Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Pancinema was a competition entry for the Milan Station Art Competition 2000Collaboration: Luke Lowings, Richard Kress and Marek Walczak
Friday, March 16, 2007
1.The project is called "The Museum of Yesterday". It will be a physical space, tunnel/tent like structure in front of the union. We have picked the union because it is a symbolic home base for campus and it has high traffic flow of the campus population. We chose this specific site out in front because it is public, not a room you must go to, and is highly visible to anyone who passes by.
2. The users who engage with this project will take video and photo based on this criteria "If you would like to submit to The Museum of Yesterday then follow these instructions: Take a 1 minute video or 1 photograph of something ephemeral that you find meaningful. The context of these visual artifacts should be from your experiences on campus. Then upload your video to the museum website."
We decided AGAINST the mission themes for each week. There will only be this one constraint criteria. We felt that choosing the words ephemeral and meaningful were important aspects of what information we wanted to collect. "Meaningfulness" is very subjective and we are interested in the users' interpretation of what they find meaningful. We feel that this notion of cataloguing a community's idea of tiny things that are meaningful gets at the issue of meaning in memory. What memories do we find meaningful? Why do stupid things that might seem insignificant stick in our heads, but others don't? This question to the user also brings up value systems and subjective selection in memory. Ephemera is a criteria we are interested in because of its relationship to the museum and all the artifacts being not lasting, but displayed for a short while.
3. The display of artifacts will be anonymous, but the submission will be based on your net ID.
4. We will have either a voting system for the community to vote out "bad" or "innaporpriate" videos at a computer station in the museum OR we will have a jury that reviews all the material the night before and eliminates irrelevant or lude material. We have not chosen which of these we will do at the moment.
5. The videos and photos will be collected by uploading to a website with a cut off of a certain time (9pm?) or there will be a drop slot. I think the uploading makes more sense because who will want to burn a disc with one photo or mini movie on it? its a waste. Then those visual artifacts will be loaded to the display screens for the next day. They can only be viewed at the museum! Then at the end of the day all the artifacts will be deleted. Nothing will be saved.
6. Although the museum structure is the only thing we may physically realize for our final project it will be accompanied by a future proposal to have kiosks with uploading computer screens and cameras that you can rent out by swiping your icard. You can have the camera for a set amount of time, 15 minutes, half hour, no longer than 1 hour. This idea adds to the notion of equality, ubiquity and access to the entire community.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Locational proposal for how The Museum of Yesterday might look in front of the Illini Union between the two entrances. This location was chosen because it is a high traffic area as well as a symbolic home base for the campus community. We wanted something that was accessable, but didn't obstruct anyone's way if they didn't want to engage with it.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Obviously we cannot post any results until at least a test run has been conducted, but a number of questions can at least be addressed in a speculative manner.
Ideally our expert will be someone who has experience in designing and running programs on the Cube. I have already briefly talked with Professor Karahalios about the idea and she informed me that they are often looking for student projects to run in the Cube, and that I should simply contact the appropriate people in charge of the program and have a professor’s endorsement to be allowed access to work in the Cube. She also informed me that the work on the Cube is traditionally done in OpenGL, so someone who can help with that would be a major plus.
We cannot reasonably hope to do any kind of meaningful analysis until at least some level of testing is conducted.
While we cannot say how well our goals will be achieved in the long term, our short term ideas that we have set forward, such as everyone taking notes, and roundtable discussions, have thus far proved to make our meetings more productive and allowed for everyone to get their ideas heard and then taken into account in the final project.
Longevity of installation:
We would like the installation to be in place for at least a week in order for people to be able to submit memories and come back and view them for multiple days, and for news of the project to spread by word of mouth.
3. Subjects / users
Subject for our museum can be any and everything which takes place around the people on campus, every event which can generate emotions on collective spectrum.
User of the museum of yesterday will be the students, faculty members and people working for university of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. This is their own memories which they want to share with fellow mates, through which they want to express their joy , grief, excitement and emotions which they experience everyday.
Glimpses of things which can get away un noticed but are worth getting attention or something which will remain in individual memory forever will get a canvas which will host them.
Success of museum of yesterday will mainly depend on the involvement of the user group, along with the true and topic related memories. Here we are addressing to large group of people which are involved in making the working of an idea.
There can be some measures which should be taken into consideration to make the system more efficient –
1. The data (memories) for the museum should reflect the the topic for which one had to address.
For Eg. If the topic is motion on campus – the data uploaded should be reflecting that,
As a process for uploading data would work on swiping of the university I card – excess will be given to only them , also one has to select the topic under which data has to be stored, which makes the process more transparent.
