Interactivos?09 – Garage Science, photo: Alejandro Tamayo
A call for proposals for the upcoming instalment of Medialab-Prado’s excellent Interactivos? research platform has been posted and it looks quite promising. “Interactivos?’12 Dublin: Hack the City. Current and Future Needs” is being produced in collaboration with Science Gallery to facilitate the production of projects that engage urban infrastructure and discourse. The key questions being asked by this endeavour are how can the urban environment be hacked and how can artists and technologists change the everyday experience of the city? The incubator aspires to “move citizen science out of the garage/prototype stage and onto the street” through the development of several projects over the course of a two week intensive workshop in Dublin this summer (July 11-26). The two organizations have put out a call seeking projects for development and will later be searching for collaborators.
The following text is culled from the Interactivos?12 call, where Medialab-Prado/Science Gallery describe the focus of the types of projects they are looking for:
- Crowd Sourcing Public Data: Crowding sourcing is a means for cities citizens to improve services, however collating, mediating and providing meaningful feedback through crowd sourced data is a considerable challenge. We are seeking proposals that focus on how to crowd source data, visualize it in meaningful ways and provide feedback to both citizens and councils.
- Wellbeing: What constitutes our sense of wellbeing in a city? Is it the way in which your street is organized, or access to resources, green spaces etc. or is it how well you know your neighbour? Within this section we are seeking proposals that address ideas focused on wellbeing, social bonds, and cohesion and community reliance.
- Open Data Services: Over the last 18 months Dublin City Council and its local authorities have made significant advances in opening up their data. Between dublinked.ie and the Fingal Open Data there are now 200+ datasets online. We are interested in receiving projects, which utilise this data for artistic purposes and interventions on key areas of interest including projects that focus on transport and energy.
Given there is funding available for travel and lodging and organizational support to build teams of collaborators, this is a really great opportunity to develop projects that engage the city (and few organizations can incubate projects like Medialab-Prado). Note the various links related to the call below.
- UP: San Francisco – Call for Urban Prototyping Projects Over the last few years there has been no shortage of festivals and RFPs exploring themes of 'urban hacking'. That said, every now and then a gem comes along. A hyper-organized call for proposals organized by San Francisco's Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) was recently launched and—with $25K in available funding—it is promising enough than anyone whose work broadly engages 'the city' and/or urban experience should at least look it over. Taking place this fall, UP: San Francisco Festival (the 'UP' is for urban prototyping) will help gestate creative interventions and augmentations that treat "the public realm as a canvas" through the funding of several projects, an urban makeathon (Sept. 28th-30th) and culminate in a weekend-long street exposition (Oct 20-21). The call for projects has a few simple stipulations: projects must include both digital and physical components, be open source and documented, and be replicable and affordable (material stipends of up to $1,000 are available). Additionally, projects should be able to scale to integrate into "long-term city plans and policies" and be tailored to address the specific conditions of the UP:SF focus area (Fifth Street corridor from Market to Howard Streets, anchored by The 5M Project on the south and by Hallidie Plaza). See the call for the complete expectations and online entry form – note that proposals must be submitted the 11:59 PM PDT on August 20th. UP Festival Call | Urban Makeathon GAFFTA Image below: Urbanflow […]
- The Variable City – François Quévillon’s Dérive Installation and media artist François Quévillon was amongst the many practitioners discussing their work at the International Marketplace for Digital Arts presentations during the BIAN two weeks ago in Montreal. Quévillon used his talk to give a brief overview of his experiments with 'urban imaging' over the last several years and he showed a range of interesting slitscan-like processed photographs and some more recent work inspired by LiDAR datasets and augmented mapping. Dérive makes use of photogrammetry, geomatic data and 3D modelling to construct point cloud abstractions of buildings, landmarks and cityscapes within a custom 'browser' interface. Dérive capitalizes on it's underlying coordinate systems by connecting browser and vertex behaviours to environmental data related to the sites of various models. So, a point cloud of a structure in Orléans, France would be inflected by local meteorological and astronomical data and reconfigure itself each time these variables changed. Quévillon's description of how the system works: The display and positions of the points and of the wireframe connecting them are determined by the following environmental information as a mean to evoke or simulate them. Local time: Point size and brightness (relative to sunrise and sunset) Temperature: Point color Cloudiness: Point saturation and brightness Wind: Point displacement reflecting speed and direction Visibility: Intensity of a depth of field effect and transparency Humidity: Depth of field focus distance and point sharpness Precipitation: Random lines drawn from the sky are connected to the ground This data is coupled with information about atmospheric pressure to yield a generative score for the dynamic animations. Quévillon has implemented Dérive in video loop and installation contexts, with the latter using computer vision to allow viewers to interact with the visualization. Dérive | Dérivées locales | Software Development: Édouard […]
