PXL, Rainer Kohlberger, 2012
As the iPhone just celebrated its fifth year on the market, artists have already made a substantial dent in the commercially lucrative world of Apple’s AppStore. Despite this success, artists are still pushing forward to build apps that further integrate with the device’s sensors and location-based capabilities. Rather than working solely within the context of software art as I have covered in two previous articles on the subject for Rhizome, there is a focus now on artists who are interacting with the physical world by using the device’s internal sensors, location capabilities, constant Internet connectivity, and built-in cameras.
Using the camera as a sensor, “Konfetti” by German based designer Stephan Maximillian Huber visualizes the image of its subject into countless dots. In effect, the camera image is translated into virtual confetti that follows any movement and creates an ever changing images based on which camera is selected. The dot’s movement is correlated to the detected flow captured by the camera and by repelling other dots, which also move as you touch and drag them. Huber explains over email how the app works as a reflection based art tool. “The app started as an iPad-only app, and on an iPad the app acts like a mirror, showing an abstract reflection of yourself. You'll get a clear image of yourself only when you concentrate on the process of the app, and don't move too fast. It's like contemplating about yourself and the image of yourself. And as your thoughts and emotions aren't static the image the app generates is dynamic and adapts to minimal movements and new ...
In the summer of 2009, I wrote an article here at Rhizome about the burgeoning activities of media artists creating new works or updating versions of their older interactive screen-based projects for Apple's iPhone and iTouch mobile devices. As the article made its way throughout the blogosphere, comments surfaced ranging from criticism of the "closed world of Apple's App Store and iPhone devices" to a championing of the availability of inexpensive multi-touch technology now available to artists who had been waiting for a platform that could adequately display and allow for the type of interaction their projects demanded. A year after the article came out, the draw of these devices and their potentially expansive audience has become even more irresistible to artists enough so that several more "apps" have surfaced. The following article catalogs several new iPhone works which have emerged over the past year, works that are pioneering the next generation of portable media art.
Jonah Brucker-Cohen is a researcher, artist, professor and writer. His writing has appeared in numerous international publications including WIRED Magazine, Make Magazine, Neural, Rhizome, Art Asia Pacific, Gizmodo and more, and his work has been shown at events such as DEAF (03,04), Art Futura (04), SIGGRAPH (00,05), UBICOMP (02,03,04), CHI (04,06) Transmediale (02,04,08), NIME (07), ISEA (02,04,06,09), Institute of Contemporary Art in London (04), Whitney Museum of American Art's ArtPort (03), Ars Electronica (02,04,08), Chelsea Art Museum, ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art (04-5),Museum of Modern Art (MOMA - NYC)(2008), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) (2008). He received his Ph.D. in the Disruptive Design Team of the Networking and Telecommunications Research Group (NTRG), Trinity College Dublin. He is an adjunct assistant professor of communications at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and in the Media, Culture, Communication dept of NYU Steinhardt School of Culture Education and Human Development.
2009 was an important year for the Internet as a whole. The advent of web 2.0 and "crowdsourcing" initiatives has enabled a much richer array of content from users who might never have ventured onto the Internet in previous years. My top 10 sites for this year cover a wide range of topics from art made for mobile devices with iPhoneArt.org to evidence of both information saturation with Information Aesthetics and physical and pseudo intellectual abundance with This is Why You're Fat and There I Fixed It, to strange observances of mistakes in the public realm with Fail Blog. In addition to these crowdsourced content sites, I also see some ongoing potential with artist-created sites such as Brett Domino's lowtech approach to music making ...
As the niche genre of software art expands beyond the web and into mobile devices, media artists are finding ways to integrate their work into a new form of business model. Instead of giving away your work for free on the web, Apple's iPhone and iTouch devices provide an ample platform for distribution (through the Apple App Store) and hardware support for novel ways to experience screen-based work.
Focusing on a wide array of themes such as the context of a rapidly changing planet, our evolving human / natural ecosystem, the growing global strain on natural resources, and the advancement of artistic methods on potential of technological infrastructures, the 10th edition of the FutureSonic festival spanning 14 years integrated a wide and impressive array of international speakers, workshops, exhibitions, and performances. Scattered around the bustling city of Manchester in the United Kingdom, the festival took into account both its local strengths and its global outreach to encourage debate and showcase a wide arrange of artistic projects that examined just how far we have come in these debates and how far we have to go to make sense of the evolving technological apparatus that surrounds us.
