Posts Tagged ‘SuperObject’
Posting this amazing glimpse into iMappening 2014, the Media Arts and Practice PhD program’s annual show, at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Polyangylene and Book of Luna (with Clea T. Waite) make a colorful appearance!
Book of Luna…
The iMappenning catalog…
The sculpture of found objects with tests projections was presented at the Media Arts and Practice division’s annual exhibition, iMappening. The test projections give a good idea of the effect of animation on the very disparate textures of the objects. The bear particularly, with its fluffy, silky coat, was mesmerizing to watch. Reactions were enthusiastic, especially from the youngest visitors! I think it can legitimately qualify as an “attraction”. Adults, more discriminating, would walk around the sculpture to peer at individual configurations of objects, attached together, often in aerodynamic and precarious configurations, through armature wires inserted into chains of objects.
Assistant Dean Michael Renov qualified the 3D collages as surrealist, which actually led me into a whole theoretical investigation for my dissertation over the summer. The sculpture is not quite finished – as you can see, the two by fours that serve as its support structure are still visible and I am currently experimenting with different filler materials such as ping pong balls and styrofoam pellets to created a topologically interesting landscape around the objects.
I also designed the poster, catalogue and postcards for the exhibition – the steampunk/Muybridge unicorn being of course the perfect allegory for the Media Arts and Practice program!
One of the prototype bots for Polyangylene! This creature is a hexapod with six hips and six knees, able to navigate its environment by detecting obstacles through ultrasonic radar. For now, its walking functions are limited to forward and reverse, but I’ll be adding more interesting behaviors to Hex (hard not to give it a name)…including dancing and swarming.
I had to re-blog this post from Colossal. This is a mockumentary by German digital artist Till Nowak about impossible theme park rides built as centrifugal experiments to maximize human intelligence. The architectural renderings are simply mind-blowing – and treated with a hilarious retro 80s filter. I can imagine another life for these designs in some immersive stereoscopic game.
I always have a soft spot in my heart for virtuosity that doesn’t take itself seriously. In the words of the disturbed narrator, “these machines provide total freedom, cutting you off from all connections to the world you live in: communication…responsibility…weight. Everything is on hold while you are being centrifuged.” Well said.
This is the new jellyfish and insect inspired design for the Polyangylene robots! They use a hexapod chassis base and an Arduino microcontroller. The glowy letters are shaped with el-wire, a beautiful, flexible material that gives you neon without the expensive glass-blowing part. The bots navigate their environment thanks to two ultrasonic sensors and communicate with participants through a microphone and flex sensors hidden in their feather/tentacle neck ruff. They communicate with each other through Xbee radio signals. These bots also have a fondness for synchronized dance moves…
Here are shots of the objects I have been gathering and painting white for the Polyangylene sculpture. Polyangylene, my dissertation project, is an interactive installation that consists of a sculpture of found objects onto which I project animations that transform these objects into colorful kinetic stages/props for mini-narratives that are also projected, as text, onto the sculpture. If you are interested in hearing more about Polyangylene, please explore the “bio+” section of the blog!
The origin of these objects is varied: found on the street, in my apartment, at swapmeets, dollar stores…
For some reason, I ended picking up a lot of old toys. Perhaps because toys connote triviality, ubiquity and ordinariness (key qualities in the objects I was looking for) while escaping the type of fixed meaning that functional objects tend to be pigeonholed with. Toys also tend to have pretty weird and interesting shapes. Phones, laptops, printers and monitors also found their way in because they have become, as much as cleaning brushes and cheap ornaments, the material backdrops of our lives. They also have screens – useful for creating this effect of a projection within a projection or story within story that I want to explore in the piece.
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?
Tony Oursler is a contemporary example of the type of technologist-entertainers art historian Barbara Stafford calls “technomancers”, scientifically informed thaumaturges that use digital effects to produce heightened sensorial experiences that bring the visitor to the brink of the spiritually bizarre. A wonderland of spectral apparitions, Oursler’s work is where garden meets cutting edge projection trickery, using sculpture as an animated surface, thrusting dimensional color in the dark space of the gallery. Under the guise of avant garde multimedia, eminently contemporary, art, Oursler’s work most closely resembles the 18th century phantasmagoria shows of Jean-Gaspard Robertson, who awed post-Revolutionary Paris with his elaborate magic lantern technology, projecting the wispy ghosts of guillotined aristocrats onto mirrors and smoke in the ruins of a convent, showcased by a performance that incorporated newly discovered electrical effects and a “magical” ritual inspired by the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries. Oursler’s installations are less interactive, but demonstrate the same fascination with the spectral transformation and deformation of the human form: bubble heads with giant eyes and mouth, decapitated talking heads, heads wreathed in vapours, flickering lights.
