April 2011 Archives

Conceptual Project - Public Spaces Album

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Having a background in song writing and music recording, I've always been interested in incorporating my music into my art. My conceptual project is a realization of this dream - a Public Spaces album. I want to write songs about living in Minneapolis - songs whose sonic aesthetic are inspired by particular spaces that are important to me and my experience here. These would be places like the Guthrie cantilever, the top floor of an abandoned grain elevator, the park in front of the MIA, the alley behind First Ave, etc. I would write the songs to be performed in these places and record them there, letting the sonic subtleties of the spaces leak into the recording. I would leave in sounds of passersby, traffic, birds, conversations, and I would record with an omnidirectional microphone to preserve the acoustics of the space. After the song is recorded, there will be a small installation space where the song was recorded - possibly just as simple as a chair and a pair of headphones. For the audience to hear the whole album, they would need to travel to each place and listen to each song. Maybe I could even make it fun and not tell anyone where the next song is, but leave clues in the song. That seems like a nonessential element of play, but it might be a good thing. In the end, I want my audience to be aware of space when they listen to music, and note how important where you listen to music can be when appreciating a song.

MFA/BFA show

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I wanted to start by saying I enjoyed all the pieces in both shows. I had a hard time with choosing a piece from the MFA show. I was torn between Ben's work and Bart's work. I ended up Choosing Bart Vargas' Visual Spectrum piece. I was very interested in his choice of latex paint because I had previously never seen a work of art using latex. This piece was made up of a large amount of square panels about 12" ea, that made up a larger shape. Each individual panel have perspective lines in many great spectrum colors, that had drips going over some of the other colors. In each panel I was drawn to the outsides of the square where you could see all the layers of colors overlapping each other. Lately I have been seeing crazy shapes and objects in tiles, and the way that he placed these panels to form a larger unified shape was great.

For the BFA show it was hard to decide a single piece, because I was in the show I was able to speak to everyone about their work in greater detail. I actually have to choose the works as a whole. So I will write about*spoiler alert. I feel that the selection of work that each artist chose in this group worked well with their own works as well as the whole group. From entering the Quarter gallery to making your way to the end and back to the beginning is an amazing journey. The artists utilized their given spaces very well and I believe this show show travel around the country to show how well the University of MN helps the BFA students grow not only in their work but as artists themselves.

Conceptual Project Proposal

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I feel a bit like a broken record, but I want to continue to think about transit shelters and waiting through this conceptual project, especially with the opportunity to think about it not in terms of a particular technology. The construction of the Central Corridor keeps these places in my mind, along with a recent conversation I had with a community developer who is working with several organizations to think about how to engage residents of a neighborhood in a discussion of an upcoming project at bus stops.

Public transportation in the Twin Cities is not used across demographics to the same degree that it is in some other larger cities (New York or Boston, for example). There are certainly well-used commuter routes that bring people into the downtowns from city neighborhoods and suburbs at rush-hour times, but during the rest of the day bus ridership is made up of people who don't have the option of a car: lower income people, the elderly, disabled people, youth and students--people who typically are more likely to be left out of democratic processes.

It would be interesting to incorporate technology into transit shelters--places of waiting--that creates a dialog between riders, or between the city or other neighborhood organizations and riders. Web 2.0 and texting has led to more participant/listener/user polls in the last few years, and this could be a mode of communication to experiment with at a shelter.

I can imagine this taking shape in a few ways: as a kiosk for inputting text or images, or a simple display that provides a number to send a text to, with a prompt or a question that could change fairly often. This information not only gets stored or sent to the city or planning organization, but would also be visualized at the transit stop in some way, projected onto the ground or wall surface directly (as text) or as an abstracted graph or other representation, creating interesting and beautiful transit lighting. Information between different stops and routes could be displayed comparatively or shared on a website.

Artist Presentation-Josh

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I chose these two to present for they provide the most influence in my thinking. Blizzard makes great games and they're great not just for the game-play, but also for the immersion players feel WHILE playing their games as well. With Riot Games, I chose them to compliment Blizzard in the way that it shows what happens when a developer stops just being a business and interacts with their fans on a more direct way. These two examples give players the feeling that what they're doing might be fake, a fan of their games can't help, but at least smile when they hear "For the Horde!" or "Demacia!" Lastly, it's that effect that I try to make happen in any scale when I think about my art.
Links to examples shown in class:
Zul Aman Trailer-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_NKOhTSV7M
Starcraft 2 "Ghosts of the Past" trailerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23KlT-MCD-4
League of Legends Season 1 trailer-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzMnCv_lPxI
League of Legends Nocturne Art Spotlight-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYdpsImnYug
Lastly, links to their home pages if you want to see/learn more.
Riot Games inc-http://www.riotgames.com/
As stated before these two inform my thinking in the ways one wouldn't expect right away. Such as thinking outside the box, when you interact with hundreds of people in a span of a few minutes, and all those people come from different walks of life you can't help but learn new perspectives. When it comes to art, you get ideas as to how people perceive certain things when they interact with them. What really influences me however is the culture art can reflect and how it can change from game to game. This phenomenon is really what intrigues me and what reminds me of the whole "different perspectives" idea on a whole new level.

