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    Appropriately Crap 恰当的烂

    Author: Yang Wang


    撰文: 黄瓜 of zzyw 翻译: 吴凯文 Kevin Wu

    The Writer’s Strike 编剧罢工

    In early May 2023, a pivotal labor movement began, marking the most substantial strike for the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in over a decade. As known as the Writer’s Strike, the crux of the dispute centers on writers’ income, compounded by the rise of streaming media and the pressing need to address the adoption of generative artificial intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT. This recently launched chatbot, a product of San Francisco-based startup OpenAI—backed by some of the biggest names in the tech world—has sparked swift and extensive societal protests against AI that rapidly infiltrate the media landscape and everyday life. 2023年五月初,一场备受关注的劳工运动爆发了,这便是美国编剧协会十多年来规模最大的罢工。这场被称作编剧罢工运动的核心争端是剧作家的收入问题,而这就必将牵扯到流媒体的兴起和以ChatGPT为代表的生成式人工智能的普及。这个近期发行的聊天机器人是由总部位于旧金山的初创公司OpenAI研发的,受到了不少高科技领域大咖的支持,但它也随即成为了反人工智能抗议的导火索,人们的不满迅速在媒体圈和日常生活中蔓延开来。

    Figure 1: Protesters congregating on 43rd Street in Manhattan, New York, during a demonstration held on May 18th. Image credit: zzyw. 图一:抗议者们在5月18日的游行中聚集于纽约曼达顿的四十三街。图片:zzyw

    During the Writer’s Strike, one of the key demands made by the writers was to restrict the use of generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, to research and edit tasks rather than allowing them to generate content from scratch. This demand reflects a growing concern among writers about the potential automation of their jobs. The strike is a turning point in the ongoing discourse surrounding AI technology and its impact on various industries. 在剧作家罢工中,剧作家们的一个核心诉求便是限制ChatGPT等生成式人工智能的使用,规定它们只能进行研究和编辑任务,而不能从头生成内容。这要求反映出作家越来越担心自己的工作被自动化,此次罢工也成为了对人工智能及其影响讨论的转折点。

    The Writer’s Strike not only sheds light on the concerns of writers but also triggers a broader debate on the role of AI in various industries. The strike has fueled discussions on the advantages and drawbacks of employing AI, particularly in content generation. Moreover, it has raised important questions about the future of work in an increasingly automated world. Proponents of AI often highlight its ability to boost productivity, citing instances where it can transform a vague concept into a well-developed draft. While these capabilities are indisputably valid, an inherent assumption dismisses the time and effort to refine ideas into polished drafts as wasteful, suggesting that automation can enhance this process for everyone’s benefit. On the contrary, many scholars and researchers caution about the potential risk of diminishing the creative space of the human mind through machines and algorithms. These concerns span a broad spectrum, touching on philosophical, ontological, and epistemological aspects of human creativity, authenticity, and socioeconomic equality. 编剧罢工不仅阐明了剧作家们的担忧,也引发了关于人工智能对各行各业的影响及优缺点的广泛辩论,尤其是在内容生成的方面。此外,通过这场运动,人们也提出了在日益自动化的世界中工作将何去何从的问题。人工智能的拥趸者们经常强调人工智能能够提高生产率,举出它将模糊概念转化成完善草案的案例。尽管人工智能这方面的能力是毋庸置疑的,人们在做这一议论时却做了一个假设,这个假设即是将想法打造成草案所花的时间和精力都是虚耗的,这就暗示自动化这个过程对所有人来说都是有益的。与这一想法形成对比的是,许多学者和研究人员在告诫我们:将人类的创造力外包给机器和算法是有潜在风险的。他们的顾虑涵盖了很多方面,如创造力在哲学、本体论和认知论层面的意义,真实性的问题,以及社会经济的公正性问题。

    Figure 2: Interface display of ‘ChatGPT’, a chatbot launched on November 30, 2022, by the San Francisco-based startup OpenAI. Image captured from chat.openai.com 图2:“ChatGPT”的互动界面,这是一个由旧金山初创公司OpenAI于2022年11月30日发行的聊天机器人。图片截自chat.openai.com

    Stepping back slightly, we can discern the underpinnings of our current situation – a long-standing trend in the tech industry: the relentless pursuit of seamless, frictionless experiences. 退一步看,其实不难发现我们面临的现状的根源,那便是一个在科技界由来已久的趋势:即对无缝、零摩擦体验永无止尽的追求。

