Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Musée Mécanique

Over spring break I was racking my brain for places to visit with some relationship to the course and remembered the Musée Mécanique at Fisherman's Wharf. I hadn't been there since I was a kid and my mom was in town so we took a few hours to explore. For those of who who've never heard of it, the Musée Mécanique is part museum, part penny arcade. It's a huge collection of old arcade games from the turn of the 19th century up through arcade games of the 1980's.

My favorite "games" were not games at all, but elaborate scenes that move and play music when you insert money. There was a barnyard scene that showed the epitome of racial stereotypes in the early 20th century. The white characters were sitting on porches eating and relaxing, while tiny black figures with giant
red lips and white eyes served food and tended animals. There was a carnival built by an injured carnie with moving rides, and a santa's workshop with the creapiest santa's i'd ever seen.

Though most of the "games" were not interactive at all, they were the pre-decessors to modern arcade games and home video games. The oldest machine there was a Praxinoscope created by Emile Reynaud. The Praxinoscope was the successor to the Zoetrope.The major difference being that instead of looking through small slit at the pictures within the zoetrope, the Praxinoscope used a central cylinder of mirrors to reflect the images as it moved so that the viewer could look from any direction to see the animation.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jamming Proposal

While researching culture jamming, it seemed like most of the content was fairly in your face. It was either on billboards or in posters and in public spaces where a lot of people could see it quickly. But i'd like to do something a little more subtle, direct to the consumer/user of the specific product i'm targeting.

One of the most detrimental practices to the environment today is the raising of livestock for food. This practice trickles down to the consumer through factory farming, which makes meat very easily accessible and cheap.

Recently I assisted in the creation of an iPhone database, where the information was presented to the user in a food product type label. It would be interesting to alter labels on meat packaging in stores to highlight the process of factory farming. It would be presented in such a way as to suggest alternatives and the products the new labels were applied to would only be from large processors, not small, local, farms.

The label could include a website to find more information, information about what happens at factory farms and what goes into the product the consumer is putting into their bodies. It would include statistics and alternatives and would be interesting if the barcode could be edited in such a way that it would still be scannable and possibly scan as a different product from the system.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Illustrator Magnolia

Just thought I'd share a basic illustrator project I did about a year ago. I drew a flower based on a drawn image from an old botanical source book. I'd wanted to continue and do more of the background flowers and stems but just didn't have the time. Fun project to practice the capabilities of illustrator.

Original Image.

Illustrator Image.

Logo Study

Evolution of the Apple logo.

The logo reflects the change computer graphics technology over the last 30 years and trends in styles that grab attention. The first image is a monotone etching type print only lasted a year before being re-designed for a more modern image that has become one of the most iconic logos.

Logo Edits:
This was very simple so i'd like to do some other logos. But this goes along with what i'm trying to do with the culture jamming project so it was a basic start.

A Google Doodle:
Something fun to try. It would have been a lot easier if I had the font they use, Catull, but the package is $299. Instead I found a vector file of the basic google logo for some of the letters, and drew my own D's in illustrator using a font sample from online as a template. Then imported the vectors to photoshop to create the effects.

For this last edit I was searching for a vector logo that leant itself to the courses illustrator practice. I started by using live trace to trace the basic image. The problem with live trace is that it creates strokes based on color lines, not necessarily the parts of the image you want to be separate objects. So there is a lot of fiddling after you trace in order to make parts of the image the correct objects. I inverted the W for the M and edited the B to create a D in 'murder'. Enjoy:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Poster Boy

Poster Boy is an unnamed street artist out of New York City who edits advertisements to alter the meaning. He uses only a razor and cuts our segments of self-adhesive advertisement posters and applies those sections onto another to alter the meaning. His intention is to specifically create anonymous art so that it is free of copyright or authorship, probably also to remain disconnected from the illegality of the act. He sees the resulting work as a social piece. He's been referred to as the "Matisse of subway-ad mash-ups".

