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The 12hr-ISBN-JPEG Project

Humility plays a role in how to interpret this work. The feeling of being alone is accentuated given the piece often remains "off," the lack of someone else present to trigger the second light. Yet if you do find "someone" on the other end, it's like finding life on another planet. What is so striking and frustrating about this art piece is that it accomplishes the act of communication in the simplest terms, however, the language or code given to the user and their participation does no allow for meaningful communication with lights on or off. Each user can acknowledge their presence but cannot complete further statements, ideas, or relationships. Clearly it is presented in a medium capable of much more. Clearly the intention of this project is in its ability to exemplify this point. This project brings to light exactly what it cannot accomplish; its meaning is rooted in the inability of technology to communicate anything further and more meaningful. The impersonal aspects of technology are pointed out and re-affirmed further by its acts of repetitiveness, the lights blinking on and off. In the words of its creator: "When one depends on live media for affirmation of the outside world-the unseen world, a single live moment is never enough- liveness, when desired as a way of affirming the existence of the unseen, must be constant. We have to keep checking, checking, checking."

Repetition is integral to Kevin Hamilton's work. As stated in his artist statement, he is keen on exploring two related phenomena commonly found in contemporary life: Liveness and repetition. His aim is to "investigate these concepts as made possible through experience and represented experience"* Many of his projects pursue desires for affirmation of existence and presence of that which is absent - people and places unseen and unheard, but still "out there." Having found that the desire for affirmation is never satisfies, resulting in a kind of "continuous update," that reduces our experience of time and space to a repetition of similar acts, which are often reflexive."*

The problem or question that Hamilton presents is the user can lead to various reactions. When asked about specific reactions he has gotten from old friends and colleagues these have included bewilderment and enjoyment. Some users were frustrated while others sent screen shots of their interactions. Others are dystopically convinced that there will never be "someone else" present when they visit. The best moments for the artist have been when he encounters others who respond with different kinds of rhythmic approaches.

The experience of silence on live connections comes into play. An inherent musical quality exists, somewhat ironically. Rhythm becomes the one, if only, forms of interaction. Irony becomes apparent. KH: "I am interested in irony, though not for long usually. I like it as an entry point, but I don't want to stay there. My photo series Site Unseen (http://www.synchronaut.net/siteunseen/) is ironic, but I also find enough truth to take me beyond irony to a position of hopeful alienation, of submission to the futility of the gestures."* Hamilto's interest in the musicality of his work continues as he states: "I am quite interested in Electronic music, especially the glitchy stuff, where something just seems to be switching on and off, or where a live recording scenario seems to be involved."*

Color also plays a key role as well in the interaction and delivery of "The Other End." Hamilton sheds some light: "For me, the red [light] is a reference to old-school analog gear, the LED's that usually indicate power or signal reception. Red LED's are the visual equivalent of a digital byte - 0, 1, on, off. This is part of why I made the light blink when you hit the space bar, instead of staying on when you hold the button. One blink = one instance of presence. One "hello"* It was also a conscious decision to stay away from Morse code: "Though I am interested in Morse code and the uses of early radio, I intentionally tried to prevent people from using this as a Morse code transmission device - strictly, there are no dashes here, only dots."*

* Quotes taken from the interview with Kevin Hamilton

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Site: http://www.theotherend.net