History and Theory of Digital Arts Project

This work Temporal Space film stemmed out from a collaborative work I was involved in “They’ve Taken our Ghettos”, around themes of regeneration in Woodberry Down Estate, Manor House, London which resulted in two exhibitions one in Tottenham, and a central exhibition within the PunkArt space at Rebellion F

Festival, Blackpool 2015 and a book.

The research process for a series of etchings I created for these exhibitions entailed documenting over a two year period photos and videos of Manor House, which resulted in several hours of footage in different stages of demolition and construction of the estate.

Temporal Space focused on the collision of old and new architecture, inhabiting the same transitional space with the latter engulfing, overpowering and finally obliterating the old.

The reason why I made the work was to capture the transitional phase of the old and new architecture existing although uneasily, but also to depict the nature of conquest with the old being erased.

Tools used were JVC HD digital video camera, Final Cut Pro for editing and Logic for sound.

Originally I had planned a two screen projection for the Container Space, juxtaposing films of existing blocks with their demolition, but due to the elongated shape of the container I abandoned this idea as both films projected together would have been really small and lost impact. In contrast moving the projector to door of container formed a projection, which filled entire container and due to its shape distorted across the sidewalls and ceiling, giving a kaleidoscope effect, but one that was more immersive and gave the viewer a feeling of being engulfed and part of the building site.

When shown in a confined space it changed context, apart from being immersive and overpowering, highlighted progress at the cost of the local community.

What I learnt was when filming a large amount of footage to use stop, start technique (similar to Jem Cohen) to capture what I wanted, also gives a choppy effect, adding a sense of movement within the work and hyper realisation, intensification of the subject. Originally I was going to add a soundtrack to the film, but instead decided to capitalise on the crescendo effect of the different sounds, by mixing increasing volume in parts, and adding reverb and echo effects or in places delays and then double tracking to emphasise explosive effect.

 

Data Visualisation Narrative

Introduction

This assignment compared two datasets of homeless figures from census 2011 and 2016, to analyse trends of rising homelessness. The object was to experiment with different visualisation tools in the hope of pulling out a picture of different trends in data.

 

Homeless by region

Dublin with the highest over 3,000 with low numbers for areas around rest of country while the 16-24 age group could be explained as first time homeless, leaving home or runaways although this section accounts for under 1,000, then there is a sharp rise to nearly 3,000 25-44 age group, then back down to under 1,000 for age group 45-64. The graph does not show where people are going. Are councils housing them as long term homeless? surprising that the 65+ numbers of homeless shrink dramatically, meaning either council has to accommodate them due to age or they are entering nursing homes or just dying on the streets.

 

Adults and dependants in emergency accommodation

Supported temporary homes same as children

State provides accommodation for families with children, while the high number of adults could comprise of single adults and couples with no children.

While private temporary has the same number as supported temporary homes although it’s not clear what a private temporary home is.

 

Homeless by region and age 2011

By percentage Dublin has over 60% followed by the S.E. and S.W. with under 10% each and similar for 2017 with Dublin still the highest for homeless as opposed to lower for rest of country and age 25-44 still being the most significant part of the population to be homeless.

 

Education attainments and occupations of the homeless

It is not clear where statistics are coming from for example 7% no education implies that these people never went to any form of school and similarly with primary school, considering that the minimum age for leaving school in Ireland under the Education Welfare Act 2000 is 16. Similarly with primary school although secondary school is misleading as it groups all together, should be two groups junior and leaving cert i.e. does not compensate for students leaving after junior cert or during leaving cert, it also seems a high and surprising figure that 20% from third level education are homeless.

 

Nationality of homeless by sex

For Irish 3064 men and 1,007 women while for other nationalities were all less than 100, highlights a severe problem with homelessness but also raises a question about access to homeless services or the state operating an out-dated system which can not cope with or even attempt to alleviate homelessness, in contrast it appears the armature of the state is causing homelessness through banks foreclosing on mortgages, landlords pushing up private rents and pursuing evictions for people falling behind on rent. Other factors such as separation and divorce also contribute to people becoming homeless, low numbers of E.U. homeless could be explained by sharing rents, staying with friends on arrival in country until they secure jobs and own accommodation

 

General health by sex

Majority good and very good, should really be the opposite, this gives a misleading impression that living on the streets is healthy, when really people on streets are more susceptible to any illness becoming serious and life threatening, due to continued exposure to elements and constant threat of attack, also people on streets have problems accessing medical care.