Emotion and Intuition in Art and Design Symposium
May 9-11, 2003
Tate Modern & London Science Museum, London, UK
By Jonah Brucker-Cohen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Set in the blood red upholstered venue of the Tate Modern's Starr
auditorium and amid the futuristic light-arrays of the London Science
Museum's Wellcome Wing, the 3-day User_Mode conference on emotion and
intuition in art and design kicked off with a wide array of over 30
speakers spanning disciplines in art, design, textiles, fashion,
research, science, and even osmology. The event's theme centered on
how emotional design and aesthetics intersect digital art practice
and covered everything from audience engagement, subjectivity and
interactive experience, immersion, social ecology, and shared
communication systems over distance. Despite the looming threat of
information overload, the event turned out to be both entertaining,
provocative, and despite a few lapses of focus along panels, created
a positive forum for active discussions to occur.
The opening panel, "Poetics and the Spectacle" began with chair,
David Ross' (Beacon Cultural Project), opening address on the history
of art practice and his belief that despite technological changes in
expressive forms, all art engenders interactive traits. He seemed
adamant about the aging view that designates the artist's role into
one that changes experience into moments of "sublime intimacy" and
that available technology is less important than the time period in
which art exists and reflects upon. Of the presenters, artist Simon
Biggs, who presented Babel, a browser for navigating the Internet
using the Dewey decimal system, favored the term "reader" over "user"
to explain the process of interaction with his work. This approach
was telling when fellow panelist, Masaki Fujihata (Japan) described
his most recent "Field:Work" GPS video mapping project, as a method
of showing how multiple perspectives in location-based systems
creates a greater sense of individual appreciation and understanding
of the work. According to Fujihata, it's not enough to experience the
work from outside, but to also gain new perspectives within. Fujihata
proved this best when he placed five apples on the lectern as a
metaphor for describing abstraction using real objects.
Focusing on the internal nature of "Interactivity & Subjectivity",
the next panel lead by Irene McAra-McWilliam (IA/RCA), spoke about
how the depth of human memory relies on our ability to both to store
and forget information and how this relates to the design of future
human/machine interfaces. Taking no prisoners, RCA researcher,
Brendan Walker gave a sermon-like speech into the phenomenology of
"thrill", examining both the ethnographic question of cultural
dependence on high-risk interfaces and addiction to integrating a
"thrill" quotient into our everyday lives to escape personal
realities. Afterwards, artist Stuart Jones instigated discussion when
he postulated that interactive systems might lose their authorship to
audiences, and that "users" end up being puppets of the author's
predetermined system. This relationship seems to be constantly
changing as artists focus on generative systems of interaction where
the experience itself shifts along with the content of the
The opening day's final panel explored sensory experience and the
body. Speakers included Crispin Jones' pain-based fortuneteller table
to Jenny Tillotson and George Dodd's smell-based wearables featuring
a model walking around the stage with activated shoes and perfume
emitting garments. When Dodd gleefully exclaimed, "We are surrounded
by smells", chuckles filled the auditorium, but his focus was more on
how adding a sense of smell to digital interfaces can augment our
emotional attachment to machines and seemingly banal interactions.
After a long night, and little sleep, day two began on a charged note
with the "Aesthetics" panel which I was lucky enough to participate
in along with fellow panelists Joshua Davis and Lev Manovich. Lev
opened the panel with a humorous and extensive slide show of objects
of representation such as the classic Mac SE and industrial machinery
that signify fundamental shifts in artistic representation through
the last century. In contrast, Davis began with a video of his
self-blinding food coloring antics to illustrate the beauty of
unexpected outcomes and went on to describe his forays into
generative Flash animation systems that create unique outputs based
on simple rule sets. My talk focused on how physical networks exploit
conventional connectivity cliches and covered some of my recent
projects including Desktop Subversibles, which looks at shifting
normal desktop relationships by networking everyday activities like
copy/paste and mouse movements.