BFA-MFA Rezponze

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One of my favorite pieces from the BFA show was the interactive wall installation by HA13. It was like a hidden jem, packed in the back of the gallery behind a wall. The urban-ish landscape stuck on a vertical axis was immediately striking, and the aqua streaks of paint seeping from the cracks drew me in further. The visual aesthetic alone was an easy access point for the piece, even if I didn't immediately understand its substance. The buzzer initially led me to believe that it was interactive, and reacted when I approached it. It seemed simple enough, but the more I played with it, I realized that I had no idea what was triggering the buzzer. It seemed to go off at random in my presence and it really grabbed my curiosity. It was a very fun piece to try and figure out and very visually pleasing, but my full appreciation of the piece came after learning its true meaning. In reference to the recent tsunami in Japan, the piece suddenly became very ominous and grave. It was sobering to visualize the forms as buildings from a birds-eye view, hearing the tsunami warning siren and watching the water seep from the buildings like blood. It forced me to ponder my own reaction to the tsunami, reflecting on my sympathy or lack thereof. The piece revealed itself as having a very true and honest meaning, and I really appreciated it.

The MFA show was larger, more diverse, and included far more works, but my favorite piece was probably the first one you see when you walk in. "Door (embedded)" by Jennifer Anable was very welcoming, and really drew me into the gallery. How simple, to have the first piece be made of doors in a gallery whose entrance has none. It spoke to me before I even walked into the gallery. "Come on in! Open the door!" The delicate staging of the doors made me consider balance, as if on a threshold. I visualized the potential motion of these two doors, stuck in each other like, well, doors in a door frame. I saw them swinging through each other on invisible hinges, and I felt the movement of the two panes through space. I thought of them as potential portals, something I didn't expect to consider at first glance.

BFA/MFA Show Responses

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When I attended the opening receptions for both these shows it was hard to get anything out of the experience of looking at the pieces; with so many people around I found it difficult to focus on the work enough to develop a meaningful relationship to anything. The advantage was though, was that I was able to talk to some of the artists.
Broc Blegen has helped me with various collaborative projects outside of school for the last two years, but I had never seen any work of his so I was excited to see his work in the show. Though surprising, I enjoyed seeing him try to deal with racial politics with his three pieces. Though I still feel conflicted on whether using whiteness as framing device for the discussion is effective, I also feel like it could have ended up entirely inappropriate to deal with that problem in a different way. I also felt that his method of reinterpreting previously existing pieces was interesting. It was an interesting form of appropriation that I personally haven't seen before; like a musician performing another musician's work.

I found Jonathan Kaiser's work satisfying and interesting in similar ways. I like how the titling Game of Troy guided my experience of Kaiser's installation, I felt like I was being challenged by a riddle while I walked through and considered the individual pieces. The Partial Infinity Room also seemed to act as the entrance and exit for the walk through the all the individual pieces, which for me helped the analogy the whole installation seemed to be making to the idea of the labyrinth.
I was also particularly moved by Jennifer Anable's work but am not going to write about it here because I'm not yet able to explain clearly what it is that I appreciate about it.

Conceptual Proposal

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Lately I have been thinking a lot about the transformation of the urban landscape. I work for U of M landcare and in the last couple of weeks I have watched the building I first came to know last year as a student employee be quickly demolished, the landscape leveled to reveal a new perspective of the city. The building is gone, every trace of it, within two or three weeks. Since the beginning of this year I have worked out of a new building down the road, so I have no particular emotional attachment to the old building other than any attachment one has with their habitual environment. But then if I meditate on that space just a while longer I remember that it was there that I dragged the debris and dumped the sand, there that I reported to at the wee hours of a blizzard morning to begin shoveling out the university;there that I learned how to drive the giant water truck and all sorts of utility vehicles; there that I learned how to be the girl; and there the building that supported the work that was the structured framework for stability during the truculence of life.

