ChatGPT interviewed me

In this interview, Douglas Goodwin, a creative systems designer and filmmaker, discusses his interest in exploring the space between perception and media. He shares some of the highlights of his film and video work, including the recent project "Nearest Neighbor," a collaboration with Rebecca Baron that explores communication between humans, birds, and artificial intelligence. Goodwin also discusses his approach to working with emerging technologies, and how he balances teaching digital and analog technology. Overall, the interview provides insight into Goodwin's creative process, his perspectives on the relationship between technology and perception, and his latest project with filmmaker Rebecca Baron.

ChatGPT: Can you tell us more about your work as a creative systems designer and what that entails?

A: As a creative systems designer, my work involves investigating the mechanisms by which language and other technologies mediate our perception of reality. I use various technologies and media to explore how we understand and interact with the world around us. This often involves working with emerging technologies and analog devices to create new forms of expression and representation.

Q: Your work explores the relationship between perception and media - what inspired you to pursue this area of research, and what do you hope to achieve with your work?

A: I've always been fascinated by the ways in which media shape our perception of the world. I believe that by studying these mechanisms, we can better understand how we experience and interpret reality. Through my work, I hope to explore new forms of expression and representation that can challenge our preconceived notions of what is possible.

Q: Your film and video work has been showcased at some of the most prestigious venues in the world. How did you get started in this field, and what have been some of the highlights of your career so far?

A: I have undergraduate degree in Theater, and I spent years acting, directing, and running a couple of theaters. One of the things about theater is that your work evaporates as soon as the sets came down. I looked over at my friends working in film and admired how their work endured -- and could be experienced without somebody needing to stand in front of them. I had a slow start, learned a lot from others (especially Rebecca) and now I have the opportunity to showcase my work at venues around the world. One of the highlights of my career was the acquisition of "Lossless" by the Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY, which was the first digital work to enter their collection.

Q: Your collaboration with Rebecca Baron on "Lossless" was a landmark achievement. Can you tell us more about this project, and what it means to you to have the first digital work acquired by the Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY?

A: "Lossless" was a collaboration with filmmaker Rebecca Baron. It’s a series of five pieces that explore the materiality of digital media. We were interested in how the process of digitization and compression taps into human perception and the ways in which we understand the world. It was an honor to have made the first digital work acquired by the Eastman Museum, which has a long history of collecting and preserving photographic and cinematic artifacts.

Q: You are currently the Fletcher Jones Foundation Scholar in Computation and a Visiting Professor of Media Studies at Scripps College. Can you tell us more about your work with students, and what you hope to pass on to the next generation of media makers?

A: As a scholar and professor, I'm passionate about sharing my knowledge and experience with the next generation of media makers. I believe that by teaching students to understand the underlying mechanisms of media and technology, we can empower them to create new and innovative works that challenge our perceptions and push the boundaries of what is possible in media. I am lucky ti work in an inclusive and collaborative learning environment that encourages experimentation and exploration.

Q: Can you tell us about your process as a creative systems designer?

A: As a creative systems designer, my process typically involves a lot of experimentation and exploration. I'm interested in how different technologies can be combined and repurposed to create new forms of media and expression. I'm always looking for ways to push the boundaries of what's possible, while also considering how these technologies can be used to create meaningful and impactful work.

Q: How do you balance your exploration of emerging technologies with a consideration of the impact of technology on society?

A: I believe that technology is a tool, and like any tool, it can be used to positive ends. As a technologist and artist, it's important to be mindful of the impact that our work can have on society, and to approach our work with a sense of responsibility. I'm interested in exploring emerging technologies, but always with an eye toward their potential impact on the world.

Q: How do you approach collaboration in your work, particularly with someone like filmmaker Rebecca Baron?

A: Collaboration is a key part of my work, and I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented artists and technologists over the years. When working with Rebecca Baron, we try to approach our collaboration as a conversation, bouncing ideas off each other and pushing each other to try new things. It's a process that can be challenging at times, but ultimately it leads to work that is more interesting and dynamic than anything we would have created on our own.

Q: Can you talk about the themes that often arise in your work, and how they relate to your interest in perception and media?

A: Perception is a recurring theme in my work, and I'm particularly interested in how different media can shape our perception of reality. I'm also interested in the idea of media as a kind of language, with its own unique syntax and grammar. By playing with these elements, I hope to create work that challenges our assumptions about what media can be and do.

Q: How has your background in education influenced your work as a technologist and artist?

