ImmerSea: Digital Naturalism Conference Field Report

Subversive Submersibles, water-adapted augmented reality 

Oya Damla, Kira deCoudres, Adam Zaretsky, Ryan Cotham

Abstract – ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles is water-adapted augmented reality (AR). This included aquatic AR goggles, immersive AR environments and AR submergibles.

ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles are installation experimentations involving creative real time superimposition of re-mashed audio visual overlays onto everyday audio-visual and other sense data for experience alteration and tabulation of reactions. The experiments focused on (1) Eye Candy Disruptors, (2) EcoSensual Synesthesia and (3) Gamification of Risk. Centered around our pop-up sustainable miniature golf course, we designed transmissions and communicated odd augmentations to our immersed and submerged co-artists in the Andaman Sea.

Field Report: IMMERSEA: SUBVERSIVE SUBMERSIBLES DETAILS

We had wonderful experiences doubling our sound and vision under the sea. Kira, Oya, Adam and Ryan formed a temporary collective of multimedia artists, bioartists, psycho-geographers, biologists and free thinkers who collaborated in the ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles node at the Digital Naturalism Conference. We manipulated live feed footage from environmental settings. We designed and built submerged interactive/immersive sound and video wearables for architecturally encasing art installations using site specific sonic and tactile sources. We ran experiments in psychological experience and altered states of semi-consciousness. We dedicated our time on the island to rugged prototyping allowing for flexibility that utilized the ready-made technics we brought, borrowed and found. We incorporated naturally occurring sounds found in the acoustic environment of Koh Lon and build them into our novel device laden suits.

In the mists of a lush tropical island environment, we composed six channel, ‘real’ surround sound for zorb ball immersive experiences and Video Jockey creative misuse of AR software explorations for a hand crafted underwater iPad floatie suit. We detuned, crashed out and mashed up with our sound art, performance art and mad interdisciplinary sciart skillz in the DinaCon Cone of Tropical Geekdom (DCCTG). Underscoring our critical quandary into behavioral, cognitive and queer studies, while relying on our own brand of fringe philosophy, we unpack for you here our experimental designs and the resultant psychoacoustic/psychogeographical analysis of augmented underwater experience.

Yes, we designed submerged aquatic AR environments and underwater AR submergible wearables. ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles made installations of DIY bio-body art experimentation by building mediated exoskeletons and getting in them, in the water. We were receiving creative, real-time and re-mashed audiovisual overlays while in and on the sea. We had that experience of alteration that mocks, and yet joins in, screen hypnosis through gadget love/hate relations. In this field report we include our own qualitative tabulation of reactions from the audio visual occlusion front of mixed reality superimposition. Working from the vantage points of artistic self-experimentation, tech-no-masochism and begrudgingly admitted tech-titillation, the following is our lab book.

What is Hydro Immersive Augmented Reality (HIAR) to Us?

Augmented Reality is a super-imposition of digital media onto the natural world for artificial intimacy. We study Computer aided User Deprogramming Experience (UDX) as well as push-advertisement styled media coersion. Is immersion in the sea a way towards more easily abscessed critique of a common mass obsession? Due to the changing state of the aqueous mind, an undersea, layered-on, disruptor of immersive relaxation may be the ticket towards a reveal of the prosthesis between the blinds of both inner and outer worlds. In other words, we theorize that Underwater AR may provide evidence of cognitive glitch implicit in consciousness (i.e. equating the needless stressor blow out anomie to the thrill of mediated stim seduction excess). Does the fall of alienation through a leisurely addition of social entertainment screens open us to gamified virtual vacation communication as utter surrender?

“We lived once in a world where the realm of the imaginary was governed by the mirror, by dividing one into two, by theatre, by otherness and alienation. Today that realm is the realm of the screen, of interfaces and duplication, of contiguity and networks. All our machines are screens, and the interactivity of humans has been replaced by the interactivity of screens.  … We draw ever closer to the surface of the screen; our gaze is, as it were, strewn across the image. We no longer have the spectator’s distance from the stage — all theatrical conventions are gone. That we fall so easily into the screen’s coma of the imagination is due to the fact that the screen presents a perpetual void that we are invited to fill. Proxemics of images: promiscuity of images: tactile pornography of images. Yet the image is always light years away. It is invariably a tele-image — an image located at a very special kind of distance which can only be described as unbridgeable by the body.  … There is no ambiguity in the traditional relationship between man and machine: the worker is always, in a way, a stranger to the machine he operates, and alienated by it. But at least he retains the precious status of alienated man. The new technologies, with their new machines, new images and interactive screens, do not alienate me. Rather, they form an integrated circuit with me.”

– From Xeorox and Infinity, Jean Baudrillard / Translated by James Benedict

This essay was originally published as part of Jean Baudrillard’s “La transparence du mal: Essai sur les phénomènes extrèmes” (1990), translated into English in 1993 as “The Transparency of Evil: Essays on Extreme Phenomena”, http://insomnia.ac/essays/xerox_and_infinity/

That the near entirety of living human animal populations could be bought off so succinctly with a two thumbed, LCD touch sensitive, tool-being hand to eye sized bauble that bleeps intermittent rewards is a tribute to the era of Homo Rechargerus and the addictive nature of conditioning. Regardless of however trite the reward (the bleep for bleep’s sake or the glow brightness itself as iHearth), regardless how onerous the odds, regardless of how guaranteed the eventual amnesiac economy of loss, this is tech that offers satiation on the installment plan and hence satisfaction for many.

Simply by cataloging the percentage of time spent recharging our handhelds we can tabulate the incremental toll, the hemorrhagic loss of service that our screens take. The moth-like to the light of the screen identity is a relic of the TV years. Identity has now gone beyond the CRT beam hook into the infinite line of LCD glow scrolling (touch sensitive screen) and the audio intermittent reward of Pavlovian ring tones and alerts. The ‘you’ve got mail’ instaSnap Limited Interactivity Extended Reality (ISLIXR) of AR superimposition is the clicker training of the commons.

