Anti-Ageism : engaging in new media art

Recently I discovered that the act of looking back, reviewing a life, or reminiscing was seen by the medical profession as a pathological aspect of ageing, causing or exacerbating depression and disengagement from everyday life. This was right up until the early 1960s when a paper by Robert Butler, a research psychiatrist at the American National Institute of Mental Health, challenged prevailing views, he in fact coined the term ‘ageism’.

Similarly Apparitions art considers & explores the qualia new media art’s role has in augmenting heritage digitally, creating a hauntology, invoking a hyperreal nostalgia and prodding the Hypokeimenon in Heritage (in metaphysics which literally means the “underlying thing”). To search for the hypokeimenon is to search for that substance which persists in a thing going through change, its basic essence.

 
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Glitches & Ghosts, Lancaster April 17th

Just heard my proposal has been accepted for this really interesting interdisciplinary conference ‘Glitches and Ghosts‘ taking place at Lancaster University on 17th April 2019.
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Glitches are moments of disruption; they represent the exposure of technical process, moving away from the binaries of input and output to consider what comes in-between. The growing ubiquity of interconnected systems prompts a desire to understand such intangible networks around the user, an attempt to try and engage with these digital phenomena as alternate forms of ‘presence’ that cannot help but recourse to anthropocentric terms – virus, cloud, render ghost. The frequent ethereality of such language attempts to visualise, embody, and comprehend the profusion of technical systems that we share the atmosphere with, their very terming gesturing to their spectral protrusion into, ostensibly, ‘our’ reality. The eruption of pixels, voxels, and glitches haunts our peripheral vision, a deceptive representation of a far more intangible sphere.

‘Glitches and Ghosts’ seeks to diagnose and analyse contemporary cultural fascinations with the emergence of these digital artefacts, and how their spectral presence has come to define our current technological moment. This symposium aims to bring together researchers who are enticed by the prospect of re-conceptualising definitions of digital-based ontologies as a paradigm to engage with an era of technophobic anxieties and technophilic domination.

We are delighted to announce Dr. Will Slocombe as our keynote. Will’s research ranges between various aspects of twentieth and twenty-first century literature, focusing primarily on Science Fiction (particularly representations of Artificial Intelligence), Postmodernism, and metafictions of experimental literature. His upcoming book Emergent Patterns: Artificial Intelligence and the Structural Imagination is due out in 2019.

 

Abstract :
This is a self-selecting, inspirational, immersive art experience in three scenes involving my smart phone app that transcends a purely informational use, its presence is anchored to 3 surreal soundtracks, each travelling through time creating a nostalgia for a lost future. It is a significant exploration of the impact of cutting edge ‘augmented reality’ technologies on memory & experience. Influenced by local Victorian & Edwardian heritage the work raises ‘ghost’ buildings up from what artist Brion Gysin called the ‘derelict dead’.
Focussing on my hometown of Hastings & St Leonards I have recreated locations such as St Leonards Pier (destroyed in WWII) & the Albert Memorial (lost to fire in 1973) as virtual 3D models viewable using smartphones. All these places no longer exist.
‘Apparitions’ is a series of 3 digital artworks experienced through the app when viewing postcards with the camera in a smartphone that act as triggers. It uses augmented reality ‘AR’ and I designed and released for free in 2018. In Apparitions these augmented reality landmarks are like ghosts which Smartphones can allow us to see. The effect of AR brings to mind a form of modern-day conjuring or seancing of ghosts or phantasms  or alternatively a form of assisted imaginative time travel that enables you to peer through a portal and down the corridors of history.
In this sense Apparitions explores some similar and overlapping territory with Mark Fisher’s hauntological theories in its creation of spectral imagery and sound in relation to lost landmarks and futures. Accompanying which the use of the words ghosts and apparitions in the project is not dissimilar to the use of ghosts or spectres within some hauntological related work in the way that it infers a sense of the spectral after-images or echoes of items from previous eras.
#glitchesandghosts #glitchconference @GlitchGhosts

 

Suggested topics include:

