Interesting, confusing, unknown and what more, the articles and articles from the theory classes are not articles I would read before these classes, neither do I expect to pick up a reading like these on my own going forward.
I do appreciate the critical readings of the authors, but only the discussions with others bring these alive to me. I don’t always like to read this critical and slow, which is required to get the meaning of the author and form my own opinion. Or as referred to in the article by McLuhan, for me reading is not the active mode, discussion is. I guess I would need a book club to force me to be in a critical reading mode for this kind of media.
Both the theory and practical classes of digital craft are exposing me to ways of working I am unfamiliar with. This was the exact reason for me to follow this practice, to expose myself more to the unknown, hence more questions are raised than understanding is provided for the time being. To reflect this the critical reading is provided in a chaotic way, though structured, like a system.
In my projects, I often work from the basis of craftsmanship and techniques, adding the craft of working with systems can add an interesting layer to this. For example, the project of the human sewing machine of ‘secret life of machines’ with Tim Hunkin, is a nice visualisation of what is inside a machine and how to change it.
Machine systems are an obvious way of looking at systems, but there are many systems around us; biological, economical, technological etc. How do we as humans work with systems and how do we interact? But also, what do living creatures and complex systems have in common? Prior to following this education I was part of another system, a business system, and I wanted to break free from how things are done there and life my own life, in a system I shape and create, a more self-learning approach, close to what Wiener discusses in his cybernetics.
Norbert Wiener talks about cybernetics, in a way of controlling, communicating, and manipulating systems. Learning from the input. He dislikes control of any system using (digital) technologies. The science of control through communication, the art of steering is what he advocates.
Cybernetics started as mathematical language and not from communication, for which it is now used. In my previous work the Plan – Do – Check – Act cycle was at the heart of the approach and philosophy of working, I am still analyzing which parts of these activities would qualify as cybernetics and which are data driven, because it was an intertwined approach.
In the current society interaction of people runs via technological environments in many situations. Wiener states that we need access to the system to make it a self-learning system with the ability to change it through input. The loop of input > system > output > feedback as new input > system > output
How can the technological, human and biological systems communicate and interact?
Why for example, do the people that have a black box electric object, that resembled something living, like a dog, more trouble taking it apart than any other random digital item? Is that because caring is in our nature? The humanization of systems and robotics as Wiener calls it. And why do people still eat meat if they can’t even “kill” a toy dog?
Critical making, as explained by Rato, is not about the result, but the process itself. This has been the main observation of my first 2 years studying at the WdKA. Part of my career I have spent on efficiency and optimization projects, with results as ultimate goal, however they would be defined. The study was mainly about discovery, learning and testing, without an end goal in mind. Although more and more, the storytelling is leading in whatever is done at the WdKA, with the critical making only being a tool, and not the purpose of research itself, rather a mean to discuss, or as stated by McLuhan the media used as extension.
Dismantling the black box can be seen as an interesting project, analyzing how something is made, where all its components come from, adding a social perspective to the human perspective of Wiener.
I want to develop a clearer vision for myself of my viewpoint towards technology and my role as designer with this vision. What outweighs? The benefits or drawbacks of technology?
McLuhan talks about media whether it requires active or passive activity, like reading versus watching television, but I have applied a different reading for myself.
McLuhan talks about the media as extension and I see the choice of material in my work as a media that is important in conveying a message, as well as the design itself. If I would consider wood, or epoxy for, let’s say a chair, the material itself will have a very strong say in how the chair is perceived.
In line with McLuhan’s view the media can change the society, and I like to believe that the decision of material usage can have a similar impact. Once plastic was invented many designs were made in plastics, changing society at large in its consumption. Behavior is driven and facilitated by media. The media is the thing that can trigger interest, by triggering senses. The media is used to draw attention, only after which the message can be conveyed. The book is often still judged and sold by its cover.
