Week 11_Reading Material

1. A World of Witnesses

In contemporary society, social media,such as Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare make everybody becomes a nomadic monitor. Ubiquity of mobile phones not only makes communication more easy than before, but also extend our own world, making more connection between individuals and public.

The topic “video abuse” remind me a film called “High tech, low life” which is a sort of documentary film about two citizen reporter in China. They difficultly became a reporter and blogger because they try to discuss some society hot spot in their public blog. They always take a camera or digital recorder to involve in complicated event as a common person and document it.


Mobile phones  as digital “witness” and surveillance


“Mobile phone also became the tool for organising the huge spontaneous demonstrations in the following days.”

“The second area where mobile technology is beginning to have a big impact is health care,especially in poor countries” .

“Soon mobile technology could play a large role in detecting, mapping and responding to epidemics.”

“Mobile phones are fast becoming the main communications tool,schoolbook, vaccination record, family album and many other things.”

“The third category is environmental monitoring”. [AirTEXT project is get information on air quality and subscribers receive alerts when pollution is forecast to spike.]

For some military meaning, “Mobile phones inside those passing cars would send information to a database. The signal would grow weaker as the distance from the source increases…”

I do like the project that conducted by Ghana who attached tiny pollution sensors to the phones of 15 taxi divers, and than he can draw a pollution map of city from these data.

2. “On the Record, All the Time”

According to this article, the first thing come to my mind is social media as a lifelogging play a real important roll in our daily life. “Many of them are documenting all their conversations, movements, ideas, and correspondence through audio recorders, digital cameras, GPS trackers, pedometers, brain scanners and other gadgets.” They really can completely shape someone’s life. (Foursquare:location, instagram: image, Facebook:social connection….)

Jim Gemmell said “one day glean information from our own lives the same way we now get information from Google.”

An new idea from Queen’s University at Kingston that is “a camera starts recoding when its wearer makes eye contact with a noter person…”. I think Google glasses is kind of this thing and I believe it will have these function s in very next future.

Social media provide us a platform which can keep our memory to be digitized memory, which incline to a tangiable lifestyle.

[SENSECAM-Alzheimer’s patients.]

“Audio lifelogging is socially taboo, legally treacherous, and, occasionally, emotionally jarring.”

“nostalgia effect”


Sergey Brin’s Favorite Google Glass Feature

Mr. Brin said his favorite feature is the time-lapse capability that lets him snap photos of his kids every 10 seconds when he is playing with them. “I never think about taking out my phone,” he said. “That would really be disruptive to my play time.”

Via The Wall Street Journal

Google Glasses 2-AR(Augment Reality)




W7-Reading: Bodies, Surrogates and Emergent Systems

In this part, author introduces a lots of artwork that related to robotic surrogates, artificial intelligence, cybernetics and so on. Robotic appeared in 1960-1970, artists sensitively used robotic/cybernetics hybrids as their creative media. Gradually,robotic becomes the intelligent agents of artwork and convert the identity of real life in virtual space.

In another book “Context Providers”(by Margot Lovejoy), the “intelligent agents” is also mentioned many times, because it is a significant strategy for artist which involves the body and electronic technology, and convey the relationship between man and machine, virtual space and real life. The “agents” whatever it is “robotic” or “second life” in virtual space, such as online game and cyber space, it is looked as a entrance to real life through a “third” prospective, because in many cases, artist like using camera or surveillance to capture the surrounding phenomenon.

“Artists have attempted to bridge the apparent divide between carbon-based organisms and silicon forms of intelligence and life, between the real and the artificial, suggesting that these distinctions are becoming increasingly blurry and permeable.”(p.38)

Nam June Paik is the pioneer of robotic artwork. He created one of the first art robots called “Robot K456” with 20-Channel Radio Control which connect the real information and the robotic system. Paik’s famous work called TV Cello, he collaborate with Charlotte Moorman who is a cellist, Moorman’s cello was wired to the electronic bra so that she was able to perform the video images emanating from her chest. Paik have a high level and deep comprehension of visual, music and body language. He also attempt a lot of his experimental artwork conveying the relationship between man and machine.


Secondly, this part also remind me the online virtual world “Second Life”. “Second Life is a 3D world where everyone you see is a real person and every place you visit is built by people just like you.”(second life.com) It is kind of a new social media, providing a new virtual society and new identity for individuals.

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Another, as the development of robots, more and more artist start to create the mechanical artwork, which combine the artistic beauty and extremely complicated mechanic technology. For example, U-Ram Choe is outstanding digital installation artist and created a lot of fabulous installation represent the beauty of mechanic and art, run by electronic system.

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According to Chapter: Charged Environments in Art and Electronic Media, I would like to talk about the artist Ulf Langheinrich and his collaborated work”Granular Synthesis-Modell 5″ with Kurt Hentschlaeger.