 

Disabilities

Psychological or emotional issues is a vague category and one that further stigmatises people i.e. inciting that people are homeless because of a psychological condition.

What would reveal more would be to question and graph how people developed psychological problems for example:

Long term unemployment and no proper programs to combat this and create proper paying jobs.

Disability slow medical system makes it nearly impossible to access any services.

Breakup of marriage and court orders, which plunge families into poverty

Poverty: cost of living increasing while wages and benefits are not.

Disability with pain, breathing, chronic illness being the second highest group, this would reflect a health system which does not care about peoples health and does not provide services to people who need them, and has obviously failed when people with chronic illness’s are ending up homeless other factors include taking away medical cards from elderly, while at same time medial services move at great speed to fast track elderly people into private nursing homes and selling their house even if their family are living there.

Also not included on graphs are people who gave up work to become a carer for a relative.

 

Tools

Palladio

While Palladio was one of the only tools that managed to create a visualisation form date, it seemed limited to only creating a scatter graph using numbers and therefore losing the context of where they were from or what they related to.

 

Rawgraphs

While Raw claimed to be the missing link between data and spreadsheets, there appeared to be a lot of its operation missing also since importing spread sheets into Raw that was as far as it went nothing else worked after as data would not go into either the x or y axis’s for any of the different visualisations.

 

Tableau

I downloaded Tableau, when I went to open it got a message that it was not compatible.

 

Plotify

Plotify would not let me import or drag and drop spread sheet into in, even when I copied full spread sheet it would come up with message that it only supported excel or CSV files.

 

Practically all the tools I used had some problems either would not download or were incompatible when downloaded, while others did not do much or in the case of Raw just stopped, while these tools promised a lot especially Raw with all the graphs it said it could visualise (but then did not work). What all the tools suffered from was a lack of clear and step by step information on setting them up and using them, due to the complexity of operation and lack of consistency with their functions it would have been of benefit to have some classes dedicated to setting up and using these tools rather than spending most of the time trying to find tools that worked during the assignment time.

 

Conclusion

While the graphs and datasets tell a story of rising homelessness predominantly in Dublin, what they don’t establish is the full breakdown of groups of homeless, but instead use vague generalised categories, based upon examples in data such as “homeless because of psychological or emotional issues”, is misleading and implies that people became homeless due to their mental health.

What the census questions don’t address and is then reflected in the dataset generated, is how and why people become homeless, i.e. losing jobs, repossessions, unable to pay rent/ rising rents and how this affects peoples mental health or what local authorities are doing to combat homelessness.

 

References

“Homeless Persons in Ireland: A Special Census Report”, 2011, Central Statistics Office

http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/census/documents/homelesspersonsinireland/Homeless_persons_in_Ireland_A_special_Census_report.pdf

 

The Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government Homelessness Report, January 2017:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/homeless_report_-_january_2017.pdf

 

 

