Posts Tagged ‘haptic’
In the vein of (immobile) light and space artists from earlier decades such as Dan Flavin or Robert Irwin, Licht makes sculpture from light and shadow. One can imagine an interactive variant where the play of bright, dim and dark is crowd-sourced by an online community, or algorithmically indexed to sensor information measuring the trajectories or body data of the visitors. Or offering a counterpoint to the natural time outside. In any case, presenting new expressive possibilities for data visualization.
April 4, 2011
Check Out Student Work from Annenberg Innovation Lab Conference
Last Friday, I had the pride and joy of participating in the first conference organized by the Annenberg Innovation Lab. The Lab is a new research initiative launched over the past year, with the goal of becoming an incubator for new media practices and platforms, a space where important conversations can occur between academics and industry leaders which may help shape the future of communications.
The mastermind behind the project is Jonathan Taplin, a saavy industry veteran, who has tapped his considerable network to bring some major stakeholders to the table. He’s been working with two amazing women — Erin Reilly, who is also the Research Director for my own Project New Media Literacies, is the Creative Director and Anne Balsamo, a veteran of Xerox Parc, serves as The Director of Learning. I am proud to be working with the lab on several new initiatives which I will be talking about here more in the future, including a new platform to support our work in fostering New Media Literacies and a new eBook project which will expand the resources available to Comic Studies scholars.
They’ve pulled in many other key researchers from across USC, providing a context which supports the move from theory to applied practice. The real special sauce at the lab is going to be the ability to mix social and cultural insights with technological experimentation and innovation in a space where humanists and social scientists can work hand in hand with engineers and business people.
Between them, Taplin, Reilly, and Balsamo hit the deck running, pulling off the near impossible, in getting the center ready to share some research results only eight months after it was originally conceived.
The conference’s highlights include a conversation between Balsamo and the two authors of the important new book, A New Culture of Learning, Doug Thomas and John Seely Brown; a presentation by the musician T. Bone Burnett showing how degraded the current state of sound is within the music industry and announcing a significant new research initiative to help repair the damage of the past decade of failed digital practices; a discussion of the value of play in fostering an innovative environment whether in schools or the workplace; and some great exchanges with key thinkers and doers within the computer and entertainment industries.
But, for me, by far, the highlight was seeing the work being done by USC students as part of what the Lab calls CRUNCH sessions. Altogether, more than 60 students from 8 different schools worked over the past two terms to develop prototypes, including demonstration videos, for new projects which covered a broad range of different models of media, from innovative approaches to eBooks to new gaming controllers, from civic media to new kinds of visualization tools. The most amazing thing was done by the student teams fueled entirely from their own passions: the Lab provided them with a space, with brainstorming and training sessions, and with technical consultants, but they were neither paid nor offered academic credit for the considerable labor they put into the process. Most of the teams were interdisciplinary, and one of the key values of the Lab was to help match up students from across the University to work together towards common goals.
I was pleased to see how many of the students involved were people I’d been seeing in my classes and it was great to witness what they could create when turned loose on their own projects outside any academic structures. It was especially pleased to see that these projects were informed by a deep understanding of the value of storytelling and entertainment and a grasp of the actual needs of communities of users who have been underserved by the first waves of digital development.
What follows here are the five winners of the CRUNCH competition, each representing a very different model of what media innovation might look like.
NimbleTrek \ Natalia Bogolasky and David Radcliff
WeLobby \ Leonard Hyman
WeLobby from Dave McDougall on Vimeo.
Combiform \ Andy Uehara and Edmond Yee an
New Quill \ Michael Morgan
Interactive Geosurface Map — Lauren Fenton
And for good measure, here are three more projects which I thought were too cool not to include:
Love in the Time of Genocide \ Thenmozhi Soundararajan
The Mother Road eBook \ Erin Reilly
Reading the News on the Wall \ Jennifer Taylor
Interactive GeoSurface Map WINS 1rst place in transmedia storytelling for the Annenberg Innovation Lab Design Challenge
The Interactive GeoSurface Map was 1rst place winner in the Transmedia Storytelling category of the 2011 Annenberg Innovation Lab CRUNCH design Challenge and received an Honorable Mention in the Microsoft Imagine Cup USA 2011!
Our team presented the Interactive GeoSurface Map at the 2011 Annenberg Innovation Lab Conference: See With New Eyes on April 1rst.
Our team entered this project for the Annenberg Innovation Lab CRUNCH Challenge. Thank you to the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Onomy Labs and Microsoft for making the GeoSurface Map a prototype reality!
