Monday, May 20, 2013

Using IT for Culture Work

Technology and culture define or form each other. Even a basic examination of changes in media technology (e.g. moveable type printing) show that it changes culture.  Likewise Information Technology (IT) demands awareness in order for one to work with culture. Our awareness of technology is often a passive state that can be attained with consumption and participation in commodification. However, there are obviously deeper levels for using IT for culture work. It is here we encounter the ‘tool paradigm’: where media, digital technology (software, hardware and techniques such as coding) become the means to achieving desired ends or results.
Anyone working in culture today, no matter what the topic area, should have an awareness of the uses and implications of digital media. The applications for this awareness can be

1. Analytical

2. Consumption

3. Production

Ignore terms like 'social media' or 'virtual' and just think about what it is a digital artifact says or does for you. I have written these sorts of analyses:

Analyzing digital media is not just about interpreting words and images, but it includes design, multimedia (audio, architecture, video), composition and perspectives. When analyzing digital media you must consider affordances.

Affordance (After Gibson): An affordance is a quality of an object, or an environment, which allows an individual to perform an action. For example, a knob affords twisting, and perhaps pushing, while a cord affords pulling.
Different definitions of the term have developed, as explained in the following sections. The original definition described all actions that are physically possible. This was later adapted to describe action possibilities of which an actor is aware. The term has further evolved for use in the context of HCI to indicate the easy discoverability of possible actions.
The term is used in a variety of fields: perceptual psychology, cognitive psychology, environmental psychology, industrial design, human–computer interaction (HCI), interaction design, instructional design, science, technology and society (STS) and artificial intelligence.
Affordances are not meaningful in themselves until the are provided with contexts. A context can be the action that is made possible by the object, the role the object has in daily life, who is allowed to use the object in particular situations or the effect use of the object has on other people.

Information Technology is often experienced via the use of objects. These can be websites, hardware, apps, tools and platforms. There are so many that it is impossible to even describe the range of them. You probably use several digital devices already today. You are looking at one right now; the results of the HTML based Blogger blogging platform. Just blogging is one set of contexts that make an object (this blog) meaningful beyond just the words expressed upon the screen. 
Following the lecture, over three 2-hour sessions (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday), we will explore the uses of IT for culture work, create a presentation on an aspect of the use of IT and use a digital platform or tool in which to present it with.


SlideShare is the world's largest community for sharing presentations. With 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million page views, it is amongst the most visited 200 websites in the world. Besides presentations, SlideShare also supports documents, PDFs, videos and webinars.

Kulturanalysprogrammet, termin 2, moment 3, VT 2013
Examinerande sökuppgift
Skapa en valfri fiktiv men realistisk bakgrund: föreställ dig att du jobbar åt ett företag, en organisation, en myndighet eller en förening, som sysslar med utredningar. Välj ut ett av exemplen nedan eller hitta på ett eget. Detta fiktiva uppdrag medför (i denna uppgift) att ni måste samla material och information från skilda källor. Tänk därför på vilket eller vilka perspektiv den fiktiva bakgrunden ger er!
Ni kan välja att arbeta i par eller individuellt. Kravet för att få godkänt är att ni har nyttjat, eller åtminstone undersökt möjligheten av, olika typer av källor och resurser. Informationssökningsprocessen skall redovisas muntligt och med hjälp av PP under 10 – 15 minuter och innehålla en beskrivning av hur källorna sökts fram, samtidigt som källornas relevans motiveras ur ett ämnes- och källkritiskt perspektiv.

Exempel på fiktiv bakgrund

       Polisväsendet skall lägga fram en plan mot sexuella trakasserier
       Två av UmeåRegionens största företag genomför en fusion/företagssammanslagning
       Umeå universitetssjukhus planerar en arbetsmiljöutredning
       Norsjö kommun har planer på att bygga en flygplats
       Socialdepartementet ska ta fram ett program för hur man bäst undviker kulturkrockar mellan svensk vård och invandrare
       AFF, Alliansen För Funktionshindrade, ska arbeta fram en informationsskrift om bemötande av funktionshindrade
       Skolverket ska ta fram en ny plan som har till syfte att minska mobbing
       Ett unikt hällristningsområde har upptäckts i Åsele. Nu vill en del marknadsföra fyndet medan en del vill skydda det
       Umeå och Skellefteå ska försöka samverka bättre när det gäller olika kulturprojekt
       Västerbottens läns landsting och Västra Finlands län vill öka samarbetet över bottniska viken
Exempel på vad Du behöver leta fram

       Fakta om ”uppdragsgivarens” historia
       Fakta om andra berörda företag och organisationer
       Tidigare parallella exempel
       Teorier inom passande disciplin (-er)
       Forskningsresultat inom olika vetenskapliga discipliner
       Folkopinionen – statistik, dagstidningar, bloggar
       Politik, vad tycker de politiska partierna?
       Internationella jämförelser
       Mer? Kom ihåg att det till stor del är valet av uppdrag som påverkar vilket material du kommer att behöva

The Tools

Gathering Tools

This is a short list of sites on the Internet where you can find Creative Commons and other open copyleft materials that can be remixed:




3D Models



These are some of the tools you can use for remixing and manipulating sound.

