What's on your mind?

What's on your mind?

What's on your mind?

By Matas Buckus

Everyday we think a lot, especially in these times harmful and negative thoughts can start to dominate. It is about what we pay attention to - thoughts are similar to plants, the ones we feed, water and pay attention to will grow and flourish, the ones we ignore will fade... I found myself criticizing the public signs that I see everyday on my commutes, questioning the content on them.

What is happiness? We can always look at our life in two ways negatively (impulsive, overthinking) or optimistically (being in the moment, informed of existing philosophical ideas, ignorance is bliss...). In this age of digital data overload, it is easy to get stuck in a loop of ephemeral, digitally enabled joy. In this project I communicate the bi-polar relationship that we have with reality, theory and digital presence, human imperfection in general. Even if we know it is harmful for us, even if we read texts and quotes that lived through centuries on how to improve life quality, we still get attracted to the "here and now".

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Research

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In critical theory, sociology, and psychoanalysis, the gaze, in the philosophical and figurative sense, is an individual's awareness and perception of other individuals, other groups, or oneself. The concept and the social applications of the gaze have been defined and explained by existentialist and phenomenologist philosophers.(Spam is something we see)

To what extent can public signs/structures be considered as spam?

Researching types of signs (many can become superfluous)

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Personal Images (Interest in public obstruction, eye catching structures, notion of distance/ perspective)

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  • A thin line between sales and spam

What happens when companies want to attract consumers? They send out offers which suggest lower prices, coupons, deals and so on. However when do these seemingly useful offers become spam? Concluding question: why is spam considered to be only digital? Of course flooding someone with digital texts is much easier than with real mail, but do we ignore spam that exists in the public sector? Is governmental spam ignored simply because of its "superiority" and "importance"?

The principles discussed in the article can be easily applied to signs in the public sector. It is impossible to publicly address civilians in a personal manner, these are opposites, but it is impossible to ignore carefully designed, eye catching signs and advertisements while commuting.

Relevant articles

Misinformation is a giant problem in the digital age. Opinions can be shaped, manipulated and squashed with the use of portrayal strategies. One can distance themselves from the internet, but we cannot distance ourselves from the societies, constructions we walk on.

Being well known, social in real life means that you attend meetings, talk to many individuals, however this happens one by one or in groups. When it comes to social media, you can be reached from almost anywhere on the planet. This results in an overload of notifications. Paying too much attention to them could suck up your time, and scatter your thoughts. Is spam really a principle of the advertising/economic world or could it be initiated by anyone? For example: If I create a convincingly designed sign with misinformation and place it in a busy public spot, it will most likely quickly get removed, but the every second that it stood there, eyes were laid upon it - minds impacted. Would you question a governmental looking sign?

The tricky question of "happiness"

Physical vs digital mailbox

Digital mail makes it easy to send one mail to millions of internet users. However if one is motivated enough, they could design a certain message and push it into a thousand mailboxes. How many leaflets have you gotten in your mailbox where you would glance at it and consider it as trash? Wether it is coupons fo uber eats, plastic bags with messages printed on them about recycling, event leaflets, they can all be considered as spam because you did not ask for it, it is not addressed to a certain individual, and it usually has the goal of promoting certain businesses. We can say that it is made to be trash, except for those who believe that the leaflet was addressed to them and can be of value.

This notion of advertising through physical mail seems to be not seen as taboo, on the contrary, postal companies are offering services of spreading political,promotional,marketing into mailboxes.

Is it the fact that it is physical that determines wether its junk mail or not? What if we received an overwhelming amount of physical junk mail everyday?

Concluding remarks The relevance of the content of a sign depends on the viewers context. eg. signs meant for drivers act as spam to pedestrians since they are unavoidable to the eye (use of reflective/bright colors).

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Is it possible for a public sign to be relevant for every civilian?

Principle that affects every individual, every day? → happiness/resistance?

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Statement:

"The Hardest war to win is one you don't even realize you are fighting, and the hardest enemy to defeat is the one you don't even know exists. Every day you are at war with resistance."

"Resistance stands between you and happiness"

Collecting philosophical phrases on happiness

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Samuel Benjamin Harris is an American author, philosopher, neuroscientist, and podcast host. His work touches on a wide range of topics, including rationality, religion, ethics, free will, neuroscience, meditation, psychedelics, philosophy of mind, politics, terrorism, and artificial intelligence.

"Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have."

"These findings are difficult to reconcile with the sense that we are the conscious authors of our actions. One fact now seems indisputable: some moments before you are aware of what you will do next — a time in which you subjectively appear to have complete freedom to behave however you please — your brain has already determined what you will do. You then become conscious of this ‘decision’ and believe that you are in the process of making it."