The GeoSurface Map is an interactive exhibit for local museums and libraries. Its interface is an interactive table that allows users to collectively browse satellite imagery. But more than a playful and immersive interface for navigating geographic data, the GeoSurface Map is a multimedia storytelling experience about land use practice.
Project Lead / Designer: Lauren Fenton, USC School of Cinematic Arts
Programmer: Shreyas Heranjal, USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Project Coordinator: Desdemona Bandini, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
A TANGIBLE INTERFACE WITH THE WORLD
The Interactive GeoSurface Map uses an interactive device created by Onomy Labs called a Tilty Table. The table functions as a tangible interface to create an experience of effortless fly-over navigation through Microsoft’s Bing Maps database of high-resolution satellite images. By tilting and twisting the Tilty Table, the user can zoom in and pan over details of the landscape. By dwelling on hotspots they can access multimedia metadata on important landmarks.
COLLECTIVE RE-DISCOVERY OF ONE’S LOCALITY AND PLACE
Apps like Google Maps and Google Earth allow people to visualize high-resolution satellite images and a database of meta-data about different geographical locations. However, this data can easily become meaningless, as there is no narrative attached to it. The Interactive GeoSurface Map gives the user the possibility of connecting the dots between different data elements, of reading different landscape features of the satellite images as a network, rather than as a random assembly of geographical features, streets and buildings.
Most geographical data apps are meant to be used as individual interfaces on laptops or desktop computers. Onomy Labs’ Tilty Table technology makes it possible for people to browse the data collectively, and to share a moment of discovery through an intuitive language of very simple gestures. A powerful moment of recognition takes place when users understand the infrastructural and historical relationships between different features of the landscape, features they may have casually noticed but had not paid attention to.
FROM GEOGRAPHICAL DATA TO A STORY ABOUT LAND USE
We are collaborating with an institution called the Center for land Use Interpretation, a research institute that creates exhibits about land use practices, from the history of the L.A. freeway system to the water supply network. The GeoSurface Map team adapted their exhibit,Urban Crude, about the oil fields of the city of Los Angeles, for the Tilty Table. Urban Crude explores the way oil is being drilled in the city, by whom, and what kind of strategies they adopt to seamlessly integrate this drilling activity into the urban landscape, which includes hiding oil wells behind fake buildings and churches and disguising pumpjacks and methane vents as inconspicuous infrastructure. The GeoSurface Map adaptation of the exhibit turns different locations on the satellite images into hotspots, accompanied by floating text from the original exhibit explaining the history of oil extraction in that particular site. When selected, the hotspots lead into an panorama of animated photographs. This immersive multimedia experience, which combines interaction with geographical data with text and video, weaves a narrative around the practice of oil extraction within the urban landscape of Los Angeles.
AN INTUITIVE TOOL FOR EDUCATION ABOUT COMMUNITY AND SUSTAINABILITY
By using storytelling and tangible interface technology, the GeoSurface Map makes engagement with land use data compelling and intuitive, making it possible for a wide demographic range of users, from children to grandparents, to gain meaningful knowledge of their neighboring environment, encouraging users to become agents of change and affect how their cities are organized and sustained in the future.
The GeoSurface Map is a learning platform that allows users to become familiar with urban planning initiatives in their area and become the shapers of local land use, water distribution, and transportation policy. Land use data is often restricted to geological and industry databases, even though land use practices affect everyone’s everyday life on a deep level. Thanks to our partnership with the Center for Land Use Interpretation, our solution makes that data accessible and comprehensible to a mainstream audience.
Knowledge about local land use helps people become pro-active about engaging with their municipal governments and government institutions on issues of urban development and the future of their communities.
AN INTERACTIVE EXHIBIT FOR PUBLIC USE
The GeoSurface Map is meant to be an interactive exhibit piece that can be housed in a museum, at a science center, in a public municipal or government building, and in schools and universities. It has the potential to affect a large number of individuals in a lasting way, providing them not only with invaluable information about their home area, but also immersing them in a memorable, aesthetically enchanting media experience.
Our end users include families, young people, and retired persons who have access to and can afford to pay for a museum ticket. The introduction of GeoSurface Mapping devices into public areas that are free of charge (for example, public libraries), would further lower the income barrier of end-users.
A FLEXIBLE HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE ARCHITECTURE
The satellite image database we use, Microsoft’ s Bing Maps, is a free service that the GeoSurface Map accesses through Microsoft’s Silverlight application for Bing Maps developers.
