Art History 217 - Contemporary Issues in Time-Based Art and Design

Art History 217 - Contemporary Issues in Time-Based Art and Design

Course Description:

"In the past decade we have come to rely on the Web for many aspects of artistic and critical activities, as well as to extend the tools we use for production - both print and digital. For example, Desktop procedures that were first used in the 80's have become standard fixtures in 2D work, alongside more traditional production and reproduction activities. Conceptualization of web-based work often borrows traditional metaphors, while specific critical understanding of new media also gives us new ways to reflect on older forms."

This blog is a brief look into the issues, thinking, and reflections that were made.
• Class discussions on the "Moodle"
• Analyzing websites
• Paper on group topic, "Memory and Database"
• Link to "Memory and Database" blog
• Self Assessment


MOODLE POST: Interface and Interactivity

Thoughts, questions and reflections on the topic, after "Interface and Interactivity" group presented.

According to the presentation on interfaces and interactivity their definition, ”refers to the way humans react to computer application programs, hardware components, output devices, and functionality.”

So i've been pondering about the idea of interfaces and interactivity, and realizing more and more that they are evolving and appearing everywhere, more and more. And it seems like a great thing, with the advances of technology. But at the same time with the increase of interactivity, it almost seems like there is a lacking amount of activity between actual humans. Is the technological advances of interactivity going to be our downfall? And if so, do we have any way of preventing it?

I believe it was Leslie that began talking about people attaching a cellphone to your ear. I know i brought up the idea of the increase of technology (in response to someone else's discussion) and how it might be our downfall.. but just think... at the rate we are going with just cellphones, how soon in our future will the day come when everyone is walking around with cellphones attatched to their ears, completely oblivious to the people around them?

Do we have any say in the way we are going? I mean.. if everyone else moves forward by attatching cellphones to their ears.. and you or I don't.. we'd be surrounded by people talking away with their cellphones.. leaving you to entertain yourself.

Is there a time and a place for attatching your cellphones to your ear?

Have we become obessed with the availability of technology? Those with labtops.. are constantly staring at the screen, during class, during lectures, during critiques.. completely isolating themselves from the world around them, and from the person that is sitting right next to them.

If interface and interactivity progresses at the rate that it is headed, will people never leave their house/office, since the internet will allow it? If online stores resembled real stores, would real stores go out of business?

I'm still thinking that as the internet becomes more and more personalized and "real" the more time people are going to spend on it, and the less time in acual real life.

ok, enough of these bitter thoughts of technology..


MOODLE POST: Memory and Databse

Thoughts regarding memory and database.

Regarding memory and database, while reading "The Garden of Forking Paths," this passage caught my attention,"Before unearthing this letter, I had questioned myself about the ways in which a book can be infinite. I could think of nothing other than a cyclic volume, a circular one. A book whose last page was identical with the first, a book which had the possibility of continuing indefinitely..." (33)

Wouldn't that be crazy? If an actually object that you could hold could be infinite. But why is it so unthinkable for a book to be infinite when it seems as though the internet is infinite? Probably because a book could never possibly be infinite. It exists as physical matter. Does that mean that the internet is not physical matter?

Would it actually be possible to create an infinite book? and if it were possible, how would it function? Would it be transportable? And how would it, if it was infinite? It would weigh a ton, probably more than a ton? And if there was a book that was capable of this, would you own it? And would it be for sale?

It appears as though society attempts to archive as much as possible. We as people are becoming dependent on archived information, rather than using our own minds to remember information.

What happens if and when the internet crashes, and disappears? Will those that have become so dependent on it be lost? Will we learn to cope and deal with the void? Will intelligence increase or decrease? The internet is full of information, but do people take advantage of that?

It all comes back to the question: how far will we go to archive information?


MOODLE POST: Artists vs. Scientists


1) Take Quiz: Quiz lists different researched projects, and the goal is to figure out if the project was created by a scientist or a researcher.

