Edek Sher

So, you could enter the delineated space where beauty comes from. The ubiquitous place from which beauty enters our lives outside of Walgreens, enters our homes and our cars and the shelves in our bathrooms. Or, you could take a few steps forward, and then turn left, and present yourself with more illusions of choice.

LA LA LA

Bill Seaman

My teaching method has been to articulate a core set of concepts and approaches by providing essential texts and central technological methodologies, augmented with a broad range of study related to more individual, eclectic practices and research potentials. Thus, I draw on texts from numerous research domains.

If we are “Learning at the Intersections of Art, Science, Technology, and Culture,” then it goes without saying that a student may be reading texts from a multiplicity of research contexts. This means that the Digital+Media student must pull from a plethora of readings exploring new ideas and methods surrounding digital media production. This potentially includes exploring digital media from one or more perspectives. Because digital media is used in almost every discipline, this means that each student will define their own particular approach to its creative, expressive potentials.

Dan Chen

It’s not every day that you get to be affectionate around something, it just doesn’t happen that often. —Larry David1

It is because of the above that I treasure every moment of affection that I get. Robot-stimulated affection might just be something that we can use to ease in and out of real affection toward another human being.

Whatever love you can get and give, whatever happiness you can filch or provide, every temporary measure of grace, whatever works.
—Boris Yellnikoff2

Happiness and love are sometimes hard to come by. If the robot makes a person happier than a real person, we shouldn’t deprive them of it. Having said that, whatever works doesn’t mean it works the best, or is the best solution.

If you tell the truth about how you’re feeling, it becomes funny.
—Larry David3

The truth is that this device is a placebo device duplicating the act of comfort. It does in fact comfort, but it is also nonsense at the same time.

Every relationship is just so tenuous and precarious. – Larry David4

If this is true about human relationships, in many aspects it is no different than relationships people have with robots or pets.

1“Larry David.” BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2012. 2 May. 2012.
2“Boris Yellnikoff” Whatever Works (2009) – Memorable quotes, 2012. 2 May. 2012.
3“Larry David.” BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2012. 2 May. 2012.
4“Larry David.” BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2012. 2 May. 2012.
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Elizabeth Skadden

Mercantile Sculptural Installation

Mercantile Building is a 100-year-old building in Providence modified over time by users of the space who decorated it to their own tastes. The space has changed to reflect how humans affect the spaces that they exist in. All the original denizens of the building are gone and a local arts organization has bought the space for restoration. As the building is cleared, so goes the hand of the people who used this space. Having acted as an urgent archaeologist, I took the walls from this place and reconstructed them into a new space. The final installation preserved the building and consisted of a maze-like room that gave viewers the feeling of being in this liminal space, decorated with items and the walls from the space itself. Light boxes lit the space and a 4’x5’ light box depicted the items in the space that they once inhabited.

Elizabeth Skadden: Mercantile Sculptural Installation Elizabeth Skadden: Mercantile Sculptural Installation Elizabeth Skadden: Mercantile Sculptural Installation

Collapsing New Buildings

Ebe Odonkor

For the initial thesis project, I have decided to collect personal stories from Ghanaian WWII veterans because I had been told snippets of my great-uncle’s WWII experience when I was a child, and thought they were heroic and interesting.

Moreover, WWII vets played a major role in the struggle that lead to Ghana’s independence from the British Empire. Not many Ghanaians know this fact. I thought their accounts of socio-political life during and after colonialism would be of great interest.

Armed with this bit of information and conviction, I traveled to Accra, the capital of Ghana, and started my search for WWII veterans. I have to confess that I was a little skeptical of finding any veterans to interview, considering the life expectancy of the region is 56.

I hit a bit of luck when I was informed that the previous government, under President Jerry John Rawlings, had housed most WWII vets at Amasaman, a suburb of Accra. After an hour’s drive through heavy traffic and on the newly constructed highway to Kumasi, my assistant and I arrived at the Legion Village, armed with sound recording devices and two camcorders.

