Luke Sturgeon

  1. Baudrillard Reframed

    January 9, 2015


    A very interesting book for me. I’m searching for various books that synthesis and explain key concepts or principles relating to an individual, a school of thought or some other idea. This book does a great job of introducing the key principles of Baudrillards philosophy. It provides a introduce to ideas through example and quotation, with suggested further reading. It aims to be a stepping stone in to more philosophical or academic text that can be intimidating.

    Capitalism and consumer culture, mass media and communication technologies have aided the proliferation and multiplication of images in a way never experienced before. Our visual spectrum is choked up with a seemingly endless stream of images, brands, slogans, signs, graphics and labels. [1]

    [hyperreality] when our knowledge and understanding of the world is primarily derived through signs that have come to replace reality. [2]

    It makes reality ‘real’ to us. But what we consider to be ‘real’ is just another form of illusion, albeit a ‘vital illusion’ that Baudrillard says is critical for a function society. What we need to mindful of here is that the challenge to the real posed by seduction and illusion comes from within the same significatory system. [1]

    If it is no longer possible or relevant to speak about the circulation and operation of images in terms of what they represent, then where does this leave art? [1]

    Images are no longer the mirror of reality, they have invested the heart of reality and transformed it into hyperreality where, from screen to screen, the only aim of the image is the image. The image can no longer imagine the real because it is the real; it can no longer transcend reality, transfigure it or dream it, since images are virtual reality. In virtual reality, it is as if things had swallowed their mirror. [3: 120]

    Art is no different any more from anything else. [3: 18]

    Even the ‘creative’ act replicates itself to become nothing more than the sign of it’s own operation – the true subject of a painter is no longer what he or she paints but the very fact that he or she paints. The painter paints the fact that he or she paints. In that way, at least, the idea of art is saved. [3: 91]

    The viewer literally consumes the fact that he or she does not understand it and that it has no necessity to it other than the cultural imperative of belonging to the integrated circuit of culture … the consumer moves through it all to test his or her non-enjoyment of the works. [3: 91]

    There is something ironic in the way that the art world relies on people subscribing to the idea of art while being expected to reserve aesthetic judgement or avoid making sense of an artwork in a postmodern era where the meaning of things is uncertain. [1]

    Generally, we think that photographs can reveal some essence or truth about the object we are photographing. The photo is considered evidence that someone existed or something happened. [1]

    The worth of an object is not intrinsic to it – it does not have a pre-existing meaning but transcends material value to circulate among a host of other elements in a signifying chain. Consumption thus occurs “at a distance, a distance which is that of the sign”. [4: 33]

    In the end the image and the reading of the image are by no means the shortest way to the object, merely the shortest way to another image. The signs of advertising thus follow upon one another like the transient images of hypnagogic states. [5: 177]

    Using the example of reality TV, Baudrillard argues that through the process of consuming the visual spectacle our relationship to images changes. Whereas in the society of the spectacle there is a distinction between images and reality (images alienate us from reality), in the era of hyperreality, we consumer not only what is represented, but the medium through which it is represented. [1]

    Baudrillard cites DNA, cloning technologies and virtual reality as examples of the way that the body is reconfigured as data in an era of hyperreality. He understands the body to be a simulation or reality effect based on the production of models with no basis in reality. [1]

    He is trying to explain firstly how our understanding of the body is mediated through images and models, and secondly the consequences of this for the body in a simulated landscape that blurs the distinction between material and virtual. [1]

    The ‘message’ of TV is not in the images it transmits, but the new modes of relating and perceiving it imposes, the alterations to traditional family and group structures. [4]

    The problem is we don’t know it’s [reality] an illusion because any semblance of illusion has been eradicated by hypervisibility of the scene, which seems too real not to be true. [1]

    War is not measure by being waged but by its speculative unfolding in an abstract, electronic and informational space. [6]

    For Baudrillard, cinema is no longer an ‘enchanted universe’ that generated a sense of illusion by being different to reality. Baudrillard calls for a return to illusion as an antidote to the ‘integral reality’ we are experiencing, and which he claims creates an indifference to images of suffering. [1]