Geographers are interested in the changing landscape and question the nature of the patterns of social, economic and political development across space. I share this interest and these questions, but I feel that where geography suddenly becomes art is when I meditate on these a little longer, and I ask what does this mean. I want to not only study how the landscapes are changing and transforming, but what does this mean for the intricate intersections of people and activity, the interactions with the environment itself.

The old ladder building will be a major Light Rail Transit hub for transportation in a couple years. The Central Corridor LRT Line too, for better or worse, will completely transform the landscape we presently know. I don't know if it is the geographer or the artist in me that gets excited about demolitions and construction, the notion of things like "the edge of campus" or a road that trails off into nothingness. Last summer I was doing field work to update the National Wetland Inventory for Minnesota and came across the remnants of an old highway no longer in use. The sculpted landscape still retained the likeness of a highway-- a long stretch of flattened out terrain with no trees but wild growth of grasses and low-lying shrubs-- and I failed to do the research to find out how long the road had been discontinued. Maybe part of me enjoyed not knowing, there was a spookiness to the whole scene that I like to remember. Behind the stadium, the parking lot which I used to revere as "the edge of campus" is now being dug into a giant hole soon to be transformed into a research building that will block out the big sky and train tracks.

For my conceptual proposal, I have imagined a lot of things along the lines of constructing a building that once constructed will embody the memory of its construction. Such that you can go up to a wall and hear the sounds of the wall being created, or in the middle of a room you can hear the wind that might have once whipped throughout the interior of that space. Another idea would be the leveled landscape once occupied by a building could retrain structure in the mapping of the sounds that once lived within that space. In a way this reminds me of the history museum's exhibit about a house that was inhabited by four families with very different cultural backgrounds. However I wouldn't want this to be a permanent installation, but something that could be installed and reinstalled again at another time. This idea would be particularly poignant in places where land change has really disrupted their lives and communities.

Another idea would be to grant responsibility of a temporary development of a parcel of land to a community arts organization that puts the development of that space within the hands of the people. Say there was a ground rule, that nothing could be permanent and nobody could be excluded. Depending on the space, it would be interesting to see how planning would be handled on a very small scale. What sort of temporary structures would people built, who would participate, who wouldn't. Who would interact within that space, who wouldn't? I would be interested to see the dialogue and the outcomes of such a project.

My new idea (for in the near future)

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So, I would like to give the viewer an experience of what it would be like to be traveling through or over a cityscape, similar to helicopter tours or a superhero's perspective. I would make huge urban sculptures out of polystyrene and mount then onto walls, ceilings and floors (tag the space if you will) and then cover them in paint. I will also make them interactive by cutting slits and holes in them and mount leds, projections or other lights in them or on them that respond by proximity and/or movement.

Jonathon Kaiser MFA exhibition

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The piece that captured my attention was "Black Box for Impossible Research." Even though I can see from the glass top the ridiculously long arms, the desire to try putting mine inside anyway and see if they might miraculously extend that long is still there. The the conflicting "do not touch" sign enforces this impossibility then, rather than letting it be apparent, which creates an interesting conflict. I was curious if the do not touch sign was there because of the desire to preserve the particular arrangement of the delicate objects inside the box or if it was in part to add conflicting weight to that "do not touch" rule.
The other pieces were arranged in the space in such a way that encouraged exploration and inspired curiosity. I also really enjoyed After Theater because of the presentation of a theater seat mounted on a stage-like pedestal, positioned in front of a record player that repeats the same measures of sound over and over again. Although neither visit provided me the opportunity to sit for the entire record, I imagined that the longer I would sit there, the more used to the repetition I would become. At first sitting there you are inspired by the urge to get up, and the longer you sit there, the longer the melodic chords (sorry I don't know music terminology) melt into you, and you feel them and less notice their repetition as it all blends together.

Also "Travel Map" drawn in sand inside a suitcase very much appeals to my own personal aesthetic. The map reads as a personal narrative rather than a communicative tool, and the sand makes the map ephemeral and fleeting--travels can change, be erased, rewritten in the sand.

I chose to focus my presentation on Masayuki Akamatsu and Theo Watson, artists who have informed the way I think about interactivity and the concept of intermedia.

Akamatsu's Time Machine is a highly computational (Jitter) video work that literally and abstractly juxtapose images of participants with respect to memory space and time. The gestural flow of the video design compels participants to respond kinetically, though in no particular way. More video here.

