Day 4: What have you done today?

Today we began with a tour of the Wilberforce Health Centre, where we spotted the slogan “What have you done today that was world class?” in the staff sign-in area. Something to keep in mind when writing these blog summaries I think…

Back in the lab I decided to continue with the scratch card project. I scratched-off and filmed the remainder of the six scratch cards I bought on Tuesday. I did not win a single prize, not even £1. But now at least I have footage of loosing on six scratch cards in a row, which is quite nice. I then scanned in and made scratchable touch screen apps for each of these six cards using Processing, reducing the size of the cards down on the screen so that they are more like actual size.

I am intending to resolve the Scratch Card concept / project as my main outcome of the Digital Media Lab and to get some good documentation of it tomorrow. Hopefully they’ll also be time for a few more experiments.

One of these is a collaboration with Bob Levene, which arose from a conversation we had yesterday about various analogies you could make with the action of rubbing / touching the screen. We decided to film a dirty hob and then to clean it meticulously – hoping to create some code in Processing which would allow for the hob to be cleaned through the act of rubbing the screen.

I liked the idea of finding a filthy hob and then in Kim and Aggie style, cleaning it beyond the owner’s wildest dreams, so that it looked brand new. Unfortunately it proved difficult to locate an authentically dirty hob in a city you are just visiting, so we used one in the catering department of the college and created ‘fake dirt’ (with baked beans and baby food), which we then removed / cleaned.

With a lot of these ideas I’m most interested in the absurdity of the using technology. The act of ‘virtual cleaning’ is similar to the act of real cleaning but with all practical use removed. At the same time, it is also an example of technology with all practical use removed. This links back to what we were discussing yesterday about the possible role of the artist being to remove function, create uselessness or disruption of existing technologies. This is what causes the ‘disruption of the normal order of normal people’s lives’ which we thought could be the main function of art in the public realm.

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