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September 27, 2007


There has been a nightmare that has been plaguing me because it was so visually stimulating that I felt this urge to depict it. I could not give the vision justice in a painting so I pretty much gave up. The nightmare goes as follows: I was falling for a massive chunk of the dream; falling in between a system of pipes, but the pipes had spikes as well as other individuals who had managed to clutch for their lives and were thusly ferociously grasping at me for aid as I fell. Finally, I splashed into a body of water with relief. Then assessing the situation I realized that the water was not only grotesque but also filled with dead bodies. I looked to the distance for an escape and woke with the realization that all I could see through the eerie fog was an infinite grid of these pipes and speckles of corpses.
My goal for this project is 1.) to attempt to accurately share the emotion felt during this dream and 2.) to discombobulate the viewers perceptions (this is a general goal I am currently struggling to achieve with all of my art). However, all I may be able to do is allow people to feel a nightmare.
My idea is to set up my old bed for the viewer/participant to lie down in. However, when a head touched the pillow it will activate sensors that will control spooky effects. I am thinking about sounds from under the bed, and isolated/dark lighting. I was also contemplating adding a stuffed animal that one could squeeze to get it all to stop.
If I were to depict this nightmare, I would need to somehow simulate falling with noise, moving lights, or something of that sort. I could set the actions in a time line, lights go off with a solitary eerie light, falling, a splash, possibly a stink, and dying groans/screams of people near and far, and then maybe (if I want to be more complicated) either activate cardboard pipes to lower or shine lights on previously hidden piping. I could make the whole set up more intense with dry ice and probably numerous other cheesy and over complicated special effects. My hope is to figure out an accurate way to represent the fear and dismay invoked in the nightmare in as few sensory displays as possible.
I am currently working on a painting of this nightmare, attempting to depict the horror in a serene and beautiful composition. (Not to boost, but I think I may have succeeded). I am trying to decide if it is necessary to follow through with my original idea of having the viewer interpret the painting one way and then having their perceptions unsettled by other sensory clues. I could hang the painting and somehow inform the viewer to get comfortable in the bed in order to interpret the artwork.
That was a long explanation of where I am.

nightmare plan

Interactive Teddy Bear


Here is an incomplete schematic of a Teddy Bear whose behavior is altered by the approach of a foreign body (human or otherwise). I'm attempting to create an equilibrium between our natural tendancy to want to touch the bear (since its cute and cuddly) with sensory information that might disuade us from doing so. The presupposition is that we have an "imagination response" of feeling the bear which arises from our previous experience of other like objects. This is to say, before we ever touch the object we have already formed a perception of what touching the object would be like. This imagination response can both amplify or diminish our desire to come in contact with the object.

Starting from the initial assumption that the teddy bear represents a desirable object for touching I propose a series of demotivations as the viewer approaches to interrupt or derail their imagination response and replace that response with a perception of danger or inpending defensive action. This will be acomplished with various visual and auditory cues (facial expressions, showing teeth, eyes lighting) and audio cues (beginning from benign sounds, becoming more violent and forboding as the person approaches). However, if the person's need for touch supersedes their reactions to these demotivators (they are undeflected) they are rewarded by a pleasant environment for touch.


resistor plate touch sensor

The touch sensor project I’m working on involves a variety of resistors connected to conductive objects. When the objects are brought together the circuit is completed providing different values that the microcontroller can collect. The different resistance values then can be used to trigger different sounds, notes, and possibly lights or video. One object described in my sketch is a metal plate that has been cut into pieces and reconfigured with an isolating material between the sections, thus creating different resistance zones that another object can be touched to which completes the circuit.

resistor plate sketch.jpg

Download PICO file

steven's thing

steven .jpg

Andy's Proj Sketch


Jessica's Sculpture Installation Idea

My aim is to create suspended cocoon-like forms from the ceiling to create a sculpture installation. Viewers are invited to walk between the cocoons and pet their exterior. When brushed softly, light will illuminate the interior of the individual form to reveal something unseen otherwise. Petting will also cause the forms to illuminate and purr.

