Posts Tagged ‘space’
Here is the latest draft of the experience design/ concept for my dissertation project, Polyangylene – simultaneously a projection mapping sculpture, a robotic interface and an audiovisual book.
Projection mapping is an evolving artform that so far has been mostly an insider phenomenon within the VJing and electronic festival scene, in spite of roots in the longstanding medium of theatrical design and the growing number of competitions and conferences that are dedicated to it (one the most prestigious being the annual Mapping Festival in Geneva). It is frequently paired with DJ acts or used as a promotional gimmick for slick ad campaigns. The medium achieves aesthetic effects, however, whose innovation and significance have not yet been adequately critically adressed. What is the future of projection mapping’s cultural impact? With its knack for transforming irregular surfaces into surreal architectures, it speaks to a new vision of urbanism and the city, as a polymorphous and playful space justified by its spectacular ambiance as much as by its functional value. If we imagine a daily life framed by these dynamic monumental sculptures, what different kinds of cognitive and emotional sensibilities will we see emerging?
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.
The SOUND club in Phuket, Thailand, features architecture that brings a literal meaning to the term immersive. With nothing but round angles, pod-like seating arrangements, curvy corridors and dreamy, shiny, deep blue surfaces, the club recreates a surreal aquarium atmosphere. One can only imagine the synesthetic possibilities if a DJ were to play minimal dubstep, ambient, or deep house. Club architecture is one of many sites of themed entertainment / art environments where the affective potentialities of space are being experimented with and explored. The hybrid nature of clubs as venues for both social and artistic enjoyment – the two functions brought together in a sensual, hedonistic spirit that transforms both the experience of the art and the experience of others – makes them fascinating grounds for architectural experimentation, bringing us back to a Vidler-like (The Architectural Uncanny) notion of architecture as the design of different kinds of in-habiting, of being in space.
Me posing in front of the set I designed for a viral video to promote Fox’s “Rise of Planet of the Apes”, coming out in August, directed by fellow USC Cinema student Thenmozhi Soundararajan. I created some scientific animations and projected them on three layers of scrims, to produce a 3D effect without the stereo. The whole thing is supposed to represent a TED talk from the future. The melty shape to the left is a brain. Awesomely, the fabric we used – voile – added a shimmery grain to what is otherwise an ordinary digital-looking 3D model…
take out your anaglyph glasses to view this in its full stereoscopic glory!
I did the art and sound for the game Gravity Cubes, with Matt Morris and Jason Mathias. Ours is the eerie world of semi-transparent cubes in which the gravity switches on the player every 30s. The game was realized in Unity and is the result of experimenting with what constitutes a compelling 3D space – it turns out transparency and reflections are particularly evocative in stereo, as the viewer receives a rich impression of the multiple layers of objects positioned at different depths.
Will be projecting 3D animation on a tower at Rhythm and Visions, a live cinema event featuring audiovisual collective D-Fuse
I will be projecting Nano Flow on the tower of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts building, a stereoscopic 3D animation visualizing a flow of nanobots as hybrids between machines, jewels and single cell organisms. The event will also feature audiovisual collective D-Fuse, artists, VJs and DJs Scott Pagano, Brian King, Trifonic, Brian LeBarton and MB Gordy.
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.
The bouncy 3D labyrinth with its electrocuted fuzzy fauna continues to be built…in stereo! A prototype arch and its puzzled subject pose for the game engine camera.
