Author Archives: RogueRabbit

Culture Jamming Part 1

I chose the clenched fist image to manipulate for this assignment. It is often associated with the Black Panther Party and is a common symbol of solidarity for a variety of causes.

2009 Facebook Advert
Obviously it has been appropriated repeatedly over the years (I think the 2009 Facebook advert shown shows just how grossly misappropriated it can be!).
The idea of food freedom (the ability to choose to eat how you want, grow what you want, sell to whom you want) is under fire. We are rapidly losing the right to choose how we obtain our food and who we obtain it from is being cracked down on left and right. 
The US government and it’s various agencies are working diligently to make sure we are only eating foods that have been grown to be less nutritious and have had Monsanto’s dirty hands on it (the head of the FDA was formerly a Monsanto executive – talk about a conflict of interest). They are systematically dismantling the small, local food sources in favor of mass farmed, GMO crops. 
I imagined this appropriation when I had an assignment to generate logos for a non profit. I didn’t really develop it beyond the thumbnail, as my instructor thought it was too controversial.

I’ve created 24 stickers on a clear sticker paper that I will distribute in various locations over the next 24 hours. I have a few places in mind and will likely start tonight. 
I also did another piece, that might be a bit harder to insert into the public. My street often as no parking/no stopping signs due to construction. (I am rarely ever home, but it looks sort of like I missed my opportunity for the easy target as of today. I didn’t see any signs this morning.) 
I’ll post my photos before class on Tuesday!

Illustrator

Illustration using combination of Illustrator (line work) and Photoshop (painting)

I just wanted to post some examples of what is possible once you get the hang of Illustrator and start using it in conjunction with programs such as TinkerCAD or Photoshop. I’m in the Study Commons at the moment, so I can’t put together any how to videos, but I figured I’d show you the power of Illustrator once you get the hang of it.

Mixed Media using vector files created in Illustrator to cut paper using CNC cutting machine
(still waiting on my laser cutter)
Paper flowers created from vector files in Illustrator. Again used in conjunction with CNC paper cutting machine
Technical drawing using Illustrator instead of hand drafting
Technical drawing using Illustrator
Product rendering using combination of Illustrator and Photoshop
Product rendering using combination of Illustrator and Photoshop
3D print using scalable vector graphics (.svg file), imported into TinkerCAD
and printed on a Type A Machines Printer
Laser rastered and cut medallion using scalable vector graphics on
Epilog 60 watt laser
Laser etched logo using scalable vector graphics on Epilog 60 watt laser
Save the Date cards designed in Illustrator to take advantage of scaleable boarders
to be usable for invitations, reply cards and map cards.
Letter press using scalable vector graphics that have been 3D printed

Culture Jamming Reading Assignment

I have to say that Dery’s Culture Jamming_:_Hacking, Slashing and Sniping in the Empire of Signs is one of the better reading assignments I’ve had in a while. While it’s slightly dated (written in 1993), I feel a lot of the points he brings up are still valid today, if not more so, as our culture is so “connected” that the 7 hours a day of television exposure he mentions is a drop in the bucket with our current level of access.

‘Dwindling funds for public schools and libraries, counterpointed by the skyrocketing sales of VCRs and electronic games, have given rise to a culture of “aliteracy,” defined by Roger Cohen as “the rejection of books by children and young adults who know who to read but choose not to.”‘

While the reference to VCRs is totally dated (there is a whole generation of youth who don’t know what a VCR is or what a VHS tape looks like), I think that “aliteracy” is the perfect term for what is going on. Everything is fed to us via some form of media. I fucking HATE infographics, video and sound bites. At some point, being fed information in these forms is going to create such bias, that people are going to stop questioning what is being said to them. I can’t tell you how many times I see people passing along information on Facebook or something that is completely absurd and if they took a moment to research, they would find that it is not true. But someone made a video or someone knows a thing or two about Photoshop and made a legit looking infographic so it must be true.

If Dery thought it was bad in 1993 when he said “The effects of television are most deleterious in the realms of journalism and politics; in both spheres, TV has reduced discourse to photo ops and sound bites, asserting the hegemony of image over language, emotion over intellect.”, he’d be hard pressed to say that there have been any changes for the better in the intervening 20 years. News is no longer objective, it is completely opinion these days. God forbid if you don’t agree with someone else’s opinion – we must declare war upon those seditious traitors, God damnit.

We were just at the beginning of the true 24 hour news cycle when this piece was written and it’s only become worse. Dery states “The conversion of American society into a virtual reality was lamentably evident in the Persian Gulf War…” and posits “…the American people demanded the right not to know.” later in the same paragraph. We have become a vapid society that keeps it’s head buried in the sand and only want to know what porn star Kim Kardashian is wearing or what absurd name the celebrity of the moment has given their offspring (Hell, I admit I occasionally fall into the trap because it’s not worrisome and has absolutely no bearing on the world).

I’ll be honest, insert internet for television throughout the article, and it would still be completely and totally relevant and as though it was written last week, not 2 decades ago. I could write for days about this topic and how I feel about it.

By the way, this was also the ONLY time I’ve ever had any part of Buadrillard’s Precession of Simulacra feel like it related to the material and topic at hand. (If you haven’t read it, I don’t necessarily recommend it – You will want to rip your hair out) but the analogy of the hall of mirrors really applies to our current reality. It can be impossible to tell what is real, what is fake, how to interpret experience and the like.

