Internet Art Project “Christmas World Radio” by Kacper and Isabella (Krom)

Date: 13.12.2017

Professor: Krom

Student: Kacper Krasowiak

Partners: Isabella Malixi

Post: Internet Art Project “Christmas World Radio”

 

Christmas World Radio

 

Rationale

Coming up with an idea for this project was both challenging and rewarding. It is the Christmas time so my partner and I wanted to make a projected deeply embedded in the Christmas culture. Simultaneously, we wanted to explore the topic of cross-culture differences related to this special holiday. Later, we wanted to share our findings with the user. Hence, at the beginning, we wanted to make a map where users could click on selected countries and read about their Christmas customs and possibly listen to their Christmas song. However, we received a constructive feedback and realized we needed to add more to it, to make it less informative but artsier. Hence, came up with the idea of Christmas World Radio. It is an interactive map where users can slider over a map and listen to a Christmas song the selected countries. It resulted in two things: 1) the project became more artistic, it allowed users to dynamically compare Christmas songs from different regions and cultures and 2) the level of user interaction increased dramatically and became an active, interesting and thought-provoking activity rather than just passive clicking and reading the displayed information. Gaining the deeper understanding of art was the challenging part for me. Interestingly, I experienced a similar challenge in another IMA class, Unmanned Aerial Storytelling, that I am taking this semester. During that class I had to make a documentary and going beyond technical details, which was putting storytelling into the core of the movie, was the challenge for me. At the end, however, I put experiences, knowledge, and conclusions from both classes together and now I think I have a far better understanding of art. It is the rewarding part.

Design

As mentioned, our project is an interactive map where users can slide over the map and listen to a Christmas song from each time zone. After coming up with an idea for this project, Isabella and I had to think how to design it. We were searching on how we could divide the map of the world in order to make further user interaction easy and enjoyable and at the end decided to use the division for time zones. Later, we made a list of countries from each time zone and had to categorize them by culture, geographic location and of course state if people celebrate Christmas there. Upon completing the list, we moved to the part where we were searching for Christmas songs from the selected countries and found some very interesting ones, for instance from Sri Lanka or Pakistan. Shout-out for Bella for this! Later, we had to cut the songs so the final audio files contain only the most characteristic and interesting parts. Finally, we had to decide on the final form of the project in order to make it aesthetically pleasing, yet cohesive. In the core of our project was this sliding movement and music and we were searching for a way to link those two elements with some object in the real world. An old, vintage radio was a natural choice. Firstly, it was parallel to our core elements and second, it was meant to give users feeling they can hear the music from the whole world. It was even more powerful by the fact it was Christmas music and now we have the Christmas time. We went over dozens of photos of old radios and decided to primarily use warm colors, such as brown, gold and of course some Christmas ones, for instance, red. On the top of that, we also recorded a video that would be displayed before users could play with the map. The video is meant to look like a Skype call and imitates a conversation between two individuals living in two different locations but who miss each other because it is the Christmas song. The video was our way to make users understand the core values behind the project more and simultaneously become more immersed. We hoped those elements would make the user experience even better.

Coding

My primary responsibility in this project was coding the map page (Java, CSS, HTML). Since I had no to minimal experience with coding in Java, it was the most challenging aspect for me. Firstly, I had to figure out how to make an object follow the mouse and learn that I had to use p5 libraries in order to use “draw” function. Then, however, I wanted to limit the space where an image could be drawn. Hence, in “setup” function I used “createCanvsas” and ended up with the result presented in the video below.

