AL Hannah Wolfe

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Solar Paper

popular science article
boing boing article

Prototype Response

I was a computer for the prototype. It was really aggravating not being able to talk or answer questions. Misha was really good about speaking his thought process while using the the prototype. He was unsure what the point of it was, he understood the purpose but was unsure of what he would use it for or if he would use it. Donald was really excited but didn't quite understand how the prototype worked, he kept picking up the pieces of paper and reading them instead of letting me open them and rearrange the board for him. Angela's friend felt like she might think things that she could comment on but would not actually use the system. Donald really wanted to be able to connect books, like put all the books on a bookmark that were in the shape of a cube. It took them forever to click on the button bookmark, I was pretty much pointing at it in answer to one of their questions about seeing all the books tagged on one bookmark before they clicked on it. They then realized that there was a way to explore more books then just the comments on any specific book. Donald managed to leave a comment on a book about it being a cube and saying that it reminded him of another book in the library. I found the discussion at the end the most interesting part of the experience. Here are my notes.

  • Other Amie: i was confused at first, very slowly, looked in someone's bag for it, once i got a little understanding about what it was about, it was very cool, it was like a scavenger hunt. Loved the tactile nature. Rebecca was really fast. I didn't know what a bookmark was, I thought it might be a bag, I was told to look for the bookmark. Amie Jo tried not to help.
  • Building a digital dialogue about books. we don't really talk about books, digitally. We have all this data on the system, the bookmark is the key.
  • How was the information filtering. I didn't at first think the bookmark can move.
  • We scanned the Dictionary, Donald wanted to make a thread between the books that shape like the cube.
  • No way to access the timeline of the history of the bookmark. Move comments. What if you want to see a specific person's comment.
  • Swarm, a view for swarming around a particular title.
  • Find out where the bookmark is currently physically located. Comment on messages, comment without a bookmark?
  • Are you able to edit the information? What if it is not appropriate. More interesting if on a couple of different libraries. If you are already in the class then you already know what they think. If all of the colleges were connected then you would be filtered. You wouldn't be able to seek people out who wrote a comment, you might want to email a comment to someone else.
  • Amie Jo wanted to be anonymous.
  • Something so physical and digital.
  • Facebook is a distraction.
  • Like the idea of creating a personality, and you could seek someone out, wants more information about this person. Like just knowing the name, find out about the person by their other bookmark. A separate thing about commenting on messages.
  • Creating a cluster, maybe the name isn't good, but you want a keyword to connect them. (bookshelf) Tag "books that Donald think looks like a cube" Food pairing...
  • Digital card catalogue, link it up.
  • Attaching other media. Associate the books that he was reading with the art that he was doing at the time.
  • Personalization, having a home page for your username. You want to come back to what you have already explored. (maybe on the website).
  • Where is the art? (communication.)
  • Is this bookcentric, or people centric?
  • The user needs to understand that the art is dialogue.
  • How would you talk to your friends about this? How would you explain this to someone else.
  • Amie: I could imagine, she might use it in the teaching. Cross library idea?
  • At a certain point the bookmark is no longer important. How important is it, other then as a lure. Once there are 100 comments on a bookmark how can you deal with the information.
  • Wish you could tag every book in the system.
  • Ever book that is commented on is marked.
  • Make a virtual space for a collection of books. Reorganizing the library.
  • wasn't clear to put the bookmark back in the book.
  • Does the bookmark going to be needed later?
  • Color for a professor, these are the books for my class. Change them and repurpose afterwards.
  • It is important was to encourage browsing.
  • Make a direct collection, putting a bookmark on a certain page.
  • One group didn't bring the book with them.
  • Angela Technical. Why touch screens? No dragging or touch screen things.
  • Frustrating that if you cant find books by the author that haven't been commented on the database.
  • Including the catalogue?
  • You are no longer in the section. Single use palm pilot to scan the book with a scanner.