The four screen video installation impressed me a lot. Firstly, it is quite powerful, and give us visual stimulation. When we watch it in front of the video installation, the size as big as a wall, and magnify the expressions of performer, we can imagine we actually are surrounded by a overwheiming visual language and context. Secondly, Ulf used the sound design technique called “Granular Synthesis”. It is a new tech in 1990s. It could be a avant-grade audiovisual work in that time. I have been Ulf’s workshop which focus on sound design. He said, in his work, like Modell 5, he payed more attention to make the synchronicity between sound and visual. It is very important and strong concept of his work. Based on the synchronicity, audience can generate a sense of disorder about time and experience a complex psychological perception. Ulf used the performer’s expression to control the influence for audience’s reaction.

-Ulf in Workshop


Reflection of the sentences to conceptual art

These sentences are sort of some philosophy sentences and discussed about art from philosophy or more profound level. They remind me some basic question such as “what is the art?” “Art for whom?”.

Actually, it is kind of abstract, like a conversion inside artist themselves. Although these sentences are ideas for conceptual art, but I think it is also can be put in a more wild art world. In general, art always start from a concept whatever its final form.

I choose some quotes which inspired me and impressed me a lot. I written comments of my personal understanding below these.

-“A work of art may be understood as a conductor from the artist’s mind to the viewer’s. But it may never reach the viewer, or it may never leave the artist’s mind.”

Audiences can understand by their own experience, but they can go inside artists’ mind. The artwork in artist’s mind will be the unique one.

-Since no form is intrinsically superior to another, the artist may use any form, from an expression of words (written or spoken) to physical reality, equally.

If words are used, and they proceed from ideas about art, then they are art and not literature; numbers are not mathematics.

This is why Duchamp always used found objects as a carrier and media to convey his thinking.

Sometimes artwork is defined just because they are putted in a specific context. Sometimes, in some extent, some common objects which be putted in a special environment are looks wired and funny, provoking thinking of people. For example, in my apartment, a honey is be wrapped, because it is used to lure cockroaches not for eating. We put it in a dark corner in cabinet,as if it is a bottle of dangerous poison not sweet honey.


-Perception is subjective.

Wittgenstein said that anyone’s experience is not engraved, everyone in the world is not the same.

-Once the idea of the piece is established in the artist’s mind and the final form is decided, the process is carried out blindly.

Creative processing is a complicated experience like adventure,  even the artist cannot imagine. In my opinion, the creative process is the art itself. In the processing of creation, there would be some unbelievable things happen.

-These sentences comment on art, but are not art.

It is a too “DADA” sentence. Art is like sort of a trick, kind of cynicism. Art is not a game with literal meaning. It based on human’s experience and the nature which is the fun and sustained artistic point.

Reading 1- “The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction” -Walter Benjamin

Reading Reflection

“The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction”
-Walter Benjamin

This article demonstrates the situation of artwork’s reproduction according to political (such as the situation of proletariat), history (about the capitalistic), the transform and change of technology and the artwork’s uniqueness and permanence. In addition, the author talked about the function of artwork.
The author used film and photography as two wonderful examples to demonstrate his idea about reproduction of artwork.
Some parts of this article impressed me a lot. “The Greeks knew only two procedures of technically reproducing works of art: founding and stamping.”(321). Actually, I can’t comprehensively to understand this sentence. It sounds like a kind of original methods to duplicate some work of art. But I suppose in that period, maybe the work of art is not the “real” artwork or “pure” art. In the iv part, the author mentioned “the earliest art works originated in the service of a ritual”, so we can imagine the different meaning of reproduction of artwork or non-artwork.
In addition, according to author’s perspective, “Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.”(322). From that, I think, in some extent, the work of art can’t be reproduction, because the original one have the specific context including time, space and all of this elements is temporary and specific. Such as the philosopher Socrates said:Man can’t set foot in two rivers at the same time. Same with the artwork, we can duplicate an artwork through many kinds of methods, but we can’t copy the same history point and situation in that time when artist create it based on certain and specific sentimental element.
Work of art was used for “Cult value” and “exhibition value”. But in the article, the author didn’t talk about the context and further background to define these two terms. I think if we want to understand more about the two terms, we need explore more examples and evidences about it because now the “Cult value” may be far from our contemporary society.

Reading 1-“Digital Art-A short history of technology and art”

The part called “A short history of technology and art” from the book “Digital Art” is a wonderful brief of digital history, depicting the history from 1945 to present.

The writer summaries the important artists, the crucial event or exhibition, the huge transformation of technology, the significant invention which are influence to digital artwork and artists.

I think it is very useful for us to understand the background and the evolution of digital art.

I have two questions from two impressed part of article. The article mentioned Marcel Duchamp, Nam June Paik and other ancestor artists of digital field. My question is What’s most aspect of their work influence the digital artwork until now?(the from, the logic or the concept, or some kind of stable artistic language, and for example).

In the end of chapter, the writer talks about the issues of how to collection and preserving a digital artwork. He analysis a lot of unstable issues which directly generate the problems, such as the transform of technology, the abandon of specific hardware and software. My question is based on this question, there have some solutions to practice on collection and preserve now? Because the digital artwork also need a home in museum or gallery like painting and sculpture. It is a big issue which refers to the development of digital art and artists.