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Emerging trajectories in art, science, and technology.

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Best and Most Memorable Projects of 2011

It’s that time of the year when we slowly begin wrapping up the 2011. Before we say goodbye, lets take a quick moment to look back at some of the best and most memorable projects of 2011. There is no mechanism in deciding these and neither-nor all projects here are spectacular and magnificent but instead we feel they offer a brief insight and a form of introduction to what may lie ahead.

10. MIT Media Lab identity [Processing]

In 2010 MIT Media Lab approached TheGreenEyl and E Roon Kang to update their identity for the lab’s 25th anniversary. The team developed an algorithmic logo using Processing in an effort to capture the dynamism and diversity of the MIT Media Lab. The invisible grid around which different things happen symbolizes the environment the MIT Media Lab provides, academically, physically and intellectually.

9. Tele-Present Water [Arduino, MaxMSP]

Created by David Bowen, Tele-Present Water installation draws information from the intensity and movement of the water in a remote location. The wave intensity and frequency is scaled and transferred to the mechanical grid structure resulting in a simulation of the physical effects caused by the movement of water from this distant location. Elegance and ephemerality of data beautifully staged by David Bowen.

8. ExtraFile File Formats [Mac]

In the world populated by file formats and continued fight over ownership, open source and value of data, Kim Asendorf created ExtraFile, a conceptional software with practical usage. It’s main intention is to offer an alternative to the static system of image file formats. It is also an attempt to address an alternative image file format, a piece of art, far away from the mainstream and commercial standards.

7. Ping! Augmented Pixel

In the decade when videogames were born, everything virtual looked like rectangular blocks. From today’s perspective, the representation of a tennis court in the earliest videogames is hard to distinguish from a soccer or a basketball field. ‘PING! – Augmented Pixel’ is a videogame by Niklas Roy and one of the very few augmented reality projects that really explores the space between physical and digital. Niklas built a custom piece of hardware the intersects the signal between the video camera and television, inserting a classic style Pong game that you control using a finger positioned between the two mediums. Simplicity and ingenuity at it’s best.

6. Little Printer [Objects]

2011 wil be remembered as the year of thermal printers. Just as we have forgotten about the tech, a wave of projects have spread across the web. One that especially stands out is the Little Printer by BERG and giving us an “alternative” insight into how we may interact with digital information int he future. Little Printer may live in your home, bringing you news, puzzles and gossip from friends. Use your smartphone to set up subscriptions and Little Printer will gather them together to create a timely mini-newspaper.

5. Written Images [openFrameworks, Processing]

Although first launched in 2010, Written Images book finally landed on our desks, in it’s full glory it’s an unique artifact, printed in very limited numbers, is the first of it’s kind – a ‘programmed book’. Created in collaboration with more than 70 media artists and developers from across the world, Written Images is continuously regenerated for the digital printing process, offering each reader a unique experience. Each artist programed an image creating application that is generated for each print of the book.

4. Cascade [Processing]

Cascade is a by NYTimes R&D department that allows precise analysis of the structures that underly sharing activity on the web. Initiated by Mark Hansen and working with Jer Thorp and Jake Porway (Data Scientist at the Times) the team spent 6 months building the tool to understand how information propagates through the social media space. While initially applied to New York Times stories and information, the tool and its underlying logic may be applied to any publisher or brand interested in understanding how its messages are shared.

3. Particles [openFrameworks, Arduino, Events]

Particles was an installation by Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi exhibited at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]. The installation centers around a spiral-shaped rail construction on which a number of balls with built-in LEDs and xbee transmitters are rolling while blinking in different time intervals. The idea was driven by simple desire to both understand and represent particle behaviour in physical form. Besides the sheer complexity of the structure installed, the position of each ball is determined via total of 17 control points on the rail. Every time a ball passes through one of them, the respective ball’ s positional information is transmitted via a built-in infrared sensor. During the time the ball travels between one control points to the next, this position is calculated based on its average speed. The data for regulating the balls’ luminescence are divided by the control point segments and are switched every time a ball passes on a control point. Fantastic work Daito + Motoi!

2. Communion [Cinder]

Earlier this year on show at the La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris and created by Universal Everything with FIELD, Communion is a room sized installation creating almost a 360º environment. The final piece includes an array or evolving creatures going through stages of development – evolution from simple to complex with human like properties with generative behaviours, deeply immersive and “a celebration of an audio visual synesthetic experience”. Read our special.

1. Solar Sinter [Objects, Arduino]

Solar Sinter by Markus Kayser is most definitely one of the most inspiring projects this year, aiming to raise questions about, energy and manufacturing. Markus designed a 3d printed that uses solar rays and silicia and heated sand to solidify it as glass in any shape or form. A combination of Arduino, ReplicatorG software, laptop computer and a bunch of custom made components, Markus took the printer to Sahara desert near Siwa, Egypt, for a two week testing period. CAN is proud to be the first to write about the project, the video on Vimeo now measures almost a million views.

    • Carnasa

      guys, scroll is not working very well in safari. when there is a vimeo playing the scroll gets stuck. 
      merci. L./