Category Archives: deletedStreams

return of the stumpheads

please forgive me

its just my inner cyberSurrealist escaping me for a bit

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for a pocket of tiMe i wrote more freely — almost straight from the subConscious to the interwebz

the content seemed to come from some other place & far more directly published itself to some other place all of its own volition

my creative flow, back then — which i actually considered to be an uncreative process of sorts — felt inspired by the automatic writings of the original Surrealists with their delicious parlour games, these wonderful ways of tapping into the subconsciousness we all contain in very public environs like The Cabaret Voltaire — i almost felt as if i too could go back there, not only tapping into my own inner elf but also somehow simultaneously sip from the poetic well that surely continues on in this strange afterlife the Surrealists left for us as their rather trippy legacy to our modernday culture

its so obvious, too, to see — & it needs to be very publickly declared from the wifi-connected rooftops at the top of the overpopulated hilltops of every major city skyscraper … yes, yes, indeed …

the Surrealists win!

and now, in this New Age of Surrealism — an age in which we are all individual cyberSurrealists conducting our own little semi-fictionalized movements of one — we continue in the tradition of revolution of the unconscious

mission accomplished!

with our new over-mediated & over-technologized culture of technohumanity we walk around with heads held up high, the vast societal assumption is our augmented humanness puts us as a people at such an advanced competitive edge against The Animal Kingdom and against Nature — we, the thinking animals with our special, clever tools — we will surely afford ourselves an almost self-created ability to live beyond our natural lives, to smartly achieve our lives everlasting here on Earth, due to our superior intellect & our ability to trick our found systems, these systems of Nature

we somehow think we can game the rules of Nature to thereby, somehow live eternally, leveraging our technologies as the tools to get there

but these beliefs { & yes, our over-trust in Science & technology — this so-called STEM kind of bullshit — are merely a new set of Belief Systems a la Religion }, that we will somehow overcome the limits of Nature Herself, are utterly preposterous, of course { so obvious to those of us who proudly keep our heads amidst the powerful encouraging forces to adopt the newest, latest, bleeding-edgiest of the latest, newest, bleeding-edgiest of our technologies }

these technologies cannot really extend our lifespan

these technologies cannot really further advance our intelligence or our competitive advantage { since we are merely competing with ourselves at this point anyways — and really only solving the challenges our new advancements present in a reverse evolutionary manner into the cybernetic aftertrail of all of this Progress }

these technologies are not really good for these things — the things that our leading technologists & neo-futurist thinkers actually aim to accomplish

instead — i would like to humbly suggest we take a few steps back & re-evaluate what our technologies really help us do as a supposed civilized society

our technologies, during this transitional point in history { as we continue to move from a manufacturing, industrial-focused era — deeper & deeper in to The Information Age } — these technologies become far more effective devices for self-analysis

yes, in the continued tradition of The Surrealists with their fascination on our extremely human & mysterious aspects, our technologies bring that tradition of psychological self-analysis into the twentyfirst century — with our new found, readymade cyberSurrealism we can more deeply understand a far more honest sense of who we really are as individual people & as a more holistic social, world organism

unfortunately, for us,
we are far less advanced
than we believe ourselves to be

because we’ve been so hyper-focused on innovating our external reality as both individuals & as pockets of society, we’ve neglected the vastly more important aspects of innovation for our inner beings — technological advancement gives us an amazing ability to turn our subconscious out into the external world around us, but sometimes the most nasty internal energies usher out reminding us all of the intoxicating and ofttimes dangerous dualities existent within us all

we are capable of extreme good & extreme evil

& we know that the tools we develop cannot be held accountable on their own as inanimate & beloved manifestations of our genius in building communication platforms that, for the most part;

  • do absolutely nothing to facilitate any better sense of real communication;
  • do absolutely nothing to optimize our abilities to survive { or even bloom or flourish } the techno-humanic ecosystems we self-invent & evolve on a near daily basis;

the fact that we’re still so insanely focused on conquering Nature in the more Darwinian framework of natural selection by shifting our context instead of more rationally & wisely discovering new ways to better live within our given, natural context & to, hopefully, start taking better care of the more holistic, collective organism of humanity — shows how ultimately unadvanced we are on so many levels { psychically; emotionally; ethically; intellectually; socially }

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we need to somehow get better focused — we need to get back on track to evolving our species in a better way for not only all of humanity, but also for the natural world & for the future of the natural world & our existence within the context of where we really live, not just where we imagine or invent as our artificial accoutrements, our little playSpace pretend world that cozily sits on top of the underlying real nature of the planet we live on { the universe we live in }

its a life or death kind of thing, actually

isn’t it?

