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The Voyager update project
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    The Voyager update project
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    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    Friday, March 21, 2008 – Santa Cruz, CA

    In keeping with the experimental nature of this course, and with what I consider to be the main thrust of the prompt for this paper, I would like to submit this poem that I wrote midway through the quarter as my final assignment.

    I’ll include the other thoughts I have written over the past week regarding the Human Suit, simply because I do find them to be interesting - but really these appendices cannot be logically concatenated into a “paper” in the traditional sense. They are merely a bunch of stream-of-consciousness media-arts blog-post whatever that I have written in the off-time I’ve had this week while I have begun to truly inhabit my human suit again after a long quarter of mediated technological existence. However, the following is a much more meaningful product of this course than any I could write by continuing to burn the midnight oils. It’s still sorta rough, but I’ve performed it a couple times and it’s been received well.

    Enjoy. I'm going to go enjoy my human suit for a couple weeks.



    Christmas day, nineteen sixty eight
    in the winter twice after the summer of love

    on that day
    a single photograph encircled the globe. humanity,
    no more a brain divided into east and west lobes. it was
    the first photo of the earth as a whole. we instantly
    saw ourselves as one species whole.

    we gave premature birth to global consciousness that day.

    when a human child is born, they say, their eyes stay fixed 'n' focused
    not more than one foot through the space in front of their face
    this is precisely the distance from their eyes to the eyes of their father's mistress
    as they are savoring the milk from her breast.

    and for one day our eyes were focused on Earthrise
    it was no big surprise to those of us who’d just arrived

    after birth, soon we notice children's eyes start to wander
    they recognize patterns and the world fills with wonder
    the eyes develop depth perception, sensitivity to motion
    and they turn from their mothers - interested in the abstract notions
    their absent fathers attached to the celestial motions

    and so we, three years after our due date, sent a message to the stars
    to an unknown species inquiring quietly as to who we are
    thus again we turned our backs and all humanity was distracted
    our mothers skin we peeled away and fossil fuels we extracted
    blind eyes to our plunder like government memos being redacted
    we lifted candles to the sky as if the stars were interactive

    and we were the say hey kids and we thought these lighthouses were there
    to guide others through the night and say "hey! somebody's there!"
    but only distressed vessels carelessly dare
    burn their rations of ancient sunlight

    a newborn’s pleaing and crying through the night to tell its mother that something's wrong
    i am crying, something's wrong in my world - my mother is dying!

    and i hold today
    her last photograph from a satellite flying, and its plain to see
    on the print there shine a million candles lifted skyward, crying
    out a fiery message of distress past the hospital bed to the ether at the universe' end

    and this candle is trying to speak not with aliens but with future generations
    on behalf of an alien species, baby humans just developing the hand-eye coordination
    to facilitate the movement by which the woman on the bed will collectively awaken
    to communicate this condition in the languages learned during gestation
    to send a kernel of information to we who will soon be a mature and native product of speciation

    because soon after the child begins to understand that sunsets lead to dawns
    the trauma of childhood will be repressed into the collective subconscious
    lessons learned, without memories to linger on
    only hospital records and photographs of our mother lighting birthday candles



    Tuesday, March 18, 2008 – in a car racing through the night up Interstate 5

    WiiWare has a really striking parallel from media-arts history that I recalled when we were researching sensory experience. There is a long history of hoax products that have been advertised over the Internet, ranging from the Bonsai Kitten to vegan alternatives to human flesh. Ten years ago, the website www.fufme.com (pronounced “F You F Me” purported to sell computer drives that would allow people to engage in penetrative cyber-sex. There was a male and female model of the drive – the male being a hilariously-sized dildo sticking out of the front of the computer, and the female resembling the Facebook Gift representation of Justin Timberlake’s “Dick In A Box.” The site demonstrated how the drives work, showing step by step mockups of 3d-generated models climbing onto their desks to straddle their PC towers in order to use these specialized cyber-sex drives.

    In our research for the human suit, we found that ten years later, these peripherals actually exist and are in production! Though these modern tools of teledildonics are attached to the computer by external cable (allowing for much more convenient usability than the fufme.com version), it is fascinating and even ridiculous that the concept of remote sexual stimulation was taken from a media-arts hoax into viable market production. I would not be surprised if in ten to fifteen years WiiWare, like Fufme, is actually introduced onto the market in ten or fifteen years as the technology needed to provide the WiiWare experience is developed.