How and Why are We Using AR?

This project engages with topics of behavioral immersion by connecting environmental and experiential bio-data-tics across human, animal, and technological populations. Here, media manipulation serves to make post-environmental and post-biological post-truth information experientially available, stimulating curiosity and interest previously inaccessible to post-programmed populations (the human, post-human and a-human organismic masses). Initializing User Deprogramming Experience (UDX) for Mashup Remix Mixed Reality (MRMR), we present third or fourth level irony in a time where Kitsch has fallen flat. The layers of bullshit detectable have upped the delayed ante up on Critique. We are still trying to favir pop-regurg-a-purge hypnogogic options to standard immersion. Into which product orientation seminars shall we build satire? What exactly has been left un-gamified? What target has the naturalism to uncover, to reveal, as opposed to make appear less world wide cobwebby?

Our three experimental designs are titled: Eye Candy Disruptor, EcoSensual Synesthesia and Gamification of Risk. This report includes the materials, methods and results of these three experiments. It is our hope, in the spirit of the Digital Naturalism Open Source Public Lab Aesthetics (DINAOSPLA), that the art over data ratio (A/d) will be equal or greater than one. This is of course plus or minus a 3% negsanguineously margin of error for the duration of our unstill life studies.

Immersea Experiment One: Eye Candy Disruptors

Experiment One: Eye Candy Disruptor 

Goals: Through the mediatization of audiovisual fields with Live VJ Blipvert AR in a wearable AR snorkeling suit, we monitor Exposure Therapy to virtual/physical superimposition. The attempt to approach some semblance of mediated saturation, beyond both utility and entertainment was our goal. We were able to modulate variables of visual time alterity and applied repetition media regimes. This confirms with our intention to study the effects of the artistic taking over of the augmented visual and audio field with more Crap than is already available while swimming in the open sea.

Materials: DIY Water Proof iPad, wearable AR snorkeling suit

Methods: Much of our ‘data’ is based on pre-present & post surveys of human performance volunteers focusing on Annoyance, Habituation and Recall as quantitative, qualitative and catatonicative data sets. Qualitatively, we used an all-orificial data set including questionnaires for tabulation. This entails a synopsis of amalgamated qualitative data from all 11-13 of the major collection points or body portals of our voluntary human arts subjects. This survey data was compared to motion analysis of body language tracking video documentation. Use of binaural new age meditation audio with 31% translucent clouds as a control was meant to approximate degree zero samsara experiential authenticity in order to compare the subject reactions to experiential, repetitive, strobic, vaporwavicle, remash noise ratios.

 

 

Results: People had fun! People clamored to be inside the contraption. People craved to swim with a screen in their face, to snorkel in the most lovely sea while looking through a busily augmented screen full of touch sensitive 3d emojis[1] and first person zombies[2] to shoot and three dimensional glitter drawings tracked by space and head movement[3]. The idea was that snorkeling through schools of fish or peeking at anenomes in coral reefs would be reason enough to dispose of the screen. We were wrong, most people want to augment and peer through the screen as often as they can. Instead of non-virtual fidelity, celibate edutainment is the norm.

Future Research: We hope future experiments will include real-time monitored reactions to live blipvert wireless VJ remashed madvertisments. Superimpose motion tracked data collection with specific experimental brain wave stimulating binaural-sextanaural new age automated samsara control variables, and we may score that mind control research grant we always dreamed of. The plan for now is to expand our repertoire into a wider manipulative media range through: percentage of audiovisual augmentation (loudness and field of superimposed vision), speed of editing-jumpcutting, strobic/distorted sonic and signal to noise ratios. should be automated to increase whole brain de-synchronicity and imprint vulnerability. We are still looking for something like real-time giphy world 3D sculpt brush AR jockey software for beaming real time to others in the underwater AR screen spectator faceplant worlding. Perhaps that is something we could seek collaboration for building.

Immersea Experiment Two: EcoSensual Synesthesia

Goals: We are focused on smell, taste, CNS nerve stimulating (touch) and proprioception for this experiment. We created an inhabitable instrument–the semi-submerged wireless human augmented reality zorb ball interface (See image + caption) — to measure sonic arousal in a spherical 360 degree sextanaural sound space.

Materials: We created an inhabitable instrument — the semi-submerged wireless human augmented reality sextanaural zorb ball interface. This included a zorb ball and six waterproof portable MP3 players with six MicroSD cards synched to play our six channel compositions. We composed several six track digital audio compositions. These included six tracks to 6 speakers in the Zorb Ball (Front, Back, Up, Down, Left, Right), as well as experimenting with binaural standing waves in full six channel dimensionality (hence sextanaural sonic space) in a closed and yet N degree of cognitive freedom user movable space.

Methods: In order to transmit the sensual sounds of the island into a semi-submerged human augmented reality zorb ball interface we positioned the waterproof speakers: fore, aft, port, starboard, stern and bow. The six channel sonic compositions are available online mixed and as original six directionally distinct tracks. Made from generated, remashed and digital audio field recordings from the Koh Lon local island ecosphere soundscapes.

You can try this yourself! “Music For Zorb Balls” is the result of a Digital Naturalism Conference Project, ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles. An experiment in sext-o-phonic sound (6-channel 3D omni-directional audio), “Music for Zorb Balls” documents audio tracks created for an immersive media-tastic soundscape while in an inflatable bubble on water. For our purposes, we assigned each directional track to six separate wireless Bluetooth speakers attached to points inside the Zorb ball. The audio can be streamed through any audio-playing device: iPhones, iPods, iPads, iAmASpeaker, Car Stereo Speakers, etc. Try duct taping pillows to friends and slipping their phones on loop into the pillow cases and then modern dance moshing with them while connected to their feet and hands with industrial rubber bands. This may give you the interactive UDX experience that it takes to feel the interface.

The album is free for public access and includes each artist’s contribution to the interactive sound installation. For public replication of this experiment, download each directionally determined track and assign each to individual speaker outputs for the best, most disorienting experience.

