Tag Archives: video

Infinitesimal, Inexpressible Internet

There was great reason to begin The Sneezing Pandas Project and it goes beyond animals.

Yes, the panda reference is there in black and white, as mega as the fauna itself and charismatic in every regard. Yet these are Viral Pandas. They are not black and white.

They are energies, existing only in the ether.

We are helped here with some of the words by artist Tullio DeSantis whose latest project transcribes the words “infinitesimal” and “inexpressible”, speaking of energy and existence.

This is where our minds meet.

You see, we are all digital enthusiasts.

The screen we stare at. The networks we cross. The images we see; the words; the pages… we absorb a global web of thoughts and ideas and shared experiences. We touch the lives of others and they touch ours. We find wisdom and kindness; hatred and obscurity, in all corners of the ether. Floating through a real, yet unreal force of digital yet tangible surroundings.

We ‘surf’, we ‘skim’, we ‘browse’.

This fascination for Online was a great reason to start the project and we are thrilled to be joined by others who share our passions. Here, DeSantis has produced with Pery Burge a video about the cosmos, but we agree it is just as easily a representation of the Internet.

Mesmerising in entirety we invite you to lose yourself in the colours, the words and the sounds of the ideas shaping in your mind…

Tullio DeSantis is an artist, writer, and teacher with an exceptional history in artistic collaboration and multimedia. We thank him for letting us share this very current and relevant piece of work. Below are some of the phrases we particularly enjoyed and would like to share. Re-play the video and think again:

Within an inexpressible nothingness … through a timeless duration … an instability arises.
Time … space.
Spawning new possibilities.
Time starts and space expands.

Eons elapse.

Infinitesimal aspects of virtual condiments in to momentary states between existence and non existence.
Space … time.

All energies in motion flowing from randomness.
Creative chaos.
Strange attractions.

Information becoming energy, becoming matter.
What is merely virtual becoming very real.
Movement of nothingness.
Unstoppable flow.

Everywhere and all at once.

Constant states of transformation.
Changing instantaneously from formlessness to form and back again.
Before, between, beyond, the ground of all being.

Persistent, perpetual flow.

Experienced by no-one.

And yet it is.
It is.

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Worlds Apart or Worlds Together?

We’ve had a submission from ‘Lateral Zoo’ (thank you!), bringing this video to our attention: “Lion tries to eat baby PART 1.”

Doesn’t sound nice?

Well, they are at a zoo and there is glass between the baby and the lion, but it is this glass that seems to be a bone of contention amongst video viewers – will it or won’t it break? Is its presence more alarming or less alarming to our heart rate?

Embedding has been disabled, but you can watch the video on YouTube.

We watched another video featured alongside this one: “Lioness tries to eat baby at the zoo.” which seems to follow a trend in ‘eat baby’ video titles. As we saw before with the I Hate Balls campaign, comments on more controversial videos can be brazen and often go off-topic:

I was hoping it eat the little bastard !
– victoryou81

F-ing jerks for teasing the Lion……I wish it did eat that baby.
– musakil1

Your grammar and the incessant use of ellipses is worse than your lack of humor. Please kill yourself and avoid having progeny who might turn out to be more stupid than you are.
Signed ~ Jesus
– johnlovestohate

Invisible barriers

There is much distance seen here: the glass between the lion and the baby, the digital barrier between the baby’s experience and the short scene caught on camera, then the geographical distance between the video viewers and their faceless comments, how close are we *actually* to one another?

In these instances do we slip in to an Uncanny Valley, much like the human-like robots we explored before for Viral Pandas?

How close is close if in reality we are worlds apart?

Are we right to have concerns about an alarming separate yet deceptively close connection?

There’s no doubt that the Internet brings many positives to our lives on every level and streams for digital media are improving, changing and enhancing our experience all the time, but will we ever merge our online and offline experiences, not just with Web 3.0 integration, but physically?

We came across another video this week, which represents well the areas we have been interested in. We recently looked at Human and Animal Ink – that is, tattoos and skin. We considered perfection and body modification, also responsibility and transference.