Cacoon Sketch

Switch as a gateway/portal


Schedule of Presentations


October 4th

1. Jessica Teckemeyer - (Amy Youngs + Ken Rinaldo)

October 18 th

1. Andy Irland

October 23rd

1. Katie Grundman

2. Tom Hagler

October 25th

1. Ange Tank

2. Ben Faga

3. Jeremy Wagner

October 30th

1. Steven Schmitz

2. Wade Stebbings

3. Jane Powers

4. Caroline Foster

November 1st

1. Charlot Meyer

2. Kristoffer Shideman

3. Mai Gao Vang

4. Blake Pierce

Project 1 - touch /sensing the intangible

Ceate a new entry and add you project descriptions to this category.


add sensor inspirations, how to info and sources here.

The Process of Touch

As a designer in the 21st century, it is quite often a computer that aids in the actualization of a concept or design idea. The mouse in particular is the instrument that makes many of our intangible thoughts or rough sketches into a reality. While this tangible product gives life to the intangible form, it takes away the life of the conceptual idea. To me, the ideation stage can be more stimulating and satisfying than the production, for it is during this creative process that I thrive and feel energized. There is obviously a level of desire and intent to actualize a concept, and as it is happening, it is both satisfying and disenchanting; however, while thoughts become reality and receive new life, their original form is diminished. Therefore, I see the mouse as a dual-edged sword, a necessary evil.

tank_idea1.jpgIn my project, I would like to examine our process of touch as it relates to the computer mouse; I can imagine this in a couple different forms. At first, I imagined using the underside of the mouse (where the laser beam or other sensor device is housed) to sense movement. By lining up a sequence of mouses suspended from the ceiling, I could form or infer a sort of runway for the audience to engage with. As people walk down the runway, the reprogrammed sensors in the mouse would communicate with a screen at the end of the runway to create a drawing or other visual response to the movement. By removing any physical connection to the mouse, our normal understanding of this device and how it produces intangible forms is inverted, returning the power to less tangible senses and form (i.e., movement, light, etc).

tank_idea2.jpgWhile reading Lupton's article (Skin: New Design Organics), I formed a new idea based on the quote from Mark C. Taylor's book, Hiding: "At the point where I make contact with the world, I am always already dead." For me, this spoke critically about the creative process; in a sense, once an object has been created or an idea actualized, the concept itself is dead. Shortly following, Lupton refers to the skin as "a screen on which we can watch the body's amazing ability to heal itself while also witnessing its inevitable collapse (31)" which draws another similarity of the fuzzy realm between concept and prototype -- the death of one form and the life of another. After mentally processing these ideas, I envisioned a different setup for my project. This time the audience would be invited to interact and engage with just one mouse, perhaps in a normal computer setting (i.e. monitor, keyboard, mouse). At any point while one's hand is hovering above the mouse, an unexpected, conceptual result would be relayed on the screen. However, once the hand makes contact with the mouse, the ideas are gone, or lines are straightened, etc. Perhaps this more drastically takes the power away from the mouse, enforcing that the most energy is inherent in the creator and that that is where the best ideas are formed.

getting your files from anywhere

Check here for software and guidance for using SFTP (secure file transfer protocol)

Connect to artserve using willow3 and our password:


September 26, 2007

Artist Employing Interactivity in Gallery Settings

I was researching for my artist presentation and came across Daniel Rozin and Camille Utterback.

Rozin transforms interesting surfaces such as wood blocks into relating directly to a viewer standing in front of the piece. Rozin's sculptures act as mirrors that enlarge the participant's images in a pixel-like response.


Camille Utterback creates interactive video work. These pieces are installation or object based. (Caroline, this is definately an artist you should look at considering your interest in painting!)

Camille Utterback


Forrest Mims, III

Getting Started in Electonics is a classic.

Electronic Sensors Circuits includes some ingenious approaches to sensing.

September 25, 2007

Artist Presentation Guide

Artist Presentations are designed to encourage you to find out about a range of artists who are working in the genre of New Media :: Making Art Interactive.

Chose an artist or collaborative group of artist as the focu of your presentation.

Include the following in your Artist Presentation:

- Background information about the artist.

- Discuss what attracted you to the work of this artist.

- Highlight two examples of this artist's work and and use these to describe the artist's relationship to ideas of interactivity.

-Describe how these works relate to the artist's larger body of work.

- Relate this artist, via content, process, technology, perspective, etc. to that of another contemporary artist or artists from another time period.

Discuss how this artist's work informs your own thinking.

Following your presentation, enter a post on the blog that includes:

- links to examples of the artist's work
- Statement describing how this artist's work and/or process informs your thinking.

