Chell's blog

Thoughts, ideas, and other things 'a bit unkempt'…

Good Karma! :)


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Ten Dreams of Technology, Steve Dietz


This reading, is a speculative piece that comes from the point of view of art about technology.

I really like Adrian’s abstract about the reading:

‘Weird examples to help explain. Do you know of any racing car driver who doesn’t have a deep understanding of cars, engines, tyres and of course driving- they don’t just drive. Do you know of any dancer that doesn’t have a deep understanding of different sprung floors, points, slippers, shoes, ankles, knees, their own bodies and muscles? …” This is very true and correlates with a point I found interesting in the reading.

I was surprised to read that “Artists were among the earliest and most active participants to recognize the potential of the internet”; maybe because I am uneducated about artists and would make a too general connotation of them with drawing, painting, music etc… instead of ‘ideas producers’, ‘thought communicators’, ‘knowledge creators’ and ‘experience designers’ which we learnt to classify ourselves as in week four of Networked Media. This was interesting to me because I simply assumed that the internet was completely created by academia. Never did I think to consider the more artistic and creative minds that were behind its development.

I guess the lesson here is not to take things, or people on face value. So much more goes into the ideas, design and development of things than those who are directly associated with it and take the credit.



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Week 11 UnLecture


The second last week for semester already?!


This week we discussed how current society is based on a ‘gift economy’. That is, that we are willing to give away all our information, thoughts and ideas to the world, for free. Adrian raised the point that most people these days are participatory actors on Facebook. But do any of us get a cheque in the mail for contributing to it’s network? No. The same applies for many databases on the internet. Hardly anyone gets paid to put things on Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia and the like, yet, you can access nearly if not all the knowledge you would ever need or want by visiting these sites. The internet is based on public protocols, it is not private or ownable. It is also democratic (in most places). For it not to be democratic, there would need to be some sort of mediation that stops people accessing it, such as the Great Firewall of China. Adrian, however, is not convinced that this was always the case because the Internet was created by academia. He says it is a flat entity, everything is equally distanced apart.


Adrian also talked about ‘trend forecasters’. How nobody has the capability or capacity to decide what the world, or a technology will be like years down the road. He gives examples like how when the telephone was originally invented it was seen to potentially be a way to broadcast music concerts to people’s homes. Nobody would have thought that it could be used to connect us to the world through access to internet, music and anything from the knowledge economy. I hope there is some hope left for forecasting though, because my semester 2 elective which starts in three weeks is “fashion  trend forecasting”… I hope I don’t become too skeptical!


Something else I took away from the Unlecture, which I didn’t, but probably should have known, was that all web-pages have an IP number. This was how the internet operated in the beginning. But to make it easier for the common user, domain names were created (such as etc.) because they are easier to remember.

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Oops! There goes my tax return!


So, like a responsible young, working adult, all year I had been planning that once I receive my tax money I would put it away so I had plenty of money to buy all of my family and friend’s Christmas presents. Then… my mother, who had planned on doing the same thing, decided we should go for “lunch” at DFO and she can get my little brother some new sneakers at a good price…

Have you seen the sales at DFO?! I know I’m very interested in fashion and current trends and DFO has lots of ‘last season’ stock… but for the prices it doesn’t matter! I mean there were mint green skinny jeans reduced from $79.95 to $10.50! They had four other colours so I got them too! Needless to say, I am fully equipped for Summer… or life! I got 2012 bathers from Seafolly for $40, Some shoes from Forvever New for about $15, 11 tops, some shorts, overalls, skirts, makeup, a towel??, some jewellery, …. but no lunch!

The point of this post is, get your responsible saving butt down to DFO! Stat! 🙂

Niki Assessment


This is so much harder than I thought it would be! I thought I had left Photoshop behind last semester with Editing Media Texts and ‘Galaxy print’ leggings!? Guess not. My Photoshop skills, well actually most computer-y skills range from “where is the on button?” to “what?”… But at the same time I am really excited about which topic I am submitting for my final assessment. My group is collectively very good and between us I think we have the right skills to satisfy all the criteria. But, without giving away too much, our topic is the iPod, we are going to collaborate visuals (we are going to use Photoshop to design an album cover that portrays how that particular iPod will be conceived in society and culture ), audio (audio interviews with the developers of the iPods or perhaps the consumers, as they grew and advanced from first generation until now) and text (a little explanation). I am comfortable that our speculative entry will adopt an appropriate ‘persona’, but, what I am most concerned about is how we are going to relate all of this to ‘the Network’. What is/ was the iPod’s “place” within the network/ a networked system? Did it really help connections? The only ‘connections’ I can make so far, is that it was easier, or made the connection/ network between people and music more intense, and eventually it made the links between people and other people, photos, contacts, media, entertainment, internet (the world basically) easier when the later generation iPods came about… But is this what we are looking for? Are we exploring this artefact within the context deeply enough? This is what I need to pose to my group and peers. *Thinking caps on* 🙂


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Week 10 Unlecture


Firstly, WOW! Before I came into this lecture I had spent a good 15 minutes trying to find either my face, or the face of someone I know on this. These are the faces of Facebook. The number as I am writing this post is 1,278,837,969…. and continuing to grow really fast! Apparantly this would take 36 years to look through! Miami-based “creative technologist” Natalia Rojas is responsible for this creation- maybe she has a LOT of time on her hands, but either way, snaps to her- this is pretty cool!


This is what it looks like on the home page….


This is what it looks like when you click one tiny little pixel!


Moving on…..

This “unlecture” continued to improve my understanding of the Latour reading;

– The internet is scale free, it doesn’t have edges, it can’t fill up

– It is made of nodes, which can be thought of as ‘things’ and they can connect to similar ‘things’

– Because of this we get hubs

– It is not random, a structure will emerge

Then…. another cool app thingy! The Oracle of Bacon (Kevin Bacon, American Actor).

