Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: academic

Signaling the provenance of smart textiles using radio frequency watermarks

This is a paper on provenance and smart garments I just published together with colleagues from advanced materials, engineering and information sciences. Here is the abstract:

There is a significant nascent market for ethically produced products with enormous
commercial potential around the world. A reliable method to signal the provenance of products is
therefore critical for industry, given that competition based on price is not a viable strategy. The
ability to trace and signal ethical treatment of animals is also of significant value to textiles
manufactures. The efficacy of such a method can be measured with respect to the cost of
implementation, scalability, and the difficulty of counterfeiting. The key to traceability is to win the
trust of the consumer about the veracity of this information. Wearable sensors make it possible to
monitor and improve the management of traceability and/or provenance. In this paper, we
introduce a method for signalling the provenance of garments using radio frequency watermarks.
The proposed model consists of two levels of authentication that are easy to use by legitimate
vendors, but extremely difficult to imitate or hack, because the watermark is built-in and based on
the radiation signature of electroactive materials.

And here is the full paper:

Future Networks lecture series

This is a lecture series I developed and recorded for a 200 level subject in the Digital and Social Media major titled BCM206 Future Networks. I examine the historical context of global information networks leading to the rise of the network society paradigm; the role of cyberculture and cyberpunk in shaping the network society; the role of important network phenomena such as power law distributions and network transaction costs on the interactions between various network topologies; as well as contemporary internet dynamics in the context of liquid life and liquid labour, the attention economy, big data surveillance, hacking culture, meme warfare, cyberwarfare, and the rising internet of things.

The lecture playlist can be found here, or through this embed:

Making Media lecture series

This is a lecture series I developed and recorded for a 100 level core subject in the Bachelor of Communication and Media [BCM] titled BCM114 Making Media.  The lecture series introduces students to key concepts in digital media making, using as its structure the key stages of the design thinking cycle. The main focus of the lecture series is to expose students to concepts such as idea mapping, rapid prototyping and testing, and continuous feedback-based iteration.

The lecture playlist can be found here, or through this embed:

Emergent Media lecture series

This is a lecture series I developed and livestreamed for a 100 level subject in the Digital and Social Media major titled BCM112 Emergent Media. The course of lectures is intended as an introduction to digital and social media and explores a range of media theories and concepts through practical case studies. I discuss thinkers ranging from McLuhan and Jenkins to Debord, Deleuze and Baudrillard, and the phenomena of digital production, networked participation, collective intelligence, distributed media, meme warfare, framing and schema, perception manipulation, propaganda, hyperreality and simulation, control societies and the society of the spectacle, intellectual property and the content control industry, surveillance, and media futures.

The lecture playlist can be found here, or through this embed:

OODA loops

Building on my earlier posts on paradigm shifts and framing, I continue my interest in the process of shifting perception between models of reality. Paradigm shifts are fundamentally always shifts in the way we perceive reality. Perception itself is the dynamic outcome of the interactions between frames and schema.

When this model of perception is inserted in a complex and chaotically changing environment we end up with a cyclical process involving the reception and processing of external stimuli, followed by action or its absence and a repeated reception of stimuli closing a feedback loop. This process maps very well to John Boyd’s OODA loop concept, where OODA stands for observe-orient-decide-act. The key stage of the OODA loop is orientation, because it is in the orientation stage that external stimuli, and frames, interface with the internal perception frame and the schema that form it. In this lecture I discuss the OODA loop concept as a cyclical decision making and feedback process, and focus on the orientation stage as the key aspect of that process.

On framing and schema

We live in interesting times. Times of transition, involving the collapse of an old order and the shift to a new paradigm. Such transitions are often mistaken for technological changes or revolutionary shifts in material conditions. Actually they are neither. Paradigm shifts are fundamentally always shifts of perception, that is, shifts in the way we perceive reality and therefore in the way we act in the world.

Therefore, to understand a paradigm shift we need to understand how perceptions of reality can be modulated and altered at scale. In other words, we need to understand the mechanics of perception. In this lecture I discuss the concepts of schema and frames as the building blocks of the mechanics of perception. I examine the way framing can be used to alter perceptions and discuss the case of Edward Bernays’ Torches of Freedom campaign.

Paradigm Shifts

You better start believing in paradigm shifts Miss Turner, because you’re in one.

Here’s a lecture I recorded recently, discussing the concept of paradigms and the process of paradigm shifts. I discuss paradigm shifts based on Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, though my focus is on a more general understanding of the process, involving awareness of change and the key mechanics of the phase transition from one paradigm to another. I also use Jordan Hall’s excellent short essay On Thinking and Simulated Thinking to illustrate how paradigm shifts necessitate a phase transition in thinking about and orienting ourselves in a given reality.

I think the year 2020 so far bears the marks of a massive socio-political-economic phase transition to a new paradigm, and that the mid 2020s will be unrecognizable to someone from 1996 or 2006.

There is a story that when Zhou Enlai, the late premier of China under Mao, visited France for the first time in the 1950s he was asked what he thinks of the French Revolution. His answer was ‘It’s too early to say.’

Good artists copy, great artists steal

Episode 6 of Naive and Dangerous, the podcast series I record together with my colleague Dr Chris Moore. In this episode we return to emergent media with a focus on mashups. On top of that, we have our first special guest – the mashup researcher and artist Jamie Pye-Respondek. We had a lot of fun recording this episode, and we cover a lot of musical ground, while also straying into remix culture and the copyright insanity. Have a listen.

How to trust a sweater?

These are the slides for my paper How to trust a sweater: object provenance in smart clothing, to be presented at the 2019 Association of Internet Researchers Conference in Brisbane. In the paper I examine the dynamics of the entanglement of smart clothing and data, focusing specifically on the emergence of provenance as a key concept in the identity of smart clothing. I explore provenance in conjunction with emergent developments at the nexus of advanced materials and the fashion industry, as a way to inject ethical and sustainable practices throughout the production process of a given garment. I end with the notion of a prodigal object, acting as a relentlessly sociable gateway to local contexts.

The best memes are never funny

This is Episode 4 of Naive and Dangerous, the podcast series about emergent media I am recording together with my colleague Dr Chris Moore. In this episode we discuss memes and the phenomenon of meme warfare. We start with a historical overview, beginning with ancient Sumer and the gods Enki and Asherah symbolizing the ur-memes of chaos and order, and then move onto the Egyptian god Kek and the emergent phenomenon of Kekism. We then move on to a definition of memes as frames influencing our perception of reality, and the emergent phenomenon of swarm-driven meme warfare as a dynamic contest over perception. Have a listen.