Delving deeper into concepts of data visualization and sonification
of virtual environments was the "Immersion and Self" panel, led by
Banff Centre's New Media Director Sara Diamond. Artist Golan Levin
opened the session with his view that immersive experience "thickens"
our point of view while he showed examples of his collaborative work,
"The Secret Life of Numbers", as well as previews of his new
graphical vocalization project, "Mesa Di Vocce". Looking at voice
translation from text to speech over networks, installation artist
Susan Collins described her "In Conversation", which featured a
net-connected mouth projected onto the pavement of a busy sidewalk,
as an open system where the street meets the public space of the
network. Her most recent work on the "Tate in Space" project
amplified this belief that new contexts for artistic mediation add
dimensionality to interactive work. Finally, Selectparks' Julian
Oliver described his work in building custom game engines and levels
that exist both as virtual prosthetics to existing architectures as
well as provide social dimensions to games by associating them with
Examining the social ecologies and matrices of interactive art,
another panel featured speakers interested in representation of space
and experience within distinct situations. FoAm, represented by Nat
Muller, explained the contextual theory behind their "TxOom" project
- a collaborative performance held inside an old hippodrome in Great
Yarmouth. Peter Higgins of London's Land Design Studio, explained how
creating projects for public spaces often determines the range and
durability of the piece, while Tobi Schneidler's presentation on the
Remote Home (remotehome.org) was a closer look at the implications of
interactivity within the private context of networked living spaces.
Finally, Natalie Bookchin and Jacqueline Stevens presented their
outline for "Citizen's Dillema", a rule-based political foray into
multi-player online games where citizens are given voting rights to
configure the world. All of these works addressed context, without
which most lose meaning, a danger that digital art often falls victim.
Rounding out the conference, day three took visitors to the London
Science Museum where discussions centered on the collective conscious
of everyday life in networks and communication medium. The opening
presentation was given by a Macintosh II computer's text to speech
interpreter while Arthur Elsenaar sat still with electrodes connected
to his face. By sending electrical pulses to his cheeks, the computer
could theoretically control his facial expressions. Juxtaposing this
idea of computer mediated emotion to siphoning human emotion through
connected, abstract objects, was the Faraway Project's use of
connection relationships to illustrate methods of intimate distant
interaction. Lastly, Anthony Burrill of friendchip.com, added some
non-sequitor examples of how simple models of complex systems can be
emotional when he played a spliced and note separated version of "Hey
As User_Mode concluded, it became clear that the true value of
emotional connections with technology and interface is whatever
personal experiences can be brought to the surface through this
interaction. User_Mode represented a collection of innovative
cross-disciplinary speakers attempting to answer the fundamental
question of whether or not technology exists to improve the overall
quality of life. Fundamental questions still remain for debate such
as: How do we connect human experience to technology? How do social,
cultural, geographical, individual and global differences affect how
we interact emotionally with each other ,the technology we use, and
our everyday experience? Can the technological artist be an important
instigator in this debate? We may never agree, but ultimately, events
like User_Mode help to establish discourse that attempts to include
all disciplines by deconstructing cultural production into its most
-Jonah Brucker-Cohen (email@example.com)
Monday 31th March 2003
DATA:BASE / DATA:BASS
See website for more info: http://www.coin-operated.com/database
DATA:BASE is a one-day conference which will be held on April 26th
2003 in the Digital Hub Cash and Carry warehouse space in Dublin's
Exploring the theme of "Democratisation of Technology" and featuring
artists/musicians/technologists/academics whose works engage the
public, the conference sees the public as essential to the nature of
the work its execution, presentation and involvement.
DATA:BASE is delighted to announce a brilliant line up of renown
International artists who will attend and present this one day
conference. A unique opportunity for the public to listen, discuss
and participate in this once off lively eventSS
In addition to the symposium, the warehouse space will feature a
workshop with basic prototyping tools, a technology swap-meet for
people to freely trade old and used equipment, vendors selling
technology-art based wares (art books, artist-made mouse pads,
digital prints, etcS), and ongoing live interventions and
performances during the day.
DATA:BASS - Interactive Experiments- an evening event with
performances by Boredom Research, Del 9, Ambulance, Lou Reed's Brain,
Double Adaptor and more, also screenings, and installations to
culminate the day's activities
DATA:BASE - Digital Dialogues
What: a one-day conference, featuring renown International artists
discussing art, education and technology.
