Archive for '“Official” Papers'

Back in action

Written by on 18th January 2012 in "Official" Papers, Portals, Thoughts with 0 Comments

The project sort of went on hold over winter break as equipment got returned, I caught up on the rest of my life, and waited for the Kickstarter funding to get deposited. I did manage to send out some Kickstarter backer reward thank you postcards to people. On the left side of the rainbow is me sticking my hand into a portal, while the right side is a drawing of the backer reaching into another portal (if I knew them in person or if they had a photo available online). The cloud in the middle is the internet, some with backers’ favorite animal. I actually really liked making these just cause they were fun but also I feel like it’s a pretty good diagram of the system, especially with the rainbow. So it may appear again in another form later.

Also re-worked the thesis paper, integrating the research and experiments together more and trying to cut out the less important bits. It ended up being about half as long as the original. It also doesn’t have pictures. Maybe I should have put some in, but I sort of feel like it lives in the context of the rest of my work too, so if you’re reading the paper you can see the other stuff online. Plus, a lot of it is video content, so you’d have to see it playing to make sense anyways. So here’s the “final” paper I guess, although it’s not really final if I’m just getting started on the project. But I do feel like it helped me organize my thoughts a bit and sort of make a game plan going forward.

0116_ThesisFinal_Jayne

The end of the paper I basically pulled out a few principles to guide my work for the rest of the term:

  1. By leveraging spacial and technical constraints, use play as a tool to disrupt and challenge existing magic circles in the real world. Through this act, instigate more improvisational interactions between both human to human and human to computer.
  2. Embrace alternative “truths” as a tool for sharing ideas and inviting participation from others. By provoking questions about future technological developments, hopefully this technique ensures the project’s core ideas can continue exist beyond its original “actual” form.
  3. Combine the affordances of the virtual world, the physical world, and the human imagination in order to create an experience formerly impossible in the virtual or physical world separately, and therefore more authentic to the hybrid nature of the experience.
  4. Using both the strength and strangeness of network culture, create an uncanny experience in order to disorient users and disrupt our habitual routines as active participants in the network.

So that is sort of the manifesto I guess. Today’s the first day back and it feels a little weird just diving right in. But I at least have that. And today I at least brought in the supplies I got to start building the things. I’ve got my 2 monitors, led lights, web cams, stands and some other stuff to start building.

Game plan

Tomorrow I’m going to start building out a second light box at least. And maybe some new boxes. Just in white foam core for now while I figure things out. I’m thinking the white interior will be better for the lighting than the black, though I don’t know what the outside should be. I was thinking a super shiny reflective mylar so the thing almost blends into the environment. But I think I’ll wait on worrying about that. First I just want to get the basic stuff up and running so I can start playing with the crazy stuff. I also want to finish making backer rewards very soon so I don’t have to worry about those.

 

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Thesis Paper Draft

Written by on 6th December 2011 in "Official" Papers, Thoughts with 0 Comments

As turned in to my advisors on Monday.

1205_thesisDraft

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A Short Speculative Narrative

Written by on 18th November 2011 in "Official" Papers, Thoughts with 0 Comments

A Productive Hour 

The timer goes off and automatically logs me out of Viewland. I pull my hand out of The Black Box and take off my glovatar. It’s time to FocusSwitch again, but I forget which mode I should be in. Did the last 30 minutes count as a work-unit or a play-unit?

In the telepuppet meeting with Sasha and Quinn we had been collaborating on building a new structure for the space. But since the generatabot was chugging along just fine on its own we mostly just gestured about the things we were going to do in Viewland the next time we had a free Viewland play-unit.

Quinn mentioned San Francisco’s imagery had just been updated to include a new Marcade. Maybe we could all go over to tackle some Accounting Quests. Sasha and I agreed it could be worthwhile, and planned our strategy for later. So I guess that counted as a work-unit after all.

I move over to the Co-Journalist Box, and start to brainstorm what I could submit today. I decide to write a story about the new Marcade and submit my 500 word article to the system. The editrons parse my submission, pay me 5 acti-points, and grant me access to today’s articles.

