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Secrets

https://www.decentralizedweb.net/secrets/

Sam Hart and Sarah Hamerman curated artworks on the theme of “Secrets” for a show in the OmiseGO Vault in the basement of San Francisco Mint for the Decentralised Web Summit 2018.

This included my new project “Secret Artwork (Content)”, projected onto the metal wall of the Vault. It’s one of the more explicit call-backs to Conceptual Art that I’ve made. A smart contract contains the encrypted description of the artwork’s content and a web-based presentation of that smart contract’s information does everything it can to distract you from the fact that it is not telling you what that content is.

More about it on the project page.

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Crypto Philosophy Uncategorized

Bitstrings

A “bit” is a basic unit of information entropy. It’s binary, either on or off, present or absent, one or zero.

A “string” in computer programming is a sequence of items of a particular length. They may be fixed or variable length. Eight, sixteen, thirty-two and sixty-four bit numbers are fixed length. A text string is variable length.

A byte is a series of eight bits that’s used as a standard representation for typographic characters, colour values and many other things. Up until IBM’s OS/360 project in the late 1960s there was no real standard for this – computers might be decimal, or alphabetic, or have “words” of sizes from four to twenty-four bits. Some Soviet computers of the same period used ternary logic rather than binary. Alan Turing used a logarithmic measure of information entropy called a “ban“. So be wary of naturalising the bit and the eight-bit byte, but when you see bits grouped together in strings of lengths that divide neatly into eight, recognise that this is related to the reality of how most modern computer sytems divide up their memory.)

Bitstrings can be used to represent the presence or absence of properties. A fixed-length bitstring is a bitfield, but we’re going to stick with the more general name. Integer numbers represented in binary use bits to represent the presence or absence of quantities of increasing sizes within the number. 0110 is six in a four bit “nibble”. UNIX filesystems represent the permissions that the owner and other users of a file have to access and manipulate it as a sequence of bits.

Such bitfields can be found throughout computing. The satirical proposal for an “evil bit” to be set on Internet messages that have evil intent, shows both the prevalence of bitstrings and their users awareness of the limitations of binary thinking and computational representation.

As with their use to represent integer numbers using binary, bits can represent doubling or halving of quantities. It takes 33 bits of entropy to uniquely identify an individual among seven billion on Earth. Cryptographic hashes, which produce compact unique “names” for any input file of any length, often output 128, 160 or 256 bit values. Each bit doubles the possible size, quantity, or uniqueness of the thing it represents. It also doubles the size of the space in which it can hide.

Contemporary cryptographic encoding and signing systems use keys several thousand bits in length. They would take a conventional computer an infeasable amount of time to break. This property is used in Bitcoin mining to create cryptographic puzzles that require capital outlay to solve.

A proposal for “vectored signatures” for the “V” version control system uses features of these different strings of bits. It represents assertions about an individual’s relationship to and opinion of a piece of code using a bitstring. It asserts the identity of that individual using cryptographic signatures. This combination is a generalization of cryptographic “keysigning” as recognition of identity, and the fact that Bitcoin transactions involve cryptographic signatures of communications between individuals about single-dimensional (monetary) quantities.

The bitstring representation of logical operators developed by the Logical Geometry project provides a compact and information-rich notation for various logics. Each bit represents a fact about an operator such as “true in all possible worlds”, and relates to geometric and trellis representations of the same operators. Bitwise operations on these representations are meaningful – for example bitwise NOT on p (1100) gives ¬p (0011).

The combination of logically manipulable bitstring representations (as with Logical Geometry) asserted through cryptographic signatures (as with vectored signatures) seems like a possibly fruitful area of investigation.

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Art Crypto Ethereum Projects Uncategorized

“Hot Cold” on Homestead

cold-hot-live

Here’s “Hot Cold” live on the Ethereum “Homestead” network.

“Hot Cold” calls back to Art & Language’s 1960s Conceptual Art involving abstract aesthetic properties. It looks (and is implemented to be) twice as complex as “Is Art“, but it’s still really only one bit of information.

You can run the user interface locally in a web browser with an Ethereum node such as geth. Once geth is running, the user interface can get the contract’s state from the blochchain and, if you have Ether for gas, modify it. If someone else changes the contract’s state, you’ll see this updated.

