How Art Can Transform The Internet

How Art Can Transform The Internet


How Art Can Transform the Internet
—- Subtitled by @londreterreando —- In Thomas Pynchon’s sprawling epic
post-modern novel Gravity’s Rainbow, there’s a sequence in which the main
character is interrogated by the US government under the influence of sodium amytal,
commonly called “truth serum”. The writing slips into
several dream-like rips on language. In one telegram from Wisconsin,
launches the main character into an obsessive meditation on the possible constructions
of a six-word sequence: “You never did. The Kenosha kid”. As more and more examples are presented,
each with different punctuations, we become aware of
a key post-modern truth that words can point toward reality, that they can never get there; they always mean different things
in different contexts. But just how many different
contexts are there? Well, Pynchon only gives us seven. There are far too many
punctuation marks and emphases, far too many combinations
for a single writer to catalog them all. Besides, in the aesthetic universe
of the novel, cataloging them all would be
exhaustive and redundant. Enter the Internet and
a man named Darius Kazemi. “Hi, everybody.” He makes what he likes to call
“weird internet stuff”. “I make what I like to call
‘weird internet stuff’, you have watched it recently
come to accept is internet art.” Last year Darius made a Twitter bot that did what the writer
Thomas Pynchon can’t ever do. It automatically generates
a different construction of the “You never did. The Kenosha Kid”
sequence every two hours. As of this video, the account
has already tweeted 8600 times, and with the number
of permutations possible it could continue for years
without exhausting everyone. Go there sometime.
Try reading a few out loud. The effect of Pynchon’s
language experiment is compounded, updated. The truth it wants to communicate
is received in a new way, and the exhaustiveness that would have been
inappropriate in a book is made novel and strangely vital
in this new form. I think what this shows us is
that the aesthetics of Internet art, art made with and for
and on the Internet, won’t conform to any that we’ve
known before. And that’s fitting because
a lot of internet art is made unlike any art that came before. Because Amy’s twitter bots are made
with paintbrushes or musical instruments. They’re made it
with algorithms with code. This is what the Kenosha Kid
Twitter bot really looks like. Is there any beauty in that? What about this bot?
No, it’s just a set of instructions Here’s what those instructions do. This program and these rules
perform a simple task: they access the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice and pour from the public last word
statements of death row inmates any sentence that contains
the word “love”. This art pieces are out to make
an overtly political statement on capital punishment
like all good art. This project organizes elements
in the world around it helping audience see
and feel in a new way. The difference is that
the world Kazemi’s commented on isn’t the physical world, not really. It’s the digital world,
the world of the Internet, and indeed much of our digital
Internet art is focused on itself on the visible and,
more importantly, invisible aspects of the network
that’s all around us. “Computation is now everywhere;
it is layered over everything and we are living inside
that computer as well.” That’s James Bridle,
a critic in digital artist. Bridle did a project
recently called Rainbow Planes, a project that started when he noticed
some odd artifacts from Google Earth of planes with rainbow-after images. “It’s a glitch, but like all
true glitches, it’s not just a mistake, it’s a kind of an opportunity
to look through into the underlying systems
that produce this image.” In this case it shows us that
the satellites composing these images aren’t using cameras but rather
are collecting data from a broad swath of the electromagnetic spectrum. “And they record red,
green and blue separately when they make these data images. And so occasionally you find
within satellite images these artifacts which produced by fast moving objects.” Bridals’s digital art wants to help us see
the way technology sees us: how hugely powerful systems
have moved slowly into our lives without much protest. These systems are not like us:
we see with eyes, they see with data; we think with minds,
they think with algorithms. Art like this shows us that our increasing
dependence on sophisticated technologies comes at the cost of substituting
our values and our motives for theirs. So maybe the aesthetic value
of Internet art is measured by its ability
to help us see the Internet, just as a novel can help us see language
or an image can help us see reality. That’s just an idea and I can’t say
how valid it is for you, but I think we do have to try to develop
an aesthetic for this new digital art, away by which we can determine
which of it is good, which of it is crap, and which we consider truly essential. Because what we think is great art speaks ultimately to what
we think is valuable in culture. And articulating our values about
the Internet, the global network, in the years before
it consumes everything might just be the most important thing our generation could ever do. Hey, everybody! Thanks for watching. I’m getting the scene
just before sunset here. Welcome to 2016!
If you want to help me out in 2016 you can pledge $1 or $3 per video
by clicking right below here and going to my Patreon page. That money will go toward making
50 new videos for you, guys, this year. It is an exciting prospect to make what I hope is content unique
to YouTube and the Internet. So thank you guys again.
I will see you all next Wednesday.

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “How Art Can Transform The Internet

  1. Discovered your channel today and watched 4-5 videos in a row and been impressed with all of them. Inspiring ideas and perspectives. Needless to say, subbed and excited for more!