Here’s a video of a man who inserted magnets in to his arm to hold his iPod Nano.

The video does contain some mildly graphic scenes and blood, but it has been edited with taste and not sensationalism.

Food for thought.

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So, What of our Wild Man?

We’ve been working on the second head in our domestication pocket of the project; our He/She Head complete. The He Head, which could be seen in its neotenised state as a She Head is in need of stark contrast to help us reach further in to our thoughts about beauty and repulsion.

Why is juvenilisation in animals often more attractive to people?

Why are those animals shared, liked and commented on more?

We considered what is the opposite of neotony.

Besides the smaller eyes, the hairy face and the ‘wild’ exterior, we also considered the popular Mark Twain quote that sparked a number of comments, and the ideas we have already explored around parasites, dermatological diseases and other physical marks on a face that make it less appealing to others, both on and offline.

Our wild man is taking shape:

Wild Man 1

Wild Man 1

Wild Man 2

Wild Man 2

Wild Man 3

Wild Man 3

How do you feel about him?

As we begin to grimace by the wild man’s appearance, Katherine explains more about the process of creating him and the thought process behind her work:

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Still Creepy

The wolf image we blogged about in Look and Listen reminded Katherine, as a sculptor, of Point Cloud. This is a technical process using a laser to pinpoint areas on a subject that can then be used to create a 3D model of it. Like the wolf, it traps the subject within the laser image, which can then become a clay model or something else physical. In a way, the distance that sits between these two forms of the same object or being, separating them, creates an area of non-existence.

Two interesting findings have come out of ideas around Point Cloud and trappings:

1. King Kong

The third King Kong film used CGI to recreate the famous gorilla and extra scenes on the DVD revealed how this is done using a real person as the basis for his actions. Here’s a clip of some facial expressions showing the actor and the projected image of King Kong. In the same way we all represent a version of ourselves online, characters are created to digitally portray a version of a truth.

These characters are released in to the digital wild to live their own lives.

2. Changing faces

Thanks to a Viral Pandas submission we’ve been looking at the Uncanny Valley and found it very relevant to the Sneezing Pandas Project. It involves us being able to detect when something that looks very real is actually not real, but robotic. We also feel it applies well to a cyborg persona – that is, who we project ourselves to be online, what we share and the comments we write.

Are we empty beings in the cyborg world and merely a reflection of a human form?

Do we project this on to the animals we watch?

We found this video, which demonstrates how close we are getting to changing faces with technology. Regardless of how good or bad this effect is…

It’s still creepy.

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Communication Confines

Katherine and Natalie discuss where the project is heading. We’ve been looking at neoteny (juvenilisation) and are using two portrait heads to examine domestication. Katherine has now successfully domesticated, or neotenised, one of these in to the He/She Head.

Now, how about we start a conversation?

If one of our figures is ‘wild’ and one is domesticated, what would they say to one another?

How do the issues we’ve been discussing relate to one another?

Attractive vs Repulsive | Online vs Offline | Cyborg vs Human | Robot vs Real

Do we idolise the perfect, robotic, manipulated ‘reality’ of one world, but prefer the flawed, human, down to earth reality in everyday life?

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Cyborg Conversations in Uncanny Valley

Contributor, David Joy, has shared some videos with us about Uncanny Valley, which we find fascinating. The term was coined by Masahiro Mori, a robotics professor who designed and built a robot to look and behave exactly like himself. The robot is, for want of a better word, freaky.

The uncomfortable sensation that hits us when watching the robot, which looks just like a human, moves like a human, sounds like a human, but we know definitely isn’t a human, puts us in the Uncanny Valley. It’s the gap between successfully attributing something that isn’t human with familiar human features that people find endearing and the total inability to tell the difference between a robot and a human. It’s the ability to tell that something so close to being human is not human, which jars the mind.

The following video was a particularly interesting depiction of Uncanny Valley and relates well to our project. The video, although it is not about a real human being, is really quite sad.

Perhaps it reflects our view of watching animals online?

Don’t think, and we don’t want you to feel.