- Invisible Airs – A Short Documentary on YoHa Matsuko Yokokoji and Graham Harwood have been active as tactical media practitioners over the last two decades; the duo were members of Mongrel and more recently have been working under the moniker YoHa. One of the central themes of YoHa's work is the translation of abstract data systems into performative assemblages and installations, often highlighting contentious social realities in the process (e.g. their Transmediale award winning Tantalum Memorial). Alistair Oldham recently completed a short documentary on YoHa's work that revolves around a series of performances of their Invisible Airs project (produced with Stephen Fortune) that explores financial data related to Bristol City Council expenditures. The film works as a great introduction to YoHa's work and it nicely underscores many of the more poetic and problematic aspects of information culture. Invisible […]
- SubMap [openFrameworks] SubMap is a project by Dániel Feles, Krisztián Gergely, Attila Bujdosó and Gáspár Hajdu at Kitchen Budapest. The project visualises and sonificates data pulled from one of the biggest news sites of Hungary, origo.hu. One frame is one day, and on one day many things can happen. Depending on how many times a day the name of a city or a village is mentioned on the site, the map of Hungary dynamically distorts according to that number. The sound follows and sonfies that visual outcome, creating a generative ever changing drone. The project developed from the idea to draw a subjective map of Budapest that represented their preferred places or memories in the city. As the places were recognised emotionally 'closer' to the team they would be enlarged where those of less importance would loose focus and become smaller. The team tracked their own locations by using foursquare.com and check-ins made in the application are translated into distorting forces applied to the map of Budapest. Kitchen Budapest, opened in June 2007, is a new media lab for young researchers who are interested in the convergence of mobile communication, online communities and urban space and are passionate about creating experimental projects in cross-disciplinary teams. Project […]
- The face of the EU [Processing] This *digital sculpture* should visualize the conflict of the european identity; the ambiguous relationship of Europe with its residents. To the outside, Europe cares to look united and whole, but inside Europe no-one feels himself to be â€œeuropeanâ€. Itâ€™s a collection of 27 points that attract and repel each other (red/white connections), with these relationships gradually changing every second. A skin partially covers the internal hussle, representing europeâ€™s facade to the rest of the world. Built in processing. The face of the EU is a *digital sculpture* byÂ Tiemen RapatiÂ that visualizes the conflict of the european identity; the ambiguous relationship of Europe with its residents. To the outside, Europe cares to look united and whole, but inside Europe no-one feels himself to be â€œeuropeanâ€. Itâ€™s a collection of 27 points that attract and repel each other (red/white connections), with these relationships gradually changing every second. A skin partially covers the internal hussle, representing europeâ€™s facade to the rest of the world. The project was created usingÂ processing. Tiemen Rapati is a Information & Interactive Media Design student at the Arnhem Academy of Arts ArtEZ. Apart from the blog, you can also check out his photos onÂ flickr, or moving pictures on hisÂ vimeo account. For more processing projects see here. The face of the EU from Tiemen Rapati on […]
- The Transparency Grenade by Julian Oliver – Design Fiction for Leaking Data Provocations within The Critical Engineering Manifesto (2011) state that reliance on specific technologies are "both a challenge and a threat" and that "the exploit is the most desirable form of exposure". Julian Oliver is one of the authors of this manifesto and on reviewing his body of work, one can see that the mandate is clearly at the heart of his practice. The Transparency Grenade, Oliver's most recent endeavour, reimagines the iconic Soviet F1 hand grenade as the chassis for a personal data-leaking device. A concerned individual with physical access to site shrouded in secrecy could simply wait for an opportune moment, pull the pin and create a 'detonation' of related data that would be instantly published to the web. The statement for the project describes the operation of the prototype: "Equipped with a tiny computer, microphone and powerful wireless antenna, The Transparency Grenade captures network traffic and audio at the site and securely and anonymously streams it to a dedicated server where it is mined for information. Email fragments, HTML pages, images and voice extracted from this data are then presented on an online, public map, shown at the location of the detonation." With this work Oliver thematically aligns himself with other practitioners of the 'dark