To download the full album from Bandcamp, select “Buy the Full Digital Album” but rest assured, the album and all tracks are free! Name your price at $0 (or more!). To download only specific tracks from the album, select the track(s) of choice and select “Buy Digital Track”. FREE. Enjoy!

https://immerseadinacon.bandcamp.com/album/music-for-zorb-balls

The system of zorb-bodies conformed to the human hamster wheel XYZ audio architechture simplot. Our research subjects were floating spherical on the waves of an immersive interface. This six channel Zorb space is semi submerged with user controlled motion and multi sense intensities. This is implicit in most full immersion media heavy, seafaring globes of transparent inhabitation. Our interest in binaural sounds stemmed directly from researching the CIA funded Monroe Institute[4] declassified documents.

Results:

“Being a primary experiment subject contained within the Zorb Ball fulfilled many fetal fantasies of being inside of a techNO-FEAR PROTECTO-SPHERE. Surprisingly, this enclosed experience externalized dissociation in a most dreamy, oxygen-deprived way. The sun beaming down on the Andaman Sea quickly steamed the dream bubble, creating a sauna effect. This, coupled with sonic bombardment from all directions (up, down, left, right, front, back) was immediately disorienting and yet, cacophonously comforting due to cultural familiarity with over-commercialization of experience. It was a clumsy kinetic learning-curve to walk on water, with big Jesus-like footsteps to fill. This tumbling was quite entertaining and meditatively exhausting due to the amount of energy exertion required to move an immeasurable amount in any direction. This cyclical going-nowhere and treading on water must be what hamsters and laborers trapped in capitalist loops feel like. In conclusion, this inverse rebirth was enlightening and recommended for anyone in search of an affixiatingly intense psychophysical re-alignment through mediated reprogramming.”

– Kira deCoudres.

 Future Research: We would like to experiment with waterproof, six channel, acoustic contact microphones that use streaming wifi. Live streaming from six sonic on-ground (or hydrophonic ‘in-water’) contact sites of interest would be fun and analog enough to have a warming mediatationed effect. With the right psychogeographically positioned field station, we could include instrumentation used to collect data that measures arousal, (for instance, a penile or clitoral plethysmograph, a electromyograph for rythym contraction data, Doppler velocimetry penis cuff/sleeve, etc). But there is a limit to the measurement devices available for five kingdoms wide, cross species real time arousal. These interspecies types of inclusive all-phylum arousal economies of fetish measurement devices can be prescient techno-predictors of both the chemistry and early reporter weather predictions[5]. Orgonomic coefficients coincident with ecological forecasting may yet prove that incorporating the sensual psychophysiology arts into climate change studies is a novel use value for our currently sparse interspecies, Kinseyesque, sexual response data and… correlated to climate change… we have even more reasons to cum[6].

Immersea Experiment Three: Gamification of Risk

Goals: This experiment is about what level of virtual overtaking of the ‘actual’ is possible by sudden and incremental alarming risk suggestion. We are looking at demonstrating extreme what ifs, neurotic paranoia and underwater fear factors to induce panic. This is to see if reliance on augmentation is such an addictive autopilot that users are capable of downgrading risk assessment or if danger as a concept can be subsumed by the multisensorial eye candy and responsive ISLIXR HIAR environments.

Materials: Zombie Apocalypse AR software, fake shark fin hat,fear itself and general tropical sea/mangrove/rain-forest fear mongering information sessions for players.

Methods: The intention is to compare notes on the reaction to panic attack inducing threatcasts, with or without augmented reality. Working with the generation of psychotic states or schizogenesis, we combine overlaying the audiovisual experiences of emergencies with actual dangerous or convivially able to be perceived of as dangerous environments such as the Andaman Sea. So, this is predominantly a genre of overlaid media to be explored while at risk of shark attack, drowning, unusual currents, poisonous fish, stinging jellyfish and sea gypsy pirates of the Malay Peninsula. Immersea experimental volunteers were subjected to a media barrage of: flashing lights, loud voices giving orders, mass media styled endless emergency warnings, faux shark attack and crashed, impeded glitch, audiovisual environments.

Results: Actual dangers encountered were: strong currents to nearly drown us, coconuts falling from the sky, jelly fish stinging and oxygen depletion in the Zorb ball as well as AR zombies everywhere. There was a distinct inability for the volunteers to conceptualize a difference between the Gamified Eye Candy and the emulation of mind control fascist depersonalization indoctrination cult tactics. It all seemed like an enjoyable and playful adventure, until the air started running out or the drowning feelings started. At that point, the virtual became secondary to survival, so there is still much to learn before we overcome that urge to stay alive outside of the MRMR XR.

Future Research: The superimposition of a second, generated or algorithmically filtered version of your sense data accruement through your inborn and falsifiably inept orifice input-output economy may be safer than separating the two on competing screens (LCD/Flesh). Commercially available screens are brighter than the in-born filtered (i.e. eyes or nostrils) sense data of the everyday world. Interestingly, we found that digital LCD camera flowthrough screens that are not semi-transparent (like phones or tablets) may be of a higher bodily harm risk than mixed reality helmets or headgear. Semi-immersive gadgets are smaller, brighter, louder, more vibratory and more penile than immersive headgear or wearable environments. Comparing risk assessment artifacts and actual risk of the handheld gadget versus the wearable gadget may be worth looking into further. It does seem that any situation other than life endangering impact crashes or other forms of sudden, potentially fatal, mortal ruin are considered to be most often ignorable in or out of augmented reality. On the other hand, even long, drawn out, miserable pain itself can plausibly always be heightened by the digital.