Akamatsu's Earthen Bodied Augur is a concert dance piece using a number of the same video effects as Time Machine. These pieces employ computational frameworks versatile enough to be presented in multiple environments, thus demonstrating how Akamatsu views his video designs as aesthetic frameworks for interactive possibilities. The adaptability of these frameworks have organic quality. They allow for multiple expressions in different venues, but no single one specifically. Perhaps this reveals Akamatsu view of these pieces as composite "movements" despite their distribution among different types of media?

Theo Watson's work also incorporates highly computational video environments. Pieces such as Knee Deep and Funky Forest seem to tap into participants intuitive ability to work together to accomplish various creative tasks. I love the idea of groups learning how to be creative by teaching each other via action. This is similar to concepts of "distributed identity" as an underpinning element in group improvisation such as free jazz. But mostly I like Watson's work because it looks like so much fun!

Jamie/Sara project follow-up and update

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So, this is more of an update than wrap-up for the collaborative project because Jamie and I are continuing to work on it. Attached is a wiring diagram, simplified. It shows one switch controlled by a pull-down resistor (there will be 6 switches in real life) and one relay wiring diagram (there will be 4 relays). Pins 2-5 and 10 are reserved for the Waveshield which after 4 weeks, 4 SD memory cards, 2 computer science tutors, one graduate student mentor, and one ex-boyfriend's help is finally working, PRAISE PERSEVERANCE.
Picture 3.png

I'll have to upload the code for the lights tomorrow as it only exists on the Macbook I use in class, but it's a pretty simple setup. The analog pins read the input from the switches and determine HIGH or LOW. When arduino detects HIGH input, it uses the digital write function to send 5V to the normally open relay, allowing the relay to turn on the lightbulb via wall current. The main framework for this code comes from LadyAda's tutorial #5.

For the audio, I will be modifying the following code (also from LadyAda) to play our tracks.

Play the wave file all the way through once, but allow other buttons to interrupt .pde

After I have merged those two foundation codes for the switches, relays and audio, I will write a portion for the master switch which will control all the other switches. Since we noticed the trend to want to press multiple buttons at once during our first presentation, we've also decided to add another funtion that will make the light and audio "short out" or play some kind of error message when more than one button is pressed.

So we still have plenty of work to do, but things are continuing to progress. I am nervous about whether or not only having one 5V output on the arduino will interfere with the only triggering one relay at a time, but we'll see. And I hope that Jamie and I get time to practice our performance too. More pics and video to come soon.

BFA responses: to Gina Chase

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To: Gina Chase

Hi Gina,
I just got a chance to see your work in the soon-to-open BFA show. I really appreciated the way you took one story and played with it in so many ways. I was first drawn to the story in its ribbon form, piled on top of the shelf. It made me want to handle it, to be able to read it in my hands, but as I became aware of the pinned pieces, I realized that each part of the work turned the story into an object that shared the story in a different way. The pinned objects reminded me a bit of Mark Dion's work, directing our attention to bits that have been collected from a whole.

After seeing your work this morning, I've found myself thinking about memory throughout the day. Your pieces offered me some interesting analogies on ways I remember things: sometimes in bits and pieces, sometimes as a jumbled string, sometimes in a tactile way. Thanks for an opportunity to see these sensations of stories and memories reflected in a physical way.


p.s. I like, too, that you provided the story as a handout.

Sidenote: Make Day Call for Entries

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The Science Museum is hosting Make Day again this year on May 14th. They are still accepting proposals for entries, but I don't know when the deadline for those are. Here's the link:

Make Day/

BFA and MFA reflections

I went to the BFA twice, once solo and once with a few other people. Both times I noticed myself and the others lingering around HA 13's noise-emitting sculptures, trying to figure out exactly how they worked. People were having fun with these pieces. It would be interesting to track the movements of people around such works as i noticed we were walking in circles, stopping and starting abruptly, repeating various actions that might have triggered the motion. I liked the idea of a low-volume alarm catching people as they look at paintings that contain subject and stylistic qualities that are somewhat taboo (I don't know if taboo is the right word, but I think politics and street art definitely carry some taboo connotations..). Also, I really appreciate the bold use of color and utilization of the canvas and wall for painting, plus the big red "V" is clearly visible from the street through the windows, which brings the painting into yet another dimension.

In the MFA show I was drawn to the work of Jonathan Kaiser, more so in his approach to enliven hidden places than his overall aesthetic though. The punched hole in the wall filled with flatly-colored crystal-like shapes was disguised as something broken, but on closer examination revealed something purposeful, beautiful, and highly detailed. I liked this play between the broken vs. the intentional in his work as was also evident in the record with endlessly repeating tracks.

