Week 14: Internet Art Project (Vasudevan)

Project Title: YOU

Partner: Grace (Zijin) Gao

Description: Our project, as the title entails, is highly user-oriented. By letting the tree grows, the user can enters into different pages where he/she can make choice, including favorite color, shape, flavor and so on. The process of making choice is helping the user find his/her parts of identity. And at the end, a special animation will be generated by the user’s choice.

How the project works: By pressing Right Arrow on keyboard, users can make the tree growing gradually. At each branches, users can click on leaves which will lead the user to different pages. The first page will let the user pick his/her favorite time in one day–by dragging the pointer to the desire time. The next choice would be user clicking on his/her favorite shape. Similarly, the user can choose his/her own favorite flavor color and flavor. The last choice would be the user types in certain sentences to respond the prompt. After all this, the user can click on the last branch which will generate an animation page specially based on all the choices the user made.

Working Process:

  • Inspiration: Our inspiration is mainly from this painting: Our initial idea is making a game where the user can control a feature to do some exploration–like Monument Valley–but after we found this painting online, we decided to drawing a tree using p5.js and using branches to lead to different choice which enables the user to explore him/herself instead.
  • Coding:

Grace and I divide our work into several pieces and I am in charge of drawing tree, clock, shape, the text to speech technique, the final animation and connection between different parts.

  1. To draw the tree using p5.js, I watched Shiffman’s coding tutorial and learned using vertex to draw lines and also constructing “branch” object to make identical branches. To make those branches grow one by one, I learned to use sub() and add() vertex function to update those vertex.  Also, I used “bezierVertex” to draw leaves as shapes, as code shows below:
  2. The clock idea is from the “24 hours happy” video project we watched in class. To draw the clock, I use heading() to calculate the angle of rotation between mouse position and the center of the circle. With this angle, I can calculate the corresponding mouseX and mouseY to draw pointer as well as the corresponding time–value of minute and hour–to make the clock. This is what I wanted to achieve in my comic project and with p5.js, I found a easy way to do it. Main code is here:
  3. I mainly used css animation to make the scale effect on mouse hover to make the shape page as well as the final animation page where I transformed scale, rotation and opacity. And also, I switched image, innerHTML based on the choice users made before.
  4. To achieve the text to speech effect, I searched online and found the library called “responsiveVoice” and insert a “textarea” to let user type in words and read them out loud.


The final outcome is quite away from what we intended to do. There are a few things we fail to achieve:

  1. We initially want to make zoom in and zoom out effect for different branches instead of pop-up windows. But since our different pages are written both in p5.js and normal html javaScript, it is hard to find a way to put all these in one canvas. We tried createGraphics but it didn’t work so well as html elements do not display on graphics properly.
  2. We also want to make the tree more curving. I found out later that we can use the bezierVertex to achieve it, but we don’t have time to do it. Also, I want to make the line appear gradually–like really drawing something but failed to do so.

Week 12: Response to Greene (Vasudevan)

In this article, Greene introduces the history of net art in detail, including the origin of this name and how people develop it collaboratively by creating a series of projects. Diverse as they may be, I think the key property of net art is the strong interaction between art pieces and audience. Especially those two projects “Kings Cross Phone-In” and “404.jodi.org” require audience to become one of the components of the project itself and thus the experience and outcome are highly personalized. Also, net art can be viewed by anyone at anytime as long as there is Internet, which distinguishes it from traditional form of art and makes it much more wide spread. However, as Greene also mentions, the openness of net art causes problem for net artists. On the one hand, it is even harder for them to make money than traditional artists since most of them are spread online for free; on the other hand, monopoly also happens. As Greene mentions, web addresses, as a component of net art, are controlled by “mainstream media and corporate juggernaut”, which to some extent may restrict the ability and creativity to build net art work.

But still, I believe that as internet becoming more and more diffusive and people’s need of art growing, although it still needs to find a way to balance between commercialization and artistry, net art would develop prosperously.