When: Saturday April 26, 2003 (10am - 6pm)
Who: Open to the public, tickets must be bought in advance off website,
Seating is limited so early registration is essential.
To register: http://www.coin-operated.com/database
Where: Digital Hub Cash and Carry warehouse space in Dublin's Digital
Hub, Thomas Street, Dublin 8.
Cost: 10 Euro for full day (register on website)
One day conference will feature visiting artists' presentations by
UK-based team - Boredom Research(2:30pm - 3:45 pm)
(www.boredomresearch.net), Thomson & Craighead (10:45 am - 12 pm)
(www.thomsoncraighead.com), and Desperate Optimists (10:45 am - 12
pm) (www.desperateoptimists.com) and US-based artist Leah Gilliam
(2:30pm - 3:45 pm).
Between presentations there will be a panel discussion focused on
"Educational Institutions in Art and Technology" and "Digital Art and
the Public" with guests including Marie Redmond (TCD), Paul O'Brien
(NCAD), Tim Redfern (PixelCorps), Dr. Linda Doyle (TCD), Conor
McGarrigle (stunned.org), and more.
The day will also include installations such as Boredom Research's
artificial life MIDI installations "System 1.6" and "K-19", Thomson &
Craighead's humorous take on post-dotcom merchandise with
Dot-Store.com, Leah Gilliam's installation: All That NASA Allows, and
Desperate Optimist's Catalogue of Disasters.
** Stalls will be setup for vendors selling technology-art based
wares (art books, artist-made mouse pads, digital prints, etcS)
including booths and info from local University art/tech graduate
programs, book stores, theater spaces, arts organizations and more!
** The technology swap meet invites visitors to drop off their old or
outdated equipment (such as old synthesizers, hard drives, computers,
monitors, amplifiers, gadgets) and trade them with other participants.
** The all-day open workshop space featuring a "SCRAPYARD MIDI
CHALLENGE"that will allow festival attendees to create projects and
participate in short visiting artist-led workshops using minimal or
found objects and basic electronics.
DATA:BASE is supported by The Digital Hub (www.thedigitalhub.com),
Critical Voices (www.artscouncil.ie), Dublin Art and Technology
Association (www.coin-operated.com/data), DarkLight Digital Festival
(www.darklight-filmfestival.com), Media Lab Europe (www.mle.ie), and
Sink Digital Media (www.sink.ie)
What: Interactive Experiments- an evening event with performances by
Boredom Research, Del 9, Ambulance, Double Adaptor, and more, also
screenings, and installations to culminate the day's activities.
When: Saturday evening April 26, 2003 (7pm - 10pm)
Where: Digital Hub Cash and Carry warehouse space in Dublin's Digital
Hub, Thomas Street, Dublin 8.
Cost: 5 Euro @ door (register on website)
DATA:BASE invites producers, authors, students, filmmakers,
artists, designers, hackers, hackers, DJs, animators, lawyers, journalists,
musicians, media moguls, net addicts, coders and any other interested
parties to attend this one day event
Seating is limited so early registration is essential.
To register: http://www.coin-operated.com/database
Please send any queries regarding this to
All press queries to Sarah Ross: firstname.lastname@example.org
feel free to post it to sites, groups etc.
Call for Projects for Exhibition of Digital technology projects in The
Digital Hub Project Office , 10 - 13 Thomas Street .
In December 2002, The Digital Hub launched the first in its series of
exhibitions showcasing digital technology in its new project office on
During 2003 The Digital Hub will continue to exhibit work that
demonstrates and explores the creative potential of digital technologies
on an ongoing basis. These exhibitions will provide a unique platform
for newcomers and established artists, filmmakers, designers,
programmers, developers and musicians, animators from many diverse
backgrounds to exhibit their work.
The second exhibition in the series, 'Mobilise', aims to publicise the
creative potential of personal telecommunications of all shapes and
forms. We are looking for innovative content for mobile- or location
aware- computing platforms e.g. distributed role playing games, location
aware art applications.
-SMS, PDA, GPS, GPRS, Wi-Fi, Games, Gadgets, Graffiti for your phones...
