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digital cartographers, narrative realization. image workers & pixel [re]searchers. emographers. memetic mappers. space cadets. polytopians.
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    The Emographic Census
    Project: Polytopia

    Everything is real but the narrative makes the difference.

    Participatory media creation is not suited to entertainment alone. The boundaries between producers and consumers are becoming blurred. The ability to create & make available high-quality media is enabling the sharing of myraid subjective narratives – but also creates the concept of image as disposable commodity.

    Cinema is a skin – a membrane/memebrane that creates a circuit between its body and that of the viewer. But people today are still using the media creation tools available in a very shy fashion. What is the point of the progress we've made and keep making in minimizing the size, weight, storage & the maximization of the capabilities of our "extended eyes" and are they going to merge into one humanity-compatible firmware?

    The Emographic Census is a framework, focus & context that fosters the creation and linking of narratives (real or fictional), that maps existing, imaginary, evolving points of view, and blurs/bends/breaks existing ontologies of media creation & our interaction (that thinning membrane) with media.

    In the context of the Emographic Census, “place” is defined as a transitory shared point of view – a Topos.

    A topos is not simply a place, a topos is a narrative, it is in a manner of speaking, a modern way of exemplifying and explicating who am ‘I’ (as in my overall identity) and what is “we”, by pointing to that which interests my being and the being of others (other than me) in my/our/this evolutionary phase.

    Topos is a set of coordinates having a definite and definable set of characteristics.
    The coordinates of a topos can be either in space, in time, in the material universe, in the infosphere, in the metaverse, in mind or all of the above or some combination thereof.

    If the definition of demographics is “the statistical characteristics of human populations (as age or income) used especially to identify markets 2: a market or segment of the population identified by demographics.”, then;

    Emographics refer to

    (1.) dynamic subjective experiences as used to identify Topos across contexts such as (a) geographical (b) historical (c) cultural (d) issue (e) opinion and (g) emotional.
    (2). the transclusion of subjective experiences across cultural ontologies.
    (3). aggregation & comparison of entities who share given topos'.
    (4). the sharing and study of the emotions behind rationale and vice versa.
    (5). the emotional facet of the map of commonalities & differences between entities.

    The Emographic Census

    (1). is a mapping of topos' from multiple perspectives.
    (2). is the creation of links between said topos.
    (3). fosters evolving narratives compiled from the en courant, embodied memories, and imagination & the sharing of said narratives.
    (4). an interaction paradigm: a method to choose and set trajectories through topos'; an overcoming local gravities of subjective meaning.


    (1). are willing to give a focus to their personal media creation; to understand, experience, & connect across subjective realities.
    (2). have the means to express emotions and thoughts artistically through any medium which proves conducive.
    (3). have a desire to explore the rationale behind emotions & vice-versa.
    (4). wish to more clearly represent our own subjective POVs & share those of others.
    (5). desire to connect (or find disconnections) with other entities in deep and meaningful manner.

    The Emographic Census will be manifested as a searchable community-built semantic social system combined with both a GIS (geographical information system) & CGIS (cyber-geographical info. system) presented as an intelligent interface. The interface will have multiple interaction paradigms or “movements”.

    Basic to the Emographic Census is the ability traverse “places” through the sharing of media with the aim of connecting people to others based on the topos' they hold in common; therefore transcending political, cultural, lingual, geographical.

    This is a fluid cinema – a living, breathing, evolving narrative drawn from our everyday media creation and all that of our past that already exists, one not limited to the static POV of the traditional relationship with media.

    The Emographic Census is part of a larger framework that is the necessary and logical next step – analyzing emographic & demographic data/subjections and drawing out the actionable steps towards real world solutions & sense-making; linking between individuals; creating communities that share co-emergent interests.


    We envision the Emographic Census as

    (1).an online interface with multiple interaction paradigms,
    (2).a social community of active Emographers,
    (3).the incorporation and semantic tagging of existing media emographically.
    (4).A mobile application that would run on all mobile devices
    (5).a social cinematic experiment

    ...and in the context of this exhibition, enables the user

    (1).to create a social/emotional profile & aggregate information from other social networks.
    (2).To upload still photos, video, audio and tag them with an emotional semantic ontology on both geographical and cybergeographical maps
    (3).To provide the choice of interaction paradigms (or genres of interaction).
    (4).The choice of a level of involvement (passive->active)
    (5).the ability to map narratives and share them.
    (6).the ability to connect with other users based on narrative commonalities or differences

    Most of the technical aspect of the aspects of the Emographic Census are entirely possible with the aggregation and modification of existing tools.

    The greatest challenge in the actualization of the Emographic Census is the creation of a emotional semantic ontology that is able to be transcend language-specific connotations, and a semantic engine that will bring intelligence to the interface.

    But this is not required all at once; at the beginning our technical needs will not be as much if we limit participation to a manageable level based on our capabilities – functionality can be incorporated as it becomes available, therefore scaling the Census for larger participation.

    Therefore, the Emographic Census will be deployed in three stages (after which momentum is apparent):

    Stage 1:

    The announcement of the Emographic Census (EC) and Call to Action for Emographers; the creation of an emotional ontology as applied to the media collected on the EC Macedonia.

    Stage 2:

    We will distribute logins to the system and involve a community of Emographers to scan and “fill in the gaps”, collect narratives, create fictions within reality, import “archival” clips relating to their narratives, and upload & semantically (using our ontology) tag those to our server as raw or close-to raw footages, where it will join that of the first EC in Macedonia. We will then make it into a database accessible through Kaltura, an online collaborative video editing application ( Users will then be able to collaboratively edit the footage together to create a narrative based in Macedonia & the first exhibition city. We will also use our semantic engine to enable users online to explore narratives based on interaction paradigms. We will project narratives through an multimedia installation for the duration of the festival and track the 'topos of the Emographic Census.

