Final Documentation TempEx

Deck

Brief Description

My final product is a hyper-local music player, that brings back analog practices and fuses it with our globalized world. My goals are to create an object that incubate community and make someone think about the ways in which they currently consume through algorithm. The final product will be a small player made with an arduino and a cassette tape player, in which the only input is a USB drive, and the only output is an audio cable. The listener will only be able to listen to music that is put on the device through a USB (mp3s), by either them self or someone else. The object will hopefully lend itself to reflection not only on current distribution practices and an algorithmic world, but also intention in music consumption and playlist making. 

Additional Documentation

Process photos:

 

 

List of Resources

List of stuff I read: https://wp.nyu.edu/luna/2018/11/03/in-process-reading-responses/

Interviews: 

  • Boima Tucker- DJ, writer, editor for Africa’s a Country, producer and arts advocate
  • Rishi Nath- Mathematician, writer, music advocate and industry worker
  • Jason Sigal- Founder of Free Music Archive, sound designer, music and tech educator 

Final Reflection

This was honestly the hardest semester of my life because everything that I was studying in school, both technically and theoretically were affecting me on a deeply personal level.  My most important lesson of the semester, which extended all the way into the crits who did not understand the base of my work is that the “work” is to do what you know is right, not to create for aesthetic; the process is what is important and without process there is no art. I am not okay with creating an art project that only exists in a theoretical realm nor with creating one that is a tool for the already privileged / elite. I want everything I do no confront how fucked up the world is in some way or another and actually offer some glimpse of hope.
 
I was so happy with all the early stages of my project: my maps, my thinking, my iterations, my research. I wish I had more time to read but I’m glad I was thinking through in ways I had never experienced before. I at some point became overwhelmed with depression and wanted so badly to not have to deal with a question (“how do we create an intervention to the current music industry landscape?”) that was also fucking up my relationships and non-school work. I wish I had been able to create more in community as to not feel so isolated, but perhaps that is part of art.
 
In hindsight, I would have liked to started experimentation earlier and gotten a prototype done like a month before the final! This would have given me time to iterate more and also practice with other people. I feel like the downfall of this class is that we were not required to take our project out into the real world to do “user-testing”. The issue is that when we all have goals and dreams of creating social change but only create for the purpose of a class critique at NYU, we are the biggest hypocrites of all. We might as well be making pointless apps.
 
All in all I am actually really happy with my process and my object. I am going to develop it for my thesis and I am so happy with the outcomes in terms of my own new ways of looking at creation and change. I really am inspired to want to make more, I just need to find the space to do so productively. 

OSS Final Presentation

Project Title

Diasporadical Radio is an open-source and user-generated geographic map of independent global artists (artists not backed by Sony, Universal or Colombia), which focuses on people of the global south, indigenous and Black people. The map is open-source and works from user-generated data in order to present artists that slip through algorithms and do not show up on our corporate-curated playlists. By allowing users to contribute, the map creates a community of people with hopefully different tastes, but similar creative and political values.

Deliverables / Work Product

Final Repository 

Define the problem you addressed and greater landscape

Last year, writer, Liz Pelly, published a deep-dive into Spotify which originated from her year-long research of the tech company. Aside from issues of privacy and monopolization, the article was groundbreaking in the articulation of a greater socioeconomic shift that takes place when we rely on corporate-curated playlists and the imminent dangers of treating artists as brand ambassadors in a consolidating industry. This case study shows not only the commodification of art, but a transformation in the culture in which we begin to reward artists that make music from an understanding of algorithms which timeand time again have shown are coated in racist and hegemonic ideologies.

While Spotify and other music streaming platforms are just one cog in the AI factory which wants to quantify our tastes, music is a basic part of human ritual, and spirit. We negate human desire when we allow machines to dictate how we create and consume art.

Diasporadical Radio works in opposition to this structure, as a platform curated by humans and only featuring music from artists who are not represented by one of the three big corporate music labels. We also pose a question rarely asked on mainstream platforms: How do we reward people who don’t take alcohol / military money? We will encourage digitally-dependent  people who live in urban areas and are most affected by algorithms to break out of a regular routine to contribute. By adding artists and music, the user is contributing to the ritual of humans sharing music with other humans based on their individual taste. By streaming on the platform, users decentralize an algorithmic-dependent system.