Triggering senses are at the core of Evers’ manifesto, or rather the way they can work beyond the mean. In my prior life the way people receive and perceive information was at the core of influential techniques, how can I best use the media to trigger interest. Different types of media work best, depending on the preference for kinetic, auditive or visual communication, often used in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). What I appreciate in the text of Evers, which is not touched upon in NLP or alike, is that the input can be processed with a different sense. I wonder whether this is something that can be trained, by making associations between words, or songs and color. The most familiair association of senses is often smell, bringing back memories and feelings that refer to that moment the same smell was present.
Haraway, being the only female author amongst the articles provided, a more academic approach, which to understand requires a high level of knowledge of several topics to be able to grasp her layered writing. She covers a more social systemic approach than the other authors, talking about newly created definitions such as Anthropocene, Capitalocene and Chthulucene, discussing how people live together and interact with their surroundings. I can highly appreciate what and how Haraway addresses things, but again I don’t feel the desire to sit down and translate and google every sentence and second word like I had to do at high school with ancient Greek texts. Playing her movie in the background could be an alternative but even then attention will most likely drift.
So now what? I loved the exposure to what I would not come across in daily life, and will continue to look for that in some way or the other, but not sure it will be through critical reading.
3.1 DIGITAL CRAFT
What the text says - the author says
What are the core concepts?
How does the author define them?
Where do you see this in the text?
What the text does.
What point is the author trying to make?
Structure, tone, argumentation
How does the other show his/her view and identity as author?
What marks his/her style and argumentation?
For whom is this text? How can you see that?
Which relation do you see amongst the author’s works?
ACCESS & CONTROL OVER SYSTEMS
Controlling, communicating, manipulating systems
Control of any system using (digital) technologies
The science of control through communication, the art of steering
What do living creatures and complex systems have in common?
interaction of humans with technological environment.
Getting access to the system, how to change it
feedback loop into the system - supervised learning
Author tries to discuss the place of humans in this feedback loop, the relationship between human & technology
My position towards the topic and digital craft
After my first experience with the Practice Digital Craft online I refrained from choosing it as my third year practice. It was very much out of my comfort and way to speculative in the examples shown. The theory was soo vague and far-fetched in my opinion, I felt lost more than educated.
Despite this experience I did start the P3 Digital Craft, as if some external power pushed my towards it. I registered for another Autonomous Practice, but as this registration failed I would have to choose an alternative from a restricted list. The final decision I made on how much I can learn from the practice, leading me back to Digital Craft.
This practice is all about new experiences, both in type of projects and technical skills. I had never worked with electronics yet and are not regularly exposed to speculative projects.
And surprise, surprise, this term was very interesting and useful. I have had many ideas of using technology in my projects before, but my level of knowledge in the available timeframe always stopped me from actually applying it. This practice made me cross the border of using technology and provided inspiration, time and support.
I very much liked taking apart the car and using the electronics in a different way.
Going forward I will definitely take apart more equipment and re-use or fix it.
A critical part for me in enjoying this practice is the seemingly lighthearted approach of the tutors (read flexibility and open attitude), combined with fun and practical assignments and workshops like the fermentation.
The combination with P4 students is a nice contribution, as they show full-time work it does stimulate to take things a little further and it is helps to see what you would choose if you would do the Minor too. This shared tutoring might even be more exploited in my opinion.
MY PERSPECTIVE ON TECHNOLOGY
I appreciate the easy of using technology for daily life efficiency and fun.
It does however mess with my energy levels too as it can be addictive, controlling and keeps me from what I find more important. I struggle with how I can maintain my autonomy in running my design life as I want to, while fulfilling the required need of the IT and marketing business to be able to run a commercial life with my designs.
I would like to be able to program and understanding coding better to be independent in the execution of my projects, but I have not yet reached the required skill level and for that reason it feels often tiring and frustrating. I guess I just want to understand it sufficiently to understand what is possible to be done and have someone else program it for me.