    Don’t Make Me Think 别让我思考

    Figure 3: The 2nd edition of Steve Krug’s ‘Don’t Make Me Think’. Image by Phatzui, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0, sourced via Openverse. 图3: 史蒂夫·克鲁格著作《别让我思考》的第二版。图片由 Phatzui 提供,根据 CC BY-SA 2.0 许可,图片来源 Openverse。

    Back in 2012, as I was gearing up for a long flight, it was the perfect chance to dive into something new. In my early 20s, unsure of what I would do for my career, nor did I know what I liked, I thought, “Why not explore user experience design?” After scouring the internet, I stumbled upon a quirky 200-page book filled with eye-catching visuals and witty lines. It was called Don’t Make Me Think, it was initially published in 2000 and later received many revisions due to its popularity. Its lighthearted title says it all. It came highly recommended for beginners like me, who wanted to get a taste of user experience design—an emerging field whose popularity had been on the rise since the 2010s, partially influenced by the dominance of iOS devices. The book gained mass popularity, sold more than 300,000 copies, and was referenced in college and online courses. Originally intended as an accessible introduction for novices, the book’s brilliantly apt title mirrored the prevailing ethos of making technology frictionless for its users. This message is deeply ingrained in Today’s User-Centered Design (UCD) and Interface Design principles. The catchphrase, “don’t make me think,” encapsulates this idea — design should minimize its user’s cognitive load to ensure a frictionless experience. 2012年,在一次长途飞行前,我决定利用空中的时间学点新技能。当时我20出头,不知道自己想做哪行,也不清楚自己喜欢做什么,于是我想:为什么不试着了解下用户体验设计呢?在网上搜索一阵后,我被一本200页左右的书吸睛的视觉效果和幽默的文字所吸引。这书便是于2000年首次出版,后来又因高人气被修订过几次的《别让我思考(Don’t Make Me Think,又译:点石成金)》。它明快的标题开门见山,很适合我这种想要接触用户体验设计的新手——这一领域的热度自从2010年起就持续增长,一部分也是因为iOS系统装备的主导地位。《别让我思考》应运而生,卖出了30多万本,也频频在大学和线上课程中被提及。这本书最初旨在向新手介绍用户体验设计,其标题倒是准确捕捉到了如今“为用户创造零摩擦的技术”的主流理念。这理念在当今用户中心设计 (UCD) 和界面设计原则中根深蒂固,而“别让我思考”的口号很好地概括了它——设计应尽可能减少用户的认知负担,以确保平滑的体验。

    Figure 4: Mark Weiser, a computer scientist frequently recognized as the progenitor of ‘pervasive computing,’ a key foundation of contemporary frictionless design philosophy. Image licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. 图4:计算机科学家马克·维瑟常被称作“普适计算之父”,普适计算的概念为当代零摩擦的设计哲学奠定了基础。图片根据 CC BY-SA 4.0 许可。

    In the field of computing, the frictionless motto has been around for quite some time. Computer scientist Mark Weiser, often regarded as the father of “pervasive computing” (also known as Ubiquitous Computing), introduced this groundbreaking concept around 1988, as detailed in his influential article “The Computer for the 21st Century,” published in Scientific American. Weiser’s vision emphasized the seamless integration of digital technology into our everyday lives, intending to make technology so unobtrusive and natural that it becomes invisible. These principles have had a profound impact on the landscape of modern software, resulting in a concerted effort to develop and advance the field of UCD to produce more profitable digital products. This drive is vertical, to maximize user engagement and time spent on a product, and horizontal, as products aim to appeal to as broad a demographic as possible, often at the cost of privacy and user agency. 在计算领域,零摩擦理念的形成已经有一段历史了。被称作“普适计算之父”的计算机科学家马克·维瑟早在1988年左右就在《科学美国人》杂志上发表了“21世纪的计算机”一文,介绍了这颇具颠覆性的概念。在维瑟的想象中,数字科技与日常生活无缝衔接,技术变得无比圆滑和自然,以至于几乎变得透明。这些设计原则对现代软件产生了深远的影响,使更多财力物力被投入进UCD领域的研发,以产生利润更高的数字产品。这一驱动力既是纵向的——最大化每个用户对产品的参与度与使用时间——也是横向的——产品为了吸引尽可能广泛的人群,不惜牺牲用户的隐私和能动性。

