New Media - J.Ralph

Contemporary Issues in Time Based Media


Moodle Re-Visit 01

"I'm Very Interested In How The Rest Of The Senses Relate To Memory."

There is a somewhat rare condition called synesthesia - A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color.

Kandinsky is believed to have had synesthesia, a harmless condition that allows a person to appreciate sounds, colours or words with two or more senses simultaneously. In his case, colours and painted marks triggered particular sounds or musical notes and vice versa. The involuntary ability to hear colour, see music or even taste words results from an accidental cross-wiring in the brain that is found in one in 2,000 people, and in many more women than men.

Kandinsky achieved pure abstraction by replacing the castles and hilltop towers of his early landscapes with stabs of paint or, as he saw them, musical notes and chords that would visually "sing" together. In this way, his swirling compositions were painted with polyphonic swathes of warm, high-pitched yellow that he might balance with a patch of cold, sonorous blue or a silent, black void. Rainbird describes how the artist used musical vocabulary "to break down the external walls of his own art".

Some works by the artist Wassily Kandinsky:

Websites with more info:

Synesthesia and Memory

"Remembering the whole word will mean trying to remember the specific colors of all the letters."

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in reply to:
Memories--Not From Cats [what a horrible musical].

by James Doppelt - Tuesday, 3 October 2006, 05:43 PM

I Don't Want To Discuss The Reading Because Forking Paths Boggled My Mind Even Moreso Than The Hypertext Discussion Of V. Bush.

So I'll Talk About The Group's Work:
I'm Very Interested In How The Rest Of The Senses Relate To Memory. I, Personally, Can Forget What I Am Saying Mid-Sentence And Not Even Remember That I Was Talking To Anyone. I Don't Know What Triggers That Sense In My Brain And I Was Wondering If Anyone Knew If There Was A Reverse Effect Of Memory In Relation To The Other Senses.

How To Rephrase This..Since A Smell Or Sound Could Trigger A Memory. Is It Also Possible That Looking At Something Or Smelling Something Or HEARING Something Could Make Someone Instantly..Forget??
I Also Don't Have Short Term Memory Connection With My Long Term. But My Photographic Memory Is Undeniable.

When I Was 17 I Drove To Philadelphia [my grandparents house] Without Directions From The Main Highway, And I Hadn't Been There Since I Was Age Four.
This Is Just A Lot Of Open Ended Pondering About Memory I Guess. But The Project Jonathan And Nova Are Doing Made Me Think About It A Lot.


Moodle Re-Visit 02

So I have been thinking about the ramifications of relying on technology too much. As David brought up, we hardly remember the phone numbers of people who are important to us anymore. Thanks to the advances in technology, nobody bothers to remember the phone number of their family, loved ones, friends, anyone!

Originally I had argued that this path that technology is leading us down was a positive one, where the users were always in control and by not having to memorize phone numbers, would leave our minds free to process other things.

However, two new ideas have swayed my thoughts. The first being, the logical devil's advocate of what happens when we loose this technology unwillingly? Perhaps our cell phone is stolen, lost, or the battery runs out. In cases of emergencies, we wouldn't know the phone numbers of anyone to call for help. Granted 9-1-1 has been embedded in our psyche for good and we can at least call the police, but whom else do we really have access to in an event such as this? Not to mention trying to find a public phone to call them on anyways. Have you noticed the extreme lack of pay phones anymore?

The second scenario is more simple. By flexing our brain muscles with activities such as memorizing and recalling phone numbers, we keep our mind "in shape". The brain is a muscle and therefore must be exercised. Like any other muscle, it becomes flabby and weak when not used.

So, I guess I should be more critical while worshipping this technological terror we've constructed.

in reply to:
Our memories...How are they holding up?
by David Arnevik - Tuesday, 3 October 2006, 03:03 PM
With all of the technology to store information and remember thing for you, we are not as dependent on our own memories. A cell phone is a good example, do you remember peoples numbers like you did before you had a cell phone? I still remember quite a few phone numbers but not nearly as many as I used to. Are our memories not being exercised like they should be and getting weaker as a result?


Moodle Re-Visit 03

It's an interesting idea, Bryan. I posted before that I felt for sure that we as humans experience time as A posteriori. We require the experience to know that time has passed.
However, what if it is more complicated?