don’t get me wrong — i enjoy the inside-out cyberSurreality of our advanced societies — its all extremely entertaining & it usually reminds me that i’m not such a bad person at the end of the day { at least by comparison to what makes it to mass media televised reality } — its also interesting to see the sort of trainwreck status updates our social web affords my friends & family via Facebook, Twitter & these amazing new, evolving platforms for human communication { please note the facetious italicization } — once again, our iPhone { or other connected mobile devicery } transforms from our all-purpose, standard Swiss Army Knife for modern wireless communications { which most-times feel like mere echo-locative blips to self-affirm our relative importance to the people we love & care about } into a mystical, mini Pandora’s Box, a fascinating open container of sorts, tapping into the inner workings of the real human mind, the real psyche { noxious energies & borderline behaviors that we all somehow previously kept politely tucked away prior to these amazing new technological advancements }

we need to innovate our insides again, my friends

& we can also keep innovating our technologies, too — don’t take my lil’ rant the wrong way — please don’t see me as some sort of neo-Luddite, i don’t want to smash the machines & set them on fire { well, i do pretty much fucking hate my printer most of the time, though, hmmmmm }

i think i just see a need for better balance moving forward — we’ve been focused on innovation as a strictly external, object-based force for new business direction & all of that — but we also need to bring a newfound concentration on re-building our sense of inner innovation before it gets too late

a return to Turing ::..

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i just took a look back at my very first post to this blog, and there are some rather interesting aspects to it that seem to hit right at the core of what i’m most concerned about as a transitional

looks like i wrote it at the very beginning of my graduate research and work through Dynamic Media Institute @ Massachusetts College of Art — it must’ve been one of the first weeks of class and we were looking at The Turing Test as part of our weekly readings and in-class discussions

Wikipedia describes Alan Mathison Turing as:

a British mathematician, logiciancryptanalyst, philosopher, computer scientist, mathematical biologist, and marathon and ultra distance runner

and as one of the founding fathers of computer science he seemed to be a natural-born philosopher, intrigued with not only the vast power and potentials our computing machines would afford to all of humanity, but also, interestingly enough, really beautifully aware of the intrinsic ethical matters embedded directly in the extra-human capabilities of these wonderous new machines

alan turing

With his test, Turing asks us:

Can we create a machine with interaction capabilities that would trick us into thinking it is, in fact, human?

And a means to see if it were, in fact, possible to trick us, Alan set up a little trick through simulation — a psychological experiment, if you will, whereby he simulated a conversational machine vis-à-vis a bit of theatric and nearly-prankish Allen Funtery

i’m not going to get into providing a full description of the actual Turing Test here in this blogPost, feel free to read some surface material about the test on Wikipedia — for me, the most important challenge i would like to present is the fundamental modernday irrelevance of The Turing Test

i’ve conducted a LOT of experiments over the years that implemented technology and even, more often than not, simulated technologies that i am simply not expert enough to program at this point in my coding abilities, and i can confidently report that the truth of the matter is that people are rather easy to trick — and they are not at all fascinated by what it might mean to be human anymore, which is a bit unfortunate and disappointing — but, instead, they are fascinated, almost mesmerized, by what we can accomplish with our technologies and they are willing to believe that even the most absurdly superhuman, unprogrammable interactions and intelligences can actually be designed, developed and embedded in the digital-machine experiences we create

now these are very vast and general oversimplified conclusions derived from some rather silly, gallery-based prototypes and experiments i’ve set up over the course of my curatorial career while working through DMI — but i’ve seen the dynamics between some very smart people and some very dumb prototypes and i seemed to always come away surprised, delighted and simultaneously disappointed in how easy it was to simulate and trick a gallerygoing audience into believing what they experienced was actually a computer application built on database, algorithm, interface, interaction, sensors and, ultimately, the magic of human ingenuity through programming

at this point i suggest we take a look at the flip-paradigm of The Turing Test, following the good example presented in this quote from a very famous, if not infamous, psychologist:

“The real problem is not whether machines think
but whether men do.”
B.F. Skinner

Hey, keep your hands off my chicken!

