Apple and Access

 

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Jessica Westbrook Jessica Westbrook 4 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #117
    Ben Baker-Smith
    Ben Baker-Smith
    Participant

    Is there any interest in exploring the prevalence of Apple products among a large majority of the community, and how this affects accessibility?

    Some potentially interesting aspects:

    - economic privilege

    - effect on output, including use of Mac interface imagery and chosen software

    - effect on education, as existing tutorials and non-browser warez are primarily Mac oriented

    - effect on the makeup of the community, and its openness to non-members

    - effect on outside perception of community

    - why do people drawn toward breaking down the glossy and breaking down opinionated perceptions of technology choose the most glossy and opinionated of operating systems?

    - does the use of Apple products to create seemingly subversive, dirty new-media artworks affect the conceptual legitimacy of this subversion? does Apple dirty new media == designer produced ripped jeans?

    - how does the community’s interest in open-source reconcile with its love of Apple?

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Ben Baker-Smith Ben Baker-Smith. Reason: bolded main question to make skimming easier
    #143
    Ben Baker-Smith
    Ben Baker-Smith
    Participant

    For the record, this is a topic of introspection for me personally. I’ve owned 3 macs, one of which is still in service, and I split my time between Mac OS and Linux depending on the requirements of a given project.

    #208

    BC
    Participant

    We care about this as it pertains to class but we want to more broadly be talking about the intersections of class and gender.  So while we are for addressing the issue of who community is for on all fronts, we also feel that we want to ensure we aren’t sidetracking issues of gender diversity which is so incredibly important and so often not addressed or addressed to a lesser extent in new media communities. So, in terms of issues of openness regarding Linux v Mac, these issues of openness (which are incredibly important in terms of the intersections of economic privilege, class, higher ed and glitch) are perhaps superseded for us by the issues of openness regarding who is allowed to participate/ feels entitled or comfortable to participate in ways that go beyond what kind of technologies are available to whom into what kinds of environments and dynamics are fostered by specific spaces. Part of this discussion is also informed by thinking through how glitch (as a practice) is framed by the community and I think this absolutely feeds into your questions. What other thoughts do you have along these lines?

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by  BC.
    #228
    Dave_musgrave
    Dave_musgrave
    Participant

    Ben, I think u bring up some great topics for conversation.  Im not sure what form this thread is going to take, but i hope the conversation happens.  I especially like ur last two points.

     

    #246
    Ben Baker-Smith
    Ben Baker-Smith
    Participant

    Thanks for the feedback Beth and Dave!

    I think that there are some aspects specific to the gli.tc/h community that warrant addressing in regards to gender. Among them, the use of hetero male-oriented porn as source material, ex. the current leader in the t-shirt contest: http://votee.vincentbruijn.nl/uploads/U1718610883/F1718610883.S.jpg, and exhibitionism and self-objectification demonstrated by female performers, ex. the recent MCA round robin.

    But on the whole I think the lack of women in gli.tc/h, like in other new media communities, is an attribute directly inherited from the parent community of nerd culture. The lack of women in tech professions like programming, for example, is a recurring topic of conversation in those circles. Hacker News (news.ycombinator.com), arguably the best tech industry link aggregator, somewhat regularly features articles discussing why there are so few women in the field and how to attract more.

    We should of course be critical of our own community structure in hopes of providing a positive experience for people of all genders, and I’m very glad this discussion is happening as it has come up with women I’ve invited to glitch events in the past. But I personally consider the primary causes of the gender divide to be endemic of the larger nerd culture, and as such think it’s an imbalance that we have limited power to change.

    TLDR: If women aren’t into computers they won’t be into making computer art, no matter how clean the bathrooms are. But we should still clean the bathrooms.

    Back to the initial topic, the prevalence of Apple products as an economic barrier and a philosophical disconnect is something that is specific to our community, and something that we as community members have direct control over. If this thread is specifically focused on gender issues then perhaps the Apple discussion could be incorporated into the DNMw3rkstati0n thread. Beth, do you think that would be more appropriate?

