1985 –The WELL is a cherished and acclaimed destination for conversation and discussion. It is widely known as the primordial ooze where the online community movement was born — where Howard Rheingold first coined the term "virtual community." Since long before the public Internet was unleashed, it has quietly captivated some accomplished and imaginative people.
How can new media and the Internet be used to add to critical debate on art without the production design or necessary costs incurred with publishing?New media is publishing.We are living in the era of the Social Web and of publish-on-demand. The Guttenberg Era is well and truly over. People no longer need to have access to capital or public subsidy to publish. You don’t have to find advertisers, public sponsors or peer reviewers. You can do what you like.The long tail allows us to produce things that are published in extremely small editions without incurring the high costs of artist’s books, catalogues or magazines.In terms of design, this could be the end of what we think designers do. There is no longer the same degree of control over the means of production and distribution that design created and was created by. (i.e. industrialism).
Social Nature of Creativity You need the strong creative (nodes) to foster the dialogue (ties) – a virus can’t exist without a host, just like software needs hardware to run.There needs to be a critical mass in order to have something ‘sovereign’, something of value to trade or exchange. People notice groups more than individuals – this is why the silo designermyth has been replaced with the network model of creativity.The aim of having a critical mass is to build up something that’s going to enable exchanges to happen and for the bar to be raised transnationally.
Rather than consumption, why not, then, use these technologies to enhance participation?In order to reproduce and survive, capitalism has to shift from a focus on (profitable) function-oriented interaction to a focus on (sustainable) goal-oriented participation.
This doesn’t apply just to personal computers but to new cars, many of which now come with music systems, such as Windows Automotive, that are highly proprietorial. Even if proprietorial bias were to be criminalised as an uncompetitive practice, how can we be sure that viruses will not persuade us how we like our eggs in the morning?
What’s different here to using a laptop with Wi-Fi? Well, smart white goods can use everyware to communicate with other services online. They can order the milk, but they can also psychologically profile your private domestic life in ways hitherto only experienced by Jade Goody. This goes beyond the kind of consumer profiling enabled by store cards, it makes full use of mouse droppings, of our digital footprints. Everyware can also collaborate with other semantic environments, fully mapped out spaces that can be read by us, but which can also read us. These spaces are already mapped in detail thanks to our participation in social web applications such as Flickr and Facebook in which geotagging produces a wealth of data on the social, cultural and commercial activity of our postcodes. Convergence culture ensures compatibility and interoperability is key to the design of all smart products – they can all talk not just with each other but can interact with the richness of the social data now available online and in the smartwear around us. Our homes are entering the cloud, wherein they will procure not just goods and services but a mash-up of ideas and services creating a household-centred experience culture.
We have to ask ourselves if this is what we really want. Is this being driven by customer demand or is demand being manufactured by the stealthy introduction of smartwear? One way of thinking about this is to examine the issue of ‘loyalty’, a key concept used by supermarkets in the past decade to create higher profit margins through close customer profiling. Loyalty schemes and savings dividends aren’t new, but coupled with smartwear they potentially could leave us less in control of our consumer choices. Our ‘free’ choices always have hidden costs.
In the 1950s, TVs were not aligned or locked-in to particular channels, but then, there were only a handful of station. In most countries, they were, and remain, predominately commercial. Ever since, buying a TV has meant, potentially at least, buying the advertising they carry. We can turn the TV down, over or off, but, short of throwing it away, we can’t wholly escape the ad breaks. But TVs aren’t smart, they are interactive only in the most basic sense; they belong to a broadcasting era that’s past its sell by date. Same goes for radio – now we decide what we want to listen to, the ads follow the demographics mapped to our music choices.
The smart fridge is at the forefront the new breed of media that is slowly replacing broadcasting; radio enabled, they are forms of narrowcasting in disguise. All those television and radio programmes were just a distraction from the ads. Of course the ads are a distraction to us, so it’s best that they circumvent this line of communication altogether. Smartwear will enhance brand loyalty by cutting out the middle-men (the broadcasters and consumers), allowing brands and distributors to pitch directly to our fridges.
Transcript of "Participation"
Formulating a Strategy<br />What do you have to consider? <br />Audiencesare essential to think about here.<br />Martin Creed Work no. 240 fuck off (1999) Neon <br />
Audiences <br />Will the audience differ to what you might expect?<br />Will they be random or specialist (if so, specialist in what sense)? <br />How might you engage the audience in wider ways than you may normally?<br />
Audiences <br />Interactivity - Will the audience be passive or active in relation to your work?<br />Social – Will the project be empowering for the you and/or the audience?<br />What can you both learn or gain from your experience?<br />What difference does it make?<br />SpartacusChetwynd – An Evening With Jabba the Hutt, 2004<br />
Audiences<br />Can you / need you research the audience as a cultural group? <br />This may be relevant in the case of a space that attracts a specific group of people.<br />
Audiences<br />Will having a certain audience base support be essential to the success of your work?<br />Will your work involve collaborating with the audience or facilitating their experience?<br />TatsumiOrimoto at Opening ceremony of the 6th Sharjah Biennial<br />
APG members at Documenta 6 in Kassel, Germany, 1977. From left to right: Ian Breakwell, Barbara Steveni, Nicholas Tresilian, John Latham and Hugh Davies.<br />
The artist would become involved in the day-to-day work of the organisation and be paid a salary equal to that of other employees by the host organization, while being given the new role of maintaining sufficient autonomy to acting on an open brief. <br />Film still from The Journey, made by Ian Breakwell<br />on an APG placement with British Rail. <br />
Californian Ideology and Social Reconstructionism<br />Is there such a thing as a free lunch?<br />Freeware & OpenSource<br />Free Advice and ‘How-to’<br />Mutually Reciprocal Labour (e.g. gift and barter economies).<br />
RFID and GPS as Virtual Graffiti<br />The RFID or GPS enabled camera phone is a reader and writer. So tags can be used to leave information anywhere. <br />Keyword classification of information allows (with the aid of humans) a virtual semantic environment to be mapped onto the offline world – this means it can be read by machines. <br />
Hyper-reality and the Everyday.<br />This information rich semantic environment facilitates AmI (ambient intelligence) and the growth of the internet of things wherein billions of objects/animals/people can be read and tracked by a computer and will form part of a network.<br />
Augmented Reality<br />This has a parallel with the scalable vector graphic (as opposed to the bitmap) – a way of creating data on the world that is fluid and can be scaled up without loss of sharpness.<br />
“How might we design a world in which we rely less on ‘tech’ - and more on people?”<br />“…..design people back into situations.”<br />Shift of focus in design towards services and experiences is a shift from objects to<br />people:<br />“Use, not own”.<br />http://www.thackara.com/<br />http://www.thackara.com/inthebubble/<br />
Slides available at http://www.slideshare.net/neilmulholland<br />Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK: Scotland License.<br />