Saturday, 5 November 2016

Reflections on a lecture by Dr Rowan Bailey entitled "digital transformations", (2nd Nov. 2016).

These next lecture notes are a reflection of some of the topics we discussed last week.

Before the particular conference on Digital Transformations, Dr Bailey provided a short overview of how we should be working towards producing and gathering evidence for our proposal. I thought it useful to repeat and reflect upon the themes discussed;


  1.  we need to start with the contexts to our literature review!
  2.  I need to find five methods of research in artistic practice, for example at
  3. Within these artistic research methods, there will be one potential opportunity to use those ideas and concepts towards my own work and the book that I have chosen "the Peregrine."  I need to find ways to engage with these practically!
  4. "scope" to articulate the introduction of the proposal properly I should think about how I need to set the scene, (or the lay of the land), and then build contextual review of the research methods chosen.
  5. How can those methods then be applied? For example, a reference might be a reference to the authors, such as Watson (1992) and "The role of chance as a creative stimulus in Sculpture". (In thinking about this I need to consider using "the cloud" as a repository. This is, in itself, is a recursive yet direct relational reference to digital media and digital transformation).

It was appropriate to review the pages 27 to 34 of the book "Visual Research" by Gray and Malins.
Then I need to consider the literature and document it appropriately. This is also referred to in the book by Gray and Malins "visual research" pages 35 to 48. Entitled "Mapping the Terrain".
Do I need to ask myself how am I going to do this differently?
I need to articulate what worked well and what didn't?
I then need to look at what am I going to do to then address context?
Also without forgetting what am I going not to do for research?

Ultimately these ideas are a description of how I can analyse studies in a critical context?

In the reflection of this short overview, it is worthwhile looking at Rowan's suggested format of the proposal as a starting point to complete a skeleton or strawman of the proposal and then to develop my proposal in itself.

Further Conclusions

The most urgent activity now is to set objectives and aims to achieve my own goals in this voyage of exploration!.

Digital Transformations;
A lecture by Dr Rowan Bailey, (2/11/2016). University of Huddeersfield.

In considering the book "Big Data" by Manual Castells and "The Informational City" (1989) by Manuel Castell's and Yoko Aoyama) this book describes the decline in industrial cultures, and the paradigm shift of material production to knowledge and information based processing.

In considering "the digital age", the analysis of large amounts of data and the correlations between them is no longer about cause and effect in simple terms. This is something that can be explored in an artistic context as well.

Data management,

 and data "mining" deals with the retrieval and the treating of methodologies for representing the whole of the data which is being stored. Within this data management includes;

  • Aggregation,
  • Monte Carlo analysis,
  • Hadoop,
  • Quantum Analysis,
  • Artificial Intelligence.

The book referred to earlier, "Big Data" (subtitled 'a Revolution that will Transform how we Live, Work and Think), by Victor Mayor-Schoenberger (2013), together with the work of Kenneth Cukler is something that I need to read!...

The idea that "the datafication" makes information in itself "indexable" is achieved through the concept of "metadata".

For example, the Google device "n-gram" viewer, (which was formed through the worse kind of industry, that being the military?).

It is based on "location as data".
e.g. Global Positioning System, (or global positioning satellites).
Initially the satellites were placed in orbit around 1978 during heightened times of the Cold War, which were used solely by the United States military, but are now fully accessible to the general public and form an integral part of our daily lives.

Another idea of datafication is;
the Massachusetts Institute of Technologies' "Human Dynamics Laboratory" and their work on "reality mining" for example the tracking of influenza virus.

The interactions of the use of data have many implications for artists.
For example,

  • issues of use:
  • methods of visualisation;
  • and methods of analysis to name but a few.

As a further example see "1 million tweets map" which is an online facility and provides dynamic data visualisation of actual tweets going on in real time.

"The Risks."

  • Datafication and its use with surveillance?
  • Health monitoring, both publicly and privately for good and arguably principal activities by insurance companies?
  • In other words for prevention and cure, or exploitation?
  • Education and free learning? (An example might be the Khan Academy)
  • targeted advertising, such as that done by Google and Facebook.
  • Forecasting and resource optimisation for global resources.

Cyberspace and social identities.

The "Digital Universe". 

The world is overflowing with information with the expansion of human knowledge. How do we orientate ourselves within this?
It is a question of identity.
An interesting book written in 1984 by William Gibson is the book "Neuromancer" within it William Gibson coined the word cyberspace.

It is important to consider that our unique identity is completely "fabricated" when our presence is on the Internet.
The Internet is also free from "body scrutiny" and is a space of democratisation.
Expression is not necessarily constrained by judgement brought about by face-to-face communication.

I recall my work at Sun Microsystems at the turn of the millennium and the new advancement of "the participation age."
There was an idea then, to embrace fully (and to some degree exploit) the emerging concept and practice that there was a hybrid function going on of the producer and user together.
An example of this is blogging, and blogging as expertise.

Arguably, this helps to re-articulate the hierarchy of knowledge, with particular emphasis on the expression of new ideas and cultural change.

Consider a review of the Royal School of Art "Animate" website and also a review of the book by WJ Mitchell (1996) entitled "The City of Bits"; space, place and the Infobahn.

Also, the concept of "The electronic flaneur."

Consider also the ideas of co-opetition in the new post-industrial trade paradigm

In my own research find the book by Donna Haraway "the cyborg manifesto" and "Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow, on youtube.
This describes a post-human condition,
"we are an artifice."
"everything is artifice".

Further work; - Current exhibitions & possible Gallery Visits.

  • The Electronic Superhighway (2016 back to 1966). Art including the work by Lynn Hershman-Leeson, creating an alter ego called "Lorna" who has not left her home for over four years...
  • Consider other work such as Douglas Copeland. I-Recognition.
  • James Bridle, Homo Sacer, holograms.
  • See also the "Big Bang Data" exhibition at Somerset House which showcases the design of various designers and artists. 
  • Look at the work by Erica Scourti on Vimeo. "Persona non-data."
  • Look at the website ""
  • Brendan Dawes - digitising and representing data in new forms.
  • The Guardian newspaper has its own data visualisation section.

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