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Ben Baker-Smith Ben Baker-Smith. Reason: clean and clarify
    #252

    BC
    Participant

    Hi Ben,

    No, I didn’t mean it that way, as in moving the conversation over. I think it’s just that it happens often, in questions about openness and access, that class conversations become a way of not talking about gender. That doesn’t mean not to have the class conversation (we should be having conversations about access from many different vantage points) — more to be cognizant of those dynamics (this is a fundamental dynamic in activist communities// one of the issues with occupy etc etc).

    I think, though, that there’s more to the conversations about gender than the porn debate and/or (and I know yr being facetious here): “TLDR: If women aren’t into computers they won’t be into making computer art, no matter how clean the bathrooms are. But we should still clean the bathrooms.”

    In my experience, there ARE lots of women, in chicago, and outside who participate in new media communities/ net art/ experiments with art and tech (Jessica Westbrook’s CODEBLOCKS group at SAIC alone has been incredibly popular and there are lots and lots of people involved in that). I think also if you think of the early video communities in the USA as ways of thinking about the histories of current new media communities (I think there are strong lineages between that moment — a point jonCates makes well when he talks about Phil Morton’s CopyitRight and experiments with the IP and “dirty” new media in chicago) there was an incredibly strong presence of women (Steina Vasulka even says that they “ran” the EVC, though their legacies are overshadowed in the history books on EVC community media/art collectives). My point is there are and always have been women there, and that the prevalence of women has only increased. So the question for me is, I know they are doing this stuff, so where are they? I think this is why I brought up questions of how we define glitch as a practice (or how it is defined for us, perhaps) and I think that’s why it’s vital to think about how communities structure themselves and what kinds of dynamics are facilitated. How those dynamics happen is of interest to me. And yes, it is a larger point about how people approach experimenting with technology and about confidence with technologies. But, I don’t think saying, well that’s part of a larger tech industry/ new media issue and leaving it at that is enough. I think these things can be changed at the local level.

     

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by  BC.
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    #261
    atrowbri
    atrowbri
    Moderator

    “If women aren’t into computers they won’t be into making computer art”

    Do you imagine either is true? The first computer programmer was a woman. The field of new media is full of outstanding women. The most recognized, published person, arguably, on the topic of glitch, is a woman. And on the other side, the most important contemporary dismissal of new media art by the established art world was recently written, by a woman.

    None of this changes the fact that there is much discussion to be had about the disturbing encrochment of the (largely sexist) “nerd culture” (that you claim spawned glitch) into the field of new media art. The topic of “lack of women in tech professions” arises once every few months, not nearly enough when the topic is really why over half the population is regularly attacked for trying to participate in vital human culture. Instead of intelligent discussion, the topic is more often treated with a shoulder shrug and all too often, the topic is raised when some game creeps try to defend their lolz about dickwolf rape as creative expression.

    I think the use of Apple tech is a mildly interesting topic, especially in the arts but, when asked to address it from a broader context, you reverted to the barricades of “our community” and “we as community members” and strange, unsupported claims of “nerd culture” “inheritance”. I think the language and defensiveness of you response is more of a point for discussion than the Apple topic. Whose community? Who are members? Who are these nerds and what is their culture?

    #269
    rosa_menkman
    rosa_menkman
    Key Master

    I see a lot of art made by women based on body/break, which I have done too and which is an important part of life, also for me, but it always makes me want to take a step back. I feel like I cannot make this my issue; while I have an opinion, I favor other issues as a main issue that I want to focus on.

    This time I will try to jump down this rabbit hole, hoping to reach some point where I will not feel to weird about voicing my feelings and trying to be open and frank. I dont know if this is something that grew this way, or if I was always like this, but it has definitely evolved into a personal perspective (- i will get into the how and why a bit later). In any case, I am absolutely not a hero on the topic of gender; I often dont know what to say about it.