arts' – artists whose work parses economies of secrecy. However, this project contrasts the transcription and redaction of Jill Magid and Trevor Paglen's celestial mapping and 'limit telephotography' through the production of a performative object; The Transparency Grenade does not present captured 'secrets' on a plinth or wall to be read as texts, instead it delivers a precision-engineered workflow for collecting them. More design fact than fiction, the operational logic of the device is currently being rethought as the basis for an application for Android devices (Oliver: "Naturally this is a little more practical than walking into a meeting with a grenade in your jacket pocket"). The Transparency Grenade just showed at Labor Berlin and last week Régine Debatty posted a compelling conversation about the project with its creator. On being asked to comment on the symbolism of his design, Oliver offered the following explanation: "I gave The Transparency Grenade this design to signify some of the conversation around cyber warfare, 'information weapons' and the Cyber Soldier divisions marching out from national defense budgets worldwide. It can be considered a functional weapon in a symbolically representative container… The volatility of information in networked, digital contexts itself frames a precedent for clamouring (and often unrealistic) attempts to contain it. One could even say it's this desperate fear of the leak that produces images like my grenade, images that will continue to take violent forms in popular culture, journalism and Presidential speeches in time. In fact the metaphor of a transparency grenade is itself not new, first used publicly by Mike Taylor in the Observer, a few months after I drew up this project. A timely coincidence!" With these notions of immaterial explosions and 'live leaks' in mind, CAN caught up with Oliver to learn more about the design of this device. Was Wikileaks an inspiration for The Transparency Grenade? No, it wasn't. I've been interested in the volatility of digital data for quite a while, something that's turned up in popular culture many times since computer networking crept into the public imagination. I'd like to think there's a little magic-realism to the grenade I made; building on the myths and fears fed by film and literature as much as the felt anxiety of the leak. I'm a big fan of Cryptome and have been following their work for about 10 years, much of which is certainly less scandalous than Wikileaks. Nonetheless they've proven to be an eye-opening resource over the years, if not only because they cast such a broad and thorough net. They are a tried-and-true, trusted leak service, giving great insight into how some corporations and some government offices falsify facts, conceal or spin data and engineer public opinion. The pre-assembly photographs and technical drawings of the components of the device make it clear that this was a full-on industrial design project. What were the major technical hurdles in realizing this work? There were many. This project has been difficult to realise. First, there's the issue of fitting so much into so little space - I wanted to keep the volume and shape of the object as close as possible to an actual F1 grenade. In shape it's almost identical but in size it is slightly larger. In my opinion it feels better in the hand than the replica I own, somehow more throwable (not that mine's for throwing!). Secondly was the issue of materials. Initialy I wanted to make the grenade body in cast glass. This would've been possible were it not for the fact I really wanted these little cut-away parts on the inside for the inset display and wireless level meter. I next looked into CNC'ing the body from plexiglass but that was both insanely expensive (needing a 4 degrees of freedom mill) and would've required a heap of post-processing to give it a quality finish. In the end I stumbled across this amazing new printable material, Tusk2700T that Materialise, a Belgian outfit work with. That sorted the body out. Next there was the sterling silver metalwork, done by the talented Susanne Stauch. Not only did it have to provide the locking mechanism of the three-part translucent body but also the trigger mechanism for flicking the lever and providing electrical contact to start the data capture process. We spent many many hours working all that out and a great solution was arrived at, I think. The grenade doesn't have a single screw, hinge or blob of glue. That was a satisfying process and outcome. Your documentation for the project includes some stills (mock-ups I presume) of a browser-based map interface for archiving detonations. How would you envision this web-service working? The server side is functional! Under legal advice it's not sane to let people poke around the data captured during testing (which I've deleted now anyway). I could put it up in anonymised form but it would take a lot of work (MAC addresses, remote IPs, Hostnames, email fragments). Best to wait for the Android version, with the server set up at your own risk. Here's how it works, first client (grenade) and then server (a Debian GNU/Linux host on the Internet): There is a relatively primitive configuration interface (CGI), served by lighttpd from the grenade when in Setup (AP) mode. There you can input keys (WEP, WPA) if desired, target particular ESSIDs or BSSIDs, define the remote server, shape the upload bandwith consumed, write to local filesystem or buffer and 'stream', audio compression add SSH keys and a few other basics. Confirming these