Kristoffer Gansing: Transversal Media Practices: Media Archaeology, Art and Technological Development (2013)
Filed under thesis | Tags: · art, artistic research, imagina, media archeology, media art, new media, overhead projector, remediation, technology, television, transversality
Transversal Media Practices work across specific situations of technological development, critically examining and redefining the terms of production in different media by bringing heterogeneous histories, institutions, actors and materialities into play with one another. This dissertation is all about trying out and refining the methodologies of such transversal media practices, in the end outlining a conceptual set of tools for further development.
Following the technological hype of the “digital revolution” of the mid-1990s, the field of new media studies gained popularity over a ten year period. This dissertation takes its cue from a historical turn in new media theory, and argues that it is time leave behind strict polarisations between old and new as well as analogue and digital. The study unfolds through two case-studies. The first, “The World’s Last Television Studio”, looks at tv-tv, an art and media-activist project that negotiates the sociocultural and material changes of the “old” and institutionalised mass medium of television. In the second case study, “The Art of the Overhead”, another old medium is engaged: the overhead projector – a quintessential 20th century institutional medium here presented as a device for rethinking the new through the old. The problematic of technological development, i.e. dealing with questions of how (media) technologies develop over time, forms the background to these two case studies. A key issue being how cultural and artistic practices dealing with the interaction of old and new media invite us to conceptualise technological development in new ways.
The emerging field of media archaeology is employed as a methodology in media studies and cultural production, comprising a theoretical and applied analysis of media history, materiality and practice. This transversal approach allows media archaeologists to deal with the relation between the old and the new in a non-linear way as well as to pay attention to the technical materiality of media. It is argued that the transversality of the media-archaeological approach should be seen in contrast to other conceptions of media history and technological development, such as progressivist, mono-medial and evolutionary ones. In this study, the author tries out the potential of media archaeology to reform our conception of media technologies, and eventually formulates a set of concepts for thinking and doing media archaeology as a transversal media practice. These tools are about the imaginary, residual and renewable dimensions of media technologies and are meant to assist in the opening up and intervening into processes of standardised media development.
On a general level the resulting set of tools for transversal media practices builds a bridge between theory and practice: they can be used for further research and cultural analysis where objects of study speak back to analytical concepts. At the same time these are tools for transversality that expand this form of cultural analysis in that the travelling between disciplines here also means a travelling between theory and practice. On a specific level, the tools enable this travel between theory and practice in media- and communication studies, and as such they contribute to the development of new practice-based methodologies in media research.
Doctoral dissertation in Media and Communications Studies
School of Arts and Communication, K3; Faculty of Culture and Society; Malmö University
Dissertation series in New Media, Public Spheres and Forms of Expression
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Filed under thesis | Tags: · business, copyright, creative industries, crowdsourcing, governmentality, ideology, internet, media industry, openness, openness industry
“Over recent decades several competing descriptions of the media and cultural industries have been put forward. The media and cultural industries have been described as creative industries, copyright industries, and as constitutive of an experience economy. One key element in these descriptions has been the importance of copyright law in a postindustrial economy.
The present study is an analysis of an emerging idea of an industry that functions, in part, outside of the market created by copyright law, and by exploiting, or by building markets on top of, digital, cultural and informational commons. The study is about how this idea is expressed in various forms by business organisations, companies, consultants and policymakers. I have invented the concept of the openness industry to denote the businesses that these organisations and policy makers claim are forerunners and promoters of the idea of ‘openness’ as a business model for the media industry. The purpose of the thesis is to analyse the governmentality and ideology of the openness industry.
A key element in the idea of the openness industry is that internet users can be persuaded to produce symbolic products for it by other means than the economic incentives provided by copyright. Another key element is the high value placed on single individuals in the creation of economic value; but in contrast to how the copyright industries are thought to be dependent on ‘authors’, the openness industry relies on the ‘entrepreneur’. Previous notions of the media and cultural industries have given publishers and producers of film, music and games a central role.The companies that are seminal to the idea of the openness industry are internet and technology companies.” (Abstract)
Media and Communication, Örebro University, Sweden, 2012
Supervisors: Göran Bolin, Mats Ekström
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Peter Hoffmann: Music Out of Nothing? A Rigorous Approach to Algorithmic Composition by Iannis Xenakis (2009)
Filed under thesis | Tags: · algorithm, composing, composition, computer music, computing, electroacoustic music, listening, music, music theory, sound
“GENDY3 (1991) by Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) is a piece of computer generated music. But it is more than just ‘computer music’. GENDY3 is the culmination of Xenakis’ lifelong quest for an ‘Automated Art’: a music entirely generated by a computer algorithm.
