Category: Assignment-02-IFTTT


So…….I tried on several occasions to create an IFTTT recipe that I liked but they have not been working! My recipes were 1)if a virgin posts on crags list, post a note to my Facebook 2)if i put a watch later video in my youtube account, a post will appear on Facebook 3)if anything about fashion comes up on buzz feed, a post will appear on my Facebook. but none have happened so far :( I think that this is a very interesting and useful program if one knows how to properly run it.

I am fascinated by the Drenestream project. I guess I am still left wondering why do APIs specifically have an all access pass to even classified information like that or was it that the artist had particular access to this data? and APIs seem to be becoming a resource like steel that is becoming an import part of the economy.  I enjoy how Jim Campbell’s piece takes these basic real world language elements and turns them into these data language elements.


IFTTT: Pretend Timewasting

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 22.34.06

I waste time. Say what you will about Reddit, it helps me do this very well. However, it sometimes turns up something worth taking note of. I normally lose these in the stream of information or bookmark them, never to be looked at again.

Until a few days ago, I’ve been using the iPhone 5’s native Notes app to take notes on whatever slides into my head. Every week, I force myself to clear this out, sorting ideas and answering questions. While working on this project, I realised that OneNote serves me better in this by directly transferring my notes onto my laptop, saving me from having to type them out again.

Combining these will hopefully make reviewing things of interest more regular and easy.

Some Thoughts (IFTTT, Campbell and Thorp)

While I like the idea, IFTTT is like being handed an enormous toolbox which contains more tools than you could ever need but not the ones you want. On top of that, you don’t know what tools you want. There needs to be a distinction between things that save time, and things that allow you to ignore information. With a lot of these tools, it seems like it would become very easy to consider issues dealt with, and forget about them.

Jim Campbell’s Algorithm for Computer Art is fairly ham-handed self-depracating humour, In my opinion. All art forms essentially consist of processing outside information into some new reality. It may be unsubtle, But it works as art if pointing this out is its goal.

The API seems monolithic in importance, and incredibly simple conceptually. The article gave me a huge sense of potentiality, a sense that so much could be achieved by standing on the shoulders of giants.

IFTTT, Art and API

First, when browsing recipes I came across this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 5.08.06 PM

“Auto download the new songs in a Spotify playlist to my Dropbox” It’s great. It takes a spotify playlist I made and it searches for the exact songs as free downloads on Soundcloud and LastFM. It is really buggy and only works about half of the times its triggered. If anyone can figure it out before I can, could you let me know? I highly recommend this recipe, otherwise.

I have made my own three simpler recipes.

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 5.08.45 PM

First I have one that sends me a text message when the president signs a new bill, includes the name, the code, the sponsor, and a link for more details.

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 5.08.33 PM

Second I have a recipe that sends me a push notification when its about to rain, along with the temperature.

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 5.08.59 PM

Then I have one that is a prank, every year today at 3 pm I’m going to make a tweet saying that I will remember this moment every year. It will fool my (2) followers into thinking that I have a really good memory, if they remember themselves.

The way APIs made software and programs easier to control, as discussed in Art and the API, IFTTT also makes software even easier to use to its full potential. IFTTT is more user friendly than any other platform to bridge programs together, and because of that, the user can be bridge effortlessly without the burden of learning how to use it. It is a tradeoff, though. Using IFTTT without any customizing the user has to work within the limits of the website. IFTTT and APIs relates to Jim Cambells formula for computer art, because it is creative minds transferring data from one form to another, and allowing real time interaction. These technologies have been around for a while, but there is new and interesting work being made using them because they can be repurposed in infinite ways.

IFTTT, Thorp and Campbell

Here is my IFTTT recipe:


I like this recipe because it is clean, simple, and non-obstrusive. It will help me recollect over what happened over the past week in a digest format, and lets me reread anything that I find interesting or important.

