Gears

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been subtly OBSESSED with ballets.

One in particular, a less popular ballet called “Coppelia” has always kept my brain ticking.

“Dr. Coppélius is a doctor who has made a life-size dancing doll. It is so lifelike that Franz, a village youth, becomes infatuated with it and sets aside his fiancee, Swanhilda. She shows him his folly by dressing as the doll, pretending to make it come to life and ultimately saving him from an untimely end at the hands of the inventor.” – Wikipedia

The old inventor is lonely and wants a companion, so he creates Coppelia with the wish to make her living. He intends on transferring Franz’ soul to the doll, and his fiancee (who had snuck into the inventor’s home to tell Coppelia off for catching Franz’s eye (though she completely ignores him) pretends to be Coppelia to save Franz. In the process she breaks the inventor’s heart who think he’s finally brought his surrogate daughter to life, and runs off to be married.

Personally I never cared for the fickle Franz who would have easily run off with Coppelia if she were real, nor the vindictive Swanhilda who when HER fiancee decides to cheat on her, decides to confront the WOMAN as opposed to..I don’t know, him?

I always felt bad for the inventor and the doll whom would continue to live a life of darkness. And so, when I was given a prompt from a random word generator.

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I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

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With this, I had a week to execute the assignment, and after many clunky frames, managed to come up with something that summarized my idea. In future iterations I’d have smoother animation and more intimacy, but I believe “Love and Gears” has a certain charm.

Enjoy!

Gears from Sydney Adams on Vimeo.

Inner City

An html based text adventure game that explores the minute decisions of a woman in New York City.

Here is the Inner City trailer.

Inner City from Sydney Adams on Vimeo.

Music Credit: “Who Are You” by C2C ft. Olivier Daysoul

(All music rights go to C2C and Olivier Daysoul)

The playable FULL version will be available free by Dec 25th with extended storylines, and likely hosted on Github.

 

D4TC: Forever Twenty-One, and Faster Fashions

Forever Twenty-One was one of the first stores I ever felt GOT me, in that delicate transition from teenhood to adulthood.

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The store was divided into four styles which I would call: boho chic, glamour, punk, and flower-child.  FINALLY, a place where I could express all the various parts of Sydney, at a reasonable price, and find matching accessories and shoes in the center of the store. My first pair of Forever 21 boots decomposed after a year, and shortly after, the clothes that I so coveted, shrunk, outgrew me, or overall no longer fit my design aesthetic. Time for another trip.

Except this time, I found that the store I loved was not longer found. While the four sections remained, the quality of the clothes was much cheaper, and the better made clothes were marked up right outside a college student’s budget. Eventually I would find the styles to be an amalgamation of too many things, and move on to other prey. What I did not know is that the rest of this is fast fashion. Being about to expedite completely new designs within 21 days was unheard of in the fashion industry, until fast fashion retailers like Forever 21, revolutionized the business. But is it a good thing?

Where do your clothes go when you’re done with them?

Rob Horning, author of “The Accidental Bricoleurs,” explores how Forever 21 came to power, and how even the name invokes this desire to aspire to a specific aesthetic. Twenty-one, defines maturity and the coming of age through clothes, taking advantage of the exploration of young people to FIND themselves in their clothes. It puts pressure on this idea of permanence, and aging, that anything below 21 is childish, and anything above is outdated. To be forever young, one must aspire to these ideas. Clothes are the after all, how people are most commonly judged.

Counterculture movements like Hipsters try to shop from thrift stores to acquire vintage items that set them apart, but how effective is this? Environmentally it is a blessing.

I’ve always donated my wearable clothing, and I’d like to think that someone would be very happy with my wardrobe. My clothes were trendy, in great shape, and only donated because of growth spurts. (damn you spent youth)

But I learned recently that only 20% of donated clothes are donated, and there are literal PILES of clothes just rotting about. There appears to be no real clear way of recycling or getting rid of clothing. Which is horrifying when compounded with all the other waste we produce as a planet.

And with those same counterculture’s being absorbed by retailers (Emos, Goths, Punks absorbed by Hot Topic, Hipsters by Urban Outfitters, Preps by Abercrombie and Fitch, we have to wonder whether we will actually be able to beat these issues without serious clothing disposal reform.

In the meantime, I’ll be looking at thrift stores with more interest than before. After all, it shouldn’t be that hard to find all black everything in a place like NY.

