Designing the Postnatural: Incarcerated Time Piece

For this assignment I decided to create a time piece around the framework of the United States prison industrial complex and the relationship that inmates have with both the routine that is forced on them and the authoritative structure that imposes that time.

After discovering Josh Begley’s work and his use of Google Earth, I started to think about the digital space that those satellite images exist in and the disconnect between them and the actual locations they represent. From this I decided to make a list of the largest prison, and one jail, in every continental state. From this list I decided to mark all of the locations in Google Earth and then automate the path to fly between all of the marked prisons.

I knew that I wanted to represent the time that it took to fly to every prison as the duration of a few different incarcerated individual’s sentences. My first plan for this was to extend the length of the flyover video to be the same as the prison sentence length. Using FFMPEG I tried a few different versions of this and each of which ran into multiple issues. The first being the file size was extreme

Below are screenshots from all prisons compiled and an example map of the path that would be taken.

10.18.136.100:8080/23047-077

10.18.136.100:8080/24463-001

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Here is a sample video of the fly over.

Thoughts on Readings and Project 3 Ideation

Reading Responses:

Phenological Mismatch: James Bridle

The juxtaposition between the phenological mismatches taking place in nature and then corollary mismatches taking place in digital/technological society was more than a bit unnerving. It made me think of the ways that technology is becoming constantly more difficult to escape and even when we know the negative repercussions happening on a large scale there is still the personal disconnect.

“The novelty of technology can mask its persuasive intent”

If the entire tech industry is constantly becoming more of a self destructive feedback system then where will the phenological mismatch become apparent enough to companies to start taking early action? Looking at phenological mismatches in nature and that in some instances the case benefits a species it seems that the same also happens with technology. The main difference being that the capitalist system and heads of the industry are benefited.

John Durham Peters: Seasons

I thought that the concept of Kairos v. Kronos was interesting, especially how it translated across various mediums.

the way that media becomes antiquated but then still holds association in new context made me wonder, in what situations, if any, modern technology would follow this this trend.

Time Project:

For this project I will be working around the prison industrial complex and its complex relationship with “time.”

Currently I’m looking at the power dynamic between police and inmate and the concept of the inmate serving time while the police officer is one of the main factors in igniting the “serving” of time. I’m thinking this system involves two clocks innately linked but also diverging in some way.

Another idea is to work around the idea of average prison sentence length, daily routines, or the cost of being a prisoner v. the time they serve.

Some inspirational projects for this piece include:

Drug Clock: http://www.drugsense.org/cms/wodclock

Mass incarceration data viz: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2019.html

Human to Poison Ivy Acknowledgement of Being Device

Background:

For this project students were required to create a measuring device with a few stipulations. The device is supposed to look at and environment, species, or ecosystem in a unique or poetic way and measure something from them in an interesting way.

When I was thinking about what I wanted to measure I ended up taking a very end around way. After more than a bit of time thinking about ecosystems and species I didn’t know much about, I started thinking about algae blooms and how red tides are formed. Expanding from there I began to think about invasive species, mainly flora, and how different plants have come to be known as invasive. The more research I started to do the deeper into the rabbit hole I went with invasive biology and the impacts humans have had on the flora.

I eventually decided that I wanted to expand from invasive species for this project and focus on the rhetoric and relationship that humans have with plants; in this instance I decided to use Poison Ivy. Most people’s first impression when they think of the plant is that it is dangerous and they need to avoid. Some people have even written entire articles about how much they hate poison ivy. Yes, it is true that the plant can cause an allergic reaction when it is touched, no it’s not actually releasing a poison/toxin, that does not mean that the plant is innately bad or purposely malignant.

If we flip the perspective towards that of the plant then it is possible to see a different side of things and ask questions that could help change the dynamic between the human and plant. There is a lot that can go into the changing of this dynamic, ranging from creating shared spaces, cohabitation, and the fact that it is a person-centric issue. Anthropomorphization to an extent was necessary to get the point across for this device.

After a lot of ideating on the best method to go about creating this dialogue between the human and plant I decided that having a sort of Ivy Assistant to help promote the acknowledgement of being.

Design and Implementation

The first process of creating the AOB Device was deciding what I wanted to the device to do. After some thought I ended up on the idea of scraping websites that contained blogs and quotes regarding relationship advice, once I scraped enough information I processed the information and manually went through the created word doc and replaced key words with the words Poison Ivy. From there I went to the website fromSpeechToText and ran all of the created advice through their speech to text generator.

Here are the results:

From there I loaded the sounds onto a raspberry pi and set up an ultrasonic distance sensor to trigger the audio files at different distances. The idea behind this is that when a person walks up to the device, which at first looks almost like a security camera or sensor, they are greeted with the odd phrases containing the words poison ivy scattered throughout.

IMG_20191001_201238.jpg

Finally I took the piece out to an area of Prospect Park where I knew there was a patch of Poison Ivy and set it up nearby at the edge of a trail.

Afterthoughts

I found myself becoming deeply invested in the topic as I researched and learned more about it. As this device is a prototype I am happy with the outcome but I would like to continue expanding on the concept, design, and implementation that I decide on for the future.

Were my original questions about perception and rhetoric between plants and humans answered or at least brought up?

code for the project can be found here: CODE