Crowdsourcing Project

Open Street map
What I noticed while looking at areas that it was really out of date, as it was listing business’s that had been closed down for a number of years, usually small family run business’s while in contrast to this multi-national corporations were listed and more surprising companies who have dubious business practices (Dominos, McDonalds, Insomnia) had all their new branches listed giving the impression that they were placing them there themselves to gain some free publicity, in this context open street maps just becomes another tool for corporations to utilise in the colonisation of communities. To test the performance (how long it would take to get additions listed) and integrity of app (would they list controversial institutions) I listed some sites of Magdalen Laundries and Industrial Schools in Dublin, while closed down building had been reviewed and listed none of these have yet been added, giving the impression that a form of censorship exists within open street map
The level 3 squares would not load for a while, no way of enlarging tiles which became a problem with round houses being hard to distinguish from trees and other features.
While there was some clarity on ipad, this would have been more difficult on a phone, which due to size defeats the object using mobile devices, would be more suited to computer monitors to avoid mistakes, especially with small circular buildings, although they would be in a circular formation to denote a village, but even on an ipad could easily be another feature.
Although the tasks synched with no failure messages coming up and occasional messages of well done, the whole experience had the feel of a game, or that game design had been incorporated into the app, giving the impression of detachment from its purpose, apart from random messages interspersed about residents living below poverty line and mapping would help NGO’s get support to areas, there was no information or connection to how the mapping actually had an impact on communities or how it helped them.
The whole structure of the app had a feeling of that it was a gamification of life and through this process of getting involved and contributing separated the person from the reality of world problems or placed them into the context of playing a game and to believe it was contributing to physical world change (the inclusion of levels and well done messages)
While Mapswipe could be slow at tomes, during changing of levels and loading tiles or loading parts of tiles and then having to wait a couple of minutes for the rest to fully load. HOT on the other hand was a total disappointment, especially after taking the time to go through all the tutorials to find out that when I went to start mapping with it that it just did not work properly or more to the point it presented nothing but problems the whole way through, from selecting projects that would take several minutes to load or in some cases not load at all, but then when I would start to map I would be redirected to log on to open street map, all of this should have been integrated into its design to make it clear running instead of having to go through several obstacles to start each project.
Eventually when I would get points on map none would work as it kept crashing on ipad or just would not load. My initial experience of HOT was just bad as all that worked was zoom and nothing else which just resulted in the waste of a couple of hours, without actually being able to do anything. This happened every time I logged on and when I would get a tile loaded it kept crashing or wouldn’t allow me to save also it would log me out of open street map and I would not be able to get back to tile I started on.
With newer project i.e. Nigeria would not allow mapping would just come up with a blank task and screen.
End result was that I worked on several projects and several tasks, although the ones that operated for a while all crashed or just logged me out of open street map after 18 -22 edits, while on some tiles where I would map all the buildings it did not register them and on others it would not let me put an outline around buildings.
I found HOT really disappointing in that after taking the time to go through all the tutorials and back and forward through the app to familiarise myself with the controls and technical processes about how it actually worked, and in doing so what I thought would fully prepare me for the physical part of mapping.
While HOT provides information on how to map although not in a straightforward way due to having to go through separate entities mapswipe, open street map I found that none of this is coherent as a whole as everything with HOT seems to be independent entities all separate from each other but not coming together, the whole design does not integrate the different elements when it should, instead of having dynamics within the interfaces it does the opposite and just falls apart, especially during the actual mapping for example when working on a tile, it just stops and asks to log back into open street map. Also the navigation in opening the projects is disjointed as sometimes it shows a world map rather than a specific region, similar when choosing a tile, some come up as blank, while others may only have one road through a dense forest with no other buildings or structures.
Due to serious flaws in HOT design especially with navigation and use of tools or more so their inability to define roads, buildings and structures due to moving around is that my real concerns is that the abysmal function ability of app negates any contributions and worse still sends wrong information by default of the system, which would then have a negative impact on the communities through wrong information being mapped. My real fear is that due to the apps severe operation or its lack of ability to match human interface with data is that it would map non-existent roads and cause more problems than it aimed to alleviate.
What I learned from experience was that HOT was probably the most ineffective tool ever encountered and incapable of functioning on any level and when used in conjunction with open street map just created a negative experience which alienates the user from the actual projects they are aiming to aid through mapping, from the perspective that the user becomes engrossed with trying to get the tool to operate properly and they lose sight of and forget about the actual goals of the projects. Due to problems with saving and the validity of information generated uploaded leaves me questioning how I actually participated at due to manoeuvrability within the app controls creates the possibly of generating bad or misleading data which could have the implication of causing more harm than actual good. There doesn’t appear to be a mechanism installed in app that checks the validity of data mapped although I got warning messages about untagged lines, even though I was mapping buildings at the time.
From my bad experience of the user ability of HOT, it has provided a an extremely dim view of any potential benefits of using crowdsourcing in any future works, while I initially viewed HOT as being beneficial (until using it) to disaster hit areas or for famine relief, I now consider it a total waste of time and even dangerous in its implications due to its inability to work properly and more seriously its potential for creating misinformation. I even got a message back from some other user thanking me for my interest in contributing to the project while also saying that I had deleted part of a road from one of the maps, although I doubt the map would allow this.
Also while HOT gives the impression that people can actually aid or provide a valuable contribution to different causes through mapping, I now get the feeling it is providing false hope or creating a bubble in that people actually think they are actually helping famine relief through using an app (and one that does not work) when it really has a detaching or nullifying effect from the cause that they are aiming to help.
Conclusion
I found the operational problems with HOT deride any potential benefits in being involved with the projects as from the start of attempting to map it just becomes a struggle to get the app to work, which led me to question why was I even involved in mapping and what is the benefits of going through this process, will these contributions really help people on the ground in famine hit areas.
I can’t see myself ever using any of the above tools after all the stress they caused especially HOT, the bad experience I encountered has put me off even considering crowdsourcing in any future work. What I did get from the project was to be more selective with tools especially one that promise the world but deliver nothing and if a tool doe not work smoothly not to waste any time or effort with them but instead put them into the recycle bin.