-Week 8

 

D4TC: Drone, Prying Eyes, and Big Brothers

Technology has created great advances in surveillance. While jokes about being watched are often used out of humor, it does show that our cavalier attitude towards surveillance is more natural than it used to be. In fact, most people actually expect to be watched or listened to. Some cameras ate visible, like those on our computers that we put a cover over or the red light cameras that make disputing tickets difficult. Others, are more discreet, like the cameras and microphones in our phones or drones that fly thousands of miles above seeking out information and sending it about to whoever flies it.

Calling on Siri, or Ok Google, or any automated system comes at a price none of us really think about. In order to hear our every whim, the microphone of these devices never turns off, and in turn, we are always being listened to.

Our ability to disseminate information faster than ever brings new questions about the ethical and moral components of information sharing. When we see people destroyed by runaway tweets and unearthed indecencies from their teens, our right to privacy is threatened in a way that previous generations have never had to face.

Technology’s growth is not something that can be stopped or should be stopped, and with terrorism and safety scares, surveillance cannot really be diminished, but without laws and boundaries to protect the rights of the people, we leave ourselves vulnerable to the intentions of the inventors, good or bad.

In the Atlantic’s paper, “Eyes over Compton,” we see an entire city being surveilled in a way that benefitted not those citizens whom were at the mercy of violence, but corrupt law officials putting good cops to shame.

This is the future if nothing is done to stop it.

In a secret test of mass surveillance technology, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sent a civilian aircraft* over Compton, California, capturing high-resolution video of everything that happened inside that 10-square-mile municipality.

Compton residents weren’t told about the spying, which happened in 2012. “We literally watched all of Compton during the times that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people,” Ross McNutt of Persistence Surveillance Systems told the Center for Investigative Reporting, which unearthed and did the first reporting on this important story.”

Mr. McNutt is advocating that this technology be implemented the police system nationwide. Yet this grave invasion of privacy doesn’t seem at all corruptible? Is video footage not once again a speculation of what one point of view can see? Can it not be doctored and twisted in favor of those doing the surveilling, in this case, the departments?

Whoever is DOING the surveillance, automatically has power over the object of surveillance. You can choose what you want to see. It is easily one of the most corruptible pieces of tech we have today.

AND IT ONLY GETS SCARIER.

In Honor Harger’s article, “Drones Eye View” the use of drones in warfare is questioned ethically. There are artists who use their work to show how invasive drones can be, and the technology is frightening.

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Drone strikes, have been known to gun down or bomb areas in Iraq and Afghanistan, civilian casualties included, but I never knew that the laser targeting system that occurs before a drone strike is called, “The Light of God.”

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Where does it end? Is man desirous of that power of being everywhere? That omnipotence that was attributed to God?

For me, privacy is something that needs to be protected at all costs. If a company or individual gets control over your identity, they essentially control you and all of your interactions. Bodies of power could use this as a form of dominance over their citizenry, and they would be unable to fight back for fear of self-preservation. While I do believe some V for Vendetta like coupe will ensue, I think that measures to keep this from happening should be implemented before it does.

-Week 7

D4TC: The World of Tomorrow

The Hudson yards smart city is currently undergoing construction with some of the world’s leading architects paving the path for the “new New York.”

“Hudson Yards will be the nation’s first ‘quantified community,’ a testing ground for applied urban data science.”

It’s an exciting concept that we might one day live in cities that utilize resources in a way that is sustainable. However, at what cost do these smart cities come? And who are there smart cities for? With 20 million in the renovations, being constructed right off the High Line, one of the richest areas in NY, clearly I am not the demographic. So already we seen an issue. In order to make the cost of these cities feasible, only the super-rich will be able to pay the rent or mortgages of these places. The idea is that eventually the city could be completely renovated in this way, but how long will it take? Will certain measures be removed due to the demographic. Even now in the city you can view issues within communities with lower incomes. Food deserts, places without fresh produce or food that doesn’t come fried are a serious issue. One was you can clearly tell if you’re in a good or better off area is whether you see a Starbucks, or a Whole Foods. In Shannon Mattern’s “Instrument City,” she speaks about the renovations in deeper detail.

The engineered city is not just going to be sophisticated in design, it will be interwoven with circuits that feed data about the successes and failures of it’s design. Everything in this city, from the plant life to the SOIL, will be engineered.

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This may seem like something straight out of Jetsons, but self-sustainable communities exist today, though much less tech heavy. On Natural Living Ideas, you can learn how to build a self-sustaining home, and you can even make it modular. But when you build an entire ecosystem on a preexisting one, what are the ramifications? Have we humans gone too far?

