Local Loops Small Wrap Up Notes

So I actually finished this by April 1st 2023, I just had some stuff get wiped out, so I’m going try and paraphrase a conclusion best I can.

This project didn’t totally go where I thought it was going to go. I really thought I would continue my look and feel from 2019. Making stuttering loops that break down. But as I started playing around with GPT-Neo more, I realized that maybe the days of stuttering GPT2 were over. Then Chat GPT showed up and all hell broke loose. I won’t lie, it was difficult to work on something like this while The Discourse was happening and it seemed like suddenly everyone was doing something with “AI”. But I dunno, after poking at ChatGPT a bunch I sort of felt like it was _too good_ to be something that I wanted to use. I like when things are weird, I like when they don’t always make sense. Its true that I don’t know all the sources in GPT-Neos base training, but my feeling is that I’m doing an almost dadaist approach to making this anyways. So I started cutting/editing/mashing my way through things, until I found structures I liked, or words that I _purposuely_ wanted to put together. Sort of the say way people do cut and paste poetry.

There’s lots of different ways to guide a machine adjacent process. Sometimes its through programming, where you give it parameters and institutions, and sometimes its through editing, where you use your hand to work the outcomes. Either approach works, as in the end you’re doing something WITH a machine, where you still have input and say into it. It can also be tight or loose depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. I work kind of loose, and I don’t like polishing stuff and that factors into how I consider doing things.

What I found really interesting is how much I went back to just doing straight up print type work. I experimented with different bluetooth printer firmware, and hacks, but none of it really produced the outcome I wanted, and at some point I thought “well I can spend the next week trying to figure out this firmware, or I can crack open Affinity Publisher and learn how to lay stuff out there”. And I really enjoyed it. It was like a full reminder that “oh right I used to do print, I used to do things on paper and then send them out”. Maybe that’s a new/old direction for me? Getting re-acquainted with layout again by hand in a publishing program, vs just trying to code a layout.

In the end I made 2 volumes of zines, and 8 small collages. Because of The Discourse in March I didn’t share them too widely, or share what I was doing too much. But I’ll probably have to update my documentation on Flickr, just to round it out.

Putting Things Together

After going through the layout process I started putting things together into their little envelops. This part wasn’t that different from my 2019 process. I mostly just let the printer print away, then folded everything over and trimmed down the collages to fit properly. The front I went with something maybe a bit too vector-y, but I liked that I could make them very much a 1 and 2 design and have them be related. One is just the inside of the other.

I feel like the little card collages came out well and working little printer print outs into them was a good move. I feel like I could have done more to integrate the collage-feel into the zine itself in the end, but next round.

Starting Up Again

Well, looks like I’ll be dusting off this blog and starting it up again. I received some funding to look at generating a zine w/ AI using a method I was doing beforehand. It involves manually re-feeding things into a model until it breaks. Anyways, this means I have to figure out how to get some older things working on newer hardware, and start setting stuff up again.

I’ll be honest in saying that I haven’t used this side of my brain for a while now. I sort of needed to shelve any tech stuff I was doing for a long while and focus on other things in my life. Its a bit strange coming back to terminal windows and bits of code after literally years of doing other stuff. It almost feels like I’m meeting a stranger. Plus my brain feels a bit like a rusty crank. But honestly, I did really need some time away from things.

During that time, I did a lot of walking, and I took a lot of photos of my local environment. This zine is using that for content, its called Local Loops and I’ll be using this blog to do some documentation (and maybe some rambling).