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October 31, 2007

Camille Utterback



GOAL: She creates art in the interaction medium that explores the connections between physical bodies and the representational systems of the digital realm interfaces. Basically she is comparing physical reality to abstract ideas by merging the two.

PROCESS: She starts by writing her own software and designing interfaces, allowing her to detach from commercially based products. Using video tracking software, she engages whole bodies with response to spatial relations. In an attempt to engage people both emotionally (with painting) and viscerally (using the interactive aspect), she creates poetic and aesthetically pleasing relationships between the real and virtual. She believes her work is pertinent to issues with virtual reality and general relationships with our machines.

BACKGROUND: Though she started with formal training from Williams College, she got her masters at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her work is a merger of the two mediums.

ACHIEVEMENTS: Camille has received several grants and awards such as the Rockefeller Foundation New Media Fellowship. Her art has been exhibited all over the world, including in NY and the NTT Intercommunication Center in Tokyo.

CURRENTLY: Camille Utterback currently teaches media art at Parson’s School of Design and the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. Also, she owns a company called Creative Nerve Inc. where she works with another artist, Adam Chapman, to develop permanent installations for commercial and museum settings. They receive commissions from organizations such as Pittsburg Children’s Museum, The American Museum of Natural History in NY, and the Herman Miller Furniture Co.

1.) An installation in 2001 at the American Museum of Natural History called Drawing from Life makes people question individuality when presented with themselves as nothing more than a bunch of DNA codes.
2.) Untitled 5 is the 5th interactive installation in her External Measures Series. Her goal with this piece is to create an aesthetic system that responds fluidly using painterly, organic shapes to physical movement due to algorithmic technology.
3.) Text Rain was shown at the Herman Miller Showroom in Chicago. Letters from a poem about bodies and language fall like rain onto live video of people, stopped when they come into contact with a value darker than a certain threshold.

ADAM CHAPMAN: Camille Utterback’s partner with Creative Nerve Inc. Chapman is also an award winning artist as well as writer and designer. He has done projects with PBS, HBO documentaries, The Discovery Channel, Comedy Central, etc. designing various visual effects. Similarly to Camille, Chapman works with relationships between abstract thought and emotion and that of machines or reality.

1.) Legible Nature is a realistic portrayal of Atlantic Grey gulls soaring above you, but when they converge in the center of the screen, they form discrete letters. Those letters spell out poems (much as text rain did) from the Manyoshu, which is a diverse collection of 8th centenary Japanese poems that deal with the fleeting beauty of nature. The piece takes 200 days to spell out the entire collection. The goal of this work, according to Chapman, was to represent fate as an afterthought.
2.) Emotional Machines: Nothing (Without You) does not use video tracking software as most of Chapman and Utterback’s other work, in fact it is an inanimate and cold box. However, the piece does deal with the comparison between technology and emotion as well as nature. Basically, when the participant touches the simple box it lights up and begins to breath, moan, and pulse. It deals with societies personification of technology.

October 30, 2007

The Coming of Age of the Flesh Machine

Download file

Interactive public art: Encourage change through engaging routine

The following works (particularly of Electroland) showcase how you can engage the public without forcing them to extend beyond their normal routine. As they trudge through their normal routine and see something react, they would arguably be more inclined to see if they can also manipulate it by going beyond their typical actions. It is during this manipulation that they would effect change – both in the design, and (hopefully) in the larger context of society and culture.

  • Electroland | Cameron McNall and Damon Seely create "comprehensive and multi-disciplinary urban projects and scenarios"
  • Eness | 2-person design firm with the objective of ‘creating more intuitive, tangible and humane ways of interacting with technology’
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro | "interdisciplinary firm straddling architecture, urban design, visual arts and the performing arts"

  • The Work of Culture in the Age of Cybernetics!!

    Download file

    October 23, 2007

    October 18, 2007

    Memory mirror

    "Imagine your body could leave a trace of your heat, a trace of your libido, a trace of your soul. What would you say with it? The Memory Mirror is an invitation to a form of human communication using only the memory of one's body."

    Picture 3.png

    Spring 08 Course in materials

    I found this course in the Design Institute that's offered next semester. I know it's a 3xxx level course, but that might be useful to some of you; for others, there may be a way to take it at a 4xxx level. Either way, it sounds interesting! Check out the course description:


    October 17, 2007

    Touch Prototype

    Post Documentation of your prototype.


