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thoughts and practices from Ravensbourne’s


Peter Schaefer – Sonic Neurality

As Hollywood screenwriters threatened to strike back in April of this year, director Oscar Sharp and creative technologist Ross Goodwin were releasing a short film for the Sci-Fi London Film Festival’s 48 Hour Film Challenge. In a surreal marriage of fact and fiction, and starring David Hasselhoff to boot, It’s No Game was written entirely by an Articial Intelligence trained on film subtitle files. Goodwin has argued that in teaching AIs to write, “the computers don’t replace us any more than pianos replace pianists – in a certain way they become our pens, and we become more than writers. We become writers of writers” (Ross Goodwin, 2016).

In the same vein as Goodwin’s other experiments with human-machine perception and learning, Peter Schaefer’s MSc Interactive Digital Media project Sonic Neurality, though technically ambitious and conceptually rigorous, is also an artwork-generating artwork. The prototype of Sonic Neurality is a head-mounted device which creates an immersive narrated experience of the wearer’s surroundings interpreted by neural networks embedded within the headwear. Fed visual information from the wearer’s movements throughout their environment, while the narration is largely descriptive, the machine’s efforts to communicate this information to the wearer are surprisingly poetic.

Schaefer drew broadly from theories of postphenomenology, mediation, embodiment and augmented perception in order to research how our experience of reality is shaped by technology and how intelligent technologies might therefore be used to enhance our sense of presence in the world.

In Sharp & Goodwin’s It’s No Game, the final scene sees the emotional disintegration of the “Hoffbot” (the ‘real’ David Hasselhoff acting out lines generated by an algorithim trained on dialogue from the series’ Knight Rider and Baywatch). Beneath a glitzy smoking jacket, he’s still wearing those infamous red Baywatch beachguard shorts, and sobbing “I wanna be a man”. The knowledge that these words have been scripted by a machine makes this bizarre scene no less touching.

At an exciting juncture where recent leaps in AI research urge us to consider what really makes us human, Sonic Neurality foregrounds creative potential as a defining feature. Like Goodwin, Schaefer sees cause for optimism, rather than fear, in these new tools.

Schaefer describes how Sonic Neurality allows the user some “insight into what it is like to perceive the world from the perspective of a machine” and that it is the complexity of how that information is processed which makes it impossible for wearers to understand how it works exactly. This, he says, “reinforces the impression that the machine has its own experience of the world”.

It is, then, the user’s human imagination that remains fundamental in the circuitry of human-machine perception.

Radical Materiality – 19th of September 2017

Join us from 6pm on 19 September to celebrate the opening of Radical Materiality, a curated exhibition of postgraduate work exploring the altering role of convergence between the digital and physical and its impact on how we create artefacts and shape experiences.READ MORE

Emme Jacob – Any > Which > Way

“With ruins a city springs free of its plans into something as intricate as life, something that can be explored but perhaps not mapped… An urban ruin is a place that has fallen outside the economic life of the city, READ MORE

Velophonic Ride

Velophonic Ride is a collaborative project which brings together several students from varied courses and backgrounds to investigate maker culture and digital prototyping techniques such as 3D printing.READ MORE

Adam Bloomer – Immersive VR Theraphy

For almost twenty years now, there’s been a growing trend in research and clinical trials which points to the viability and potential of Virtual Reality’s use in therapeutic applications. Many in the field predict that VR will READ MORE

Videomapping workshop

Our postgraduate students have participated in a videomapping workshop deliverd by Blanca Regina. This workshop introduces projection mapping looking at the history of image projection, its language, techniques and its application in performances, installations and events.READ MORE

Simona Knuchel – Lost in the Story

From the 1800s until the late 1980s, hundreds of thousands of Swiss children were taken from their parents and placed in ‘administrative custody’, exploited for cheap agricultural or domestic labour as ‘contract children’ or verdingkinder. Swiss children were subject to this state intervention if they were illegitimate, orphaned, or simply born into a poor family. READ MORE

Pryscila Cromeyer – Dress Well

Moved by the refugee crisis in Calais, France, MA Communication Design student Pryscila Cromeyer wanted to create a project which would directly help those affected. Dress Well is an app and service concept designed to improve and hasten the overall process of donating clothing to the refugee community in Calais.READ MORE

Daniel Kim – Diary of a Fly

“What would it feel like to be a fly?” Daniel Kim wonders in his MA/MSc Interactive Digital Media project. ‘Diary of a Fly is a concept that Kim has developed into a virtual reality film and game in which the story is told from the perspective of READ MORE

Koonpol Podhisita – Culturalphabet

Culturalphabet, designed by MA Communication Design graduate, Koonpol Podhisita, uses beautiful illustrations to bring to life the twenty one consonant sounds that make up the Thai language. Podhisita’s project encourages more than just the routine memorisation of words and rules of grammar to increase vocabulary.READ MORE

Zhongshu Zhang – Pierrot in Nature

Has an overwhelmingly fast-fashion, consumerism-driven fashion industry effectively blunted the means of resisting conformity through style? Where subcultural signs and styles have been co-opted by the corporate mainstream, what does rebelliousness even look like these days? READ MORE

Jason Taylor – Bionic Tool Kit

“When Msc Applied Technologies student Jason Taylor was diagnosed with Pernicious Anemia, a late diagnosis meaning resultant nerve damage and a future where he may need to undergo amputation of one or both of his arms, his response was to use design in order to continue his design career.READ MORE

Superhuman – 20th of September 2016

During an era within which technical automatisms deftly merge into our everyday lives, we’re often speculating about the exact kind of future we’re hurtling towards. Technologies continue to augment around us at lightening speed;READ MORE

MA Fashion Film – 2016

Fashion film featuring 2016 MA Fashion graduates’ work: Zoe Burt, Natalia Nicolau, Zhongshu Zhang, Ming-Yang Ma, Siyue Xu, Laura Perry and Sara Sakamuri.

Produced by Brigitta Zics and Beatrice Newman. Made by Anomalousvisuals.

The future of fashion with Couture-in-orbit

On 13th of April, Ravensbourne welcomed the European Space Agency and the Science Museum London to select the looks for the Couture in Orbit show. We took our chance to introduce the ideas behind the technology and function focused accessories, garments and stories which have been developed by a range of students:READ MORE

MA Fashion: Lookbook 2016

“MA Fashion at Ravensbourne has innovation at its heart and is the key place to explore traditional design skills in synergy with sophisticated entrepreneurial thinking. READ MORE