If there is any misleading data then the person who has uploaded it will be given strict warning and his data will be removed from or not uploaded on the museum.
2. There will be some authority given to the audience, where they will be able to vote out any data which they seem to be not appropriate. Audience can swipe their I card and can vote out any data , but they will be able to vote only once per person per memory. So that it can be a fair process.
3. Real success of the process will lie on the emotions generated on collective level. To deal it on equal bar we have tried to deal with specific human senses that is vision and emotions.
There is no specific language, group of people or mode of expression which dominates the
The ideal site for deployment of the museum would be in the Cube in Beckman, as we could display the memories on each of the individual walls, or possibly even multiple memories per wall.
In a less than ideal situation we could construct a museum environment in a room using multiple large screen monitors or televisions to allow the viewing of many different memories at once.
A web server with a site set up to allow for submission of videos and photographs would be required to collect the memories on a daily basis.
This same server could be used in the museum to display the submitted memories onto the walls of the cube.
The server would likely require some sort of database software running on it, most likely some SQL implementation, to store and catalog all the memories and their associated tags.
The storage medium for the memories would be individual video and image files in the database with a number of tags associated with them as determined by the users.
The method of retrieval would be through audience members physically entering the museum and viewing the memories as they are displayed throughout the installation, based either on time of day, or tags, or completely randomly from the entire day.
The data-set of memories will be any videos or images that users find to be particularly relevant or interesting. This could range from a video of a speech or just a picture of a flower.
All of these memories would be tagged by what type of content they contain. For example the flower could be tagged with flower, plant, happiness, yellow, color, and spring.
We expect the users-group to be either large enough or involved enough to submit a sufficient amount of content, and to tag that content appropriately.
The only expectation we have of the audience is that they would have a willingness to view the museum as with any other museum. It is helpful if they have specific tags for memories they want to view, but it is not a necessary expectation.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
The museum as an intimate storyteller.
To “outsiders” as well as townies. If one wanted to “get the pulse” of the community a visit to the museum may give more intimate details than can be obtained through personal interactions.
The museum as communication post for the community.
People can leave messages for their friends and loved ones. Members of the community may find this to be of some use while outsiders may garner little from theses posts.
People will come to this space and take time to enjoy the memories of their community together. Friends may come as a group to enjoy a particular memory that they submitted the day before. Strangers may find themselves observing each other’s memories and being able to learn something about one another with the possibility of meeting that person in this physical space. Bickering lovers may be able to confide in the anonymity of the museum space’s submission process what they were not able to tell their partner directly. Townsfolk in general may make it a habit to pass through the museum on Monday nights when a certain theme of memories are displayed.
The museum as a memorial to the “felt” history of UIUC.
As opposed to a traditional history where dates, moments of fanfare or disaster articulate the history of a location, this museum would celebrate the reactions or the emotions of the location. This “felt” history is not something outsiders may necessarily be able to relate to. The reactions or emotions may also be in response to nothing traumatic at all, in fact, an idea we are trying to tap into is that everyday is a moment of fanfare or disaster. Everyday is a cause for celebration as people all over town are able to share the discovery of something beautiful they have come across or have created. Everyday we as a community face traumatic situations, random acts of kindness, long lasting love, anger, despair and hope.
The museum as a facilitator.
Going along with the idea that we, as a community, have all these inspirations, cries for help and comic situations; an avenue of expression empowers the basic desire to voice these ideas. This in effect draws attention to the person as one who interacts with the beauty in our social and even spiritual environment; encouraging more people to tap into what makes art so compelling.
How did specific choices lead to impact or tension?
We started off with the idea of having recording stations where members of the community would come and record moments either through video or by typing them out. The recordings would then be up for display at a certain public space somewhere like the Student Union. We liked the idea of having that shared space to share and talk about memories, but the station idea felt a bit stagnant and could not capture the ephemeral and intimate moments – important parts of our memories.
We wanted to retrieve these collected memories (video, audio, written, etc.) in a manner that would be efficient with our desires and so the idea of a “wiki” stayed with us. However, we decided to shed the search function for a more directed approach. The curator for the museum would choose certain themes that the uploaded memories would have to incorporate and in this way, over time, after diligent tagging of the memories by their authors the storage of various themes would allow a passer-by to choose which themes to observe.
The idea of forgetting was incomplete in our discussions. We wanted some sort of filter to keep out the lewd and inappropriate – some filtered by the curator and possibly more so by the community members visiting the museum.
