Archive for the ‘week_3’ Category

Week_3: Robotics and Kinetic Art by Jessica Amaya

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

    After making their first appearance in Karel Capek’s 1920 playwright, robots have become a topic of great interest. Capek described them as highly intelligent machines which will ultimately destroy the human race. Numerous movies such as i,Robot, and Wall-E depict what robots are capable of doing to humans.  Both movies  show how dependence on robots grows as robots gain “intelligence” and human like skills. However, i,Robot portrays the darker side of robot development  more explicitly than Wall-E. Yet, no matter what movies show the reality we are living today is that robots are still under total control of humans. Interactions between humans and robots does exist, however, but to a limited extent. Take Asimo, the robot from Honda, for example, it can shake someones hand but it cannot discuss their problems and thoughtsasimo-robot1.                                                 

There are other robots in existence today that serve as a form of entertainment such as electronic dogs, and robots that play instruments such as the violin and the trumpet. 


There are also robots that are used by the military to do the “dull, dirty and dangerous” jobs. Yet, they do not only use them for that but also for other projects and word is going around that by the year 2025 robots will be used for battle as well. Issac Asimov’s vision, which was an opposition to Capek’s, that robots and humans don’t necessarily have to end in destruction, but rather live in harmony is becoming closer to reality.

     Robotics are in a way a form of kinetic art. They are movable creations that were at some point drawn into a type of canvas illustrating their basic components. Not that kinetic art needs to be drawn on paper or any other material. Robots are in a way the ultimate form of kinetic art, because they are able to do more than just move. Robotics and kinetic art have added a new plane into the realm of art. No longer must art be a painting, or an unmovable sculpture, but something that includes that and more. Kinetic art for example becomes a way for the artist to find their own way of expressing themselves. For some people kinetic art becomes a way of doing what makes them happy, like the artist Arthur Ganson who found a way to follow his love of working with his hands with the aid of kinetic art.  To look at him talking about his work follow this following link.

     Robotics and kinetic art, in a way, become a road for us to interact with art and creativity at a closer level. Week three was fascinating because it linked all the previous weeks together, math and art, and it added a new branch to it, motion.


Week 3 - Photography - Esteban Torres

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

new_york_moments“Photography” by Esteban Torres 703 668 694

            The readings for this week on digital and mechanical reproduction brought made me think about the art I used to do in high school.  I did photography for one year and digital art on photoshop for a few months as well.  My teacher, Charlie Lemay ran a successful photography program that produced some pretty incredibly student work because right off the bat, he taught students the “zone system.”  By memorizing certain steps and having some understanding of the operating ways of the camera, we were quickly able to produce photos with a very full, rich range of tonality.             

            So with this to work with, we could focus on finding those great pictures and focus on the artistic side of photography, which is definitely an art.  There are many people that criticize photography because one uses a camera to capture reality.  No paintbrush, no creation.  But there IS creation, tons of it.  It is an ability to see.  During my year taking photography, my eyes began to work in a different way.  I was always looking for those things that are there that make the world beautiful.  And I am not just talking about a beautiful flower or a beautiful sunset.  As our teacher told us, a good photographer could go outside and make amazing photographs even if we told him he could stay in a place that is thirty feet by thirty feet.  A photograph can be beautiful because of so many things.  It can provoke feelings, ranging anywhere from flow, to pointiness to sublime.  There are so many possibilities.

            I personally enjoyed the mid-distance photographs because they are harder to find/construct than extreme close-ups, which are usually easier to find aesthetic beauty.  But the reward of a good mid-distance photograph always seemed greater.  Besides developing in the darkroom and such, we also printed from computers and processed the photographs on photoshop.  One can do really amazing things on photoshop that are really hard or impossible to do in the darkroom.  But I do understand that at some point, a photograph can be processed so much that you lose something.  You feel it as you change the photograph sometimes.  And there is certainly a line that could be drawn. 

            Look at color photography in those cliché posters of tropical paradise, where the sky edges are so burned in that the blue is just disgusting.  The water is made so intense that it loses something real. 

            But if photography is art, we do not need the real, right?  My opinion is you can do what you want.  But I will never appreciate the disgustingly photoshopped reds of a dorm room poster depicting a sunset.  And it is fine for art, even if it is bad art.  But people photoshop for everything.  Every brochure for a tropical paradise – photoshopped.  Sometimes photoshop can be used so the image looks like it ACTUALLY did before, but some just go overboard and this is false advertisement.  What is art?  This question is not as important to me as What is good art?  And only I can answer that question for myself.  

