Technology And Rituals @ Interaktion und Raum

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A documentation of student projects from the class Technology and Rituals can be found on the Digital Media website.


Assignment

Every religion has its rituals. Some rituals are designed to structure everyday life, some are derived from preexisting cultural practices, some are invented to amplify the feeling of togetherness.

How does technology influence existing rituals? Can we identify rituals only possible through technology? Assuming that technology is our new religion, what are its rituals? Recharging, Uploading, Synchronizing, Archiving?

In this course we will discuss relevant rituals we know, identify and debate exisiting practices with technology and eventually collaboratively formulate a position on ›Technology And Rituals‹.


Reference

Find below a stream of references relevant to the course. To contribute to the stream, post to delicious by using this tag hfkbremen-technology_and_rituals.

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Participants

  1. Toni Andonova [1]
  2. Luiza Prado [2]
  3. Pedro Oliveira [3]
  4. Mansour Zare [4]
  5. Kaberi [5]

To send messages to all participants send an email to this address technology-and-rituals@googlegroups.com.

Recap

2010 04 22

<toggledisplay> We briefly discussed Toni's presentation. Lucy mentioned Edward Tufte and his book on powerpoint presentations. We decided to make an extra effort and to present our projects once or twice during the semester.

Lucy took an interest in the emotional connection to rituals and emotional connection to technology. She observed how certain technological objects are considered to be female while others are male: her mobile phone is female, her computer is 'male'. In this context Dennis mentioned the work of V. S. Ramachandran, a neurologist who discusses in his work on Synesthesia the Bouba/kiki effect ( originally discovered by Wolfgang Köhler ). The Bouba/kiki effect describes a relation between shape and sound.

Lucy merged her observations into a term and/or working title: Sentimental Technologies. She agreed to dig deeper into that notion …

Toni talked about Micro Rituals and mentioned a few atomic computer interactions, like copy&paste or moving the mouse. We considered the idea of creating a Yoga School of Computer Interaction in which learn to appreciate the simple and suttle things related to machines.

Toni will read satsang (yoga lecture) on Yoga and Everyday Life

Mansour talked about how he believes that rituals are created out of needs. We then discussed if it is possible to augment an existing rituals. Dennis suggests to think about the 'peripheral ritual' or the 'meta ritual'. We further discussed how maybe the time before the actual rituals, in mansour s case the time before the Hadj, can be something to turn into a ritual. Maybe we can create an object that one will carry around right before going to Mecca. A ritual that comments or relates to another ritual. </toggledisplay>

2010 04 15

<toggledisplay> We started the session with a presentation by Luiza and Pedro talking about non-useless inventions called Chindogu and how they are used to comment on everday situations in a clever, humorous, and anarchic way.

The students then presented a collection of observations and thoughts about rituals.

Toni introduced to us the world of yoga. She was interested in the aspect of yoga that deals with awareness. She stated that the main intention of yoga is not to make a person's limbs more bendable but to gain awareness to even the most insignificant aspects of an exercise. Toni noted that we do so many things every day over and over without paying attention to them; for example saving a document when working on the computer. She was interested in creating a ritual that shifts awareness towards something otherwise unnoticed. Dennis suggested to use the term 'micro ritual' as a working title and to compile a list of situations which would be situations that would worth to focusing on. He referenced the video game 'Wario Wares'. A game in which one plays only second-long fragments from other video games. He also referenced a work, which consists of one-second long video loops showing everyday situations repeated over and over. Both examples illustrated how the quality of a moment or situation significantly shifts when reduced to a single small moment.

Mansour talked about how he observed that there are all kinds of different categories of rituals. For once there are 'cosmopolitan' rituals that most everybody goes through at some point in their life, rituals that involve wedding, death or coming of age. He also contemplated the accessibility of rituals; some are for just a few people, some are for most of the people and some are for everybody. Being among the later he introduced us to a ritual from moslem culture called 'Hadj'. It refers to the pilgrimage to Mecca that every muslim is expected to make at least once in their life. He was fascinated not only by the immense number of people practicing the ritual in a single place but also by how equal every participant becomes during the ritual, man or woman alike. We wondered if there might be some kind of 'meta ritual' that would be somehow added to 'Hadj' like a technology-inspired add-on. something that would respect 'Hadj' but still something new to it. We also found it worth noting that the daily muslim prayer is connecting to the same place in a virutal way by point the prayer rug to Mecca. Maybe this connection holds some further potential …

Pedro presented us with a subjective history of how our culture listened to music over the last centuries. Roughly speaking he was fascinated by the almost ritualized act of listening to music back in the old days and contrasted it with the ubiquitous and en passant manner in which we perceive music today. He was contemplating the idea of bringing some of the magic back into our lives, without enforcing any the elitist notion. ( not finished writing yet ... ) </toggledisplay>

2010 04 07

<toggledisplay> We briefly introduced each other and talked about our professional background and the expectations we have of the course.

