Diego S. Maranan

The Animal Kingdom = A whole lot of wow

Blog, Green

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So here I am, completely sleep deprived from editing a submission for Computational Aesthetics about the movement quality visualization artistic research that I’ve been doing and that Pat Subyen has been leading… and instead of going to sleep early, I somehow got stuck watching nature videos on YouTube. Gah.

Here are some of the most amazing ones I feel like I just have to share.

The most highly-rated comment on the following video cracked me up. First watch the video. Then read the comment. In case another comment overtakes the one I have in mind, I’ll quote it after the video.

The comment? “Fish giving hippos a rim job.. I have now seen everything.” I think this was worthy of the thirty-four thumbs up that it received.

Thumbnail image credit: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by moophisto

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Eating out and shopping: a slightly more eco-friendly approach

Advocacy, Blog, Design, Green

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So after having gone to too many restaurants and ended up taking home food in non-reusable containers or containers with limited re-use value, or suddenly had to go grocery shopping and ended up using more plastic bags than I really want to, I’m putting together a pouch that I will always with me anytime I’m out and about the city:

  • 1 collapsible food container (a set of three bought from ebay for about 2 CAD + shipping)
  • 1 collapsible travel mug (again from ebay, for 2 CAD + shipping… but it’s a tiny mug. It’s more like a glorified shot glass. Mountain Equipment Co-op carries a collapsible Fairshare mug for fairly cheap.)
  • 1 pair chopsticks
  • 1 cloth or nylon grocery bag
  • 2 plastic bags, tightly folded
  • 2 resealable bags
  • 5 bulk items plastic bags (so I can shop for nuts and seeds in bulk, with less guilt)

At the same time, I’m reducing the amount that I buy in the first place. I get my shoes and bags repaired before buying “new” ones—which are almost never new anyway, since I get them from garage sales and thrift stores. It’s actually probably time for me to invest in a good, sturdy pair of boots that will last me many years. Boots have nothing to do with eating out, but  I couldn’t fit the topic into anything else on my blog.


  • The collapsible containers were bigger than I thought, which isn’t so bad. What is kind of disconcerting though is how the lid leaves a blue stain on food that contains oil!!

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Apology Grove

Advocacy, Art, Communities, Green, ICT4D, New Media

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http://apologygrove.org/Can the Internet help people ask for forgiveness? ApologyGrove.org is an attempt to answer that question. The Apology Grove allows people to make an apology or view and witness public apologies. One can also respond to an apology made to them using this site.

We sometimes commit transgressions that, for one reason or another, we find hard to apologize for. But special kinds of communication media can sometimes facilitate apology-making. I find certain kinds of deep apologies easier to convey through writing an email, for example. I’d like to find out whether something like the Apology Grove can perform a similar function.

Apology Grove is also inspired by the way a previous project I worked on, Biomodd [LBA2], which addressed multiple challenges with a single, creative solution. I chose to represent apologies in the Apology Grove as virtual bamboo stalks, but ultimately, I would like to find a way to plant a real bamboo shoot for every apology registered on this site. This will be the next phase of this project. I’d like to look into using a remotely controlled robotic arm to do this or (I think even better) work with an agricultural or horticultural non-profit in the Philippines (where I live and work) to plant bamboo, and with a similar organization in Canada that has ties with First Nations communities to plant cedar trees for the Forgiveness Grove.

I decided to put up the Apology Grove because every time I mentioned the idea to people, they seemed really interested in seeing what would happen if I did. Electronically-mediated apologies aren’t new. imsorry.com allows members of the site to apologize over email or through a gift or a card that you purchase on their site. An “I’m Sorry Card” from the site costs 6 USD, two dollars of which are forwarded to charity. Allan Bridge’s 1980 conceptual art project, The Apology Project, invited anonymous callers to dial a number and leave confessions on an answering machine. Over 1000 hours worth of messages were recorded. But the confessions never directly reached what the victims of the transgressions, which ranged from petty offenses to “ritualistic murders”. The Apology Grove is similar to Bridge’s Apology Project in that both use electronic media to mediate a particular type of human interaction, but unlike the Apology Project, the Apology Grove aims to directly connect apologies with their recipients; a confession, after all, is not identical to an apology.

I am looking for collaborators for this project. If this idea interests you, please drop me an email dmaranan@upou.edu.ph!

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Behind BIOMODD [LBA2]: Notes from a cross-cultural new media art collaboration

Advocacy, Biomodd, Communities, Green, ICT4D, Talks

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In this presentation about Biomodd [LBA2] which I gave at the School of Interactive Art and Technology’s Research Colloquium, I focused on how the Biomodd team’s experiences with differences and conflict resolution generated valuable questions that new media artists could consider when working in cross-cultural collaborations.

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