    Title of your prototype.

    Video of your prototype in action. (you can archive your video via Media Mill

    Photo of your prototype.

    Close up photo of your electronics.

    Screen grab of your program.

    Uploaded file of your program.

    October 9, 2007

    Infinity Box Schematics

    This is the diagram to help me begin the fabrication of these infinity mirror boxes. This is the trigger switch as well as the possible housing for 3 of these boxes.


    This is the schematic of the individual infinity box - how the panels will be assembled with holes punched for each individual LED housing - 10 per panel x 4 panels


    Ephemeral Graffiti

    Ephemeral Graffiti is project that I am working on that allows one to influence a space with their touch and gesture. As one places their hand near one of the nodes it will light up, glowing green. They can move their hand around the area lighting up the rest of the nodes, creating various patterns. I am designing this piece to be expandable or "shrinkable" according to the space it is installed----
    the basic group consists of a mother node (which contains the arduino chip and power source)--- then from the mother various parasite nodes will connect (only containing a sensor)--- from my research it seems as though one mother will be able to run about 6 parasites-- however this is not yet tested---


    Project 1: Sensitive

    For my project I will be doing it with light and color. My project will be a soft ball, small pillow, or anything soft and small. The pillow or soft ball will change color accordingly to the pressure that it is given. The pillow will be sensitive and will react accordingly to the pressure given to it. For an example, if I was to grip the pillow very hard, then the pillow will glow a violent red. If the pillow is to be handle carfully and sofly, then it will shine in a calm blue. The colors will vary from blue to red.

    October 8, 2007


    Photo 5.jpg

    I finally was able to make a circuit board and surface mount this wee little ic on!!!

    ps-- don't feel like you need to understand anything I just said--- if you wish to know more ask me/i will create a tutorial!!

    October 4, 2007

    Electronic Parts Resources

    Here are some resources to check out for electronic parts/Surplus items throughout the metro area---

    it is organized by city--- starting w/bloomington

    this information was taken from:


    15. Minnesota

    15.1) Bloomington (GONE)

    GONE - see other AX-MAN entries here or jump to their website http://www.ax-man.com/

    AX MAN Surplus
    Bloomington, MN

    (For a long time, this entry was spelled 'Bulmington', sorry!)

    15.2) Eden Prairie (GONE)

    First they closed their store and did only on-line sales. Now their web address is a porno redirect. RIP.

    15.3) Fridley

    (From the Editor)
    1071 East Moore Lake Dr.
    Fridley, MN
    Tel: (612) 572-3730
    WWW: http://www.ax-man.com/

    "Over 30 years of real surplus: general merchendise, hardware, crafts, housewares, electrical, etc."

    A cross between a corner store, an electronics surplus shack, a hardware store, army surplus store, and a drug store. Most everything was labelled (decent prices)... lots of odd stuff in the hardware section that only a few people will be able to use... but then again, lots of rivets, bolts, nuts, washers. A tank periscope... lots of odd stuff. Fun.

    15.4) Minneapolis

    ABC Electronics
    317 7 Av. N
    Minneapolis, MN
    Tel: (612) 332-2378

    This place is in the warehouse district in Minneapolis. Small, but packed with stuff, mostly components. Sometimes they close on Saturdays, and sometimes not. If you go there, call ahead to make sure they are open.

    Midwest Surplus & Electronics
    124 12 Ave. S
    Tel: (612) 339-9533

    Mostly a junk shop, but has some good stuff buried in.

    15.5) New Hope

    (From Boock1)
    GI Joe Surplus
    New Hope
    WWW: http://www.GIJoesurplus.com

    It's pretty good. [But] I found the prices to be a little high, though.

    15.6) St. Paul

    (From the Editor)

    Amble's Surplus Hardware
    Hiawatha&East 22nd St
    St. Paul, MN
    Tel: (612) 332-0300

    Didn't have time to stop in... next time.

    Atlantis International
    5213 West Broadway
    St. Paul, MN
    Tel: (612) 533-0007

    (From Steve Jacobson)

    Asset Recovery Corp
    1907 Charles Ave
    St. Paul
    Tel: (612) 641-0789

    Supposed to be pretty good, but not open on weekends. I have never been there myself.

