A few notes from the reading:
Circulation of content depends on consumers’ active participation
Delivery technologies change, the medium doesn’t (sound is medium, CDs, cassettes are deliveries)
The strength of the Daily Prophet:
- Pool knowledge,
- value systems-ethical dramas,
- connection across scattered info,
- expression from own culture outward for pop culture,
Edith sat, unable to concentrate on the tasks at hand at home, unable to absorb the shock of Cousin Patrick’s departure. The breeze lifted her hair from her hot forehead and the clouds shifted to reveal spots of blue. As a younger girl, she had always dreamed of Patrick’s return, even imagined that he might still be alive after the Titanic sunk. They used to play for hours—hide and go seek, house—in the fields far from the house. Mary would come sit with them sometimes as they raced around trying to catch one another. But she would only watch; she thought their games were childish and not becoming for a young lady. Though Patrick knew he was destined to marry Mary, Edith had claimed a place in his affection. They had once tried to kiss one another as they had sometimes seen their parents do, smudging their noses together and brushing lips as they romped around in the field.
An automobile sped up the driveway, glinting with sun and halting promptly at the house. Startled, Edith leaned forward, placing her hands on the cold marble steps as if to get up. But the house, its winding drive, the flowing lawn melted as she found herself overwhelmed by Patrick again—how close she had felt with him after spending just a few days together! She turned away from the calm estate and hid her face in her hands as she burst into tears and considered how to proceed.
If she returned to Downton, she might not be able to stomach the daily talk of Matthew as an heir, the preparations for Mary and Carlisle, the daily confrontations between her mother and Isobel…
“Edith, is that you?” Mary said, stepping slowly up the stairs behind her. “What are you doing in such a lonely spot? Granny has been looking for you. We’re having luncheon in a few minutes and imagined you might condescend to join us. Or were you too busy pining for Patrick?”
Staring at Mary, Edith stood up and said, “How can you be so unfeeling? You are able to continue living, carrying on, flitting about as if nothing had happened. But something happened. Patrick was here and he is alive. Don’t you understand? That changes things!” Edith stood so close to Mary that she could smell the cloves in Mary’s perfume. Mary looked shocked by Edith’s boldness. Edith continued, her voice rising, “And now he has left. We are unlikely to see him or know him ever again. And why? Because you refused to recognize him or even consider recognizing him. Was he too ugly? You are fickle beyond belief.”
Mary took a step backward on the marble, shaking her head at Edith as she almost growled, “How dare you. How dare you presume to understand a situation that is apparently so far beyond your comprehension? You can only see this first layer of a bandaged man who wins a place in your affections by describing all of the stories that he had learned about Patrick—the true Patrick. This is no way to mourn Patrick—bringing up his memory for purely mercenary reasons.” Mary narrowed her eyes and stepped toward Edith, placing a hand on Edith’s elbow. Mary held Edith so tightly that Edith wrenched her arm away, wobbling as she stepped backwards and reached the edge of the marble platform.
Mary’s voice was quiet and controlled as she ordered Edith, “Never mention his name again. Never think of him either. If you are truly concerned about family, take a moment and consider the stress this has placed on father. Instead of running off after this faux-ghost of ‘Cousin Patrick’ like some lost peasant in a drama you yourself have created, be here and perhaps you will redeem yourself from your disgusting behavior.”
Mary spun away and neatly stepped down the stairs as Edith tumbled forward and shouted, “You think you are beyond reproach, beyond mistakes, beyond confusion, but take a moment and note that you are marrying your own blackmailer to protect your darling reputation. Yes, I know. I know about all of your intrigues—of course! That’s what family is, isn’t it? Oh I’m done with you, all of you.” Edith ran down the steps as if to return to Downton, but once reaching the bottom of the marble monument, she turned away from the house and walked rapidly towards the drive.
Processing of writing fan fic about Downton Abbey:
I tried to get in the mind of one of the characters whom I find particularly aggravating in the show. It was interesting to imagine her mindset as she places a lot of value on a character I thought was trivial.