i don’t think we should care about tricking each other so much anymore — like i said, i think that’s rather easy to do most of the time — the biggest, best example of how easy it is to trick and even fully-influence people can be witnessed on a daily basis by simply turning on a television or listening to the radio and then witnessing how much personal opinion is shaped, formed and twisted by these outdated, mass media propaganda machines — even the internet, with all of its freer access to a broader set of information and opinions, tends to still feel a bit of information steering from the topics that come up on the first screen prior to driving the second screen in the modern American living room

i do not think that the original measures for the success of The Turing Trick still apply in this day and age — a recent report from The LA Times claims that a computer program actually did pass The Turing Test:

For the first time, a computer program has officially passed the Turing Test, which measures a machine’s ability to think for itself 

of course, the headline for this article indicates a bit of a trick behind the trick itself, right? the Times article, entitled, ‘Bot passes Turing Test; judges think it’s a 13-year-old boy,’ seems to vastly reduce the age of dialogic return in the simulated conversation to re-contextualize the ‘human’ aspect of the interaction — and so, at least from my perspective, the simulation need not feel as sophisticated and human as we once thought machine intelligence should be — in fact, the human age of the computer-conversant is now a teen that probably misspells words, if even using words in the English language at all, right? LOL … aight, TTYL ;]

but reducing the intelligence of the machine simulation of a human, this modern twist on The Turing Test seems to have increased the key performance indicator measures of success for the test itself

this raises some rather important and interesting questions

first off — what are we actually trying to test here? are we testing people? machines? our ability to program machines? our ability to trick people and their perceptions and beliefs about our intelligent machines?

second off — if we actually achieve the goals of the test — that is, if we can trick a person into thinking an interactive experience with a machine feels human { whatever that is } — what does that actually prove? how does that benefit actual people? or is that simply an implicit goal of computer scientists? to somehow trick people?

third off — isn’t it counterproductive to humanity and to human intelligence to have one of the ongoing side-project goals of computer science be based on a trick? as our machine intelligence supposedly grows, expands and extends on an exponential basis according to Moore’s Law, does it not somehow continue to sabotage and weaken actual, wetware, human intelligence?

 

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a little game

info_art

my art can sometimes feel a little ‘all over the place’

i don’t like to limit myself too, too much when it comes to my vehicles of expressive delivery — that combined with my natural tendency toward a scattered but exciting sense of ADHD plus my rather lengthy and continually-expanding collection of influences and inspirations makes for a rather eclectic body of work that i sometimes try to organize into threads or streams of my work

in my design thesis from Dynamic Media Institute, ‘confounded: future fetish design performance for human advocacy,’ i purposely chose the term ‘streams‘ for a few reasons:

  1. i feel like my subconscious is a far more present and powerful force in my creatively expressive, personal work;
  2. i enjoy following my subconscious — my streams of subconscious — to archeologically mine for the deeper, personally-symbolic inner significance that i’ve accumulated like a patina over the course of my life;
  3. i know that i naturally tend to bury certain emotions, memories and stories in the strange style that a chipmunk saves away little morsels for the long winter ahead — these might be feelings that are far too shocking and powerful for me to handle in any conscious manner in the current moments i am living in, and i am almost certain, for the most part, that a significant amount of people partake in this similar activity as a mere means of surviving the ‘day to day‘ dysfunction and chaos we all encounter along our life’s journeys;
  4. i also tend to hide away from time to time, sometimes for large spans of time, greatly depending upon my mood and certain life events — i can nicely attribute this behavior, to sort of tuck myself away inside my shell, to being born under the sign of Cancer — the symbol for Cancer, of course, is the crab — and after spending many an afternoon tide pooling with my wife and son, flipping rocks along the shallow shoreline out at Lynch Park in Beverly among other beautiful Atlantic coastline seaside retreats, i’ve developed an observational understanding of not only the ‘tough, outer exterior’ of the crab and the notion of ‘crabbiness’ that might be somewhat symbolically mapped to the drastic shift in moodswings i experience on a fairly regular cycle, but i also now better ‘get‘ how these little pinchy critters live — tucking themselves away, a bit under the sand or between the rocks as the tide ebbs and flows — its an interesting lifestyle to study and reflect upon, especially knowing that there are definitely some similarities between my own behavior and that of these amazing little moody crustacea;
  5. i guess i’ve veered away from exploring why the term ‘streams‘ so nicely captures the nature of my work and certain categories of recurring episodes in my work — this last enumerated bullet point, to get back to the concept of these streams of subconscia, pertains to the rather interesting evolution within certain streams of my work — as i tend to, at times, act more like a chess player than an artist, as i move and follow both the journey of certain objects and installations from literally geopolitical ‘place to place’ as well as the state of its existence into the next, and sometimes even beyond itself out into the metaphorical afterlife of the piece or its sub-componenture

