WU, Shiny Shuan-Yi

a documentation site for CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY course
at Media Design Practices, ArtCenter College of Design.

This website is currently best viewed on desktops. Better phone layouts will be updated some day (hopefully soon).


Crit Week


Project 4 Final Showcase

(see Project 4 Docuementation in WEEK 10-12)

Project 4 Docuementation (WEEK 10-12)

prompt: no prompt. explore new technologies and set a goal for learning in the short timeframe.

We started out mapping our technology interests on Miro and collect references.
We also make connections to other peers' interests as well.

I am particularly interested in interactive and collaborative physical interfaces that can be projected dynamically.

I decided to go for projection mapping and try out touchdesigner.
my idea is to project my digital flowers onto real plants, an attempt to my long interest in blending the physical and the digital

(my digital flowers of locations)

I researched a lot of online resources, and ended up with the palette called kantanmapper ('kantan' means 'easy' in Japanese, so kantanmapper literally means easy mapper)
that allows users to directly create shapes for projection precision as well as many effects ready to use

my physical setup

I borrowed the projector from someone else, and the hard part is that as a normal projector it projects a large screen, while the plant is a small 3D object.
also, there would always be the faintest of light even after masking, and the projected content can go through the leaves and stems of the plant and onto the background wall behind.

the result

in this video there is the showcase of the motion of the digital flowers growing, and also blinking

a lot of time was spent at learning the basics of toughdesigner, and it was fun.
I tried my best playing with the shapes of projected images, but it was difficult to be precise as I did not have a 3D model of the plant
and the stems are so thin!

Project 3 Documentation (WEEK 9-11)

prompt: Making Spaces
where something (or a piece of something) is made or processed

requirement: single-camera, live-feed (could be faked)

starting idea: present-opening

I always have fun wrapping up presents for family and close friends. I enjoy reusing materials collected to pack presents.
the time and effort spent in a sense are also wrapped together in the present now.

(mindmapping expanded)
I was also thinking about this top-down view of a box as how the live feed would look like

what if the entire space is a present

what if in this space people can endlessly wrap and unwrap things by breaking down and recombining wrapping materials

(actually in Chinese culture people would not give out clocks/watches/etc. as gifts, as the act of giving out a clock is pronounced similary to paying someone last repsects in Mandarin)

further exploring the idea of having endless layers of wrapping
wrapping materials around wrapping materials around wrapping materials around...
as well as imagining presents as wrapping material while wrapping material being the actual presents

first prototype

in this cabinet installation, every level contains a different relationship of wrapping materials and what's being wrapped.
and as moving to the next level, what's being wrapped becomes the new wrapper, and a new thing is being wrapped

(installation view)

The viewing direction goes from the upper-left level and downwards to the lower-left, then to the right half from top to bottom.
hint: the red boxes are the portal for the materials

some clock

it is too much effort to understand
find a way to show the space's relation to human scale. the whole space looks like a miniature so makes people wonder WHO is doing the making
could use more common and straightforward wrapping materials to really demonstrate the act of wrapping. could be because of the background being too colorful and messy
(my thoughts: I didn't consider the space to be active and therefore put much effort in symbolisation in still objects)

second prototype

in trying to find back the original purpose, I did a small prototype of just the motion of endless wrapping with just shiny wrapping paper

the process has a more chaotic aesthetic, which kind of contradicts with what I mentioned about the effort I put in.

final prototype

I managed to combine the first and second prototye together, in that it shows specific order of levels of wrapping paper.
the grid design of the space also indicates a kind of set process, as well as what we could maybe expect for the other spaces aside

recommend to watch it full-screened (click the popup option on the upper-right corner of the video)

In this prototype I was remapping the relatable elements of gift-wrapping into abstract performances.
including using clocks as a measurement tool, (for the time that is spent)
credit cards as scissors/knives cutting the wrapping paper, (for the money that is spent)
phone chargers as the present being wrapped, (for the time passed and the energy to wrap things)
and finally, hearts as targets that eventually breaks the wrappings apart(?) (much love)

view by sections





Overall in this project, I learned a lot about designing with a limited viewing perspective, and how to "simplify" design elements accordingly.


Crit Week


picked quotes from chapters from Ruined by Design by Mike Monteiro: "Moving Fast and Breaking Things", "All the White Boys in the Room", "Choosing Where to Work", "How to Set up for Success" and "Oh, the Monsters We'll Kill"

“status was included in a larger data dump simply because no one thought not to include it. It was designed that way” (3)

“They knew what they were doing, they saw getting someone killed as the price of doing business. It was designed to work that way” (5)

This was referring to the sharing of the dating app Grider’s users’ HIV statuses with other companies. With increasing technology integration and invasion into our daily lives, it would not be enough to design just from the perspective of what we would like to include for convenience. We need to actively and consciously design also from the angle of what it is best not to be included. Every tiny bit of what we experience is the rendering of tens or hundreds or even more design decisions, and those decision makers (developers, designers, etc.) need to recognize that those decisions are more than static parameters/features or modular items in a cart that we could simply check or uncheck without any circumstances, as “the problem was in the foundation and it couldn’t be fixed without a tear-down” (3). After all, it is already happening regardless of whether we buy it or not.
It is horrifying to think about the actions despite “knowing” the consequences. I do think many decision makers both “know” and “don’t know,” as they see people merely as numbers instead of living human beings. “[S]omeone killed” is just another +1 to the death toll, another piece of data for god knows what misused purposes.

“People don’t see the things they’re rewarded for as problems to fix” (12)

“they want an algorithm to do it—lack of accountability” (15)

“Ethics cannot be a side hustle” (57)

“We have everything backward right now. We’ve got the people with the least amount of experience, sometimes fresh out of school, making decisions at the largest platforms in the world. Services that affect billions of people. Services that need to understand the effects of their decisions on multitudes of communities. Services where we share our most intimate thoughts and our most private information. Meanwhile, the workers with the most experience in dealing with this stuff are burning out and going off to do work at nonprofits and NGOs” (61)

I quoted the entire paragraph because I found myself having mixed feelings about it. I’d been agreeing with most of the things the author was stating (besides my hope that his “diversity” could also include Asians) about ethics as a crucial part in “knowing,” but perhaps this paragraph shows another kind of inclusive-exclusive issue of cross-generation existences and views. Indeed, it is a general understanding that younger people would have fewer years of experiences compared to people who would have spent decades in the workforce. That’s purely because of age. Despite that the making process of “big decisions” would benefit from experiences of social complexities which generally believed for one to gain over years (as one ages), it would be over-generalizing to label these new “warriors” of a young age as know-it-littles with the rising of technology integration into modern society; in fact, they could know more to speak from a digital-native perspective. Vice versa, it would be over-generalizing as well if people think older generations cannot understand and therefore contribute to the niches of new technologies. I just want to point out that as much as the author promotes not shutting down and excluding racially and sexually oppressed groups, age should not be a parameter that differentiates people, either.

