european? what is being produced in europe for the world? (for srs?) a return to techno-utopianism? (for srs?!?!)
g: europe dominated by euro crisis; deeper forms of nationalism – media question: secondary in comparison to the other problems of european crisis. comparison to europe of 1950s, hopefully not 30s *cue awkward laughter*

a: media art/theory a failure of the project of immediacy, nearness?

g: don’t know, it’s a backlash thrown back situation of the 50s. optimistic enough for 1950s (not 30s!) guided and controlled by larger forces; sentiments and resentments….. consequences for theory; looking grim there bro’ not much left of the optimistism and experiementation of the 90s – new media and new media art interesting and relevant. now has expanded to asia, arab spring – not focussing of europe

w: our crisis of desire; networks don’t work – absence of media, media art possible utopian desire; attempting experimentation that could – advance issues to some kind of critic practice; where informing each other

a: interest, thinkings of models and simulations not conforming to human sensations —

g: new asethetics as a way to rethink one of the real areas for media advancement, role of the object, the materiality; liberated from real/virtual; some real issues about what is out there. instead of fighting with metaphysics of it. not empowering, not going anywhere much — new dialogue, new generations to enter— internet of things; new aesthetics wave, added aesthetic dimension; even in latour who didn’t address it [failed fucking much]

a: networks as an aesthetic space, aesthetic experience?
a: what about the non-human agency about the network form [are you fucking serious?!]
w: we want everything about us? conceit of humanism
g: great autonomy, of machines, of code, of robotics — good sign;
w: what about agency?? if you’re asking for agency, you would have it — one of the agents that humans are one of the agents.

a: legacy of cybernetics
g: i don’t want to complain about the loss of agency, europe will no longer complain
a: what you mean by loss of agency, democratism of crisis of desire? fulfill a desire of — network form
w: why objects are– baroque properties; object to object relation; object is a class, uneasy to define, technologies to define; what comes after — does relation still exist? media  — film tv cinema; objects of what is it
g: revenge of the object? withdrawn into the cloud, so invisible; so abstract; that’s when the object returns — point where it needs to be simulated, or becomes pointless to talk cos it’s gone —– incredible movement about the disappearance of the PC as an object, literally disappears into the cloud —

[fucking cloud again. cloud does not exist in some lurid space, it has a tangible materialism in the form of data centers] 

w: there was new modes – a non-commodity form got recourpted into; alt-culture to vulture industry; paying for access to your own shit.. surplus information theory???
g: deeper loss of future inability to program the devices, universal computational device that was empty and to a certain extent programmable (despite political) a big class of IT workers and hackers? (what we still don’t exist??????)
a: rent our own data, extraction of value is happening

w: nostalgic for capitalism(?) at least capitalism create goods; now we just pay rent via data to content platforms who let us access other people’s free content

g: corporations are not doing research at all – fundamental research? are doing applied research within boundaries of corporations. producing new applications for a new class of apps, that’s the research they’re doing

Afterwards there was a Q/A, and I decided to ask the question about history& memory since it was very pressing(!) Also I was surprised they did not touch on actual new media theory/praxis/events, but focused on a very marxist-historyish viewpoint (seriously, media as insituition? rancerie-representation?? again?!) I was almost thinking that: ‘omg, internet democracy is back in fashion’ again or something. (is this what the 90s felt like?)

Anyway people seemed to like my question! I was personally surprised at Lovink’s very cut & dried institutional answer that blah blah media theory lag behind the actual production of media —- that is so 90s. (I’m sorry. I keep bringing up time but time is important in a world that is very not-on-time. It is less about age than about time.) I’m more interested in new configurations and definitions – how old is the language of ‘new media theory’? why have we not moved away from the utopian language of early internet, or from the avant garde of net.art? why are we still stuck with words like ‘screen’ or ‘representation’ or ‘spectacle’ when they were written after the end of WW2? are we forever to be trapped in semiotics of the past? Even politics and media, we need to rethink their relationship because media is not just computer media or PC media or whatever. Even someone like Latour, or Deleuze – we must think of other images, outside the rhizome. Somewhere, in the magnificent depth; there are troughs to be explored. But first, to find the new dreams we need to lay old ones extinct. (sorry dodos)

Also I met some new cool people or rather, Ken Wark introduced me (his introduction being: ‘…is actually from the future.’) to some cool new people like Kate Crawford and they even wanted to buy my (non-existent will never publish) book. Honestly I’m surprised anyone would want to buy any of my writing or add me on twitter (I’m sorry but I can’t add you on twitter… my mom stalks me there!!) But seriously, sometimes I get so frustrated with how slow things are — like, omg do we really have to retrod McLuhan again? is vintage theory the new kind of fashionable?

