Idat 204: The Load Down

[Workshop 2| IDAT204 | CREDITS: 20 | 100% Coursework]

[Module Descriptor]

This module provides students with opportunities to further develop their multimedia design and
production skills, placing an equal importance on a critical understanding of the relationship of their work to other forms of cultural production, and experimental and creative production work. Emphasis is placed on developing creative skills and strategies to deliver professional quality projects.


This module has been designed to provide a framework to develop your individual practice.

Part 1 – Organism 25% Delivered by Chris Speed

organism n. 1. any living animal or plant including any bacterium or virus. Jean Baudrillard, Simulations
2. anything resembling a living creature in structure, behavior, etc —-, organ’ismal or,organ’ismic adj. organ’ismally adv.
‘The artificial purification of all milieus, atmospheres, and environments will supplant the failing internal immune systems. If these systems are breaking down it is because an irreversible tendency called progress pushes the human body and spirit into relinquishing its systems of defense and self-determination, only to replace them with technical artifacts. Divested of his defenses, man becomes eminently vulnerable to science. Divested of his phantasies, he becomes eminently vulnerable to psychology. Freed of his germs, he becomes eminently vulnerable to medicine.

It would not be too far-fetched to say that the extermination of mankind begins with the extermination of germs.’ [ Jean Baudrillard ]

‘We are becoming like cats, slyly parasitic, enjoying an indifferent domesticity. Nice and snug in the social, our historic passions have withdrawn into the glow of an artificial coziness, and our half-closed eyes now seek little other than the peaceful parade of television pictures. Perhaps our eyes are merely a blank film which is taken from us after our deaths to be developed elsewhere and screened as our life story in some infernal cinema or dispatched as microfilm into the sidereal void.’ [Jean Baudrillard ]

‘Artificial Intelligence: the art of making computers that behave like the ones in movies.’ [Bill Bulko]

Working in pairs generate “a living creature in structure, behavior, etc…”. The final organism should be a form of interactive media, able to work on any platform from mobile, desktop, internet, ipod etc. The intention is to make the organisms accessible on a web site so the shockwave movie should be embedded in its own web page. This will have a dramatic effect on the size of your organism, be realistic.
The rational behind this exercise?:

A: to generate a problem which is not technology driven, i.e. the idea drives the project. You should not start working on the computer until the ‘life forms’ spec is generated. You will then have to find ways of realising it within the limits of the technology.

B: to force you to consider a truly timebased, multidimensional, interactive problem. A life form needs to feed and be fed, sleep, move, multiply, expel waste etc. It will be sensitive to certain conditions and have a life expectancy. Do not use buttons, instead concentrate on a process of interactions. In defining a life form do not fall into the trap of using cartoon characters, question existing models, redefine and innovate! What is digital life?

Part 2 – Killer Applications for the Semantic Web 25% Delivered by Vladimir Geroimenko

Semantic Web The emerging Second-Generation Web that is an extension of the current, FIRST-GENERATION WEB. The concept of the Semantic Web was produced by Tim BERNERS-LEE, who has also coined the term. The main idea of the Semantic Web is to delegate many current human-specific Web activities to computers. This will be possible if Web data are expressed in a machine-readable format suitable for completely automate transactions. It can be achieved by adding several hierarchical levels of METADATA to Web data and using specialist technologies that can make use of these metadata. ’ [Vladimir Geroimenko. Dictionary of XML Technologies and the Semantic Web. New York, 2004]

A killer application (commonly shortened to killer app) is a computer program that is so useful that people will buy a particular computer hardware, gaming console, and/or an operating system simply to run that program… There have been a number of new uses of the term. For instance the usefulness of e-mail drew many people to use the Internet, while the Mosaic web browser is generally credited with the initial rapid popularity of the World Wide Web. The term has also been applied to video games that cause consumers to buy a particular video game console to play them. ’ []

Working in pairs, students are required:

– to investigate the most interesting and promising directions in the development of the Second Generation Web (also known as the Semantic Web or the XML-based Web);

– to propose a possible scenario for the future of the Web that can lead to creating a killer application for the Semantic Web;

– to simulate or implement the scenario and/or the killer application in a multimedia form using Flash XML (or any other relevant technologies, such as Shockwave/Director, DHTML/JavaScript or Java).

Part 3 – Elective options

a) Mixed Reality Platforms (50%) Delivered by Chris Speed

‘Experience is a system and consequently the objective world is constructed through the imposition of cultural categories on reality. Perception thus takes place through a mediating value-framework which differentiates the facticity of the environment in which one lives’, (Shields, 1991:32).

This is a site based project with that will be involve students working together in small groups, participants will design collaborative projects that share mixed reality platforms combining both physical (non-digital) and virtual (digital) materials.

It is anticipated that through an analysis of the site that the teams are given you will be expected to develop work in response to its environmental, technical, architectural and social properties. Students will be encouraged to use mobile and locative media where relevant to extend the potential dialogue with the geographical context.

The work represents the DAT 2nd Year Show for 2007/8, and teams will have to work together to ensure that a show team is able to put together appropriate organising and marketing to support such an event.

In the past this option has involved a collaboration with students from Dartington College for Arts and you can see the nature of this collaboration here…

b) Augmented Reality Environments (50%) Delivered by Vladimir Geroimenko

In the original publication (Wellner et al., 1993) which coined the term, (Computer-) Augmented Reality (abbreviated AR) was introduced as the opposite of virtual reality: instead of diving the user into a synthesized, purely informational environment, the goal of AR is to augment the real world with information handling capabilities. Additionally, augmented reality is itself a special case of the more general concept of mediated reality (med-R), in the sense that mediated reality allows for the perception of reality to be augmented, deliberately diminished, or otherwise modified. ’ []

Working individually participants are required:

– to investigates the ways in which the real world can be augmented with different forms of digital information;

– to set the problem;

– to provide a solution.

Module Leader: Chris Speed

Workshop Tutors: Chris Speed, Vladimir Geroimenko


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