SyncLost is a multi-user immersive installation into the history of electronic music. From a complex timeline, rhythms and sub-rhythms merge to create new sounds. The project’s objective is to create an interface where users can view all the connections between the main styles of electronic music through visual and audible feedback. The choice is individual and leads to a collective consequence in the spatial visualization of information. The installation can be used by three users simultaneously, with wiimote and headphones/soundspeakers. Each one interacts by choosing a style on the interface.
The project was created by 3bits, creative studio from Brazil using Processing.
3bits makes responsive installations, websites and a blog about new fields of interaction design.
- Digging in the Crates [Flash, Sound] Digging in the Crates is an interactive installation by Roland Loesslein which attempts to explore Sampling as a production technology of modern music. Dynamic music data is navigated using modified turntables with information graphics helping understand the complex relationships that exist between the sample and composition. Besides the history of sampling or technical backgrounds of the digitization of analog audio signals, visitors can also obtain information on the dissociation of sample-based productions and other musicological phenomena such as remixes, mashups or covers. As a highlight of the exhibition the visitor can slip into the role of a producer and goes on a fascinating search for suitable samples, which will be found on soul, funk and jazz records of the 70s and 80s. Digging in the Crates aims to describe the sampling culture in all its aspects, characteristics, and influences. Not only the understanding of the creative process as a craft but also the effort and creative processes associated with sampling should be communicated authentically. Visitors can choose from 50 old records of the 70s and 80s. All of these records contain one or more samples, which can be analyzed by placing the records on the turntable. A projection onto the record itself shows included samples as shaded areas. The old records can either be played or analyzed. To choose between these two modes, the on / off switch of the turntable is pressed. A modified turntable acts as an tangible interface to navigate and analyze each single sample on the placed record. "Digging in the Crates" is a diploma thesis in the Department of Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Augsburg by developer and designer Roland Loesslein. More of his work can be viewed online at http//www.weaintplastic.com Digging in the Crates was created using Flash Actionscript3/Adobe […]
- Processing.org Exhibition now curated by FV [News] From September 2010, myself with CreativeApplications.Net will be the curator of the online exhibition of projects on Processing.org. It's a great privilege and pleasure to contribute to the almost 10 year old open source project initiated by Ben Fry and Casey Reas. Processing has won hearts and minds of many artists, researchers, designers and architects over the years and still remains one of the most used creative code programming environments. Students at hundreds of schools around the world use Processing for classes ranging from middle school math education to undergraduate programming courses to graduate fine arts studios. Tens of thousands of companies, artists, designers, architects, and researchers use Processing to create an incredibly diverse range of projects. CAN has posted some of these but processing.org/exhibition/ still remains an archive of some of the most amazing Processing projects out there. It's also easy to get the quick sense of how Processing has changed over the years by looking at the exhibition, from Applets to large installations. The original idea was simple; to show what Processing can do. A priority in recent years has been to show the range of what is possible (fabrication, installation, rendered video) in addition to realtime graphics - Casey writes. From this month very few carefully selected projects shown on CAN will make their way to the exhibition. We kick things off with the wonderful Understanding Shakespeare by Stephan Thiel. In case you missed it, see this post on CAN. Understanding Shakespeare is an attempt to create a new visual understanding of the work by analysing most frequently used words for each character. Using Processing, a scene is represented by a block of text and scaled relatively according to its number of words. Characters are ordered by appearance from left to right throughout the play. The major character’s speeches are highlighted to illustrate their amounts of spoken words as compared to the rest of the play...more Additionally to the above, Stephan and two fellow designers are trying to give something back to the Processing community. They are providing teaching materials available at www.creativecoding.org which they use at various german universities. So far, these have developed into a well known resource among german designers and media artists and the team hopes to translate them to english soon. We leave you with 10 of the 144 projects that have made their way to the Processing exhibition, starting with Valence by Ben Fry (2002) and ending One Perfect Cube by Florian Jenett (2010). See all at […]
