Week 3 & 4

28th September 2020 – 11th October 2020

Expectations for next point of contact point:

Review your Studio Proposal

  • Formulate it into the 4 clear paragraph sections (Abstract, References, Critical Positioning and Methods)
  • Try to provide examples of what you mean and what you are suggesting. 
  • Upload the new version for further feedback. 

Propose 2-3 small, practical explorations you could undertake and begin doing them.

  • These do not need to be polished or complex workflows
  • break ideas down into small chunks and explore each bit
  • Don’t be too precious about inputs/outputs at this stage, just get going

Continue your secondary research to support the practical explorations

  • If you happen upon an interesting quote or section try to focus in on this to provide direction
  • Try to take large, broad subject topics and narrow them down to interesting areas to you.

Experiments

I started with a trip to Ayr beach with a tripod and camera to record videos of the waves which I will be using later for my processing experiments. I couldn’t get a hold of an audio recorder since the studio isn’t open yet but for the purpose of experiments my camera has a built in mic so it picked up some of the sound and if this is something I want to develop further I will make sure to have better quality audio. Overall I managed to get some good quality videos so that I have a clear starting point and I can just get on with creating and experimenting.

Processing and Video

This is actually the first time I will be working with processing and video which means most of my early experiments will most likely be very basic and simple but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing as minimalistic and simplistic sketches can be quite intriguing and nice. I will be looking at the examples in the library and processing.org website if I’m struggling with anything.

I started with importing a video of the waves into processing and adding a blue tint. When I was playing around with changing the transparency of the tint the video became very abstract. Above, I inserted a few screenshots I took while the video was playing in processing.

In the beginning, to start making and experimenting as quickly as possible, I used the original .mov files in processing but I knew this wasn’t a great idea in the long run as this would be too much for m laptop to handle. So, today I was figuring out how to crop videos in Premier Pro and exporting them to .mp4 so that processing had a much smaller file to process.

I started working on my second experiment and for this I had a basic idea of wanting to take a video where the waves seemed very chaotic and fast and working on a way to slow this down making the video more ‘calming’. I originally wanted to start with a mouse input controlling this so that in the future I could work on a camera input (for example, a hand controlling how slow the video playback is) or I also liked the idea of an audio input where someones deep breathing could affect the speed of the waves playback. I actually found an example in the library which does this making the video play faster when the mouse moves horizontally along the x-axis making this starting point very easy to achieve.


I am currently considering re-visiting Dan Shiffman’s ‘The Nature of Code’ course. I originally signed up during summer but I was having a really difficult time creating anything in lockdown and I git stuck at the very first ‘assignment’ because I didn’t have a direction and I didn’t know what I wanted to achieve. This was kind of unusual for me because I don’t really tend to quit but with lockdown and my creative block I put it to the side for a few months. Now starting year 4 I’m considering if maybe it’d be a good idea to re-visit the course with my new proposal in mind creating the ‘assignments’ set on the course as a way to develop my work. I hope this will give me the necessary push in times I may feel unmotivated and in a negative mindset.

I’ve been writing down ideas for possible processing sketches as well as taking notes from interesting TED Talks. Every time I’m working on something now I have my sketchbook open next to me so I can make quick sketches and notes.

The ‘Zima Blue’ animation was one of my first inspirations for this year and I’ve just got the book which the original story appeared in. It’s a collection of short sci-fi stories by Alastair Reynolds. I’m hoping that reading through some of these stories I might be inspired for my speculative design intended section of affecting (or possibly challenging) the viewers core beliefs: the unconscious. Reynolds is very informed in the field of science which will hopefully make the stories that much more engaging and since this is something I hope to achieve I think it may be beneficial for me to spend some time reading/analysing this book.


After the feedback from group tutorials I have realised my initial start was probably too literal which is okay because it allows me to spin off and move forward. Jen suggested taking a more abstract approach with my processing sketches and using my footage and audio I recorded at the beach as a driver for more simplistic shapes and colours as outcomes. This will involve looking into meditation apps that use these techniques of simple imagery and colour to allow the mind to calm down and focus. This also made me realise I should probably expand a little bit further than the word ‘calm’ and look at things like ‘mindfulness’ and ‘anxiety’ to get a better grasp on figuring out which direction I want to head in.

I tried implementing the sound from the waves into processing as a way to drive some kind of shape movement on the screen, but if I want to use the volume as the driver the audio I have wouldn’t actually allow for rhythmic movement on the screen since the wind was also picked up. So if I wanted to move forward in this direction I might substitute this for audio of deep breathing exercises allowing for a very steady ‘beat’ in the audio file and I feel it might be interesting to see a visual representation of breath completely simplifying the concept.

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