For me, what’s exciting??? Nanocommunities that are slowly beginning to appear, like how kickstarter is really like paid intimacy; internet religions like Sarah’s story or twitter cults – brief, accelerated sped by hastags#; flash mobs that take over search engines, playing at truthiness. now THAT’S fun. the society of the spectacle has no place in the societies of the fragmented mirror……. I had fun talking to people, and to an undergrad student filming it. He was like “why is internet singular, why not pural?” and I was like: “It *IS* already plural — perhaps, a long time ago, it was singular. That was arpanet, was usenet, and the dream of the internet democracies. Then corporations came in and carved it up, real easte — now we all experience a different internet; when you type something on google your results are not the same as mine; your experience of facebook is not mine; we have no ‘single’ internet just fragaments of internets unbridged…” and he was like: “yeah.” and then that perfect moment, we just looked at the distance in understanding with each other

Jonathan and I once joked that what he has done is bridge pools together, while I’m bridging plateaus…. and all of us, live in the sea. (with dt as our aquarium!)

Talking about that – Jonathan and I have finally started out DTquarium series!

You can read all of it at the DTquarium tumblr 😀

This idea was started in May, and then we tossed it around for a bit and added new chracters in Sept and finally we have pages! LOL It’s not meant to be serious, just a bit of fun (also I find it very relaxing to draw) … okay back to 3D modelling!

vectors-in-passing

backdated. this was meant for last saturday, but I hit draftsave instead of publish (oops). I’ve combined the current entry with the backdated one (franken-entry?)

At 4:17am, most sensible people would be asleep. Instead I’m stuck at level 86 trying to beat the puzzle (think I almost cracked it), while trying to read through a ton of academic papers. I have a deleuze chapter due by mid-oct, going to be published (which the acknowledgements will have a ~*surprise!*~) and since it’s my first one I’m nervous as fuck — I hope they don’t expect clear-cut answers because I have none. I can only offer a semblance of a vector in passing

Also feeling kinda….I don’t know, running out of happy-feels. I feel restless and ansty and a wee bit lonely, but at the same time I don’t want to be around people at all.  I remember J.P once accused me of being anti-social because I liked to be by myself (in my defence, people are noisy, want things from you and usually unreliable based on prior experience) ….. but meh, maybe I’m just tired. I’ve been slowly but gently dropping as many commitments as I can – and then the headache of organising TWO shows at the same time in November — I have the Berlin/Parsons one on the 8th November and then wham! 2nd week, Sarah comes and tells us we’re going to have a mini-exhibition/conference on 12th.

Frankly I wish she told us sooner, or allowed us the option of opting out. The Aaronson gallery show was booked months in advance in April, and to suddenly drop a bomb during the first few weeks really gave a lot of additional stress — I mean great additional experience and all, but it’s really too close together and since I’m duty-bound to the “official” show my priority is not the mini-one held by thesis (even if it’s related to thesis) but the Berlin/Parsons one. At this point, I’m just going to accept that something has got to give — focus on completing the berlin/parsons, focus on building thesis with scott and let the mini-exhibit/conference thing fall a little or someone in class (probably mike) do everything.

Other good news, I think SAFC meeting turned out well and crossing my fingers for full funding requests!!! They have more or less approved C.K’s proposal (not that he knows) and more or less approved Cnr’s one as well (he doesn’t know either). I’m hoping that by presenting more professionally, it will set the trend for MORE FUNDING! (yay) I’ve also started collecting the proposals for Mobile Art Truck project (good) so hopefully I can meet sponsors soon…. preferably by end October.  If all goes well then by Feb I can test out a road-version of my thesis (what if the networks of networks was applied to neighbourhoods?) which should provide the best feedback ever. Plus that would up the number of events I’ve fundraised, participated or organised into 8 events within a period of 18 months (how’s that for work ethics?)