    I still question whether the WiiWare experience would be a useful thing to introduce into our culture – in fact I highly doubt that its users would be able to focus and increase their awareness of their own bodies. Truly, the only thing WiiWare explores is technological interpretation and manipulation of bodily sensation. In this respect, WiiWare is not very innovative as a device that provides for the enhancement of sensory experience through technological media – it could be argued that all media does that in some form. Both WiiWare and Fufme represent how radically our modern culture is missing the point of what it is to inhabit a human suit, instead seeking out disembodied, mediated, and technological experiences to such an extreme that we in fact forget that we embody a human suit to begin with. I am not convinced that this awareness can be taught through technological means.

    Thursday, March 20, 2008 – Diridon Station, San Jose, CA

    For me the most fascinating piece of the human suit has always been that it held a philosophy of teaching, rather than merely delivering a message, and I am happy to say that WiiWare retains this principle. There is no assumption of intelligence on the other end of the line – only an understanding that the recipient would, in the case of the human suit, share some or all of the five senses that humans use to experience the world. This concept stems from our initial research on Astraglossa, which through all its shortcomings in transmission was conceptually sound as far as teaching an alien species the logical thought processes of humankind – essentially starting from scratch in creating human experience.

    WiiWare It provides the ability for a mental exchange to take place between two people, which is fantastic. This is in concert with other ideas we had in the formative phases of this project: for example, I was particularly excited about marketing a toy that would begin communication with the bees, encouraging pollination and hopefully averting the colony collapse syndrome that we are facing right now.

    Friday, March 21, 2008 – Porter College apartments, Santa Cruz, CA

    The human race truly is in a situation where it is necessary to teach the next generation the meaning of what it is to be human. Yes, this is the story of human civilization in general - hell, every species performs this process of teaching our young’ns somehow. In this era, however, it seems that there is even more at stake. Our generation has already lost many of the cultural skills that our grandparents had – the resourcefulness and conservation ethic, the creativity and ingenuity of everyday life.

    The Human Suit points at the sensory and motor skills that we have developed over our lifetimes, since we were in the wom, and calls into question whether or not these, too, will fall by the wayside to the manipulation of our sensoriums by the mass media. Increasingly, our modern culture is missing the point of what it is to inhabit a human suit, instead seeking out disembodied, mediated, and technological experiences to such an extreme that we in fact forget that we embody a human suit to begin with.
    Fri, Mar 21, 2008  Permanent link

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    The way we humans communicate with our very young, and vice versa, is very much like a project of communicating to an alien species. Think about a baby crying, for example. The baby is sending a message to its mother, but does not have the means of communicating exactly what that message is. It is up to the mother or caretaker to decode, through trial and error and through a learned understanding of her baby, what these cries mean.

    18 months old is the earliest point at which most people are able to have memories. Salvador Dali claims to remember the womb, but for most regular folk, everything prior to this point is absolutely repressed. Freud called this the oral phase of development, in which the primary mode of stimulus is through the mouth and through taste; Erik Eriksen highlighted this period of psycho-social development as a crisis of Trust vs. Mistrust: how does a baby trust, in his dependency on a person he cannot communicate clearly with, that his message will get across and his needs will be met?

    As far as development goes, this is the period within which the senses and motor skills are refined, and after which, a toddler is able to walk - able to interact with the world as a place with which he is familiar with, not as an alien species. This development of course begins while the baby is still a fetus within the womb.

    FETAL DEVELOPMENT

    T-8 - Brain, head, and spinal cord develop rapidly, laying groundwork for the nervous system. (Carnegie Stage 14, illustrated at right)

    T-7 - End of embryonic period. The face becomes sensitive to touch.

    T-6 - The genitals, palms, and soles of feet become sensitive to touch. Taste and smell first develops, and the fetus increases its rate of swallowing when immersed in sweet tasting fluids. Swallowing reflexes decrease with bitter and sour tastes.

    T-5 - Fetal thumbsucking arises. Preference for sucking a particular thumb in utero has been shown to correlate with right or left-handedness. Abdomen and buttocks also become sensitive to touch. Reactive listening occurs at this stage, two months before the ear is structurally complete. Twins in utero at 20 weeks have no trouble locating each other and holding hands.