    As digital products gradually permeated every aspect of our lives, the influence of UCD and its derivatives has significantly influenced the way we perceive and interact with each other. In 2011, an influential author and activist, Eli Pariser, published his thought-provoking book The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You. Pariser’s work served as a wake-up call, sounding the alarm on the perils of online filter bubbles, a phenomenon driven by algorithms tailored to individual preferences, interests, and behaviors. These personalized algorithms construct information bubbles that isolate us from diverse perspectives, compromising our ability to make well-informed decisions. Unfortunately, despite Pariser’s warnings, the impact of filter bubbles has only grown more pervasive, infiltrating every facet of our cultural landscape. 在数字产品渗透进我们生活中各方各面的同时,UCD及其衍生物也在潜移默化地改变人们彼此认知和互动的方式。2011年,作家和活动家伊莱·帕里泽出版了一本名为《过滤气泡:搜索引擎没告诉你的事》的书,针对“过滤气泡”的危险敲响了警钟。过滤气泡现象来源于针对个人偏好、兴趣和行为量身定制的算法。这些个人化的算法形成了信息回声室,将我们与多样的观点隔离开来,阻碍我们做出知情决定的能力。可惜的是,帕里泽的警告未能阻止过滤气泡的扩散,而它如今已经侵入了文化领域的每个角落。

    Figure 5: Title image of Zombies on the Walls: Why Does So Much New Abstraction Look the Same? by art critic Jerry Saltz, published on Vulture in June, 2014. Source: https://www.vulture.com/2014/06/why-new-abstract-paintings-look-the-same.html 图5: “墙上僵尸:为什么如此多的新抽象作品如出一辙”文章的标题图片,由艺评家杰瑞·萨尔茨于《Vulture》杂志发表,2014。图片来源:https://www.vulture.com/2014/06/why-new-abstract-paintings-look-the-same.html

    Three years after Pariser’s book was published, Jerry Saltz, one of the most respected art critics in the Western world, published an article on Vulture, the cultural and art outlet of New York Magazine, titled “Zombies on the Walls: Why Does So Much New Abstraction Look the Same?” In the article, Saltz coined the term Crapstraction to refer to formulaic and unoriginal abstract art that he saw as prevalent in the art world. He argued that this trend was driven by the desire to create an easily digestible and marketable aesthetic, resulting in a lack of substance and innovation. The rise of Crapstraction can be linked to the increasing influence of recommender algorithms in our digital landscape. These algorithms, responsible for curating our online experiences, prioritize content that maximizes user engagement and satisfaction. Consequently, they often promote formulaic, homogenized content that adheres to the lowest common denominator of taste. Much like most modern technology is designed for seamless user experience, recommender algorithms are the promising successor to bring automation to a higher level – generating endless content to quench the user’s thirst. In the name of digital smoothness, the algorithmically curated endless content stream forms millions of false cultural paradises where similar ideas are circulated and reinforced, often with little room for alternative perspectives. 帕里泽的书出版三年后,杰瑞·萨尔茨,西方最德高望重的艺评人之一,在《Vulture》杂志(《纽约》杂志的文化艺术端口)上发表了“墙上僵尸:为什么如此多的新抽象作品如出一辙”。文章中,萨尔茨创造了“Crapstraction”(烂抽象)一词,用来批评他认为艺术界随处可见的公式化又毫无创意的抽象艺术。他认为Crapstraction盛行的原因是人们渴望一种易于理解和营销的美学,而这导致了实质内容和创新的流失。Crapstraction的兴起和数字空间中推荐算法的日益强大不无关系。策划我们线上体验的算法总是优先考虑最大化用户参与度和满意度的内容,其结果便是它所推荐的往往是仅符合品味最低公分母的、公式化又千篇一律的内容。就像众多现代科技是为去除用户体验中的摩擦而设计的一样,推荐算法带着进一步完善自动化的使命,为满足用户的饥渴无休无止地创造内容。在数字平滑的名义下,算法设计着无限的信息流,构造出百万个虚构的文化乐园,其中相似的想法被反复传播与深化,使得与之相悖的看法常常失去存在的空间。

    Software, Interfaces and Ideology 软件,界面与意识形态

    Media, even the computational kind, has long been subject to critical scrutiny for its cultural and ideological influences. The term culture industry was introduced by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, key figures of the Frankfurt School – a group of prominent scholars and thinkers significantly contributed to Marxist thought, who are oftentimes referred as Neo-marxists. 媒体长久以来一直是文化和意识形态研究的对象,即使是计算类媒体也不例外。“文化工业”这一概念是由法兰克福学派的两位重要人物狄奥多·阿多诺和麦克斯·霍克海默提出的。法兰克福学派的学者和思考家们对马克思思想做出了许多贡献,经常被称作新马克思主义者。