today’s update on the information kiosk i purchased from Border’s Bookstores prior to the closing of the bookseller chain brings us just a few yards away from where it previously resided over the last 6 to 9 months or so — i don’t think this will be its final destination, by any means, however, i can see an interesting new stage in the piece’s evolution coming together in my mind’s eye

i original purchased the kiosk to build out a prototype for my Laugh Observation Library back at DMI @ MassArt — the LOL included a bookcase collection of 100 bottles containing a variety laughter samples per bottle along with this oddly orange information booth housing a laughScan Station to actually activate each sample for further faux-scientific research into humor and the human phenomena behind laughter

the original and only installation of the Laugh Observation Library appeared in The Pooka Lounge in Bakalar Gallery at MassArt as part of forensicEvidence — the name of my final showcase of work in the 2011 MassArt Thesis Show from my DMI @ MassArt experience

in retrospect the statement that my micro-installment made perfectly fit the bill regarding my discoveries around both MassArt and gallery exhibition in general — and this particular piece, although not exactly aesthetically matching the clinically sterile environment of a traditional scientific laboratory setting, especially that of a forensic investigation crime lab, really seemed to appropriately comment on my personal feelings regarding what Brian O’Doherty describes as the ‘white cube‘ controlled context of the gallery space associated with High Art

in fact, this installation and my personal aesthetic not only provided a silent and polite, subtle sociological commentary on both Art and Science as rather haughty professions, but the rather organic, make-shift style of my work also appropriately mocked the institutionalized aspects of high formality associated with not only Art and Science, but even with Design itself for encouraging a somewhat exclusive attitude within its highest of the high socio-professional, pseudo-political circles

the pieces i presented in forensicEvidence were the dead remains from my work at MassArt — the physical evidence of my work, but also of the pretend criminal activity i either partook in or witnessed while researching and working on my art at MassArt — now, of course, art-making is not exactly a criminal activity, although sometimes it can feel like such an endeavor when living and working outside of the inner protected sanctum of academia and its related artedness, but in some ways i felt like i definitely witnessed what i came to call ‘Crimes Against Creativity‘ — i won’t elaborate too, too much here on these crimes i witnessed, but i definitely felt a bit disappointed in some of the people and vibes i encountered while working toward my graduate degree at MassArt and unfortunately these were events, policies and behaviors that i will not soon forget and nor would i ever expect an institution of higher learning to simply grin and bear without pursuing some follow-up activity to properly set the record straight and rectify unacceptable, malicious and ignorant behavior

… anyhow …

following forensicEvidence — the kiosk remained in the back of my truck, nicely sheltered from the elements, but definitely getting in the way of any sane semblance of life

a month or so after i took the information booth out of my truck and left it at the head of my driveway — although a bit silly-looking in its now more ‘natural’ surroundings in this highly wooded area of Boxford, i actually loved seeing this ugly, orange desk-like fixture from a typically highly-corporate retail environment now planted in the midst of trees and lush, green ferns and other fertile elements of the great outdoors — and i was extremely happy not to have followed my original bad instinct to just leave the kiosk in a nearby cemetery { after, of course, taking some choice photodocumentation of this potentially-strange, satiric gravestone tribute to The Information Age — which would’ve certainly been bound to be an entirely illegal but hilarious act of vandalism or refuse disposal in the eyes of the court, i’m sure }

but now, many months later, after surviving an Autumn, Winter and Springtime out in the driveway, i decided to drag the information kiosk up the steps into our backyard and set it out just at the edge of our deck

here i hope to festively decorate the kiosk with some simple crushed stone around its base — maybe arranging some beautiful potted plants on the tabletop and around its stable and heavy periphery — perhaps this Summer and into the Fall, this will be our funerary preparations for the kiosk before finally allowing myself to emotionally let go of a piece that never quite got beyond the prototypic stage — this might be a truly wonderful way to commemorate the short lifespan of this mysterious object that i’ve carried around with me from place to place, an object that has come to symbolize the weight of the personal information we carry around with us in life

its time for me to prepare

these are the last few months i will live with this bizarre physical manifestation of my memories, feelings and unnecessarily burdensome set of heavy experiences i still find myself hanging onto

i will be certain to document these last arrangements i make with the kiosk — i hope to focus on growing something positive and beautiful on, around and through the information booth — to evolve some of the confounded emotions and energies that remain into / toward a blossoming garden of new vegetal information for further maturation and growth and positive seed for the future

