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»Axis Applet«
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© Golan Levin

Keywords

  • aesthetics
    • acoustic
    • affective
    • anamorphic
    • animated
    • anthropomorph
    • assembled
    • automated
    • autopoietic
    • collaborative
    • contextual
    • cybernetic
    • disgusting
    • documenting
    • duplicated
    • dynamic system
    • ephemeral
    • experimental
    • found object
    • generative
    • gustatory
    • hypermediacy
    • illusionary
    • immaterial
    • immersive
    • installation-based
    • interactive
    • intermedial
    • intervention
    • mobile
    • modular
    • multi-user
    • multiple
    • narrative
    • navigable
    • networked
    • olfactory
    • panoramatic
    • performative
    • polysensory
    • processual
    • projected
    • real-time
    • remediated
    • remixed
    • sculptural
    • site-specific
    • sonification
    • sublime
    • tactile
    • telematic
    • three-dimensional
    • time-based
    • uncanny
    • virtual
    • visual
  • genre
    • Bio Art
      • Genetic Art
      • Transgenic Art
    • Database Art
    • Digital Activism
    • Digital Animation
    • Digital Community (Social Network)
    • Digital Graphics
    • Game Art
    • Glitch Art
    • Hybrid Art
    • installation
      • interactive installation
      • performative installation
      • sound installation
      • Virtual Reality
        • Augmented Reality
        • Mixed Reality
    • Nano Art
    • Net Art
    • Performance
      • Computer performance
      • Happening
      • multimedia performance
      • sound performance
      • video performance
    • robotics
    • Telematic Art
  • subject
    • ART AND SCIENCE
      • algorithm
      • anthropology
      • archaeology
      • artificial intelligence
      • astronomy
      • biology
      • botany
      • cartography
      • code
      • combinatorics
      • cyberspace
      • database
      • documentation
      • evidence
      • experiment
      • geography
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      • history of science
      • humanities
      • library
      • light
      • machine
      • mathematic
      • medicine
      • microscopy
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      • neuroscience
      • philosophy
      • physics
      • psychology
      • Representation of knowledge
      • research
      • science
      • scientific image
      • space
      • statistics
      • stereoscope
    • ARTS AND VISUAL CULTURE
      • allegory
      • animation
      • architecture
      • art history
      • art market
      • beauty
      • cinema
      • Concept Art
      • conservation
      • dance
      • expanded cinema
      • fashion
      • gaze
      • grid
      • illusion
      • literature
      • mask
      • materiality
      • mirror
      • model
      • museum
      • music
      • nude
      • panopticon
      • panorama
      • personification
      • perspective
      • poetry
      • projection
      • representativeness
      • shadow
      • sketch
      • spectator
      • symbolism
      • theatre
      • Theory
        • complexity
        • media theory
        • modernism
        • postmodernism
        • poststructuralism
        • semiotics
        • simulacrum
      • virtuality
      • visual culture
    • BODY AND HUMAN
      • agency
      • anatomy
      • body
      • breathing
      • cybersex
      • cyborg
      • death
      • disease
      • dream
      • embodiment
      • empathy
      • expression
      • eye
      • facial expression
      • fantasy
      • feeling
        • affect
        • emotion
      • gender
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      • gesture
      • hand
      • human
      • identity
      • intimacy
      • movement
      • pain
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      • posthuman
      • self awareness
      • senses
      • sexuality
      • skin
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    • HISTORY AND MEMORY
      • ancestor
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      • archive
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      • collective memory
      • colonialism
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      • historical site
      • historism
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      • meme
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      • preservation
      • romanticism
      • teleology
      • tradition
    • MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION
      • access
      • advertising
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      • broadcast
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      • media archaeology
      • open source
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      • search engine
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      • visualisation
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    • NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT
      • agriculture
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      • atmosphere
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      • ecosystem
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      • evolution
      • four elements
      • geology
      • global warming
      • globe
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      • magnetism
      • nature
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      • outer space
      • physical law
      • plant
      • pollution
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      • water
      • weather
    • POWER AND POLITICS
      • authority
      • banking