    (From the Editor)

    AX MAN Surplus
    1639 University
    St Paul, MN
    Tel: (651) 646-8653
    WWW: http://www.ax-man.com/

    "Over 30 years of real surplus: general merchendise, hardware, crafts, housewares, electrical, etc."

    A cross between a corner store, an electronics surplus shack, a hardware store, army surplus store, and a drug store. Most everything was labelled (decent prices)... lots of odd stuff in the hardware section that only a few people will be able to use... but then again, lots of rivets, bolts, nuts, washers. A tank periscope... lots of odd stuff. Fun.

    (From Brian Schousek)

    Well as an electronics surplus store, the Axman is tolerable. I don't miss a chance to stop by whenever I'm through the cities. And as far as other neat surplus stuff and pure ambience, it can't be beat.

    ABC Electronics
    315 7th Ave North
    St. Paul, MN
    Tel: (651) 332-2378

    Didn't have time to stop in... next time.

    AEI Electrnic Parts
    224 Washington Ave North
    St. Paul, MN
    Tel: (651) 338-4754

    (From someone)

    AEI moved their store about 10 miles. New store is all new stuff, no surplus.

    Event Sales Inc
    3359 Central Ave NE
    St. Paul, MN
    Tel: (651) 781-1502

    Didn't have time to stop in... next time.

    (From Kevin S. Brady)

    The 3M Co. in St. Paul has a monthly "silent auction" of equipment from its facilities, held at its Distribution Center at 1080 Hazel Street, Bldg. 410, St. Paul, MN. Basically a mixture of electronic parts, PCs, monitors, office equip., industrial machines, test equipment, shelving, etc. Stuff is placed on pallets, one pallet per bid, (unless it's really huge), with minimum bid of $15. They tend to strategically mix different items together on the pallets - in other words, that o'scope you spot may share space on the pallet with a couple monochrome monitors and an office chair. If you win the bid, you've gotta take it all!

    The sales are usually the first Mon & Tues of each month, and they contact winning bidders by Thur or Fri of the same week. Contact person is Larry Hendrickson at 612-733-0282. After you go to one of these, they'll put you on their mailing list and send you a bid list about a week prior to each sale. The auctions draw a lot of buyers from manufacturing people, but the hobbyist can find useful stuff to bid for, and often get it for a reasonable bid.

    15.7) Plymouth

    (From the Editor)

    DAK Trading Co
    13895 Industries Park Blvd
    Plymouth, MN
    Tel: (612) 551-2551

    Didn't have time to stop in... next time.

    15.8) University of Minnesota

    (From Pete O'Keefe)
    University of Minnesota ReUse Program Warehouse
    WWW: http://www.reuse.umn.edu

    We are open to the public each Thursday from 8 AM to 5:30 PM.

    Electronics Surplus Shop

    I discovered an electronics surplus shop the other day. I haven't been there yet, but here's their contact information. I called them - their limited hours are 800-430 M-F so not terribly convenient. They don't appear to have a web-site.

    ABC Electronics
    315 7th Ave N
    Minneapolis, MN 55401


    Arduino Workshops

    Advanced Session -
    Monday October 8th @ 11:20

    Beginner Session-
    Wednesday October 10th @ 9

    both in 123w

    Amy Youngs Presentation Links

    Amy Youngs creates interactive sculptures using electronics, kinetics, sound, insects, plants and pixels. She re-defines the relationships that can exist between the viewer and the sculptures through technology; her goal is to get the viewer to reconsider their direct relationship of self to technology. I find the many ways she has created and recreated this opportunity remarkable. Paramount to her work is the viewer's willingness to participant. She has inspired me to think differently about how to create interactive work; I admire her attempt to inform viewers about the environment. I am especially fond of the following works: Intraterrestrial Soundings, Rearming the Spineless Opuntia, Prototypes for Hermit Crab Shells, and Holodeck for House Crickets. She has a great website where you can view these and other works through documentation which includes photos, explanations, and video. She also has a page devoted to links to other artists. Enjoy! ~Jessica

    Amy Youngs’:

    I encourage you also to take a look at the following artists:
    Garnet Hertz (Cockroach Controlled Mediated Robot):

    Andrea Zittel:

    Kenneth Rinaldo:

    October 2, 2007

    Breadboard Naming History

    The breadboard derives its name from an early form of point-to-point construction. In the early days of radio, amateurs would nail copper wire or terminal strips to a wooden board (often literally a board for cutting bread), and solder electronic components to them.