At that point, the “drawn” image was the red ball. In order to make it out slider in “draw” function, I used “image” line where I specified the fill (a red photo, previously introduced as a variable and loaded in the “preload” function), the height and width. Also, since we needed the movement on the x-axis only, in the “image” line I also specified it should follow “mouseX”. Then it was the time to load the map as the background of the canvas and a for that I specified it in the “setup” function by introducing “current map” variable and in the “draw” function where I specified in “background” line that it needs to use “current map”. At this stage I had the following:

Finally, I started experimenting with what should happen in particular ranges on the x-axis. Firstly, I tried to change one background to another by using “if” function and “document.getElementById”. The problem, however, as I could not find a way to assign nor a class or id to the canvas drawn in java and not introduced in the HTML file. The solution to that was creating an array of all the available maps in “setup” function. Hence, if the mouse was in a particular range on the x-axis then “current maps” was changing to “map[e.g.18]” and since “current maps” was the previously introduced variable as “background” in the “draw” function it worked perfectly. The next step in the java code was making the sound work. Firstly, all the songs were introduced as variables and later loaded (“loadSound”) in “preload” function. Then, I had to specify that if song “isPlaying” then it should not be played again. It is because the songs were playing anytime I moved a mouse in the specified region and an unpleasant echo was the result of it. If the song was not playing and users move their mouse into the region then the song was being played in the “loop”. The last step was to determine the ranges for each country/time zone specifically and it was determined with the help of the function “text” which let me read the pixel position of mouseX.

In terms of styling, the biggest trouble was positioning the image of radio controls below the canvas and the solution to this was calling the canvas div as the “parent” in the “setup” function and later introducing that div in the HTML file above the radio image. Another trouble was making the page’s background fill the whole page and be reactive to the changes of the window size. For that, in CSS I applied “-webkit-background-size: cover”,”-moz-background-size: cover”, “-o-background-size: cover” and “background-size: cover;”.

Summary

It was a challenging project and it involved many sleepless nights and much more trails and errors that it might appear from the above description. In the end, however, I think it helped me develop my art understanding and coding abilities significantly.

Big thanks to the professor and all the IMA Fellows for the semester and their help!

Best,

Kacper

Response to Rachel Greene’s “Web Work: A History of Net Art” by Kacper (Krom)

Date: 24.11.2017

Professor: Krom

Student: Kacper Krasowiak

Post: Response to “Web Work: A History of Net Art” by Rachel Greene

 

Rachel Greene talks about a lot of aspects in her article and at the first glance, it might be primarily about art. However, for me the most important theme was communication; global, unrestrained and free.

 

Creation of the Internet changed everything. People started getting access to any information at any time and at any place.  Moreover, they were given a tool to exchange information in the same seamless way. People could talk about anything, including art. As I mentioned above, to me it was one of the most important factors. In the past, the exchange of information, especially those including visual images, were hard for artist. Hence, I believe the development of art was slower. And it could be because of many reasons: 1) people had fewer sources of inspiration (e.g. information about current social problems in the world), 2) they were getting less feedback from other specialist or 3) the amount of collaboration or diversity in a team was limited. We learn from the article the Internet speeded up everything and even contributed to the appearance of new types of art. What seems to prove those observations is the number of countries involved in the creation of the Internet art. The mentioned artists are from Slovenia, Russia, USA, UK and many others. Hence, “globalization” of art through better communication seems to be a meaningful factor in the development of contemporary art.

 

It brings to my second point related to the Internet freedom. Yesterday, during the Thanksgiving holiday, many Americans protested against attempts to restrain net neutrality ( https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/23/16694128/net-neutrality-protests-fcc-ajit-pai-internet ). I think it is crucial for all of the people to have the Internet free of any alien influence because otherwise freedom, creativity and in consequence productivity would become very limited. I don’t think the today’s Internet art would have been the same if it had been restricted from the beginning.

Response to Paul Rand’s “Computers, Pencils, and Brushes” by Kacper (Krom)

Date: 24.11.2017

Professor: Krom

Student: Kacper Krasowiak

Post: Response to “Computers, Pencils, and Brushes” by Paul Rand

 

The text of Paul Rand argues that technological development might be a threat to the design art rather than an opportunity. The author highlights the fact that people, or designers specifically, look at their ideas through a computer lens only. By that I mean they assess their project by how it could be done on a computer. It reminds me of the previously watched video about “the danger of one story”. Humans got so caught up in the omnipotent technological cult that they tend to forget about other advanced tools they have. For instance, a hand, a triumph of complex engineering, exquisitely evolved to perform a range of tasks. It is hand and pencil or brush that were the primary tools of greatest artists in the world.