A story that was growing in popularity finds me. A hacker group figured out a way to both fool the skin detection algorithm and enable two-way audio transmission in The Black Box. They were able to enter Viewland without wearing a glovatar and speak to one another with their own voice! The system registers my excitement level and lets me read more.

Don’t get me wrong, the androgynous and ethnically neutral glovatars were great. They had created objective and non-discriminatory activity environments. And, as advertised, Gesteranto had successfully enabled cross-cultural and politically neutral communication for all.

But sometimes I just wonder what the other users are actually like under those gloves. Sometimes I miss the sound of people talking. Sometimes I long to reach out and just touch my collaborators. But I know that might trigger an HR-harassment script.

I quickly pluslike the article just before the timer goes off again. My glovatar hand goes back in The Black Box, but I can’t stop fantasizing about that hack.

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Literature Review & Map

Written by on 4th November 2011 in "Official" Papers, Thoughts with 0 Comments

Revised Literature Review and a Survey Map with biographies of some people of influence…

1102_litreview

1102_map_jayne_2

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Thesis Abstract v.0.5.

Written by on 28th October 2011 in "Official" Papers, Thoughts with 0 Comments

Fun in Function (a working title)

We live in a networked world with increasingly blurry lines between our physical and virtual lives. Our computation-centric society is more orderly, more systematic, and more governed by algorithms than ever before. Technologists often rush forward, in the name of progress, without looking back to reflect upon the effects (or missed opportunities) in their wake. Focusing on the “how” instead of the “why” these new pioneers develop faster and better ways of systemizing, quantifying, streamlining, and tagging our world. As new algorithms get pumped out faster and faster, ubiquitous networked computing pervades everything from our built environment to our front pockets. What effect does this have on our lives?

Technology has fundamentally altered the separation of work and play.(1) The idea of work was once confined to the tangible real world, while play was allowed to exist in the intangible imaginary realm. For many of us who work in the world of the intangible, work is often no longer bound to the rules of reality, making it particularly ripe for hacking. What was once a serious and quantitatively true system can become a space for collaborative interaction, especially within the context of our rapidly advancing technology. Our algorithms already create questionably objective “truths” that shape our real world, from finances to culture to terrain.(2) Thus, a new system can emerge that is open to a wide range of “truths” created by humans that also shape the world we live in. But because the systems we’ve created work faster than us as individuals, we’ll have to work together to keep up with them.

Within the ordinary world, both physical and virtual, there are already “magic circles” (3) ripe for the picking everywhere. Being subject to arbitrary (and often absurd) rules and constraints, these areas are subject to new possibilities bound only by imagination. But what kind of possibilities are we aspiring to create? Within these new systems that make our lives more efficient, what will be the role of the human? As algorithmic thinking becomes an increasingly valuable skill, we must create space for capricious thinking to flourish as well. With the inconveniences and obstacles of life being “cured” away with technology, will there still be space for human intervention, improvisation, and interpretation? What type of work will we value?

While we seem to believe that play is the opposite of work, a good game actually invites players to do more hard work by tackling unnecessary obstacles in an interesting way. The creativity of play comes not from removing constraints but by reinterpreting and finding new possibility within the constraints.(4) Looking at our real world “magic circles” through the lens of potential opportunities for play, we can find new ways to reshape it, with goals other than just profit and efficiency. Since people’s behaviors are heavily influenced by their environment, with this power we also have to take responsibility for the type of values or behaviors we’re promoting.(5) It’s also important to keep the system open enough for individual agency, allowing new possibilities to emerge and raise new questions about what we currently accept as fact or normalcy.(6)

With these values in mind, I want to mash up our everyday spaces and technologies as a way to create alternative uses for them, challenging arbitrary systems of so-called technological and cultural progress. I want to hack together our existing real and virtual worlds as way to explore (and exploit) the absurd assumptions that both hold these worlds together and keep them apart. By encouraging the co-existence of creative free play in both our digital and physical lives, I am hoping to create new spaces of possibility for others to build upon and reshape.