      • censorship
      • conspiracy
      • democracy
      • discrimination
      • economy
      • equality
      • geopolitics
      • governance
      • heroism
      • human rights
      • imperialism
      • institution
      • law
      • manipulation
      • market
      • military
      • nationalism
      • patriarchy
      • politics
      • sovereignty
      • surveillance
      • terrorism
      • violence
      • warfare
    • RELIGION AND MYTHOLOGY
      • afterlife
      • Alchemy
      • bible
      • church
      • creation
      • crucifixion
      • esoterism
      • exodus
      • heretic
      • legend
      • mysticism
      • myth
      • mythological creature
      • mythology
      • paradise
      • religion
        • buddhism
        • christianity
        • islam
        • judaism
      • ritual
      • sacrifice
      • Saint
      • sin
      • spirituality
      • vision
      • worship
    • SOCIETY AND CULTURE
      • activism
      • capitalism
      • civilisation
      • community
      • consumption
      • counterculture
      • digital identity
      • diversity
      • ethnicity
      • feminism
      • globalization
      • individuality
      • information society
      • interculturalism
      • mass
      • mass culture
        • entertainment
        • parody
        • phantasmagoria
        • popular culture
        • spectacle
      • migration
      • minority
      • morality
      • native
      • otherness
      • participation
      • poverty
      • privacy
      • racism
      • territory
      • unemployment
      • urban space
      • voyeurism
      • wealth
      • working class
    • TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
      • artificial life
      • cybernetics
      • development
      • digitization
      • electricity
      • emulation
      • engineering
      • history of technology
      • innovation
      • intelligent environment
      • invention
      • mechanics
      • military technology
      • mobility
      • nonhuman communication
      • optics
      • product design
      • production
      • robot
      • simulation
      • supercomputing
      • technophobia
      • telematics
      • telepresence
  • Technology
    • Display
      • Electronic displays
        • BOOM (Binocular Omni-Orientation Monitor)
        • CAVE (Computered Augmented Virtual Environment)
        • computer monitor
        • Electromechanical Display Device
        • Electronic Paper
        • flashlight
        • Head-up Display
        • Headphones
        • HMD (Head-mounted Display)
        • holography
        • laser
        • light-emitting diode
        • plasma
        • printer
        • projection screen
        • projector
        • robotic
        • speakers
        • VFD (Vacuum Florescent Display)
        • VRD (Virtual Retinal Display)
      • Non-electronic displays
        • body
        • Book
        • easel painting
        • globe
        • house wall
        • inflatable structure
        • mirror
        • paper
        • sculpture
        • shutter glasses
        • sofa
        • Somatosensory System / Tactile Feedback Technology
        • table
    • Hardware
      • camera
      • computer mouse
      • data glove
      • Joystick
      • MAC
      • Mobile Device
      • multi touchscreen
      • plotter
      • scanner
      • touchscreen
      • Video
      • Virtual Workbench
      • Virtuscope
      • webcam
    • interface
      • Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC)
      • biometrics
      • Body sensor
        • Body Tracking
        • brainwave sensor
        • breathing sensor
        • Breathing-Balance-Interface-Vest
        • Endoscope
        • eye scanner
        • facial recognition system
        • Motion Capture
        • positiontracker
        • retina scanner
        • Speech Recognition
        • step sensor
      • camera recording
      • electromagnetism
      • interactive media
        • Auditory User Interface (AUI)
        • Augmented Reality Interfaces
        • breath based communication
        • Internet of Things (IoT)
        • Ludic Interface
        • MR-based (Mixed Reality) Interaction
        • Multi-Modal Interaction
        • tactile user interfaces
        • Tangible Acoustic Interface
        • Tangible User Interface (TUI)
        • Voice User interface
      • Non-electronic interface
        • bike
        • doll
        • furniture
        • plant
      • Soundgenerating device
        • Audiotape
        • keyboard
        • microphone
        • musical instrument
        • RFID (Radio-frequency Identification)
        • Speech Recognition
        • syntheziser
        • telephone
        • Theremin
        • turntable
        • voice analysis
        • Voice User Interface (VUI)
      • virtual balance
    • Software
      • C++
      • CGI/Perl
      • CSS
      • Global Positioning System (GPS)
      • ISDN
      • Java
      • Linux
      • Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
      • periscope
      • PHP
      • RFID (Radio-frequency Identification)
      • robotic interfaces
      • SGI Onyx2
      • softimage
      • software interface
      • Video
      • VRML
      • Wireless Sensor Network (WSN)
      • XML
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Information
Cite
X
Archive of Digital Art (ADA). “Golan Levin - »Axis Applet«”. https://www.digitalartarchive.at/database/general/work/axis.html (retrieved 2016-27-07). @online{ADAartistprofile, author = {Archive of Digital Art (ADA)}, title = {Golan Levin - »Axis Applet«}, url = {https://www.digitalartarchive.at/database/general/work/axis.html}, urldate = {retrieved 2016-27-07}
Technology
Software
JAVA applet
Descriptions & Essays