For example, the roles that we play in our immediate familes may be a priori. Our roles in the family never really change: the child, the parent, the mediator, the joker, the drama-queen. In the Simpsons cartoon, the various family members play out their roles throughout the episode and time seems to never progress, as you pointed out. But time does progress within the family drama, each member plays the part and other members react the part. Is that a priori? Can we tell that time has passed by reasoning that the family drama has progressed via the members living out their roles?

We know how most Simpsons episode will progress. Homer or Bart will create some drama, Marge will groan quietly while Lisa intelligently points out the errors and by way of comic relief, the drama will unfold and the conflict will somehow be resolved, hilariously hopefully.
Is this not a priori?

in reply to:
Nightmares, Cartoons and TimeSpace
by Bryan Cox - Monday, 9 October 2006, 05:49 PM
The other day i was lying in my bed avoiding waking up and drifting in and out of consciousness. This is the only time I remember my dreams. This particular morning i had a nightmare related to time and space that confused and frightened me. I'm going to try and explain the idea although it may be a little confusing so bare with me. The dream was of a perpetual existence sans future. Time is generally divided into three categories: past, present and future. At any given moment we are experiencing the present reality. We can also draw on our memories to substantiate the existence of the past. We can make predictions of the future, but never experience it. If we cant experience it, then how can we be certain that it exists? Okay. So heres the scenario in the dream. I was dreaming about cartoons. The Simpsons have been around for like 20 years and counting. Its a great combination of characters. Cartoons can exists without having to drastically adapt their format because they are not subject to time(they don't grow old). But in my dream Bart became a cognizant creature. I think I may have been Bart or I may just have been a passive observer. I'm not sure that really matters. Anyway when I was half awake I started to think. What if the Simpsons were aware of themselves and their past and their actions in the present. Could they ever realize that they have been essentially suspended in time for the last twenty years? So I figured that without anything to substantiate future events it is essentially impossible to prove that ANYONE is actually moving forward in time. So, what if we're not? What if we exist in a suspended state like Bart and Lisa? What if we have been living out the same day or minute or moment over and over again but never realized it? Anyway this scared me and I still don't know what to think about it really. If this made any sense and anyone has any ideas please share because I'm starting to think i've been typing this blog entry for all eternity. yikes!

Website Review 01

Database As Art (now shutdown by Wal-Mart) was a social commentary website about people being over-charged for goods at retail stores. Users of the site were encouraged to help build the database of barcodes taken from items on store shelves. The user could also access the database to download and print on label paper a barcode that they intended to place on a product prior to purchasing it. By doing this, the user was able to name their own price on any product in the store, which completed’s parody of in which user’s can name their own price on hotels and airfare.

The entire website was created in just two days and was meant to be part parody of, part shared database, and part social commentary about high prices of retail store products.

Because the site was essentially a database, I think that it is fair to say that it could be labeled as “science”. Because of the creator’s intentions for the site to be a commentary on the world around them, the site lends itself also to the “art” category. So, is the website art or science? Is there a difference? Does there need to be a difference?


Website Review 02

Lonelygirl15 on the cover of the December 2006 issue of WIRED.

youtube lonelygirl15 - the main site of lonelygirl15

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Look up the term Internet Phenomenon and you will find Lonelygirl15.

"...a show that illuminates the future of television." -Wired Magazine

The implications of the success of this YouTube story are the groundwork for the future of entertainment. "When viewers suggested that he had a crush on Bree, they changed the story line to include a romance. That couldn't have happened on television."

However, in September 2006, it was discovered that Lonelygirl15 was actually an actress with a set and a director. "Within 48 hours, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and a slew of TV stations ran the story. The jig was up. Many assumed the series would sputter and die. Media reports zeroed in on how viewers had been duped, suggesting an inevitable backlash. But the fans – raised on the unreality of reality TV and with the role-playing ethos of the Web – seemed to take the revelation in stride."

Oddly enough, the YouTube vidoe series grew from all the publicity. With the success of this web drama, the Internet is becoming a viable story telling device. Just as the entrance of the printed book ushered in a new form of story telling, this interactive, audience affected micro-drama is the second renaissance of story-telling.