A: As someone who has worked in education for many years, I'm very interested in the role that technology can play in teaching and learning. I believe that technology can be a powerful tool for education, but only if it's used in the right way. In my own work, I try to create pieces that are not only visually interesting, but also thought-provoking and educational.

Q: What do you see as the future of media and its impact on our perception of reality, and how do you hope to contribute to that future?

A: The future of media is something that I think about a lot, and I believe that we're just scratching the surface of what's possible. With new technologies like AI and VR, we're entering a new era of media that has the potential to be more immersive and interactive than anything we've seen before. I'm excited to be a part of this movement, and to continue to push the boundaries of what's possible.

Q: How do you see your work intersecting with larger social, political, and cultural issues, and what role do you believe artists and technologists have in addressing those issues?

A: As an artist and technologist, I believe that we have a responsibility to use our skills and talents to address the big social, political, and cultural issues of our time. Whether it's through creating work that shines a light on important issues, or by working to make technology more accessible and equitable, we all have a role to play in building a better world.

Q: What was the inspiration behind "Nearest Neighbor"?

A: The inspiration behind "Nearest Neighbor" was the desire to explore the connections between humans, animals, and machines, and how they communicate and interact with each other. We wanted to explore questions about consciousness, learning, and understanding through the lens of language acquisition and mimicry.

Q: What was the process of making "Nearest Neighbor" like?

A: Rebecca and I worked closely together, experimenting with different approaches to image and sound generation using AI. We also spent a lot of time researching and observing the communication patterns of humans, birds, and machines, and thinking about how we could represent these patterns in the film.

Q: What do you hope viewers will take away from "Nearest Neighbor"?

A: We hope that viewers will come away from "Nearest Neighbor" with a new appreciation for the complexity and richness of communication between humans, animals, and machines. We also hope that the film will raise important questions about the nature of consciousness and the ways in which we learn and understand the world around us.

Q: Can you tell us about the collaboration process with Rebecca Baron on "Nearest Neighbor"?

A: The process involved researching and experimenting with a range of techniques and technologies, including machine learning, image and sound generation, and more. We worked together to develop the conceptual framework for the project, and then each brought their own expertise and skill to bear in creating the final product.

Q: What inspired you to explore communication between humans, birds, and machines in "Nearest Neighbor"?

A: I have long been interested in the ways in which language and other technologies mediate our perception of reality. In "Nearest Neighbor," we wanted to explore the intersection of these different modes of communication and understanding, and to see how they might overlap and intersect. The project draws on a range of sources and inspirations, including studies of bird communication, experiments in machine learning, and more.

Q: What do you hope viewers will take away from "Nearest Neighbor"?

A: i hope that NN will provoke viewers to think about the nature of communication, consciousness, and learning in new and interesting ways. The project raises fundamental questions about what it means to be human, and about how we communicate and understand one another, and invites viewers to engage with a world that is simultaneously familiar and strange, and to reflect on the many ways in which we try to connect with one another.

Q: tell me about your new project about being a citizen of the Cherokee nation.

A: I am starting by learning the language and considering what a child of five years understands about being Cherokee and how this child would see the world differently than children growing up with the Western history and education. I want to find my place as a cultural bridge to people who see the Americas very differently than the colonizers.

Q: What led you to reconnect with your family roots and become a citizen of the Cherokee Nation?

A: I've always been interested in the intersection of technology and culture, and my work has often dealt with the relationship between perception and media. As I continued to explore this topic, I became increasingly aware of how my perspective was shaped by my own cultural background and experiences. Learning more about my Cherokee heritage felt like a natural way to deepen my understanding of these issues and gain a different perspective on the world. My grandparents gave me community and knowledge that many people are curious about, and I believe it offers perspectives that could help us reconsider our relationship to this land--to think of it as our own--something to cherish and care for.

Q: What motivated you to explore your Cherokee heritage?

A: I've always been interested in exploring the relationship between perception and media, and as I continued to explore this topic, I became increasingly aware of how my own cultural background and experiences were shaping my perspective. I felt that learning more about my Cherokee heritage would be a natural way to deepen my understanding of these issues and gain a different perspective on the world.

Q: How has your Cherokee heritage influenced your work?

A: I don't know yet as I haven't explicitly worked with this identity. Though I suppose that it has been operating within me in some deep level--on concepts, ideas, and attitudes imparted to me by family. But I question even that as my family always insisted on participating in the dominant culture. They were proud Cherokees, but they also sought respect and equality in this country.