It was also interesting to write both the description of the inner monologue as well as expanding (in the second part) to a more action-oriented dialogue. Most of the posts in Fan Fic were long narrative styled pieces but usually screenplays are not… in terms of structuring a story.
Some notes/quotations from the readings:
Systems Esthetics by Jack Burnham
Art by telephone:
“In this instance the recorded conversation between artist and manufacturer was to become part of the displayed work of art.”
“From man the maker (of tools and images) to man the maker of esthetic decisions.”
Anti-Sublime Ideal in New Media by Lee Manovich
Simon: computation- alternative reality.
Jevbratt: internet- the web, visualized
Data vis: “see patterns and structures behind the vast and seemingly random data sets”
To begin with, we are considering if we could map the electricity use in a topological way such that the highest use is shown in the highest peaks in the material. The material would have a special meaning because it would be dipped in glow-in-the-dark paint— playing with this idea of dark, light, electricity use.
We are also considering doing a piece that would be porous and would act as a light— a swath of plastic or globular shape with pinpoints punched out lit up by a bulb inside.
It was challenging to think in 3d, to think with data though not too literally and yet at the same time wanting objects to have a meaning mapped in some way.
Here’s another fun lighting device that’s flexible…
For the word choice data, we thought we might create two 3d founts for the letter I where the x-height and the kerning are based on how a political candidate uses the word I as compared to the other. Furthermore, perhaps the thickness of the I would reflect this. We are not sure whether it would be about volume or height (or maybe both). This article discusses the use of I and its implications.
Nevertheless, we are curious as to whether we might be able to create something that might be more useful and thus we want to push our ideas more for this dataset.
A few general thoughts:
- How can we add crafted details after the machine production?
- Question of form following function (a camera’s form fits the roll of film) when our function is dual (for example, a pitcher that also shows the way water is consumed in NYC).
- Can we design something that gets better with time.
Chimamanda speaks about the power of stories in another way— the power of when you choose to start a story, of how complete you choose to make a story.
Jonathan Harris’ presentation really struck a chord for me. I’m also taking Data Representation and Digital Fabrication this term, and if I am able to get in to Collective Storytelling, I think it would be a marvelous combination in that I could continue to practice what I have always believed— that objects (or environments) are so much stronger if we have a compelling story behind them— whether it’s the story of a chair or a space.
On this note of fabrication, as people turn to more stuff to bring them more happiness, I’d like to join all of those who are making more stories.
On the note of Jonathan’s work, I admired how he was able to go deeply into some of the “single stories” that are out there. One could read about Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness and leave it at that. Rather, he turns a single story into a hundred and tries to give each one the color, the context, the character that he also infused into his Arctic story.
I tried 3 different formats.
He waited. Parched. twisting as he search for a spare drop.
Parched, he waited, turning and twisting as he sought water, becoming browner each day and losing his thick velvet skin.
Parched. He twisted as he searched for a drop of water. Over the next few days, he grew browner in the sun and noticed that his skin lost its bright glow. He shed cracked flakes, useless to him now. And then he waited.
The forms are longer from 1 to 3.
It was fun to try different versions, to see how minimally I could represent the story. I also played with the concept of time: “becoming browner each day” vs. “over the next few days.”
Can you guess who “he” is?
It’s my plant.
In reading some 6-Word Stories, 25 word stories and 55-Word Fiction Stories, I notice how these structures impose different output for the stories. The best 25 and 55 word stories all seem to tackle something dramatic: murder, love, suspense. On the other hand, sometimes the 6 word stories are more poetic and less action-based.
On the other hand, 400 words does allow the author to create a compelling story within the structure. Albert Maysles’ story is moving and I was able to imagine the different parts of his life with ease.
It’s remarkable that the shortest and longest structures were flexible— at least to me.
Cambridge Intro to Narrative Notes:
Narrative is the principal way in which our species organizes its understand of time.
One can expand time by adding details.
- Narrative time intersects with space during audio tours.
