Week 13: Final Project – Sylvia & Theresa (Chen)

partner: Theresa Lin

link: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~gl1593/Final/unlock.html

1. Inspiration / Idea

Last week of November in Korea, KT, a major telecom company, suffered from a fire in one of its main buildings. During the fire, key network equipment was damaged resulting in malfunctions affecting landline, mobile and internet network and card services. This accident affected a wide, highly-commercialized area of western Seoul including Mapo-gu, Seodaemun-gu, Yongsan-gu, Eunpyeong-gu and parts of Goyang in Gyeonggi Province. Shops, companies and even the police, fire stations and hospitals were cut off from network and payment systems for more than a day, resulting in immediate paralysis of the whole area. Government of Seoul sent an emergency text about the fire, but the subjects of the network blackout cannot receive the notice.

This incident made us think about our reliance on technology. Especially in China, most of our daily life revolves around our phones. Most of the information is digitized into QR codes and most of the payment is based on mobile apps. Because phone is a necessity for life, it is hard to stay away from the phone itself. Therefore, not only the required but also the excessive parts of the phone, which are usually more addictive than the necessary, remains in our lives. Although phone addiction is frequently raised as a serious problem, people only care about it momentarily and quickly go back to using it. As this happens repeatedly, the message about the danger of phone addiction is becoming weaker and weaker. We wanted to raise awareness to this inevitable cycle of technology dependent society.

2. Role division

For project idea and design decision, both participated equally. We filmed the videos together, I was directing the footage while Theresa was recording the audio. For the website I did most of the coding and Theresa focused on the editing our video footage.

3. Initial plan

We wanted to have two sections, one for the phone addiction part and one for the results of phone malfunctioning. However, due to time limitation we decided to focus on the first part of the project.

4. Process

  1. Starting page

After testing what we already have to some people, we received comments that having a starting page would be better than jumping into the story right away. Therefore, we designed a starting page that resembles lock screen of an iphone.

For slide to unlock function, we used jQuery to modify from an online example. We modified to use an image for the sliding button and to move on to the next page by the location of the button. Code is as following:

html
<div id=”well”>
<h2>
<img src=”images/unlockBtn.png” id=”slider”></img>
<p id=”tellslide”>slide to unlock</p></h2>
</div>

js
$(“#slider”).draggable({

    if (ui.position.left > 111) {
$(“#well”).fadeOut();
window.location.href = “index.html”;
}
if (ui.position.left < 112) {
$(this).animate({
left: 0
})
}

2. Basic layout for the video

We made all the videos autoplay when loaded. After each video ended, it would be overlayed with a gray box, and the words “What am I doing next?” would be written on top.

html
<div id=”overlay”> </div>
<p id=”noClick”>What am I doing next?</p>

css
#overlay {
position: fixed; /* Sit on top of the page content */
display: none; /* Hidden by default */
background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0.7); /* Black background with opacity */
….}

#noClick{
display: none;
position: fixed;
z-index: 2; /* Specify a stack order in case there’s more items */
…. }

js
video.addEventListener(“play”, playerStarted);
video.addEventListener(“ended”, playerEnded);

function playerStarted() {
document.getElementById(“overlay”).style.display = “none”;
document.getElementById(“noClick”).style.display = “none”;
}

function playerEnded() {
document.getElementById(“overlay”).style.display = “block”;
document.getElementById(“noClick”).style.display = “block”;
}

3. Inside the phone

We made the each button image connect onclick to a certain function. When the button is clicked, certain video will play.

html
<img src=”images/snapchat.jpg” onclick=”snapchat()”>

js
function snapchat() {
video.src=”video/snapchat.mp4″;
}

To able only certain apps after certain videos, there is a variable named before that checks what video came before. After a certain video played, we would reassign a new value to the variable. And the onclick function would only run under condition for the before variable.

js
function alipay() {
if (before == “fm”) {
video.src=”video/fm-after-click-edit.mp4″;
before = “sns”;
….
}
}

function snapchat() {
if (before == “sns”) {
video.src=”video/snapchat.mp4″;
….
}
if (before ==”final”) {
document.getElementById(“alert”).style.display = “block”;
}
}

The notifications on the app is shown and hidden by changing display from none to block in javascript.

