Archive for February, 2007

Brainstorm 1, Five Purposes


  • Creating discussions: use abstraction to get reactions.
  • Mcluhan’s Coolness: Create intriguing but uncompleted information, and the visitors will try to fill in the blank spots.
  • Create a notice-board without telling what it is.
  • Connecting research: Old material with new technology, old metaphors with new research etc.
  • Reconciliation

  • With your own past: You need to mourn and understand. Try to forgive. Realize that you are not alone by talking to people that experienced the same.
  • My Space – pages for the dead members can be seen as good places to mourn and comforts by.
  • Personalize (“pimp my experiences”) to evolve the feeling.
  • Let the “evil” side tell their stories.
  • Commemoration

  • Tell the story of life instead of death: personalize – make it possible for visitors to tell the life story of the lost.
  • My Space
  • Make a living tombstone, create something dignified, silent but beautiful.
  • Contemplation

  • Audio creates contemplative environment, good and calm audio.
  • Controlling visitors without boring them. Try to get visitors to spend time during the visit, no stress. To start a contemplation process.
  • Abstract – play on visitors fantasies.
  • Combination of beautiful but tragic.
  • “Coolness” – make something understandable but incomplete.
  • Education

  • Create an engaging experience – by real stories and possibilities to walk in the shoes of the war victim. Learning by doing on the web.
  • Create an entertaining experience – use not as much text. Combine different mediums and control visitors without boring them.
  • Let the visitor create.
  • /a & s


    Web Characteristics

    – A fast and effective tool which makes you work faster.

    – The anonymity of the web can make you feel safer than in real life.

    – Internet have the power to make you become more daring and curious.

    – The web is quick to involve the user, make her immersed and make her into a participant.

    – A meeting place for many different media. A place for different media to collaborate.

    – An experimental place. A place where people want to test the boundaries and push them further, were people actually go to be experimental. Where they search for new kinds of experiences.

    – A messy place where you easily get lost. A jungle.

    – A place of enormous storage possibilities.

    Continue reading ‘Web Characteristics’

    Dagens citat

    Alltså som “Pimp my experience”?

    British War Memorial Project

    An online war memorial, or an Internet project holding over 500000 photos of the graves and memorials to British and Commonwealth service personnel who have died between the start of World War I in 1914, and the present day.

    About the project from webpage:
    ”I started the British War Memorial Project in 2001 with two aims in mind; the first to create a photo archive of the graves and memorials to service personnel, so that friends and loved ones could make a ‘virtual’ visit to their resting place, at any time of the day and from anywhere in the world – without having to travel hundreds or thousands of miles at great expense.
    The second objective was to allow people from any walk of life, the opportunity to become involved in what I call ‘active Remembrance’. I felt this was as important an aim as the creation of the image archive itself. Apart from the annual Remembrance events held in November, there is not a great deal of opportunity for people to show their respect and offer something back. The Memorial Project gives a sense of ownership back to those who are involved and has had a profound and meaningful impact on the lives of the Volunteers who visit the memorials and cemeteries. Not to mention those who find details of their loved ones and relatives within the Online Memorial.”

    The website gets its material, photos, from volunteers and British Armed Forces operating overseas. The visitor can search the sites archive and make a virtual visit to a grave. This is the web site main purpose; that a relative can visit the virtual grave and not have to travel and or get themselves into danger.

    The search function is easy to use and fast. It returns a list. I searched for “steven” and received 45 records, see picture. From the list a user can directly see if there is a grave photo. I think the creators purposes are well achieved. And it’s an example of how visitors can contribute to the site content or the online war memorial itself.




    A Beautiful Idea



    This is an idea that artist Edwin Gardner has about filling all of Beirut’s bullet holes with lights. He explains:

    ‘All across Beirut you can find walls covered with bullets holes. Reminders of past violence, conflict and war. Moving through the city they are an all too familiar backdrop for any urban scene. This proposal that I called ‘bullet lights’ is reversing the meaning and experience of the ‘bullet hole wallpaper’ at diverse locations in the city. Introducing unexpected poetic moments of beauty. Beauty, ambivalently mixed with the physical testimonies of violence. The project doesn’t want to make a point it just invites people to look at things differently. Seeing things from more than one perspective is the starting point for empathy.’

    I think it’s beautiful because it’s tragic and hopeful at the same time. And also that I can read my own meanings into it; like that that the light seems stronger than the bullet holes, which makes me think that the human spirit is strong enough to survive through any war time horror, and shine through the bullet holes long after the war has ended. It tells me: Bullets kill humans, but won’t kill humanity.

    I also think it is great because it generates discussions. Not everyone is fond of remembering wartime in this beautiful way… Take a look at its post and comments on the blog UNBUILT. Here’s a part of a comment I fell for, because it talks about how you never feel closer to the human spirit then when you are in a place used to war (which I’ve felt myself in Israel):

    ‘[…]let me describe the picture i saw and felt: bombed houses, half of the wall missing, somebody fixed it with some concrete, but there is something strange in the picture, there are some flowers, in the window, you can see small children running, and laughing around the building, some lovely music coming from the radio set, an older man spots a couple of us staring in front of his house, comes up to us with a big smile, and let us in his home, four of us, total strangers, i have never felt something so human…’



    From “At Memory’s Edge”

    “At Memory’s Edge” by James E. Young.
    The main question asked in the book is, “How is a Post – Holocaust generation of artists supposed to “remember” events they never experienced directly?” I will take examples of three artists in the book, the way they worked and in one way answered this question.

