TPDR

Presence and/or Telepresence (A summary of what I am working on)

Posted in (non)sense, Transmedia Research by tpdr on March 5, 2010

The last few years I have been interested in what Roy Ascott would call our Variable Reality. This reality is composed of physic space (apparitional presence), ecospace (physical presence), nanospace (vibrational presence) and cyberspace (telepresence).[i] As a consequence, our sense of place becomes very complex. Our so-called unified self doesn’t feel so unified as we tought but instead seems distributed or at least transpored from one (part of) reality to another in a very fast way imposing a disorientated feeling upon us.

One of the main questions therefore became: What happens to the self under the influence of this new reality, or as Ascott calls it this variable reality?

I think what I have been doing with my mapping project when graduating from Graphic Design, was trying to create a tool to be able to keep track of myself. However I don’t feel like I understand what is actually happening or where this feeling of being taken somewhere else originates from. During a discussion last year with Frans Evers, I talked with him about the difference between when being in a (video)chat with somebody or calling somebody on a phone. Our conclusion was that when chatting online, you seem to be going over there, as when talking on the phone, you have more the impression that the other person comes to you. Therefore I think it would be usefull, for my future work to try and understand how different media as image and sound affect our feeling of presence and/or telepresence. In the future it might even be appropriate to understand the same sort of effects when talking about smell and touch.

A final question is maybe, how can the boundaries between presence and telepresence be blured (when talking about difference in space/location but also in time, past versus present)? Or how can Variable Reality become just reality again?


[i] Roy Ascott The Ambiguity of Self: living in a variable reality, in New Realities: Being Syncretic, Ascott/Bast/Fiel/Jahrmann/Schnell (eds.), SpringerWien, New York, 2009. P. 22-25.

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Mirror sound/Sound mirror – 2

Posted in quotes and advices, Sound Art, Theory, Transmedia Research by tpdr on December 26, 2009

Reflecting a bit more on this topic and while doing some tutorials learning about music/sound and Pure Data, I had an interesting thought about ‘noise'(well for me it was interesting because thinking about sound is quiet new for me…maybe for the more specialized people when it comes to music this is a quiet dull post…).

Apparently Claude Debussy composed as follows: ‘I take all the chords and leave out those I don’t like…’ You could say that he thus, when we make a parallel with digital sound, he would have taken ‘noise’ and filtered out all the frequencies he didn’t like. This was exactly the way I was thinking about starting to work with sound for 2 reasons.

1) If you take a look at my video of my first experiment with light and sound and the see-thru-mirror foil, it has a sort of filtering aspect.

2) My interest for mapping and cartography take  into account, filtering is something I constantely have to do (even as a ‘regular’ graphic designer). Especially doing mapping and creating any kind of map (even a personal/subjective map) is actually try to filter out all the information/data one doesn’t need in relation to the theme of the map or the needs of the creator (if one is creating his/her own map).

For these two reasons starting from ‘noise’ and try to filter out certain frequencies would make working with sound more intuitive, natural, … especially since I am making a certain shift now coming from a more visually oriented background.

Then again this doesn’t solve my question yet when thinking about the auditive equivalent of mirroring and transparency. If we start again from ‘noise’ we could say as it contains all possible frequencies, it is actually very similar to white light. So if we would take this to the level of transparent objects, these would not change the light so much except maybe for ‘breaking’ the waves up revealing the full spectrum, like a prism. Corresponding to this on a sonic level we could say a transparent object, filter would let all frequencies pass through, resulting in noise in front of and behind the object (an ‘audio prism’ would then be an object that would break up the noise into all frequencies in a way that these are revealed/separated). A ‘transparent object’ when talking about sound wouldn’t necessarily need to be a ‘visually transparent object’. A simple example would be to say that some kind of textile that doens’t let any light/visual data pass could very well let all the noise pass through while a very thick glass window could be visually transparent but block all sounds at the same time. (Here we could also discuss the fact that sounds can auditively connect spaces which are visually separated and certain materials can keep a visual connection between spaces intact while separating them on the auditive level. But that might be all discussed in a following post.).

Similar to this we could say the same thing for reflecting light(visual data) and sounds(audio data). Some surfaces will reflect light, others will reflect sound waves. Some materials will reflect both light and sound, some only one of these two.

Discussing objects to be transparent/reflectors or not on the visual and the sonic level, is interesting and will probably be useful too, but it doesn’t yet help to define ‘transparent sound’ or ‘mirror sound’ in an interesting way yet. Lets keep this for a 3rd post.

Cartography – topography – topology – mapping

Posted in Theory by tpdr on December 19, 2009

While working on my first mapping project 2 years ago I tried to find an explanation to clarify why I preferred the term ‘mapping’ to the word ‘cartography’.