4. Warning video

The final warning video cuts into the last instagram video. We added timeupdate function inside the instagram function. By getting the time of the video, the warning video cuts in 1 second before the last video ends.

js
video.addEventListener(“timeupdate”, playerRunTime);
function playerRunTime() {
if ((video.currentTime >= 9)&&(before == “metro”)) {
video.src = “video/final-video.mp4”;
before = “final”;
document.getElementById(“endofworld”).style.display = “block”; /*warning video*/
small1.src = “video/final-video.mp4”; /*warning videos inside the phone*/

video.addEventListener(“ended”, turnoff);

 

5. Possible improvements

We received comments that the videos were all too similar and dull. I thought the comment that having the videos of using SNS in different locations would be more fitting to our idea. Also, cutting down the length of the videos would make it less boring.

I also wanted to intensify the irony of going back to the phone even after the warning by inserting the warning video in the middle of other videos too. Then the final warning video would be longer and have stronger captions to indicate this is the last one before the phone’s functions are disabled.

We could definitely improve on the transition from one location to the other by filming the transition. We intended a first person perspective for all the videos, but because we were just using a normal camera sometimes it looks like third person. We could improve this by choosing more suitable camera.

We could build more on the atmosphere by adding background music to the other videos as well.

Week 9: Final Proposal – Sylvia Lee (Chen)

partner: Theresa Lin

 

Internet Art Proposal

Last week in Korea, KT, a major telecom company, suffered from a fire in one of its main buildings. During the fire, key network equipment was damaged resulting in malfunctions affecting landline, mobile and internet network and card services. This accident affected a wide, highly-commercialized area of western Seoul including Mapo-gu, Seodaemun-gu, Yongsan-gu, Eunpyeong-gu and parts of Goyang in Gyeonggi Province. Shops, companies and even the police, fire stations and hospitals were cut off from network and payment systems for more than a day, resulting in immediate paralysis of the whole area. Government of Seoul sent an emergency text about the fire, but the subjects of the network blackout cannot receive the notice.

This incident reminded Koreans of not only the weakness of their crisis response system but also their reliance on technology. Reading about the incident, we were particularly shocked by technology’s omnipresence in our lives. The need for awareness feels more imminent for us living in China, where information is digitized into QR codes and most of the payment system is based on mobile apps. In such case, phones are one of the main technology people are highly dependent on. Because phones are necessary to maintain this way of living, it is almost impossible to lessen its impact in our daily lives. However, this also retains not so crucial part of using phones, such as SNS and shopping. In many, especially awkward situations, people also use their phones as a coping mechanism to avoid an uncomfortable situation they are in. Although phone addiction is frequently raised as a serious problem, people only care about it momentarily and quickly go back to using it. As this happens repeatedly, the message about the danger of phone addiction is becoming weaker and weaker. In a bigger scale, this is how we treat technology in our lives. We now treat it as inseparable part of our life, and becomes ignorant of how much we are controlled by it. From these observations, we were inspired to raise awareness of our reliance on technology.

We will first focus on usage of phone in our life. The screen will be split into two sides of left and right. The left side will be the video shot in first person, showing our use of phone in our daily lives. The right side serve as the main interaction. It will be a screen of a phone consisting of apps (Alipay, Instagram, Wechat, Snapchat, Twitter, Eleme) that the user can click. When the video plays, the interaction side will have a gray overlay to indicate that it’s disabled, and when interaction is needed, the video will pause automatically and have a gray overlay. Each scenario will consist of a choice in which the user has to make the correct choice in which app to click for that situation to progress to the next scene. For example, one of the scenes will be the user at Family Mart buying food and then the video will pause. The user would then have to click on the Alipay app for the video to continue. This layout of our project is inspired by the iOS game Florence published by Annapurna Interactive.

After series of interactions, the character will move onto the metro where the phone becomes disabled and a video warning about phone addiction is played on both columns. Ironically, the user will go back to using the phone after the video ends, surfing their SNS for any comments about the video. Then the phone will stop working completely and electrically powered machines will start to malfunction. By the time the character leaves the train station and tries to understand the situation, the electrical lights would turn out too and the user would be left to think about what they can do without familiar aid of technology. Here, we are referencing Choi Jin-young’s “To Where the Sun Sets” as the possible result of the technology blackout. In this book, after an unknown disaster disables original way of living, the characters are forced to leave their home and find somewhere that is safe. This book depicts the chaos of post-apocalypse and human aggression that comes from lack of rules. The dejected, lost feeling of the book is what we are aiming for as our final ending.

 

Week 9: Response to A History of Internet Art – Sylvia Lee (Chen)

Greene explains the process internet art had developed, starting from early development of internet. The political movements both within a country and between countries affected who made net art and what their contents were. It’s interesting how the internet was a new space, but was recognized as a possible alternative space for publication even before they showed commercial possibility. The variety of location that net art shows one of its strongest points: freedom from physical location. The diverse addition to this form of art led to its proliferation in 1997.