    In Adorno and Horkheimer’s seminal work, Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), they included a chapter titled The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception. Here, the duo argued that popular culture operates much like a factory, churning out standardized cultural goods, including films, radio programs, and magazines. These mass-produced cultural products, they claimed, serve to lull society into a state of passivity. They stated, “No independent thinking must be expected from the audience: the product prescribes every reaction: not by its natural structure (which collapses under reflection), but by signals.” This critique appears eerily prescient when viewed as a commentary on Silicon Valley’s design principles. 阿多诺和霍克海默的名作《启蒙辩证法》(1947)中有一章节名为“文化工业:启蒙作为大众欺骗”。其中,两人议论大众文化的逻辑与工厂类似,不断生产电影、广播节目和杂志等标准化的文化产品,而这些批量生产的产品会让社会陷入消极的状态。他们写道:“不能期望观众有独立思考:产品本身已预设了(观众的)每一种反应:不是通过它自然的结构(它会在思考下崩塌),而是通过各种符号。”若把这一理论作为对硅谷设计理念的批评,似乎很有先见之明。

    Since the Frankfurt School’s critique, one could make the argument that the conditions which enabled their criticism have changed significantly. The dominance of materialistic industrial production has given way to the rise of the service sector in Western societies. This shift has reconfigured the class structure, with a new class of knowledge workers emerging. The traditional industrial working class has declined, replaced by fragmented occupations and precarious employment arrangements. Income inequality has widened, affecting social mobility and the middle class. This new context calls for an updated understanding of the cultural industry in the 21st century, one that’s shaped not by television or billboards, but streaming shows, and social media platforms, and video games. 有人会议论说,从法兰克福学派提出这一批评至今,他们当初所批判的条件已经改变了许多。在西方社会,物质主义工业生产的支配地位已经被服务业所代替,阶级结构也随之改变,由此诞生知识工作者的新阶级。传统的工业工人阶级已然衰落,取而代之的是零散的职业与极不稳定的就业安排,收入不平等在逐渐扩大,中产阶级正在缩小,而社会流动性则逐渐慢滞。二十一世纪新的语境需要一套新的文化工业理论。如今的文化工业不再由电视或广告牌塑造,而是依赖于流媒体节目、社交媒体平台和电子游戏。

    Figure 6: Alexander R. Galloway, a contemporary media theorist, during his lecture on ‘The Concept of the Digital’ at the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures. Screenshot sourced from Youtube.com 图6: 当代媒体理论家亚历山大·R·加洛韦在人文与全球文化研究所进行名为“数字的概念”的讲义。截图来源:Youtube.com

    Alexander R. Galloway, a New York based media theorist, has written extensively on the cultural and political dimensions of digital media, often drawing on Marxist theory. In his seminal work The Interface Effect published in 2012, Galloway examines the profound impact that digital interfaces and software have on our interactions with technology and the world. Building on top of classic marxist thinkers like Louis Althusser, He challenges the common assumption that interfaces are neutral and transparent mediators that facilitate communication between users and technology. Instead, he argues that interfaces are active agents that shape and influence our perception of the world, creating what he calls “the interface effect.” He claims that the interface effect is a form of aesthetic activity that operates according to its own logic and ends, rather than reflecting or representing reality. He also warns that the quest for invisibility and frictionlessness in user experience design might have unintended consequences. By hiding the inner workings of technology, he suggests, interfaces might also conceal the social and political implications of our actions, preventing us from understanding how technology affects us and how we affect technology. He further argues that interfaces might also obscure the power dynamics that are embedded in technology, such as surveillance, control, and exploitation. 亚历山大·R·加洛韦是一位来自纽约的媒体理论家,他写过诸多关于数字媒介的文化与政治维度的文字,其中也不乏对马克思理论的参考。在他2012年出版的重要作品《界面效应》中,他研究了数字界面和软件对我们与技术和世界互动方式的深远影响。在路易·阿尔都塞等经典马克思学者的理论基础上,他挑战了一种普遍的假设,即用户界面是使用者和技术之间中立和透明的中间人。他认为界面是能够左右我们对世界认知的动因,而这一过程被他称之为“界面效应”。界面效应在他看来是一种美学活动,服务于自身的逻辑和目的,而不是对现实的反映或呈现。他也告诫读者,用户体验设计中对隐形和零摩擦的追求可能会产生始料不及的后果。隐藏技术的内部机制的同时,界面也在遮掩我们行动所产生的社会及政治影响,使我们无法真正认知到技术影响我们和我们影响技术的方式。不仅如此,界面还可能会蒙蔽技术中嵌入的权力关系,如监视、控制和剥削。

