DS106 on the couch

Tag: storytelling

More experimentation with signs

Another hard day at the hospital experimenting with signs for conformity. 


And I even did an announcement so that residents are aware of the new sign as they walk around the village tomorrow. Let’s see if it helps everyone keep a still tongue

Dear Committee,

Urgent! You need to take action immediately. It seems that my video notes about the research have been stolen. I managed to take down the video in You Tube and for now our other location is safe. Somebody infiltrated the hospital secure ward and stole my materials. 

I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive my mistake and not choose to terminate me.


Behind the scenes

It all started with me setting out to do the daily create. We were meant to explore boundaries in a video.  I thought about it all day and decided I wanted to focus on social boundaries. What happens when these collapse and we end up airing our dirty linen in public without intending to? I remembered about the idea of context collapse as described by Michael Wesch amongst others. 

Re-read the paper and it also explored what happens one step beyond contexts collapsing for us in our virtual lives. We imagine and prototype of ‘the public’ but this overwhelms us. So we hide  in an ‘ideal private’ that is context free as we broadcast ourselves to the world (potentially). All that is left is the echo of ego in the mind. 

Context collapse takes on a new dimension in which the
collapse of infinite possible contexts, what we might call a virtual “ideal type”
of “the public,” itself collapses with the individual’s construction of an ideal
private outside of all contexts. The scene exemplifies what Anthony Elliot and
Charles Lemert (2005) describe in The New Individualism as the “disappearance
of context” in which “we have replaced the old contexts of tradition and custom
with a focus on our individual selves” (p. 13).

Mike’s  paper is about You Tube Vlogging and how it can be used to develop self awareness. I figured I could turn this inside out by using to tell the story of Dr M who is looking to find ways to ‘get residents to give information’ in the fictional village of The Prisoner.

It was of interest to me that in the prisoner the psychological torture is always about deleting contexts. A sense of claustrophobia develops as you watch as the psyche turns inwards. In that case physical and mental. In the case our online lives, contexts collapse via social media. Is there a way that context collapse may affect our mental health? This led me to the idea of spiritual narcism.

Spiritual narcissism is the feeling or thought that 1) I´m a spiritually advanced being, enlightened, third tier etc. and 2) because of that I deserve love and respect.

In the series, N6 has only himself. Can he trust himself? Does this drive him mad? I am reminded of the idea of being an ‘un-mutual’ in one of the episodes. Compliance in that case is forced by the threat of complete isolation. As N6 walks around the village, everyone turns away. It made me wonder if this ‘idealised private context’ we create when we engage in open online activity is to some extent driven by our fear of becoming ‘un-mutual’. Feeling suitably dystopian after #prisoner106 work today. 

The daily create turned into a whole day’s exploration. Boundaries and what they mean have always interested me. Perhaps I should have kept to physical spaces….my front porch?

I cannot even start to offer information about the making of the video. Nothing worked as planned. I was going to be a ‘quick’ iMovie pull together a few fun things to take the story forward and explore boundaries. Let me just say it was not that. I ended up having to find and relearn the old iMovie. There was ScreenFlow, there was Audacity, there was Quicktime, there was Freesound.org and a stiff neck from sitting here all day making this ‘quick’ daily create. In the end, I was reminded of the simplicity and ease of the old iMovie as well as had much fun thinking about human boundaries collapsing, us becoming overwhelmed by the whole of life being accessible online and that driving us mad. <insert suitably scary loud laughter sound here>

Whose side are you on? Mine.

Well, I am now beginning to wonder about John. He does not seek escape. He gives little information and certainly not INFORMATION. Yet he responded to a cry for help from me yesterday in the G+ side of the village. 

Curiouser and curiouser!’ Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).

Somehow I think viewing my giant gif with the hypnotic village font led to John volunteering more information than he intended. 

I downloaded, resized to 400px wide, exported adaptive pallete 128 colours, loss 20% and got 2.9mb. Still quite a hefty gif but the one I d/led was 28 MB! (a sneaky move in wordpress is to put in a small dimension gif and stretch it a bit with css or the width parameter…

And in places he was speaking in code!

A request for information from the resident artist Kathy O led to both of us spilling yet more information. John,

It used to be tumblr liked < 500px width, < 30 frames &  < 1MB size. I think you just got to remember that a gif loads with a webpage, a movie will either wait till click or just load the first bit and play if autoplay. Too many big gifs makes your blog a sluggish boy. 

… and, having spent the evening watching the awesome giant gif (it bears watching for a long time – watch it now, or will you?) I could not help but join in.

And there is an unwritten game gif makers play! Least number of frames preserving aesthetic detail and smoothness 😉 hence play with colours and size as well as frame number. Michael has a rule of thumb for selecting frame per second depending on length. Will find.

Who is Michael? What is this rule of thumb? Will it help our prisoners residents give us more information? What made us blab? Is Kathy O on our side? Why did she resign?