Week3_Aura of reproduced art_by Heeseok Lee

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Walter Benjamin and Davis Douglas both argued about replicated art and claimed that replicated art loses aura, which is authentic and genuine quality that is only held by original piece. It caused me to start questioning me “Does replicated copies of art that I appreciate not really give the same quality that master piece does?” Because of technological advance such as computer programs and robotic works, numerous replicas are pouring out theses days. Before evaluating whether replica has aura, it is true that replica really do good function as an efficient method for public to reach and experience “expensive art”. Basically, it is really hard to appreciate a masterpiece for people without replicas of it. Again, as I get back to the main point, I think reproduced art doesn’t lose “aura”, and it retains a new aura or new originality rather than losing authentic quality. It is easily to see many orchestras around nations playing great pieces of music, but there is anyone who argues that the music, itself loses “aura” because the orchestras replicate and reproduce. Even more music critics often say that some orchestras’ performing is amazing and even goes beyond the limit that writer of the music couldn’t even think or intend. As pieces of music being played by many people, it has been improved.
As technology advances, robots and computers are playing big roles in reproducing and replicating artworks; furthermore they even create very fine artworks.  Robots are producing nearly perfect replica reflecting how masterpieces it appear. Although robots are programmable machines, they can manipulate or interact embedded information without human intervention.

Douglas Davis argue in his writing, “The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction”, that

Reproduction is physically and formally chameleon. There is no longer a clear conceptual distinction between original and reproduction in virtually any medium. These two states, one pure and original, the other imitative and impure, are now fictions. Images, sounds, and words are received, deconstructed, rearranged, and restored wherever they are seen, heard, and stored. What has happened to the aura surrounding the original work of art, so prized byy generations of collectors and critics? Digitalization transfers this aura to the individuated copy. Artist and viewer perform together. The dead replica and the living, authentic original are merging, like lovers entwined in mutual ecstasy.

Also, he mentions “By finding the means to transfer my early video works from analog to digital media, I can contemplate revisions on my computer that will allow me to change my mind, two decades later, about points where I erred long ago.”  I really agree with his claims and think that there is not hierarchy between original and digital reproduction. As showed on his experience of transferring his video works to digital media, technology even enables the artist to explore a new stage of his/her creativity with many tools. I believe that technology does not take away the originality in an artwork rather give new interpretations of its original piece. Replica, itself has a unique expression and interpretation unlikely the original has.

By Heeseok Lee

Week 3- Roboloco by: luis A. Hernandez

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

This week while discussing the 4th dimension as time and space mathematics and robotics, the topic that really got me thinking was Robotics. Robots. Humans. And if there isn’t already… robot and human interaction. Mainly I’m interested in what this means for our society, our environment, and our everyday ritual. Already as it is the human experience is deeply dependent on ‘robots-’ machines that do thinking for us. This could be as simple as a calculator, for example. Although I do acknowledge the efficiency that these robots are capable of, which ultimately lead to other discoveries, I also see that this dependence on robots also leads to devolution.

A devolution in the sense of human interaction. I could easily see texting or instant message as an advancement or something super convenient, but in reality, I also see people devolve when confronted by something other than a flashing LED screen or monitor. What I mean by this particular example of human interaction and communication is that people have grown so used to this technology that takes them away from the stress, the emotions, the full awkwardness, interpreting body language, interpreting emotion through vocal sound typical in human confrontation/ interaction.

Can we really devolve to a state where one becomes humanly incapable of doing all the above?
I’m still trying to figure out if this is happening either because of the mere convenience factor or if it is because humans are really just seeking an escaping from the negatives of typical human interaction. Either way, I feel like no one really benefits from robots(texting/ instant messaging/ ect.). Don’t get me wrong, if it wasn’t for IM or social networking sites such as Facebook or myspace, I would not be in such close contact with people that are far away from me that I really care about.

As you can see, for me, the only issue with robotics and such things is the probability of this kind of human devolution. There is this really great show on HBO which I’m obsessed with called Flight of the Conchords and one of their songs talks about the future as the year two thousand and how humans are dead and robots have taken over the world. Its intent is obviously to be comedic but I began to wonder if it is already that way which it is described in the song.

