Posts for September 2005

Freshen Up

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The Refresh! conference starting Sept 28 at Banff New Media Institute in Canada is an event “. . .on the Histories of Media Art and will discuss for the first time the history of media art within the interdisciplinary and intercultural contexts of the histories of art. Banff New Media Institute, the Database for Virtual Art, Leonardo/ISAST and UNESCO DigiArts are collaborating to produce the first international art history conference covering art and new media, art and technology, art-science interaction, and the history of media as pertinent to contemporary art.

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Originally posted on coin-operated by Rhizome


Katrina's Impact on the Arts

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9thward
After reading S. Frederick Starr's NYTimes piece "A Sad Day, Too, for Architecture" in which he describes the flooding of New Orleans' Ninth Ward (I lived there once, back when it was gritty and dangerous...) and the destruction of 100's of vernacular houses (including his own), I found my thoughts straying from the thousands feared dead to other, cultural losses. Then I received this email from Tyler Green:

This is the first culture-specific Katrina fund I've found. I'm sure there will be more, but I wanted to share as soon as I heard about this one:

http://www.aam-us.org/aamlatest/news/HurricaneHowToContribute.cfm

[...]

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This isn't exactly new media news, but Katrina's been a hot topic on Rhizome's discussion list, nonetheless, and this seems a good opportunity to get it on our front page for a bit.

Originally posted on NEWSgrist by joy garnett


Fire speaking to you

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Firebirds is based on a scientific experiment from the Victorian area, in which Chichester Bell discovered that a membrane stretched over a gas flame produces audible vibrations in the flame, resulting in a kind of "flame loudspeaker." Gas flames, suitably modulated by electrical fields can be made to act as omnidirectional loudspeakers of surprising clarity and amplitude.

"It's a trick that every high school science teacher knows," said Paul DeMarinis. "But it's not commercially viable, so it became another piece of orphan technology."

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Four oracular flames kept captive within birdcages recite speeches of Benito Mussolini, Franklin Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, accompanied by birdsongs. The audio filed are stored in CF-Ram as MO3 files. PIC microcontrollers activate solenoids, solid state relays, audio hardware and high voltage modulating circuits to coordinate the ignition and modulation of the flames.

An installation by Paul DeMarinis.

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Originally posted on we make money not art by Regine


Pussy Weevil

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Pussy Weevil is an individual software animated character that responds to the viewer's distance or proximity. Your position influences how it acts and behaves. The piece involves choreography in space and deals with subject / object relationships vis-a-vis the viewer. Pussy Weevil ignores you, outrageously derides you, tries to scare you but it runs away in fright if you get too close.

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Pussy Weevil is a proto-Tex-Avery character, whose form is malleable and virtually indestructible. It mutates, splits, spits, and glitches; as an immediate object of a viewer's interventions, it never finds a middle ground between dark heckling and pitiful fear. Pussy Weevil lives in the zone of biologically hazardous materials - or maybe it's only a danger to itself. It might be just a sorrowful, botched genetic experiment that has about as much sense as a dull, reactive house pet. Pussy Weevil questions how digital characters can be affected by interactions in analog spaces and examines the relationship between the real and computer made worlds. Demo and Movie. By Marina Zurkow and Julian Bleecker.

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Originally posted on we make money not art by Regine


On The Level

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With screens of one kind or another becoming the de facto interface between us and the world, applications that can create tangible connections between our physical presence and abstract or remote data have a lot of appeal. In a playful and more-than-a-little-satirical gesture, Reykjavik-based artist Pall Thayer has created a new way to interact with your surroundings through the screen of your Powerbook laptop. Using the Apple Motion Sensor, an internal mechanism for sensing the computer's movement, Thayer has designed a widget (a mini application) that mimics a common carpenter's level, revealing whether your computer is 'flat' or slightly askew. While others have long been experimenting with logical applications for motion detection technology, such as game interfaces, Thayer's digital level humorously points to the absurdity that can be found in the race towards total technological convergence. But then again, in this multi-tasking, multi-disciplinary global economy, who's to say you won't need a network connection while leveling some kitchen cabinets? - Ryan Griffis

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Modulobe: Free Software for Constructing Virtual Creatures

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Modulobe, by Kouichirou Eto et al., is a free software tool for constructing virtual creatures.

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[Sample creatures made with Modulobe.]

Download from here

[....]