Among other things Luiza and Pedro mentioned Chindōgu as a conceptual strategy to humorously comment on everyday life or even the 'human condition'. They are going to give a brief introduction on Chindōgu in the next session. Karl Valentin was also mentioned as an artist who used humorous strategies in his work.

Pedro also talked about the idea of the 'scar' ( or scratch ) on, in this case, a guitar as a reminder of an experience one had with a certain artifact. Some kind of customization?

We also posed a few questions:

  • Is there a Ritual 2.0 ( excuse the worn-out expression )? How could the connectiveness of things transform for example a funeral?
  • What kind of rituals do we know and find interesting or repulsive?
  • What kind of rituals exist that lost their functional origin?
  • How would rituals change if intersected with technology?
  • What kind of rituals do not yet exist but are somehow in the air? What do you do when some types in a password? How do you feel about recharging all your gadgets everyday?

We decided on a Pecha Kucha presentation style ( 20 slides, each shown for 20 seconds ). </toggledisplay>


Rituals of Interest

  • We always have to Recharge all out Gadgets.
  • When we enter a password well-mannered look away and whistle a few notes.
  • What do we do with electronic devices when they are broken for good? How could the concept of a funeral support the idea of recycling material.
  • Can the customization of mass products be considered a ritual? If so how can we shape it?


Ideas

Toni

Elektro Yoga

Projecting the concepts of Yoga onto the interaction with Computers. Therefore, to create a system resembling yoga system. The name of the system is: "Awareness While Communicate With a Computer".

<toggledisplay> I would like to think about this project as something which will bring more understanding, so people be aware of that they interact with their computer, something is going on while they are moving the mouse. And they are active side in this process. On one hand, people's influence, on the other, machine's response. Something like that.

  • A little info about yoga system

They are different types of yoga:

  1. radja yoga("raja" means "king", "royal". it is related with meditation, is not only for wealthy people),
  2. hatha yoga(asana(body posture), pranayma(breathing), etc.),
  3. bahti yoga(yoga of the heart),
  4. etc.

But whatever the type is, the basic of yoga philosophy are the sutras of Patanjali. Sutras are in sanskrit. They are basically one sentence. But to understand them better, we need a living teacher who has experience. In yoga there are number of practices we have to do. They develop and increase our awareness.

  • In connection with technology

Following the concept of yoga, the different parts of the computer are organized in groups (storage, display, CPU, RAM, etc.). Every group has a main 'sutra'. Than an explanation follows. Certain practices are driven from the explanations.

  • Example of the system: sutras and explanations

Awareness While Communicate With a Computer

sutra for the storage/ data: Your computer is a storage device.

  1. The storage of your computer is assembled by millions of tiny cells.
  2. They are combined in a physical structure called HDD.
  3. The number of HDD is the number of the cells which we can use to store info.

sutra for the display: The display visualize the conversation between you and the computer.

  1. Your computer's display is made by particles called molecules.
  2. The molecules are arranged in a gigantic structure.
  3. Hidden flow of minute particles is the cause why the display is highlighted.

introducing sutra regarded communication: You perform the act of communication with your computer using language as well. The elements of the language are the input devices such as mouse and keys.

sutra for the mouse: The mouse is the medium between the user and the computer.

  1. Pushing mouse buttons or keys, you create a statement.
  2. Corresponding to this thousand of minute particles are activated.
  3. They also send a massage back.
  • Place where this system can take place
  1. at school (people above 16 could practice this).
  • What still to do (valid up to date 2d June, 2010, presentation day)
  1. what is the experience a user will have;
  2. in which way makes a user aware;
  3. physical implementation, space.
  • What happened next (true up to date 16th June, 2010)
  1. create a mini-model. materials used: plastelin, paper, oil pastels;
  2. make pictures of the model;
  3. create a story around it: fake magazine article.
class room
  • The outcome(not decided yet, true up to date 22d June, 2010)
  1. could be physical installation
  2. could be model(made out of plastelin figures and paper)
  3. paperwork
  • The final result (up to 23 June)
  1. model;
  2. pictures of the exercises that could take place;
  3. some text.