If you want to change the contract’s status without using the user interface, you can do so using the contract’s address and ABI in EtherWallet.

The address:

0x53cd5d6bebff1eef892c191875e4d963875f50d7

The ABI:

[{"constant":true,"inputs":[],"name":"cold","outputs":[{"name":"","type
":"bytes4"}],"type":"function"},{"constant":false,"inputs":[],"name":"swap","out
puts":[],"type":"function"},{"constant":true,"inputs":[],"name":"hot","outputs":
[{"name":"","type":"bytes4"}],"type":"function"},{"inputs":[],"type":"constructo
r"},{"anonymous":false,"inputs":[{"indexed":false,"name":"hot","type":"bytes4"},
{"indexed":false,"name":"cold","type":"bytes4"}],"name":"Swap","type":"event"}]
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Art Crypto Ethereum Projects Uncategorized

“Is Art” On Homestead

is1

Ethereum has been live for several months now and has progressed to the point where the network has been declared stable.

So I’m deploying my contract artworks to the Ethereum blockchain. First up is “Is Art“.

“Is Art” is an Ethereum contract that can be instructed to nominate itself as art (or not). Whoever toggles the contract’s state as art sets it unimpeded until the next person sends a transaction to change it. A more rational system should be used – bidding, voting, a prediction market. The Duchampian aesthetic transubstantiation of artistic nomination is long played out. It is an art historical found object, as basic as a contract with a single bit of state. Brought together, the art historical and the contemporarily technological (or their audiences) can mutually animate and interrogate each other.

You can run the user interface locally in a web browser with an Ethereum node such as geth. Once geth is running, the user interface can get the contract’s state from the blochchain and, if you have Ether for gas, modify it. If someone else changes the contract’s state, you’ll see this updated.

If you want to change the contract’s status without using the user interface, you can do so using the contract’s address and ABI in EtherWallet.

The address:

0xa95301a50551dfe16e180dec3fe0044e94d36f8c

The ABI:

[{"constant":true,"inputs":[],"name":"is_art","outputs":[{"name":"","ty
pe":"bytes6"}],"type":"function"},{"constant":false,"inputs":[],"name":"toggle",
"outputs":[],"type":"function"},{"inputs":[],"type":"constructor"},{"anonymous":
false,"inputs":[{"indexed":false,"name":"is_art","type":"bytes6"}],"name":"Statu
s","type":"event"}]

For instructions on how to do this, see the “Contracts” pane in EtherWallet.

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Ethereum Projects Uncategorized

Ethereum: Truffle + Meteor

Meteor is the recommended development framework for Ethereum dApps. Truffle is Consensys’ development  system for Ethereum dApps. We cannot currently add a Meteor build phase to Truffle, but we can integrate them easily enough with a script.

Install Meteor, Truffle and testrpc:

curl https://install.meteor.com/ | sh
sudo npm install -g truffle
sudo npm install -g ethereumjs-testrpc

Then create a file called truffle-meteor-build, in ~/bin or somewhere else easily accessible and paste the following into it:

#!/bin/bash

# By Rob Myers <rob@robmyers.org>
# CC0 2016
# To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with this
# work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.

# We copy the .meteor/ dir from app/ into the specified environment's build/ dir
# then call meteor-build-client in there, building into a meteor/ directory
# next to build/ .

if [ "${1}" = "-h" ] || [ "${1}" = "--help" ]
then
    echo "Usage: truffle-meteor-build [environment]"
    echo "       Copies the .meteor directory from app into the truffle build,"
    echo "       then calls meteor-build-client."
    echo "ARGS:  [environment] - The truffle environment to use (default developmpment)."
    echo "       Make sure you have npm install -g meteor-build-client"
    echo "       and meteor init in the truffle app/ directory."
fi

environment="${1:-development}"
base_dir="$(pwd)"

if [ ! -f "${base_dir}/truffle.json" ]
then
    echo "Please call from within the top level of a Truffle project."
    exit 1
fi

