Visualising my interpretation

The sketch shows two diagrams each visualising the data being destroyed. Both root from the same source – a webpage which allows multiple-users to upload any file format. These files are either broken down into a ‘wave-form’ of binary which is used as the source from which the visualisation is taken, or else simply the size and date (or other easily accessible data) is taken from the file to inform the visualisation process.

The two routes visualise the data in different but related ways – both use bubbles which can be said to represent the cloud. This cloud like aspect can be increased or reduced depending on what is finally decided to be important.

The real-world example shows an arduino receiving data from the webpage – this data controls the flow of gas (helium?) and liquid (some bubble-making liquid) through a motorised valve-head. Basically the larger the files the larger the bubbles made. Once the bubble has been made the data is removed from the database, and from that second on only remains as an entity until the bubble bursts.

The online example shows a similar idea but is represented through coding. People can view the webpage so see what files are currently being uploaded / bursting. Perhaps some ghost of the orginal file could remain for people to interact with while the bubble still exists – e.g. on mouseover a faint image of the original source file could be seen within the bubble. Perhaps some bubbles could merge to form mega-bubbles that exists for brief moments before bursting.

Process: Mashup Reincarnate

The basic idea is to take file junk, put it into a blender that outputs everything in its raw binary state, and use that data mashup as the source for something new. Producing the new from the old would be done by passing the mashup through a software application that makes sense of it as a visual / audio feed which can then be presented somewhere before the data is discarded permanently.



This webpage contains an app written by Ryan Westafer that converts binary files into images:

I’ve dropped him a line.

Shows the png and the source txt files

A broad and interesting overview of ‘binary’.


Group Discussion Summary: 30 July

A succinct summary from todays Skype conversation. Seems like we are getting somewhere as a group. I’ve had to edit it. Hope I havent been one-sided. Please dont hesitate to edit it if you feel the need.

 [30/07/2012 15:01:00] Katrine: I really liked the thought about all the stuff that goes up into the cloud and is hardly ever viewed.

[30/07/2012 15:06:16] Eduardo Silva: Ben had a brilliant idea last chat, to create an art gallery which will die in 1 year.

[30/07/2012 15:07:36] justinlogue89: i think we also need to take into account how we can collaborate on this as we are all in different countries.

[30/07/2012 15:10:43] Kiers: On the subject of artworks with a lifespan, perhaps you already know about these Normally they are destroyed after a year (the buddhist ones)

[30/07/2012 15:10:59] Katrine Granholm: also there is the issue of copies and backups.

[30/07/2012 15:15:33] sneja_d: yes but if it disappears after a year ? or earlier?

[30/07/2012 15:16:44] Kiers: perhaps it is recorded into something else that also has a year lifespan but which is visually different from its parent like an event being recorded as a sculpture being recorded as a soundfile being recorded as a photo etc etc

[30/07/2012 15:19:54] sneja_d: I like the idea of mutating from one state to another  …without disappearing completely

[30/07/2012 15:21:20] justinlogue89: it is important to keep the original. it is a reference point to how art was created in the past and without it we wouldn’t develop in my opinion. artworks from history are essential to develop an create for the future

[30/07/2012 15:22:50] Katrine Granholm: but can you really even talk about originals when you are creating something digital – an exact copy with no data loss is the same isn’t it?

[30/07/2012 15:23:20] Katrine Granholm: we can make something that reincarnates 😀

[30/07/2012 15:27:37] Kiers:

[30/07/2012 15:28:48] Katrine Granholm: that’s cool – what if we could take all the lost and forgotten data and change it into new digital experiences.

[30/07/2012 15:30:41] justinlogue89: well this idea of keeping the things that aren’t needed seems to be something we can all relate to. physical objects and digital. giving a new life or purpose to these could be interesting – reincarnating their function.

[30/07/2012 15:31:45] Katrine Granholm: Maybe we should use all our old data for the project then?

[30/07/2012 15:31:46] sneja_d: Give a soul to mishapps

[30/07/2012 15:34:00] Kiers: Wouldnt we be adding more stuff to the cloud and then forgetting about it all over again at a later date? Dont want to rain on the parade but I dont see that as sustainable – we are doubling the amount of crap rather than reducing it.

[30/07/2012 15:36:50] Katrine Granholm: it would be best if we erased the original crap after giving it new life i guess

[30/07/2012 15:38:23] Eduardo – you choose yourself what you want to put into the project – but whatever goes in should be deleted.

[30/07/2012 15:38:53] justinlogue89: will we actually delete things? Can we bring ourselves to do it is the question

[30/07/2012 15:39:14] Kiers: Its not an act of sustainability unless we delete what we donate.

[30/07/2012 15:39:43] sneja_d: No copy should be kept.

[30/07/2012 15:40:09] Katrine Granholm: but you could start by contributing stuff that you know you can delete – like a digital yardsale

[30/07/2012 15:40:26] Kiers: Perhaps we strip out the digital data from the files in order to equalise all donated formats, and then visualise that raw digital data somehow – perhaps pass it through a sound filter, or video filter or something

[30/07/2012 15:44:39] justinlogue89: once something has been appropriated and used, it is recycled, the unwanted file deleted and that the mutation and evolution of it.

[30/07/2012 15:45:59] Kiers: I like the idea of passing the raw binary data from these files through some filter and out the other end pops a video or sound file, that way we can use any digital format. It neednt output all the raw data in a single kit – it could evolve as people add more data to it. perhaps the visualisation isnt recorded – its a live stream – the only piece of data written onto the server is the filter program – once it has used up the data it is automatically deleted. We are watching the decay and ultimately the death of our data.