the theatre of Work, ReVisited

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back in 2009 when i still conducted critical design research for Dynamic Media Institute in Boston i decided to start up a presentation series aimed specifically at helping my greener friends coming into the industry with some of the basic challenges they might encounter along the journey of their profesional lives

i’ve encountered more than my fair share of interesting twists and turns in my rather adventurous career as an accomplished experience design professional — and some of the joys and tribulations of navigating the glorious terrain can benefit by simply continuously building a better and better understanding and awareness of the environments in which we need to perform

in delving into the digital archives of my mind i recently rediscovered a few slides appropriately titled the theatre of Work — survival tips for newcomers to the workForce

the theatre of Work

the phrase by itself starts to imply some of my subconscious views and feelings regarding: the social dynamics; the essential personal behaviors we need to exude while performing; and general feel of the landscape set up by the workaday world as a means of reaching toward success for ourselves and for the companies we work for

i am an experience designer and a performance artist

i never studied the theatre, which is an important key differentiator i need to continually remind myself of along the way

its also vitally important to have an unrelenting sense of self-awareness and continuous introspective reflection for the kind of trek we’re all on within ANY industry

just this hybrid mash-up between designer and artist can have extremely important internally conflicting motivations embedded within the very nature of each role

but anyhow, i digress { i just heard someone on blogging across the way stand up and scream, ‘DigreSsioN!’ ala that famous set of passages from A Catcher in the Rye ;] }

after living a little longer and experiencing a few more years of this life of work we all live and breathe, i believe i have even deeper, more profound wisdom to share than i originally intended by designing up a few slides for a future-such talk to be about workerly advice

i am therefore re-opening this thread of thought — copy-pasting the open Keynote file and the PSD folder from my portable harddrive back onto my current active MacBook Pro device to really start digging into what new significance i can bring to the table to help people navigate the choppy waters and hopefully not make all of the same foolish mistakes i’ve made along the way

i know my triathlon could’ve gone a LOT smoother so far had i just had proper mentorship or perhaps better personal self-awareness and more thoughtful empathy to guide me

but i’m an impatient clown, for the most part

i always want the impossible and i design to reach for the bluest of the bluest skies

i would be more of a fool, however, if i continue to noodle and clown without ever learning and growing for the journeys i’ve made — and i feel that if i share some of my story in a thoughtful and meaningful way it might actually make up for my own silly idiocies and hopefully make for a better overall experience for colleagues, friends, acquaintances and frenemies that even care to listen at this point

i need to focus on my storyFirst presentation out at Massachusetts College of Art for the next few weeks, but i also hope to put some time into this theatre of Work concept, too, as it is near and dear to my heart — i want to help people and give them better perspective and hopefully facilitate better and better experiences in the world through my designwork and my design leadership

but, until then — shove off, bitchez! ;]

 

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alone together

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Sherry Turkle has been researching and studying: technology; our relationships with technology; and our relationships with each other through technology — as an expert singularly focused on the fascinating psychology of technology, she’s been on the case for decades now — along the way she’s published her findings in the books:

needless to say, i’m one of her biggest fans

without her critical, observation-based body of psychological research at MIT in the psychology of Sciences, Technology and our Devices i do not think we’d have such a cohesive and thoughtful collective of intellectual material that really reports from the front-lines of these matters with such an objective sense of discovering the nuanced facts of the matter

i recently had the pleasure of coming out to the Boston Athenaeum to a promotional lecture for her most recent book Alone Together — and more than the talk itself, more than the questions and answers, i found the micro-conversation i had with Turkle to be the most intriguing part of the event

i eagerly waited in line with my friend’s book in hand for the author to sign — i wasn’t sure if i had the courage to bring it up, but i had an important question based upon some of the feelings and thoughts i personally experienced in the middle of reading Alone Together just months prior to this event — this seemed to be my only chance to find out if the author herself might have the same notions regarding the research she conducts as i was having regarding rather dark discoveries about the current state of humanity and our relationships with and through technologies

i finally got to the front of the line in this rather illustrious neo-classical, intellectual and academic library setting

