Tag Archives: workshop

As an Elf, I’m disgusted my greedy colleagues are threatening to strike

Hello, I am an elf. I am writing to complain about the Elf Protest workshop, which is helping some elves to protest for changes to their working conditions. I will not be joining the elf protest on Saturday (14th December 2013) because I don’t think elves should be taking industrial action at this important elf time of year. Myself, I work as a Kertasníkir (Candle-Stealer) Yule Elf. My work is very traditional and well respected. I follow children in order to steal their candles so I can eat them.

A new mood of militancy is sweeping through the elf communities —  an unjustified aggression that threatens to result in the first international strike by elves since 1451. The trigger is that the contagion of casual worker discontent has now spread to elves. If elves were to strike it would be for purely self serving reasons, betraying those who trust and rely on them.

Over recent months, some elves have remorselessly cranked up the pressure on the issue of working hours, indulging in increasingly hysterical propaganda and whipping up a sense of resentment against Christmas. Indeed, in recent days, I have received up to four emails a day, urging me to reply to an elf worker survey. But I have refused to participate, because I think the indignation over working conditions, so eagerly fomented by some elves, is grossly misplaced. If elves do take industrial action on this issue, it will be one of the most disgraceful and self-serving disputes in elf history.

Even the very threat of a elf strike is a grotesque act of irresponsibility, where crude blackmail masquerades as concern for elf welfare. And this attempt to protect some elve’s narrow vested interests will do nothing to improve elf standing with the British public.

Indeed, the traditional spirit of goodwill has already been badly dented in recent years by increasing avarice in parts of the profession, such as the outrageous Heinzelmännchen (Kitchen Elf) walkout in 2004 by which family kitchen elves have negotiated substantially more for doing significantly less. Given how well-rewarded most elves are, particularly those in Christmas workshops, a dispute over working conditions would sound the death knell for the profession’s reputation.

The elf world is not meant to be like this. Working as an elf is not a mere occupation. It is a vocation —  one built on compassion for the most vulnerable in society. That is certainly the way elves used to be viewed in this country. The elf was seen as reliable, selfless, trustworthy — a pillar of the local community.

elf protesting
Tragic: There is precious little sign of responsibility from the elves now. They have become reckless, bent on self-service rather than self-sacrifice.

There has been no dramatic increase in productivity or flexibility that might justify this colossal increase in worker demands. The opposite is true. Where elves once had to provide 24-hour work and conduct regular home visits, now they essentially work office hours. Out-of-hours and weekend work is largely conducted with overtime only. For all the incessant bleating about elf conditions, too many elves do not have a clue about the real world. Unlike those who have to earn their living in the competitive marketplace, elves enjoy an effective monopoly, where their work is guaranteed.

I would like to warn parents and children against this weekend’s ‘family fun day’ workshop about helping elves think about what the future of work should be like. Designing posters for elves is making light of a serious issue.

“There is nothing child-friendly about industrial action.” – Michael Gove

notes:

everything but the first and last paragraph is taken directly from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2089135/Doctors-strike-As-GP-Im-disgusted-greedy-strike-threat-pensions.html  with the context changed for elves rather than doctors.

14 December / 12-4pm / FACT Connects Space / FREE just drop in!

Pop into our temporary Co-working Space and help the festive elves protest.

We all know elves help make toys, but do you know what working as an elf is like? There are many different types of elf, who do different hidden jobs. Some of the holiday elves want to change the work they have to do every year, and they need your help to make banners and protest signs.

Stop by and help the elves decide what their work should be like, and help them make elf-sized banners and signs to let everyone else know.

This workshop offers a chance to:

  •     Talk about what sort of work festive elves do
  •     Help the elves to imagine what their future work should be like
  •     Plan and decorate an elf-sized banner or sign
  •     Take away a cardboard elf to show off your elf protest sign, or leave it in the workshop with the other protesting elves

Ben Dalton is a researcher and artist from the RCA helping to run the Co-working space at FACT. He’s interested in the future of work, micro-unions, and how to create voices for hidden work and connections between workers who are far away.

Digital Media Labs Residency technical advisor, Hull Oct 2010

[update: pasted in notes from talk below]

Technical advisor for the Digital Media Labs Hull touch screen art commissioning residency.

