May 2011 Archives

Tangented 2.0!

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tangented.JPG

Our most recent realization of our interactive sound sculpture incorporates aesthetic additions to the object itself (namely the white "canvas" paint job) as well as improved software design and an immersive 6-channel speaker array.

tangented.m4v
Tangented_2.0.maxpat

Jamie and Sara Final Project Documentation

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Jamie and I are pleased because we were finally able to see our collaborative project through to near completion. Of course there were some glitches (we burned out 2 light bulbs so they weren't working when we did the demo) and I need more practice writing code so that I don't feel like I'm flying blind.










Audio files:
1
2
3
4
5
6

Technical details:

This is the code I used to test the switches by using the serial monitor to read a high or low signal. Pulled from Ladyada's Tutorial #5:
switch_test.pde

This is the code I used to test the relays to make sure they were wired correctly. Set the pin number that the relay is connected to and it will turn it on for 10 seconds upon reset.
relay_test.pde

And this is the diagram that I used (mostly) for wiring the relays:
relay.pdf

But the information on this website helped with the wiring also:
Relay


This is the final code that we used in the presentation:
collab_audioandrelay_final.pde

Most of the Waveshield code was pulled from examples that Ladyada had posted here:
Use Waveshield

Using the example to play once through but allow other buttons to interrupt, we were able to add on code from the switch tutorials for the relays.

A (mostly) accurate wiring diagram was posted on our project update post a while ago, so I'll skip that here. But here are the images of the wiring setups. We had two breadboards: one hooked up to switches and the analog pins on the waveshield, the other for transistors and going to the relays through the digital pins.

s&j1.jpg

s&j2.jpg

s&j3.jpg

s&j5.jpg

s&j8.jpg

s&j10.jpg

conceptual final project- human theremin

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Unlike my final project, my conceptual project is completely about the spectacle. At the U I've been studying theatrical lighting due to a life-long obsession with concerts and the light shows that go on during the performances (Pink Floyd's Lazer Show, etc). Going to concerts was my first exploration into the community surrounding music, and it always amazed me how the dynamics of relationships changed once the music started at a venue. In my conceptual project I would use human interactions and gestures to trigger different elements that add to the communal space in a positive way.

Essentially my project involves the audience walking into a completely empty room, with each one of them triggering a sound as they enter. There would be 30 PIR Motion Sensors set around the room: 10 along the baseboard, 2 on each wall, and the rest hanging from the ceiling. By controlling the ranges of the motion sensor to only react to small areas, I can control the amount of movement necessary to trigger specific noises in certain spaces. This way, when people move in the space they can either create a cacophony of percussive noises or they can explore the space slowly and build a musical composition out of their movement. Each noise set off by the motion sensor would comprise of different samples.

This project would explore the dynamics of forced interactivity in an audience, as when there's a strong trust built amongst the members they can create beautiful moments. This project would be great to set up in a large room, where the sensors can be spaced out. Each participant becomes a part of the space and can interact with the others and the space itself by testing out what each sensor triggers.

Final Project Documentation

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For my final project I wanted to work with expanding on a simple concept. I had bought a Flip-Flap earlier this semester at Ax Man, and it had never worked quite properly. Flip-Flaps run off of solar power, and work with a capacitor to keep the leaves waving even if the light disappears. It's consistency was always very appealing to me, as the clicking of the leaves act as a metronome constantly beating. So for my last project I wanted to learn how I and others could interact with this consistency.

After researching the Flip-Flap, I figured out that I could disrupt the flow of electricity by using a relay switch in-between the wire connecting the solar panel to the capacitor. I used a PIR Motion Detector to control the flow of energy, making it so that when you waved at the Flip Flap, it would wave back at you. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, as it reacted as I hoped it would.
flip_q_green.jpg

This is the Arduino program that I used to control the Motion Sensor:
/////////////////////////////
//VARS
//the time we give the sensor to calibrate (10-60 secs according to the datasheet)
int calibrationTime = 30;

//the time when the sensor outputs a low impulse
long unsigned int lowIn;

//the amount of milliseconds the sensor has to be low
//before we assume all motion has stopped
long unsigned int pause = 5000;

boolean lockLow = true;
boolean takeLowTime;

int pirPin = 3; //the digital pin connected to the PIR sensor's output
int ledPin = 13;


/////////////////////////////
//SETUP
void setup(){
Serial.begin(9600);
pinMode(pirPin, INPUT);
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(pirPin, LOW);