  2. That's so meta, this is what like a 40 year old would think internet art would be about. The cultural worth of the internet is all social, not technological. Making art about the actual technology is just a gimmick. The import thing is art utilizing the social traditions and cultural systems of the internet.

  3. But…well constructed code does have a beauty to it. It has a structure, a form, a kind of elegance to it that is undeniable, perhaps not entirely aesthetically, rather intellectually, but when you learn to see the intellectual elegance you do find an aesthetic one beginning to develop within it; you can see the format and the beauty in its design the same way that a typographer might see the beauty in a page of text.

    And, even deeper, when the recursion works just right, when the databases backing the program – or the arrays in a less complex one – are well designed, when the variables are re-used just right, given new life at the exact moment they die, even when the comments are perfectly succinct while adequately describing the function like a technical writer's haiku, there is an elegance to the program, not in what it does but in what it actually is, in the code itself, not unlike that of a well-trained dancer giving an absolute perfect performance full of the same level of technical excellence.

  4. "A way by which we can determine which of it is good, which of it is crap" I feel that this concept is undervaluing the inherent subjectivity of art and beauty.

  5. Dear Nerdwriter1,
    I love your videos and I am pleased to see how they are getting increased viewership. You over use your end of piece sentence slow down. It is annoying. Oh and your breakdown of 'I Have a Dream' was really good.

  6. There is a Link between Algorithms, Mathematics and Language. What is Language if not structure? Language is, in some way we have yet to understand, an algorithm which we execute in our minds. The Curry-Howard Isomorphism might interest you

  7. "Words can point toward reality, but can never get there." No, no, no! Words are meaning in superposition, they are the quanta of thought. If the universe at the smallest units is full of ambiguity, why shouldn't human thought?

  8. The internet is changing us by making us think more like a computer (i.e. more logical).  Why?  Because a computer working is a computer computing logically.

  9. Internet art has always seemed subtlety disturbing to me. It's almost hinting at a future that has the entire human factor replaced by crude yet creative outlets of technology. And even if the art is made to remind us of the human element, the means to achieving the goal or algorithm is still inherently inhuman. Perhaps the greatest internet art would be the art that uses information technology to bypass any hint of being an algorithm or machine, and instead be one that reflects the features of the human condition coherently. In other words mimic human's without looking like mimicry. I understand this bizarre fascination with information technology, and the new practical and aesthetic uses it brings. But in our fascination with this new world of art that isn't us, I worry that we'll become lost to a world of art that is us. That's always been the art that truly matters.

  10. Yes the costs of these items are very low, but some people, typically those who are of low income, may not want to pay for this as they need every cent they can get. But let's start at where this money comes from. What happens if that person of low income doesn't wish to pay for this items? Well the IRS sends you a notice. What happens if you still do not want to pay for them? Well then you are charged with tax evasion. You are thrown in jail for the crime of wishing to keep the money you yourself made in order to feed your family just a little more. So in essence, these programs are funded at gunpoint.

  11. Great video! I'm a software engineer, and I always wanted to do some art, and I always separate things. So this maybe will help me changing my view of art and systems.

  12. Although this is my favorite Channel and I have a high degree of respect for the work you do- I disagree with many of your arguments here. "These systems are not like us. We see with eyes, they see with data. We think with minds, they think with algorithms. Our increasing dependence on sophisticated technologies comes at the cost of substituting our values and our motives for theirs." There is so much that is wrong with these baseless assumptions. First off, these systems are an extension of us. Tools improve our existing human faculties, like the hammer to our hands. The same can be said for computers. In addition, computers are a reflection of the human mind. I cannot stress how important you neglected this idea by saying, "they are not like us." As I mentioned before, we model our technologies off existing facilities to better serve purposes tailored to human motivations and needs. When creating the computer, people created algorithms in the sequences that WE THINK. Through a chain of sequential commands, goals, and so forth. It is why many programs are obviously goal orientated and focused on problem solving. This is a HUMAN TRAIT. And it is also why as we advance into a world of artificial intelligence these systems are modeled after the human brain. For more information there are countless journal articles online that explain in depth the similarities between the human brain and a computer because simply put, the HUMAN BRAIN IS AN INSANELY COMPLEX COMPUTER WE HAVE YET TO FULLY UNDERSTAND. We see with data, our eyes see data! So why do u make the comparison between human eyes and computer data. It makes no sense. The brain computes information through multiple senses so seamlessly that to deconstruct how the mind operates is a task. Lastly, Until "they" are sentient, independent programs that think on their own and self improve your gross declaration that computers are our opposition in motivation and value is baseless. In fact, I'd argue computers are dependent on us. drops mic