In Mattern’s other work, “Cloud and Field,” she discusses how technology has changed our ability to interact with nature using things such as birdwatching and landscape drawing as examples. Our way of collecting data, using field notes in a journal and sketches, or simple experiments in a very physical sense has changes to drones, satellite information, and it seems that the world goes smaller each day. Places that were untouchable are now visible, even if not physically accessible.

Perhaps it is this lack of sacredness, this lack of not knowing what the environment really contributes to us, and us to it that makes us no longer respect nature. We seem to view our Earth as a tool rather than a delicate habitat. The Old earth is no longer useful, rather a new more tech savvy earth must replace it all the way from vegetation to soil.

WE ignore the reason for the need for technological solutions. Humans have created great waste and pollution on this planet. It is our fault, and this is no secret. So the question now becomes, are the these smart cities a solution?

Or merely, a bandaid?

-Week 6

 

Boxes

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For our project we originally thought we would work in Columbus circle.

We soon found that Columbus Circle was not conducive for an interactive environment. We did a few mind-maps to determine what kind of people enjoyed the area, and found they were there for short durations, and mostly were introverted and wanted to be left alone.

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With this information, we relocated to Central Park where we could work more openly with people who wanted to be in the location for relaxation and leisure.

With this in mind, we crafted our Objective statement.

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Our original idea was to create boxes that modified the space, much like a physical AR, however, upon the first prototypes we found that looking out from the box either made the wearer look beyond the picture in the box, or just at them. It could be one or the other, but not both. Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 12.11.56 AM.png

We realized we had to change the boxes so that the focus would either be on the box entirely, or on the outside perspective of the box. With that we each created our own boxes. Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 11.55.27 PM.png

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My first box used quotes from popular fairytales and left them as excerpts. Once going inside the box, the child or adult(more likely) would be able to know where the phrase came from. This caused a lot of adult to child interaction, as the parents read the story to their children.

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The jellyfish box was intended to be for taller audiences, but I know children love the feel of dangling things, and so created the jellyfish box to be interactive in a way the others boxes were not. The kids were not expected to put their heads in, the adults were, and the children were meant to spin the box or play with the tassels.

Weaknesses:

For the storybook box, if I had more time I could have devoted one box to each story and told a fuller story that was more interactive. Possibly three, and used an abridged but fuller version of each story.

For the jellyfish, it was constantly breaking due to the tape I used and the force the children used. So I would attach it with knots and drilled holes and use ribbon instead of string both for beauty and strength.

We had an initially tough time deciding on our idea, but we realized that we really wanted a tactile experience and when Lucien suggested a cube we each contributed to it in our own way. The toughest part was deciding an idea and managing to compromise with such strong personalities. By giving parameters but otherwise having creative freedom, we allowed each person’s dignity to be respected.

Our project evolved when we realized we could not successfully augment reality due to depth perception without sacrificing details, so we evolved it based on user testing (noticing how the kids reacted) and on how we wanted each box to be used/interpreted.

Documentation was very thorough and we kept a respectful distance which allowed us to not anger the audience.

A successful augmented reality project is more like this one.

http://ny.curbed.com/2016/10/14/13287798/times-square-kaleidoscope-mirror-installation

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“Titled, The Beginning of the End, the sculpture is comprised of three giant mirrors and has been created by Cuban artist Rachel Valdés Camejo. Starting October 18, the interactive installation will be placed at Broadway Plaza between West 46th and 47th Streets.”

It is more successful at augmenting reality in a clever way using mirrors and using depth perception with the user as opposed to conquering it. The idea of this exhibit is to wrap all of Times Square around you.

Another cool idea is replacing tolls with LEDS. I think this is cool because it makes people look at the world differently, much like what we wished to accomplish.

THE ART INSTALLATIONS FOR TOLLS

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http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/art-installations-to-replace-tollbooths-on-nyc-bridges.html

The light shows will be called The City That Never Sleeps, and here’s a video that shows why:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/art-installations-to-replace-tollbooths-on-nyc-bridges.html

I feel both of these are great, and the question I want to know if why they chose such simple things like mirrors and lights to create such an impressive effect. Is simpler better? Then again, with the scale of these projects, is simple a good descriptor? How big does something have to be to change your view? Can it be as small as a box?