Restructuring Digital Panopticism Proposal

Restructuring Digital Panopticism Proposal

I am interested in Michel Foucault’s theories of panopticism where he regarded Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon not only as a design for a prison but as a control mechanism that could be implemented all across society through methods of surveillance and constant observation leading to the population being more complicit and self regulating. While Foucault in “Discipline and Punish”, wrote about the carceral and how its disciplinary mechanisms or what he referred to as apparatus were replicated and used throughout society through interconnected institutions such as prisons, mental homes factories, and schools to a point that the mechanisms became almost invisible. Giorgio Agamben in his essay “What is an Apparatus”, argued to extend Foucault’s list of apparatus’s to include anything which had the ability to capture and control the individual for example computers and mobile phones. This led me to the question about how the theory of panopticism although originally based on physical institutions and visible mechanisms transforms into the digital world and manifests itself as fluid and invisible whereby people are looking at information on computers, while being watched themselves through means of surveillance leaving a trail through web browsing which is then picked up by marketers, Facebook and used to send them shopping suggestions.

Based on the concept of Siva Viadhyanathan’s, “Cryptopicon”, where he speaks of the rise of networks as a form of processing power used by companies to collect data and that people are always watching on the web but the fundamental difference from the panopticon is we don’t know who is watching or what ways they are watching now?

I aim to use and harness the architecture of the carceral archipelago and panopticism as a series of interlinked networks utilising the notion of the surveillant and the surveilled and to highlight their uses in establishing a dialogue of communication within an interactive platform.

To build on a multi disciplinary art practice, which infuses theory with professional practice and for the digital artefact to create an interactive web platform that not only serves as an artist website but also as an archive.

While looking at artist websites, a lot have a familiar layout of biography, artist statement, education/ exhibition record and pictures of work, although some may have detailed information on certain projects and related documentation such as press releases or reviews. Usually the websites consist of separate pages acting as individual entities with little or no connection between for example an artist may have multi-disciplinary in their statement and then have separate pages for painting, sculpture and new media but then have no information about how these disciplines integrate and inform each other to build a diverse practice and similarly no information about linage of how work developed or what artists or theorists informed the process.

To this effect I propose to construct a multi functioning website that rather than just show different pictures of work instead to highlight how I’ve drawn multiple disciplines together into complex bodies of work, and making visible the background histories and how I have synthesised theory into the work.

I found Roopika Risam’s theories of intersectionality interesting and applicable to the idea as she talks about not viewing issues within Digital Humanities as separate entities but instead looking for where they overlap and connect.

One aspect of the platform would be mirror the idea of the carceral as a network and reflected on a modern day version as the internet and then portrayed as an interactive world map, which would incorporate links to galleries and countries, which I have exhibited in, and also a timeline, which viewers could see along with photos and videos of exhibition, press release and archived material.

