Archive for the ‘launch’ Category

“Owen Mundy just ruined the Internet” and the last days for the kickstarter

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

It has been an intense couple weeks since my last post. It turns out the internet loves cats even more than data, maps, and politics. So here is an update on many things “cat”…

Update on the project

I Know Where Your Cat Lives has received an overwhelmingly positive response from international press. Besides photos of cats on a world map, there are charts, an FAQ and (now) links to press on the website.

I have to admit I specifically picked cat photos as an accessible medium with which to explore the privacy issue. Still, I was astounded at just how much the internet responded. It’s not only cats, the issue was important for discussion, and I appreciated that as well as the thoughtful responses from everyone. Even the puns.


The privacy implications of cat pictures (4:24) MSNBC Interview with Ronan Farrow


Meet The Guy Who’s Putting Your Cat On The Map — To Prove A Point (2:12) Interview with National Public Radio’s All Things Considered

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“If you have posted a picture of your cat online, data analyst and artist Owen Mundy, and now, the rest of the world, knows where it lives. And, by that logic, he knows where you live, too. That should probably creep you out a little bit, and that’s really the point.”

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“Using cat pictures — that essential building block of the Internet — and a supercomputer, a Florida State University professor has built a site that shows the locations of the cats (at least at some point in time, given their nature) and, presumably, of their owners.”

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“Attention all 4.9 million users of the #Catstagram hashtag: You’re being watched.”

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“I recognize that a single serving site like this should be easy to quit, but I’ve been refreshing for hours and looking at all the different cats of the world. Near, far, wherever they are, these cats just go on and on and on.”

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“If I put up a “cat” photo on Instagram, I am not just sharing a cat photo on Instagram. I am offering up data about my, and my cat’s, location. “I Know Where Your Cat Lives” is, as a title, meant to be vaguely threatening.”

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“Owen Mundy just ruined the Internet. What were once innocuous photos of grumpy cats, tired cats, and fat cats, have now become adorable symbols of just how little privacy we have online.”

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Some charts

Because, charts.

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Traffic and hosting

So far 19,169 cats have been removed from the map due to privacy settings on their photographs being increased. I think this is awesome. And, it is also the ironic part of this project in that its success is measured in increased privacy. Meaning, the more people who are convinced to manage their data better, the less cats I will be able to represent on the map!

Truthfully speaking, I don’t think I have to worry about running out of cats, since this is a small portion of the total one million. And, I figured out a clever way to show this progress as it unfolds:

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The bandwidth and computing resources consumed by this project have been crazy. Even with a very fast Amazon EC2 server (high I/O computing-intensive 4XL server with 16 virtual cpus and 30 GB RAM) I watched the CPU hover at 100% for the entire day of The New York Times article. And this is after I put many hours indexing the database columns and making the scripts efficient in other ways. All told my bill for “going viral” was $1,019.73 (the month of July 2014).

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I used a few different logging tools to monitor the status of the server. Here are some basic stats (from awstats installed on the server) from the three weeks since I launched the project. This is for the requests and bandwidth on the EC2 server only. It does not include the actual cat photos, only the website itself (html, css, json, php, etc):

  • 353,734 unique visits
  • 14,141,644 pages (total clicks on the site)
  • 16,786,127 requests (additional files)
  • 8846.24 GB bandwidth (again, only text files)

I also used CloudFlare CDN (thanks for the tip Tim Schwartz!) to cache the site files and cat photos and serve the data from various locations around the world. This helped with the speed and to decrease my costs. Since all requests are routed through their DNS I believe their stats are likely the most reliable. According to CloudFlare, they served:

  • 20,631,228 total requests (3,089,020 of which were served through CloudFlare’s cache)
  • 10.2 TB bandwidth!! (437.3 GB of this data (site files and cat photos were served by CloudFlare)

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The Kickstarter has <3 days left!

And great news, thanks to 123 backers, including a big push from the awesome folks at Ghostery and Domi Ventures, the Kickstarter will be funded! There’s still time however, to help contribute to the number of years I can keep the site live while getting fun rewards from the project like I Know Where Your Cat Lives themed beer koozies and plush fish-shaped catnip-laced cat toys, as well as a limited edition signed I Know Where Your Cat Lives archival ink jet print. The kickstarter closes on Sat, Aug 9 2014 11:49 AM EDT.

Thanks again to everyone who supported the project. It’s been fun.