A final Gamified Risk analysis involves the cognitive effect of the amplification of technological pain along with analog pain. This is a question of the rehabituation of illusory meta-pain in dialogical interplay with brute force. The competition between immersive digital torment and screen based digital torment in relation to bodily (technologically unattached) torment is a Department of Defense (DoD) issue worth pursuing[7]. Perception of risk is a fun and interesting area to analyze when comparing distinct media to the cognitive conception of the unmediated Central Nervous System (CNS). The real money is probably in how much poor risk assessment behavior can be coordinated through UDX AR MRMR DoD & ISLIXR CNS (see Terms Key below) as opposed to other kinds of mind control in terms of fully trained assets and glitching enemy assets.

Sustainable Mini Golf

Simply as a Central Node for ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles at Dinacon, we spearheaded the first ever Sustainable Miniature Golf Course. Nearly on the equator, this might start an equatorial fad, especially with a Biodiversity Banking Theme!

Miniature golf is great low-impact fun especially if it is sourced from local and sustainable materials. Our node hosted a social outpost made from crafted natural golf balls (baby casaba), DIY golf clubs (bamboo and brain coral and conch shells, tied together with coconut twine) and temporary redesign of loosely themed nature. Equatorial Sustainable Miniature Golf Courses are a perfect interface to teach-in about biodiversity, human gene editing and bioethics.

The ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles Equatorial Biodiversity Bank Themed Sustainable Miniature Golf Course was a home base for our node as well as the source-mixing and wireless beaming for our remixed Immersea databank. Beginning with local Koh Lon mangrove, rainforest and coral reef biomes, this minimal impact portable eco-minigolf course houses the qualitative and quantitative ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles library of biodiversity. The ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles Equatorial Biodiversity Bank Themed Sustainable Miniature Golf Course is the AR-VJ immersive transmission station to our underwater ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles Human Subjects Our video, audio, photo and written collection of ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles biodiversity notes have been kept in a water proof lab book; notes and data available by request. We beam our tracks for output into the ImmerSea: Subversive Submersibles Biodiversity Bank Themed Sustainable Miniature Golf Library which functions as a VJ home base for UDX AR MRMR ISLIXR underwater and semi-submerged transmissions.

Let’s talk about how the genes for the natural excesses of exuberant traits in the tropics might be pasted into the human genome. The Public Lab Book includes a tabulation and interpretation of Natural Excesses, Exuberant Traits and BioBanks for Future Human/Nonhuman Germline Hybrid Experiments in Human Inherited Genetic Modification. What do you think the range of possible future bodies is? Which GMO humans should be included in the Transgenic Human Genome Project (THGP)? What can the biodiversity of Koh Lon and the Andaman Sea tell us about the range of potentials, enhancements and options for future human anatomies?

Future of Artistic Research on the Interspecies Physiology of Immersive ArtSci Environments

This is an emotionally deep research process compared to the usual data recording pilot studies. Instead of using the general facial recognition software, eye tracking, blink assessment and live cortisol level monitoring (without a funding dollar spent on gestural, full embodied or any lower body orificial economy explorations), We would like to propose artistic research to amass fuller than standard physiological data spacescapings. Contiguous with our biomediated-popsyche-ecosensual experiential developmental theme, we are striving for an all-body-portal accumulative database. Future research will include anal-tensegrity monitoring as a part of any full physiological observation of our (w)hole organism [assuming this is an organism with an anus]. Along with gene expression patterning over time (including multi generational epigenetic environmental effects) and further collection of tangible and intangible objects from our subcognitive focus groups, we intend to use AI to data mine our UX bioinformatics data swarms to provide further MRMR iterative, permutative and pseudo random artistic nodes for future studies in Artistic Research on the Interspecies Physiology of Immersive DINAOSPLA ISLIXR HIAR ArtSci Environments.

TERMS KEY:

  •  AV = Audio Visual
  •  AR = Augmented Reality
  •  HIAR = Hydro Immersive Augmented Reality (HIAR)
  •  VR = Virtual Reality
  •  VJ= Video Jockey
  •  XR = Extended Reality
  •  ISLIXR = instaSnap Limited Interactivity Extended Reality
  •  UX = User Experience
  •  UDX = User Deprogramming Experience
  •  DCCTG = DinaCon Cone of Tropical Geekdom
  •  UI = User Interface
  •  MR = Mixed Reality
  •  MRMR = Mashup Remix Mixed Reality
  •  DoD CNS = Department of Defense Central Nervous System
  •  DINAOSPLA = Digital Naturalism Open Source Public Lab Aesthetics
  •  A/d = art over data ratio

Thanks to Andy and Tasneem for all the organizational skills and joy of DINACON. We did independent DIY research and fun, wild, hacking together with resultant novel instrumentation for alternate realities. Thanks also to Pat Pataranutaporn and Werasak Surareungchai of the Freak Lab https://freaklab.org KMUTT for generous support and for hosting us to review, presentation and exhibition of our Artistic Research on the Interspecies Physiology of Immersive ArtSci Environments through Eye Candy Disruptor, EcoSensual Synesthesia and Gamification of Risk. Additional thanks to Tentacles Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand.  Thanks to Praba Pilar for designing the initial Underwater AR prototype at our Woodstock gridfree residency in preparation for the NO!!!BOT performances at Grace Space in NYC, May 2018. https://www.prabapilar.com/events/nobotnyc

