genre experiments

For two years I have been working on an art project.

I’m not sure whether the concept predated when I first heard James Allard’s lecture on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but the lecture is a great demonstration of how labeling does interpretive work when it comes to art.

Presented with a digital file, we may struggle to decide what it is in both a technical and artistic sense.

Perhaps it’s an HTML file with embedded image files being displayed in a web browser, or the raw data from the sensor of a digital camera. In either case, it’s also an object within a software and operating system-defined architecture and also bits physically written to some data storage medium.

From an artistic perspective, it may be a line from a play quoted in a piece of art which has been photographed and posted online (or a screenshot of a cell phone app displaying a tweet of a digital photo posted online of a print of a photograph taken illicitly in an art gallery, on display in that art gallery).

The multiple presentations of the same data are the idea of interest: like all the exposure and white balance modifications that can be applied to a raw file from a digital camera, meaning that every photograph arising from that process is an interpretation.

These experiments are also intriguing insofar as they concern cybernetic relationships between individuals, organizations that archive data (like search engines), algorithms nobody fully understands, and governments. The location of a data file on the internet does everything to establish its visibility and significance.

The idea of the project is that every distinct work within it is presented to the viewer with multiple possible modes of interpretation, whether they are based on data architecture, metadata, or the cultural and political content of the human-readable image.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

32 thoughts on “genre experiments”

  1. I see this form of art as a natural extension of your photography.

    Many of your photographs involve looking at objects from a different perspective.

  2. One major focal point for the project is

    People should realize that internet content tends to degrade even with conscientious gatekeepers, and it can be severely undermined by governments, internet service providers, and monopolistic internet giants like Google and Facebook.

    Tools like the Wayback Machine are very important, and so are local copies on systems and networks independent from the commercial internet.

  3. It occurs to me that one people why people are resisting this experiment, and failing to understand or appreciate the art project, is because we’re so used to having genre packaged for us and presented in some sense up front. That’s still happening to a huge extent here in this automatically generated HTML file, with everything from filenames to the user interface of the web server. Nonetheless, here people are being confronted with simply a list of filenames without a user interface much tailored to help you understand, or graphical control elements or file previews.

    It’s actually such an unusual way of presenting files that it may work against the idea that many web crawlers will index this page. To computer nerds, it looks like a file permission error in my Apache configuration. To most people, it seems to look like some sort of vague error or ‘behind the curtains’ area in technology where they aren’t supposed to look. In a way that’s exactly right: the project provokes you to consider the enabling mechanisms and design-side features of technologies like digital photography.

  4. Now we have pictures that will forever mark this strange, near-dystopian, chapter in the American story – the images of President Trump returning to the White House, striding up the staircase to the balcony of the executive mansion, dramatically removing his face mask and then saluting the Navy helicopter that had Medevaced him to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last Friday and returned him on Monday night.
    This intricately choreographed homecoming was instantly packaged up, with cinematic music and slow-motion videography, then tweeted to the president’s 87 million followers. And the final product proved to be politically interchangeable. Though it was intended as a Trump campaign ad, it works also as a Biden attack ad.

  5. It is thus not only that our new technological reality has left us with a panopticon of the present, but the hope of a panmnemonicon of the entirety of our past. The implications of this transformation for our shared understanding of history, for the individual phenomenology of memory, and perhaps even its neurophysiology, are too enormous to fully comprehend at this early moment, but we can at least venture a few first stabs.

  6. The AP-9 uses a Glock barrel and magazine. But Ivan built a 3D-printed version of the magazine that uses a coiled metal spring. And he designed a homemade barrel by carving spiral grooves—the rifling that makes the bullet spin—inside a metal tube using electrochemical machining, which may sound complicated, but it’s a relatively simple DIY solution to etch steel using saltwater, electricity, and copper wire twisted around a 3D-printed mandrel. Deterrence Dispensed has a full tutorial (which I am not going to link to). The hardware has been converted to metric, to make it buildable outside the U.S.

    Ivan tells me the FGC-9 is the easiest, cheapest, most accessible, and reliable semi-automatic DIY firearm that he is aware of. It shows that it’s possible to build highly effective semi-automatic rifles with common tools. It certainly takes more work than going to Cabela’s to buy a gun in the U.S., but it’s easy enough that anyone who wants a gun and has the motivation to learn can build one at home while thousands of people online guide them through the process. It’s hard to imagine stopping it, short of banning 3D printers or metal pipes. Even regulating the distribution of the designs wouldn’t do much.

  7. Data strikes, inspired by the idea of labor strikes, which involve withholding or deleting your data so a tech firm cannot use it — leaving a platform or installing privacy tools, for instance.

    Data poisoning, which involves contributing meaningless or harmful data. AdNauseam, for example, is a browser extension that clicks on every single ad served to you, thus confusing Google’s ad-targeting algorithms.

    Conscious data contribution, which involves giving meaningful data to the competitor of a platform you want to protest, such as by uploading your Facebook photos to Tumblr instead.

  8. Beeple JPG File Sells For $69 Million, Setting Crypto Art Record

    A JPG file made by a digital artist known as Beeple sold Thursday for almost $70 million by Christie’s auction house. That price set a new record for the increasingly popular market for digital-only art — and makes Beeple’s piece the third most-expensive work sold by a living artist at auction, according to a statement by Christie’s.

  9. These are both art and technological artifacts. The ‘Armie DM TMI NFTs’ are symbolic NFTs, which make the best NFTs by marrying form to function. These works speak to the medium and were cathartic and impactful for me to create. It allowed me to take my power back from someone much more powerful than me, someone who targeted me in an abuse of power, and to transform my feelings in a way that felt meaningful and with a clear sense of purpose.

  10. Welcome! This page is hosted on a Casio fx-9750GII graphical calculator, running a SuperH SH4 processor.

    It’s running a port of the uIP TCP/IP stack, using SLIP over the 3pin 2.5mm serial port.

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