>From SMS poetry, phone photography/video, to innovative or conceptual
designs for next generation mobile devices. Films, adverts and
animations made using mobile technologies or themed around personal
communications issues to music featuring telecommunications samples or
mobile collaboration- All could potentially feature in 'Mobilise'.
We are inviting submissions from various disciplines including but not
exclusively all fine art practice, computer generated images,
interactive media, web art, film: both linear and interactive,
animation, special effects, music, sound, design: graphic, fashion, or
product, motion graphics, commercial production, gaming, e-learning,
m-learning, advertising, enabling technologies, mobile technologies, web
development and computer programming.
We are also looking for submissions for video installations to be shown
at the 'Projected Windows' site, No. 157 Thomas St. Dublin. Ireland.
For more information on this site please check our website
Submissions can come from persons and organisations based in Ireland or
The final exhibits will be chosen by a selection panel and those that
are chosen to exhibit will be awarded an honorarium of EUR1,000. This
initiative is been supported by Diageo Ireland under the Liberties
Learning Initiative. Should the fee be waived it will be donated to the
Liberties Learning Initiative.
Those interested in exhibiting can present their ideas either as a
finished piece of work, work in progress or as a proposal. For the pilot
showcase, turnaround time to complete the project is three weeks.
Closing date for receipt of proposals is 17thof Febuary 2003.
Successful exhibitors should be prepared to present their projects in a
series of talks and that will take place in 2003
You may send your projects on CD, DVD, URL, interactive presentation ,
VHS or mini DV or email email@example.com
<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> with your proposal. Please clearly
mark your submissions 'Exhibit 2:Mobilise'.
Address: Nicky Gogan, The Digital Hub Project Office, 10-13 Thomas St.,
The Digital Hub, Dublin 8
The Digital Hub is also developing an archive of digital media projects
for learning and showcase purposes. Exhibitors will be asked to donate a
copy of their work to the archive. Full terms will be agreed with the
exhibitors after the selections have been made.
Further information on The Digital Hub is available at
Exhibitions and Special Events
Oct. 27-31, 2002
By Jonah Brucker-Cohen (email@example.com)
Held in the harbor city of Nagoya, Japan, ISEA (Inter-Society of
Electronic Art) 2002 was a curious mixture of presentations,
performances, workshops, and exhibited works. Topics ranged from the
conference's theme of the Japanese word "Orai", translated as comings
and goings, to emotional context in digital art practice, to
synthetic renderings of natural environments, to musical and visual
outputs for technological artistic expression. The video game like
layouts of the warehouse spaces in Nagoyako Harbor (where most of the
venues were situated) were the perfect inspiration for the works
featured inside. Projections filled the weather-beaten concrete walls
while sound echoed in cacophonous rhythms through the immense spaces.
Stepping inside warehouses No.4 and No. 20 visitors were confronted
with multiple interactive installations that focused on play as a
theme for interactive narrative. Highlights included Kaoru Motomiya's
"California lemon sings a song", a rocket shaped array of Sunkist
lemons on the floor that served as the power supply for several small
greeting card size musical devices. The project proved that nature
still provides sustenance for digital devices. Sound installations
ranged from Shawn Decker's "Scratch Studies #3: Moths", which used
stepper motors to slowly turn metal arms that grated against steel
supports, and Beatriz Da Costa's "Cello", a robotically controlled
vintage acoustic cello that changes its movement and sound according
to feedback from visitors to the space.