//give the sensor some time to calibrate
Serial.print("calibrating sensor ");
for(int i = 0; i < calibrationTime; i++){
Serial.print(".");
delay(1000);
}
Serial.println(" done");
Serial.println("SENSOR ACTIVE");
delay(50);
}

////////////////////////////
//LOOP
void loop(){

if(digitalRead(pirPin) == HIGH){
digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH); //the led visualizes the sensors output pin state
if(lockLow){
//makes sure we wait for a transition to LOW before any further output is made:
lockLow = false;
Serial.println("---");
Serial.print("motion detected at ");
Serial.print(millis()/1000);
Serial.println(" sec");
delay(50);
}
takeLowTime = true;
}

if(digitalRead(pirPin) == LOW){
digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW); //the led visualizes the sensors output pin state

if(takeLowTime){
lowIn = millis(); //save the time of the transition from high to LOW
takeLowTime = false; //make sure this is only done at the start of a LOW phase
}
//if the sensor is low for more than the given pause,
//we assume that no more motion is going to happen
if(!lockLow && millis() - lowIn > pause){
//makes sure this block of code is only executed again after
//a new motion sequence has been detected
lockLow = true;
Serial.print("motion ended at "); //output
Serial.print((millis() - pause)/1000);
Serial.println(" sec");
delay(200);
}
}
}

This wasn't a flashy project as my other ones turned out, but I'm very happy to have explored a softer approach to interactive art by bringing in the use of gesture and interaction with a mechanical object. This is an extremely interesting relationship for me, as I'm still struggling with the extremely reactive role that objects play in our lives today.

Artist Response

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Gina Chase was the artist I chose to do my second artist review. It was acutally the very same day that I posted my conceptual project proposal for exploring space and place. I was drawn to her work because of my interest in memroy. I enjoyed her careful attention to details with her layering of images. I also enjoyed the incorporation of mirrors into many of the pieces, as if to question ones real self as upposed to ones representational self. That idea of images and memory resonates with me, even all these weeks later, and I even held onto the newsprinted story.

Responsive WindWall

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Image.jpg

As a way to experiment and start prototyping physically responsive spatial elements, I developed a simple "windwall" incorporating a passive infra-red (PIR) sensor, an actuated switch, and a number of ordinary house fans controlled by an arduino microcontroller.


As was evidenced by my class demo, the arrangement of the motion sensor to the zone of activity caused the relay to be consistently triggered. I programmed the sensor with 30 seconds of calibration time to create a baseline with a relatively high amount of motion, but it was ineffective at creating the response I wanted. Repositioning the sensor, creating a smaller view cone for the fresnel lens, or using a PIR with a manually controlled sensitivity would have made the interaction more satisfactory.

One very helpful tool was the PowerStripTail, available here for less than $20. It is essentially an independently powered relay that allows for the conversion of electricity between the 5v microcontroller and up to 120v AC. I powered three house fans on an ordinary powerstrip plugged into the PowerStripTail. This greatly reduced the time and circuitry required for this experiment.


Circuit.pdf

Code.pdf

Brett's concept project

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My concept project incorporates the exploration of visual and sonic relationships produced by ecosystemic data mapping. More specifically, I'm interested how distinct spaces sharing a common boundary (e.g. rooms in a building or buildings within a university) could be melded into a common space, or "composite audiovisual ecosystem."

I would use microphones to track the sonic profiles of multiple distinct environments, preferably public spaces--libraries, hallways, cafes, playgrounds, etc. Using custom software, I would extract frequency and amplitude information from these signals in realtime and transform them into a series of data streams. These fluctuating data streams would be structurally coupled to various sound parameters of the audio signals being tracked, as well as video of the environments. This would form a "net" of data connections among the various spaces. This "net" of data couplings would enable the characteristic sounds events of each respective environment to induce change in the audio and video signals of the others, thus informing the overall audiovisual output of the piece. (The audiovisual output would include multiple realtime video projections as well as a multichannel speaker array.) In effect, the composite audiovisual output would represent the interactive intersection of multiple spaces in a single environment.

