PROTOCOL: Exploring Transmission. Vicky Clarke, Manchester

PROTOCOL: a set of rules governing the exchange or transmission of data between devices

location = (“Location = “, name_of_location, + “I feel “ + your_emotional_state):
Hello i’m Vicky, an artist from the UK
This space is where I have spent most of the last year
This space has a dual function: a place of work and a make-shift art studio
As I write this we are in our third national lockdown
St Petersburg was the last place visited before the first national lockdown  
I’ve spent much time communicating with humans through my computer
I am thinking about our networked experience of interacting
Sending and receiving streams of data
Data that represents our emotions, attitudes and our states of being
return = location
“Location = Manchester, I feel happy” 

I’m away from my studio, a place for messy wire-based experimentation, as such I have adapted to the pandemic situation by developing ‘isolation skills’, experimenting with online digital tools for escapism, communication and play. Throughout these blog posts I will share with you some thoughts and some experiments. I aim to
_make space within my browser
_make space mentally
_make space to escape through the network
_communicate with you via these tools

Thinking about transmission and processing signals, one tool I’ve been using is Hydra, an open source live coding networked visual synthesiser that disrupts the pixels on your computer screen, it’s pretty radical. Here I created a visual feedback loop using an external web camera fed back into my laptop camera accompanied by some MaxMSP frequency and amplitude modulation tests.

Digital Signal Processing: Frequency and amplitude modulation tests

Do the frequencies I am transmitting have a calming effect on you also?
Is the way I experience these frequencies the same as you? 

In my practice I take a DIY approach to working with technology, one thing that is important to me is sharing skills and making space for others. A tool like Hydra is great for collaboration online, you can hack other people’s code or create your own and all knowledge is shared online through tutorials and Github. So in the spirit of sharing, go to Hydra, hack your webcam and try this blurry sketch:
src(o0) .blend(s0, 0.1) .color (-1,1,1.2) .out(o0)

During transmission what is happening when this information is sent in packets of data to you via the network? I wonder if this protocol affects the intended emotion of the sender? 

Internet protocol diagram

With increased time spent online and communicating through our screens, I’ve been considering what the new protocols might be. What is a healthy relationship to adopt with regards to our technological devices and how can we best communicate and relate to other human beings? What messages are we sending and are our sentiments understood? How is it possible to feel at the same time disconnected yet hyper-connected?

Email protocol:

  • Begin a Conversation — Your computer (the client) starts a conversation with another computer (the server).
  • Hold a Conversation — During the conversation, commands are sent and acknowledged. The server typically acknowledges a command with some sort of code (number) which may be further qualified with simple text commands. The code indicates if the command has been successful or if some error has occurred.
  • End a Conversation — The conversation is terminated.

But what for videochat conversation – visual human to human protocol? 

This present reality has led to me to meet new people from all over the world having some quite nuanced, surprisingly emotional and really open conversations with strangers. A couple of examples of this has been joining new communities and making friends through the AmplifyDAI network of female digital artists from Argentina, Canada and the UK and taking part in an online course with the School of Machines where people from across the globe discussed what we would do ‘If We Ruled The World’ using Buckminster Fuller’s world game considering possible alternative futures of our own making. New grammars of performativity, physicality, information processing and attention are emerging as we navigate this new protocol with both positive and negative (especially bodily) effects being uncovered.

I am really excited to be part of this VirtualSPAR Making Space programme, continuing my connection with St Petersburg and along with the wonderful fellow artists explore what an online artist residency can be.

  1. Liza Ordinartceva

    Thank you, Vicky! That makes we think how different the lockdowns are in UK and here in Russia, and also how good you are in coding and DIY approach! Preparing my questions to meet you online on Tuesday, Feb the 9th!

  2. Avatar photo
    Laura Salerno

    Vikcy, I did not know Hydra and it is a very nice environment! Very very cool! I’m glad to get to know your work! Bye from Brazil!

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