Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Blending the images (memories)

Here i came across an experiment done by developing a computer program which blend Flickr images which share the same tags. No human is involved in choosing, positioning, or blending the images.

These are few examples which will be kick off point for retrieval part of our project where we can make the whole project more exiting.

Memory recollection - Jim Campbell

Memory/Recollection, 1990Black and white video camera, five CRT's, 286 computer, custom electronicsMemory/Recollection is an interactive video installation in which a series of captured live frozen images are displayed on a series of monitors. The images fade from the first monitor to the last monitor so that the last monitor has the oldest image on it. The piece stores images for up to 2 years and at times displays these older images from 10 minutes, a week or six months ago. i.e. The piece keeps track of and is defined by its own history.

Memory Works installation - Jim Campbell

Memory Works installationThe Memory Works (1994-1998) are a series in which each work is based upon a digitally recorded memory of an event. Some of these electronic records represent a personal memory and others represent a collective memory. These electronic memories are manipulated and then used to transform an associated object mounted on the wall. Avoiding the usual notions of what a memory is, none of the original memories is an image or a sound. These works explore the characteristic of hiddenness common to both human and computer memory. Memories are hidden and have to be transformed to be represented.

Pancinema - Project by Kinecity

Pancimena is a cylindrical diffuse glass screen on which is projected the daily life of the city. A series of panoramic cameras are located throughout milan, pointed at the sky, at people in front of the train station, at trees and from the tallest building. The life of the city, at various scales and timelines, is continuously streamed to the server which then stores the images chronologically.

These panoramic image feeds are collaged and shown on a giant glass cylinder in front of Milan train station, so forming a memory of the city that starts at the inauguration of the sculpture.

The archived images are played as continuous time-lapse movies on the glass cylinder. The circular balustrade acts as in interface, each section of which marks a period of time past.
Pancinema was a competition entry for the Milan Station Art Competition 2000Collaboration: Luke Lowings, Richard Kress and Marek Walczak
This is an example which i find interesting and can be related to our project to some extend.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Narrowing Our Focus

To tackle the tough questions we ran into and try to focus our project from what it was at the last presentation we had a long meeting discussing our project. Here are the criteria and focal points we have come up with which we think reflect all our collective interests and focus our project so it can be effective.

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

run up 1

Example of images which are ephemeral that i find meaningful...........

Schematic design proposal

These are few images for the schematic design for the museum of yesterday.

Visual proposal for public display

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

The Museum of Yesterday: Point 8

Point 8: Results

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.

The Museum of Yesterday: Point 3, 5

Monarch's Points

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.

5. Measures

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 Museum of Yesterday: Point 4

Point 4: Materials

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 of Yesterday: Point 9

Point 9: Discussion

Broader implications?

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.

(incomplete) The Museum of Yesterday: Point 1

Point 1: Research Questions

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 Museum of Yesterday: Point 7

Point 7: Procedures

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.

The Museum of Yesterday: Point 6

Point 6: Experimental Design

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 Museum of Yesterday: Point 2

2. Related Work: Museums and Youtube/Flickr

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.

The Museum of Yesterday: Final Project Description

For the proposal of our final group project we have come up with the idea of "The Museum of Yesterday". Essentially what this would be is a "museum" (either we use The Cube or The Cave or install video screens in a room) where we would display a collection of videos, audio, pictures, or text from the previous day recorded by people from around campus. We would like the recorded information to be everyday, beautiful, ephemeral things that people find significant that they wish to record. We would advertise that we want this specific type of information through fliers, info sheets at the actual museum and a website explaining the concept. The website would be purely for explaining the project and uploading data, not viewing the data. This would force people to actually visit the museum and it would be free to everyone even people without access to computers or Internet. Ideally we would like it to be a community of people (in this case UIUC community) who can view this museum and add information to it by uploading their tiny moments of the day which they find significant and then the information would be loaded on to a database and displayed on screens at the museum the next day (hence the name "Museum of Yesterday"). At the end of each day all the recordings will be deleted so it will only ever be displaying recordings from the previous day, nothing before that. In this way the museum will similar to the recordings which are a collection of ephemeral experiences.