Conchita in the clouds

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Unpacking the myths and memes of spring 2014 ~ Myths are powerful abstraction devices allowing easy transmission of culture. Digital media lies on a base of code which is often invisible but also mythical. In his book ‘Myth Today’, Roland Barthes describes how myths are constructed. In April a bug was discovered in Open SSL security which became the first ‘Bug 2.0′ bug and the most significant. It became mythical. In May, glamorous bearded lady drag act, Conchita Wurst won Eurovision amid Russian outrage. She carried a message of tolerance and acceptance by highlighting issues of sexual discrimination using a neatly trimmed beard to go along with her sequinned dress. Continue reading

Rootbeans Beanbank – an adventure in node.js and Mongodb on Heroku

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Finally after days of head scratching and dreaming in database connections, I managed to set up a very very basic web app using Node.js with Express, Mongodb and a bunch of other cool things, all uploaded and connected on Heroku with Mongolab. Don’t be fooled by this graphic – it’s just a mock-up. You can see the actual work-in-progress on Continue reading

MaDMA proposal: Virtual Cultures & Network Practices

13th March 2014 Rootbeans is drawing game and social media platform which uses ‘playful little data’ beans to explore how choice, chance & circumstance operate in collaborations between people. Big data is a big topic at the moment. The collection of personal data from people is common practice and as more of this data is being uploaded to the cloud, Continue reading

Whats important? Rootbeans 1st March 2014

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Thanks to everyone who participated in Rootbeans: What’s important?  game at University of Brighton as part of Brighton Science Festival. The amount of interest and willing participation (no bribery needed stragely!) was amazing. Our initial players were the event organisers and staff who got straight into writing their important things on beans. We promised to give them back a new Continue reading

Rootbeans: What’s important to you right now?

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On Saturday 1st March I’ll be prototyping an open Rootbeans game at University of Brighton Grand Parade as part of Brighton Science Festival from 10am. With artist Tanya Meditzky of Milkkitten we’re asking people  ‘What’s important to you right now?’ in 10 beans. We’ll be using this ‘playful little data’ during the day with the help of passers-by. If you’d Continue reading

Cultures of Multimedia Authoring & Web Design – Reflective Statement

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Since November I’ve used the Rootbeans game as a mental model through which to explore how artists are using technology to examine the part it plays in issues that affect everyone. It’s led me to questions around power and programming. For me the the questions now are: How can programming languages be evolved to take into account an emotional dimension? Continue reading

Flow and control

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In her essay Always-on/Always-on-you: The Tethered Self, Sherry Turkle discusses how due to our always online culture, we are loosing our ability to be connected with the people who are physically near us. She talks about the loss of learning opportunities and the loss of new life experiences along with the benefits that we gain when things don’t work out Continue reading

Rogue algobots

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In his Ted talk How algorithms shape our world,  Kevin Slavin describes algorithms as insect or bird like creatures that act as autonomous agents. Agents that once released into a data universe will not be as frequently observed by humans as you might have imagined they should. Talking about the stock market, he tells us that over 70% of trading Continue reading

Panopticon v2 – Jan 2014

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Play Panopticon and become the watcher! build your data empire, the tallest tower from which to view the entire internet and control how content and personal data moves. You may have good intentions, or bad ones. Behind the virtual air we breathe are the people who control us – the battle for data and people’s very identities is being fought. What will YOU choose to do? Continue reading