Author Archives: Nathan Su

Storyboard for Tables

Here are the images I have for the storyboard so far – a few more to come to flesh out the supermarket, toilet cubicle, apartment and urban palimpsest. The idea is to compose these images in a 8-10 minute/semi-animated storyboard – like the ‘Mirrored Eyes’ storyboard from the 2nd jury, incorporating the bits of animation that I have done.

I’m working on the presentation text/narration now. After the workshop with Antoine, I think there might be a couple of new scenes needed, to further elaborate more positive changes in group behaviour provoked by this scenario, as well as better illustrating the spatial ‘averaging’, but I think given time I will aim for developing these after the tables (although I will describe my ambitions for them and their purpose of course).

Hopefully tables can act as a review to make any final changes to the screenplay/scene sequence/image tone and atmosphere so that in the 2 weeks of holidays after Peru I can really get into shooting as much of the film as possible. The idea would be to use third term mostly for post production/rendering and getting the film as slick as possible!

05_Rainbow Mountain Memorials_1New scene – (to replace the preserved house). Cemeteries of the future are dedicated monuments in the landscape where people’s augmented profiles are kept. When entering one of these mausoleums one’s own overwriting mechanisms are temporarily disabled, preserving those who have passed in little samples of their worlds forever.

01_Meditating Man's Eyes 02_Empty City 1 02_Empty City 3 02_Empty City 4 03_Underpass_1 03_Underpass_2 04_Supermarket 1 04_Supermarket 2 04_Supermarket 3 04_Supermarket 406_The Building Site_1_CG 06_The Building Site_2 06_The Building Site_3 06_The Building Site_4 07_The Toilet Cubicle_1 07_The Toilet Cubicle_2 08_The Surgery_1 09_Factory_0_CG copy 09_Factory_1_CG 09_Factory_2_CG 09_Factory_3_CG 10_The Law Courts_1 10_The Law Courts_2 10_The Law Courts_3 11_The Apartment_1 13_Urban Palimpsest_1

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New Concept Art

Working on new imagery for some of the scenes that I haven’t yet visually described:

THE BUILDING SITE

The urban artisans of the future are finely tuned to the fabric of the city. They order and construct the city through precise gesture. Moving like dancers across the city’s construction sites, these architects and engineers pilot the infrastructure of the city.

‘The artisan is tuned to her environment. Every twitch, every motion an act of searching, making, wanting, giving. An act of creation.’06_The Building Site_1_CG 06_The Building Site_2 06_The Building Site_3 06_The Building Site_4

THE TOILET STALL

A dramatically thin woman sits hunched in a toilet stall, head bowed. Red light… Deep blue shadows… Her skeleton shifts beneath delicate skin. The red walls bulge disgustingly like swollen flesh.

‘I remember that the worlds that protect and express us, can also imprison. I see bubbles of pain; worlds of self-obsession, cast from our own desires and insecurities.’

07_The Toilet Cubicle_1

THE CONTACT LENS FACTORY

A huge expanse of clinically white equipment. Machines move in unison. Lines of contact lenses are polished and packaged. Packets of new electronic lenses move along a conveyor belt.

09_Factory_0_CG copy 09_Factory_1_CG 09_Factory_2_CG 09_Factory_3_CG

More scenes and elaborations on existing images to come.

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New Screenplay

The latest version of the screenplay to direct the scenes I need to produce from here. *Scenes 10-12 (Law Courts, Apartment & Protest) all are being considerably rewritten still, so don’t pay too much attention to those.

Script2 Script3 Script4 Script5 Script6 Script7 Script8 Script9 Script10 Script11

 

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TS WIP

More TS spreads: more on the supermarket tomorrow!

1601 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 19

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Underpass Compositing Tests

UP_170304.00_00_06_22.Still001

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Augmented Scenes WIP

Continuing to work on the supermarket and the underpass. Modelling environments now and looking at different ways to render the ‘x-ray’ worker’s view in the underpass.

170302_Test2_CGThe ‘naturalists’ augmented view of the supermarket.

A short video showing the difference between augmented/unaugmented view.

 

Test renders in the underpass.

02 03 Capture

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TS To Do List

170223_Test6_CGOne of the augmented portrait views of the supermarket.

Progress has been a bit slower than I intended over this weekend… but I’ll accelerate the production for this week!

I’ve been working on the calculations for TS to prove that real-time rendering may be possible by 2030/2040. The spreads below start to explain/calculate that idea – there are a couple more to go after this to show how contact lens AR may be possible in the near future. gflops diagram Petaflops and Exaflops

Here’s an outline of what I believe needs to be done for the TS submission (further developing the supermarket scene, the underpass, and the urban palimpsest are included, as well as doing some quick concept art for 3 of the other scenes):

00 Prologue

  1. Editorial (Write TS/Project Statements – Introduce Problematic)
  2. Compile Film Stills & Add Annotations
    1. The underpass x 3-6
    2. The supermarket x 3-6
    3. The urban palimpsest x 3-6
    4. Depressed Person x 1
    5. Urban Memorial x 1
    6. The Creation Dance x 1

01 City of Ghettos

  1. Filtered Self – add complexity/readability to node/edge diagram

02 Filtered Eyes

  1. Technological Evolution – calculate trajectory from phone to eye
  2. FOV/Depth expansions (append to light field section)
  3. Calculate/Guess Timeline to contact implementation
  4. Summary of other sensory augmentations – note they are outside TS scope
  5. 1:1 Interim Test – Document
  6. 1:1 Interim Test – Technical Drawing/area expansion diagram/vision limit or falloff

03 Urban Palimpsest

  1. Augmented Filter Bubble diagram
  2. Changing the scale of spheres of influence
  3. Philosophical consequences of personalised vision
  4. Spatial consequences of shared vision
  5. The best of both worlds – linking spatial proximity to cultural exchange
  6. The Underpass
    1. The Scene (shots x 3)
    2. The Mechanics (diagram/axo)
    3. The Setup (Film Shoot)
    4. The Composite (Edit)
  7. The Supermarket
    1. The Scene (Shots x 3)
    2. The Mechanics (diagram/axo)
    3. The Setup (Bare Renders)
    4. The Composite (Edit)
    5. The 1:1 Test – Shelf Augmentation (live demo for submission?)
  8. The Urban Palimpsest
    1. The Scene (Shots x 3)
    2. The Mechanics (diagram/axo)
    3. The Setup (Film Shoot)
    4. The Composite (Edit)

*Design Page Master (page numbers etc)

*Update Contents Page

*Add Page numbers to Contents

*Design Cover

*Print & Trim

*Bind

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Supermarket Scene Tests

170223_Test1_CGBeen working on test renders for the supermarket interior (unaugmented) – augmented views to come soon. Still waiting to hear back from Costco about filming on location, but I am thinking that I can do most of this scene with green screen and rendered environments.

For a transition between unaugmented view and augmented view, I think the Westworld metacamera technique that Charles showed could be useful; we get the unaugmented view down an aisle first (like the one above), pan to a character’s face behind the camera, and then reveal their personalised view as we pan back to the aisle.

170223_Test2_CGThis Gursky-like angle can imply people waling through the aisles by showing augmented environments moving along aisles in the background, showing people moving below.

170223_Test3_CG

170223_Test4_CGFrom above, we see the ‘group shopping’/flocking behaviour. Could use rendered people for this view so long as it is rendered as a time lapse – fast moving motion blurred people can hide the fact that they are rendered.

*Some earlier tests below.

170222_Test2_CG 170222_Test3_CG

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Stills + References + Drone Test!

A still from the drone test (video at end of post).

Drone Test

I’m working on still concept images to guide the shoot and explain the film for TS in terms of atmosphere, content, and camera angles. (More to come…)

00_Meditating Man's EyesThe Meditating Man Looks up into the Urban Palimpsest.

01_Empty City 1 01_Empty City 2 01_Empty City 3 01_Empty City 4Scenes from the empty city

Parallel to that I am beginning to compile cinematic references in terms of colour and composition for some of the proposed scenes.

S1 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S17

Here’s a link to an analysis of the relationship between identity and city in Ghost in the Shell:

 

Finally, got to test the drone on Saturday – here is some of the test footage!

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TS Interim: plan from here

01For the next three weeks I plan to work on 3 of the scenes from the film in detail – to be incorporated into the TS final submission as the ‘design’ element of the TS, drawing on the principles explored in the tests so far.

1. The Cross-Over

This scene – where two strangers cross paths and their extremely different worlds merge briefly, sets up the mechanics of the AR in this city – demonstrating the total and immersive nature of personalised AR, establishing the fact that people transform the city around them as they walk, and that mixing of worlds occurs when people are withing a certain proximity of one another.

2. The Supermarket

This scene begins to elaborate some of the strange behaviours emerging in this city. People shop in a huge supermarket, but only see the products they are used to consuming. As a result people spontaneously travel in flocks with strangers to reveal more products when they are looking to expand their tastes.

3. The Urban Palimpsest

In the centre of a city square, where hundreds of thousands cross paths every day, the city is never still, and it is never the same. The streets are a spectacular merging of ideas, beliefs, and preferences, with city-wide trends being subtly identifiable amongst the surface chaos.

The breakdown of the entire film so far is in this drawing below – illustrating scale shifts, emotional tone, and level of augmentation accompanying each of the planned scenes so far. For the scenes not done in detail, the plan would be to work up concept imagery for each of them for inclusion in the TS so that the document captures the overall scope and ambition of the film, even if it only samples 3 scenes in detail.

The City's Eyes - Timeline

 

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TS Update

More TS spreads… working on the tests of occlusion/distance/view angle now. TS1 TS2 TS3 TS4 TS5 TS6 TS7 TS8 TS9 TS10

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Concept Art + AR Compositing Test

Working on some concept art for the view up into the ever shifting city from the meditating man. Am aiming to get an animated version of this going soon.Urban Palimpsest Concept Art

Here’s a test of a person’s AR bubble following them as they cycle down the street. (AR is indicative in this scene only – as its a test of the technique more than a resolved personal view). I’ll work on building the complexity of the AR so it can be more suggestive of traits of each character that we see.