I have included the links to the you tube video formats. One of them is the actual song and the other is just what was played while the ending credits rolled which is a Binary Solo… which is genius. The talk about how the humans were killed with poisonous gases and that led me to think of warfare and all the human lives lost to such robots. It really is quite sad I see it that way but I can’t help it. Also there is this line where he says, ” Affirmative, I poked one and it was dead” which just makes me think about the insensitivity that such robots have. A sensitivity that can’t really be taught or incorporated into their mechanical make-up. If this wasn’t the case, I’m pretty sure I would feel differently about machines and robots. Then again, if this was the case, I’m pretty sure robots wouldn’t be moved to destroy whole villagaes and things like that.

The Humans are Dead

Binary Solo

by luis A. Hernandez

Robots & War by Komal Kapoor

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

This week’s lecture was a bit eerie, especially Ken Feingold’s art. It was strange watching three representations of him discussing philosophical ideas.  The technology we have created today can be attributed to the imagination of great creative thinkers such as Karel Capek and Isaac Asimov. The topic of robots and robotics cannot be appreciated without the mention of Isaac Asimov who was the first person to use the word robotics. His series of short stories, I, Robot has now been engrained in our minds by Will Smith’s performance in the subsequent movie. Asimov wrote I robot in 1950. His ideas inspired George Devol (inventor) and Joseph Engelberger (Engineer) to bring his imagination to life. Thus, the first robot was created by them in 1956. This once again reminds me of Albert Einstein who said “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Asimov’s seemingly peculiar idea of machines taking over human tasks was brought to life.  

Now, almost half a century later, we have the imaginative works like The Matrix and Iron Man that lead me to question who will work on bringing these works of media art into existence. Will we be waiting in line to get programmed to learn how to fly a plane anytime soon? Maybe. But with that comes the uneasy question of war bots. Already there are US Air Force systems like Predator that are unmanned, remote control machines that have successfully killed alleged terrorists. The next direction they are taking is automated fire. As one article expresses, “most of the pieces are already in place to create a “Terminator” machine that roams the battlefield unaided, dispensing death and destruction at will”. Hopefully these machines will follow Asimov’s laws for robots!


Law Zero: A robot may not injure humanity, or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
Law One: A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, unless this would violate a higher order law.
Law Two: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with a higher order law.
Law Three: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with a higher order law.

-Komal Kapoor

Week3_Pop Culture or Science Fiction?

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

The beginning of week three brought a lot of excitement to many of the south campus majors, especially engineering majors like myself. What is more exciting than kinetic art? Robotics? Old 80s movies? Not much.

What interested me most were the talks about Ken Feingold and Chico MacMurtrie. I found it so interesting that artists and engineers were working together (two cultures … ironic) to create robotic art that mimicked human behavior. In fact, judging my Ken Feingold’s website, robot people are definitely his forte. They range from a creepy selection of animatronic marionettes to dismembered talking robot heads. It even turns out that, in some of his exhibits, these “heads” are actually imitations of his own anatomy. Here we have someone who has dedicated his life and career to making machines like humans.

A lot of the lectures this week actually focused on pop culture art as well, including a lot of literature and film work. Anything from the terminator to a silent Charlie Chaplin film seemed to encompass a representation of significant scientific advancements consistent with the time of production. Let’s analyze what pop culture means. Wikipedia says:

Popular culture (or pop culture) is the collection of ideas that are popular, well-liked or common and create the prevailing culture. These ideas are heavily influenced by mass media. Popular culture is the views and perspectives most strongly represented and accepted within a society. Popular culture is also considered to be the widespread cultural elements in any given society that are perpetuated through that society’s vernacular language or lingua franca.

It was this definition and the lectures of this week that led me to an interesting observation. The paradox between robots with human-like qualities and humans with… robot-like qualities.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Tattooing has gone from taboo to a significant piece of pop culture in the last few decades. Within the tattoo realm of ink and pain is a special category of tattoo art dedicated to designs as seen as above and below. These are called biomechanical tattoos, bio- for the human part and mechanic- for the machine component. As they became increasingly popular they also became more detailed and more believable…

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Exhibit C - By far the most intricate and realistic of the bunch.

It seems to me there is a desperate strive for perfection on the grandest level. We will only be truly accomplished when humans are machines and machines are, in fact, human. Will the words become synonymous? I dare say it was never the intention of an artist struggling to depict either species that they be entirely confused with one another. Instead I believe it is the intention for the two to be harmonious. Man working alongside machine and vice versa. The body art amazes me. The thought that someone can so permanently transform themselves is exceptional.