Reading Responses

Data is not information

Our world is full of useless trivia. Especially on television. We have our game shows from jeopardy to who wants to be a millionaire. There are board games like trivial pursuit. But the point of trivia is that it is trivial. It serves no purpose other than to impress people at parties that you can list off all the names of Alanis Morissette's albums in chronological order. We fill ourselves up with this pointless information but when looking at a chemistry lab without a conclusion the data serves no purpose. The data we get on our computers cause communication between people a whole lot more difficult. We place these screens infront of us and loose our ability to have meaningful conversation and instead talk about Britney Spears or what growing gift someone sent you on facebook. Facebook is the ultimate place for trivial information, what music someone listens to and their applications which makes it more personal actually is a distraction from who the person actually is. Getting sent a Klein's Beer through boozemail is actually less thoughtful and is completely trivial when sending an email or making a phone call is real communication. Through the bookmarks we are not trying to create trivial information though we have no control of how people actually use it. We want people to share their knowledge and wisdom and make people communicate more in the library though it is hard to control how people use it. We want these thoughts to be constantly revised and discussed instead of being stagnant and pointless. For our interface we need to keep it simple, but still have the user be able to look at the information in different ways, instead of overloading them with so much information that it becomes incomprehensible and useless. The data visualization should match what it is trying to show, if we are trying to show connections we need a web, but if we are trying to show knowledge we need a different format.

Public Space in a Private Time

Is the Library a public or private space. It is a public space anyone can go into it and read and use the computers but how public is it. I think that at heart currently it is seen as a private space, while you are in public you are separate from everyone else with your book/laptop/ipod. "Public space become private when the public that has it won't give it up." There are certain people that claim the library in certain places. I was camped out in the secret room studying. People get defensive when other people enter into their space. What would be a way to make the space and people more open and more public?

He states the a public space needs a gathering point, in the library we already have a few of these, the front desk, the computers and the printer. The problem is that at the computers while people gather there to use the computers they don't gather there to interact or to talk. Their gathering is very separate because of the screens. We need to create a gathering point in the library, a place for people to talk and discuss without feeling uncomfortable or bothering the people who come there to hide. Because in a space like this "all you can do... is sit down, lose yourself in a book, satisfy yourself with lunch, drift into dirty thought about other people walking by."If the people were brought together maybe there would be what we want, a place of interaction.

When people come to the library they are seeking a service, while they are we could find a way for them also to interact with other people through things like the bookmarks or a telephone booth. If this worked well enough people would come for the interaction and less for the service. "you pay to belong to a community, and the class, that is accustomed to use the place. You pay for the fabrication of a past or of a future, for the idea that this is how the place should be and not merely how it is." We do pay for this service, we pay approx. 40,000 dollars and it includes a library. The library is a fabrication of our past full of fiction and history, science fiction and master plans. Master plans that we are making right now. To make this place more public and less scattered we need a point of conversation. Though in a bar he states that it is ok to make conversation while walking on the street it isn't. In the library we have the feeling of a private space, but we interact with other people in a very street like manner.

"Public art digs out, like a wound, from the floor of a plaza or the ground of a park: at you feet, say, there might be a burrow or a foxhole or a lair, which could be used for a quick fuck or for a conspiracy." All I can say is hidey holes.

Conversation Pieces

This piece is more about conversations creating pieces, than pieces that create conversation. We are though having a conversation among ourselves but we need input from the community. The pieces discussed while they create conversation they are based on a conversation. In conclusion we need to go on a boat in Zürich with a select group of students and talk about the library, paid for with the Mellon grant.

The eyes of the vulgar

"We are constantly framing our experience of the world through representational systems. To interact with others we require a shared language, and even our visual experience evolves a kind of literacy as we learn to interpret the conventions associated with photographs, cinema, paintings, street signs, and so on. These systems are necessary but dangerous. They lead us to believe that the world is a fixed and orderly place and that we occupy a privileged position of stability and coherence within it. The role of art is to remind us of the illusory nature of that coherence- to show us that our perceptions, and our very identities, are shifting, unstable and contingent." The library is the way we look at the world as a representational system. We use books, our shared language, photos, movies and art in the library to tell us that we can understand the world that is going on around us when studying and researching. The point of the art that we are going to create is to show that these things are actually fluid and unstable, to create new ideas.

"...this approach is exactly the wrong way around. The starting point for their work is a dialogue with the community within which the work will be produced." This is what we are doing right now, having a conversation with the students about the library, to create something for the space, not create something and put it in the space.

"How do we understand the aesthetic significance of the collaborative process itself? And how can we grasp as a work of art a project that changes the perceptions of its participants through conversation and collaborative production, whether in an east London classroom or in an Oakland parking garage or on a Zurich pleasure boat?" These questions are some of the questions we have been asking ourselves in this class. Trying to figure out what we can do but also taking into account what it might change and how it will effect people and start conversations. We also want whatever we create to be able to be used in other settings, in other community spaces across the world.