Remixing Sound

Sound Machines

Image Manipulation

Word and Text manipulation work with few tools. Once you have written text you can record it, animate it or publish it.

Word and Text

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Theater, Public Space and Digital Augmentation

Presentation for Unga Klara
8th May 2013
Stockholm Kulturhuset

“Digital tools allowing theatre audiences to engage with a performance beyond the traditional consumer relationship” (Digital Bridges, Cambridge University 2013) 

Readings of Space and Place 

Representational Space
"Representational spaces: space as directly lived through its associated images and symbols, and hence the space of ‘inhabitants’ and ‘users’, but also of some artists and perhaps of those, such as a few writers and philosophers, who describe and aspire to do no more than describe. This is the dominated—and hence passively experienced—space which the imagination seeks to change and appropriate. It overlays physical space, making symbolic use of its objects. Thus representational spaces may be said, though again with certain exceptions, to tend towards more or less coherent systems of non-verbal symbols and signs" - Henri Lefebvre 'The Production of Space' p39.

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces: William H. Whyte from Nelly Oli on Vimeo.

This witty and original film is about the open spaces of cities and why some of them work for people while others don't. Beginning at New York's Seagram Plaza, one of the most used open areas in the city, the film proceeds to analyze why this space is so popular and how other urban oases, both in New York and elsewhere, measure up. Based on direct observation of what people actually do, the film presents a remarkably engaging and informative tour of the urban landscape and looks at how it can be made more hospitable to those who live in it.
 Running time: 58 min, Year released: 1988

-       The most used plazas tended to have small groups of twos or threes
-        The most used plazas also have, in absolute numbers the greatest number of individuals
-       The number one activity is people looking at other people
-       There is not much mixing between groups or between individuals within the space
-       Audience spaces, display space.
-       Exits, entrances, connections, corners, levels, obstacles, ledges and edges
-       Choreography of the space
-       The “visualization of movement is the ultimate test of a design”
-       People do not stop to talk in the middle of a large space
-       People tend to sit where there are places to sit

Monumentality is the coded organization of space where hierarchies are attached to “the strong points, nexuses or anchors” (Lefebvre 222), resulting in the meanings of that space. Monumentality overwhelms the senses to create a confined sense of presence in interpretation. This confinement is due to how "monumental qualities are not solely plastic, not to be apprehended solely through looking. Monuments are also liable to possess acoustic properties, and when they do not this detracts from their monumentality" (Lefebvre 225). In the monumental space the "'properties' of a spatial texture are focused upon a single point" (Lefebvre 225).

See “Unsettling Representation: Monuments, Theatre, and Relational Space” (

Technologies of Augmentation: The Digital Layer and the Narrative Performative

1. Rendering place and space

Street Museum

Museum Studies and QR Codes

Augmented Reality Flashmob

Amsterdam has the first Augmented Reality Flashmob in the world. (SATURDAY 24th April 2012) 
Imagine the Dam Square in Amsterdam filled with statues and odd characters and only you can see them trough the camera of Android- and iPhone. Saturday the 24th of April this is going to be the case. At exactly 14.00 hours the National Monument on the Dam Square will be surrounded with digital 3D statues that can be viewed in Augmented Reality with the Layar app. The rumour is that even the iconic Beatles will be there crossing the street like in the famous picture on the Abbey road.

Sander Veenhof is the creator behind this amazing idea. Veenhof says: “Every square in every major city in the world knows the 'human statue' phenomenon. On the Dam Square in Amsterdam Darth Vader, Superman, a Gladiator and some undecipherable sort of gothic characters colour the scene.“ But this Saturday it will be a whole other sight, at exactly 14.00 hours a big group of people will hold their Androids and iPhones in the air, turn on their Layar browser and take screenshots of the amazing 3D characters that we will place in Augmented Reality on the Dam Square. You can actually walk around them to look at them from all angles by just using your phone and the Layar browser. We are really looking forward to see the faces of those who have no clue of what’s going on.