Perhaps watching animals digitally online distances us so far from the real animal being that we needn’t be concerned for its welfare, we simply want it to entertain us. Does all sense of reality slip under the radar in our digital, cyborg conversation?

More about Mori and Uncanny Valley at WIRED.

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Breaking the Herd

We’ve received our first submissions from David Joy. Thanks David for diving in and getting us started! He references a video that was also on our list of ‘greatest viral videos ever’ … and I need say only one word:

Fenton.

This video of a dog chasing deer in Richmond Park went viral at the end of last year, but perhaps the male owner of the dog was the real star of the show.

We’re accustomed to a high level of control and social order, especially in public spaces like Richmond Park, and rules are written for animals too. To see such a blatant shunning of these regulations by a dog, who is of course oblivious to any notion of public order is perhaps alarming at first, but unexpected and thrilling viewing. However, it is the strong reaction from the dog’s owner who recognises and is panicked by this break away from order that most entertains us. He knows what lies ahead; he sees the cars, he visualises the fallout – he surely feels responsibility for the potential disaster that looms ahead. A comment on the video from one viewer suggested that dogs can be shot here if they aren’t under this expected control and whether or not this is correct, just the idea of it is enough to send the owner in to a frenzy. So habitual is our understanding of this sense of order that any move away from it escalates a sense of chaos.

The dog is meanwhile carefree and tearing across the field.

Do we all enjoy a break from social control?

Do we all want to be Fenton?

'Dogs must be kept on a lead' by Natalie Gilbert

‘Dogs must be kept on a lead’ by Natalie Gilbert

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Sewing Machine and a Paper Panda

What does a sewing machine and a paper panda have to do with animals and the Internet?

At the beginning of the project we spoke a lot about viruses spreading, spiders webs, and interlinking threads, and wondered if these threads created any patterns. Like a tapestry or like the chains in a spider’s web, do links across the Internet form a sequence? This is something we’ll examine alongside the development of the project.

As these threads form with each new upload or each new Share, what does this mean for the animal featured in the post. Like fame, does the thread feed popularity? Like a placenta, does the digital thread feed interest in the animal – concern, even – to keep it alive? And just like fame, when this interest subsides or when a new star is featured, does the once famous animal suffer at the hands of a fickle fad?

Following our initial brainstorm for the Sneezing Pandas Project, we created a paper panda and dug out an old sewing machine from the back of the cupboard. We connection the panda to the sewing machine and set the scene to music. When the light started to flicker we built this in to the scene. Then, since the sound of a sewing machine drumming felt so melodic, yet threatening at the same time, we recorded a second video using only this sound and the flickering light.

Will panda live or die?

Consider how our online activity affects an animal offline.

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A Silent Message Goes Ignored?

The sneezing panda is no longer just ‘a video on YouTube’, it is its own entity. Still just as popular six years after it was posted, it has been copied and mimicked, described and deciphered, adapted and moulded, gazed at, shared, and consumed. The sneezing panda has become so commonplace that to millions of people all around the world it is instantly clear which sneezing panda you are speaking of, such is the tidal wave of interest.

The original Sneezing Baby Panda video has been watched millions of times on YouTube and some of the copycat videos or edits of the original have also been viewed by the thousands in their own right. However, when a message is added to the video and a serious subject raised, viewing figures struggle to take off.

This video from the WWF is an excellent example. They have been a receiver of the sneezing panda video and understood its power. Having watched the video surge around the Internet for five years, in 2011 they took this energy and used it to hold up a mirror to this activity.

Their video is simple, sophisticated, and beautifully executed.

Watch right to the end.

Also read the comments. Compared to the 125,000 comments so far on the original video, this one only has eleven comments in one year and there are positives and negatives in equal measure: from “f*** off mate, i wanted to see a sneezing panda!” to “Nice meme appropriation! :)”.

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Copy Cat Sneezing Pandas

As paulmkelly says, you know when an animal video has gone viral because it inspires a multitude of copycat videos. Here’s his ode to the Sneezing Baby Panda and there are many, many more…

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