Meta-Remediation as a Mechanism to Address Crowd Decision-Making in the Context of Media Art: The uTurn Case

Meta-Remediation as a Mechanism to Address Crowd Decision-Making in the Context of Media Art: The uTurn Case

Jose Alberto Raposo Pinheiro (CIAC - Algarve University / Open University Portugal, Faro, Portugal) and Mirian Tavares (Algarve University, Faro, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/IJCICG.2019010104
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uTurn is a digital art installation that allows interaction inside a cinema-like environment or a similar public space — an exhibition system in the context of an audience, retrieving an elected media from the choices made by the majority of the public. The software in its core manages the selection — a meta-remediation that elects a media block, in the form of short-story movies (Vidbits) to be watched by a crowd. The interaction model assumes the need to find a preference in the viewing room in order to identify and choose the next Vidbit. The system allows navigation through media blocks in environments like a cinema room, a summer festival, or a public event. It can be configured to support visual concepts, or to integrate a narrative system in which other types of structures in the story demand that the content follows a segmentation of media. uTurn was exhibited during the 5th Artech International Conference, in 2015. The article addresses the creative process towards the production of the digital artifact using Apple's Quartz Composer.
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1. Introduction

uTurn was created as a tool to explore the interference of the software component in the photographic medium, in the context of an investigation into contemporary imagetics for DMAD — a PhD in Digital Media Arts1. It was, in its genesis, a way to mimic the ambiance of a cinematic screen, allowing an interaction component. This interaction had to encompass the need to follow the majority trend of the room. The projection of short films of about one to two minutes was mediated by a moment of selection, focused on a QR Code component — a mechanism which facilitated access to a voting process. Through this machine, the public chose between two random Vidbits. The most voted option would be exhibited. The digital art installation uTurn took place during the Artech 2015 in Óbidos, Portugal. This experiment was initially rehearsed in a workshop, in 2014, and later presented at the central exhibition of the Artech forum in Óbidos, at the José Saramago’s House. The digital artifact was the result of a collaborative and shared discussion and was materially formed by a voting mechanism (software) produced with Quartz Composer in MacOS environment, using also a PHP server, a QR Code associated with mobile phones, elements of mural and sound projection, scenic sculptural objects and video elements.

Figure 1.

uTurn at Óbidos, 2015


2. Creative Process: An Explanatory Review

The creation of uTurn was thought as a way to experiment concepts developed in the context of the PhD thesis. Some of these tests were related to identity and morphogenesis issues created by the link to the notion of Post-Image: the influence of the medium in the creation process, the conceptualization and exploration of the notion of borderline tools in Photography software and also the idea of aggregated existence in the form of digital information that puts the digital imagetics beyond the scope of classical representation that was established in physical visual surfaces. Kuk and Zylinska (2016) describe this process as photomediation — an hybridization between humans and machines. Also, this digital ground imposes a software dependency: i) images are influenced in various ways by the software creator; ii) there is a choice of software properties by the software creator; iii) software creators impose conditions over image software; iv) Post-images conform to software pre-conditions. The simulation paradigm by which software mimics historical processes is a characteristic that was pointed during the study, with software issues being a conscious outcome of choices made by development teams, which thus condition their properties — a definition that has been pointed in different terms by several authors, such as Manovich, Mitchell, Cubbit. Algorithms, artificial intelligence, bots, indexing — those and many other fields act as one visible face of the expressive structural configuration that emerges from today’s image capture, image analytics and imagery build up tools — the “Expression embedded in the structure”, mentioned by Arnheim in the fifties (Arnheim, 2004, p. 449).

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