- What is at stake in animate design? [Theory] Grey Walter’s robotic tortoises ELSIE Usman Haque has, on several occasions, made the observation that there is an important difference between interactivity and responsiveness (see for example -pdf). A responsive system is a fundamentally linear set of relations, a kind of reaction where the same thing happens every time a given action is performed. A normal light switch is responsive in this sense. A typical light switch doesn’t consider any other variables, or have any other behavioural options. Pressing the switch will either turn it off or on, in what is a linear causal relationship. A properly interactive system is very different in its logical structure, and is characterised instead by a relational and circular (or more complex network) causality. In a properly interactive system, a given action will produce different results, because it depends upon the context at that moment, the history of previous interactions, and the relational creativity of the system. To take the banal example of a light switch again: in an interactive system an input might turn on a light, but it could equally result in other behaviour. A properly interactive light might set itself at different levels according to other sensor inputs, or the light might not come on at all, and instead curtains or windows might be opened to allow in more light. It might even ask you if you are afraid of the dark, or if you need help. It might try to sell you a torch, or it might just remind you that you are wearing shades. The post-war maverick ecologist and cybernetician Gregory Bateson used a different example to illustrate the same point. If you kick a stone, he said, then the trajectory of the stone is a simple mechanical affair, that can easily be calculated using Newton’s equations. If you kick a dog, then you do not know what is going to happen. It might bite you, or bark at you, or run away. A dog interacts with us. It has its own agency, and that is the important issue here. One point to be made here then, is that many of the installations, systems and apps that we might broadly classify as interactive, are actually just responsive or reactive. There is nothing per se wrong with reactivity, and of course such responsive and reactive systems can in any case be ‘looped’ and networked to form components of more complex and properly interactive feedback systems. The important point rather, is that properly interactive systems are interesting, as they are able to stage a series of philosophical questions regarding the nature of agency and creativity - important questions that perhaps cannot be posed in any other way. The way that circular causal systems which feature feedback and recursion act as minds was the broad research focus of the post war project of cybernetics, and has been the subject of a recently published book by Andrew Pickering, called The Cybernetic Brain – Sketches of Another Future (University of Chicago Press, 2010). In this work, Pickering takes the reader through this fascinating period of experimental work at the boundary of art and science, which he describes as “some of the most striking and visionary work that I have come across in the history of science and engineering”. Pickering focuses upon the most radical traditions within cybernetic research, which largely arose out of the work of a series of distinctly eccentric British researchers, who he describes – borrowing a phrase from philosophers Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari – as performing a nomadic science. He notes that “unlike more familiar sciences such as physics, which remain tied to specific academic departments and scholarly modes of transmission, cybernetics is better seen as a form of life, a way of going on in the world...” Pickering considers many experiments that have come to take on a legendary status within the history of cybernetics, ranging from Ross Ashby’s Homeostat (a network of four machines composed of movable magnets with electric connections through water, which would exhibit a range of emergent self-organised behaviours), Grey Walter’s robotic tortoises ELSIE and ELMER (which would respond to each other’s lights, or themselves in a mirror), to Stafford Beer’s remarkable Cybersyn project for Salvadore Allende’s government in Chile (an early form of the internet, which created the basis of a de-centralised socialist planned economy. For an information rich - though political analysis very poor - documentary, see here). Of particular interest to Pickering is the work of Gordon Pask, whose experimental installations and assemblages of various kinds captured in a uniquely distinct way, what Pickering describes as the “hylozoic wonder” of radical cybernetics – that is to say, under what conditions can we think of all matter as (at least capable of) being alive and