The other aspect of the artefact would be to explore effective ways of documenting and representing work, while pictorial and video pieces can be transferred to digital mediums and rendered accurately, problems arise when documenting immersive installations and projected imagery. Since recording these events transforms the medium and they just appear as a film and when shown on a computer or screen, the audience loses all the immersive aspect and also the context as this transforms also.

To counter this I intend to explore ways in which to bring installations and multiple projections and 3D material into virtual reality and examine how they would translate into the medium.

As an installation is a simulated space and only exists for a short time i.e. the length of the exhibition and is fixed to a location which restricts people from other parts of the world seeing it or experiencing it, what artefact would aim to do is make virtual reality installations which would be readily accessible to a greater audience.

It would appeal to people interested in art, as it would give them an opportunity to see artists working practice and how ideas are formed and manifested into an artwork, but also to illuminate the theoretical approach behind them and how they feed into and inform the work. Galleries and curators would also be interested as rather than viewing a snapshot of an artist and their practice they could access in one place a fully comprehensive archive consisting of an in-depth profile of an artist and their output.

Researchers with interests in interdisciplinary/cross disciplinary practice and their methodologies.

Tools I envisage using Final Cut for film, logic Pro for audio

Omeka and Scalar for archiving exhibitions and associated content from each exhibition or project such as press releases, reviews, and links

Tiltbrush, open simulator and oculus, using a variety of tools to complement each other and create a fully immersive space.

Neatline for mapping a visualisation showing galleries and locations all around the world where I have exhibited, interactive to also have a link to associated data.

Develop methods Archiving of my work but also placing it into relevant contexts, where people could browse through each section along with the academic debates and associated literature.

What it might look like an interactive platform, linking research with art practice and the history and debates around them.

For example clicking on location

Carriglea, Monkstown, Co. Dublin would reveal the history of the former Industrial School, links to installations there and exhibitions on site.

Manor House, London: They’ve taken our Ghettos exhibition, regeneration of area and its impact on local community.

Kilternan, the impact of regeneration on the environment, i.e.. A huge abandoned unfinished hotel, conference centre and apartment complex in countryside, films

A platform that acts as a two way process, whereby the virtual reality exhibition could then be transferred to real life large spaces, reusability (Gibbs)

 

Bibliography

Agamben, G., 2009. ” What is an apparatus?” and other essays. Stanford University Press.

Angwin, J., 2014. Dragnet nation: A quest for privacy, security, and freedom in a world of relentless surveillance. Macmillan.

Bogard, W., 1996. The simulation of surveillance: Hypercontrol in telematic societies. Cambridge University Press.

Bogard, W., 2007. The coils of a serpent: Haptic space and control societies. CTheory, pp.9-11.

Clarke, R., 1988. Information technology and dataveillance.

Communications of the ACM, 31(5), pp.498-512.

DeLanda, M., 2006. A new philosophy of society: Assemblage theory and social complexity. A&C Black.

Foucault, M., 1977. Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. Vintage.

Foucault, M., Martin, L.H., Gutman, H. and Hutton, P.H., 1988. Technologies of the self: A seminar with Michel Foucault. Univ of Massachusetts Press.

Gibbs, F., 2011. Critical discourse in digital humanities. Journal of Digital Humanities, 1(1), pp.34-42.

Haggerty, K.D. and Ericson, R.V., 2000. The surveillant assemblage. The British journal of sociology, 51(4), pp.605-622.

Lyon, D. ed., 2006. Theorizing surveillance. Routledge.

Ryan, M.L., 2015. Narrative as Virtual Reality 2: Revisiting Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media. JHU Press.

Markham, A.N., 1998. Life online: Researching real experience in virtual space (Vol. 6). Rowman Altamira.

Vaidhyanathan, S., 2003. Copyrights and copywrongs: The rise of intellectual property and how it threatens creativity. NYU Press.

Vaidhyanathan, S., 2012. The Googlization of everything:(and why we should worry). Univ of California Press.

Vaidhyanathan, S., 2005. The anarchist in the library: How the clash between freedom and control is hacking the real world and crashing the system. Basic Books.

Vaidhyanathan, S., 2012. The Cryptopicon: The Legal, Ethical, and Intellectual Implications of” Big Data”.