[random] I got my first white hair!!!! omg I’m officially old D: D: D: also T.B got my age wrong… actually it’s refreshing that someone thinks of me as older, instead of always being perpetually mistaken as 18 [/random]
Back to work related things:

FRIDAY

Games Club decided to have a B.Y.O.G (bring your own game) meet. Which is great, because oodles of katamari and excuse to ooo over the prettyness of Journey:

Replaying Journey (in the name of thesis!) makes me notice the structure more, not just the pretty. Actually I also realised that the fundamental difference between what I’m doing and what Journey is doing is orchestration — Journey is very specifically borrowing from certain themes of spirituality, reincarnation and a more metaphysical ‘journey’. I’m focusing on a more phenomenology type of journey. Also the way I’m structuring it, I want less climatic narrative and just focus on cinematic experience — my favourite bit was probably where the giant stingrays floaty bits came and you could surf sand, will probably borrow the aesthetics from that particular chapter

Half the reason why I’m so focused on aesthetics is because well, I want it to be beautiful. I think people neglect beauty nowadays, which is really depressing. Everyone is focused on what is behind representation or pursuing some deep serious political act/art that they forget about how powerful sheer beauty can be, how moving and how it touches people beyond rationality. Heck, I used to be a scholar on The Sublime — for a good 4-5 years that was my obsession. While I’m no longer as obsessed with it, I still believe in great deal in it.
Anyway it was pretty interesting, I might play it again on a later date just to make sure I got the feel right.

Saturday

Saturday started off with a meeting with the berlin/parsons people – lots of admin crap to be cleared. We had sponsorship from Makerbot to produce the stuff, then they backed out blah blah production at standstill; all files need to be proofed etc etc Also Franca & I altered our final proposal to suit the gallery since Daisy (gallery manager) said we couldn’t touch the (UGLY!) wallpaper at 66 5th ave. Welp. W/E. At this stage where we’re two months to final all I want to do is get shit done and over with. (especially since both of us are thesis-moding)
Then afterwards I met Z.G for thesis and it was pretty enlightening. Remember those MIT students who didn’t participate in anything on the ‘nets? Well, he’s one of them too! *gasp* but nah, I’m not really surprised. After realising these people exist, one must acknowledge that there must be more and they can be anywhere. HOWEVER! it’s also a good opportunity to ask ‘why’ and see what characteristics these people have…. and after talking for a bit, it’s really just a couple of traits: 1. a stable/secure sense of identity and place (I am at X part of my life, don’t want to be in or any part of anywhere else); 2. current IRL activity interests me more than internets 3. computering is for working, not leisure

Anyway he did give me some really great refs, mostly to net.art movement which was extremely helpful. I had problems framing thesis writing cos I was doing it chronologically (development of internet as arpanet, blah blah engelbert augmented humanity etc etc) and it was just getting way too big since it was internet history and trying to put art in it —— and net.art gave me a kind of starting point so I could skim over the historicity and move the “start date” a bit later, when the internet already existed and go from there.

I don’t know how to describe his reaction though…. the feeling is that he thinks it’s not cool(?) I get that — it’s not very trendy to do net art anymore, people have moved on to physical things (ZG is speaking from a curator’s perspective) and from a ‘get-residency’ approach it’s not very ‘wow’ or on pulse. On the other hand, I think because he said that, I want to do it more. I feel it’s the right time to rethink about it, because its so ubiquitous, so commonplace and yet issues regarding use as medium are STILL unresolved…… from the megaupload mess to SOPA/PIPA to simple shit like a 16 year old tweeting about wanting to kill the president. It’s not cool, but it’s necessary? Art shouldn’t be just about niche cool things anyway. /myopinion

Tuesday + Wednesday (can you see how my entries are now so jumbled?)

I had 2 meetings between those days, and while I know these people it was just……. plain weird. Idk. Maybe it was just the week. It was an odd week. Anyway I met T.B on Tuesday, and it was kinda rambly and went overtime. I think we distract each other — somehow we ended up watching early animations and he was talking about how RCA was being really brilliant with the hand-drawing + voiceover sequences…. Sometimes I find it really hard to talk to him, because he doesn’t like things so much. For instance, he doesn’t like the word ‘curate’, so trying to explain the project to him without using the word ‘curate’ is like trying to describe how the colour red to someone who is blind. Then that thread was cut, and then somehow started again – so I showed him the early draft I made, and he was like: ‘I don’t understand what you’re writing’ and he said maybe I was getting stuck with words….. so he was: ‘just make a UX for it’. He also echoed Z.G’s comment about how uncool it was (lol)

