Written on June 27, 2009 at 8:08 pm, by Dan

I’ve been investigating how to make buttons that will give me a different kind of interactivity. Kenji’s shown me a few things. I’m undecided about the idea though. The whole point of the questionnaire (to my mind) has always been that in filling it out people will have a chance to think about the questions. That won’t happen if it’s just a case of hitting buttons. The process of thinking through an answer and typing it out is integral to the project.

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Written on June 27, 2009 at 7:08 pm, by Dan

I’ve been trying to implement two things for my questionnaire. One is a tag cloud which comes back after the user has filled in their answer. This will give them two entry points in to all of these words.

Now I come to write this I’m considering the value of having the tag cloud at all. Is it any more than a trick? Will it help people to reflect on the questionnaire. I’m actually inclined to think that the best things here will be the simplest. People will want to read other people’s answers. They’ll definitely want to do that. Who wouldn’t?

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Written on June 25, 2009 at 12:54 am, by Dan

One issue with my questionnaire is spam. Any online text form is open to a lot of spam. I need a way of protecting myself against it. The most common way is the CAPTCHA (stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). I hate these things. I think most people do. You know the things where you have to type in a mash of letters and half the time they’re impossible to see and if they’re not, at best they ruin the pleasant flow of the navigation. I really don’t want that. They’re fine for Yahoo! but not for this. I don’t want one of those CAPTCHAs coming near my questionnaire. There’s also a useful page on the accessibility issues associated with CAPTCHAs on the W3C website.

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Ajax polling system

Written on June 24, 2009 at 11:44 pm, by Dan

NB – Please note that I wrote most of this post about a week ago but didn’t feel like it was finished for some reason. By rights the date on this ought to be 18th of June.

I’ve found an ajax polling system that takes one closed question, adds it to a database and serves back the results for the poll immediately. Exactly what I need. I had some trouble getting it to work but the basic problems I didn’t figure out myself were solved on this useful ubuntu forum discussion.

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Some brief thoughts about professional practice

Written on June 24, 2009 at 11:22 pm, by Dan

Ellie Rees’ visit was interesting earlier today. One thing she said that I found useful was that she makes very little of her living through selling her work. Most of it comes from teaching, residencies and so on. I think I’m going to make all of my online work available on creative commons from now on, meaning it won’t really be that sellable, even if there was a significant market for online work.

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deadline video

Written on June 17, 2009 at 11:48 pm, by Dan

This reminds me of one of the mesmerising films Andy showed earlier. I’m more taken by it for other more pressing reasons. I can definitely relate to the way this guy feels. I got the link for it at fontfeed.com. Here’s the creator’s own comment: “Where my idea comes from is that every time when I am busy, I feel that I am not fighting with my works, I am fighting with those post-it notes and deadline”.

PS – many thanks to Brian for pointing out that the final show website has issues in Internet Explorer 7. I’ve just spent a while fixing most of them but now my housemate’s computer seems to have got stuck on it at one state and it’s still not showing the menu. I can’t disable the cache on it either. Aargh! I will fix it in the morning. Honestly, I marvel at the attitude of a company who respond the poor quality of their product by giving its key users the tools to fix their product’s inadequacies by giving them a conditional statement for css. The frustrating thing is that I checked it a few times in IE, but now I come to think of it the later occasions were in IE8. Crap.

Clay Shirky talking man

Written on June 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm, by Dan

This kind of thing is exactly what I’m talking about when I say I’m excited about the possibilities of my humjam website. I want to draw links between what this guy’s talking about and things happening in art and beyond.

I don’t want to talk about it in too much depth here as I’d need thousands of words and this is not the time for that. In brief, he’s talking about the power of social media and the way it’s dog-gone blowing everything we know and hold dear to small pieces.

databases and poll scripts

Written on June 13, 2009 at 5:02 pm, by Dan

I’ve been testing a simple poll script that has a few advantages. These include cookies that stop people from filling out the questionnaire twice, a pie chart that gives results immediately after filling the form out (which is linked to the Google API) and a simple form based admin process that means I can create a questionnaire in ten minutes.

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Modal windows

Written on June 12, 2009 at 6:57 pm, by Dan

I think I want my questionnaire to appear on humjam in a modal window. This is a window that floats over the top of the main page of a website. My reason for wanting this is that I’m inclined to think the questionnaire should have its own space on the website. With a modal window the rest of the site is displayed behind a semi transparent background over which the modal window content hovers. This is great because the modal window contents are the only thing the user can see, ie – the questionnaire and not the humjam logo and links. At the same time, it’s easy to get back to the main site.

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Rejigging wordpress themes and other rambling

Written on June 12, 2009 at 1:06 am, by Dan

I just spent the evening trying to get the linoluna wordpress theme to fit in with the rest of the humjam design I’m doing. I’m not sure how that’s going to come out. As it stands, I can’t get it to look right. I can’t see it ever feeling really consistent with the rest of the site. There’s also a most popular post widget on the side that I can’t seem to get rid of. Hmm. Problem. I think at some stage I’m going to have to learn WordPress inside out and make my own theme. That sounds weirdly like fun. One for August and September though, I think. I might also have another bash at linoluna as a stop gap tomorrow.