Being a radical instance of a pure algorithmic composition, GENDY3 is, in a precise mathematical sense, a computable music: every aspect of its sonic shape is defined by an algorithmic procedure called ‘Dynamic Stochastic Synthesis’ (‘Génération Dynamique Stochastique’, or GENDYN for short).
The GENDYN Project, started by the author in 1995/96 with a research at CEMAMu, then the composer’s research center near Paris, exploits this computability for developing and documenting the GENDYN concept, in order to understand its various ramifications and to make it accessible for further research and production. To this end, the author implemented Dynamic Stochastic Synthesis in a new program called the ‘New GENDYN Program’ which, in addition to ‘recomposing’ GENDY3 in real time, makes it possible to inspect and control the algorithmic composition process, thereby opening up new perspectives both in Computational Musicology and in computer music creation.
For music analysis purposes, GENDY3 has been completely resynthesized. The simulation of the genesis of GENDY3 ‘in vitro’ made possible by the New GENDYN Program permits the systematic exploration of the ‘decision space’ of the composition model, contributing to a deeper understanding of both its potentials and limitations, and the complex interaction between ‘material requirements’ and compositional freedom within which the composer navigated.
The study of the GENDYN compositions provokes many fundamental questions about computing, listening and understanding, of creation, interaction and computer music aesthetics. It is shown that Xenakis, unlike many computer music composers, had no ambition whatsoever to emulate traditional musical thinking with the computer. Instead he realized his sonic vision in an abstract physical model of sound pressure dynamics yielding higher-order musical structures as emergent epiphenomena. This unusual approach addresses the medium of electroacoustic algorithmic music, i.e. the physics of sound, as well as the computability of sound as subjects of artistic creation. This approach seems to the author to be of a higher value for the foundation of a ‘true’ computer art than the widespread ambition to emulate human creativity by computers and to build up an artificial brave new world of music.” (Abstract)
Fakultät I – Geisteswissenschaften, Technische Universität Berlin
Vorsitzender: Stefan Weinzierl
Berichter: Christian Martin Schmidt
Berichter: Helga de la Motte-Haber
Filed under thesis | Tags: · computing, design, drawing, interface, software, technology
This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted January 1963 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“The Sketchpad system uses drawing as a novel communication medium for a computer. The system contains input, output, and computation programs which enable it to interpret information drawn directly on a computer display. It has been used to draw electrical, mechanical, scientific, mathematical, and animated drawings; it is a general purpose system. Sketchpad has shown the most usefulness as an aid to the understanding of processes, such as the notion of linkages, which can be described with pictures. Sketchpad also makes it easy to draw highly repetitive or highly accurate drawings and to change drawings previously drawn with it. The many drawings in this thesis were all made with Sketchpad.
A Sketchpad user sketches directly on a computer display with a ‘light pen.’ The light pen is used both to position parts of the drawing on the display and to point to them to change them. A set of push buttons controls the changes to be made such as ‘erase,’ or ‘move.’ Except for legends, no written language is used.
Information sketched can include straight line segments and circle arcs. Arbitrary symbols may be defined from any collection of line segments, circle arcs, and previously defined symbols. A user may define and use as many symbols as he wishes. Any change in the definition of a symbol is at once seen wherever that symbol appears.
Sketchpad stores explicit information about the topology of a drawing. If the user moves one vertex of a polygon, both adjacent sides will be moved. If the user moves a symbol, all lines attached to that symbol will automatically move to stay attached to it. The topological connections of the drawing are automatically indicated by the user as he sketches. Since Sketchpad is able to accept topological information from a human being in a picture language perfectly natural to the human, it can be used as an input program for computation programs which require topological data, e.g., circuit simulators.
Sketchpad itself is able to move parts of the drawing around to meet new conditions which the user may apply to them. The user indicates conditions with the light pen and push buttons. For example, to make two lines parallel, he successively points to the lines with the light pen and presses a button. The conditions themselves are displayed on the drawing so that they may be erased or changed with the light pen language. Any combination of conditions can be defined as a composite condition and applied in one step.
It is easy to add entirely new types of conditions to Sketchpad’s vocabulary. Since the conditions can involve anything computable, Sketchpad can be used for a very wide range of problems. For example, Sketchpad has been used to find the distribution of forces in the members of truss bridges drawn with it.