 

The main consequence of this worrisome trend is putting constraints on the development of art and design. It could be because today artists think of what could look good on a computer screen or what could be done on a computer. And this perspective seems to be a cap to their creativity, and this cap is a significant one because the technology is far from perfect. We still primarily use 2D, single-textured, rectangle-shaped screen of a limited number of colors but there is far more than it in the art world, isn’t it? Hence, I completely agree with Paul Rand that at the moment the influence of the technology on design not entirely positive.

 

On the other hand, the situation is changing rapidly because technology is developing at a very high pace. For example, in time VR or AR will enable artists to do many more great things and fully utilize individuals’ creativity. Until then, however, it is important for people to understand not only advantages of computers but also their limitations.

Response to Paul Graham’s “Hackers and Painters” by Kacper (Krom)

Date: 24.11.2017

Professor: Krom

Student: Kacper Krasowiak

Post: Response to “Hackers and Painters” by Paul Graham

 

In this piece of writing Paul Graham breaks down the field of Computer Science to the essence and after explaining what Computer Science really is he tries to show how closely it is related to painting.

 

Personally, I am a big fan of simplicity in every activity of my life. I enjoy breaking down a large area of knowledge to the smallest pieces possible. For example, when I had to learn Black-Scholes method of pricing options, I started with learning definitions of puts and calls first. This can be applied to a myriad number of examples in our life and I believe there are two main results out of it: 1) higher learning efficiency and 2) a better understanding of the topic. I think that when you pick up the ability to learn only what is necessary then you will be able to learn more necessary skills faster and consequently reach your ultimate goal. However, it cannot be mistaken with the situation learn only what they think to pass an exam, and this point leads us to the second mentioned consequence. You not only need to be selective about what you learn and by that increase your speed but also understand what is really important. Only then you will master a subject but I think mastering those two skills requires years of scholarly work and practice. This case could be applied to Interactive Media Arts. It is not pure Computer Science but requires a lot of skills form that field to become successful. Hence, a group of professionals selected the number of essential skills for students. Hence, those students can learn faster but yet with high understanding.

 

The second aspect of Graham’s work was the close relationship between Computer Science and painting, and yet again I am going to refer to Interactive Media Arts. Isn’t it exactly what Graham is talking about? The combination of Computer Science and Art? I believe that once an individual goes through step one, which is mastering selective learning with deep understanding, then making connections between apparently different areas of study becomes easier if not natural. Moreover, I actually think that with the development of technologies such as VR or AR there will be more and more pieces of interactive, computer-related art and the gap between those two subject will become microscopic in time.

Video Project Entry “Study Actually” by Kacper (Krom)

Date: 22.11.2017

Professor: Krom

Student: Kacper Krasowiak

Partners: Cassie, Emma, Bella

Post: Video Project “Study Actually”

Study Actually

This project was super fun and interesting! In general, there were three phases of the project: 1) preproduction, 2) production and 3) postproduction.

Preproduction

During the first phase, the team focused on coming up with the story, the best ways to make it interactive and research. Firstly, we decided to shoot a romantic comedy. We wanted to make it understandable for the audience of college students. Hence, the team decided to make it about the confusion between an invitation to a date and to a study session. The actors in the show are 1) Cassie, 2) Kacper, and 3) Bella. The storyline was that Kacper is not ready for his exam and invites Cassie to a study session. Cassie, however, considers it a date. During the session there are certain events, such as 1) Kacper ordering and paying for Italian food or 2) accidental touches of their hands. All those incidents are understood by the characters in two different ways. Kacper treats them as funny or awkward situations while Cassie thinks these are signs of Kacper’s affection. After the situation, Cassie meets her friend Bella and while talking they discover the misunderstanding.

