rebecca's WIP

comm lab (networked media)

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Root Note now has a website!

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James Bridle’s Rorschmap is a kaleidoscopic reconfiguration of Google Street View.

Bridle says: Rorschmap is cartographic navel-gazing, a reframing of the map. It will not help you find anything. We are bored with your squares and your margins. We want new shapes and new dimensions, the unicode snowmen of visual representation. Read more about the project here.

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In his article Art and the API, Jer Thorp describes the API as an expressive way to create bridges and tools between until-now unrelated bodies of content and applications.” I found this to be a really useful way to think beyond what an API is in the literal sense (a way to connect two applications or pieces of software) and instead to think about its potential as an artistic and critical tool.

To me, the power of the API lies in the way it works under the surface to give information a new kind of visibility. As we know, API’s create connections behind the scenes. In doing so, they can make certain information accessible and legible to people in a different and more powerful way.


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A few weeks back, I wrote a Processing sketch that generates a random hexagram from the IChing every time you click the mouse. My class was a little bit complicated to translate from Processing to p5.js, since I have a number of different functions that are passing  variables between them. I felt pretty comfortable writing the class overall but I found the “this.” syntax in JS to be a little bit confusing (when do you say ‘this.variableName’ versus just say ‘variableName’? etc.)

It took me a while to get the sketch up and running, but after a bit of time and nitpicking I was able to get it to work. I wanted to build it out into more of a mini-site (rather than just a single sketch on a page), but I had some trouble using p5.dom and writing HTML / CSS to wrap around the canvas. I think I need to spend more time with it.

Instead, I did a little bit of a hack and added text to my page in the draw() loop in p5. I still don’t understand why my text stays centered when I resize the browser window, but my canvas does not.

My IChing Hexagram Generator lives online here.

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Two projects by Mark Napier that feel interesting / relevant to me —

Shredder (1998)
Shred the Web! An Alternative web browser that turns web pages into digital confetti.

Pam (2009)
PAM was inspired by the traditional of painting the Venus, the ideal of feminine beauty. Ingres, Titian, Velazquez, Rembrandt. PAM is a venus born from and made for the digital landscape. Pam Anderson – the most imaged woman on the web, pioneer of the intentionally “leaked” sex video, cross-media pinup – becomes the subject matter for a reverse-cubist portrait. A woman re-formed from hundreds of fragmented images found online.

PAM began as generative software that produced a moving figure created from fragmented body parts. PAM has been shown as live generative installation, video and print.

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As I was reading “Long Live the Web” by Tim Berners-Lee, I was reminded of a funny place called the Principality of Sealand. Though it’s not totally related to what Berners-Lee talks about in the article, Sealand is pertinent insofar as it illustrates the peculiar (and interconnected) relationship between internet space and geopolitical space (which has also become clearer in the past few years, with the activities of Wikileaks and Snowden’s NSA leaks).

Sealand, a small principality located off the coast of England, has long been thought of as a “data haven.” I haven’t read enough to know if they’ve been successful in this pursuit, but I do know that it’s a fundamental part of their identity as a country (which is also geopolitically quite murky). Apparently:

WikiLeaks, the article speculated, might try to escape its legal troubles by putting its servers on Sealand, a World War II anti-aircraft platform seven miles off the English coast in the North Sea, a place that calls itself an independent nation. It sounds perfect for WikiLeaks: a friendly, legally unassailable host with an anything-goes attitude.

More on the history of Sealand here.

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My first sketch in p5.js is a variation on your standard bouncing ball (adapted from a Processing sketch I did a few weeks ago). The diameter of the circle correlates to the distance between the center of the screen and the mouse. Sounds not particularly exciting, but when you move the mouse around rapidly it creates some psychedelic pastel Dr. Seuss-like visuals. The site lives here and my code for p5.js sketch is below.

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For this week’s Networked Media assignment, we were asked to make a work of hypertext art using HTML and CSS. I wanted to do something simple that would allow me to practice the basics of HTML and CSS, but also something that would be conceptually interesting to me. I decided to use the Whole Earth Catalog as my starting point, and I conveniently have a PDF facsimile of it on my computer that I was able to use as material.

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Today in my first meeting of Networked Media with Lauren McCarthy, we learned about HTML, CSS and how to communicate with servers using Servi.js and the command line. I made a glorious pink website that looks like this.



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