Some useful resources to the work of a range of artists:

Stephen Wilson
's pages of links

- We Make Money Not Art

- Rhizome

Digital Art pgs 7-25 reading for 9/27

Read pages 7 - 25, Digital Art by Christiane Paul

While reading, reflect on:

- your ideas about the relationship between art and technology

- how changes in technology have influenced artists

- what you imagine as future possibilities in the realm of art and technology


September 21, 2007

Re: What are other people doing?

I've been working with a local painter (Neil Johnston) on a collaborative video installation piece in downtown Minneapolis. The projection scheme we have been using failed late last week, so we've moved the videos to YouTube until we can find a fix. This is a Max/MSP/Jitter installation that connects the artist to the gallery space and provides realtime sonic feedback to the artist's brushstrokes based on color and placement on the canvas. The hope is that Neil will explore his musicianship through his brushstrokes.


September 20, 2007

PicoCricket Symbiosis

The program I call symbiosis.pb is about having two pico-crickets "talk" to each other. When they first discover the other, one turns red while the other turns green. After a small delay, they trade colors. They are in conversation.

This process repeats until the two crickets are separated, they they each turn blue (they miss each other).

Their conversation is in red and green lights.
When the signal is blocked, they can no longer talk to each other and both turn blue.

The program, photos and its description are available on our file-share at afp://

As We May Think (29-45)

Download file

September 18, 2007

Wine, jazz, and art . . . what more could you want?

Unwind at the Goldstein Museum of Design this Thursday, at the Gallery Grooves event!

Goldstein Museum of Design
240 McNeal Hall, U of M St. Paul campus
Sept 20, 2007

Gallery Grooves:

Products of Our Time exhibit info:

Phillip Wood will lecture in 33 McNeal Hall at 7:30 p.m. CITIZEN:Citizen is a San Francisco-based, conceptual design studio that represents designers such as Patrik Fredrikson, Ian Stallard, and Tobias Wong. Wood will discuss "how objects contain and resonate cultural concerns, histories, ideologies, etc.; how objects accumulate new standing within a virtual world; how craft is emotionally compelling; and how culture and societies imbue meaning and value into objects -- more than the designers of those objects would care to admit."

How to connect to your personal server

If you create your HTML files on your own computer, you can use SFTP to transfer your HTML files, graphics, etc. to your web space on the server. Enter the following information:

Directory: web-docs

at school you can press (apple) k and then enter this info---
at home you need to use a ftp program---
need a ftp program?

more information

September 17, 2007

What are other people doing?

I find it interesting to see how other artists are using technology in their work. Check this site out for some inspiration!


*don't be fooled by the name!

September 13, 2007

ITP links

ITP (NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program) offers a wealth of resources.

You can find guidance re: electronics here and here and here.

Tom Igoe _Physical Computing

Tom Igoe, co-author (with Dan O'Sullivan ) of the book Physical Computing, offers inspiration, knowledge, and resources here.

server address

Create a folder on the server to save your files.

server address:



The Arduino will be the primary microcontroller that we will use this semester.

It has evolved from an open source effort with an active community of users.

It is an affordable technology that you can readily incorporate into you work.

Support information, tutorials, etc, continue to be developed.

The programming language is based on C and uses text.

Essential C is a helpful guide to C as well.

You can download the software and find out more about the Processing environment that is used to progam the arduino

pico cricket

the pico cricket is designed to introduce a technology for making art interactive. It offers an intiuitive approach via software that uses a visual language and hardware that incorporates the necessary electronics to activate your ideas.

We will be using the pico cricket to introduce this hybrid zone of electronics, programming and fabrication. When we continue with other types of microcontrollers the pico cricket may be a useful prototyping medium.

picocricket resources


software that you can download on your computer

pico block guide

helpful tips to ease communication between your computer and the pico cricket

getting started offers some examples

CLA Equipment Access

Prosumer and Professional equipment is available via the CLA-TV Studios

CLA-OIT has loaner equipment available as well.

Art department Equipment Checkout

you can reserve equipment at Equipment Checkout

Syllabus Sketch

Syllabus: Sketch

This syllabus is a guide. It will help to give you a sense of the pace of the course, with the due dates for each of the major, student–generated, course components. Essential readings and technical resources will be introduced weekly. Our expectations for you are high. When possible, we will respond to student interests in an improvisational manner and shape the course accordingly. We will, periodically, add readings, technical tips and conceptual frameworks to cultivate the inquiry and creative work that we expect from all students.

