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Monthly Archives: May 2012

WEEK 12 – Generative: Intimate Transactions

“We now live under the enduring mantle of a global crisis, a self-imposed act of unparalleled and seemingly irrational self-destruction, which we misname as ecological – WE are the crisis” (Armstrong 2005). Don’t you worry? Let’s be ‘armed’ with ‘body shelf ’ for Intimate Transactions to combat the crisis!

Intimate Transactions is a dual site network installation for two people. It is designed for the possibility of developing a sense of intimacy with someone across the network when you actually can’t see that person or hear that person. Instead of using hand, mouse and keyboard, Intimate Transactions is processed by being equipped with body shelf and a haptic component sitting on your stomach as well as the back of the book shelf, you use your body, feet, back to interact with the works. Using back, feet and body to feel the vibrations that is passed across the network from the other person during the process of Intimate Transactions, you get a real embodied sense from the works.

Keith Armstrong (2005) applied the approach ‘ecosophical’ for Intimate Transactions to develop new processes for conceptualizing and developing media art works. The purpose of Intimate Transaction is to find out the capacity of such media art works in creating contexts for participants to reflect on connections between the ‘problem of ecology’ and the proposed problem of human subjectivity.

Intimate Transaction makes the world of each individual closer through physically connecting one person with the other. This kind of connection strikes me to think about face-to-face physical communication in real time via network as a form of communication in the future. Just like what Keith Armstrong said, “it’s work about shifting balances, it’s work about ecologies, and ultimately it’s work about relationships and collaborations”. However, as Guattari (1995) suggested, the key question facing us today is the production, enrichment and reinvention of a subjectivity including “our own attitudes, beliefs and emotions”, which might be corresponding with “a universe of changing values” (1995, p.124).

The significance of Intimate Transactions not rests on the incredible high-tech equipment for the experience; instead, the marriage of one’s own life and online interactive space creates a ‘desirable inseparability’, which implies the ecological thinking and action within a networked context.

 

Reference:

Armstrong, K 2005, ‘Intimate Transactions: The Evolution of an Ecosophical Networked Practice’, the Fibreculture Journal 7, <http://seven.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-047-intimate-transactions-the-evolution-of-an-ecosophical-networked-practice/>.

Guattari, F 1995, Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm, Indiana University Press, Bloomington & Indianapolis.

Team of Transmute Collective: Intimate Transaction, Youtube, accessed 19 May 2012, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQV7nIsgS-U&gt;.

 

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WEEK 11 Internet of Things – Gaming can make world better?

Most of people play online games, and just playing with it. Nothing makes them feel necessary to play online games. However, it really impresses on me the way Jane McGonigal (2010) thinks about the potential of online game plays – “Gaming can make a better world” (Ted Talks). Jane states that gaming has the potential to solve the world’s most urgent problems, such as famine, poverty, climate change, global conflict etc. Jane emphasizes that, if we want to survive the next century on this planet and if we want to solve the world most urgent problems, we need to increase the hours of game playing up to 21 billion hours every week. Jane’s statement initially sounds unbelievable to me and even irrational. Because it would be a huge challenge to fill up the gap between virtual world of online games and the real world of our everyday life.

Later on, I found something rational in Jane’s presentation in Ted Talks. She points out four kinds of superpowers that online gamers have based on her research. Firstly, Urgent Optimism- “the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle combining the belief that we have a reasonable hope of success” (Ted Talks). Secondly, Social Fabric- lots of research shows that we like people better after we play games with them. Jane said playing games builds up bonds, trust and cooperation. As a result, we build stronger social relationship. Thirdly, Blissful Productivity- we are happier playing games than relaxing, hanging out etc. – “we are optimized human-beings to do hard and meaningful work” (Ted Talks). It suggests that gamers work hard all the time if you gave them the “right work”. Fourthly, Epic Meaning- the second biggest wiki in the world is the World of Warcraft Wiki with 80,000 articles, and 5 million people use it every month. According to Jane, “they are building an epic knowledge recourse about World of Warcraft (Ted Talks).

However, personally, the four kinds of “superpowers” that online gamers have are space limited. It means the optimism, the passion, the productivity and so called epic wins are only well provoked within the virtual space because there is no real-life observation, no real-life judgers and no real-life pressure and intention in the online gaming world. When it comes to urgent real-life problems, the “superpowers” may disappear and the morale may decrease in real time. Just as some follow-up comments on Jane’s blog (you found me.) – “the only way you can compare real life to online games is if humans had ‘superpowers’ and could have as many lives as they want”.

Additionally, although gaming for a better world seems irrational and hard to believe for most of people now, quality online games are capable to train people to solve real-life problems though simulation and collaborative online forums. As a training tool, I think gaming can empower human-beings.

Here is the video clip of Jane McGonigal’s presentation in Ted Talks:

Reference:

Gaming can make a better world, Ted Talks, Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSkA9BDWN-U.

McGonigal, J 2010, you found me., http://janemcgonigal.com/?blogsub=confirming#subscribe-blog.

 

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Week 10 – Open Science

Are you willing to publicly share online the findings of your project spending months or years of time to complete with others study in the related field or similar interest for further development? If your answer is yes, then that is pretty much what open science tries to achieve – sharing data online for massive collaboration. Platforms for open science have been gradually emerging, such as ResearchGate and social network for scientific community like LabSpaces.net and Scitable. However, issues around whether open science tends to lead low quality research outcome or simply be a short cut for people who need grant project needs great concerns (Pisani 2011).

In 2009, one of the world most renowned mathematician and also a professor in Cambridge University, Timothy Gowers, used his blog to post a striking question: Is massive collaborative mathematics possible? He was actually proposing to use his blog to tackle an unsolved mathematical problem. He issued an open invitation inviting anybody in the world if they think they had an idea to post in the common section of the blog. Initially, there was no reply; gradually, more and more people replied; finally, the mathematical problem had been solved.  His thought was by combing the ideas of many minds, he can make the easy work of the mathematical problem – he called the method the ‘Polymath Project’ (Nielsen 2009). The idea of ‘Polymath Project’ (Gowers 2009) implies that we can use Internet to build tools that actually expand our ability to solve the most challenging intellectual problems. We can actively build tools that amplify our collective intelligence is similar to using physical tools to amplify our strength.

However, open science debate held in Oxford University on the 29th February 2012 points out some real problems of open science that worth thinking for its further development. Problems of open science inter-connect with each other, such as quality, credibility and economic barriers. The representative of nature brand journal underlines in the video clip that the inevitable ‘pay model’ is mainly because the rejection rate of nature brand journals is as high as 90% each year. It implies that it is necessary for the full-time editorial staffs to guarantee the quality of the published journals. The representative emphasizes the high price of these editorial staffs. It is unfair for the public to consume the great effort made by the editors for free. So it seems to be a highly challenging goal for the complete open science. More content regarding open science debate can be found in the video clip below:

 

Reference:

Evolution of Science: Open Science and the Future of Publishing, Youtube, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yELZ3kbFj1w>.

Gowers, T 2009, wordpress, http://gowers.wordpress.com/2009/01/27/is-massively-collaborative-mathematics-possible/

Nielsen, M 2009, blog, “The Polymath project: scope of participation”

Pisani, E 2011, ‘Medical science will benefit from the research of crowds’, The Guardian, January 11, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/11/medical-research-data-sharing>

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Uncategorized