Aesthetics Art Art Computing Free Software Politics Projects Satire


SendValues is a network testing tool that sends mathematical, aesthetic and textual values using the properties of rather than the contents of network messages.

You can get the source code here:

Both a stand-alone command-line version and an IRC-client version are included.

SendValues uses a naive pulse-width-modulation scheme for encoding values. Any improvements to the code gratefully received.

Here is the README:

SendValues is a system for transmitting aesthetic expression and political speech using properties of network protocols.

There are two versions, a command-line client and an IRC client. They use the same code and concepts apart from their different interfaces.

* Concepts

** Senders

A sender is a way of sending information over the network using an IP-based protocol. SendValues has the following senders:

TCP – Sends messages as TCP/IP connections.
UDP – Sends messages as UDP packets.
SYN – Sends messages as SYN requests.
HTTP – Sends messages as HTTP requests.
PING – Sends messages as ICMP echo requests.

Senders may be specified to the command line or IRC clients by these names.

** Values

A value is a message to be sent to a host using a sender. Values are quantized by the sender and transmitted over the network as naive pulse width modulation values.

SINE – A sine wave (argument is number of steps).
SQUARE – A square wave (argument is number of steps).
SAWTOOTH – A sawtooth wave (argument is number of steps).
TRIANGLE – A triangle wave (argument is number of steps).
TEXT – A block of text (argument is text to send).
IMAGE – An image, to be sent as 1-bit pbm data  (argument is image URL).

* The Command Line Client

The command line client takes all of its arguments from the command line.

-h, –help       – Print the help and exit.
-o, –host      – The host address to send to.
-s, –sender     – The sender to use (from the list above).
-m, –method     – The values generation method to use (from the list above).
-a, –argument     – The argument to the values generation method.
-c, –cell     – How long each value takes to send (in milliseconds).
-d, –duration     – How long to send values to the host.

These all have default values, including host which defaults to localhost.

* The IRC Client

The IRC client takes its initial configuration from the command line. Once it has connected to an IRC channel it takes commands from messages on that channel.

Command line arguments:

-h, –help    – Print the help and exit.
-s, –server    – The IRC server to connect to.
-p, –port    – The port on the IRC server to use (defaults to 6667).
-c, –channel    – The channel on the server to take commands from (omit #).
-u, –user    – The user on the channel to take commands from.

Channel and user default to “artcommands”.

Commands to the IRC channel have the following formats:

START [sender:]host[:port] kind[:argument]

Start sending values of the given kind to host using sender.
Where only sender or port are specified, the clients will guess which.
Argument can be a number of steps for wave senders, a url for the image sender, or arbitrary text for the text sender.

STOP host

Stop sending to the host. The host must be specified exactly as it was in the START command


Stop sending to all hosts.

Aesthetics Art Art Computing Culture Free Culture Politics

An Aesthetics Of Disappearance

I stumbled over this anti-face-recognition project again and, post-“world’s ugliest t-shirt” from “Zero History” I enjoyed it even more:

This technique can work in reverse, causing false positives and misdirected automated actions:

And it can use objects other than faces, operating on sensors other than 2D cameras:

When more and more human activity is being structured and quantized to make machine processing easier, aesthetics can disrupt this.

“…the opacity of the aesthetic offers some much needed resistance to the kinds of transparency increasingly demanded…”

An “Aesthetics Of Disappearance” and of false positives

[Via Netbehaviour]

Aesthetics Politics

Inhuman Aesthetics

Hubertus Bigend would love this.

If we ignore the role of luck, making money by trading stocks and shares requires that you have good information and that you act on it quickly. Stock market trades are exploits, the use of secret information to gain advantage in a system. Human beings cannot act faster than computers, and in particular human beings cannot act faster than clusters of very fast computers located as close as physically possible to the stock exchange and programmed in functional languages using highly tuned algorithms.

But when the “information” that a “market” represents is simply the information in the computer systems that make up its trading systems, markets cease to even pretend to be representations of value and become pure attack vectors.

Deep in the consensual haullucination of the stocks and shares market lurk daemons. The effects of these inhuman agencies produces inhuman artefacts with inhuman aesthetics possessing the naive and threatening charm of Cold War audio synthesizers. Sawtooth waves, square waves, knives. It’s like someone’s plugged a Moog
or a Korg into the stock market and then hacked it for MIDI. This isn’t the music of the spheres, it’s the sound of value being sucked out of society’s marrow by machines. But the machines are just a means to an end. They are not what is truly inhuman here.

Politics Satire

Number Crunching

[from Private Eye]

£85bn Tax contribution from financial sector, supposedly crucial to the UK economy, from 1997 to 2007

£250bn Officially predicted increase in government debt, to be repaid from everybody else’s taxes, following banking-induced recesion