In “In Defense of Useful Art”, Caroline Sinders talks about how digital art and designs can become useful tools to confront social injustice. I really like the sentence in the article that “The ‘solutions’ the artists provide are not meant to create an end to all other potential solutions, but serve to offer rather, temporary or open-source fixes for gaps in equity and violence created by society and are poetic witnesses of those gaps”. The society is constantly changing and there are new form of injustice everyday, so it’s nearly impossible for artist to find a permanent solution for social injustice. However, as digital artists and creative coder, we can still make our effort to confront injustice by creating temporary solutions and improve them by times since they are online.
This is Not My Beautiful House by Everest Pipkin is about earlier desktop interface design and how they were using metaphor in the interfaces. It’s really interesting that metaphors in interfaces were shifting from a office desk to home, which is because computers were initially using at office, but after that personal desktop at home became popular. These interfaces like Magic Desk I looks more complex than current interfaces that we are using, but they actually have less and simpler functions. I think that is because the users of these interfaces(or the users of computer) are not familiar with computer as us. These interfaces have to use more figurative metaphor to instruct users, whereas current interface are using a lot of abstract icon that are based on people’s experiences of using electronic devices. I personally like more direct interfaces with simpler and more abstract icons, but these days oversimplification is also a problem. A lot of icons lost their original metaphor and become a fully abstract icon that represents the software itself but not it’s function. For example, icons of Microsoft Offices are changing from metaphor of documents and graphs to abstract shapes like squares and circles with certain colors that can represent a software. I think this is a problem because it makes interface design way more boring, and it’s unfriendly to people who are not familiar with computers, like senior people. Alt Text as Poetry by Bojana Coklyat and Shannon Finnegan is a project about alt text. It’s really interesting to use a language(or tools) that cannot detect by human eyes to write poetry.
The reading about automatic writing and machine learning is really interesting to me. I thought machine learning is a great tool for divination because it can generate things follow a certain rules or logic. The logic is the result of machine learning so it will be rational but unknown and unpredictable by the audience. The second reading about African divination system is also interesting and inspired my project. It mentions that African traditions believe that the world is “a fundamental unknowability, but enormous opportunity in the ‘space of the possible’ to participate in the process of creation”. This idea is similar to what I think about divination that its fundamentally unrelated to the truth, but can use as inspirations in our lives. It also introduces the process of a divination game, that give objects certain meanings, and pick up them randomly from a box. In my divination project, I may make something similar to this process. I will have a list of divining words and assign them to different numbers. Player will roll dices to get those words.