propecia cancer

Sep 282011

Precedent video by Jonathan Harris
Looking at “Life Tracking” via 365 Project
dropped the sex worker study for the moment…
Precedent to show for Writing Class

PREMISE
Building on a platform I developed, a group photo blog with a daily limit of one photo per day, I want to explore introducing a social network to a marginalized community to see how connectivity can enhance their lives. How an invitation to express and document their lives as captured on the go via mobile phone can enhance their sense of self. I believe sex workers are smart phone enabled and not traditionally in an office type job where facebook would be an appropriate medium to connect with people from a similar work situation. I think I can customize an app that would be suited for their needs.

CORE QUESTIONS
What kind of app would a trans sexual sex worker want to use?
How can you spark a community to participate in an art project?
Does the group need to rely on one another? Is there a safety aspect in being connected?
How does my thesis expand on other life trackers, participatory artists, and photo bloggers?
Is this simply using technology when it would have been better off left alone?
Can connectivity provide a sense of self to a community that deserves to be recognized?

ARGUMENT
There is benefit in expressing and documenting individuality and community. I want to explore other options, but I believe that this tap2post thesis could create a visually robust experience over a length of time that reveals exclusive content, the complex, mundane, patterns of behavior of a variety of people. It’s a documentary practice that is inspired by the aesthetic of gritty photo realism and snapshots as art. Where meaning and behavior can be seen in mundane activities with friends.

THESIS
Exploring community and identity through self-documentation, technology distribution, and participatory art to enable people to create, express, and document their lives in order to make sense of their stories, who they are, ‘to remember and be remembered.’

WHY AND FOR WHOM
Why would sw’s post images of themselves or share any info online that would identify them as sw’s? There could be branding ambiguity and or privacy settings, advocates/outspoken sw’s, sponsorship via the Sex Workers Project acting as their app/yearbook/event/platform, customized to their needs, art project to create community, benefits of journaling/ documenting.

DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY EFFICACY
Why this method? online? tap2post? This is my first thesis idea, because I have a successful prototype w/ proven track record. The platform allows freedom to post any expression of self, but in an image-oversaturated world there is constraint. A full sense of a community is created through a range of images. This is the first platform I can provide/that I’m interested in, because people want to connect/view/post. It’s habitual, snowballs, creating a very meta community with its live feed/commenting/connectivity. It lends itself to a gallery reception at the end that could be a celebration of everyone.

PREVIOUS MODELS
My critic, Scott Pobiner suggested I research a school of “life recorders.” Many documentary and culture studies would relate to my exploration. Previously I was exploring photo bloggers throughout history, more as a gritty urban sexual aesthetic and less of the act of displaying photos on the actual web. Participatory art projects in the past have utilized design and technology distribution to curate shows and I am building on that. I think my product doesn’t exist on the market, that people aren’t exploring or working in this type of medium specifically and that I can choose the content that I want to see.

Mostly I’m motivated to complete Thesis so that I can graduate and get a slip of paper that says I am MFADT approved and ready to conquer the world. More importantly I think it will improve my portfolio to have a project of such depth and commitment of time and thought. I think it will be good for me to do all the work, even though that doesn’t motivate me at all. As for tap2post, I am motivated to help and connect people who may be marginalized politically and culturally. I am motivated to enable people with new ways to communicate, when the old ways (old like Facebook) are tired and boring. There is a voyeuristic appeal for me as well, in which the mundane activities of someone else can seem fascinating to me (and other viewers.) I had a very successful prototype, and that definitely keeps me focused. I’ve presented the app many times, recently to some app development companies, and they were very impressed with it. Interest can only increase as the project develops. Embarrassingly, I’m motivated by success, money, and maybe a bit of fame. I don’t want to be forgotten, which is one of the major themes of my THESIS. I guess I should add that I do actually like my project, and I want to work on it.

Nathan Becker
9/5/11
nathanbeckerdesign@gmail.com

Thesis is the combination of many domains of interest. Social networking in general: Twitter 140 character posts, Flickr photo sharing, Tumblr feed, Facebook the social network, Google Plus the Facebook killer, etc. Everything from Foursquare to Hulu offers social networking and methods for sharing. As a former publication designer, the roots of searching for crowd sourced content that can be contained in a vessel of my creation is a natural shift from what I used to do as an art director.

Twitter seems to be the most obvious relative to tap2post, because of the constraint on participation. With a one-photo-per-day constraint, tap2post hopes to introduce a new method of communication modeled after the success of the tweet.

Currently thesis is taking shape as further exploration of tap2post, the app and group blog created in the Fall of 2011 for Parsons Design & Technology students. They were invited to contribute photos leading up to their final projects for the year. Please see http://tap2post.com/dt for reference.

