Some notes from today’s research development workshop, helping to define and refine the research question for my final dissertation:
Abstract (describing my practice):
My practice explores the archeology of non-existent or imaginary worlds through interaction, immersion and communication using the universal languages of sound and light. The context to this work is to explore current human society and how we view our future through the imaginary worlds and narratives we create as projection or escape.
The research will focus on the science fiction genre, but also look the work of practitioners such as Forensic Architecture, who present immersive visual work in political and legal forums, truth commissions, courts, and human rights reports to give a real-world context.
What is the aim of the practice?
Explore current human society, and how we view our future, through imaginary worlds and narratives, using immersion and alternative ‘reality’. This will be achieved through a collection of hand-held interactive objects that generate sound and light signals and are networked to communicate both with each other, and with the viewer when handled or played with.
Key terms and definitions:
the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains.
providing, involving, or characterized by deep absorption or immersion in something (such as an activity or a real or artificial environment)
the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings.
a representation of a particular situation or process in such a way as to reflect or conform to an overarching set of aims or values.
the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
reciprocal action or influence.
(Physics) a particular way in which matter, fields, and atomic and subatomic particles affect one another
fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.
a person who has been estranged or excluded.
a creature from outer space.
of or from outside the earth or its atmosphere
a hypothetical or fictional being from outer space.
of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or having the nature of people
of or relating to the social aspect of people
The overview effect – refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void”, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.
Bicameralism – the condition of being divided into “two-chambers” is a hypothesis in psychology that argues that the human mind once operated in a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be “speaking”, and a second part which listens and obeys — a bicameral mind.
Attended an interesting talk at Futurefest, Speaking with Aliens. Triggered some very interesting ideas around communicating with extra-terrestrial life away from Earth with Clara Sousa-Silva (a Quantum Astrochemist at MIT tasked with finding alien life on a molecular level) and Jill A. Stuart (Space Law expert and director at METI international, working on different scenarios for encounters with intelligent life). I was most interested in Clara Sousa-Silva’s mentions of trying to communicate with light, as this can be seen everywhere, and white light can be split into infinite colours via a prism (for example). She also mentioned maths as a communication tool, but this seems too tied to human communication to fit the concept of a universal language. She also mentioned studying inter-species communication on Earth to inform communications with aliens. The panel also discussed the idea of the Dark Forest, suggesting that perhaps we should not try to communicate with aliens at all.
Was also fascinated by the data visualisation of Stamen Design’s Big Glass Microphone. Have long been interested in how to turn environmental data such as electronic / radio signals and sound / vibration levels into aesthetically appealing visual or audio representations. This is an engaging interactive example of how to do that. The piece visualises fibre optic cables places in a figure of eight around the Stanford University building. The cables pick up vibrations from the ground above (such as traffic) to create the visualisation.
Investigating magnetic levitation to suspend the Space Rock objects for display. The idea is that the objects appear to float in space, enhancing the feeling that they are ‘alien’ / from another planet.
Looking through Arduino projects using audio this week, to ind some techniques that may be useful for the Space Rock interactions:
Inspired by Active Matter, I am looking at materials for the Space Rock (other than the Jesmonite currently planned), including bits of space junk.
And dug out this cult classic as inspiration for the Space Rock audio content and narrative.
I Hear a New World is a studio concept album written and produced by Joe Meek with the Blue Men, partially released as an EP in 1960. The album was Meek’s pet project. He was fascinated by the space programme, and believed that life existed elsewhere in the solar system. This album was his attempt “to create a picture in music of what could be up there in outer space”, he explained. “At first I was going to record it with music that was completely out of this world but realized that it would have very little entertainment value so I kept the construction of the music down to earth”.