[1] the 3D AR software Giphy World https://giphy.com/apps/giphyworld

[2] ARZombi iOS11/ARKit game https://www.arzombigame.com/

[3] World Brush https://worldbrush.net/

[4] for instance Binaural Beats and the Regulation of Arousal Levels by F. Holmes Atwater, BA,  (Hemi-Sync Journal, Vol. I, Nos. 1 & 2, Winter-Spring 2009) https://www.monroeinstitute.org/article/3002 More information: The Monroe Institute, Binaural PTSD recovery and Astral Projection for military remote viewing and CIA mind Control. P.O. Box 505, Lovingston, VA 22949. Founded and directed by Robert Monroe from 1974 until his death in1995, the Institute held classified contracts with the U.S. Army Intelligence & Security Command (INSCOM) on orders by Gen. Albert Stubblebine. The Institute studied their hemi-synch techniques to see if they could enhance soldiers’ performance and concentration. (Emerson, Steven, Secret Warriors, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1988, pg 103-4) The primary area of research at the Monroe Institute involves using a binaural beat to cause different psychological effects. A binaural beat is created by using stereo headphones with each speaker emitting a slightly different frequency. The result is a tone at the frequency between the two, which allegedly causes the brain to “entrain” on the frequency, i.e. the brain waves regulate themselves to the same frequency.The National Research council evaluated the Institute’s claims that the method could be used to improve learning. (National Research Council, Enhancing Human Performance, National Academy of Sciences, 1988, pg 111-4)  “..located near Charlottesville, Virginia. Bob Monroe, author of many books on Out of Body experiences, has long and close ties with the C.I.A. James Monroe, Bob’s father, if I’m not mistaken, was involved with the Human Ecology Society, a C.I.A. front organization of the late 50’s and 60’s. The Monroe Institute has done research on accelerated learning and foreign language learning through the use of altered states of consciousness for the C.I.A. and other government organizations. Government interest in the more radical research going on at the institute remains only tantalizing speculation. Official classified document storage boxes have been seen at their mail-order outlet located in Lovingston, VA.” – Porter, Tom, Government Research into ESP & Mind Control, March, 1996 THE MONROE INSTITUTE S HEMISYNC PROCESS – Document Type: CREST Collection: STARGATE Declassified: December 4, 1998 CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210004-8.pdf Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00788R00170021000THE MONROE INSTITUTE’S HEMISYNC PROCESS “Hemisync is a patented auditory guidance system which is said to employ the use of sound pulses to induce a frequency following response (FFR) in the human brain. It is reported that the Hemisync process can heighten selected awareness and performance while creating a relaxed state. Hemisync is more than this however, and an extensive evaluation is warranted.

[5] This is why we are seeking an antianthropocentric, anthropo-scenic ecologist/ meteorologist device developer to join our team. Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in applying.

[6] See: http://sexecology.org/ ,  https://www.fuckforforest.org

[7] Neurological Manifestations Among US Government Personnel Reporting Directional Audible and Sensory Phenomena in Havana, Cuba, Randel L. Swanson II, DO, PhD1,2Stephen Hampton, MD1,2Judith Green-McKenzie, MD, MPH2,3; et al

Recycloom (recycled textile loom)

In early summer 2017, Streetcat (https://www.streetcat.media/) participated as a node leader for the inaugural Digital Naturalism Conference (or DiNaCon), hosted by Dr. Andrew Quitmeyer and Tasneem Khan in Phuket, Thailand. Streetcat applied her project idea~ the Recycloom ~ in during the call for proposals for DiNaCon in early 2018. Her project idea encompassed building a textile tool that was made from recycled materials and utilized recycled plastics as string for making reused textile objects.

The final design for the loom came from a workshop that Streetcat took in early May 2018 at the Southeastern Fiber Arts Alliance where she built a strap on an inkle loom. The construction of the inkle loom is pretty simple, and Streetcat was able to source all the materials needed to remake it from various places like dumpsters, old woodworking projects, and Home Depot.

Before leaving for Thailand, Streetcat practiced making straps on an inkle loom that she borrowed from SEFAA, made a bunch of plarn, and constructed / deconstructed and packed the recycled loom ~ the Recycloom! ~ for the conference!

At the conference, Streetcat deliriously reconstructed the recycloom right after arriving at the conference from a 27 hour travel period from Atlanta to Phuket. There, she started experimenting with several stringing methods on the recycloom to play around with making straps out of cotton string and plarn. After working through a few projects, she started to teach other conference attendees how to use the loom with showing them: what the heck warp + weft means, how to make a shuttle out of cardboard, how to string the loom with plarn, how to make a patterned strap, and how to start/finish a project.

The loom lived on after DiNaCon by being adopted by Tasneem Khan and the Diva makerspace ship!

Check out more info about the project:
+ https://www.streetcat.media/creative-tech/recycloom
https://www.dinacon.org/2018/01/12/maggie-kane/

Nocturnal Garden: Touch Sensor Environmental Art Installation

Relax and listen to Gregory Hanks Green play the Khaen a traditional Lao/Thai mouth organ made of bamboo pipes, as colors reveal the garden forms of the Thai forest. Curate the sound of the Khaen and the colors of the nocturnal garden by touching the tropical plants. Discover each note or song and color the touch triggers. Gregory Hanks Green, the curator of the Echols Collection of Southeast Asian music at the Cornell music library is also a Khaen player. Green can be heard in the Nocturnal Garden playing a song on the Khaen in the Lai Nyai mode or create your own Khaen song as you touch the leafy plants. Khaen is tradition Thai and Laotian free reed instrument that sounds when the player breathes in or out. A touch of the plants provokes a note on the khaen or a complete song played by Green as well as an array of twilight colors.

Collaborators: Artist Joan Marie Kelly and Senior Lecturer at Nanyang Technological University, curated the concept, and design of the touch sensor installation specifically for the natural environment of Koh Lon Thailand and the Digital naturalism conference 2018.  Senior Technical Manager, animation at NTU in Singapore  Nagaraju Thummanapalli coded the music and colored LED light to sensors, Musician Gregory Hanks Green contributed the digital files of himself playing the Khaen, flutist Beth Kelly was music consultant, and Tourism Ethnographer Yuthasak Chatkaewnapanon gave cultural council of the context of the artwork. Below are 2 short videos of the Nocturnal Garden.

IMG_1007              dancing

 IMG_1007 IMG_0992   Joan Kelly testing the Nocturnal Garden IMG_1032 (1)

Nagaraju Thummanapalli teaching Joan Kelly the principals of electricity. Kelly has to do all the connections on site. 

The computer chip, connections to sensors and power bank

Joan Kelly making the connections on site.