Sketchpad drawings are stored in the computer in a specially designed ‘ring’ structure. The ring structure features rapid processing of topological information with no searching at all. The basic operations used in Sketchpad for manipulating the ring structure are described.” (from the Abstract)
Originally submitted at the Massachussets Institute of Technology, January 1963
Technical report published by University of Cambridge, September 2003
New preface by Alan Blackwell and Kerry Rodden
Filed under thesis | Tags: · consciousness, environment, listening, sound, sound art, technology
“Scorescapes investigates how sound mediates our relationship to the environment, and how contemporary multidisciplinary art practices can articulate this relationship. It joins my own artistic practice with a theoretical analysis of the field, highlighting how relationships to the environment drawn through sound are profoundly bound up with technology. Key concepts include: making the inaudible audible; underwater sound and cetacean communication; field recordings and the contextual basis of sound; typologies of listening; the score as relationship; and techno-intuition.
Scorescapes negotiates a role for the artist and composer as a researcher, creating hybrid methods and developing alternative forms of knowledge that heighten personal awareness through direct engagement with sonic environments. Working closely with composers David Dunn, Alvin Lucier and Pauline Oliveros, and with bio-acoustic scientist Michel André, I tested and applied theoretical ideas, generating unexpected artistic research questions and methods. These included the need to distinguish between audification, sonification and visualization processes, the paucity of research on underwater sonic environments and the anthropocentric bias towards environmental sound.” (from the Abstract)
Academy for Creative and Performing Arts, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University
Supervisors: Frans de Ruiter, David Dunn, Bob Gilmore
Gretchen Simms: The 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow and the Soviet Artistic Reaction to the Abstract Art (2007)
Filed under thesis | Tags: · abstract art, abstract expressionism, art history, cold war, cultural politics, politics, soviet union, united states
“The American National Exhibition was an exchange exhibition organised by the United States Information Agency (USIA) and took place at Sokolniki Grounds in Moscow in 1959. The overall director George V. Allen and the Association of Federated Artists (AFA) Vice President Lloyd Goodrich, who was also President of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, were responsible for the art section of the Exhibition. The art committee selected, intended to show the Soviet public the developments in modern American art since World War I.
The Soviet response to the Exhibition can only be fully appreciated by looking back at the developments within Russian and Soviet art as well as the political and social changes which the peoples in the Soviet Union experienced under Khrushchev. Through the analysis of the Soviet reception of the Exhibition, this dissertation shows how the Soviet public and especially the artworld in Moscow perceived specifically the American abstract art.
It reveals how the American abstract art displayed at the Exhibition facilitated the Soviet artists path in looking back at their Russian roots, looking within themselves and looking outside of their immediate boundaries in order to create new Soviet art.” (from the Abstract)
Art History, University of Vienna
Supervisor Dieter Bogner
Benjamin Robert Levy: The Electronic Works of György Ligeti and Their Influence on his Later Style (2006)
Filed under thesis | Tags: · electronic music, music, music theory
This dissertation investigates the connections between the composer’s pieces for electronic tape written in the late 1950s and the instrumental music he composed thereafter. There are numerous reasons to suspect such a chain of influence, including suggestive comments Ligeti has made in interviews. Moreover, these works, Glissandi (1957), Artikulation (1958), and the uncompleted Pièce électronique no. 3 (1957-58), were written at a critical point in the composer’s career, falling between two major stylistic periods. Before he fled Hungary in December 1956 his compositions were influenced by Bartók, but his orchestral pieces Apparitions (1958-59) and Atmosphères (1961) were much celebrated for their strikingly original textures and timbres. While these orchestral pieces secured Ligeti’s reputation as an important avant-garde figure, the first works he composed in the West were the electronic pieces, which have suffered relative neglect. There are difficulties inherent in analyzing electronic music, and thus the first chapter of this dissertation focuses on theoretical literature in this growing field, including discussion of musical timbre, different means of notation, and in particular, the work of theorist Robert Cogan. Chapters 2 and 3 are analytical studies of Ligeti’s finished tape piece, using spectrographs and information from Ligeti’s sketches to focus on the use of sonic material in the construction of form. Additionally each study is put in the context of Ligeti’s contemporaries, composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Gottfried Michael Koenig, as well as figures such as the philosopher T.W. Adorno. The fourth and final chapter focuses on the historical chain of influence and examines some of Ligeti’s instrumental music, particularly Apparitions, in light of the their electronic precedents. These examples illuminate connections between the electronic and instrumental, ranging from the slightest nuances in individual gestures-many of which are translated directly from one medium to the other-to methods of constructing entire forms, which continue to appear throughout Ligeti’s oeuvre; thus, the final aim of this dissertation is to provide groundwork for further studies which will deepen the understanding of other works by this innovative composer.
Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, College Park