In my design I often try to create an experience and interaction with the viewer or user. Using technology as in Digital Craft will allow me to make this even more interesting. Besides that, it will make it easier to have data translated to something tangible, making it more accessible. Data is not interesting to many, especially if it contains much and complicated information. I see a possibility to use my analytic skills and translate this to something create to facilitate discussion.
Titel: Remaining Human
raising awareness of what the future can be
assigning human characteristics to machines and things - ethical discussion
It is not human flaw that we want to care for a machine, because it is in our nature to nurture
The people invited in the video shows the perspective of the authors > all are scientists or Wiener biographist; all are experts (biologist, anthropology, communication) and Wiener favorists
propoganda feel, 1 perspective and funded by the Wiener societycelebrating Wiener’s work
Ratto is not self critical
disses the makers movement
Trying to show he is the most critical of all critical thinkers. So rather than talking about critical making is excelerating in critical thinking
Looking at making in a different way
Reviewing the Cuba’s inventions projects:
Is this Critical making for me:
No because it is result driven and not about the material process
It is not political because it is not intended to be, but it can be seen as a political statement all together but the makers made it for own use out of need. It is a response to the system creating poverty.
the Toaster project by Thomas Twaites it o create awareness of how a toaster can be created for 3.99
Step 1 - Turn a LED on with a Button
Step 2 - Turn a LED on with a light sensitive sensor
Step 3 - Connect multiple LEDs
Step 4 - improving the circuit
With a serial connection through wires there was insufficient power to power 3 LEDs, only 2 would work
If all LEDs connected on the board they all glow
Start - Getting familiair with Arduino
Step 6 - test with transparant material for color transparency
Step 5 - improve energy supply to serial LEDs
Several serial connections are tested to see which works best as the 3rd light did not shine at all or only minimum due to loss of energy
Step 7 - prepare porcelain test shapes
DC motor circuit
Step 1 - take DC motor from the car autopsy
Step 1 - take DC motor from the car autopsy
Step 2 - create a sensor based circuit with arduino to start the DC motor
Step 3 - troubleshooting as motor does not run but all elements work
Step 4 - using the other DC motor from the car autopsy and it works
Step 4 - quick prototyping for wind simulation inside
Step 5 - preparing porcelain tests for sound created by DC motor
Technology is creating a distance between humans and nature
Buienradar - it will rain, I stay inside. Nobody gets to experience all types of weather anymore and don’t know how to behave anymore if there is an undetected shower while being outdoor.
This prototype aims to use technology to reconnect people to nature, indoor. If the wind blows, the indoor wind chime will sound.
If the sun shine the lights indoor will shine and the lightshades all seem to be same color, while if off they all have a different color. This to add another layer of what is real and what is perception.
Media as extension of man - the medium used to present a message is how you perceive things
How you say something is the extension; eg. a joke can be used as an extension, or art can be used as a way to draw attention, or advertising is used to pursue
reading is more active than watching television because your brain is more active. This because you have to think about what the story is and it is not presented to you as given
Media changing society is a fact for McLuhan.
New media are introduced continuously, eg newspaper and email.
It depends on who designs the new media and how it is used.
New technology drives behaviour of a society, believes can be reinforced facilitated by the media.
McLuhan frames in a negative way, as the “age of anxiety”.
The author of the book was a designer for Ford.
Images are used to frame the text to subconsciously influence the reader. The separate images are not raming, but the sequence combined is important; you > family > neighbourhood > job > politics
The audience of the book is media-focused people, this because the jargon is assumed familiair
Evers writes about synesthesia, how visual and audio are intertwined as a sense for some people.
Author wants to promote synesthesia, although he is not coherent in his message. He uses words that frame him as disbeliever, like “dis-ease” and people “claim to have it”.
The audience is the art academy in The Hague, who has a cooperation with the conservatory on a project about senses.
He is a psychologist that likes to explore ideas. The text looks objective and informal but is actually very subjective with an agenda. This can be seen in the framing of opinions rather than facts.
Tentacular thinking is a manifesto of the author against how people use and abuse the earth and its resources, through e.g. “ burning fossil”.