I Know Where Your Cat Lives launched

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

I just launched a new ongoing project this week. Here’s the text, a video and some screenshots. I’ll post more about how I made it soon.

Welcome to the today’s internet—you can buy anything, every website is tracking your every move, and anywhere you look you find videos and images of cats. Currently, there are 15 million images tagged with the word “cat” on public image hosting sites, and daily thousands more are uploaded from unlimited positions on the globe.

“I Know Where Your Cat Lives” iknowwhereyourcatlives.com is a data experiment that visualizes a sample of 1 million public pics of cats on a world map, locating them by the latitude and longitude coordinates embedded in their metadata. The cats were accessed via publicly available APIs provided by popular photo sharing websites. The photos were then run through various clustering algorithms using a supercomputer at Florida State University in order to represent the enormity of the data source.

This project explores two uses of the internet: the sociable and humorous appreciation of domesticated felines, and the status quo of personal data usage by startups and international megacorps who are riding the wave of decreased privacy for all. This website doesn’t visualize all of the cats on the net, only the ones that allow you to track where their owners have been.

Folks can also contribute to a kickstarter to help with hosting costs.

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Packet Switching, College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Joelle and have completed our Packet Switching (Weimer Hall) commission in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. Read about the process for this project here.

Packet Switching (Weimer Hall), (detail) College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, inkjet on polyester on panel, 177.5 ft. x 20.21 ft., 2012; Photograph by Steve Johnson / UF College of Journalism and Communications

Packet Switching (Weimer Hall), (detail) College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, inkjet on polyester on panel, 177.5 ft. x 20.21 ft., 2012; Photograph by Steve Johnson / UF College of Journalism and Communications

Packet Switching (Weimer Hall), (detail) College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, inkjet on polyester on panel, 177.5 ft. x 20.21 ft., 2012; Photograph by Steve Johnson / UF College of Journalism and Communications

Packet Switching (Weimer Hall), (detail) College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, inkjet on polyester on panel, 177.5 ft. x 20.21 ft., 2012; Photograph by Steve Johnson / UF College of Journalism and Communications

Packet Switching (Weimer Hall), (detail) College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, inkjet on polyester on panel, 177.5 ft. x 20.21 ft., 2012; Photograph by Steve Johnson / UF College of Journalism and Communications

Packet Switching (Weimer Hall), (detail) College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, inkjet on polyester on panel, 177.5 ft. x 20.21 ft., 2012; Photograph by Steve Johnson / UF College of Journalism and Communications

Packet Switching (Weimer Hall), (detail) College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, inkjet on polyester on panel, 177.5 ft. x 20.21 ft., 2012; Photograph by Steve Johnson / UF College of Journalism and Communications

Packet Switching (Weimer Hall), (detail) College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, inkjet on polyester on panel, 177.5 ft. x 20.21 ft., 2012; Photograph by Steve Johnson / UF College of Journalism and Communications

Packet Switching project: ColladaFragmenter software, Kassel, Germany and University of Florida Public Commission

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Joelle Dietrick and I embarked on a new body of work this summer called “Packet Switching.” Inspired by her Sherwin Series images and wall paintings, and my work deconstructing and re-visualizing source code and other data, we’ve created two new software projects, as well as a series of limited edition prints, large photo installations, wall-sized paintings, and animations.

The full statement explains our process and intent clearly:

Packet Switching is an ongoing body of work by Joelle Dietrick and Owen Mundy that visualizes architecture as fragments affected by economic and communications systems.

The title of the series references how contemporary communications systems break digital files into smaller manageable blocks of data called packets. Each packet is then sent through a network, taking the quickest route possible, and reassembled once they reach their destination. One JPG image, for example, might be broken into several packets, each of which may travel a different path through the net, even through different cities, before being recompiled into a copy of the original file.

To reference this common process used in networked systems, we wrote custom software that deconstructs a 3D model’s source code and produces unique fragments. We further remixed these fragments using an original application created in Processing. The resulting images become limited edition prints, large photo installations, wall-sized paintings, and animations.

Our process underscores how incidental fragmentation and automation can streamline markets, but also make them vulnerable to systems failure. The use of architecture specifically points to recent real estate market volatility and considers how communication technology-enabled pursuits of profit margins alters our most basic needs.

The first software, that “deconstructs a 3D model’s source code and produces unique fragments,” is open source and available on Github. Essentially, the PHP software, parses a 3D COLLADA file and exports a set number of geometries, that can then be further broken down and used in an artwork or design.