Visual narratives such as Takeshi Inomata and Tsutomu Yamamoto's
"Talking Tree", uncovered experiential meaning in the simple
interface of a stump where visitors placed their hands to change
imagery and shake the virtual tree's projected shadow. Other
highlights included Miyuki Shirakawa's " Safe Toturing Series-9",
featuring haunting projections of visitors faces into kitchen
blenders filled with floating Styrofoam, Tiffany Holmes' playful
"Follow the Mouse" that replaced the computer mouse with a sleepy
Japanese mouse in a cage, and Tomohiro Sato's "Floating Memories"
providing a crank for visitors to power a bulb which provides the
light for a camera to capture images and project them on a table as a
The paper, poster and panels sessions ranged from personal projects
by artists to institutional presentations about academic programs
focusing on art and technology. This year's ISEA theme was "Orai",
meaning comings and goings and focusing on both social and individual
cultural artistic constructs of digital art practice. Many
presentations focused on this theme by positioning projects and ideas
within the context of ephemeral landscapes, emotional resonance, and
societal impact. On the linguistic and art history side, topics
ranging from Karen McCann's "Programming Literacy for Artists" to
Rachel Schreiber's "The (True) Death of the Avant-Garde" to Annet
Dekker's "The Influence of New Technologies on Language" asked
questions pertaining to art as a means for social reactivism through
theory and practice. What are artist's roles in social discourse? Is
perpetuating social conscience through art a necessary or arbitrary
On the practice side, Los Angeles based artist Angie Waller's "Data
Mining the Amazon: American political parties and their CD
recommendations", was a humorous take on Amazon.com's customer
recommendation system by using the information available to discover
the CDs associated with international political figures. In real
space, Teri Rueb's "The Choreography of Everyday Movement" used GPS
to track and combine people's daily movements in urban space to show
contrasting relationships between transportation networks and
habitual travels. Also Paul Sermon's telematic installation "There's
no simulation like home", featuring video displacements in the
bedroom, living room, and kitchen of a model home, and Kjell
Petersen's "Mirrechophone & Smiles in Motion", two video connected
chairs that come to life when inhabited, showed how connected spaces
can create emotional contexts for interaction.
In the poster sessions, I gave a presentation on "Physical Web
Interfaces" focusing on several of my projects including MouseMiles
and SpeakerPhone that deal with adding a human and physical side to
networked interfaces. The response was very positive and sparked an
interesting debate on the future of emotional attachment to computer
interfaces. Most people really liked the idea of manifesting
individual experiences as shared interactions through networked
devices on a distributed scale. My point was that by connecting our
similar yet distributed activities in physical space on a global
scale our methods of connection between ourselves and information
become as important as the information contained within the
transmission. My conclusion asked if digital information actually has
meaning and pointed out that networks are not only for data, after
which I got a few nervous looks.
Performances focused on sound and visuals as ambient narrative clips
into each performers psyche. Chris Csikszentmihiyi of the MIT Media
Lab managed to find an art truck (webs.to/ART-TRUCK), a shiny beast
of a truck that shimmered in polished steel with flashing lights to
perform his "DJ I, Robot Sound System". Other highlights included
Mark Amerika's "Filmtext 2.0", a foray into interactive cinematic
experiences with projected sounds and urban narrative visuals. Guy
Van Belle's "Society of Algorithm - translocal mutations" looked at
real-time drawing systems in performance and how to augment spatial
metaphors with responsive interactivity. Finally Montreal's Alain
Thibault and Yan Breuleux's mesmerizing "Faustechnology" was a visual
and auditory romp into the abstraction of Faustian theory and
synthetic forms of computer visualization.
Rounding out the event was the Electronic Theater which included a
large portion dedicated to early works of video art from Japan.
Highlights from the film exhibition included Patrick Lichty's "8 bits
or less" a short film made from Casio's Wrist Camera, Brad Todd's
"Screen", a telematic web-based project that allows visitors to
control an interactive ecosystem inside Todd's studio in Montreal,
and Takafumi Ohira's "In the Seaside", a clever look at the plight of
increased urbanism as buildings and scenery grow and eventually
topple each other as a giant concrete wave.
As art and technology conferences mature, greater expectations on
simplistic input and output seem to be prevalent. Gone are the days
when interactive or digital art can be justified with theory and art
jargon if the interactive experience fails to be compelling.
Especially when exhibited, audiences seem less inclined to spend time
with digital projects if their own personal frustration with
computers encroaches on the artistic intention. Maybe we don't want
to be reminded that we are interacting with computers at all. By
emphasizing natural and human-centered interfaces, many of the
projects presented at ISEA 2002 were getting closer to the ubiquitous
personal interactions we take for granted in everyday life.
Jonah Brucker-Cohen | Media Lab Europe
Research Fellow | Sugar House Lane
Human Connectedness | Bellevue, Dublin 8, Ireland
(h) +353 1 4760375 (w) +353 1 4742853 (m) +353 1 (0)87 7990004
Anyways -once again didnt mean to offend -