This brought me to the startling conclusion that humans themselves are walking pieces of kinetic art. No matter what decorates the outside (Stainless steel or skin, ink or paint) everything that moves is a biological art phenomenon. The premise is an abstract one, about as abstract as the fourth dimension. But the ramifications of this human-machine theory are widespread. The man vs. machine battle disappears when they are one being and therefore cease to exist.

-Lindsey Dawson

PS - I’d say ‘Family Guy’ is an element of today’s pop culture. For a hilarious video that’s completely relevant to this post follow this link.

Week 3 by Brittany Santoyo

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

One can argue that society is completely dependent on technology, with the main emphasis today on robotics. Technology, however can lead to terrible things such as corrosiveness and obliteration. Don’t misinterpret, I understand that research can save nations and is exceedingly beneficial, on the other hand, technology that has “turned to the dark side” is even more deteriorating than one can imagine. My opinion, therefore, is significantly split.

Technology can essentially lead to peril, as especially depicted in films. For instance, I-Robot starring Will Smith illustrates a city whose world is completely reliant on its “robot maids.” Conversely the robots, being programmed to be especially intelligent, devise a strategy to override their manuals in order to take over the world. This film is just one of the many that are released in our society today. 

One true instance of research disaster is a story of a military robot cannon that is able to detect targets on its own, but needs a human in which to operate. However, this cannon recently has been seen to maneuver on its own and therefore killing innocent people and harming even more.  On top of this, it seems that as every day that goes by, our world is becoming more and more reliant on technology. We have, in essence, become so lazy that if something were to happen with machines today, our world would not exist as we know it. Such as the recent “Y2K” incident that terrified and haunted the dreams of, to a large extent, all of the people on earth. It was said that at the second the new millennium commenced, all computers would be reset and our world would deteriorate from that point forward. This thought is the most frightening, shocking thing I have ever heard; that our society is that much dependent on a piece of metal that life would suffer if it were to be nonexistent.

There is even a Family Guy episode showing, humorously, how robots are created for the betterment of mankind, but all turns around when they develop unplanned feelings to kill humans. (minute 4:25) This epidemic of technology addiction doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all, but speeding up. If one surveys a movie taken place 30 years from the present, people are dressed in spacesuits and don’t even have to get up because machines are there to serve it to them enabling them to decrease in become even more immobile.

On the other pole of this argument is the fact that technology and advancement in research is the way that our society is able to function. They have enabled the prolongation of human life, the ease of almost any task, and the ability to better discover the world outside of our planet Earth. For example, Mars Rover is a robot that the United States launched to uncover the truth about previous life on Mars through water sources. A human would never be able to do this and therefore extend our basic abilities. 

Also, new robots are in the works for about 2025 to perform hazardous jobs that humans should not attempt in order to keep our race from harm. This creation is even aimed to be able to heal itself! Now, that is an awesome kind of Wolverine thing that amazes almost anyone! Robots and technology enable us to reach beyond our hindrances and achieve more.

Now, I’ll let the reader be the judge of which opinion is desirable because I honestly don’t know what to think considering the chaos and mixed-messages in our world today. Which side contains more pros than cons and whose opinion is it that matters?

by Brittany Santoyo

Week3_The Information Imbalance

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

As I read “The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by Walter Benjamin I was struck by the similarities between Walter Benjamin - a person I assume is representative of the artistic elite of the 1930s - and American realtors in the 90s. This might seem like a very bizarre connection to be making, but indulge me and I will explain.
I am currently reading “The World Is Flat 3.0” by Thomas L. Friedman, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who writes for the New York Times. The title of the book is a metaphor for what globalization is achieving in today’s world - a level playing field. One of the points Friedman makes is that, in the past, there was an imbalance of information which contributed to the rise of so-called experts. I use the term “so-called experts”, not because I do not believe in the existence of experts, but rather because these “experts” were only able to achieve this status by way of access to priveleged information. In the book, Friedman provides realtors as an example of such experts. Before the internet became as pervasive as it is, anybody who wanted to buy or sell a house was required to go through a realtor. This was largely in part due to the fact that realtors had exclusive access to databases full of property listings. Only realtors could add to or query said databases, giving them a distinct advantage in connecting sellers and buyers. With the rise of the internet, websites sprung up that provided the average seller or buyer with the ability to create and query listings, marginalizing the significance of the realtor. In today’s global economy, it is not just the realtor who is at risk of becoming margninalized by the globalization of the economy. Many American workers are at risk of becoming marginalized unless they adapt their skills and learn to compete on a global stage.
How does this relate to Walter Benjamin? Walter Benjamin experienced a similar phenomenon in the 1930s, when art began to be reproduced using mechanical means. Prior to the ubiquitous availability of digital - or mechanical - reproductions, being an art expert was limited to those individuals who were fortunate enough to have the means and opportunity to see, hear or experience the original works of art. Naturally, as reproductions become more readily available, the elite, at risk of losing their advantage, reacted by trying to regain their edge. Realtors reacted in much the same way as they came to appreciate that their advantage was at risk. The artistic elite claimed that the “aura” was lost in a reproduction and realtors claimed that websites would never give people the care and personable experience a realtor could provide. Eventually, natural forces fleche out unfair advantages in any system and it is in everybody’s best interest that they are. Imagine if we were still relying solely on the elite upper class for literary and artistic criticism today.