    The Weather Is Annoyingly Nice 这天气好到令人生厌

    CD Projekt Red, the esteemed Polish video game developer, weathered a challenging year as its highly anticipated RPG action game, Cyberpunk 2077, suffered a colossal failure in its initial release (though subsequent revisions eventually brought the game to an acceptable level). Within a few months of its launch, a deluge of negative reviews inundated the internet, catapulting the game’s name into the realm of Reddit memes. CD Projekt Red,一家广受爱戴的波兰游戏开发商,曾因搞砸了备受瞩目的角色扮演动作游戏“赛博朋克2077”而背负了一年的骂名(之后的游戏补丁逐渐把游戏修复到了可以让人们接受的程度)。在游戏发行后的前几个月里,对它的负评淹没了互联网,使它一度陷入被Reddit用户玩梗的窘境。

    Figure 7: The Climate Change mod transforms the virtual landscape of ‘Cyberpunk 2077’, illustrating the dystopian cityscape. Credit: CD Projekt Red 图7:气候变化模组改变了“赛博朋克2077”的虚拟地貌,使城市看上去更加反乌托邦。图片来源:CD Projekt Red。

    In the face of such adversity, a faction of disappointed fans turned to modding as an outlet to address their needs. Unsurprisingly, the modding community surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 thrived, offering a vibrant array of functional and intricate modifications. Amidst this plethora of options, one mod emerged as a symbol of our current digital climate — the Climate Change mod. The mod was described by game journalist Fraser Brown in PC Gamers: “This Cyberpunk 2077 mod makes Night City’s weather appropriately crap.” 面对这种逆境,一群失望的粉丝转而将制作游戏模组(modding)作为解决他们需求的方式。不出所料,“赛博朋克2077”的游戏模组社群变得无比活跃,向广大玩家提供了各种实用和精致的模组。其中一个模组简直堪称当今数字世界的代表性作品,那便是“气候变化模组”。游戏记者弗雷泽·布朗是这样在PC Gamers中描述它的:“这个赛博朋克2077的模组让夜之城的天气变得理所当然的糟糕。”

    The genesis of this particular mod can be traced back to a conspicuous, yet minimal flaw in the game—its perpetually sunny weather. Players bemoaned this unwavering sunshine, voicing their discontent with remarks such as “the weather is too damn good.” Despite the outcry from the online community, CD Projekt Red hesitated to address this aspect, perhaps fearing a potential loss of players by introducing an obviously less favorable climate. 该模组的诞生源于游戏中一个小却显眼的缺陷——夜之城那永远阳光明媚的天气。玩家们很快开始厌恶这灿烂的阳光,抱怨道:“这天气未免太好了吧。”而即使线上群体对这个设定强烈不满,CD Projekt Red仍然对解决方案犹豫不决,可能是担心不良的气候会导致一些玩家退坑。

    In response to this criticism, the Climate Change mod offers a singular alteration—it transforms the game’s sunny climate into a gloomy, heavily polluted haze, evoking the atmosphere expected in a dystopian cyberpunk world. Needless to say, Climate Change jumped to top of the chart, becoming one of the most beloved mods of Cyberpunk 2077. 面对这种不满,气候变化模组提出了一个简单的解决方式——它将游戏中本来晴朗的天气变得阴郁,到处充斥着重度雾霾,真正营造出了反乌托邦式赛博朋克世界应有的氛围。果不其然,这个模组一跃进入模组榜首,成为了“赛博朋克2077”最受欢迎的模组之一。

