Landscape [Design & Development]

The initial plan was to create a loop map in order to represent the continues endeavour we find our selves in searching and freeing fish. But over the residency period I pursued on an end goal. That end being the Tree of life!
In older versions of tuner we have been deprived of Vegetation, leaving a more sterile approach. But this has been hard as I love trees. And now with this new reincarnation of Tuner and its updated water system allowing the ability of more vertical landscapes (rather than water line dependant), evolves for more irregular and hopefully interesting environments.

The landscape should be a challenge yet rewarding but not frustrating unless the point is clear. So I set attempting on creating a corkscrew river rapid! Below is a concept of this and it’s fabrication. For the boat to be able to achieve this sliding motion over water falls and rocks both it’s under the hull and surrounding environmental elements needed to both shared low friction physical materials, plus a buoyancy water system.

With the landscapes’ liner design we find our selves ending down a fjord like channel passage concluded by the ‘Tree of life’. The idea is that they hold the Lifeboat pods (Rockets), acting as launch pads. Ideally I wanted to design a more progressive style for the vegetation, growing and engulfing in size as we approach. Below are landscapes and life pods I managed to flesh out for this residence 🙂 .

A New Dawn: Morning Song

In 1989 a monumental event shaped me and everything I believed in, that event was the Tiananmen Square massacre. Even though I was only 13 years old, my whole worldview shifted and I understood Democracy to be a fight that we must each take up the fight for. It wasn’t a given, it wasn’t a “right” in the traditional sense of the word, it was a privilege that many fight and die for.

Since then I’ve been a protest person. I protested with my fellow Hong Kong people for Tiananmen and I continued to do so in Canada when I moved back at 16 for many years. Even with disability I have tried to continue protesting in various movements like the Idle No More movement.

I used to think I was the odd one out. My family steadfastly loyal to the motherland and the party line, I thought something was different about me but when I saw the sea of people around me with candles and lights… I knew that the passion of protest was in my blood as someone of Hong Kong heritage. I have always seen my people as fierce fighters.

Flash forward to the various Hong Kong protest movements such as the umbrella movement, the anti extradition protests and so forth going well into 2020. It makes me swell with pride that we have this solid tradition of standing up for what we believe to be right.

Originally Mourning Song was a complicated installation tableau with layering and multiple channels. As we built this piece around the education to the width and depth of accessibility in mind it organically became something different. As I continued to approach the project in a prayerful and ceremonial way, a different project slowly manifested into and installation portrayed through a short film.

What started as a “mourning song” as I felt the grief and sadness of watching the HK Protests become marginalized by history as Tiananmen Square massacre was, I continued to research and clarify to myself the ideology around the project. One of the questions that surfaced was what was the core message of this piece and I realized it was rooted in the feelings of hope not grief. I found sounds I captured and birds to enable a natural flow for background, communicating the hopefulness of this piece. The soundscape is punctuated by a winter soundscape barely noticeable during the protest sign tableau.

While I feel helpless and mournful about the state of the affairs in Hong Kong, especially as a Hong Konger in Canada, especially with the serious allegations coming out of Hong Kong, such as suicide cover ups for police murders/blinding of medics/journalists; elicit a state of mourning for the future of Hong Kong and our youth. At the same time, I am steadfast in this being hopeful and the stirrings of new beginnings, the fire lit from decades ago in Tiananmen Square. From the thousands of Tiananmen Square Protests there has blossomed millions who came to the Hong Kong Protests. And while tyranny may have it’s moment in history, there is always a hopeful future as the younger generation continue to fight for the people’s liberty.

These prayers I encapsulated by recreating an Ancestor Altar featuring a serene Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy), trying to mimic the street altars I grew up with my Grandmother in Hong Kong. Like the festival of Ching Ming I offer a feast to my Ancestors honoring theses prayers of hope, resilience and protection. Joss sticks, candles, offerings of meats, sweets and rice wine show my reverence for tradition of these prayers.

Thinking about the mantra from Turtle Island’s Indigenous uprising “Water is Life” and the Hong Protests mantra “Be Water” I am reminded of the resilience and the strength of Hong Kongers, like water, can overcome anything. I created a tableau of Hong Kong Protest signs that were dearest to me to document this monumental moment in history as someone who believes fervently in the new future. The youth have shown us that they are capable of leading us to the future and as long as our youth live, then hope never dies and like water we continue to flow into a future free of tyranny, free of walls and surveillance and assimilation. A future where our diversity is celebrated. Until then I present to you “Morning Song” a celebration of hope and new beginnings while honoring the heart of Hong Kongers across the globe.


The moose doesn’t strike any emotion.