Running Game

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For this project, I come up with an idea about how to make the LED light become a signal that can direct people's physical actions, so people will have a chance to be directed by LED light and become a participant. So I come up with an idea of running game, and the LED light will blink into different colors and blink at different frequency, and each color represent a certain object and a certain frequency represent the certain distance, so firstly, when players see the LED light, they need to transfer the light into certain signals, and actually the interactivity here is different from the traditional notion of interactivity, like the traditional one is to actually touch or smell or something to be interactive. So, people transfer the visual effect into signal and for running part, they need their respond ability like who can respond to the frequency and color changes faster who can win the game cause they take actions first

Last Entry

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It is nice to be extremely fully knowledgeable in new areas of thinking. Before this year I knew nothing about Max, Arduino's, programming computer chips, LED's, electronic breadboards, Blogs, Media Mill, or Final Cut pro. I thank my teachers and especially my fellow students who helped me achieve this goal.
I leave this Mark Twain quote to the motor mouths amongst us "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
-- Mark Twain
-- Take care I truly enjoyed this year with my fellow students
-- Lance

Jamie's Definition of Interactive Art

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For a general purposes, I believe that anything that can be considered "art" is also inherently "interactive" in one way or another. Thus, my definition of Interactive Art is just as impossible to explain as my definition of Art.

However, for purposes of this class, I will define

Interactive Art : "a performance or installation created by one or more humans, created for and dependent upon a second party of humans to experience in a personal and engaging manner."

Boom.

Shadow Light

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shadow light 2011.m4v

calibrate code pdf.pdf

I was pleased with how the shadow light box turned out, even though it wasn't working perfectly. The piece is meant to be explored on both sides and call attention to the relationship between the show and the actor--the actors in this sense, are not necessarily performing, but they are exploring. That explorer cannot fully enjoy their show, because the lights that their shadow creates are displayed on the the other side of the board. The use of the lense helped add a mysterious quality to the contraption, and helped create a window effect, which almost surprisingly for me, conceptually realted to another idea of a window I had been thinkinking about for a different project. I was pleased when I discovered that connection!

All in all I think i would play more with the lighting of this piece. I probably would have had a more angled effect to produce a more strinking shadow, and also would have had a smaller slit of directed light, rather than it be so much like a spotlight.

I am interested in playing more with shadows and light--


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For my independent project, I continued to explore the bus shelter idea, working on the technology that I could use to realize it. For this iteration of the bus shelter, I focused on communication: either between two shelters (relevant to the earlier game/communication ideas, or between a bus and a shelter. This variation would allow a waiting passenger to know when the bus is approaching, perhaps by flickering colored lights in the ceiling/roof of the shelter. The lights get brighter as the bus gets nearer (as the diagram below shows, which I include in lieu of a video) and could be different colors for different routes.
bus-diagram.jpg

Emily and I submitted a proposal to an upcoming local art festival with this idea, and the limited budget encouraged us to look at other solutions besides the Arduino. I am interested in using RF for this project, as wireless access may be spotty and RF options are low-cost. I came across the JeeNode as one potential option: it uses the same chip and programming environment as Arduino, but has a smaller footprint, requires only one AA battery, and has an on-board RF transmitter (so it can send and receive messages).

For this project, I focused on getting two JeeNodes to talk to one another. It is still fairly basic, but (as in the images below) one JeeNode sends a message every second and the second blinks when it gets that message.

send-message.jpg

The messages can be up to 66 packets in length. The interesting thing is that when the JeeNodes are far apart, not all of the packets are received. I realized that this could be utilized as a de facto proximity sensor: the LED's brightness could be determined by how many packets are received, so that it would be brighter if the transmission was strong (the two JeeNodes are close together) and dimmer if the transmission was weak (they are farther apart). I haven't been able to get this part of the programming working yet, and there will most certainly be problems with my logic about the proximity sensor thing, but I'm excited to keep playing with this idea over the summer with the goal of installing it, if only temporarily, in a bus shelter some evening.

My code is in the files below, which require additional libraries for the JeeNode.
bus_shelter_sender.pde
bus_shelter_receiver.pde

