Digital Culture –| 2008

electronic art, technology and culture

Archive for the ‘week 5 – tech, culture and society’ Category

All you need to know about spore technology

leave a comment »


Spore tech is most notorious for its military uses (q.v.), but is much more common in ordinary industry or research. It is frequently used where environments are hazardous and the risk that an individual unit or individual will be destroyed is high. Extreme heat, particle radiation, or strong kinetic energy such as an orbit within a planetary ring system or placement in a stormy atmosphere or hydrosphere are just a few examples of such environments. Spore tech is also used when a large number of bots, neogens or vecs is needed in very short order; in such cases they are “seeded” in large numbers into the appropriate environment. The resulting units usually produce additional spores when they are mature, usually with a very short generation time. The effect of sporetech in any case is that the population is either stable in difficult circumstances or else grows and spreads rapidly from a small number of initial units, according to the design of whoever deployed the devices in the first place.

A “spore” is a biotech, dry nanotech, or syntech device (more rarely, a picotech or femtotech device) that is extremely small but is capable of “growing” into a full sized bot, vec or neogen. The result may be anything from the equivalent of a simple plant or semi-sentient machine to a sentient but non-sophont bot or organism or even a full fledged person. Most spores preserve the programming or (if applicable) the mind-state of the parent model. Spores are usually as small as the local technology allows, and are extremely resistant to whatever hazards the spore-bearing unit is most likely to encounter. Spores with extra protective layers and a significant “start-up” package of materials are sometimes called seeds instead. If the spores or seeds receive the proper signal (or, in some cases, cease to receive such a signal) and are in contact with a suitable substrate, they will begin to grow a new unit. In the case of nanotech spores, the developing body will search for appropriate elements, either by developing a “larval” form and moving about or by growing extensions resembling fungal hyphae, or by growing some other collecting and or harvesting device. Energy for continued growth is gathered in a variety of ways appropriate to the environment: anything from solar panels to generators that exploit movement in the atmosphere or hydrosphere, tether tech for orbits around planets with magnetic fields, to whatever else may be appropriate. Once it has grown large enough, a spore device may even grow/assemble a small fusion plant. The developing body may be camouflaged (in the case of military or surveillance spore bots) or may be otherwise protected from hostile beings or a hostile environment until it is fully developed. The pace of growth varies considerably according to the purposes of the designers. Some spores are designed to develop rapidly, either so that they can to accomplish a task quickly or so that they can overwhelm an extremely unfavourable environment or some form of sophont opposition. Others may “lurk” half-developed until an appropriate time and then take action, sometimes en masse.

Spore technology is widely used in the initial stages of terraforming, and of course biotech spore technology is essential in the later stages. It is also used in the more hazardous sorts of mining operations on rocky bodies. Sporetech balloon devices are used to harvest elements and compounds from the more turbulent gas giants. A sporetech swarm of synsects is often used to gather information where the mortality rate for individual units is high. Security devices often use sporetech, since if somehow an intruder destroys the original units their descendants will survive to report whatever they have recorded and possibly to take other appropriate action.

Spore tech release in orbit

Spore tech release in orbit


Written by neva3548

October 27, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Bio plastic surveillance spores – artwork proposal : short brief

leave a comment »

The first stage of this artwork installation is scientifically developed bio plastic surveillance spores grown on vertical gardens that unwittingly infect passers by. The infection only becomes apparent when the infected move beyond invisible boundaries created to enforce people to behave within the rules of a new societal order – the dream society.

Traditional fencing in the spatial environment is purely aesthetic, a mesh fence previously perceived as militant is now viewed as metallic lace. However when passing into controlled areas, a physicality change takes place in the offender to control them by shaming them into behaving within the confines, by a gestation of the virus which anthropomorphically changes their appearance.

Two different states occur depending on the zoning and level of control. The first disables by causing dexterous hands and feet to swell into balls, and so forth for major joints of the elbows and knees. The second state causes the skin on the face to become translucent scaring others by revealing the muscle tissue and bones underneath, incredibly ghoulish for the offender too.

