Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baldwin Response Article 2

Response to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

This response is classified and may not be shared with parties outside of the University of Illinois AD509 Spring Semester Rooster led by Professor Sabrina Raaf.

Any responses may be used for further research, quoted, and/or reprinted without permission from the authors.

The Engaging Ambivalence article immediately draws up fond memories of the film The Last Starfighter:

This is the story of a videogaming boy, named Alex Rogan who lives in a remote trailer court where his mother is manager and everyone is like a big extended family. Meanwhile, Alex becomes the top player of Starfighter, a stand-up arcade game where the player defends "the frontier" from "Xur and the Kodan armada" in a space battle. After achieving his best score, he is approached by the game's inventor, Centauri. Stepping into Centauri's vehicle, he is seemingly doomed to stay at his trailer park home all in his life, he finds himself recruited as a gunner for an alien defense force when Centauri is a disguised alien who whisks him off to another planet. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com} (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087597/plotsummary)

But after years of playing video games, the NRA never called me up for my Duck Hunt abilities, nor did the Association of Italian Plumbers look me up for my turtle bopping skills to seek a princess. Then again, here I sit, punching buttons over and over again...

I think the author tries to make a calm connection between military to academic and corporate research labs but fails in my eyes and the writing ends up as bait for a would be conspiracy theorist. What I feel the article succeeds at is inspiring to think of a better design. It points to the somewhat forgotten but obvious fact that someone can take what we do and make bad things happen with it (i.e. in the movie Real Genius, engineering students build a laser that is secretly being built for the government which ends up being reversed into being the worlds biggest popcorn maker).

The end goal then becomes the responsibility of the artist to find ways to protect the interest and scope of the work while making work that has little room to be adapted into military functions, or even functions the artist does no desire to be implied upon them. Or as Jasper Johns said:

Publicly a work becomes not just intention, but the way it is used. If an artist makes something — or if you make chewing gum and everybody ends up using it as glue, whoever made it is given the responsibility of making glue, even if what he really intends is chewing gum.

So in agreement with Johns it falls on the artist to make sure that what they are making is equal to their intention of what was to be made.

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