She advocates a less parasitic living by people and suggests another, less destructive type of symbiotic relationship as art of living together.
Haraway wants to be as complete as possible and already wants to counter any possible counter arguments and show examples for everything. As a result the text becomes heavier to absorb and less inclusive for people to read.
Haraway’s style is academic and narrative at the same time. Giving examples of both research based argumentation and mythical stories.
The jargon used by Haraway demands an educated audience, with a more academic background.
All the texts focus on systems, yet in another way, a different type of system or look at the world with a different focus.
Wiener is about on huminazation of technological systems and how a learning cycle is required to, so human needs are the driving force of the system, not technological boundaries.
Ratto talks about access and control of systems and how critical thinking and critical making have a role in this.
McLuhan states that media is as critical, or more important, than a message, or being the actual message and how this influences society.
Haraway focuses on the interaction between humans and humans and their surroundings, by showing other forms of existence than currently the norm she wants to open up the discussion and change the way society works.
Evers’ text is a little bit the odd one in the bunch, as it refers less to a system that can be shaped but more on a phenomena.
upgrading to Raspberry
api code; https://app.tomorrow.io/development/keys
Throughout this project I want to find a way to make climate and climate change a sensory experience, if not possible due to distance or time. The question I phrased for this is:
How can I make weather and climate change a tactical and sensory experience?
Generally you can go outside and experience the weather, or open a weather forecast and get an idea of what the weather is like somewhere. However you cannot really sense what it means to have a certain strength of wind, sun or rain. Distance prohibits a true experience of the weather.
Time also separates us from a climate experience. We can read about historic weather conditions but these are not experienced and as such we experience an emotional distance to it. This becomes clear in the political discussions and the sense of urgency that does not always seem understood, because what is a temperature increase of 2 degrees? nothing right?!
For both situations I want to create an installation that allows a sensory comparison of weather in either time and/ or location. e.g. what is the weather currently in my town, and at 2 other locations? or what is the weather for this location 40 years ago, now and in 40 years time, covering the average lifespan of a person in the Netherlands.
A second question I phrased for myself is;
How can I make the heavy political topic of climate change light?
and show it in a frivolous way?
With this I want to find a more playful way in setting up the installation and sensory experience of a political topic like climate change. I find this important for my own design values in which I strive for interaction and I believe that it will better draw the attention of the audience to fuel the discussion around climate change.
I would envision this installation to be larger and in a room where you walk through time and location, you would feel the weather and e.g. confetti go through your hair.
Besides the questions above I want to use this period to learn how to integrate digital craft and technology into my projects. I want to work on my technical skills.
Briefly toughed upon above I consciously decide to make a fun installation. I want to show the political topic of climate change in a way that is accessible and light. For that purpose I choose party elements like confetti and paper rain.
To make wind sensory the amount of confetti/ paper strips are blown around and the intensity of the wind shows a different intensity of flying confetti.
Going forward I want to add other elements such as sun, showing through porcelain ceramics, or porcelain wind gongs. Or elements in the air, such as CO2 levels, contributing to climate change.
I want to make a statement but don’t want to do that through protesting in the streets, I want to show it in a way that represents me and the values that often return in my work; color, joy, technology and interaction.
My analytic and creative ability can make the abstract subject of climate change tangible and sensible, allowing for it to be a discussion piece.
After testing with several arduino and microchip boards I upgrade to Raspberry to be able to pull the required amount of data.
When the Raspberry from the rental is too old for the current software, the troubleshooting starts early
Connecting LED to ESP 8266
historic weather data API
Connecting a fan / DC motor to ESP 8266
What is a transistor
the Vgs(th) is the voltage on the gate at which the FET just starts to open. It is not fully open at that voltage and can only deliver very little power.
Understanding the electronics
How to control the motorspeed
historic date to code converter
Air Quality data
Motor driver I293
Motor driver I293
DataFountain - koert.com
Weather is always the first topic in the Netherlands people talk about, chit chat.