Controlling people with microscopic technology and invisible architecture, which acts as a catalyst to punish and embarrass people with the threat of bodily disfigurement.

Artwork ideals raised:

What is a boundary?

Can a virtual boundary be a form of control?

What social conditioning could develop from virtual architecture in the real world?

How is such a technology managed and for what reasons?

Is a physical boundary free world really that free, is it all about perception?

Written by neva3548

October 27, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Pretty Relevent

with one comment

Interatction of Environment and Self

Interatction of Environment and Self

I believe this comic shows how technology and the environment has interacted with the self, both on how we chose to use thecnology to enhance our welbeing or for entertainment and aesthetics. Today with the technology in hand mainly it’s for entertainment and entertainment has a big issue on the self it reflects how we view society, as well as how we view life. Like in the statement “we build things to go through” suggest in my view on how technology is a tool that we use to hide ourselves and have something to show our dominance. More to become stronger, and this impacts how we view society and become relient on more so the technology then the self.

Written by anfunny

October 20, 2008 at 3:20 pm

The Otaku Way – Cyber Coil, Circle of Children

with 3 comments

Dennou Coil



Ladies and Gentlemen! Today, I will be very very pushy about this anime series! Last week was Ghost in The Shell – Com’on, EVERYBODY saw that. This time, I’ll introduce you to an important anime series that came out last year with high anticipation in Japan and should be a cult hit when the English-Dubbed DVD are actually on sale.


And no- unlike Ghost in The Shell or Evangelion, you don’t need a PhD to understand it.


The anime is called Dennou Coil, and the theme are about augment reality (AR), the interaction of people through technology, and refreshing high school girls.


Want more reason?


  • The Mainichi Shimbun suggested the technology shown in the series would have a great influence on the future, comparing it to the way Snow Crash influenced the development of Second Life.
  • Share character design with Animatrix’s episode “Beyond”
  • The director, Mitsuo Iso, came from Episode Director in Rahxaphon (a superior version of Evangelion IMHO) and Evangelion itself.
  • Spirit successor to Serial Experiment Lain
  • Dennō Coil wins lots of awards
  • Cyberpunk without the bleakness



From Wikipedia:

Dennō Coil (電脳コイル, Dennō Koiru?, lit. Computer Coil, Cyberbrain Coil or Electric Brain Coil), Coil — A Circle of Children, is a Japanese animation science fiction series depicting a near future where augmented reality (AR) technology has just begun to enter the mainstream. The series takes place in the fictional city of Daikoku, a hotbed of AR development with an emerging city-wide virtual infrastructure. It follows a group of children as they use AR glasses to unravel the mysteries of the half real, half Internet city, using a variety of illegal software tools, techniques, and virtual pets to manipulate the digital landscape.

See? Nothing’s more cyberpunk than rural Japanese town…

Dennō Coil, in development for over a decade, is the series director debut of Japanese animator Mitsuo Iso. It premiered on NHK Educational on May 12, 2007. Due to the animators involved in its production and its unusually high-profile television broadcast time slot, Dennō Coil was highly anticipated by fans of animation production quality.





I would describe this series as Ghost in The Shell meet Hayao Miyazaki – a cosy warm, mother-nature setting with interesting, uplift and lovable characters in the world where technological advancement is worthy of a dystopia cyberpunk world. A world where the concept of corruption and crimes doesn’t seem to exist and the cyber law-enforcement consist of a squad of giant cute teddy bears. This is a world where the NUMBER ONE ULTIMATE HACKER is a 90 years old grandmother and cyber-hacking battle consist of acting embarrassing poses to shoot executable programs from your eyes. The interaction between the kids and their daily experience will warm your heart. Dennō Coil is a series for all age and if you love Hayao Miyazaki’s film, you’ll definitely love this.