This app lets you put in a name of a movie star, and shows you the connection that they have to Kevin Bacon. They may not have specifically starred on the same movie, but they starred in a movie that had another actor that starred in a movie with that actor… For example: Reese Witherspoon was in Twilight (1998) with Giancarlo Esposito, who was in Enormous Changes at the last Minute (1983) with Kevin Bacon. So Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde) has a “Bacon Number” of 2.

Then we talked about technology and technique:

– Technology has agency; it can act

– Media is not just about meaning and representation, you also have to conform to certain rules

– Technology designs the technique

– Technology is now the air we breathe. I challenge you to think of a situation where you are not in any way influenced by human creation. Camping I hear you ask? How did you get there? Drive? What did you sleep in? A tent, a sleeping bag, a tarp? How did you get those things there with you? How were they made? Did you see any planes flying overhead? Did you light a fire with matches or did you go caveman style with a couple of sticks?

Fun Lecture! 🙂 Sorry, Unlecture 😉

On actor-network theory, Bruno Latour


Latour discusses some of the misconceptions about networks. He says there are three main misunderstandings that are due to “common usages of the work network itself and the connotations they imply”.

The first mistake is to relate a network to a ‘technology network’ such as a train, subway, sewage or telephone network, “a technical network in the engineer’s sense is only one of the possible final and stabilised states of an actor network”. This is much different to the ‘actor network’, because an actor does not have the same characteristics such as compulsory paths or strategically positioned nodes.

The second mistake he describes is relating the ‘actor network theory’ (ANT) to the study of social networks. The study of social networks involves studying human actors and their frequency, distribution, homogeneity and proximity. The ANT aims at “describing the very nature of society”, but not just in terms of humans, but also non-human, non-individual entities. ANT builds, or “rebuilds” social theory OUT OF networks.

ANT asks us “to think in terms of nodes that have as many dimensions as they have connections”.

“ANT makes use of the simplest properties of nets and then add to it an actor that does some work; the addition of such an ontological ingredient deeply modifies it”.

Latour then goes on to describe some of the characteristics common of all networks:

– Proximity is not an issue; “elements which are close when disconnected may be infinitely remote if their connections are analysed”, and vice versa. Take the example of the technological possibilities that the telephone has created; you can be standing one meter away from your friend while you are on the phone, but be closer to another friend on the other side of the world by talking to them through the phone instantly.

– The size of the scale is replaced by connections. A network is never bigger or smaller than another one, it is just closer or looser in ints connections. IT does not care what is the top/ bottom of society, what is micro or macro or local or global.

Latour also describes that the word ‘actor’ carries many misconceptions as well. In terms of ANT, an actor or ‘actant’, “can be literally anything provided it is granted to be the source of an action”.

I found this half of the reading really useful and helpful to my better understanding of networks and found that I too made some of the common mistakes when thinking ‘what is a network?’

The reading then moves on to semiotics and reflexivity and I found it a lot less readable. So, purely so I don’t try and explain what Latour is explaining wrong, I’m going to stop my reflection here. 🙂


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The reason I missed the week 9 Unlecture and Tutorial….


This took a lot of time… Hair, makeup, accessories… and it takes two people, apart from myself to do up this corset-stlye dress! Sorry I missed this week but the Comm Ball was fun! Also, this is my little beauty/ fashion blog post for the week…

Dress: Sherri Hill

Shoes and Clutch: Betts for Her

Hair: curling iron and teasing- done by me, pretty easy 🙂

Makeup: Bold smoky eye, bright lips, fake eyelashes, done by me again :)… saving $$$

Fake-tan: A friend of mine’s beauty business… $25 check her services out here… Crystal Beauty Therapy 

What’s so important about the blank space? … Everything happens there!


In a comic strip, the author only actually reads the text that is provided. The frames could jump from a woman carrying her grocery bags through a hallway in an appartment building, to an image of the same woman stabbed, dead on the floor… (Sorry that my first thought was so violent!) But to get the point, you need to ask, what does the reader ASSUME happened to the lady? General human perception leads us to assume that someone stabbed the lady as she was walking. But this was not actually told to the reader. It was imagined within the gap/ space between the two frames.

But how do people come to make these assumptions? I believe that our personal assumptions are connected to our upbringing and social relations and culture etc… In my instance I would assume a criminal stabbed the lady to steal her money because they are the sort of stories I hear on the news. But some people may automatically think a family member did it, or she did it herself- these two examples however rely mores on already learned knowledge rather than cultural factors. But in any case, it is the reader who has decided the cause to the effect for the story. Not the author.

This same thing applies in all different types of media. Take non-linear movie plots for example. Think of a movie that shows scenes that have occurred at the very end or the actual narrative that are shown at the beginning of the film, leaving the viewer to create their own assumptions on what happened.

Did you just turn that frog into a Prince? I, as your author certainly did not! You have such an imagination!!! 🙂

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Recombient Poetics and Related Database Aesthetics, Bill Seaman


This reading goes into explaining database aesthetics. Seaman relates a database to a human. Much like the Manovich reading, Seaman describes a database as a storage system that has many processes. Like a human, the processes can include things like memory, thought, association, cataloguing, categorising, framing, contextualising, de-contextualising, re-contextualising and grouping.

Seaman also mentions interface design, and how human processes become operative.

I like Seaman’s explanation that “computation enables structural mappings across domains”. This to me helps understand internet web-sites as databases. All of which are structural and organised in either hierarchies, networks, etc… and each website links to several others, creating a web. These ‘media-flows’ depend on human activation, but again, there is no fixed narrative.

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