It was generally an exploration of publishing as a way to connect and self-document a community, especially through new forms of online connectivity, specifically via mobile phone. The DT prototype revealed the participatory documentary practice of the artist, and created a “scene” by spotlighting 75 up-and-coming NYC design and technology artists. In just one month, I had more than 75 users, 500 photos, and 200 comments.

There was an immense amount of feedback. Dave Carroll, the director of the DT program said, “Nathan’s Major Studio 2 project is righteous. It’s an amazing glimpse into the MFADT culture at play.” Classmate and t2p user Hilal Koyuncu posted on her FB wall, “Tap2post/dt is the new facebook!” Even DT people who weren’t using the system were reading the feed and familiar with the project.

Based on participatory art projects of Jöelle Bitton, I pitched an exhibit of the collected photographs to be shown during Parsons Fest 2011. The show was approved and installed single handedly, then opened to an audience of mostly tap2post contributors with wine and balloons. The culminating photo exhibit was part of a huge festival that brought many new viewers to see the archive collected over the course of the month.

Rewind to the initial tap2post concept, which was an attempt to create a one touch blogging tool that would snap a photo at the same time every day and automatically update the user’s blog in one “tap.” At a set time every day an alert would sound that it was time to upload a photo or snap one, which would auto publish to the user’s personal t2p blog.

Currently, AT&T has a phone, the HTC Status, which has a Facebook button on the phone’s interface to allow user’s to share photos with minimal taps. Regardless of current technology, the app could be used to share with different circles (or keep private) your blog about a possible theme: nightlife, fashion, 365 photos, food, family and friends, portfolio, travel, work projects and process (like t2p/dt).

The mechanics were in place: ease of use (one tap/one photo per day) and a daily reminder. This is essentially the problem that tap2post solves for users. Because tap2post limits the amount of writing and reading to one photo per user per day, there is less of a chance of connectivity ennui. Also there is potentially more attention to quality and communication if the photo is the only one that will be posted in a day. The project morphed during prototyping. Without personally building a new phone, the iPhone could never achieve the t2p original vision, the way I imagined it would work.

But with existing technology available to anyone, pretty much out of the box, tap2post’s first working prototype was built on WordPress. Anyone could follow the instructions and curate their own tap2post community of one-photo-per-day bloggers.

Steven Levy described the current trend of photo apps in a Wired online article “Color Me Fascinated: A Photo Social Network for the Here and Now.” The company featured, Color, was described as having “dozens of energetic young people working on long tables loaded with computer equipment.” It seems impossible to break into this world as one person, so I have to seek outside help: venture capitalists, classmates, industry professionals.

I began researching photo bloggers throughout history. I drew a circle around these photographers and recognized they were doing something that seemed spontaneous. They were shining a light on mundane or normal day-to-day interactions. This ran the gamut and included a handful of artists like Andy Warhol, Ryan McGinley, Karlheinz Weinberger’s “Halbstark” exploration of the 1950s with an exhibit at the Swiss Institute. I met with Nan Goldin at a Parsons talk on self-censorship and discussed my project with her afterwards. I also met Jessica Yatrofsky for coffee in Brooklyn. She is currently a famous, popular 2010s photo blogger for East Village Boys and I Heart Boy. She discussed the need for photographers to stay connected and part of the scene, stay published and active.

Jonathan Harris’ work comes up a lot when I think about these concepts. He did “Today” a 365-project that most closely relates to my exploration. He posted a photo a day before he went to sleep at night for his 30th year. Several thousand followers eventually found him. His goal was to “live in the moment more every day, more aware of life.” He found that there wasn’t an end point, rather endless wandering from one day to the next. “I’m obsessed with memory, with not forgetting, with not being forgotten.” He said the growth was significant over the course of the year, with the crutch of having his memories collected for Today. It took on a performative quality. The stories created were seen afterwards reflecting on the photos rather than moment to moment, the way we live our lives. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH7YxbuZQs8

I would like to contact Harris about my work and see if he has any input or feedback. Where does that lead my thesis for the next nine months? I hope to get some help from someone. I would like to work on building my app to completion so that it would be available to any user to use for any purpose, to further explore this connectivity. I have already discussed rolling out a general tap2post for New York City or Parsons students, or a transsexual sex worker tap2post. I need to facilitate and advertise for these communities, once I have a stable platform for new users to download.

I am not that familiar with conferences in the mobile networking field that could help me, but I have written an abstract for SigGraph a technology conference. I proposed that contributing conference artists could prepare and document using the tap2post interface. A similar exhibition could be curated on site (like the DT exhibit.) The only problem is I have a year to wait until I can submit the abstract.

Most of the projects and thesis concepts written about here are featured on my website http://nathanbecker.com and my thesis blog http://nathanbecker.com/thesis_tk