Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dobson, Kirschenbaum & The Personalization of Machines

Today’s guest speaker, Kelly Dobson, really fascinated me by her art. I thought that the way she wanted people to be more aware of the connection between robots and media in general with the way humans interact and live their daily lives was very interesting. This led me to think of an idea that I have talked about in previous posts and one which kind of goes along with the Kirschenbaum reading for Monday. This idea is that of information, who can see it/use it, and what it is really for.

Way back when, in the beginning of the semester, we talked about Facebook and privacy issues, we think we’re in control of the information that we put out there, but we aren’t. Kirschenbaum illustrates in “Mechanisms; New Media and the Forensic Imagination” that once we copy any sort of information on a floppy disk, (or any internal or external storage space for that matter) the data is actually marked on something which we may never be able to fully delete. Along with showing that we can never really exterminate data, on a deeper level, we can postulate that once a piece of information gets out, as it can never be contained, what is done with it. Dobson expands on these questions/fears when she showed the video in which she was talking to “Blendie.” During this exhibition, we could see that she clearly controlled what “Blendie” was doing…until “Blendie” started to talk back. This scared me a little bit because, while I’m not going to go all Terminator-the-machines-are-going-to-kill-us on the blog right now, I will say that it made me wonder, and I know this will sound crazy, if “Blendie” could ever be in control of us. While it was evident that Dobson controlled the “Scream Body,” she also showed us “Omo.” She had control over “Omo”’s way of “breathing,” but she did mention that “Omo” responds to its user, and while that does give comfort knowing that it is an individual thing, it is also knowing and sensing things about us that we may not want it to.

These ideas are just some of the things I was mulling over while thinking about Dobson and her connection to the readings, and I’m sure if my previous posts have been any indication of my train of thought, I’ll be musing about these ideas in future posts.

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