week 2 – summary

In this week I started to look at the concept of digitally mediated ‘space’ in the context of sound and aesthetic experiences. I had a stimulating blog exchange with one of my fellow students regarding the challenge of representing works of art online, reflecting on the pushing of boundaries, outside the artists’ intentions.  The idea of ‘metaphors’ appeared (Johnstone paper, 2009) Can an aesthetic experience be linked with the way in which we understand spacial metaphors? ’Flatness’ (from week 1) is another concept worth further research.

Other blog explorations were occupied with the use of sound (Sterne article, check his blog), and especially how to separate sound from their subordinate role of illustrating visual content. In a New Media context, can we develop a new framework for researching the use of sound? How does sound contribute to ‘deterritorialising’ (in a Deleuze sense? need to check this out…) visual internet space?

As part of the film week cyborg/android discussions were held via twitter. There seems to be an opposed view of Androids being superhuman, and at the same time being inferior, disposable thus offering ethical dimensions.

This blog is requiring further attention, potentially tweaking the design, with especially tags and the use of Pages under review. This part of the module is an interesting meta activity: the dialectics of visuality and technical formalisations of the WordPress platform affecting my intentions and may be even discourse.

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mapped sound

A geography of sound

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sound strip

On many occasions I take photos with my camera, mobile phone.

This time, however, I thought I would just focus on sound. It is a (poor quality) recording of a cantering lesson my daughter had…

(thanks Phil and Jen for the technical support!)


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‘Your nervous system and the internet are one’

WARNING: this is not science fiction…

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Professor Kevin Warwick

Brain gates in 2020: time to start ‘becoming technology’…

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from Google Art Project: Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh

(from the Rebecca Johnston article)

Metaphors … are lenses which refract current cultural beliefs and values. They not only provide a prism through which to understand consumption behavior but, in their use/instantiation by individuals, are creative ways of seeing.

I think that is a good starter for describing how an aesthetic experience may be defined in an online context

and furthermore

The primary (or conceptual) metaphors that were used repeatedly in the editorials were those of physical space, physical speed, destruction, and salvation.

Steven Jones (1997) discussed the tendency to view intangible ideas as tangible spaces. “We have a tendency to understand mainly in spatial terms, observing it as if visually, through the use of visual metaphors, as if it were indeed a highway being constructed through our backyard.”  The Internet is a physical space metaphors appeared in multiple ways, but these were not the only, nor even the most dominant, type of metaphors in the corpus.

in this respect I think aesthetic online experiences will be linked to the metaphor of space.

would the other categories (speed, destruction, and salvation) also play a role?

more questions for the dissertation. A great article for mindmapping…

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The digital life of paintings

The French artist Yves Klein 1928-1962 produced a set of monochrome paintings – a photo of one of them is shown on the left (downloaded from the Tate website) and is entitled IKB 79 1959

Following Amy’s post ‘What is real‘, I thought I would like to ask a number of related questions. Some of these have been on my mind since the first IDEL module and are also part of my dissertation considerations.

  1. Can we have an aesthetic experience from this image?
  2. How does the experience differ from seeing the painting in a gallery, or indeed on other digital devices (phone, PC, tablet…)

The Tate website explains:

‘The letters IKB stand for International Klein Blue, a distinctive ultramarine which Klein registered as a trademark colour in 1957. He considered that this colour had a quality close to pure space and he associated it with immaterial values beyond what can be seen or touched.’

This digital image also represents the immaterial. But a different kind of immaterial. Can the immaterial of the internet help us understand different interpretations of ‘immaterial’?

I am currently reading around the topic of Deleuze’s ‘Rhizome‘ and hope to find more theoretical support.


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sound geography

I was thinking a little bit more in the context of Sterne’s article and how he laments how little ‘sound’ has been considered as a topic of research in the context of digital cultures.

