2. Perpetual Beta

Perpetual Beta
DAAP, University of Cincinnati

We live in a time when lines between technology and humanity are perpetually blended. Although technology is more intuitive and compatible with our lives, we are losing sight of the effects it incurs on our minds, bodies and behavior. The Internet separates imagery from its point of origin, thereby affecting society’s collective emotions and modes of consumption. Design research becomes the perfect platform for discussion of these topics through a critical and analytical lens.

Driven by a concern for the preservation of physical experimentation and craft in the design process, this research employs design through making to raise awareness of the methods designers create and communicate in our digital age. The investigation seeks to explore the inevitable, infinite, and indiscriminate torrent of digital matter in our lives. Building from the predictions of McLuhan and others, the idea of “Perpetual Beta” refers to a constant process of renewal in image making—construction, reconstruction, and deconstruction, through analog and digital methods.

The analysis and visual interpretation of new realities through experimental projects have instigated several mutations of media. By presenting process work alongside the final pieces in an exhibition, the role of process is elevated to match, or even exceed, the impact of the final work.

Nowhere Place:
Photography, Found Objects; 2013.
This website and the contents therein serve to function as a quick ‘digital sketch’ of the indiscriminate, inevitable, and infinite conversion of physical matter to digital matter. Locations were selected at random based on their ‘nowhereness’, in relation to the ‘nowhere place’ that is the Internet: physically intangible, but a place nonetheless, an invisible digital landscape. We drove until we found the edges of cities, train yards, dead ends, underpasses, anywhere with a feeling of emptiness. Collected from each location were physical objects, sounds, and images, to paint a quick digital picture of the experience of being there, and to comment on the non-hierarchal, but intrinsically and infinitely linked nature of the Internet.

Dress .0
Rip Stop, Nylon, Polyester, Batting & Interfacing; 2013.
The experiment Dress .0 is an investigation into the organic nature of how the internet has grown within itself since its creation; distorting it’s origin until it disappears inward. It functions as an evolving conversation between the fabric, the form, and the garments. Once a garment is created it is arbitrarily dismantled and regenerated into two more gar- ments, and so on. The chaotic and unending growth of this experiment means to imitate the behavior of the internet in a physical way.