thinking. Gordon Pask was heavily influenced by the ideas of Gregory Bateson – in particular Bateson’s anthropological work with various Balinese tribes, and later with family therapy and schizophrenia. In this research Bateson showed how our very experience of being a ‘self’ is produced out, or emerges out of, our participation in a network or ecology of conversations with other actors in our environment: people, objects, rituals and so on. Bateson suggested that “the total self-corrective unit which processes information, or as I say, ‘thinks’, ‘acts’ and ‘decides’, is a system whose boundaries do not at all coincide with the boundaries either of the body or of what is popularly called the ‘self’ or ‘consciousness’.” For Pask famously, the conversation became the paradigm for thinking about interactivity – much of which focused on the question of how do systems learn and teach, or as Bateson described it, what is deuterolearning: learning how to learn? Pask’s writings in this area can often be rather obscure, especially to the newcomers to the field, and Pickering provides an excellent introduction to these projects – including Musicolour, SAKI, Eucrates, CASTE, and the yet more experimental chemical computing projects – many of which were developed in association with architecture schools and in art settings. In all of these projects, Pickering reminds us, Pask is ultimately staging questions about who we are, and what we and our world might be; questions which the ‘ecology of mind’ of radical cybernetics can still help us with today. In this regard, I can’t put it any better than Usman Haque, who has stated that: “It is not about designing aesthetic representations of environmental data, or improving online efficiency or making urban structures more spectacular. Nor is it about making another piece of high-tech lobby art that responds to flows of people moving through the space, which is just as representational, metaphor-encumbered and unchallenging as a polite watercolour landscape. It is about designing tools that people themselves may use to construct - in the widest sense of the word - their environments and as a result build their own sense of agency. It is about developing ways in which people themselves can become more engaged with, and ultimately responsible for, the spaces they inhabit.” -- About the Author: Jon Goodbun is researcher interested in networks of architecture, process philosophy, radical cybernetics, urban political ecology, and the natural and cognitive sciences. He sometimes refer to himself as an metropolitan tektologist, for want of a better description. His work focuses on near and medium term future scenarios. He is currently printing his PhD, working on a book 'Critical and Maverick Systems Thinkers', and planning some kind of exhibition on 'Ecological Aesthetics, Empathy and Extended […]
- iSensorii [iPhone, MaxMSP] iSensorii is a site specific art installation currently located at the Dallas Museum of Art. It uses Mac OSX application created using MaxMSP to generate sounds and visuals and receive input from iPhones using custom designed free application now available in the AppStore. You can also download the exhibition app on your own computer and have a play. The site contains detailed step-by-step instructions on how to run and set-up the connection between your desktop and iphone app. There are two apps to download, first one being the MaxMSP app that creates a bridge of interfaces including Nintendo wiichucks. The second app is the display app, created using Unity, the final result of what you are controlling. The apps/installation was created by VJ Anomolee (aka Matt (Heiu) Brooks), intermedia artist/creative trainer and video production guru. Find out more by visiting his site and do make sure you also check out the blog which includes some great tips+tricks on digital production/working with and connecting various application such as the example above. Platform: iPhone Version: 1.0 Cost: Free Developer: Silicon […]
- History of Video Games [Flash] Game history timeline designed, programmed and compiled for your viewing pleasure. An ongoing project using references from GameSpy, WIRED Magazine, Gamasutra, Mobygames, Old-Computers.com, Haroldito @ Flickr, Board game geek, Consollection, Wikipedia and others. Try it here (beta) Some background on the project Created by Mauricio Giraldo Arteaga, lecturer at the Design Department of the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. The code of this timeline is written in ActionScript 3. (Thanks […]
- Shedding Light on Squidsoup – A Conversation with Anthony Rowe For more than a decade, the artist collective Squidsoup have been designing rich interactive experiences. From their early navigable sonic environments, through their playful experiments with computer vision and interest in 'volumetric visualizations', an email exchange between Squidsoup's Anthony Rowe and CAN begat a mammoth interview abound light, sound and many of the collective's […]
