Shiftspace: A browser extension (by Dan Phiffer and Mushon Zer-Aviv, ShiftSpace) that enables collaboratively annotating, editing and shifting the web.
What is it: Shiftspace, like my project, was inspired by the control over how users interact on the Internet. In 2007, the Shiftspace team managed to implement 4 different styles of interaction on the meta-layer created by Shiftspace. Users can put “Notes”, highlight text, replace images, and even edit the source code of a website collaboratively. The project didn’t last till today. In fact, their official demo page and website are not accessible.
Good: When I came up with the idea of my project, I had a sense that someone must already made something that enables web-space-specific comments. Here it is: a chrome extension made just for that. Users can develop new plugins for Shiftspace. User can make a “shift” that connect other pages of the website, forming a network of links. The shifts show some relevent information such as the time when something is posted. The idea can be revolutionary, it is worth thinking about why such a promising project failed eventually.
Bad: The interface is not very convenient as users had to press SHIFT and SPACE and then click one of the buttons to use it. The big note can cover important contents of the webpage (they should be made transparent when the cursor is near). The image-swap and sourcecode edit is too invasive and will eventually make users confused about whether it is the original content of the website. The extension does not intend to store any information about the author of the comments, which disables making personal connections between website commenters.
Inspirations: There are of course many challenges to this idea. The most important one is how can one know the two website links are pointing to the same content. Taking the Youtube link, for example, two distinct videos are stored under a query ?v=xxxxxx of video id, but other queries are about giving Youtube metadata. We would like two notes about the same video, although browsed in slightly different url, to appear together. It is challenging to achieve this. Other problems involve the long-tail distribution of visitors. How do you manage comments on https://www.google.com the main page? How do you balance comments with original content? A seemingly simple extension would take a lot of effort to make.
I find the colorful trail that the blob leaves behind really satisfying! It kind of reminds me of the trail that old Windows XP computers would leave behind when they were not responding and you dragged the window around the screen!
Manolo Gamboa Naon
Link to project I really enjoy this project because it reminds me a lot of today… the first day of spring… Persian New Year! I see grass and flowers and beautiful lively color, and it makes me excited for warm weather.
The Psycho Nymph Exile CG-poem project is part of a larger trilogy of narratives ranging from books to sticker sets. Its focus is on telling the story of trauma in multiple medias. The CG-poem is an interactive 3D world that lets the user choose their path through the story. I found this interesting because of the great visuals and deep meaning. I also liked how the visuals matched with the text on screen to create an immersive experience. The Hyper Poem is an interactive poem on the web browser. Clicking words triggers different effects, either revealing more text of the poem or resetting the experience with a metaphoric meaning. I thought that traversing through the different paths was enjoyable and that I wanted to spend more time to uncover easter eggs or secret interactions I had not discovered yet.
Starry Night, ALEX GALLOWAY, MARK TRIBE, AND MARTIN WATTENBERG (1999)
Starry Night is a visualization and navigation tool for Rhizome’s email discussion archive, where emails are represented as stars whose brightness corresponds to how often they’re accessed. Stars are connected into constellations based on shared keywords.
Representing communication as a graph is not a hugely unexpected idea, but I am such a sucker for diagramming intimate thoughts and interpersonal exchanges. By connecting different artists’ thoughts, it adds a communal wholeness to the archive, and representing it as constellations similarly encourages reflection on varying distances and times close and far. It reminds me of commonplace books and a little experiment I did some years ago to explore and find connections among the notes I write to myself.
I think this may have been my looking outwards from the first ML unit I did… funny how I found myself drawn to it once again. It’s just so good – so fleshy and painterly but also not recognizable at all.
The project that caught my attention the most was a real-time SketchRNN project called Scrying Pen by Andy Matuschak on the Chrome Experiments website. The experiment predicts the future strokes of the user as they draw. I have seen a few stroke-based predictive machine learning experiments before, but I this is the most interesting application of it that I’ve seen so far. As I drew, is started to feel less like the algorithm was predicting what my new stroke would be, and more like it was making judgements and suggesting what that stroke should be, and I found myself actually recreating the predictive strokes somewhat, which was somewhat of a strange experience.
This work uses ML to produce images of the artist sleeping. And it’s then made into a kinetic installation where the bed sheet moves from time to time. This work applied ML on a physical installation. It rendered the complex data with a a simple but very effective kinetic installation.
This project used machine learning to generate text descriptions of a set of images of a certain location (such as the one featured in the video), which was then used to create poems that the machine would write. I liked this project because I felt that aesthetically I was drawn to its presentation, as a lot of the visual imagery in the video (rural/ nature-focused) were ones that I could relate to. I also thought conceptually it was incredibly interesting because of its investigation of personal memory through machines– the poems the machine generated were both from the memories of the machine itself, but it also connected to the artist who selected the photos for the dataset. Watching a machine generate a poem from your own memories makes me wonder if such machines could be classified as extensions of the artist or capable of empathy, or as something separate.
Draw to Art is an experiment by Google that matches people’s doodles to paintings, drawings, and sculptures from museums around the world. I really like it because it is a simple project but useful in that it brings people closer to those artworks that were created years ago. This interactive experiment also brings more attention to the pieces that are sometimes neglected because they are less famous.