Category: art

Faceless. Re-inventing Privacy Through Subversive Media Strategies:

The contributions to this book explore a phenomenon that appears to be a contradiction in itself – we, the users of computers, can be tracked in digital space for all eternity. Although, on the one hand, one wants to be noticed and noticeable, on the other hand one does not necessarily want to be recognized at the first instance, being prey to an unfathomable public, or – even less so – to lose face.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 6: Faceless

Cameras and other technological products make for a better and safer living environment than ever before. Mega databanks and high-resolution cameras in the streets stock hundreds of exabytes a year. But who has access to this data? It is possible that it could have commercial use, hence not only retail companies but also the advertisement industry could be very interested in this data in the coming future. They would hope to gain these personal data and information as much as they can.

In the future, the advertisement could call your name when you walk along the streets. The companies would know your interests and may set different retail strategies for you. It could be convenient for customers, but personal thoughts and opinions should be kept private. This product protects you from this privacy violation.

The concept from Jing-cai Liu:  Wearable face projector– A small beamer projects a different appearance on your face, giving you a completely new appearance.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 6: Faceless

Face Cages | Zach Blas:

The success of today’s booming biometrics industry resides in its promise to rapidly measure an objective, truthful, and core identity from the surface of a human body, often for a mixture of commercial, state, and military interests. Yet, feminist communications scholar Shoshana Amielle Magnet has described this neoliberal enterprise as producing “a cage of information,” a form of policing, surveillance, and structural violence that is ableist, classist, homophobic, racist, sexist, and transphobic.

Biometric machines often fail to recognize non-normative, minoritarian persons, which makes such people vulnerable to discrimination, violence, and criminalization: Asian women’s hands fail to be legible to fingerprint devices; eyes with cataracts hinder iris scans; dark skin continues to be undetectable; and non-normative formations of age, gender, and race frequently fail successful detection. These examples illustrate that the abstract, surface calculations biometrics performs on the body are gross, harmful reductions.

A visual motif in biometric facial recognition is the minimal, colorful diagrams that visualize over the face for authentication, verification, and tracking purposes. These diagrams are a kind of abstraction gone bad, a visualization of the reduction of the human to a standardized, ideological diagram. When these diagrams are extracted from the humans they cover over, they appear as harsh and sharp incongruous structures; they are, in fact, digital portraits of dehumanization.

Face Cages is a dramatization of the abstract violence of the biometric diagram. In this installation and performance work, four queer artists, including micha cárdenas, Elle Mehrmand, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Zach Blas, generate biometric diagrams of their faces, which are then fabricated as three-dimensional metal objects, evoking a material resonance with handcuffs, prison bars, and torture devices used during the Medieval period and slavery in the United States. The metal face cages are then worn in endurance performances for video. Face Cages is presented as an installation that features the four performance videos and four metal face cages.

The computational biometric diagram, a supposedly perfect measuring and accounting of the face, once materialized as a physical object, transforms into a cage that does not easily fit the human head, that is extremely painful to wear. These cages exaggerate and perform the irreconcilability of the biometric diagram with the materiality of the human face itself–and the violence that occurs when the two are forced to coincide.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 6: Faceless

 A stolen life – A new perspective and everything in between | Neda Soltani | TEDxRWTHAachen

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 6: Faceless

A short film outlining the themes of the exhibition and images from the opening on 6th September 2013 at Djanogly gallery, Nottingham. Featuring curators Victoria Tischler and Esra Plumer.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 4: Devotion

A Constructive Look At TempleOS:

TempleOS is somewhat of a legend in the operating system community. Its sole author, Terry A. Davis, has spent the past 12 years attempting to create a new operating from scratch. Terry explains that God has instructed him to construct a temple, a 640×480 covenant of perfection. Unfortunately Terry also suffers from schizophrenia, and has a tendency to appear on various programming forums with a burst of strange, paranoid, and often racist comments. He is frequently banned from most forums.

This combination of TempleOS’s amateurish approach and Terry’s unfortunate outbursts have resulted in TempleOS being often regarded as something to be mocked, ignored, or forgotten. Many people have done some or all of those things, and it’s understandable why.

I’m reminded of a movie I once saw called Lars And The Real Girl, in which a man buys a RealDoll and treats her as his real girlfriend. Rather than laughing at him, the residents of his town instead band together and treat her as if she were a real person too. When I started watching it, I expected some Will Ferrell-esque comedy where this guy would be played only for laughs. Instead, I found an incredibly compassionate story within. The writer, Nancy Oliver, got the idea after thinking:

“What if we didn’t treat our mentally ill people like animals? What if we brought kindness and compassion to the table?”

There are many bad things to be said about TempleOS, many aspects of it that seem poorly constructed or wouldn’t work in the “real world”. I’m going to ignore them here. It’s very easy to be negative, but you will never learn anything new by doing so.