Working on TS tomorrow – a more detailed breakdown of the new film and shot list to come…

Lastly, another article on the potential dangers on AR filter bubbles!

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/augmented-reality-environments

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Urban Palimpsest

The drawing + a quick animated version from the seminar yesterday. More TS and scene ideas to come.

Urban Palimpsest Sheet

 

This was the text that went with:

The meditating man in the crowd sees nothing and everything. For the last week he has undergone ritualistic isolation. To be between worlds he must not bring his own with him.

His position is carefully chosen. Sitting in the centre of the city’s busiest intersection the crowds flow around him like water around a boulder in a stream. His eyes are raised heavenward. The visions of others stream in and out of his view as he watches the city from below. Dreams and desires, manifest in urban form, fight each other for space in the scene as the crowd jostles.

Over hours, the meditating man begins to see patterns. Common aspirations and fears. He is one of the cult of the city’s eyes. He watches.

This article is also worth a read: looking at how the metadata generated from our social media behaviours may have been used to deliver personalised political marketing in the Brexit Leave and Trump campaigns. Demographics are being replaced with Psychometrics. 

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/how-our-likes-helped-trump-win

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Post-Jury

Following the jury I am considering rethinking the film in a non-narrative format (more like Baraka or Koyaanisqatsi). I think its a case of trying to hit the right level of emotional engagement in the film without compromising the complexity of the idea. Perhaps the current screenplay sacrifices some of the stranger and more nuanced characteristics of Le view for narrative neatness. Ultimately the film’s subject should still be the city, with the characters as vessels for its communication rather than the other way round.

I am starting to think the film may be more effective as a series of (seemingly) disconnected vignettes with the camera working as an impartial observer wandering the city rather than being motivated by a particular protagonist’s story arc.

With all that in mind, here is what I believe the central argument (problem-proposal) for the film should address:

THE PROBLEM

Today, despite being so interconnected, we are living in increasingly disparate worlds. The spatial distance between diverse social/cultural groups is shrinking, but the cultural gaps between them are wider than ever. Intersections between world views (whilst definitely present and powerful) are for the most part, invisible.

THE PROPOSITION

I propose a city where space and culture are tied together. Where:

Increased Spatial Proximity = Increased Cultural Proximity.

I envisage a city that promotes exchange, rather than existing as a series of walled ghettos.

THE NEW MECHANICS

So far, I have imagined Le view and the personalised view to be mutually exclusive. You either live in your own world, or in the averaged city – thus necessitating the event (the festival, or the lens hack) to transition between the two. However, I have realised this doesn’t need to be the case… what if the transition between a personalised view and a hybrid view was dynamic – and dependent on who you shared a space with? If your filter bubble was literally a ‘bubble’ or at least a sphere of influence over the city’s appearance that you brought with you, spaces where you were alone would appear completely personalised, and where people’s bubbles intersect, a hybrid AR environment (between those people) would be visible. Crowds would be palimpsests and deserted streets would have no augmentation.

Again, like before the contents of a person’s bubble are not chosen (at least entirely) by the individual. They are determined by a merging of (like today) targeted advertising, the consumer habits of those in a close social circle, and a history of behaviours and preferences. Thus, by seeing a person’s filter bubble, you would be able to infer characteristics about their habits, lifestyle and values (to a degree…)

SOME SCENE IDEAS?

Tripod shot of an empty street. It is the unaugmented view. Two people walk through it in succession. Two disparate virtual worlds enter and exit the frame around the person as they walk.

A woman sees a stranger on a train. She walks up to him and sits down beside him. As she does, wine bottles and Spirits appear in her view. “Alcoholic?” She playfully teases him. The man is taken aback. “What?” he says. Embarrassed the woman replies “Sorry… I just thought… you know.. the wine?”. “Sommelier, actually” the man says. “Vineyards are pitching to me to try to get into our restaurant”.

Two tipsy teens at a party bump into each other. Amid the shifting worlds around them they notice with surprise that very little changes in their views when they step close to each other. They have very similar preferences/world views. They lock eyes and go for a kiss.

Children run through a street. It is a fairytale castle. Mothers watch their children playing. They stand in a busy downtown market place.

A person (identifiably belonging to a minority group – TBC?) walks into a street/alley. Immediately they notice the architecture has changed. A group of people who are antagonistic toward the minority are loitering. The walker notices the environmental shift and fearfully backs away. The group turn to stare first at the intruder’s impact on the alley’s architecture/atmosphere, then stare at the newcomer.

A street protest. The architecture around has identifiable traits of multiple religious/regional styles, all layered together in a palimpsest of iconography/form.

A man sits in meditation on a busy high street. Crowds of people flow around him. His eyes look up at the city changing around him.

Here’s a link to Baraka – the urban scenes from 36min to 46min seem particularly relevant in terms of their shifting scales and organisation by thematic more than by narrative.

For reference: the images from the jury are below too.

09

01

03

02

04

05

08

06

07

 

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Apartment Model

Getting ready to augment this…Model

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Concept Art & New Screenplay

I’ve been working on concept imagery for the apartment. MA_170123_CGMira’s View

RA_170123_CGRick’s View

BA_170119_CGUnaugmented View (for reference)

Here’s the updated screenplay.

The City’s Eyes_V2

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The Apartment

THE UNAUGMENTED APARTMENT BA_170119_CG

Starting to work on the design for the apartment scenes in the film. I am now imagining a model where when each character is in their ‘total’ (to borrow from Mieville) space, they are invisible to the other. In the shared space they can see each other. This logic can be carried out to the street, solving the problem of people bumping into each other! It also illustrates the ‘Venn-diagram’ nature of our filter bubbles – there are moments where they intersect.

The Apartment Plan

I’m working on the augmented spaces of Miri & Rick next. An additional thought which came up as a suggestion from the presentation to MAKE yesterday was that perhaps Miri and Rick are related (daughter-father). Their invisibility to each other is something they are aware of but live with anyway – perhaps more poignant in the familiar image of a family living separate lives in the same home through social media.

Working on a new screenplay to incorporate these ideas too…

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More TS & Diminished Reality

Looking at ways to mitigate the accommodation-vergence conflict inherent to current head mounted displays (AR & VR) – where the focal distance to the screen doesn’t match the convergence distance of the eyes to a virtual object. 01 02 03

 

As the current screenplay involves the act of ‘unseeing’ people and objects, here are two videos showing current real-time editing out of people and objects from video footage.

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Coincident – Screenplay Draft

Screenplay01_p1 Screenplay01_p2 Screenplay01_p3 Screenplay01_p4 Screenplay01_p5 Screenplay01_p6 Screenplay01_p7 Screenplay01_p8 Screenplay01_p9 Screenplay01_p10 Screenplay01_p11

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First Mixed Reality Experiments

A couple more TS spreads and a first test with Vuforia AR for Unity.

01 02 P1460155The current test uses the deep dream image from T1 as an augmented reality marker. When the webcam sees the image, it uses it to match a digitally rendered tree in perspective to the marker. Because it’s running on a game engine the tree can be rendered in real-time (with animation).

Vuforia CaptureA screen-cap of the running application. Can be exported to iOS or Android. I’ll demo it in tutes tomorrow! Theoretically this can be done at any scale and with any 3D model – but the larger the model the more obvious perspective errors tend to appear… will keep experimenting.

 

 

 

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TS Spreads

WIP TS Spreads and Contents.

I am currently working on a screenplay which can communicate the ideas of the previous storyboard in short film format. In response to the jury comments, I am rewriting the film to include more domestic scenes. As such, it is intended that a large part of the film will now take place inside a room (still with multiple character AR views and the ‘nude view’). The TS idea is to document, design, and choreograph these interior scenes – aiming toward both an ‘augmentable’ scale model and 1:1 installation (in which the interior scenes take place).

The TS will therefore focus on ‘Space Matching’  – an exploration on how to (as seamlessly as possible) merge physical and virtual environments.

ts-1 ts-2 ts-3 ts-4 ts-5 ts-6 ts-7 ts-8

Regarding the White Book, the plan is to do 4 magazine issues (of which the TS will be one).

I – One World of Many (Understanding the World of the Algorithmic Average – T1 Research)
II – Our Mirrored Eyes (Parallels between the Real World and the Speculation- T1 Storyboard+ Real Examples)
III – Overlapping Worlds *Better Title Needed* (TS – the making of a mixed reality – T2)
IV – Many Worlds of One (A special on the short film & the realities that inspired it – T2 + T3)

In style and format I am currently imagining something like the Next Nature book series:

nn-1 nn-3

Lastly – an interesting article from motherboard describing a political model not dissimilar to Le. 

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/democracy-by-app?utm-source=mbtwitter

It led me to FLUX – an Australian political party with no policies and no politicians – just a real-time algorithm that allows members to vote on policies as they are brought up in parliament.

https://voteflux.org/

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Jury Storyboard

unaugmented-city_aishas-view

Here is the storyboard I presented at the Jury – the spoken text that goes with it is below.

To watch, the Password is Le (capital L, lowercase e).

Like a slippery pool of mercury, it glinted at her from her fingertip. As the morning light danced across the concave lens, it shifted from mirrored glass to transparent gel. Of all Aisha’s morning rituals, this was the first. With practised delicacy, she lifted it to her face and covered her eyes.

In a dense settlement, built out over an endless glossy ocean, under a white misty sky, a child played. Aisha’s village was one of several, connected by long walkways that extended over the waters. Each morning, slipped under their door, Aisha’s family received papers from Le. Papers that could be exchanged for food and goods at the local markets. One morning, no papers arrived, and as Aisha played at the edge of her settlement, she wondered if Le had forgotten them.

