Part 1 – A Critic of My Own Work
At last, I completed my project to make a clock. The clock design was inspired off a desire for the perfection of shapes fitting perfectly into spaces, and the anticipation that goes into watching that process happen. In the spirit of the pursuit of perfection, the final product turned out to be chaotic while attaining some fleeting level of perfect fitting of shapes. The result is what I’d describe as “the sunny side of anxiety.”
It’s best to healthily moderate your internal critic as you create a work as to not hinder exploring any ideas that might lead to something unexpected and great. But now that the work is being submitted, I believe I am safe to unleash the inner critic.
I’ve been encouraged to explore colors, and while I don’t believe I have a color blind imagination, I don’t know if I know how to carry out the ideas in my head. P5.JS has very easy fills for shapes, but they are clunky and monotonous. I might imagine shading on the shapes, but implementing that is extremely complicated. While I can do it, I didn’t have the time to figure out the general technique for shading by visual artists and how to implement that in P5.JS. So everything looks flat.
The decisions on the colors themselves is questionable. The shapes shouldn’t be complementary colors, but they might be too close. And they are also fairly red. Smiley’s are generally more yellow, but that is a trope that need not be followed. So what should they be?
Maybe the answer lies in the shading. While it adds extra dynamism to the clock, it does take away consistency in pairing of colors. And sometimes the shades don’t pair well.
“Form follows function” was a phrase my brother told me was said throughout his 4 years of architecture school. It’s something that makes sense: what’s the point of a good looking piece if it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do? Well, easier said than done. Because ideas don’t always fit themselves into the function.
The movement of the seconds smiley’s is chaotic. They have a lot of space to travel in a second and, while it’s cyclic, the movements don’t stay to the edges and, therefore, conflict with the rest of the clock.
While technically, the minutes are technically displayed through the number of gridded blocks in the background, that is not an obvious connection a viewer will see until, arguably, the next minute happens and the blocks show their minutes.
But even so, there’s nothing to say in the work itself that this is a clock. Clocks are associated with circles and this is very square. The hours smileys arrange themselves into a circle, but the central smiley confuses the number, as it doesn’t actually count towards the hour number.
Overall, there just needs to be more indication that this IS a clock and what each part of it communicates. The segmentation into seconds, minutes, and hours is apparent, but not obvious due to the chaotic overlap, induced primarily by the seconds’ motion.
Part 2 – A Response to “The Training Commission”
The largest truth debated in the series is the death of Aoife’s brother, Ciárnan. A truth that was, evidently, large enough to begin a peace process in a unrested country. And that’s the truth for the story. But the line (that seems a little downplayed) that captures truth in 2019 is how Latoya talks about how the real truth got covered up:
“By the time they extradited me from Alberta, the story of his bravery and the fact that footage helped prove Big Tech was bankrolling those militias had already sealed his martyr status.”
This isn’t the result of any of the technological changes or societal changes in this story’s future, this is a a reality we’re dealing with today as a result of our streamlined communication through TV and internet to spark sensationalism. Propelled by companies that want to be the first on a lead, information is dispersed and cemented before it’s verified.
So what is widely accepted as true, becomes the truth. And in the case of “The Training Commission,” that truth, though a lie, is better for everyone. So even if it’s not the objective truth, is it the truth that world needs?
Algorithms of Today
I’ve heard many people complain about search algorithms, especially in regards to YouTube. Seeing as YouTube crosses its roles as being a deliverer of entertainment, but also information, how it lets its users find its content is significant, because it shapes what we expect to see in multiple aspects of our society.
This blog on HootSuite outlines the YouTube algorithm well, because it explores it chronologically first, which really illuminates how the algorithm’s intentions changed. Essentially, the algorithm went from views, to view time, to compatibility with the viewer. This seems to shift its focus from “what do viewers like to see?” to “what do we think the viewers like to see.” Essentially, getting ahead of the viewers’ wonts before they get there.
If people were steadfast in their desires, this wouldn’t be an issue. But people are not, they are human, and this algorithm creates a feedback loop: I tell you what you want and you get what you want from me. Sounds like co-dependency at its finest.
A necessary nuance to mention is that YouTube recognizes the dangerous power, especially politically, their algorithm enables. And they evidently just started to try and eliminated “borderline content.” A small step, three years after America’s sensationalism fueled election, but a nice moment of self awareness.
Interview with Alexa Koenig
The issue that arises as a result of systems is the human input is biased. Koenig discusses exploring a flawed system to try and fix the war criminal system. This is a system constructed by humans to fix human issues. And government systems are essentially inefficient computers composed of humans. And it takes a human to fix that.
The idea behind The Training Commission is that the human element is taken out by a more intelligent power. But that power is also constructed by humans. It will always have human flaws. And there’s no way we can rely on something, even something not human, if a human is able to teach it our biases.