In honor of the approaching second birthday of the release of Microsoft's Kinect, we will take a brief tour of the experimental technology that preceded it. But before we begin, it is worth noting a few facts about the Kinect we know today, a piece of technology that almost overnight changed the development of contemporary interactive art by being powerful and affordable. 'Project Natal', as it was originally known, initially used a system called "Time-of-flight" which had origins military laser radar systems, but changed when a start-up called Primesense, an Israeli company made of ex-military engineers, were trying to sell their consumer-focused product:
the PrimeSense technology uses a proprietary technology called “light coding,” rather than the time-of-flight cameras used by of its competitors. Time-of-flight emits strong pulses of light and measures the delay in their return to calculate positions.
“Time-of-flight came from laser radar systems with military applications,” said Aviad and Inon. “[But] the DNA of the PrimeSense technology was from day one for the consumer market.
“There are a lot of differences between PrimeSense and time-of-flight cameras in general. PrimeSense has achieved a breakthrough on price and performance. The performance we generated through the device is better in a long list of parameters [than time-of-flight].”
“It was the most natural place for the technology,” [Inon Beracha, CEO of PrimeSense] said.
Apple has a history of interface innovation, of course, and had recently introduced the iPhone with its paradigm-shifting multitouch UI. PrimeSense’s system went one step further: It was multitouch that you didn’t even have to touch. Apple seemed like a natural fit.
Yet the initial meetings hadn ...
Uncomposed (after Titian after Giorgione) by Georgie Roxby Smith [GIF by PK]
A collection of items from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive and around the web, looking at a Fine Art archetype today.
Uncomposed (after Titian after Giorgione) by Georgie Roxby Smith
Renaissance art piece composed as contemporary New Media machinima, a 21st Century Venus
3D machinima, video, found image, found sound
Made specifically for Composite at Gallery One Three Uncomposed (after Titian after Giogione) deconstructs Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus, itself a composite, the landscape and sky being completed by Titian following Giogione’s death in 1510. The work was a landmark of its era, reflecting a new shift in modern art with the inclusion of a female nude at its centre. Employing three-dimensional computer graphics and elements of Giorgione’s original masterpiece, Roxby Smith replaces his stylised renaissance figure with a fantasised digital body transplanted into an augmented hyper real landscape. In the likeness of her present day artist, the 21st Century Venus will not lie still for her voyeurs, obstinately returning the male gaze from her new digital paradigm, Sleeping Venus awakes.
Machina by Claudia Hart
Framed digital art piece is a 3D animation of a sleeping female nude subject in the classical pose of Venus / Odalisque - a two minute example of the twenty minute work:
“Machina” is a 3D animation portraying the compressed time and space of painting, shows a dreaming character whose slow, drowsy movements articulate all of the minutia of a single moment. “Machina” uses the most advanced techniques of virtual reality simulation, and a series of animations that result in a representation that is sensual and organic. Occasionally, Machina ...
A brief look at a short-lived American quarterly publication, which gives a little insight into the practice of art with computers in the 1970's. While a product of its time, there are some places with resonances to the practice of today.
May 1976, Vol.1, No 2 - In The Beginning:
An overview from the publication's editor and computer artist Grace Hertlein, writing about the three phases of computer art - past, (at time) present, and the future.
NCC '76 Art Exhibition - New York City (Pages 10 - 17)
A good primer of artists of the time.
Computer In - Analogue Out
Examples of the use of computers to create work in physical form.
Untitled Sculpture by Jose Alexanco of Madrid. The sculpture is one of many variations designed by the computer, and executed by the artist. The source of design is prehistoric cave art, dating from c. 15,000-10,000 B.C., from the Magdeleine Cave in France.
Using a computer to design murals for a subway station:
Computer programming textile patterns:
Computer design for a painting:
Choreography and the Computer
And lastly, some examples of Generative Art
A collection of audio content from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive and around the web.
100 years of the computer artscene - Talk by Jason Scott and Rad Man at Notacon04
Unfortunately, there is no accompanying visual collection to the examples mentioned in the talk, yet it is an enlightening primer on creativity and new technology. (PK link)
DJ Food - Raiding The 20th Century
DJ Food's classic mix from 2004 curates and documents the growth of 'The Cut-Up' (also known as bootlegs or mash-ups), forming a creative alternative world of popular music. It also features spoken audio from Paul Morley, critic and former member of the Art of Noise and ZTT Records, reading from his book 'Words and Music: the history of pop in the shape of a city.'
Tracklist on DJ Food's website. (PK link.)
Dreams - Delia Derbyshire and Barry Bermange
Narrations of recollected dreams recorded and collaged with the distinct audio style of BBC Radiophonic Workshop musician Delia Derbyshire:
A collection of items from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive and around the web, around the theme of 'Other Worlds', a collection of independent / student games that veer away from convention, either produced as 'experiences' in another environment, aesthetic exercises that the paths of commercial gaming did not tread.
Indie video game with Zen-like experience, with ambient audio music and 3D Atari-cartridge-like visuals. An island is randomly generated for exploration, with no goal orientated action. (PK)
Free game by Arcane Kids that celebrates ' ... speed, movement, and Twitter ...', acrobatic skating in a polygon world.
Currently unreleased, when available should be free for all. (PK)