As I finished reading the next chapters about data privacy, I thought about the recent news of how Google decided to block third-party cookies following Safari and Firefox, Apple launching many privacy features in their products since last year, and others. I think, like the author, there sure is a certain degree of hope that more and more people will be aware and be willing to actively (try to) make changes. However, I fear that this rate of increasing awareness could never outrun the rate of growing services with privacy concerns.


#WFH Workshop (continued)

importing rendered object models into Unity, playing with OBS virtual camera, and introducing Lens Studio and Snap Camera into the working pipeline

This week we are diving more into the project of building a virtual setup for webcam working at home. The goal is to create an "altar" when presented on a tiny zoom cell, performing an interactive personal setup of visuals.

to build a virtual scene as a webcam filter, first I need to capture myself in a webcam frame as a dimensional reference

LOL I looked bored and tired.

next is to import the rendered photogrammetry models from previous week as well as other assets into Unity, and play with placement, layering, materiality, and animation.

here is what I managed to follow along

the saxophone model was from last week, rendered in Metashape. I added Rigidbody and Colliders to this model and one of the boxes to create gravity and collision. And then other things were added to test different functionalities.

a fun thing about the brown box: I applied Rigidbody to it so it has gravity, but at the same time I animated its position to loopingly float up, therefore creating this bizarre back and forth motion. Very fun and thought-provoking.

time to get those things into real-time

after leaving out of view the reference photo and the ground by adjusting camera settings, I got this

this unity play mode can then be captured by OBS, where the green background could be chromakeyed

with those exercises, we are now equipped to build our virtual setup!

#WFH Project documentation: Give Me a Hand

description: a webcam filter of hand representations and its indicated overwhelming intimacy

softwares: Metashape, Unity, OBS, Zoom

more hands, more expressions

the failures to come together presents the divisions of a singularity, and the projections of the surrounding others, the other singularities


would you like some fruit?

a kind of parental love that comes with mixed emotions but without the knocking of door

"i love you"

moisturized and rendered

keep your hands pretty! and keep those hands coming!

runwayML workshop

w/ Gene Kogan

Learning about the basic concepts of machine learning, and testing models on runwayML and ml4a.

some interesting results

this looks normal, but when I posed a peace sign, it generated a description as a woman is holding a toothbrush, interesting (I wasn't able to take screeshot for that fast enough)

another one is this text to speech ml4a model, which surprised me that they trained mandarin as well

that's pronounced niˇ haoˇ ("hello" in Mandarin)

but funny enough...it comes with a result like this

what's funny about it is that although the voice was speaking Mandarin from the Mandarin characters, it was speaking with a very heavy westerner (probably American) accent. Ha.

Here's one more. This is me manipulating the facials of a hamster car

picked quotes from petri dish by Elizabeth F.S. Roberts
and Chapter 3, "Design as the Machines Come to Life" by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, from the book Synthetic Aesthetics

“The petri dish was made for separation” (Roberts)

Not really a quote, but I found myself captured and captivated by the idea of a separated, contained environment, and how the results of growing under controlled conditions is itself uncontrollably expected. It is also interesting to think about the definition of being “contaminated” versus “uncontaminated” beyond the micro-physical realms to reimagine the idea of separations, for example, how those “cell-culture dishes” are “linked by philosophers, like Johann Gottfried Herder, to people marinating in particular conditions of place, language, spirit and tradition” (Roberts). Looking at the following quotes...

“this new ability to separate organism and environment within germ theory and petri dishes came bundled with new kinds of persons – individuals who became stable, separate entities, bounded and impervious to the outside world” (Roberts)

“Any resulting child was a combination of only these particulate gametes. The petri dish, like a woman’s womb, did nothing...Today, petri dishes and wombs are having trouble staying inert or capable of maintaining a separation between their contents and the surrounding world” (Roberts)

There’s a classical Chinese idiom saying that summarly translates to “oranges change with their environment” (南橘北枳). A woman’s womb is more affecting to the child as there are channels of distributions of nutritions and others between the two. And surely there wouldn’t be only a single woman giving labor to all IVFs.
Although indeed, the woman could not change the preconditions of the tube-baby, such as the baby’s DNA. Meanwhile, a petri dish would seemingly be a more independent entity that “[does] nothing” besides serving as a container of the independent events happening inside. But it is also interesting to think about the individuality in interconnected conditions, as the article has pointed out that more studies show the “containers’” lack of independence while linking those to the development of humanity.

“the dream of deskilled biological design hints at shifting boundaries to come, as the design of applications...become the bioengineer’s focus” (Ginsberg 40). This is “enabling adaptability” (Ginsberg 45)

while acquiring the vocabulary to negotiate and intersect, to collaborate and to innovate

“it seems that synthetic biology’s headline rhetoric addresses ‘humanity’s needs’ rather than our needs as individual, diverse and complex humans, within a diverse and complex system...discourages reflection and cultural analysis of the unique issues and novel design opportunities a living technology represents” (Ginsberg 41)

“While a final design may appear polished, good design itself remains an open-ended process; the unexpected is encouraged” (Ginsberg 46)

This relates to the discoveries of the uncontrollable aspects of very controlled petri dishes in science environments, in which this chapter also talks about how

“we view the products of culture as somehow independent from the natural world...but even this perceived separation of ourselves from nature is itself a cultural construct. The ecological crisis of climate change shows that humanity activity and design are never independent from nature” (Ginsberg 47)

Design as the critically transformational “human touch” (Ginsberg 47) further reminds designers to become the critical provocateur that would still base on real science, to give voice to ‘imagined’ designs while remaining humble that design is never independent from nature, and being collaborative to raise more important questions by posing questions.


Rate My Setup_A Little #WFH Workshop

w/ Leah Wulfman

Part 1: Photogrammetry in Metashape

Learning about photogrammetry, and practice by capturing any object by one's side

I asked my dad to set up his saxophone as my shooting subject.

We need to get around 100-200 photos from all aspects of selected subject. I took the chance to play with the surge photo function in iPhone, and ended up with 779 photos.

The software is generally easy to use, with options in menubar becoming available when it's time for specific steps.

The pain part is the processing time...

Here are some screenshots from the processes

I got 776 photos out of 779 shot aligned. Pretty good.