    Stage 3: The engagement of the community to assess the 'topos. Then the open discussion of those results, the evolution of it with new input. we implement additional functionalities/new tools/expanded interfaces based on our experiences and feedback on the first. We bring in that media and correlate it with the media from the first two ECs.

    Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat.

    Below are links to projects & interfaces that are influential to the Emographic Census. We are actively seeking collaboration in the realization of this project.

    - Ebon Fisher

    We Feel Fine
    - Jonathan Harris & Sep Kamvar
    I Want You to Want Me - Jonathan Harris & Sep Kamvar

    - Derek Holzer, Sara Kolster, Marc Boo

    Knowledge Cartography
    - Marco Quaggiotto

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    Spaceweaver     Wed, Aug 5, 2009  Permanent link
    Emotional ontology - Sounds like a very interesting concept. Can you describe more how you plan to go about this?
    Technoshaman     Thu, Aug 13, 2009  Permanent link
    I love your 5 facets of emographers, and the whole creative spirit and use of language, which shines thru!
    notthisbody     Tue, Sep 15, 2009  Permanent link

    Sorry it took me awhile to answer your question but its a tough question. This is my attempt at an answer.

    I think what we have to do is work from apparent & surface or seemingly superficial ontologies to see if we can lift off some layers that allow ourselves to access and understand our own unique & personal emotional ontologies more clearly. We can't close the gap between the emotional and rational by reason alone - neither by emotion :) - BUT by exposing the dichotomy or similarity between the two types of reactions we can perhaps enable a deeper insight into innate noetic understanding. It's calling into question what people think they feel and what people feel they think.

    We can even stop talking necessarily about emotional ontologies, for that's out of reach for the most part at the moment, except on a limited scale (keeping in mind that scale is also expanding with technology). What we can concentrate on are subjective ontologies, the goals of their development being:

    - the ability to use a more comprehensive language (physical, lingual, textual, sensual, etc.) to share our subjective experience with others.
    - to allow people to build their own personal subjective ontology and draw meaning & context from the differences & similarities those ontologies have compared with others'
    - to be able to choose our semantic agent's interaction paradigm (Zoacodes)

    I see this is as really paramount in why we need the creation of subjective ontologies - to choose as well as identify dynamics of network ethics during online interaction.

    At the moment all of our subjective ontologies are makeshift folksonomies & taxonomies. They shouldn't be discarded in the move to the semantic web. We want them to make the transfer because there's so much value and information in them that we don't want to lose. Encouraging the creation and use of folksontologies is the only way we're going to start to be able to map out subjective ontologies. After this, we can link those different subjective ontologies towards creating a flexible meta-folksontology. To do this requires a framework for the creation of folksontologies.

    So - getting down to where we're at now - what we need is:

    1. facilitation and streamlining of the creation of Folksontologies (THIS IS KEY!)
    something just found to this effect: OntoGame - Games for Semantic Content Creation (check out OntoTube! and then imagine what can be done with more subjective ontologies!) by one of the writers
    FolksOntology: An Integrated Approach for Turning Folksonomies into Ontologies (PDF)

    2. aggregation of subjective ontologies & folksontologies - the subjective complement to the Linked Data Movement

    The Emographic Census is less about trying to quantify emotion but rather the journey of exploring everything around it (at least at this point - with this technology - that will change soon, especially once mirror-neurons start being exploited in earnest.

    Do you have any ideas regarding emotional ontology creation? This is what I got so far. I know it's also limited in relation to new models of mind but the complexity and diversity of these ontologies has no growth limit. The difficult part of it is trying to imagine how it can start to be implemented now. I'm leaning towards folksontologies as our best bet.
    LED     Thu, Oct 8, 2009  Permanent link
    I know your Emographic project is pretty much consistent, but I’ve been noticed that on Facebook there’s some applications related to that

    United States Gross National Happiness

    What is your usual mood?

    … and many others.

    The Emographic is one of the best projects for me, explains different borders.
    notthisbody     Thu, Dec 31, 2009  Permanent link
    Just found via Groundswell Collective Blog

    Towards a Subjective Collective Cartography

    Towards is an attempt to represent the territory of Brussels in a subjective way which leads to the creation of a collaborative tool for subjective mapping.

    Two years ago, not-for-profit organizations Recyclart, City Mine(d), Constant, and the graphic designers from Speculoos launched the project “Towards a subjective collective cartography,” whose aim is to examine questions concerning the subjective representation of the territory of Brussels and to promote the passing on, exchange and pooling of those questions…

    Currently, the project is carried out following two different trends: on one hand the creation of an atlas of Brussels and, on the other hand, the conception of a software (TRESOR).

    See it BIG (pdf)

    What is TRESOR?

    A cartographic software: the question of connection.

    The creation of a software also brings with it the question of classification (notably the way in which cartographic data is entered on the on-line service), however with an additional difficulty: the difficulty of the interaction and superposition of maps that have a variety of degrees of subjectivity and of systems of coordinates, the interest being their intercommunication. Maps may indeed represent the same territory to very different scales and at very different moments. And the same is true for two objects, which may be physically far away from each other and still mentally close. Consequently, how to connect and to intermingle maps that have different spatial, temporal or mental projections? It would be possible to connect them by defining the transverse elements between the maps, i.e. common features or zones of reference. But this spatial world that is divided between several maps tears when there is no correspondence left. How to manage that tear, which is for that matter interesting? And would it be possible to deform those maps in order to create new correspondences? In that case, which map would serve as a frame? Would it have to be spatially referenced?