Do you feel your approach is more like “grounded theory” or “hypothesis testing”?
I feel as if our approach is more like hypothesis testing only it is without a solid hypothesis. Through further experimentation completely unanticipated consequences may emerge with which we may have to alter certain facets of our museum. We are dedicating a physical space to the “memories” of a town in the hopes that people may come, learn, talk, cherish, empower, reflect and bond with one another. Whether making a space to daily display new video, audio, and other works submitted by the town will accomplish this may be the hypothesis. We are leaving much of the directing of this project in the hands of the censor (if we are to have one), the creativity of UIUC, and the current social dynamic of the campus. Whether this museum can be accurately described as a store house of the ephemeral memories or “felt” history of UIUC is also up for question.
What aspects of collective memory are you addressing?
What powers control what gets forgotten – the people. Is this sort of inscribing practice worth it – is there any function or purpose? Should we take time out of our day to reflect and enjoy the “memories” of the town? To what extent should we incorporate the act of storage into our daily and present lives? What (sort of) power structures are guiding this storage and retention process? Will this idea of taking time out for reflection on the ephemeral moments be useful on the personal level? Can this act then become a sort of incorporative practice?
The methodologies we will be using to develop our project will begin with a mix between focus group questionnares and paper prototyping. Then from those studies we will develop the projecte further through bodystorming, roleplay and physical walkthroughs. Doing participatory action tests to gage whether or not people would realisticly engage with the project will be crucial. With the prevelance of already existing communities such as Youtube and Flickr our group feels like this would be an accepted idea to people on campus and a more meaningful alternative to those internet communities which can tend to lack specificity and reflection.
Archiving will occur on a website that we will build to upload data to. This can be tested by making DVDs and using netfiles as a test for uploading material. The choice of the medium of video display speaks to the ephemeral nature of the material we want people to collect as well as the immediacy of video. This will also make the information collected viewable by all audiences regardless of their access to recording equipment or internet, unlike something like Youtube. The site specificity also separates our project from Youtube. The recording would be done by anyone from the UIUC community. We can make the website for uploading only accessible to UIUC students if we really wanted to control the input or we could just leave it open with the belief that mostly UIUC community members would submit because the viewing can only occur on campus.
Our group is interested in the intentional storage of ephemeral things that a given community find meaningful. Whether this be the sight of flower on a sunny day or hearing your favorite song on the radio, we are interested in cataloging a communal sense of ephemeral moments of beauty or significance. We are interested in short term memory of these moments put on display in public for anyone to experience. Ideally the accumulation of these tiny ephemeral moments in one space would create an experiential moment of collective short term memory which would show the signifigance of all the things we take for granted everyday.
For the design of our final project we plan on doing a series of test runs and prototypes. We will ask a sample group of students on campus to take video, image, audio, or text recording of something ephemeral that they find significant to see what kind of information people gather. We also plan on trying out different methods of presentation, using video screens, DVDs, web pages and ultimately doing experiments in The Cube or Cave if we can have access. Variables which we will use in our test runs will most likely be different questions to find one which best suites our idea and gets people to engage our concept as well as different modes of presentation in the museum. The beginning stages of these test runs can even start with simple questionnaires concerning what people find significant yet ephemeral throughout their daily lives. Hopefully from these various tests we can gain a better understanding of the project and make it as effective and meaningful as possible.
The idea for our project to be a "museum" of ephemeral bits of yesterday is a twist on what people normally think of when they think museum. Our project is using the framework of a museum for our model, but the content of our museum is very different than traditional museums. In traditional museums you have an expensive collection of historical artifacts which reach far back in time. Our museum is a collection of historical artifacts which reach back only as far as yesterday. Museum collections are expensive, conserved and important whereas our collections will be everyday, minuscule and ephemeral. So our museum has a historical context in traditional museums because it will have a collection up for display to the public, yet it contrasts because the display is changing each day and the artifacts will be destroyed at the end of the day.
