Friday, October 1, 2010

01 Post........finally.

There is a reason I don't keep a personal blog--I sort of hate writing in them and can never remember to update them when I'm anywhere near a computer and can do anything about it. Apparently that applies to school-related blogs as well....but I've got me, my zero-one notes, and an internet-connected laptop all together in one place now, so here it is:

Jahnavi's Zero-One Thoughts:

First, like many of my classmates, I was disappointed by the presentation qualities. I had not attended the event before and from the way people had been talking about it I had expected something a bit more polished. I know these people are all artists not public speakers, but it's very hard to pay attention to a talk when the speaker, however knowledgable, is wandering all over the place and it seemed like a lot of the speakers went up in front of the mike unprepared.

Perhaps because of that my favorite group presentation for the Diridon Station climate clock was that given by Usman Hawk's team--the group that was not actually present and had therefore had to prerecord their talk. I felt like I came away with a clear sense of what they wanted to build and why. They wanted to create a self-building, self-maintaining park that drew that worked with the project goal of measurement, computation, and communication. They would have three main robotic devices/attractions: 1) named Huey (and yes, the goofy working names made me smile), also known as the accretion mounds, builds tower out of junk pulled from the air, making larger, thicker ones on bad years. 2) Dewey/sampled box in which 10,000 cloned daffodils (to avoid any genetic variation in results) are planted in batches of 100 every year on site and harvested and saved as a sample of the air that year. 3) Louie/data packer crawls (very slowly) around the park pulling up dirt and packing it into soil sample cubes (with a neat daily data point stamped into the side for kicks) as another measure of the areas health. I like the idea of localized visual feedback devices as art--it's like getting a report at the end of the year. The public could look at the proposed pieces and see how well they (and everyone around them) have done for the year in terms of atmospheric pollution. I think it has potential to work in terms of changing people's actions a bit: I personally do not like to see visible reminders of my failures and I think that seeing a giant mound/tower of crap that was pulled out of the air on a bad year would make me try harder to avoid contributing to it as much the next year. I was also charmed by the concept--I like the machines built from super simple parts and processes that should side-step becoming obsolete and that largely draw their power from nifty things like the sun, temperature change, being wound like a clock, and so on.

I had no idea what the second group (Wired Wilderness) was presenting by the time they got to end of the their presentation, aside from the fact that whatever it was would involve a series of artists. They were one of the more wandering groups--my notes are full of key words and catch phrases for them, but I didn't feel like I came away with anything at all.

The last group presented their Organograph. I felt like they explained themselves well enough, but for some reason it just didn't capture my imagination like the first idea did--it sort of sounded like a fancier version of the Children's Discovery Museum with a focus on climate. The only bit that really charmed me was the part about wanting to tap into the visceral connection to time humans get from the ticking of a clock and the way it seems to link heartbeats and the passage of time and that was only a minor aside.

The panel was very hard for me to get interested in. I did like Joel Slayton's introduction about paradigm shifts and wanting a project that dealt with computing and sustainability as such, but then it just got very dull and the nature of the answers again made the presenters seem less than perfectly prepared.

The artist presentations after lunch were much more fun. "Particle Falls" is a pretty neat idea, and again I like the localized visual feedback idea--people don't like to see that they're messing up, it's a good sort of reminder to change. I also quite enjoyed Robin Lasser and Marguerite Perret's presentation on "Floating World"--the piece is lovely and I liked the idea of an encampment for displaced voices on all levels. I also really liked the descriptions of the public's interaction with the piece--very cool. I had to leave after Robin's presentation to go throw my grandmother's birthday party, and apparently I missed one of the better talks as a result.

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