His work has spurned a "poster boy" movement where others imitate his work to depict new current political and social ideas. The original poster boy has been a big supporter of the work catching on, there are currently at least 3 or 4 creating new work, one recently arrested.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Marc Dery & Culture Jamming

In his article on Culture Jamming, Marc Dery assumes the assertion that language is more important than image, and intellect more than emotion. He refers to television as having control over image and emotion, and implies that they are detrimental to human development. But there has to be a happy median. He blames TV executives, news organizations, and advertisers for the information streamed through our television sets. But just as much blame is set upon the people. Users accept the information and their actions even support it. Dery refers to it as a "one-way information pipeline that only transmits, never receives". But I think it does receive from the consumer in other ways. The system receives positive feedback in viewership and the advertisers receive it in the throngs of people who purchase products. This blaming of the media/information conglomerate seems more like a scapegoat to me than anything. Are people unwilling to admit their own misgivings and failures? Instead of the mass populous standing up and saying they screwed up and allowed it, there is a blaming of the system.

The intro of the article I think focuses too much on television and electronic media, and not enough on all corporations in general. Culture Jamming is an art form that mocks while bringing attention to untruths within the corporate marketing system. The media and marketing system today is immensely different than in 1995 when this article was written. How are culture jammers working today effected differently than in the article?

Below are some images of culture jamming within my neighborhood. They are simple statements that act as commentary on the world today.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Media Archaeology

I recently watched a video where someone was labeled a "Media Archaeologist". This started a spiral of me thinking of nothing but the whole concept of media archaeology. We often think of archeologists as people who study the distant past. The dictionary definition of an archaeologist is one who studies human history and pre-history through artifacts and physical remains. But can't history be seen as any time through this exact moment. A moment comes and goes, and then is history.

In our technological world, new media comes and goes. New devices are created, making what came before obsolete. Things we used everyday just 10 years ago are now impossible to find. How many people do you know that still own a vcr? A film camera? A tape player? In the past 20-30 years a whole new area has opened up for the study and preservation of obsolete media. This doesn't just include the players, but the content they played. There are films yet to be converted to a digital format, that may never be converted, and therefore never seen again. Bruce Sterling began the Dead Media Project in 1995 as a way to compile and remember forgotten technology, but by 2001 the project was essentially dead.

While searching out old media, I found some wonderful video's at Archive.org of Berkeley after a fire in 1923, the same year my house was built. It's interesting to look through and compare streets of today to yesterday and to understand the change that has taken place. It's things like this that we need to convert and save and share. We use books and video to learn and understand new ideas, but many of the images and literature currently used may not be accessible in the future except within archival institutions. The future builds upon the past, so understanding of the past may even help us to more accurately predict the future. Without access to documentation on the past, the progressive rate of change we have been accustomed to will rapidly stop.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Swapping Chance

1 Die
Digital camera
Adobe Photoshop

The idea is to travel and take photos at selected intervals. The photos will ultimately show the path. You may travel via car, bike, or walking.

Dice roll determines the length of time you will travel in a straight direction. Set a timer and begin. When the timer goes off, take a picture of the object, place, or direction you are looking at that moment. Flip the coin, heads or tails determines whether you turn left or right at the next intersection. Roll the dice and repeat until you have at least 6 images.

-In photoshop, compile the images linearly, overlapping one over half of the image before.
-Generate a random number between 25 and 75. Reduce all of the images opacity to that number.
-Merge all visible layers.
-Generate another number between 50 and 100. Change the images saturation to that number.
-Crop image to exclude all negative space surrounding the images.

Opacity 50%
Saturation 87

Some more fun stuff:
I took another series of images looking up at the sky during my photo tour. I compiled them in the same way, but added posterization too. It would be really fun to see the entire class compile the same chance project, so see how different they all turn out. I enjoyed how the first turned out so had a little more fun with this 2nd image.

Opacity 50%
Posterization 13 (random)
Saturation 84 (random)

Shawn's original project:

Tech Shop: SF, Menlo Park, San Jose

Have you ever heard of the Tech Shop? There's one in San Francisco, Menlo Park, and San Jose. It's a pretty awesome place. It's a membership based workshop that you can join and have access to tons of tools and classes.

If you're constantly working on projects where you find you don't have the right tools, it's definitely the place for you. They'll even teach you how to use new machines. Here are a few of the tools and machines they have to use.

Laser Cutters
3D Scanner
Vacuum Forming Equipment
Injection Molding Equipment
Sewing & embroidery Machines
Wood tools/equipment
metal tools/equipment
Lots lots more!

Check it out. Tech Shop is an amazing resource!