NYC 1993: Time Capsule

ImageThe New Museum exhibits are free to NYU students. For my field trip I went to the nostalgic time capsule exhibit titled NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star.

In the museums own words:

“NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” draws its subtitle from the eponymous album that the New York rock band Sonic Youth recorded in 1993 and captures the complex exchange between mainstream and underground culture across disciplines, which came to define the art of the era.”

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Working my way down from the top, I SnapChatted the pleasant view that the observation deck affords.

One of my favorite pieces was the first contextual piece. A series of about 10 TV’s were lined up and displayed a rotation of facts about 1993 color coded in order to categorize them into world news, US/NYC news, and entertainment/pop culture news. Seeing as how I was 1 year of age during that time, this was the most informative and educative installation in the exhibit.

Aside from that piece, I must admit I don’t have an opinion on many of the other installations. There were, however, two clear interrelated issues at the forefront of many works: gay rights & AIDS.

It is crazy to me that homosexuals were treated poorly so recently in our nations history. Although discrimination most certainly still exists, the video installations as well as a poster (describing the murder of a gay man) in particular make me realize how far the LGBT community has come in a score of years.

The digital exhibitions did a good job of portraying the pain and effort that the gay community carried in order to have their voice heard, especially in the context of HIV/AIDS. Although my view may be biased by these works, I find it appalling how little sympathy the government extended to its own people.

Overall I enjoyed the digital works much more that the other alternative installations. Exhibits like this one make me realize the place that digital art may have in other museums in the future.

 

 

Listening Exercise: Locked Out

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I chose to go to a corner bench area where I waited for my roomate on a day I was locked out of my house. I tried to keep my eyes closed but I didn’t like it. Overall this was a calming experience. I’m going to describe my experience on in a stereo format, with a left, right and middle aural experience.

CAR NOISES PERSIST THE WHOLE TIME – STOP, GO, ACCELERATE, SLOW

JaCkHaMmEr

car squeak – perhaps brakes or just an axel

birds chirp

Bike chain jingles

chain hits the ground

chain gets wrapped up; the whole time car noises & bird chirps disappear to me – then suddenly spring back…but the jackhammer is gone.

voices, [my own sniffle], a distant laugh

the sound of a storefront gate closing…no wait, just a motorcycle revving up

chainsaw? something like a chainsaw where the jackhammer used to be

child repeatedly yelling a one syllable word (probably ‘mom’)

metal banging on metal in rhythmic fashion

more kids and voices

one kid just going ‘ahhhhhh’ over and over

metal pipe hits the floor

my own sniffle, again

wind, followed by light raindrops

trash being moved by said wind

 

Peripheral Connection: I’m blogging from my phone

I too, sleep next to my phone. I agree with Danah Boyd that the connectedness of the always-on culture encourages communication and the spread of ideas. Yet something about her writing in “Participating in the Always-on lifestyle” spooked me and left me with a dirty taste in my mouth.

Maybe I disliked the article because she (Danah is a she, right?) was so aware and articulate about all of the problems of being always on:

Phones at the dinner table.
Weak, peripheral connections.
ADDICTION and Instant gratification.
Life hacking for more screen time.
Failure to find a balance.
Lack of privacy and the ability to be misinterpreted.
..and others.

I got spooked because although Danah is clearly a success story, there are so many ways to fall short of the mark in the always-on culture. Maybe I’m just an ‘outsider’, but the risk doesn’t seem worth the reward to me.

$50K Worth of Cartography Lessons?!?

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Click the picture for a video!

The use of MapBox has opened my eyes to how strictly limited google maps is.

Although streetview is awesome and revolutionary to me, I agree that their ability continute to create more accurate maps is a continually uphill battle. The Atlantic article opened my eyes to the increasing marginal futility of google’s efforts to make their maps more real.

I swing between appreciation for stylistic vs accurate maps. As a high school student, I rode the train every day, and was an avid NYC subway user in general. I noticed places where the map was super accurate; where slight shifts along the 4-train were reflected in the map. I also noticed places where the map simplified things, such as the 63rd Street to 59th Street connection. I think of this map as art.

The maps on map box are aesthetically beautiful but, in my opinion, are not accurate enough to be useful. Although they are certainly great works of art, I hold things like the MTA subway map in higher regard because of the mix of style and information it provides.

Geo-location will become increasingly important as more and more devices are internet enable. I hope google’s monopoly on the Maps process breaks up a little, but also hope to see continued efforts for increased precision and accuracy (such as StreetView) for the maps I have.

What, me worry?

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Wow, that Vannevar guy CALLED IT

Camera worn on forehead, the size of a walnut: GoPro

A library of a million volumes compressed into one end of a desk: Hard Drive

Wholly new forms of encyclopedia: Wikipedia, or any wiki for that matter.

He even figured out that digital assets would have a marginal cost of 0 (Britannica example on page 2)!

As Mr. V goes on, he describes what we now know today as Google. He foresees a “selection device” (a memex as he calls it) that helps a user with “selection by association, rather than indexing”. He foresees the deevolution that Nicholas Carr describes.

 

Carr brings up good points about the associative nature of our apparent neurological rewiring. I believe him. I hate reading. I love the internet and the resources it offers. Although I also am unsure of what the future holds, I’m not afraid. I think it is indeed our “counter-tendency to expect the worst of every new tool or machine” that gives us this initial feeling.

I personally think the machination of these processes will pave the way for humans to be more creative and recreative than ever before. Lets let the robots do all the work. I’ve seen the matrix, iRobot, and all the others. Although I agree we can’t live without computers, I still think we’ve got a long time before computers figure out how to live without us.