Zuboff, S., 1988. In the age of the smart machine: The future of work and power. Basic books.

Zuboff, S., 2017. Master or Slave? : The Fight for the Soul of our Information Civilisation. Public Affairs. U.S.

Conceptual Reflections

Mariam Posner reflection

Miriam Posner argues that Digital Humanities are using infrastructures and data models drawn from other disciplines such as business and questions the effectiveness of Google Maps, mainly because of the way in which it distorts space into a graph of longitude and latitude while flattening the model into a fixed single vision of the world and the surprising lack of visual alternatives being available, or what they would look like from different viewpoints if produced by different people with different viewpoints from locations around the world.

She makes points of computer interfaces choosing ease of use over critical engagement and problems of visualisations, which can easily convey quantities, but are not able to show differing opinions, or define difference. To overcome this, interfaces rely on a simplification of categorisation or to fit people into groups as in the census form (tick box that represents group and only allows black/white) Although the form asks the individual to self define what group they identify with, while at the same time limiting their possible answers, into a generalisation forming a means of control, as a person may identify with more than one group also limiting of tools and answers in this way does not give a clear picture of the actual ethnicity of the country mentioned (U.S)

In her Arts example of gender representing male, female and unknown, while attempting to provide some level of equality in that women are involved in the arts it bases gender on sex, but not orientation or what individuals may define themselves as, incidentally it adds an “unknown”, box similar to the “other”, in census form as if to reinforce predetermined norms   dictated within society anyone that falls outside of these categories is placed outside.

Posner also suggests investigating models and visualisations of race and gender derived from place and peoples experience of living there, and how they vary from place to place and from different perspectives and that race and gender are not fixed categorisations but constructs that are fluid and develop over time and place while also calling for new ways of designing the archive instead of replicating existing models while questioning the power that these categorisations represent. While Posner discusses easy to use interfaces that lack the ability to examine how the structures of inequality and injustice still exist in the U.S. to combat this she argues for D.H. projects to be made stronger and powerful and that is inclusive of unrepresented communities.

When Posner mentions power relations and and how Digital Humanities needs to develop inclusive racial and gender theories which challenge and question existing power structures and are relevant to peoples lives today although theorists such as Michel Foucault done in depth analysis of power and control structures and how people act within them and society, Giorgio Agamben expanded on Foucault’s theory of apparatus (institutions, regulations, laws, forming a network of disciplinary structures which spread out throughout society until it became almost invisible) Agamben in his essay “What is an Apparatus”, added computers, mobile phones, literature, navigation anything that had the ability to control or capture the behaviours of living beings or that could form a network between the elements.

 

 

 

Jerome McGann

Jerome McGann speaks about the divide in education between text and interpretation of theory, which he now sees as compounded by the arrival of digital technology in recent years which is causing a crisis for educational institutions as on one hand colleges are still ingrained with traditional methods and on the other hand there is a shift towards digital technologies resulting in a large number of resources now needing to be digitised. Although another problem is the shortages in universities of people skilled to do this transfer.

While projects are being carried out in digital form, McGann argues that literary departments are far behind and unaware of the need to train people in the editing and transfer of text.

What’s needed is ways of developing the methods of transcribing the book form to digital and similarly the way in which the book becomes re engineered through this process in digital form through hypertext and cybertext and also the need for developing interfaces and digital tools that can cope with this transition effectively and not add hindrance to the digitisation of large files for example with large amounts of hyperlinks the generate more associated files and similarly SGML/XML text files all of which have a divided structure.

 

Lawrence Lessig Free Culture reflection

Lessig begins by making the point where free culture stemmed from i.e. free speech, free markets, free enterprise, free elections and free trade and that free culture is not necessarily a free for all as intellectual property is protected for the creators. He highlights the case regarding the arrival of FM radio, and RCA doing everything they could to supress it both through legal and government channels, simply because apart from the technology working better than theirs it was a direct threat to their broadcasting power. Lessig argued that this was symbolic of what can happen with law, in that a large corporation can influence governments to protect its interests and sometimes preventing technologic change that would have been beneficial to the public.