The manipulation of sound, sound sampling for instance, is turning sound into a physical or ‘measured’ object therefore giving it a spacial representation, similar to architecture.In that sense, sounds extends digital geographies.

I would like to use this clip I found on You Tube as an example

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Are these artefacts only digital?

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The “WAG” is a mini 3-dimensional, single room gallery that fits into your pocket ’cause I’ve developed it for IPhone, IPod Touch and I Pad. Every month, directly on your mobile, The “WAG” hosts a solo digital art exhibition related to the dynamic site-specific contest. So, the Widget Art Gallery works both as a sort of ‘kunsthall’ showing temporary exhibitions and as a permanent collection museum because conserves all the past exhibitions inside an online archive.

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mapped digitally/physically

Amazonian tribe use Google Earth:


If we consider what is digital culture and what isn’t then I feel it is hard to draw a line between what one could consider a-digital, non-digital or ex-digital, I am struggling with the linguistics here…

For example the Amazon tribe using Google Earth, would have their cultural map (is the natural environment part of culture? I think it is we do shape it), re-mapped digitally,  it is now part of a global map, which we are all part of , and affects us through political and social action. This action taken as a result its associated digital space thus has an effect on the physical space.

We all live digitally. Conversations we carry out over the internet are mediated digitally, indeed may never be expressed other than in a digital context. People meet over Skype and may never see each other in’ real’ life. True this reflects the distinction between form and contents, with data digitally transmitted but thoughts held in our conscious.

Many of us carry mobile phones, iPads, laptops… extensions of our consciousness, our memories, our ideas. Tracked and positioned, we lead our lives online and offline.

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Sound:mind the gap

Sterne questions why so little has been  researched on sound in a cyberculture context?

My guess is that cyberculture is rooted in a computer mediated environment in which we usually deal with an ‘inter-face’, and how we interact is mainly directed by visual input. The use of sound is therefore in relationship to the image.

Looking at cinema may offer some theoretical support (writings on Robert Bresson for instance, who was a master of sculpting images and sound tracks by the use of silence) but Sterne suggests an epistemic break and  ’object construction’,  involving a move  away from research problems that carry certain assumptions of the institutions in which they were defined.

As an experiment,I have been looking for projects that could potentially break with cinema and TV, that may support Sterne’s challenge.


Tied by the interface of the computer, a map outlines London, based on the (visual) ordnance survey maps. Click and select a sound sample, and the spacial restrictions disappear, instantly moving your mind to London. No visual clues here which would render the sound subordinate, but sheer audio pleasure!

One particular favourite is described as ‘Raindrops and rush of rainwater, thunder, the rain grows more intense, faint birdsong’

And why would this one have any particular visual quality, other than the sound it is attached to?

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According to this website,


Mind the Gap is one of their top downloads (this is a US website) This seems linked to a desire to ‘possess’  sound, similarly to downloading images possibly for a ringtone on a mobile phone. American tourists visiting London?

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The clip World Builder very much reminded me of the Steven Spielberg film ‘Artificial Intelligence’. Both narratives explore the idea of dying and keeping memories.

The idea that in a SF world, we could re-create life, or make life better would be linked to our technological progress. Mankind invents, and these inventions contribute to the world’s ‘advancement’. However, there is always another side to the coin, the Utopian/Dystopian balance. Does the world progress if there is global pollution? Many SF films seem to portray a world affected by human-induced disasters. Will technology be put to good use to clear up the mess? Can we trust technology?

In AI, there is a fundamental ethical consideration in as far that android life is considered subordinate and dispensable. Once androids have reached their shelf life, they are redundant and can be destroyed. Similar ideas are explored in Blade Runner, Total Recall.

Lots of technology today is dumped. Indeed, the clip Bendito showed that at the end, the artifact was dumped, on top of many others…This is a byproduct of  Moore’ s Law and the frightening challenge our cyberculture it is not just about an information revolution but the material resources that support it (with reference to Hand’s article).





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