app_dir="${base_dir}/app"
dot_metoer_dir="${app_dir}/.meteor"
environment_dir="${base_dir}/environments/${environment}"
truffle_build_dir="${environment_dir}/build"
meteor_build_dir="${environment_dir}/meteor"

if [ ! -d "${environment_dir}" ]
then
    echo "Cannot find directory for environment ${environment}."
    exit 1
fi

pushd "${base_dir}" > /dev/null
echo "Truffle: building ${environment} in ${truffle_build_dir}"
truffle build "${environment}"
cp -r "${app_dir}/.meteor" "${truffle_build_dir}"
pushd "${truffle_build_dir}" > /dev/null
echo "Meteor: building client in ${meteor_build_dir}"
meteor-build-client "${meteor_build_dir}" -p ''
popd > /dev/null
popd > /dev/null

And make it executable:

chmod +x truffle-meteor build

In one shell window start testrpc:

testrpc

In another shell window create the Truffle/Meteor project:

mkdir truffle-meteor
truffle init
cd truffle-meteor
cd app
rm -rf *
meteor create .
meteor add ethereum:elements

This will create files called app.html, app.js, and app.css . You can rename them to whatever you like. Open truffle-meteor/truffle.json in a text editor and make sure the filenames match those in app/, that the Javascript file has the requisite post-processing commands to add Truffle and the Contract code and that there are no post-process commands for the HTML files.

The results should look similar to this:

{
  "build": {
    "is-art.html": {
      "files": [
        "is-art.html"
      ],
      "post-process": []
    },
    "is-art.js": {
      "files": [
      "is-art.js"
      ],
      "post-process": [
        "bootstrap",
        "frontend-dependencies"
      ]
    },
    "app.css": [
      "is-art.css"
    ],
    "images/": "images/"
  },
  "deploy": [
    "IsArt"
  ],
  "rpc": {
    "host": "localhost",
    "port": 8545
  }
}

Edit the contract, HTML, CSS and JavaScript as needed.

Deploy the contract:

truffle deploy

Then build the meteor project:

truffle-meteor-build

You can now open the Meteor client in a web browser:

chromium environments/development/meteor/index.html

As you continue to develop the project you can reload the Meteor client in the web browser to see your changes. Make sure you keep testrpc running – if you stop and restart it you’ll need to deploy the contracts again.

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Uncategorized

Artwork Of The Century

Shareable Readymades Sheet

Great at the London Art fair – Rob Myers ‘Artwork of the Century’ shareable ready-mades with ‘Certificate of Inauthenticity’

(Image and quote – Bruno Martelli.)

Categories
Art Computing Free Software Generative Art Projects Uncategorized

Minara 0.4.0

minara-cairo-gtk-test

I’ve been making the regular (accidentally) six-yearly update to Minara, my vector graphics program.

The new version switches from GLUT to Gtk for the windowing system, from GLU to Cairo for the renderer, and from C to pure Scheme for the core application. It’s all written in The GNU project’s Guile Scheme system.

Minara is Lisp all the way down: the application, tools, and graphics files are all written in Scheme. It’s designed as an environment for 2D generative vector art hacking.

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Uncategorized

Curatorator

Operationalizing curation, after a presentation by the excellent Mohammad Salemy.

The source code uses artsy.net’s API to find and rank similar artists and extract their shared themes.

Here’s an example:

2000-present (29), United States (26), Painting (26), Popular Culture (19), Appropriation (18), Contemporary Pop (16), Mixed-Media (14), Cultural Commentary (13), Human Figure (13), Engagement with Mass Media (13), Sculpture (12), Figurative Painting (12), Installation Art (11), Advertising and Brands (10).

Elizabeth Peyton (0.44)

(American, 1965)

1990s, Abstract versus Figurative Art, Childhood, Engagement with Mass Media, Figurative Art, Figurative Painting, Glamour, Group of Portraits, Individual Portrait, Painting, Photographic Source, Popular Culture, Portrait, Related to Fashion, United States, Work on Paper.

Richard Phillips (0.44)

(American, 1962)

2000-present, Appropriation, Art in Art, Bright/Vivid, Cinematic, Contemporary Pop, Drawing, Engagement with Mass Media, Erotic, Figurative Painting, Glamour, Human Figure, Nude, Oil Painting, Painting, Photographic Source, Popular Culture, Portrait, Provocative, Related to Fashion, Related to Film, United States, Work on Paper.