 Cyber Law Enforcement


Cyber-hacking battle consist of embarrassing pose




The face of the ULTIMATE HACKER – Infinitely more 1337 than Hiro Protagonist


Augment Reality



Not to downplay the significant of the technology, Dennou Coiled offer many interesting application in Augment Reality development.


Calling home with Dennou Glasses



Dennō is the word used in the series to differentiate between virtual and real, e.g. “dennō cat”. Literally translating to “electric brain”, dennō is a Chinese phrase (“dian nao”) for computer and is usually translated as “cyber”. The title of the show itself, Dennō Coil, refers to the dangerous phenomenon of the separation of one’s digital self from the physical body.


From Cyber-pet to education purposes, from navigation to enhance man-machine interface, children as little as three started to wear AR glasses in day-to-day life. Everyone relied on the system and became gargoyle – to use Snow Crash’s term in referring to a group of people who stay online all the time, even when they are on the street. As an electronic system, it is subjected to many bane of technology today – computer viruses, obsolete versions, formatting, and glitching are common, especially in this fictional city of Daikoku for some unknown reason…




Future of SPAM mails…



Go phishing! 


“Dennou Coil” effect – Similar to “Stand Alone Complex” Effect


Towards the end of the series, the technology has gone horribly wrong. (Of course, it’s going to go wrong – this is science fiction!) The AR system is capable of producing the Dennō Coil phenomenon. Similar to Ghost in The Shell’s cyber-disease “Stand Alone Complex”, Dennō Coil effect ripped the digital body from the flesh body, resulting in a comatose brain-dead state. It is an urban legend widely known among the kids as “being whist away to the other side”.


The writing said “NO DATA”


Of course, this dangerous possibility in AR interface was covered up very heavily by the government. Who would’ve guess!?




Cyberpet and Afterlife



Another interesting relationship was between the kids and their cyber-pet. Regardless whether the cyber-pet is real or not, the kids love their cyber-pet, and the cyber-pet AI “loved” them back. The series depicted these relationships as pure and true – strong bond between human and AI, enough that it makes the AI come alive. Even as an AI on an AR system, the cyber-pet is surprisingly convincing as a pet. BE WARN: Tears (manly tears – mine) have been shred over “Data-Corrupted” or “Reformatted” cyber-pet scene. And, yes, I WOULD CRY MANLY TEARS EVEN MORE if we happened to develop a cyber-pet as good as in Dennō Coil and I happen to own one.


F&%$ Tamagotchi and Robo-Dog, get my cyber-dog as good as this, Bandai/Sony!!





Dennō Coil sported excellent animation from Madhouse studio which brings you fine anime such as Vampire Hunter D and Ninja Scroll as well as beautiful soundtrack with obvious influence from Studio Ghibi. But the most charming point about it is the adventure! It reminisced my own childhood as well as making a scary speculation into the future of how my children’s generation will grow up in.


Unfortunately, the English DVD hasn’t been release yet so I’m going to provide you with a stream site:


Try this anime stream site:


If you like what you see, I can burn a high quality copy for you.


See this, people! Give the first episode a go!


Till next time!


Now Hold Responder! Respond to Formular Car Racing…

leave a comment »

Just a quick respond to post AI computer systems in “Formular Car Racing” on something everybody should know. The greatest fictional robot ever. Period.

In the West there’s Mickey Mouse, in the East there’s Doraemon.

Super popular and super influential, Doraemon is arguably the number one social literature that shape the development of technology in Japan today.

With around FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDREDS fantastic fictional inventions coming out of Doraemon’s 4th dimentional pocket, it stemmed so many directions in current researches.


Interactive Robot Project “Doraemon The Robot”

Takekopta project (Bamboo-coptor)

and more to come. 4499 inventions left to go.


The Otaku Way – Tachiko, Fujiko, Uchiko…

with 5 comments

Ghost in The Shell is a series about the futuristic elite police force that deals with cyber-crime – each episode/iteration seems to involve cyberbrain hacking or cyborg going berserk or the combination between the two (the best show premise ever!) As a solid entry into the cyberpunk movement, it explored many philosophical concepts such as what is human and can machine develop a soul. It became inspiration to many other show succeeding, including The Matrix (1999).