In 18th century paintings, the paintings were "intended to catalyze both and reflect this egalitarian dialogue." Art was originally intended to create conversation and continued this way into 19th century avant-garde art which "sought to challenge, rather than corroborate, conventional systems of meaning, whether through realism's introduction of taboo subjects such as poverty and prostitution, impressionism's rejection of the norms of academic realism, cubism's attempt to render multiple perspectives in a single composition, or dadaism's embrace of the absurd." These pieces were there to create conversation and make people think about how they normally view the world.

"Aesthetic reflection evokes a Utopian future community in which collective experience validates our most personal and intuitive responses to the world around us. Further, it presupposes that a public sphere, based on the free and open exchange of ideas, will produce an eventual consensus because individuals are able to overcome self interest and judge from the vantage point of a greater good." Is this what we are going for a utopian exchange of ideas, where people will stop thinking abotu what is going on with them and care more about the community. We are trying to create a public sphere in our bennington bubble that is based on the free and open exchange of ideas. Consumer culture conflicts with these ideas which art is always battling. we don't want this to be an advertisement campaign for the library. we are trying to create a place of exchange and thought. we shouldn't be making glowing billboards around campus, it would kill the beauty that we have as a place away from consumer culture. I barely see advertisements while I am here because I don't watch TV and there aren't advertisements, why should we be the ones to create them.

Art later seems to become self involved, not wanting the general public to understand it trying to avoid the commercialism that we are surrounded with. While it does start conversation, it is only within the select few that understand it. This is silly and hopefully we can avoid it. The art that we are attempting to create is not a piece of art that only communicates with older conversations about art, it is a piece that communicates with the users as a whole about the resources contained in the library.

The Poetics of Augmented Space

I've come to the realization that my most recent science fiction/Vonnegut binge may have not been the best thing for this class. I have started to see all this technological progress as signs of the Apocalypse. Being in NYC this weekend brought me to the conclusion that electronic signs while beautiful don't need to be at our every turn. Do we really want our eyes to be raped when we enter a shopping center the way our ears already are with muzak. We already have advertisements where ever we go, do we need ambient ones too. No matter how much art is created there are hundreds of advertisements to make up for it, because that is where the money is. I tend to forget how much advertisements effect most people's lives, living in the world of no T.V. No matter how much ambient art is created there will be ambient advertising to equal it. No matter how poetic you try to make it, we will have a minority report world, where the advertisements will talk to us as we go past, and everything will be done so that we will choose crest over colegate in the toothpaste isle. I am not sure I am ready for "Westfield Shopping Town" aka the mall, to project things covering ever inch, malls have always made me uncomfortable as it is without ambient light that will make me buy things too. I know that it isn't all going to be like that. It would be nice to augment the walls of my room to have a artificial sunny spring day during a cloudy day when I would normally not be able to get out of bed, or to be able to create any environment around me that might be most suited for studying, but whenever they try to paint the walls of a room a psychologically soothing color it just ends up looking ugly, and you start associated the colors with stressful places like hospitals and high school.

After this reading my main question is while we are augmenting this space why aren't we helping with the design of the new wing of the library. Maybe the architect of the new wing should be working with us to make the library more interactive, incorporating ambient art into the new wing as well. Wouldn't it be ridiculous if what ever we set up tracks people in the old wing but not the new one? Then people who wanted to hide would hide in the new wing.


How do we want to augment the library?
We want to make the space more interactive.
What do we want to create?
We want to create a space to exchange ideas in many different forms.
What is the space in between and what opportunities are present?
Digital space, scan the photo prints.
The backs of books, put a piece of paper and let people write comments.
In the books, put post it notes in the books and leave comments.
The carrels, write ideas post it notes, leave stacks of them for people to write on.
What's the most outrageous idea do you have for the library?
What is the simplest idea you have for shifting our expectations of or engagement with library?
The ideas listed as opportunities that are present in spaces that aren't used.

Experience Prototyping

So how would we prototype the screen in which people can be tracked in the library. Two options... have people from the class be in different parts of the library, and be doing different things. Have a piece of butcher block paper, mapping out where everyone is. Have each person have a profile on it, and have a personality/response that they have planned. Invite people to go in look and who is there (they can be fake people/profiles) and interact with the people.
Invite people to make a profile and put it on a map when they enter the library, and have them have the option of interacting with each other, or have students in the class start conversations with them.
Survey the people after it.