The specifics of the related artistic, intellectual, and technical resources will be posted online.
It will be your responsibility to check regularly to learn about upcoming events and available resources.

Week 1 Introducing ourselves, the course topic and the studio resources
9/4, 9/6 Talking to Machines ~ explorations in language and culture
Imagining interaction and behavior / Introducing microcontrollers
… the ins, the outs and the processing in between
Archive your documentation of what you imagine as the course begins.
Introducing the pico cricket

Week 2 Sensors, Sensing, Sensation
9/11, 9/13 Sensing the Intangible - An Introduction to the First Project
Sensory Explorations / DIY Sensor and electronics introduction
Prototype your touch sensor concept; make it tangible.
Documentation your process from concept to prototype.

Week 3 Expanding the Vocabulary of Response
9/18, 9/20 Prototype Sensory Interactions

Week 4 Continue developing Sensing the Intangible with a focus on the experience of Touch
9/25, 9/27 Experiment with fabrication techniques.
Present your current concept for an interactive approach to Sensing the Intangible
Using text and the visual media of your choice, archive your documentation on the blog
Meet the Arduino

Week 5 Discuss presentation of the first project – Touch as it relates to "Sensing the Intangible" prototype
10/2, 10/4 Introduce the Installation and Performance Space for the collaborative installation
Exploring the Arduino
Reflect on the sensation of touch, informed by the reading: Skin
Artist Presentations

Week 6 "Sensing the Intangible" - Touch prototypes in process - continuing explorations with the Arduino
10/9, 10/11
Artist Presentations

Week 7 Present Touch prototypes
10/16, 10/18 Artist Presentations

Week 8 Complete presentations of Touch Prototypes
10/23, 10/25 Artist Presentations
Special GUEST - Amon Millner, PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab visits us on his way back from Maker Faire
Visit Nash Gallery focus on the kinetic and the interactive in Guy Baldwin's work
Complete and Post documentation of Touch prototypes

Week 9 Present initial ideas related to response, reaction, action in "Sensing the Intangible"
10/30, 11/1 Artist Presentations

Week 10 Presentation of project concepts – Interactive Works in Process
11/6, 11/8 Develop working sketches of the responsive, reactive of active behavior that you are exploring while working on Interactive Works in Process towards final project.

Week 11 Introducing Final Project, The Interactive and the In-Tangible
Discussion of Final Project, collaborative and individual approaches
11/13 11/15 Presentation Interactive Works in Process for feedback on

Week 12 Continue working on Final Project
11/20, 11/22 (holiday)
Presentation of Preliminary sketches/research for Final Project, The "Interactive and the In-Tangible"

Week 13 Presentation of in-process sketches/research
11/27, 11/29 In Progress Critique /feedback related to the Final Project

Week 14 Continue working on Final Project, prepare for final installation
12/4, 12/6

Week 15 Final Project - due for presentation in class
12/11 Last Class, review of installation

Wee 16 ALL Documentation Due for review on the blog
12/18 Check announcement on the blog for the list of related documentation

Course Description

New Media :: Making Art Interactive

The Interactive and the In-Tangible is the focus of this semester’s course. Through a series of explorations, we will experiment with interactive art as a form of experience, a creative process and a way of conceptualizing artistic ideas. We will introduce tangible media that spark an active dialogue between the physical and the virtual. Our explorations will emphasize the expressiveness of motion and the subtleness of gesture, the presence of emotion and affective experience in these new hybrid art forms. This course is about dynamic art, art that moves and moves you, art that evolves over time or changes your sense of time. It explores the “e? domain where interactivity and communication are introduced with the creative tools and languages of digital technologies and electronics.

Historic and contemporary concepts related to interactive sculpture, wearable art, responsive environments, physical computing, tangible media and autonomous entities are interwoven throughout this studio art course. Interdisciplinary by nature, The Interactive and the In-Tangible personalizes artistic investigations by exploring the relationship between the artist/s, the embodied idea and the interaction with the participant/s. You enter the loop within this hybrid context of digital and material media, essential to the nature and experience of your artful creation.

A range of technologies and materials will be introduced to engage you in an artistic process of realizing your individual and collaborative ideas with physical and virtual media. You and all of the students will be asked to contribute to an evolving database of community resources and inspirations. Two research presentations, a series of artistic prototypes, two projects and one final presentation will provide opportunities for you to develop basic fluency with the process of developing your artistic language with programmable technology and interaction design.