Bäst (0.40)

(American )

2000-present, Abstract versus Figurative Art, Advertising and Brands, Americana, Appropriation, Bright/Vivid, Collage, Comic/Cartoon, Consumerism, Contemporary Faux Naïf, Contemporary Pop, Cultural Commentary, Face, Graffiti/Street Art, Human Figure, Hybrids and Imaginary Creatures, Layered Images, Mixed-Media, Multiple Styles, Painting, Patterns, Popular Culture, Printed Matter, Silkscreen, Site Specific Art, Text, The Fantastic, Typography, United States, Use of Vintage Imagery.

Jim Thompson (0.40)

(American)

2000-present, Advertising and Brands, Americana, Appropriation, Contemporary Pop, Contemporary Traces of Memory, Engagement with Mass Media, Figurative Art, Figurative Painting, Nostalgia, Oil Painting, Painting, Personal Histories, Photographic Source, Popular Culture, Representation of Everyday Objects, Sports/Athletics, United States.

David Kramer (0.40)

(American, 1963)

Advertising and Brands, Americana, Appropriation, Consumerism, Contemporary Pop, Engagement with Mass Media, Figurative Painting, Figurative Sculpture, Kitsch, Leisure, Mixed-Media, Painting, Photographic Source, Popular Culture, Representation of Everyday Objects, Sculpture, United States, Work on Paper.

Francesco Vezzoli (0.40)

(Italian, 1971)

2000-present, Advertising and Brands, Appropriation, Consumerism, Contemporary Conceptualism, Contemporary Pop, Cultural Commentary, Figurative Painting, Film/Video, Glamour, Human Figure, Italy, Mixed-Media, Myth/Religion, Nostalgia, Painting, Popular Culture, Provocative, Related to Fashion, Related to Film.

Russell Young (0.40)

(British, 1959)

Appropriation, Bright/Vivid, Celebrity, Color Photography, Cultural Commentary, Engagement with Mass Media, Glittery, Individual Portrait, Photography, Popular Culture, Portrait, Provocative, Silkscreen, United Kingdom and Ireland, United States, Unsettling.

James Rawson (0.36)

2000-present, Advertising and Brands, Appropriation, Consumerism, Contemporary Graphic Realism, Contemporary Pop, Cultural Commentary, Dense Composition, Engagement with Mass Media, Figurative Art, Figurative Painting, Human Figure, Oil Painting, Painting, Popular Culture, Text.

Kelley Walker (0.36)

(American, 1969)

1990s, Advertising and Brands, Appropriation, Bright/Vivid, Contemporary Pop, Dense Composition, Engagement with Mass Media, Installation Art, Mixed-Media, Painting, Photographic Source, Popular Culture, Racial and Ethnic Identity, Sculpture, Silkscreen, United States, Use of Common Materials.

Robert Mars (0.32)

(American)

2000-present, Advertising and Brands, Americana, Appropriation, Art in Art, Celebrity, Contemporary Pop, Cultural Commentary, Engagement with Mass Media, Human Figure, Layered Images, Mixed-Media, Painting, Printed Matter, Text, United States.

Leslie Holt (0.32)

(American , 1969)

2000-present, Appropriation, Collective History, Consumerism, Contemporary Pop, Cultural Commentary, Engagement with Mass Media, Figurative Painting, Food, Humor, Kitsch, Mixed-Media, Oil Painting, Painting, Popular Culture, Text, The Fantastic, United States.

Ryan McGinness (0.32)

(American, 1972)

2000-present, Abstract versus Figurative Art, Advertising and Brands, Bright/Vivid, Calligraphic, Consumerism, Contemporary Graphic Realism, Contemporary Pop, Design, Engagement with Mass Media, Erotic, Human Figure, Layered Images, Painting, Patterns, Popular Culture, Psychedelic, Sculpture, Silkscreen, United States, Work on Paper.