    T-4 - Initial responses to sound occur as early as 23 weeks gestation, and the fetus can respond to maternal speech with a slowing of the heart rate, possibly showing that the experience of speech prenatally is a foundation for the development of language postnatally. Dreaming and REM sleep is first observed around 23 weeks.

    T-2 - The entire body is sensitive to touch. Visual focus and horizontal and vertical tracking are developed in the eyes of premature babies.

    BIRTH

    Vision is statically and perfectly focused at 8-12 inches - the distance to the mother's face when breast-feeding. Full term newborns have contrast sensitivity, binocular function, distance and depth perception, color vision, and sensitivity to flicker and motion patterns.

    T+1 - Babies respond to loud noises and even subtle household sounds.

    T+3 - Vision has developed to the point where a baby will be easily distracted.

    T+5 - Vision becomes fully developed and eye coordination improves; the baby human can grasp a finger or a soft object. Babbling begins.

    T+7 - Communication through sounds, gestures, and facial expressions. Interest in mirror images develops.

    T+9 - Language and the understanding of dawns evolve.

    http://www.birthpsychology.com/lifebefore/fetalsense.html
    http://www.behindthemedicalheadlines.com/articles/insights-into-early-fetal-development
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/infant-development/
     http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/298_10203.asp 
    Sun, Feb 3, 2008  Permanent link

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    A couple months ago, there was an event at the Staples Center and at other locations worldwide called the Global Mala Project. The largest, most inter-planetary yoga event in Earth's history, it promoted itself saying that "yoga centers and like minded organizations will experience the power of collective consciousness by creating a Peace Wave around the world."

    There seems to be in the language constructs being used around the Global Mala an indication that the collective consciousness gathered at these events is indeed like a bicycle wheel - more than the sum of its parts. The intent of the gathering is to create a "peace wave" that somehow creates ripples in the fabric of the universe - a communicated message, perhaps, if you will entertain my analysis. This message of peace is sent as a signal from these centers of concentrated spiritual energy, much as telecommunications satellites beam messages around the globe using electromagnetic energy.



    Tom Brown, in his non-fictional book The Search, describes the vision quest in Maine that led him on the path to find his mentor, Stalking Wolf, in his dying days in the New Mexico desert. He writes of tracking a man in his dream:

    "I found myself in an unfamiliar land that was different from anything I had ever experienced. It was not different in texture, but in spirit. It was a desert place, and out among the rocks was the old man I had been following. He was making his way through the rocks toward a distant mountain. There was no sound whatsoever, and the beating of my heart pounding from the chase sounded like a tom-tom in a closed room. It was as if the old man heard my heart, for at that instant he turned to face me, his pursuer, and I saw that the man I had been tracking was my old friend and teacher, Stalking Wolf. His eyes were the same intense, accepting eyes I had always known but they radiated a new image of a sad peace which beckoned to me, almost pleaded with me to come... come... come."

    So Tom Brown goes to find his mentor in New Mexico, and the dream is proven a sound communication and is fulfilled. He asks a woman in Stalking Wolf's community for help in finding him, to which she responds: "He said you would need no help." After days on the trail he is led to a pouch that Stalking Wolf has left in the desert for him.

    Our generation may be the first to regain these ancient skills, whether that be through natural or cybernetic means.
    Wed, Jan 30, 2008  Permanent link

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    The Long Now Foundation is currently building a clock that is meant to last for ten thousand years, aptly named the Ten Thousand Year Clock. Prototype 1 was built in the year 01999 and rang out two millenial bongs in celebration of the year 02000.

    Their other projects include the Rosetta Project, which aims to archive every known human language and has currently amassed the largest database of human language data in history.

    Prototype 1 Launch Pad
    Rosetta Project Homepage

    Tue, Jan 29, 2008  Permanent link

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    megan and I went into a social psychology class yesterday where there was a recording speaking to the room over a boombox, with the human professor standing aside as if she was merely the operator or caretaker of the machine. i imagined that the boombox could be merely the bug-faced head of a robot professor, where instead of the eyes taking up both sides of the face, it was in fact the mouth that protruded with its big semi-spheres from the sides of the container.

    i found it fascinating that two hundred students were assembled together for seemingly no other reason than to listen to this recorded message, which could easily have been listened to at home. the class seemed nothing more than a gesture of respect for a learning system that coerces learning upon the students. by giving their undivided attention to the lecturing robot, the students lost an opportunity for live human interaction and discussion.
    Tue, Jan 15, 2008  Permanent link

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