Enrico Mills

Week 3

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

To make a generalization, average people use robots are for entertainment and/or because they are extremely lazy. Robots have really come a long way from when they were first introduced into the society. I understand that they are a necessity to some careers and that I probably use robots more then I think, but I really think that they were invented because people are just plain lazy. For example, creates and sells robots for entertainment and household needs. They have a robot that is names iRobot this robot sole purpose is to fit into the rain gutter on your home and clean out the leaves and dirt. Why would you waste your money on something that you can do with a water hose of your own hands. I consider myself a minimalist and this piece of junk would sit around my home and never be used. When I buy things for my home I ask my self three questions, do I need it? Do I love it? Will it make me money? If it doesn’t fit in any of those then why have it?


   also sells a product that is a robot you build yourself, this robot has video, audio, and motion capability. Basically you build this robot to spy on people? -Actually not quite sure of its use, except for entertainment. This robot can also be remotely controlled using the Internet from anywhere in the world. It also plays music and can record video. When I think of the practicality of this robot, I just think that the user is lazy. Say a married couple has this robot and the wife asks the husband to check on their baby sleeping in the other room, rather then going and checking himself he looks at his computer and moves the robot to check. Now, this seems ridiculous! This same concept can be given to the robot vacuums the clean your floor by themselves. -It just seems silly!


Video and explanation of some of these robots


            All of these things remind me of Wall-e the people portrayed in this movie are extremely lazy, and robots and machines have ruined the world we live in and forced us out, but yes this movie is a bit extreme. I do think that we have come so far from the industrial revolution, and the amount of labor needed to create a product if much less then what it use to be. My big issue with the whole robot thing is being practical about what they are making robots for, and keeping the humans of the world active and working to accomplish their goals. I am in fear that one day we wont have to do anything robots will do everything for us.



I really thought that the robots used, as a medium for art in the lecture were weird. It was a bit creepy because they really did look like humans. I did recognize that use of technology and art becoming fused together, which is interesting. I guess I can’t get my head wrapped around it completely yet, but I am sure we will be seeing more and more of this. The future and the realm of art, math, and science is being opened more and more.


Andrew Ruesch

Week3: War and Science_Simon Wiscombe

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

The professor, during the lectures in the past week, touched briefly on the influence of war in the development of science. While I will not argue that it has been a major source of technological advances and, especially during the Cold War, it has fueled millions towards progress, I cannot help but feel as though this representation of science is a precarious path to take. Allowing science to be primarily fueled by war is a sad state for science, but it is a trap that we have, unfortunately, fallen into in the United States.

A breakdown of the 2008 federal scientific research money highlights this unfortunate severance [presentation link]:

gov_research_spendingIt would appear, even in times such as these, that the defense budget retains most of the federal research allocations. Science, as a result of this, has also become very synonymous with the department of defense. Such a task is something that must be separated. If anything, the defense budget should be science applied, not science being the result of the need of defense.

This brings me to my next point: science for the sake of science and art for the sake of art. Science is suffering a very similar plight to art, as it stands. Constantly, those who are not in the world of artists (namely politicians and scientists) are constantly asking artists the inevitable question: what’s the point? There is no completely appropriate answer, of course, as art exists for the sake of being art. It is meant to be enjoyed as it was designed to be. It doesn’t necessarily have to have a higher purpose.

NASA (and similar scientific organizations) is facing similar prejudices. Its relevance has been called into consideration often in the recent past, but NASA’s foundation is similar to that of art: it is science for the sake of science, for the sake of discovering what exists outside of our current realm of understanding. Will there be a direct application? Maybe, but for now, may we let science exist as science and art exist as art?

Simon Wiscombe