BFA and MFA Reflections

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MFA- Jennifer Anable
Immediately I felt as if I were on a sun-drenched beach, examining the leftover artifacts of someone's summertime home. Although there were multiple levels of

Rave Helmet Documentation

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Rave Helmet.jpg
This project went through a lot of conceptual revision and physical redesign. In the end, we were excited with the final result despite having only five working lights instead of 20 for which we had originally planned. Designing a max patch to respond to sonic inputs was also a challenge, but our final product effectively produced the experience we set out for. We were pleased with how bright and captivating the blinding light experience was in conjunction with the cyborg musical sine-wave song. Everybody looked foolish with it on, and we believe it was a fun time.

At the moment, our schematic is simply as many LEDs crammed into the arduino as possible, run by a "random" blink program and played alongside a random sine wave generator I made in Logic Pro. Our knowledge of Max/MSP is limited, but we know for sure there is a way to assign groups of lights to respond to sonic frequencies. We couldn't figure out how to control the arduino through Max, but we did find a way to split up songs into 5-7 frequency bands that in turn affect an output.

An extension of this project was prompted by Brett Wartchow, wherein several dozen users wear these helmets around the west bank, going about their business. Great idea - thanks, Brett. These would be mass produced helmets with a commercialized aesthetic - almost like a Daft Punk helmet - that would produce cheesy robot noises and flash dazzling lights in the user's face while responding to the motion of their head via a tilt sensor.
Rave Helmet Documentation.mov

BFA | MFA reflections

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First I want to say how much I loved both of these exhibitions. There was at least one piece from each artist that I thought was delightfully conceived, designed, and created. So yeah, thanks for that.

MFA, Ben Garthus:
What I appreciated most about Ben's work was that it highlighted the human connection between the artist and participant as something truly native, genuine and kinetic. In this respect the objects (cart, human hoop...) aptly represent Ben's art as gesture and intention. It was also clear that these objects are mere archives of a larger experience. Though they're delightfully designed and masterfully constructed, they only play a incidental role in the overall experience. This reality is further evinced by the video footage, itself a mere archive, albeit one that is fun and effectively representative. I yearned to experience these objects at work in the "outside" world, not fetishized in a gallery. After all, if these devices are an extension of the artist's invitation to be creative and interact on a genuinely kinetic level, where is the artist himself? Obviously not in a galley, but in the world, where he belongs, acting as a creative force. The obvious irony here is that these realizations all occurred while observing, not interacting, as a well-behaved gallery geek.

BFA, HA13:
HA13's exhibition evinced a clear intersection and layering of sociopolitical space at the level of geometry and color. The pseudo-print-style paintings were an effective 2D (literally and stylistically) context for the two-way intersection of politics and satire. The use of grey and red, however, pulled me into another conceptual direction altogether, as if Teroy (sorry, ahem, HA13) is nudging me to "read between the lines" of superficial sociopolitical relationships. This use of grey is mirrored--quite literally--on the opposite side of the gallery space, where a network cubist objects cast crisp shadows on the gallery surface. I loved the energy this brought to my overall experience. This is brought about through the motion of additive dementionality beginning at the 2D paintings, then to the 3D cubist objects on the wall, and finally to the 4D (time via motion) nature of the dangling box. It was a beautifully simple and transparent continuity of media. (On the other hand, I have no idea what was intended by the flower pot in the corner.)

This intersection of space, concept and dimention is additionally amplified, knowing that HA13 is also Teroy. Perhaps the use of an alias is a respectful bow to his roots as a DJ and graffiti artist, but I felt it communicated something deeper--it poised the Teroy's self-awareness as an intermediary between himself and his art, clearly reflecting his concerns with modes of creativity in the world, especially as it concerns his awareness of categorization and tradition (hip-hop, graffiti, cubism, etc.) In doing this, he has himself become his own 2D self portrait.

Artist Presentation: Maurice Benayoun & Parrhasius

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I delivered a short presentation in regard to the interactive artistic works of contemporary artist Maurice Benayoun and ancient Greek artist Parrhasius.

Maurice Benayoun was born in Algeria, moved to France at a young age and received attention as a director of short films. Benayoun is a critically acclaimed artist in many realms of artistic expression. I paid special attention to his more recent pieces, including "The Tunnel Underneath the Atlantic" and "The Mechanics of Emotion." The former was an installation completed in 1995 and presented in Paris and Montreal simultaneously as one collective piece. http://www.benayoun.com/projetwords.php?id=66

The latter is his most recent project and explores the World Wide Web as Earth's nervous system. He attaches emotions to different locations based on a variety of human interaction variables. http://www.benayoun.com/projet.php?id=30

The second artist I referred to in my presentation is the ancient Greek painter Parrhasius. Parrhasius is a notable figure in ancient Greek literature because of his discussion with Socrates on the topic of art. This conversation, as well as a painting contest with fellow Greek painter Zeuxist, was documented by ancient journalist Pliny.