Implementation

  1. Community / code of ethics
  2. What is open source anyway? User-generated data?
  3. Digital / internet accessibility (why Youtube)
  4. Practical accessibility (Audio) 

Longer-Term Goals

Keep developing!! 

One Page- TempEx

In a search to focus on music industry and intellectual property, I have broadened my research and began thinking more about music consumption and distribution and how people share music. One finding is that people do not share music anymore, and our technologies encourage us to trust algorithms above humans. I thought about the various ways that I could show this through heightening this dynamic, or showing an intervention, and what I thought about is a device that does the opposite of what we have now.

My final product is a hyper-local music player, that brings back analog practices and fuses it with our globalized world. My goals are to create an object that incubate community and make someone think about the ways in which they currently consume through algorithm. The final product will be a small player made with an arduino and a cassette tape player, in which the only input is a USB drive, and the only output is an audio cable. The listener will only be able to listen to music that is put on the device through a USB (mp3s), by either them self or someone else. The object will hopefully lend itself to reflection not only on current distribution practices and an algorithmic world, but also intention in music consumption and playlist making. 

The MP3 player will be intentionally anti-viral, yet still engage with a larger world, making music listening somewhat tactile. More importantly, however, it will allow through alternative thoughts on ways of being. The intended audience will be people at a party who together put 10-15 songs on the player. Once they are all loaded the playlist will play all the way through until the player is turned off. Once it is turned off the memory is erased. Through this ritual the player also confronts our current economies of music distribution and human relationships, and proposes alternatives. 

The USB is important to me because it is tactile, it begs idea of local practices (why don’t we use USBs anymore?) and it allows us to interface with objects but also in the tracking / digital sphere (can be plugged into a laptop). The potentials are to offer inspiration about economies and structures beyond what we experience, allow people to connect through music, and create a community through music like sound systems and ghetto blasters at block parties. 

The limitations are first and foremost that it’s an art piece instead of a practical long-term solution. There are other issues that act as a way to reflect on current consumption practices, most notably that you cannot take music off of it and that it erases when you turn off. 

Prototype Idea

In a search to focus on music industry and intellectual property, I have broadened my research and began thinking more about music consumption and distribution and how people share music. One finding is that people do not share music anymore, and our technologies encourage us to trust algorithms above humans. I thought about the various ways that I could show this through heightening this dynamic, or showing an intervention, and what I thought about is a device that does the opposite of what we have now.

I want to create a hyper-local music player, that brings back analog practices and fuses it with our globalized world. My goals are to create an object that: 

  • Makes someone think about the ways in which they currently consume through algorithm
  • Makes a statement about the link of global tracking + immaterial data through our consumption of music 
  • Makes our music listening somewhat tactile
  • Thinks through ways of being anti-viral, yet still engage with a larger world
  • Thinks through intention which addresses a growing trend of playlists as muzak. 
  • Confronts our current economies of music distribution and human relationships, and proposes alternatives

The final product will be a small player (most likely a hacked cassette deck), in which the only input is a USB drive, and the only output is an audio cable. The listener will only be able to listen to music that is put on the device through a USB (mp3s), by either them self or someone else. The object will hopefully lend itself to reflection not only on current distribution practices and an algorithmic world, but also intention in music consumption and playlist making. 

 

WHY THE USB?

  • It is tactile 
  • It begs idea of local practices — why don’t we use USBs anymore? 
  • Interfacing with objects but also in the tracking / digital sphere (can be plugged into a laptop)
  • It’s harder to plug in a USB than to send a song

 

WHAT I WOULD WANT THE LISTENER TO THINK

  • Who do I want putting music on my player? 
  • Who do I trust putting music on my player? 
  • How much music do I want on my player? 
  • Who owns the music on my player? 
  • Do I want to provide something in exchange for the music someone puts on my player?
  • Is my player portable like an iPod or does it stay in one place like a record player? 

 

WHAT ARE ITS POTENTIALS

  • Offer inspiration about economies and structures beyond what we experience
  • Allow people to connect through music
  • Portable party (like a ghetto blaster)
  • Allow for the appreciation of music that is not fed through us algorithmically = happier souls

 

WHAT ARE ITS LIMITATIONS?