2) Reflection on the quiz, the link and Jame's and Nicole's presentation - through your HARAWAY lenses. By this I mean - write a response to what you see based on what Haraway has said or written in the Cyborg Manifesto, the audio lecture - or any other resources you have looked at about her.

QUIZ answers and reflections..
1.) Researcher J.T. – genetic engineering and bacteria - artist
2.) Researcher S. – body control through electrical stimulation - artist
3.) Researcher E.K. – shared body of a robot - scientist
4.) Researcher C.E. and U.W. – computer cable-eating mice - artist
5.) Researcher P.D. – modulating sound into dripping water - artist
6.) Researcher J.M – computer display - scientist
7.) Researcher R.B. – robots with intelligence skills - scientist
8.) Researcher H.S. – fertility bra - artist
9.) Researchers – video representation of participation - artist
10.) Researcher M.R. – hug-sensitive device - artist
11.) Researcher R.G. – toilet w/ biosensors - scientist

Reflections on the quiz:

When I saw the word 'QUIZ' I admit I was a little skeptical about what it would entale. However, as I read through the questions I realized that the more I thought about the answers and attempted to come up with logical reasoning behind wheither or not it would be an artist or a scientist the more I realized that artist are increasingly incorporating technology into their practices. And if that is so, I even wondered if Leslie would go as far as making ALL of these "researchers" artist, just to prove the point that technology is advancing more quickly than we might realize. Just a thought.

Reflections on the Presentation on Artificial Intelligence and Life:

This topic has always interested me. Mainly because it seems like it's inevitable, however, it's an advancement that has to be proceeded with caution. The introduction of robots will most likely lead to loss of jobs, creativity, activeness.. among many other things.

The Blog that James and Nicole already have going is very informative and includes a nice amount of information that is simplified to get the main ideas across. Also, the amount of visuals that are included does a good job at breaking up the information, and keep it interesting.

The parts that I found most interesting was the AIBO controversy, the ASIMO and the robot (Gaak) that escaped. I originally had a negative opinion on the AIBO; when robots start replacing actual animals as pets, technology is going a little too far. However, then the more I thought about it, the more I thought a AIBO would be kind of fun to own. But really, where do we start drawing the line, pretty soon everything around us will be robots.. looking into the future, it's very possible that robots will replace grocery store clerks, police officers, librarians.. and so on.. Even our refridgerators will somehow encorporate some sort of robot that tells you when your food is going bad, and maybe even possible bring you a snack or beverage at request.

Pretty soon robots will entirely replace humans...


creativecommons - website evaluation

Brief description of site:

A non-profit that offers an alternative to full copyright. Offering work under a Creative Commons license does not mean giving up copyright. It means offering some of an author's rights to any taker, and only on certain conditions.

1. What can the URL tell you?
•It's not a commercial website, instead it is an non-profit organization.
•Involves creativity and a common place to share that.

2. First Impressions:
Who wrote the page? Creative Commons is a group effort: "a growing collaborative effort led by a core of directors, advisors, and staff." It includes: board of Directors, Technical Advisory Board, Staff of atleast 18.

Is the page dated?
The page in general isn't dated with today's date, however the information that it contains is dated, including the "latest news." The information is fresh, and appears to be reliable.

Is it current enough?
Latest news does contain current up to date information and news from today. It appears to be an extremely up to date website.

What are the author's credentials on this subject? In the "about" section of the site, there are full bios of each member of the team, including where they went to school, and where they have worked.

3. Look for indicators of quality information:
Are sources documented with footnotes or links?
Looking at the first News update, it includes 4 links to other relevant information. Every bit of information that is posted on this site appears to have links to other relevant sites to provide more information.

If reproduced information (from another source), is it complete, not altered, not fake or forged?
All information appears to be reliable. It is all sited back to the original source, either by stated it or linking it.

Are there links to other resources on the topic?
There are many links to other topics.