• Digital art – glitch aesthetics, pixels, voxels, drone shadows, distortion etc.
• Détournement and system subversion – e.g. hacker ‘heroes’ and neoliberal dissent.
• Technophobia – network alienation and technological anxieties.
Glitch and/or ghosts in music – synthwave, sampling, remixes, etc.
• Cloud spectrality, unseen network presences and how we visualise them.
• Ghosts in the machine, electronic voice phenomenon, white noise etc.
• Render ghosts, digital advertising and the disruption of imagined ontologies.
• Doppelgangers, sample image databases and the ‘ownership’ of personal data.
• Unshackled virtual consciousness, e.g. A.I. and the breaking of constraints.
Disruption of the virtual – glitches, bugs, cheats and other subversions.
• Digital spectres – eternal or lingering existence within the network.
• Viral anxieties and data transmission; conceptualisations of network ‘presence’.
• Secular digitalities, virtual ‘gods’ or spirits and ontological transcendence.
• Permanence and/or ephemerality of data, system collapse and user anxiety.
• Creative practice and the deployment of glitches and/or ghosts within media.
• Remixed ontologies, disruption of identity boundaries and bricolage forms.
• Omnipresent networks, ‘invasive’ devices (i.e. Alexa) and disconnection.
• Machine learning and emergent behaviour from algorithmic structures.

http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/glitchesandghosts/

order of sorcery

The “order of sorcery” in ( no its not ) – a regime of semantic algebra where all human meaning is conjured artificially to appear as a reference to the (increasingly) hermetic truth.. the weather vein & Prince Albert from the Clocktower Memorial remain, dislocated

Hyppereal: Unity, SketchUp3D & a poodle

Hyperreality is the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced societies. This video experiment expresses Baudrillard’s description here : “There is not only an implosion of the message in the medium, there is, in the same movement, the implosion of the medium itself in the real, the implosion of the medium and of the real in a sort of hyperreal nebula, in which even the definition and distinct action of the medium can no longer be determined”.
The persistence of a poodle in mixed reality still life, as an Apparition we made in ‘Unity3d’ materialises digitally : the Victorian clocktower of Hastings is conjured in strobe light and manifested shuddering like a phantom as my dog gazed through the whole experiment!

exploring mixed reality, hauntology & sonic anchors

I first used glass cloches for display in my work ‘SleepCycles‘ in Technology is Not Neutral in Brighton, 2016. Burning candles atop each dome for set numbers of hours expressed each one as a different stage of sleep. So the wax-dripped dome shown here is a particularly narrow and tall model that suits containment of the clocktower, if such a public landmark could be put into a protective bubble. Today I explored how to trigger the AR from outside the glass, with different strong natural lighting effects and with sound from the app and the immediate environment.

Apparitions : Hastings’ Victorian gothic clocktower & Sufi music in India / Augmented reality 2

(Turn sound on ) One more screen capture of Apparitions – mixing reality of Hastings’ lost landmarks taken to India – triggering on iPad screen capture through ‘Recordit’, turn sound on to hear the ensemble of Sufi music playing over the AR triggered soundscape. The sounds I chose when making the app are encompassing its lifetime and space in Hastings, East Sussex, UK from 1862-1973. In this moment seagulls fly over and a 1920’s motor car drives past, we experience the clocktower’s chime and sounds overlaid on the peaceful Sufi music playing in the hotel gardens of Faluknama Palace, Hyderabad in India from augmented reality – Get the app free here : https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/apparitions-ar/id1431496591?mt=8

Hastings Memorial triggering from a postcard outside Mumbai’s legendary CSMT railway

 

‘Bombay Gothic’ backdrop for Apparitions

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Apparitions app, iPhone6 Plus

I recently visited India with a work permit for an arts assignment and was amazed and had to trigger some of my ‘AR’ art nearby in its stunning ‘Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai’ (as recommended by the World Heritage Committee.) The Gothic style is dramatic, with split facades and deep shadings, embellished with etchings and engravings. The Memorial Clocktower of Hastings (1862-1973) that I created as the first ‘Apparitions_Art‘ stood proud in front of the main railway station of Chhatrapati Shivaji, once known as the Victoria Terminus built around the same time.