  • It’s an art piece instead of a practical long-term solution
  • You can’t take music off of it
  • You can’t skip around
  • You can’t repeat songs

 

INSPIRATION

USB Dead Drop

Sound System culture

  

Walkmen, cassette players

   Potlatch

 

SKETCHES

 

Process NODE Express + MongoDB

SETUP

  1. Install Node
  2. Make sure it is installed by typing in “node” into terminal
  3. Install heroku
  4. Make heroku acct 

NODE

  1. cd path/to/this/code/directory
  2. npm install in terminal

HEROKU

  1. Heroku create in terminal
  2. heroku rename diasporadical-radio
  3. Heroku open

MONGODB

  1. heroku addons:create mongolab
  2. heroku config –shell | grep MONGODB_URI >> .env

 

START APP

  1. npm start (doesn’t work!!)
  2. Npm install -g nodemon

Radio Map Progress

WEEK 1

made Github…. first commit ☺️

Interactive map accessibility

It looks like there isn’t an easy way to incorporate accessibility in digital maps. These are some resources I found: 

Suggestions from Dan: 

  • Send email to Claire / Mithru
  • Moses center 
  • It’s not ideal to create two different systems, but maybe do an “accessibility page” — maybe document this issue a bit 

WEEK 2

This week was a lot of work on how to get my Node running through Mongo DB. After I finally got it running, Dan suggested I try an easier way using a boilerplate he made through his class. I migrated everything over to this format. Now I have a folder which has two public views (form and map), a js sketch, a folder of node modules, and a server.js sheet. 

WEEK 3

 The goal is to get the audio working on my map. The first thing I did was install pip (Package manager for python). Then I added another location to the path so that I can access youtube-dl, which is a command-line program to download videos.

Running youtube-dl

Now that I have everything running, in my program I am going to call youtube-dl through my sketch and 

 

Questions for mentor:

  • advice regarding making this map accessible 
  • advice on format output idea 
  • advice on how i could make it look 

 

 

Final Project Proposal

Diasporadical Radio

Diasporadical Radio is an open-source and user-generated geographic map of independent global artists (artists not backed by Sony, Universal or Colombia), which focuses on people of the global south, indigenous and Black people. The map is open-source and works from user-generated data in order to present artists that slip through algorithms and do not show up on our corporate-curated playlists. By allowing users to contribute, the map creates a community of people with hopefully different tastes, but similar creative and political values.

Diasporadical Radio is based off the idea that sound is incubated collectively, so community is a vital aspect of the process of music distribution. In a world where we rely on machines to tell us what to listen to (and more increasingly, what to make), it is important that us subjects take control of our listening process.

My final project will be focused on finishing this project in a way that centers some of the accessibility guidelines put forward by the WCAG, and presents the project in a finished way on a GitHub repository. The repository will go beyond just providing a place to store code, and will include administrative documents and suggestions for contributing so that users can feel encouraged to share music.

Team Members

Luna Olavarría Gallegos — https://github.com/lunaog

Define the problem.

Last year, writer, Liz Pelly, published a deep-dive into Spotify which originated from her year-long research of the tech company. Aside from issues of privacy and monopolization, the article was groundbreaking in the articulation of a greater socioeconomic shift that takes place when we rely on corporate-curated playlists and the imminent dangers of treating artists as brand ambassadors in a consolidating industry. This case study shows not only the commodification of art, but a transformation in the culture in which we begin to reward artists that make music from an understanding of algorithms which time and time again have shown are coated in racist and hegemonic ideologies.

While Spotify and other music streaming platforms are just one cog in the AI factory which wants to quantify our tastes, music is a basic part of human ritual, and spirit. We negate human desire when we allow machines to dictate how we create and consume art.

Diasporadical Radio works in opposition to this structure, as a platform curated by humans and only featuring music from artists who are not represented by one of the three big corporate music labels. We also pose a question rarely asked on mainstream platforms: How do we reward people who don’t take alcohol / military money? We will encourage digitally-dependent  people who live in urban areas and are most affected by algorithms to break out of a regular routine to contribute. By adding artists and music, the user is contributing to the ritual of humans sharing music with other humans based on their individual taste. By streaming on the platform, users decentralize an algorithmic-dependent system.

Address Greater Landscape

There are many similar projects that seek to break us out of algorithm land and offer sonic alternatives that we are not necessarily familiar with living in a english-speaking commercialized digital bubble. Projects like RadioGarden, Radiooooo and Pudding’s Music Map use already existing data to create visual maps that show popular music from around the globe and projects like the Seven Seas Music map attempt to highlight the more independent artists of certain geo-locations for the purpose of bringing opportunities to those artists.

