Archive for the ‘Opinion / musings’ Category

Touch (2009)

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

I wrote this in TAFE, and according to the date on the file it’s from October 2009. Stumbled upon it when tidying up my computer (preparing for Linux D:) and quite like it! I remember writing it in a bit a bit of a frenzy, just getting it done before the last minute it was due. I remember holding and fiddling with something small in my hand (a pen lid? that little red dinosaur I used to have on my keyring?), and writing then removing a post-conclusion based around that.

The senses are the tools organisms evolve to give themselves an understanding of the world around them.

The dominant sense, by a long margin if we measure by our cultural output, is sight. Regard television, the Internet, advertising, the emphasis on the visual facet of architecture, cinema, Youtube, fashion, the written word, and so-on. Secondary is the sense of hearing: Music, spoken language, police sirens. The other three—taste, smell, and touch—are relegated to acting as support senses. Probably, non-coincidentally, because they are the slower of the senses.

Of course, to expect to understand a sense in isolation of the others is against their function. The written word is more powerful when we hold a book in our hand. We have more than one sense because we need more than one sense. They are primarily a preservation mechanism. They are able to act as failsafe to each other. We can smell rotten meat before we can see it; our ears become primary in the dark. The system has evolved to cover its own arse, like any pre-modern engineer, or builder will tell you a system should do.

Touch, in fact, is not even a product of evolution. It is present even in single-celled organisms1. Touch is the point from which the other senses emerge, and is still existent in their function.

Touch is the first sense we develop, in utero. It is comforting and submissive; and also dominating and discomforting.

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Il Gattopardo

Friday, February 19th, 2016

One thing struck me when watching this, and stayed with me:

Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga com’è bisogna che tutto cambi.

If we want everything to stay as it is, everything will have to change.

(My translation’s a little different to what I found on Wikipedia, etc., and I guess what’s in the film. They have ‘things’ instead of ‘everything’ in both cases.)

It’s actually been floating round my head more like: If we change (give in on) this one thing, everything can stay as it is.

The guy in the film who says this is a prince, thinking about the coming revolution/unification. It reminds me of Australian politics. How we’re given just enough concessions, made just comfortable enough, that no one cares about getting any of the  bigger more important things we still need to fix / no one will risk losing things for bigger gains. ← speaking from the white middle-class here. The land of the mediocre status quo.

Cumudgeoning about Internet

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

I’ve had this list of dot-points sitting here, slowing growing, over the past few months. Though I’d wanted to turn it into a little essay, I think I just need to post it all before it rots.

So here are an assortments of thoughts on Internet. Mostly about my ideal Internet and knowledge sharing.

  • A website’s markup (the HTML and CSS) should be able to be understood. Far too many pages are completely incomprehensible when you look at their source. I want to learn things, and get an insight into the page’s maker when I right click > view page source.
  • Links should be descriptive; link shorteners are awfullllllll.
  • Websites should never block downloading images and other elements, but it’s something I see so much now.
  • ISPs should always provide free webspace.
  • There should be WAY better free tools for site making—every OS and browser should have them built-in.
  • Programs that run in your browser are kinda handy (Google Docs/Drive, for example), but most websites should not be these!
  • Pop-up messages asking me to subscribe to your newsletter :/ Remind me of the ol’ splash screen days, though I can’t even remember why those were considered annoying anymore.
  • Internet is about haring information, distributing information. This Internet seems to be about hoarding and controlling information 🙁
  • Wikipedia should be much more inclusive.
  • We are sticking our toe into an Internet that is just a bunch of corporate intranets battling for your attention and sabotaging you internet usage outside (and inside) their boxes.
  • Why are all UIs so awful and tablet focused? Fuck hamburgers. Fuck every UI improvment which seems to hide everything behind more and more clicks.
  • I suspect that the Internet I’m all nostalgic for was actually mostly white dudes though.
  • Pretty sure if books were invented now, libraries would be illegal.

Only solution I have to this is help people make websites. I’m slowly planning a basic HTML/CSS workshop, which I hope gets people playing with websites and gives them enough basic info to teach themselves further.

Also I’m redo-ing my own site so it’ll be a bit more fun~

I really wish my address was a .net instead of a .com. Maybe I’ll have both~

2012 / Dialogues

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

I was going through earlier work, and was pleased to all the work I had made in 2012, in my second year of University. most of those things I’d never posted here, I assume because some I never finished properly (a series of clay heads), and some I thought were too personal (the Dialogues). I made a lot that year. Also a lot of drawings/rubbings, wood carving, and the performances I, at the time, called Monologues (they were made after these Dialogues).