Our code determines a basic interface for an unlimited amount of content. We can add as much text, images, videos, tags and metadata as would be necessary for future iterations and future land use projects. The Tilty Table API, although based on just a few affordances, is very flexible in terms of the different types of actions these affordances can map onto.
The GeoSurface Map is a product that is both a piece of hardware, an interface, and an information/media service. Development of the product involves collaboration with Onomy Labs (hardware/API) and The Center for Land Use Interpretation (as a partnership for content creation), as well as with Microsoft’s Bing Maps service.
Any museum, public library or educational institution can purchase GeoSurface Mapping as an interactive exhibit package (hardware, interface, and content), provided they have Internet access.
The GeoSurface Map interface was in part inspired by the creative cartography work of Liz Mogel and Trevor Paglen. Going beyond representations of data, their maps are narratives that emphasize the infrastructural and social aspects of the annotated space. (http://www.artnews.com/issues/article.asp?art_id=3091). Katherine Harmon’s You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination was also a rich source of imaginative cartographic examples.
from the Toy Art Gallery website:
Toy Art Gallery is proud to present “Sacred Trip”, new work by Carlos Enriquez Gonzalez. “Sacred Trip” continues Gonzalez’s exploration of the divide (or lack thereof) between Man and God, man and woman, and toy and art. Gonzalez’s work challenges the viewer with an intermingling of grotesque, sexual, and childlike symbols, which together produce wholly original, substantially, and more importantly, beautiful works of art.
Among the materials used by the artist for his work are: fiber glass, plastic, automotive paint, crystal, gold, platinum, diamond, metal, raw meat, connecting an aesthetic three-dimensional finish with more organic materials. Mushrooms, eyes, monsters, brains, human parts, sacred elements, sexual organs are some of the symbols that refer to the artist´s intimate world in which also blend some of his concerns, energy, power, intuition, parallel worlds, multidimensionality, tunnels of time, all this reflected in his work represented in a provocative and transgressor mode.
Wish Come True, Luminato Festival, Toronto, June 2010
FriendsWithYou is an art collective based in Miami that in addition to creating a wildly successful line of designer vinyl toys, creates large-scale inflatable toy environments. Rainbow City in Miami and Wish Come True in Toronto stand as fairy-tale epitomes of the fantastically cute and adorable, offering extreme experiences in curves and bounciness for buoyant spirits of all ages. Bringing the toy to the realm of the gargantuan, built on the social scale of the city, the art of FriendsWithYou is more than aesthetically overwhelming in its impact, it also acts as a sort of emotional and collective catharsis for the visitors, coercing them into a state of cuddliness and beatific joy. The collective dubs themselves the pioneers of a “happy movement”.
“The individual structures are simple, minimal forms that borrow aesthetics from toy- like geometry and design and tower over guests, as each element’s height ranges from ten to forty feet. By dwarfing the audience, the totemic pieces trigger a sense of reverence, similar to the visual of a monolithic monument. During interaction, the inflated sculptures “embrace” visitors, while repetitive sound elements further enhance the sensory experience.The overall installation creates a surreal landscape of psychedelic scenery intended to simultaneously provoke a religious and childlike awareness.” (friendswithyou.com)
Rainbow City, Miami, November 2010
My Umbrella Music Box on display. When you open the umbrella, a windy, tinkling, chimey tune starts to play somewhere above the umbrella holder’s ears, only faintly discernible to others.
Materials used: hacked circuit of a Saw III audio-recording toy, a salvaged speaker, LED cocktail ice-cube, synthetic fur, taffeta, netting, nylon and a common umbrella. Special thanks to Jerry Serafin for his electronics expertise!
from Sianne Ngai’s “The Cuteness of the Avant-Garde “To use an everyday, ready-at-hand object as an example of commercially produced cuteness, this small and compact knickknack, a frog-shaped bath sponge (figs. 1a and 1b), shows how much the aesthetic depends on a softness that invites physical touching—or, to use a more provocative verb, fondling. It also demonstrates the centrality of anthropomorphism to cuteness. Yet while the object has been given a face and exaggerated gaze, what is striking is how stylistically simplified and even unformed its face is, as if cuteness were a sort of primitivism in its own right. Realist verisimilitude and precision are excluded in the making of cute objects, which have simple contours and little or no ornamentation or detail. The smaller and less formally articulated or more bloblike the object, the cuter it becomes—in part because smallness and blobbishness suggest greater malleability and thus a greater capacity for being handled. The bath sponge makes this especially clear because its purpose is explicitly to be pressed against the body and squished.
