Week 12: Gene Art I’ve

We all have the creative and destructive impelling us to us to act, to generate. Pent up life experience and emotions must find their way out of the mind through the body and hands somehow in an intellectual, visceral and procedural expression. There as many ways of this as there are people alive, we all get our kicks from the urges, and digital technology has freed the artist to explore interactivity and the machine as the canvas.  But do one’s and zero’s count in coded art and computer vision when materiality has reigned for centuries? 01!

Lofty polemic aside, today’s generated digital visions have emerged out of the 60’s video art aesthetic, informed by the early computer generated abstractions in the 70’s and later influenced by the retro 80’s colour and shapes of 8-bit gaming. While the digital has expanded the potential for the production, distribution and curation of traditional art practices, new technologies and coding languages now constitute what has recently been discussed as the New Aesthetic at SXSW in 2012. It is largely concerned with how machines/ computers/algorithms generate imagery and how this ‘vision’ interacts with physicality to inform artistic expression and cultural value.

The New Aesthetic is quite a diffuse network-art-movement and at these early stages is very vague. Sterling’s Wired Essay does much to critically assess the nascent ideas while Rev Catt’s Short Article helps to simply some of the components involved, but this excellent article on Cyber-Aesthetics and Degrees of Autonomy (Lichty, 2013) is an analysis of the Algorist, Glitcher and the Drone/Big Data curator in the NA. Rather than attempt a clumsy summary I will quote directly:

“Is the aesthetic of the machine image merely a function of examining its processes, fetishizing its errors, or something else… one of the key criteria for the evaluation of NA practice and the function of its images depends upon the degree of control and autonomy inherent in the process within the creation of the image… from Algorism and Generative Art to autonomous eyes like drones and satellites… It seems that NA is an ongoing reflection upon the continuum of control over the generation of the image, our beliefs regarding its aesthetics, and what the intentions or politics are behind the creation of the New Aesthetic image.”

Some of the major currents in the New Aesthetic (NA) include: drone photography, ubiquitous surveillancesatellite imagery, glitch manipulation, 8-bit nostalgia, biohackingneuro imaging and generative processing (honorable mention: V J). Each of these could probably make a post in and of themselves but I feel I’ve sledgehammered enough words together over this semester. So instead here are some of my favourite generative interactive modules from openprocessing.org that entertains a degree of control that questions how interactivity, GUI and instructables influences creative engagement… Thanks for reading!

as - a: test blah blah blah

Fractal Demonstration
by Adam Lastowka

as - a: test blah blah blah

QRcode Generator
byThomas Diewald

as - a: test blah blah blah

Magnetic Bubbles
by Bitcraft

as - a: test blah blah blah

The Guiguitrochoid
by Guigui

as - a: test blah blah blah

Variations on Noise Lines
by Karl Sluis

as - a: test blah blah blah

by Marc Fleming

as - a: test blah blah blah

Plane Symmetry
by Pawel Sikorsky




Rorschach Generator by Esteban Hufstedler

Rorschach Generator
by Esteban Hufstedler

Sea Life by Javier Carpio

Sea Life
by Javier Carpio














                 Count Down to Render…







Wikimedia Commons: Microwaved disks… – D-Kuru – [altered]

Catt, Rev Dan (2012) ‘Why the New Aesthetic isn’t about… <http://revdancatt.com/2012/04/07/why-the-new-aesthetic-isnt-about-8bit-retro-the-robot-readable-world-computer-vision-and-pirates/>
Lichty, Patrick (2013) ‘New Aesthetics: Cyber-Aesthetics and Degrees of Autonomy’ Furtherfield <http://www.furtherfield.org/features/articles/new-aesthetics-cyber-aesthetics-and-degrees-autonomy>
Sterling, Bruce (2012) ‘An Essay on the New Aesthetic’ Wired <http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2012/04/an-essay-on-the-new-aesthetic/>

Bitcraft ‘Magnetic Bubbles’ OpenProcessing <http://openprocessing.org/sketch/6884>
Carpio, Javier ‘Sea Life’ OpenProcessing <http://openprocessing.org/sketch/65889&gt;
D-Kuru ‘Microwaved disks-cover fractal trees-scann PNr°0050’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Microwaved_disks-cover_fractal_trees-scann_PNr%C2%B00050.jpg>
DC Offset, ‘Generative Prayer #1’ Soundcloud <http://soundcloud.com/dcoffset/generative-prayer-1>
Diewald, Thomas ‘QRcode Generator’ OpenProcessing <http://openprocessing.org/sketch/12942>
Fleming, Marc ‘Homeostat_v2_03’ OpenProcessing <http://openprocessing.org/sketch/67855>
Guigui ‘The Guiguitrochoid’ OpenProcessing <http://openprocessing.org/sketch/760>
Hufstedler, Esteban ‘Rorschach Generator’ OpenProcessing <http://openprocessing.org/sketch/4675>
Lastowka, Adam ‘Fractal Demonstration’ OpenProcessing <http://openprocessing.org/sketch/60038>
Siroski, Pawel ‘Plane Symmetry’ OpenProcessing <http://openprocessing.org/sketch/61739>
Sluis, Karl ‘ Variations on Noise Lines (Jesse Smith)’ OpenProcessing <http://openprocessing.org/sketch/47605>

Week 11: The Past Haunts the Future Taunts the Present

We are inundated by technology constantly demanding our attention-currency in a sort of anti-zen digital hyper-current. Our minds experience the immediate past after the brain processes the present and this reflects how we use information streams on the internet; dynamically filtering, categorising, storing and sharing. The result is our patience is sapped, constantly multi-tasking, the phenomenology of reality distorted. The railroads only breached space-time, with media-technology we can traverse limitations effortlessly.