Kim Dong Yoo (0.32)

(Korean, 1965)

1990s, 2000-present, Appropriation, Celebrity, Contemporary Pop, Group of Portraits, Human Figure, Individual Portrait, Korea, Painting, Photographic Source, Photography, Political Figures, Popular Culture, Process-Oriented, Repetition.

Jack Early (0.28)

1990s, 2000-present, Americana, Celebrity, Contemporary Pop, Erotic, Figurative Art, Figurative Painting, Figurative Sculpture, Installation Art, Nude, Painting, Personal Histories, Popular Culture, Sculpture, United States.

Kim Luttrell (0.28)

(American, 1965)

2000-present, Appropriation, Collage, Collective History, Contemporary Graphic Realism, Contemporary Pop, Figurative Painting, Glamour, Human Figure, Individual Portrait, Mixed-Media, Painting, Popular Culture, Portrait, United States, Work on Paper.

Ronnie Cutrone (0.28)

(American, 1948)

1980s, Advertising and Brands, Comic/Cartoon, Cultural Commentary, Drawing, Engagement with Mass Media, Humor, Mixed-Media, Painting, Pop Art, Popular Culture, Representation of Everyday Objects, United States, Watercolor.

Douglas Gordon (0.28)

(Scottish, 1966)

1990s, Appropriation, Celebrity, Color Photography, Contemporary Conceptualism, Contemporary Gothic, Contemporary Pop, Cultural Commentary, Film/Video, Installation Art, Mixed-Media, Personal Histories, Photography, Popular Culture, Provocative, Relational Aesthetics, Repetition, Self-Portrait, United Kingdom and Ireland, United States, Unsettling.

Philip Hanson (0.20)

(American, 1943)

1960s, 1970s, Appropriation, Art Brut, Chicago Imagists, Comic/Cartoon, Etching/Engraving, Human Figure, Humor, Interiors, Outsider Art, Painting, Pop Art, Still Life, Text, United States, Work on Paper.

Sylvie Fleury (0.20)

(Swiss, 1961)

1990s, Appropriation, Color Photography, Contemporary Participation, Contemporary Pop, Film/Video, Found Objects, Glamour, Humor, Installation Art, Mixed-Media, Photography, Popular Culture, Provocative, Related to Fashion, Sculpture, Switzerland, Typography, Use of Common Materials.

John Ashbery (0.20)

(American, 1927)

1960s, Appropriation, Collage, Comic/Cartoon, Contemporary Pop, Contemporary Surrealistic, Human Figure, Illustration/Art, Mixed-Media, Pop Art, Popular Culture, The Fantastic, United States.

Duke Riley (0.16)

(American, 1972)

2000-present, City Scenes, Collective History, Conflict, Contemporary Conceptualism, Crime, Cultural Commentary, Drawing, Figurative Painting, Figures in Nature, Human Figure, Humor, Interactive, Mixed-Media, Modernizing of Traditional Technique, Modes of Transportation, Mosaics, Narrative, Nature, Nostalgia, Painting, Performance Art, Photography, United States, Water, Work on Paper.

Jim Morgan (0.16)

2000-present, Animals, Contemporary Academic Realism, Figurative Art, Figurative Painting, Landscapes, Nature, Oil Painting, Painting, United States, Water, Waterscapes.

Chuong Thanh (0.12)

2000-present, Abstract versus Figurative Art, Bright/Vivid, Figurative Art, Flatness, Fragmented Geometry, Human Figure, Painting, Picassoesque, Southeast Asia.

duane paul (0.12)

1990s, 2000-present, Abstract Art, Abstract Sculpture, Abstract versus Figurative Art, Assemblage, Decay, Figurative Art, Language, Personal Writing Systems, Process-Oriented, Racial and Ethnic Identity, Recycled, Sculpture, Sexual Identity, United States, Use of Common Materials, Wall Sculpture and Installation.

Matt Magee (0.12)

(American, 1961)

1990s, 2000-present, Abstract Art, Appropriation, Biomorphic, Collecting and Modes of Display, Contemporary Conceptualism, Found Objects, France, Hard-Edged, Language, Painting, Personal Histories, Personal Writing Systems, Sculpture, United States, Work on Paper.

