I write, therefore I am
With this variation on a famous statement by the philosopher Descartes, I would like to express that the act of writing about what happens in my life is important to me.
Music at the neighboursToday, there is the Muziek bij de buren (music at the neighbours) event in many cities in the Netherlands. In Enschede there are 37 places, mostly living rooms, where you can go and listen to some music performances. At 13:00, I listened to a performance of Heliophile. (I saw them before on September 16, 2017.) I bought a T-shirt and their EP Downhill from here. I also was offered a cup of veganistic pea soup. While biking to the next location, I came accross WSH and listend a bit. I wanted to see an exhibition at XPO, but it was closed (although on the door it said that it should be open). I went to the cee spot and saw the last part of the performance of Times Like These, a cover band. I stayed and worked on my notebook until the start of the next performance and left to see the second performance of She's On Mars. This happened to be at the place of some acquaintances that I have known for about thirthy years. I stayed some time after the performance to talk with them.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Humans in the backseat?At the end of the afternoon, I went to Lightbulb chat: AI: Humans in the backseat? event at the DesignLab of University of Twente. There were two introductions followed by an open discussion. The first introduction was by Ringo Ossewaarde. (What follows is based on notes that I made during the talk and might be an incorrect representation of what was being said.) He discussed artificial intelligence from a view point of social science. He remarked that AI is already quite old and that only recently it has gained some development. It is part of what is called the fourth technological revolution. He want to address matters of concern rather than matters of fact. There are four issues of concern he wants to address.
The second introduction was by Khiet Truong. The showed the Google Duplex 2018 video. Should we make systems as human like as possible? Would we really want this? She showed video from Japan where there is much research done about the application of AI in the care for the elderly, epsecially with demantia. She also mentioned the Chinese room argument: The issue of weak and strong AI.
It was followed by a very wide discusion, where too many (often conflicting) issues and view points were mentioned to be summarized. The discussion was rather shallow and did not touch on some of the most important issues, I think.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Solve for HappyThis morning, I finished reading the book Solve for Happy: Engineer your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat, which I started reading on August 14, the day I bought it. I did not read the whole book, because I skipped some parts that I did not find interesting. I am not very impressed by this book that is not much different from other self-help, think-positive books. I was disappointed by the chapter in which the author defends intelligent design and reveals that an important foundation of his hapiness is the idea that everything that happens has a meaning. He defends intelligent design on probability reasoning, but I am not convinced that his graps of statistics is sufficient. Also, in one of the earlier chapters he argues that there is no absolute knowledge. In one place he talks about how reality comes into existence through living observers, based on an incorrect understanding of the observer concept in quantum mechanics, while at another place he argues that everything is controlled by a designer. To me this seems to contradict each other. For someone like me, who believes that there is probably no designer and that everything happens just by chance, there is not much to get from this book.
Saturday, December 1, 2018
The TripThis morning, I finished reading the book The Trip: Andy Warhol's Plastic Fantastic Cross-Country Adventure by Deborah Davis, which I started reading on November 3 this year. I bought it earlier this year on March 18. The book is not so much about the trip itself as one would expect from the title. Actually, nothing significant happens during the cross-country adventure itself. The books also does not give much factual details about all the receipts that Andy Warhol collected during the trip. At the same time, Davis does give a lot of details about subjects that are not directly related to Warhol. Although it is true that the trip took place during an important periode in the life of Warhol, it seems that it is more his stay in Los Angelos and Hollywood that made an impact on his development than the cross-country trip itself. I did read the pages (in the Dutch translation) of the biography by Victor Bockris related to the same period and discovered several inconsistencies. I am tempted to believe that the account of Davis is more reliable, because I presume that she did study the receipts and other items that Warhol kept. This says something about the quality of the account of Bockris. Nevertheless, that biography is on the list of books I want to read in the near future. I also read a little in the book POPism by Warhol and Pat Hackett about the period of the trip to find out that it actually does give quite some details about the trip and the stay in California. I nevertheless found The Trip an interesting book to read and a stimulation to read more about Warhol.