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Pixelated backgrounds for humjam.com

Written on June 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm, by Dan

One thing I liked in earlier experiments was the pixelated photographs I used in the background of my prototype questionnaire. I have decided to use these as background images on my humjam website. Each time someone goes to a different page or refreshes there will be a different, random pixelated image. Some of them are rather nice and I’m going to put them here as things in their own right.

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Final show website

Written on June 10, 2009 at 2:30 pm, by Dan

The final show website is now done. Everyone who’s seen it seems quite happy with it. Here’s the link: http://mada2009.madigitalarts.co.uk. Please click on the images for bigger versions.

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Symposium reboot

Written on June 10, 2009 at 1:51 pm, by Dan

I made a better version of my symposium video. It’s a bit edited and has some colours.

Theory is a toy

Written on May 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm, by Dan

I woke up in the middle of the night earlier this week and wrote this in my notebook. It’s quite unfinished due to the circumstances of writing but it’s quite a nice start to articulating what I think about theory. I’m going to develop a little on what I originally wrote as I go but there’ll most likely still be a couple of inconsistencies in here. I’ll try to hone it down more at some point. I wouldn’t mind talking about it with someone, too.

handwritten writing

Theory is like a toy. It’s quite plastic. You can reposition it into a configuration that suits. It’s often seen as a very serious thing but there is no need for this attitude. It’s only our servant in understanding art. It’s all too often treated as the master. Let’s not be bullied by it. Let’s invoke it when it suits us and let’s put it back in the cupboard when there’s a danger of tripping over it.

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Flash Experiment and interaction thoughts

Written on May 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm, by Dan

I’ve spent a fair bit of today trying to get this tutorial working. webdesignermag.co.uk. It’s supposed to make a poll and chart in Flash that connects to a MySQL database. I can’t get it to connect to my database though.

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MA symposium

Written on May 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm, by Dan

People said this was too fast so I’ve slowed it down a bit. I’m still not that happy with it. It describes a few things about the way I’ve approached the project though. The text is copied and pasted below as well.

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I am going to put my questionnaire on a new website

Written on May 27, 2009 at 7:53 pm, by Dan

I was going to put my questionnaire on its own site. I was going to call it www.all-questionnaire.com. I’ve decided I don’t want to do this. Instead I have bought the domain http://www.humjam.com, which will be a website with a much broader purpose and will feature work by artists other than me. For it to get an audience it needs to be on a site that has some status as a destination in a more general sense. I think the way to achieve this is to create a website that will host more and more art in the future, by many different artists. This way the site will steadily generate more and more incoming links, become more and more searchable with time and will hopefully be a valuable resource.

I’m calling it humjam because the name fell into my head and it stuck. I thought of all sorts of others but they were all taken or just weren’t as good. Humjam is short, semi-alliterative and whenever I’ve told people the name they’ve all read different meanings in it. One friend said it was similar to the Farsi word for ‘Everything comes here’, though he did say his Farsi isn’t that great so I do need to check it with someone who speaks fluent Farsi.

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Week :& – Drawings of time

Written on April 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm, by Dan

I like this website.
I am tempted to ask people to submit drawings for my questionnaire as well.
Maybe my show space will have a little area with crayons. That would be fun. I like the sense that people can get involved with the work in a more direct way. That’s part of the idea in the first place, after all.

Benjamin and the aura

Written on March 29, 2009 at 10:16 pm, by Dan

I’ve just read ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ by Walter Benjamin and won’t feel like I have done a Digital Arts MA at all if I don’t write a post about it. It says a lot of very interesting things, which have prescience today. I suppose that’s why people quote it all the time. I’m also experimentally putting a drawing on this post because lots of my posts are really long and have no pictures, which looks boring.

Cartoon drawing of Walter Benjamin

The transformation of the superstructure, which takes place far more slowly than that of the substructure, has taken more than half a century to manifest in all areas of culture the change in the conditions of production.” p212

In other words, when crazy technological advances happen, it takes a while for culture to catch up.

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Bad interactivity

Written on March 10, 2009 at 12:36 am, by Dan

Here are some more quotes about interactivity and participatory art. I feel the need to respond to them because they’re relevant to my project and my developing thoughts. As much as anything I think they throw a bit of light on how I see interactivity in the context of my project.

The following three quotes are from ‘Internet Art’ by Julian Stallabrass

Page 61

In an interview with Davis, Tilam Baumgärtel asked whether the sentence (This referring to The world’s first collaborative sentence by Douglas Davis) was truly interactive or was rather just another kind of form filling, common on the Net. That question acutely raised the issue of whether contributors to such works are any more than sociological specimens who supply data for the artist.

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