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
The obscure Renaissance scholar Athanasius Kircher’s fabulous system of magnetic divination: “The World is Tied with Secret Knots”
Hidden in sun-drenched Culver City, The Museum of Jurassic Technology is a hoax, an art installation of intimate and metaphysical magnitude, a labyrinth for the scholastic imagination and anything else you can dream of or wish for. Founded by the enigmatic David Hildebrand Wilson in 1989, susbequent recipient of a Mac Arthur “Genius” Grant in 2001 for this puzzling and original endeavour, the Museum is a cabinet of curiosities that tantalizingly frames tidbits of historical minutiae in a fabulous context, very much in the spirit of Mark Z. Danielewski’s legendary House of Leaves, also an ironic mise en abime of scholarly critique folded into an impossible (alhough imaginary) geometric space. Minuscule steroscopic projections visible through copper-articulated glass plates, documentary films with convoluted mystical narratives, whimsically lit diaoramas and glowing orbs: such is that place of perfect delight and incomprehension, the Museum of Jurassic Technology
The micromosaics of Harald Henry Dalton, visible only through a microscope
from the exhibit Lives of Perfect Creatures: Dogs of the Soviet Space Program
from the exhibit Garden of Eden on Wheels: Collections from Los Angeles Areas Mobile Parks
from the exhibit Rotten Luck: The Decaying Dice of Ricky Jay
Torus is a bouncing castle, an inflatable tunnel, a crawl space to rest and socialize, and a novel. After enjoying the buoyant properties of the platform at the center of the structure, revelers enter the darkly glowing, semi-translucent tunnel that circles the ring. Comfortably wide, and yet not large enough to allow you to stand up straight, the tunnel is a tautological maze that amusingly, gently disorients. Its elastic, squeaky walls have the consistency of a balloon and make for interesting reclining, lounging, splaying and contortion of limbs. Strangers meet as they crawl or wiggle through the tunnel: talk, experimentally intertwine, explore the space together. A system of fans keeps the air of the labyrinth adequately fresh and oxygenated.
The secret of Torus is in the speakers embedded in its walls: the tunnel is divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant broadcasts a section of a short novel narrated by the novel’s protagonist. Like in one of Borges’ fantastical stories, the novel has neither beginning nor end – it is literally a circle!
The torus itself is a geometrical object with fascinating psychological properties…sound travels elliptically through it, allowing visitors to experience the ambiance rather than the letter of the novel.
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.”
Think of these rides as INTERACTIVE SCULPTURES : again, breaking down the false-ontological barriers between the cultural practices of high art and “low” entertainment. pop culture is the avant-garde !
note how the documentation is edited to techno! The correlation with dance culture is a phenomenological one.
Matthew Barney, Cremaster I
text: Margaret Morse, Video installation Art: The Body, the Image, and the Space-in-Between
Morse evokes a piece by Muntadas called haute CULTURE Part I, in which two monitors are placed on each end of a seesaw, thereby making an elegant point, couched in physical terms (physical even as in “physics”, since gravity is employed as an artistic device) about the act of comparing both sets of images. This piece offers an example of what Morse calls “kinesthetic” learning, or the kind of information processing and intuition specific to our perception of the organization of objects in space. Kinesthetic perception is synesthetic and active – it involves visuality, sound, and the haptic in a way that allows each sensorial input to complement, suffuse and correspond to another, and using the entire body, including its own position in space relative to other objects, as a sensory organ. The kinesthetic subject is always hyper-aware of her body/herself as key element in the epistemological puzzle posed by the installation piece: all the meaning that can be gleaned from a space must bounce off of her, her critical interpretation changes and accrues only according to her own changing orientation in space. This unfolding signification is also temporally grounded – in fact kinesthetic appreciation can be defined as a temporalized experience of space, a strange, subliminal experience in which we both critically stand outside ourselves to consider ourselves-within-the-world and have an acute consciousness of inhabiting our bodies, of being materially and psychically connected to the outside world. Morse’s term of “body ego” encapsulates this awareness of oneself as an entity, something that participates in both the object and the subject.