Turkle asked who to make the signature out to and started to quickly ink in her John Hancock on the title page of the open book — and while she scribbled away the instant sentimentality of this anonymously scribed autograph, i started to ask my question — i described the personal horror i felt midway through the reading of Alone Together, these frightening discoveries and extremely deep philosophical questions that arose in me due to the very material of her critical research in the book that she wrote and was now in the middle of signing

here’s the gist of what i asked { in summary, as best as i can recall it at this point }:

i wanted to ask you about some thoughts that came to my mind in reading about sociable robotics — i found it fascinating, the kind of deep and real emotional relationships you described developing between people and machines — there was a section of the book, you visited these isolated, lonely elderly people in their retirement and care facilities and, after deciding that it might be difficult, if not impossible, for the elderly to enjoy the companionship and company of a real pet, such as a dog or a cat or some other small animal, you introduced the simulation of a pet into their living environment, this robotic seal

i think you reported that after introducing the seal to the elderly person and leaving it with them in their home, that it only took about a week for them to develop a real relationship with their new pet — although shy at first when talking with you in the company of the robotic seal, within the course of an hour you observed affectionate behavior and genuine interaction between the new owner and the seal

the owner conversed with the seal in the same way one might with a real pet and all of the ways in which they interacted with the robotic seal indicated that this simulation of being accompanied almost seemed good enough to introduce love, companionship and a reduced sense of loneliness with these elderly people living out the end of their lives

this, of course, brought up a ton of questions — some ethical, some psychological and some philosophical

the main question that came up for me might have something to do with the psychological nature of attachment, i’m not sure

but basically, i wondered — if it seems that easy for someone to form a genuine, human, loving relationship with a robotic seal, what does that say about our real relationships to each other as human beings? do we simply project and imagine love onto each other? are we, as the title of your book suggests { if only in very Freudian Slipped-like ways }, truly Alone Together?

Turkle finished signing the book and looked up at me, almost as if she were disgusted by my presence now, and replied:

No, no, no — that’s not what the book is about at all

and the conversation was over — she might as well have said, ‘NEXT!’ at that point because the book in front of her closed, she handed it back and we were simply done with these dark discoveries and intriguing philosophical questions i felt might at least be implied by Turkle’s oeuvre of critical research, perhaps even the more important and deeper meaning behind the surface of the kind of psychological self-analysis we’re all conducting now through the things we use to think with that are now the things we also feel with

i just put in an order for one of those robotic seals, should be coming in the mail any day now

i might just have a more empathic conversation with it than i did with Sherry Turkle

i heard it only takes less than a week to really get properly bonded with my new pet

seal

a box full of music, rose petals and seaShells

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last night i found a box in the basement, a treasure

as much as Marco and i buckled under the legal pressures brought on by our contractual relationship to XeXeX | OBLiViON back in the ’90s and stopped recording our beware the haberdash material on carefully planned, sequential schedule — we did move forward in our secret underground recording studio to capture that haberdash magic on tape to create a veritable bucketful of bootleggy sounds

only select tracks made it to any official releases over the years, however, as litigation got rather nasty and we both chose to focus on the positive experience of making music over fighting against ‘The Man’ every step of the way to merely preserve this rather eclectic and strange post-deathmen project we both still treasure to this day

so here you have it — the visually-designed artifactual remains of the overarching master gameplan for every pre-Sewingbox beware the haberdash release as envisioned and begun back in the late 1990s / early 2000s

deletedStreams | fetish object experience { memory }

an excerpt from deleted streams

 

 

fetish object experience at the arcade

 

My family and I often stopped off at Weirs Beach on Lake Winnipesaukee for a day or 2 prior to finishing off our summer vacations in Twin Mountains. The vibe at Weirs Beach was wonderfully seedy: Arcades; t-shirt and souvenir shops; minigolf; and greasy food shacks lined both sides of the main drag through town. I might’ve been 11 years old at this point and definitely more keenly aware of the relationship between visual form and desire. As a pre-teen, romantic curiosity in the opposite sex colored my experience of this New Hampshire beachside community.  

 

I had earned enough parental trust, after several summers of excellent behavior, to wander around on my own for a few hours at a time. Our hotel was only up the hill from all the action. Early evening offered up a nice array of tourists and locals for the purpose of peoplewatching, wandering and social interaction. 

 

Being a bit of a late bloomer, my shyness prevented me from getting into any real trouble — but even with my quiet presence and gentle exploration of such a fertile pandora’s box, all of the temptation associated with teenage wunderlust and the whirling counterculture of the ‘80s videogame arcades by the lake seemed to lure me in like a Siren on the shore.

 

Amidst the amber bright noise and beep-chirp chaos of one arcade — tucked behind the rows of pinball machines, a shooting gallery and myriad collections of stand-up games — I found ‘The Stripper’. Just the name of the game on the side of the black, verbotin cabinet started to quicken my pulse and create an inner heat that I was only beginning to understand. An oasis of sin inside an electronic Eden — the machine almost seemed to whisper softly to me, to send a sultry invitation. 