Although most recently I’ve been focusing on creating the residency risograph prints, this post returns to the idea of context as a fundamental factor in untangling lipreading, typographic and AI errors. Lipreading is often like completing a giant freeform crossword puzzle; filling in one set of clues reduces the parameters for the next set, and the next. Context enables you to instantly discard broader variables and zoom in on the most likely possibilities. Working with BSL/SSE interpreters does the same thing; while “vignette” and “finesse” will create almost identical lip patterns, the BSL interpretations use completely different hand shapes and movements.

Lipreading is physically impossible with masks, but there’s also loss of facial expression giving tone & context. But there are still contextual clues; where are you, what’s happening around you?

The same issues seem to be occurring with AI transcription; I examine the context in which errors occur to try to work out what the most likely interpretation is. This is a real challenge as you’ve a tiny amount of time to expend before the conversation moves on – with possibly another set of mangled meaning to decipher. The last work I’ve made looks at this mental juggling by using the risograph duotone process to “correct” mangled AI using proofreaders marks, to represent the two simultaneous thought processes.  That work will be in the residency exhibition, but here’s a few puzzles for you to be going on with.

“The moose doesn’t strike any emotion.”

“The perfect cinnamon.”

“I know there is a framework for achieving Oswald by doing do command Libra.”

Undetermined

The symbol that represents the mathematical concept of ‘undetermined’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
This is an aerial view of the symbol of 'undetermined'. It is seen at the bottom of the image, with a long road ahead of it. The sun is rising and the image is in warm saturated colours. 2 cows are playing on top of the symbol. Cattle Depot is on the left of the symbol, the glass grid is on the right.
The symbol of ‘undetermined’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot.

UNDETERMINED: not authoritatively decided or settled (Oxford English Dictionary)

Example sentence:
The future is undetermined!

Division

The symbol that represents the physical concept of ‘Division’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
The symbol of 'division' built with 'Polished Blackstone Slab' is in the foreground. A cow stands on the left side of the symbol while the other stands on the right. They confront and stare at each other.
The symbol of ‘Division’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot.

DIVISION: a disagreement or difference in opinion, way of life, etc., especially between members of a society or an organization (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)

Example sentence:
Online users see social media as both a cause of and solution for societal division.

Negation

The symbol that represents the physical concept of ‘Negation’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
The symbol of 'negation' built with 'Polished Blackstone Slab' is seen against a setting sun in a red sky. Cattle Depot is tinted in red. A cow is in the far background watching the sunset behind the glass grid.
The symbol of ‘Negation’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot.

NEGATION: the exact opposite of something; the act of causing something not to exist or to become its opposite (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)

Example sentence:
This political system was the negation of democracy.

POWER

The symbol that represents the physical concept of ‘Power’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
A giant panda sits on the symbol of 'power' built with black 'Polished Blackstone Slab' outside Cattle Depot. The panda is eating green bamboo greedily. A few cows can be seen scattered in the background around the other symbols, oblivious of the panda. Cattle Depot is on the left of the symbol, the glass grid structure is on the right.
The symbol of ‘Power’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot. A giant panda is sitting on the symbol and devouring bamboo.

POWER: political control of a country or an area (Oxford Learner’s Dictionary)

Example sentence:
The present regime has been in power for more than 70 years.

Charge

The symbol that represents the physical concept of ‘Charge’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
A peaceful herd of cows gather near the symbol of 'charge'. This is a top aerial view. The black sign is seen on grey concrete ground. On the top left corner of the image are some brown granite and a metal fence, hinting that Cattle Depot is on the left side of the image.
The symbol of ‘Charge’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot. A peaceful herd of cows gather near the symbol.

CHARGE: an official claim made by the police that somebody has committed a crime (Cambridge Dictionary)

Example sentence:
• Peaceful protesters were charged with rioting.

Mass

The symbol that represents the physical concept of ‘Mass’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
It's daytime. A paranoid cow stares at my camera in the foreground. Behind the cow is the symbol of 'mass' built with 'Polished Blackstone Slab' on the road outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot. Two more signs can be seen further in the background. There are other cows wandering around. The glass grid structure is on the right side of the image.
The symbol of ‘Mass’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot. A paranoid cow is staring at my camera.

MASS: affecting or involving a large number of people or things (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)

Example sentence:
Mass surveillance of private communication concerns us all.

INTERACTIONS [Landscape]

I think a good landscape should be enticing and thought-provoking. The power of landscape design is immense and should never be underestimated. As I mentioned before for this reincarnation of Tuner I plan on bringing it back underground to grow the sense enclose, need for air and to assist in the game plays interactions of fish collecting practices.