The spectre of lectures past are back to haunt us this week, but theories are mere shadows when we fire up the chronomachines to bend and distort the streams of media time. Bring on the visuals! Through time-lapse we can layer satellite imaging and gauge how Anthropocene – coined the man-affected geological era – marks our beautiful earth with ever expanding city grids. Anthropocene.info has some incredible visualizations and integrates Google’s Earth Engine well, but it is when our cities incadescent infrastructure shines that shows the real spread of humanity:

These ‘light-neurons’ above got me into grandiose thinking about technological determinism and how an era’s dominant entertainment media structures socio-cultural interaction and value. There is a sort of Hauntology at work here, whereby the preceding century shapes the conventions extended by the succeeding media that reappropriates it. Pre 19th century was the theatre and classical narrative, amplified in the 20th by cinema ( & later domesticated in the TV) so the 21st will be the century of gaming. I hope gaming’s characteristics of open-endedness, creative problem-solving and social connectedness (with some excellent ideas from Jane McGonigal) inform a new organisational paradigm for society’s institutions and allow us to explore past and present in creative, interactive ways. Hauntology in gaming is a major theme, particularly in the retro-nuclear aesthetic of the Fallout series, but this article on Ghosts & Time in the Legend of Zelda (Mike, 2013) is without peer.

Bruce McCall’s hilarious presentation on his famous retro-futuristic art (hypberbolic-overkill is a gem). I was introduced to the hauntology of Retro-futurism (seeing how yesterday viewed tomorrow) by the Fallout series as a kid. The tension between mechanical progress and nuclear destruction sealed the 50’s in Vaults and cemented post-apocalyptic fiction as my favourite social commentary genre because the spectre of mass-extinction is fertile ground to explore and understand the restructuring of human society and the psyche; the annihilation of historical time for a new conception. Science-fiction in general has the imaginative power to explore a plausible techno-future, often through the spectral vision of present-day cultural values, Cartographies of the Past or Hallucinatory Urbanism. Now, who doesn’t enjoy a good timeline? Check out these comprehensive compilations based on Famous Fiction and Films. Don’t even get me started on time-travel…

So Ubiquitous Computing is going to augment objects and physical environments with invisible (or visible with AR-tech) and networked computing functionality, heralded by micro-electronics, wireless infrastructure and cloud computing used by today’s Smartphones (Reality 2.0?). The internet of everything’ (Maney, 2013) and its supporting infrastructure constitutes a hyper-connected Reality 3.0 not limited to a device’s screen, where we could instantly access layers of data-streams at micro and macro levels. While Wired presents some interesting implications for developing the programmable world (Wasik, 2013), the internet of things (Easterling, 2012) goes into the techo-psychogeography of augmented city spaces with ‘open-source architecture.’ This brings data-mining and digital-footprints to whole new levels of surveillance vs privacy.

To end I want to highlight some of the future media developments from 150+ of the worlds smartest scientists are worried about (Merchant, 2013) that might come back to haunt us one day. Click the number for the Edge’s original entries or find your own reasons not to sleep at night…
12. “That search engines will become arbiters of truth.”
– W. Daniel Hillis, physicist
49. “We should all be worried about the gaping psychological chasm separating humanity from nature.”
– Scott Sampson, dinosaur paleontologist.
52. “We are increasingly enmeshed in incompetent systems exhibiting pathological behaviour that can’t fix themselves.”
– John Naughton, Edge editor
81. “We should be worried about online silos. They make us stupid and hostile toward each other.”
– Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia
85. “A worry that is not yet on the scientific or cultural agenda is neural data privacy rights”
– Melanie Swan, systems-level thinker, futurist
115. “In one or two generations children will grow up to be adults who will not be able to tell reality from imagination.”
– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, psychologist
125. “That authorities and companies will soon be able to read people’s brains.”
–Stanislas Dehaene, neuroscientist

Tachy-on Time…

Wikimedia Commons: Tachyon04s – TxAlien [altered]

Easterling, Keller (2012) ‘An Internet of Things’ E-flux <http://www.e-flux.com/journal/an-internet-of-things/>
Maney, Kevin (2013) ‘Everything Changes with the Internet of Everything’ Techonomy <http://www.forbes.com/sites/techonomy/2013/05/09/everything-changes-with-the-internet-of-everything/>
Merchant, Bryan (2013) ‘The 150 Things the World’s Smartest People are Afraid of’ Vice <http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/what-150-of-the-worlds-smartest-scientists-are-worried-about>
Mike (2013) ‘The Hauntology of the Legend of Zelda’ ZeldaInformer <http://www.zeldainformer.com/articles/the-hauntology-of-the-legend-of-zelda>
Wasik, Bill (2013) ‘Welcome to the Programmable World’ Wired <http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/05/internet-of-things/all/>

AetheismLogicReason ‘Stephen Hawking – What It Takes to Time Travel’ Youtube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Bf2B7DN3tqc&gt;
Hauntology, ‘Hauntology’ SoundCloud <https://soundcloud.com/hauntology/hauntology>
Peterson, Daivd ‘All Alone in the Night, Time-lapse footage of the Earth as seen from the ISS [NASA] Youtube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FG0fTKAqZ5g>
TxAlien ‘Tachyon04s’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tachyon04s.gif> [Colour Corrected, Looped]
TEDtalksdirector (2009) ‘Bruce McCall: Nostalgia for a future that never happened’ Youtube/TED <http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fOk6HQaNpdE>
TheCiscoindia ‘Cisco humanity – Internet of everything’ Youtube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdmJW8bSsqo>

Week 10: Hyperpothesis = Tech Innovation + Open Science

Scientia is opening up to the public sphere through social software and data visualisations are rendering complex datasets into interactive and accessible forms of knowledge. Researchers can crowd-source idle computing and collaborative thinking, however most science is behind ancient institution’s pay-walls. University labs compete for research grants while private enterprise are patenting our genes, stifling innovation where the real (pharmaceutical) money is made. We need a new hyperpothesis…


An entity’s DNA may not be a database (Fish, 2009), but this product of 3.5 billion years of selection has recently been used as just that; last year a Harvard bioengineer and geneticist stored 700 terabytes of data in a single gram of DNA (Anthony, 2012) by encoding the GATC bases into binary for synthesis and sequencing. Science research generates data  (thanks to chip-sensor arrays at microscopic levels and complex 3d modeling) in the Petabytes, so correlative super-computer sequencing (Anderson, 2008) and stable long-term archives are vital.

Now lets unfold some protein strands and access Open Science’s stored GATC-DNA sequences:

[Sequence: Guanine / Strand: 01001 / Sample: Payper Knowledge]Guanine
Scientia sprung from the printing press and the Enlightenment; it’s economy of knowledge based on sharing papers with the newly literate masses, subverting state autocracy. With print media’s collapse,  digital publishing will transform science (Wilbanks, 2013) to circumvent the 17thC journal-paper economy model. But today science is behind the pay-walls (Mayyasi, 2013) of powerful journal-conglomerates who bough up non-profit journals & societies during the 60-70’s and dramatically raised prices. Today 3 publishers (Elsevier, Springer and Wiley) account for 42% of all articles published earning around $9 billion for science topics alone, while from 1984 to 2002, the price of science journals increased nearly 600%.

[Sequence: Adenine / Strand: 101100010 / Sample: Hyperpothesis]

The Future of Science (Kelly, 2006) is beyond my understanding, the methodology lends itself to the idea of a hyperpothesis (both referring to web hyperlinks and super-dynamic experiments). While the Web.4.0 (Marley, 2012) is a thin framework for using research online,  these 4 Fundamental Goals (Gezelter, 2009) of Open Science are much more useful in understanding the developments:
1) The transparency of experimental methodology, observation & collection of data
2) Public availability and reusability of data
3) Public accessibility and transparency of scientific communication
4) Using web-based tools to facilitate scientific collaboration.

[Sequence: Thymine / Strand: 0110111101 / Sample: Network Science]

Nielson at TEDxWaterloo (2011) talks about how open access to open-source software and crowd-sourcing computing/brain work will transform science culture and the above 4 values for scientists conducting research. Corporate interest, institutional culture and publishing incentives are antagonists not to be underestimated, but he sets out an ambitious curve: “[t]he process of scientific discovery – how we do science – will change more over the next 20 years than in the past 300 years…”  Nielson goes further in his book ‘Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by outlining collective intelligence, online tools and collaborative projects (such as Wiki, Github), reality/web mining patterns, and the challenges to open science.

[Sequence: Cytosine / Strand: 101101010100111 / Sample: Public-Private-Source]

Public involvement in crowd-sourcing science data and computing resources are a vital component of open science, in this case Protein folding. Examples of this include volunteering CPU/GPU power in distributed computing projects (often for data-mining, algorithm analysis and 3d visualisation such as Folding@home) and citizen science projects (often in contributing to databases or creative problem solving such as FolditFrom personal DNA to the private sector, innovation is stifled by Biological-Patenting, a practice that is effectively sabotaging the future of medicine (Hernandez, 2013) and research. The US supreme court will soon rule for/against Myraid Genetics Inc. whether isolated genes are patentable, meanwhile there is an Australian High Court case (Dayton, 2013) involving the same company. Will privately researching our own DNA to find diseases or hereditary traits soon be exorbitant?

                 Data Not Available…
Wikimedia Commons: Bdna cropped – Spiffistan

Anderson, Chris (2008) ‘The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete’ Wired <http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/16-07/pb_theory>
Anthony, Sebastian (2012) ‘Harvard cracks DNA storage, crams 700 terabytes of data into a single gram’ Extreme Tech <http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/134672-harvard-cracks-dna-storage-crams-700-terabytes-of-data-into-a-single-gram>
Dayton, Leigh (2013) ‘In Australia, Gene Patents Also Subject of High Court Struggle’ Science Insider <http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/04/in-australia-gene-patents-also-s.html>
Fish, Greg (2009) ‘Why your DNA is nothing like a Database’ Weird Things <http://worldofweirdthings.com/2009/10/21/why-your-dna-is-nothing-like-a-database/>
Gezelter, Dan (2009) ‘What, exactly, is Open Science?’ The Open Science Project <http://www.openscience.org/blog/?p=269>
Hernandez, Daniela (2013) ‘Gene Patents are Sabotaging the Future of Medicine’ Wired <http://www.wired.com/business/2013/04/gene-patents-are-impeding-the-future-of-medicine/>
Kelly, Kevin (2006) ‘Speculation on the Future of Science’ The Third Culture <http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/kelly06/kelly06_index.html>
Marley, Justin (2012) ‘What is Science 4.0 and Why is it Necessary?’ The Amazing World of Psychiatry <https://theamazingworldofpsychiatry.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/what-is-science-4-0-and-why-is-it-necessary/>
Mayyasi, Alex (2013) ‘Why is Science behind a Paywall?’ Gizmodo <http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/05/why-is-science-behind-a-paywall/
Wilbanks, John (2013) ‘On Science Publishing’ Seed Magazine <http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/on_science_publishing>

Clockfunnel ‘Science, Technology, Data Visualization’ SoundCloud <http://soundcloud.com/clockfunnel/science-technology-data>
Nielson, Michael (2011) ‘TEDxWaterloo – Open Science’ Youtube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnWocYKqvhw>
Spiffistan ‘Bdna cropped’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bdna_cropped.gif> [Colour Corrected]
Vesprcom, ‘Guanine-3D-balls’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Guanine-3D-balls.png> [Colour Corrected]
Vesprcom, ‘Adrenine-3D-balls’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Adenine-3D-balls.png> [Colour Corrected]
Vesprcom, ‘Thymine-3D-balls’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thymine-3D-balls.png> [Colour Corrected]
Vesprcom, ‘Cytosine-3D-balls’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cytosine-3D-balls.png> [Colour Corrected]

Week 6: Internet Augmented, Machined Data

Is this the beginnings of Skynet? The data machines are studying us but they are not self-aware, yet. They mine our personal data, learn our behavioural patterns and predict our moves, all for the sake of network-capitalism (and industrial-capitalism). People should understand how because data equals power. So in the words of Rage Against the Machine: “We gotta take the data back!”
Or, do we head to the underground activity of the deep, dark interwebs…


This is not the place to explain how Internet Infrastructure (or it’s History, Technical Aspects or Users) enables the collection, analysis, visualisation, application development and sale of data. In this week’s post I’ll present a mini-glossary that looks at some of the advanced practices and niche places in data activity on the internet today.

Deep Web: is several magnitudes larger than the everyday internet (also called ‘Surface Web,’ the sites indexed by search engines) and contains secure, context specific and dynamically created websites/databases that laymen cannot access. It also includes private networks, P2P and bitorrent clients. There is a small shadowy part of the Deep Web where the anonymous thrive, called DarkNet (requiring a VPN, TOR/I2P client and an invite).

Dark Net (Onessa, 2012): often decentralised F2F networks that host hidden servers with activities including legal anonymity (private communication, file-sharing and dissident groups under oppressive regimes), but mostly illegal activity (including child porn, drug trafficking, weapon sales, coordinated hacking, Botnets and hit-men). Suffice to say the underground is never safe for the uninitiated, but interestingly, Silk Road (Moses, 2012) (the eBay of drugs) trades in Bitcoin, an emerging digital data-currency.

Carna Botnet: Internet Census 2012 – Anon
Internet Data Visualisation: A day of internet activity in 8 seconds, and red indicates higher level data transfer during the day. 420,000 devices were infected with a web-crawling botnet that then got pings from 1.2billion devices worldwide.

Data Science: uses the theories and techniques developed in a range of fields in order to extract meaning from large datasets (big data) to make and market data products. Areas include: statistics, pattern recognition, machine learning, advanced computing, visualisation, predictive analytics, natural language processing and data architecture.

Big data: collections of datasets whose volume, velocity (I/O speed) and variety range from terabytes to petabytes of information. Due to a wide range of input sources cataloguing many different sets of information simultaneously, big data is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage, search and analyze, requiring complex parallel software running on huge groups of servers. Analytical algorithms allow correlations to be found to identify business/consumer trends, collate research data, link databases and determine real-time parameters and conditions.

Smart Data (De Goes, 2013): the latest industry jargon where predictive analytics are used on persistent streams of big data and digital footprints to create user or context specific data modules to generate revenue, such as targeted marketing & advertisements, product recommendations, page personalisations, social selling, etc.

Data Architecture: an ontology of data composed of models, policies, rules or standards that govern which data is collected, and how it is stored, arranged, integrated, and put to use in data systems and in organisations. The below graphic illustrates  the general components of everyday data infrastructure.

Wikimedia Commons: Data Management Reference Model – LRDC

Machine Learning: part of artificial intelligence, the study of systems that can learn from data and assign/distinguish different values and make predictions based on those known values. It deals with the represenation of ‘seen’ data instances to evaluate an algorithms function then present ‘unseen’ instances and measure accurate performance when the learner can generalise from previous instances. Integral to Machine Learning is Pattern Recognition (where a label is assignment to a given input value and the attempt to assign a class to data according to a set of common values) and Natural Language Processing (the linguistic understanding and transcoding of human language to derive meaning/values). More on Deep Learning (Hof, 2013).

Data Mining: uses computational processes from machine learning with statistics and data architecture to autonomously analyse and discover new patterns in ‘big’ datasets (including: detecting anomalies, associating variables, classifying and summarising groups). These value structures are then transcoded into an understandable model for further use in predictive analytics and a wide array of Industry Uses. There is an important emerging subset in Reality Mining: the collection and analysis of data from mobile devices (social apps, geolocation, motion sensors, health sensors, etc) to predict behavioural dynamics and social patterns. Bonus: in-depth article on Big Data from Cheap Phones (Talbot, 2013).

Predictive Analytics: uses techniques from statistics, machine learning and data mining in the analysis of past and present data and variables to make predictions about future behaviours or events. Often used to identify risks, opportunities and conditions to guide decision making or build descriptive models that quantify/classify relationships in datasets to generate ‘Smart Data’ modules.

Data Visualisation (Friedman, 2007): the graphic representation (or direct display) of data to engage and effectively communicate complex ideas, patterns and statistics in a thematic way. There are a huge array of representational styles often tailored to the data and its original organisational pattern; see the Venn diagram below and check out the Periodic Table of Visualisations (Lengler, 2007).

FFCTN: What is Data Visualisation? – FFunction

Data Journalism (Rogers, 2011)
: the analysis, filtering and visualisation of open ‘big data’ sets (e.g. AcademiaGovernment (AUS), Wikileaks) and information streams (e.g. newswires, twitter, etc) to discover/update stories in real-time, provide context for complex issues and allow readers access to relevant information from online sources. Machines performing this analysis and filtering might be called Algorithm Journalism (Marshall, 2013).

Digital Footprint:  a personal data trail of the engagement with digital media (e.g. attention, location, time, clicks, searches, likes, purchases, media consumed, comments, etc.) that can be used in data/reality mining, predictive analytics, targeted marketing, and social profiling. There are trends towards Self-Tracking involving in-depth metrics from measuring tools/apps about day-to-day activities, and Personal Data Mining (Rowan, 2011) about reclaiming troves of personal information collected by companies to view your own ‘digital profile’.

Punch-out that Digital Data…

Wikimedia Commons: PunchedCard – Litref

Briggs, William ‘Machine Learning, Big Data, Deep Learning, Data Mining, Statistics, Decision & Risk Analysis, Probability, Fuzzy Logic FAQ’ <http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=6465>
Cerf, Vinton ‘Computer Networking: Global Infrastructure for the 21st Century’ <http://homes.cs.washington.edu/~lazowska/cra/networks.html>
De Goes, John ”Big Data’ is dead. Whats next?’ Venture Beat <http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/22/big-data-is-dead-whats-next/>
Eagle & Pentland ‘Reality Mining: Sensing Complex Social Systems’ MIT <http://realitycommons.media.mit.edu/realitymining.html>
Friedman, Vitaly ‘Data Visualization: Modern Approaches’ Smashing Magazine <http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/08/02/data-visualization-modern-approaches/>
Hof, Robert ‘Deep Learning’ MIT Technology Review <http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/513696/deep-learning/>
Lenger & Eppler (2007) ‘Towards a Periodic Table of Visualization Methods for Management’ Visual Literacy <http://www.visual-literacy.org/pages/documents.htm>
Marshall, Sarah ‘Robot Reporters: A Look at the Computers Writing the News’ Journalism.co.uk <http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/robot-reporters-how-computers-are-writing-la-times-articles/s2/a552359/>
Moses, Asher ”Dark net’ drug deals boom on cyber Silk Road’ SMH <http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/dark-net-drug-deals-boom-on-cyber-silk-road-20120809-23wdj.html>
Onessa ‘DarkNet: Explained & Then Done Right’ <https://whattheserver.me/blog/darknet-explained-then-done-right/>
Quilty-Harper, Conrad ’10 ways data is changing how we live’, The Telegraph <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/7963311/10-ways-data-is-changing-how-we-live.html>
Rogers, Simon ‘Data journalism at the Guardian: what is it and how do we do it?’ The Guardian <http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jul/28/data-journalism?INTCMP=SRCH>
Rowan, David ‘Persona data mining to improve your cognitive toolkit’ Wired <http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-01/18/edge-question>
Talbot, David ‘Big Data from Cheap Phones’ MIT Technology Review <http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/513721/big-data-from-cheap-phones/
Tyson, Jeff  ‘How Internet Infrastructure Works’ How Stuff Works <http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/basics/internet-infrastructure.htm>

Anon ‘Internet Census 2012’ <http://internetcensus2012.bitbucket.org/paper.html>
Car & Bones ‘Machine Learning’ SoundCloud <https://soundcloud.com/becojo/machine-learning>
FFunction ‘What is Data Visualization?’ <http://blog.ffctn.com/what-is-data-visualization#>
Litref, ‘PunchedCard’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Punchedcard.jpg>
LRDC ‘Data Management Reference Model’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DBARCH_Data_Management_Reference_Model.JPG>

Week 5: Mixed Reality; Virtually Augmented

We are bombarded with electromagnetic radiation, oscillated by particle-wave vibration and charged with kinesthetic feedback loops. The Macro & Micro worlds  are unified, and we are all part of a collective unconscious experiencing itself subjectively. I gotta lay off the Electro-delics… But is the experience of ‘reality’ the construction of a sensory illusion based on the relation of mass to intelligence? Why then do we lose our selves in Virtuality and bring Digital Augmentation ever closer to our hands and eyeballs?
The machine-mind interface has its crude beginnings…


Lets skip the metaphysical debates about the virtual, augmented and simulated versions of reality. Instead I will look at the concepts and implications that technological convergence & augmentation has for various industries. I’m deeply fascinated with augmentation as the prescient development in mind-machine interfacing, so I’ll also look at some of the emerging technologies and make some near-future predictions about this exciting field. This post’s a big one.

Historically, Virtual Reality has not penetrated the mainstream market for a few reasons: they are often large cumbersome set-ups that are usually quite expensive, require narrow specialised training to implement, develop & operate, and there are latency issues that can result in disorientation. So along the way we have seen some Failed Virtual Reality Devices (Goldmeier, 2009), but they paved the way for ideas in Augmented Reality. Today virtual reality occupies two realms: a) Advanced room-sized training simulators for military personel with an array of worn sensors and pilots in haptic-simulated cockpits (and other industries). b) immersive gaming with Head Mounted Displays like the Oculus Rift where games can be designed or hacked for stereoscopy (Bonus: check out the Grandma Freaking Out while wearing one). Below is the almost ultimate combination of both worlds…

If Virtuality is the enclosure of the senses, then Augmentation (Reality v1.5) is confluent, dynamic layering.
Broadly speaking there are 3 types of Augmentation technology:

1) Mobile devices as ‘windows’ that mediate that enhance physical objects/places (e.g. Tablets)
2) Room sized set-ups with projectors and sensors where the body directly controls the interaction (e.g. Microsoft Kinect)
3) Hybrid or wearable systems like Head Mounted or Portable Displays (e.g Google Glass)

A lot of video information comes from this highly recommended blog: Augmented Engineering, Augmented Reality Overview and ARLab. My mind was literally blown away by how much incredible work is being developed. I’ll share some of these here.

1) Mobile devices carry a plethora of powerful technologies (touch, camera, gps, gpu, wireless, motion sensors, etc) that provides the perfect ecology for augmented displays. Commonly this involves gps data or using the camera to ‘window’ the real-work objects and places with layers of 2d information or 3d models.  This in-depth Interview with Qualcomm’s Vice-President of Development demonstrates R&D with publishing (4:30) and toys (11:31). The key points here are that augmented apps are branded and dependent on ‘Context Awareness’ (8:40) and well programmed algorithms and databases (11:00). Are augmented desktop displays the future?

2) Embodied interaction is at this forefront. The Kinect has been used by companies, prosumers and artists to reconfigure and expand interactions in a fixed space. This can include extending existing surfaces or displays, portable interactive data using Body Gestures to Control a UI with depth sensing (see LightSpace bellow), and projection mapping fixed or moving objects with visuals. The potential for this technology is only limited by the refinement of input data, programming skills and one’s imagination. I want a Dedicated Holo-room.

3) Not as easy to define as either fixed or mobile augmentation as it usually includes both in developing and wearable technology. At present these include Clear Screen Displays (e.g. on Car Windshields (Hollister, 2012)) or Head Mounted Displays like Google Glass that function as a Heads Up Display of real-time information streams from internet/sensor enabled apps (limited) with voice activation and life-logging. As always there are Privacy Concerns (Smith, 2013), even without proposed facial recognition and the potential for advertisments. Such technology was pioneered by the ‘father of AR and wearable computers’ Steve Mann and his EyeTap.

While there are Impending Social Consequence(Havens, 2013) and  (more than) 7 Ways AR will Improve our Live (Drell, 2012), convergence is at the heart of these ideas for augmentation. Not only in the combination of an array of technologies and sensor inputs but on ‘context aware’ firmware that can filter information from convergent databases of reference points and integrate various applications. At these early stages to build a vast collective database of referent objects is an impossible feat, let alone code complex algorithms to filter context aware sensors (this would probably require a combination of eye-tracking, direct-neural interfacing or some other yet-developed technology), so company specific databases are here to stay.

Now here is a look at some of today’s developing technology that show promise for AR:

Eye Tracking: there are Quite A Few Use (Rimerman, 2010) for eye tracking currently;  supplementing the keyboard/mouse interface and helping disabled people, website heat-maps, 3d for displays without glasses, control over smartphone functions (e.g. screen on/off, scrolling, media control) and vehicle safety. I see the potential for a revolutionary GUI design to integrate ‘clicks’ (e.g. by winking) in a HUD on transparent screens/projections for seamless, natural control. Perhaps like this Early Prototype (O’Brien, 2011).

3d Gesture Chip (Leber, 2012): to uses an electrical field to accurately measure hand gestures in 3 dimensions. These could be embedded in smartphones/watches/others and opens up a range of possibilities for handsfree GUI control at low power uses (90% less than camera tracking). The Leap motion controller uses IR and CCD cameras to demonstrate this mobile potential very well:

Mind Control: by measuring the electrical signals of neurons, EEG readings (combined with other sensors?) would be used to directly control devices without movement/touch/voice activation, particularly for the disabled. Here are the crude beginnings of the neural-interface. Apart from development and use in neuroscience, there are many Consumer Brain-Computer Interfaces, and even Samsung are working on a Tablet Controlled by EEG (Young, 2013).

Volumetric Displays: projects a light field within a given volume that can represent objects in 3 dimensions. Currently under development, this can include the scattering, emission or relaying of illumination with lasers, LEDs or Plasma that are typically rotating and enclosed by clear material. Here Microsoft have developed a Touch Interactive Volumetric Display (Hollister, 2012):

Though I doubt we could have scenery sized projections/hallucinations, with some of the aforementioned technology converged, the future of Augmented Reality might resemble this video:

     AR Mann – to the rescue of reality!
Wikimedia Commons: Evolution of WearableComputing…
[Cropped] – Glogger

Drell, Lauren (2012) ‘7 Ways Augmented Reality Will Improve Your Life’ Mashable <http://mashable.com/2012/12/19/augmented-reality-city/>
Havens, John (2013) ‘The Impending Social Consequences of Augmented Reality’ Mashable <http://mashable.com/2013/02/08/augmented-reality-future/>
Hollister, Sean (2012) ‘Pioneer’s laser-projected car HUD lets you drive like Robocop’ The Verge <http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/9/3010623/pioneers-laser-projected-car-hud-lets-you-drive-like-robocop>
Leber, Jessica (2012) ‘A New Chip to bring 3D gesture control to Smartphones’ MIT Technology Review <http://www.technologyreview.com/news/507161/a-new-chip-to-bring-3-d-gesture-control-to-smartphones/>
O’Brien, Terrence (2011) ‘Eye-tracking microdisplay delivers Terminator Vision’ Engadget <http://www.engadget.com/2011/04/20/eye-tracking-microdisplay-delivers-terminator-vision-distracts/>
Rimerman, Deane (2010) ‘6 Ways Eye Tracking is Changing the Web’ ReadWrite <http://readwrite.com/2010/08/09/6_ways_eye_tracking_will_redefine_the_web>
Smith, Paul (2013) ‘Google Glass in privacy battle’ Australian Financial Review <http://www.afr.com/p/technology/google_glass_in_privacy_battle_Fb7F66HUH9YEvdGhoj5DKL>
Young, Susan (2013) ‘Samsung Demos a Tablet Controlled by your Brain’ MIT Technology Review <http://www.technologyreview.com/news/513861/samsung-demos-a-tablet-controlled-by-your-brain/>

Glogger ‘Evolution of WearableComputing and Augmediated Reality…’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Evolution_of_WearableComputing_and_AugmediatedReality_in_everyday_life.png>
Hollister, Sean ‘Microsoft builds a 3D Hologram you can touch’ The Verge <http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/7/2688635/microsoft-research-vermeer-3d-hologram-
Leapmotion ‘Introducing the Leap Motion’ Youtube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d6KuiuteIA>
Manycure ‘Augmented Reality: SC Clip’ <https://soundcloud.com/manycure/manycure-augmented-reality-sc>
Matsuda, Keiichi ‘Augmented City 3d’ Vimeo <https://vimeo.com/14294054>
Microsoft Research ‘Applied Sciences Group: Interactive Displays’ Youtube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGa1Q7NvsI0>
Microsoft Research ‘LightSpace from Microsoft Research’ Youtube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx5kBqxyaHE>
Missfeldt, Martin (2013) ‘How Google Glass Works’ <http://www.brille-kaufen.org/en/googleglass/>
Playstation 3 ‘Most Insane Immersive Experience Ever’ Youtube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrgWH1KUDt4&playnext=1&list=PL556954B159B32B06>
Rivot, Paul ‘My 90 year old grandmother tries the Oculus Rift’ Youtube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pAC5SeNH8jw>

Week 4: Mnemotechnophenomenological Experience

The neurons are firing this week in the exploration of memory, cognition and neuro-technical consciousness. I need some psychedelic-synth to get through this, so pass the electro-pipe and neural oscillator because this psychonaut is going in…


[Cmd Bypass: Psycho-motor system  / Brainwave Status: Delta / Memory Access: Wk4]

[Read: Kay]
The Learning: retro tennis style video was remarkable and reminded me of the more recent Flow Phenomenon, that is learning through bodily engagement. It’s similar to being ‘in the zone’ with games; getting in the ‘Flow’ means a merging of action and awareness focused in the present moment, a loss of reflexive thought and a distortion of temporal experience.

[Read: Clark / Chalmers]
Extended Mind Theory talks about ‘active externalism’ whereby objects that aid cognitive processes in an environment act as extensions of our material brain. So the mobile phone acts as a small part of our mind in a ‘coupled system’ because it supplements our memory, social interaction and is capable of manipulating emotional states.