1 Margo Hilbrecht .Changing Perspectives on the Work–Leisure Relationship.

2 Kevin Slavin. Ted Talk: How algorithms shape our world

3 Johan Huizinga. Homo Ludens

4 Jane McGonigal. Reality is Broken

5 Jonathan Harris. World Building in a Crazy World.

6 McKinzie Wark. A Hacker Manifesto.

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Literature Review Draft.

Written by on 28th October 2011 in "Official" Papers, Thoughts with 0 Comments

For longer writing, it seems to make sense to just embed the document as a whole. Below is the first draft of the literature review.

1028_litreview

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Lit Review Outline

Written by on 25th October 2011 in "Official" Papers, Thoughts with 0 Comments

WordPress doesn’t seem to format my outline well. So…here’s the pdf version instead:

1020_LitReviewOutline

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Manifesto

Written by on 20th October 2011 in "Official" Papers, Thoughts with 0 Comments

A quick manifesto assignment from last week. I think I could spend some more time fleshing this out to connect the dots. Some of the feedback was that it wasn’t very clear how the different sections related. But I think it’s a good start, and helpful to sort of reduce things down to some points.

———-

We believe technologies should create and facilitate spaces for humans to work and play in their own way.

Technology

  • Technology must foster human relationships.
  • Technology must allow humans to act human.
  • Technology must be enjoyable to use.
  • Technology must democratize human power.
  • Technology must be adaptable.

Space

  • Spaces must allow for emergent behavior.
  • Spaces must allow for arbitrary rules to be bent and broken.
  • Spaces must be potential spaces of possibility.
  • Spaces must nurture our humanity and individuality.
  • Spaces must be editable.

Play

  • Play must promote our values.
  • Play must cross cultural divides.
  • Play must thrive in all environments.
  • Play must be for everyone.
  • Play must be free form.

Work

  • Work must never be boring.
  • Work must always be rewarding.
  • Work must never just be a means to an end.
  • Work must nurture our curiosity.
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Thesis Abstract (version 0.4)

Written by on 3rd October 2011 in "Official" Papers, Thoughts with 0 Comments

We live in a computational world with increasingly blurry lines between our physical and virtual lives. Our modern world is more orderly, more systematic, and more governed by algorithms than ever before. As technology gets pumped out faster and faster, ubiquitous networked computing pervades everything from our built environment to our front pockets. What effect does this have on our lives? Technologists often rush forward, in the name of progress, without looking back to reflect upon the effects (or missed opportunities) in their wake. Focusing on the “how” instead of the “why” these new pioneers develop faster and better ways of systemizing, quantifying, and tagging the world. Are we in turn becoming more modular and predictable like the very machines we rely on?

Within these new systems, what becomes of the role of the human? Where is the space for a diversity of human intervention, improvisation, and interpretation? As algorithmic thinking becomes an increasingly valuable skill, we must create space for capricious thinking to flourish as well. Let’s remember to humanize technology instead of just technologizing humans. Jonathan Harris’ work as a computer scientist, storyteller, and artist, has also revolved around this idea. He reasons, “people’s behavior is largely influenced by the context in which they live…When we design spaces (real or virtual), we need to take responsibility for the types of behavior those spaces are likely to encourage.”(1) What type of behaviors do the engineers and accountants of our current spaces, both real and virtual, value? In addition to these behaviors, what type of cultural identities and ideologies are promoted through the technologies we’ve welcomed into our every day lives?

It seems many of our spaces and technologies are built by people who value unquestioned logic, depersonalized consumption and cerebral objectivity. On the other hand, I value questionable hunches, personalized creation, and emotional subjectivity. With these values in mind, I want to mash up our everyday spaces and technologies as a way to create alternative uses for them, challenging arbitrary systems of so-called technological and cultural progress. I want to hack together our existing real and virtual worlds as way to explore (and exploit) the absurd assumptions that both hold these worlds together and keep them apart. For instance, I am especially interested in the space between work and play. The idea of work was once confined to the tangible real world, while play was allowed to exist in the intangible imaginary realm. Now that much of our work occurs within an increasingly virtual world, I am interested in exploring opportunities to incorporate play into our everyday interactions with technology at work. At the same time I’m interested in what aspects of working can be elevated to the status of play, and how that can alter our view of what it means to work. By encouraging the co-existence of creative free play in both our digital and physical lives, I am hoping to create new spaces of possibility for others to build upon. Other themes I’m interested in exploring include our notions of physical & virtual communities, high & low tech, and public & private property. Starting points include: combining playful games & banal applications, handicrafts & handheld computing, and the environments where we encounter these systems & each other.

