Visual Artefact 1.0

Hi web,

Here’s my first stab at a visual artefact:

We are the Web

Or a high rez version here:

Flickr members feel free to comment there, or here, whichever you prefer.  I’m still undecided on a title for this.. perhaps “We are the Web” might suit.



  • Austin Tate says:

    HAL’s eye looks like its in the company of other “brains the size of a planet” floatig in space – to mix up my sci-fi films and books. But seems very well connected. Is it connected to human brains? Does really exciting and stimulating social interaction “fizz” like that… if so it could be a good target for educators to achieve.

    Al those bionic bits look uncomfortable!

  • Thanks Austin,
    It does look a t bit spacey now that you mention it. But the background star field is actually a map of the internet, like this one:

    Perhaps it needs to be a bit larger to be clearer… but the idea was more along the lines of ghosts in the machine, or something emerging from all the interconnected brains, bodies and knowledge of humanity.

    I like your phrase of interaction fizzing, great simile! Definitely a tough one for education to aim for, but if it can create the same buzz then its winning!

    Yip, definitely agree with you about bionic bits – I think I’ll wait a while myself before signing up to become a true cyborg :-)

  • Grace Elliott says:

    Hi Daniel,

    My initial reaction was that your artefact is very positive, a celebration of man and machine. How effective bionic (machine-like) parts can be for us. On closer inspection though it looks like some torture may be taking place and one picture in particular is very disturbing. Is this deliberate?

  • Thanks Grace,
    Yes, very deliberate! I feel that we are rushing headlong into a symbiosis with technology, without really understanding why, or what the long term effects will be on us – both as individuals and society as a whole. There are obviously great benefits to be gained from closer connections, (either human to human or human to machine), but we are also opening Pandoras box. We need to be mindful of the dangers as well as the benefits!

  • Siân Bayne says:

    Another great image. I like the connected brains – links for me to the notion of the cognisphere (Hayles) which we look at later in the course. There’s an emphasis here on the implant and the prosthesis – very physical and ‘violent’ machinic interventions in the body, which are somehow offest by that more conceptual, central image of the connected brains. Loads to think about – thanks Daniel.

  • Austin Tate says:

    Daniel, its great that the “fizzing” image has that underlying meaning by being a the map of the internet… but its works great as a background sizzling buzzing place. I am a fan of underlying meaning and layers for the artist and viewer… and that progressivley more can be brought out through viewing, examination, exploration, looking in nooks and crannies, suggestion and conversation. I love it as it is.

  • Carol Jane Collins says:

    Love the central image Daniel and I agree with you…it’s always been the way…rush headlong into new technologies without taking time to consider their possible impact. A critique of the headlong rush to use technology from 1829 -

  • Thanks all for your comments!

    @Siân You are right, I have emphasized the physical aspects. That’s because for me, the link with man and machine is a primitive and forced connection – something unnatural and consequently uncomfortable. It seems we often accept the problem caused by technology just to be able to take advantage of the benefits. (As I type this i think of my early signs of RSI…). The coloured, dreamlike centre is one possible future for this symbiosis, but again it not without dangers. Perhaps what we should be doing is better evaluating the cost benefit analysis and only accepting the technologies that do the most good, and the least harm.

    @Austin Great philosophy! This exercise has definitely shown that to be true. We’ve all seen something in each others work that others have missed or interpreted differently. Thanks!

    @Carol Cheers Carol. And thank you for the link. I’ve only dipped into it but will have time for a fuller reading over the weekend. Great find, and I bet we will be having the same argument for as long as there are people to take sides. By the way, did you know Carlyle went to the University of Edinburgh? We are in good company!

  • Reposted from Flickr (for convenience sake):

    Hi Daniel

    Looks like a promising and optimistic view of the technology – it allows the brains to connect (the central image), an unobstructed flow of info, knowledge and expertise, which then results in various technological inventions helping people live a better life. You focus on biomed inventions here and I like the way certain people in your pics are smiling in the background showcasing some of the techs. This neutralises some of the other more unsettling pics.

    I like the way you focus on the connectivity by means of colour and central location of the ‘brainy’ image. It looks like something precious, made of gems, I might be stretching it too far but it makes me think of a monstrance which is used in church to display the consecrated Eucharist host – like technology or rather technology-enabled connections between people was the new power, new god?

  • What a fascinating interpretation Ania! I didn’t consider that when I created it and to be honest, I had intended it to be a bit more ominous than you’ve suggested, but I love the hopeful and Utopian spin that you have on it. It would be wonderful to achieve true harmony with technology one day.


  • Jeremy Keith Knox says:

    Some really interesting points emerging here.

    ‘the link with man and machine is a primitive and forced connection – something unnatural and consequently uncomfortable’

    But have humans not consistently been constituted by their relationships with technology, or simply the ‘non-human’? I am reminded here of Cary Wolfe, is the human not ‘fundamentally a prosthetic creature that has coevolved with various forms of technicity and materiality, forms that are radically “not-human” and yet have nevertheless made the human what it is’ (2009 xxv). Sure a ‘danger’ to humanity could only exists where there is a ‘pure’, ‘natural’ humanity in the first place?

    Wolfe, C (2009). What is Posthumanism?

  • I take your point that we have certainly always been close to technology, and its probably true that if we had never learned to use tools, our evolution would have effectively stopped on the African savanna; or gone in a very different direction. But I’m not sure that our relationship with technology defines us. A naked person hunting with her bare hands is no less human than a suburbanite checking QR price codes in the supermarket on her iphone, its just that one is easier than the other. I think that it’s our ability to see the potential of tools which drives us to adopt them. But the point here is that in adopting technology we are making a decision to modify our natural behavior. Then again, what is natural? Lots of food for thought,
    Thanks for the comment!