Ghost in The Shell has many iterations – 3 series of manga, 2 tv show, and 3 theatrical movies, not including minor spinoff such as Drama CD, video game, and a couple of novel – each with its differences in the way the story is portrayed.

GiTS started of as a Japanese manga by Masamune Shirow, first publish in 1989 and come back again in 1997. It is said to be the heaviest of all the incarnations since Masamune Shirow is a crazy guy. He tried to cram all the philosophy, ideology, and reflection on technological advancement all into something, like, 2 tankubon (Japanese graphic novel) of around 600 pages. It is consider to be very hard to read since not only there are over 60 pages of nearly pure text devoted to explain the setting and the technology, we still have to keep up with all of his footnote as well. It was the first comic I read that actually has a FOOTNOTE! Some are informations that did not exist in the dialog but for other you just get “After this, there’s a scene where Mokoto takes over the driving and Togusa check his gear and put it on, but it was too much of a hassle to draw so I left it out…” Thanks, Japan.

Ghost in The Shell fanart:

To see how crazy Masamune Shirow is – CLICK HEREYOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

The first of Mamoru Oshii’s adaptation film of the manga came out in 1995 as Ghost in The Shell, with a sequel released in 2004 as Ghost in The Shell: Innocence. Oshii is a successful anime director, his prior works before Ghost in The Shell included Mobile Police Patlabour series – a cult classic for the giant robot Mecha fan about futuristic police force in a world where giant robot, regarded as weapon of mass destruction in other anime series like Gundam, were used in everyday life chores such as construction and crime. Oshii got his fame from directing Urusei Yatsura, a late 70’s super famous quirky love-comedy show in Japan (You have to know this one, Hide!) Adaptation from Rumiko Takahash’s manga of the same name, it influenced and spawns horrible, horrible spiritual offspring in several other shows collectively known as Rumiko Takahashi’s effect where the main couple are trying to get together and as they take a step forward, they got 2 steps setback – in which it became an obnoxious loop that goes nowhere for A FEW HUNDRED EPISODES. Thanks, Japan.

Mamoru Oshii’s version of Ghost in The Shell is considered to be very focused on the philosophy’s side and discarded many procedure/detective/cop-show elements exist in Shirow’s manga. Instead, Oshii’s version has gray overtone – mute elements – that veil over the source materials in his later works. Most of Ghost in The Shell’s franchise is unpopular in Japan, but is a huge commercial success in the west – all thanks to Oshii’s first film which is so penetrating in the late 90’s, just like how Akira was in the late 80’s. It was, at that point, a show where every anime fan outside Japan – no matter how casual or hardcore they are – must have seen. The first film was focused on the Major (Kusanagi Motoko) and her struggle to identify, and perhaps to confirm, her existence as human. The sequal, Innocence, is all about Batou walking around, talking. No wonder why they did one version of the dubbed with the original cast from the first movie, released it, then go back and re-record THE SAME CAST saying THE SAME LINE and release it again. Excellent dubbed, both times, by the way. Thanks, America.

The “crew” from Innocence

The TV series was the latest addition to the franchise; Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex was released as a 26 episodes in 2002-03 while the sequel, Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig was release in 2004-05. The TV series does not share the same universe as the manga nor Oshii’s film – almost all iteration of Ghost in The Shell in different medium did not share continuity in the same universe, but with the same premise. The name Stand Alone Complex comes from the psychological disease in the show as well as how the show structured – a Stand Alone episode for an episodic one-shot, while a Complex episode contain an overarching storyline throughout the series. Both GiTS:SAC and GiTS:SAC 2GIG have different arching storyline and could consider to be its own complete show.

Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex is the definitive version, in my opinion.

Kusanagi’s butt

I’ll say it again; Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex is the DEFINITIVE version to watch, according to me.

