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Beyond Pong: why digital art matters | Artanddesign | The Guardian
"When critical thinking is at its strongest, it often comes from exactly the sort of fluidity of practice that does run through Digital Revolution. The London-based architect and artist Usman Haque has been creating innovative software products alongside interactive artworks for more than 15 years. In 2007, he founded Pachube, a global data-sharing network that anticipated by years the current buzz around big data and the internet of things. In 2011, Pachube enabled hundreds of Japanese civilians to quickly and easily share weather and radiation data in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, boosting monitoring and relief efforts. Haque's Umbrellium team has produced a new artwork for Digital Revolution, which takes up the entirety of The Pit, the Barbican's subterranean theatre space. Called Assemblance, the piece allows about 25 people at a time to physically shape beams of light with their hands, pushing and pulling them around the space – while also bumping into and potentially messing up the shapes created by other people.

Haque calls it "a virtual reality", but not in the sense of a purely digital realm: "It's there, it's responding to you, you can see it, but as you try and approach it you can't actually feel it. For me, the idea is to question this distinction between the physical and the virtual." The process is akin to building a sandcastle on the beach, where you are building a structure that anyone else, or the elements, can destroy in a moment.

Assemblance attempts to answer the question: "How do we create things together in a shared environment, where we can't always trust each other, but we need to act together regardless?" This, indeed, is the situation we find ourselves in now. In the modern digital world, the question of participation is crucial as our various networks – social, media, national – require us to constantly mediate between acting as individuals and acting as a group. For Haque, the digital has given us "the capacity to have an effect on the other side of the world almost instantaneously", from news events and economic flows to disaster response and warfare. "We can do things to other people in distant lands, and so the question of our responsibility, and our culpability, is thrown up in ways that it hasn't been before. On the other hand, we now have the capacity to connect with each other, and develop new ways to work together, rather than against each other."

Assemblance asks the audience to see itself as part of a networked whole, where actions have consequences. It also points towards the fact that "the digital" is not a medium, but a context, in which new social, political and artistic forms arise. After 50 years, at least, of digital practice, institutions are still trying to work out its relevance, and how to display and communicate it – a marker, perhaps, that it is indeed a form of art."
jamesbridle  2014  digital  digitalart  art  usmanhaque  dotsasmen  umbrellium  assemblance  criticalthinking  pachube  collaboration  internet  web  online  audience  participatory  networks  context  social  socialnetworks  digitalarchaeology  olialialina  susankare  timberners-lee  liamyoung  dronestagram  jamesgeorge  jonathanminard  christophernolan  pong  raspberrypi  minecraft  geocities  martinbircher  chrismilk  aaronkoblin  wecreate  conradbodman  gta  cpsnow  eniac  grandtheftauto 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Designing for Archives, FOWD 2013 – Allen Tan is…writing
"Flickr was the master of getting users to explicitly provide information. It was one of the sites that made the concept of tags famous, but they gave users many other tools to organize their photos. They gave users sets – sets are you think of as a regular photo album, they hold a group of photos. They gave users collections—collections group sets and other collections together. They gave users galleries—and the only rule with galleries is that you can only have 18 photos in a gallery, and the photos have to be from other users, they couldn’t be your own photos. Because the idea was for you to go curate and distill Flickr, this great mass of photos, into something that shows a specific perspective or framing.

Did users use these? They did! They didn’t mind the effort, they created them and shared them around and commented on them. These tools acted as handles for people’s photos. Flickr let you share any of those units publicly or privately. This was so flexible and powerful. So I could keep my photo stream completely private, and just for myself, and then I could create a set of photos of museums and the High Line that I took while visiting New York and I could share that set with my art class, and then I could create a collection that contained the High Line photos and maybe add some photos of the Cooper archive and share that to my design friends. It encouraged users to revisit their existing body of work over and over again, to think about it, and derive new meaning from it by letting them manipulate it."



"—they are separate events to a computer, yes, they can happen across distant points in time, and therefore it might show these items very far apart on someone’s activity feed. But they’re clearly tied to one another, and can be presented together. If I were looking back on my history, I’d want to see this relationship of events.

We can imagine and automatically capture some of these sequences when they happen, but they’re simply starting points. We could be wrong, in which case users should be able to correct what happened. And, like Flickr has demonstrated, if users are given the room to tell more complicated stories than we can anticipate, they will. We are giving them tools for storytelling."



"These are tiny time machines. You are in the present, you are always in the present, because you were born in this decade and this century. But these time machines open a little portal to a specific time, just big enough to fit you. It is a ladder to the past. It feels more real, because it is embedded in the networks you use every day as part of your life. And you see these stories being told, or construct your own stories from what you’re seeing, stories that are from a long time ago being told anew.

We don’t need to design dusty shelves, and figure out how to make them matter. This is why they matter, why the past matters: because they coexist with us in the present, it isn’t something we should put in a tidy box and forget, because they are part of the stories we tell today, they are lenses that are personal and often political and they help us understand what’s going on now. All this stuff online—the things that real people put time into making and that real people look at—this stuff is our heritage. Let’s to protect it better."

[video pointer and info: https://twitter.com/tangentmade ]
allentan  archives  history  2013  memory  online  flickr  dronestagram  jamesbridle  nytimes  livelymorgue  timemachines  streams  data  information  archival  reflection  creation  instagram  facebook  mixel  rdio  storytelling  atemporality  titanicrealtime  libraryofaleph  libraryofcongress 
october 2013 by robertogreco

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