Because this article was written around 2000, the net art introduced in it has a huge difference with internet art we see right now. However, they still share the characteristic of internet as a third space, and that visual input works as a big factor. Regardless of the complexity of the system, I think best usage of internet space comes from the comprehension of it. In a sense, these past works  make me think simpler and focus more on what this space means and its core.

Week 9: Internet Art Project Proposal – Sylvia Lee (Chen)

partner: Theresa Lin

Last week in Korea, a major telecom company called KT suffered from a fire in one of their main buildings. During the fire, their key network equipment was damaged, which resulted in malfunction in their products including landline, mobile and internet network and card services. A wide area was affected by this accident, unfortunately a very commercialized area of western Seoul including Mapo-gu, Seodaemun-gu, Yongsan-gu, Eunpyeong-gu and parts of Goyang in Gyeonggi Province. Shops, companies and even the police, fire stations and hospitals were cut off from network and payment systems for more than a day, resulting in immediate paralysis of the whole area. Seoul city sent emergency message about the fire, but the subjects of the network blackout was not able to receive the notice.

This incident reminded Koreans of not only the weakness of their crisis response system but also their reliance to technology. Reading about the incident, we were particularly shocked that we didn’t even realized the omnipresence of technology in our lives. New generation’s phone addiction and the need to “look up from their phone” is frequently talked about. But technology we are reminded to be “careful of” are mostly smart phones, internet and the AI. It is easy to forget that our phone calls, tax payment, packages system, and cars are all most updated version of technology. The need for awareness feels more imminent for us living in China, where information is digitalized into QR codes and most of the payment system is based on mobile apps. Therefore, we were inspired to raise awareness of our reliance on technology.

We are planning to raise awareness by depicting the impact of big scale technology malfunction in the current highly technology reliant society. We think a first-person narrative story would be effective in engaging the user into the situation and sympathizing with the fear of technology. The narrative would focus on the daily technology that we are now accustomed to. First it would be announcements of technical problems of the transportation system, depiction of small glitches in mobile network, building onto failure of all internet network, then electrically powered machines, and finally electrical lights. Sight restricted without natural light, the user would be led to think about what they can do without familiar high technology lifestyle. We will be mostly focusing on video but utilizing photos and comics for scenes that include more than one person, or more than two machines. We are expecting to illustrate the whole process of breakdown more confusing and unexpected by shifting around the forms.

The primal fear of technology is the fear of being controlled by it more than we can control it. The movie “I, Robot” by Alex Proyas builds on such fear by repeatedly elaborating the danger of no intent in machines. We examined the build up of rivalry between humans and machines in the movie “I, Robot”, which would be the main narrative of the story. Choi Jin-young successfully depicts the chaos of post-apocalyptic human aggression in her book “To Where the Sun Sets”. This would serve as a great example for the apocalyptic atmosphere we are trying to create with our project, also as the possible result of the disaster our project illustrates.

Week 8: Response to Rand and Graham – Sylvia Lee (Chen)

As a person who was exposed to a computer most of my life, it is hard to see computer design the way Rand sees it.  In his article, Rand is admitting the use and advantage of using computer for designing, but clearly draws the line that it is after understanding the essence of art. He emphasizes that students should not be tricked into thinking that they understand design when what they understand is designing with computer. However, I see computer designing as another method of understanding art. People would be able to understand art by understanding computer design and its methods. He is restricting the “essence” of art to only traditional understanding and methodology of art. However, the essence changes when a new form of interpretation is found — through the computer. People’s perception of what the essence is also changes. If computer design is thought of as one genre, there is no specific requirement to master another genre to excel at it. It would be helpful to understand modern art to understand contemporary art but understanding modern art is not all of it. In a similar sense, I think understanding the traditional notion and practice of art is not prerequisite for understanding computer design. It has is own essence of art like any form of art would.

 

Week 9: Video Project Documentation – Sylvia Lee (Chen)

website link: imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~adj311/commlab/videoproject

Inspiration:
Our video project was centered around capturing the city of shanghai. For different parts of shanghai to be shown, we thought of a story line in which the characters would move around. So we decided that the characters were heading to the same destination, but through a different route, different transportation. The motivation for the characters to start their journey is a anonymous note they all get — which is never revealed to the audience. The lack of information creates a secretive, spy movie atmosphere to the video.