I started from middle render quality, but had to go back down to low render quality. And even so,

the entire process ended up taking me near 10 hours! WOW!

my dad's cruel comment: it looks like my saxophone came out of a ditch or something

Leah's(instructor) encourgaing comment (copy and pasted): Shiny! This is beautiful. The reason the quilt shows more clearly than the instrument is because of the reflectivity of it. Things that are glossy/reflective or translucent are hard for the algorithm to judge depth on (since light bounces on or internal to the surface). 10 hours wowowoww but super fun experiment and result, and love that your dad was a part of the process and thought

true: the quilt turned out better looking while the saxophone surface was muddled because of its SHINYness.

here's a texture image that I automatically got from exporting the model. looks weirdly cool!

picked quotes from Chapter 2 "A Brief Visit to the Systems Zoo" from Thinking in Systems by Donella H. Meadows

“A person in the system who makes a decision based on the feedback can’t change the behavior of the system that drove the current feedback; the decisions he or she makes will affect only future behavior” (39)

“Dynamic systems studies usually are not designed to predict what will happen. Rather, they’re designed to explore what would happen, if a number of driving factors unfold in a range of different ways” (47)

“Model utility depends not on whether its driving scenarios are realistic (since no one can know that for sure), but on whether it responds with a realistic pattern of behavior” (48)

Overall, the examples and analysis of how very different subjects (ex. a population or industry model ageing and dying like the behaviors of a coffee cup cooling) could project a very similar system is just fascinating!
The world as a system is full of oscillations!


project documentation (continued): a system of chain of events

see previous weeks for building stages of this project

a wonderful workday

collaborators: Iris Yuanyuan Gong, Jensen Gu

This is a temporarily final render of what a wonderful workday looks like...

(diagram v.3)


Jensen loves to use Discord, he is the imaginery team leader for an imaginery team project. He would like every team member to use Discord, too! For every team meeting, he would have his google calendar to send a message to our team channel on Discord to hover everyone here.

Iris agrees to use Discord for work. But secretly, she likes Gmail more! The feeling of having an exploding inbox......

Shiny involuntarily uses Discord because of Jensen's request. She prefers using Slack and having everything organized there.

how could this work out happily for everyone???

Firstly, each of us three has to respectively connect our own preferred platforms with Discord.
In that way, we could be notified of and not miss any message on Discord, and get onto Discord when necessary, for example, when having a team meeting.

For me, I connected (my preferred) Slack with (our team) Discord with Zapier's Discord+Slack Integrations, specifically using the function "Send Slack channel messages for new Discord channel messages"

When it's meeting time, I will receive a notification on my personal Slack workspace, saying that I got a message on Discord team channel which should read "Team meeting in 10 minutes."

(with realtime lags)

Am I happy? Well, yes! I can minimize the softwares/apps open at the same time. I can stay on Slack and only have to hop onto Discord at designated times.

During team meetings on Discord, all the messages generated on Discord would be sent to my Slack as well for future references. (In that case, each of us could customize what types of messages to send, whether they're texts, links, or files.)

and because we are all creative souls

we would like to put our work messages to creative use, something that makes our day even more wonderful!

how could this work out happily for everyone???

Using Zapier's Discord+Google Drive integration, all of our messages would be uploaded to Google Drive as separate files.

That's when Google Doc API is put to use, getting all drive files of messages into a JSON database.

Then, we could easily use the data from the API, in this case the files of our Discord messages, to create things on webpage. There are a lot of data manipulation using javascript to turn fetched responses from api are into the forms we need, including separating messages by their different types, reformatting image links, etc.

The reformatted data would be made into visuals

You could find the source code here on my github

(word sphere code revised from and courtesy to Che Yu Wu)


wonderful way to end a work day, and connect all remote pals!

issues: there is a cross-origin issue when trying to use the reformatted links of images (image messages would be read as links when fetching api). I have successfully reformatted the image links ready to be put as src for newly created img tags. However, I later found that the links simply won't work themselves, so it's not a problem of data manipulation from my end.

This issue is to be resolved when possible.

(rough) Distribution of Work:
Shiny: data manipulation for fetched responses from google drive api, combine data with word sphere, build website, general debugging
Iris: google drive api (from discord to google drive, then test it on local website), general debugging
Jensen: revise word sphere visual code, production for documentation video
all: brainstorm, diagram, software integrations, experiments, help each other

picked quotes from Notes on Failures by Joyce Carol Oates
and case studies of dialogues on AI and ethics from Princeton University

“If Medusa is not terrible of aspect, threatening both sanity and life, who, one wonders, would trouble to gaze upon her? It is precisely the risk she represents, the grave danger, that makes her a Muse” (Oates 239)

“Artists’ private systems—that cluster of stratagems, both voluntary and involuntary” (Oates 239)

“For when...he always needed Money—he wrote as rapidly and as pragmatically as possible...That his great, idiosyncratic, difficult novels...held so little commercial promise allowed him the freedom, the spaciousness...the privacy, to experiment...for it is the ‘inflexibility’...that genius most requires” (Oates 245)

from Case Study #6 Public Sector Data Analytics

“Some citizens also pointed out that this secrecy was hypocritical, given how much of their own personal information had been shared with WCG without their explicit consent. Privacy was beginning to look like a luxury reserved only for the political elite” (5)

“some more philosophically-minded critics added the argument that to treat individuals according to their statistical probabilities erodes their status as autonomous agents with free will. In other words, it treats human life as deterministic” (6)

“People may not have liked the solutions she adopted or the secrecy with which she did so, but she acted within the legal bounds of her position and in furtherance of what she believed to be the ultimate good of the people she served” (6)

Reading this study after reading chapters from the book Ruined by Design by Mike Monteiro hit right in the spot. As Monterior stated, the effects on people are always more important than one’s intentions. Therefore, no matter how firmly she believed she was doing the “ultimate good,” the truth is, she was putting the citizen’s personal information at risk.

“As with traditional statistics, the probabilities produced by algorithmic models are just that – probable outcomes. They are not certs. And while they may tell us much about populations, they reveal less about individuals.” (9)


project: a system of chain of events

Following in-class critique, our group has come together to revise the diagram:

a wonderful workday

scenario: Another day of work-from-home has started, but everyone could instantly feel connected with the chains between different message platform. Never miss a meeting! The work messages of the day would be transformed into beautiful web paintings for the work team as a daily ritual, and an incentive to work hard and happy everyday.

(possibly) using: ifttt, Discord.js

(documentation continued)

picked quotes from Chapter7 of the book You Look Like a Thing and I Love You by Janelle Shane

"One strategy is to reward the AI more for finding the rare thing than for finding the common thing"


"Did this edit solve the bias problem or just hide it? At this point we’re still not sure. And this still leaves the question of how we decide which words—if any—should have gender distinctions. Still, it’s better than letting the internet decide for us."

