Avant-Garde Procedural & Ins
Relationships part two

March 23 2017

For my final project, I have a process of completing two systems that attempt to demonstrate how romantic relationships exist between us and our devices just as much as romantic relationships exist between humans. In a world where we meet romantic partners first through text and sentences typed on our devices, there occurs an illusion (although usually true) that a human is always on the other side of the text messaging. If we stop and take a look at the physical world though, it is really just us talking to our computers. Do we really know who we talk to by reading just text and photos? In response to modern digital conversations in the dating world, my two prototypes take different approaches to randomly manipulating digital romantic texts with computation.

By randomly manipulating and recombining text, I want to show how the computer might interpret a romantic conversation. By creating a system that chats with us, I want to show that computers are equal partners in our digital romances.

Try the romantic chat bot here.


March 1 2017

In response to modern digital conversations in the dating world, I want to create a piece of work that randomly manipulates digital texts with computation. The purpose is to draw attention to the romantic relationships that we are building today through text, and display these texts with new meaning. Many romantic conversations that we have when dating lead to nothing, yet they are recorded on our devices and can contribute to a digital profile of ourselves. Anything in writing can be held against us, unlike the conversations that we have in person that often are forgotten. Reconstructing text and understanding how words build character is fascinating. Are we the same person that we are digitally as we are in person? Does my writing and word choice define me as a romantic partner?

Every time a person clicks the generate button, the text regenerates. The text is never the same as it was before and supplies a unique experience per person.

Role of chance: Cutting Piece

February 13 2017

Chance plays an important role in the work “Cutting Piece” of Yoko Ono, who is a Fluxus artist. This work really fascinates me because of how interactive this work of performance art is. This work by Ono makes me realize how chance is such an influential factor in interaction design and user experience design, which I never thought about before. Basically, Cutting Piece is a performance where Ono sits on stage and members of the audience come forward and cut off a piece of her dress. This is key to Fluxus artwork, which typically blurred the line between artist and audience. Fluxus work would transform art from an object to a gesture of political action. Flux means fluid, and the motivation was to fuse cultural, social, and political revolutionaries, to fuse art and reality. Ono’s Cutting Piece questions the role of the female body, which truly questions the distinction between what is considered art and life. This artwork ultimately relies on the element of chance to shape the ultimate outcome of the piece.

Other artists did similar works of fusing reality with art, such as Paik and his video art. Paik’s work was similarly expressive just like Ono’s, and incorporated sociological ideas such as the television.

Virtual Tour Guide Prototype

February 6 2017

After being inspired by the notion of chance in maps in class, and the Theory of Derive, I decided to prototype an app that acts as a tour guide for travelers that ranomdly explore their destinations. The app is a virtual tour guide. While using the app, if a traveler passes a significant location or monument, the app alerts the traveler and provides background information on the history or signifcance of that place.

Today, art that involves chance has become mainly commercial and user-centered. As more and more products are becoming digital, users are taking owenership of art as belonging to them. In the early 1900's, art was for the public and higher class, and the Dada artists rebelled against this. Today, however, with art becoming so individualized, art seems to involve more deception than rebellion. These days, whichever artist or company makes the most money wins.

Listed are some user scenarios for the app.

  • Business Woman Traveling - A business woman, who does not have time to tour New York City, uses the virtual tour guide app while traveling to and from business meetings. She occasionally passes significant buildings that she would have never known about otherwise.
  • Graduate Student Studying Abraod - Studying abroad in Australia as an exchange student, Steven learned that his walk to school passes the house that Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) grew up in as a child.
  • A Retired Couple - Hank and Peggy Hill are visiting Hollywood, California. They both enjoy using the virtual tour guide app to learn more about the life of each actor as they walk down Hollywood Boulevard.
Role of chance: Entr'Acte

January 27 2017

The one work that I decided to research the role of chance in is Rene Clair’s 1924 Dadaist film, Entr’acte. The film Entr’acte begins with a cannon firing into the audience, with a purpose to discomfort us and disorient the bourgeois expectations at that time. The motivation of Entr’acte was overall then an attempt to subvert traditional values of the bourgeois, or higher class, both cinematically and socially. That is why “they went out into the streets and rooftops to laugh in the face of bourgeois conventions” as seen in the film using “devices of random association and playfulness to create an event” of disorientation. The role of chance is important and evident in Clair’s film Entr’acte as it ridicules it’s characters, settings, and plot through a random series of non-related and provocative shots - from a legless man rising from his wagon and running away at full tilt, to a ballerina transformed into a bearded man. Along with Entr’acte’s disordered plot and unrelated characters, Clair uses readymades (a camera attached to a roller coaster) and a cinematic technique called photomontage to create new images by chance (like the ballerina transforming into a bearded man) that distinguish the film as a Dadaist piece of work.

What Clair, and other Dada artists, wanted was for the public to question the roles of society, and furthermore question the purpose of art altogether. Chance was important to Dada artist like Clair because it went against all norms of traditional art production at that time. Other Dada artists, like Marcel Duchamp, did create works similar to Entr’acte that also questioned bourgeois conventions. Marcel Duchamp actually stars in Entr’acte, and can be seen playing chess with Man Ray on a Parisian rooftop. Historically, Dada is a response to the first world war, as well as other social, cultural, and economic developments of the 1920’s. In context to the film itself, film at this time was not yet established as a medium for making art. “Film at this time was seen as too realistic, too closely mirroring the flux of the everyday to be considered Art in the traditional sense.” However, Clair saw the subversive potential that film could offer. Clair created Entr’acte to break the social norms of bourgeois theatrical conventions that “functioned as another kind of theatre with big sets and epic narratives.” Clair wrote: “No sooner had the cinema liberated the image from its original immorality than it began expressing itself in disappointing formulas.”

The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies, Chapter 9, Douglas Rosenberg

Designed and developed by Steven Simon 2016.