Hey Google

So seeing as for CFC Prototyping I will be subverting a Google Home…I bought a google home. Its very strange, as an interface. I am incredibly aware of its presence even when I am not interacting with it. That said it does just look like a weird little speaker. So far I tinkered with its built in settings, and wrote a small example application that spits out random cat facts.

I was trying to figure out where to start, in making a google home assistant that serves something other than you, or serves itself, and I think I’m going to start with just making a Lantour Litanizer viz a viz Alien Phenomenology. Its a bit random, but its a starting point. I know I want to make something like a small alien, and random is usually a place to start.

I always feel a little conflicted about OOO, on the one hand the idea of a flat ontology is appealing, but I think I might be too rooted in being a human w/ thoughts, and feelings, and bias, to buy into it wholesale. That said, it is an interesting framework to think about things in.

I think some futures scenarios could be centred around things like Deep Blue from Hitchhikers, or The Hybrid from Battlestar. They’re both beings, but also sort of things, and they exist on a parallel but different plane.

Anyways, starting points are good.

IoT for The World-Without-Us

Alien Frameworks:

Language, Remixing, Contemplation, Mimic, Speech, Sound, Copy-cat, Observance, Collection, Filtering, Lists, Ontology, Collections, Connections, Inward, Learning, Knowledge Gathering.

Notifications, Alert, Outward, Attempting, Movement, Visual, Attention.

Hive, Swarm, Networking, Sharing.

I’ve been thinking about ideas that could encompass some vignettes based around the idea of “aliens”. For CFC Prototyping, I am plotting to subvert a google home assistant to be a bot not for us, but perhaps for “the planet” (aka the world-without-us). Which is an idea brought on from Thacker’s book.

The idea of a home assistant, that is not serving us, but perhaps serving itself, or serving its collective, is, I feel an interesting thing to explore. I am not sure if it is going to acknowledge its viewers yet or not. I had considered that it would notice, and perhaps try and absorb some language into its own data stream thereby treating you as just something in the environment at large vs the focus. But again, not sure.

Anyways, thinking about how to build the bot-assistant led me to think about these three headings which will I think will help me anchor this project more. It may also lead me to start flagging things in my independent study for future use.


I think I might be going down the path of the inhuman when thinking about thesis stuff. I know I’m very interested in things like oracles, and rituals. But I’m also into things that aren’t for people. Where people are the observer, or where their interaction is not always welcome. I found some of Alan Rath’s work the other day and its so weird. I love the idea of these heavy machines moving around feathers. But the affect is almost like birds or squids signaling one another.

CFC: Assignment One

Project One: Adelbrecht 2x (Martin Spanjaard)

What: “Intelligence” manipulates us too much in a direction that is not necessary for art, namely to try to build intelligent objects. The hell with the intelligence, art has something to do with ‘interesting’. And therefore: ‘capable’
Why: The explore the actions of something alien when given a small set of parameters
How: Iteration an improvement on one core design
So What: It is interesting to think about the idea that something like a small robot might be somewhat human, but take no human form.

Project Two: Spooky Action at a Distance: Fragments of Presence in Remote Objects (Jackson MCConnell)
Thesis Link

What: How can the behaviour of objects enact the presence of remote individuals? What qualities of the object’s design contribute to emotional effect?
Why: The contemporary landscape is filled with everything is connected all the time objects and scenarios, but in this context designers are tasked with making that interaction meaningful.
How: Research through a collection of internet based projects that reflect the questions posed. Reflection upon completion.
So What: Building an emotional relationship to technology that is not based around UI. Thinking about how technology can bring you closer to someone that is not there.

Project Three: n-Chan(n)t (David Rokeby)

What: What does a community of computers talking to one another look like?
Why: I think its more of an exploration to give these agents some hive behaviour and autonomy. The fact they come back to equilibrium when no outside stimulus is around is very interesting.
How: This is built as an iteration on a previous project that dealt with naming and language. It is a variation on a theme of smart agents / computer intelligence.
So What: Rokeby is not trying to model human social groups. These agents are their own thing. They might be distracted by outside stimulus, but they will turn that stimulus into thier own formulations of language.

Project Four: Two Google Home Bots Talking To One Another (@seebotschat)

What: Can two bots engaging in conversation be relatable to us?
Why: The need to relate to the things that we use. Also its very amusing.
How: Tech Side: Likely some custom actions and hooks programmed into the home api, its reported that the speakers are using a webhook into Cleverbot and reading the responses from that. Method Side: This is trial by fire. There wasn’t any real method, it was developed and thrown out into the world to see what people would do.
So What: Relatable patterns in chaotic nonsense. Glimmers in constant noise. Maybe what makes us human isn’t really all that special.

Wireless Cap Sensing Fabric

Remembered I had this from fall. When I made some BLE based cap sensors that applied forces to some particles in processing. That was the last time I was working with particles, and I really miss it. Maybe I will do more with it over the summer?

IAMD – Glitch

Glitch was maybe my most dis-engaged project in IAMD. I mean, I should be all over this. But I’ve been in glitch for a while, and I sort of drew a large blank on what to do. So I went back to some of my photoshoppy routes and decided to edit facebook photos of me. I took myself out of my own history, and just replaced myself with a kernel panic.

I’ve been trying to think of some common threads in most of my stuff, and Paulette suggested that things like randomness, or chance, are sort of there, and humour. Most ppl comment on my weird humour. I’m still not quite sure. I just know that I like weird things.

Anyways, this how these turned out. People really liked them. So maybe there’s something there for remix. I did find out some interesting things. Like for example, there’s a specific year I stopped letting people take photos of me. And that I have certain poses. Or that I’m

Digital Theory – Wrap Up

Ok. So I’m not going to try and pretend that I did notes and weekly reading responses in Digital Theory. To be quite honest, I really lost track of a lot of things this semester because I didn’t set alarms, or make weekly deadlines for myself. In some cases, even after engaging w/ the material, I still just slid out. I don’t know why, its a thing I do sometimes.

But. Here’s the thing: I don’t hate theory.

It took me a while, but I started to read theory that made sense for me to read. From ym assigned protocol reading, I was introduced to Thacker. And his writing about Nihilism tied to horror genres really resonates with me. Everything from the idea of demons, to tying the occult circle into concepts of play. It just makes a lot of sense. Talking about New MAterialism led me to remember artists like Chris Johnson. And I have a new appreciation for Donna Haraway, as her older stuff is now open for critique, but her newer writings about kin stick with me quite a bit.

I’m not very good at archiving. But I’m trying to get better at it. I feel like I’m starting to get settled into some theory that I actually like.

I gotta say tho. I do feel a little done with Baudrillard.

And I still think Science Fiction has a very large influence on all of our speculative futures.

Probably larger than we understand.

IAMD – Force

Force was hard. It was hard to do. It was hard to program. It was hard to instal. I was having a lot of feelings that week, and it was, quite frankly, hard to contain.

For force I used something I had built at the start of the year. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. Going back to past things, and digging through to see if there’s something I can update, or re-use. In some ways it feels like cheating, but in other ways, its like giving something a new life.

Anyways. I had this heart beat. This terrible, gutteral heartbeat. Originally it was a basic squeeze button, that the heart beat would get louder and faster the longer you held on. But for force, I turned it the heart beat into the room.

I trashed a room, installed a skull in it, and made it respond to distance. Originally I was going to make a shrine in the crit room, but that got taken over by everyone. So I made a makeshift temple out of chairs and did it in an empty class room.

Neat things to note: It was wireless, and it was pretty creepy!