"a sneaky backdoor way for the AI to figure out someone’s likely race, then cheat its way to human-level performance by implementing racism (or other forms of discrimination)"

"People treat these kinds of algorithms as if they are making recommendations, but it’s a lot more accurate to say that they’re making predictions. They’re not telling us what the best decision would be—they’re just learning to predict human behavior."


project: a system diagram proposal of chain of events

proposed title: Keypaint

description: Wake up everyday to Keypaint, your morning routine of making beautiful web paintings by a random smash of computer keys, accompanied with a generated melody.

collaborators: Iris Yuanyuan Gong, Jensen Gu

It started with this picture in my head of a cocktail piano...


All three of us like the idea of combining different senses in the production of art.

In order to trigger a chain of events that connect different platforms for users, during the brainstorming process we decided to turn to the direction of a virtual piano. There are a lot of applications that have the function of turning computer keypressing to the playing of melodic tunes. What we would like to do is to do something more than just playing music.

Iris had a very beautiful imagination of drawing paintings instead of making cocktails. In search of usable apis she found the CSS paint api by Google.

I made the structure of the system diagram for all of us to revise. In making the chains of events, I also found the AudioKeys api for mapping qwerty keys to computer keys, and the midi to json api for turning the file of played keys into parsable json format, which should then be fetched to use with the CSS paint api, transforming data to beautiful paints on the web.

We decided to leave the creative decision of the use of generated web paintings to users, instead of my original idea of directly making the outcome the computer's wallpaper.

feedback/critique: We were asked to focus more on the chain of events on the user's end. At this point it looks like most of the work could be done once without user changing platforms. The piano keyboard+sound generating+drawing could possibly be done in p5.js all at once. We should shift the focus to what a user would like to do with the outcome and start from there.

The next step is to revise our diagram, and then prototype the workarounds in testing the flow.

picked quote(s) from Programming Design Systems by Rune Madsen

“Even in web design where the page metaphor is still prevalent, it seems limiting to define the design to just the styles of the page.”

In response, I think this quote best summarizes the amazing content and discussions in this online publication. Interestingly I think designers is a career that would never die. Would graphic designers be empowered by not limiting themselves to “graphic“ designers, but designers that, like the book said, deal with shapes and colors. All the template and workflow tools coming up, it’s still the designer making major decisions.

spring 2021 ↑

main projects:


Crit Week


GLSL Shaders, workshop with Char Stiles (2/2)

Learning raymarching!

I forgot to record the checkpoints, but shaders are fun!

Some time left we learned about webcam image controlling, and I quite like how Char described how it works that's similar to the concept of Plato's Eye Feelers — emitting from our eyes, hit stuff and go back into the eyes. That's how we see.

Anyway, here's a play with a festive scene.


GLSL Shaders, workshop with Char Stiles (1/2)

Learning what GLSL shaders are and how they work
including basic uv(), vector compositing, and sound responding

I was able to follow along the in-class tutorial, see the below checkpoint

GLSL mini project: The Garbage Truck

prompt: make shader visuals that respond to a sound

The background melody comes from a famous music piece — Maiden's Prayer. But as a Taiwanese, we are most familiar with its ubiquitous existence as the broadcasting music of a garbage truck. In Taiwan, whenever this melody is played loudly and on loop in the streets, people know that garbage trucks have arrived.

design choices: truck is yellow, people gather around the road, lots of red lights in traffic, all over the city, loud annoucement to everyone
looks like this

To create a more iconic scene......

collage with images, including the iconic Taiwanese blue-and-white slippers

The final presentation is shown at the very beginning.

Here's how the visuals look with the code layered on top

      float getBPMVis(float bpm){

              // this function can be found graphed out here :https://www.desmos.com/calculator/rx86e6ymw7
      	float bps = 120./bpm; // beats per second
      	float bpmVis = tan((time*PI)/bps);
      	// multiply it by PI so that tan has a regular spike every 1 instead of PI
      	// divide by the beat per second so there are that many spikes per second
      	bpmVis = clamp(bpmVis,0.,10.);
      	// tan goes to infinity so lets clamp it at 10
      	bpmVis =  abs(bpmVis)/20.;
      	// tan goes up and down but we only want it to go up
      	// (so it looks like a spike) so we take the absolute value
      	// dividing by 20 makes the tan function more spiking than smoothly going
      	// up and down, check out the desmos link to see what i mean
      	bpmVis =  1.+(bpmVis*0.05);
      	// we want to multiply by this number, but its too big
      	// by itself (it would be too stroby) so we want the number to multiply
      	// by to be between 1.0 and 1.05 so its a subtle effect
      	return bpmVis;

      void main() {

          vec2 pos = uv(); // origin is in center

          float angle = fract(pos.x/abs(pos.y*.1));

          float r = fract(angle + time);

          float bpmVis = getBPMVis(43.);

      	float b = tan(tan(length(pos*10.)) * bands.y * 5.);

          vec4 color = vec4(bpmVis,r,b,1.);

          gl_FragColor = color;

audio source: youtube

response to The Electronic as Post-optimal Object by Anthony Dunne and
Chapter 2 Internet of Things, Radical Technologies by Adam Greenfield

“a not-insignificant percentage of the population has so decisively internalized the values of the market for their labor that the act of resculpting themselves to better meet its needs feels like authentic self-expression” (Greenfield 36).

Even if we have our own standards looking at things, those criteria would be based on the existing system and mechanism, and our imagination of how things work within it. There are already a set of standards that come along with the products, and so our goals are mostly to see if our standards meet with the set standards. This also includes the decisions we make on and for ourselves in how we should react to things. The word “resculpting” in the quote then becomes interesting and ambiguous in thinking if we could really escape from the system and really decide for ourselves, if we’re only canceling Amazon order (38) for making while a correct order or another order on another platform, and if we’re choosing uber owing to it being the most instant resource when we defaultly search on Google Maps for directions. We have freedom with limitations, but we cannot easily imagine freedom outside of the limited boundaries. I believe that the real creativity lies outside of those boundaries, and maybe not even far, but just right next to the built walls of the authentic normal, the accurate, one and only truth of the Internet of Things. If the Self is not considered one of the “things,” then perhaps where we should be heading is the Internet of Self.

“once these prototype elements have been subjected to the extreme rationalization required by mass production, they become reduced to abstract ultraminiaturized electronic components. Their modernist poetry, based on truth to materials, is lost” (Dunne 7).

