The Becoming Digital Blog



Oct '17 - Nov '17

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    Unstable People Accessing Unstable Places

    By meganmohney
    Nov 8, '17 3:36 PM EST

    We figured, if our video was being split up and sent around the world and then back again to a single screen, why not use something recognizable as our content?

    So we used our faces.

    Screen shot of Sushi Face Website

    We wanted to uses faces because they are immediately familiar--- the formation of where eyes + noses + mouths are pretty standard, and would be understandable to non-designers viewing this work. But just because it it is understandable, doesn’t mean it's not disturbing.

    The website with the gif can be found here.

    We split up our faces so they could be sent to the different AWS servers. We also added in some other objects representing some of the countries where we were using servers.That way, when the images come back, the make up partial faces, mashed-up faces, and mashed up new characters, like a koala with bangs or a sushi face.

    For the final step, we sent the html website to people around the world, using Mechanical Turk. The workers who accepted those jobs were asked to outline the shape of the gif as it occurred at 3 seconds, 6 seconds, and 9 seconds, in our 10 second long gif. Although there is definitely some human error in this process, we are beginning to be able to compare what “3 seconds” looks like in India versus Italy versus Canada. Because of locations and speeds of the servers, the website looks different in each geographic location. And putting them together allows us to see the geography in a very visual way.

    One of the images above is from Caldwell, Ohio and the other is from Berlin, Germany. Both represent the shape of the gif in their location at 9 sec. It's so interesting how different they are, each accessing the same servers, but at different locations. We'll continue to get drawings like this back for the next month so we can keep comparing shape to location. And the final study will appear at the Becoming Digital Exhibition in January. 

    Thanks to my amazing partners in this workshop Florence Warner and Nick Kim.

    And also thanks to Curtis Roth for leading the workshop and dedicating so much time and research to this experiment!

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About this Blog

This blog will follow student experiences during the BECOMING DIGITAL workshops this semester at Taubman College. Organized by Ellie Abrons and Adam Fure, the program will invite 3 design practices to run a weekend-long experiment, project, or research. The invited designers are Jon May + Zeina Koreitem of MILLIONS, Curtis Roth, and Vivian Lee + James Macgillivray of LAMAS. This semester will be devoted to investigating and challenging the digital environment in which live and work.

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