IFTTT, Jer Thorp on APIs, and Jim Campbell’s satirical take on computerized art all have different perspectives on the direction and relationship of social networks to art. Although IFTTT does not have to be used in any one particular way, it appears as though IFTTT is most used for utilitarian purposes and convenience, directly connecting one activity to another. Jer Thorp takes a similar approach to explaining the usage of APIs, but extends their functionality to the realm of art, so people can make connections between themselves and the real world around them. Jim Campbell, on the other hand, makes an almost sarcastic remark about the nature of modern computerized art, even to the point of poking fun at his own computerized works to demonstrate this. The way I see it however, is that computers, like the paintbrush and the chisel, are just tools to make art. Like all tools, computers have unique nuances which make computerized artworks possess a special air that no other tool can replicate.

If This Then That: Pigeons

Because I'm a bird-brain.

So I made a recipe that tells me about pigeon videos.



As for Jim Campbell’s Formula for Computer Art, I believe that as long as there are connections to be made between disparate sources, there will always be a way to do the unexpected with well-known tools and formulae. Jack Burnham’s opinion piece, Art and the API, focuses on the potential ramifications of these “connections”, and serves as a fair rebuttal to Campbell’s implied assertion that computer art is dull and repetitive. However, Campbell does have a point in showing that a lot of computer-based art is similar, but not everything is as simple as pure input/output, especially when dynamic feedback is involved.

(To be clear, I am not holding up my use of IFTTT as an example. Pigeons may be dynamic in flight, but my recipe certainly isn’t.)

IFTTT – CSB – Post-Scarcity Economics/Asteroid Mining, Bitcoin Market Collapse House Alarm, Tumblr FB Group Dump, CMU Campus Entry/Exit Spreadsheet

Most of these speculative rather than practical, except for the last two, which I will be using as methods of self-quantification.

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 2.45.42 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 2.45.56 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 2.46.18 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 2.46.24 PM


Jer Thorp’s opinion article Art and the API introduces the technique of the “conceptual API,” a way to connect the API’s of various services to make some sort of conceptual statement. He believes the technique is suitable for media artists, who have long worked via the mashup of services, processes, and physical media. I agree, specifically in terms of the ease of combining / manipulating APIs currently. Moreover, artists/hackers/etc can reclaim the processes underlying efficiency in computing/networking and subvert them more easily than ever before for alternative agendas. IFTTT takes this a step further, giving users the ability to create new connections between the APIs of the online services they use.

Jim Cambell’s Formula for Computer Art raises the issue that media artists simply bridge some input and output, a critique that could easily be leveled at Thorp’s “conceptual API” and at art made with IFTTT. As in, it doesn’t matter whether your inputs/outputs are more or less complex (ie physical media, networks, or services). Campbell’s ‘formula’ problematizes what media artists make under the guise of efficiency and techno-optimism and instead asks what sort of conceptual complexities, critiques, and politics can be embedded within media art.

IFTTT : Automated Dad-Alerters

I decided that I would like to keep my dad a little more informed as to my whereabouts. Thus, I utilized IFTTT’s texting and GPS tracking channels to create my recipe:

If I enter or leave the Residence on Fifth, then send my dad a text message letting him know that I am entering or leaving my dorm. 

Now, I decided that I shouldn’t stop there. I also decided to automate our shared interest of astronomy and human space flight with two additional recipes:

If the International Space Station flies over my family’s house, then text my dad letting him know that the ISS is overhead. 

If posts an image to their Image of the Day Gallery, then text the image URL to my dad.

IFTTT is allowing me to partially automate my interaction with my dad, and, given enough recipes, I could do the same for my entire family/social circle. I think of social interaction itself as an API between conscious entities, and with the advent of social networking applications, the operation of this API can be easily automated. Such automation qualifies as art, especially in the scope of Jer Thorpe’s article. API art also turns Jim Campbell’s Formula for Computer Art on its head, as it facilitates multi-input, multi-output, decentralized operation.

IFTTT, Art and the API

“If new email in inbox from, then send me an SMS “Every time I get a package, I’ll get a text instead of constantly checking my email expectantly.

Initially, part of me thinks IFTTT is creepy in that it connects everything, but really it just IS creepy to see all your accounts in one place all at once. It reminds me that the internet already has all my personal information, so I might as well add another account. I love the concept. I think it’s super convenient, creative, and clever.  I think the concept of API’s is really interesting and that as a bridge from one computer to another, they hold a lot of creative potential. As someone who had no idea what they were before reading the article, the emphasis the author puts on the weight we the reader supposedly puts on them is amusing.