Natural Reflection – Andy Quitmeyer

Coming back from the odd experience of going to a conference while simultaneously running another conference has helped reinforce some of the problems which led me to create this conference in the first place. I will talk about my misgivings about academic conferences I went to,  why I will refuse to participate in these types of exploitative practices in the future, and why I decided to personally spend the cost of going to just 2-3 events to put on my own free conference for 130 people.

(Updated Wed June 20, 11:22, 2561 Thailand)

(hahaha not my fault this is a perfect anagram)

Many academic conferences have become a model of exploitation and exclusion. The things I will say here are not news to academics at all, but they bear repeating wide and broadly to help shed a light on how crazy the rituals of the academic conference process have become. It might also help to have people from outside this field view this to see the types of exploitation we are dealing with here.

In fact here is a slide I skipped at my recent talk at DIS 2018 in Hong Kong:

I had originally intended to dedicate half of my talk to discussing the problems with these conferences, but at the last minute I just switched to giving the regular speech about my paper. Perhaps I wimped out, but I felt that the audience wouldn’t even be affected by my words. Through all the talks before, they largely sat solemnly, working on their own powerpoints they would present and be ignored during. These talks had so little impact that the community didn’t even seem like they would be interested in themselves. Instead I tried to just give  a nice positive talk about the fun you can have making stuff outdoors to help wake people up and imbue them with a little bit of life. Again, it seems weak to present these ideas here in a blog post rather than through directly confronting folks, but it didn’t feel appropriate then or that those words would have much impact. Instead, I would like to share my thoughts and try to spur other academics to cut out their own contributions to this exploitative system.

Provocation

I became acutely aware of this problem during an ACM conference in 2017. I had a paper, an artwork, and a “pictorial” I was sharing. The organizers (who are really awesome nice people!) had a workshop created by another person that needed extra help. They wanted to know if I could add some physical computing / hacking components to help out this workshop. I originally was against it because I was crazily overloaded during that time, but agreed because the organizers were my friends and I wanted to help.

When the time of the workshop arrived, hardly anything had been planned. Originally I was under the impression that I was just going to be there do some electronics crafts in addition to all the activities for this day-long workshop. I ended up having to fill 6 hours with improvised activities I had to quickly borrow and adapt from previous projects i had led. In my opinion this was quite irritating and irresponsible. The participants had spent good money and more importantly offered their time to join this event, but thrown together, last minute workshops are quite common at conferences like these.

The kicker came though when the organizer pulled me to the side asking about my registration. “You haven’t registered,” -“oh sorry, I can go sign in” -“but you have to pay the fees too” – “but I am running the workshop” – “well you still have to pay the registration fees.”

Lucky for me this organizer was an extremely nice person who is actively fighting to against the types of absurd exploitation in these conferences.  These chairs ended up comping my fee after acknowledging my contribution and help for the conference, but they wanted me to be aware of this BS rule (which they seemed to feel similarly about).

So I was a lucky one to not have to pay for the workshop I organized, but my eyes were pulled wide open to how backwards things were run at these academic conferences. Seriously, the people running these workshops were expected to pay large sums of money to attend their own educational seminar?

I had always had an inkling to try to make my own conference about my research, but this incident fired me up. The ways things currently work was so ridiculous, if anything, i wanted to start my own conference to demonstrate that things didn’t have to be this way.

The Problems with Many Current Academic Conferences

I come from a background in HCI (Human Computer Interaction) and thus many of the conferences I have attended follow these exploitative models, and are run by organizations like the Association for Computing Machines (ACM https://www.acm.org/about-acm/acm-history ). I want to note that the people organizing these conferences are amazing super nice helpful people, and I don’t blame them, rather I blame all of us for perpetuating this system that keeps exploiting us all.

Some may not be aware exactly how this whole weird system works (and why should you!). Here’s a quick run down of how this stuff seems to work from my limited experience:

The first problem – setting the stage to make people thirsty for metrics

  1. Universities are lazy and want quick and easy ways to grade their professors and determine if they should get bonuses or denied tenure.
  2. A basic metric that these academic institutions have adopted is seeing how many papers you publish.
  3. Of course, anyone can publish anything, so the Universities want some kind of lazy way to note what kinds of publications “count” and what do not (and it’s not like the institutions are going to actually read the papers you wrote).
  4. Thus the Universities will create a list of “prestigious” venues where you can publish papers and they will think you are a fancy person if you have these conferences and journals listed on your resume.  They will go super deep into pseudo-science here and come up with bizarre algorithms to be able to easily calculate things like “impact factor” made up by people who will do anything possible to quickly rank humans rather than just take time to see the kinds of things they do (inventor of the “Impact factor” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Garfield#Criticism)
  5. The result is that academics are faced with desperate pressure to publish in these selected journals or else get fired.

The second problem – conferences gaming this broken system

So now that you have a captive audience of people whose jobs are literally on the line unless their publish in your venue, what should you do? Exploit them! Here’s how it works! *Note: in HCI and Computer Science and some other disciplines researchers publish papers that they share in “conferences” which tend to be seen as the sort of equivalent of publishing in “journals” in science fields for instance. So this will describe a typical conference process and highlights the spots where people are being needlessly exploited.

  1. People submit their work to you, typically in the form of a paper.
  2. The entire conference is organized (logistics and everything) by volunteers. They get a budget to actually pay for things like booking venues and catering ahead of time, but they themselves are not paid at all. Instead it is seen as a prestigious position, and members of the community take note of the dedication and work they provide to their field (as they should, organizing these conferences is super hard work!)
  3. The conference organizers have to hunt down more volunteers to run different aspects of the conference (e.g. papers committee, and workshop committee). These folks then get stacks of submissions they then have to find even more volunteers to go review. This creates a full-on pyramid of unpaid labor running all aspects of the conference.  Everyone involved is generally extremely busy and has a whole other full time job.
  4. If your paper gets accepted (yay!), you have to prepare it yourself for the publisher. This includes all styling, basic editing, and even the nitty gritty like loading in the copyright notice and making sure your fonts are embedded.
  5. You then have to pay the fees to go to the conference, or else they will cancel the acceptance of your paper. These fees typically range between $400-$1400 USD.
  6. You typically have to also get yourself to the conference to stand up in front of others and give a little presentation about your paper. For an average international conference, I have calculated this to be between $1500-$2500 USD for housing, flights, transport, and food.
  7. On top of all of this, most of these conferences then lock away your work that you gave them for free (and paid to attend) behind a paywall. This means if you or others want access to this article (e.g. https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3059486)  you generally have to pay to get a copy, pay to make it “open access,” or have your institution pay a subscription to the publisher (or use the wonderful, yet generally illegal https://sci-hub.tw/ )
  8. So an average international conference runs an academic about $2000-$3500 USD, but they often shrug off these costs because they can use grants or institutional funds to cover these fees. This of course shuts off people without grants or institutional support.