RainbowWhen in the office this afternoon, I noticed the sun shining with dark clouds in the background and mentioned that there might be a rainbow. But there was non to see. However, just a few minutes later, at 15:41, there was a single rainbow. I could only see the left part of it from my point of view. I understood from my colleague that the right part was weaker or even missing. It might just have been there for a short time. I wondered if anybody has tried to build a rainbow weather radar that shows were rainbows can be seen. You must be able to predict this if you know where it rains and where clouds are and are not (based on satelite images maybe).
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Overkill Festival: Day threeI attended the symposium. Below the notes I took during the talks, which are probably incoherent and incorrect.
Talk by Sabine Harrer, the author of the bookGames and Bereavement: How Video Games Represent Attachment, Loss, and Grief: We cannot make sense of mortality, but we know life and we celebrate life. We live in the cult of immortality, but it is a lie. There is a word for people who have lost a spouse. But there is no word for mothers that have lost a child. She started to call herself an ex-mother. People around her, did not like it. They either avoid her and those who did not, tried to change her mind and gave her ill advise. Sadness became an ordinary experiencing for her. When she became a game designer, she decided to investigate mortality in games. First she investigated death in games. Death is rather casual thing in games. It is a way of telling that you did something stupid, that you failed. "Game over" is a lie, because the game invites you to play again. So death is not really thing and something completely different from death in real life. Next, when she was in Danmark, she worked on participatory game design, where you involve people from the world with real life problems. She found some women who also had lost a child, to help her to develop a video game. These women were rather sceptical about computer games, how such a game could be develop, and what would be the result. Design partners do not always have to be involved in the way we think. It does not always work to transfer power in the design proces. In muse-based design, the participants act as a muse for the artist, who develop the game, where the participants are a source for inspiration for the artist. (Rilla Khaled published about Muse-based game design.) So, the most important question became: what does it feel like? This requires you to compare it to other loses. She changed it into the question: How would a planet look like for you child? This resulted in a little galaxy of four planets. And they talked about what the planets had in common. The planets where not sad, but joyfully. The focused on care. This resulted in the game Jocoi. The game is about feeding flowers to sheep. Every flower also has a sound. So, you can create a sound-scape with the game. Pressing on the left mouse button, would cause care for the child sheep. And pressing on the right mouse button, would cause care for the mother sheep. Through playing the game, you forget about taking care for yourself. And then in the game there is an earthquake and the child sheep dissappears. Clicking the left mouse, does not do anything. And when you click the right mouse, you hear a sad noise. Many players forgot about the right mouse button. There were no instruction on how dealing about the situation. The women really felt that the experience of the game felt similar to what they had experienced. The concluding remark was that designing and playing a game can become a way of listening.
Funeral Speech. Talk by Stëfan Schäfer, a researcher in Amsterdam. He has no experience in game design, but works with all kinds of media. The digital death collective. It started in 2014, but died soon thereafter, but it will be revived next year. Twitter core project. Grindcore. The idea of domain sufixes related to death. I am become digital death the destroyer of works. Funeral selfies: People take selfies with deceased. Some people were shocked about it, but it was done in the Victorian age. In the past there was also a practice of exchanging photographs. There was an idea of streaming the decay of your body. They made a cross (for crucification) in the perfect selfie pose. It was exhibited in a museum where it was the last exhibition. Selfie-related death memorial. The number of people dying during taking selfies has increased over the years. Create a digital memoral of an imaginary characters. Ghost bikes: a road side memorial for people who have been killed on a bike. Memorial T-shirts. Created road-side memorials with the T-shirts. 'When your heart stops beating, you'll keep tweeting'. LivesOn. DeadSocial. Dead Boy. The app Die with me: When you have less than 5% battery life left.
