For Gabe BC. ..
Archive for October, 2009
This is a basic website that gives people the ability to transliterate English into Baybayin, an ancient form of writing from the Philippines.
“Li-wa-nag” means “Light” in Tagalog.
This involves two php pages, one homepage and a pop-up with the translated script. For the code, I used a series of ‘if/ else’ statements to build the parsing mechanism, which scales thru the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd character in each syllable of the word.
The Baybayin script is essentially a syllabic system, with 3 vowels (representing the a, o/u, i/e sounds) and 14 consonants. The scripter draws the closest equivalent between the sounds represented in the script and the sounds in the English language. At the moment, it can interpret ‘sh’, ‘ch’, and ‘th’ sounds but not ‘br’, ‘tr’, and other ‘_r’ sounds. This should be added soon for it to be more completely functional.
On Chapters 1 and 2
What is missing in the thesis the “medium is the message” is the audience.
The issue the strikes me in reading MacLuhan’s first and second chapters is that although he sees media as an extension of the human self, he also talks about it as if media and its content arise independent of its audience. He talks primarily and colorfully about the relationship between media and content without a developed awareness that this relationship rests on the interpretations of a diverse audience.
Granted, I am aware that he wrote this in the 1940s and that this self-reflective perspective has probably come to the fore in recent decades thanks to the postmodern theory. His theory predates the prescient notion that the audience has an active hand in authoring”the message”as it is received and that the role of the medium in activating this message is largely determined by the varying differences in audience backgrounds. These differences relate to socio-economics, race, language, culture, gender, education, and any combination of factors. MacLuhan doesn’t take into consideration the projections, assumptions, and diversity of experience and contexts that make media more or less successful in any given occasion. He presupposes that we are passive consumers rather than authors of our own experience.
Ultimately, the medium is only part of the equation of the message. I might say that the ultimate medium is the experience of the individual.
The second chapter discusses what I feel are rather relative terms of “hot” and “cool” media. He makes categorical rules as to how hot and cool media operate independently and in relation to each other. However, again this is problematic because the designation can be flipped according to the context–the era, cultural norms, purpose and use–of each object. A radio is “hot” in comparison to television in the fifties, but in 2010 the categories may well be reversed because television is moving in the direction of becoming a more interaction medium.
Below is an excerpt. For the complete piece, open the pdf: Alive on the M5.
Alive on the M5: a poetic narrative of a journey through Manhattan
on a sun-drenched bench
in a box, flanked by a smiling
touting vodka, …
I am waiting
for the familiar squeak and squeal
of tired rounded rubber
alongside curb and dusty sidewalk.
As hoboes tend carefully
their tattered sheets, bags of
muted dolls, and patient canine
friends, panting languidly
in the cool dappled light
It comes tearing down the street,
almost swiping aside a woman, hunched
over to peer at something aground.
With unlikely grace
it swerves, sinking slightly
before balancing up beside
us, and in the same gesture
opening with a beckoning
hissssssss… spit.. crack, ah!
I step in.
Slip my card in the slot
retrieve it and look on, upward
making my way
to the back of the bus.
Sitting by the loud exhale of the AC
I strain to hear conversations
filtering into this bubble
created by that exterior chamber.
“What is dance?”
someone asks his friend philosophically. ..
The sunny day outside glimmers
across Korea Town
neon lights calling bonchon
barbeque, bibimbab! . ..
The greys of midtown Manhattan
shiver by in a proud flow
of shopping, construction, traffic.
I see words, “Avenue of the Americas”
“Bryant Park”, “Little Brazil”
“Trump” . ..
It’s a beautiful day.
I start to ask questions.
What would happen if all traffic stopped in Manhattan?
What if there was no concrete in the city? …
What if subways were silent?
What if the walls of buildings where grown like the bark of trees?
What if they bent to adapt to the flux in families and movement of people?
What if cars didn’t have horns? . ..
What if the trees made music?
What if everyone focused on the things they had instead of the things they don’t have?
What if there was no concrete in the city?
What if soft because synonymous with strong?
What if women and men wore long flowing silk dresses that trailed behind them for two city blocks? Would we all then be woven together in this fabric of amazing array?
What if airplanes blew bubbles as they flew overhead?
What if all the buildings were gilded with gold?
And all the fried chicken places inlaid with silver?
What if trees spoke to us and took the role of peacekeepers in the city?
They could give warning to transgressors and sweeps up bandits into their leafy limbs.
And then the question,
In our work, are we putting the art in the context of technology,
or putting technology in the context of the art?
But this is the topic of a much longer essay.
And perhaps thoughts spanning the scope of many years to come.
This is the wiring for my first prototype. There are two flex sensors–one is mapped to pitch and one is mapped to volume. At this point, I was getting a good read off both sensors, but having trouble translating the read to sound from the midi and speakers. I suspect the problem may be the midi controller, although I used two different ones.
Switching to using minim in Processing was helpful as I could bypass the midi altogether use output sound through the computer. Fewer components may mean fewers bugs. But I will have to look into whether this would be a long term solution. At the presentation, one of my sensors stopped working–something to debug. I tried switching sensors, thinking perhaps it broke in the lead up to the class, but no cigar. Since the flex sensors are limited in their scope and are quite fragile, I will probably switch to an accelerometer for the next prototype.
My goal would be to be able to create a self-contained instrument that could output a set of specific sounds. Hopefully sounds I either create or generate from field recordings. In the future, it would be wonderful to have a user create a piece of music through gestures of the brush, have that piece be recorded and uploaded to the internet, and then available for download by that use or an audience as an mp3.