SCANNERS
The Scanner is like a radar mechanism, when found and attached to the boats roof hook, all 3 of it orbs rotate about their orbits, at each turn displacing a line to their nearest corresponding subject, ie Fish, Junk and Rockets. All these three orbs speeds can be controlled individually sonically creating an ever phasing sequence. Initially this control was access via the Midi protocol each orb having their own physic knob here on earth. But now the foam of interacting will need to be re-designed into the GUI interface.
The scanner is also a lantern for dark zones epically when the internal torchlight fades due to the boats’ strength depletion . I will supply the new scanner in operation (video), here below are some (blurred) old in game shots.

Continue reading “INTERACTIONS [Landscape]”

TUNER

Tuner an audiovisual piece originally designed as an experimental live AV project showing initially at Somerset House Londons AGM 2018 festival (since performed at Club Adriatico, L.E.V. Festival, Genot Centre, MK Gall, Xolo,Bleep) and has endured various reincarnations. Now as part of Vital Capacities residency I am developing it to be playable piece as a download and also a recorded showcase! The project has primarily been designed from a solo performance point of view. Programming all the input events and actions via audio instrument protocols with MIDI and OSC. This was to allow a unique haptic setup where I could control multiple elements live and be more at home, as it is part of my music practice also, recsund!
Continue reading “TUNER”

Force

The symbol that represents the physical concept of ‘Force’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
The Dutil-Dumas symbol of 'force' is built with dark grey 'Polished Blackstone Slab' on the main road outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot. The image shows a night scene with street lights in the background. The front entrance of Cattle Depot is on the left. A panda bear is checking out the newly built sign on a starry night, to see if there's anything suspicious.
The symbol of ‘Force’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot. Panda is checking out the sign to see if there’s anything suspicious.

FORCE: violent physical action used to obtain or achieve something (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)

Example sentence:
• The government has relied on brute force to respond to public discontent.

A Conversation (Word Salad)

This week I’ve been focusing on practicalities for making risograph prints. As my region (England) is in lockdown, this involves a lot of forward planning, material purchase and prep that’s not very interesting to read about. So I’ve also been experimenting with AI transcripts to create a little script from some of the most egregious examples of distortion (looking at you, Microsoft Teams).

This has been added as a document and images.

The aim is to give the reader a feel of what it’s like trying to make sense of a situation which isn’t accessible, and the impossibility of acting on information which doesn’t make sense. During the current pandemic, misunderstanding is not merely an amusing anecdote (a la Auberon Waugh’s tale of mishearing “press freedom” and delivering a lecture on “breast feeding”), it’s dangerous. Currently, the UK offers no BSL interpretation for government briefings. While the BBC provides interpreters for government announcements, not everyone has access to the BBC, and clips shown on social media won’t be inherently accessible. And scientific briefings are not shown with BSL interpretation. It’s the government’s responsibility, not the BBC’s. Too many organisations push the responsibility for accessing information onto individuals rather than thinking about how they can make it straightforward.

So, anyway, I’ve been tiger, because you know, the man who chases two hairs catches mom.

10 November 2020

A message from Minecraft that says my character Rosy Leavers fell out of the world and died.
Rosy fell into void on 10 November 2020 and died.

In trying to free the animals and save them from falling into the void, Rosy died in the first week of her residency in Cattle Depot.

Lipreading in the age of COVID-19

I was taught lipreading before I began using BSL (British Sign Language) and use the two communication methods contiguously. The term “lipreading” is somewhat misleading, as it’s not just lip patterns that contribute to understanding – you pick up information from the rest of the face, from body language, and from the contextual environment (context is something I’ll be picking up on again). My biggest obstacle is dark sunglasses that block the information you see around people’s eyes; if lip patterns provide information on words, the eye area often gives the equivalent of tone of voice, and lipreading people wearing sunglasses translates as a monotone to me.

During 2020, the ratio has been flipped, with masks preventing lipreading, but often leaving the eyes and surrounding areas clear; I’ve started to notice that I still pick up information, so can (sometimes) recognise tone, even if there’s no way to pick up words. I’ve also noticed hearing people struggling with understanding (with masks muffling voices), and am wondering if this will impact on people’s thinking about hearing loss in the longer term. Will their own difficulties lead to more understanding? Will they turn to D/deaf people as communication experts they can learn from?

I’ve been playing with images from the 1986 edition of “Lipreading – A Guide for Beginners”, masking the lip patterns illustrated. I’m planning a duotone risograph print, perhaps using several of these images – due to local lockdown I can only prep my files at present, so anything shown at this stage is an approximation.