Week 11: Response to Graham and Rand (Vasudevan)

To some extent, these two readings explain why IMA major exists. Instead of treating “hacking” as a pure technical and science-oriented subject, the author suggests that it should be connected to art more. To me, the beauty of programming is never how to design a website or software but what I can design. That’s why I agree with him saying that “debugging is good, rather than just write on a paper ”. Personally, I find that debugging can help me understand the logic behind much better. By figuring out why the code I thought would work but doesn’t, I can remember more clearly and make improvement next time.
The other interesting point is the author’s proposal that hackers should separate job and interest to solve the problem that hacking and painting are hard to combine in big companies. It’s a really attractive idea to let you make a living and design following your heart simultaneously, which can not only make money but also improve yourself.
However, I don’t agree much on his comparison between hacking and science where he says that “hackers start original, and get good”. I think hackers’ design also build upon others’ work. For me, it’s hard to come up with a good idea by just sitting there and thinking. I’d like to browser other’s work and look for inspiration, which can be seen as a form of remix as well—reproducing by merging my own thoughts and developing it.
This article emphasizes the importance of drawing skills and “step-by-step” design process even under the machinery era. It argues that computer serves no more than a tool that enables people to substantialize their idea. I do find out that my lack of drawing skill hinders me to make better visual design. Different from debugging mentioned above, I think maybe visual design should be planned on paper beforehand and gradually find out how to achieve it by computer.

Week11: Video Project (Vasudevan)

Date: 2017/11/21

Title: Wake Up

Partner: Natalie, Sofia and Irina


(Notes: because of the secure settings of browsers, please open this link in Firefox to experience the whole story. )


You wake up, finding yourself in an unfamiliar room and cannot remember anything, so you get up and see the bottles on the floor; after you clicking on them, you will see the related flashback: a man entered this apartment with these drinks. Then you move on and see a phone on the table. There is a message and if you click on it, you will hear a voicemail one man leaves. Then you move forward and open the purse on the floor and find a picture of the same guy. By clicking on it you see the process of you taking that picture. Then you look up and see the dead body lying on the floor. You click on him and see the scene which he tries to have sex with you but you really do not want to; you are fighting with each other and finally he is dead. Then the webcam would be accessed and your face would show up on the screen with the words “Hi killer”.

Continue reading

Week 8: Response to Walter Benjamin (Vasudevan)

Benjamin, in his article “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical and Reproduction”, discussed about how mechanical reproduction influence the value of art. He mentions that mechanical reproduction has strengthened the exhibition value while the cult value is undermined or even eliminated in photography and movies. I found the idea that he describes photography and movie as forms of reproduction really interesting, as it jumps out of the traditional definition of “reproduction” as a identical copy but introduces the concept of “process reproduction”. What role do photography and movie play here is re-present pieces of art in a way different from the origins but serving a particular need. For me, I think the most revolutionary value of photography and movie is, they reproduce every visual piece and leads the audience to perceive the world we see everyday in a way they want us to see. As Benjamin also mentions, “the progressive reaction is characterized by the direct, intimate fusion of  visual and emotional enjoyment with the orientation of the expert”. We are forced to pay attention to those part that the reproducer wants us to see, which I think is the most important and inspiring value of reproduction.

Week 7: Audio Project Documentation (Vasudevan)

Project: Subway Sounds

Partner: Blake


Description: Our project presents the sound in metro. On loading, the general background sound will play; by clicking on different characters, the sound that particular people generates will add to the track. At the end, if all sounds are loaded, they will follow a given beat and thus form a song.

Process: Our project can be divided into three parts: collecting sounds, creating an interactive website and combining sounds with beat. Continue reading

Week 7: Response to “The danger of a single story” (Vasudevan)

It was my second time watching this TED Talk and it still struck me a lot when Chimamanda Adichie mentioned how people are deeply influenced by the single story about Africa present through media–because I am, too. I am, however, somehow represented by single story. Upon knowing I am from Yunnan, in which the majority of Chinese ethnic groups live, people will ask me the same question: Are you some kind of ethnic group too? I acknowledge that most of them do not host hostility and just out of curious, it also shows how single stories can shape public’s perception.

However, although it is necessary for us to try our best to learn stories from multiple sides, I am wondering whether it is even possible for us to know a complete story or not. Is there a comprehensive story that can fully represent a certain group of people? Instead of broadcasting diverse stories about Africa as Chimamanda Adichie suggests, would it be better if we tell stories about people rather than about communities or even nations? That is to say, I think we should try to avoid having perception about communities. Once we begin to categorize and classify people by their gender, sex, race, nationality etc, stereotypes come into being. However, if we perceive people, individually, by their own characteristics, completer stories can tell.

