So I’m currently in a collaboration project with my colleague and a new friend, Lilian, to work on a project together using our P5.js knowledge so far as our toolbox. The Challenge is to create a group activity that utilizes 21 screens together.
After brainstorming a couple of ideas and possibilities within our limitation, Lilian and I came up with an idea about ‘unplugging’ and having a full attention to the people around us without distraction of screens, except that it is facilitated by screens and our P5.js app. Our app creates a phone campfire.
From my research on campfires, it is a casual ritual performed today in campsites to prevent predators and pests, or simply to provide warmth and comfort. The idea of it came from bonfires, which is more ceremonial.
noun: bonfire; plural noun: bonfires
- a large open-air fire used as part of a celebration, for burning trash, or as a signal.
“the smell of burning leaves from a garden bonfire”
late Middle English: from bone + fire. The term originally denoted a large open-air fire on which bones were burnt (sometimes as part of a celebration), also one for burning heretics or proscribed literature. Dr Johnson accepted the mistaken idea that the word came from French bon ‘good’.
The word was derived from bone and fire, the tradition began in Great Britain, because in 1605 AD, the conspiracy to blow the British parliament was foiled. Guy Fawkes, who is the suspect of the attempted blow, then was executed and burned to ashes. Since then people have been celebrating the bonfire.
There are many cultural traditions behind bonfire. In Czech Republic, people start bonfire in festival called “Burning The Witches”, it is very old but still observed folk custom and special holiday, to celebrate the coming of spring. In Nepal, bonfire is almost synonymous with camp-fire, people do it during winter months. In India, especially in Punjab, people eat peanut and sit around the bonfire to celebrate the festival of Lohri to celebrate the winter soltice. In Japan people start dancing around bonfire to mark the end of O-Bon season.
Today people would start campfire at campsite to provide heat for cooking or to prevent insects and predators to come around.
All of them have the same similarities, which is to bring people together around fire. What is it about fire? Fire has always been an important part of human lives. There is an interesting article about human relationship with fire in context of western civilization on this page: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4874404/
- Anwar, Shakeel. “History behind the Tradition of Bonfire Night.” Jagranjosh.com, 2 Jan. 2018, https://www.jagranjosh.com/general-knowledge/history-behind-the-tradition-of-bonfire-night-1514888923-1.
- Shingon Buddhist Intl. Institute: Teachings, http://www.shingon.org/library/archive/Obon.html.
- Singh, S. Harpal. “Forests Bear the Brunt of Holi.” The Hindu, The Hindu, 26 Mar. 2013, https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/forests-bear-the-brunt-of-holi/article4552974.ece.
- “Religions – Hinduism: Holi.” BBC, BBC, 30 Sept. 2009, http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/holydays/holi_1.shtml.
- “Feuer in Den Alpen.” Feuer in Den Alpen, http://www.feuerindenalpen.com/.
On Lilian’s side of research of ‘unplugging’:
Digital Detox / Unplugging
Both interested in the concept of bringing people together and away from technology.
Initial introduction to audio and mic input from self-portrait exercise.
The on-going trend to unplug or “digital detox” , people are interested in experience ‘real life” and minimalism – japanese minimalism or hygge
Strains on relationships for people who are too plugged in
The concept and popularity about unplugging
The history of the bonfire and coming together to discuss
Deeper relationships: looking people in the eyes. Pushing your body forward and upright.
Unplugging is a privilege in digitally divided and hyper-connected societies. The term “digital divide” implies that the worldwide, explosive growth of the Internet and data ( Kitchin, 2014) is an uneven, multidimensional phenomenon.
Unplugging is a subtle notion that is emerging as a contestation to the dominant technocratic mode of urban governance (Kitchin, 2014) that is, the so-called Smart City model that demands a transition to overcome the social tensions and misalignments caused by hyper-connected societies.
- The time spend per week has doubled from 8 hours to 18.9 hours (Ofcom, 2015)
- Goldilocks Hypothesis: the “just right” amount of moderation and screen use
- Not to deprive people of important social information and peer pursuits
- Not to displace meaningful analogue pursuits
- Differences between sedentary and non sedentary activities (watching a movie, browsing social media vs. activitely engaging with people online)
A Large Scale Test of the Goldilocks Hypothesis: Quantifying the Relations Between Digital Screens and the Mental Well-Being of Adolescents
Calming/Relating/Clearing your mind apps:
And our combined journal of our progress so far:
(DISCLAIMER: we blended our journal together as a more collaborative approach, so some of these words are of Lilian Leung’s and some are mine)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-CrRpQ80aw (Pause App – Inspiration)
Day XX – Sept XX
Originally we tried working with a gradient built on RGB, though while digging into control of the gradient and switching values, I [lilian] was quite comfortable yet with working with multiple values once we needed to go having them change based on input
Instead we began developing a set of gradients we could use as transparent pngs, this allowed us more control over what they visually looked like and allowed the gradients to become more dynamic and also easier to manipulate.
Initial testing of the gradients and proof of concept of having the gradient grow based on micInput.
While Lilian was working on the gradients of the fire, I [Nilam] was trying to figure out how to add on the microphone input and make the gradient correspond to the volume of the mic input. So I used mapping.
The louder the input volume the higher the Red value gets and the redder the screen become. This way we can just change the background to raster image, and instead of lowering the RGB value to 0 to create black, it changes its opacity to 0 to show the darker gradient image on the back of it.
I [Nilam] made edit on Lilian’s version of experimentation and integrated my microphone input and mapping part into the interface she already developed.
Day XX – Friday, September 19, 2019
We were still trying to figure out why mic and audio input and output was working on our laptops but not on our phones. The translation of mic input on to increase the size of the fire seemed laggy, though retried resizing our images.
On our mobile devices, the deviceShake function seemed to be working, while laggy on firefox, playing the sketch on Chrome provided better, more responsive, results
Other issues were once we started changing the transition of the tint for our sketch that sometimes the deviceShake would stop working entirely.
We wanted a less abrupt and smoother transition from the microphone input. So we tried to figure out if there are functions like delay. We couldn’t find anything so we decided to try using if statement instead of mapping.
We found out from our google searches that there is a possibility of a bug that stopped p5.js certain functions like deviceShaken from working after the recent iOS update in this past summer. Because, while laggy, it still worked on Lilian’s android phone, while it just completely never worked My [Nilam] iphone.
Lilian – working on additional function like mobile rotation and acceleration to finess the functionality of the experiment.
Nilam – working on creating a smoother transition of the gradient fading by using if statement and acceleration instead of using mapping
The rest of the project are to be continued on part 2