I’ve made a web site for the Dialogues, and I might make a general 2012 one to link all those works together.

You can reposition the video windows by dragging them with your mouse.

http://ryliejamesthomas.com/dialogues.html

Hito Steyerl – Too Much World: is the Internet Dead?

Monday, November 11th, 2013

I am reading this on e-flux: http://www.e-flux.com/journal/too-much-world-is-the-internet-dead/

[…] it has become clear that images are not objective or subjective renditions of a preexisting condition, or merely treacherous appearances. They are rather nodes of energy and matter that migrate across different supports […]

[…] artificial islands mimic genetically manipulated plants. Dental offices parade as car commercial film sets. Cheekbones are airbrushed just as whole cities pretend to be YouTube CAD tutorials. Artworks are e-mailed to pop up in bank lobbies designed on fighter jet software. Huge cloud storage drives rain down as skylines in desert locations. But by becoming real, most images are substantially altered. They get translated, twisted, bruised, and reconfigured. They change their outlook, entourage, and spin. A nail paint clip turns into an Instagram riot. An upload comes down as shitstorm. An animated GIF materializes as a pop-up airport transit gate. In some places, it seems as if entire NSA system architectures were built—but only after Google-translating them, creating car lofts where one-way mirror windows face inwards. By walking off-screen, images are twisted, dilapidated, incorporated, and reshuffled. They miss their targets, misunderstand their purpose, get shapes and colors wrong. They walk through, fall off, and fade back into screens.

In the past few years many people—basically everybody—have noticed that the internet feels awkward, too. It is obviously completely surveilled, monopolized, and sanitized by common sense, copyright, control, and conformism. It feels as vibrant as a newly multiplexed cinema […]

—and these things have stood out so far.

After printing and reading the whole thing I am a bit put off by the—I guess—anthemic tone to a lot of the writing (see one of the quotes above). But that final quote got me thinking about fashion and its appeal (which has always seemed odd to me): perhaps fashion acts as a sign for a fracture in the status quo and perhaps this is also behind the (short term) attracting force of Internet services (Twitter, Vine, Facebook, etc.) that seem to open up the Internet and how we use it, though they also strive to box it in, almost construct their own meta-Internets.

From Building 100

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Yesterday I went to see the exhibition of work by the architecture masters students at RMIT, on the top floor of the very handsome building 100. The exhibition was not so interesting (architecture models and renders are weird and tacky to me), but the outdoor pavilion space is lovely: private feeling, but with great access to 360 degree view of the city.

Videogame catch-up

Monday, May 13th, 2013

I’d been intended to write a post to summarise 2012, but I think that idea’s time has passed. I do still want to highlight the games I’ve made since the last time I mentioned them—which was all the way back in July 2011—though, so here goes:

Click of the Moth

Made for the 50th Klik of the Month Klub, the game is a 50 screen stupid pun. Probably way too long, and way to hard! It plays like a few other games I’ve made, where each separate screen has a different win condition.

Breakanoid Ball

A breakanoid game where you control the ball instead of the paddle. You influence how much you turn the ball by hitting the correlating button more frequently, which is a fun mechanic.

Breaktroid

A clunky adventure game, racing game, and breakanoid that doesn’t really work. It probably could, but I would probably need to use something that wasn’t Klik and Play to do that.

Three Bullets Per Minute (3BPM)play online

This one is pretty good! An action game where you can only fire a few shots before your gun has to regenerate. The early levels are a bit tedious, but it gets nice and tricky by the end. The level design is all based round the game’s logo, which actually worked, and I had a lot of fun making the graphics, and experimenting with enemy placement. It’s probably the most resolved game I’ve done. It was featured as a ‘Freeware Game Pick’ on indiegames.com, which was a nice surprise. I should make a Flash version of this, too.

Glorious Trainwrecksplay online

The most recent thing I’ve done, made for Glorious Trainwrecks’ sixth birthday. It’s pretty simple: the aim is to crash trains, but it’s fun to try and complete as fast as you can.

You can play it online, but you may have to have a Newgrounds account. Don’t make a Newgrounds account just to play it.

I’ve uploaded a proper online version now.

