Tag Archives: cyberSurreal

‘Volcadas con Silla’ by Courtney Brown

Courtney Brown performs 'Volcadas con Silla' at provocative.objects

suSi Sie { showReeL }

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our data

maggots

our data lives like insects inside our machines

you can hear the little scratchy sounds of them skittering about inside when you’re looking for a file or for some new meaning

we collect them — we store them — we trust they’ll serve us in some way

but in the end its all simply meaningless, just an unfortunate silly game

 

it really works

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another satisfied user of the Sleep App

it really works

the Sleep App

are you still having trouble with terrible bouts of insomnia?

its totally exhausting, right? and it can totally make life difficult — slowing your ability to be happy and productive at the office — without adequate sleep, its just difficult to be your best and just get through your typical, super-important workday

boy oh boy, you sleepless fiends of The Information Age, we have just the cure specially designed and developed just in time to meet your nighttime resting needs

now, thanks to the miracles of modern technology

there’s an app for that

introducing the Sleep App

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that’s right — there’s no need to waste your time at the end of a long, long day manually counting sheep in your head — there’s no need to even bother with biopharmaceutically-proven but pesky and potentially addictive medications to getchya sleep on any longer

the Sleep App does all of the painful,
human-numeric brainGame counting and calculations for you

leveraging advanced neuroscience brainwave stimulation and modern differential equation 4D projections of sheep — little baby sheep jumping over a little hill in the natural, grassy knolls of your mind — you and your brain almost immediately lose consciousness and delve deeply into luxurious REM-state, restful, dreamy sleep

available for native app downloads for iOS and Android smartphone and tablet devices, the Sleep App is the gift that keeps on giving you just what you’ve needed for the last 2 decades — that’s right, the gift of fucking sleep

download the Sleep App today from The App Store or GooglePlay — its supposedly free, but its really a freemium product with extra premium features you’ll need to pay to upgrade to for features like: advanced sleep analytics; special wet dream simulator add-ons, complete with unconscious happy endings without the real mess of just spankin’ it; and brand new, bleeding-edge, dream-data and sleep virus protection, just in case you still believe in any sense of privacy

the Sleep App

we’ll put you to sleep and make your dreams come true

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don’t forget

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the wheel
is an extension of the foot
the book
is an extension of the eye
clothing, an extension of the skin,
electric circuitry,
an extension of
the
central
nervous
system

The Medium is The Massage, Marshall McLuhan

i think we can all interpret these effects, as McLuhan calls them, in various extremes, dimensions, and ways

one way i interpret some of our extensions as influenced by books like The Body has a Mind of Its Own and The Moving Body: Teaching Creative Theatre is that in some way, the tools we use become a part of us, and likewise the other way, too — we become part of the tools we use

i specifically think of the performance art and new media works of the Australian artist Stelarc — in his piece called Muscle Memory { seen in the image included in this post, below }, the artist installs himself into a robotic, spider-like structure that augments and extends his physical abilities as a human being through this strange, science fiction-like machine contraption

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a question i think about a LOT recently is — well, what’s so controversial and different about this performance and the gadgetry involved and, let’s say, the average commuter driving to work at 6:34 AM?

in the case of Stelarc’s Muscle Memory, the artist demonstrates the sheer power and new capabilities afforded the machine operator to an audience in a gallerySpace — its a performance and a demonstration, and its very future-forward and cyberSurreal and interesting in a way that might inform the audience in both a positive and negative way — we might be able to very obviously see how Stelarc, now living and breathing within the confines of this ginormous metal robot, might start to behave, well, like a ginormous metal robot — he, in many ways, becomes the machine, and he learns and adapts and adjusts to both the new things he can do with it while simultaneously sacrificing his own human experience along the way — or, maybe i’m thinking far too much like a transitional, if that’s even a term — i’m not sure that he evolves in any literal way by using the robotic equipment as part of his Muscle Memory performance piece, but his discussions on the topic of this Singularity between man and machine, the combination of the biological and the technological extensions of the previously nearly-pure physical human form, put us in the typical uncanny valley of confrontational wonderment — what does this all mean for us as human beings — will we all need to put on a robotic suit in the near future to perform our on-the-job tasks and assignments? or are our human capabilities ‘man’ enough to get the job done? perhaps it depends upon the line of work you’re in, not sure though, but i’m sure we’ll find out in 10 to 15 years

