05 12/11

machinic bodies

Tags: , , | Categories: art, digital media

A prosthetic body is one filled with artificial parts that complete or fix dysfunctional parts of that body. Prostheses are in the 21st century found commonly as inner replacements or enhancements that augment the body. They are not extensions nor autonomous from the body, though. They rather mingle with the body to the point of fusing indistinguishably from it. The prosthesis has acquired a natural character. A prosthetic body cannot be differentiated from a non-prosthetic one as the prosthesis is not externally designed. As the machine once did, today the prosthesis are lively beings.

Culturally, an artificial part played the role of an unwelcome aid; and it wasn’t considered beautiful, because that part was simply alien. Nowadays, beauty has to be augmented through implants and prosthesis. Beauty is defined by a prosthesis that is usually fully integrated into the body. Just as beauty-prosthesis, the technical media are blending with our skin. Their interfaces, we operate, are as sensible as if they were actual beings. Their hardware, body, is portable and is everywhere. We carry them with us as close as possible. We feel naked or uncompleted when they happen to be absence. These are the final steps to be inside the body, to blend the media with the body, and to take over the body. Soon we’ll be all populated by prosthesis.

13 10/11


Tags: , , | Categories: art, digital media, DIY

DIY encompasses the following propositions:

  • Self-made practices and text. The production and sharing of attitudes and materials is independent of those traditionally imposed by the mass media, namely, by one’s own initiative, own rhythm and way, comprising broadcast-, publish-, design-, and make-it-yourself. The content includes machinimas, game mods, video clips, photo galleries, narratives, news, knowledge, and art.
  • Persistently promotion and circulation across the open media. New tools are embraced to distribute media content. ‘Open media’ describes one single channel without contents. This empty channel is populated and fed by a multiplicity of collaborators. YouTube™, Wikipedia®, and Facebook® are examples of open media that oppose ‘closed media’ that are produced and distributed by one primary collaborator. The ideologies of ‘user empowerment’ and ‘democratization of media’ are permanently and simultaneously repeated by all collaborators of the media, and each member urges others to join, produce, and share.
  • Everything is susceptible of appropriation and becomes source material. During the 1980s and 1990s, postmodernism proclaimed the appropriation of whichever mass media contents happen to be available, generating a frenzied media bricolage [1, p.211]. The nature of source material has changed because of the ubiquity of tools used to capture the world and the ease of production of media content, made possible by digital photo cameras, video cameras, and blogs. Consumers are the source material of the open media; their lives, work, and leisure time are all part of this new content. The media has adapted itself to the logic of the source material.
  • There is no evident intervention of a specialist or a culture industry. Everyone is utterly amateur. There is a blind rejection of hierarchies as seen in professional/amateur relationships, ownership, and scholastic elitism. Although the open media certainly has owners and the tools are designed and produced by professionals, users are kept ignorantly indulged in the pleasure of self-production.

  1. Manovich, Lev. “Generation Flash”. New Media Old Media. A History and Theory Reader. Ed. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun and Thomas Keenan. 2006: Routledge, New York, NY. 209-18.

31 08/11

Pure Data convention 2011

Three weeks ago I attended the 4th Pure Data (PD) convention.  This time it was organised in Weimar and Berlin. The convention lasted one week and included conferences, workshops, concerts, and installations. The frame for the convention was Weimar, which has a name in art history: Goethe, Schiller, Bach, and the Bauhaus were there.

The conferences were technical oriented. The topics included the implementations, the developing of tools for PD, extensions to PD, and sound projects using PD. The workshops happened in the afternoon and there were for beginners and for experienced users. I took part in the beginners workshop, especially in the visual ones as GEM for beginners, GLSL, and Understanding the PD Data Structures. The concerts were scheduled in the evening; they were amusing, exciting, and inspiring. Although I enjoyed most of them I got impressed by the works of Chikasi Miyama, Hsin-jen Wang, Jinyao Lin, Oscar Martin (Noish), Cyrille Henry and Nicolas Montgermont, Dan Wilcox, and Onyx Ashanti. From my point of view, these were the most aesthetically refined works. They depict too a wide range of expressions to be found in contemporary digital/electronic art. An impression of each concert could be got at the convention website. Finally, from the installations I would like to highlight Tafel by Alexandre Castonguay, Cymatic Imprints by Donna Legault, and Concerto para Lanhouse by Giuliano Obici. They all graciously combined machinic poetry and ingeniousness which made me wonder if I weren’t in a Gibsonian reality.

A small bite of what happened in Weimar could be listen to below.