Process:
We filmed around Shanghai, although not nearby the academic building, so that the scenes would be more general. We planned to get short shots, lasting only few seconds, and frequent scene changes. So we focused on getting several shots of diverse sights, even getting diverse angles of a same site. While filming what we planned, we also spotted several sights that we did not expect, for example the security camera, so we incorporated them to the video, building on the “city” atmosphere. The editing was concentrated on threading structure for the three different characters to come to the same ending. For connecting the route of the three characters, we frequently flipped around short clips of each character.  

Possible Improvement:
Our idea of vagueness and cliffhanger resulted in the final ending being somewhat unresolved, and the poll about human testing feels bit of a jump. We could work on a more concrete ending and improve on the interaction with the user as an website.

Week 8: Audio Project – Sylvia Lee (Chen)

http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~yh1801/audioweb/InsideElevator.html

partner: Ribirth

1. Inspiration

We chose the elevator as the motif because it is a very sound oriented space, and everyone suffers from taking the elevator on 8th floor. Especially recently, I saw every floor from 1 to 6 all pressed so many times, so many people taking the elevator to go up only one floor.

2. Process

We divided the recordings in half and combined it later. Ribirth did the audio editing and compiling. I did the first part of the website design and Ribirth finished the code with audio included.

We designed a elevator icon to be clicked by the user for the audio before the elevator to be played. Originally, we planned for the audio to automatically play and move on to the next page by clicking on the icon, but to give the user time to get ready for the audio, we changed to let the user choose when to start.

When the first audio ends, the protagonist goes into the elevator. So elevator doors appear with the floor number and floor buttons on the side. We made audio for sounds inside the elevator to play only when all the floor buttons are pressed. Once they are all pressed, the sound for the elevator stopping at each floor is played while the floor number will changed accordingly.

To emphasize our intention for this project clearly, we added a public advertisement-like comment at the end.

3. Possible updates

1) edit audio to make each sound more even

2) make instructions more obvious ( click on every floor)

3) make every element flexible (elevator icon, floor number)

 

Week 7: Response to Danger of Single Story – Sylvia Lee (Chen)

Adichie talks about the danger of thinking of an individual, culture, society or a country with one stereotypical view. Because every person, every culture, every country is diverse with many different characteristics, they should not be defined or categorized by only one part of them.

The examples she uses to explain the cases of a single story shows commonality of lack of knowledge. As she mentioned, the misunderstanding comes when the single story they know about someone or something is the only story. Therefore, powerful, influential countries diverse narration and description rarely goes through such misconception. However, whether we can blame the individuals of their lack of knowledge is not clear. Is it really the individual’s responsibility to be informed of any group of people and their issues?

I think this is where media comes in. Because it is hard for a person to know all about everything, media is an easy resource which can add diverse stories to former single story. This influential aspect of media also requires its creators to be more careful and aware of what story they are conveying, and how it would be affecting the audience. Would it add more to the single story or make it a colorful story? Especially a project which provides limited information to the audience thus easier to bring misconception, the approach and delivery should be more delicate.

Week 7: Response to Theft and Artistry – Sylvia Lee (Chen)

As the article states, cultural appropriation becoming an issue for popular singers is very common. The biggest problem is that these celebrities are very influential. When they create something of not their culture without actually understanding it, such misrepresentation would be spread to others who also does not have much access to that culture, thus creating a widespread misconception of it. Just as Meiselas in the Molotov Man pointed out, understanding the context of the material is crucial when one is using someone else’s creation as a resource. Especially in this case, because a culture, religion, or a custom of one of these, includes far more content and background story than one work of art, there should be more effort to understand exactly what each representation entails and how it would be received by different audience.

Week 6: Response to Molotov Man – Sylvia Lee (Chen)

This article shows how easily a work can be appropriated and misinterpreted. Garnett was searching pictures online and making an art that copies the original to some extent, and even when he was exhibiting it in a museum, did not credit or ask for permission. Later he find out that the original photo has a different story from the another adaptation he saw. Meiselas herself mentions how his “practice of decontextualizing… is precisely the opposite of my own hopes as a photographer to contextualize an image”.  Such practice is very common right now, with the appropriation and spreading of those are made so easy with internet. This is clear when Garnett explains how there already was so many copies online beyond his knowledge and control. Although such haphazard spread of a creation without any credit is something that is not seen as legal by current copyright laws, the questions Garnett poses touches on the gray area of copyrights: how are owners of what, and how much?

Meiselas’ narration shows that although to what extent we want to control the copies and restrict the adaptations is not clear, letting it be decided on the way is not so effective. The decontextualization and misrepresentation of the original can evoke new ideas, but also harm the original meaning, and furthermore, harm the involved individuals.