After creating the plot, we were looking at multiple ways to make the video interactive. Since our video presents two different perspectives on a single event we decided that the best way to introduce the element of interaction on our website was to provide the viewer with choices to what perspective they want to watch. For example, after watching the initial clip the viewer could decide whether they want to watch Cassie’s perspective or Kacper’s perspective first. Their choice will affect what they will see next. At the end, the viewers can choose whether they want to see the happy or the sad ending.

With the interactive parts planned, we moved on to the research step. We went over several romantic comedies we knew in order to find out what are the most typical shots for this genre. We were looking for situational and audio hints too. After that, we started planning the actual shooting. The team created the storyboard and the shoot list incorporating or the elements of our research. Finally, we researched which places are the best to shot those scenes and evaluated those physical locations in terms of the light and audio conditions.

Production

The production phase was really interesting.  We used the IMA’s Canon 6D, the LED light, the tripods and the audio recorder. The teams shot in several different locations: 1) NYU’s 2F Café, 2) my and Cassie’s rooms, 3) the park at JinQiao, 4) Lujiazui, and 5) in the freshmen’s tower bathroom. During shooting, I was acting and trying to become as much involved in filming. While the former was the most challenging for me the latter was the most interesting and especially the scene with Cassie’s getting ready for the meeting. I really wanted to make this scene emotional but simultaneously delicate and feminine. I decided to focus on shoots with a really big close-up. For instance, her sticking an earring; it is my favorite scene. The incomplete smile, her checking multiple times if the earing looks perfectly. Those small details made the scene complete for me. We shot scenes with the postproduction in our minds. So, we shot multiple times with some seconds before and after acting etc. We tried to diversify the types of our shots in order to make the movie dynamic and not boring and used overhead shots, extreme-close ups, panoramas and many more. I really enjoyed the preps too. We had different costumes and during filming, I had to change and shave in order to be ready for the next part of filming.

Postproduction 

I was the most involved in this part of the production. For movie editing we used Final Cut Pro X. We think that the biggest challenges were coloring, light, and audio. Since we shot in different locations at different times the light conditions differed between clips, even though had checked the locations beforehand. For that, we had to use a Color Board in FCP and find an optimal balance between shadows, midtones, and highlights. We ended up with a quite cold pallet of color but it gave all of the shot a sense of unity. We had to work on the light too and again, in the case of some clips, We had to adjust shadows, midtones, and highlights. The related problem was sharpness of certain clips. We think those two elements, light, and focus, are the elements could be improved in my next project. We would try a different camera, Panasonic from ATS, because to my mind it recalibrates focus faster and more effectively than Canon. Secondly, We would apply less intense light in certain shots. Similarly, in case of audio, We had to combine tools from FCP and Audacity in order to mute or reduce humming or noises. We had to identify the noises in the track and them get rid of them.

Since we provide the users with choices to what they want to see next we had to make several different types of clips in order to make the story makes sense and be cohesive. For example, if the user chooses to watch Cassie’s perspective first and then the beginning of Kacper’s clip mu start with a right reaction of Bella and the other way around.

During editing, we also applied different tools, such as Stencil Alpha which let us create the text filled with another video (as in the intro). The other tool we used was Masks which let us create titles which appeared after certain characters moved in the clips (as in the ending).

On the top of that, we had to choose the right soundtrack and for Cassie’s perspective, we decided for romantic, calm music. In Kacper’s perspective, we wanted to us the more dynamic music and something that would make the shown situations more awkward.

Summary

            The whole project was uploaded to the website where we heavily focused on the interactive and the design part. We primarily used white, red and black as these are the color from the movie Love Actually that was our inspiration.

Group Charter for “I Choose to Drive – Traffic-jammed in Shanghai” Sara and Kacper (Moskowitz)

Group members:

Kacper Krasowiak and Sara Bruszt

Title:  

I Choose to Drive – Traffic-jammed in Shanghai

Synopsis:

There is a big traffic problem in Shanghai. It leads to a range of problems, including long travel times and worsening air pollution. The city’s government is actively trying to tackle the problem: 1) more, multi-level highways are being built, 2) metro network is being constantly developed or 3) recently Mobike and Ofo were introduced. These are all reasonable solutions and they were bringing short-term relieves to the transportation system. However, in long-term the traffic is becoming heavier and heavier. Hence, we pose a question what is the reason making people choose to drive. Is it economy, culture or just personal preferences? Are any of those reasons typical for the Chinese nation?

