Oct 12 2010

Sharon Boyd

Artefact 1

Posted at 7:27 pm under Artefact

Reflections in the mirror

18 responses so far

18 Responses to “Artefact 1”

  1.   Sharon Boydon 12 Oct 2010 at 7:35 pm 1

    Most plant images my own. Other images are Creative Commons licensed Attribution – Share Alike (http://bit.ly/9uVSgW).

    With thanks to:
    Ivy: Brett Lee-Smith (http://bit.ly/b6cQwc)
    Fractal: Cameron Stephen/Apophysis (http://bit.ly/aa2miv)
    Wire harness: Zuzu/Anani Sikim (http://bit.ly/9Gdx3L)
    Spaghetti wire: Kim Scarborough (http://bit.ly/cZ8GXN)

  2.   Jeremy Knoxon 13 Oct 2010 at 7:49 am 2

    Hi Sharon,
    Some great posthuman symbolism going on here. The natural opposed to the machinic, with the human caught in the middle, neither one nor the other. There seems to be a comparison here between plant form and electronic wires (as hair), which is interesting. Cables form the hardware infrastructures of the web; they are tangible rather than virtual, the physical matter of the data we navigate. With increasing wireless technology, will wires become lamented, and endangered physical forms, considered for their beauty rather than their function (which might be said of flowers).

    I also noticed the (pc power source?) cable and plug positioned next to your mouth. Is this perhaps a comment that contemporary communication is always mediated. Even our voices, that simplest form of expression, are coded and decoded in the network. Perhaps it could be interpreted as a comment on sustenance? We use the mouth for those basic survival activities of eating and breathing. Perhaps your cable is a comment on machinic nourishment? Where the natural plant forms that provide food and oxygen are opposed, how will technology keep us alive?

    I also like how complexity features on both sides. Intermingled plant forms, and tangled wires. Can we consider data flows with the same intricacy and sophistication that we attribute to plants forms? Perhaps that is a way of us accepting technology as legitimate. Very thought provoking, thanks Sharon!

  3.   Sue Grundyon 13 Oct 2010 at 9:26 am 3

    I like this – combining the nature and technology – it particularly suits the piece by Thomas et al. It would make a fantastic cover to an e-learning book.

  4.   Jen Rosson 13 Oct 2010 at 11:40 am 4

    I love this! I am intrigued that you have created a representation whose digital and botanical (if you like!) aspects are so separate. Or perhaps one is emerging from the other… or maybe both are the computer’s dream, since the entirety is a digital creation. So much to see! So much to think about!

  5.   Noreen Dunnetton 13 Oct 2010 at 11:48 am 5

    Agree with Jen – fascinating – wish I was artistic. I believe my exploration of identity in cyberspace may have some links to your image – who are we in the digital space – bytes of information, hardware, coding or living, breathing human beings represented through our words and images? Is that kind of where you were going?

  6.   Michael Sean Gallagheron 13 Oct 2010 at 11:49 am 6

    Agree with Jen here, Sharon. Stunning visual representation, one that literally forces me to pause here and just look at it. I think the organic/botanical theme has popped up a few times and I think it is apt to describing our place in the network. We emerge from it and it emerges from us, expands exponentially but spatially. It looks random the way nature and networks grow, but it is always a mediation between movement and space. A path is blocked so we go another way; a network acts much in the same way. Necessity and resistance equating to direction.

    Impressive, Sharon. Great work!

  7.   Dennis Dollenson 13 Oct 2010 at 1:22 pm 7

    Sharon this portrait seems to parallel Tom Boellstorff’s discussions in “Personhood” about the degree to which identity is masked or revealed in virtual worlds. And, as Jen mentions in her comment, it is clearly defined as separate worlds. The North/South vertical caesura makes the face mapping reflective of the severe divide often articulated between the botanic world and the wired world; here as commentary on emotions that umbrella both. In my reading, it is a craggy but clear division of territories of being; still I wonder if there aren’t areas where the border is foggier and would overlap more, more blur, more botanic colonization . . .
    I think there is courage in this artifact but it is courage of binary opposites. Ultimately I think the natural (botanic) world is the stronger, hybridized, and will overtake the wired in some unknown, revolutionary way suggested, just for example, by digital chips using plant cells (spinach) to molecularly function. Nice going; lots to think about in your work.

  8.   Hugh O'Donnellon 14 Oct 2010 at 10:28 am 8

    Yes, Sharon – certainly gives a focus on the importance of our ecological real world.
    I thought about how you could represent the blurring of the artificial and the real by showing digital representations of the floral on the right hand side?

    Lovely, and effective.

  9.   Siân Bayneon 15 Oct 2010 at 9:07 am 9

    Nice image Sharon – a re-statement of the boundary between nature and culture which cyberculture generally probes at and blurs? Interesting though that you represent that boundary as being, for you, still relatively distinct.