 

I looked around to see if anyone might be watching me as I approached ‘The Stripper’. Once I felt safe that my parents weren’t on secret reconaissance, I looked to see if any instructions might allude to illicit nudity and naughtiness implied by the name of the game. But look as I might, not a single instructional sticker or other related labelling revealed the deep, hidden secrets awaiting me. Another quick look left and right — and then I dropped a quarter in and peered deep into the 3-inch square opening to the visual display. 

 

An almost manual-sounding click turned on a projector and I could make out the figure of a scantily-clad ‘70s-looking pin-up within the dark interior of this awkward viewSpace. The pin-up moved in a circular fashion and after a few seconds, once my eyes adjusted to the motion and strangely-lit figure, I noticed the first target. The hunt was on. Instinct kicked in. I immediately knew what I needed to do. Grabbing the joystick controller, I started to aim for the target. Such a difficult task — and due to my excitement, the purely visual sexual stimulation, and the promise of what might be revealed once I hit the first shot — I found the task of shooting the image of this woman extraordinarily difficult, but weirdly natural.

 

After a solid 30 seconds or so I made my mark. The lights went out in an amazing no-fidelity manner and then quickly clicked back on to reveal the same female model, now lustfully re-posed and slightly more revealed — missing only one of the few original garments from the original pose. Again, the same hypnotic and manually-spinning motion made target number 2 nearly impossible to hit. 

 

My motivation ran high. How dirty could this machine get? How much would be revealed with each successful gunshot simulation? What new pose would the stripper turn or twist into next? Would anyone in the arcade want to stop me from my frenzied pursuit of crazy, uncontrolled, female nudity? 

 

Try as I might, I could only successfully shoot 3 or 4 targets in each stripper image series per gameplay. The visual equivalent of ‘first base’ at best. Occassionally, out of guilt or the fear of getting caught, I would move away from ‘The Stripper’ to play a round of Donkey Kong, Dragon’s Lair or some other ‘safe’ and socially acceptable videogame. But no matter how many times I returned to ‘The Stripper’ that year, I could never entirely undress the model down to her pure, luscious, and ultimately naked state.

 

 

Fast forward to the next summer at Weirs Beach. My best friend Tom Tripp came along with my Mom and I that year and I was determined to let him in on my ‘stick-‘em up’ activities with ‘The Stripper’ from last year. I mean, I didn’t talk about this strange machine on the carrride up or anything. But I knew it would come up as Tom and I wandered the arcades on the weirs. 

 

The first night, we wandered into the same bustling arcade and weaved our way back to this machine of lust and desire. I told Tom all about the game and let him at her. After a few shots, I noticed he started to follow an entirely different strategy. A seemingly better strategy. With just one quarter, Tom got 2 and a half models to take off all of their clothes! He probably saw more flesh through ‘The Stripper’ that night than I got to see through the entire previous summer. And what was Tom’s secret method? He just shot at the image in any random direction. He didn’t even bother to aim at the target. The faster and more chaotic he clicked, the better his chances of getting to ‘the next level’. 

 

The remaining details of these semi-conseceutive summers at Weirs Beach blur together a bit. Pizza, videogames, gokarts, fireworks, minigolf, the lake — all mixed-up and layered in a huge, messy memory document. Maybe the cartoonish exaggeration of pure, playful sexuality from this surreal videogame stands out despite the patina of time. Memory of ‘The Stripper’ reveals a delicate boundary — a subtle, broken membrane granting me the permission to explore my own honest, internal components. I seem to focus on the fragile economy of social dynamics — on fabricating stories ( through any medium ) to release tension and potentially open up a dialogue — new dialogues that might not happen without a crack in the ‘perfect’ surface world.

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brilliant little streaks a light ::..

driving through Boston @ night … capturing light w/ my digital camera + some purposeful jigglings … check it out … see if you like …

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photos for sound + texture

i took these shots over the weekend to capture some of the conceptuals for my Sound for Dynamic Media course ( taking it by night this summer as part of my grad work through The DMI ) … we started by capturing audio samples … then, the idea was to put image representation to the sound … and now, this week we need to have our first time-based ( video or video-like ) piece ( part 1 of 2 parts ) done by Wednesday …
my idea ( which came to me shortly after collecting the sound ) is to create some point-of-view visuals from the perspective of some creature … i’m thinking of making it all in Flash ( since my copy of AfterEffects was completely ass ) … i’m thinking a nice pinhole-like mask that moves about the screen … quick scurrying images w/ little stops + starts here + there … that’s the idea that i’m running with for now … of course, the titles of things come easier to me than the actual work ;] … so i was thinking of calling it something like automagicCreature # ( inserts #s 1 through whatever for the version # … or perhaps automagicCreature beta through versions 2.0 … something sort of software, semiSurreal, nice ‘n’ chocolatey ) …