- “A Philosophy of Computer Art” by Dominic Lopes [Books, Review] A Philosophy of Computer Art is a text that may interest some readers of creativeapplications.net as it covers the intersection of computing and art, discussing some of the classics of interactive art, and doing a lot of thinking about what art that uses computers actually is. In it Dominic Lopes does several things very well: it divides what he calls “digital art” from “computer art”, and it correlates that second term, which I’ll put in capitals to mark that it’s his term, Computer Art, with interactivity. He also articulates precise arguments for computer art as a new and valid form of art and defends his new term against some of its more tiresome attacks. As a quick example, Paul Virillios concerns about the debilitating effect of “virtual reality” on thought which is more than a little reminiscent of Socratic concerns about the debilitating effect of writing on thought and points to an interesting conclusion: what we call thought is a technologically enhanced phenomena. Note Friedrich Kittler: most human capacities are enhanced in some way or another with no great damage to the notion of “humanity” or “human”. It’s little more than a failure of imagination to thunder about how those augmentations debilitate the natural state of humans. Lopes also makes several extremely astute observations about the nature of interactivity and repeatability, comparing Rodins Thinker, Schuberts “The Erlking”, packs of refrigerator magnet letters, and true interactivity in artwork and concluding that interactive work has distinct characteristics. What he comes to, or what I read him as coming to, is this: a structured and rule based experience is interactive. “A good theory of interaction in art speaks of prescribed user actions. The surface of a painting is altered if it’s knifed, but paintings don’t prescribe that they be vandalized.” Reduced even further: grammar plus entities plus aesthetics equals interactivity. He also makes, to pick just a few, excellent arguments for the interpretive necessity of a view in automated displays, astute observations about the potential value of a computer art criticism, and for the nature of technology as a medium. But Lopes is also a philosopher and philosophers seek to, among other things, define categories. Painting, sculpture, dance; these categorized mediums have all served us well over the years and so the thinking goes, why not extend them and add another: Computer Art. I’m not so sure that the idea of Computer Art as, with an admittedly blunt reduction, “stuff on a computer that allows you to participate in it presenting itself” is particularly useful. My feeling is that this isn’t what interactive art or art made in collaboration with computers is presently nor is it a meaningful extent of what it should be. The device is not the method, nor is the extent of what makes this type of artwork rich and meaningful and computers aren’t really the medium: algorithm and computation are the medium. In Form+Code, Casey Reas and Chandler McWilliams are right to point to Sol Lewitt as an earlier exponent of explicitly algorithmic art and tie that into the current computational and algorithmic art-makers. A computer originally was one who did computation, that is, a person sitting with a slide rule, pen, and paper and was only later applied to machines. The idea of computation is that it offloads a pre-existing human capacity, accentuates pre-existing things in the world. The person who calls their friend on their cellphone describes their action as “calling my friend” not “using my cellphone”. The person using Ken Goldbergs TeleGarden (a work mentioned frequently in APAC) is marveling at how they can collaboratively participate in creating a garden, not at how they can control a machine via a network. The point is not the device -- the point is interactive computation, extension of human aptitude and capacity, and the type of relationship with the world that it enables. His insistence on the primacy of mediums and forms is doubly odd because in his finale Lopes emphasizes that “computer art takes advantage of computational processing to achieve user interaction”. Close, but not quite there. I’m nitpicking, and admittedly so, because he’s looking at works that are unmistakably “Computer Art” by his definition of it. Computer Art is meant to be a measure of degrees, a spectrum. One looks at Scott Snibbes work and sees a computer system and an interactivity. Golden Calf, a work he references multiple times, is very firmly at the Computer Art circle in the Venn diagram of machine-human art-making experience. These are the easy examples, those that lend themselves most easily to the account of interaction in artworks that he describes. But I’m nitpicking for a reason: it’s painfully limiting. It says that computer art is things that are run on a computer with which I interact and observe a display where I consequently understand how my actions are interpreted. This seems naïve to the ways that computation actually functions in our lives and an oversimplification of how people think that computation can function in their lives. This also seems to be reductive