This project also references online communities for uploading and display of recordings such as Youtube or Flickr. We hope our project differs from these because of the specificity of what we are asking people to record and also the site specificity of the museum being a place you must actually visit to experience. Filtering of "bad" recordings (which the community deams inapporpriate or not fitting) will be voted on and deleted by those who come to the museum, which is a similar method to the voting used to filter videos on Youtube.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Discernment and constructing character: Through this customized storage and editing process one is directly able to construct one’s personal history. We can take out sad experiences and choose to store pleasant ones. In the throes of our emotions we may, out of comfort, choose to live without the memory of a lover’s deceit. In doing so though we also forget the valuable lessons “learned” from such an experience, thereby allowing ourselves to become susceptible to falling into the same sad experience once more. How would one judge whether certain “hard” memories are worth keeping, or any memory for that matter. The wisdom and discernment the person has previous to the surgery is the one that will guide these sorts of decisions on which to keep and which to delete. This person must then have a great and holistic sense of themselves and their ability to shoulder the burden of daily choosing which memories they would like to include in their personal history. If we concede the idea that our personal history shape our character and more so in this case as the person reviews his/her personal history just as the day begins; then the subject then has the ability to shape or propagate a character out of the mold of the memories he/she has stored. The temptation to create a persona you desire may be big or small and results of this sort of presenting or framing yourself can be analogous to the postings of carefully selected pictures, interests, and recording on internet characterizations of people on The Facebook and MySpace. This may also happen inadvertently as the person reviews the memories for the day and comes to the conclusion that his memories are devoid of happy ones thereby saddening the person mood.
Success is then knowing ourselves, and trusting the construction of our character is true to our personal ideals.
Interfering with life:
Shortcuts: A temptation for one having to deliberately record, review, and edit memories day in and day out for years on end would be to develop a system that would allow the most convenient and practical methods of recording. At the end of the day you know that you must look through these memories to decide which ones are important and to lighten the load of material you must look through you would tailor your storing process to reach a sort of efficiency. Would this drive for efficiency get in the way of your social interactions? How do the recording media restrict your ability to get at the ideal efficiency in recording?
Tailoring: In order then to catch the memory or experience the best, you must use the media most effectively. Whether this means developing excellent descriptive writing skills, photography tricks, or tweaking the audio recording device; you are still mediating this memory through a device thus tailoring the actual event/experience to fit the parameters/restrictions of the recording devices. In effect, you are shrinking or altering your experiences so they will fit the constraints of the media. You would not be experiencing life as it is but as you imagine you would like or need it sometime in the future.
Purpose: If this then is the goal of our external memory – to record for memory’s sake, how do we decide which memories have priority over others? Should we look to keep more fond memories or more functional/practical ones? What sort of toll would it take on a person if they knew the sole purpose for keeping these memories is to look back on them? Would they have the desire to pursue personal goals that stretch beyond a day? Would it even be possible to maintain goals simply by recording the fact that you have a goal? Can passion, goals and love be recorded so as to reignite themselves within you everyday? How difficult would it be to pursue a relationship knowing that you must recall the counterpart’s name every morning? Is there enough space in your memory to maintain facts about other people even? What are the opportunity costs of doing this? All these questions naturally point to an overall motive or a purpose to recording events and experiences, a recording paradigm. With our limited time of existence what do we dedicate ourselves to accomplishing?
The Perfect Day: A final and somewhat unrelated point that arose during our brainstorming session was the idea creation. Say our goal in life was to enjoy it the best we could, day by day and to make each day the best it could be. So then our memories that we’d choose to store would be a collection of enjoyable or meaningful things one can do to enjoy the day. Once a stockpile of enjoyable and meaningful memories built up and after reviewing these memories and instructions on how to accomplish them, one would proceed to have the “perfect day”. If one so chose, he/she could continue to do these things day in and day out until other less forgiving measures stole your ability to enact this perfect day i.e. aging, finances, society, and people around you. To make it interesting we can believe the person lived on his/her own and so there would be little constraints on finances or pressures to fit into a working society. And within this perfect day daily sustenance and so forth are incorporated. Presumably then, for a given time one would be able to enjoy this perfect day, day after day until time came and stole him away.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
After you have had your surgery and you don't have any internal method for recording new memories you must use a new external system. Every morning when you wake up you must review your memory blog. There will be separate posts for each respective day as well as a special section for long term memories (this is where you would post things that are very important, or things that you would need to know constantly such as a bus route you just learned). You would refresh your mind with the days past and skim through the posts paying special attention to the long term memory posts because these should be the most crucial things you would need to function each day.
Once you are done with your morning memory refresher you begin the recording process of all your memories. Based on an outline and your own judgement you must decide which memories will be relevant, useful or special and which ones you don't really need to record. You will use an audio recorder, digital camera and note pad to record your memories. The audio recorder for sound, conversations, etc. The digital camera for faces, places, events and visuals. The note pad to record thoughts, feelings, or to annotate and give context to audio recordings or images. Throughout the day you would accumulate these memories and try to only record things that you will really need or really want to keep (especially considering that each morning you will review more and more material as days progress).