Narrative can also cover more ground, more years.
Part of the great power of the painting comes from its refusal to satisfy the narrative desire that it arouses.
- Reminds me of the 6-Word story.
Narrative gives us the shape of time.
- Meaning and narrative.
Narrative is the representation of an event or a series of events.
- Questions whether it must be two events or more or interconnected events.
Representation: speaks to the feeling that we often have that the story somehow pre-exists the narrative, even though this may be an illusion.
Entities and events are integral to a story. Characters are human entities. Setting is common but not necessary to a story.
Stories are mediated by voice, style, actor, camera.
There are constituent events that are turning points for the story. Supplementary events are not necessary. Micro-events again are not necessary but can communicate the ambiance or another important aspect of the story.
A containing narrative: framing narrative: such as A thousand and One Nights.
This week, we read “Design for Wearability” by F. Gemperle, C. Kasabach, J. Stivoric, M. Bauer, and R. Martin, in Proc. of Second International Symposium on Wearable Computers, 1998, pp. 116-122.
A few points particularly stood out to me:
- Dynamic wearability extends the definition to include the human body in motion.
- Where can solid and flexible forms rest without interfering with fluid?
- Design for wearability considers the human body as a context— as an active form.
- The guidelines for wearability were useful.
- The concept of an “aura around the human body.”
Now that I am more attuned to this field, I think more about how much must go into creating those perfect backpacking backpacks that can be adjusted endlessly until they fit your back and waist and shoulders just right.
I also have been thinking more about armor-like jewelry such as the ring below. There are some that are even hingier and more armor-like, but this will do for now.
I went to Edward Tufte’s One Day Course today, to hear his perspective on The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Beautiful Evidence, Visual Explanations and Envisioning Information.
- Do whatever it takes to explain something: don’tdecide what medium you will use beforehand
- Metaphor is the map: nothing can be erased from a map because it is 100% content
- Reduce optical clutter: no boxes around words! Tufte remarked that the Surgeon’s Warning has such a strong box around it that the outline overwhelms the characters of the warning.
- Good design is self-effacing. 100% content. Get design out of the way.
- Users scan, scroll and then screen change (drilling down into a subject).
Processing now has eyes and skin and can feel the weather changes.
Not sure this image is in enough focus, but see below for my sketch of the weather box (and a few posts down for a text explanation / inspiration. In the sketch below, you see the outline of the box, where various inputs might fit, as well as the wiring (coming out). What’s not depicted: music / video projection: that comes out from my Processing sketch based on various parameters (it’s rainy, so play a video of “Singing in the Rain”, for example).
Here, as you see, I’ve been testing the way different leaves react to wind of a mini 12v computer fan. I also tested how the leaves react to a motor (they don’t).
I added a song in my weather box that was correlated to each weather state? The song would be activated when you press start from your computer but would fade if you’re not dancing in front of it. Because what better way to start your day than a bit of dancing in front of a weather box.
I project a video that is indicative of that weather state? For example, clear and crisp days (temperature = x, humidity = y, etc. etc.) will show a vintage clip of a fun fall day in the apples? Any windy day would switch automagically to a kiteboarding video (that’s what I would like at least).
“My favorite human technologies are the ones we no longer even notice as technologies – they just seem like natural extension of our minds. Numbers are one such example, a human-invented tool that, once learned has incredible productive power in the mind. Writing is another. It no longer seems magical, in the literate word, to communicate a complex set of thoughts silently across vast reaches of time and space using a cocktail napkin and some strategically applied stains. Yet being able to write things down, draw diagrams, and otherwise externalize the contents of our minds into some stable format has drastically augmented our cognitive and communicative abilities. By far the most amazing technological marvels that humans ever created…are the languages we speak. Now, there’s an immensely complex tool that really changed things for us humans. You think keeping up a correspondence with friends was hard before e-mail? Well, you should have tried it before language! Importantly, the particulars of the languages we speak have shaped not only how we communicate our thoughts but also the very nature of the thoughts themselves.”