This reminds me of a TV drama scene about a very junior intern at a finance firm. Every intern at this firm has to speak about their unique value to the company during a performance evaluation, and while other more competent interns respond in confidence each of their own strength, this junior intern says something that shockingly meets the supervisor’s expectations—it is wrong for one to talk about one’s value, for that one’s value is defined by the customers’ needs. I find this scene related to the topic here. It seems that values are defined by functionalities, and functionalities are defined by purposes. Functionalities and poetry seem to be on the two sides of a spectrum. Can we really blame people for not appreciating the “true values” of electronics (same for all other products) if being “poetic” has never been the purpose of its making when designed? Sure, as designers, we look at things differently, maybe not essentially deeper or wider, but perhaps from the other side or alternative angles. If no one does, we are the ones that question the distance between the two poles of the spectrum. Plus, poetry could always be “added” to a product after it is made with only functionality. Much like many art pieces out there. Oops. Just some thoughts.

“Robert Rauschenberg’s Oracle...has had its technology updated three times over thirty years, but its materiality and cultural meaning remain unchanged. Cultural obsolescence need not occur at the same rate as technological obsolescence” (Dunne 19).

This is an example straight to the point of this chapter of the book. To update the technology while retaining the materiality, is to dematerialize technology of purpose, form, function, and our interactive experience with it. As for its cultural meaning, I assume that it means that it is in contrast not changed by force or purpose, but is shifted forward to keep up with the times. It is impossible for the cultural meaning to remain unchanged 100%, for we cannot deliberately make up a cultural meaning. But we can invent technology. Materiality is something that holds our conventional perception of technology, from which the author asks us to step away to better observe the true “rate” of natural forms and happenings (of technology and ourselves). Laws need to be updated and modified in order to keep up with the culture. But like the example in this quote, interesting things happen in between the lags. If technology is not defined by materiality, nor is it defined by cultural meaning, I suppose that it is defined by the ways and processes of human interaction.


Thanksgiving: no class


Digital Ecologies Project, collaboration with Nayoung Kwon

physical computing and web programming
technology: photon, piezo element, pulse sensor, LED, wires
coded with C++ in particle.ai

a parasite...

will only exist...

when its host exists.

the frequency of existing...

from the working table, from a pulse, from everyday life

between things that are controlled and uncontrolled

(meant to be)

but perhaps the host would only recognize its existence

with the attachment from a virtual parasite

some taps of frequency

taps in our digital life

and will only exist there

(some time in the future)

Title: Nayoung
Concept: Shiny
Web and photon code: Shiny
Web Illustration: Nayoung
XD illustration: Shiny
Physical circuits and prototyping: Nayoung (pulse sensor, wearable wristband) & Shiny (piezo element)

WEEK 9-10

Digital Ecologies

In class: Learning how to define data events to publish onto the web console, and subscribing to each other's events.

project brainstorming:
Much opposite to how digital technologies bring humanity closer, I imgaine those "digital creatures" would only need themselves with a feedback loop of self-triggering events. I find two piezo elements in my basic sensor pack and start thinking about a looping scene — if there would be some kind of motor physically in between the two piezos, the motor would be triggered to spin for some degree by the sensed touches of the piezos, which then would hit the other piezo element with an attached object (to the motor), which would then spin again for touching a piezo, and have the attached object spin along to hit the piezo. And this would go on in repetition.
I have always been largely inspired by the works of video art artist Nam June Paik, especially the TV Buddha series series. The piezo and motor interaction loop is almost like physicalizing and visuallizing the back and forth of the Buddha's stare in the air.


Digital Ecologies

sending sensor data as variables to the browser

Connecting photon boards and sensors in South Korea and Taiwan, learning photon board and experimenting with potentiometer data collecting

Experiment page with Nayoung The shapes on the page each responds to Nayoung's or Shiny's collected data from a potentiometer. When both photons are online, the page would display changing shapes based on the two potentiometers' inputs.

response to VEHICLES-Experiments in Synthetic Psychology

“In the long run it will be seen to move in a complicated trajectory, curving one way or the other without apparent good reason” (5).

It’s interesting to read that the designed movements, though self-automating, could lead to unplanned and even unexpected results. The fact that everything is a result of the sum of all forces on earth (5) speaks out loud this writing’s perspectives of being alive—to be responsive. Even though as a maker, one would mostly know the mechanics and theories of what one is building, the fun part is that besides this “self-driven” force that we designed, there are so many factors embedded in the preconditions or current environment that could affect the overall experience, making it more complicated than what we originally focused on to observe. It is impossible to test out an observation with only a single force, not until we try and try “escaping until it safely reaches places where the influence of the source is scarcely left” (9).

“Their characters are quite opposite. Both dislike sources...Vehicle 2a is a COWARD, you would say...Vehicle 2b is AGGRESSIVE, obviously” (9).

Statements like these are made after observations of the vehicles’ movements, which, interestingly, we somehow already predicted. Observing the movements is just a process during the experiments to test out if our predictions would be true. But it reads here that only after we see the actions performed by those vehicles, we then believe the nature of these predicted “behaviors,” and that’s when we start to further interpret them. Being a COWARD or being AGGRESSIVE is something you would describe a person. So what does it mean when we apply these human descriptions to the vehicles as their unique characteristics? While it is easy to associate sensors and motors of a machine as sensors and effectors of a neural network inside a human body, what separates us humans from those machines is our ability to think and act independently. Those creatures’ “independent” behaviors are coded/designed behaviors, which make their instincts predictable patterns under the Nature that we ourselves create (17). As we predict the patterns of the designed behaviors, perhaps, the cowardness and aggressiveness lie in the smaller steps that build up the patterns where we allow the machines to be independent.

“There is something very crude about a vehicle that can only be excited...and knows no soothing or relaxing stimuli” (10).

We build things for them to function. If we do not tell them to stop, what they do is to keep functioning, regardless of what their designed actions are. An actual-living creature that behaves similarly is a goldfish, which would not stop eating as long as food is presented, even if that means eating to death. From that, “we can easily see how much the-more-the-merrier behavior could lead to disaster” (15). Reading to this point, I found myself not really looking at the graphs of vehicles as vehicles, but actual living creatures, and perhaps, human beings. The scary thing is that I do not find it out of place when throwing the same questions or observations (like this quote) back at ourselves.


Crit Week


response to What is Code

“Your competitor has an animated shopping cart that drives across the top of the screen at checkout. That cart remembers everything customers have ever purchased and generates invoices on demand. Your cart has no memory at all.”

Compete, compete, and compete. Just because your competitors have some cool features you do not have, you are going to incorporate them into your work, and think that this will make you cool, too? Well, you’re not wrong, not 100% though. But is the premise of success having the same memory even if we’re on a different platform? How can we code memory? Perhaps we can link this to the discussion of code effectiveness. Code effectiveness got two ways: the effectiveness of code in aesthetics, and the effectiveness of code in functionalities. In this quote I can see both. Is there another way of code effectiveness? That is not about functions and aesthetics, but maybe feelings? What kind of memory would that be composed of?

“It’s miraculous that we have mobile phones, but it’s equally miraculous that we can charge them.”