    So here i go, giving my voice a go: I do not believe in something called girl power – or the cry for girl power  (I think it just alienates and puts emphasis on difference) and I do not aim to fight for ‘equality’; its a nice idea but I am not even sure if in reality equality can actually exists.

    I do believe in empowerment of the minority / ‘other’ / less powerful  Not just for women but for all people of all strata, machine, class, race, code or from whatever cup of tea you like too poor on your election night. In this sense a conversation on race or gender does in no way supersede a conversation on OS’es - to me they have similar issues at stake and are all important and help form our understanding of the situation, giving us knowledge about stakes and in doing so empowering us. (>> i made some edits here if you were an early reader, sorry i wasnt quite clear…)

    A personal perspective about some issues:

    The last 3-4 years I travelled alone and it has been wild. I learned a lot, also about being alone as a female, with a voice on and off stage. I have had some great experiences and some really awful physically aggressive ones. But those experiences were more connected to the lifestyle I have chosen (travelling alone, sometimes at night, etc attracts abuse) and is something disconnected from the people in the communities I work in. But it has shaped my mangled brain, my difficulties towards dealing with issues around sex etc and maybe build some kind of personal scare for these kinds of discussions.

    I dont like to feel weak and I besides that I believe in empowerment. But sometimes I do feel weak and I want to respect those feelings too..

    On the other hand, a lot of things I am doing are not about ‘me standing there in the moment’; they are about things I absolutely believe in (an opinion). Which meant to me that personally, the thing I felt I had to overcome most is myself, is how to position/carry myself, while respecting and giving a place to my feelings. I am still learning to build a connection between my body (not gender perse) and the role I have build for myself as educator and performer . I feel some things have to be said and shared and if I can help make that happen, thats a lot to wish for. The thing I struggle with most is how I can carry and voice myself not following the way I feel in the moment – but more specifically tuned to the issues I want to address (its hard to create a constructive distance to the topic). How to supersede myself while empowering myself to address a certain issue.

    Its hard to be in sync; with your body that is fragile at times, your emotions that get exhausted, while staying strong and presenting things. I am lucky to have a strong body, which almost never gets sick even when I mistread it as much as I do. And I am lucky I have a strong brain that can bounce back from the stress, economically, emotionally and professionally. To me these issues are only minimally laced with issues of gender and more with performance and playing a role in general.

    What i meant to say is, i deal/work on a lot of things and only a tiny part is gender related. For me it has shown to be more productive to learn to recognize how I am cold-wired to carry myself vs how I want to empower or hot wire / carry myself.

    Oh god I hope so much this makes sense.

     

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by rosa_menkman rosa_menkman.
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    #273
    Ben Baker-Smith
    Ben Baker-Smith
    Participant

    Beth: Thanks for the references, particularly Shirley Clarke, I hadn’t heard of her before.

    Adam: I don’t have a broader context for tying the use of Apple to gender issues, so I gave my opinion on gender among glitchers as I see it. I’m sorry to have offended. This was a mistake, and isn’t the discussion I came here to have. I’m really just trying to address open source software and the use of Apple products.

    #276
    rosa_menkman
    rosa_menkman
    Key Master

    ///Some recent gender related works unveil the deeper issues at stake within a glitch community (or at least some issues that I see):

    GLIMBO

    Erica Lapadat-Janzen for GalleryOnline until December 21 2012 (perfect timing). From the facebook invite:

    The internet is made of women. Media of women is used for selling commercial products, entertainment, masturbation, etc. Female beauty and sexual attractiveness are on the forefront of technological progress. Online debates are waged over who the most perfect female is, what size her breasts are, what colour of hair is more attractive. The lines between Realdolls and women that look like dolls are blurred in the online space. These images are often maticulously groomed in photoshop; editing illusions used to exagerate the current trends in fantasy.

    To glitch is to interup. To glitch is to deconstruct.