Chikashi Miyama.Black Box. Record of a live performance in the 4th PD Convention 2011. Weimar, Germany. Duration: 7:17
[audio:http://www.pktweb.com/drnn1076/sound_works/black_box_(Chikashi Miyama)_PDcon_weimar_2011.mp3]

02 08/11

Digital Media Morality

‘Become mediocre’ is the only morality that makes sense. [qtd. 1, p.22]

Become spectacular is the only morality that makes sense
Become consumed is the only morality that makes sense
Become pictured is the only morality that makes sense
Become green is the only morality that makes sense
Become transparent is the only morality that makes sense

How could then be described the morality of our days?
It is said that a healthy and progressive modern society is that one with a large middle class to produce consumption. The middle class is a vast collection of people whose social relations are mediated by consumption. These mediations are materialized in different kind of objects like images, products, and trends. Today we have a mediation of second order. The digital media have first co-opted all other channels to be informed of new trends; second they have challenged the products as mediators of social status; finally in the digital media are produced all the images of the spectacle we live in. The morality of today is shaped in the digital media. But still, how could it be described?

  1. Berman, Marshall. All that is solid melts into air: the experience of modernity. London, UK: Verso. 1983.

08 04/11

Topografias at Festival Internacional de la Imagen

My most recent work, Topografías, has been selected for presentation in the Media Art show at the coming X Festival Internacional de la Imagen in Manizales, Colombia.

Topografías is a collection of 6 videos, of approx. 2 minutes length each, in DVD-video. This work explores the hybrid territories in the moving image through the manipulation and mix of live-footage with graphics of topographic representations and digital video defects (artifacts and glitches). The hybrid character in the outcome eliminates the spatio-temporal and narrative references of the source material to centre the attention upon its unreal and artificial aspect. For each sound, a machine composed of modulators and oscilloscopes was made. All sounds were recorded in real-time and improvisatory sessions.

This series of videos and the final piece in DVD-video was developed using exclusively free software, under GNU/GPL licenses. Codecs and containers for audio and video are free, too. The platform for production was openSUSE; video editing, mix, and composting was made in Kdenlive and Avidemux, and oscilloscope machines were built on Pure Data. All source files are available for downloading at Topografías.

02 02/11

Footage appropriation

Tags: , , | Categories: art, digital media, DIY

ap-pro-pri-ate, adj., v.

1.  -adj. particularly suitable; fitting; compatible: remarks appropriate to the occasion.
2.  -v.t. to set apart for a specific purpose or use: to appropriate funds for an environmental study.
3. to take to or for oneself; take possession of.
4. to take without permission; expropriate.

[1515-25; < LL approopriātus, ptp of appropriāre to make one’s own = L ap– ap-‘ + –propriāre, v. der. of  propious one’s own].

ap-pro-pri-a-tion, n.

1. the act of appropriating.
2. anything appropriated for a special purpose, esp. money authorized to be paid from the public treasury.

[1325-75; ME (< MF) >LL]

Abbreviation key LL: late Latin; ME: middle English; MF middle French.
Source: Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. McGRAW-HILL Edition, 1991.

24 09/10

4 movements of 12 colours in procession

Tags: | Categories: art, digital media

Cedeño Montaña, Ricardo. 4 movements of 12 colours in procession. 2010. Processing

Source codes: first movement, third movement, four movement, second movement

11 09/10

Open Art Open Design

Today the production and distribution tools for media have to be free and open. Free and open software have brought a new perception towards these tools. Steadily, we leave pyramidal and individual forms of ownership and production in media to openly share materials, ideas, and procedures in social surfaces without centres. To embrace collaborative forms of production is a breakthrough in media (art, design, and production). Free software allows collective knowledge and aesthetic to surface. These expressions have been largely, neglected by close and feudal tools because they are thought as poor quality. We’ve been conveniently convinced that only the industrial and formal knowledge in media production is proper. This idea has pervaded the media arts and the designs as they remain mainly focused on spectacle and effects.

Knowledge has to run free across the very media. People have to remember how to collaborate if we are to change our world. But digital media are meant to fragment and to be used by mere machine bureaucrats in a state of frenzy consumption. Artists and designers! WE have the duty to denounce and expose this. WE need to defranchise the production of images, narratives, experiences, and objects. WE have to believe it is possible to overcome to supremacy of the bureaucrat system with single ideas and single tasks. WE ought to appropriate these tools before they appropriate us. WE need to fight the self-referential trend of the open media, if WE are to see the variety of the possible. WE need to open art and design and a first step to free art and design.

26 08/10

are you popular?

Popular is to be consumed.

Popular is to be comfortable.

Popular is to be right in the middle.

Popular is to be standard.

Popular is to be in.

10 05/10

Machines fracture flows

Tags: , , | Categories: art, digital media, machine

A machine may be defined as a system of interruptions or breaks.[1, p.36]

Every machine is part of system of machines and all of them integrate a constant current. This current has no starting point nor end, it is just a collection of connections that flows. Thus, a machine is perceived through the fractures it creates in a flow. The fractures frame discreet portions of the flow, therefore machines have inputs and outputs (other flows), and in the middle a particular flow is processed. If there is something to say about a machine is that it fractures a collection of flows. A machinic attitude in media must then make evident the fractures rather than to hide them.

To interrupt click over and move your mouse

  1. Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 1983