Yes, indeed. Phones are taking over our lives, but while they are owning us, we are still their owners. The social feeds on the phones charge us, and we charge them in return, but just for us to be charged by them more later. Phones are hardwares, and our interactions with phones are softwares. What is considered the code here? I think humans are the running code here. Our (the code’s) existence enables the interactions (the softwares) to be performed on phones (the hardwares). Hence, the miraculous thing here is that it all goes back to philosophical and seem-to-be useless discussion of our existences. Those discussions become powerful as more and more things are self-defined. Phones holding those discussions become powerful, too.
“If coders don’t run the world, they run the things that run the world.”

“An excellent language! But it doesn’t really let you organize things...we have this data structure for our customers (name, address, and so forth), and we have all these functions for manipulating that data (update_address, send_bill, delete_account), but the thing is, those functions aren’t related to the data except by the naming convention...So what if...we made a little box called Customer (call it a “class,” as in the taxonomical sense, like a Customer is a subclass of the species human, which is a subclass of mammal, etc.), and we put the data and methods relating to customers into that box.”

As a person who also codes (not sure if I am qualified as a “real programmer” like those in the East coast of USA stated by this article), I do not know where to start in responding to this large brick of quote. A lot of things are arbitrary in coding, and good programmers try to assign each to its unique name, those that resonate with its real-life representation (in this case, customers), or its functionalities (for example, to map();) while there are no real customers or maps in the text editor. The language of coding is poetic; the act of coding the language of coding is poetic. Yet interestingly, the poetic characteristics of coding is to make coding itself less arbitrary, which in other words, less poetic. The poetic aspect of coding also changes the power dynamics: who are we to assign a “class” to customers, and let them become data receptors to perform functions assigned? Are we and the customers more intimate or less intimate in this process?
I find this description very interesting: “Every time we have a new customer we make a new instance of our class. Code can be a black box, with tentacles and wires sticking out, and you don’t need to—don’t want to—look inside the box. You can just put a couple of boxes next to each other, touch their tentacles together, and watch their eldritch mating.”


UNITY simulation vivarium project—floating

Please watch with audio on.


Last week, there were a lot of mechanisms that I were not able to execute. And given the short duration of 1.5week, I was asked to think about the scale of this project, and really focus on the main action that I would like to show.

Tweaking concept: I imagine in a world that is constantly floading, humans are already well-prepared with changeable living structures. From more research I did on global sea level rising and various coping strategies, I have come to understand more about the effects of flooding, which has a lot to do with where the houses are and the geographical altitude of locations.
In this rough experiment, I speculate that all hosues are mounted on a column base, which will detect the sea level and rise the houses to match with the height. In other words, the houses would never drown. But that means at the same time, sacrifice of land usage, and segragation of people in their own houses.
But no matter how much we prepared, we can never prepare for the unpredicted. Here I brought in polar bears as an ironic and worth pondering subject that has to with the melting of ice————the shortening of ice and the rising of never-drowned houses. We could actually try to manage all the human activities that worsen the situation, but we could not manage if nature comes back to us. We could have never expected polar bears to destroy the columns, and the hosues fall down into the water.

The first-ever polar bear in the scene would be controlled by the "player" with the four directions on keyboard. When the polar bear collides with a column, the column disappeared, and the houses come down. As the houses touch the bottom of the water, they transform into polar bears.

This is a second prototype.
I got rid of the water ring toss idea, as well as the particle system, as now the major force would be the polar bears. In this version of prototype, the particles are removed, and the instantiated object has become a polar bear. There are a lot of scripting, especially with the control of water rising and being able to adjust the columns' growth according to that.
There is also the matter of lighting, texturing, etc., which I have learned a lot from doing this project. Some fun went to the setting up of cameras, one of those following the rising water level, one following the first-ever polar-bear, and then one observing the chaotic ground underwater. And last but not least, a questionable touch of adding audio "up, up, up" for the houses, and "down, down, down" for the polar bears whenever they collide with the columns.

Here are some amazing screenshots from the process of making this project:

This was when instantiation of polar bears was set to the column collision, so the number of polar bears easily went up when moving around, causing this firework of polar bears and the computer to die.

The beautiful top-down view of the buildings and the attached lightings. The buildings, as they are on the growing columns, are also scaling, therefore creating this visual illustion in the sense that things are changing and would never be the same.


UNITY simulation vivarium project—floating

This week is the start of this short project. I researched on the predictions of the level of global sea rise and discovered how different places in the world have different conditions to face. In thinking about the difficulty to predict the actual calculation to every single place, I speculated a place where houses can be saved from drowning in a responsive way, in which I am largely referencing the toy of ring toss in water (when buttons pressed, rings in water are bloated up, and the goal is to bloat/toss them onto the stick). Something like this:


To save people from the drowning condition, houses would be bloated up randomly by pressing some button. The randomness is to reflect the difficulty of disaster prediction. Once the houses get onto the ever-growing column, they should always be on the water surface, as the column would continue to grow according to the water level.
In part of getting used to the environment in Unity, I manage to execute these techniques at this stage: rotating the columns, initializing objects from the houses (to look for possible ways to connect the separated houses by the water since there's no land), and particle system as the water power in the form of bubbles to bloat the houses up onto the columns.

response to The Presence Project (Chapter: Experiment)

“As we looked over the maps, the local group regaled us with stories of wartime hardships, local feuds, and changing boundaries caused by economic swings” (132).

‘We’ were given an environment and purposely let ‘ourselves’ immersed in the environment with some but limited information. The added layer of local stories and its historical context helped the immersive process in creating something more than just what ‘we’ were seeing to grapple with, and ultimately changing our very raw way of seeing at the beginning. It striked me suddenly in how familiar this scenario sounds—AR technology. Doesn’t it sound like it? The locals being both the engaging and supporting force of the process became the “technology” of the project. With the AR layer of local perspectives and experiences, the map was no longer just a map of graphics, but an interactive data-visualization of the embedded environment. I really enjoyed reading the happenings between the designers of this project and the participating locals. I believe this experiment also belongs to the realm of social practice/socially engaged art where the authorship of the project also extends to the human participants.

“Local radio stations might be willing to broadcast the soundscape periodically during the day, but this would interfere with the continuous availability that makes the Radioscape an extension of the landscape rather than a special event” (133).