I also made a a bunch of games for Pirate Kart V:

Gavin on Mars

A monkey named Gavin has to ride a horse or a unicorn into a castle. Gavin lives on Mars and wears a crown. He is playing games and stuff in the castle. The name of the game is “Gavin on Mars.” – (Courtesy Eric, age 4)

Pirate Kart V was made to show at the Game Developers Conference, and the funding to get it there was raised mostly through Kickstarter. One of the rewards for donating a certain amount was to have a game made based on a title and description suggested by the donator. I chose to make a few games based on suggested titles, this being the first one that caught my attention. Eric turned out to be the son of the founder of Glorious Trainwrecks, Jeremy Penner, and they both worked on an expansion of the game you can download here.

Make the Bed

Another game suggested by a Kickstarter person, this time only a title was provided. It’s an obtuse adventure game, where the goal is to make a bed. I doubt anyone’s finished it. I’m not sure I remember how to finish it.

Fighting Pilot

In this game you control a helicopter with a big, muscley, arm. The helicopter is vulnerable, but the arm can be used to destroy harm causing things. Problem is it’s kind of awkward to position the arm where you want it to be. But that’s not actually a problem. This is pretty good, and I will make a Flash version soon.

Racing Eightway

A 2-player racing game where the way the car is controlled is changed each lap—sometimes. The control methods are dictated by what is built into Klik and Play; so sometimes it’s like a racing game, sometimes like an overhead game, sometimes like a platformer, etc. It doesn’t work very well! I’ve made a few games exploring ‘wrong controls‘, which I’ve maybe mentioned before?

Breakanoid RC

A Breakout!-like game where the paddle is controlled like it’s a race car—if that makes sense. So you press ‘up’ to go forward, and use ‘left’ and ‘right’ to turn, instead of being able to only move left and right.

Pololo Shodownplay online

I think this is a really fun 2-player competitive game. Or, I assume so, because I think I’ve only played it against myself. Each player controls a paddle, Breakout!-style, and use that to deflect the bouncing ball into the other player’s goal. I intend to do a Flash version of this, too.

Being KK Slider

YOU ARE “KK SLIDER”!

KK Slider is a character from the videogame series Animal Crossing. In those games he appears every Saturday night to play his guitar, and give the player a new song to listen to in their house. In this game you find yourself inside his head, able to, with great will power, control him to a small degree. I mostly just made this because I wanted to make the cover image.

I also worked for a while on a 3-D game, using Unity. Not so much a game, I guess, more of a toy. The environments were made out of bad 3-D models generated from video content I recorded. I may get back to it next Summer holidays.

Melbourne Free University seminar on the state of the tertiary education system in Australia

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

MFU Podcast 45: Uni-what? The state and future of the tertiary system in Australia.

This was an interesting, and timely, talk (timely for myself, at least). I haven’t listened to the recording yet, but hopefully it includes the audience discussion, too. It’s hard not to feel frustrated by the way education is being handled by these massive companies, and this was a good opportunity to share that, with both staff and other students. There was a protest yesterday about proposed funding cuts, but to me the problem (that too many don’t seem to even see) is not an economic one, but a philosophical one.

I have been working on a website to host my work, which is changing the way I think about using this blog. I imagine I will make more posts like this in the future; less explicitly output related.

Responding

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

As a simple way to keep myself working while I’m studioless over the holidays I’ve set myself the goal of making one response per day. You can follow the project at antiphons.tumblr.com, though it’s only early days yet—day two!

It’s changed the way I engage with my days: I find I am looking at things more; thinking about them; trying to take something from them.

Proposals for a Ritual

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

The introduction from a text I wrote for school on my latest work:

Proposals for a Ritual is a set of actions performed, in variations, over the last few months of this semester. Each action/performance is a meditation — an isolating act therapeutic to the artist — but also sometimes disconcerting to the viewer. A ritual, to paraphrase Evangelos Kyriakidis (2007), is a label given to an action that, in a sense, seems irrational or illogical to the non-participant; applied as classification by the onlooker, or as an acknowledgement of the potential to seem irrational or illogical to onlookers by the performer. Approaching the work from this perspective a ritual can be thought of as a language of gesture and material. Proposals for a Ritual offers these actions as suggestions for the viewer to carry out themselves, or at least contemplate.

I may add a little bit to this post later. I’m using it to wrap-up the project, at least for the time being.