now let’s take the case of driving to work in the morning — i embed myself into my maroon Honda Accord every morning and drive from Boxford to Waltham every day and i would like to argue that while i am in the car i actually become the car — i adopt the personality, the feelings and the mentality of driving to work, at least for 40 minutes to an hour, twice a day — and, depending on traffic and the flow of traffic and other automobiles on the highway as i drive down Route 95 South, and depending on my mood as a human being now living and breathing as a wetware organ beating inside the machine like a nearly obsolete heart of meat, i act quite differently than i normally do when we talk face-to-face in the office or when i’m at home playing with my son or my grandchildren on the floor — i really think i can become the car in a very literal way, at least if you let yourself follow the subconscious flow of desire that stands in front of you like the temptress you know she is

let’s say you’re in a hurry and you know that if you stay in your conscious state as a person sitting at the wheel that you’ll get to work in about an hour and 15 minutes — not bad, not bad

but why not trust you’re own muscle memory as a driver, as a commuter that’s gotta get shit done, as a worker bee that’s gotta shake the tree and make the magic happen today, ya know? that care now becomes far more than a mere vehicle for rapid movement across a peripherally streaked landscape of trees and jersey barriers and guardrails flying by at 80 miles an hour

that’s right, think about it

from a human-centered perspective, you’re not really moving at all — in fact, you may move here and there, adjust the ball of your foot to move from brake to gas, click the direction into the left position to send a signal to the 20 people behind you as you course like blood through the body that is the highway, but for the most part you’re parked solid and still on your ass, sunk into a quite comfortable chair that let’s you command your magic journey some 30 to 50 miles away from where you live

if you let go a bit and begin to think and behave like the car, you start to decipher new rules of the road that can be leveraged to your advantage — little openings in the flow of traffic beckon you to quickly shift lanes and push ahead of the losers driving slowly in the passing lane to the left — sure, they’re supposed to pass you, but for whatever reason the first and second lanes are wide open and you can make better progress by ignoring the implicit rules of the road — let’s get moving, right? and so on, and so forth

your a little less human when you drive, and more like the pilot of a zombie robot that’s bolting to the office, zipping in and out of the lanes that help you make it all happen

the wheel is an extension of the foot is what McLuhan said in the original quote from The Media is the Massage, but i beg to differ

with our newly adapted and evolved modern lives and our commonplace daily use of machines and devices like cars and trains and other vehicles, the person becomes and extension of the automobile — we become the force that operates a vehicle such as a car, a forklift or an airplane — we become a reverse-extension of it, or them, and we do all the adjusting and discover the new terrains now opened up by our technological progress

i’m not sure where that leaves us as human beings

but i think we should all exercise, at times, a little more conscious awareness and control over our newly-extended selves

cyberSurrealism is about looking at the self by psychoanalyzing the human element through our cybernetic machine influence back on the wetware components of our society — how do our machines change our behavior? how do they then influence: our culture; our interactions with each other as people; and our capabilities on a more holistic scale? as certain capabilities improve, is it inevitable for us to lose other very valuable skills and qualities as human beings? and, in all of this, these thoughts and experiments and explorations through progress and innovation, do we still have any control whatsoever over the evolution and invention of the tools we create and use? or do these things almost subconsciously invent themselves now? how do we keep focusing on the valuable potentials of these human ingenuities and foster more humanly helpful technologies and progress? and most importantly, what the fuck does 4G mean? 