    1. Kim Toffoletti. Baudrillard Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. 2010.
    2. Jean Baudrillard. Simulacra and simulation. University of Michigan Press, 1994.
    3. Jean Baudrillard. The System of Objects. Verso Books. 2005
    4. Jean Baudrillard. The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures. SAGE Publications Ltd. 1998
    5. Jean Baudrillard. The Conspiracy of Art: Manifestos, Texts, Interviews. MIT Press. 2005
    6. Jean Baudrillard. The Gulf War Did Not Take Place. Indiana University Press. 1995

  2. AI intelligence research

    January 2, 2015

    I have uploaded my artificial irrationality research document. This was a new approach for this project to document and rationalise my thinking and research, daily. By updating and improving a single document / mind-map.

    This process was intrinsic in my coming to a creative direction and concept early on, given the short time frame to produce a project. It also became a tool I used to introduce my concept and direction to collaborators, quickly explaining who, what and why and being able to follow a single line of through that leads to the most logical project proposal based on the theoretical inputs.


  3. New project uploaded

    December 21, 2014

    My latest work and part of a Design Interactions brief at RCA.

    3 wall gallery

  4. ColourSender Node.js prototype

    December 7, 2014


    A quick working prototype that allows me to control the background colour of any connected browser window. Including external devices etc. Making an unlimited and scalable multi-screen display. Code is on GitHub.

  5. Cowbird And Humanizing The Web – Jonathan Harris

    November 27, 2014

    4 shifting forces in culture and the web

    1. Compression

    • letters > telephone > fax > email > chat > ams > tweet

    2. Disposability

    • thoughts feelings and expression is swallowed up almost immediately with the new torrent of information

    3. Curation

    • A lot of self-expression is often curation instead of creation. re-blogging other content and letting that taste represent who you are
    • we feel fine scrapped 20,000 emotional expressions in 2004
    • we feel fine scrapped only 8000 emotions per day in 2012
    • More content generation, less emotional content

    4. Self promotion

    • “Look how awesome my life is”

    Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 17.28.27

    A very small number of, mainly male designers and developers, mainly between the ages of 22 and 35, mainly living in places like New York City and San Francisco. Who are having a hugely outsized affect on the daily behaviour patterns of a large percentage of the Human Species, through the software that they design and introduce in to the world.

    Through the small details like the selection of default settings. Designers are actually determining how hundreds of millions of people behave in their day in little ways.

    Software engineers = social engineers!

    All technology extends some pre-existing urge that is already embedded within us
    – Marshal McLuhan

  6. TODAY – Jonathan Harris

    No matter what you do in your life, what you create, what career you have, you you have a family or kids, or make a lot of money. Your greatest creation is always going to be your life story.

    Life itself is a story you’re writing

    The process of growing up has made me less sure of myself. Somehow. Because I see there’s so much more that I don’t know. Which I didn’t see before…

    I use stories as a technique to organise the past.

    I think there’s a real lack of storytelling between us [humanity] now. We’re all living lives that are so fragmented and so moment to moment. What’s happening now. Whats the latest tech  message. Whats the latest news blurb. It’s all so moment, moment moment! … There’s not that time to create stories, to make sense of your experience.

    You really need privacy, space in order to contemplate and grow.

    Boy meets world. Boy still baffled.

  7. Newspeak

    November 26, 2014

    Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?
    In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no works in which to express it.
    — George Orwell, 1984.

  8. Biotechnominimarket

    On the Design Interactions course we’ve just completed a 1-day workshop with The Extrapolation Factory. See Flickr Album.

    Based on current scientific work and following a speculative scenario building process, I created a fictional tool that allows the exchange of gut bacteria between two individuals, allowing the modification, adjustment and exchange of their body-shapes.




    This work was then presented in the form of a pop-up store hosted in Queensway Market, London. All of the work was open to public discussion, criticism and explanation.

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