This map will build off these projects that more explicitly highlight artists not based purely on identity, but rather on politics. In doing so I hope people can think more about a phenomena of artists as brand ambassadors and the growing commodification of all aspects of being human.

Deliverables

By the end of this process, I hope to have a working map that incorporates guideline 1-3 in the Web Content Accessibility Requirements 2.0. This map will be available on GitHub with a clear list of administrative documents — a ReadMe.md, How To Contribute and Code of Ethics.

Implementation

The basic map will be created using MapBox and layers on top that act as markers for where an artist is. There will be two main layers— one that I create with the music I have chosen, and another layer that is created from user-generated input. The final map can toggle between the two layers.

Users who would like to contribute will be lead to a form that they can easily fill out and will push their data using NodeJS to a map which I have access to remove if they do not fit into the guidelines.   

Timeline

Week 1

  • Set up GitHub repository
  • Write Code of Ethics in order to frame project
  • Set up Nodejs for my project
  • Incorporate the 1st guideline of accessibility into my code

Week 2

  • Incorporate the 2nd guideline of accessibility into my code
  • Create toggle layer aspect

Week 3

  • Incorporate the 3rd guideline of accessibility into my code

Week 4

  • User testing
  • Finalize design of map

Week 5

  • Write ReadMe and ContributingGuidelines documents

Documentation

I will keep my documentation process on my ITP blog. I will also track as much as I can on GitHub as issues which will be a huge part of my GitHub learning process.

Accessibility

One of my goals of this project is to be able to re-code the map with accessibility in mind. I would like to address and focus on 1-3 in the WCAG 2.0 requirements which are: Perceivable (providing text alternatives and alternatives for media, creating content that can be presented in different ways and making it easier for users to see content); Operable (making all functionality available from a keyboard and providing users enough time to read and use content); and Understandable. I think making all content Operable will be the largest challenge for me but I would like to see how I can do so.

Mentoring

Someone who was incredibly helpful to me last year through this process was Mimi Onuoha who encouraged me throughout my technical difficulties. I think my hardest barrier will be some of the programming around making my map more accessible, for which I think the WCAG will be helpful to me. I am also taking conceptual guidance from two colleagues Boima Tucker and Natalia Linares who are assisting with the curation decisions.

More About You

Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a bicultural Puerto Rican/ New Mexican household Luna Olavarría Gallegos I am a writer, curator and filmmaker and my work typically surrounds themes of internet, diaspora, and culture. As a curator, I have organized panels, showcases, film festivals, playlists that highlight the work of Black and Latin American artists and have always done so intentionally. In 2016 I launched the archival multimedia project and album developed in Havana, Cuba, AfroRazones, which confronts issues of digital accessibility and Black archives. My written pieces on music, race and technology have been published in outlets including The Guardian, StopBeingFamous, The FADER and REMEZCLA among other outlets.  

Circle Ci

Hi

I don’t know why this has become the most daunting assignment of the whole semester but for some reason every time I sit down to continue working on this I seem to get stuck. Yesterday I set aside three hours to finish and I got farther than usual which made me really happy 🙂 then I got stuck. Process photos below: 

Re-installed Node, re-went through the first video and the second… so far going ok: 

Package json file: 

 

Test failed!

 

Test passed!

 

Pushed to GitHub! Yay!

 

Added Checkout but it still is failing??

 

I think it has something to do with the fact everytime I try to commit it gives me all these files from my desktop that aren’t even in the test folder at all? I don’t know why this is happening. 

 

Update! Met with Shiffman to figure out what was up and it seems like a lot of the files on my computer were pushed up to Github when they weren’t supposed to because I did “git init” without being in the right directory… which also explains why in my terminal it perpetually said git(master):

To fix this we deleted the git folder that was on my computer when i ran the code “open .” through terminal and then deleted the old test on Github. Then, we re-committed and re-pushed the testingtesttest folder to git also with correct spelling of “circle” oops.

Once it was on Github correct, I went to CircleCI and it seemed like the test was still not passing so we made an insignificante change to the GitHub file to re-boot Circle CI and it started showing “success”.

Here is the GitHub repository.