Going back to Muntadas’ seesaw, we can see how the artist’s physical demonstration of a conceptual relationship between the two objects/monitors offers us a uniquely visceral insight into an a priori realm of abstract and critical thought. The kinesthetic argument being made is playful – an analogy more than a declaration. Using the evocative power of objects and their wealth of cultural denotations, an artist can articulate kinesthetic phrases, in which different objects constitute a semantic content and their relative positions (taking into account the multiple trajectories of the visitor) operate as syntax. Objects are further mis-en-abime within the virtual windows of screens and video channels – kinesthetic art erases to a certain degree the ontological difference between what is represented (screen-based) and what is presented (anchored in physical space). The resulting aesthetic and epistemological experience is intuitive and multidimensional, blurring the boundaries between thinking and feeling.
Using Benedict Anderson’s concept of imagined communities as virtual loci that gather individuals into a common cultural space,Susan Douglas (Listening In) reads radio in terms of its capacity, as a social practice, to uniquely constitute (American) subjectivity. Radio’s most obvious affordance is that it allows people separated in space to listen simultaneously, “to experience that very moment of (their) lives in exactly the same way” (p.24). Douglas argues the new medium gave rise to an unprecedented kind of intersubjective intimacy – a linking of inner worlds that occurred not through a meeting of the minds (radio listeners remain anonymous to each other) but by sharing a common (cultural, technological) platform for fantasy.
Radio listeners are bonded by a specific practice of self: as thousands tune in to the same Top 40 song, they cross over together and for a moment into a temporality different from their distracted, fragmented present and experience time as a (musical) signature, as an embodied flow. For the duration of a song, radio holds out the possibility to a fragmented collectivity to perceive themselves as a unique, flavorful being – the kind of communion achieved is not one that can gather a community (radio listeners are experiencing themselves, very closely, rather than experiencing others) but that produces similar and separated subjectivities. Radio-listening Americans live apart but dream together.
Here Douglas’ concept of “dimensional” listening, as radio’s purported affordance that encourages listeners to generate their own powerful imagery to compensate for the absence of a visual world, enters into play. If other media like cinema, where worlds are “given” to the audience for consumption, constitute a vault of imaginary material, then radio trains the subject in the practice of a specific type of imagination, setting up the scaffolding for an inner space that we can freely populate. To “develop an ear for radio” means to gain access to “a repertoire of listening styles and emotional responses”, to be attuned to different inner worlds that we can switch on or off (in this sense, prefiguring the advent of portable music players as mood-regulating devices). In the 20s before regular programming this might mean tuning in to imagine a ionospheric topology projected from the disparate stations the ham could reel in; in the 30s it could mean regularly conjuring the presence of an entire cast of fictional characters from a soap drama. Douglas argues that in exploring the “spaces” of sound – by promenading our consciousness through the rippling folds of rhythm or timbre in music, by stalking the unfolding story of a voice – we are really spelunking in our own depths.
The term “training” characterizes the kind of self-building radio enables in the sense that listeners (according to Douglas) become emotionally attached to broadcast material, especially if they hear it repeatedly: “the more we listen to certain kinds of music, the more we learn to like it.” (p. 32) – in a quite neurological way, Top 40 songs imprint themselves on our mind, giving shape to our subjectivity. This emotional sculpting modifies the listener’s sense of time in significant ways. Radio creates privileged temporal moments for the listener, a more intense experience of the present that accompanies the listener’s exploration of their inner space. Over the course of a life, these privileged moments call to and ricochet off one another – mental states or moods jump across one’s temporality, seeding the self with fragments of past incarnations, reliquary fantasies. Douglas emphasizes that radio almost from the beginning was marked by nostalgia, by the longing for a disappeared moment that a broadcast song could briefly bring back into the present. In this sense dimensional listening is not dissociable from another term Douglas uses, “associational” listening, or the forging of correspondences between the flow of our lives and the soundtrack that accompanies it, meaning that daily routines – e.g. doing laundry while listening to a jazz tune on the radio – are dyed with the color of a sound that can make an initially undifferentiated slice of everydayness remarkable. This quality in radio emerges from its difference from the gramophone as a listening practice – the fact that radio temporally mapped out a listener’s day (starting with regular programming) with scheduled sound. As manufactured sound and especially music became ambient (as consequence of ubiquity) they started exercising an unprecedented level of influence on people’s lives.