  13. Those computer codes don't look particularly beautiful compared to the resplendent digital art they conjure because probably we are seeing them wrong you know. we are seeing scriptures, word, letters. We are seeing the lexographic representation of what are in their very nature… 'Ideas'. Ever tried to think how beautiful they would look if we could see those ideas naturally, like we see colours, curves, messages, symmetry, dreams, realisations in any form of art and really not through a turbid and miserably inefficient layer of… language. Maybe we need a geometrical perspective, acoustic perspective, or a perspective we haven't yet learned to perceive in. So what should our generation do? Find the way to perceive or directly jump into analysing the resultant product, the digital art that is being produced at an inumerable rate? Ultimately, we are essentially bound to chose WHAT we want to make our culture, WHAT is worth dressing yourself as and what is worth fighting for? But choosing the right thing to do now is a very sensitive thing with no room for mistake.

    and BTW, +Nerdwriter1 would make the perfect politician, you know?? (Complement)

  14. I can't stop watching his videos. It's just a brilliant work. There is there some hope in smart usage of new digital tools.

  15. I disagree with saying the code isn't beautiful; that you can turn such an elaborate concept as posting the permutations of the "Kenosha kid" statement into such a simple, elegant piece of code is an example of beautiful logic. Programmers know and often recognize such pieces of code, simple yet profound, as elegant all the time. Programming is another form of art, with logic and simplicity as its aesthetics.

  16. Have you seen libraryofbabel.info? It's based on Borges' story of the same name, and would add a lot to your video essay.

  17. It is not a glitch Glory (optical phenomenon) plane and mist makes plane be a screen where light is projected on, maybe we have glass or prism in the sky :))) Holographic images of Tupac concert was made by same technique water fountains projections concerts made by same technique.

  18. Great channel to watch and listen to. I would like to see a video on "place making" and some examples where it works and where it doesn't. For example, projects by Assemble. It would also be interesting to explore how designing systems is possibly the greatest design challenge facing us and how this shifts focus from the designing of things.

  19. I just discovered this YouTube channel, I find it fascinating and contrary to other comments I find your language and wording refreshing. I'm tired of hearing a world that has been dumbed down. I agree with one of the other comments that you have a wonderful voice. For my late night YouTubeing, I love to listen to lectures and commentaries with people who have such a soothing voice.

  20. What is the song used in the intro of this video?
    I know it's by Lee Rosevere but they have alot of songs and God knows I can't find it.
    Someone help me, I'll love you forever..
    [please don't say 'darude sandstorm']

  21. 5:37 paso por esa calle todos los días que miedo kfbdldbf cuál es la probabilidad de que vea un vídeo de hace dos años y salga justo esa calle?

  22. Why does the plane image have 4 distinct separate instance of the plane though? My understanding was that the camera would use 3 separate filters, red, green, and blue, and combine them to create a true color image. But you can clearly see 4 copies of the plane? The right most is blue, then to the left is green, then red, and to the farthest left is another copy that seems to show only the black areas of the plane. Shouldn't we be seeing just the red green and blue version of it?

    Or could the left most image be a sort of sharpness, like edge detection filter, or something along those lines? Looking at it a bit more, this makes some sense. The colored versions are all blurry and have no crisp edges to them whereas the black and white is very sharp. And the colors of the roof and yard shine right through that last copy of the plane.

  23. This, Sir, is the channel that when I hit a thumbnail for one of your videos. I set the quality highest I can. I make sure it already has loaded a bit so I don't have any breaks in my screening. It is the closest as it can be for me to cherishing and celebrating a piece of entertainment on the internet. As it was for example with a new comic book when we were kids.

    This ain't no watch 57% of video while pooping stuff.

  24. Many if not most of the Kenosha Kid lines don’t make any sense or are unreadable as English sentences. I don’t see the artistic merit in that.

    Computers don’t think. They don’t have a perspective or an aesthetic.

    This video left me with an impression I’m not sure I have a word or words for, which I see a lot in people who are technologically naive AND enamored. They know a little bit of the behind-the-scenes details, and this makes them feel like they have some insight or are a member of some grand new world or paradigm… but they’re anthropomorphizing, hyperbolizing, overhyping, and generally reading too far into the whole thing from a mindset of undeserved “wonder” and “amazement” of what’s actually pretty damned mundane when you critically examine it. This behavior reminds me of people who believe in various types of woo. The ones who’ll promote some kind of pseudoscience as if it’s the cutting edge of human discovery and then tell you you’re “closed minded” when you explain why the facts are wrong or entirely fictional. They don’t like their “wonder” being spoilt by facts or dulling their ability to believe in something they think is magical. It also gives me the impression of mild technology worship. Not as deity, but as some kind of worship of human exceptionalism… while not really understanding what is really going on.

    I’m not saying that this video is doing this to an extreme degree. It just took a lot of words to try to describe the vibe I’m picking up on here.

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