Miri’s city was a garden of Dionysian delights. Nestled in a mountainous lush forest, her city’s streets were mirrored arcades, shaded by lattices of grape vines, and flowering coffee plants. Every morning, as Miri sipped her tea and practised yoga amongst the bleating sheep that shared her city, she would submit a prayer to Le, wondering why it had taken her so long to ban the cruel slaughter of livestock for human consumption.

A great mirrored wall surrounded Rick’s house; a beautiful detached home that had been in his family for generations. The walls were to keep the crazys out. For a long time, Rick had felt estranged in his own city, and in recent years his movements shrank to a routine set of walled paths leading to trusted friends; the butcher, the barber, the school and the cricket pitch. Recently, Le’s behaviour had bewildered him. Culture and civilisation herself were being eroded by all the newcomers Le was letting into the city – and districts once rich with identity and character were now overrun by immigrants and hooligans.

In these three cities and many others, a Festival in celebration of Le was announced, promising insight into the subtleties of culture, and unprecedented spectacle.

Aisha ran to the gathering place to see the festival’s opening, moving swiftly across the walkways. As she ran, the strange sounds of spirits’ conversations in foreign tongues echoed from the fog. The exotic fragrances of unfamiliar spices drifted across the air. On occasion, shadowy figures emerged from the mist, crossing her path before gliding back out over the water. These figures she dodged with rehearsed nimbleness – they would not harm her so long as she did not interact with them.

Miri’s walk to the festival site took her through golden arbours around which cafes full of friendly faces gathered. She was nervous and excited. Her friends had heard rumours that during the festival, personalisation services would be suspended, and she didn’t know what to expect.

Somewhere else, Rick walked down one of his narrow walled pathways, seeing himself reflected to infinity in the mirrors to either side. This excursion to the city plaza made him feel like a tourist in his own home, but despite his reservations, a curiosity he couldn’t quite place drove him to the centre of the action. The chaotic sounds of a great crowd signalled that he had arrived at the city square. Peering through them, he began to shuffle toward the great tree that marked the centre of his city.

Miri arrived early. She had made it in plenty of time to ensure she had a prime position near the mother tree at the centre of her city. In full bloom and covered in ripe fruit she took comfort in its shade. A small child stood directly opposite her, staring up into the canopy.
A sudden noise took Aisha out of her daydream. The crowd was counting backwards from ten. She stood under the tree that stood at the centre of the great pontoon that connected all the settlements. The volume of the counting increased as the crowd grew excited and as they reached zero, Aisha saw through her eye a lone fruit fall.

As it fell, the fruit dissolved and the pontoon vanished. She looked around and was startled to see that the ocean had gone too. Instead she stood in a white city, covered in the strange glyphs of an unknown language.

Aisha, Miri and Rick all stood dumbfounded around the tree. No longer organic, it appeared as a black mass of seething wires and antennas, all connected to whirring servers.

When the city rematerialized it was like nothing any of them had ever seen. Aisha could make out her settlement but it was now mostly obscured by neon-lit towers, punctuated by golden arcades covered in vines. Rick sank to his knees as he saw that his house, once protected by great walls, now stood exposed on all sides to strange architectures he couldn’t even begin to comprehend.

People were looking all around, but the settlements so familiar to Aisha and so foreign to everyone else had captured the most attention. Many stared in bewilderment at the slums that had until now, invisibly grown around their city. As the crowds focused on them, the settlements grew taller and denser until their scale was so preposterous Aisha laughed out loud. A whining in her ear told her that her older brother was calling. She answered with a nod. Her brother spoke urgently. ‘Bring as many people as you can home with you. We need to show them around’. ‘Why?’ asked Aisha, but he was already gone.

Miri looked down to see the child she had seen by the tree tugging at her sleeve. ‘Do you want to visit my house?’ the girl asked. Miri looked around. The square was starting to empty. As people started to wander off to explore this strange new city the slum settlements that Miri had until now thought were mountains started to shrink back to their previous size. Why not, she thought and she nodded to the girl. As they walked off small green buds grew where Miri had walked.

Rick stood in front of a restaurant two doors down from his house. For the first two days of the festival he had not stepped out his front door once, and now it was only the necessity to buy food for dinner that drove him into the streets. He had stopped outside this restaurant when the smell of exotically spiced barbequed meat wet his palette. He had smelt this before he realised, but never so strongly. The diffused scents of this foreign eatery must have sometimes carried in the wind to his front door. Inside a foreigner’s shout was followed by raucous laughter. Tentatively, he stepped inside.

Since the festival had started, Aisha’s family had received more papers from Le than ever before. In just four days, they had stockpiled food that would have taken weeks to gather before. Though she had already spent many hours roaming Le’s city, she still took pleasure in watching the shifting forms of the busy metropolis where once there had only been fog. Between errands to fetch new passers-by to show around her home, Aisha liked to guess at the lives of all those strange people who were her new neighbours.

After five days running around the city, attempting to infuse it with the greenery she was so familiar with, Miri was ready to give up. Her influence simply wasn’t great enough to make a dent in the city’s average concerns. In a last ditch effort to convince someone to care, she offered a complete stranger the address and password to her lens profile. Shocked by this self-breach of privacy, Rick found himself surrendering his own details in return.

In the days following the festival’s conclusion, patches of fog returned to Aisha’s community. However, much of the City of Le that had so briefly been revealed remained in Aisha’s view, although for her older brother the fog came back much more quickly.

Miri, inspired by her spontaneous exchange in the last days of the festival, set up a service, facilitating the safe swapping of lens profiles for those who wanted to recapture that ephemeral experience of Le. Her city, still luscious and green now revealed the settlement she had visited with Aisha on that very first day.

Standing in the safety of his porch, Rick reflected on whether he’d made a terrible mistake in compromising his lens security. His walls were back up, although he had added several new paths to restaurants he had discovered, and an old movie theatre he had not known of. Lately, though, he had started noticing holes appearing in some of his walls, revealing glimpses of gardens beyond. That woman must have been exploring his profile he thought. To his surprise, he found he didn’t care. Resetting his lens, he entered the address and password the woman had given him and around him his world transformed.

Also, here is a pic of the supermoon last night. Thanks Emma for letting us know about it – once I got your message I ran out with my camera to try to get it!

supermoon-london

 

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Our Mirrored Eyes – Storyboard

Here’s the storyboard so far – been working on modelling Le’s view and the un-augmented city in more detail so that we can more clearly transition between the two… Still bits to fill in and I need to work out how to communicate what Le is and introduce the magazine.

01Like a slippery pool of mercury, it glinted at her from her fingertip. As the morning light danced across the concave lens, it shifted from mirrored glass to transparent gel. Of all Aisha’s morning rituals, this was the first. With practised delicacy, she lifted it to her face and covered her eyes.

02In a dense settlement, built out over an endless glossy ocean, under a white misty sky, a child played. Aisha’s village was one of several, connected by long walkways that extended over the waters.

03Each morning, slipped under their door, Aisha’s family received papers from Le. Papers that could be exchanged for food and goods at the local markets. One morning, no papers arrived, and as Aisha played at the edge of her settlement, she wondered if Le had forgotten them.

04Miri’s city was a garden of Dionysian delights. Nestled in a mountainous lush forest, her city’s streets were mirrored arcades, shaded by lattices of grape vines, and flowering coffee plants.

05Every morning, as Miri sipped her tea and practised yoga amongst the bleating sheep that shared her city, she would submit a prayer to Le, wondering why it had taken her so long to ban the cruel slaughter of livestock for human consumption.

06A great mirrored wall surrounded Rick’s house; a beautiful detached home that had been in his family for generations. The walls were to keep the crazys out. For a long time, Rick had felt estranged in his own city…

07…and in recent years his movements shrank to a routine set of walled paths leading to trusted friends; the butcher, the barber, the school and the cricket pitch.

08Recently, Le’s behaviour had bewildered him. Culture and civilisation herself were being eroded by all the newcomers Le was letting into the city – and districts once rich with identity and character were now overrun by immigrants and hooligans.

In these three cities and many others, a Festival in celebration of Le was announced, promising insight into the subtleties of culture, and unprecedented spectacle.

09Aisha ran to the gathering place to see the festival’s opening, moving swiftly across the walkways. As she ran, the strange sounds of spirits’ conversations in foreign tongues echoed from the fog.

10The exotic fragrances of unfamiliar spices drifted across the air. On occasion, shadowy figures emerged from the mist, crossing her path before gliding back out over the water. These figures she dodged with rehearsed nimbleness – they would not harm her so long as she did not interact with them.

11Miri’s walk to the festival site took her through golden arbours around which cafes full of friendly faces gathered. She was nervous and excited. Her friends had heard rumours that during the festival, personalisation services would be suspended, and she didn’t know what to expect.

12Somewhere else, Rick walked down one of his narrow walled pathways, seeing himself reflected to infinity in the mirrors to either side. This excursion to the city plaza made him feel like a tourist in his own home, but despite his reservations, a curiosity he couldn’t quite place drove him to the centre of the action.

13The chaotic sounds of a great crowd signalled that he had arrived at the city square. Peering through them, he began to shuffle toward the great tree that marked the centre of his city.

14Miri arrived early. She had made it in plenty of time to ensure she had a prime position near the mother tree at the centre of her city. In full bloom and covered in ripe fruit she took comfort in its shade. A small child stood directly opposite her, staring up into the canopy.

15A sudden noise took Aisha out of her daydream. The crowd was counting backwards from ten. She stood under the tree that stood at the centre of the great pontoon that connected all the settlements. The volume of the counting increased as the crowd grew excited and as they reached zero, the air in front of the tree shimmered and a lone fruit fell.

16The fruit hit the ground and pontoon vanished. She looked around and was startled to see that the ocean had gone too. Instead she stood in a white city, covered in the strange glyphs of an unknown language.

17Aisha, Miri and Rick all stood dumbfounded around the tree. No longer organic, it appeared as a black mass of seething wires and antennas, all connected to whirring servers.