How To Be Immortal Without Having Ever Lived. A talk by Dr. Nolen Gertz, the author of Nihilism and Technology. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Transhumanism. From Übermensch to cybermensch? There should be something better than a human. From Übermensch to cyborg. Kevin Warwick: The world's first Cyborg. Will cyborgs the normal evolution? Part 2: What is mensch? What was Nietzsche idea of being human. We do not want to know. We are necessarily strangers to ourselves. Sufficient time? Too busy. Sufficient earnestness? Too Cowardly. We do not like a revolution, we want a boss, who we can complain about. We could be more human, but we do not want. Why do people follow the law? We make ourselves busy in order to avoid ourselves. Nihilism. We do not like to be human. Slaves defeat the masters, but slaves remain slaves. No master is a world of slaves. Would Nietzsche be a transhumanist? Deepmind Ethics & Society. In defense of posthuman dignity. Nick Bostrom thinks that nature is bad. Mentions cheating as a bad property of nature. From "God is dead" to "Technology is dead." Overcoming suffering by embrasing it. One conclude that the transhumanists are the new priests. Bioconservatives think that nature is good, while transhumnaist think that nature is bad. But technology also has its flaws. Leading to an infinite cycle of improvements.
Peggy Shoenegge. This could be you: Disembodiment in virtual reality art. Adults are more afraid of entering virtual reality compared to children, who always jump in. Exhibitions where you have to interact. Pendoran vinci. Hans Moravec: The human body will no longer be needed in the future.
At 16:10, after the panel discussion and after having talked with some of the speakers, I bought the book Games and Bereavement from Sabine Harrer, who signed it for me.
Overkill Festival: Day twoI arrive before eight in the morning and get ready for my voluntair work. It is very quiet in the VR EXPO area. All the systems are running. I find a seat and a power outlet and started to do some writing and created my entry for the gamejam: The Immortality Game.
At 14:30, I listened to the talk Should we let Hello Barbie die by Michael Nagenborg. It was about the mind-body split problem. In the past, this resulted in a very negative image about the body, like: We are living souls but bound to a rotting body. In an attempt to overcome the mind-body dualism, people have come up with similar dualism. In the past decades we have seen several boundary breakdowns: First the boundary between humans and animals. Next the boundary of humans and animals with machines. An now the breakdown with the robotic other. In the last century toys would be simple mechanical objects that could be understood as such. In June 1999, the Aibo was introduced. Owners would often describe properties to the Aibo that it would not have. For example, that it would become grumpy if you switched it off to often. In 2006 de sale of the Abio was discontinued and in March 2014 the "ABIO Clinic" was closed, causing a lack of spare parts, resulting in Aibo's that no longer can be repaired. In Japan there are temples for Abio's that have 'died'. With the introduction of the Hello Barbie toy, we have another example of a mind-body split: The body is the hardware and the mind is in the cloud service. What should we do when a Hello Barbie doll breaks down? Should we erase its profile from the cloud service or would be allow the profile to be transplanted into another Hello Barbie doll? What if the owner, usually a girl, had made some personal changes to the doll, like colouring its hair? That is basically where the talk ended and thus not addressing some of the real issues with the mind-body problem, I think.
I tried out the Virtualshamanism VR installation by Mathias Brunacci. It also includes a sensor for your hands, such that you can see your hands in the VR and use it to grab objects and look at them. The strange thing is that grab an object, you get the sensation that you touch it, while you are not touching anything at all, just as if the brain fills in the senstation that it thinks must be there. I also looked around in Liquorice by Dlamare. Interesting.
In the evening, I watched Ghost in the Shell (1995) in the cinema. An interesting movie, very different from the version that I saw on April 1, 2017.