Zhang Yi Mou and his creative group

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The Beijing Olympic game opening ceremony is the best way of presenting the idea of interactive art, although its the interactivity between the professional dancers with LED lights, but I'm sure when this technology become mature, it will be used in daily life to make our lives better. So in the class, the first performance I showed to the class is the interactive dancing with a giant LED light painting, which the director Zhang wanted to use each individual dancer as each small ink of traditional Chinese painting, so we can see as the dancers are dancing on the screen, the LED light can receive the body language of dancers and transmit them into codes and exhibit a giant classic Chinese painting on the digital scroll. Second one I show to the class is the performance which demonstrate the revolution of Chinese Characters from thousand years ago to modern day, and it is also a fancy LED light show, like the LED lights receive signals from the central control and start to do its own performance. Everyone knows that China has the world's longest history and so many ancient culture, some of them may not be really compatible with modern art which require people to spend a long time to perceive the beauty of its spirit, but the opening ceremony is only 5 hours, not enough time for them to show every Chinese culture especially by traditional and classic ways. So the LED lights perfectly interpreted classic culture but also with fancy modern ways. Especially I like the first idea, where the dancer can interact with LED light, maybe because I'm Chinese so it is much easier for me to perceive the insight of the performance.

My own definition of interactive art

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Before I register this class I have no idea about what is interactive art, and it still take me a long time to gradually know the beauty of interactive art, this is not only the art, it is a new fantastic combination of various human physical changes, visual response and expression.
The beauty of interactive art is people can actually participate in the art as never seen before, cause we can not interact or participate any activities of painters' paintings or sculptures, but with the modern technology, human ourselves can interact with the art which supposed to be abstractive. Using the sound, visual effect and technology to actually make art become so vivid, and it can be widely use in the daily life in the future, to make our lives more energetic, interactive art also guide human to explore themselves by art itself and based on its aspect, we will understand our internal struggle and desire by seeing through the art. I hope I will do more research on the interactive art in the future, because I think this has great potential, it probably becomes the leading technology in the 21st century.

Epic interactive Blood Pressure art

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This title may sounds really strange, but it is actually one conceptual interactive that I'm thinking about. Human body have its own blood pressure, and during certain status, due to the nervousness or happiness, the blood pressure itself will adjust a little bit by the physical change of surroundings, so i try to make a digital wall with digital painting which will respond and start to paint on the digital wall by the changing of the blood pressure, and there is an enclosed area around the digital wall which will use special visual and sound effect to create different moods for human, so we can totally interact with the surroundings, and our blood pressure will change and it will interact with the digital painting, it is kind of like a way to express and exhibit your inside inner physical struggle by this abstractive way.

Josh+Bo Yuan Final Project

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How to set-up "Blink" the game.
The game is centered around the idea of ease of use, accessibility, and flexibility in rules.
This allows for a "Tic-Tac-Toe" type of game that on a whim is relatively easy to get started so long as you have a few absolutes.
Materials needed: One multi-color light that blinks differently periodically. Two or more even numbered teams, any number so long as you can keep track of everything. Preferably two "runners" and two "trackers" for one for each team. Then for optimal play, a colorful environment to accommodate the blinking light.
General Rules: The "tracker" stays at the light source informing the "runner" what the color is and keeping track of the materials brought to acquire points. The "runner" goes out to find specifically colored objects based on the light color the "tracker" has told them it is. The teams decide on a limit of points and how many rounds they want to do. For a bonus, having two different lights that act the same can provide a different style in which when the lights blink the same color the teams work together for double points for both teams(any item brought back counts for both sides) while when the lights are different the opposing team's items give a bonus to their point total while subtracting from the opposing teams. Lastly, if you plan to set this up ahead of time, hiding and picking out specific objects in the environment for extra points is advised to keep "runners" on their toes.
Bo Yuan will leave a comment to this entry with circuitry for the Arduino and the coding that we used in the presentation.

My Definition of Interactivity

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As said before practically anything is interactive, especially art by default. By definition it only takes something to interact with something else. Whether or not this interactivity is art is up to the viewer themselves. That leads me to believe that everything considered art is interactive and it's up to the individual viewer to determine the level of interactivity in the piece for themselves and choose to set a threshold or grade it on a scale.

blog checklist

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This checklist includes the BLOG posts that I will be reviewing. Review the list to be sure that you have completed all of the posts described in the checklist. I included an optional section for people who would like extra credit. Contact me with any questions that you may have. best wishes to you, Diane

Interactivity in art

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For me, art becomes interactive when it prompts direct engagement from participants, kinetically or otherwise. The level of these interactions are enhanced by the degree to which participants' response is motivated by choice. At a fundamental level, then, interactive art responds to participants' presence, and its ontology--the manner in which the piece exists in the world--is somehow defined in no small part by the way participants relate to it. The engagements stemming therefrom thus become part of a kind of gestural exchange; both the art and participant communicate in some way, thereby inducing change or inspiring influence in the other.