Format:

Part of our documentary will be stories of a local mother and a taxi driver. From our preliminary research, we suspect that in their stories they will primarily focus on demographical, economic and cultural arguments explaining why traffic keeps on getting heavier despite the numerous solutions. As soon as we narrow those three categories to specific topics we plan to do one more interview with Dan Guttman who is a professor at New York University Shanghai. He has a strong expertise on China and its society and developed courses in public interest law, environmental science and management. The presented stories, facts and observations are going to be in the core of the documentary.

 

        The final product will be an about five-minutes long video. In terms of visuals we plan to include a series of aerial shots of the carefully selected spots in Shanghai along with ground shots of the city and the interviewees. In addition, we want to include the narrative which would talk the viewers through the video and present statistical data.

The documentary will be done in an expository style as we think it will be the most effective in terms of showing a full image of the situation.

Detailed research plan — sources & interviews:

Content of the documentary

We have done a preliminary research on why the governmental solutions to the traffic problem do not work. We suppose they have either demographical, economic or cultural origin. Hence, we will build up on that and formulate questions for our interviews. We believe that the talks to the local mother and a taxi driver will clarify what aspects out of those three selected areas are detrimental to the traffic problem. Later, we want to explore the discovered pinpoints with a professor from our school, Dan Guttman. We know his knowledge and expertise will add much merit value to our documentary. On the top of it, we will definitely use our library’s resources and sources from the Internet.

Video shooting

        For the aerial shooting we want to research the traffic in Shanghai and for it we will use the resources of National Bureau of Statistics of China. We hope it will help us locate the place and the time of most congested areas in Shanghai. It will help us increase our shooting efficiency and powerfulness of our shoots.

Specific dates to completion by Dec 4th:

Due Task
November 26th Interviews
December 1st Online data research, complete storyboarding and aerial shots
December 3rd Narration, translations and subtitles
December 4th Rough Cut Ready

Proposed flight dates (any of these, 1 or 2):

1 Nov.  28th, Tuesday, 8am-11am
2 Nov. 30th, Thursday- any time after 3:30pm
3 Dec 1st, Firday

Detailed roles of each person:

Sara Kacper Together External help
Planning the interviews and the shots by writing potential interview questions and storyboarding

Script writing for the movie Voice recording interviews and recording the voice actor’s narration

Online/library research, video recording the interviews, post-production video editing Aerial shots Chinese speaker to facilitate our interviews with taxi drivers

Ask a voice actor to narrate

Pitch for Project Porsche by Kacper (Moskowitz)

Date: 12.11.2017

Professor: Benjamin Moskowitz

Student: Kacper Krasowiak

Post: Project Pitch

Working Title: Highway to Hell

Codename: Project Porsche

My last research idea was related to Chinese real estate. I wanted to show that there was a big macroeconomic bubble and high oversupply of real estate. Yesterday, however, I was in a cab and was wondering how I could make my project a bit more down-to-earth by adding a perspective of a local person into the story. While thinking I realized I had already spent over an hour in a cab and had not travelled a long distance at all. It is how I became interested in Shanghai’s traffic issue.

In 2016 there were 2.5 million cars registered in the city which was an increase by 13% compared to 2015. It was the fastest growth in the past few years. The total length of roads in Shanghai is 22,878 km and out of it only 4.3% is highways. In 2016 Shanghai’s road network grew by only 2.2%. By only those metrics, 13% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in the number of cars and 2.2% y-o-y growth in the road network, one can tell that development of the transportation development is not able to catch up with the demand. As a result, at the moment Shanghai is 22nd most congested city in the world with an even worse forecast for the future. It is estimated that in Shanghai extra travel time is on average 41% (5% y-o-y growth) and it can reach 76-77% during the morning and evening peaks. Consequently, on average citizens spend extra 46 min in the car per day and 176 h per year!