It must have been frustrating to encounter this issue when trying to carry the project further, after successfully conducting a workshop that asked elders to come up with questions directed to the other locals. I understand that the quality of being ‘special’ is crucial in this case, since for the locals and the environment, it is having something new trying to reinterpret the ‘existing-old.’ The last part of this quote took me a while, though. In hoping that it was a special event, it indeed was also an extension of the landscape that put the nodes of individual imagination of the landscape out there in order to connect with other nodes of imaginations. Broadcasting on local radio stations in my opinion, could achieve what it fundamentally needed to achieve as well, but of course, not to the expected level. The decision to not lower standards and expectations just for this to ‘work,’ is quite noteworthy and inspiring. Even if this ‘solution’ could test things to some extent, it is decided that this is not one of the “appropriate...means to simulate and test the experiences the proposals would engender – their aesthetics, their social effects, and their cultural implications” (131). The word ‘special’ means more than being special here.

“the best slogans were slightly ambiguous or detached in tone (‘I am from another country’), or were particular and personal statements (‘I like a few drinks once in a while’). These seemed to escape classification into known forms of public display, invoking curiosity and imagination rather than immediate dismissal” (136).

I believe that this was a very realistic observation. It reminds me of the book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McClound, where McCloud talked about the level of relatability and intimacy of content between viewers and the being viewed: less detailed, less realistic characters/objects are more easily attached to by readers in that there are more flexibility for readers for putting themselves into the characters/objects without much conflict or awareness of differences. When it comes to the project in this writing, it may look conflicting at first if to apply McCloud’s theory, but it could be tweaked a little instead of applying directly. If what is displayed is less similar to the forms of public advertisement or propaganda, in this case, ‘ambiguous or detached’ in its social functions and requirements from the people, those people as viewers could be more willing to invite themselves to questioning the real intention (as documented in the writing, the first thing the locals asked the project designers was the main intention behind whatever they were doing) and then project themselves to the displayed and therefore participate. Proven true, the interactions led designers to receive new slogans from the locals.


mini-project: a generative zine

short description:

A web generative zine that tells you interesting facts, on demand!

zine webpage
(to be fixed: the web version is currently not working)

you can look at the code here on github

original idea and brief concept

I always find that zines is a very powerful tool to convey an idea/knowledge efficiently and effectively in a rather short span of time and small layout. Originally, I wanted to create GEN-Zine, a web zine that holds generative trivia content and is specifically for the Gen Z population for daily consume (I know, such a smart name). In short, the zine should provide a trivia knowledge a day, with summarized descrition and key images gathered from the Internet. I also think that both zine and trivia are a media fit for Gen Z who would appreciate interesting stuff but have a relatively short attention span.
Given the one-week execution time, my main goal was to get the geneative function working, and then start from what I see and feel then.

rough process and challenges throughout

I started out with drawing a diagram (see week2) with more critical thinking and concept building. But it is always helpful to clearify the compoents of a project with a limited work time. Our instructors Ben and Max reminded us the importance to scale things down, but I sort of learn this as I go through the process.

The rough functional steps are 1) topic randomization, 2) data collection, 3) layout alignments, and 4) daily automation.

I followed the steps in this order in that each of them is required of its previous step. I first got the website's basic structure up, and then spent a fair amount of time looking for the right api. This is the biggest challenge. For sure I would not be so lucky to find a single api that does it all. I came to the conclusion that it was hard for myself and the Internet to summarize the definition of Gen Z, what their interests are. Moreover, even after collecting some key questions revolving around Gen Z, the Internet could go in all directions, which makes it hard to produce an accurate summarize (both text and image) that I'd like to put in the zine. Finally, I had to make the sacrifice of the Gen Z topic to focus on the goal of making the functionality work. I settled on a trivia database api for providing the interesting texts, and Google Custom Search Json api for the matching images. The Google api provided a search bar which I would need to then extract its search results. Below is the search result of "coke," with attributes setting to get image only and first result only.

I wanted the generated trivia question to automatically be the search term of the Google api, and get result for every refresh of page or a click on "gimme more" button. In the scope of time, I only managed to extract the image from a preset search, and has not worked out making the question the default search. This is the reason of what I said previously about setting the search into one image result only. But at least, I was able to manipulate the generated trivia data and insert them onto the 8-page zine layout evenly. I also managed to split a base64 image into even parts and insert them onto the pages. The concept of this visual layout is that trivia questions are just like putting pieces of wonder together into an interesting unexpected, hence splitting the question sentence onto those pages, and have the final answer reveal fully on the last page. Users can then download the zine to local by clicking the button "download zine."

There are many parts that still have more work to be done and needed to be solved. Ideally, each time generating a new question, the content of the zine pages should be updated as well. The texts are currently working on the canvas, but not the image because of some difficulties working with the Google api. I kind of like the layout for now, actually. For further development, besides fixing the api workarounds, I am also thinking about adding other ways of interaction by taking the experience out from a screen to the physical world.

It is always learning through making. I had some time reviewing some javascript techniques and learning new ones including Jquery usage and some css tricks.

tools and methods

Language: HTML, CSS, javascript, Jquery.
Apis: Trivia api, Google CSE epi.

screen record of project

response to What do Prototypes Prototype?

“It is common practice to build prototypes in order to represent different states of an evolving design, and to explore options. However, since interactive systems are complex, it may be difficult or impossible to create prototypes of a whole design in the formative stages of a project.” (1)

Prototyping in my mind is very much a critical making (what we read about last week on thinking+making) journey. When building something, everything before that was just a big chunk of “process,” but this thought of mine in the past certainly changed after I was introduced to ways of prototyping for interactive media art projects during my undergraduate studies (and definitely would be inspired more here at MDP). Prototyping is not just some kind of a test of a final product, but a cycle of reiterations that never lies a single straight line ahead; a system of roads that are diverted and joint, looped in cycles, and full of unexpected pathways. In fact, I can say from my experiences that prototypes can often lead a project to very different routes from what one expected to be a final.
In terms of building interactive systems, this writing reminds me of the very importance to make prototype(s) as stops in the process. It is helpful to stop and think about, if we are too indulged in the making process that we may have not given enough space and time for our critical thinking; or, are we thinking too much until the very last minute that whatever brilliant idea stuck in our heads does not get the chance to be realized?
To “stop” is actually to go!"

“This kind of portrayal of onscreen interface elements as rough and hand-drawn was used in order to focus design discussion on the overall features of a design rather than on specific details of look and feel or implementation (Wong, 1992). Ironically, while the design team understood the meaning of the hand-drawn graphics, other members of the organization became enamored with the sketchy style to the extent that they considered using it in the final artifact...This example shows how the effectiveness of some kinds of prototypes may be limited to a specific kind of audience.” (7)

I think this again brings up my previous point of prototypes being not a messy, untraceable point of process to a final product, but a specific stage of effort going forward with critical making. The quote confirms that we should be aware that we are not prototyping merely for the end-vision, but more importantly, for the people along. This also helps us sort out the really important points to hit in creating prototypes before spending too much time only to be ineffective in collecting feedback. A thing about interactive projects is that to people who have a more limited knowledge of complex technology, it is often all the same, between 60% effort and 80% progress. This is dangerous in both directions of doing too much and doing too little, and could get us trapped in the mindset of prototyping for end-product even more, ending up with results “neither good enough nor bad enough to avoid misunderstandings” (11). In the modern world of visual-driven perception, it is important to look beyond that visual layer and provide the ‘right’ information to the user-testers. And it is in this notion where the prototype model really matters.