From here it is only a short step to see how the formal properties associated with cuteness — smallness, compactness, softness, simplicity, and pliancy— call forth specific affects: helplessness, pitifulness, and even despondency. There is thus a sense in which the minor taste concept of cuteness might be said to get at the process by which all taste concepts are formed and thus at the aesthetic relation all of them capture. For in addition to being a minor aesthetic concept that is fundamentally about minorness (in a way that, for instance, the concept of the glamorous is not), it is crucial to cuteness that its diminutive object has some sort of imposed-upon aspect or mien—that is, that it bears the look of an object not only formed but all too easily de-formed under the pressure of the subject’s feeling or attitude towards it. Though a glamorous object must not have this mien at all (in fact, the meta-aspect of looking as if its aspect were subjectively imposed would immediately break the Schein of glamour), the subject’s awareness, as she gazes at her little object, that shemaybe willfully imposing its cuteness upon it, is more likely to augment rather than detract from the aesthetic illusion, calling attention to an unusual degree of synonymy between objectification and cutification
We can thus start to see how cuteness might provoke ugly or aggressive feelings, as well as the expected tender or maternal ones. For in its exaggerated passivity and vulnerability, the cute object is as often intended to excite a consumer’s sadistic desires for mastery and control as much as his or her desire to cuddle.
Cakeland by Scott Hove: celebration of the artificial, of anxiety, delectability and beauty in danger
Hove’s work is unparalleled in his manner of viscerally soliciting contradictory emotions, both reptilian in their simplicity and existentially complex. You feel through the ramifications of the pieces rather than think through them: analysis through affect, perhaps a perennial goal of art and realized in Hove’s work with almost surgical precision.
interactive VR panorama: click on it to explore Cakeland!
from Scott Hove’s website mshove.com:
Cakeland is a series of sculptures and installations resembling perfect delicious cakes– wall mounted, hanging and standing– and walk-through cake environments complete with their own lighting. The sculptures have all of the appeal of the best cake you have ever tasted, but can never be eaten. The nature of edible cake is fleeting, lasting only as long as the brief celebration it was made for. These cakes last as long as the artist or society have the wherewithal to preserve them. Being such a destination of beauty, Cakeland requires that it be equipped with its own defense, because the reality of beauty and perfection is that people want to possess it. The sculptures, with their display of beauty and potential for satisfaction, lure the viewer into a sense of anticipation. The viewer will slowly notice that Cakeland contains defensive elements, not immediately seen, that create a sense of anxiety and fear. This in turn creates a visual and emotional resonance that is intended to represent what we all have to deal with in our lives everyday… the hunt for satisfaction, and the anxiety that we won’t get it. Cakeland is also a celebration of the artificial, and acknowledges our tendency to embrace the artificial in order to feel safe or receive emotional gratification. Cakeland also can serve as an analogue for the search for temporal love; the experience can be incredibly sweet and indulgent, punctuated by moments of insecurity and terror.
The sculptures are formed using carvable rigid polyurethane foam and plywood. The installations are constructed of cardboard, plywood, and any found object that has a suitable form. They are frosted with a variety of acrylic media, using traditional cake decorating tools, and accessorized with fake fruit and other objects found in stores or on the street.
The box will be covered in rich (probably pink, as you might have guessed) fabric and the video projected will be in stereo! The project hopefully should be finished by Xmas…
Working on the design for my next excursion into sound art and physical computing…
shots from a playtest of my installation, Almost Everything Can And Shall Be Cut – a next iteration will involve layering the plastic sheeting to produce stereoscopic effects when the second channel video is projected. For the first video displayed on the monitor, I’m thinking of setting up the plastic tent in a stairwell.
The most hardcore of mouse-traps on a human scale, with various inflamable materials, ballons, liquid helium, fire, bubble, tires, mutilated furniture, using the principles of inertia, wheeling in symetrical patterns, explosion, aerodynamics, the centripedal and centrifugal forces and many others. More grungy, more dangerous, more punk rock than the famous recent “This Too Shall Pass” video by OK Go, looking back at an experimental classic.
Inflatacookbook: 1970s alternative media/architecture collective Ant Farm’s instruction manual on how to create weirdly inhabitable inflatable structures
In the late 60’s and 70’s, the San Francisco hippie art and architecture collective known as Ant Farm were creating buildings out of giant inflatable plastic bags. Their 1969 work, 50×50′ Pillow for the Whole Earth Catalog led to the commission to build the medical tent–or as Ant Farmer Chip Lord called it, “the Bad Trip Pavilion”–at Altamont.