Once you get home and before you go to sleep you must import all of your recordings. As you import you must compare your recordings with your own memory of that day (you still have the days memory in your head til you fall asleep) and decide which memories can be deleted or manually "forgotten" and which one's you must keep or want to keep. Then from the relevant recordings you make a blog post for that day which shows all the information you recorded. That days blog entry will then become your memory archive for all things that happened that day. Then you will go to sleep and forget everything that happened.
Say you were having brain surgery on Tuesday and the doctor's told you that after the surgery you would not have any new long term memories from then on. You could remember things from that day, but once you fall asleep you lose that whole day and all memories after the surgery. So this means you would still remember everything in your life before the surgery, but you would need to catalogue your future memories to build a long and short term memory for the rest of your life. So on Wednesday when you wake up you must record your entire day and store that information so when you wake up on Thursday you will know what happened the day before. Then you would continually record and relive each of your days through this mediated catalogue of your memories. The records will be stored in a blog like this one which you can edit and personally manage.
To better understand what our project was about and experience the act of having an external memory I decided to do a 2 hour test run using the same audio, visual and note recording that would be in our final project. Here is a website archiving my experience.
From this walkthrough I realized that although I was self conscious at first speaking aloud to record memories with the audio device, this method actually worked very well. It was less intrusive and allowed me to experience things while recording them, where as with the note pad I would have to stop what I was doing to take notes. I couldn't eat my lunch because I had to keep on writing down my ideas, but then once I got the recorder working it was much less of a hassle. I also realized that I didn't take as many photos as I thought I would have. I think this is because the camera was too subjective, I would only take boring snap shots like the walgreen's sign or a snowman. I could have been more artistic with my photographing, but that would not have aided in me remembering those places or events. I think that through this test run I realized that audio seemed to work best as far as recording goes. This may have changed based on the situation. For example if I was in a very visually interesting setting, I may have better and more relevant pictures that I would want to keep, but audio seemed to be best for this runthrough.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Just arrived at meeting.
Listened to John Mayer Trio - Another Kind of Green in the car.
Saw a fight on Springfield between 5th and 6th.
Saw Mike Hull walking home.
Ran into Kang and we had to look for the room again.
Began using the audio recorder.
Mike will be getting a card reader at around 8 tomorrow.
Professor Kwiat was over for dinner today.
Mike Hull brought a friend over.
Told Collison, Vlad, John, and Gesualdo about the project. They promised to harass me during recordings.
Been listening to the Eric Clapton discography all day.
How I experienced the world:
Initially, I felt very handicapped. Very quickly realizing the extent to which the seeing rely on this faculty in ways I never would have guess if I were to simply ponder on what it would be like to go blind. At this point Kyle, Mike and I were still just sitting in our chairs brainstorming.
During this hour of blindness my other senses came to life, but only after a conscious move to begin storing memory through touch, smell, sound etc. Before this sort of acclimating to my newfound blindness I was trying to fabricate a visual memory through a combination of my other sense along with some imagination. Since I had never been in the Speitz Lab, there was no spatial map or visual memory of how this building looks and how it would make me feel. For example, by feeling the sort and style of buttons in the elevator I could imagine how old the elevator was based on my visual database of button styles and the estimated era of their production. This visual fabrication would become apart of every thing I tried to experience with my hands. All objects in my mind then were constructed by bricks of previous visual memories and stereotypes. In effect I was tyring to make up for not having sight.
This then triggered thoughts on the discussion we had in class in regards to the provacativeness (in terms of memory) of pictures versus an audio recording. To myself, previously able to see, memories are stored in bundles of senses connected to varying degrees in time and space and so a picture of a girl laughing naturally evokes in my mind a sound of a girl laughing while an audio recording conjures up a related, visual thought or memory.
How I felt looking at the pictures: Initially it was quite shocking. It felt as if somone had stolen my body while I wasn't thinking and made me pose in a building I've never seen before. Actually, I felt so removed from this memory that I didn't believe I was looking at myself for a little while. Then the visual constructions I had produced during the walk-through of the building were clashing with the actual appearance of the room, furniture, doors, etc.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Here are images that I took as I walked Kang around through a building he had never been in before and he was blindfolded. This was a test run to see what it would be like if Kang saw a visual record of a place he had been, but could not remember the picture at all. By cutting out the visual memory Kang was forced to see what it would be like if he lost visual memory, this way he could have a better sense of what loosing all his memory would be like.