4. What do others say?

5 of 5 starsCan't Share without it!,
I only publish my work under Creative Commons licenses. Always.

Great service, and after the Yahoo! Creative Commons Content (Y!CCC) was availiable from Yahoo! Search; CCs popularity has just grown!

This is a great way for independent people to share theire work with the rest of the world...

5 of 5 starspower to the people, comrade!,
Make non-socialists shudder and coporate giants pee in their pants - it's a free market, baby! Actually, this is just an open co-op - kinda like a cyber Kibbutz - free content for blogs and other non commercial use - ban the copyright as long as you attribute and/or keep it personal. Lots of legal info for several countries - a great resource for burgeoning webmasters.

Traffic rank:

"Site statistics":
  • Traffic Rank for 3,524 (up933)

  • Speed: Fast (66% of sites are slower), Avg Load Time: 1.6 Seconds What's This?

  • Other sites that link to this site: 44,489

  • Online Since: 15-Jan-2001

sites that link to the page:

Tuesday - web analysis

Brief description of site:

"Eva and Franco Mattes internationally – known as – is a couple of restless European con-artists who use non conventional communication tactics to obtain the largest visibility with the minimal effort."

What do they do? pranksters and hacktivists. Hosts Art.Teleportacia by Olia Lialina, and remixes of other sites.

1. What can the URL tell you?
•It's not a commercial website, instead it is an non-profit organization.
•The repetition of the 0's and 1's relates to computers in some way.

2. First Impressions:
Who wrote the page?
Eva and Franco Mattes

Is the page dated?

Is it current enough?
In the "Diplomazia" section, there are recent and upcoming activities, leading to the assumption that the site us updated frequently with new activities. Also, projects are updated by year.

What are the author's credentials on this subject?
At first glance, I doubted that there would be much information, relating to their credentials, other than the fact that they are "con-artists." However, when viewing the individual projects, there is more specific information about the creators of the projects, including who did what, for example for the "13 Most Beautiful Avatars" the minds behind the project are credited including: assistant, software, inspiration, production, and so on..

3. Look for indicators of quality information:
Are sources documented with footnotes or links?
No, it's more of a portfolio of their work, rather than a site for information.

If reproduced information (from another source), is it complete, not altered, not fake or forged?

Are there links to other resources on the topic?
No there is not.

4. What do others say?

Traffic rank:

"Site statistics":
• Traffic Rank for 430,738 (403,182)

• Speed: Fast (76% of sites are slower), Avg Load Time: 1.1 Seconds

• Other sites that link to this site: 337

• Online Since: 26-Mar-1999

sites that link to the page:


TagSociety – Web analysis

Brief description of site:

The goal of Tag Society is to connect you with the rest of the world by viewing snapshots of websites along with their tags (keywords).

1. What can the URL tell you?
• .com = commercial
Which means it's trying to sell something. It sells the opportunity for a website to be in their "society."
• Society means it is trying to bring people together to form a community of some sort.

2. First Impressions:
Who wrote the page?
It doesn't indicate who owns the site.

Is the page dated?
The page is not dated. So who knows how often it is updated

Is it current enough?
I'm not sure.

What are the author's credentials on this subject?
is a commercial site, the credentials of the creator of the site are not visible.

3. Look for indicators of quality information:
Are sources documented with footnotes or links?

If reproduced information (from another source), is it complete, not altered, not fake or forged?

Are there links to other resources on the topic?
That's all this website is!! It is a huge source to other sites: categorized in the following manor:
Hear Them: authors, poets, politicians, teachers, musicians...
See Them: Artists, designers, photographers, illustrators...
Help Them: charities, organizations, and individuals that work hard to make life better..
Use Them: cool websites, search engines, blog services...
Own Them: computers, games, handhelds, sports cars, mp3 players..
Attend Them: schools, colleges, churches...
Watch Them: movies, television shows, videos
Taste Them: fine dining, national chains, coffee shops, bakeries...
Visit Them: beaches, resorts, hotels, museums, cities, getaways...

