Essay on Method Max Dovey
We produce a lot of information don’t we?
I am interested in methods of generating narrative thats improvised and somewhat sketchy, unbalanced, volatile, random. That the audience can also see into, they can see that there is a level of improvisation going on…………
My recent works have been exploring speech recognition programs as a tool for (mis)interpretation in cinema and live performance. In 'Smart Objects' the speech recognition software 'listens' to household objects and translates the sound of their humming, buzzing and whirling sounds into text that appears on screen as subtitles. The on screen microphone detects the sounds made from the objects and presents the interpretations made by the speech recognition software. The words are made by the computer registering phonetic patterns in the acoustics of everyday objects, the (mis)interpretations present the absurdity of social computing and 'smart technology'.
Data & Performance
Computers execute commands using scripts, written in alphanumeric code these texts direct the computer to perform tasks in different ways. The script(s) defines a set of parameters for the computer to perform and respond to the user in certain ways. There is little improvisation in computational scripts. As I type the cursor blinks waiting for me to press a symbol from the keyboard that will become form the next word you will read. What happens when I bend over and press my forehead onto the keyboard for 2 seconds tyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyybv The computer responds to my action like characters react to each others lines in a theatre play. As the scripts become more complex the computer can respond and interpret my behavior in all sorts of performative ways.
‘What we are experiencing for the first time is the ability for language to alter all media’ pg34. (Kenneth Goldsmith – uncreative writing)
Computer code, its alphanumeric set of letters and numbers has within it a poetic rhythm. Kenneth Goldsmith compares rhythmic poetry with the structure of computer programming languages to present similar intonations, and a priority over structure that content. In Uncreative Writing Goldsmith analyses computational processes for their poetic value, addressing the rhythmic properties of code and the linguistic iterations. It is an important text for my work because it presents the performative potential for the way language is distributed in the information age. Every byte of data that flows through the circuits of society can be unpacked to reveal an instruction, a direction to be performed in an appropriate way. This textual landscape that is the infastructure of the digital age flows passed us mostly undetected, we need to begin to sort which is signal and which is noise.
Diary (2013) is a compression of time into a single image, an excess of data and information that cannot be interpreted; it cannot be processed or read. It’s a years worth of day to day meetings, notes, planning, shopping lists all layered onto one image to make an unreadable annual disaster that is visually overwhelming, an overwhelming amount of data that cannot be processed. Information is continually streamed into our lives, through mobile devices and our constant strive to connectivity disrupts the linearity of time into a destabilized present where past and future all exist in the same moment. The desire for real-time technology to bring us up-to-date information will never be satisfied as by the time it reaches us it has already expired and plateaus into an infinite present. Working with the live feeds and real time data and curating this material into content to be adapted, interpreted and performed is a method of understanding it.
One method of performing data has been to re-apporopriate user generated content and perform these packets of information in an exchange with the audience. The automated processing of real time data becomes a co-performer responding to your behaviour in the same temporal environment. Real time data feeds can be piped into a performance and become the basis for an improvised exchange between me and the machine.
And i'm dancing round it persuading it to be my co-performer. To be generative.
To improvise, to act impulsively, to be in a responsive state. I choose to respond to data in this way to embody it to allow for a reflection, a re-enactment.
"Data in the 21st Century is largely ephermeral, because it is so easily produced: a machine creates it, uses it for a few seconds and overwrites it as new data arrives"
The instant feedback in media culture does not allow for distance between event and representation. I can consume and share media events in this instant feedback culture the immediate is now mediated. Mediated information invades my state as I parse data and consume what I can. Re-enactment is often used to form a total identification with its historical subject, I apply re-enactment to mass data as a method of contextualizing the information age. I am avoiding a total identification but creating a distance between myself and the subject for each byte of data to be reinterpreted . The scale and speed of the infastrucutre of the networks is exposed and the subjects are re-appropriated and examined through exchanges with audience where this data is re-enacted upon.
"Performance will be in the twentieth and twenty first century what discipline was to the eighteenth and nineteenth, that is, an onto-historical formation of power and knowledge" (pg 18, McKenzie)
""Performance in the workplace""
I have an example of how the speed of computerional processess affect human behaviour and performance.
"I have started working at a call centre. The computer systems are built to manage and maximize the efficiency of the worker to extreme conditions. The software continuously dials generated numbers until someone awnsers a phone when the worker is then instructed to repeat the text on screen in a sincere tone - applying a human skill that computers have yet to master subject 'empathy'. The relentless computational system maximises efficiency , if you pause and leave the computer at any unauthorised time; a timer display calculates your time not working to deduct from your wage. After each phone call my data is presented to me in a performance chart, the average of other workers compared to my own with red and green colours to illustrate performance goals."
In this case the programs applied in the call centre utilize real time responses to maximise the production of the employee. The human being is understood as something computational, the information of each subject being the most valuable asset to the economy and to modulating control. The digitization of the workplace utilizes the speed of computational processing to extract the best performance from the user. The scripts that direct the interaction of the user can be responded to like the lines of a theatre play. The speed of computational response is a temporal framework for performance, each interaction is a live engagement. To engage with computers in this way produces data, these bytes of noise can become something else. Data is largely ephemeral but it can be re-appropriated to become something else. Real-time is constantly expiring because your news feed is constantly updating. I work with this data to authenticate the unauthentic – tweets, comments, updates all become unvalued information in the bombardment of new information. The immediate has become mediated so in an effort to examine this I re-appropriate streams of data. There is a temporal structural form of real time technology to direct performances and there is a need to validate the excess of data that gets parsed into our daily lives.