Tag Archives: information

on wearables and beyond


and with wearables, virtual reality, augmented reality, holographic technologies we become even more immersed as human beings into the strange cyberSurreal otherSpace — a betweenSpace in our spectrum of new and ever-expanding realities — that exist between: the natural world we were born into; the artificial worlds we create; and the evolving technological realm of an alternative set of subconscious realities that our inventions open up to us ( both in realSpace + time as well as in cyberSurrealSpace + time )

for the machines — we become the wetware accompaniment to the technoHumanic symphonies developed through both our extensions and their extensions — whether purposefully created and developed or perhaps even unintentionally built mechanisms to escape our natural environmental context

at first these inventions allowed humankind to survive the elements — to brave and rise above the threats, the harsh realities of Nature

in fact, even the belief systems we invent, such as language, religion, mathematics, psychology and Science, to some degree, act as other tools to help us dominate the unexplainable phenomena of the universe that feel stacked up against us

these become methods for our survival at first

through measurement, logic, reason, discovery, explanation and blind faith — we get to reframe our existence toward an imagined superiority and rulership over everything we experience in life

but now the evolution of these tools into unexplored areas within — areas that reside within the subconscious, invented realities of our belief systems and our technological augmentations beyond the powers of Nature — these have become addictive forces that unfortunately begin to rule over our humanity

at this point, we are no longer able stop our continuing urge to technologically advance and ‘evolve’ ourselves

its become an addiction — an addiction that gets the full financial and emotional support from our official governments and corporations — after all, vast economic promise depends on the  hot streaming ever-inventive production and output of ‘the new’

but we no longer need to invent new tools for survival — at least not those of us born into the privilege and supposed leisure that The First World offers up to humanity

our escape from Nature and the feeling of sovereignty we fabricate through our tools, inventions and technologies now seem to only encourage a disconnectedness from our larger contexts within the world and within a greater holistic and collective sense of our humanity

the otherSpace we create tends to consume us

we subconsciously travel in our ethereal, cerebral thinking so very far away from those aspects of our social animal selves

we are distracted from, perhaps, a bigger purpose

how can we better channel our energies to best serve this bigger purpose?

i am not advocating for a suppression of our inventions through Science and technology

i’m just hoping we can leverage them — and the passion and energies that go into these sorts of development efforts — to optimize the larger, collective human experience of people all around the world

products like the Apple Watch distract us from working towards the greater good that we could potentially provide to our brethren world citizens

products like the Apple Watch feel superfluous, unnecessary and more for the benefit of companies, surface economies and governments than for the majority of actual people



and ultimately unimportant in comparison the grander potential of what we can all be offering the world at this point in time

our data


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


from the spiritual to The Machine Age and back again


my previous post here made a comment on an interesting quotation from the Bauhaus artist and philosopher László Moholy-Nagy about a temporal and experiential transition within our history of humanity from a previous era of transcendental spiritualism to a Machine Era

once again, a detail from this quote from Moholy-Nagy says:

To be a user of machines is to be of the spirit of this century.

… which, to me, doesn’t feel much-like a human spirit at all

as far as i know from reading up on him, Moholy-Nagy joined the Bauhaus as an practicing artist and educator promoting new practices working toward a more intense integration between what we consider traditional Art and the fields of Science, Industry and Technology { which frankly seems to me to be a return to the originally more unified forces between the Arts and Sciences one might recall from other periods in Art History like The Italian Renaissance, for instance — nothing new, really — a rebirth or return to a more unified conceptual feeling toward all of The Creative and Expressive Arts }

here’s more about the artist’s involvement with The Bauhaus according to Wikipedia:

In 1923, Moholy-Nagy replaced Johannes Itten as the instructor of the foundation course at the Bauhaus. This effectively marked the end of the school’s expressionistic leanings and moved it closer towards its original aims as a school of design and industrial integration.

so, as much as we could interpret the full Moholy-Nagy quote from my previous blogPost as perhaps being interestingly facetious in some way, perhaps knocking this transition from the previous era of a more directly-human transcendental spiritualism to a new era whereby humankind must reach the spiritual by becoming a user of machines — a Freudian Slip, perhaps? — i think Moholy-Nagy, instead, meant to state something more positive about this transition into the spirit of this century as mediated through our machine inventions

but we no longer live in The Age of Machines

we’ve transcended the previous epochal trends once again

we’ve moved from a time-trend of inventing and manufacturing the tools to self-ascend us into our new levels of spiritual progress to what we all deal with on a daily basis

welcome to The Information Age

we now worship data

if moving from a transcendental spiritualism to a new century of the spiritual machines distanced us from a more direct sense of the human spirit — the new trend to put both the economic value and previously-humanistic spiritual emphasis on the very meta-material of information pulsing and moving through our machines, our inventions, our devices as a second level of removal from the more mystical and original sense of our spirit reduces everything down to the over-simplified perspective that the entire natural-born universe can be entirely predicted through quantifiably measurable and humanly-understandable means

which, of course, we know is complete horseshit

despite our obsessive-compulsive and rather futile attempts to, quite literally, scientifically dissect and analyze the mystery and wonder of our universe to data-death — we, as a holistic, collective human organism — with all of our slowly-evolving new scientific powers to comprehend everything we encounter in life through logic, reason and mathematics — still very much face the ultimate crazy, chaotic entropy and relative unreason of a universe that is bigger and better than all of our meager endeavors to even think we can control our mutual destiny

we may be able to shape the destiny of humanity

but we should know by now that our efforts to completely comprehend and literally control our destiny as people on a planet in our universe is quite simply beyond the realistic control of mere mortal men and women

and i think we now need to think of better ways to work with the universe instead of continually pushing for further and further removal from the spiritual core of the universe in which we all live and can never, ever control or escape

we can only influence our destiny in some way

and the universe in its subtle and beautiful ways seems to be asking us as unwilling participants in our natural-born environment to behave a little nicer and maybe follow some of the rules of the universe without so much resistance to who we really are as participants in The Bigger Picture of everything

more about machines and data and spiritualismafter these messages … 



The reality of our century is technology: the invention, construction and maintenance of machines. To be a user of machines is to be of the spirit of this century. Machines have replaced the transcendental spiritualism of past eras.