of what forms art can take and how the conversation that is art-making can evolve. For instance: Wafaa Bilals Domestic Tension, a piece far more indebted to performance art than sculptural installation. There’s quite a bit more at play there than myself seeing the manipulation of pixels and there’s more to my understanding of how this piece functions and signifies than understanding that I’m speaking with and through a computer. Another example: Men in Grey. Is this interactive art? Not in many senses, I never interacted with it nor would I say that interacting with it is necessary to understand it and experience it. It has far more in common with Situationist/Lettrist works than with installation art, and yet it is computer based, one does interact with it by well-known protocols and through well-established rules, it has a display. It uses computation and networks and yet it’s not about manipulating a computer or a network to create display elements nor is that the forefront of it. Nor are EyeWriter, Natural Fuse, and a slew of other works and projects that I find most meaningful and engaging. In philosophy of aesthetics at times philosophically strong categories sometimes are preferred over meaningful categories because of the defensibility of strong categories. Painting as a category of artwork is not deeply meaningful in many ways (consider the question “do you like paintings?”) yet determining how much something is and is not a painting is quite easy and categorically meaningful. “Minimal” as a style (ones furniture or aesthetic) or strategy (“minimalism” with attendant connotation) is a much more meaningful designation because it has historical precedents, significations, and because it extends beyond a particular category to cover a manner of production and reception. That is, it describes communicative strategies, which Lopes indicates is one of the goals of the interactivity in Computer Art. However “minimal” is a terrifically difficult thing to pin down into categories and yet it is descriptive, historical, and fundamentally meaningful as a description of an aesthetic practice. To play a small linguistic game, describing speech as “he spoke with words” is a bit odd; to describe it as “he spoke with silence” makes more sense because one does not normally make speech with silence. Likewise Computer Art seems primarily to describe a situation of abnormality, “this is art that involves you interacting with a computer”, that I believe few people actually find particularly abnormal and that will be less meaningful, if not near meaningless, in the near future. Lopes text is an excellent opening of what I hope will be an interesting discussion that attempts to unravel the relationship between new forms of narrative, expression, and communication and the previous ones. He weaves together an excellent web of references from Umberto Eco to Clement Greenberg to Lev Manovich and references a wisely chosen group of artworks to bolster his argument. The example of A Philosophy of Computer Art is in it’s handling of complex arguments against the sort of odd disqualifications that occasionally are leveled against Computer Art. It’s insistence on categorical logic and mediums as definitive categories is a small aberation in what is otherwise an excellent text and opening of a new type of discourse about what creative computing might possibly mean. apoca.mentalpaint.net Purchase on amazon.com / amazon.co.uk Rafael Lozano-Hemmer "Blow Up", 2007 Daniel Rozin "Wooden Mirror", 1999 Scott Snibbe "Boundary Functions", 1998 Camille Utterback & Romy Achituv "Text Rain", 1999 -- Joshua Noble is a writer, designer, and programmer based in Portland, Oregon and New York City. He's the author of, most recently, Programming Interactivity and the forthcoming book Research for […]
- Silent [C++, Cinder] Created by Chandler McWilliams, Silent is a two minute video made by combining frames from five classic silent films: Metropolis, Faust, Nosferatu, Holy Mountain, and The Dragon Painter and put to the music of Charles Ives’ Hallowe’en. The frames are chosen by custom software that compares data from each of the film’s soundtracks with the data from Ives’ music. Made using Cinder, a C++ framework, custom software analyzes each film and records the audio (FFT) data and timecode for each frame. The final video is generated by processing an input soundtrack, in this case Hallowe’en, and finding the frames of film whose audio best fits that of the soundtrack. Silent films were chosen as the source material because of their tight connection between narrative, visuals, and musical score. By using the soundtrack as the central driver of visual imagery, Silent inverts these relationships. This reversal allows forms typically associated with music-repetition, rhythm, movement-to be express themselves visually. Cinder is a C++ framework developed by the Barbarian Group. For more information including Chandler's other projects see brysonian.com See also Cymatic Ripple [C++, […]
Posted on: 26/01/2010
Posted in: Processing
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