Ant Farm also created uncannily prescient work about things like the all-consuming, TV-driven, pop media culture and the American fetishization of cars. [They’re the ones who buried that row of Cadillacs nosefirst in the Texas desert.]
from Make Magazine:
“I had the pleasure of meeting and becoming friends with Ant Farm co-founder Doug Michels in the early ’90s. He was as delightfully crazy as ever, drawing up designs for spheres of water floating through space filled with dolphins, a Japanese sex theme park, a giant couch, called the National Sofa, in the park across from the White House, where people could come and interact with the First Family via the National TV set. This was definitely not a guy who liked to paint inside the lines. Sadly, Doug died in a freak climbing accident in 2003.”
A Photo Comic of my installation film: production stills from the shoot of Everything Can and Shall Be Cut
Some stills from the shoot of one of the videos for my new installation “Almost Everything Can and Shall Be Cut”
1. a balloon animal in a helpless position
2. the balloon animal in distress
3. a wig is powerless to keep the scissors at bay
4. the fate of the wig: stuffed in a blender
5. wig, ravaged , posing with its instrument of death
6. the slow decomposition of jello
7. the ice-cubes are handpicked for oblivion
8. a cube of polystyrene foam is tortured with a needle
9. green goo oozes from polystyrene’s wounds
10. a steak is posthumously fed with intraveinous liquid
11. a circuit board fears for its transistors
12. circuit board yields its last colorful breath
13. a pillow besides its own stuffing
14. exposing pillow’s inner flesh
15. the pink heart of pillow’s insides
screen test for my upcoming installation project “Almost Everything Can and Shall Be Cut” featuring one of its stars: jello in all its wiggly, jellyfishy glory. Other materials will include foam core, computer circuitry, ice cubes, wigs, balloon animals, steak, and furry pillows.
Floating Donuts and Pink Pipe Joints: preliminary models for my project to hybridize the novel and the playground
These sketches are first steps towards a visualization of my concept of “ambient narrative”. In this case, the book being read is inscribed in the walls of a warren of floating inflatable tunnels (suspended like a octopus-shaped air mattress from a ceiling), in the form of pressure sensors that, depending on the visitor’s ensconcement in a particular branch of the structure, trigger audio recordings of a story. Each chapter of the book can be accessed in a recombinant rhizomatic way – literally the visitor travels through the story, using her body, its movements and its rubbing against the plush fabric of the tunnels, as the decoding instrument that allows her to gather fragments of the hidden text. The story itself, called “In the Dark: The Story of a Disapearance” is an existential mystery or detective novel that is pieced together by the non-linear meanderings of the reader.
This two-channel installation piece examines the friction between texture and violence to bring us closer to the felt idea of flesh. The piece intends to question the relationship between affect and materiality, as well as the psychological economy of desire, destruction, and consumption by simultaneously making the viewer feel uncomfortable and viscerally involved.
A TV monitor presents us with a video of a hand performing different types of incisions using sharp and blunt metal instruments into a large array of materials. The monitor is covered with a loose “tent” of plastic sheeting, allowing the visitor a mysterious view of the video content through the blurring, glowing screen of the semi-transparent material. To get a closer look, the viewer has to unzip the tent’s opening and insert her head into an intimate space shared by the monitor.
The video is a loop of shot after shot of various texturally ambiguous materials or objects being clinically laid out on a chrome table while a hand, alternately gloved in vinyl or rubber gloves discovers the many methods by which each material can be cut up, destroyed, and divided and the specific instruments that do the job in the most satisfying or interesting way.
INCISION is preceded by a tactile prodding of the object followed by the MORCELLATION, FRAGMENTATION OF THE MATERIAL INTO ITS CONSTITUENT FORMS (filaments, bits, crumbs, slivers).The act of cutting can be smooth, swift : sensation of liberation, closure mixed with disquiet of violent end. The act of cutting can be difficult, messy, awkward: sensation of squeamish frustration. The viewer witnesses a Progression in the act of cutting: colorful liquid starts to OOZE out of the harmed materials (recalling old blood or water, displaying a viscous quality)
The second channel of the installation is rear projected onto a sheet of the same semi-transparent plastic wrapping that covered the monitor. The projection is a looping video of luridly colored organic textures (e.g. close-up of a beating heart, a time-lapse of growing mold). The video is processed into anaglyphic images to produce a stereoscopic effect, visible to the visitor with 3D glasses.