Not only did Lonelygirl15 birth a new art form, but people are recording videoblog reactions to the video installations. Think about in movies set in the future that you have seen, about how people communicate, often times using hi-tech video phones or something to that effect. These videoblog reactions create an eerie dialog that is not unlike these futuristic videophone conversations. Could this be the beginning of such an era?


Website Review 03

Get Off The Grid

An answer to that horrible technology question... What if?

A key argument in our over-reliability on technology is "what if we loose our electricity (for an extended period of time)?" Well, Get Off The Grid has some answers to that. This website focuses on selling products for sustainability, such as solar panels,
wind power, and water filtration systems. Granted, if there was a mass blackout, ou probably wouldn't have internet connectivity, but atleast you could access the information cryptically stored on your hard drives and cell phones.

Get Off The Grid can come off as a place for the paranoid masses to stock up, but it is reasonable that these items sold on the site may become more commonplace than we realize. Green power has been the focus of many cities across the nation, alternative energy sources, and sustainability are just a few of the buzzwords floating around in todays plans for the future.

I like this site because it gives the home owner some choices and options for utilizing these methods on a smaller scale. I would imagine that within the next 50 years we are going to see some kind of economical alternative suppliment energy on more and more houses.


I love what has been going on with Lonelygirl15 and YouTube. As someone who likes to know everything that is going on in the internet all the time, I did have the pleasure of seeing some of the lonelygirl15 videos before the exposure that it was a fiction, not that it makes much of a difference. Her series is and was captivating. The whole YouTube "scene" is captivating.

The band OK Go launched themselves into superstardom by making a clever, hilarious, and amazing music video for their song "Here It Goes Again" and putting it up on YouTube for free. The video was not on MTV, it was not on iTunes, but hundreds of thousands of people saw it, fell in love with it, and told their friends. This new technology doesn't change the fact that word of mouth is still the best marketing technique; it just makes it go faster.

It's finally happened... "Internet Killed The Video Star"!!! The Internet is changing everything. Look at this. The World's First Web Band. These musicians are performing together without ever meeting each other and without even knowing each other. One person puts a video of him playing a melody on guitar on YouTube, then another person hears that, and records a video of themselves playing a drumbeat to that melody, then another person with a bass guitar, and so on. This backwards collaboration would be nearly impossibly without the entrance of broadband Internet connections and YouTube.

This new era of art, community, and the 21st century, artists are seeing the value of the tools generated by these companies. Apple computers has grown favorably on artists and just people in general with their intuitive and slick designs along with impressive and new forms of artistic creativity and networking. Done are the days when people talk about "the man" in reference to big business and anyone affiliated with it. In today's world, flashing your Apple iPod is just as important as knowing the hippest bands.

Look at Cory Archangel. In the past, clearly defined media would've kept him a classical guitarist. But today, he is an artist, musician, programmer, videographer, and much more. There is seemingly no more distinctions between anything anymore. Anyone can make anything and everyone can be part of the experience.

Digital media seems to be freeing the media. Remember Napster? Aside from being a free pirate renegade program... Napster brought a mass of music to the masses. Almost as fast as we could invent the compressed, digital format of MP3 were we finding ways of mass copying music. This illegal copying was not done out of spite for the artists or their craft, it was done out of love and celebration of their craft. Simply put, Napster was able to reach millions of users in ways that record companies couldn't. It took 5 years for the record companies to catch up with iTunes and other similar services. Digital media is not de-valuing anything. It is making it easier for the enthusiasts to access that which they adore.

Course Questions:

How might art be reframed or redefined in light of current technological transformations?
How does the Internet impact and alter communities, relationships, space, artistic practice, ideas about public and private, fiction and fact?
How might an artist maintain a critical position when relying on expensive "state-of-the-art" technologies which are supporting and being supported by “Big Business
New models are needed for describing and analyzing new media. For example, representation and identification might be replaced by simulation and emersion.
How might digital media alter static and clearly delineated definitions of autonomous and distinct media?
How do media that are potentially altered (and copied) at any moment - that are never permanent - affect ideas about value, permanence, physicality and materiality?

Memory and Database Blog

Memory and Database Blog
by Nova Askue and Jonathan Ralph