4. What do others say? does not have much information on this site


The Many Wonders of Memory

Memory is the ability to remember, mentally retain impressions of past experiences, and the process of taking in and storing information to retrieve at a later date. The mind works in such a way that it sifts through information that is taken in remembers according to its use.

Senses are used for survival, telling us that objects are too hot to touch, our mind cautions against it. The senses are also the first step of forming memories. Everything we perceive through our senses of sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch enters our sensory memory. From there our mind determines how we might find experiences or information necessary in the future, whether it be memory for skills and procedures (procedural memory), or memory of the knowledge for the meaning of words and how to apply them (semantic memory), or even the memory for facts (declarative memory).

The study of memory goes back many centuries, and has been improved and tweaked along the way. In order to improve the human memory, technology has become a crutch, but before that, people came up with other mnemo-technics, (the process or technique of improving or developing the memory.)

Centuries ago the mind and the human memory was thought of as a device implanted for survival. The early Greeks perfected a system of memory that allowed them to remember vital information that would come in handy for their survival. “They used the mental imprinting of any objects or key points to be remembered onto specific locations along a pathway previously memorized from an actual temple. To recall the points in their proper order, one simply had to take the walk through the temple in one's mind, observing the contents left at each location along the way.” (Viola, 470)

During the early 1500’s Giulio Camillo created a "Memory Theater.” He aimed at creating a real space: a small wooden theatre, with manuscripts and notes stuffed in the various seats. His goal was to store ancient learning in an accessible form separate from books.
Today the storage of memory in order to increasing the quantity a human mind can remember information has become dependant on technology. Human memory and technology memory is all a matter of convenience and luxury.

During the 1950’s internal memory in computers first began to take existence. It was first made of tubes of liquid mercury several feet long. In order to function as storage, electrical pulses were converted to sound and back to electrical in a continuous loop, the slow conversion enabled the digital data to function as storage.

Technological memory has improved drastically over the last 50 years. In 1954, magnetic drum memory was used in the IBM 650 Computer, introduced in 1954. It held two thousand 10-digit words. That much memory today would fit on the head of a pin. The size and capacity of computer memory continued to improve, two years after the Magnetic Drum Memory, the tubes in the Whirlwind were replaced with magnetic cores, which were much more reliable.
More recently memory is stored on small chips. Memory is stored in many different ways, some that are able to be deleted and replaced and some that is permanent.

In today’s society technology has been used to assist the mind to remember important things. An artificial memory aid was invented to assist people that suffer from ADD or ADHD, or even Alzheimer’s. It is a handheld device modelled after the function of the brain known as the "phonological loop", which uses short snippets of acoustic information as a memory cue. The device has a speaker, a microphone and controls for recording and playing audio. The user can record things that they wish to remember at a later time, and just like the mind, it reminds the user of what was requested to be remembered.

As technology advances, solutions have been invented to create alterations and advances to the human mind, in order to fix problems. A new advancement has been introduced to insert a chip in the brain, used fix problems with the Hippocampus which "encodes" experiences so they can be stored as long-term memories elsewhere in the brain. It is said that if you lose your hippocampus you only lose the ability to store new memories, you still have access to the old memories that are already stored.

In order to accomplish this advancement, the inventors had to do three things: devise a mathematical model of how the hippocampus performs under all possible conditions, build that model into a silicon chip, and then Interface the chip with the brain. Once that was done, the chip would have to be tested on animals, before actually inserting it in a human brain.
Inserting a chip in brain introduces many ethically concerns. For example, currently no one has been able to prove whether or not humans have any control over what the mind remembers. If so, would brain implants of the future force some people to remember things they would rather forget? The mind enables humans to forget painful memories.

Another big ethical concern arises when the person gives consent to the implant. The people most in need of it will be those with a damaged hippocampus and a reduced ability to form new memories. If someone can’t form new memories, then to what extent can they give consent to have the implant?