Week 6: Response to “Theft And Artistry” and “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”(Vasudevan)

In “Theft And Artistry”, culture appropriation is often criticized as being disrespectful towards original culture. For me, the line between culture appropriation and culture adopting is whether the use of other culture is necessary or not. For instance, I can tell why some may criticize Hymn for the Weekend’s music video, since the Indian elements present in the music video are more or less incongruity since this song, from lyrics to music style, is not so Indian. Hence, I think artists should not appropriate other culture simply because it is good but have a good reason to combine two or more culture together. The recent movie called “Bad Genius” combines typical Thailand youth-movie with Hollywood crime film since it tells a story about how students cheat during exam, which is a huge success. In addition, it is also important to notice whether the culture we adopt is proper or simply our stereotype. Like the Chinese elements present in the music video of “Princess of China” are not even accurate but in the way which western world has always been conceiving as Chinese. Also, another problem lies with whether the so-called “other” culture wants to be represented or diffused or not. It is so easy for dominating group to see the culture appropriation as a way to help other culture become international, but we often ignore that do they really want their culture to be acknowledged by others.

“Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” mainly talks about the history of Jamaica Roots Regga and how DJ Kool Herc developed hiphop under the influence of roots regga. I am impressed by how music can have impact on politics and society, how it can even shape the identity of a group of people. Also, I can see how music can create an exclusive community and convey the attitude within this certain community. In addition, DJ Kool Herc’s way of mixing diverse genres is inspiring in terms of creating based on existing elements.

Week 6: Response to On the Rights of Molotov Man and Lethem (Vasudevan)

Response to On the Rights of Molotov Man:

In this article, we see both Joy Garnett and Susan’s interpretation on this same Molotov Man, although presented differently in their work. While reading Joy’s part and relating back to the TED Talk we watched last week, my previous conception of copyright begins to change. I begin to understand that art, presented to the public, is not only used for appreciation, but also for communication. The process of reusing can be seen as a communication between the initial creator and whoever is reusing it. As Joy states, “[the] mission [of a document] is, in part, to provide the public with a record of events of social and historical value”. It is during this process that creations, maybe unexpected to the initial creator, can appear. However, the context Susan gives makes me wonder the consequence if there is misinterpretation in the process of recreation. In this case, while Susan took the photo when he is throwing bomb to the national guard, it is largely mistranslated by others and used for different or even contrary purposes. Hence, it leads to another question that should we respect the initial purpose when we are reusing existing work. It is still hard and unclear for me to answer this question in a comprehensive way.

Response to “The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism”:

For me, the most attractive part of this article is its interpretation of copyright as a production of consuming market. It is largely because of the capital value art may possess that motivates people to protect intellectual property. And I often feel that consuming market restricted creation. Since people are too focused on their work’s capital value. Being occupied by protecting or creating  their capital value as much as possible, creators may lose their passion and motivation to really create. Also, it is really interesting Lethem proposes the concept of gift economy. If we can understanding art under gift market, the boundaries of creation may be broken and we can see more and more art appear anywhere and anytime by anyone.

Week 6: Interactive Comic Project (Vasudevan)

Partner: Mengxuan (Makenzie) Zhang


Description: Our comic project is called “Time Monster”, and it narrates a story that when you fail to manage your time, Time Monster will show up and offer extra time with the expense of future time. However, this method may help you at the first few times, but relying on Time Monster will lead you to death–after running out of all your time.

How it works:

When users first enter our Website, there are four pictures showing as an opening, after clicking on “next” button, the next four pictures will introduce “Time Monster”, who can help extend the time with the expense of future time. Here, by clicking on the dialog box, users can make their first choice–accepting help or not. If users choose to deny it, they will fail on their assignment, which is one of the endings. However, if users choose to accept it, Time Monster will work and time will be extended. Users can click on the text saying “click to see the magic” to see how magic works and how time is consumed up again. After calling Time Monster more than three times, Time Monster will alert that this is the last chance users have to extend time, which lead to another choice–using last chance or not. If users decide to use the last chance, users will die afterwards and story ends; if they decide to save the last chance, they will end up living as an elder, since their time has been used.    Continue reading