John worked with my giant gif and produced a 2.9MB version that Tumblr rejected as it had been doing with all my previous versions of my giant gifs. He kept viewing it and working with it in his dream lab…


…and would you credit it? Here it is at just over 1MB comfy 400×257 and there is more information on his post about his secret recipes to extract information:

Any zooming was due to carelessness;-)
Downloaded your file
Reduced to 2.9MB as per notes
Used a gifsicle script to kill every second frame x 2
Back in Fireworks made frames a bit longer 30/100 sec I’d like to do that in script but can’t figure it out.

He managed to delete almost all the information on my original giant gif and cut to ‘1.1 MB I guess losing too much detail… frames cut to 29.” What did he mean? Losing too much detail? I thought that was precisely the point. Lose detail so they do not get the full information. 

I felt that it was right to make this into a Gif-Collab with jjgifs. I suggested this straight after expressing my amazement at the amount of information he had gotten out of my original gif. I did not think this through. 

Happy to share your credits, we can have a non-alcholic whisky in the Village bar! Sounds like poison:-)

We can share credit units alright, after all we have both been working hard enough to keep our lights on at the village. But the rest of the message? He speaks as if he does not know about ‘the cave’ with real whisky? The village bar? Sounds like poison? Does he mean to poison me? Is he worried I might poison him? Has he been to ‘The Cat and Mouse’?


And then resident Ron joined us. He seemed relaxed and cheery enough. He had overheard our conversation. 

He suggested he would join us at The Cat and Mouse game Bar. Or did he meant ‘the cave’ with real alcohol? We all know what happens there and what that alcohol really does to you, don’t we?

I’ll toast virtually on your collaborative success!

Hmmmm….virtually? May be he is not real, Ron I mean. You can’t trust anyone’s information here. Or can you? Then  the village librarian, Mel, also viewed the giant gif and…

@mdvfunes That is awesome. And now I want to etch ALL the pint glasses!

All the pint glasses? Where? Why? Does she have information we need? Does Mel know we can buy those glasses and use them at the bar when we visit? Question is will we just use the glasses or will the glasses be a warning for something more sinister?

I then go to John’s blog and he has clearly been affected by the hypnotic village font signs. He has given out more information. He keeps repeating the same information. Have they got to him? Here is an excerpt.

  1. Open video in MPEGStreamclip
  2. Select in and out points
  3. Trim (command T on a mac)
  4. Export to Other Formats…
  5. Choose Image Sequence
  6. I usually click options and choose Jpeg and 12 frames /second
  7. Export
  8. Right Click on First File in export list
  9. Open in Fireworks
  10. Select all the other images in series & Drag to FW window
  11. Cmd-A Select All
  12. Open FW Frames window, Choose Distribute To Frames from the Window
  13. This creates a series of frames.
  14. Further editing and setting the Export Options in the Optimise Window
  15. Export to Gif

Once again some of it is in code and it requires Fireworks. Only the Committee has access to Fireworks. Too much information. 

Dear Village Committee,

I keeping with my assignment at your village this summer. I have started investigating the signage around the village and recreating them in square format. There is a significant amount of research to indicate that square signs correlate positively with increased conformity. 

I am consulting with our resident Dreamer by numbers, jjgifs, and he has offered the hypnotic blue backgrounds to this week’s quotes from the 3 dossiers you gave me to study in the Archives for this week. His research shows that this background colour and complex shapes supports this committee’s aim to keep all residents wondering ‘whose side are you on?’ in order to instigate uncertainty and enable our residents to give the committee the information they need. It appears these subliminal background messages work over time to increase compliance and extraversion. It is early days in this DS106 special assignment at the village and we hope that this work will evolve into kinetic typography with sound to enable even faster acquisition of information from residents. We are researching this process thoroughly and hope to offer a sophisticated technical innovation that will allow all residents to create their own compliance devices. Here is a prototype for your approval. 

I hope that this week’s work meets with your approval and added to my viewing of the 17 dossiers that tell the full story of this village and it prisoners residents last week will suffice to be paid the Credit Units I need to continue my very important work at the hospital this summer s your resident psychiatrist.

Be seeing you.

Huize Heyendael – A spine chilling tale 

This week at the DS106 Open Online Participant Offices (OOPO) we have been exploring the structure of story in different ways. Inspired by one of our co-workers over at GMU I decided to play with Ken Adams story spine idea. In his blog ‘bcodelson’ (I do wish our colleagues at GMU gave us a human friendly name to call them) wrote a sweet story spine about ‘The shape of the sneetches’ . Ron over on Google Plus has been creating some lovely atmospheric photos, animated gifs, videos using the Diana App. I thought I could put some of this stuff together into a video story spine. I called it ‘Huize Heyendael – A spine chilling tale’. I found this simple frame for creating a story helpful – there is a child-like quality to it. It feels like a game we can play the kids and make up lovely stories. I like that.  

It is also a helpful checklist to remind us that the spine of the story never contains all the details:

The Story Spine is not the story, it’s the spine. It’s nothing but the bare-boned structure upon which the story is built. And, that’s what makes it such a powerful tool. It allows you, as a writer, to look at your story at its structural core and to ensure that the basic building blocks are all in the right place. Now, of course, turning your Story Spine into a story is a whole different topic…

Copyright © 2024 DS106 on the couch

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