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9th Conference on Computation, Communication, Aesthetics & X

Paper Session 6


Corneel Cannaerts


KU Leuven, Ghent, Belgium

Michiel Helbig


KU Leuven, Ghent, Belgium

New Eyes: Probing the Visual Cultures of the Technosphere

The emergence of the technosphere, a planetary accidental megastructure comprised of networked emerging technologies, leads to novel ways of seeing and understanding our environments. The paper questions the impact of these new visual cultures on architecture and urban design, practices that rely heavily on visual media. The research is contextualised and framed in contemporary design and artistic practices engaging with digital technologies as means of understanding the complexities of our technologically saturated environments, The paper looks into a series of case studies that probe the visual cultures of the technosphere, looks at emerging technologies as a lens for mapping environments and discuss the medial practices and strategies developed in the work.

João Pedro Ribeiro


DEI at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

Miguel Carvalhais


Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

Pedro Cardoso


University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

A Taxonomy of the Simulation of the Depth of Field Effect in Videogames

This essay focuses on the simulation of the depth of field effect in the design of videogames. As a visual aesthetic element in videogames, knowing and mastering the depth of field effect can be crucial for designers to project systems that stimulate players’ emotions. However, there are no guidelines for designers to use. With that in mind, this paper proposes a taxonomy for analysing depth of field in games. This taxonomy stems from the notions of depth of field in film, a very influential medium on the design of videogames. We implemented a methodology consisting of the models of research in Art and Design defined by Christopher Frayling and research in videogames by Ashley Brown along with a combination of three reference books as the foundation of our case study selection. We examined the classifications present in film and subsequently explored their presence in videogames. As a result, we found a single category exclusive to videogames and another to film, having discovered six categories: No Depth, Standard Depth, Shallow Focus, Soft-Focus, Rack Focus, and Tilt-Shift.

Pedro Silva


University of Coimbra, CISUC, DEI, Coimbra, Portugal

Pedro Martins


University of Coimbra, CISUC, DEI, Coimbra, Portugal

Penousal Machado


University of Coimbra, CISUC, DEI, Coimbra, Portugal

Personal Instants

We live in a society governed by information, much of which is produced by us through the most diverse ubiquitous computing devices. Every day more people are connected to the Internet and more information is produced. In large part, this increase in online production is due to social networks and the content we produce and share on them. Instagram alone has more than 1 billion users. As almost all activities on social networks, many of our activities on Instagram are performed in a few seconds and quickly become part of the past and are forever forgotten. In this paper, we present Personal Instants, a web-based tool to visualize the entire activity data of an Instagram user. By using the users own personal data to compose the visualization, the tool aims to portray the amount of data that we produce on the social network Instagram. Withal, we intend to profile our online social behavior through our usage patterns and types of actions performed, thus visually perpetuating our ephemeral online social activity. The work was subsequently evaluated with the creation of a form where the participants responded to both analytical and aesthetic aspects of our approach to visualization.

Ana Matilde Sousa


CIEBA - Centro de Investigação e de Estudos em Belas-Artes

Of Sparkle-vomit and Base Materialism: Field Notes on Blingee GIFs

This article focuses on the website Blingee, a popular online GIF generator, founded in 2006, whose mode of operation is based on user-made “stamps” and other ornamentations. Originally designed for teens to decorate their personal Myspace accounts, Blingee has inspired a cult following for its kitsch “sparkle-vomit” Internet aesthetic, that is, excessive cuteness and prettiness, often including profuse amounts of digital glitter. While the site almost closed in 2015, it was brought back by public outcry and even has a community of specialized “amateur” artists that spend endless hours working on their GIFs. In the first part of the article, I contextualize Blingee in terms of its development and background—e.g., its filiation in the tradition of Japanese purikura photography—and describe its primary uses and material-semiotic characteristics. In the second part, I explore a possible connection between Blingee GIFs and the Bataillean concepts of “base materialism” and the “formless,” exuding from the poetic valences of and the specific ways in which these GIFs use the stamps and the glitter. I argue that Blingee, as poisonous “sentimental rubbish,” has the potential to affect, destabilize, and disrupt the contemporary cyborgian imagination by creating sites of “parapolitical” resilience.

Panel Discussion

Moderator: Jason Reizner