INSTAGRAM takes a perfect, crisp image from a smartphone and runs it through filters that crop it into a square and artificially wilt the photo to look as if it were taken with a 1970s snapshot camera. The process is entirely digital. A new app, called InstaCRT, goes a step further, marrying an app and truly analog technology.
The closer the present approaches an imagined future, the more it inspires a look backward. As computers became Star Trek pads, people got more interested, for instance, in Babbage’s analytical engine or the Antikythera mechanism.
So it’s no surprise, but it’s still awesome, that a wad of nerdlingers has decided to compare a new wax recording (a la Edison) to one of the first songs to be compressed into an MP3, with both versions sung by the same singer, Suzanne Vega.
Interesting article about the arrival of the digial society and its current state in contrast to the netactivism utopia of the late 90s. German only.
Wir haben uns nur sehr schweren Herzens von der digitalen Utopie trennen können. Die grossen Versprechen der globalen Wissens-Demokratisierung, der technischen Aufklärungswelle, des Zusammenkommens einer heterogenen Gesellschaft in einem für alle zugänglichen Informationsraum gleicher Chancen - all das waren noch bis ins erste Jahrzehnt des neuen Jahrtausends Momente, die einen antreiben konnten, im Netz eine neue Heilslehre zu sehen, oder zumindest mit der Hoffnung zu liebäugeln, dass man in der digitalen Welt einfach mal alles richtig bzw. vieles anders machen könnte. Netzkritik und Netztheorie, das waren unsere neuen blühenden Landschaften. Waren. (…)
The Actuated Matter Workshop took place at Zurich University of the Arts from July 25. - 29. 2011 and was co-run with London based Loop.pH design studio. During the workshop the twenty international participants developed a speculative model for membrane structures that exhibit properties of sensitivity, resilience, and decay. By physically engaging with the behaviors of active materials, they experimented with the threshold between the electronic and mechanic, the analog and the digital. The workshop followed a do-it-yourself approach and led to the development of sonic, luminous and moving modules that populated and activated the environment. The main structure was based on a three-dimensional ecology of interlinked loops, made from optical fibers, that formed a lightweight system with enough flexibility to become actuated but sufficient stiffness to support a multitude of components. The production of the active elements, electroluminescent screens, electro-active polymers and flexible audio panels, was strongly driven by the curiosity and engagement of an interdisciplinary team of participants who had little or no previous experience of working with such materials. The workshop showed that highly sophisticated materials and structures could be emerge through participatory and collaborative strategies, thus reflecting our goal of developing an alternative, less rigid architecture of the future as a more connected, interlaced, entangled, responsive and responsible world.
The disconcerting experience of giving up an identification in favour of a third person view that let you perceive your own or an occupied body from an external perspective, is known from computergames. Erich, the installation by Max Rheiner goes beyond the experience of an enforced change of perspective. It gives the opportunity to leave the body-centric field of view and to relocate it to various so called `self-stations`. Each station translates head and neck movements to the flexible cervical-like actuators equipped with a stereoscopic camera in realtime. The movies are directly played back to the viewers head mounted display. The name Erich is a combination of the german terms `Er` and `Ich` that roughly translate to `him` and `I` with reference to the dislocated perspective of the viewer’s self. To add an additional, fictional level, Max Rheiner plans to include short videosequences unrelated to the spatial situation. Based upon the story of a mentally ill patient that understood the combination of the terms `Er` and `ich` in his name as an Omen of his personality disorder, the experience with Erich could be raised to a delusional level, because the perception of the actual environment and potential augmentations becomes undistinguishable. (text loosely translated from the german description.)
A new generation of animal-like robots is about to emerge from the laboratory
Jul 7th 2011 | ROME | from the print edition
UNTIL recently, most robots could be thought of as belonging to one of two phyla. The Widgetophora, equipped with claws, grabs and wheels, stuck to the essentials and did not try too hard to look like anything other than machines (think R2-D2). The Anthropoidea, by contrast, did their best to look like their creators—sporting arms with proper hands, legs with real feet, and faces (think C-3PO). The few animal-like robots that fell between these extremes were usually built to resemble pets (Sony’s robot dog, AIBO, for example) and were, in truth, not much more than just amusing toys.
It is not just dogs that engineers are copying now, but shrews complete with whiskers, swimming lampreys, grasping octopuses, climbing lizards and burrowing clams. They are even trying to mimic insects, by making robots that take off when they flap their wings. As a consequence, the Widgetophora and the Anthropoidea are being pushed aside. The phylum Zoomorpha is on the march.