    Body Memory

    Concept: Body Memory is an investigation into a field, a grid, of autonomously reacting devices, in this case to the heat of touch. The grid is made up of thermistor-LED pairs. Ideally, the LED of each pair can display a range of values/hues.

    When a hand, finger or otherwise warm touch comes in contact with the grid, the warmth is remembered and depicted as a glow from the LED array. The amount of time of contact determines the intensity of the reaction, depicting a slow "warming" of the memory. Once the touch is removed, the glow remains but attenuates slowly until another source of warmth is introduced.



    Each thermistor-LED pair works like this:

    1. upon reaching a certain heat threshold the pair's LED lights up, displaying at first Yellow, the lowest.

    2. The amount of time and the amount of temperature above the transitionary threshold will determine an increasing value of light as displayed by the paired LED, in this case moving toward Red.

    3. As long as the the temperature remains above the threshold, it stays at its max value.

    4. Once the temperature is under the temp. threshold, the color slowly attenuates (ideally, in both value and hue) until either it reaches its zero point, or the threshold is again reached.

    5. The process repeats when enough heat is again applied to the thermistor.

    Construction with micro-controller will involve serializing the inputs of the thermistors and the outputs of the LED through additional electronics, such as the MAX7221 for the LED displays. I have not yet figured out how the grid of thermistor inputs can be serialized.

    Zipper Sensor

    Here's a great site if anyone is interested in creating a zipper sensor.


    Touch, response, and inanimate objects

    For this project, I chose to focus on the connections people make with inanimate objects. People rarely make strong emotional connections with hard and/or cold objects, while the opposite is common with soft, warm, or otherwise tactually inviting objects.

    While these tactual experiences are often enough for people to form personal attachment, the objects themselves never reciprocate. By embedding a PicoCricket, a few sensors and motors, I hope to create a responsive object that can communicate (through movement) with it's owner. In this, I hope to explore the experiences people would have with objects that could reflect the feelings of its owner.

    I will encase the project in a pillow that has significance to me, which looks like this:

    The mechanical diagram looks something like this:


    Finger Painting, Music, and Movement

    Conceptual: Finger painting creates direct contact between creator and product. And although it requires only very little coordination or skill, its sensory application make it a unique outlet for creative expression. My project gives the opportunity to create art without the limitations we ready associate with academia and art. It is a place where you are free to do as you wish, paint anything you want to paint; and it is finger paint so no historical or contemporary norms and standards. Failure and inadequacy are not given consideration; the choice of color, the use of space, and they type of stroke applied is never defined.

    But as an added dimension the project also hopes to create a dialogue between two distinct mediums and senses. As the creator paints not only are their hands in direct contact with the paint, but theirs ears are directed to be in constant awareness of music and the changing moods of music. Now the uses of color, space, and stroke have an unconscious influence of music, but the music is also influenced by the creator.

    Technically: The creator is invited to finger paint and given a set of headphones. The paper is spread across a touch sensory board in which certain areas of it respond to varying types of contact; each time the creator changes the speed, direction, or placement of their painting the music counters with a change in tempo and overall mood.


    October 1, 2007

    October 6th: Class for Soft and Bright Circuts

    Hello Everyone!

    I received this email and thought I would pass it on. Wish I could attend, but I have a funeral that day. If anyone decides to go, I would love a detailed report!


    > Hello,
    > I am teaching an adult class at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The class runs for two days, Thursday and Saturday. I thought you might know someone who would be interested. Could you pass this information along?
    > Soft and Bright Circuits
    > Taught by Kinetic Toy Sculptor, Anastasia Ward, this class is a wonderful introduction to circuits, LEDs, and kinetic sculpture. Create a basic circuit using LEDs, motors, switches, push buttons, and a battery. Then take apart electronics and toys, recycling their electrical components in order to build a soft and bright kinetic sculpture.
    > When: Thursday, October 4; 6-9 p.m. and Saturday, October 6; 9 a.m. - noon
    > Course Code: ZSB
    > Fee: $66, $58 Science Museum members
    > If your interested, you can check out the registration at
    > http://www.smm.org/classes/adult/catalog/