Douglas also investigates the fascinating history of the beginnings of radio and the social significance accorded the new technology at its inception, particularly around the relationship between radio and a collective desire for the existence of a tangible spiritual dimension, a longing for the unchartered and unknown that characterized both radio’s marketing as a mechanical “medium” (a notion that interestingly recontextualizes media in terms of spiritism) and the practice of DXing. Radio uncannily symbolized, more than the phonograph which was an inscription device, the utopian possibilities of technology as interface between different ontological realms, as a transducer that could allow for communication between what was previously considered incommensurable: the living and the dead, humanity and the extraterrestrial, invisible world of the airwaves, two individuals separated by vast distances. Douglas points out that in endowing radio with this mystique Americans were engaging in a search for meaningful connection, a sense of existential and communal belonging that, at least in the collective Western imaginary, had been lost in the turn to mechanized, serialized, fragmented modern life. DXers, poetically dubbed “distance fiends”, developed a form of radio practice that engaged the technology not only as a commodity fetish but also as, literally, a medium, a means of accessing different possibilities of signification through the exploratory use of the technology’s affordances. Before the more commoditized modes of dimensional and associational listening, tuning in to the radio was also a game played across the virtual landscape of the airwaves as DXers would fish for the disembodied voices that stood in for real-world localities.
Douglas’ discussion of DXing as a poetic practice weaves into her general investigation of radio not only as a locus for a cultural imaginary but as a technology that crucially enables imagination – which raises questions as to how other sound technologies have been and might be imaginatively used. If the commodity-use of the record, the tape, the MP3 player have trained us to meaningfully experience sound in certain ways that have constituted our subjectivities according to certain common cultural (capitalist) patterns, then what other cultures (and other subjectivities) with potential to challenge or re-organize capitalism emerge as a result of exploratory, imaginative use? Radio leads us into a consideration of contemporary countercultural (but also massively embraced!) practices around sound technology, namely DJ and remix culture…
“Why can’t we have an aesthetic language of composition for the sense of touch using vibration?”
Allan Kaprow: “Happenings” in the New York Scene
Andy Warhol's "Exploding Plastic Inevitable"
“In both cases the interactive method comes from outside the community, and because the organizing principles are not within the audience’s sphere of influence, one might next ask whether interactivity of either of these sorts actually goes beyond what Jean Baudrillard calls “reversibility” – processes like sending letters to the editor to the newspaper – and rearranges communication in a fundamental way”. What if participants designed their own game and own rules as part of the game?
“…when bang! there you are facing yourself in a mirror jammed at you. Listen. A cough from the alley. You giggle because you’re afraid, suffer claustrophobia, talk to someone nonchalantly, but all the time you’re there, getting into the act…Electric fans start, gently wafting breezes of New-Car smell past your nose as leaves bury piles of a whining, burping, foul, pinky mess”.
“…they appear to go nowhere and do not make any particular literary point”. Because instead they create experience.
“First, there is the context…that is, its “habitat“, gives to it not only a space, a set of relationships to the various things around it, and a range of values, but an overall atmosphere as well, which penetrates it and whoever experiences it.”
Soke Dinkla: “participation is located along a fragile border between emancipatory act and manipulation”. where do I stand on this?
Sartre in Nausea on the construction of human situations
gallery: taste :: happening: dirty
“…a flimsily jotted down score of root directions”
“chance then, rather than spontaneity, is a key term, for it implies risk and fear (thus reestablishing the fine nervousness so pleasant when something is about to occur)”
(People having to waddle through a room filled with garbage)
“But it could be like slipping on a banana peel or going to heaven“
“The physical materials used to create the environment of Happenings are the most perishable kind”
“they reveal a spirit that is at once passive in its acceptance of what may be and affirmative in its disregard of security.”
“A STATE OF MIND”