I bring to the conversation my skills (in design, illustration, animation, and making) as tools for generating discussion about our everyday relationship with technology. Hopefully as the ecosystem of my experiments evolve, new ideas about progress will emerge to serve as “an alternative to the programmed myth that there is only one future on the flat graph that goes up and to the right.”(2) And perhaps in the process of exploring these experiments, I can create a scaffolding to empower and inspire a diverse group people to take control of their own experiences and relationships with technology.

1 Jonathan Harris . World Building in a Crazy World . World Builders.” Web. 26 Sept. 2011.

2 Julian Bleecker. “Design Fiction: A short essay on design, science, fact and fiction.” PDF file.


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Thesis Abstract. (version 0.3)

Written by on 26th September 2011 in "Official" Papers, Thoughts with 0 Comments

We live in a computational world with increasingly blurry lines between our physical and virtual lives. Our modern world is more orderly, more systematic, and more governed by algorithms than ever before. As technology gets pumped out faster and faster, ubiquitous computing pervades everything from our built environment to our front pockets. Technologists are often rushing forward, in the name of progress, without looking back to understand the effects (or missed opportunities) in their wake. Focusing on the “how” instead of the “why” these new pioneers develop faster and better ways of systemizing, quantifying, and tagging the world, making us more modular and predictable like the very machines we rely on.

But where is the space for human intervention and interpretation? How can we humanize technology instead of technologizing humans? Jonathan Harris’ work as a computer scientist, storyteller, and artist, has also revolved around this idea. He reasons, “people’s behavior is largely influenced by the context in which they live…When we design spaces (real or virtual), we need to take responsibility for the types of behavior those spaces are likely to encourage.”(1) What type of behaviors do our current real and virtual spaces value?  I value chance, subjectivity, and platforms for discovery through research “on open water” versus “on the ground,” as Terence Rosenberg calls it.(2) Following a hunch instead of purely scientific logic is a process too nuanced to be predicted by anything other than a human. With these values in mind, I want to hack together virtual systems and physical objects to encourage the co-existence of creative free play in both virtual and physical space. I want to reshape our everyday technologies. Starting points include: our banal office productivity software, smart but homogenous hardware, and environments where we encounter these systems & each other. I choose to not accept arbitrary systems of so-called technological and cultural progress. I too believe “deep within every rational system holding societies together are assumptions that, if taken to their logical conclusion, tend toward absurdity. As such, they are highly fertile terrain for artistic exploration.”(3) Our socialized beliefs about physical & virtual communities, the separation of work & play, craft & technology, and public space are all up for grabs. I want to hack into these assumptions by modifying, re-contextualizing, and repurposing the “new-yesterday-but-now-obsolete” technologies and built environments of tomorrow.

Not being an engineer, I realize I may not have the resources to be a technological tool creator. But in combination with people like product designers, architects, game designers, and programmers, perhaps we could be more than just consumers. By collaborating and leveraging my skills (as a designer, illustrator, animator, and maker) I hope to bring to life more nuanced, personal and meaningful experiences as “an alternative to the programmed myth that there is only one future on the flat graph that goes up and to the right.”(4) And perhaps in the process of exploring these interests, I can create a scaffolding to empower and inspire a diverse group people to take control of their own experiences and relationships with technology.

 

1 Jonathan Harris . World Building in a Crazy World . World Builders.” Web. 26 Sept. 2011.

2 Terence Rosenberg. The Reservoir: Towards a Poetic Model of Research in Design.” PDF file.

3 Hou, Jeffrey. Insurgent Public Space: Guerrilla Urbanism and the Remaking of Contemporary Cities. 1st ed. Routledge, 2010. Print. 55.

4 Julian Bleecker. “Design Fiction: A short essay on design, science, fact and fiction.” PDF file.

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