Let’s face it, Shirow’s manga was confusing as hell and while being very good, Oshii’s film has limited running time and as a result there was not much of a character development which should lead to more discussion of their dilemma. As a TV series, GiTS:SAC has time to pace things out. The first season is about Section 9 trying to corner the elusive cyberbrain-hacker The Laughing Man while the 2nd GIG try to do Oshii’s plot in 26 episodes.


Not only we have time for character developments for everybody on the team, SAC also introduce other technological concept as well. From Oshii’s film we have the concept of the cyberbrain –

“This is the implantation of powerful computers directly into the brain, greatly increasing certain mental capacities such as memory. Coupled with ubiquitous access to the informational net, this is shown as a fundamental technology integral to the future Japanese society. Applications include wireless communication just by “thinking” it, massive informational recall capabilities, and digitization of printed media and the encryption thereof. The series is notable for portraying a comprehensive and believable user interface to this technology. At the same time, drawbacks are revealed in the form of “Closed Shell Syndrome” or cyberbrain autism and “Cyberbrain Sclerosis”. This technology is in many ways the crux of the series” -Wikipedia

Two more philosophy-related technologies that were missing from Oshii’s film included the ECHELON wiretap system which, because everybody’s brain is hooked up to the computer now, can wiretap every communication from everyone in Japan. A secret technology employed by the government without consent from the citizen. Yawn, I know.

The other technology, and the reason to watch GiTS:SAC is the troup of Tachikoma, sentient light “think tank”. Design to be Section 9’s artillery units, Tachikoma resembled spider while the AI personified little children with heavy dose of curiosity which became a stark contrast between the depressing human interactions in the series. Base on the manga’s Fujikoma, non-sentient light tank, the development of Tachikoma’s AI and the questions it poses (with or without it verbalising them out) drilled deep into what regards as a living’s “soul”. I was quite disturbed at a time when the Tachikoma was “decommissioned” because of its erratic AI.

Oh, and the cloaking device, thermo-optical camouflage, inspired a research in University of Tokyo to produce similar thing in real life.

The TV series spawn a film – Ghost in The Shell: Solid State Society in which the complex episodes were condense down to a feature-length film. Only watch this after you’ve seen the TV series. Please.

The animation of Ghost in The Shell has always been top-notch. The TV show is no exception, since new episode air only just twice a month on a pay-per-view channel, the budget of the show were bigger than normal. The production studio Production I.G. is also an excellent studio with proven track record.

The soundtrack of the film was done by Kenji Kawai, Japan’s excellent composer. Yoko Kanno’s SAC score kept very close to the spirit of Oshii’s film, and some more – in my opinion. The opening to both SAC and SAC 2nd GIG was superb. Check it out

GiTS:SAC Opening

GiTS:SAC 2nd GIG Opening

Let’s not talk about the hidden opening only seen on TV and not the DVD version 😛

In conclusion, I highly recommend the series. Run, people, don’t walk, to your nearest DVD outlet and buy a box set of SAC and possibly the two movies, if you still haven’t got it yet.

Sorry, I was a little bit rush at the end. I’m hungry…

Till next time!

Surveilliance – Good or Evil?

leave a comment »

I’ve come across with this short program here. Seems fairly interesting.

Confessions of a Surveillance Society

In Confessions of a Surveillance Society, Channel Zero looks at the top secret Canadian spy agency, CSE, and how governmental agencies use technologies of surveillance to control dissident citizens. Candid interviews with former CSE spies, as well as scientists who have developed voice-recognition software, give a startling insight on the new paradigm of ‘information warfare’. While most people feel that they have nothing to hide, is it not the responsibility of the State to justify its interventions, or at least, alert us to them? Featuring Arthur Kroker (CTheory), Andrew Mitrovica (CTV), and Clayton Ruby (civil rights lawyer). “

The video is on, the flash player loading time may require little of your patience. 🙂

Written by superdioplus

September 13, 2008 at 2:37 pm