Pliny describes the contest in the following manner:

Zeuxist challenges Parrhasius to a contest in painting. Zeuxist presents a realist piece that features grapes so life-like that birds descend from the sky and attempt to eat them. Parrhasius is impressed, and invites Zeuxist to experience his painting. The two arrive at Parrhasius's studio, and he invites Zeuxist to draw back the curtain in front of him to reveal his painting. Zeuxist attempts to draw back the curtain, but to his surprise realizes that the curtain is in fact the painting.

Maurice Benayoun understands this contest, specifically Parrhasius's installment, as the first example of interactive art.

I think the fact that Parhassius "won" this contest, and that contemporary interactive artist Benayoun understands Parhassius's work rather than Zeuxist to be interactive, raises interesting questions in regard to defining Interactive Art.

I enjoy defining Interactive Art as necessitating two human entities with one non-human entity. I don't think that the birds in the Zeuxist example understood the artistic significance of the life-like grapes, and this draws some line of definition that may be helpful in narrowing the understanding of Interactive Art. Since Zeuxist understood the artistic significance of the life-like curtain, he completes the interactive equation. This equation was left incomplete in Zeuxist's installment.

Ricardo Dominguez

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"Trans_Interventions: From Digital Zapatismo to Border Art Disturbances"

Ricardo Dominguez

April 26, 2011

4pm - 5:15pm Social Sciences Building room 1114

Ricardo Dominguez

This presentation speaks to how Dominguez's Electronic Disturbance Theater
challenges and disrupts cyber, artistic, institutional, and national borders
at multiple scales. Drawing from a multidisciplinary framework, the
Electronic Disturbance Theater's projects seek to connect real bodies to
data-bodies as interventions that question post 9/11 in/securities.

Ricardo Dominguez is Associate Professor of Visual Arts, University of
California, San Diego. Dominguez is an artist, scholar, and co-founder of
The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), a group that developed
Virtual-Sit-In technologies in 1998 in solidarity with the Zapatista
communities in Chiapas, Mexico. The EDT recently developed the Transborder
Immigrant Tool--a GPS cell phone safety net tool for migrants crossing
theMexico/U.S border and has achieved international recognition for
project. Dominguez is also co-Director of Thing (thing.net), an ISP for
artists and activists. Dominguez's tenure recently came under fire as a
result of his successful coordination of a virtual sit-in at the University
of California Office of the President alongside student protests, concerning
statewide budget cuts and racially-motivated hate crimes on the UCSD campus.

Event Sponsors: U of M Department of Sociology, the Institute for Diversity,
Equity, and Advocacy (IDEA), Scholars for Academic Justice

Reflection -Broc Blegen

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BFA student Broc Blegen seems to depict the concept of 'white' and 'whiteness' as a subtle, but sharp symbol of race identity and inequality within the austere confines of curatorial modern art. The 'modern' monochromatic palette is striking in its inscrutability, particularly in the white-on-white paper tapestry painted with the words "I WISH I WAS NOT WHITE.' I appreciate the precise use of a simple selection of materials (neon, paint, wood, paper) to convey a depth of intention and thought, which I believe is both clear and provocative.

Reflection -Jennifer Anable

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Jennifer's thesis show seems to illustrate the fragile and sometimes destructive nature of our daily existences. She has reinterpreted simple objects and materials as domestic artifacts, presented in a quietly subversive manner. I was particularly struck by two mismatched antique panels, fitted together and balanced in an 'x' orientation. Their relationship seems precarious but also symbiotic, as though they simultaneously prevent the other from standing and from falling:

A simple wooden dresser that appeared to have been burrowed into by an invisible creature was also a particularly poignant piece. Though the furniture itself is functionally destroyed the hole created seems almost fertile, as though it's yearning to be planted and to produce.

Textile Sensors

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An important aspect of this urban game test was to experiment with the tactile quality of pressure sensors. We modified an instructables.com tutorial to create four sensors from neoprene, conductive fabric, fusible interfacing, and thin foam with a small hole cut in the center. While piezo sensors would have been technically suitable, the homemade sensors felt more durable and 'poundable,' which I believe allows for a more active game.