enter project here:

artport.whitney.org

Scroll down to the bottom of the code to launch its results.

Please adjust your Java Security Settings for Whitney Museum Artport, in order to launch the Programme.

Commissioned by the Whitney Museum.

ADA Community Team 16-06-2015
Comment by John Klima:
Indeed, as Martin said, VERY competent programming, runs like a charm and is a pleasure to look at. I notice that Golan uses the "official" United Nations map projection, rather than a strict lat/lon projection. Don't you think it over-emphasizes Europe and Africa? I love the sense of humor (if you can call it humor) and the very "professional" code comments ("...and a secret handshake. Ours is wicked cool."). I also very much appreciate the content-driven approach. Sometimes the axis "description" is a little forced and redundant, but often it is quite funny, and certainly points to the redundancy of political agendas in the first place. The funniest descriptions depend on the countries one chooses. This highlights a certain property common to many interactive and generative pieces, it really matters what the user does. This is not a bad thing, I think it is ultimately very much the point.

Golan Levin: John wrote that 'the funniest descriptions depend on the countries one chooses,' and Scott has pointed out how tenuous the connections in the 'axes' can get. I think these comments are dead on, and point to the greatest weakness of the piece.

From the standpoint of creating an interesting reactive browsing tool, the task of developing a database which could report commonalities among any three countries turned out to be harder than I expected. The reason had largely to do with combinatorics: for a map with 188 countries, the total number of unique threesomes turns out to be well over 6 million. Although we were able to populate more than half of this possibility-space (it turns out that nearly all countries produce oil, produce vodka, and are involved in some sort of border dispute), the size of the combinatoric space still suggests that some of the most interesting axes are unlikely to be discovered in casual interaction.

To take one example, there are only six countries which have laws that permit the execution of juvenile offenders: Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the United States (see http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/juvintl.html). With six countries, only 120 unique threesomes are possible. So this means that the chances of randomly encountering one of these threesomes in "Axis" is something less than 0.002%, which is too bad if you happen to find this information interesting. There are a lot of features like this in the database.

John also asked about my choice of map projection. It's interesting how the choice of a mathematical warping function can have serious political implications! Of course, there's no one "correct" way to flatten a sphere. I used Tony Steinke's excellent online Map Maker to generate a Robinson projection, which is the same projection used by the National Geographic Society. It's a compromise map in which countries and continents more closely match their true size, at the expense of some distortion in the polar regions.
ADA Community Team: Axis Applet, 16-06-2015, in: Archive of Digital Art
ADA Community Team 16-06-2015
Comment by Scott Snibbe:
Your piece is very entertaining. It seems that the ties that bind axes of evil are very loose indeed. My axis of Germany, France and Spain was held together by Olympic judo Silver medal winners. Your code was very elegant -- searching through the code, there are no drawing routines that create the countries or axes. All of the connection is made through palette manipulation of a single image. I think this adds a nice layer of commentary onto the piece -- these labels we place on countries have nothing to do with their intrinsic nature, but are merely our minds imposing an imaginary order (in this case conspiracy) onto the planet.
ADA Community Team: Axis Applet, 16-06-2015, in: Archive of Digital Art
ADA Community Team 16-06-2015
Comment by Martin Wattenberg:
"This witty and interesting piece is impressive on many levels. It represents a creative interpretation of the assignment and shows the highest level of craftsmanship. (Witness the amount of code devoted to ensuring flowing syntax in the labels.) It is also suited to a shared-source project, since the program itself holds surprises. Skimming the code, you may at first think the "world.gif" image is simply the map in the applet's background--but it's something more."
ADA Community Team: Axis Applet, 16-06-2015, in: Archive of Digital Art
ADA Community Team 10-06-2015
Axis (2002: Golan Levin) is a whimsical interactive data visualization, commissioned by the Whitney Museum for its Artport website. A dozen artists were invited by curator Christiane Paul to respond to a specific assignment in a programming language of their choice. The assignment was to 'connect and move three points in space,' which obviously could be interpreted in a literal or abstract way. The code itself was not to exceed 8 kilobytes, which equals a fairly short text document. My contribution, Axis, is an interactive applet driven by a simple database of arcane sociopolitical factoids. The project responds to Paul's challenge by allowing its users to connect three countries into a conceptual "Axis" defined by their common properties in this database. ___________________________________________________________ "An Axis can't have more than three countries," explained Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "This is not my rule, it's tradition. In World War II you had Germany, Italy, and Japan in the evil Axis. So you can only have three. And a secret handshake. Ours is wicked cool."[1] President Bush's recent assertion that North Korea, Iraq and Iran form an "Axis of Evil"[2] was more than a calculated political act — it was also an imaginatively formal, geometric one, which had the effect of erecting a monumental, virtual, globe-spanning triangle. Axis is an online tool intended to broaden opportunities for similar kinds of Axis creation. It allows its participant to connect any three points in space [countries] into a new Axis of his or her own design. With the help of multidimensional statistical metrics culled from international public databases[3], the commonalities amongst the user's choices are revealed. In this manner, Axis presents an inversion of Bush's praxis, obtaining lexico-political meaning from the formal act of spatial selection. [1] Marlatt, Andrew. "Angered by Snubbing, Libya, China, Syria Form 'Axis of Just as Evil'". SatireWire, 1/30/2002. [2] "In Speech, Bush Calls Iraq, Iran and North Korea 'Axis of Evil'". State of the Union Address, 1/29/2002.
ADA Community Team: Axis Applet, 10-06-2015, in: Archive of Digital Art
Literature
Marchese, Francis T.. »Software Archaeology and the Preservation of Code-based Digital Art.« In Proceedings of Archiving Conference 2013, edited by Society for Imaging Science and Technology, 25-30. Springfield, VA: 2013.
Paul, Christiane. »CODeDOC II: curator's statement.« http://www.aec.at/CODeDOCII.
Baumgärtel, Tilman. »Dein Code ist so verdammt elegant.« http://www.taz.de/1/archiv/?dig=2002/11/02/a0229 [21.10.2014].