Once fondly called Bombay, Mumbai is the largest city in India, home to over 18 million people. The city is filled with architectural gems influenced by styles that include Gothic, Victorian, Indo-Saracenic, Art Deco and contemporary. Gothic architecture originated in India under the British Raj or Crown Rule during the mid-19th century. It became popular in Britain and naturally crossed over to India, where British architects chose to practice their new art form on Indian soil.

Here will be a link to a page of Hastings Memorial Clocktower appearing in Hyderabad  & Mumbai, India in January 2019.

Additional Apparitions

Queen Victoria (born 24 May 1819) and Prince Albert her husband (born 26 August 1819) would both be 200 in 2019. This could be marked in Hastings by an exciting new free public experience that will continue for many years to come. The Clocktower Memorial was erected with public money to commemorate  Victoria’s beloved husband Prince Albert in 1862 in the town centre. The site chosen was where Victoria and Albert (then Prince and Princess of Wales) were addressed by the fishermen of the town in June 1882. This site was originally where the Priory Bridge crossed the Priory Stream. And now it is preserved as an Augmented Reality artwork which anyone with a smartphone can view (and hear) when they pass through town.

You can download and start experiencing Apparitions right now if you are an iOS (Apple) user – iPad or iPhone.. of course we realise the demand for an identical Android version and that’s exactly what we are working on for 2019.

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The Clocktower was demolished in 1973 and a mainly pedestrianised space remains with neither clock or any other method of  replacement memorial to this public funded sculpture. Prince Albert’s statue luckily was protected for 50 years and reappeared late in 2017 outside HBC town hall.

 

I propose ‘AR’ markers to trigger a select ‘Apparition’ using my app, once the additional costs for an identical build is achieved – so both Android and Apple Smartphones will enable the experience. The markers will need to be attached to bollards, railings or lampposts in the vicinity of each original location.

So far I have created models of :

The Clocktower Memorial

St Leonards Pier

Both of these have been identified as being in the HBC domain, so they would be able to choose a mounting place for small metal triggers, like laser engraved postcards with the instruction for location of free download for both platforms.

What I discovered was how missed the cricket ground is, and this was voted as the next missing landmark to be preserved and augmented in an ‘Apparition’. In the Priory Meadow there is a statue of a cricketer, and I propose the 3D cricket grounds and buildings appear from around this stature as the embedded trigger.

 

This would enable the lost landmarks to be experienced when visiting their original location. For a small extra cost 100,000 postcards could also be printed and available to collect from HBC tourist information, library, town hall and Stade which would enable anyone to download the app, and trigger the experience by viewing the postcard using their smartphone from wherever they are.

In order to support a further small arts council award I have Identified potential sponsors / activity partners who I will contact in January 2019 :

Jempsons

The Royal Victoria Hotel

Priory Meadow Shopping / Love Hastings

Hastings Borough Council, Hastings Museum

So, as well as The original Hastings Cricket ground I would also like to make an Apparition of St Leonards Church which has had to close due to subsidence and The Amsterdammer shipwreck which is only accessible a few times each year when the tide is significantly out.

Hauntology

Since I began this artwork the concept of hauntology which was new to me has heavily influence my creative output – I read first about it in Stephen Prince’s book ‘A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields: Journeys in Otherly Pastoralism, the Further Reaches of Folk and the Parallel Worlds’ and he told me was informed of Hauntology from the writer Mark Fisher’s whose books I am consuming – firstly ‘Ghosts of my Life : Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures’ & now ‘K-Punk’. Clearly all authors written routes are traced back to its origin from Derrida.

Hauntology – (a portmanteau of haunting and ontology[1]) is a concept coined by philosopher Jacques Derrida in his 1993 book Spectres of Marx. The term refers to the situation of temporal, historical, and ontological disjunction in which the apparent presence of being is replaced by a deferred non-origin, represented by “the figure of the ghost as that which is neither present, nor absent, neither dead nor alive.”
If you view my work in augmented reality I would like you to keep this in mind