“since the prototype was to be shown to a broad audience, an integrated style of prototype was chosen, both to communicate the implementation point and to verify that the piles representation was practically feasible.” (13)

From the many example prototypes shown in the writing, it is clear that different audiences have different expectations. Having a broad audience in this case is indeed chaotic, with the feeling of a need to produce a high quality and fidelity product at once to satisfy all. A large leap like that would once again trap us into prototyping for the sole purpose of a final delivery. Even for the finest thing, I do not think there is such a final version of that existing, because all things are prototypes with the hold of aroused questions that push itself and the designer(s) forward to the next ‘prototype.’ More so, following what the writing states: “Sometimes very simple representations make highly effective prototypes” (15), I do not think that integration with intersections of concepts and functions necessarily means more complexity—it means a field of broader purposes (at specific stages). It is the designers’ job to design an efficient, effective, and impactful experience, as “[p]rototypes themselves do not necessarily communicate their purpose” (15). I thank the writing for pointing this crucial perspective to me.


3 interactive installation (in connection to my creative tech interests)

in order to control


the fun theory



diagram—the GEN-Zine
(1-2week mini project)

response to The hacker hacked

“the hacker impulse expresses itself via a constellation of minor acts of insurrection, often undertaken by individuals, creatively disguised to deprive authorities of the opportunity to retaliate”

I immediately connect this to the coding structure of web scraping, where there often has to be ‘sleep’ functions to temporarily pause the data-scraping process from a website, which could cause suspicion since the process is fast; also better not have many people in the same place scraping from a single source. In the age of data, we look at everything as resources out there that are either available to our hands or should be available, chunks of information that could be further repurposed. The hard part is always to find a middle ground, even with various licenses available. Some data is not meant to be publicly visible, but people just get smarter and better at finding loopholes in both technology designs and information regulations. Putting these adventures of findings as constellations of acts is kind of poetic, though.

“Each group defines itself against the other, settling into a stagnant trench warfare. The individual activists frequently end up demoralised, complaining within echo-chambers about their inability to impact ‘the system’. They build an identity based on a kind of downbeat martyrdom, keeping themselves afloat through a fetishised solidarity with others in the same position.”

This is so true for other social events as well, especially the politics. And those individuals claim that they are individuals to combat the allegation of being blind followers with the ‘fetishised solidarity’ with others. They even take their acclaimed inability to fight with the systems and exaggerate it, somehow thinking this would legitimize this solidarity in the beliefs against the current.
This could be implying the phenomenon of ‘cultured young people’ in Taiwan where the word ‘culture’ here has to interestingly associate with both the subcultural hipster style and the current Taiwanese politics. In fact, more and more public workshops on ‘social hacking’ appear and are seemed to be led by those people. Whatever act in and out of itself could never step away from politics. From all of these we could also see hints of the practice of hacking growing, from a subculture to a slowly dominating culture.

“It thus becomes an assertion of individual defiance of social norms. The byproduct of such exploration is pragmatic knowledge, the disruption of standard patterns of thought, and also dealienation – you see what’s behind the interfaces that surround us, coming closer to the reality of our social world.”

I think this brings to the discussion of the complicated definition of being prosocial or antisocial. Hacking as suggested by the article is about breaking standards to open accesses and therefore opportunities, which in traditional sense is considered anti-social for not following the preset norms. But when hacking is associated with the digital platform that is already open (still exclusive for those who do not have access to the internet and a device), it almost feels rational and unattackable to have things on the platform to be consistent in open access. Otherwise you should not host it on the free platform but another platform that aligns your values on the hackable and shareable open source. And because hacking could be for others and for more opportunities for the general public, it becomes prosocial. It is not essentially about a hacker’s personal leanings of whichever side, but more so about his/her/their standing point of view—the spirit of the ‘way of being.'


3 less common creative technology tools:

vcv rack




“Rather than just bemoaning the restrictions placed on users by institutionalized technological systems, engaged makers have the increasing ability and opportunity to constitute and construct alternatives.”

One has to engage in order to be engaged. Here I am referring to which I believe is a core spirit of social practice/socially engaged art. Like critical making, to engage “viewers” and make them into “participants,” is to transfer the ownership of the work, to extend both the conceptual and physical processes of the work, and to reevaluate the values of work (in this case, being put in the museum/getting design awards is not the final and the most honorable ending). And to turn “participants” into “makers,” is to execute what the article suggests as “material interventions,” where each intervention could provide a different setting and therefore a different version of a project; projects become reusable components of thinking and building, a kit for unlimited critical making.

“The ultimate goal of critical making experiences is not the evocative or pedagogical object intended to be experienced by others, but rather the creation of novel understandings by the makers themselves...The ‘objects’ of critical making are intended to be shared making experiences, curated through both material and textual instructions.”

The challenging part of creating something to be outputted to the society is not the process of itself, nor is it the process of outputting. It is the part where the receiver receives that creates the most unexpected and sometimes problematic results/reactions. Artworks, products, or something else, how things are taken and used do not always align with the intended purposes and actual functions of how they should be. Applying this thought onto the quote, we want objects to have both shared experiences and the ability to share experiences. To achieve that, critical makers will have to first convince themselves of their criticality even before engaging with others, otherwise as Marshall McLuhan ironically stated: “You must talk to the media, not to the programmer. To talk to the programmer is like complaining to a hot dog vendor at a ballpark about how badly your favorite team is playing.” That’s how “material and textual instructions” could be prepared enough to then evolve into something that has the capacity to be shared.

“the ‘push-back’ of the physical electronics – the resistance of reality to our attempts to contain it – is therefore more present...engender a more invested and involved participant”

As a creative technologist with the background of interactive media art, I resonate with this sentence as it has always been a crucial concern regarding how deep the audience engages with my work. Adding a physical element to a work may add the incentive for a first interaction between the audience and the work, which could be a key to inspire them to then critically think about it afterwards. Besides the stimulation and fortified impression of having a multi-sensory experience, still, we need to jump from just the oohs and aahs of the magic of new technologies, or at least use it as a base, to then introduce to the general people, including ourselves, the possibility of critical making. The article brought together the often separated social aspect and technical aspect of critiquing the world, and asked us, with the two combined, to become more “invested and involved” as we all could be critical makers.