Then the next day I met Dave who was my studio tutor last semester and in an interesting role reversal, he was ‘omg I know what you are making I know exactly what you are making!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ and he started quoting these random sayings about forked pathways and being able to retrace them and new words like “virtual adjacency” (which is his invented term for my “categorical randomness”) and he got really excited and like YOU’RE MAKING A MEMEX and I was like what am I making????? and then he showed me this/these articles and I was like: ‘ oooooo yea, I think I’m making one’ and he told me to read like these stacks of articles before seeing him next. I’m glad at least one person was positive about the current direction (even though my project is now forever uncool .____.;;;;;;)  Also he doesn’t believe that nanocommunities or tumblr religions can exist (obviously he’s never read sarah’s story lol) It’s a really weird disjoint, to think that T.B. is old…. or rather when I was talking to him it felt like I was trying to talk to someone much older and stubbornly clinging to someone/thing else which I have no idea about. A mysterious actant-haunting!

I’ve started a bit on the reading since then, and one glaring difference between mine and Bush’s is that mine is pretty much anonymous. Dave is very much on the “create-accounts” side, and he’s persuasive about how the memex is a collector of knowledge or an aid in knowledge……… the thing is, while I’m very certain that the memex and my project are very similar is many ways, I’m not entirely convinced that I’m actually making a memex. I know art doesn’t happen in a vaccum, but if I were to retrace all my entries back and forwards all over again —- the term memex doesn’t come up at all. That means Bush and I arrived at similar conclusions through very VERY different means and understandings of things.  My question is this: how did he arrive there? what made him think of that? he was in an era of microfilm; not the internet – what made him feel the need/necessity to have such a system?

And then after that (double-meetings!) I had WebAdv presentations and OMG I FINALLY “GET” JQUERY for realz. You know about coding = banging head against wall VS head? Well finally the wall broke, and I fucking get that shit. Not perfectly, but the logic is there. Thank fucking god because I was rushing to code it and I finally got the media player to work. It’s not as fancy as other people’s sites ( css != jquery ) but hey all the elements work! I can use it for portfolio-ing!

Anyway then I did a skypechat with L.V and we talked about how to get shit done (technical specs) and we agreed that the best way to approach this is get a baseline on it (how to do a basic loop and draw and all that function crap) then start trying out the libraries. One possibility I’m entertaining is to build the landscape in maya, export it out and put webgl coded geometry on top of it so I didn’t have to try and embed links inside maya objects. That’s a hypothesis anyway

wheee!!!

guys can i tell you how *delighted* i am at how fast sean cubitt replied my email???? i mean i seriously didn’t expect that he would remember me after all these years (interestingly enough, he and anthony white were the ones who wrote my references when i applied to parsons in the beginning)

actually here’s a bit of a funny story – when i was a student he was the head of media/commuications and he was the one who always gave the permissions to take classes at SCA, so i could do a rare double major (in those days, theory was theory; art was art and never crossed each other…. especially in a public university) anyway during my final year, i had a lot of questions(!!!) and unresolved angst about continuing media theory vs art practice (i was still set on being in pure fine arts) and i was finishing my thesis — so i decided to send him an email, with a header: ‘hi sean!’ (i still write my emails like that, which earned me the nickname of ‘ukrainian spambot’ amongst peers)

and like that, we became penpals! can you imagine??? it was the first time i realised that wow, my ideas have value and people actually take them seriously. i always thought as an undergrad, whatever i thought was probably too unsophisticated to compete and compare with these higher ups….. but he took me seriously! that was cool. through our emails, it was the first time i really thought/learned about illocutionary speech and hypertext as an example of it; how to critique ‘immaterialism’ (which he really loathed the term) and other cool things. actually i think during my final semester, i learned more from our email exchanges than any other classes

…… and finally after the semester finished, i was one week away from flying again and i knew i wouldn’t bother with graduation ceremony so i called him on the school number. when he asked: ‘why do you want to see me?’ i said: ‘because even though i know how you look like (from pictures) and talk like ( from emails)  i want to know who the head of my school is, since i’m paying so (international) school fees.’ and i think it was a wednesday. it was late spring, so it was crappy humid weather and i was wearing a blue dress. and it was a bit awkward at first because all penpals are awkward when meeting for the first time, but then we started talking about history and hayden white (and he was surprised i knew about hayden white lol) and it was odd but cool and somehow i can still remember his office and the fact that to the left he had a huge row of vertigo comic books.