D4TC Dictionary of the Possible

Dictionary of the Possible redefines how people view a dictionary but changing the definition from a word’s meaning to what emotions and scenarios it evokes. For example, when the word, “amateur” is defined, the text discusses the societal impact of amateur, it’s feminine connotation, and it’s relationship to other words that are no necessarily defined. In fact, each definition provides more questions than answers, which completely flips the idea of what a dictionary is supposed to be.

I thought it was interesting as well that most the definitions has an undercurrent of feminism speech and injustice interwoven in the dynamic. Amnesia is transformed from a condition, to an intentional forgetting, and the wave of feminism that is in it’s fifth reincarnation is attributed not just to humanity’s inability to see women as equals, but the active forgetting associated with things one finds abhorrent or pushes oneself into a realization they’d rather not have. Other definitions have a prose like meter. The definition of comrades is assembled in a series of short sentences, some not even fully sentences, in which the emotion of having a comrade or associations one might have with a comrade are explored. “To be safe but not saved,” is a particularly potent line, in which I believe it strongly suggests a true comrade is on equal footing with their companion. “Transgress together the neatly trimmed lawn” reminds me of a saying where a good friend will bail you out of jail, but a great friend will be in the cell with you. Comrade also delves into more romantic iterations, such as “a warmth to fold into” evoking comfort and vulnerability.

The dictionary continues all the way to zero, where the text discusses “Ground Zero” and it’s impact globally and within the community as an ultimate “pock” that cannot be removed. With this comparison, the nothingness and desolation of the word zero, to be without anything, to be void, is enhanced. In this way I can see how effective this dictionary was in making the readers think more deeply about words and how they can be used. The number zero was “redefined as a zone of silence.” which is horrifying but also not without hope. In the same vein, it is also a place where possibilities are endless because the space has no limits.

-Sydney, Week 5

 

 

 

D4TC: Foucault Impossible Prison

In Foucault’s work, I found that it was interesting that he spoke about literal prisons, but also how social and physical constructs can serve as prisons as well. There are so many more layers than typical enslavement, and a lot of it seems to do with what’s in your mind. For example, when Foucault speaks on the Prison, he notes that they are built with this watchtower that they cannot see whether there is a guard or not, and the bars are perpetually open. It’s this mindfulness, this mental expectation of being watched that is supposed to be a form of control, but creates a mental prison and paranoia.

He also speaks about how the guards attempt to have a clinical approach to the prisoners as though there is no personal enjoyment over the imprisonment of others, but Foucault knows that can’t be true. Especially in a place where you are at the mercy of others. No matter how good, is that not a great responsibility with a significant possibility for corruption? He speaks about the structure of the hospital, and how the visibility of the doctor and the proximity of people, ventilation, and water create a prison in their own way. Hospitals can only be in certain areas, patients are restrained to one room, and this feeling of imprisonment within those white walls is potent no matter the benefits.   He speaks even before the French Revolution, places with strict structures like hospitals, churches, and convents were regarded with a bit of disdain. Is it because we inherently despise being restrained? Or are we sickened by our desire to be structured?

https://monoskop.org/File:The_Impossible_Prison_A_Foucault_Reader.pdf

D4TC: Xenofeminism

I notice that the word “feminism” is often regarded with the same kind of discomfort that people feel when “Black Lives Matter” or “sexual misconduct” make people perk up and at the same time settle deep within themselves lest they become an aggressor or freedom fighter of the cause. It seems that whenever an individual group attempts to bring attention to themselves, they are immediately set aside as an other, stereotyped, and isolated. Perhaps it is because in shedding the light of the misfortunate, the “have nots” you draw attention to the “haves” who are most commonly White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. There is a palpable guilt surrounded with having, and that in its own way can form as a separation. It is for this very reason that Xenofeminism is so potent.

When feminism, equal rights for women was first introduced, the feminine was immediately deemed to be female. With Xenofeminism we see a feminism that transcends sex, and goes straight to the issue of gender and gender roles. Equal rights no longer means equal wages. Equal rights now mean a woman being able to be strong, and a man being able to cry in public, both without being ridiculed. There are so many bad byproducts from a lack of feminism that don’t just effect women. And when we see a community where men and women thrive on mutual respect, it is a beautiful thing.

In Mastery of Non-Mastery, the Kobane women who fight for their freedom are soldiers. They can be commanders, they can work alongside men without fear that ego will get in the way. Is is unfortunate that terrorism and threat of death can create such a place. After all, are we all not equal once our survival is at stake?

http://www.publicseminar.org/2015/08/the-mastery-of-non-mastery/#.V9mly2WYeL_