Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘technology’

04 JUNE, 2009

Emotional Cartography: Technologies of the Self


What hacking has to do with art, technology and being human.

If you enjoyed last week’s BioMapping project, it’s time we took it to the major leagues — of biometric visualization, art, and sociology, that is.

Emotional Cartography is an excellent, free book on emotion mapping, featuring a collection of essays by artists, designers, psychologists, cultural researchers, futurists and neuroscientists. Together, they explore the political, social and cultural implications of dissecting the private world of human emotion with bleeding-edge technology.

Greenwich Emotional Map

From art projects to hi-tech gadgets, the collection looks at emotion in its social context. It’s an experiment in cultural hacking — a way to bridge the individual with the collective through experiential interconnectedness.

Hacking is an idea, as well as a social movement, which is about subverting and reclaiming the tools and metaphors that we’re given. Hacking is a DIY culture of action — a very individualistic community, but still a community with a vision of shared benefits.

Download the book in PDF here, for 53 glorious pages of technology, art and cultural insight.

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

26 MAY, 2009

Heart of a City: BioMapping


Why skin is the new heart and how your neighbors can change the way your feel about your street.

On the trails of yesterday’s fascinating exploration of cities as living organisms, today we look at another piece of high-concept urban portraiture that harnesses the power of art, sociology and technology to a brilliant end.

Since 2004, Christian Nold has been orchestrating Bio Mapping — a crowdsourced community mapping project, which wires people up to Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) devices, detecting their emotional arousal, and sends them on their merry way around the neighborhood. These states are then mapped onto people’s geographic location, creating a visualization of communal emotion.

Participants — over 1,500 of them to date — also annotate the data with personal observations, memories and thoughts they associate with each location, painting a rich emotional portrait of the social space of a community.

Perhaps most fascinating about the project isn’t the mere documentation of collective emotion, but how that awareness would change our perception of our community and environment.

Those who have been with Brain Pickings for some time may find Bio Mapping reminiscent of Swedish artist Erik Krikortz’s Emotional Cities project. But, as researchers, we love the idea of measuring emotional states via biofeedback rather than self-reporting.

After all, there’s often a gaping disconnect between how we publicly broadcast emotion and how we privately experience it.

via Very Short List

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

18 MAY, 2009

Beautiful Connections: The Art of Conversation


The color of conversation, 6 million colors, and why Flash is more antisocial than your misanthropic uncle.

Universal love for the iPhone aside, when it comes to the creative exploration of a gadget’s cultural context, Apple has nothing on Nokia. To promote the Nokia’s E71 smartphone, Wieden + Kennedy London came up with Beautiful Connections — a multimedia homage to the art of conversation.

From text art to a mobile app to short films inspired by the beauty of everyday conversation, the microsite is pure visual indulgence.

It also invites visitors to create their own audiovisual art piece, using their computer’s webcam, microphone or keyboard to explore how text, sound, color and motion influence your message. Here’s ours:

The winner of the film contest, Ewan Watson, used rotoscoping to create S I G N A L S — a colorful play on communication signals.

You can see the other 4 film finalists here, here, here, and — our uncontested favorite — here.

You can't really watch now – Flash does suck that way

Which brings us to our only gripe with the project: The inherent unshareability of Flash content — the medium blatantly contradicts the message if none of the work can be shared in “everyday conversation” via individual permalinks or… gasp… embed code.

How did the W+K team miss the irony here?