So this is my first post for Communicative Communities, better late than never.
I’m working in a group with Jake Walters, Lena Benzig and Eilidh Bennett. I joined the group last so there were already ideas floating around about what groups to work with.
The brief is to enhance a community group in the form of media. The whole class spent a lot of time debating what the term community means and how we define it. It was established that it needs to be a not for profit club or charity.
The first thoughts were to work with reading groups and see how we could promote writing within the area. We initially contacted Falmouth library and were put in touch with several reading groups. After some discussion with the library, it was established that a reading group wouldn’t really benefit from the sort of help we can offer them. We then got to be speaking to someone who runs a Creative Writing academy, but it was discussed with the class and decided that it didn’t really fit the criteria.
Where are we now
We then decided to change to our second choice which is to work with community choirs. We initially contacted an extensive range of choirs and got loads of replies asking for our assistance. We then settled on Made Ladies Choir.
We have had a meeting with Manda the Musical Director and established the group needs and aims. We sent over a questionnaire yesterday which is going to be handed out to the choir members and then we are going to meet with the group in a week or two in small focus groups to clearly establish the group needs.
Currently doing some research into online identity and how its constructs effect our real self.
Okay, so the brief is very open on this project…
DM 210 Language, Technology and Subjectivity.
In the light of Post structural and Post Human debates around how identities are constructed, design and realise a media artefact or system that demonstrates critical awareness of and offers resistance to determining structures of identity formation at the level of the individual, collective or community.
The critical dimension of your project will be developed with tutor and peer feedback through regular research presentations on your part.
A list of research references must accompany the final piece.
Well when I say open, in terms of what technologies to use to develop a piece, the list can be quite extensive. Myself and Jake have decided to develop a social network.
We really like the idea of being able to “muck” with social identity and online profiles. So we are creating a new network where users have more control than the average social network.
Users will be able to create their online profiles in the same ways they already can. There will be a range of ways in which users than define themselves. However the main difference with this piece is that users will be able to edit each others profiles. We find this a very interesting twist into how people will react and use this system. Will users simply be malicious and post pointless juvenile data, or will users post/edit beneficial, informative information about the person to whom they’re editing.
Online Identity is a very personal thing. People have the ability to control how they are represented online. How they choose to display themselves in terms of pictures, expressing their likes, sharing personal information that otherwise might not have come up (birthdays for example). If other users can adjust this, it will be interesting to see the effects on the users who are having their profiles adjusted. All editing of other peoples profiles will be anonymous, so it will be more difficult for online relationships to effect personal relationships.
We are currently at the first stage of development and playing with platforms on which to host our site. We are currently using Elgg and are brainstorming names for this project.
Just to add… We decided to stay away from the documentary idea that most people are selecting as a way of communicating a response to this brief. We though an interactive installation would be more effective at communicating the key principles to online identity.
I’m really getting interested now in the user collaborative space idea now. The idea of a social space where a user can experience an interface based on what others feed in. E.g. Using LCD monitors/projectors to add pictures to a space, add sounds, add colours to walls. It’s endless. There are so many variables and additions that could be added to this project. With so many open API’s to obtain data (pictures. videos, maps, etc etc), the users space could be customised on so many levels.
I really need to pin certain elements down now and start prototyping small parts.
I found this website with a really slick example of using the Flickr API in an adobe flash app.
I like the way it elegantly displays the images and gives you another level of interaction.
I like this website, it’s communicating a clear message in a very innovative way.
It changes the way you interact with sites.. I like it. Why should everything be the same?
This website is very clever in the way it can be adjusted to your needs, I like the way the interface works and how simplistic it is. It’s easy to enjoy the aesthetics and aural sensations of the site without much input. Works very effectively..
So I have my presentation yesterday and got some really good feedback about my ideas and how to develop them.
Create an interactive atmosphere that customises to the user based on variables or a participatory environment. The user would enter a few variables about information/art/video/(anything really) and create an atmosphere custom to them. The other aspect is to allow selected participants to control different aspects of the environment, for example if the user of the atmosphere had several photo frames, the selected participant (wherever they may be) would be able to control different aspects.
Been playing with JQuery for the second time today.. Very interesting stuff and very powerful.
Made a simple function which fades out an object on the page.
The way in which we interact with a website is set by the author. Why shouldn’t the website be branded to create a unique user experience based on a few variables, e.g location (common example is for weather), but why not take this one step further and use API’s to brand a complete new experience with images from Google maps [The Wilderness Downtown], Flickr etc etc. The images selected would be based on the phrases entered into the site, the images would not be individually picked by the user.
The function of the website would not be to feed you information, but more so to appreciate the culmination of the variables entered.
Does it need to be a website? Yes it would be based online, but could it be a computer in an environment that also changes? Linking back in lighting automation.
After thinking about the mood automation project, it doesn’t really have much depth [room for expansion]. So what shall I do? Well…
I really like the idea that the atmosphere of a room can change without human intervention. For example, as the room temperature changes, the lighting would be able to change automatically. We are all use the clumsy school heaters kicking in when a room drops below a certain temperature, but why shouldn’t the light change too? After all light is something that can change mood and have lots of psychological sway on how we feel and react to different things.
Use an arduino to control this process.
The arduino is simple inexpensive device that would have the capability to handle then tasks I would ask of it.
Take a simple temperature sensor and use it with the arduino to give a numeric reading of the current temperature.
With this data we can then adjust the lighting in real time to coincide with any temperature change.
Using LED light would be a simple way to adjust colour without the need for lots of different lighting fixtures (so build LED clusters).
How do we create the mood? Well the lighting colour/intensity would adjust based on the temperature, to take this to a new level of personalistation, the user could wear a sensor and the lighting could adjust to one specific persons, this would then alter the mood of the whole room? You then also have the scope to control what colour the room is… When the user is cold does the room automatically go blue? Or do we look to create a new meaning for colour…
Okay, maybe a bit late in the day, but Tess had the idea of getting more user collaboration with the project. So we gathered sounds for our vocals screen by asking people to read out a quote or something that inspires them. I think this idea has a lot of potential and allows for a much more transparency when it comes to sounds. The sounds put into the installation aren’t controlled by us…
I used the new zoom recorders to get some atmos sounds for our project. I woke up to the sound of birds tweeting, so I got out of bed and recorded straight away. I then got an atmos of the train journey on the way to university and then several down at Tremough Vale on the walk up. I’m really pleased with the quality of sound that they produce. They will definitely sound slick in our project.
Aesthetics of the piece
We wanted the piece to look professional. So we have decided to make some screens. Simple element as they may be, we feel that they add to the piece. We are also going to use the television studio to showcase our installation.
Perception – If we can make every element as slick as possible, it will take the attention away from the stuff that doesn’t matter and really allow the user to engage with the installation.
As the person in charge of the coding and flash side of the project, I was asked by Tess to make the whole piece “pretty”. She showed my a couple of examples of mouse trails etc. So I spoke with Al and showed him one that I found online and we got it working. After a bit of tweaking we made it full colour. This worked really well with the black and white sound containers!
I really like this effect. We activated the alpha channel on our Hit Areas. So when you move your hand over the box, it fades up and when you move it away it fades down. It’s a very simple effect, but I think it adds a lot of sophistication to the way the user interacts with it and adds smoothness.
We recorded some more sounds in the recording studio. We had a cross section of “different” instruments. I wanted to step away from the traditional instruments like guitars and what not. The sounds that we recorded came out really well! Josh’ friend Wilf came down and played the trumpet and harmonica for us. We asked him to play free stlye, going back to the idea of a collaborative piece.