Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Final Project Proposal, Ghosts of the Vanquished

Statistically, 'New Brunswick' is a very diverse place. However, in reality the geography of this city is divisible into three physical districts: Rutgers University, the Downtown area, and Little Mexico. Furthermore, we can group these physical districts into two zones, whose boarders are defined by socio-economic status. In one zone we have those from middle/upper-middleclass backgrounds; these are the students and business men. In the other zone we have lower classes people; these are the Vanquished (i.e. minorities and immigrants). The individuals from ‘zone one’ are living in a gentrified areas and are afforded many opportunities and resources for self-advancement because of their status as citizens, students, and middle-class individuals; the vanquished have none of this. Having lived as a student in New Brunswick for four years now, I feel as though I can safely say that individuals from these zones rarely mix which I see a problem when one considers that, by definition, we still live in the same city. Making this worse is the fact that the individuals from Zone 1 avoid or distance themselves the individuals from Zone 2 as much as they can. Whether this is conscious or unconscious matter not. What’s important is that the vanquished, on top of their limited resources (i.e. income, education, legal citizenship, etc.), are being further distanced from the society that they have every right to be a part of. Since the students are the ones with the power to create this distance, I wanted to design a project that would undo the distance that they have put between themselves and the vanquished using sound. I would like to take the ambient sound from a location of the vanquished and subtly impose it in on a related location of the students (e.g. playing the sounds of a restaurant in Little Mexico at Au Bon Pain or the student center), corroding the unconscious avoidance that students exhibit for the vanquished. The sound played would be streamed live by setting up microphones at the vanquished site and speakers at the non-vanquished location. My project is based on two ideas: (1) people are unconsciously tuned into ambient noise and (2) exposure to something unfamiliar to you helps close the distance you put between yourself and it. Such a project does something which I have never come across in locative-media, subliminally raise awareness of a location and people from that location.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I had originally planned on following someone physically or online, but I felt it would be a copout for me since I’ve already followed someone in the past. I can remember the experience fairly well and will recount it now before I start to talk about my actual project.

I was a very shy kid in high school. I didn’t mind talking with people, but I was terrified to initiate any type of conversation. Others could strike up a conversation with me, but I wouldn’t dare approach them. One day, this posed to be a problem when I overheard some kids talking in my gym class about some really engaging/interesting stuff. I wanted to join in on the conversation and make friends but couldn’t think of a good way to approach them. True to form, I said nothing and the period ended. I was really frustrated that I missed out on the chance to talk with them; that was until school let out. As I walked out the main doors of my school to go home, I spotted one of the kids from gym talking with a friend on his cell; he was making plans to meet up at a park nearby. I was still frustrated with myself for not speaking up during earlier so I decided I wouldn’t let the information I had just acquired go to waste. Since I knew the park he was going to, I decided I run ahead of him and intercept him before he got to the park. There was only one problem, there were a number of routes you could use to get to the park so I had to follow him for a while before I knew which path to take to intercept him. The park was about ten minutes away and I followed him for about five minutes before I got a sense of which route he was taking. However, following him for those five minutes proved to be nerve racking and exciting because the path he took was along a quieter more isolated route which meant I couldn’t blend in to the environment as easily. In order for my plan to succeed he couldn’t notice me at all, since it would be strange for someone who was walking behind you a few minutes ago to suddenly bump into you coming from the opposite direction just a few minutes later. I originally stayed pretty far behind him on the opposite side of the street, but I closed the gap in fear of losing him. I remember thinking about abandoning my venture several times, after all it isn’t normal to follow and then intercept someone you don’t know at all just for the chance to talk with them. Actually, I remember thinking that I was fucking nuts. But I also knew that the person I was following probably wouldn’t catch on which meant it was alright, since we all know you’re not really crazy until your caught being crazy (or you write about it on a blog seven years later for an entire class to read). Anyway, I eventually got a sense of the route he was going to take and planned my interception route. I sprinted down a street running parallel to the one he was on in order to get ahead of him. He took the route I expected we ended up waiting at the same street crossing. I felt like I was in a time warp while we waited. After a few second, I began to think that everything had been for naught, that my plan was destined for failure. By the grace of god and good fortune, he happened to be a very social person with none of the timidity I had. He asked me, “aren’t you the kid in my gym class?”. Bingo. =)

View Following Map in a larger map

Since I had already followed someone physically I decided to switch things up and follow someone intellectually. Since I consider myself a pretty open minded person and I wanted a challenge, it only felt right to follow someone who I consider to be very close minded. That someone was Rush Limbaugh. It helped that the asshole is one of the most overblown windbags on the face of the planet and had his own website devoted to spewing hate, I mean, his point of view. I had originally intended watch a number of older clips on his site, trying to get into his mindset and how he might respond towards some issues and topics going on in current events. Then I would right my ‘new’ opinion on those topics.

Sadly, my project never really got off the ground. As it turns out there are a very limited number of topic actually discussed in main stream media and Rush doesn’t change his opinion at all overtime. His arguments are all ignorant rants and void of substance. They are what my philosophy of language teacher would call ‘boo’ arguments. That is, what Rush does is basically bring up a topic like immigration, gay rights, or feminism and then say ‘booooooooooo’ for half an hour. I truly tried to stay open to his perspective. However, three minutes into my first video he uttered these two things:

  1. I support woman, that’s why I judged a beauty pageant. What doesn’t support women is feminism, it only hurts them.
  2. Tides are turning on the democrats, I mean Scott Brown just got elected senator for Massachusetts.

I watched another fifteen minutes of his videos, but as I said earlier. Everything he said was based in hate. So what would have resulted is a commentary of hate, ignorance, racism, and homophobia, etc. This is something I could not do. I try to be a PC person when I talk, to be polite, to be soft spoken. I do this mostly because I’m self-conscious and don’t like attracting negative attention. I thought myself incapable of ranting my pure emotions in an uncensored way, especially on things such as politics. However, looking back on a little of what I’ve written here I did speak my mind in an uncensored way, so I guess I was able to follow you Douche Limbaugh. Thank you.


"the other's tracks are used in such a way as to distance you from yourself."

-Jean Baudrillard


Lured by my style and tendency,
you follow and come after me?
Follow your own self faithfully—
take time—and thus you follow me.

(Vademecum: a manual or guidebook; literally, "go with me." Vadetecum: go with yourself.)

-Federick Nietzsche, The Gay Science


Friday, March 26, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010


The Creative Process

I went through many ideas, the remains of which can be seen above.

The Notice
Notice - Sign

Questions on Readings II

Wodiczko,K. - Critical Vehicles Questions

1) In america, we are in a situation where the vanquished are perceived as beginning to outnumber the victors. Do you agree with this sentiment? Justify your response.

2) Wodiczko states "[interrogative] design must not hesitate to respond to the needs that [should exists]". However, most often these needs are invisible. How does one design a project which addresses invisible needs?

3) Wodiczko talks about the superficial sameness which must be shaved away and a deeper, more fundamental sameness which defines us all as human. What do you think comprises this "deeper, more fundamental sameness"?

4) The avant garde is a constantly shifting notion, dependent on the times of the people who define the tradition; a tradition associated with taking the unconscious routines of people and breaking them in ways which inspire reflection. What traditions or perceptions in our life are so fimly established that breaking through art them would cause people to reflect on them, thus creating avant garde art? (essentially I am asking, what is avant garde art today?)