Public Play Installations

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I live in south Minneapolis where there is at least one public park for every neighborhood. I've been thinking lately about a post-graduation project where I would begin teaching myself how to build small play structures and install them in various parks around my, and other, neighborhoods.
I think I find this interesting because of how it relates to street art as a way of reclaiming public space, and also because it deals with the idea of play and recreation/relaxation in everyday life, as well as potentially appealing more to children. I also like that it is a project that could exist outside of art institutions, a kind of flexibility that I'm trying to explore more.
I think it would be interesting to see how long a renegade play structure could exist in a public space designated for that kind of structure but without permission, though I'm also interested in the reaction to placing something of this nature in a government or business center where it would be much more out of context.

Light Canopy Concept

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Light Canopy

An interactive light canopy is suspended over a small urban park.

Cute Robots/Ugly Human Parts

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As part of the conference, The Aesthetics of Care, Laura Fantone presented Cute Robots/Ugly Human Parts (A post-human aesthetics of care). Her essay, Cute Robots:Ugly Human Parts, is included in the conference proceedings.

Robotic Art

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Eduardo Kac's essay, Robotic Art, proposes, "art robots make room for social criticism, personal concerns, and the free play of imagination and fantasy".

The emerging aesthetics of Interactive Art

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Simon Penny continued theorizing about interactive art in 1996 with this essay, From A to D and back again: The emerging aesthetics of Interactive Art

why do we want our machines to seem alive

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In his essay, Why do we want our machines to seem alive? [written in 1995] Simon Penny explores the artistic motivation that he describes as "the desire to create persuasive likeness".


In his biography, Simon Penny describes himself as "an Australian artist, theorist, teacher and curator in the fields of Digital Cultural Practices, Embodied Interaction, Art and Technology and Interactive Art. His art practice consists of interactive installation and robotic art utilising custom sensor and robotic technologies. He is co-developer of the TVS multi-camera 3D machine vision system. His works have been exhibited at ZKM, Ars Electronica, the Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI) and elsewhere. He has published essays on digital culture since 1987 (translated into eight languages) and has spoken widely on Electronic Media Art around the world. He edited the anthology Critical Issues in Electronic Media (SUNY Press 1995). He curated Machine Culture (arguably the first international survey of interactive art) for SIGGRAPH 93. Penny is Professor of Arts and Engineering at University of California Irvine. He is architect and founding director of the transdisciplinary graduate program ACE (Arts, Computation and Engineering) at UCI.through the 1990's he was Professor of Art and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon."

"Interactive Art"

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Every art student in their studies must be asked at least several hundred times to define art. What is art?
I am quite sick of this question, and it is a question that asks itself without any academic incentive.
That said, in this case, we are examining a certain type or subset of all things that can be called art.

So first, interactive art must be art. I think it is important to hold things that we wish to call "interactive art" to the same lens as we do for things we call "art" (of the non-interactive variety).

Beyond that, it must be interactive.
To be interactive, to me, requires 2 parties who need not be human, nor even living things.
These two parties must have an exchange of some nature, such as visual information, kinetic energy, sound, etc.
For these two to be communicating in some way is sufficient for me. Presence alone does not constitute interaction in itself, but with the right conceptual and aesthetic nature, can imply interaction.

Artist presentation follow-up

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I chose to focus on Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla because they were some of the first artists that I encountered as a young person who were working interactively and who made me think critically about contemporary art.

Examples of their work:
Gladstone Gallery
Lisson Gallery
Youtube video of Wake Up
Walker exhibition that introduced me to them
Radio Re-Volt
A great interview by Paul Schmelzer


While I'm not drawn to make political art like these two artists, I do appreciate how they engage people in politics and the art instead of just making a statement. I don't make political art. I generally shy away from it. But I like how they are connected to community and are able to carry this into a high-art realm without losing focus. I think this idea of community is the motivation for incorporating interactivity into their work. That is what most informs my work. I don't follow the same path as they do, but I recognize the need to articulate a motivation for interactivity and to make sure that it serves a purpose rather than just because it makes a cool display.

Jason Rohrer & Tim Hawkinson

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Jason Rohrer is a game developer who makes games that are experienced in a way I see as having an "art" context. Also he is a pretty cool guy. His games illustrate the unique ability that games have to create a world separate from the rules of our reality, and thereby creating experiences that are unique to the format.