There seems to be a constant need and desire for increased ability to boost the human memory. In 1945, Vannevar Bush had a vision, to create such a device, called a memex, that would create a database of knowledge; “A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility” (Bush)

This was a dream that has become a reality thanks to Gordon Bell. With the help of modern technology, he has invented My Life Bits. He has inserted his whole life onto the computer, including: books, personal documents, memos, emails, bills, legal documents, papers written, photos, posters, paintings, photo of things, artifacts, medals, plaques, home movies and videos, CD collection, PC files and much much more. His goal is to determine the limits of modern technology.

Creating such a database of a human’s life, can lead to controversy. When is it ok to store a person’s life, when so many other people are involved? Doesn’t that invade others’ privacy? When compiling the data Gordon ran into such a dilemma, he came across a memo insisted upon “never being reproduced.” In order to archive every bit of his life, he had no choice.
The other issue that is brought up, is the dilemma of searching for specific memories, information, or situations. We have such a desire to archive and access our memories, but since a single person’s life consists of tons of experiences, information, is it a realistic feat to compile all of our memories for later access?

How far will we go remember?


Check out the Memory and Database blog!

How far will we go to archive, remember our lives? Will humans have to opportunity to document their whole lives, and store it in a database for later retrieval? And if so, is that ethically correct, considering 'no man is an island,' and a single person is connected to many others?

Would anyone actually want their whole lives recorded, including the good, the bad and the ugly? The things we do when we think nobody else is looking, including things that we may not be proud to relive? If there is no record of these occurrences, did they really happen? Conspiracies, cover-ups, Christopher Columbus, extra-terrestrials...

Who's to decide what is archived? And what is or is not censored?

If any of these questions interest you.. check out this blog!!


Self Assessment: Time Based Art and Design

How might art be reframed or redefined in light of current technological transformations?

As technology advances it creates more and more opportunities for creativity. Programs like illustrator and photoshop are only the beginning. But programs like flash and after affects and other time-based media and allowing interactivity, involving the viewer.

How does the Internet impact and alter communities, relationships, space, artistic practice, ideas about public and private, fiction and fact?

It has many positive and negative affects. It allows the world, (or atleast those with access to technology and the internet) to become more connected. It is now possible to talk to someone on the other side of the world, through instant messaging, email, video cam, myspace... the list is endless. As the world is able to "communicate" more, it also loses the close-knit relationships with small near-by communities.

There is the assumption that the internet knows everything, if it's on the internet, it must be true. The internet is full of lots of information, some of it is credible, and a lot of it is not. It is sifting through it that is the obstacle.

I used to believe that what I did on my own computer was only viewable by me, and those that are/were able to see my screen. However, that is completely false. As technology advances, so does the ability for hackers to access secure information. And although I do realize that, I still do online banking, and pay most of my bills online, and purchase products, with the ease of a credit card. Are we relying and depending too much on the internet?

There is no such thing as private, if you are on the internet. We may feel secure, but we are mistaken.

As for artistic practice, once something is exposed to the internet, it is fair game. It is true the internet is a great source to share ideas and get the word out, however, people can easily steal anything that is placed on the internet.

How might an artist maintain a critical position when relying on expensive "state-of-the-art" technologies which are supporting and being supported by “Big Business"?

I believe that it is inevitable, to avoid or get around technology these days. Especially with designers, CS2, is a critical source, in order to be a designer. It is true that it may not matter if a practicing designer has the newest, "state-of-the-art" programs or techonologies, however it will cut on time and money, and allow for higher productivity, so why not embrace it?

How do media that are potentially altered (and copied) at any moment - that are never permanent - affect ideas about value, permanence, physicality and materiality?

It seems as though the value of a piece of art goes down, once it is able to be reproduced. For instance, a masterpiece that is "untouchable" in a museum hold much greater value than a video that is able to be reproduced and distributed at little to no cost.