F-CONNEXION was developed in its 1.0 version in 2015. This work relates general problematics of U-rss and engages physical space (as we have done it before with the AR application The Garden of Delights). It can be summarized as so:
F-CONNEXION offers the simultaneous coexistence of a printed letter (done in triplicate) sent by post, and also re-presented (®-made?) (but in a different way) with Google Earth, on OUR own "networks of friends" maintained on Facebook. Each letter echoes, in a sense, to the famous experiment conducted by Marcel Duchamp around the 3 Standard Stoppages. Measuring exactly one meter, each of them will travel – through ten hypothetical destinations – a zigzag portion of the earth’s surface, so several thousand kilometers. But no one knows exactly where they are going to pass since each person receiving it must imagine, negotiate and therefore map in his own network, THE new potential recipient of this letter.
Veyrat, Marc (2015). « F-CONNEXION : pour une stratégie de POSTCOLLECTION » In: Collecter Cataloguer Cartographier : pratiques de l'archivage numérique. Conférence at PUSE 2016, IRAM, Saint-Etienne.
Consisting in the transmission of letters by mail where each recipient, by his intervention, changed the visual aspect of the work, the general procedure of F-CONNECTION plays on three vectors:
Two of the letters sent in the frame of this work of art have never reached their destination. Here, the failure of a communication service are not, in any way, artificial. The low-tech Dandyism is involved in the protocol only to remember the geopolitics of territories that our contemporary communication practices appear to have occulted.
The mail goes less fast than light of our electronic dialogues. But then again, while slowdown is being advocated as an healthy way of living, F-CONNEXION do not use the deceleration in order to regress in negative, compared to immediacy by which we are brought into contact with the Other; rather: the work declares its own time and space, by this set of border-moments in which the letters pass.
The letter measures within itself what causes it. By the means of a metric standard, of course, but calibrated to the becoming. In any case we can deny the inclusion of this work in the context of Marcel Duchamp's one, hence the importance to emphasize its territorialization, that is to say: its experimentation on the networks' space. Here, not only the letter can only be forwarded to a "friend" of a participant's network, but all its content (what the letter displays to the visible) only come from images exposed on Facebook.
A program is a territorialization, it is the creation of an algorithmic experience that differs from other depending on the metric it uses to roam in informations. After F-CONNEXION has deployed, on and by the contingencies of the physical territory, soon arose the question of emerging a similar process, this time to engage automata and complex networks, to browse machinic territory. The main issue being: how to escape the re-production, that is to say, the artificial simulation, on the Internet, of the physical mechanics used with F-CONNEXION. Do not slow down to emulate resistance, do not damage the integrity of information to simulate the loss, and not confuse the map and the territory.
To do that, so we had to change the referent. With FFF, we are no longer concerned by the symbolic transmission across the Earth and the involvment of the biological body in the composition of the work is slightly different. FFF attempts to render a world by dealing with the multiple ways used to measure the Web as if they were bodily processes. This implies that no specific symbol has to be selected for recording marks, the space has to be emptied, almost voided for a world to become. The initial area of FFF is then intangible, it contains nothing but art coefficients for to compile in one motion what F-CONNEXION understood in terms of information, communications and traces.
These last years, the Web has changed substantially. Its initial characteristics of a flat space without distance, self-managed and without hierarchy, have seen the birth of centers or hollows weighing significantly on the network's mesh and Internet governance. The phenomenal success of Facebook as a contact interface with over a billion people is the territorial issue of FFF, for nowhere yet seems to be as much denied the individuation process by the machine: every personnal's walls are alike, the same interface units are used throughout the interaction with our circle of friends, the same algorithms filter what we see and homogeneous concepts act for the benefit of the universal design desired by Facebook: to capitalize our attention.
Also, as part of this collective sculpture, the surface is generated by FFF by process of scaling in crystallizing a snapshot (a being-data), vectors by which our collective appropriation of the network differentiates itself. Here, scaling means: integrating to the surface geometry (where each point represents a publication) some reports with the milieu of its emergence, these latter impacting its resolution, amplitude, color, elevation, radius and rotation.
To contribute to the sculpting of FFF, you must make the request by a PM to Franck Soudan. He will add you to the testers of the application and then contact you. Incidentally, we could skip this step, asking that Facebook reviews the application, thus granting us the right to ask you the right to read your wall. Besides the almost childish appearance by which Facebook controls the deterritorialization of content that is deposited there (by ensuring that application remains in line with its publishing policy), it's by choice that we decided that a potential observer-participant had, in order to participate, to come into direct contact with their creators..
Once the application is approved by the observer-participant, FFF begins questioning the Graph API to retrieve IDs of all its publications. But these data may not to be all inserted in the surface. Indeed, the number of points used in its construction is limited to 314, as a symbolic reminder to the number π. That ratio belongs to the general scaling process, here to be understood for its incompatibility to translate a programmed circumference according to the screen's quadrature. If this mathematical constant emphasizes the geometrical being of the magneto-sphere – the shape involved in FFF and at the surface of which any point tends to be at an equal distance from other –, its design is more pragmatic. Indeed, by limiting the resolution of the surface, we optimize the use of computing resources needed to generate it. This step corresponds to the first scaling: the one of the program by report to the computing power of the machine. By there, we also introduce the idea of engaging the machine as a milieu.
The surface area represents the temporal coverage of our publications, given the date of the creation of Facebook; the bigger it is, the more it means that our Facebook presence is old, meaning that the invested eSPACE occupies a larger place in the aqueous solution of the architecture proposed by this proprietary platform. So we can obtain complete spheres for observers-participants being registered since the creation of Facebook. This second standard marks the ratio between the geometric space and the temporality of networks. It states that form, as a potential space of visible, is a data of time, as a margin for events to come. Here, the eternal return of present – this news feed, where each fragment of being deposited on the surface of our wall transforms our historical quality into some kind of sediment – sees the timestamp of information usually used to linearize our store-i, this time sets in favor of a sampling of the everything. Associated with the scale of resolution, FFF then glean a number of publications, randomly, and begins to project the points of the mesh.