I’m not saying that all unpaid work is exploitative or that people should never volunteer their time or money to help out their field. My problem with this system is when the large amounts of money become involved on top of the free labor already provided. Conferences are difficult to run and participants should be expected to chip in money or time to help get the conference going. The exploitation comes in, however, when both of the participants time and money are being demanded in large quantities. If the participants all volunteered and put on a great free conference together that would be great! If participants paid $1000

Where does all this money go? Example Conference Fees

Originally I was upset at these crazy fees charged on top of all the labor everyone in the community did for these conferences because I was thinking, “What is ACM doing with all this money?” If people are paying 1000$ a head and 4000 people show up like at CHI (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conference_on_Human_Factors_in_Computing_Systems), that’s at least 4 million dollars they are working with.

CHI 2018 conference fees, some of the most expensive fees I have seen.
Creativity and Cognition 2017 Conference Fees – Note these are in Singapore Dollars, and are some of the most reduced rates (especially for students) I have seen at an ACM conference.
DIS 2018 conference fees

Are these millions needed just to rent out some rooms people can talk in and some snacks to eat between talks. I figured the organizations were just pocketing it, but academic friends who are much more experienced in all this, like Jofish Kaye, explained to me that one of the real people winning out monetarily is the Hotel industry.  According to them, the ACM isn’t growing fat off people’s registration fees, but rather the fancy hotels and venues these events are held at are raking in the dough.

The other people pulling in the money from the ACM are the publishers themselves! This was another thing I didn’t realize. The conference has to PAY money to the publishers themselves. For instance ACM Creativity and Cognition 2017 had a budget of ~$45,000, and $6,000 of that went straight to the publisher Sheridan. This is on top of whatever money the publisher makes in the future off charging for this data they made the people pay for.

The Ill Effects of this Exploitation

When a system becomes exploitative like this, the damage it does does not stop with the individuals, but rather it degrades all aspects of the field. Persons feeling exploited are not able to properly reflect on the work of them and their peers, but rather have to focus on recouping as much lost costs in the publishing Rat race.

  • The “peer review” done by whatever uncompensated people could be coerced into reviewing a paper becomes unreliable.
  • Expensive fees cut off interested parties with lower incomes
  • The pyramid- like structure encourages future leaders in the field to continue similarly exploiting newcomers out of tradition and spite.
  • Monetary resources go from academics and their grants (potentially from public money) to pay for big fancy hotels instead of research materials, communities, or people.
  • People are so resource  limited and stressed they often miss most of the conference. The conference is full of people ignoring each other until it is their time to stand up and be ignored.
  • The paywalls and hierarchies limit any kind of true “impact” from a paper.
  • People are motivated almost entirely out of fear of their institutions rather than love of their research.

Exploring Alternative Ways

Instead of complaining, or passing the blame onto these conferences, I decided the best way to investigate this problem would be to try to run my own conference and see if I can understand more why academic conferences are the way they are, and perhaps find ways they can be better.

A full description of this, and the budget it available here:

Conference Philosophy

But to quickly recap, I took $6800 USD of my own money and rented out a space for people to live and work together for 8 weeks. As interest grew, people donated about $2500 USD directly and another $8000 USD to my collaborator, Tasneem Khan, to help expand the activities of the conference.

From there. we:

  • charge no registration
  • Freely share all materials developed by it
  • have a collaborative peer review system
  • provide free or heavily subsidized housing
  • provide multiple small travel grants.
  • provide tools and physical resources for experimentation, design, research, and documentation.
  • Provide free professional documentation and editing services

It is halfway through now, but already it seems to be working quite well.

Conclusion:  Let’s Stop Perpetuating this Nonsense

Again, many academics are aware of this, but what I am trying to say is, let’s stop this. Let’s break this cycle.  It’s more important to stop passing down this broken, exploitative system onto future generations of academics than to worry about your own tenure possibilities.

Here are some take-aways I am making as a personal pledge to myself

  • I will no longer help recruit “reviewers” for papers if they are not compensated in some way.
  • I will avoid reviewing papers for exploitative systems, and will transfer my reviewing time to help conferences and journals with open policies.
  • I will work to set up sustainable events accessible by wide varieties of people to participate.
  • I will remind myself that the goals of any event should be to help people, explore new things, share ideas, and have fun. The goal should not be to increase an arbitrary metric for self-promotion.

One of the participants in our conference, Kathy Macleod, wrote a lovely comic about her experience at our conference. She describes coming away from the conference with a glow of “self-acceptance” about the work she is doing.

This was one of the proudest moments I have ever had, and I feel this should be the true goal to any conference, gathering, colloquium, or meeting of the minds: People should come together to show each other that their their work is valued, that their time is valued, and how they can use their work and time to explore new interesting or helpful things.  If, instead, the priorities of a conference aren’t set to help people, but rather just to increase prestige, then it is utter bullshit.

Surrounded By Creatures – June 10, 2561 [dinaBlog]

There is an intense, humbling joy that comes from being surrounded by aliens. There are so many different creatures here and they are very obvious about it.

Hornbills swoop past while we are soldering, a treefrog jumps out of an electronics box, weaver ants start crawling all over your loom while you are working.