  10.   Alison Johnsonon 15 Oct 2010 at 10:30 am 10

    Hi Sharon,

    I think this illustrates the hybrid and duality themes really well. It has a terminator feel – peeling back the skin to reveal the machine beneath. I see a new nature v nurture v cyborg arguement looming and see double entendres in terms of ‘viruses’ (biological v computer) which reminds me of the quote I have just posted on Dennis’s blog about the Cathedral video (taken from the matrix film) at http://edc.education.ed.ac.uk/dennisd/2010/09/22/the-cathedral-2/

    Agent Smith: I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.

  11.   Alison Johnsonon 15 Oct 2010 at 10:36 am 11

    oops can’t edit my last comment but wanted to add – very creative mash up from a disparate set of original photos!

  12.   Liz Kerryon 16 Oct 2010 at 4:45 pm 12

    Hi Sharon,
    I can’t stop looking at your image – I just find it so beautiful and captivating. You can really see your zoology background merging with your digital world.
    The fusion of the two themes makes a stunning (and artistic) end result.

  13.   Sindhu Radhakrishnanon 17 Oct 2010 at 4:41 pm 13

    A great effort to merge your Natural Science and digital world ….
    Multimodal perspective…

  14.   Sharon Boydon 17 Oct 2010 at 6:55 pm 14

    I’ve been a lurker this week, watching the messages appear in my email and deliberately keeping my distance while I read through the secondary readings to see if I could analyse my own image.

    First, thank you all for your thoughts on this – not only have you taught me a lot about the image itself, but helped me get a first hand example of Rose’s (2007) comment about the importance of “audiencing” – the “visualities” and knowledge you all brought.

    Liz, Sindhu and Kerry, as you say, an effort on my part to reflect on the two sides of my “self” – the offline, eco-vibe me and the on-line, digital me.

    I was happy to use images from my own garden for the green me – and the ivy coming out of my mouth like a speech bubble was important for me – I feel I have more of a “voice” in that part of my life. The digital/cyborg me is being fed by the wire input, jacked-in for knowledge, still absorbing and not ready to speak out, I suppose.

    What was supremely cool for me was Jeremy’s comment on the technical images I had used. I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t have the knowledge to know what they meant. “Machinic nourishment” – that sent me off to think about this all over again! I also didn’t think about the wires becoming obsolete – I just knew I wanted something “hairlike” (I know, not very “deep” at all :) ). It stands to reason that I’d pick something that was on the way out – even technically I’m a bit old-school and behind the times :)

    Julier’s (2005) article really helped me. I had a couple of artefact options, and had planned to work on them through the week, but when I saw artefacts being loaded at the beginning of the week, I knew I had to negotiate a compromise (exactly as Michael said, “necessity… equating to direction”) – what could I do effectively with the skills I already have, rather than my plans for something more (using ToonDoo for a comic strip and animating this image so that the green overtook the digital – yes, Dennis and Sian, I didn’t have such a severe divide in mind to begin with :) )

    It’s basically a representation of my online “brand” – from my choice of themes (I tend to go plant/green where possible) to my SL avatar (Gaia Merryman), I always try to get it in there somehow (my brand in “all its manifestations” – thanks Julier!). The nearest I can get to digital/botanical links is Sony Ericsson’s tweeting tree, but I keep reaching for it.

    Hugh, I had satellite dishes as a match to the flowers on the left, but it didn’t work, so I took them out :)

    I’m drawn to online ecomovements and whether these are successful or not – if we’re so busy online saving the planet, what is happening to the planet while we’re linked up – the drive to be more active rather than passively commenting, so this is part of that reflection.

    Alison, I’ve loved that quote from The Matrix since I saw it – totally fired me up, but I’d like a chance to be part of the cure :) I also resisted having a glowing red eye – went for blue instead. Funny that I feel the cyborg bit of me is “stuck on” rather than under the skin – under the chrome, the blood’s still green and it’ll break through one of these days!! :)

  15.   Linda Matthewson 17 Oct 2010 at 9:47 pm 15

    What a striking image that captures so many of the themes we have considered over the last few weeks. Thanks you

  16.   Sharon Boydon 24 Oct 2010 at 6:59 pm 16

    Dipping in and out of TechGnosis, and I know I’ll have more to post on that soon, once I get my head round it! In the meantime though, tweeted a link to Kevin Kelly’s Q&A today in the Observer reflecting on how technology is helping us take the next steps in evolution where our biology is a limiting factor. His new book “What Technology Wants” – an essential purchase?

  17.   Hugh O'Donnellon 27 Oct 2010 at 5:55 pm 17

    Yes, Sharon – certainly gives a focus on the importance of our ecological real world.
    I thought about how you could represent the blurring of the artificial and the real by showing digital representations of the floral on the right hand side?
    Lovely, and effective.

  18. [...] this course, I have been swirling around the dualism shown in my original artefact – the greenwoman/machine hybrid – and each week added a new layer to that until it’s now positively geologic! I was [...]

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