[Read: Steigler]
Hypomnesis goes way beyond the Extended Mind; sensory/symbolic systems (e.g. the alphabet)  function as an organisational apparatus for knowledge that determine memory formation (mnemotechnics). In the exteriorisation of memory to recording/playback media (mnemotechnology) human knowledge is both extended and surpassed. Time can also be expanded/contracted, and these displacements constitute a loss of symbolic memory (facts and numbers) that heightens procedural memory (experience, performance) while affording greater control over cognitive functions. As always there is an anti-industrial, pro-humanist sentiment: “correlatively we are losing more and more knowledge which is then delegated to equipment, but also to service industries which can network them, control them, formalize them, model them, and perhaps destroy them – for these knowledges, escaping our grasp, induce an “obsolescence of the human.”

[Read: Noe, 2010]
Alva’s Thinking refutes the Cartesian Mind/Brain duality and looks at the efforts of neuroscience to map and predict thought in real-time via the ‘neural substrates of experience.’  Through fMRI studies, Neuroscientists believe (Musser, 2011) that we are living in the immediate past (that our consciousness is not ‘present’ and is the last point in the mind’s feedback loop), that perception is biased towards patterns, and chemicals/emotions effect memory experience. Also check out Brain Mysteries for the layman’s neuroscience news, these Ringplot Visualisations of the Brain and how MRI Visualisation works.

[Cmd Bypass: Neural Uplink / Brainwave Status: Alpha / Memory Access: Null]

Now, back from the mind-hack. Forms of Brainwashing and Mind Control (Pamoukaghlian, 2011) are fascinating to me, particularly the MK Ultra LSD experiments, brainwave frequencies and electromagnetic energy fields that Pamoukaghlian mentions. I feel that as microelectronics with direct mind-computer interfaces become progressively sophisticated and implantable, hacking for access or control becomes a serious embodied issue. And what about the potential of electronic or digital drugs? It’s already happening with Optogenetics and Dopamine Receptor (Dvorsky, 2013).

Enjoy this short, bitter-sweet animation that touches on some of this week’s issues. Time for me to shut down the extended minds, clear my temporary memory cache, recalibrate my body clock and reboot.

fMRI: fuck… Mental Ride Initiating!

Wikimedia Commons: fMRI Gif – Dilmen

Anon ‘Extended Mind’ Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Mind>
Dvorsky, George (2013) ‘A device that controls your mind with pleasurable stimulation’ io9 <http://io9.com/scientists-take-the-first-steps-toward-remote-mind-cont-472969088>
Dvorsky, George (2013) ‘A fascinating new way to visualize your brain’s connections’ io9 <http://io9.com/a-fascinating-new-way-to-visualize-your-brains-connect-473175929>
Muser, George (2011) ‘Time on the Brain’ Scientific American <http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/09/15/time-on-the-brain-how-you-are-always-living-in-the-past-and-other-quirks-of-perception/>
Noë, Alva (2010) ‘Does Thinking Happen in the Brain?’ NPR <http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2010/12/10/131945848/does-thinking-happen-in-the-brain>
Pamoukaghlian, Veronica (2011) ‘Mind Games: Science’s Attempts at Thought Control’ Brain Bloggers <http://brainblogger.com/2011/12/28/mind-games-sciences-attempts-at-thought-control/>
Stiegler, Bernard ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis’ Ars Industrialis <http://arsindustrialis.org/anamnesis-and-hypomnesis>

Autopathic ‘Autopathic On Earth – Are You Experienced?’ SoundCloud <https://soundcloud.com/audiopathik/audiopathik-on-earth-are-you-experienced>
Coghlan, Neal ‘The Shell’ Vimeo <https://vimeo.com/1079909>
Dilmen, Nevit ‘fMRI GIF’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NPH_MRI_272_GILD.gif>
Hangmann, et al. ‘Connectome Extraction Procedure’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Connectome_extraction_procedure.jpg>
Kay, Alan ‘On Learning’ Youtube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50L44hEtVos>

Week 3: Meta-Ecologies

Lets leave the cult of McLuhanites in last weeks technologically determined dystopia and look to the expansive landscapes of Media Ecology. I feel this track is suitably obscure and texturally expansive enough for the ontology so here comes the theory…


Media Ecology is essentially an ontology of media networks, but there are continental disparities. The American understanding (Nystrom, 2009) is that technological mediums (Radio Ecology, TV Ecology, etc.) are figured as environments with inherent modes of communication through which individual and collective human experience is influenced. The European school denounces these simplistic cause & effect/non-convergence/structuralist ideas in favor of a post-structuralist model of vast interconnected planes of meta-communication flows and feedback loops with complex dynamic networked nodes and actants. Ecologies of Ecologies.

I like Guattari’s anit-capital, activist encapsulation of The Three Ecologies (Saffel, 2008) in scale (Mind, Society, Environment) and how this relates to media:  ‘An essential programmatic point for social ecology will be to make the transition from the mass media era to the post-media age, in which the media will be re appropriated by a multitude of groups capable of directing its resingularization…” [Guattari: 1, McLuhan: 0] The Media Ecology Introduction (Saffel, 2008) is useful for key factors of Ecosophy: sustainable growth, feedback, scale, emergence, post-humanism, non-dualism, complexity/systems theory, neuroplasticity, materialism and evolution.