American Cheese: the musical

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the official exhibition catalog for American Cheese: an introspection is now up and available on both Blurb and ISSUU to view or purchase

although i had no original intention to put American Cheese into its own official exhibition catalog, i feel pretty good about how it came together — all the writing came from a piece i wrote for DMI’s The Experience of Dynamic Media

the magical seaShell orb

seaShellOrb

a spherical system of tiny seaShells

originally hovering in the center of the Pooka Lounge like some sort of oceanic surveillance device at forensicEvidence at MassArt’s Bakalar Gallery for the 2011 MFA Thesis Show III

then later hovering in the center of our living room for months and months on end

now, the crown upon the First Annual cyberSurrealism Award for Human Advocacy

introducing uxcSi

The comic is concerned with the ugly in one of its manifestations: ‘If it [ what is ugly ] is concealed, it must be uncovered in the light in the comic way of looking at things; if it is noticed only a little or scarcely at all, it must be brought forward and made obvious, so that it lies clear and open to the light of day … In this way caricature comes about.’

Sigmund Freud quoting Kuno Fischer from Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious

Kuno Fischer once said that ‘A joke is a playful judgment’. But, as we all know by now, not all jokes are truly funny.

As a means to reflect on some of the interesting decisions made as part of the supposed user-centered design process — I will examine the qualitative evidence, the trail of certain key stories in user experience design, as filtered through the medium of humor, parody and caricature, as a means to tell interesting stories from my perspective. Although I plan to implement a lot of playful judgment along the way, I have a slight variation on how to define the word joke.

In the case where the term joke refers to actually telling a joke — I see it more like this:

A joke is a philosophical attempt to share a certain ugly or horrific truth. Delivery of a joke normally happens in a one-to-many manner — either through publication in a humorous book of jokes or in a typical stand-up comedy venue whereby a professional comedian delivers this philosophical ugly truism to a live, present audience. We tell jokes almost everyday in a more casual way, sometimes on a one-to-one method of delivery. Successful jokes do not always necessarily result in laughter from the listener or receiver of the message, although it is oftentimes the intent of the joke teller to inspire mirth, smiles or genuine laughter from their given audience. Jokes result in laughter when the truth being exposed hits a universal tone with the audience, even if the vibe of the joke is truly more horrific than light. The term Black Humor as coined by the Surrealist André Breton exposes the subconscious underpinnings to this extremely dark side of our human nature.

So, all that said, in the spirit of playful judgment and seasoned self-reflection — I am establishing a semi-fictional organization called uxcSI as a means to explore case studies in user-centered design processes everywhere to unveil some of the truths behind some of the less successful UX initiatives and see why things really went wrong.

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The model, of course, follows that established by the ubiquitous telepresence of shows like CSI: Miami, House, NCIS, Law and Order, Grey’s Anatomy and other extremely formulaic trauma dramas that now make us all into experts of forensic science and criminal investigation. I mix in the more medically oriented soap operas of the evening here to emphasize the lack of imagination and reliance of templatized and mass produced television jism for mass moneyshot distribution into the open eyes of America. We the people sit and watch these shows like some new religion. Call it obsession. We want to know the truth. There are mysteries to solve, cases to open and re-open and hopefully eventually close. We are all seeking justice or closure of some sort. Hollywood seems to know this. They tap on our desires like little apps in the night. And all we seem to need is a three-letter acronym and some predictable, comforting pattern of how to crack the case within the course of an hour.

But, if you hadn’t noticed yet, as each case is closed another always opens. Its a neverending investigation. And such is the life of a person like me that sees his profession in user experience design through the eyes of Horatio Cane. Yes, part of my job as a Senior UX Innovation Architect and Investigative Research Consultant is very much about bad acting, sunglasses and cheesy parlays of hypothetical answer chasing fun. I am very much like David Caruso, bad actor extraordinaire. Just add 150 pounds and some serious Italian inflection, thinking hairline and a New England accent that wont quit it and there ya go.

So, the domain is purchased, the logo is set { at least in its first iteration }, a website is on the way. Everything happens for a reason. We all have a special purpose. And we all have stories that involve playful judgment, do we not? I think its time to share these stories. After all, sharing is caring, right?

what meat desires

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by now we all know exactly what meat desires