Black and white photo showing a woman's face. Superimposed is an orange facemask. Only her eyes are visible. On the bottom left are the letters "OO"t ar
“OO”- Lipreading in the age of COVID (study for risograph) 2020

The virtual site of Cattle Depot Artist Village in Minecraft

Photograph showing the entrance to Cattle Depot in Hong Kong. The entrance is an archway inside a red brick building on two storeys, with two smaller outbuildings either side. The roofs of the buildings are covered in a dark rough tile, which is in parts covered in a red moss. Behind the buildings are tenement buildings, each approximately 10 storeys high; the one on the left is pale blue and grey, the central one is cream with orange stripes running beneath the windows, and the one on the right is pale salmon-orange/pink. The sky is overcast, pale grey-blue.
The physical space of Cattle Depot Artist Village in Hong Kong

Cattle Depot Artist Village was originally used as a slaughterhouse from 1908 to 1999. It was renovated and developed into an artist village in 2001. It is now home to around 20 art groups including the media art organisation Videotage.

For its first digital residency program, Videotage recreated in one-to-one scale the virtual site of Cattle Depot in the sandbox game Minecraft.

Screenshot of the virtual site of Cattle Depot in Minecraft. Buildings in digital red brick showing the Cattle Depot, with grey roof tiles and trees in the courtyard at the centre. 
Behind the Cattle Depot is a small park with trees. And to the left of Cattle Depot is another red brick building with a dark green roof. Buildings a re a mixture of one and two storeys in height.
A grid structure was built in the sky above the site by the previous resident artist. This forms a matrix against the blue sky.
Screenshot of the virtual site of Cattle Depot in Minecraft

I downloaded Minecraft today and got into the realm of Cattle Depot. What you see here is the aerial view of the site. The glass grid structure was build by the previous resident artist. I basically wandered around, tried to get familiar with all the keyboard commands, broke a gate by accident but managed to find a very hidden passageway that led me to the top of the grid.

Cosmic Call

For this residency, I want to create a series of symbols from the Dutil-Dumas message as an intervention in a virtual art space. The work will reference a previous work Cosmic Call. (An audio description of the visuals in the trailer is available)

One minute trailer of Cosmic Call
Audio description of the images in the trailer
Installation view of Cosmic Call with a flatscreena and two cube monitors. The seats are designed based on a code from the Dutil-Dumas Message
Installation view of Cosmic Call at Tai Kwun, Hong Kong

Cosmic Call is a work commissioned by Wellcome Collection in 2018

The main video weaves together facts and fiction to create an alternative understanding of epidemics. Cosmic Call resists the dominant narrative of a disease outbreak – a formulaic plot of a detective story about disease emergence and eventually the triumph of western medical science – and suggests multiple belief systems in which science is only one of many ways to understand communicable diseases. It points to the danger of reducing all knowledge to scientific terms while addressing issues that are pertinent to Hong Kong, which is characterised by its high population density and mobility – conditions that make Hong Kong extremely vulnerable to disease outbreaks.

In the video, an interstellar message (the Dutil-Dumas message) was sent by extra-terrestrial life forms that warned human beings of epidemics caused by passing comets. Information about the Dutil-Dumas message can be found on the RESEARCH section of the website.

What On Earth am I doing?

Well for starters it’s going to be made within a computer program (CAD)!
Continuing of my past projects shared Universe of ‘Tuner’ and ‘ProDancer’ we may find our selves in an off world sorting office re-distribute saved animals from past realms and sending them off adequately!

Hope to conclude as a downloadable executable both VR and Monitor based! As a wide narrative I’ve often related works on signalling and ever find it captivating in a virtual sense, here are some past worlds I may extend their essence into this currently unnamed one.


disabled becon from Buddha Geomatry child

“He maybe did” or “He may be dead”?

2020 has been a year of information distortion for many people in many ways. Being deaf means my focus has been around digital and physical access – or lack of access – to information, something I’ll be exploring during the residency.  Originally, I had been viewing my planned areas of research – typography and dummy text, AI transcription, and sound effect captioning – as distinct, albeit with some loose links. Maybe these areas have more in common than I envisaged?

I’ve begun looking at Dr Rachael Tatman’s research around conversational AI and linguistics and have been struck by the similarities between the areas of error in AI, conventional listening, and lipreading. These are often mirrored in typographic and compositing errors.

The images in this post are taken from

  • Lipreading – A Guide for Beginners
  • Finer Points in the Spacing and Arrangement of Type
  • An AI voice transcription programme

The header text on this post is taken from a research paper written by Dr Tatman in 2017.

Black text on white background discussing hyphenated works. The example given is "camellia" This word is split across two lines so that the word initially reads "camel-".
Dark blue text on white background from AI transcription programme. The text does not make sense showing the translation is distorted