Tracking Everything Everywhere/Hertzian Space

I feel like they are right. We need to protect ourselves! My grandmother always wore a baseball cap when walking under power lines, but even she is not protected! Here I have found instructions: [2] Not only do we need to label everything with RFID tags but also every area which may have a radio signal! [3] While they talk about LessEMF's underwear to protect our unborn children some of us cannot afford this and have resorted to tinfoil panties. Don't buy the ones from LessEMF who knows what is in them you must create your own. Why leave your unborn children's future to a business run by the government. LessEMF is based out of ALBANY the capital of New York, and a giant government hub right below our noses. We already get radio waves broad casted from Albany. [4] To escape this outrage we must all move to West Virginia where there is the NRQZ. The biggest bug may have inhabited there once, and who knows about R.O.U.S.'s that may have eaten these giant bugs. [5] These spy chips known as RFID by the commercial industry, may be sending radio waves into our brains so don't buy your tin foil hats off ebay, you must make your own, because who knows what mind control devices will be in them. [6] Don't even listen to the radio or watch TV! They are sending signals through their antenna to take over the world. They are already taking over religion with their radio tower's in church spires. The church is trying to brainwash you! The pope wears such a big hat lined with tin foil to maximize protection. The jews know about this and line their yarmulke's with tin foil to keep out the signals that they are sending through their big businesses. We must throw away anything that is wireless, phones, laptops, anything they can use to track us, you can no longer get those price chopper discounts, they use that card to track what you shop with a BARCODE!!!!! Anything with a barcode, your library card, driver's license, people can ID you with, are destroying your privacy!

Seattle Library

I spoke with a house mate who is from Seattle and has been to the library a could of times. He told me that the building was pretty damn cool. There are computer's everywhere but it is not clear which computers are for what use. He also would have trouble finding where the bathrooms were, the only one that was easy to find was the one in the children's section, which would make him feel incredibly awkward. He said that the building itself was a work of art and that the art inside of it really seems to fit seamlessly. I asked about the acoustics because it is such a large building with such open spaces I thought sound would carry, but he said it was dead silent, and that the silence breeds silence. He was surprised by the silence because while there are a lot of people coming to the library for research also a lot of homeless people use it as a place to stay, so there are always a lot of people. I feel like the homeless would be quiet in the library and not want to draw attention to themselves just in case the law enforcement isn't interested in them being there. He spoke about how a Seattle police officer patrolling the library once asked him to take his feet off a chair while he was reading. I was surprised that it would have a police officer in a library. In a way that makes me kind of uncomfortable. He told me that the only way to find a specific book using the spiral would be to look it up first at one of the computers. There is an escalator running up the center of the spiral in which you can see where you are on each floor to see if you need to get off. While he said the Bennington library is more accessible he did find the Seattle library great for browsing, and there was a pretty "sweet" view from the top. He liked the primary colors but found the red hallway creepy and even though the escalators are bright yellow one of them is really hard to find. He didn't even notice that there is writing on the escalators telling the patron where it goes.


The problem I see with everywhere is that the user cannot always turn it off or opt out. In thesis 9 they state that the PC user chooses when and for how long they use a computer. This choice is a concious one. Maybe you don't want all your friends to know you are in your room when you get into it. Maybe when entering your room you don't want to know that you don't have any new emails, or don't want to be distracted by the new ones because all you want is to go to bed. Maybe the emails are personal and you don't want the person coming into the room with you to see them. There is also the problem of walking in the room while talking and stating something that is also a command and accidentally deleting your important emails, or bringing up a personal document. Wouldn't it be annoying if raising your voice meant that "calming music" comes up, which might actually just be more irritating, because an electronic device can tell that you are irritated.

Interface effects how we interact with the media, there are actually numerous studies on the act of clicking and how it effects how we interact with the media. One example is an article on the psychology of clicking. I also once found a website (that I can't find right now) that instead of clicking you made a circular motion around the area with your mouse, which changes the expectation, emphasizing that the click noise creates the expectation of immediate results while the circular motion is more fluid and has slower expectations. The problem with this is that you may accidentally circle around something that you don't want to.

