Wander over to http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/, and you’ll find that auteur Chris Milk and Grammy-darlings The Arcade Fire have, arguably, released one of the most interesting and technically provocative music videos of the 21st century. Showing off the capabilities of HTML5 (Web 3.0?), the piece exhibits a rather exciting distaste for the boundaries of normal media-players (youtube, Vimeo, etc.)–it utilizes, instead, a veritable collage of pop-up windows, and impressively integrates high-res video and CGI with satellite data pulled directly from Google.

Perhaps the only downside is that the experience is, indeed, processor intensive. Here’s a capture of the whole thing if you’re like me and your 5-year-old macbook chokes on this sort of thing:

Markus is in town and e-oculus is in high gear! Here are some process images:


The Facadis up and primed


Drilling holes for hangling hardware

Two new public/social media works by the great Steve Lambert:

1. The most awkward 404 Not Found page on the internet.

2. Capitalism works for me!

Feelings are not substances to be discovered in our blood but social practices organized by stories that we both enact and tell.

How emotion is made and measured by Phoebe Sengers et. al. argues that a social, interactional model of emotion rather than a model of emotion-as-information should be used in the design and analysis of affective computing applications. Instead of defining affective computing as the transmission of discrete units of information indicating internal states of an individual to computational systems and back, this new model defines affect and emotion as dynamic, culturally mediated, and socially constructed and experienced.

The article extends the social, interactional approach to understanding cognition in computer-human interaction that has challenged the dominant information-processing approach for over 20 years. This cultural construction of affect and emotion means that:

To experience a feeling as, say, anger, love, happiness, lust or frustration, one must be grounded in a cultural context that makes anger, love, happiness, lust or frustration meaningful (and in turn determines a response to that emotion – whether it is something to be proud of, ashamed of, etc.)

and that a feeling is:

something that develops over the course of conversations and interactions with one another…We negotiate our feelings with ourselves and with others, over time crystallizing meanings for us of what might initially be vague, confusing and ambiguous sensations.

As creators of social and computational media, why should we be concerned about affective and emotional states? From an environmental perspective, we know that the environmental choices people make can depend on that person’s emotional state (see Clore and Tamir’s research on risk-taking for example) and that social ties are important to long-term commitment to political action (see Gladwell’s observations about strong and weak emotional ties in Why the Revolution will not be Tweeted). Therefore if our work is to have a positive impact, we must consider the emotional dimension, and through this consideration:

We need to ask ourselves who gets to decide what emotion a person feels, what emotional experiences are designed for and which are left out, and whether the resulting technologies enrich or flatten emotional experience.






Mediated Environments, the first book of the Transdiscourse series on Springer press edited by Jill Scott, Angelika Hilbeck and Andrea Gleiniger includes a chapter I wrote. I presented in a book launch for both this book and the Artist-in-Labs series by Jill Scott at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in NYC alongside the Bio-Rhythm Music and the Body exhibition created by Trinity College, Dublin’s Science Gallery featuring works by Eyebeam and international artists. Here is an article about the exhibition on Huffingtonpost

Work in the exhibition

My former student and Eyebeam artist Andrew Demirjian presented a new interactive work called The Week in Review in the Eyebeam project room:

The Week in Review from Andrew Demirjian on Vimeo.

Current and former Eyebeam artists Andrew Demirjian and Morgan Barnard

In the Eyebeam studios

Todd Shalom’s Elastic City hosted two public walks on City Island in the Bronx led by SMW director Polli where participants performed a series of observation exercises designed to increase environmental awareness. Some of these exercises were inspired by IDEO’s Human Centered Design Toolkit, an important (and free) resource for social media designers.





I presented and performed excerpts from ‘Sonic Antarctica’ and ‘Ground Truth’ at the Antarctica Music Festival and Conference at Australia National University in Canberra alongside master wildlife recordist Douglas Quin and others.

Quin has traveled to Antarctica several times to record seals and other wildlife and his work can be heard in the films of Werner Herzog and Jurassic Park III. His shockingly beautiful spatial recordings of the complex underwater vocalizations of Weddell seals under the ice highlighted how much we as humans have to learn about movement, space and communication.

Here is a clip from Herzog’s ‘Encounters at the End of the World’ that features Quin’s Weddell seal recordings

And here is a video of Quin presenting at Gel 2007:

Doug Quin at Gel 2007 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

Quin’s work and that of many others in the festival transform expectations and understandings of Antarctica and may have a positive influence on research directions on the continent.

As C. Lenay wrote in 1997 (parentheses added):

Technical (and cultural) artefacts should not merely be understood as means that allow human beings to achieve certain pre-set goals. On the contrary, the process of their development and integration by individuals and societies transforms, or invents, the very goals of human activities.


I presented projects of the Social Media Workgroup at the Now Future series in a conversation entitled ‘Atmospheric Commons’ with Meteorologist Erick Brenstrum at Massey University, Wellington NZ.

Pioneer City by Bronwyn Holloway-Smith is the last of a series of Letting Space projects in Wellington New Zealand. Letting Space seeks to transform the relationship between artists, property developers and their city. It commissions temporary art works from leading New Zealand contemporary artists for commercial CBD (central business district) spaces, exploring creative ideas for urban renewal and growth. Staged as a storefront real estate developer’s office, the Pioneer City project invites homesteaders and investors to help to form the first Mars settlement.

Artist Holloway-Smith is surprisingly serious about this venture, she says:

With NASA scientists aiming for a human mission to Mars in the next 20 years, and private innovators also paving the way, a Martian colony is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’

Despite looking to the stars, the project also addresses life on Earth, as Letting Space manager/curators Mark Amery and Sophie Jerram observe:

At a time when the Wellington City Council is developing a 30-year vision for Wellington, this project also implicitly asks the public who controls our visions of the future and what kind of future we want for ourselves and our cities.

Letting Space curator Sophie Jerram at the Pioneer City showroom

Architectural model of Pioneer City



Holloway-Smith gathers feedback an expression of interest form at the showroom and on the Pioneer City website created to echo familiar NZ government forms. The project uses contemporary real estate industry language and marketing techniques but evokes the romanticized picture sold to early settlers of New Zealand, Australia and the US site-unseen.