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Design Seminar 2 » Blog Archive » one cozy minute of isolation

one cozy minute of isolation

By lou suSi March 4th, 2009

a crisp, saturday evening in autumntime

down in the fort point area of Boston, the mobius annual artrages fundraiser party takes over an entire floor of commercial space to create an atmosphere of surreal, unbound creativity — the crowd warms the space — the rawness of the space goes unnoticed as people walk through and enjoy the art installations, participatory music and performance art, roving performances, and the company of so many amazing, creative people — lights and sound cascade and echo across the hardwood floors — there is a sense of celebration, uncanny premeditation and a joy for the subconscious enjoyment of this ocean of possibility

the night sings of timelessness — suspension of clocks and watches — a quarternote of one moment

i am waiting in line — the half hour passes fairly quickly as i talk with the waiting people — there is an installation up ahead — conversation in the line compresses time even further — there are people to watch, performances to figure out and discuss, distractions and thoughts pouring in like sunlight

as i get closer i see a man in a dark suit — very much a sombre sight — serious and cleancut — either a bit of business is being conducted or there may be a funeral, i can’t quite figure it out — but he is opening and closing a wooden door { the door to the installation } — letting people in and out, one by one — he is pleasant enough, but tall and calm in demeanor

every once in a while there is another person — shorter, wider — dressed in overalls and a thermal shirt, workboots and a red and black plaid hunting hat — he seems to have tools and occasionally goes into the wooden space between the flow of the line — he’s a bit nervous, but all smiles —  almost a living contradiction to the suit

as i get closer i can see that the wooden door opens into an outhouse construction labeled with a large ‘#1’  above the door — the man in the suit talks to each person at the head of the line — he literally helps each person in and out of the installation — i can see each person being pulled up and out from behind the door — everyone that emerges from the installation seems happy, pleasant, a bit relaxed

i look at the artrages map — apparently the piece is called ‘claustrophillick enclosure #1’ — i am almost at the front of the line — people are wondering what’s inside

i finally get to the front of the line and the man in the suit welcomes me — he explains that one person is allowed in the space for exactly one minute — he warns that the space is tight and if i have any fear or phobia of being alone, enclosed in a tight space, then i may want to reconsider experiencing the enclosure

he opens the door, reaches in and helps a young woman get up and out of the space — the interior of the outhouse is lined with a pink, floral cushioning material — the woman stands up, readjusts to the light of the mainspace and moves to re-gather with friends at the party — the man then helps me curl up inside the womblike fabric of the inner space — as he closes the door i am completely alone, surrounded by darkness — it is warm — the scent is that of flowers, perhaps the previous visitor to the enclosure

since i am enveloped in pitch black — my attention is drawn immediately to a subtle soundtrack — no real music, or at least no instrumentation — just many sounds, a soundscape — water dripping — passing traffic — a jet flies by — little girls singing together — songs from a playground — hopscotch or jumprope comes to mind — a muffled heartbeat becomes the most overwhelming sound in the mix

the space is warm and soft — very accommodating

my eyes begin to grow accustomed to the dark — i see what looks like someone moving, directly in front of me — just the silhouette — a little scary — i am looking into a mirror — a mirror on a medicine cabinet that is clearly marked ‘PRIVATE’ — an image of an angel dangles from the edge of the cabinet — i am facing my reflection in the mirror of the medicine cabinet — i notice a sign that says ‘Open Me’ — i open the door to the cabinet and can see restroom signs, the symbols for ‘Men’ and ‘Women’ — between them is a small jar with a magazine clipping — the image of child inside the jar — just the child’s face — there is also another clipping that says ‘True Love’ — and then i notice a sign that says ‘Close Me’ { very reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland | Through the Looking Glass } — i close the medicine cabinet and quite suddenly the door opens up — the man in the suit asks me how i am doing, let’s me know my minute in the claustrophillick enclosure is up, and reaches down to help me exit the outhouse — my eyes hurt a bit as they begin to readjust to the light

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blogpost to Design Seminar 2 for The Dynamic Media Institute @ MassArt :: in response to Kevin Brooks’ session on Storytelling and Narrative …