settings places the grenade in in Armed mode. This toggles a value in a text file that is read by the start up (init) script on reboot telling that script to read the new settings. Reboot occurs right after the button is clicked. After rebooting it waits in an idle state until the pin is pulled, triggering the capture. The software side wasn't so tricky really as I had a lot of code lying around from previous projects, including projects I've been doing with my studio partner Danja Vasiliev. I'm pretty comfortable in a 'headless' embedded development space and in reality most work on the grenade client code was wrapping around various utilities with shell scripts, tarballing through an SSH tunnel, some minor work on init scripts and the network stack (wireless tools). I would've prefered to use Debian or OpenWRT on the Overo COM I used but stuck with Ångström for if-it-ain't-broke reasons. The server-side was a little more tricky, although the map itself was done quickly using CloudMade's customisation interface for OpenStreetMap. That was fun to work with. I use iwatch on the server to keep track of file write/close in folders as they are created, named by date and location. As the packet data comes in TCP stream reconstruction starts, sorting by mime-type and writing them out to folders named by stream session. Encrypted data is written for breaking later, should that be desired. I'm currently using a modified third-party Perl utility for the stream following and HTML markup but may move to tcpflow and foremost for the Android version as it'll be faster. Audio data is currently Ogg/Vorbis but being a little CPU intensive I may switch to another. All programming was done in VIM on a Thinkpad running Debian GNU/Linux. Minicom was used for serial communications using a USB Serial FTDI. More at The Transparency […]
- DIY City 0.01a – Hijacking the courtyard at Specialmovers / Usman Haque Created in collaboration with Specialmoves, DIY City 0.01a (alpha stage) is a project conceptualised by Usman Haque some five years ago and now prototyped and demoed at the Specialmoves HQ. It allows users to create own creatures and let them "hijack the city". Up front we agreed that our aim was to create a prototype which empowered people to redesign their city. We're so at the mercy of our often grimy and faceless urban surroundings; what could we do to give city dwellers a little more control over their habitat? We also agreed to mark the end of the 2 week hack sprint with an event to let friends play with what we'd created...although we had no idea what that would be. Specialmovers pulled together a team of developers and technical directors to create something to test and share within 24 hours and iterated from there. At their disposal were two developers, one UX'er, one concepter, three projectors, five laptops, one big idea and ten working days. What was made included a mobile interface that allowed people to create sprites that were projected onto the walls of their courtyard space. Using a jQuery based mobile application, people could design and manipulate own creations. .NET, node.js and canvas were used on the projector side, to present the mass of creatures "hijacking the city". Supported by onedotzero. Usman Haque Research | Specialmovers Project […]
- Commute as Composition – Brian House’s Forty-eight to Sixteen Scat vocalist Cab Calloway once claimed that when he walked down eighth avenue, he "saw rhythms" rather than the cityscape or bustling sidewalk. This past summer, fellow New York City explorer Brian House prototyped an elaborate workflow for sonifying a variety of biometric data generated during his daily 12 km bicycle commute from Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan. Forty-eight to Sixteen is a 35 minute meditation on the stop-start rhythm of traffic that House describes as speaking to "recent trends in media culture toward first-person viewpoints" and the "integration of biometrics into documentary". Utilizing a chest-mounted video camera, a Garmin Forerunner (to track heart rate and pedalling cadence), and a microphone (with custom signal processing to monitor breathing) the artist recorded a 'long take' that documented an entire morning commute. The breath rate, heart rate and cycling cadence data for the ride were then interpreted by House's cellist peer Topu Lyo as separate compositions and then layered and time-synced with the video. The video and aggregate sonifications are a restless study of speed, embodiment and flow that sounds more like a minimalist improv experiment than a rigid exercise in self-quantification. Presumably that is House's point as he explicitly states he is interested in the "physical relationship" that he and his accomplice have with the source material as well as the broader notion of "performing" data. House on some of the less obvious nuances in the workflow he's devised: There is more programming in this piece than might be evident at first. Aside from data wrangling, the constantly varying tempo changes in all three parts made this tricky to pull off. I ended up building an interface that resembles Rock Band, where Topu could anticipate the timing of the notes as they scrolled toward him on the staff (Im indebted, because doing that three times for 35mins each with extremely repetitive music is quite taxing). Forty-eight to Sixteen was displayed in Eyebeam's window gallery this past summer. Project page | Cello performance: Topu […]
Posted on: 27/04/2012
Posted in: News
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