19

When the city rematerialized it was like nothing any of them had ever seen. Aisha could make out her settlement but it was now mostly obscured by neon-lit towers, punctuated by golden arcades covered in vines. Rick sank to his knees as he saw that his house, once protected by great walls, now stood exposed on all sides to strange architectures he couldn’t even begin to comprehend. People were looking all around, but the settlements so familiar to Aisha and so foreign to everyone else had captured the most attention. Many stared in bewilderment at the slums that had until now, invisibly grown around their city. As the crowds focused on them, the settlements grew taller and denser until their scale was so preposterous Aisha laughed out loud. A whining in her ear told her that her older brother was calling. She answered with a nod. Her brother spoke urgently. ‘Bring as many people as you can home with you. We need to show them around’. ‘Why?’ asked Aisha, but he was already gone.

20Miri looked down to see the child she had seen by the tree tugging at her sleeve. ‘Do you want to visit my house?’ the girl asked. Miri looked around. The square was starting to empty. As people started to wander off to explore this strange new city the slum settlements that Miri had until now thought were mountains started to shrink back to their previous size. Why not, she thought and she nodded to the girl. As they walked off small green buds grew where Miri had walked.

22Rick stood in front of a restaurant two doors down from his house. For the first two days of the festival he had not stepped out his front door once, and now it was only the necessity to buy food for dinner that drove him into the streets. He had stopped outside this restaurant when the smell of exotically spiced barbequed meat wet his palette. He had smelt this before he realised, but never so strongly. The diffused scents of this foreign eatery must have sometimes carried in the wind to his front door. Inside a foreigner’s shout was followed by raucous laughter. Tentatively, he stepped inside.

*IMAGES TBC TO COME HERE*

Since the festival had started, Aisha’s family had received more papers from Le than ever before. In just four days, they had stockpiled food that would have taken weeks to gather before. Though she had already spent many hours roaming Le’s city, she still took pleasure in watching the shifting forms of the busy metropolis where once there had only been fog. Between errands to fetch new passers-by to show around her home, Aisha liked to guess at the lives of all those strange people who were her new neighbours.

After five days running around the city, attempting to infuse it with the greenery she was so familiar with, Miri was ready to give up. Her influence simply wasn’t great enough to make a dent in the city’s average concerns. On the other hand, the last few days had seen an explosion of boisterous animated creatures roaming the city as groups of children rich, poor and everything in between and played out their epic games in larger communities than ever before. In a last ditch effort to convince someone to care, she offered a complete stranger the address and password to her lens profile. Shocked by this self-breach of privacy, Rick found himself surrendering his own details in return.

25

In the days following the festival’s conclusion, patches of fog returned to Aisha’s community. However, much of the City of Le that had so briefly been revealed remained in Aisha’s view, although for her older brother the fog came back much more quickly.

*IMAGE TBC TO COME HERE*

Miri, inspired by her spontaneous exchange in the last days of the festival, set up a service, facilitating the safe swapping of lens profiles for those who wanted to recapture that ephemeral experience of Le. Her city, still luscious and green now revealed the settlement she had visited with Aisha on that very first day.

26Sitting in the safety of his porch, Rick reflected on whether he’d made a terrible mistake in compromising his lens security. His walls were back up, although he had added several new paths to restaurants he had discovered, and an old movie theatre he had not known of. Lately, though, he had started noticing holes appearing in some of his walls, revealing glimpses of gardens beyond. That woman must have been exploring his profile he thought. To his surprise, he found he didn’t care. Resetting his lens, he entered the address and password the woman had given him and around him his world transformed.

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Film Treatment 3

Here’s an updated film treatment based on what we discussed last time. The previous version has been edited/shortened so that more time can be spent in the average world view – examining the effect the festival has on each of our protagonists and suggesting some changes in its aftermath.

Currently, the intent for the jury is to present the treatment as a spoken short story over an animated storyboard/soundscape to communicate the intent of the piece. *Images are indicative WIP!

LE’S EYES

Like a slippery pool of mercury, it glinted at her from her fingertip. As the morning light danced across the concave lens, it shifted from mirrored glass to transparent gel. Of all Aisha’s morning rituals, this was the first. With practised delicacy, she lifted it to her face and covered her eyes.

v03-1_island-villages_postIn a dense settlement, built out over an endless glossy ocean, under a white misty sky, a child played. Aisha’s village was one of several, connected by long walkways that extended over the waters. Each morning, slipped under their door, Aisha’s family received papers from Le. Papers that could be exchanged for food and goods at the local markets. One morning, no papers arrived, and as Aisha played at the edge of her settlement, she wondered if Le had forgotten them.

2-progressives-view-01Miri’s city was a garden of Dionysian delights. Nestled in a mountainous lush forest, her city’s streets were mirrored arcades, shaded by lattices of grape vines, and flowering coffee plants. Every morning, as Miri sipped her tea and practised yoga amongst the bleating sheep that shared her city, she would submit a prayer to Le, wondering why it had taken her so long to ban the cruel slaughter of livestock for human consumption.

ricks-house-03-rgb_color-0-00-00-00A great mirrored wall surrounded Rick’s house; a beautiful detached home that had been in his family for generations. The walls were to keep the crazys out. For a long time, Rick had felt estranged in his own city, and in recent years his movements shrank to a routine set of walled paths leading to trusted friends; the butcher, the barber, the school and the cricket pitch.

ricks-house-02-rgb_color-0-00-04-09Recently, Le’s behaviour had bewildered him. Culture and civilisation herself were being eroded by all the newcomers Le was letting into the city – and districts once rich with identity and character were now overrun by immigrants and hooligans.

In these three cities and many others, a Festival in celebration of Le was announced, promising insight into the subtleties of culture, and unprecedented spectacle.

Aisha ran to the gathering place to see the festival’s opening, moving swiftly across the walkways. As she ran, the strange sounds of spirits’ conversations in foreign tongues echoed from the fog. The exotic fragrances of unfamiliar spices drifted across the air. On occasion, shadowy figures emerged from the mist, crossing her path before gliding back out over the water. These figures she dodged with rehearsed nimbleness – they would not harm her so long as she did not interact with them.

Miri’s walk to the festival site took her through golden arbours around which cafes full of friendly faces gathered. She was nervous and excited. Her friends had heard rumours that during the festival, personalisation services would be suspended, and she didn’t know what to expect.

3-conservatives-view-01Somewhere else, Rick walked down one of his narrow walled pathways, seeing himself reflected to infinity in the mirrors to either side. This excursion to the city plaza made him feel like a tourist in his own home, but despite his reservations, a curiosity he couldn’t quite place drove him to the centre of the action. The chaotic sounds of a great crowd signalled that he had arrived at the city square. Peering through them, he began to shuffle toward the great tree that marked the centre of his city.

Miri arrived early. She had made it in plenty of time to ensure she had a prime position near the mother tree at the centre of her city. In full bloom and covered in ripe fruit she took comfort in its shade. A small child stood directly opposite her, staring up into the canopy.

A sudden noise took Aisha out of her daydream. The crowd was counting backwards from ten. She stood under the tree that stood at the centre of the great pontoon that connected all the settlements. The volume of the counting increased as the crowd grew excited and as they reached zero, the air in front of the tree shimmered and a lone fruit fell.

The fruit hit the ground and pontoon vanished. She looked around and was startled to see that the ocean had gone too. Instead she stood in a white city, covered in the strange glyphs of an unknown language.

Aisha, Miri and Rick all stood dumbfounded around the tree. No longer organic, it appeared as a black mass of seething wires and antennas, all connected to whirring servers.

When the city rematerialized it was like nothing any of them had ever seen. Aisha could make out her settlement but it was now mostly obscured by neon-lit towers, punctuated by golden arcades covered in vines. Rick sank to his knees as he saw that his house, once protected by great walls, now stood exposed on all sides to strange architectures he couldn’t even begin to comprehend.

People were looking all around, but the settlements so familiar to Aisha and so foreign to everyone else had captured the most attention. Many stared in bewilderment at the slums that had until now, invisibly grown around their city. As the crowds focused on them, the settlements grew taller and denser until their scale was so preposterous Aisha laughed out loud. A whining in her ear told her that her older brother was calling. She answered with a nod. Her brother spoke urgently. ‘Bring as many people as you can home with you. We need to show them around’. ‘Why?’ asked Aisha, but he was already gone.

Miri looked down to see the child she had seen by the tree tugging at her sleeve. ‘Do you want to visit my house?’ the girl asked. Miri looked around. The square was starting to empty. As people started to wander off to explore this strange new city the slum settlements that Miri had until now thought were mountains started to shrink back to their previous size. Why not, she thought and she nodded to the girl. As they walked off small green buds grew where Miri had walked.

Rick stood in front of a restaurant two doors down from his house. For the first two days of the festival he had not stepped out his front door once, and now it was only the necessity to buy food for dinner that drove him into the streets. He had stopped outside this restaurant when the smell of exotically spiced barbequed meat wet his palette. He had smelt this before he realised, but never so strongly. The diffused scents of this foreign eatery must have sometimes carried in the wind to his front door. Inside a foreigner’s shout was followed by raucous laughter. Tentatively, he stepped inside.

Since the festival had started, Aisha’s family had received more papers from Le than ever before. In just four days, they had stockpiled food that would have taken weeks to gather before. Though she had already spent many hours roaming Le’s city, she still took pleasure in watching the shifting forms of the busy metropolis where once there had only been fog. Between errands to fetch new passers-by to show around her home, Aisha liked to guess at the lives of all those strange people who were her new neighbours.  

After five days running around the city, attempting to infuse it with the greenery she was so familiar with, Miri was ready to give up. Her influence simply wasn’t great enough to make a dent in the city’s average concerns. On the other hand, the last few days had seen an explosion of boisterous animated creatures roaming the city as groups of children rich, poor and everything in between and played out their epic games in larger communities than ever before. In a last ditch effort to convince someone to care, she offered a complete stranger the address and password to her lens profile. Shocked by this self-breach of privacy, Rick found himself surrendering his own details in return.