There are many places in the world which have a similar problem but the Chinese context makes it much more interesting. While speaking about the problem one might touch upon Chinese demographics, environment, technological advancements and culture. Currently 23,019,200 people live in Shanghai according to the official statistics. By 2050 the population of Shanghai alone is estimated to be over 50 million. 53% of the current population live in the most urbanized regions of Shanghai, which results in the average density of 3854 per square kilometers. Also, the number of people taking buses and taxis declined by 4.4 percent and 6 percent respectively. Hence, the problem of high traffic congestion is very likely to escalate even more. As mentioned the high traffic has an adverse impact on everyday life of the people living in Shanghai. In 2016 there were around 265,000 road accidents with over 73,000 deaths. Moreover, it is estimated that in 2014 29% of Shanghai was already caused by cars, ships and other modes of transport. Most of that pollution is PM2.5 and it means there are particles which can get deep into people’s lungs. It can cause a variety of problems including, premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, decreased lung function, aggravated heartbeat or aggravated asthma. Thus, bad traffic conditions affect the health of millions of Shanghai people adversely. The problem is even more likely to become worse due to the increasing popularity of car sharing services. In the city in 2016 there were 400,000 Uber and Didi drivers who were not from Shanghai. The government tightened controls on cars with license plates issued outside Shanghai. It was successful at the beginning but by the end of the same year the traffic increased again. Hence, it is likely Uber and Didi will be contributing to the issue more and more. Lastly, there is an interesting phenomenon in the Chinese culture. Older people are against younger people using bikes as they believe having a car is a symbol of status. Hence, it is interesting to see how the relation between the old culture and the general eco-friendly movement would affect the problem with traffic.

For my documentary, I was thinking about the expository documentary style. I simply believe that in the movie I will be conveying a lot of information and having one narrator, who would part and structure the information, would help viewers to process all they see and hear. Nevertheless, I also want to include a series of interviews from taxi drivers, Didi drivers, possibly bus drivers and some local people. I would love to know whether in their opinions the traffic problem is real at all, how it affects them and if they are afraid of the future with even more condensed traffic. I think that using drones in the case of this documentary could show the scale of the problem by filming gigantic traffic jams in Shanghai.

I think that statistical data would be in the core of this documentary. Hence, I plan to extensively use the data from National Bureau of Statistics of China and other data-cantered websites. At the same time, I have big hope for the potential interviews and imagine that if there is an interesting story of such as a taxi driver then I could spend some time with him and put his story in the core of the documentary. I am truly excited about the project!

Best,

Kacper

Project proposal for the documentary – “Real Estate Ghost Market in China” by Kacper (Moskowitz)

Date: 05.11.2017

Professor: Benjamin Moskowitz

Student: Kacper Krasowiak

Post: Project proposal for the documentary – “Real Estate Ghost Market in China”

Rationale

China is the second largest economy in the world. The greatest contributor to the country’s GDP is the tertiary sector, followed by secondary sector; together they account for almost 90%. At the moment, it is undergoing an economic transformation putting much pressure on facilitating consumption growth, which already has the fastest pace in the world. Despite that fact, the country still remains the biggest manufacturing hub and the biggest exporter of goods globally. Years of interventions in the economy left the current leaders with few sources of revenue and made them highly vulnerable to changes in so-called “shadow banking” and the housing sector, as the strong reliance on those two and a massive amount of artificially put leverage created two great financial bubbles. Apparently, the risk of “shadow banking” was tamed, yet, the threat seems to be just moved to the real estate segment. Bloomberg estimates that in China total credit to real estate can be 60%. As “shadow banking” was the major source of financing for developers and is highly correlated with the housing sector, thus, a drop in the former suggests a decrease in the latter. This is because in such a case developers have a limited access to credits and cannot start new ventures. Today this drawback is multiplied by weak demand caused by oversupply in real estate segment, as developers additionally need to lower the prices to sell their already constructed estates. The slash in housing prices gives investors second thoughts, which deprives developers of another source of financing. Therefore, there is a serious threat, magnified by contraction of “shadow banking”, that developers will struggle to sustain their already heavily-in-debt companies. The reliance on the real estate market is strong among citizens too. Goldman Sachs estimates that there are 51 million stock-holding investors, belonging to around 37 million households. It is also calculated that only 12% of household wealth in China is allocated in shares, which is low in comparison to 20% in developed countries. It is because Chinese people tend to allocate their money more in real estate than in stocks. It is why the 32% drop in Shanghai stock in 2015 did not hurt the economy too much. The same drop in the real estate market could.