"Take a moment to think about the context in which your next decision will occur: You did not pick your parents or the time and place of your birth. You didn't choose your gender or most of your life experiences. You had no control whatsoever over your genome or the development of your brain. And now your brain is making choices on the basis of preferences and beliefs that have been hammered into it over a lifetime — by your genes, your physical development since the moment you were conceived, and the interactions you have had with other people, events, and ideas. Where is the freedom in this?"

“IF YOU WANT TO LIVE A HAPPY LIFE, TIE IT TO A GOAL, NOT TO PEOPLE OR THINGS.”–ALBERT EINSTEIN

“THOUSANDS OF CANDLES CAN BE LIGHTED FROM A SINGLE CANDLE, AND THE LIFE OF THE CANDLE WILL NOT BE SHORTENED. HAPPINESS NEVER DECREASES BY BEING SHARED.”–BUDDHA

“THERE IS NO WAY TO HAPPINESS, HAPPINESS IS THE WAY.”–THICH NHAT HANH

“HAPPINESS DOESN’T RESULT FROM WHAT WE GET, BUT FROM WHAT WE GIVE.”– BEN CARSON.

“HAPPINESS AND FREEDOM BEGIN WITH A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF ONE PRINCIPLE. SOME THINGS ARE WITHIN YOUR CONTROL AND SOME THINGS ARE NOT.”–EPICTETUS

To do two things at once is to do neither. -Publilius Syrus (85BC-43BC)

Nietzche

According to Nietzsche, to live peacefully and without anything worries is the desire of mediocre people who do not give any greater meaning to life.

Nietzsche disagreed that “happiness” could be a constant state of wellbeing. He felt it was an ephemeral, fleeting condition that could end at any moment.

Nietzsche said that described happiness as an “ideal state of laziness.“ In other words, to not have any worries or distresses.

He felt, in contrast, that contentment could only be found in having vital strength and a fighting spirit against all of the obstacles that limit liberty and self-assertiveness.

Being happy means being able to prove this vital strength by overcoming adversity and creating original ways in which to live life.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.-Richard Feynman

Slavoj Zizek and happiness as a paradox

This philosopher indicates that being truly happy is a matter of opinion, and not of truth. He considered satisfaction and contentment a product of capitalist values which implicitly promise eternal satisfaction through consumption.

However, dissatisfaction reigns within humans because in reality, they do not know what they want.

Each person who believes that if they reach something (buy something, raise their social status, accomplish something, etc…) they will be happy. But, in reality, unconsciously, what they want to reach is just another thing and therefore they will be remain dissatisfied.

What is happiness for you?

To do two things at once is to do neither. -Publilius Syrus (85BC-43BC)

Sources

Readings:

“Times of Waste.” Research Team "Times of Waste": Times of Waste, publications.servus.at/2016-Behind_the_Smart_World/html/rttowtow.html
Bourriaud, Nicolas. Postproduction Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World. Lukas Sternberg, 2007.
Steyerl, Hito. “Digital Debris: Spam and Scam.” October, vol. 138, 2011, pp. 70–80., doi:10.1162/octo_a_00067.

Data

Strange and impulsive content from 10 years ago, first year I was using facebook. I was taking it as some sort of joke/notebook at the time, uneducated about how this infamous platform works or how it came to be.

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Prototypes & Experiments

Deconstruction.1 (What happens when signs are stripped away of written information?)

A study using general traffic signs - how they are seen though my eyes as a non driver. (interesting: the signs are available to download as original SVG files which allows easy editing on illustrator)

INPUT

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OUTPUT

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Deconstruction.2 (What happens when signs are divided into form and informative form?)

INPUT

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OUTPUT

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Re-Construction Sketching (applying a message)(can it be for everyone?)

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Visual Experiments

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Mid Way Presentation:

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Cardboard mock up using vinyl layering technique(for vivid color/gloss) and metallic foil.

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Setup plan:

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Final sign design [quote by Publilius Syrus [flourished 85–43 BC]]

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Sign preparation:

Size: 100 x 60 cm

Base color: yellow (consider in design)

First sticker tryout

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Final sticker process

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Sign Production Process

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Outcomes

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Technical Refinement

Front side of sign - Half philosophy ("educational" texts we read), half blank (how fast our thoughts get over written, the feeling/notion useful information you read quickly fading from your sight - perhaps being replaced or simply forgotten because of its ambiguity)

Back side - stickers of impulsive thoughts that were unnecessarily published online by me (Facebook timeline posts dating back to 2011 (it was the year I first used it)).

Looking at the posts now, it is a great example of how someones impulsive and silly remarks are documented, perhaps briefly giving the user a sense of joy...

Use of "solid" typography to signify permanence of the information. Weather and UV resistant layered vinyl - posts glued to the author, like something he went through earlier in his life, and now thinking differently (front).

Impulsive phrase: handwriting (link to human)

date: san serif (administration)

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