Saturday, 25 September 2010

Ahrc what I've written so far:

Gestural codes: A psychophysical framework for the investigation of missing memories.

A proposal for a computational system that will deploy embodied processes in the absence of fixed representations.

This research project explores a computational and philosophical apparatus for the investigation of missing memories. This interdisciplinary work will incorporate aspects of life-writing and digital narrativity as well as computer science and philosophies of mind.

Like many people I have gaps in my memories, and thus in the symbolic narrative of my life. Before the age of nine my childhood memories are largely without detail. By and large those years may therefore be described as ‘lost’. As a visual artist and artist-programmer the notion of such an aporia or cognitive deficit is particularly problematic. In the absence of representation what, if anything, can be retrieved, and what exactly can be communicated to others? In a wider philosophical sense such questions of representation and meaning have a high degree of cultural urgency. At this point in human-computer-interaction (or hci) we are on the verge of developing radical alternatives to fixed representation. (cite?) Two of those alternatives are present in the concepts of enactvism and Real World Interaction (or RWI), in which embodiment and environmental context become the principal loci of essentially processual meaning making. In these alternative paradigms tangible and social approaches to interaction become deeply embedded.

The system I propose to develop will bring very new technological innovations to the domain of digital narrative. Using a 12 camera motion capture system and GPS technology embedded in iPhones and iPads, will develop a performative narrative system that will enact the feelings and processes involved in experiencing partial or missing memories. The system will use real-world objects, sounds and images as well as actual and virtual spatialisations. The system may therefore be described as psychophysical (more) .

2. The need for this research

My background investigation suggests that although there has been some research into using gesture capturing systems for interactive narrative, these systems have not focused upon the important philosophical and pragmatic question of representation (and, more importantly, its absence) in either computation or narrative. This is a considerable gap given the increasing relevance of embodiment to both the arts and computation (support). The phenomenological tradition emphasises the primacy of actions and embodied practices over abstract cognition in everyday activity, and yet few artists and producers of interactive narrative have been able to comprehensively articulate these resurgent ideas within a digital context.

(prove its important Add relevant quotes)


* may resolve theoretical questions in the areas of HCI, digital narrative and life writing* may develop better theoretical models in this area* may influence teaching of interactivity
Such a system may have implications for people who experience serious loss of memory. Are there ways in which computers can help to retrieve, not memories themselves (as fixed representations) but embodied and performative layers or laminations that can communicate experiences to others in the absence of fixed representations?
Similarly, does such a system may have value in the absence of common spoken languages. Emotion and affect may be communicated computationally across distances of time, space and culture.
Does this also have an implication for other types of performance – such as theatre or dance? Research based at Goldsmiths provides easy access to performers across a range of disciplines and also to diverse cultural and linguistic populations.
May hidden layers of meaning and memory be revealed via gesture, in other words, to quote Michael Polanyi, do we ‘know more than we can tell’? (Polanyi, 1968)

AHRC Early Career development fellowship

I’m starting to try and put together coherent ideas for an AHRC
Early Career Development Fellowship. I've been moaning to all and sundry about the difficulties of understanding the application process, so now have got some useful feedback about it and feel less overwhelmed - because everyone else seems to be beleaguered by the bureaucracy and confusion, its not just me! Which is always good to know.

This is the AHRC blurb:
The Fellowships scheme provides salary and associated costs for periods of three to nine months, to enable an individual researcher to work on a specified research project or programme. The Fellowship can be used to support a wide range of research activities provided that these lead to significant specified research and other outputs by the end of the Fellowship, including the preparation of publications and other outputs from research conducted prior to the start of the Fellowship. Proposals for full economic costs up to a maximum of £120,000 may be submitted.
The early career route aims to enable the AHRC to work in partnership with institutions to support the career development of researchers at the start of their careers and to provide them with focused research time and appropriate support and mentoring so that they can broaden their research experience and enhance their research outputs profile. In order to apply to this route, applicants must meet additional eligibility criteria as outlined in the AHRC Funding Guide

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Position paper proposal for the Eighth International Conference on the Book. In 2010, the Conference is to be held at the University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland from 6-8 November 2010
link here:
my paper will have this title
Post-desktop publishing: future books in an era of ubiquitous digitality. The Implications of intelligent and pervasive book forms.
fingers crossed...

The Book Conference will provide a forum for participants in the book publishing industry, librarians, researchers and teachers from around the world to discuss the past, present and future of the book, and with it, other key aspects of the information society, including publishing, libraries, information systems, literacy and education.

in fact it's worth quoting from last years conference as the themes are so relevant, although I'm coming at it from the point of view of writing and reading more than selling, obviously:

Digital technologies are not mere tools applied to stable phenomena. Instead, they are essential factors in the creation of a new space — the digital sphere. Although the digital sphere shares many characteristics with traditional productive and social realms, it also introduces mechanisms and possibilities that make it profoundly distinct.
The digital sphere provides novel opportunities and challenges to the publishing industry, raising key questions about the ways in which publishing and related sectors might be accommodated. This panel will serve as a forum for the examination of these possibilities through a consideration of key questions, such as:
Is the book publishing industry in better shape than the music industry, and therefore better equipped to cope with digital downloading?
What does social media mean for book publishing?
Is the ‘long tail’ approach to sales and distribution just fashionable hype, or can it lead to increased profits? If yes, for whom?
Is downloading of greater interest to publishers than Print on Demand?
How big of a problem is piracy? Is it an inevitable fact of life or a profound threat?
And, more generally, what is the publisher’s role in the digital sphere? What is the key to success in this realm?

The description of conference talking circles is a useful model as well

Thursday, 16 September 2010

link to open Frameworks pdf >>>

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

It feels like our presentation went well at the Brunel conference yesterday, despite running out of time. We need to distill even further the essence of the VAINS project, and as Janis suggested, maybe make a demo of the interface and software to show, rather than embedding this in our power point presentation.
The image was created by Lee to demonstrate the structure of VAINS

Thursday, 2 September 2010

I read today in Alva Noë’s Action in Perception about sensory fatigue, by this he means the fact that we do not consistently notice the touch of our clothes against our skin or the weight of reading glasses on our noses etc. This seems to relate to our moment by moment lack of consciousness about breathing. As soon as I start to notice my breathing I’ve observed that it becomes stilted or overtly laboured. It is hard to maintain conscious sensory awareness without either fatigue setting in or a strangely inhibiting degree of self-consciousness. But in meditative types of breathing practice there can be moments of unfettered, undifferentiated presence that might relate to Noë's notion of knowledge as enaction that in turn relates to a non-dualist, perceptive and biological structure of being. Noë seems to emphasise movement in our ability to make meaning or generate content, this may imply something as subtle as microcsaccadic eye movements or head turning and tilting, reaching and walking. Which raises the strange question of what we would be without such actions? Noë suggests that experience is inseparable from action, he cites the enormous degree of action involved for example, in quadriplegic self-orientation, where one might wrongly assume a complete absence of movement. But what happens to us in sleep, how do we generate so much meaning in motionlessness? Does this imply dreaming is only memorised enacted content? I don’t even know where to begin answering this question, perhaps Noë adresses it later on in the book..

"In Action in Perception…Noë begins by arguing, on both phenomenological and empirical grounds, that the content of perception is not like the content of a picture; the world is not given to consciousness all at once but is gained gradually by active inquiry and exploration. Noë then argues that perceptual experience acquires content thanks to our possession and exercise of practical bodily knowledge…"