Ah, being the last week of my second field choice maybe it’s about time to reflect and make plans to use all my newly accumulated knowledge and create something “wondrous”! Starting from the beginning, for the last 5 weeks or so I have been studying the field option ‘The Real & The Virtual Internet of Things’ which explores the use of technology and it’s real life physical presence/influence it has on our lives, or potentially in the near future and what these tools mean for us artists and designers; the connection between the virtual and physical world and how an artifact can share both presences. This project has primarily been an introducion to the various pieces of technology which already exist or currently within development; this has helped give me perspective on “how large my toolbox really is” and as an individual who studies Graphic Design, a degree which essentially is the study and development of idea and concept, I find these possibilities all very exciting as you never know what you’ll be picking up next.
In these 5 weeks we’ve looked at Augmented Reality (QR Codes, Augment, Aurasma, IFTTT, Aestheticodes, Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLens), Virtual Reality (Oculus Rift), 3D Printing and Modeling (MakerBot, Sense 3D scanner, Autodesk Meshmixer), Micro PCs and how they can be programmed to do practically anything (Raspberry Pi and programming tools like Geany and Python), TUI (Tangible User Interface) where digital information can be interacted within physical environments (e.g. Microsoft PixelSense used within in the context of a menu in a restaurant, closely linked to that RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology (e.g. Skylander figures with digital in-game interactions) and so much more!
Our teacher Alexandros also introduced us to the project Soundscape, a project he’s personally participating in which, in current state involves the mapping of sound to capture and compare the atmospheres of particular cities. You can check in out here. Currently they’ve only captured a town in germany but we’ve been tasked to map out Cardiff and what makes it unique. Reflecting on this task, I really like the concept of this project giving a audioable perspective on our very visually dominat consumption of how we log are enviroments
(this post is ongoing so stop reading now maybe?)
Today we also scratched the surface of ‘Ethical Practice’, something that must be considered when using outside parties in my research. This includes such things as written permission (or parental consent), presentation of all potential risks (physiological risks also), outline future uses of data outside the project (e.g. publication) and more. I found this mostly to be common sense but, as I found in a group exercise spotting these potential ethical issues can be a complete confusing and conflicting mess of trying to be ethically sound; for example, a researcher wants to get permission to use story and related photography for an article about a 30 year old murder case. The researcher could get permission and talk to the family directly to get their account of the death of the loved one or he could restrict himself by using openly available information and imagery. The ethical nightmare here is by going to the family directly, you could cause distress or emotional harm to the family; or by simply publishing the article with no communication between the family, this could put the murder case back in the spot light against the family’s wishes putting media attention on them that could cause similarly, distress or emotional harm. What I’ve learnt today is to really consider the relevance of the research material and find a balance between risk and reward.
As you probably can’t tell through my intentionally obscure title, today I’ve been introduced to this term’s new project classified under the title of ‘field’. In this project I will, in a manner of speaking explore the city of Cardiff (not limited to though) discovering what I really want to shout out about it, no matter how big or small, obscure or transparent or how old or new it is. Not been limited to any particular medium, it’s currently overwhelming the number of choices I have at my disposal and it will be my job in the next 3 weeks to ‘sniff’ out every kook and cranny of this city, keeping my mind open to every possibility. After these 3 weeks I will be grouped up with people from a wide range of different disciplines throughout the university to share, collaborate and most of all, learn from to discover new ways of thinking and going out about a task. This should be a very interesting experience and, since I already come from a Fine Art background I look forward to further extending my knowledge of other disciplines.
With this project’s brief summary out the way I can start talking about the interesting stuff. For this project I have been given 3 themes: ‘Migration’, ‘Power & Technology’ and ‘Hidden City’. Fortunately for me I have had the experience of using the word ‘Migration’ as part of a prior A level project and I’m truly aware of the limitless possibilities and interruptions one word can provide. The simple concepts of change, time, and motion are all valid here and valid to everything, especially to a city like Cardiff with the constant flow of people and vehicles, the evolution of a city to constantly expand out of its walls, everything is a possibility. Not to disregard ‘Power & Technology’ and ‘Hidden City’, personally and ‘under-advisory’ haven’t selected a theme so I, as said before can find what I really want to say about this city. In interpretation of ‘Power and Technology’, one can explore the struggle and dominance of political power over a city, which could be easily contrasted with the limitless and out-of-control power of ever-evolving technology (e.g. the Internet); as they say, ‘knowledge is power’. Thinking about ‘Hidden City’, one would have the opportunely to explore the lost and forgotten history, places and items which dwell throughout the ever-developing city of Cardiff and place a light on them, to be remembered once more. As you can probably tell, I’m pretty excited about this project (and a bit overwhelmed) with the limitless possibilities this project will in tell.
I also observed and noted down ideas from previous years work to help me start think of data I could collect to explore and experiment with. It’s likely I’ve skipped the gun a little so I’ll discuss this further tomorrow. Please take this as a little spoiler for tomorrow and I apologise for my rough hand writing:
(Talk about Experience)