Artists: Lozano-Hemmer, Boursier-Mougenot, and Byrne

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Pablo Valbuena/Flat-e presentation

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Pablo Valbuena is an artist with an architectural background and is from Madrid, EspaƱa. His work primarily focuses on the architecture itself by highlighting its features through the use of animated lighting being projected onto building and urban spaces. He also modifies the surfaces by manipulating projections to create a new space which has the ability to create new experiences in the space itself. Similar to James Turrell, he can create an environment solely with the use of light. His most recent work is a group exhibition in New York at the Museum of the Moving Image. Which you can read about at the link below.


Flat-e collective is a group of artists and designers that create original works of art using animation and lighting/visual fx. Their more interesting works are ones that are not used as marketing, where they explore and experiment with ways to really push the 2, 2.5, 3d boundaries by not only projecting 2d onto the surface like Valbuena, but rather project highly detailed 3d projections onto objects or buildings.

To find out more about these artists please visit the following websites:


Wang Honghai

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Film Director Wang Hong Hai will be present at the screening of his film My Dream, at Regis Center for Art at 7pm on Saturday April 16th.

He will also be at the screening that will take place at the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival on Sunday April 17th at 12 noon in Theatre 5.

MFA feedback

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To Sam Hoolihan (MFA):
Hi Sam, I had a great time looking at your work in the MFA show today! I wanted to tell you about what happened as I looked at your pieces, especially the two JC Penny photo studio ones. I started with the series of you cartwheeling and dancing. I was intrigued by the variations in the photos as well as the way they were hung, interlocking, repeating and varying.

I found the one hung on the temporary wall to be captivating, especially when I discovered that by turning my head and letting my eyes wash over the images I could see the sequence as an animation: I could see you running into the gallery, turning, running across the wall and then back out again. This was a thrilling perceptual and mental exercise -- to make my eyes and mind relax enough to mimic the action of a flip book or other animation toy. In fact, that's the sensation that I had -- that the piece was a toy and I was learning how to play with it. On the one hand, I felt like I'd figured something out, learned how to use a tool on my own, without being told how. On the other hand, I was aware that the photos could be enjoyed one by one, as individuals. And it was interesting to look at each photo and study your posture and pose, and think about how it makes up your gait. Someone was just telling me about the Alexander Method and it reminded me of that conversation...

I'm geeky when it comes to low-tech, classic animation techniques, and this piece offered me a new perspective on photography, sequencing, perception and motion. Thanks!

Congratulations and happy graduation!
-Kristen M.

The Concept Project

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The Concept Project is designed to offer you the opportunity to imagine an interactive art work without the constraints of available resources. It centers on an idea that you are passionate about. It is not bound by your budget, access to space, the availability of the technology that you suggest, nor your current set of skills.

The Concept proposal provides an opportunity to think in the medium of interactive art.
As you describe your concept you will be communicating your ideas related to interactivity in art, what it means to you, and how you imagine people encountering, engaging or otherwise interacting with you project.

Use any media necessary to convey your idea. Visual media such as drawings, photos, video, animations, text, diagrams, audio are among the media that may be useful. Your goal is to communicate your project concept such that other people are able to imagine it as clearly as you do.

By design, the Concept Proposal does not describe a project that you are required to realize, rather it's purpose is to stretch your imagination.

If you choose to, you can use the Concept Project as an opportunity to develop a project that has been on your mind, one that you would like to realize.

Bus Shelter Game: Video and Code

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Our original goal for a bus shelter-based game involved interaction between bus and shelter, and/or interaction between two or more shelters. We decided to prototype that communication with radio frequency (RF) technology, experimenting with a few different options. We also felt it was important to get some prototype elements built that would allow us to test different programs for games or interaction, different switch styles, as well as various ways of using LEDs to light a wall or shelter-sized space.

Over the course of the last few weeks, we've been acquiring and assembling a couple of RF possibilities: the JeeNode (an alternative to the Arduino, with built-in RF) and the RF Link. This journey continues, but we were able to get a game prototype up and running for the presentation last week, and it was extremely helpful to get people playing it and get feedback about everything from the program to the switch design to considerations about putting it in an actual bus shelter.

The program linked below is a whack-a-mole inspired game, using four LEDs and four switches. Things to try next, besides getting the RF elements up and running, include experimenting with different games or other interactive programs, the spacing of switches to make it more collaborative, and different sensor techniques (for example, light sensors rather than pressure sensors).

(Note: We stuck some links and info from the RF research on the blog here.)