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Originally posted on we make money not art by manekineko


Interface Culture at Ars (part 1)

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The Interface Culture at the Linz University of Art was founded last year by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau. The programme deals with human-machine interaction to develop innovative interfaces. Went to see their works yesterday.

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SoundToy, by Christina Heidecker, Harald Moser and Timm Oliver Wilks, is a 3D environment you navigate as if you were a racing car driver. During the ride you use the steering wheel to create and compose 3D sounds. You place in the space sound objects assigned to electronic beats. The speed, pitch and volume can be individually adjusted using the steering wheel and the accelerating pedal. The composition is generated by the movement and position of the sound objects with respect to one another but also by the route you select.

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Recipe Table, by Istvan Lorincz, Hanna Perner-Wilson, Thomas Wagner and Andreas Zingerle, is an interactive workplace built into a kitchen countertop that enable users to intuitively search for recipes. You place the tins and bottle, vegetable and other ingredients and in return the system makes you recipe suggestions. These culinary suggestions are also depicted graphically as finished dishes on the workplace.

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Originally posted on we make money not art by Regine


Interface Culture (part 2)

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Blow, by Taife Smetschka, is a breath-controlled video installation. There's a microphone and a projection of a clip from Billy Wilder’s film *The Seven Year Itch*, the scene in which Marilyn Monroe stands on the grate above the subway ventilation shaft. At first she is stationary, smiling at viewers from the screen. She doesn’t begin moving until she feels a cool breeze. In *blow!* the breeze has to be provided by the installation visitors who must blow as hard as they can into the microphone. Marilyn’s skirt flutters in the breeze as long as the visitor blows into the microphone.

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Mika Satomi's Gutsie is a cyber android filled with “guts.

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Originally posted on we make money not art by Regine


Internet Mapping: Katrina Aftermath

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via NYTimes - excerpts:

Internet Mapping
For Victims, News About Home Can Come From Strangers Online
By KATIE HAFNER
Published: September 5, 2005

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of displaced residents and their relatives - along with people like Mr. Sprague - have turned to the Internet for information about a home feared damaged or destroyed. Many are using Google Earth, a program available at the Google Web site that lets users zoom in on any address for an aerial view drawn from a database of satellite photos.

By the end of last week, a grass-roots effort had identified scores of posthurricane images, determined the geographical coordinates and visual landmarks to enable their integration into the Google Earth program, and posted them to a Google Earth bulletin board - the place ZuluOne turned for help.

Most of the images originated with the Remote Sensing Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has been posting them to its Web site (noaa.gov) since Wednesday.

Taking inspiration from the online volunteers, Google, NASA and Carnegie Mellon University had by Saturday night made the effort more formal, incorporating nearly 4,000 posthurricane images into the Google Earth database (at earth.google.com) for public use.
[...]

Kathryn Cramer, a science fiction editor in Pleasantville, N.Y., whose Web site (www.kathryncramer.com) has served as a clearinghouse for overlay information, said the effort started early last week when she and a few others wondered about the exact location of a levee break and created an overlay using a photo from the news media.

"We were getting a lot of decontextualized disaster photos that didn't give you a real understanding of what was happening," she said.

In a related online collaboration, at www.scipionus.com, people are plastering a Google street map with electronic ...

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Originally posted on NEWSgrist by joy garnett


Public Anemone

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Robot Theatre

Inspired by primitive life, Public Anemone is a robotic creature with an organic appearance and natural quality of movement. By day, Public Anemone is awake and interacts with the waterfall, pond, and other aspects of its surroundings. It interacts with the audience by orienting to their movements using a stereo machine vision system. But if you get too close, it recoils like a rattlesnake.

The anemone starts each day's cycle with a high confidence level and a desire to complete various tasks (such as watering the nearby plants, drinking from the pond, or bathing in the waterfall). It chooses to either continue its tasks or interact with a participant based on their behavior and how much progress it has made with its tasks. If a participant wins the robot's attention, it will respond by orienting toward that person and following their movement.

If a participant gets too close or makes a threatening movement, the anemone may become frightened and recoil from the crowd until it regains its confidence. See Movie (.mov file, 5770 KB). Because the robot makes decisions based on its internal drives and audience interaction, each day is different from the next but follows a coherent theme.

Public Anemone is a collaboration between the Robotic Life and Synthetic Characters research groups at the Media Lab as well as MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab.

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Originally posted on networked_performance by jo