</toggledisplay>


Luiza

The Useless Interface


Pedro

The "Shuffle" Behavior (still need to do minor adjustments to this title, though)

<toggledisplay>

  • The plot: Listening to Music
Since the invention of recorded music, the habits related to music listening are increasingly getting more tied with technology. The modes of listening change over time.

Concert hall -> Recorded music -> The Single -> The Long-play -> The mixtape -> The CD -> MP3 -> (?)

  • The motivation: The artist paradox
Artists feel the need of making their music available. More people listen to more music. However, more people listen to more music, faster. The attention span is getting smaller, and the room for new music is getting bigger. How to balance that?
  • The core: Shuffle
"Shuffle" mode is the opposite of the album. Music-to-go. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it isn't, let's not judge that. Should we forget the Shuffle and listen to the world around us? Should we give Music the attention it demands?
  • The idea: "think about it"
The idea is to create a small series of objects that will touch some questions and make an ironic comment on "music listening habits". Each object will be followed by a simple title and a statement. The interpretation is always open.
  • The icon of choice: iPod Shuffle
The iPod Shuffle changed people's listening habits to "shuffle mode". While it is a good way to get surprised with new music, the idea of enjoying an artist's work from beginning to the end, like a ritual, was forgot somewhere.
  • 1 Music and Self-destruction
Every time one listens in Shuffle mode, it will play the same song again with some destroyed data, until its gets completely unlistenable.
  • 2 Music and Sharing
This object will play a song with slightly different velocities in each side, causing a weird effect and perhaps making one give away one earbud to another person.
"Your music is everyone's music"
  • 3 Music and Loudness
A threshold in volume keeps the song playing in its normal way. The louder one tries to listen, the faster it will play the song.
  • 4 Music and awareness
Every time one moves, the iPod stops playing. This requires one to stand really still.
    • 4a Music and "mass media"
This object will play a short-annoying loop of the USA's #1 Chart song (Lady Gaga? Justin Bieber?) 50 times when one tries to listen in Shuffle mode.

</toggledisplay>


Mansour

The Peripheral Ritual

How can an existing ritual ( like Hadj ) be augmented by creating other rituals around it.

Hadj Ritual in Saudy Arabia

more then 3000000 Pilgrims every year only for Hadj Umra exclusing pilgrims for other related rituals throughout the year.

<toggledisplay> Agenda:

1. History of Hadj Ritual for moslems

2. Preparation time 2.1. Hajj Preparation 2.2. Spiritual and Mental Preparation 2.3. Physical preparation

3. Traveling 3.1. Organizational preparation

4. join Rituals

5. return to homeland

6. Technologie and Hadj Ritual 6.1 What kind of technologies are being used in this Hadj ritual. 6.2 What new media want to use the pilgrims during Haj Rituls


1. History of Hadj Ritual for moslems

The Hadj is comes from Saudi Arabia. Spellings in different countries looks like Hadj, Hajj, Hajj, Hajj and the Arabic writing looks like this: حج a person who has completed the Hadj, bears the honorary title of Hadji. Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the main recommendations of each religious Muslims. (According to Koran commandment (Koran Aye 3 / 97)) It is recommended that every Muslim who can afford it should at least go once in his life according to God's house, to Mecca, to execute the Hadj rituals. The great pilgrimage, the Hadj, can be carried out only during certain days in the year (8th-12th Dhul-Hijja. The actual Hajj begins on 8 Dhul-Hijjah pilgrims travelling from Mecca to Mina. This time is in December and will be calculated according to the Arab solar and lunar calendar every year on the exact day. The Kaaba (House of God in Mecca) is built of Abraham and his son Ishmael (Qur'an 2 / 124 - 129) and is the arrival destination of this pilgrimage. The Hadj is unique. There is no comparable ritual in the world. Every year, account for more than 3000000 Manes and women in this Islamic ritual. But about 30000 people go to Mecca each year from GERMANY. The Qibla (the house of God) is an orientation as the direction of prayer for all Muslims in the world the concentration in prayer to Allah (God) in this holy place with the highest sanctuary, creates a bond of unity among world Muslims. If you would imagine, the Kaaba (the house of God) would despair for a moment, would create the image all believers from all over the world praying for each other took a bow. What a great picture if all Muslims would be on the earth in the circle opposite. In order to experience feelings of such a touch and see the big community as a true reality, every Muslim would like to be part of this community.