In the year……..

2074

Yikes. I’ll be 95.

It’s weird to think that far in the future. It’s also SO hard to imagine. When I think of how much things have change since I was little in the 80’s, I don’t know if I would have thought this was where we would be.

Though, if you really think about it, according to Back to the Future and The Jetsons (and many more) we should even beyond where we are. We should have flying cars. (I’m really glad we don’t when I think about how bad people are at driving on the ground).

I really shutter to think about where we will be in 2074 in all honesty. As much as I like technology and appreciate the advances and comfort they bring us, I sort of fear a Matrix style world. I may still be around (my grandpa is 91 and he has siblings that are in their mid to late 90’s) but I’m not sure I want to see how technology is going to overtake us.

My first prediction is sort of based on a childhood fear. When I was a kid, I was terrified that I was going to have someone hear my thoughts. I was so afraid someone could read my mind, so I tried never to think mean thoughts. We currently have text messaging, IM, and more to communicate. But 60 years from now, what if we are able to selectively “send” our thoughts to intended recipients? (my husband and I already sort of use “thought pushing” to communicate – thought not very accurately at times). Imagine being able to select a “friend” from your “contacts” and just think what you want to tell them. They are able to hear your thought instantaneously and in your voice. It’s not perfect. Are they doing to develop “thought waiting”? Do you have a “thought bank” that logs your incoming thoughts like a text message? I kind of like that idea.

The second prediction is based on two things that are really important to me. 3D printing and food. Obviously our food system is broken. I believe in sustainable food. I am paleo. I believe people should have connection to their food. There are a lot of people who do not necessarily feel that way. Including the douche who created Soylent. Many people have no kitchen skillls. Many people feel that food is a “hassle”. My vision of future food (even though I don’t want any part of it) is that we will basically have printers that print “food” from a variety of pastes that may or may not actually be food. Likely they will be created in a lab. Keep the people sick and keep them in control. What better way to do that than to outlaw activities that keep people connected to their food and organics and then convince people that eating is something you can replace with items from a lab. Not an ideal future, but it sort of feels as though we are headed that way now.

The last idea was inspired by Google Glass (I work around a lot of nerds. I live in an area that tech geeks converge upon for conventions. I see a lot of google glass). Instead of a wearable “glass” it will be directly augmented by rewiring electrical synapses and micro controllers. Your field of view will basically have a “heads up” display built in. Again, not sure how I feel about the idea but it sort of seems like the next step based upon the direction we have been going.

I have a real love/hate relationship with technology. I appreciate what it adds to our lives, but I also can see the damage it may cause to individuals and society if not utilized carefully and kept out of the wrong hands.

Vannever Bush

I have to say in reading As We May Think  by Vannever Bush, I was blown away by his vision of the future and how much of it is a reality for us today. It also made me think of conversations I have had with my 91 year old grandfather about the technological advances he’s seen in his lifetime (These conversations were largely sparked because I am of the age where I can remember a time before personal computers, let alone smartphones and the like).

The idea of making predictions for 60 years from now is overwhelming because it is really hard to imagine what things will be like when I am 94.

I think his ideas on compiling, synthesizing and transmitting information resonated most with me, especially considering I was raised in the the period bridging the gap between physical/analog data and the digital compilation and transmission of data.

I remember being 7 and begging for a set of encyclopedias. The cost was prohibitive to a family of limited means AND they needed to be updated. It was much easier to go to the library, where you were going to find more updated means of data transmission. Up to date encyclopedias, microfiche and more. There was skill involved in performing research. You had to have knowledge of how to use a card catalog, search the stacks and how to cite information properly

Today cost and outdated information are not even really a concern. (verifying the veracity of the information is a whole separate beast these days because there are so many sources of data, not all are necessarily from acceptable sources) So much has been automated for us (type in a search term and look at links, fill in a few fields on a form to get your citations formatted for you, etc.), that synthesis of information has taken a new direction.

Also his ideas of developing a universal language that lends itself to mechanization was important as well, though I’m not entirely certain our current ways of communicating digitally would please him. We have truncated and bastardized language into emojii and shorthand, infographics and video in the digital world. I personally love language, text and information. I despise clicking a link only to be taken to a video instead of an article.

His ideas of dictation have radically impacted and changed my world. I was a legal secretary in a time when an attorney did dictation and the secretary then transcribed and typed the dictation. I worked with an attorney in the early 2000’s that was one of the first to embrace Dragon. Dragon is basically the software Bush describes thusly:

“One can now picture a future investigator in his laboratory. His hands are free, and he is not anchored. As he moves about and observes, he photographs and comments. Time is automatically recorded to tie the two records together. If he goes into the field, he may be connected by radio to his recorder. As he ponders over his notes in the evening, he again talks his comments into the record. His typed record, as well as his photographs, may both be in miniature, so that he projects them for examination.”

It changed my work flow dramatically (though it didn’t put me out of a job as so many people thought it would – the technology was still bad at learning the users and required heavy editing, but it also helped me out years later when I lost use of my arm and had difficulty typing). It changed the entire face of an industry.

So many of Bush’s ideas have been brought to life in even the last 20 years that it is amazing. I have some serious thinking to do to come up with 3 predictions for predictions 60 years hence!