In the days following the festival’s conclusion, patches of fog returned to Aisha’s community. However, much of the City of Le that had so briefly been revealed remained in Aisha’s view, although for her older brother the fog came back much more quickly.

Miri, inspired by her spontaneous exchange in the last days of the festival, set up a service, facilitating the safe swapping of lens profiles for those who wanted to recapture that ephemeral experience of Le. Her city, still luscious and green now revealed the settlement she had visited with Aisha on that very first day.

Sitting in the safety of his porch, Rick reflected on whether he’d made a terrible mistake in compromising his lens security. His walls were back up, although he had added several new paths to restaurants he had discovered, and an old movie theatre he had not known of. Lately, though, he had started noticing holes appearing in some of his walls, revealing glimpses of gardens beyond. That woman must have been exploring his profile he thought. To his surprise, he found he didn’t care. Resetting his lens, he entered the address and password the woman had given him and around him his world transformed.

I also came across this experiment to ask conservatives and liberals to swap facebook feeds. Not that scientific, but an interesting read.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/16/facebook-bias-bubble-us-election-conservative-liberal-news-feed

 

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Film Treatment 2

As discussed last tutorial – a second go at a treatment for the short, building in the new scenarios and characters from Tuesday.

OUR FILTERED EYES NEED NO WALLS

FILM TREATMENT 

They can romanticize us so, mirrors, and that is their secret: what a subtle torture it would be to destroy all the mirrors in the world: where then could we look for reassurance of our identities?

- Truman Capote (Other Voices, Other Rooms)

They stared at her from the bedside table. The table’s surface was bare but for the two tiny concave pools that glinted in the dim light. Depending on how she looked back at them they sometimes appeared as reflective as mercury, or as transparent as pure alcohol. Of all her morning rituals this was the first. She reached over, picked them up with practised delicacy and covered her eyes.

//

If it had been possible for an impartial observer to watch her walk the streets, her city would have appeared to them as a garden of Dionysian delights. She was shaded by a lattice of grape vines and flowering Coffea branches that hung between the mirrored glass arcades she walked through. Friendly faces sat in the windows of cafes and restaurants. At her feet, chickens freely roamed and the peaceful bleating of a lamb reminded her of her new resolve to do her part for the planet and try veganism. The buildings around her were seamless; all connected together it was impossible to tell where one ended and the next began. Down alleyways she could see the green mountains on the horizon that ensconced and protected her city.

She took a different route today. Usually, she’d wend her through the covered arcades to the city’s lifestyle district, where she would begin her day with an hour of yoga and a steaming cup of tea, before she settled into her garden office where she worked as a recruiter. But today she found herself taking the path toward the city plaza. The Festival of Le began at midday, and people were gathering to witness the opening of the city wide event.

//

Fog. Thick, blanketing, fog lapped at the sides of the walkway. A child walked purposefully through the mist. Behind her, the lights of her little city pierced through the white. Her home was a bustling shanty metropolis built out over an endless ocean, so calm it could have been glass. Over the waters dense fog gathered; all she could see were the lights of her community and those of neighbouring villages, which appeared as distant bright spots in the haze. Around her, her friends and family walked too. All were heading to the great market to see. Rumour had it a mythical event was destined to occur today.

The further she got from her settlement the denser and stranger the fog became. Foreign sounds of spirits conversing in unknown languages carried across the water, and the smells of exotic spices hung in the air. A breeze cooled her face, but the fog did not move an inch, nor did waves disturb the water’s surface. On occasion, shadowy figures emerged from the mist, crossing her path, and sometimes even drifting for long lengths down the walkway before crossing back out over the water. These figures she dodged with rehearsed nimbleness – they would not harm her so long as she did not interact with them.

//

The man sighed as he strode away from his home; a beautiful, detached townhouse that had belonged to his family as far back as he could trace. His city was under siege. For the last decade, foreigners had been streaming in from all over and the glass city that had once been his haven was now a battlefield where he had to fight for his right to live. Great mirrored walls kept him and his community safe, but when he occasionally came to gaps in the wall he could see that the structures being built on the other side were garishly decorated and precariously thin. Districts once valuable for their strong character and identity were now chaotic and naïve playgrounds for immigrants and hooligans. No one would take his home from him he vowed to himself. His neighbourhood, the butcher, the barber, the school, and the cricket pitch would be his last bastion of civilisation.

He stopped on a street bounded on both sides by mirrored walls and saw his reflection extending into infinity on both sides. He was far from home, in a foreign part of his city. He was sceptical about this so-called ‘Festival of Le’. ‘Open your eyes’ the adverts said, ‘see the city like never before’. He was only going to the city square for his grandson. ‘It’ll be good for you’ he’d said. ‘To get out there and see the sights for once’. He felt ridiculous going on this excursion, feeling like a tourist in his own city, but at least after today Robert would stop harassing him to go outside.

//

As she entered the plaza she saw the familiar World Tree planted at its centre. There was already a significant crowd here. She had no idea what to expect – announcements for the festival had only said that for this week, from midday today, everyone would be transported to another place. She looked at the tree, flowering abundantly and covered in ripe fruit. Mother nature, protected from the prying hands of thieves by an invisible, unspoken barrier. Four minutes to go.

//

Stepping into the square, the man was overshadowed by the classical architectures of the courts of justice and the city cathedral. At the centre of the square stood a great monument. A circular shield balanced atop a long blade – the weapons of his city’s founding father. Entering the crowd, he was jostled forward and he found himself nearly colliding with a young woman. In another language, she spoke what sounded like an apology, before she moved aside to let him pass.

//

The great markets were busier than she had ever seen them. The child pushed her way through the legs of shadowy figures in the crowd, her family somewhere far behind her. She wanted to be as close to the action as possible. The market was a huge floating pontoon with walkways radiating out to the outer settlements. At its centre a giant ladle stood proudly, the life giving instrument of the family hearth.

Despite the thousands around her, it suddenly grew very quiet. The figures around her started staring around, eyes transfixed on some unseen phenomenon. Then she saw it. The world around her started to fade away and the shadows revealed themselves to be ordinary men and women. In front of her a man with a walking stick lowered himself to his knees and a woman, no older than her own mother rubbed her eyes furiously. The giant ladle had disappeared. In its place was a tree made of metal – of cables and dishes. As she looked around, she was astonished to find that the sea too had disappeared. All around her were white buildings, covered in the strange markings of an unknown language.

//

She fiddled with her lenses. Something was wrong. Her augmentations were disappearing! She was going to miss the festival’s opening! The fruit had started falling from the world tree and then the world had vanished, replaced by the bare white buildings and the markers that were the infrastructure of the mixed reality city.

//

The man knelt as the mirrored walls came down all around him. He later reflected that it was a good thing he was already on his knees as had he been standing, what happened next would surely have knocked him off his feet. In the cold streets of the un-augmented city a voice boomed, and everyone heard. ‘The Festival of Le has started. From now, personalisation services are disabled for one week. Go and find yourself in the city you’ve never seen’.

//

Her lenses were starting up again, thank god. She calmed herself as the reboot process started. She saw a child in front of her, skinny, scrappily dressed but grinning ear to ear. She was staring at her, no at something behind her. As the world began to fill itself back in it was clear this was someplace else. The world tree came back, but it was barely recognisable. It looked more like a ladle, but with one sharp edge. Strange symbols covered the trunk and the familiar fruit now dangled from a canopy in the form of a great shield. Around her the city shifted. Traces of her favourite cafes and arcades remained but overwhelmingly foreign signs surrounded her. The distant green mountains looked to be slums, shanty towns stacked so densely they created a terrain around the city. Neon lights revealed huge towers she had never seen before, covered in Mandarin script and strange fairytale creatures leapt from building to building. She saw an elderly man ahead of her, struggling to get to his feet. She walked over and offered him her hand. ‘Where are you going?’ she asked him. He pointed with a frail finger toward a single detached townhouse at the end of a long avenue leading away from the square. ‘Come on’, she said. ‘I’ll take you home.’

//

‘In order to find his own self, [a person] also needs to live in a milieu where the possibility of many different value systems is explicitly recognized and honored. More specifically, he needs a great variety of choices so that he is not misled about the nature of his own person’

- Christopher Alexander (A Pattern Language)

I’ve also been reading Chistopher Alexander’s ‘A Pattern Language’ for my HTS essay. He proposes three conditions that I think are useful for describing the different views presented in my story:

1. The Heterogeneous City

This is Le’s view – the average of all people – what is seen during the Festival of Le.

2. The City of Ghettos

The hyper-personalised view seen by each of my protagonists

3. Mosaic of Subcultures

The condition where Le’s view is not always present, but rather occasionally interrupts the ‘normal’ personalised perspective. Here choice and identity in world view and lifestyle still exist, but (hopefully) within a more complete and balanced context. 

Excerpts of his text are below:ca_01 ca_02 ca_03

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Our Filtered Eyes Need No Walls

Developing with the film idea from last week, I am currently working on 3 versions of the setting for my film. Each of these versions is an echo-chamber, a mirror for one of my 3 characters. Despite their differences, they are all scenes that unfold in the same space, the same city.

To aid in developing experiential characteristics of each of these filtered worlds, I have done a character breakdown (in terms of world view) for each of my protagonists. Each of these world views generates a spatial mirror – an augmented view of the city that affirms these beliefs – much like our media walls today.

1 – The Progressive Global Citizen

CREED

I am hopeful.

I believe in innocence until proven guilty.

If you are human, you are my kin.

I believe humanity is a threat to the planet and has a responsibility to protect her from itself.

Natural is better than artificial.

FEARS

I fear disconnection; being disconnected is being disempowered.

I fear conflict and discord.

I fear discomfort.

EVERYDAY ATTITUDES

Everyday is an opportunity.

Everyone is like me (I belong to the majority).