Arduino code

Artist Presentation: Jim Campbell

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This is a follow-up to my artist presentation about Jim Campbell.
Campbell worked with film and video early in his career, and now works primarily with LEDs, especially arranged in 3-dimensional fields. Campbell's education as an electrical engineer has given him a systems-thinking approach to things: on his website you can find a (humorous) systems diagram entitled "How to make computer art".

While he's better known for Scattered Light -- a 3D field of lights that displays people's movements in space -- I was particularly interested in Campbell's earlier sculptural work that use a variety of materials to explore time and memory. Pieces like Her Breath, Her Blinking explore how time is marked through various cycles. Simultaneous Perspective offers a reflective view of one's journey to the gallery. These pieces are perhaps explorations of our perception of time and space in the same way that Scattered Light is an exploration of our perception of visual information.

I compared Jim's work to that of Bernie Lubell, another San Francisco-based artist. As Diane pointed out, their work and motivation is quite different: Campbell is interested in information, seeing, and imagery -- how much information we need to understand what we're seeing -- and his materials are primarily digital. Lubell, on the other hand, creates work that is extremely tactile in how one experiences it. He creates machines out of wood and latex, and invites people to use these machines directly. Despite these stark differences, I see a common thread of interest in the themes of understanding the things we cannot see... time, memory, death... and often in playful, elegant, reflective ways.

Collaborative project documentation sauce

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Max Patch: change_videoproject.maxpat

Video clip: 00023.MTS

In the version of the piece presented in-class, we accomplished most of our basic goals with the technology and the concept, but have not yet fully realized the setting and context for the projected video content. Another challenge will be embedding the necessary parts into a housing so that the piece as a "creature" will be one thing. It is undecided whether the camera should be visible or not, and if not, we may need to look into another method of data gathering rather than face-detection.

Tangented thoughts...

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Teroy and I were thrilled by how our interactive sound sculpture prototype turned out. And thanks everyone for your feedback and initiative to test it! Teroy thought the way the piece engendered continued and deeper levels of interaction over time was a significant element. I also loved that the speakers projected the resonant sounds of the sculpture's inside, effectively placing the participants within it.

Feel free to download our Max patch: Tangented.maxpat

Check out Scott Sona Snibbe--Artist Presentation Follow up

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Here you will find my power point and links to work by the artist I presented the week before last, Scott Snibbe. If you remember, Scott is a media artist, filmmaker, and researcher in social interactivity. The piece that first attracted me to his work was "Boundary Functions" (1988). In this work, participants enter a space where boundaries are drawn between them via a ceiling projection. There must be sensing of people that lays a boundary that bisects two points. The boundaries are broken when human contact is made. I enjoyed this piece as an idealization of interpersonal relationships, as well as a representation of boundary constructs and the fluidity of personal boundaries.

Scott Snibbe.ppt

If you check out Scott's blog , you can see his most recent posts describing his i-pad apps and the thought that went into creating them.

Also this is his website.


Van Lan Progress Report

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Lance and I finished almost all of the soldering and attaching LEDs and photo resistors to the board over the weekend. From the photo you can see a grid where wires are coming out to connect LEDs and Light Sensors to power, ground and arduino pins. We still have to expand our prototype program to include more LEDS and photo resistors and incorporate Teroy's source code, and finish attaching the light sensors and soldering a few more resistors onto LEDs.

So far so good.

Jamie/Sarah Progress Report

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Sarah and I have several elements of this ambitious project completed, including: the construction of the Wave Shield controller, the soldering of individual relays for each respective lightbulb, and the designing and construction of the "ROBOTCONTROL" shown above.
We are encountering problems in establishing communication between the Arduino and the Wave Shield. Having successfully uploaded our 5 audio tracks to the SD card incorporated into the Wave Shield, we are now unable to get the Arduino sketch to communicate with the microcontroller and thus are unable to get the audio tracks to play.

As of today, Sarah and I are going re-think our end product, compromising the original idea by incorporating audio tracks that are independent of the rest of the lightbulb-relay system. Basically we'll have to ask someone to act as the narrator, and speak the audio commands aloud when prompted by the particular lightbulb.

Collaborative Idea

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Bradley and I are working on a project similar in concept to his E-light prototype. Our goal is to used video to animate an object with a certain kind of behavior that will react to being approached. Our desired scenario is to have something that appears to exist, or have some living quality, beyond its being interacted with, and that its change in behavior will evoke a sense of disturbance or interruption of its existence.
The idea is to set up an interactive experience where the interaction feels like an interruption of a process or system, rather than a completion or catalyst of those things.