    The narrative of climate change isn’t new in the world of modding. Unlike most industries where unauthorized modification is strictly forbidden and prosecuted by the copyright holder, the gaming community has fostered a thriving modding culture that often enhances or even surpasses the original game. A prime example is “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” by Bethesda Game Studios. Released in 2011, its enduring popularity stems largely from an active modding community. Using the Creation Kit provided, players have shared thousands of modifications, ranging from graphical tweaks to new mechanics, characters, and quests. Noteworthy mods like “Falskaar,” “Wyrmstooth,” and “Beyond Skyrim” have added extensive new areas and narratives, extending the game’s lifespan and engaging players well beyond the original storyline. It’s worth noting that not all mods adhere to the original game’s design or gameplay mechanics - there are plenty of bizarre or even absurd mods. These include creating intentionally glitchy graphics or replacing characters with figures from the cartoon Adventure Time. The creativity of modding transcends “doing free labor for the game development company” and often evolves into unique expressions of inspiration and aesthetic development, demonstrating a promising opening for “interfaces” to be designed collectively with diverse ideological expressions. 气候变化模组的故事在游戏模组界并不新鲜。游戏与许多其他工业不同,版权方通常不会禁止或追究未经授权的改造,这就使得游戏群体中的改造文化格外盛行,往往能增强甚至超越原版游戏。一个很好的例子便是Bethesda工作室2011年发行的“上古卷轴5”。这个游戏经久不衰的人气很大程度上依赖于其活跃的模组社群。玩家们使用Creation Kit工具创作和分享了上千个模组,其内容从视觉调整到新增机制、角色和任务,无奇不有。一些可圈可点的模组,如“Falskaar”、“Wyrmstooth”和 “Beyond Skyrim”,增添了广泛的新区域和叙事,为游戏续命的同时让玩家在原本的故事剧情外还能找到玩头。值得一提的是,并不是所有的模组都是忠实于游戏原本的设计理念和游戏规则的。模组中也不乏古怪甚至荒谬的作品,比如有些模组会故意让画面出现差错,有的则会将游戏角色替换成动画“探险活宝”中的角色。制造游戏模组所需的创造力超越了“为游戏制造商白打工”的层次,演化为灵感与审美发展的独特表达,也展现了界面设计一个充满潜力的突破点:被共创出来的“界面”表达着复杂多样的意识形态。

    Mods for the World We Live In 为我们的世界而造的模组

    Figure 8: The homepage of application Other Orders, sourced from https://lav.io/projects/other-orders/ Image courtesy of the artist. 图8: “其他顺序”应用的主页,来源为https://lav.io/projects/other-orders/。图片由艺术家提供。

    One of my favorite media artists, Sam Lavigne, has been working closely with software and algorithms. A few years back, he created a compact, simple application titled Other Orders. What makes it “simple” is its easily explainable effect: the application offers the ability to rearrange your Twitter feed. On its minimalistic interface, there are a dozen buttons you can click, each button triggers a unique way of ordering your feed items. The options available in Other Orders span a wide range, from nonsensical to absurd. Among them are choices like “Crudely Understood Marxism,” “Highest Density,” and “Number of Numbers.” 我最欣赏的新媒体艺术家之一山姆·拉文在作品中就经常使用软件和算法。几年前,他创造了一个简单明了的名为“其他顺序”的应用程序。之所以说它简单,是因为它的效果只需几个字就能解释清楚:这是个能刷新你的推特推荐的应用程序。在它极简的界面上,你可以通过按十几个按钮来以各种奇葩的方式重新排列你所看到的推文。这些选项包括“对马克思主义的一知半解”、“最高密度”和“数字的数字”。

    This application, residing on a webpage, requires granting access to your Twitter account through Twitter’s public API (Application Programming Interface) to function. In the case of Other Orders, the interface design carries the intention of this work. Lavgine stated the inspiration of the work on the web page, reads: 这个程序依附于一个网页上,需要通过推特的公开应用程序编程接口连接个人的推特账号。“其他顺序”的界面设计也承载着作品的意图,就像拉文在网页上描述作品创意来源时所说的那样:

    “Recommendation engines, such as the ones powering the endless feeds on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, are designed to maximize ad revenue and keep you online for as long as possible. Consequently, they promote the most reactionary content on their platforms. However, these recommendation systems are merely sorting mechanisms. Other Orders offers an alternative set of sorting methods optimized for different outcomes.” “推荐引擎,比如在推特、脸书或油管上制造无尽内容的那种,是为了最大化广告收入、让你尽可能久得逗留在平台上而设计的。因此,它们会优先推荐最反应主义的内容。不过这些推荐系统终究只是排序的机制,而‘其他顺序’正是将其替换为了针对其他目的的另类排序方式。”