    In the series GLIMBO (Glitch + Bimbo), the perfect images are damaged. They are aware of their digital status and the glitch is intentional. The gaze is disrupted and shuffled. The images now serve a different purpose.

    http://www.EricaLapadat-Janzen.com

    The statement: “The internet is made of women” is interesting. Unfortunately, Lapadat-Janzen omits (as so many do) the actual (historical) role female workers have played during the development of what we now know an information society (just href: the programming of ENIAC was done by women). In her short introduction, Lapadat-janzen minimizes the role of women to merely fetishized objects.
    If i understand her work correctly, the exhibition is a critique on the production and objectification / gaze laid upon female imagery. She states that she deconstructs the construct captured within these images; through disruption, the images now have “another purpose”. I am not sure what this ‘other purpose’ is – its really a shame there is not more of a statement carrying this exhibit, but I still feel inclined to play the role of an so called “algorithmic thought police” (to quote Marius Watz).
    Lapadat-Janzen does state that the glitches are intentional. Seeing that all the images are glitched following a jpg compression, I feel compelled to read into this. A jpg compression is a preset 6 step lossy compression algorithm; one of the most widely used compressions. This algorithm  does not only re-order the amount of information via very specific rules, it also cuts out specific (‘less important’) parts of information (which is actually visualized very well in a couple of her images).

    TEDx

    As a glitch artist, I am aware that no compression algorithm is neutral. These algorithms are tools that leave a certain footprint; much like  Marius Watz described, they are computational cliches.
    As an artist ‘you can play with them, but you cannot be naive about them’, if you are not creative around these given presets, these images are not a whole lot more than a found form, without credible authorship. So while the images made by Lapadat-Janzen are at first sight maybe seductive, at this point they do not contain or call for any deep critical engagement -they are in fact commercial, prefab imagery broken by proprietary presets. And because of this, they do not speak to my imagination – they seem instantly knowable and familiar. Similar to many other projects I have seen over the last years (I heard Nick call it a “Porn Tumblr Renaissance” and that made me smile 2, 3, 4, 5, ___ –)
    I am not saying that there is not a whole lot of potential here and in the area of female gaze-fetishization vs. glitch art; I just wanted to point at what I think is a problem; using a certain cliche to point at another cliche..
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by rosa_menkman rosa_menkman.
    #331

    BC
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    Some things I want to address:

    Rosa said: “I do believe in empowerment of the minority / ‘other’ / less powerful  Not just for women but for all people of all strata, machine, class, race, code or from whatever cup of tea you like too poor on your election night. In this sense a conversation on race or gender does in no way supersede a conversation on OS’es - to me they have similar issues at stake and are all important and help form our understanding of the situation, giving us knowledge about stakes and in doing so empowering us.”

    I completely agree with this and would like to backtrack a little on my first comment. I really don’t want to shut down any conversation that could be productive for the broader questions of thinking about community and I think we can have discussions about gender/ sexuality and these other discussions. Ben, I think that it is important to engage with your questions and I wasn’t trying to dismiss your input at all. I am super interested in how we interact with technologies (which was partly why I posted the Shirley Clarke info I took down — I took it down because it’s unpublished research and though I wanna share it, I’m also a bit hesitant to do so before it’s published on the Internet and also because it’s taken out of the context of the paper quite a bit.)

    Rosa, I really appreciate your personal take on this. I want to make clear that for me this isn’t about making essentialist claims about how gender does or does not inform one’s practice and participation in community. I said this on another thread, but I am just as interested in thinking about what feminist and queer glitch practices might look like/ what feminist glitchporn looks like as I am in questions about access (though I am interested in those questions too of course.)

    Also, I want to say that I know that there are lots of women whose work has been a part of gli.tc/h in the past — I don’t want to erase these artists by saying that they haven’t participated. From my experience though the most vocal members at the events at least tend to be men. I think my involvement in this thread is just as much about hearing the varied voices from women in the community and not about having any presuppositions about what the content of those responses might be.