Many might consider TempleOS a waste of time, compared to more fully-featured OSs such as Linux, because it will never have the same success. Plan 9, developed by Bell Labs, was a research OS designed to be a successor to Unix. Despite some big names and big ideas, it was never any kind of commercial success. Was Plan 9 therefore a waste of time? Many would argue not, as some of its ideas have since found their way into other products.

Perhaps we should instead look at TempleOS as a research operating system: what can be accomplished if you’re not locked into established thinking, backwards compatibility, and market demands.

What can we learn if we are only willing to listen?

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 4: Devotion

Check out the stunning artwork of Salina Marie Gomez, who we spoke to in today’s show. I love those falcons in particular.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 5: Messiah

The Troubled Legacy of Terry Davis, ‘God’s Lonely Programmer’ – The New Stack:

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Despite his struggles with schizophrenia, some videos capture moments that were simple and happy. There’s Davis singing along with a heavy metal song, just banging away on some drums, and singing with a guitarist on a street corner.

I’ll always remember him wearing that backwards baseball cap, showing off his creation with excited eyes. “I am the smartest programmer that ever lived,” he says several times. As the video gravitates to profanity-laced chest-thumping, he demonstrates the 3D shapes he’s just coded up to spin over his command line. He calls Unix “the last war” and was critical of the Massachusetts Institute if Technology.

Davis’ work may continue, since there’s a fork of TempleOS “for heretics.” It’s called Shrine.

And over on Hacker News, other fans shared their own condolences.

“The phrase, ‘tortured artist’ is thrown around a lot, but he really was a tortured artist… it’s a sad end to a life that went awry for reasons beyond his or anyone’s control.”

“He needed a lot of help, but a great hacker has passed, and we should remember him for his work.”

“I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it’s been living such a challenging life for all these years.”

“I always thought of Terry as somewhat of an anti-hero of the hacker community. Most of us know what it feels like to go down a rabbit hole building something technically impressive, yet ultimately useless, because the voices in our heads told us to.”

Over 600 people upvoted the story, offering one more testimonial to the memories Davis left behind. In the end, nearly 200 comments were added to the thread.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 4: Devotion

A Postman’s Dedication: The Pebble Castle of Ferdinand Cheval:

Building a castle is a monumental undertaking any way you look at it. But constructing an entire castle pebble by pebble, stone by stone, using only materials found while making your mail route? That’s absolutely inconceivable. Yet that is exactly what Ferdinand Cheval did, and more than 100 years later his pebble castle still stands, drawing tourists from around the world to Hauterives, France.

The entirely outlandish castle construction began when Cheval literally tripped on a bizarre-looking stone during his daily mail route. He took the stone home with him, sparking an idea that would consume him for the next three-plus decades.

When speaking of the project, Ferdinand Cheval recounted,

“I was walking very fast when my foot caught on something that sent me stumbling a few meters away, I wanted to know the cause. In a dream I had built a palace, a castle or caves, I cannot express it well… I told no one about it for fear of being ridiculed and I felt ridiculous myself. Then fifteen years later, when I had almost forgotten my dream, when I wasn’t thinking of it at all, my foot reminded me of it. My foot tripped on a stone that almost made me fall. I wanted to know what it was… It was a stone of such a strange shape that I put it in my pocket to admire it at my ease.”

Stuff like this is why I wish radio budgets allowed for foreign travel. I want to wander the halls of this place.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 4: Devotion

Whether You Fear or Embrace New Tech Depends on Where You’re From:

East Asian technological innovations have long outpaced those in the West. Products that sound like recent or even future innovations to most Westerners have been available for decades in Asia, particularly in Japan. These include:

· A handheld device that enables customers to order food and drinks from their karaoke room.

· A button attached to the table that customers push to alert a waitress.

· A slew of vending machines that sell everything you can imagine: alcohol, ramen, underwear, umbrellas, rice, newspapers, cell phones.

· Love hotels where guests can check in discreetly without interacting with other human beings.

Tourists visiting Japan for the first time often feel compelled to take a photo of the ubiquitous high-tech washlet toilets. These fixtures are hardly new; they have been on the market since 1980 and have more than 80 percent market penetration. Years before the Internet of Things became a phenomenon in the West, Japanese people were using their mobile phones to run their baths remotely while in a cab. They were also using a single card on their phones to buy groceries from a store, get green tea from a vending machine, and pay the fare for trains and buses.

Evidence from cross-national academic research suggests that the speed of innovation adoption has historically been significantly faster in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan than in the U.S. Aside from various market conditions and economic factors, why have Japanese people historically been more comfortable than Westerners with the new and the strange?

Stream or download the podcast here Digital Human: Series 18, Ep 1 – Animism