I finally decided that I preferred ‘mapping’ to ‘cartography’ as ‘mapping’ refers more to a process and therefore seemed more appropriate in today’s modern, dynamic, … society. As society and our environment in general is constantly in flux, we also need maps that can keep up with the pace and are kept up to date constantly/in realtime if possible.

Topography and topology never really were part of this discussion. However while I am working on a new project, I felt the need to investigate these two concepts as well, in order to try and re-determine my field of research.

First of all I would like to stress the fact that this mail is just the first in a series, as defining and comparing these four terms. I will start with a modest attempt to define topography and topology first.

Topography: Is a word with a Greek background composed of ‘topos’ and ‘grafein’, which would mean that it can be translated as ‘the act of describing a place’. It is the study of terrain features (not the process of how these features/the terrain/the landscape were/was created) of a region and the representation of the landform on a map. However when studying a place one can also focus on all details that distinguish a place, without just taking into account the physical shape of the surface.

Even though this might still be a very very brief definition, topography to me seems to much occupied with the surface and has no attention for processes (of the landscape). Therefore I wouldn’t really want to use this term and it actually reminds me of why I didn’t really feel much for using the term cartography (as it also seemed to neglect the ‘processes’ constantly going on in our environment). Even though ‘describing’ a place can also be interesting, but I think it would have to mean that it would have to allow it to be a subjective description(being interested in subjective/personal cartography and mapping this doesn’t come as a surprise). Subjective topography would therefore be more interesting to me as it reveals already more of a place/space then a mere ‘so-called’ objective description.

Topology: Is again originally a Greek word combining ‘topos'(place) and ‘logos'(study), so literally the study of a place. In this way it suggests a deeper notion of a place. Based on this ‘analysis’ one wouldn’t maybe suspect that this term is actually a mathematical term concerned with the features of space that are preserved even when under continuous distortion/transformation(the objects may not be torn nor pasted). It doesn’t make use of describing points nor distances, it is interested in describing the way in which a space is constructed, taking into account orientation and coherence.

Even though this definition would need to be more sophisticated, more detailed, it becomes already clear that my tutor was right to point me into the direction of topology. This term really grabs my attention because it suggests processes and a continuous distortion or transformation without breaking the ‘object’. Putting it like this it almost reminds me of how you could see life, but this would take us too far into spiritual or philosophical directions.

Reading a bit about topology, my attention was drawn by the term ‘homeomorphism'(or topological isomorphism or bicontinuous function (from the Greek words homoios = similar and morphe = shape, form. It is a continuous function between two topological spaces that has a continuous inverse function). Next post I will write on this subject I would like to continue on the subject starting from this term as it feels like an interesting subject to think about while working on my project which involves some ‘mirroring’/’transformation’/’distortion’.

AlloSPhere

Posted in Society and Technology, Uncategorized by tpdr on December 16, 2009

Just wanted to post this TED-talk about the AlloSPhere. This 360°-data visualisation does a visual and sonic mapping of complex data. However when watching the presentation I was wondering whether there would be a more interesting way to use sound as a mapping code, as I found the sounds in the AlloSphere more valuable as ‘special effects’ adding to the dramatic aspect of the visualization, but not really an added value in the sense that the sounds don’t really contribute a lot to the mapping and they could as well be left out, except for the fact that they probably make the experience more immersive. So while I continue to think about the combination of sound and mapping, I will be looking for examples that are more valuable on this level. Since I have always concentrated on working mostly with visuals and typography, sound art is not my specialty so I think I will bump into some interesting projects combining sound and mapping soon.

Nevertheless I think the AlloSphere is still a valuable project especially when it comes to making really complex scientific data accessible. Enjoy! See the demo.

Toshiya Tsunoda

Posted in MediaArt, Sound Art, Transmedia Research by tpdr on December 16, 2009

Long time since I made a post here, but that is also because I have been looking for inspiring artists and works. Since a few months I have been focussing on reading about architecture and sound. Doing this I got interested in Japanese sound artist Toshiya Tsunoda. His technique to do field recordings using contact microphones to capture the vibrations in different materials that are present at a certain location (or should I say in a certain ‘field’), captured my attention. Especially the fact that he focusses on these environmental vibrations points out that our environment is constantly in motion, it is alive. Also buildings can suddenly be thought of as ‘living things'(e.g. in 2000 at the ICC in Tokyo people could listen to the walls, to see pics and read more click here).

To hear some samples of one of his albums Solid Vibration click here. Inspired by his work I started thinking more about vibrations and the fact that even all we believe is immobile, our environments are in constant motion. Of course in some cases it is quiet clear that they are in motion, evolving, in flow, etc. But this is not always the case. Thinking about this I started wondering whether this could be somehow combined with my passion for mapping and cartography, taking into account that I have been working on a subjective mapping project in the past that was all about setting up a dynamic, personal/subjective map.