    This thread is not about making generalized claims about how women feel/ how women interact with technology. It’s just about hearing people’s perspectives on a whole range of issues related to community and access as well as to aesthetics and practices and thinking those individual perspectives alongside issues of structural equality.

     

     

    #422
    atrowbri
    atrowbri
    Moderator

    Returning to Ben’s question, I’d like to split my response in two.

    First: Apple – Glitch – Academia (esp art departments & schools). The easiest response is to point out that a lot of people involved in glitch are students (under/grad), recently graduated or teaching (independent/adj/prof). Apple started trying to buy that market when I was in 6th grade (i.e. a long, long time ago/Print Shop 4ever!!!). Later they bought the “creative” market and finally they bought Final Cut and drew in nearly all of us who, at the time, thought of ourselves as video artists but had no access to high end suites. So, video artists + new media artists in academia, Apple is a given. This is not an interesting direction for the discussion IMHO, it’s just market talk.

    Second, more interesting for me Politics && Ease of Use. The first computer I bought the first time in grad school was after I bought into the linux propaganda that was really blowing up at the time (’97/’98). It was a ridiculous waste of time, complex, dependencies, terrible GUI, sad apps trying to replicate existing Mac/Win apps. So I have a ax to grind with that community, a community I think still lacks enough people who care about making things easy to use, a community still (and I’ve kept up, especially when I was an information architect & usability designer) that prefers tech knowledge and code to interface and usability. All of this ties into this glitch thread at the point of ease of access and use. Getting behind the interface to what’s happening and what can go wrong/be made to go wrong is what we’re talking about but accessibility to that is what the thread is about. Many, Rosa and Nick, in particular, have put together incredibly open and even friendly tutorials and toolkits, so glitch, or gli.tc/h anyway, cares about making things open and accessible and, above and beyond the linux community, even pedagogic/teaching approaches to sharing. Whether or not it’s true, and testing usability and ease of access is way beyond this discussion, a lot of people perceive Apple as easy to use and thus friendlier for people to start with.

    At the same time, there is no denying it’s a fashion choice and the world has been bombarded with ridiculous message of pseudoliberation via Apple’s new, locked-down, non-creative devices, built, almost literally, on the backs of suicidal laborers. Apple is a political topic and, as you hint at, a ridiculous number of photos from gli.tc/h events, any new media event really, act as glowing white apple icon grids of free advertisement.

    So, that’s my response to the question. My question is where can this discussion go? Is gli.tc/h interested in the morality/politics of the computers that produce the glitches? Or, perhaps a more open direction, is there a gli.tc/h politics?

    #576

    i’m late on all this reading and responding b/c i have too many jobs (teaching/learning, art/research/studio, administration, parenting, permanent disability) as do most people who should be included in conversations/activity via whatever form or timing is necessary for inclusion. otherwise decision and cultural dynamics are determined by a few/limited set of perspectives and motivations.

    “The lack of women in tech professions like programming, for example, is a recurring topic of conversation in those circles. Hacker News (news.ycombinator.com), arguably the best tech industry link aggregator, somewhat regularly features articles discussing why there are so few women in the field and how to attract more.” — “in those circles” is key. just because information is known within a circle, doesnt mean that this knowness is reaching the people outside of circle who feel alienated or could benefit from an acknowledgement that the balance is off. this is passive withholding – very traditional.

    “But I personally consider the primary causes of the gender divide to be endemic of the larger nerd culture, and as such think it’s an imbalance that we have limited power to change.” yikes! apply this same sentiment to participation/fairness and education issues going way back and see what it sounds like. :\

    re: apple. agreed. its a problem. my sense is that most of the people in chicago either came through a school or work for a school that sets a pattern for apple use. this will change in coming years.

     

    #579

    @rosa – “less powerful” yes that.

    “emphasis on difference” – im thinking this is ok if it sheds light on something that needs alternative approaches or policies in order to force fairness on dominant paradigms/traditions. also recognizing “difference” kind of makes things more interesting/changes perspectives.

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