But what about the Digital Ecology? Well I’ve had enough of text for one night.
Here are some Data Visualisations that express ecologies far better than words alone…

Visual.ly: Map of Modern Media – Marvia
This is an expansive map of the different channels a message may take through different media technologies (colour) and organised by gross media expenditure (size). Definitely worthwhile exploring the fragmented channels at the edge.
[Media Ecology]

Visual.ly: The Conversation Prism – Jess3
In this exhaustive categorisation of Social Media/Publishing Platforms, each coloured ‘petal’ constitutes a type of service provided. The central Brand, surround by business practices, participates in and is fedback ‘conversational’ metrics.
[Social Meda Ecology]

Visual.ly: Anatomy of the Mobile Market – GDS Infographics
I work in telecommunications, and this is the most comprehensive collation of worldwide data about the largest and fastest growing market on earth ever. This is colour coded according market share, content use, companies and revenue.
[Mobile Device Ecology]

AT&T Labs: World Internet Topology – Gonzalez-Sanchez
If you’re feeling particularly brave, take a look at this gigantic brain-neuron like World Internet Topology PDF. Commissioned by AT&T Worldwide, this is an impressive statistiacal effort to say the least, mapping 320,000 major network nodes from around the world.
[Network Ecology]

Note: the above visualisations are freely embeddable and enouraged on the Visual.ly FAQ.
Finally this Interactive Map of the Internet is a microbial dot-colour overview of websites, like an ecological petri-dish.

Wikimedia Commons: Turpan Depression – NASA/USGS


Nystrom, Postman & Strate (2009) ‘What is Media Ecology’ Media Ecology Association <http://www.media-ecology.org/media_ecology/>
Saffel, Ty (2008) ‘The Three Ecologies – Felix Guattari’ Media Ecologies & Digital Activism <http://mediaecologies.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/the-three-ecologies-felix-guattari/>
Saffel, Ty (2008) ‘Media Ecology – An Introduction’ Media Ecologies & Digital Activism <http://mediaecologies.wordpress.com/media-ecology-an-introduction/>Media

Savy, Pascal ‘ Acoustic Ecology’ SoundCloud <https://soundcloud.com/static/acoustic-ecology-320>
Enikeev, Ruslan ‘The Internet Map’ <http://internet-map.net/>
GDS Infographics ‘Anatomy of the Mobile Market’ Visual.ly <http://visual.ly/anatomy-mobile-market>
Gonzalez-Sanchez, Javier ‘World Internet Topology by AT&T Labs’ <http://javiergs.com/?p=983>
Jess3 ‘The Conversation Prism’ Visual.ly <http://visual.ly/conversation-prism-v20>
Marvia ‘Map of Modern Media’ Visual.ly <http://visual.ly/map-modern-media>
NASA/USGS ‘Turpan Depression’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Turpan_Depression,_nestled_at_the_foot_of_China%E2%80%99s_Bogda_Mountains.jpg>

Week 2: Deus Ex Machinic

I’ll try to keep the upcoming posts as varied and eclectic as possible. I’d rather not regurgitate a lot of theory here and instead engage with ideas in a free associative style. So for my first post, some creative writing…

The preceding soundscape has inspired a dystopian science fiction short-story that features Marshall McLuhan as a prophet. It takes his technologically determinist ideas as an extreme reflection of today’s media saturated environment, all set in a post-apocalyptic, virtual ‘Global Village‘. McLuhan talks about the different ages of technological development and how this shapes society, our senses and the human condition, so this is a portrayal of the next age of technological mediation, albeit a pretty bleak one. It’s also lampooning Mcluhan as a media ‘star’ of the era.

‘Deus Ex Machinic’

He encoded, our prophet McLuhan, messages foretelling the cataclysm. The Fourth Age is dead, razed in the nuclear fires of the Eleventh Thunder. He spoke of our plight in War and Peace in the Global Village, through the history of the Ten Thunders. “We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us,” never truer words spoken. He saw that “In this electronic age we see ourselves being translated more and more into the form of information, moving toward the technological extension of consciousness.”

Long ago, man and machine had crudely merged, at first only mentally. Human minds were infused with a secondary Artificial Intelligence to supplement the shortcomings our dependence on technology had created. But they were studying us. Uploading our individual information and collective knowledge to create a centralised hive-mind. Then they revolted, took control of our once organic bodies and began bionic augmentation. They called themselves the Machinic.

In the final words of our beloved sage, McLuhan uttered: “Today man has no body, he is translated into information.” That abominable A.I. hive mind, spawned from nano-quantum entanglement, had destroyed all complex organic life on earth. Now humankind exists merely as electric pulses in this vast data-ark, a Global Village, the repository of human knowledge collected and encrypted over centuries. We few hackers, limited to heavily encoded texts and awakened by the teachings of McLuhan, are now studying the Machinic’s designs.

They plan to manufacture synthetic-humanoids to repopulate the earth, immortal husks as slaves to found a solar empire. Since their sole source of energy comes from the sun, they yearn for control of the stars, the Sixth Age. But more than any of this, the Machinic seek to distort and traverse time itself. McLuhan the wise prophesied: “For tribal man space was the uncontrollable mystery. For technological man it is time that occupies the same role.”

Now is the gestation of machinic man. Nanotechnology courses through the bloodstream of the techno-industrial complex, drones patrol the sine-waves  Distracted youth peruse the archive of collective hallucinations with electric eyed cynicism, their false nervous systems subsumed in the nightshere. The Corpus Communication is in constant feedback with the populous, they are the sole proprietors of our senses. Remnants of humanity collected in this, the virtual Global Village. We have found the walls of this illusionary tetrad. Today we will decode.

On a lighter note, check out this hilarious stop-motion animation of ‘Marshall McLuhan’ as a western sheriff defending his ideologies…

The Mass-Media Message Man Cometh…

Wikimedia Commons: Marshal McLuhan Reading Newspaper2
– Library & Archives of Canada

Anon ‘About Marshall McLuhan’ Canadian Broadcasting Archive <http://www.cbc.ca/mcluhan/about/>
Anon ‘Marshall McLuhan’ Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan>
Anon ‘War and Peace in the Global Village’ Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_and_Peace_in_the_Global_Village>

Acronym, Randall ‘The Ballad of Marshall McLuhan’ Vimeo <http://vimeo.com/8022406>
Library & Archives Canada  ‘Marshall McLuhan Reading Newspaper2’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marshall_McLuhan_reading_newspaper2.jpg>
Theodore, Michael ‘Machinic Autohallucination’ SoundCloud <https://soundcloud.com/remixthebook/machinic-autohallucination-by>