— László Moholy-Nagy


an interesting quote from László Moholoy-Nagy — the Hungarian painter and photographer as well as a Bauhaus artist and educator that advocated the integration of technology and industry into the arts

of course in the quote above Moholy-Nagy speaks of The ‘Modern’ Twentieth Century, an era that heavily focused on celebrating { and counting on } our new technological inventions as the new obsessive means and universal answer to any challenges we might be facing in the natural { and transitioning } world as human beings

if, as Moholy-Nagy states in the quote, ‘Machines have replaced the transcendental spiritualism of past eras’ — then what are we currently experiencing as the current replaced psychoSocial dynamics of our day in this grand Age of Information?


..:: datamummification + madness ::..


Judith Donath stopped in at Media Tech Tonic sponsored at MassArt’s The Dynamic Media Insitute to discuss The Sociable Media Group’s latest exhibit ‘Connections’ at The MIT Museum. A lot of amazing work … I checked out some of the people involved in the project work earlier in the day … specifically looking deeper into some of the previous work in visualization and interface design. I particularly enjoyed Alex Dragulescu’s ‘Spam Architecture’ as I had previously attempted to approach the topic of troublesome eMeddlings in my own ‘Operation Enduring Email’ …

but seriously folks … the jist of the discourse tonight centered around a new ‘new media’ twist on the concept of portraiture … excellent lecture, fantastic work all around … i especially loved the participatory installation ‘metropath(ologies)’ … such a dream project for me … the overflow of information projected on a cityscape model, a veritable maze of data + architecture to get lost in … amazing work + the best of the collection shown at the talk … i gotta get down there + check it out

i’ve digressed once again … so, back to portraiture … a quick whirlwind history of the portrait as an artform … a golden bust of royalty from greco-roman times, renaissance-painted realism complete with symbolic items and less idealized facial features, 20th century cubistic renditions capturing a more abstract essence of Picasso’s art dealer, and for the 21st century …

the portrait of the micromoment involved feeds from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Seesmic and other multivariate social networking sites the your modernday eCitizen gladly pours information into with feverish up-to-the-minute details about the minutae of our daily lives … ‘Data Portraits’ took the unsuspecting tweets of the twitterverse to create a portrait visualization of each user … words { the smallest common denominator allowing some balance between private and public exposure } from the user | participant’s tweetstream make up the outline of head, neck and shoulders … words on the left are from recent tweets, words along the right of the datahead silhouette are the most-used throughout your tweetstream history … the words of each portrait pop forth from the black backdrop muchlike a smooth data-persona tagcloud, quite literally outlining your wordstream of the moment for you

what strikes me the most about these linear-textual gestural snapshots is the cocoonlike and ghostly bodily presence of each figure … there’s also a wonderful sense of swirling … the words seem to envelope or mummify a preset human form … besides certain key words that pop out { i am guessing the word size follows the same sort of rules of frequent use that most tagcloud methodologies implement }, there is little differentiation from portrait to portrait … the shape of the head, neck and shoulders remains the same … and the words simply outline or ‘contain’ the previously human form

at first i thought that the datamummification might be a purposeful artisitic and aesthetic choice … i don’t think i get the sense that my portrait would look that much different than anyone else as far as physical attributes are concerned … same height, same weight, same shape, same lack of eyes, mouth, ears and hair … you are your words in these portraits … you are the ghostly echo-trace of your micro-bloggings … a bit sobering … a little scary … and unless you are lucky enough to have micro-entered some emotionally-laden and unique words over the last year or so, you are just as unique as everyone else on Twitter …

part of me wants to think these implications are an intentional affect of the visualization as portraiture … and if nothing else, perhaps we can see this as a subconscious expression of the artists involved … maybe there is no true participatory auto-magical means to create this sort of portrait … or perhaps the effect is completely intentional … a statement about machine-produced { app-influenced } human behavioral modificationthe media we use shapes our behavior, and now we quite literally all itch to tell it all right now … a sort of electronic OCD …

another memorable concept that came up tonight was the notion of ‘pure knowledge’ … an amazing question from the crowd mentioned Elie Weisel’s Zalmen, Or the Madness of God … in the book a person comes to know God, but not as the bearded, old white guy in the clouds oft-depicted by Michelangelo … but instead as the concept of ‘pure knowledge’ … the question specifically asked tonight had to do with the current proliferation of information ‘out there’ for all of us to access and whether or not we, as humanity, are reaching a moment of ‘pure knowledge’ … my own answer to this concept delves into questioning ‘knowledge’ … information is not knowledge … accumulation of datapoints provides no higher wisdom to the individual or to society at large … consuming data alone, collecting data does not translate into knowledge or a deeper understanding … in fact, my personal belief is that knowledge and wisdom are not even closely related … and neither can ever be thought of as ‘pure’ …