About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Blog posting written by Erica Moriarty, Documentary Studies and Production ’16, FLEFF Intern, Houston, Texas
Ironically, a whole mess of I-don’t-knows and I’m-not-really-sures define my first year in college. My experience thus far with FLEFF mirrors this same uncertainty.
I applied to be a blogger simply knowing that I love documentary films and written journalism, and I knew the film festival would give me the opportunity to do both. However, I never expected the experiences of the past few weeks.
So far, I interviewed a coding genius and an animation guru. I mobbed around campus promoting the event I already love. I even learned more about social media than I thought possible to know. And the festival isn’t even here yet.
As FLEFF draws closer, I still am not sure as to what awaits me on April 1st. Despite being debriefed every Monday from 7 to 9 by Dr. Zimmermann on the ins and outs of the festival, I cannot seem to pinpoint exactly what will happen.
I know I’ll be challenged to be more social than ever and to think in a way I never did before, but these are both very broad. I’m not sure exactly what will happen or who I will meet along the way. All I know is I cannot wait!
Perhaps I don’t know what to expect, but I think that’s the best part.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Blog posting written by Erica Moriarty, Documentary Studies and Production '16, FLEFF Intern, Houston, Texas
Just by opening a laptop, we are presented data with the goal of processing that data into information. But what happens in between during that process?
More importantly, what gets lost?
Null_Sets looks at the gap between data and information. The data is represented in the computer, or the quantities. The information is the more human aspect – how we interpret data.
Alongside Evan Meaney, Amy Szczepanski took on a new project to explore this gap between data and information. As Shawn explained in the previous part, Null_Sets takes a text as data and turns it into a jpeg image file. The project is a new form of art that puts large-scale data through an aesthetic lens. However, computer coding is the backbone behind this project.
Essentially, the team takes the 0s and 1s that is data to computers and translates it as the image instead of the text. According to the project’s website, you can see Hamlet as a jpeg and find meaning with the literature’s computer code. One could say the pictures look at how we interpret what the computer does.
However, looking at the image does not solve the question Shawn posed. Instead, new questions arise. When the computer translates the data, does it become information? Or is information only valid when we interpret it?
What do you think? When does your data truly become information?
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, MD
Imagine that before you leave for work your roommate says that he/she is going to make soup for dinner. You get excited wondering what kind and mentally prepare yourself for the meal. But, when you arrive at home you find a series of bowls on the counter. One has broth, one has chicken, one has noodles, etc…
That’s not soup. That’s data.
Now, because you are starving you elect to just compile the ingredients yourself. Now you are looking at a nice, steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup. That’s information.
Evan Meaney and Amy Szczepanski with their project Null_Sets took on the idea of data versus information. What is what? And is it really?
So, if we look at this analogy of data and information and look at Null_Sets we can make some comparisons.
The project takes the text as data and converts it into a jpeg image file. Simple enough concept. The text must be data and the image is the information.
Wait. The original text is a book. Isn’t that information? It takes words and creates meaning with them. It seems to be both.
Now, the jpeg image must still be information, right?
But what if you could re-process the image and convert it back into the original text document? Wouldn’t that make it data?
It seems that data and information are very difficult terms to use properly. It also seems very situational.
But, another question is what is the original data?
Is it the 26 letters that make up the alphabet? So wouldn’t everything written be a derivative of that data. So everything isn’t quite as original as we thought.
Is everything a copy? Is everything data? Is everything information?
What do you think?
Stay tuned for Part 2, written by fellow blogger Erica Moriarty.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Blog posting written by Erica Moriarty, Documentary Studies '16, FLEFF Intern, Houston, Texas
She’s no artist.
In fact, her background is in mathematics and computer science. However, Amy Szczepanski, a professor at the University of Tennessee, helped mobilize the different worlds of visual arts and computer science last year when she won the Jury Prize in FLEFF’s Distributed Microtopias Exhibition .
Szczepanski and Meaney joined forces to produce the award winning Null_Sets, a project that explores the gap between data and information using digital images. According to Szczepanski, the idea for the project stemmed from an interest in combining large computing with Meaney’s work in the visual arts.
Szczepanski said, “The pictures look at how we interpret what the computer does.”
She went on to explain that the project takes the 0s and 1s the computer uses to understand data and looks at it from pictures instead of text. The data that is represented by a computer is numbers in quantity. Null_Sets makes the information more human by interpreting it in an aesthetically pleasing way through images.
The project looks at several ideas, including the gap between data and information. In looking at this gap, the idea of the glitch particularly interested the pair.
“The glitch looks at what went wrong in computing,” explained Szczepanski. “By understanding the glitch, we get a better sense of how things should be.”
Now, Szczepanski continues to look at what went wrong through the collaboration of different areas of expertise. She utilizes this year's theme of mobilities by moving between multiple areas of expertise to make a collaboration. Through her persistent work on Null_Sets, she mobilizes the discussion of artists and scientists everywhere.
In addition, Null_Sets physically moves. Through coding, text moves into images, creating a true representation of the movement of people, ideas, objects and environments.