Van Veen Teamed up with TAB Worldmedia, one of the leading creative media companies that specializes in Layar concepts to realize his idea. Augmented Reality experts Johannes la Poutre and Remco Vroom, founders of TAB Worldmedia, immediately offered their expertise and resources to realize this concept. La Poutre “when we heard about this amazing idea we were immediately captured by it. To realize this idea you need a solid and somewhat creative technical infrastructure and that is exactly what we like to build.”

JOIN the flashmob on Saturday the 24th of April at 14.00 hours on the Dam Square in Amsterdam. Prepare your phone, install the Layar Augmented Reality browser and look for the layar using “ARflashmob” under the local tab. Choose your favourite character and share your screenshots with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, Hyves, MobyPicture or what ever other kind of social media you have.
2. Virtual Spaces

Inside the Mind of Macbeth
Virtual Macbeth was designed to demonstrate how we might best use the affordances of virtual environments for Education. Shakespeare’s Macbeth re-imagined in Second Life provides an adaptive bridge between classic texts and new media technology. In the virtual, the abstract can be made concrete, and complex poesis and abstractions of Shakespeare’s verse can become embodied, elusive, visceral, and affective. The poetic use of metaphor, image and symbol that permeate Shakespeare’s language is brought to 3D life using the online world as a discursive design space where visitors experience the motivations and emotional journey of character, and explore and make personal sense of the universal themes of Shakespeare. 

Some experts have brought Minecraft into the classroom, allowing teachers to customize lessons and students to engage with concepts in new ways. And while educational games aren't new, Minecraft has some unique advantages that could usher in a new direction in education. In the future, students across the world may spend their class time punching trees.

Yoshikaze is an artists' studio in Second Life, run by Goodwind Seiling aka Sachiko Hayashi with support from Humlab, Umeå University, Sweden. Its main activity is to provide a SL residency programme for SL artists ("Up-in-the-air" Residency). The residency is project based and can be applied to throughout the year. The artist is expected to give at least one presentation of the project at the end of the residency. The residency length is normally 1-3 months.

Machinima is the use of real-time 3D computer graphics rendering engines to create a cinematic production. Most often, video games are used to generate the computer animation.

En film gjord av studenter på Kulturanalysprogrammet i Umeå.

3. Audio and Space

And While London Burns (Audio - Sound tours, triggered sounds)
"The defamiliarising effect of the internal voice/narration, layered over the city and drawing curious attention to it, operated in a very different way to the much cooler, matter-of-fact ‘art tour’ narration in May. Indeed, this form combined with the narrative’s subject matter to create a weird sense of looking at London in the past rather than the present. A disillusioned city trader speaks melancholically of anticipated disaster – part personal (his partner has left him), part economic (this 2007 piece eerily anticipates the financial crash of the following year) and part environmental (catastrophic climate change is anticipated as imminent). The effect as I listened was to create a sense of looking back at London in a period (now!) of blind and blithe confidence about its own assumed continuation … back from a desperately less optimistic future… That effect is accentuated further by the periodic references to and sights of London’s historical past – at the outset we see the remains of the Roman temple of Mithras (now preserved amidst a building site); at the climax we climb to the peak of the Monument to the Great Fire of London, down Pudding Lane… Empires have fallen here before, we are reminded; disaster has struck and wiped out the present… This present is not forever."
From - Site, Performance and Environmental Change

4. Audience Involvement

Blog Opera

The Playable Actor/Console Yourself from jim on Vimeo.
Console Yourself

The Truth About Marika (2006 The Company P)

This outreach will always include 'Social Media' – Twitter (tags, channels), YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

5. Objects as Meaningful

3D Max and Sketch Up

 Internet of Things

QR Codes

The Port
The Port was a virtual island of 16 acres (about 6, 4 hectors) inside the on-line 3D world Second Life. Between 2004-2008 The Port artist collective produced a series of artistic actions that challenged ideas about the separation between the 'real' and the 'virtual. The magazine Flack Attack was one of these, the production of 'real' objects made in 'virtual' spaces (see image above) was another.

No Matter
No Matter is an installation of imaginary objects made both in Second Life and in physical space.
No Matter reflects the tension between the SL virtual economy and real economics by:

(a) commissioning 25 builders and artists to produce 40 imaginary objects in Second Life space;

(b) paying them in Linden dollars at an equivalent scale of $1.50 to $12.00 per object; 

(c) extracting the objects from Second Life — a closed system where 3D models cannot be exported; 
(d) reconstructing these objects as 3D paper replicas in physical space.

Thank You!