His site and projects can be found here: http://hcsoftware.sourceforge.net/jason-rohrer/
Learn more about him in general here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Rohrer

Tim Hawkinson is an interdisciplinary artist working with electronics to create kinetic and musical sculpture as well as pieces that are arguably interactive. Much of his work relates to the body and closed-systems, or systems in general.
Learn more about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Hawkinson

Bradley Wright - Conceptual Project Proposal

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I've been imagining a project wherein two participants would exchange their perception.
The inspiration for the project came from thinking about the subjectivity of perception and witnessing mental illness in people that I know. The intended effect would be an out-of-body experience that forces the participants to reassess the role of our senses and how our body interprets them, and further to investigate the amount of trust we can place in our perception of the world around us.

Some people, particularly those who are afflicted with mental illness, experience reality in ways that are different from the way most of us experience it. Even between two healthy "normal" individuals, there are differences in perception.
"Perception is subjective." We shouldn't take it for granted.

To go into more detail, the two people would enter an open space with different everyday objects around them. In principle, it could be any kind of space, but the piece would be more effective if the participants were within line of sight of one another.

Imagine that you have lost all use of your senses for a short time, and then they return, but they are those of another body. You are in control of your body, it's movements, but the senses you possess are not your own. You are experiencing the space as perceived through the sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch of another. Since we rely mostly on sight and sound, those alone would be sufficient to create most of the experience.

If the two participants, in the same space, were to see one another, they would be seeing themselves, and thereby obtain the only reasonable way to navigate the space safely, and once again become aware of their bodies.

Circadian Rhythms Study

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Speaking of time...
I heard about an interesting study that measured men's and women's circadian rhythms and found that women run on a faster clock than men.

Defining Interactive Art

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For me, interactive art facilitates a physical or emotional interaction either between the work and a human, or between multiple viewers. Interactivity should be a participatory encounter that allows an alternate investigation of the human experience.

interactive art

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To me it seems that interactive art reflects cultural transitions-- as technology becomes an ever increasingly important aspect of our lives, its seems that experience becomes cherished as an art, and interactivity is how we explore experience in art.
I've also noticed how "interactive" and "participation" are buzz words in technology of the new web computing age-- Interactive maps have almost replaced the old metaphore of a paper map-- participation and interactivity challenge the old top down ways of negotiating spatial relationships-- imposed structures of city, county, state, and district, are being reclaimed by our own personal perceptions of place that are also entwined with identity.

In Art, ineractivity refers to expeirience. It is about engaging in a process that is somewhat unpredicatable-- quite often the artist explores themes that reach much farther than their original intent. Interactivity is not a different kind of art, but rather innovations in the conceptual formation of understanding about what art can be.

Interactive Art: Current Thoughts

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I've enjoyed our discussions of what constitutes interactive art as we look at the work of different artists... it's definitely made me reconsider -- perhaps broaden, perhaps sharpen -- my definition.

I'm currently thinking about interactive art in terms of what it offers us, in understanding or concept, and how it does this. I think it gives us an opportunity to reflect on ourselves (as individuals, as a species) and the world we live in. Art, in general, does this of course, but interactive art does it by being responsive to us or the world in some way. I don't think that it needs to be responsive to us exclusively -- interactive art can respond to other animals or with phenomena, with us as a participatory audience. For example, Amy Youngs' Cricket Call puts us in the environment of the crickets, though it is the crickets, not us that are the stars of show. Theo Jensen's Strandbeest, though they interact primarily with wind and water, could respond to us if we were to meet them, and more importantly, they offer a genuine way of considering what it means to be alive and evolving.

Personal definition of interactivity

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More and more I've been interested in exploring installation art-making. Partly, this is because I think spaces that envelop the viewer are innately interactive. How a person moves about the space, especially when required to explore it solo, calls upon the viewer to think critically about how they interact with and process everyday spaces and situations individually. It can be meditative or solemn, jarring or disorienting, any range of emotions or psychological perceptions explored. Of course, I think interactivity is manifest in many forms other than installation works, but I use this as an example because I am interested in exploring relationships, beginning with the individual recognizing his/her own role in determining aspects of the relation. I think this is fundamental to a democratization of art; one must understand, appreciate, and take advantage of his/her place in order to maintain dialogue.

