October 30, 2009

This week has been spent focusing on the essay. It is great to begin to draw the ideas out. There is still a way to go and it isn’t a process that comes naturally, but like I said last week, it is a process that I am enjoying.

In Tuesday’s online chat we had individual chats with Andy, so I was able to discuss the essay. Andy was asking when a photograph became a photograph: When you push the shutter button, when its stored in the camera or when it is printed.

From reading an article by Cathy Weis on ageism, I am beginning to question if my understanding of embodiment. I have been thinking of embodiment in a linear way, time based due to our biological nature, and if in fact the notion of embodiment is far more diverse, and possibly more like a tag cloud.

I have read recently that can be argued is that rather than disembodying us cyberspace has in fact has embodied us.

This week I also managed to spend a little time on jotting down some notes for a prototype for the final show. Below is a 1st draft for the final piece prototype:

Prototype draft 1

But having shown it to a couple of friends and discussed the options with them, they advised me against trying to travel down to Camberwell and create an installation.  Their feedback was the ideas in the presentation were too ambitious in relation to my resources and situation.

So had a good think through options and am going to look in to making a non linear narrative piece with Korsakow. That way all my recourses will be directed to a focused and contained piece and the time frame will be more realistic.

So the next step will be to spend a bit of time going back over Korsakow with my sister who knows more about the programming than I do and get up to speed and aim to put another draft presentation for the prototype together in a week or so.

I am comfortable with proceeding with a more contained project, a lot of my worries for the final piece have been based on options of getting down to London.

Korsakow is a structure that feels appropriate as it allows for interaction and the non linear narrative structure is representative of the way digital media has opened up choices and changed familiar processes. It feels as if it may echo some of the ideas above about the cyber world freeing us from a linear time biological lead understanding.

Appreciating why some of the questions we were posed in the early part of this course matter so profoundly, such as who controls the net and the sharing of information. Given how societies have structured and controlled themselves with biological based hierarchies that are in many ways obsolete in cyber space. (These some how are often found re asserting themselves. Like the sexual stereotyping of many avatars).

Just to end on an exciting piece of news about Mail Art One. At the end of last week I was contacted by the gallery director for the DLI gallery who wished to contact one of the contributors with a view to working with them.

I am really pleased about this as it was one of the things I hoped might be achieved through the publication.  Its aim was to be eclectic, democratic open to any one who wanted to could be included. I am glad I stuck at producing it. It feels really good to have facilitated that introduction.

U2 W3

September 26, 2008

Unit 2 week 3:



Have been reading Susan Sontag’s


Illness as Metaphor and Aids and Its Metaphors


(Penguin 2002)


Sontag defines how certain illness (Tuberculosis) is thought to ‘occasion some kind of self-transcendence’ (Aids and Its Metaphors, Chapter 4 p123)

 While others are seen as a plague, (cancer, syphilis, aids, rabies) dehumanizing especially those that result in amputation or disfigurement.


This questions why a society should need to vilify certain conditions and demonize them in this way.


Question: does or might the virtual world or internet communities provide a platform of democracy in this area?


By the use of avatars? Or does the use of avatars establish and promote an increased reinforcement of ideal of happiness and success residing solely off the back of an-unachievable human perfection?  Of the  little research I have done in to second life, many communities exist in a seeming paradises of an inhuman ‘perfection’. In believing that we should we not have ‘flaws’, in some way eradicating these ‘flaws’ in our physicality, we believe will live ‘happy ever after’ like the princess in a fairy tale?


 They could be seen to present a form of escapism, extending the view that there should be nothing uncomfortable or bad in a ‘successful’ and ‘happy’ life, up holding the concept that a form of unattainable physical perfection is necessary and the only means to create a utopia which is obtained with very few demands or difficulties.  Given the very real concerns around the issues to do with size 0, weight, appearance and self esteem that surrounds the fashion industry in relation to young and teenage individuals this escapism could be seen to carry some of the same messages and issues. 



Question: how much is the internet engaging, raising, challenging and changing our use and ideas of and around stereotypes?



Chapter 6 looks at how governments and politicians harness our primal fears and direct /transfer them towards illness or stereotype to achieve a political outlook or out come.



Definitions…we are driven by a need to define ourselves and those around us

These understandings/definitions labels become synonyms and stereotypes, which bind and use definition to control a society or groups of people.



We are all driven by basic human instincts and psychosocial, psychological urges, flight or fight, urge to reproduce, to look for the fittest and strongest, xenophobia, either in the stranger or alien or in illness.


The issue becomes to challenge these initial responses and to think beyond them, rather than to veneer over them and harness them as a means to lead societies.



We are still perusing the perfect physical specimen (‘he/she is fit’). Driven by the urge to find the best partner to reproduce with and have by our side as a status symbol. Why are we still driven in this virtual world to pander to these stereotypes? Or gift ourselves with what we may feel lacking in our physical reality? Why can we never be enough in our own right?


We can be defined by our physical appearance and by our movements, are we stiff, bent, slow, showing signs of age? And a value placed on us, a stereotype to define us and mould us.



If we are constantly adapting our sexual identities in order to be successful in our society’s ever shifting and redefining out look in relation to its changing needs, why are we holding on to very basic instincts of physicality that we know in many ways to be out moded intellectually and scientifically?


Stelarc is proposing that by replacing no longer necessary organs the body could be used to house a more relevant technology. That is the very challenging concept the cyborg. Then what happens to definition through physicality, gender, race, illness? Would it become obsolete ?



Would the template of illness that we have bestowed already on our technology (the computer ‘viruses’ that Susan Sontag remarks on in ‘Aids and Its Metaphors’) become incorporated in to the cyborg? Would we in incorporating technology into our physical bodies also bring and maintain this idea of illnesses and its defining role?


U1 w18

January 18, 2008


This weeks chat was interesting, we touched briefly on the new proposal and spoke again about avatars.  I am wondering if there is a similarity between the idea of shadow identities within us as that make up our psyches and the representation of an idea of ourselves in avatars. 

A series of exhibitions are planned at Camberwell around 4 themes 2 of which are

Time Motion Space


 I would really like to produce something for either of these shows time allowing.

We have been asked to produce another project proposal. This one is to run between 5-10 minuets. I am considering using powerpoint  this time round if I can insert video into it. Have spent some time this week making mind maps to show development of ideas  in the project so far. Think ing of this new proposal as an opportunity to try out new ideas and filming techniques.

I am very aware that the on line sketch book still needs to be set  up and that is something I am going to push towards this term.