The second software, which we will release soon, remixes these fragments using Processing. The video below shows an example of the whole process.

Wall painting at “Temporary Home” in Kassel, Germany

While artists-in-residence at Temporary Home, in Kassel, Germany, which coincided with Documenta13, Joelle Dietrick and I completed a wall-sized temporary painting based on the architecture from the Bauhaus School at Dessau and 2012 American color forecasts.

Commission at Weimer Hall at the University of Florida

Joelle and I have also received a commission to complete Packet Switching (Weimer Hall) at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications this fall. This will be inkjet on adhesive polyester on a large wall (approx. 177.5 ft. x 20.2 ft.). More details soon.

PaletteVisualizer

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

I’ve been working on a lot of projects this summer using various color palettes. Since my work involves writing programs to use these palettes in different visual outcomes, I keep wishing for an easy way to view and negotiate the lists of colors. So today I wrote a simple app to visualize a list of hexadecimal values and sort them by hue, saturation, and value (HSV). The app can be used here, and the code is open under the MIT License.

Thanks to Alexei Kourbatov for the color format exchange functions.

Project Presentation and Mini-Seminar: Live Project Launch, Workshop Outcomes and Talks on [Social] Media Hacking

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Tonight Tim Schwartz, Walter Langelaar, Birgit Bachler, and I share our new project. The concept has taken a turn from the original plan, but will be exciting nonetheless.

Project Presentation and Mini-Seminar: Live Project Launch, Workshop Outcomes and Talks on [Social] Media Hacking
Friday, July 27, 2012

Tonight we launch the new version of “Give Me My Data!”, a project that together with Artists In Residence Tim C. Schwartz and Owen Mundy was revised and revived in WORM’s moddr_lab.

Give Me My Data offers functionality to its users with which they can retrieve and backup data and files from several key social networks; partly designed as a backup tool moreover targeted at networks that completely lack these functions.

Besides launching the project and am in-depth presentation by the artists, Walter Langelaar of WORM will give an introduction and overview of similar (art)works and earlier projects that came out of WORMs studios like the “Web2.0 Suicide Machine”.

Further more we’ll have presentations of current and ongoing projects from the lab, like Birgit Bachler’s ‘online social gardening’ platform “Talk To The Plant”, the Force of Freedom (Roel Roscam Abbing and Micha Prinsen) present “partsba.se”, and Geert Lovink talks about the “Unlike Us” initiative. The last addition to tonights programme is a presentation by Greenhost.nl on their very excellent RePress project; a WordPress plugin that automagically converts your site to a proxy-server countering censorship on the internet!

In conclusion there will be an open Q&A and panel discussion moderated by Florian Cramer of Creating010.

Projects & Speakers

Florian Cramer – Creating010
Florian Cramer, is a reader and programme director at the applied research center Creating 010 at Hogeschool Rotterdam, The Netherlands. he is a critical writer on arts, culture and information technology. Recent publications include: Exe.cut(up)able statements: Poetische Kalküle und Phantasmen des selbstausführenden Texts, Wilhelm Fink, 201.

Unlike Us / Geert Lovink
The aim of Unlike Us is to establish a research network of artists, designers, scholars, activists and programmers who work on ‘alternatives in social media’. Through workshops, conferences, online dialogues and publications, Unlike Us intends to both analyze the economic and cultural aspects of dominant social media platforms and to propagate the further development and proliferation of alternative, decentralized social media software.

Tim C. Schwartz – moddr_/WORM Artist in Residence
Tim Schwartz grew up in St. Louis, MO. He received a BA in Physics from Wesleyan University and an MFA in Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego. In January 2010, he developed a technology to help reunited missing people affected by the earthquake in Haiti and now co-runs an organization dealing with family reunification. Last year Schwartz spent four months traveling the country in a mobile research laboratory investigating what is lost as archives become digital.

Birgit Bachler – moddr_/WORM
Birgit is an Austrian artist living and working in Rotterdam/NL.
She graduated as BA in Information Design / Media & Interactiondesign at the Universityof Applied Sciences in Graz/AT and is a recent graduate of the MA Networked Media at Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam. She has a background in interactive, audiovisual media and programming. 
Her interests focus on the influence of new media on our everyday lives and the similarities and differences between human and computational behavior.

RePress / Greenhost.nl
“This plugin was made in response to the ongoing limitation of the Open Web. In the dawn of 2012 we found ourselves confronted with a court-ruling blocking the Piratebay.org in the Netherlands. On the other side of the ocean new laws are being discussed to curtail web-freedom even further.”