I live to work; I have a calling.

The world is abundant; there is more than enough to go around.

MIRROR VIEW

In the eyes of the global citizen the city is nestled in natural landscape. Areas of unseeing are disguised as mountains, forests and luscious urban gardens. Of course, these landscapes in the city are for viewing only, never to be entered as they disguise parts of the city too unpleasant or irrelevant to be seen. Places that celebrate this world view are connected and transparent, with an airy and ever changing sense of openness. Occasionally, the rival conservative world view appears, grossly exaggerated as decaying, violent sites, totally disconnected from the rest of the city fabric. Organic produce, coffee cups, timber, and wool are abundant.

2 – The Conservative Family Man

CREED

I am loyal; I protect my kin.

You must prove yourself to be worthy.

The more traits we share in common, the more kinship we share.

I stand my ground.

I claim the earth.  

FEARS

I fear helplessness.

I fear losing.

I fear instability.

EVERYDAY ATTITUDES

Everyday is routine; I like to know what I’m getting.

Everyone should be like me.

I work to live.

The world is scarce; I must claim my rights to survive/thrive.

MIRROR VIEW

In the eyes of the family man, the architecture of the city is solid, practical and homely. Areas of unseeing are blocked from view by impassable terrains, fences and walls. Although most progressive areas of the city go unseen, sites of extreme liberalism appear as lofty structures, impossibly thin, precarious, and excessively ornamented that hover above the ground. Inaccessible, these places look like they are prone to shatter into a thousand pieces at any instant. Colour is scarce on the streets, but is concentrated around warm and welcoming houses which are large and minimally ornamented.

3 – The Villager

CREED

I am a mother/father/daughter/son.

My kin are those whom I love.

My world is familiar; and that which is beyond it is irrelevant.

I am part of nature (there is no distinction between natural and artificial)

FEARS

I fear being insufficient.

I fear being outcast.

I fear being alone.

EVERYDAY ATTITUDES

Everyday I do what is necessary, and no more.

I work and I live.

The world is big and I am small.

The world is constant.

MIRROR VIEW

In the eyes of the villager, the city is a series of densely packed islands floating in a vast foggy sea. Areas of unseeing are literally unseen as they disappear into the mist. The mist carries the strange sounds and smells from another world, but it is a world safely avoided through a network of thin walkways that connect the dense islands of houses and markets. The islands are places of safety – run by families, here the small communities look out for one another. They are warm and loud and busy. But they are also frail, dirty, and old. Sometimes, people try to leave, stepping out into the mist, vanishing from sight. On occasion they return, escorted by militia from another world. But mostly, those who leave vanish. Never to return again.  

I have started modelling this view of the city first, as I find it the most visually compelling at the moment but I’ll definitely try to get some images of the others going soon.

v03_island-villages_postI’m also searching my own videos for any film footage that might be useful for cutting into (with composited elements to make them fit the story) the film to help flesh it out. As a teaser, here is some footage I recently took in Venice which might be able to be used as part of the ‘Villager’ view sequence.

There will be two more versions of the city in the film too, for when the Festival of Le begins and personalised views are disabled.

One will appear only for a few seconds and will reveal the bare un-augmented view of the city as each of the characters’ perspectives resets. Perhaps in this view, they all glimpse each other for the first time, standing much closer to each other than we had ever imagined. This could be the ‘reveal’ to the audience that these three worlds are actually the same city.

The second version is Le’s view of the world – the average of everyone’s augmented views. Here, whilst we will see recognisable glimpses of the 3 worldviews we have seen so far, there will be far more craziness going on suggesting many more subcultures/tribes in the city than we have described so far. Le’s view will be overwhelmingly fragmented, complex and unreadable. However, what gives each of the characters perspective is seeing for the first time just how their version of the world sits in the context of this heterotopia.

This city is a place of invisible adjacencies.

Our filtered eyes need no walls.

As Natasha suggested in the last tutorials I’m gathering images of this condition of unseeing now – so that parallel to this fiction can be the same story told through fact.14994cbdeb59bc584ecd9f973b89eae5Sao Paolo

meccaMecca

mexico-2Mexico City I

mexicoMexico City II

nairobeNairobe

For TS I think it could be good to look at personalisation algorithms – breaking them down and working out what information the quantified self is actually made of. A second chapter then might look at how this could feed into augmented reality environments – prototyping the two foundational technologies of my project.

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Leviathan’s Mirror – Film Treatment

They can romanticize us so, mirrors, and that is their secret: what a subtle torture it would be to destroy all the mirrors in the world: where then could we look for reassurance of our identities?

- Truman Capote (Other Voices, Other Rooms)

I’m working on a treatment for my short film at the moment. Right now its still a bit jumbled, and I don’t yet know how to finish it – will keep working on it!

LEVIATHAN’S MIRROR

A podcast wakes a man up in his city apartment. We hear the audio.

‘The festival of Le starts tomorrow, meaning that from 6am, a city wide, week long suspension of personalisation services will be in effect. To get the most out of the festival we encourage you to take it slowly at first, as many find the first day disorienting. We would like to remind you that while personalisation services are disabled, your actions and preferences throughout the festival will affect your profile and your personalisation algorithm after the event.’

The man walks to the window. It is a beautiful day. He lives in a wealthy part of town – old industrial buildings are converted into airy cafes and work places. In between the buildings are lush pastures where urban cattle graze. As he steps out onto the street, the buildings around him are full of news and advice on world affairs, healthy eating, mindfulness and yoga. He sees the headline ‘UN Spends 7 Billion on Lenses for Refugees’. He chooses a recipe for dinner tonight and around him the city shifts to become even more idyllic. Plants spring forth from balconies and shops selling organic produce glow with an unnatural beauty. Suddenly a child runs across the man’s path and he swerves to avoid colliding with her. To the man she appears dressed in her school uniform.

Looking up from the girl’s perspective we see the man but he appears as a man in armour. The idyllic hipster city has changed into a fantasy landscape. She bows to the man and speaks an apology in a foreign language. She then continues to run down the street which now appears as a bustling fantasy marketplace toward her school. An advert on a nearby building shows a new role playing game. She stops and stares at it, and as she does, the world around her slowly changes, taking on characteristics of the advert’s atmosphere and architecture. A monster from this world approaches her, hand outstretched – she screams and runs.

Switching view to the monster’s perspective we see the ‘monster’ as a beggar. Over the shoulder of this homeless woman we see the school girl running down the street, toward a building simply labelled as a Primary School. The building is on an island surrounded by water. The beggar sees the city as a series of walkways suspended above water, with safe routes and refuges marked by the presence of the walkways. Looking back toward the building from which the man emerged earlier, it now appears as a gold plated, garishly luxurious edifice, completely surrounded by water. Graffiti across its façade shows a politician with the caption ‘the filthy rich are stealing your livelihoods; I am on your side’.  

The man wonders the streets in the evening as he makes his way home from work. A glowing sign on a nearby restaurant tells him his friends are inside. He sees a teen spray-painting the wall of the restaurant in a back alley. The teen is writing ‘Kill Prosthetic Nature’.

From the teen’s point of view the wall is already covered in graffiti and hateful posters. He sees the man as a lavishly dressed executive who shouts at him ‘get out of here!’.

The man watches the teen slink away back down the alley. As he shakes his head, the fresh graffiti quickly morphs into a beautiful creeper vine on the brick wall of the restaurant.

In his apartment the man lounges on a sofa, reclining as he watches a news report on the ceiling. His house is a hipster haven – minimally decorated antique furniture, supports burning incense and an abundance of succulents. As he pours himself coffee we hear the news report:

‘This will be the first time the city has participated in the festival of Le and we are expecting it to cause quite a stir! It is thought that the festival will bring over 15 million international tourists to the city over the coming week.’

‘In everyday life, your lens is your mirror. Starting tomorrow, for a week your lens will be society’s mirror. Who knows what will change and what you’ll see. I’m a bit scared to be honest, what if I turn out to be a minority? [laughs]’

The video cuts out as we realise the man has fallen asleep on his sofa.

He wakes to find his house bare. The coffee cup from last night is still there, and the incense has completely burned down. Some small antique objects remain but otherwise his house is white and bare. He fiddles with the lens in his eye – a notification appears on the wall in generic font: ‘The Festival of Le has started: all personalisation services disabled.’  Below is a counter counting down the time until the festival finishes.

He groggily gets up and walks over to his window and looks down at the street. The scene is transformed. Barely anything is recognisable from his normal view. The pastures have disappeared and are instead replaced with a bustling marketplace. No cows graze, instead hydroponic farms infill space between buildings. The streets are much busier than he remembers – more people than ever stream through the neighbourhood he thought was his.

As he steps out into the street the images on the buildings around him have changed. Most adverts and news reports are in foreign languages. He gets an advert for some Filipino talent show he has never heard of. What used to be a wall of vegetation has now opened into a vibrant street market he did not even know existed – barely 10 meters from his front door. 

TO BE CONTINUED…

The film would need to somehow conclude by showing how the Festival of Le reveals hidden aspects of culture and in doing so, alters/expands the personalised world-views of the individuals once the festival concludes. The agenda of the film would be to spatially exaggerate today’s screen-based filter bubble phenomenon, whilst proposing the need for a contextualising, impersonal way to access culture in the future (not as a replacement to our own world views but as an occasional reminder).

I hope to utilise interactions between characters – physical collisions, conversations etc. to switch universes and I’m currently wondering whether this means a first person perspective is most suitable. Also trying to decide whether this will work better (and more practically) as fully animated or as a live action film with composited animation within…

I like Keichii Matsuda’s method of storytelling in his film Hyper-Reality, although for my scenario I think that it is better not to have such a clear visually distinct language for the augmented vs. the real environment. The idea of the echo-chamber is more powerfully communicated if personalised augmentations to reality are seamlessly visually integrated rather than being overlays with distinct ‘digital’ characteristics.

By reducing the site of the film to one district in a metaphorical city, I hope that the film can better address the individual scale implications of Le. I think the film should function as a condenser of Le’s universe, while I can potentially further expand it in the future through more issues of the magazine (for TS and otherwise).

 

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The Augmented Filter Bubble

If the self affirming ‘filter bubble’ of technology continues into the future, our cities may become host to millions of individual versions/visions, each tailored to meet the expectations and biases of the individuals who see them. Like Mieville’s city and the city, the same space hosts multiple places. In a ‘augmented/mixed reality’ city, each person lives in a city of one, overlaid on everyone else’s.

These images are all of the same moment in time, on the same street, seen through different eyes.

view-1Paul Jamieson is a British Nationalist, living in his London apartment which has been in his family for generations. Around him the city has diversified and his neighbourhood has become a cultural hotspot for newly arrived immigrants seeking opportunity in the Global City. For Paul, his house is a comforting refuge beset on all sides by danger and wilderness. 

view-2For Nadia Cheng, recently arrived in London from central China, this street is welcoming. Her eyes show her the colour and vibrance of her potential new life. A passerby is highlighted as a potential friend. She can’t even see Paul’s house. To her, it is a beautiful concrete edifice, supporting new growth. 

view-0The un-augmented view shows a London street, largely unaltered from it’s historic form, except for the addition of machine-readable markers, facilitating the many worlds present here.

From here I still need to propose/image the counter scenario to this condition – Le’s districts in the city – the spaces that cannot be customised/personalised – the representation of the collective imaginary rather than the individual’s.

Over the coming weeks I hope to develop these two concepts of mixed reality in the city (filtered by the individual and filtered by the collective), and storyboard a narrative that can become a short film. The aim is to have a draft of the film for the next jury and to continue developing that next year (alongside more issues of Black Box for TS).

 

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Le’s Flaneur

In Le’s cities, the flaneur’s walk is no longer important. The flaneur does not walk. He glances. He sees the world in snippets and fragments, and at high speeds.

As the jury conversation asked whether the project could move beyond representation, into a more real engagement with the nature of Le – perhaps it is useful now to begin to describe Le through her interfaces. The next task is potentially to elaborate Le’s skin – her boundary where information flows in and out. I think I’d still like to keep the project as a speculation rather than setting it in the more immediate present, but as Amandine mentioned, I think I need to find more opportunities for the weird and unexpected to creep in.

I came across Sharelab recently – an organisation that maps out the algorithms on the internet that determine how content, and therefore culture, and therefore Le, is distributed. As their schematic shows, the algorithms that determine our world view – our ‘filter bubble’, are highly complex, but also quite rigid – surely rife with assumptions and biases that the developers have not yet even considered.

facebookfactory-small

https://labs.rs/en/facebook-algorithmic-factory-immaterial-labour-and-data-harvesting/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/16/facebook-bias-bubble-us-election-conservative-liberal-news-feed

Since Trump’s election, many articles have popped up about the problems of the filter bubble – I think it would be interesting to consider how Le might try to mitigate some of the filter bubble’s greatest pitfalls – certainly the self affirming culture of social media seems unsustainable into the future.

Regarding TS, I see 2 options at the moment:

1. Reverse engineer the algorithms behind social media and internet searches to try to discover Le’s criteria for assigning value – then propose modifications (hopefully for the better!)

2. Develop a prototype for the overlay of spaces using augmented reality, trying to reveal Le’s nature as a city between cities, a place that exists everywhere and invisibly.

More tomorrow!

 

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Magazine Printed & Special Insert Spreads

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Magazine Progress

Some more organisational spreads to help me sequence the presentation and work out how I am going to introduce the notion of Le – will probably use the story from the ‘Editorial’ spread and bits from the ‘If Le were a map/body’ bits to setup the concept. Got a new cover too. covereditorialif-le-were-a-bodyif-le-were-a-map

In regard to the special insert I am proposing ‘Letown’ a city that migrates year to year that is a composite of the primary megacities that have the most influence on Le. It would be a scaffold city – thus quickly assembled/dismantled. The scaffolds would match major physical sites in Le’s member cities (proportional to their representation in Le’s algorithm) allowing visitors/pilgrims to experience the core of Le at any given time all within one site. Behind it is a secret economic agenda (not sure whether this is a positive or negative thing yet…). Letown would operate as a colonising machine, increasing Le’s representation in areas of the world with low ratings – the temporary city might act as a city starter – boosting Leness in a region for the duration of its stay before it moves to another site. Now looking from outside the project, Letown is a metaphor for the online city’s method of production. It creates through compiling – building adjacency between disconnected content. If we imagine this city starts to integrate some near future technologies such as augmented reality and real-time video/audio capture of urban environments, then the city would also enable telepresence – e.g. those in Letown’s  replica of Times Square could interact with those in the New York Times Square. Have to elaborate all of this visually obviously – still working on rest of the magazine at the moment!

I’ve also started on some adverts to scatter throughout and help with the world building. More coming.

ads_1ads_2ads_3ads_4

 

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The Stranger Sides of Le

More spreads – this time with a focus on describing some of the more bizarre manifestations of Le. We see a city switch from Le negative to Le positive with the setting of the sun. A conservative Lexodus city in Arizona actually employs thousands who service one of Le’s data centers. And a homeless man sells his skin as real estate to corporations to tattoo their brand logos onto, all in an effort to raise his rating within Le.

out-by-day-in-by-nightmigrant-dormitoriesle-not-lehomeless-guyI discovered the work of Rahul Mehrotra and Felipe Vera over the weekend in their project ‘Ephemeral Urbanism’ at the 2016 Venice Biennale. They highlight that much of what we consider urban today is in fact transient and strongly linked to:

1. Disaster (and relief)

2. Military Activities

3. Extraction (resources)

4. Refuge (migration)

5. Transaction (markets)

6. Celebration (festivals)

7. Religion (pilgrimages)

Particularly extraordinary is the city of Kumbh Mela – a Hindu pilgrimage that sees the construction of a temporary megacity on the banks of the Ganges once every 12 years.

Could this model be an interesting way to explore Le? What would a Le pilgrimage look like, or a temporary festival/ceremonial city that was her essence manifest?

 

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Mapping Le

Le Positive AreasWith this world map of Le Positive Regions (in Turquoise) we see that the global condition has become one of city/not city rather than one of national borders. The map also introduces the notion of levels of ‘Le-ness’, in this case distinguishing between primary (>90% Le by population) and secondary (>70%) cities. The Le network would operate much like current free movement zones, with residents of these cities being able to move freely between others in the network. Likewise each of these cities would be linked culturally, economically and legally: trade, currency, and law would apply between the cities as if they were one gigantic megacity (which they kind of are).

The wilderness of the arctic circle forms Le’s brain (or at least the calculating part of it), where her servers sit fortified, isolated and cooled by the hostility of the otherwise barren landscape.

In the map, we see old notions of continental territory shift, as the Americas and Europe (whilst maintaining a relatively high influence/population ratio due to their histories as sites of great cultural and economic prowess) shrink and the Asian and African regions grow to have increasingly significant influence on Le’s constitution (in the personality sense – although maybe in the legal one too…)

From here, to explore the dynamic and ever changing nature of Le I hope to profile:

1. A city that is a Le-xodus territory by day and a Le city by night 

Where a conservative city hires a large immigrant community of construction workers (who are themselves rate highly within Le’s algorithm) to build/maintain the physical infrastructures of their city by night as they sleep. This could be an opportunity for an interesting ‘crosshatch’ whose edges are sunrise and sunset.

2. A city with an extreme and sharp transition between Le/not-Le 

Perhaps a profile of the city of Mesa Arizona, listed by Forbes as the most conservative city in America, but yet it hosts Apple’s largest data-centre. Two possibilities here – either the city is split between residents of Mesa and workers at the datacentre, or the residents of Mesa, while being excised from Le themselves, are actually in her employ maintaining her.

3. An act of terror on one of Le’s arctic data centres

Non-Le members, by nature of their disconnect from Le, have little to lose from the destruction of Le’s infrastructures. An interesting opportunity to reverse the narrative on terror placing those traditionally most fervently ‘anti-terror’ on the zealous side.

4. Migration events

A country town that spikes and momentarily becomes highly Le for a weekend music festival.

Dubai, despite it’s conservative culture and relatively shallow economic strategy rates as one of the most highly Le territories in the world due to its migrant population of construction workers from Asia.

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Le-xodus

Just what is it to be a member of Le? I’ve tried this weekend to look at the dialectic between the dynamic/progressive culture of city and the nostalgic conservatism of the ‘Other’ (still working within the magazine format for now). cityzen-criteria2To position Le relative to her outsiders, and make relevant the speculation to current events, I have imagined a reactionary cultural movement calling for a voluntary exit from Le’s support structures, a ‘Le-xodus’. To enhance the visual metaphor, I have conceived of this not as a return to the countryside, but as an excising of city land across the globe in all ‘Le positive’ (areas where Le’s legal and economic systems are observed by the majority) regions. In essence, by isolating themselves from Le, the Le-xodus community create the anti-walled city, where an area of ‘protected, rural sanctuary’ sits within the ‘wild and dangerous’ city.

le-xodusanti-walled-cityinterview-with-le-xodus-lobby-leader2Much like contemporary conservative tactics to gain influence through provocation, the outside ‘Le-facing‘ wall is covered with provocative messages, banners and slogans, which of course fuels hateful graffiti and protest from within Le.

To contribute my bit to Halloween scariness (some of it is pretty damn scary!) here are some examples from right now that show Le’s other in action.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/twitter-bot-immigration-arrest-latino-voter-neil-turner-hoax-us-election-2016-a7386061.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/altright/

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/how-the-alt-right-invaded-geek-culture-a7214906.html

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Deep Dreaming on Varanasi

A quick Deep Dream test – Le dreams on the city.

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Indexing the Project through a Magazine

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On Tuesday we discussed using the magazine as a format to sample the multiple natures of Le. I have started putting together a document to organise the stories that need to be assembled – a directory for describing Le, but also one for determining what I need to work on from here. I imagine that the project would be presented through the magazine, but with articles linking to other stories told through other media such as web blogs, youtube videos, adverts, film snippets/trailers, news clippings etc.

This way the media through which mass culture and collective consciousness are transmitted become the mediums for communicating the project.

I’ve started collating the material for this magazine issue in a contents page – will show more fleshed out tomorrow!contentsJust something interesting – bringing Deep Dream back – this is how it works (it’s a bit complicated but I think this guy breaks it down nicely).

 

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Introducing: LE

To move my line of inquiry out of the abstract and digital, and into the material effects of City, I’ve been working on a few scenarios that show the felt effect of City  rather than City itself.

Last tutorial we talked briefly about giving City a name, and so tentatively (for this week at least) I am calling her Le. Le sits at the intersection of two of my references – Hobbes’ (Le)viathan and (Le)na – the playboy model whose apparently average face has set the convention for facial recognition and has become a symbol for how our computers see the world. Furthermore, I like the multiple connotations that can be drawn from Le as a name; it is relatively gender neutral, allowing this incarnation of City to switch between male and female as necessary; it might allude to a persona with Chinese origins (China are undoubtedly playing an increasingly important role in shaping the character and control of dataspace); and if we take it’s literal French meaning, Le suggests a certain singularity (not in the AI or black hole sense though!) to the notion of City, (hopefully) further assisting in its personification.

le_buys-african-citySo, if the power that comes with human agency were given to the mass of online sentiment, what material change might we see in the world? How deep are the pockets of an individual whose bank account is the entire population of a belief circle (tribe)?

le_on-a-dietCould behaviours and aspirations we believe to be unique to individuals make themselves manifest on a societal level. If a shift amongst average consumers toward healthier eating pushed Le into a diet, how might that effect the fast food business? Would Le literally shut down access to unhealthy food by disabling the EFTPOS transactions in chains, or would the effect occur more subtlely – with the change in Le’s heart foretelling a future of imminent death for fast food, leading businesses to change model or reinvent themselves before their own demise? In this model, perhaps one of Le’s primary methods of enacting change could be the self-fulfilling prophecy.

le_un-annual-reportLe would be an invaluable asset to world leaders, whose agendas of control, peacekeeping and societal stability have long desired to tap into the collective consciousness. Le could bring a balancing voice to politics – comparing current issues to the great wins and epic failures of the past. However, if Le were personified, would she be used as a tool – much like the UN’s current ‘global pulse’ project, using Big Data to forecast and communicate, or would she be an independent entity with her own seat at the table? If so, what would Le’s will be worth? Does the vote of the collective weigh the same as the vote of the individual? Is an averaged intelligence really representative of the collective?

le_wells-fargo-cfoWe have already considered Le’s prescient powers; surely this ability to see society/economy/culture with clarity would be hugely desired by corporations. Could Le, whilst being the city herself, also be an employee of the city? Might the great powers of today try to take advantage of her – and if so, how would she interface with them?

Parallel to these mini-speculations, I have been looking into how we might begin to understand Le today, before her birth into the world I hope to flesh out.

THE GDELT PROJECT

http://www.gdeltproject.org/

The GDELT (Global Data on Events, Location and Tone) project is an open source data base that compiles and analyses news articles from around the world in astronomical quantities. They are a self professed database of society with over a quarter of a billion event records, three quarters of a trillion emotional assessments and one and a half billion location references.

This data is free for the public to search (thanks to cooperation from the big players like Google) and when used in association with data mapping software such as GEPHI, which enables us to draw fancy charts from Excel spreadsheets, emerging global trends can be observed. Obviously the dataset is too large to ever comprehend all in one go, but I am starting to experiment with pulling small chunks of data out a bit at a time to try and get a handle on roughly how it works.

presidential-campaign_gdelt_2015-2016This very initial test compares the ‘connected-ness’ of individuals mentioned in articles that include the words ‘Presidential Election’ and either ‘Trump’ or ‘Clinton’ (a somewhat arbitrarily chosen way to sample global sentiment – but I thought it would be a good reference for now seeing as my Facebook wall is full of them at the moment). It was interesting to see that Hillary seems to be much more connected than Trump, and that she has (not-surprisingly) Obama and (perhaps more surprisingly) Jesus Christ in her conceptual network.

The project has facilitated other interesting visualisations – like this map that graphs the sentiment of news reports worldwide (red = negative, green = positive) – according to this India is pretty full of negativity!

Interactive zoomable version here.

What is interesting about this data set is that with their Global Knowledge Graph archive, it is possible to understand digital cultural memory too – as trends can be traced backward in time.

This is a graph of the most prominent cultural thematic associated with the tag word ‘music’ from Jan 2015 until now. Unfortunately as I am still getting to grips with the software the key is pretty illegible at the moment – but hopefully later iterations if I keep using this data set will become more useful/revealing!

music_theme-timeline

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Inside the Black Box

city-as-a-field

City as a Field – we navigate city as a field contained inside Leviathan’s black box. A camera tracks a loop through the field, which reorganises itself relative to the viewer’s perspective. To interface with the real world we pass through the edge of the box – composed of all the black boxes we use to enter the internet.

Perhaps we could consider City (that is the collective composite of culture as recorded and linked through digital networks) as a field of ideas and concepts, embodied in symbolic objects. This would of course be a field of vast complexity – like the labyrinth – impossible to see or comprehend all at once. However, some legibility might be attained if we understand the forces that transform City. I propose 4 basic forces through which City can be understood to remember, associate and potentially, predict.

1. Gravitation through Linking

Concepts/Media linked through browser/search/share associations act as a gravitational force, pulling elements of the field closer to other elements that occur frequently in the same network.

2. Centering through View

The view of City is always relative to the observer. The subject of the view appears central and the rest of City orients itself around as context.

3. Decay through Time

Representational objects within City decay with time, fragmenting until all ability to discern meaning in an image is lost.

4. Preservation through Engagement

The Decay force is resisted through engagement with content – the length of time an observer views a piece of content offsets its decay, preserving ideas that are important within collective cultural memory.

inside-leviathan

Inside Leviathan – a composite black box composed of our servers, data centers, smartphones and computers. Scaleless in the interior, each element links to a distinct scale, object and context in the real world – acting as a way to travel between both the city streets (through our mobile devices) and the physical infrastructure of City (via the data centers and servers).

city-as-house_wunderkammerThe image from Tuesday – City as a room curated by everyone.

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City and Leviathan

City, as distinct from The City, resides in buildings alien to our urban neighbourhoods. The purpose and functioning of the buildings that house City are so different infact that they are often exiled to secret spots in the middle of otherwise barren deserts.

data-centre-composite-city

There are an estimated 8.6 million data centers in the world, covering some 180 km2. This is over half the size of Inner London, a massive physical city that supports City. The largest 10 data centers shown above are each the size of entire city blocks.

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If we consider the data world a contemporary version of Hobbes’ Leviathan, then it is (almost literally) contained in a black (or white) box. The Black Box is a symbol in computing, science and philosophy (Wittgenstein’s black box) which describes a system or device that can be understood only in terms of its inputs and outputs – its workings remain shrouded in mystery.

REFERENCE

The Trendsmap is a realtime interactive map of the world’s tweets, illustrating where City’s attention is at any given time. However, to date, data visualisations like these, whilst revealing of our collective instantaneous obsessions, fail to capture that which is important or persistent within culture. Real-time recordings are nearly instantly overwritten, with no mechanism for memory. For a genuine interface with City, we need to include time and memory as variables in determining that which is valuable to us as a whole.

https://www.trendsmap.com/

 

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Photoscan Tests

These are some very preliminary tests with photogrammetry from open-source images, using tourist photos to reconstruct 3D models of some of the world’s most photographed sites (just for ease with initial tests). I don’t know how useful this technique will be for the future of the project, I just thought I’d start getting to grips with its limitations and potentials – the software I’m using is Agisoft’s Photoscan.

161013_st-pauls_postSt Paul’s Cathedral – Sampled via 100 Flickr images

It seems to demonstrate the effect I was talking about last tutorial with the most photographed elements being the most clearly defined. The distortions in the image seem to be caused where the software fails to properly align cameras/guess lens lengths.

161013_statue-of-liberty_postThe Statue of Liberty – Sampled via 200 Google Images

161013_tower-bridge_postTower Bridge – Sampled via 100 Google Images

161013_room_postMy Flat – Sampled via 60 photos taken on DSLR (Fixed lens length & lighting)

Obviously a Photoscan done with images intended to help build a 3D model results in a scene with considerably more detail and accuracy, although having done these experiments I think it is potentially more interesting to investigate the strange anomalies produced where the algorithm gets it wrong.

 

 

 

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Sunspring [truly average scifi?]

sunspring

This is Sunspring – a scifi film written by AI. In a weird experiment, a LSTM (Long Short Term Memory) Recurrent Neural Network – the kind used for predictive text in emails/sms messages – was fed a training set of science fiction screenplays, given a film competition brief and asked to produce an original film script.

screenplayThe result – although often nonsense – is hilarious and disturbing, and perhaps offers a bizarre insight into the tropes of modern scifi.

See the full film here:

 

 

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Network Effect

An interactive ‘mash-up’ of humanity by media artist Jonathan Harris.It’s a random collection of videos and sounds crowd-sourced by Mechanical Turk workers associated with verbs.

[Click the link below to see the website only if you have 8 minutes free as you can only access the site once every 24 hours]

www.networkeffect.io

The sheer quantity of material shown at such a pace forces our brain to average out the experiences we see to make sense of them. Each word in the piece is in itself an average – a container for a set of specificities. For me the work’s emotional power is in the revealing of those specificities, making words that describe the mundane extraordinary by connecting us to fragments of what in themselves are quite banal individual videos.

 

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