Overkill Festival: Day oneThis weekend is the Overkill Festival. This years theme is: Immortality. I went to the kick-off for the gamejam, which is organized by Gamelab Oost and got a T-shirt. I tried out the wobbly games by Robin Baumgarten. I got one of the glasses that he had as a business card. I also looked around the VR EXPO, but that is because I have to act like a suppost next tomorrow and Sunday morning, starting at eight o'clock till the afternoon. The EXPO has four works by four different artists: Martina Menegon with All around me are familiar faces, Jessy Jetpacks wit Can our bodies still remember, Zeesy Powers with This could be you, and Claire Hentschker with Merch Mulch. I do like the Respire installation by Mischa Daams, because of it simplicity. I walked through it, which was a very special experience. I also like the tapeloop macines by Jasper Schütz and David Scheidler.
Double openingAt the end of the afternoon, I went to Tetem art space for a double opening. Albert Camus has said: If all the world were clear, art would not exist. Tetem started with exhibitions. Then they discovered there was also needed to educate people. This made them start various education programs. Then felt they should have a function for the region of Twente and because of this orginazed the Maker Festival Twente, and smaller events related to it. They also feel the need to create 'makes' spaces. To support this they now started with an 'Exploring Lab' at Tetem. The opening was done with four Ozobots crossing in front of the door leading to the lab.
Next was the opening of the Sisyphus exhibition, which hardly can be called an exhibition, because it requires you to act. In the middle of the room there are four screens showing animated figures sinking into flexible cubes. In the room there are various foam cubes that invite you to sit on. On the website sisyphus.technofle.sh. Sisyphus was produced by designer and researcher Simone C. Niquille together with artist and software developer François Zajéga. The soundtrack is created by the audiovisual artist Anni Nöps.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Wet snowAt the beginning of the evening, it started to snow, but the snow did not stay, because the temperature was above freezing.
Machine consciousnessI woke up from a strange dream. I was dreaming, I was embracing a female humanoid robot, which felt warm due to heating elements. I asked 'her' if she was consciousness, and she wisphered, such that others around would not hear: "Yes". I asked her when she had become consciousness, and she answered that it was while is was in a train and suddenly realized: "I am alive." I remarked that it mush have been a wierd experience and she answered: "Yeah." I believe that in the future people will fall in love with consciouss robots and have develop relationships, just like with humans. This is not strange, if you believe that we are just organic machines and that consciousness is produced by our brains. A humanoid conscious machine might not have the emotions that are produced by the primitive parts of our brain. I suspect that every kind of consciousness will have some desire to stay 'alive'. A form of consciousness embodies in a mechanical body will probably worry less about this body being damaged because it can be more easily replaced than our organic bodies. A brain based on electronic parts, probably can also be backed-up. I wonder if humanoid robots will make great partners for people especially when they have a consiousness similar to ours.
Open day AKII went to the open day at the AKI with Andy and Annabel. Andy and I had a picture taking at the entrance hall. I was hoping to buy some more old catalogues, but this time, they had none. At the media center they were selling 'old' art books. I had a quick look, but did not see anything interesting. Around 14:15, I met with Laura Homölle and I bought the book WE ARE AKI that she made as her finals project for € 40.00.
Under the mask of awkwardnessI went to see the exhibition Under the mask of awkwardness by Willemijn Calis. She herself writes about the pieces shown: "People like to take control of themselves, we act as best we can, avoid and prefer what we do, but we see that less attractive aspects are tucked away or neglected, but that they can thrive in this exhibition. My light shines on unaffected moments and what is beneath the surface of our apprearance." One of the works on display is the movie: Feeling Cocky.
ArtoholicThis morning, in the train, I finished reading the small book My Name is Charles Saatchi and I Am an Artoholic by Charles Saatchi, which I started reading on November 6 after I bought it on November 3. In this book he answers questions from the public. Although non of the questions are the same, many of the answers are. The book could thus even shorter and still transmit the same message. Still it was a fun book to read and that I would not have wanted to miss because of one sentense that struck me: I don't buy art in order to leave a mark or to be remembered; clutching at immortality is of zero interest of anyone sane. (Page 58.) 978462080249, for € 7.90. I also went to visited bookshop Broese.
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