The color depends on the time of day at which the observer-participant generated the surface, this by reporting it to the hue of the computer encoding system HSL. Again, a set of scales is instantiated between the light spectrum (intangible electromagnetic radiation, a wave measured in metric terms) and time, here considered from the viewpoint of life cycle that represents a day on Earth. The intention is thus more cosmological and wants to mark the inclusion of color in sculpture as friction between various planes of light perception, both alien, on-screen and corporal.
The surfaces are ®-CREATED. Each mesh point effectively receives an elevation given the amount of reactions about the publication it represents. That height ranges from ± 1/10th the radius of the magneto-sphere. The quantitative standard of your reputation (number of "likes" and comments) is well entrenched by this equalization shared among all surfaces. We do not pose an outgrowth constant multiplied by the amount of reactions, but we distribute the depth of points along a scale where the maximum and minimum limits are only constrained by your informations. So FFF is not a data visualization, in that nowhere we seek to visually describe the content of publications, their meaning and the amount of interaction they generated from your network.
If the surfaces do not presente the same magnitude, it is because the radius of the virtual magneto-sphere used for the projection of points depends on the screen's resolution. This value is equal to φ-1 the available quantity of pixels on the screen, where φ is the golden ratio. Once again, the device of vision affects the generation of the surface, this scaling makes the collective sculpture looking like nonuniform peels of onions, leaving here and there surfaces appearing blended with other. FFF is an interactive work, but the interactions are thus essentially machinics. Only one human interaction parameter is retained and relates to the capture of the point of view from which the observer-participant looks at the generation. This XYZ triplet represents the angle of the camera being transferred to the rotation of its surface in the collective sculpture.
So, all previous settings sculpt the visual form of FFF, and each of them postpone a plastic coefficient extracted from interfaces and machines. These parameters include both the elements and forces that update an artistic proposal oscillating between sculpture and mapping. As set of events, the emergence of the surface lasts a certain period which is itself measured and reported, ultimately, at the end of the generation. This resting time sees the central bulge – the sign marking a focal point (Facebook, the program, spherical geometry formulas, etc…) from where the sculpture seeks to extract itself – gradually swells until the final registration of the discrete equivalent of the surface in a database. This time is therefore a machinic one, postponed in a pure contemplation of computation involved in FFF, in particular the calculation of the movement of points on the surface of the magneto-sphere. The implication of this period to the deformation of the surface once again insists on shifts operated by FFF, compared to the issues of data visualization.
After this rest, the final snapshot of the contribution is recorded on the U-rss server. In consideration of the participation, we retribute the observer-participant a certificate, an image with the timestamp of its participation. This certificate emphasizes the affiliation of F-CONNECTION and FFF with the issues of 3 Standard Stoppages of Marcel Duchamp. Indeed, this is a stoppage by the way its fixed size of 1000 pixels sides, cuts the calibrations of the generation. The bottom of the certificate consists of an extract of the data used to create the surface in the form of identifiers: the publication on white background followed identifiers of users whom reacted to it. The rasterisation algorithm is not the same as the one used in the application; the fixed surface being now encoded in the form of 3D point triplets (one triplet component describing one face); the projection of points on the fixed window of the image thus deliver fundamentally different results, beyond the frame or sometimes completely covering the bottom.
The FFF certificate, following those produced during the cremation (LUX-U-®,-(i_RIP®) of the computer work of art LUX-U-®-) i is an intermediator between the world of the machine and the body affected by these digital technologies. This is the ferryman that drives the boat in the stream. It also follows this in/passable distance between social networks and letters from F-CONNEXION in their heterogeneous movements (used to move the letter and relate their trips). These certificates are proof objects, identity cards of our machine relations. Certification thus marks the emergence of the in-inside outwards (the hereafter). This is also what ®-LINKS particularly our two practices: that of a sculpture of the program facing a flatening setup.
Carole Brandon, artist and teacher of the Communication / Hypermedia department at the University of Savoie, have also expressed to us this relationship between the certificate as a snapshot of a process-form and the will, perhaps, to mark somewhere traces of everything that escapes to us in digital flows. In a more embodied perspective, she reports it to a skin tattoo:
The certificate confirms our presence as a skin tissue, a body surface, a single DNA cell, non-detachable from the system living within it (Facebook) and interrelated with the system that generates it (the work of art). It does not make visible what we are and what we do on social networks, it permanently sticks the Facebook's space to our being. Now inseparable, our certificate acts as a tattoo. In the same way that each recipient, each trace on the letter, each border crossed, definitely marks a network whose the physical space won't be able to be separated.
Ultimately, the certificate has the same role in the process of FFF that the Prussian blue plates in the experiment of Duchamp. That is to say that it welcomes and sets the artistic event (a volume understood as temporal field of incorporeal energies), but this with delay appointments snapshots contract the generation of the area between the machine data and the observer-participant. It is therefore not extract the individual fragment of carved collective, but to print conceptual outside that for which each surface, by singular energies ensère it stands not only away from the others, but itself belongs to another dimension. Also, while the three-dimensional surface swells as it meets force vectors computant environment, the certificate carries a transfer, compression of these forces; as if this real-artificial collective sculpture emptied on a photographic print in two dimensions. This tattoo overflows or so covers his skin, and finally stumbles this data release will (Reading of their standards and their measurement standards) permanent throughout FFF.