Weather was used to fill silences as a non-threatening topic, but it no longer is without value as a result of climate change it is a loaded and political topic.
For that purpose I researched (see process book above)
- What is weather
- How political is weather
- How are senses connected to weather
- What is climate change
Controlling a shredder
Experimenting with the concept and presentation options
This project allows for a lot of elaboration and continuation e.g.
- make scenario’s visible : what if China stopped with .. or India stopped with ...
- showing how weather is political and fractures society - eg weaving that is destroyed through weather
- how to add heat as experience
- weather clocks for on the wall
- installation for exhibition
- have a led wall or something like that to show the climate change graphs
- add suggestion you can suggest a location > fake it. To add relationship to it, see your location
google: opensource weather data stockexhange / visualising data weather
The car autopsy was very interesting and fun. I had another toy dog that I could dismantle but started with the non functioning car because I did not yet dare to destroy the dog.
I am always very careful with things and also started off this way in dismantling. The construction however required more force and breaking things.
After getting acquainted with what was inside I gained more confidence in what I was doing and started to enjoy it more. After this workshop I feel more comfortable to take apart electrical equipment.
The car was made in China, with minimum required components of cheap quality.
Getting started with the Arduino was something I was looking forward to. I had a few workshops explaining the Arduino before but with deadlines never the opportunity to actually make something with it, rather than the basic sketches.
I gradually build up the complexity of what I was making, but needed help in the beginning to understand what elements did what and why and how.
The initial project was in my view rather simple, but it turned out to be more complex technically.
From 1 LED blinking on a button sensor, to a light sensitive sensor, to serial LEDS, and having all in different options in coding and circuits as well.
All steps taken and used are visually here, with references of the websites used and progress photos.
Next I wanted to reuse an item from the car in the circuit. Turning the DC motor of the car seemed like a nice next step. In reality it turned out to be a long day of troubleshooting.
The motor did not respond at first, having to change the power supply.
The idea to make the motor run responsive in speed to input data was the next step as I wanted it to make the wind tangible indoors.
In parallel I research which designers and artists use the weather as inspiration as well and combine this with technology.
Next level programming ahead.
The idea to have the weather that you cannot experience outdoor, due to location or time, being translated through technology into something tangible.
This will allow to experience eg the rainfall in another city and compare it to another place, next to each other.
To get the actual weather circumstances elsewhere I would use an API, which is translated in the sketch to e.g the speed of the motor running.
The process of doing this was very complicated and challenging. But after understanding the initial way it works it was doable and I could important online weather data and control the DC motor with it. Because I want a lot of data to be processed the Arduino was insufficient and I considered using a Raspberry but tried another option first, see next block.
The strength of the DC motor however was not very controllable because it needs a minimum amount of power to start turning and the differences in speed are hardly noticeable.
Below an overview of APIs I have tried.
To be able to pull more data than via an Arduino I upgraded to an ESP 8266 microcomputer.
To get acquainted with the microcontroller I first started again making a circuit with a LED. Once I got that working I adjusted for the DC motor.
The DC motor seemed again inadequate and I bought a laptop USB fan, which I adjusted for use at the Arduino. To control the speed I needed to change the circuit again and try to use a transistor which controls the power running through and driving the motor.
Next I wanted to try to show the climate change over time through the fans, and searched for historic, current and future data sources.
For the concept I research the politics around weather and climate change.
The basic items are in place for the concept around making weather tangible. I will continue making the fans serial so I can connect several simultaneously.
In addition I test another equipment I might use for the concept, a shredder. I have bought and adjusted a bluetooth controller with which I want to control the on and off button of the shredder. The speed at which this is done will simulate the amount of rain at a certain location and time.
A neopixel changing color underneath porcelain
A computer fan in a box to blow confetti and show the power
A larger fan running at different speeds with paper showing the power and a test with confetti
The fermentation workshop was a fun introduction. It was a nice way to look at systems and interaction.