Daniel Joseph (0.12)

2000-present, Contemporary Conceptualism, Diaristic, Engagement with Mass Media, Installation Art, Interactive, Line, Form and Color, Painting, Personal Histories, Sculpture, Text, United States.

Jane Hammond (0.12)

(American, 1950)

Abstract Art, Abstract Painting, Collage, Collecting and Modes of Display, Drawing, Language, Mixed-Media, Painting, Photographic Source, Printed Matter, Process-Oriented, Related to Literature, United States, Use of Common Materials.

Brendan Murphy (0.12)

(American)

2000-present, Abstract Art, Bright/Vivid, Calligraphic, Drawing, Flora, Human Figure, Mixed-Media, Nature, Painting, Portrait, Sports/Athletics, United States.


All data via artsy.net’s API.

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Uncategorized

Three.js Glitches

I’m learning the three.js JavaScript 3D Graphics library. One of the projects I’m going to apply this to is Blockchain Aesthetics. Here are some of the more aesthetic failures and successes so far at visualising Bitcoin transaction hashes.

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Uncategorized

Essay Corpse – Accelerate Aesthetics

(This essay wouldn’t gel and I abandoned it. “XXXX…” means “do more here in the next writing or edit pass.”
Do get “Speculative Aesthetics” and “Class Wargames”, they are both wonderful books.)

Urbanomic’s “Speculative Aesthetics” is a freshly mined block of well-contextualised ideas, including some insightful discussion of Accelerationism’s relationship to aesthetics. That relationship is one I’ve been thinking and writing about in ignorant parallel.

 

I do not understand (I mean that literally: I’ve tried to parse the arguments and failed) the idea of overdetermined adherence to a teleological ideology as “freedom”. Whether the eschaton is religious, political/economic or technological, I don’t regard submission to its inevitability as freedom so much as a kind of Dice-Mannish false blamelessness. The fruit fly that buzzes in an endless repeating pattern through a featureless space is neither free nor showing free will. But then nor is the liberal consumer or subject of history in any absolute sense, however right Popper was about totalitarianism.

 

Abstraction is a word that describes many different phenomena, XXXXXXXX

 

At the same time as reading (or “reading“) “Speculative Aesthetics” I’ve been reading Richard Barbrook’s excellent”Class Wargames” book. Barbrook’s history of Guy Debord’s “Game of War” casts the game convincingly as a pedagogical tool for inoculating the political Left against the temptations of vanguard politics. Debord’s game represents the field and forces of battle at the time of the Napoleonic wars at a high level of abstraction compared to the average SPI/GDW-style wargame , making them a general representation of armed conflict. In order to win, one must recapitulate the tactics of Napoleon or Trotsky, with their attendant sacrifice and bloodshed. Having played at being Napoleon, players can both defeat them and will understand why they wouldn’t want to become or follow such a leader in real life.

This indicates the value of Acceleration’s strategy of abstraction, from specifics to generalities and back. Failing cloning, there will not literally be another Napoleon. But there will be scenarios in which another clever general might need to be defeated, either on the battlefield or in politics. There’s nothing Accelerationist about a board game, but there is about its use to create a distributed clever general. And it’s in distribution that Accelerationism can avoid vanguardism.

 

The legacy of CCRU can easily be painted as sitting uncomfortably with Accelerationism’s emphasis on rationality. But the irrational, imaginative, mystical, fictional nature of much CCRU/Orphan Drift/Nick Land output is rational – it can be rational to use irrationality when there is no rational means of achieving a rational end. This is instrumental irrationality, and it’s a standard part of creativity. Creativity theory tells us why – if thinking sensibly is leaving you stuck in a rut then thinking irrationally may get you out of it. Whether surrealist games, Edward de Bono’s “lateral thinking” or chemically assisted imaginings, XXXXXXXXX.

 

This is a very different kind of abstraction from the Real Abstraction of Marxism, or the representational simplifications and distillations of Data Visualization. Accelerationist aesthetics must achieve a new kind of abstraction via either a CCRUian instrumental irrationality as a mythological attractor and search space exploder, a Debordian detournement and redemption (rather than gentrification) of data visualization , or a remix of both.