Sunday, October 11, 2015

Project 2 Constraints and Updates

Embracing my strong background in physics, I’m hoping to merge common notions of information with the scientific theory of information. That is to say, I’d like to rectify the relationship between knowledge and information. Currently, the two terms are regarded as vastly different. In fact, almost every information theory text book I’ve picked up goes out of its way to state that meaning extrapolated from information, and sheer quantified information are vastly different, and that conflating the two is a grave mistake. This is what I aim my piece at challenging. This is why an integral part of the piece involves conducting research experiments in which people are asked to relay information, from memory, day after day. I want to investigate memory and its distortion on both meaning and information and see what conclusions can be made when the two are merged in space.
The plan is to observe this distortion by conducting a test. The test involves reading a passage of text, and then recalling and writing down what was read into a journal. The entries will be written in ink, and the individual will perform this test once per day, writing the date in the top right hand corner of the page. Due to project deadlines and an unexpected motorcycle mishap, the subject will only be able to repeat this journalling process for about 2 weeks. After this time, I will collect the journaled entries, and display them in a way that visually reflects the distorted information, along with the original read text opened to the transcribed passage. Current plans to distort the entries involve tearing off small bits of the page that were left blank, and letting the bits fall to the ground under the entries which they were torn from. As for how the pages will be displayed on the wall, I imagine silver thumb tacks will work nicely. Additionally, I believe building a small, single-book display shelf which matches the aesthetic of the gallery space will be best for displaying the original text. Further ideas which I’m considering enacting include a light instated in a socket, illuminated and hanging directly above the original page of text. If I enact this idea, I will turn off all surrounding lights as to make the lightbulbs effect stronger. This concludes my current description and visualization of my piece. Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Turning towards my constraints, we see the following:

1) Work with people from different fields: This comes pretty easy to my idea. The basis of this experiment is to gather lots of results, so I anticipate running this test on many different people from many different fields. At the moment, I anticipate working with blue collar workers, physicists, mathematicians, psychologists, gender studies researchers, artists. The more diverse my test pool is, the more potential I see this project having.
2) Adopt various professional roles: Specifically, I see my self adopting the role of a psychologist. The tests I’ll be conducting will deal directly with memory, so by nature, makes me a researching psychologist. Depending on how the results come back, I may run statistical analysis while creating the finished piece which would make me a statistician. Also, I predict this piece relating to entropy, so I may need to use my physicist side when constructing or writing about this piece.
3) Create small assignments along the way: Since there are many unknown variables to what I want out of this project, I’m setting small goals, so I can reflect on the work as it progresses. My first goal is to choose a source text and begin running the test on myself. After doing this, I will consider the outcome, and possibly proceed to run the test on other people.
4) Go for expeditions, surveys, investigations: Again, this is innate to the piece. My art will be conducting investigations into memory through a survey of sorts. These surveys will ultimately be the medium of the piece.
5) Create participations between subject and environment: My test subjects will be creating the papers used to construct the environment for the finished piece.
6) Photograph, document, collect: I think photographs, paper scans, and texts will be the majority of my documentation.
7) (Bonus) Work in the world: since my project is turning into a kind of research, I think it’s important that I work in the field of research. I should be aware of how researchers publish their research, share their results, and connect with each other. I think it’s important to try to tap into this world, and possibly become a researcher myself.

My current progress in the piece has brought me to conducting tests. Along with asking others to conduct the tests, I too am performing the test. I have yet to conclude if this is a violation of the test’s authenticity, and if it is, I may choose not to display my entries, however running the test on myself, at least, provides and example by which I can explain my piece to others and a possible expatiation for what other peoples entries will look like. This makes spacial construction of the piece easier to imagine.

Being that some of my classmates may be participants in this study, I’m afraid I can’t disclose the specific passage I've chosen for participants to transcribe, as doing so may ruin the results, however the passage is contained in the book Elementary Information Theory. 
Above is a photo of my journal entry, notebooks by which others will journal, the text book from which the copied passage was pulled (the blank book), and a book which has been the source of a lot of inspiration for this piece titled "The Nature of Information."
I'm looking forwarded to the frayed effect of both the notebook pages when torn from their binding and the torn bits of paper let fall to the ground.
Current motifs in my piece are entropy, disorder, organization, information, and information channels.

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