Importantly, these things are doing their own thing. They aren’t the pidgeons you might encounter in a city desperately trying to fit into the environment we cordoned off for ourselves. They aren’t pets we have strategically coerced to follow our rules. The wildlife here doesn’t give a shit about us, and it feels wonderful!

These wild creatures are scampering over and into anything we set up in their world. The effect is a constant reminder of how massive the world is and how tiny and ephemeral we are. Your brain, a wet, tightened knot, twisting around a problem, dries and loosens upon a wild animal encounter.

 

They drift in and out of our lives. Bright fluttering passing by for just a sparkling moment we are lucky enough to share. Love could be being immersed in things that aren’t you.

 

 

Tips from the Pioneers – June 7, 2561 [dinaBlog]

The first (of what I anticipate 3) generations of dinasaurs is leaving! They left after creation a zillion amazing projects and leaving some good advice for the next batch!

1) get a sim card at the airport. Wifi here is not good or non-existent (and often off at the restaurant when the power is off)
2) When you get to the chalong pier go straight on the right side pier. look off to your right for a red long-tail boat. You can follow all this in the video we sent earlier:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOeC-wWCllQ
3) “Super Cheap” is an option for cheap groceries right next to chalong pier (Craig also saw the largest rat in his life there!)
4) buy groceries for breakfast and snacks before arrival
5) There is a restaurant on the island – Breakfast ~150 baht  lunch ~300 baht
6) For people who get overwhelmed, the beach and the boat are good places you can get away from the cicada sounds and maybe groups of other people and relax and work in some silence.
7) Bring a flashlight
8) Bring a tent if you are camping
9) you don’t need a big sleeping bag, a simple sheet will do.
10) Email [email protected] before you come (and cc me and tasneem
11) you can open a coconut without any tools and quite easily! collect them and drink them! Study dennis’s video before you come! Use the secrets of the coconuts against them!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xOJsgy8HTs&feature=youtu.be
12) Before you think of something you might need to go back to phuket and buy when you are on the island, go look in the forest or the beach for some materials you might be able to use instead!
13) bring stuff you need for yourself like bugspray and sunscreen
14) Clean up after yourself. Don’t be gross. If you see something is messy or overflowing with garbage, take it out.
15) Helping out other people with their project is often a better to learn what they do than just tell them to give you a workshop on it.
16) Sometimes other people’s projects seem more fun to help out with than being frustrated with your own. That’s ok! Go out and help!
17) Learn about some local foods that grow on trees around here! (Check out and help add to craig’s food map!) https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1HMBiYD1Fu1vj8xdFbfOwSyYiGgx8CI8P&ll=7.793691625970413%2C98.36656038017281&z=16
18) Have a really great time!

Setting up spaces – May 25, 2561 [dinaBlog]

Setting up spaces

May 25, 2561

Me and Tasneem really won with the venue we scouted out. Everyday is full of hard work that’s constantly offset by impromptu adventures and side-quests:

  • A gigantic gecko appears in the house and we drop everything to get good macro-shots of its fascinating feet,
  • we left something on the ship and we need some intrepid kayaks to retrieve it,
  • the dragonflies are suddenly congregating around the solar panels for some mysterious reason,
  • or you are putting out a small fire on your off-grid power system, and suddenly a golden tree snake wrapped in a wriggling death match with a monitor lizard plummets 20 meters down onto the ground next to you.

The monitor lizard is now inside the snake

I am convinced that one could work any boring job forever if there was constant, curious entertainment always being provided from a thriving, natural surrounding.

One thing I have learned about myself though, is how much joy i take from setting up creative spaces.*** A favorite aspect is how when setting up a maker space you constantly develop mutating philosophies about everything:

  • If the electronics bench is closer to the entrance than the biology bench, does that mean that we are saying it is somehow more important?
  • Oh it’s kind of nice working in the secluded biology area, maybe i will do some soldering there.

  • Is it TOO easy to setup a naturalist workstation on a porch of a house?
  • I need to set up ways to stop birds from stealing my tools.
  • If i set the lab up here, i can watch hornbills fly by at 6pm, but only after the 5 pm wave of mosquitoes make it unbearable.

  • All walls should be covered with tools, or else it is useless space.
  • Oh it would be nice to have some wall space for some pictures or maps

  • A lab is a complete failure unless everyone can access any tool within 2 seconds
  • A lab should have categorization clues in its layout that can guide you to finding something
  • In a good lab you at least KINDA know where things might be?
  • This box will just be labelled “miscellaneous “ (i promise i will limit this to one box)
  • This section of the house will be labelled “miscellaneous “ (please stop it from spreading)
  • A messy lab where you don’t know where everything is one of the most important tools for sparking creativity

  • It’s kind of nice having to kayak to the boat lab to get tools for the jungle lab
  • The soldering irons are all the way across the room? Screw it, I’ll just tape these wires together

  • We can’t put THOSE tools into drawers because they aren’t used enough and everyone will forget about them
  • THESE tools are used too much and can never be put in drawers because it will be too cumbersome to keep opening and closing them
  • Maybe drawers are awful? Abolish drawers!
  • Ahh! scrap fabric is perfect for drawers

https://photos.app.goo.gl/4fOkPXSgtCpOCGgM2

I like having the endless challenges of having to adapt some vague models of human movement styles, information displays, and ergonomics to the ever-changing needs of the environment, the living creatures, the anxiety of the landlords, and basic spatial geometries. Even the tools themselves have very particular needs which become even more apparent as laboratories move into the wild. You quickly learn which equipment can’t deal with high humidity, or salt water,  or being carried over rough terrain, or being dropped and lost in grass, or deafeningly loud cicada calls. It’s a tiring practice, but one that puts you deeply in touch with both your tools and the living world surrounding you. It’s refreshingly humbling.

***Through my dealings at various institutions, I have also learned that the opposite is true, and seeing places of creativity crushed meaninglessly is enraging.