Lessig also makes the point that we are shifting from being a free culture to a permission one as corporations are effecting the way in which the internet works in the guise of protection of the artists and creators, when in reality they want to protect the corporations interests by influencing laws regarding the production of culture.

With the birth of the internet and new technologies it became possible to share and copy music, imagery, and data at an increasing rate, which companies labelled piracy and began to attempt to enforce copyright laws even though the internet had eroded the scope and grasp of publishing laws while at the same time seeking to enforce regulations on the creative class. While digital technologies were creating new opportunities for creativity, laws were arising to contain this in order to preserve commercial interests.

Lessig commented that copyright periods were usually thirty-two years after which copyright then expired and anyone was free to build upon the culture, as it had passed into the public domain. In recent years companies and commercial interests seek not only to control and enforce copyright, but also to impose regulations on the creation of culture and dominate it on every level including the ways it is digested, hence society is becoming more of a permission culture or pay to use, rather than a free culture.

Digital Artefact VAS

 

When I first went to Virtual Art Space, I had to download a player before I could enter site, although the download did work straight away with no problems. I found the navigation toggle at times difficult to operate with a mouse as if feels to be designed more for a joystick, when using mouse it tends to zoom into walls and away from pictures, also it is difficult to get into video rooms, as it tends to bring you into next exhibitor instead, for looking at exhibitions it is probably better to use the guided tour option or the left and right buttons on screen to get to next picture. When using the zoom function pictures become pixelated, while in contrast in the video rooms, videos are clear and even cast shadow on floor, and sound is clear with added echo giving effect of being in a real gallery immersive space, the only problem with videos is that they don’t load straight away and some come with a pop up about the load time being up to five minutes. The site also includes sections for artist C.V. s and biography along with contact details. The home page also provided an A-Z artist index, while this only shows 12 artist thumbnails per page and links there is also a search box for individual artists. While the Virtual Art Space only facilitates 2D, photographic and sculptural work, the real test for a 3D gallery would be to provide a platform for rendering installations consisting of 3D elements and multiple projections, whereby the viewer can view installation from different angles as well as from within as in the real world.

Setting up a gallery on site was fairly straightforward as pictures can be uploaded straight away without resizing, the gallery space comes in three different layouts for free version for 14, 16 or 20 works along with the option to upload video and sculpture within the same gallery space, the size of each video is capped at 20mb which restricts the size and length of video which requires checking file size and compression of files before uploading. The site also only accepts OGG files, while they do provide a converter there is no guide or information about different files, When I went to convert short video files, none of them would convert and there was only a very poor F.A.Q. section, Overall site is limited as it does not cater for other mediums while userability is good and ease of access for uploading and displaying 2D works this is let down by the problems with the video section.

 

 

Voyant Tools reflection

I found Voyant Tools useful for analysing text especially the ease at which it produced visualisations of key words and links between them within text. What works really well is the interface that would allow multiple visualisations in different formats to be displayed along side the text for example text arc, word cloud and various graphs. It is also interesting to see the way in which context of the text is stripped away from the main body and reanimated through its keywords, linked themes and phrases. I found some of the link tools reminiscent of mind maps, but in reverse i.e. putting in a finished text and then generating a map, while some of the tools were really clear and quickly generated, a few were not such as scatter graph and word tree, while others just enlarged one frame, but what was annoying was the absence of a back button on the dashboard to return to previous stat.

 

Prezi evaluation

Out of Powtoon, Emaze and Prezi, I found Prezi to be the most accessible, and slightly clearer how to use as it provided a step by step tutorial to guide you while creating your first Prezi, although I did find the navigation awkward to control as it kept changing the size.

What I found to be a major problem with Prezi was that after creating a presentation on one machine, the real test was opening it on another device or its transferability across devices and how it reacts. When opening on an ipad it was slow to load, and constant messages that parts of presentation may not display, even after downloading the Prezi viewer, it still had severe problems loading also when it does open on another device the orientation is different.

Prezi is something I would avoid using for a presentation for the main reason, I would not trust it to open properly on another machine, also co ordination goes off in different directions when creating a presentation as its not linear, similarly the balloons and boxes never go to the required size, as some remain too small to add text.