    Lavigne’s project serves as a prime example of an alternative order, one that produces effects amidst the ever-influential forces shaping our lives. By bringing the ordering options to the forefront instead of allowing the algorithm to work behind the scenes, Other Orders deconstructs the veneer of frictionlessness that the Twitter product designers carefully conceived. The native interface of TwitterThe designed interface works as an invisible shell which cloakstransforms algorithms as cinematic. As American philosopher Stanley Cavell puts it, I paraphrase: in cinema, the world of the image is present to us, but we were never present to it. (ontologically speaking, not to be mixed with the colloquial “cinematic”) As spectators of this cinematic world, we are simultaneously drawn closer to it, yet remain invisible to it. This one-sided relationship deviates significantly from the original intent of interactive media. The most common form of interactive media, the informatic technology, at least around the time it gained significant support, is rooted in the concept of promoting an input-output exchange mechanism. However, they have evolved to become the biggest facilitator for easy consumption, subtly disguised as “user-friendly.” Lavgine’s work does more than reveal the misalignment, its deliberate absence of subtlety in its artistic choices forces us to confront this evolution head-on. 拉文的项目向我们展示了另类秩序的极佳案例,扰乱了无时不在支配我们生活的力量。通过将幕后决定排序方式的算法拉到幕前,“其他顺序”解构了推特产品设计师们所精心打造的零摩擦的表象。推特的界面就像一个隐形的壳,将算法伪装成电影的方式呈现。美国哲学家斯坦利•卡维尔说过这样的话:在电影中,图像的世界呈现在我们眼前,我们却不被呈现在它面前。作为这个电影般的世界(“电影般”的语义应从本体论角度理解,而并非口语中的意思)的观众,我们虽被它吸引,但我们对其来说却是隐形的。这种单方面的关系与互动媒体的初衷大相径庭 – 信息技术,最常见的互动媒体,在它崭露头角的时候,本是植根于投入产出交换机制的理念。

    Opacity for the Digital 为数字创造浑浊

    Figure 9: Installation view of ‘Slow Hot Computer’ at Flux Factory, NY, featuring artist Sam Lavigne utilizing a thermometer to measure the computer’s temperature. Image provided courtesy of the artist. 图9: “又慢又热的电脑”在纽约Flux Factory的装置照片,艺术家山姆·拉文正在用测温枪测量电脑的温度。图片由艺术家提供。

    Another one of Lavigne’s works is the “Slow Hot Computer,” a website that makes the user’s computer run slow and hot by running processor-intensive calculations. The software deliberately consumes computing resources by executing countless meaningless tasks, it consumes computing resources and generates heat, slowing down the computer to a near halt. This intentional slowing down of the computer gives the artwork its apt name, “Slow Hot Computer.” While some may perceive this software as a mere “pointless novelty,” Galloway’s perspective would likely differ. In his blog post titled “Anti-Computer,” he took the Marx’s study on ergodicity and introduced the concept of the ergodic machines: 拉文还有一件名为“又慢又热的电脑”的作品,顾名思义,是个通过运行处理器密集型的计算而使用户的电脑运行放慢和发热的网站——软件故意通过执行无数个无意义的任务来侵占计算资源,让电脑卡到几乎不动。尽管很多人可能认为这个软件就是个毫无意义的新奇玩意,加洛韦却不会这么想。在他的博客文章“反电脑”中,他参考马克思对于遍历性(ergodicity)的研究,提出了“遍历机器(the ergodic machine)”的概念:

    “Ergodic machines are machines that run on heat and energy. Such machines are essentially mechanical in nature. They deal with basic physical mechanics like levers and pulleys, and questions of mass, weight, and counterbalance. Ergodic machines adhere to the laws of motion and inertia, the conservation of energy, and the laws of thermodynamics governing heat, pressure, and energy.” “遍历机器是依靠热量和能量运行的机器。这种机器在本质上是机械的,它们的运作遵循基本物理力学,如杠杆和滑轮,以及质量、重量和平衡的问题,也遵循运动和惯性定律、能量守恒定律,以及热力学中关于热量、压力和能量的定律。” Ergodic machines serve as a compelling alternative to binary digital logic, addressing critiques of the digital realm, particularly its algorithmic nature and the illusion of “frictionlessness” it presents. The Slow Hot Computer dares to transform the computer, a digital machine, into an ergodic entity. To explore this path further and delve into potential countermeasures, a promising avenue to consider is Cryptography. This field employs mathematical tools to construct robust ciphers that are challenging to crack. Cryptography stands as a prime example of how we can navigate the digital realm while developing mechanisms to counteract its pervasive and seamless influence. 作为不同于二进制数字逻辑的有趣的另一种可能,遍历机器回应了一些对数字世界的批评,特别是后者的算法性质和“零摩擦”的假象。“又慢又热的电脑”就敢于将计算机,一种数码机器,改造为遍历机器。若要进一步探索这条道路及其他解决方案,密码学也是个不错的研究方向。密码学通过数学工具建设难以破解的暗码,由此证明我们可以在探索数字世界的同时发展出抵御其无孔不入影响的方式。