Digital Media Labs offers ten chosen artists a week-long residency as part of a commissioning process for a touch screen art work for the new multi-million pound NHS Hull Wilberforce Health Centre. This commission and Lab will be a key part of their innovative and ambitious arts programme for the new city centre multi-use building. – about

Ran a series of workshops and talks throughout the week demonstrating the potential and limitations of touch screens. Worked with other resident artists to help them produce functional demos of touch-screen pieces. Predominantly used Processing.

A winding journey through technology talk notes.

Most useful Processing code snippets for touch screens are:

noCursor();

size(screen.width, screen.height);

and remembering that you can run in presentation mode full screen on the second monitor if you change run.display in the preferences file linked from the processing preferences page. void mouseMoved() { } was also handy, as touching the screen often triggers a move rather than a click.

A winding journey through technology talk notes:

Trying to find nice examples of touch screen art feels hard to me. A few projects come to mind that don’t use the technology we are focusing on necessarily, but do introduce nice modes of interaction and aesthetics.

  • Khronos Projector – timelapse seems to lend itself to well to touch. Alvaro Cassinelli & Masatoshi Ishikawa’s morphable ventures through time and the timelapse ideas that proceeded it are outlined nicely in Golan’s Slit-Scan review.
  • Manual Input Workstation – Golan Levin & Zachary Lieberman’s high-tech, low-tech combination of Over Head Projector and computer vision feels like very fluid interaction interaction and stylish visual output.
  • PinPongPlus – this MIT Media Lab project came up in conversation as an example of touch as secondary to an interaction, and also for the use of microphones to detect points of contact – a way of making a window in to a touch interface for example.
  • Urine Control – a touch interface in the loosest sense, and the urinal game the She-Pee was made for. While the stream is constant, players can adjust direction to find their desired target.

We then moved on to a number of technical elements, each one triggering an association in some way with the next.

  • Shadow Cameras – we were talking about whether you could look round corners in a photo ‘like in the movies’. It is, under some conditions, possible to re-calculate the view of a scene from another light source. Not quite round corners, but close.
  • Optical Emission Security – the images on computer screens can be reconstructed under some conditions – which really could be viewing round a corner. This example relies on CRT monitors like the old van Eck eavesdropping, but other methods of diffusely reflected screen light have also been investigated (couldn’t remember the link).
  • Sneakey – this telephoto-key-duplication project led on from the discussion of how the things we assume are secure, may not be as technology advances.
  • Kryptonite Pen Key – as did this classic example of lateral thinking and a low-tech equivalent of bump-keying with the end of a bic ballpoint pen.
  • Yellow Dots – the idea of snooping led us to the Yellow Dots that computers can easily recognise, but humans tend to miss. You can find them on your bank notes in little constellations, and most commercial printers sneak yellow dot fingerprints on to each page you print.
  • Fingerprints – we often consider the uniqueness of our fingerprints as a useful shortcut for proving who we are. As do governments when planning their advanced ID documents. Many countries now include RFID chips containing biometric data derived from facial features and fingerprints. However, it has been proposed that it may be possible to reverse engineer a fingerprint from the biometric data. Or your fingerprints may be obtained some other way. The prints can then be etched using standard circuit board kits, and made in to fake fingers using melted gummy bears for access to secure offices, etc.
  • RFID Guardian – radio frequency ID chips are designed to be read from only a few centimetres away, but they can be interrogated from much farther away with the appropriate scanner. The RFID Guardian is designed to actively intercept all requests for information from the RFID chips in your pockets, and only allow through the ones you allow.
  • Airpwn – the RFID Guardian is a user approved man-in-the-middle attack, intercepting the communication between chip and reader. Normally, however, man-in-the-middle attacks tend to be more malicious. Airpwn was an experiment at defcon 12 where a laptop listened to the open traffic over the wifi network and transmitted answers louder in return. They tricked the laptops around them in to loading their versions of web pages, but with details swapped maliciously. In particular, goatse was used to replace every image. More recently, the FireSheep plugin has demonstrated how open to interception internet traffic can be.
  • Mary 101 – if FireSheep lets someone co-opt your online identity, what about a more fundamental appropriation? I like this work from Tony Ezzat, Gadi Geiger and Tomaso Poggio that calculates suitable mouth shapes from existing video to fit faces to new spoken word. It allows experimenters to make videos of people say things they never said, and can even make you sing Korean Pop.
  • Human Cycles – in a final, slightly unrelated point, we chatted about Louis von Ahn’s great adventures in motivating humans to contribute help to things computers can’t do well, and inparticular the classic ESP Game, where people guess words to describe images – playing a game for fun, but also labelling the images as a by-product.