For the large part, this informs how I think about the role of interactivity in art. I don't see it as a purely technological field. The technology is simply a tool, but I appreciate this about its use: the focus on experience over tangible object. As made clear by now, experience is central to my definition of interactivity. It is about the artist calling upon the audience to activate the art and to determine its meaning: allowing the individual to somehow define themselves in the process. This is partly why I am really excited about the collaborative project that Jamie and I have been working on, is because this is the first time that I feel like I've been able to truly articulate these ideas and actualize them in a project.

I can say more, but I'll save it for the discussion.

Conceptual Project Proposal

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sara temp.jpg

I am interested in exploring spaces as a way to create an experience for the viewer that they are allowed to investigate as they move through it. I'm also interested in seeing things that aren't meant to be seen and overhearing things that aren't meant to be heard by others. These ideas play a role in this proposed project. I plan to divide a room into a main "exhibition space" where the room is empty except for light bleeding into the room through a peephole. People can then approach this and see a performance in the next room. They are also allowed to enter a copy of the performance space (made to feel like the original) but will have an eerie feeling as if being watched. I like the ideas of environment evoking feeling, of fragmenting the viewer's perspective, of shifting the roles of viewer/viewed, of an action being both compelling and gross.

Conceptual Project

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I've been interested in developing "Beat Box Boots" for quite some time now. It would be kind of a similar concept to the technology involved in my Applause Hat, but much professionally designed and featuring a series of foot-activated sensors rather than just the one.
Basically there would be 4 sensors on the sole of each boot (heel, toe, left-front, right front) that each activate a different percussive noise to be played through miniature speakers on the tongue of the shoe, or through a headphone output on the back of the high-top portion of the left boot. With the headphone output jack one would be able to walk around and create their own percussive beats while listening them with high-quality audio.

The percussive sounds would be: (Left Shoe) Kick Drum, Snare, High Hat, Ride Cymbal

(Right Shoe) Low Tom, Mid Tom, High Tom, Crash Cymbal.

This prototype would call for 8 touch sensors, an arduino, a wave-shield, miniature speakers and a really sweet pair of big-ole boots.

response to MFA/BFA galleries

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I was instantly and incredibly attracted to Renee Canales' piece "Challenging Identity: Series I" in the BFA gallery. This project was categorized as a Mixed Media piece, and featured classic Christian images printed on thin, see-through fabric hung approximately 5 inches in front of corresponding modern, semi-erotic or controversially evocative framed paintings. I'm a sucker for religious commentary of any sort, and I thought this installment was particularly captivating in the way that it created a third image by layering one Christian print on top of another modern image. The three pieces involved in this series are titled, "Virgin Birth", "Our Mother", and "The Blessed." "Virgin Birth" featured an image of a pregnant man behind the fabric print of Mary's full body. I'm not sure exactly what she's getting at here, but it's definitely challenging Mary's identity and it's just esthetically interesting. "Our Mother" features like a 1960's woman with cool sunglasses behind the most recognizable image of Virgin Mary. This one is commenting on the evolved version of the attributes that may be correspondent to a modern version of Mary. Finally, "The Blessed" is the most esthetically captivating based on the way that the eyes of classic Mary and child line up with a modern man and children.

The fabric is hung by crude twigs, and the frames of the paintings are painted gold and also very crude.Both elements are very reminiscent of Christ. I like that one image is no more prominent than the other. Despite the softness of the images on fabric, the fact that the fabric is in the foreground creates a perfect balance between the two images stacked upon one another. Overall, the project is very impressive esthetically and politically. Luckily the religious commentary is very ambiguous, which is helpful in relating the piece to my own ideas about conventional religion.

In the MFA gallery, I was initially attracted to Robin Schwartzman's installment, "Jump On In." The sheer spectacle was very attractive from a distance, and continued to impress me as I explored the large picnic-like area. Upon trying gather an artistic point, however, I was lost on what Robin was interested in communicating through this project. After working with wave-shields and the laser cutting machine in this context, I was particularly impressed with how time-intensive this project must have been. Everything had been detailed and the entire project had a very professional, glossy look. But, I just didn't know what I was supposed to take from the experience. Like, the gift shop was a cool touch...but why?

My favorite piece in the MFA gallery was "Green Man" by Rachel James. It was a pencil drawing in a series of 3 framed pictures, and featured a forest-man in his natural habitat. The image is visually stunning in its complexity, and esthetically pleasing in the way the thick, wide frames complement the minimal colors used in this drawing. The natural element of the canvas, medium of pencil and wooden frame all worked nicely together and I wish I had this framed drawing in my bedroom real bad.