2. Preparation time bevor Hadj The hadj, or pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the most important rituals of Islam and every Muslim should do it once in life, as far as one to materially and medically is capable of. This year 2010 will take place in late December Hadj Umra. Intensive preparation for the Hajj is extremely important. This is to become familiar with the course of Hajj and mentally but also physically to adapt. The Hadj is simply not a tourist trip, but includes obligations and responsibilities that must be met. To complete a filled Hadj, it is recommended to expectations, especially regarding the location, comfort, food are not too high and also be recognized to be ready to accept any deviations from normal standards. One should make the decision to go to Hadj as long as possible in advance and take time to prepare, especially if you want to go to Hadj for the first time.

1.2.Spiritual and Mental Preparation The Hajj journey should be planned in advance as possible one years. Within this year the pilgrims have enough time to deal with their current preferences, needs and problems and solve them all in a peaceful form. The pilgrims should have paid their debt to others. If you are convicted, they should have passed their sentences. Did the pilgrims in the family, neighborhood or work problems or deficiencies with other people, he should try to satisfy these people. Before a pilgrims traveling to Mecca, he should at least have supported one particular person, either financially or emotionally. A pilgrim should be free before departure to Mecca of guilt, hatred and envy. He should be in a position after the Hadj with a new start in life, in which a harmonious life together is a top priority.

1.3. Physical preparation In the Hadj sometimes you have to go far on foot. As training you should take time to walk in the weeks and months before the Hadj as possible every day for 30-60 minutes. A meningitis vaccination before the Hajj is obligatory. The usual smaller Hadj diseases, such as the infamous "Hadj-cough," is a collection of so many people, especially in the winter months to avoid. Men and especially women should have ever carried out by physical constitutions of all necessary medical aid tests. Sick pilgrims should take their medicine and medical reports. Men and women should know their allergies and take appropriate medication. Before leaving all the men and women should have a complete body care, for example, shaving body hair and cuting nails because Haarcuting and sex is not alowed during Hadj 2.1. Organizational preparation Travelers should inquire in advance with the organizer if the food is included with the price and that the hotels are not too far from the blessed sites, and to verify whether the services offered to the price paid. But it is not that an expensive Hadj-trip package very well and a cheap is bad. It is advisable to check with other pilgrims on their experiences with individual tour operators, or the services and prices of different suppliers to compare in peace. Almost all Hadj-groups by an expert guide, often led by an Imam, that provides for a correct performance of the Hajj pilgrims and the questions are available. Some mosques also offer preparatory courses. In any case, it is advisable in advance to familiarize yourself with the rules and procedure. Participation of children in the Hadj is recommended from about 12 years. Infant's parents were too distracted by the ritual, so they should not be taken to Mecca. Prices for Hadj trips in Germany are now at a fairly high level of 1800,-till 2300,- € per person for two weeks.

..... more information will follow. </toggledisplay>

Kaberi

Proposal: Punishment of Technology / Crack up from Technology

We use technology in our daily life and our life styles are maintaining many rituals. So technology and rituals are closely related term for human beings. Although we are benefited a lot from technology, we also suffer the rush of technology.

<toggledisplay> People use computer, this is the one common ritual all over the word . But they also feel distress for using computer such as affected by virus and effect on lost of valuable historical data.

Listening music is very common and famousful ritaul in the world. While listening a favourate music, sometimes it happens that unexpected error occurs and result of music crash or some distrubing noise comes up and then return to main music or affected by virus and no live of music. So people are shocked in this situtation.

A large community of people are using facebook in the world. It is very helpful for improving communication with the world and also we can share your ideas, pictures, vedios, favourate musics, comments and so on with others. But now few countries have alreads banned of using Facebook because of religious issue. One team of Facebook users, they made a group for critisiging, making funny cartoons, jokes of Hazrat Mohammad (S. A.) who is a prophet of Muslim. For that reason muslim religious people requested to Facebook authority to block this group but they did not. As a result Pakistan, Bangladesh and so on, have banned of using Facebook. So it is a very bad experience of using technology.

Therefore, my proposal is that i want to describe these situations as an example of suffering from tecnology and how it is related to rituals and finally i will make a sketch of each situation where by image people can understand the situation. For music i will use some softwares which are used for making musics to beak down the flow of music and making noise in the middle of song. The rest of situations, for sketching image i will use Adove Photoshop, Adobe illustrator, 3d studio max if necessary and so on. </toggledisplay>


Individual Critique

For individual critique please go to this page about Individual Critique.