We came unannounced, so we had to knock on a few doors and make our intentions known before settling down for an interview with the five remaining WWII veterans living in the village; most of them were living with their grandchildren. The first day (it took us three days to get every veteran on tape) of interviews seemed more rehearsed than the freestyle, ignore-the-recording-devices environment I had envisioned. But, by the second and third day we were comfortable enough with each other to let go and just converse.

UNFAMILIAR VOICES Social Collaboration as Collective Performance

Mark Milloff

At its inception, the D+M department made enormous contributions to the life and culture of RISD. As digital influence was being felt throughout every discipline at the school, but being questioned as being viable at EVERY turn by traditionalists who felt that anything digital threatened core design values, the arrival of D+M and Bill Seaman codified its existence.

It allowed a release valve for each department, as Bill networked and created the concept of Node classes. My class was sponsored by the painting department. “Painting and Digital Media” encouraged artists from all “molecular” mediums to incorporate any digital thought. The classes were filled with coders and painters and architects and furniture makers and so on… It was an exquisite convergence.

Jane Long

Subjective Object

This collection of ideas isn’t “about science” or biotechnology or bio art as a cursory formal judgment would have you believe. It’s about wading into surface understandings of depths, trying to chase after this elusive sweet thing called subjectivity and the futility of trying to name the feeling of constantly having the rug being pulled from beneath your feet; of not being able to stop forming associations and recognizing patterns.

I am creating a brain itch that can be hilarious, absurd, and quietly uncomfortable, and can sometimes reveal our surface understandings of something.

Jeanne Jo

Making Rope

One line of yarn is wrapped, many times, around two tree trunks set far apart from each other in a city park. The single line of yarn is then cut, created a loose pile of strings. I take the loose yarn and crochet it, using my hands and arms instead of a crochet hook. I make a long white rope. As each crocheted stitch becomes a small part of something large, the multiple stands of yarn are stronger together than they would be when separated. I use my rope to climb down a high wall that overlooks the city of Providence.

Jeanne Jo: Making Rope

Flying Machines

Laura Alesci

TLC

Laura Alesci: TLC

The cyborg subject, a hybridization of “the human and the machine,” has the potential to create a new contract between two elements. Like a cyborg subject, my project TLC involves the joining of two agents. One agent, a class of molecules known as capsaicinoids, is the active chemical agent of pepper spray.

The parent compound in this group is capsaicin A, which chili peppers naturally produce. The second agent, CS, is a non-naturally occurring molecule, and the active component of tear gas. Ben Corson and Roger Stoughton first synthesized CS gas at Middlebury College in 1928; the title of the compound refers to the chemists’ surnames.

For my research with TLC, I worked with a chemist at Brown University to study the chemical properties of the two agents. Soon after, I learned the basic process of using lab equipment to run reactions and test for products. Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is used to monitor and visualize reactions. The name TLC comes from the plates that are used for these tests. The plates indicate if the reaction has occurred and if the product is useful.

In TLC, I continued to investigate the institutional or­dering of protection and security to control crowds and individuals. I researched the chemical properties of tear gas and pepper spray because both are agents of security used to divide and control individuals.

 

 

 

Jason Huff

AutoSummarize

Microsoft Word is particularly interesting as a primary tool that people use to input language into a computer. It has been subjected to numerous automated features that are meant to benefit the user’s experience in employing it as a writing tool. One such feature is AutoSummarize, which was added to Word and heralded as a way of cutting through bad copy.

This technique had been a topic of computer science researchers since the early 1960s, which might imply a well-tuned intelligence to the summaries in software developed thirty-seven years later. But as I have found, Word’s function not only cuts out bad copy, but also reveals the rift between the world of natural human language and the code that controls it.

In my piece AutoSummarize, I used the function to reduce the 100 most downloaded copyright-free books to ten sentences each. Ten sentences is the most minimal summary the function can create, and it is dramatically efficient.

2011_Huff_INCRIT_TECH_Studio1