    Shimon Attie
    – The Writing on the Wall
    “To peel back the wallpaper of today and reveal the history buried underneath.”
    Working with hidden memories of Europe’s now-lost Jewish population Attie made photographical installations during 1991-1993 in Berlin. He projected photographs of Jews taken before World War II directly onto houses and locations where they original had been taken. Attie wanted to give the hidden past a voice. With his art he created a reminder of what was lost, not what was. He also documented every installation photographical. These photos have been travelling the world and hanged in many galleries.
    Attie’s exhibitions show how important the exhibition location is. By projection pictures of the past onto its original location he reveals the history. He reminds the citizens now living and working around those locations about its history.


    David Levinthal
    – Mein Kampf
    “These toys are my reality.”
    Levinthal photographed Hitler figurine from the 30s that he found in an Austrian toy store. His photographs are meant to evoke, not mime, and to stimulate the imagination but not stimulate historical realities, these photographs are shot in a “narrative style”. The more ambiguous, underdetermined, and oblique the image, the more it seems to invite the viewer’s own narrative. The sharper the image, the more repellent it is of multiple readings, for it crowed out the reader’s projected story with the clutter of its own detail. He turns the traditional believes of photographic presentation against itself, extending the range of the camera inward to include the mind’s eye and imagination. Our eyes never rests on objects when looking at his photographs, they stay somewhere in the space between them and us, between us and our imagination. The piece of art has come to exist more in us, the viewers, and less on the wall.


    Jochen Gerz (and Esther Shalev–Gerz)
    -The Hamburg’s disappearing monument
    “In the end, it is only we ourselves who can rise up against injustice.”
    In Hamburg 1986 a forty-foot-high, three-foot-square pillar was made of hollow aluminium plated with a thin layer of soft, dark lead. Designed by Jochen Gerz, this was the winning proposal for a “Monument Against Fashism, War and Violence – and for Peace and Human Rights.” Visitors were invited to cover each section with their names when one section was filled the monument was lower into the ground, a chamber as deep as the column was high. This process was going on for seven years and finally 1993 the monument vanished with its last sinking. Nothing is left but the top surface of the monument, now covered with a burial stone inscribed to “Harburg’s Monument Against Fascism.” (The pillar is visible in a glass chamber below.)
    During this seven years this monument worked as a social mirror, it became doubly troubling in that it reminded the community of what happened then and, even worse, how they responded now to the memory of this past.


    None of this work are online exhibitions but they all contain interesting techniques and key points that we can think of when developing our project.
    Attie’s projections show us how important the exhibition locations are for evoking the right effect. But also how a mixture of new techniques and old material can create great effects. Levinthal photographic art tells us a trick of how we involve the viewer if working with pictures. Gerz show us that a monument doesn’t have to be visible forever but it should involve the visitor in order to make it memorable. But also to reflect how today’s society respond to the monument.


    Mcluhan’s “Hot and Cool”

    digital_mcluhen_2.JPGIn the book “Digital McluhanPaul Levinson gives an introduction to Marshall Mcluhan‘s key ideas and demonstrates how they are still relevant in this digital age. One of the ideas he discusses, which I found interesting, is Macluhan’s “Hot and Cool”:

    Hot and cool are temperatures of different media. Hot media are those that are dazzling, instructive, definitive and overpowering. They present complete information, which the reciever cannot add to. They are intoxicating, but in their loudness and brightness, they quickly satiate the viewer’s senses. It’s like they seem to aim at running you over and leaving you senseless. Examples of hot media is the printed book and newspaper, the big screen motion picture, the true-to-life photography and the stereo and radio (though the radio has cooled down since integrating phone calls).

    Cool media is understated and fleeting, fast moving and sketchy. Its power lies in intriguing and seducing. You can think of the temperatures in terms of personality aswell: If Elvis was hot, Mick Jagger is (mostly was) cool. If Ronald Reagan was hot, John F. Kennedy was cool. Cool has a feeling of being in synch with the universe and in tune with the future. Cool media is in need of the warmth of our participation, and it invites participation by the uncompleted information it offers. Examples of cool media are poetry, graffiti, most cartoons, television and the telephone. And, of course, the World Wide Web.

    The temperature of a medium comes from the degree of intensity of its engagements. Therefore the articulate prose is hot while the abstract poetry is cool. Therefore the clear sound of the stereo is hot while the tin ear sound of the telephone is cool. Soft colors, soft voices, and software are means of coolness to pull forth our participation. Structure is hot though. Rap music is an example of coolness that offers invitation by its minimal and open structure.

    In instant messenger services, like Msn Messenger, Skype or Google Talk, participants in conversation only have each other’s written words to know the other’s intentions by. That’s an example of seducing by offering inadequate information. Text on telephone lines is even cooler, more seductive, than speech – it is often addictive precisely because its mode of presentation prevents us from ever getting enough of it.

    The web and its hyperlinks is a cool media because you never know the extent of the knowledge. When surfing and searching, not knowing what you will find and finding what you didn’t know that you were looking for gets you inspired. It makes for a good way to learn. Mcluhan thought that “low defenition media like telephone or television are major education instruments because they offer inadequate information.” His hope for television and telephone as teaching tools haven’t been fulfilled, especially in the case of the telephone, but online courses are working better and better as forums for cool “good teaching”.

    So. When experience designing our memorial: If we want to design a place were people stay and participate, a place that people can’t get enough of, were they want to stay long enough to be able to start a contemplation process, we should make use of Mcluhan’s theories and seduce the visitors with understated content and inadequate information. What we make shouldn’t be very structured, or use bright colors, loud voices and so on. We should not only ask visitors to participate but also emotionally pull them into participating. But on the other hand, if we want the overwhelming wow-feeling in our web monument, there seems to be two different paths to follow…