Looking at everyware when it comes to our bodies, my mothers dog has an RFID tag implanted in case he ever gets lost. There are also dance clubs which have RFID tags in which entrance to certain areas and payment can be tracked. article There is even talk of RFID credit cards article

Relations in Public

I found this reading reading really interesting to be reading, while sitting across from someone who I was trying to start a conversation with. I did something very different then I normally do. I sat a table where someone else was working. They seemed a little taken aback at first, as if I was doing someone that would be seen as socially unacceptable. After sitting there for about half an hour. They said, "hey do you want to learn abut chemistry, and I told them I already took the class. He was there to do his chemistry and biology homework, so I talked to him about being a post bac, about his last school, about how he liked bennington, about choosing to be pre med, about what he studied before trying to be a pre-med student, about how i was taking all of the premed requirements but am not a premed student. he was really friendly and didn't find it odd, for me to just keep the conversation going. I was there for about an hour and we would talk on and off abut the science faculty and what was aformentioned. It was a really nice experience to just go and start talking to someone.

The reading I found really interesting, especially when it talked about womens roles, and being single in a place when people are suppose to be in couples or a group. it made me think about how people tend to not go to movies alone, but actually when you do it it can be a really nice experience, or how when I went to the snow ball my first time alone it was a very strange awkward experience because no one I knew very well was there and it was hard. Another thing interesting was reading about bars that only allow women to be there accompanied by a man, and that many times groups of women aren't allowed to come in together. This is really different from how we are expected to act now. Women going to bars alone or with groups of women is actually seen as a good thing by the bar who will have nights where women drink for free, to try to get more women to go.

The second reading didn't seem to talk about the privacy issue in everyware. How people may not want to be tracked, or constantly able to be communicated with. How having a computer that is always there can be a distraction and how these things will fill us with too much information and too many distractions.

Mapping Site

At first when I started reading this article I was confused. Maybe it was because I couldn't visualize what non-site art was. I was picturing bins taken from different areas of a city. I was contemplating the idea of going through the a city trashcan and mapping where all the shopping bags came from, or even as a mapping project to tag a bunch of bags from a specified store (ex: mcdonalds) and tracking them to the different locations that they would end up across a city. I was pretty sure that this wasn't what was being described though so I went online to look up his artwork. I reread the first few pages a couple of times trying to figure it out and decided to look online to find this: Robert Smithson Artwork. I finally understood. His artwork had a kind of Andy Goldsworthy feel, but he found a way to bring the site into a gallery completely changing the meaning. Andy Goldsworthy might cover a wall with mud, while this man would put piles of sediment on display.I started thinking about how one couple map the library this way, and the only option I could see was books. Mapping what books people looked at. But to do it you would have to take the books out of the library. To define people as a pile of books.

Library of Babel

Viewing the library of babel in relation to the library there is an emphasis that without an organizational system in the library there would be no way to find what you need. I ran into this problem when looking for the library of babel on reserve when actually it was online. The internet before the invention of search engines was similar to the library of Babel in the way that there was so much information there, but there was no way to find anything.

"A blasphemous sect suggested that the searches should cease and that all men should juggle letters and symbols until they constructed, by an improbable gift of chance, these canonical books." There is something about this line that I really love. This sect in a way are the writers of our time constantly putting words together trying to create something perfect, something close to god.

"I venture to suggest this solution to the ancient problem: The Library is unlimited and cyclical. If an eternal traveler were to cross it in any direction, after centuries he would see that the same volumes were repeated in the same disorder (which, thus repeated, would be an order: the Order)." The library is seen as a metaphor for the universe, a constant and endless pattern, in which people desperately search for some kind of meaning but find nothing. People looking for a pattern in the chaos of rolling dice. Now we have our religions whether they are based on a book from god, or a book of science, people are still looking.



VAPA student server #121611547

Code for Random Wiki

<source lang=ruby> require 'open-uri' sentence = open('').read(10000) puts sentence.slice(3978,600)

  1. this is calibrated to the wikipedia page for the New Order song "Age of Consent"
  1. require 'open-uri'
  1. example = open('')
  1. html =
  2. plain_text = html.sub(%r{<body.*?>(.*?)</body>}mi, '\1').gsub(/<.*?>/m, ' ').gsub(%r{(\n\s*){2}}, "\n\n")
  1. require 'cgi'
  2. plain_text = CGI.unescapeHTML(plain_text)
  3. puts plain_text.slice(2,400)
    1. this isn't the accurate area of text
    2. this didn't work and we were sad</source>

Code I am thinking of a number

<source lang=ruby> print "I'm thinking of a number from 1 to 100.\n" my_number = rand(100) + 1

loop do

       print "Okay, what do you think it is? "
       your_guess = gets.to_i
       if your_guess < my_number
               print "too low \n"
       if your_guess > my_number
               print "too high \n"
       if your_guess == my_number
               print "correct \n"