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!

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