    Figure 10: The interface of The Haze Corner, a web-based software-artwork created by zzyw . Image courtesy of the artist. 图10: “氤氲角落”的界面,一件由zzyw创造的基于网页的软件艺术作品。图片由艺术家提供。 A few years back, we started a new series of research, which we titled after the term we coined: computational haze. Zhenzhen Qi, the other half of the zzyw collective, has written about computational haze in a short essay published in 2020: 几年前我们开始了一个新的研究项目,标题是我们新创的一个词:“计算云雾(computational haze)” 。漆贞贞,zzyw团体的另一成员,在2020年发表的小论文中是这样介绍“计算云雾”的:

    “We need to create a digital haze that allows for a dual-existence of an object’s digital presence, enabling a condition for communication that does not reduce the sender and the context.” “我们需要创造一片数字迷雾,其中物体可以以叠加态的数字方式存在,以此帮助实现一种沟通环境,使发信人和其信息的语境不受损减。”

    Inspired by the concept of computational haze, We created a series of experiments that attempt to materialize the effect of the computational haze on the digital domain. They range from online applications, games, and infrastructure software. One of the early experiments, The Hazy Corner, created an online chat room space that is filled with “haze” – randomly selected words are hidden behind layers of encryption, with its encryption keys discarded after encryption, effectively turning sentences into an incomprehensible hash. 在计算云雾概念的启发下,我们进行了一系列实验,试图实现计算云雾在数字空间中的作用。这些实验涉及线上应用、游戏及基础设施软件,而一件比较早期的名为“氤氲角落”的实验则是一间充满“雾气”的线上聊天室——在聊天室里,随机选取的词汇会被层层加密遮掩,加密后再丢弃其加密密钥,使用户本应完整的语句变成难以理解的杂乱信号。

    At first glance, these artistic works may appear divergent, but they share an underpinning principle - embedding a level of opacity within the digital landscape, a terrain typically characterized by its transparency. This is not an act of sabotage, but rather a thought-provoking insertion that challenges the existing norms, and introduces an element of mystery and complexity. If we look past the immediate absurdity of such a transformation, we start to see the emergence of a new era. In this coming age, the age-old relentless pursuit of productivity steps back, making way for a newfound appreciation of energy and warmth, which are not just byproducts, but necessary elements in powering our endeavors. 乍看之下,该系列的作品似乎有些发散,但它们却共有一个基本原则:在数字景观这个以透明为特征的环境中注入一​​定程度的浑浊度。这不是一种破坏的行为,其意图是引发挑战现有规范的思考,并向数字世界引入神秘和复杂的元素。如果我们能忽视这种转变表面上的荒谬,我们便能逐渐看清一个新时代的面目。在这个新时代里,对生产力的无尽追求终于退去,让我们重新认识到能量和温度的可贵——它们并不只是副产品,而是为我们的行为提供动力的必要元素。

    In this context, friction finds an important place. Rather than a hindrance to be avoided, it becomes an essential component of our interaction with the digital realm. It slows us down, yes, but in doing so, it also forces us to pay more attention, to engage more deeply, and to acknowledge the inherent complexities of our digital interactions. In a world where friction is recognized and allowed, we can move forward in a more thoughtful way - not just swiftly and unthinkingly, like a cursor flicked across a screen, but with the deliberate and purposeful pace of a mindful traveler. And it is in this richer, more engaged interaction with the digital, that the promise of true progress lies. 在这种语境下,摩擦力起着重要的作用。它不再是一种障碍,而成为了我们与数字世界互动的必要元素之一。诚然,它会放慢我们的速度,但与此同时它也会让我们更加仔细地观察,更加深刻地参与,并意识到数字交互的复杂性。在一个摩擦力被认可和允许的现实中,我们得以带着缜密的思考前行——不像那飞掠屏幕的鼠标箭头,而像是一位留心的旅者那从容而有目的的步伐。真正进步的希望,就寄存于这种与数字物体更加丰富的、参与性更高的互动之中。