Building

I believe that a very good object to film and talk about the real estate issue is Pentagonal Mart, located in Shanghai’s Nanhui district. It spans out 70 acres (compared to 34 acres for the Department of Defense headquarters in Washington DC.). The greatest part of the building has been unoccupied since the construction ended in 2009. I think it would be an amazing representative of the problem with ghost real estate properties in China. I imagine only aerial shots could show the incredible size of the building and it could symbolize the size of the issue, both literally and figuratively.

Feasibility

The building is 2h30 min away from our dorms to the South. There are a few parking lots. It does not seem to be a public space a lot. Hence, I think it is quite feasible to film there.

Best,

Kacper

Week 8: Response to “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by Walter Benjamin Kacper (Krom)

Date: 05.11.2017

Professor: Krom

Student: Kacper Krasowiak

Post: Response to “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by Walter Benjamin

In his article, Walter Benjamin talks about many aspects but the relation between mechanical advancement and the art turned out to be the most interesting to me. The author argues that the art reproduced by machines could not be compared to the one reproduced by humans. The reason for it is that robotic art misses the entire aura of creativity, thinking process and reflection; for machines, it is just yet another task out of many others. I do agree with the author; however, only to some extent.

I completely agree with the fact that usually, people put a lot more feelings and reason behind the art, or even replicas of the art, than machines. Yet, recently I had a chance to visit Dafen Oil Painting Village in Shenzhen. There are dozens of painters who are ready to paint a replica of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa for you in less than an hour. And for a very low price. Would you call it much different from the art reproduced by machines? I saw those people in action and I doubt there are feelings or reason in this type of artwork, just pure mechanical gestures. On the other hand, they can also paint a portrait of you on the spot, and this is when they truly show off their skills and talent. Hence, I believe it is much truth in the argument of Benjamin, but definitely, it depends on a scale of people making replicas.

I actually became interested in the issue of art created by machines, paintings especially, and did some research on whether the current currently machines are capable not only of reproducing art but creating it from the scratch. Here, I could refer you to this article:

https://newatlas.com/creative-ai-algorithmic-art-painting-fool-aaron/36106/

I think with the current development of Artificial Intelligence teaching machines to reproduce painting would be easier and even simpler automated as the machine would identify and learn necessary movement itself (how different would it be from the Dafen painter?). There would be even more than that as with this advancement machines will slowly learn how to create art themselves and this is when the text of Benjamin could be evaluated in a totally new context.

Best,Kacper

Kacper

Video Project Proposal by Cassie, Emma, Bella and Kacper (Krom)

Date: 29.10.2017

Professor: Krom

Student: Kacper Krasowiak

Partners: Cassie, Emma, Bella

Post: Video Project Proposal

After brainstorming we decided we would like to work on an interactive video guide about Shanghai and Shenzhen. Those two cities are very rapidly growing but they are significantly different from each other. We want to display the footage of Lujiazui, French Concession, NYU Shanghai from Shanghai and of HQB and many others in Shenzhen. In addition to usual video footage, we would like to apply our knowledge from another class about filmmaking with a drone in order to give viewers more visually appealing product. We also want to record a “tour guide” on green screen and then include them in the footage. In terms of the interactive part, we plan to provide viewers with an option button to switch between Shanghai and Shenzhen at certain points in time of the video and the tour guide will react accordingly to how often viewers change the location. We hope it will all work out!