January 28, 2014

Appropriate Store

Project description

This is a proposal for LACMA Art + Technology Lab commission by Taeyoon Choi, Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald. This ideas was developed in January of 2014 in New York City and San Fransico through video call session. The document is formatted and edited to fit LACMA Art + Technology Lab’s application. This proposal is published online in hope to further develop our idea and find supporters.

A shop for electronic device and software that subvert common expectations with a sense of humor and melancholy for critical reflection on human relationship with mobile technology. 

We live among electronic products, mobile devices and applications. Our sense of presence is complete when we have access to network and computers. How much of our experience is scripted and our interaction is designed around electronic  How do they mediate communication? and how de we misunderstand?  How do they simulate presence over distance and time? and how are we alienated in presence of others? Many electronic products promise they will complete our life, fill in the gaps of loneliness in our relationship and also help us become creative. However the technology never complete our life on its own. 

Artists will build products that are inspired by socially constructed needs and new necessities for digital habitat. It will operate on the borderline of functional and fictional realm as the opposite and alternative to what consumer mobile devices and services promise. The point is to reveal our life will not be complete by products and human relationships can not be replaced by technology.

For public engagement and exhibition, a faux retail store for display of hardware and software will be constructed inside of gallery in LACMA. While sales is not our primary intention with the project, some elements of the project may be available for sales or exchange. The project will be accompanied by series of public events, online experience and performance in the store. 

Artistic merit of the project

US+ by Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald (2013) http://lauren-mccarthy.com/usplus/

This project will be the first collaboration between three artists, while they previously collaborated in pairs. This opportunity to develop ideas as a collective of artists and engineers will provide a fertile ground for spontaneous and playful research and development.  

Some examples of artists’ previous work resonate with the proposal. Social Turker by Lauren is utilize crowdsourced opinions for blind dates. Social Roulette by Kyle and collaborators is a game that will delete your facebook account in 1 out of 6 chance. It was a fictional software, the conversations around the project completed the work.       Artists intend to explore paradigm beyond the cybernetic integration of men and machine, toward concrete relation of technical objects and men. Human presence in near future will be sculpted by emotional attachment with machines, compulsive desire of instant approval, and magnitude of loneliness and insecurity we share.    

An example of idea for Appropriate Store is a product that completes your being. It will enhance sensory perception, build confidence, help you stay connected, become creative and share every moments instantaneously. It can even replace your life all together by scientific speculation of your decision and reaction. Another idea is device that looks like point and shoot camera that erases memory of the moment instead of recording it. 

Artists will employ a variety of tactics inspired by tech startup culture; focus on design strategy, rapid brainstorming sessions, high priority on visual language of marketing and advertisement. Our goal is to invent counter-products that question modes of production and consumption of common products. 

Why do you consider this project to be a meaningful exploration of emerging technology?

Social Roulette by Kyle McDonald with Jonas Lund and Jonas Jongejan (2013) http://www.socialroulette.net/

Artists will build simple product for complex desires. By subversive appropriation of mobile network, user experience design, dynamic storytelling, the project is a contemplation of alternate life and alternative identity.  Following list are some of technical research and development we are planning.  

  • Sense of embodiment will be explored by wearable technology; soft electronics and biometric sensor.
  • Sense of perception will be explored by computer vision technology; face detection and movement analysis.
  • Language and sound will be explored by speech recognition and artificial intelligence. 
  • Human conscience and attention in relation to machines will be explored by study of cognition and memory.  

In what ways does your project inspire dialogue about the issues at hand, including the relationship between technology and culture?

Occu-bot by Taeyoon Choi (2011) http://taeyoonchoi.com/speakerscorners/

We have worked individually and collaboratively on art projects dealing with mediation and alienation in a variety of emerging technology and cultural phenomenon. The proposed project will become an aggregation of various research we have done in the past.

Lauren has creates surreal situations and narratives in informal collaboration with Mechanical Turk agents or anonymous online public. Kyle creates artwork with code that provoke common sense privacy and security. Taeyoon makes drawings and writings about human computer interaction and politics of public space.

Appropriate Store will bring these issues into one place for the first time.

Please describe your proposed plan for public engagement.

Artists will engage public through workshop and performance.  Workshop will take form as a R&D lab for a focused group of invited collaborators as well as broader LA public. Participants will develop experimental prototypes that can be used in their life. It will also be a chance to look at and build on the social hacking course materials from NYU ITP which the artists taught. 

Performance will happen throughout the production and exhibition. Lauren McCarthy, Chief Technology Relationship Consultant, will hold sessions where the public can discuss their current reality and how it could be improved, and find the devices most useful for them. Kyle McDonald, Technology Representative will deliver sale pitch on stage. Taeyoon Choi, Store Manager will choreograph sales representatives (hired performers) to interact with the museum visitors. 

What data will your project produce that may be of interest to other artists, technologists, or arts organizations?

Github account for Appropriating Interaction Technologies class (2013)

The project will produce series of in depth analysis of user experience of mobile device in simulated environment of an art museum. The data may include quantitative set of attention time, as well as qualitative analysis of psychological dependency on mobile devices. The collected information may be of interest to mobile tech industry as well as art institutions interested in understanding public’s use of mobile in public and private space. 

Biography of artists

Taeyoon Choi is an artist, educator and curators based in Brookyn, NY. He is the co-founder of School for Poetic Computation, an alternative school with motto of “More Poems, Less Demos”. His art practice often involve hacking electronics and building circuits, drawing and storytelling, as well as intervention in the public space. Taeyoon often collaborates with media artists, performing artists and activists to realize socially engaged projects and immersive experience. Recently he has been curating exhibitions and education programs for public art festivals such as Anyang Public Art Festival in South Korea, where he directs Making Lab, a community hackerspace run by artists. He lectured at Parsons School of Design and served as a facilitator for The Public School New York. Taeyoon was a resident and fellow at Eyebeam between 2008 and 2011.

Lauren McCarthy is an artist and programmer based in Brooklyn, NY. She is adjunct faculty at RISD and NYU ITP, a researcher in resident at ITP, and recently a resident at Eyebeam. She holds an MFA from UCLA and a BS Computer Science and BS Art and Design from MIT. Her work explores the structures and systems of social interactions, identity, and self-representation, and the potential for technology to mediate, manipulate, and evolve these interactions. She is fascinated by the slightly uncomfortable moments when patterns are shifted, expectations are broken, and participants become aware of the system. Her artwork has been shown in a variety of contexts, including the Conflux Festival, SIGGRAPH, LACMA, the Japan Media Arts Festival, Share Festival, File Festival, the WIRED Store, and probably to you without you knowing it at some point while interacting with her.

Kyle McDonald is an artist who works in the open with code. He is a contributor to arts-engineering toolkits like openFrameworks, and spends a significant amount of time building tools that allow artists to use new algorithms in creative ways. His work is very process-oriented, and he has made a habit of sharing ideas and projects in public before they’re completed. He enjoys creatively subverting networked communication and computation, exploring glitch and embedded biases, and extending these concepts to reversal of everything from personal identity to work habits. Kyle is a member of F.A.T. Lab, community manager for openFrameworks, adjunct professor at ITP.


We will share our budget information to those who are curiour and willing to help. Contact us!

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