What do you want to make?
For my graduation project I would like to hook the future up to a video projector. I plan to explore the use of machine learning and image processing technologies as tools for prediction and uncertainty. I would like to document my research through audio, video, and text and publish it as 2 video works:
1) A video work comprising interviews with practitioners within different fields (i.e. media theory, philosophy, occult divination, human perception and cognition) - referred to below as "Research Film"
2) A video work based on three fictional scenarios, which I plan to develop with material generated in 1)- referred to below as "Fiction Film"
How do you want to make it?
1) Research Film
I'm interested in structuring a part of my research through recorded interviews with a series of practitioners active in different fields. If possible (considering COVID) I would like to record these interviews in video form, by going and seeing some people I believe can help me speculate, answer questions and form the basis of the aforementioned fictional scenarios. The questions and things discussed with the interviewees will be re-ocurring through each of the interviews, as based on the research proposal included in the thesis outline.
The film will be a part of my graduation presentation and I plan to structure the interview recordings in the form of a conversation that never took place. The recordings will happen separately but are based on the same topics. This gives me the opportunity to stimulate a conversation between these different recordings with different individuals. I would like to create a simulated panel discussion between the different screens.
2) Fiction Film
As a starting point for the second video, consisting of the three fictional scenarios, I'm interested in using a series of science fiction writing mechanisms and tropes, such as worldbuilding and the construction of dystopian narratives, to navigate my research interests. The result of this will also form the basis of the discussions held within the interviews. I plan to use these discussions as a way to develop the three existing scenarios into chapters of the second video.
I will use the aesthetic properties of various applications of the following frameworks: Computer vision (OpenCV) ImageNet LIDAR (and other high-frequency technology data sets) Photogrammetry (3D reconstruction) Audio reconstruction (?) I would like to use these different techniques to visualise the narrative of each fictional scenario, and foster a more or less direct relation between the story line and the resulting digital imagery. From the experiments I've made so far, I'm interested in using the frameworks mentioned above in order to deconstruct and reconstruct certain audio-visual inputs (data visualisations and footage of geological teritories, digital network infrastructures etc) and speculate on representing potential changes (disasters) to the spatiality and phenomenology of those audio-visual inputs.
Affordances & Back-up plans
If COVID proves to be an impediment regarding mobility, I'm considering the changes I could make to the aesthetic outputs of my project and perhaps also to its scale. If I won't be able to travel and hold the interviews in person, I plan on documenting the talks through video/audio call recording and turn the multi-channel video installation into a podcast appropriate format.
Conversely, if an IRL presentation/exhibition is ruled out, I'll shift the viewing experience of the 2 videos to an appropriate medium for an online context. Instead of programming a multi-channel video sequence, I'll probably be programming a website of sorts.
Why do you want to make it?
I've always held an affinity for dystopian fiction and I believe that translates into my interests for speculative frameworks within my artistic research practice, which is still in its infancy. I would like to use the experiments inherent to this graduation project as a way to further develop my work in terms of producing fiction in relation to my ongoing research.
I believe that the multi-/inter-/trans- disciplinary paradigm shift within the arts actively generates a multitude of questions related to (en-)visioning futures. These questions are increasingly pressing due to the high-velocity, disruptive, multi-scale dystopia that constitutes a great deal of daily life. Therefore, the (computer-generated-) image and all its adjacent vocabularies can be instrumental in the acts of (en-)visioning the future. I believe that the construction of new vocabularies, either verbal or visual, is a characteristic of fiction that is widely employed within artistic discourses, and can be used to dissect, analyse or reimagine contemporary phenomena.
In the case of this project, the potential use of computational tools to record the present and simulate future scenarios is sustained by the belief that the resulting audio-visual imagery can only enrich our perception of present day phenomena and stimulate speculative discourses around notions of progress and futurity. Precise prediction is therefore not a central concern here, but rather the need for picturesque potential futures, attempting to capture both the perceivable and non-perceivable, the likely and the unlikely.
Who can help you and how?
People I would like to interview:
- Amy Ireland
Writer, theorist, member of xenofeminist research collective Laboria Cuboniks Interested in her work on xenopoetics
- Geert Lovink
Writer, theorist, founder of The Institute of Network Cultures Interested in his work on speculative digital networks, mass psychology of the net
- Erik Rietveld
Academic, researcher, lecturer at University of Amsterdam Interested in his work on predictive processing
I'm still looking to include non-academic perspectives within the interview series, such as: Someone who has experience with prediction and uncertainty from an esoteric point of view (i.e. a soothsayer/fortuneteller/general mystic) Someone who's had experience with disasters first-hand (i.e. a survivor/crisis-manager/front-line worker) In terms of the execution of my project, I foresee that I will most likely need help (as in an extra pair of hands) with video & audio production, installation design (regardless if online or offline), and also some editorial things, all of which are likely to be aided by a generous and loving group of my peers.
Needless to say, I'm also excited by any help/guidance/input provided by the awesome bunch of xPUB staff and students ˆ-ˆ
Relation to previous practice
I'm interested in ways of experimenting with and expanding my artistic research related to the work I've done in the past on fictional and speculative frameworks. The timescale of this project is exciting to me as a potential first step or introduction to longer-term research interests, which I would like to consolidate after graduating. While sticking to my regular chosen media (i.e. video, audio, text) as means of publishing research, I believe I can continuously explore the theoretical and technical methods that constitute the potential overlap between different disciplines.
Relation to a wider context
Representation in terms of image processing and data visualisation is an essential component in many fields of study. As mentioned before, I'm interested in the potential of different visualisation tools enhancing our (un-)knowledge regarding the future's phenomenology, especially as a complementary addition to the inherent sensorial limitations of common data visualisation processes.
Here are some examples of practices/disciplines which rely on (en-)visioning tools to access, explicate and cross-reference visualised phenomena:
- Forensic Architecture
- Bruno Latour, Inside https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzPROcd1MuE&feature=emb_logo&ab_channel=ZoneCritique
- Omer Fast - The Casting
- Manu Luksch - Algo-Rhythm
- Future of Life Institute (FLI)
- Post Apocalyptic Survival Studies, University of Oakland
- Establish communication with practitioners within fields of interest (with the aim of requesting an interview) - send out a proposal via email (short description of the project, a broad set of questions to be discussed in the interview, intentions of using the interviews as material for the final project)
- Finalise inquiry/documentation/tools as interview material
- Experiment with different (visual) methods of machine vision - de- and re-constructing images with openCV, photogrammetry, 3d scanning
- Finalise graduate proposal and thesis outline
December / January:
- Finalise draft of first thesis chapter
- Record interviews with relevant practitioners
- Finalise first draft of fictional narratives
- Finalise first draft of thesis
- Begin experimenting with visual translations of the fictional narratives - using the methods mentioned above in the project proposal
- Finalise fictional narratives
- Begin working on research film based on the interview footage
- Begin working on the fictional film
- Finalise second draft of thesis
- Finalise thesis
- Continue working on the research film
- Continue working on the fiction film
- Finalise research film
- Finalise fiction film
Start working on graduation presentation opportunities/limitations