We zijn pioneer in groene hosting. We ontwikkelden een innovatief energiebesparend hostingplatform waardoor we 70% minder energie gebruiken dan andere hosters. Onze servers staat bij Evoswitch, het meest duurzame datacenter van Nederland.

Owen Mundy – moddr_/WORM Artist in Residence
Owen Mundy is an artist, designer, and programmer who investigates public space and its relationship to data. His artwork highlights inconspicuous trends and offers tools to make hackers out of everyday users. He has an MFA in Visual Art from the University of California, San Diego and is an Assistant Professor of Art at Florida State University.

partsba.se / Force Of Freedom
At partsba.se you can upload, share and download digital designs for real physical products. Partsba.se allows you to share designs of any nature, whether these designs are copyrighted or dangerous. Unlike other websites partsba.se does not claim any rights of your designs once you upload them.In the near future partsba.se will run on a fully secure and anonymous server.

We believe that users should be free to reverse engineer any everyday objects that surround them. Either to improve these objects, customize them, repair them or just to understand them.

The Force Of Freedom is a Rotterdam based collective founded by Micha Prinsen and Roel Roscam Abbing in 2009. Researching ways in which we can relate to things that happen on-line.

Kaarten
De volgende kaarten zijn beschikbaar:
Normaal 
Voorverkoop: € 5.00
Deurverkoop: € 5.00

Locatie
WORM
Boomgaardsstraat 71
3012 XA Rotterdam

ListSearch tool launch

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

On many occasions over the past few years I’ve wished I knew of a tool that would allow me to search multiple items in a list in separate Google searches, without copying and pasting and submitting each item over and over and over. For example if I’m in a group exhibition and I want to see what work the other artists do. So, I finally took a few hours and created it. It’s called “list-search” and you can use it here and view the code here.

Freedom for Our Files: Canvas starter (Facebook) app

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

I’m happy to share the code from a Facebook app I created for a workshop earlier this year.

This is an example of a simple Facebook canvas application. This code was originally demoed during the Freedom for Our Files Facebook API workshop at the 2011 Art Meets Radical Openness festival in Linz, Austria. You can view and download the source code on github

The application is very simple; it creates a Facebook object, performs calls to get data belonging to the current user, then prints the data exactly as it is returned. It has examples of basic Facebook Graph API calls as well as an example of FQL (Facebook Query Language).

Drain Magazine – Power issue and new site

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

I am happy to announce the launch of the new website for Drain: Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture and the corresponding release of issue #11 POWER, which I co-organized with Avantika Bawa.

POWER, issue #11

This issue of Drain attempts to expose the cultural faciality of power, as well as manifestations of power as simulacra which obfuscate traditional inquiries into its construction. If power connects the virtual and the actual, how does cultural creativity channel or destabilize this connectivity? The corporate-academic-entertainment-military-industrial complex and its front-end, the global information machine floods us with images and images of images, to cause sensory overload, and yet, at the same time, acute sensory deprivation. Most of all, power entrenches a visual literacy that allows us to see only its style, leaving us unable to access other ways of seeing and becoming. How can we parody this visual literacy, and the speed, cadence and grammar of this power and its affects?


Necropolis by Roi Kuper

If the simulation of power is necessary and absolute, can creative acts and molecular politics slip through the surveillance and desensitizing of territorializing systems?


GWOTEM by J.M. Badoud

This issue of Drain presents artworks, essays, and other creative works to actualize answers to these questions and re-channel them into different connectivities, ways of becoming and conceptual production.


The Gift of Giving by Oscar Perez

We are pleased to present Ian Buchanan and Roi Kuper as our feature writer and featured artist. This issue also includes essays by Emma Cocker and Chris Revelle, as well as interviews by Alexander Stewart with artist Andy Roache and Bertha Husband with Blazo Kovacevic. In our Creative Writing section, we present works by Camille Meyer, BT Shaw & Elizabeth Lopeman, Vanessa Norton, Emma Cocker and Morgan Campbell. Art projects works by Jamie Badoud, Diana Heise, Cyrico Lopes, Bob Paris and Oscar Perez.


Past issues

UFF-FSU.ORG

Monday, August 29th, 2011

I recently completed a redesign of United Faculty of Florida – Florida State University (UFF-FSU) union website at uff-fsu.org with colleague, Phil Steinberg. This site runs on WordPress CMS with an altered Twenty Eleven theme. Here are some screenshots: