Not Now James, We’re Busy

This post does not include the phrase “frantic academic clopping”.

Where The F**k Was I?James Bridle’s “Where The F**k Was I?” (2011) is a book containing 202 maps depicting his movements over the previous year. The maps were produced using OpenStreetMap (2004) to plot the secret location database that iPhones (2007) had been discovered to be keeping (April 2011). It is printed as a hardback book using Lulu (2002), although images from it can be seen on flickr (2004).

In writing about this project, Bridle reflects on the impact of discovering that he was being spied on and takes this as a leaping off point for wider and deeper reflection on the nature of memory and of the mediation of experience by technology. In doing so he discusses contemporary art, contemporary literature, and contemporary cybercultural theory.

I would like to make two points about this project.

The first is that it would have been impractical before 2007, and unnecessary before 2011. I appreciate that in the 1990s JODI were multi-billion-dollar companies profiting from pervasive digital devices and logistics that meant the virtual tail of the military-industrial-fashion complex was wagging the actual dog of society in ways that were bleeding through into everyday experience, but I think we all have to admit that they didn’t have a Tumblr (2007).

The second is that the project is a serious and literate consideration of personal experience as shaped by our present situation that uses aesthetics not due to Theoretic inarticulacy but precisely to communicate the full impact of its subject effectively.

I am arguing that Bridle’s project of The New Aesthetic (TNA) is indeed considering both the new and the aesthetic, and that both these aspects of it are critically valuable and cannot be reduced to historical or textual surrogates.

My favourite responses to TNA so far have been:

David Berry critiquing Object Oriented Philosophical approaches to TNA and provides three different ways of considering it that come from within cyberculture –

http://stunlaw.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/what-is-new-aesthetic.html

Saul Albert providing some very useful historical comparisons to net.art –

https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=ind1204&L=new-media-curating&F=&S=&P=18212

And Honor Harger pointing out the gap between the straw man of TNA that many people are attacking and what it actually is –

https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=ind1204&L=new-media-curating&F=&S=&P=20818

MakerBot Replicator: What I Have Learnt So Far

Test PrintsHere’s what I’ve learnt about the practical side of using my MakerBot Replicator so far.

If you have a dual extrusion system, make sure the two extrusion nozzles are exactly the same height when you first install them. You may need to tighten screws or insert pieces of paper to do so.

When you first adjust the build platform, take your time. Getting the
platform the right height and levelled is vital to getting a good print. Too high and the extruder nozzles will scrape the tape. Too low and the extruded plastic wont stick.

Re-level the build platform at least weekly to make sure it remains in the best possible position.

Clean the Kapton tape between prints to help with print adhesion. You should clean it with acetone, or in a pinch you can use nail polish remover.

When the Kapton tape on the platform looks like it’s ready to be
replaced, it’s very easy to do so if you use the squeegee that came in
the box. Peel off all the old tape, then unroll the new tape a strip at a time. You can lift up the tape and squeegee it down several times if
needs be to get rid of air bubbles. Just keep it taut as you unroll it
onto the platform.

Heat the build platform to at least 110 degrees celsius, possibly 115 or 120. This will help prevent curling of edges.

Don’t be tempted to try rafts with dual extrusion. There is no way that will end well, no matter how carefully you set up the model. See above.

And if you do have a problem, the MakerBot mailing list, the MakerBot forums, and MakerBot tech support are the most amazingly helpful community I’ve encountered in a long time.

[email protected]

I’m very pleased to announce that “Balloon Dog” is featuring in the online exhibition [email protected] at the Jeu de Paume’s virtual space:

http://espacevirtuel.jeudepaume.org/formts-2-1388/

formatsIt’s in some amazing company. Take a look!

3D Printing

Finally taking my own advice, I’ve bought a MakerBot Replicator and I’m using it to print out my art.

It takes about ten hours to print a Balloon Dog:

Large Balloon DogThe print quality is fascinating. It’s incredibly detailed and smooth, but it looks like it has been woven from a single long thread (which in a way it has) which gives it a very finely serrated quality.

I’m uploading pictures of work in progress and finished prints to MediaGoblin, take a look!

Uploads

My Uploads project is getting there.

upload oneupload 2

Using a Kinect, a Mindwave, Python, and OpenFrameworks to create a DIY transhumanist realisation of Moravec-style personality uploads to the extent that affordable contemporary technology allows.

This is a low-resolution record of my mind (brain eeg via Mindwave) and body (a depth image/point cloud via Kinect) created using Python and played back using an OpenFrameworks application that uses the Twitter streaming API to match current emotional state data to the recorded states. It’s watching me watch Blade Runner…