[30/07/2012 15:50:20] Eduardo Silva: yes its more contributive art, very good idea 🙂

[30/07/2012 15:52:06] Ola: So all files loaded will be automatically deleted or filtered to another file format (video or audio)?

[30/07/2012 15:54:56] justinlogue89: how are things going to be filtered into another file format?

[30/07/2012 15:55:40] Kiers: Justin – to jump across formats we need to reduce everything to raw binary data, pass it through some filtering process and then output into whatever we decide – audio / video / image etc. We need to find some app that eats everything. actually I think we can begin by reducing every file to its code by reading it in a text viewer then output that as binary. then we have to begin rebuilding it as something

[30/07/2012 15:58:16] Ola: Oh, I like that, like screen muncher app for black berry.

[30/07/2012 16:01:21] sneja_d: but what if we had a template that allows bits of everything without filtering before?

[30/07/2012 16:06:25] Katrine Granholm: Prezi –

[30/07/2012 16:08:00] sneja_d: But haven’t used it so do not know if it is interesting or not – if it is too standardized we may go for kiers’ suggestion

[30/07/2012 16:13:09] justinlogue89: in terms of output what does everyone think? what will a video made of binary code look like for example?

[30/07/2012 16:13:47] Kiers: depends on how we choose to filter it. All video is made from binary code –

[30/07/2012 16:25:01] Katrine Granholm: do you think it could be done in processing? not that I have any idea how.


What is sustainable art?

I suppose its important to consider the difference between Sustainable art as a movement, and sustainable art as a trend – one group might only share an ideological goal of making art that doesn’t create friction with the global ecosystem, while the other might also share visual and cultural references and goals.

If you look at the development of the idea of sustainability it has usually been tied to the ecology / green movement – its only in the last few years that the dreadlocks have been cut off. So many global brands are now aiming to reduce their carbon footprint, clean up their chemical use, and  re-naturalise their production processes – Nike, Ikea etc. The global produce-and-consume culture is slowly moving in that direction – in business, in advertising, and in art.

What makes something ‘sustainable’ or not? Is it only about energy-efficiency? What about use of toxic chemicals, the distances travelled by component parts, purchasing materials from eco-rogue brands, promoting an alternative to consumer culture etc etc. There are so many aspects and points of view – it isn’t possible to satisfy everything.

Very many of my friends work in fields relating directly to creating sustainable brands and products and all of them agree that you have to define your own version of sustainability – set your own criteria and succeed within those parameters as best you can. They all agree that small brightly coloured labels that say for example ‘Made with Happy Trees’ are not particularly useful and are simply a marketing gimmick – but I believe it is important to make it as easy as possible for an audience to quickly understand the bespoke sustainability goals and successes of a product / event / brand. Interestingly projects that promote a more eco-minded culture often do just as much damage to the environment as the standard approach – like r.Smithson’s Spiral Jetty which caused considerable disturbance to the surrounding area despite his eco-minded philosophy.

Is Jason Taylor‘s Silent Evolution a sustainable success or failure? It creates a new habitat for corals, with the intention of relieving stress for natural reefs from underwater tourism. But it uses concrete and fiberglass to achieve its goals – two famously eco unfriendly materials with production processes that ultimately creates a massive carbon footprint for the project.

One question that interests me is this – does everything sustainable have to have a hint of hippy? Or could I create a super cool, technological, cultural artifact and at the same time be sustainable?

Wiki definition of Sustainable Art:

Art Group analyses Sustainability and Art: The principles of sustainability in contemporary art

Very interesting site that parallels this one:

Fowkes & Fowkes explain three different ways that contemporary artists are using the notion of Sustainability [based, to some degree, on Felix Guattari’s 1989 book The Three Ecologies, which outlines means of “registering” ecological concerns.]

1] Ecological Impact. Artists are focusing on the life cycle of artwork, considering the “material burden” of the pieces they produce and the resources they use. The emphasis is not only on decreasing [or eliminating] material waste and potential damage to ecosystems, but also on rethinking the complex implications of packaging, transporting, storing, publicizing, and showing artwork. There is a move away from the production of objects, toward more process, action, or performance-based work. This is, probably, the most standard definition of “Sustainable Art.”

2]. The Social Dimension. Contemporary artists often deal, reflexively, with the ethical and social implications of work they produce and Fowkes & Fowkes suggest that notions of sustainability heighten this sensibility. Artwork might deal with an awareness and analysis of the context in which it is shown, ways in which it is portrayed in the media, and an ongoing debate about whether artwork in general “empowers or alternatively objectifies living subjects.” Fowkes & Fowkes note a move away from a 1970s-era Land Art, which they describe as “anthropocentric” — treating the land as canvas, and bull dozer as brush.

3] “Mental Ecology.” Fowkes & Fowkes write: “Sustainability, in its corporate and ‘green capitalist’ guise, is in danger of taking on some of the negative characteristics of an ideology, and in this way, of contributing to the problem of ‘mental pollution’…that is arguably as important an ecological factor as the poisoning of the rivers or the consumption of carbon.” Contemporary art has an established legacy of confronting and critiquing the implications of global capitalism and perhaps the most radical manifestation of Sustainable Art will be in the development of this line of thinking, working, and making.