a year passes, or at least most of a year. i leave academia for banking and other crazy stuff and then suddenly i get accepted into schools for graduate programs. i remember being superdistressed, because too many opinions and none that was really objective – so i saw him on skype, by chance again and ask him: ‘where should i go?’ and he’s like ‘congrats! helsinki is out of this world, mit is has great resources esp. if you want to do technology , nyu is very vocational and applicative, and parsons is good for art’. and somehow, those 2 words; when he stated is so blankly and simply, i just made a choice.

and just like today 4am i just sent an email ‘hi sean!’ as heading (again) and omg i can’t believe he remembers me! and is still so awesome! sean why are you always so awesome??? anyway i’m excited at his references, and most of all talking to him again. maybe we’ll be penpals! *______*

 

1st draft, thesis statement

Initially I started with the development of internet (cold war, arpanet) but after talking to Z.G I decided to reframe it and focus less on technology but critical art/theory. I think it suits the project better, since Ken Wark’s advice was to explore the aesthetics of linking/in between spaces. Plus this will put less focus on technology itself, but more on experience.

I’ll edit it through and send to clive soon… the first few paragraphs are OK, the rest really needs work. (maybe I should stop writing at 5am in the morning hmm)

——————————————————————-

The advent of the internet has reshaped much of how we live, learn and communicate with each other through enabling new ways of interaction such as internet forums and social networking or accelerating the speed of delivery through search engines and instant messaging.  Most importantly, this network of networks has allowed for an unprecedented amount of content generated: youtube videos, tumblr images, blogs of all genre, collaborative writing, open software, status-updates etc …  all of which, could not exist several decades ago.

Such a huge socio-technological change led to the rise of groups such as net.art and international fluxus in the mid 90’s led by pioneers such as Jodi and Nam June Paik. These groups were all united by the common medium of internet-based artwork, even if the themes explored varied from artist to artist. Artists exploited new technologies by creating flash based browser experiences, exploratory websites with no meaning or ‘spam’ ascii artwork which could only be understood by viewing the source code. They took their discussions to mailing lists and chat-logs, emphasising the free and open-sourced nature of the internet compared to traditional journal publishing. In those lists, they questioned and challenged the myth of internet democracy and explored new ways of shared public space.

Through their codeworks#, net. artists revealed how the ‘natural’ environment of the internets with associated myths of freedom and democracy to be highly constructed, and even controlled by corporations under the guise of ‘user-friendliness’ and ‘interactive design’. Artists such as Lialiana, Aronson and Jodi experimented with layered applets, crashing screens and new capitalist structures which gave birth to the term ‘browser art’.

These experiments did not go unnoticed by academia, with new media theorists such as Geert Lovink, Alexander Galloway, Clay Shirky, Jaron Lanier, Alex Bauwens and McKenzie Wark critically analysing these new forms of subculture emerging from the internet and the subversive gestures by the artists (clunky sentance, rephrase!) In Cubitt’s seminal text, Digital Aesthetics where he explores how the links between hypertext, idealogical emergent spaces and playful cyberspace. (elaborate more!)

While net.art was short-lived and quickly taken over by the rise of corporate Web 2.0, it inspired other movements such as hacker culture, makers/physical computing  and to some extent; was absorbed by the very corporations it tried to resist. Projects such as Netomat and Hell(dot)com were either developed commercially to become products or sold as artefacts.

(everything here needs rephrasing! but i want to just get it out)
Such is the climate of today’s internet culture, where platforms control content [ insert rant about product-lock-in, selective bubbling, corporate agendas, ] where the internet is no longer a singular unit network of networks but rather a networks nesting in other networks – fragmented and disparate, with each user experiencing a different form of the internet based on search engines (marketing pigeonholing). This control society of logins, accounts and unit matrices, the ability to browse and escape from this military industrial complex becomes more and more pertinent. (actually i think capitalist-data weapon is more accurate… needs rephrasing in any case)

Therefore, it is worthwhile to explore the internet as a medium and art practice again. (what a fucking lame ass statement). The sheer ubiquity of the internet – now available in tablet, smartphones and even within embedded objects as well as responsive design makes this more important than ever. What was originally a niche area in net.art, can now be considered ‘public’ art as the digital divide continues to shrink every day.

{insert more paragraphs on links, aesthetics.}