Mr. Cartoon’s delicious “Ice-Cream Truck” installation at the Los Angeles MOCA “Art in the Streets” exhibit is a paean to L.A. lowrider culture and the city’s cult of hedonism and entertainment. This exultant spectacle is proudly entrenched in the anti-pristine context of LA.’s mythically degraded urbanism. Mr. Cartoon’s revamped, tricked-out symbology is intoxicating: clown-faced, trench-coated policemen, the billowing, whirling orange smog that evokes ice-cream soda foam, the lowriding cadillacs morphing into dripping banana splits with pin-up bunny-face girls lounging in the back seats, and, most syrupy-caustic of all, the “illegal alien”, a sombrero-ed, mustachoed little green man on a popsicle stick. The truck is decked out with colorful video on lowrider culture and shown in a shallow pool of candy. Rarely has the city’s (or pop culture’s, for that matter) heady cocktail of subculture, politics, and flashy style found such viscerally pleasurable and yet mordant expression in Mr.Cartoon’s graffiti poem of sex, pollution, sugar and violence.
Beijing’s Aquatic Center constructed for the 2008 Olympics, aptly nicknamed the “Water Cube”, is a neo-Baroque folly whose skin consists of inflatable PVC bubbles wired with LEDs. As this video attests, the Water Cube emerges from the cityscape as a glowing, perpetually morphing mirage, casually radiating wonder amidst the more ordinary architecture of streetlights, trees, and apartment buildings. It is a hybrid entity that is both media and urban object – a 3 dimensional LED wall transformed into a building, or a gigantic inflatable light art installation put to public use. The Water Cube also participates in a neon aesthetic that has transformed the nighttime urban landscape from Vegas to Burning Man, to Wong Kar Wai’s movies, returning us to the industrial fascination for artificial lighting, recalling the phantasmagoria of the Electricity Pavillion at the 1900 World Fair. To what future avatar of the city does the Water Cube point to? The city as a topography of dimensional live, reactive, interactive wallpaper? An erasure of shape, the evaporation of mass into glittering, diaphanous texture? What is life in the Water Cube – a dream, a journey into hallucinatory spaces, a fairy tale, a series of sensorial electrocutions, a diversion, a hypnotic well?
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.
We know about building imaginary worlds but who are these worldless vinyl characters? Unless they parade their worlds on their splattered, plastic bodies. More than just monsters or aliens, they express some baroque juxtaposition of the object, the animal, the cosmos and the anthropomorphic. Incredibly emotional and responsive, they point to a region of affect beyond the human, to the moods and projections we read into our devices, furniture, urban spaces, and favorite media universes.
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.
Working on the design for my next excursion into sound art and physical computing…
Bumblephone is a design for a large scale interactive installation. Collaborators: Lauren Fenton, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Veronica Paredes, Gabriel Peters-Lazaro, and Laila Sakr. It was originally proposed for IndieCade’s Temporary Installation 2010 in Culver City.
In Bumblephone participants speak to each other through giant phonograph-shaped flower pods, triggering a mischievous aural remix that blends their intimate interactions with the ghostly sounds of cinematic and videogame history. Composed of four fluted canopies that hang from a central stalk, the piece is designed to evoke experiences of intimacy, memory, and a playful rearrangement of history. Visitors can whisper to one another through tube-like apparatuses that resemble the reproductive organs of a flower.
When someone speaks into one of the tubes, the “organism” interjects by echoing back the participant’s words and mixing real-time communication between visitors with sound segments composed of memorable lines, refrains, sound effects, and dialogues culled from histories of cinema and video games. In massaging these soundtracks into a dialogue with its visitors, Bumblephone gives rise to delightful surprises, stimulating confusions, and uncanny presences. By designing these flower-shaped objects to be suggestive of multiple forms — a camera, a projector, a telephone, a phonograph-horn, and an interactive organism — we encourage visitors to think about the ways that various technologies tend to absorb and respond to one another.
We will assemble the frame of this evocative structure using aluminum tubing for the supportive structure and lighter PVC and wire for the sound flowers. A central pole will be secured by four tension cables, supporting a hollow aluminum platform, in which a laptop and a mixer will be housed. A hollow aluminum ring circles the platform, connecting the two curved aluminum tubes that serve both as support for the flowers and carriers of sound from flower to flower. Visitors speak into a microphone that amplifies the sound within the tubes and also records their speech, prompting the Voce speech recognition platform to decode participants’ utterances — looking for keyword matches within a library of lines from noteworthy films. A positive recognition will trigger a Processing program to playback sound from these particular filmic moments. In addition, sound recognition sensors will trigger the Processing program to translate the participants’ voices into sound effects from a library that includes classic video game sounds.
The sound flowers themselves will be assembled using thick copper wire sheather in clear colored PVC tubing, while their decorative buds/stems that link them to the aluminum structure will be composed of molded PVC. To make them sound proof, clear vinyl upholstery fabric will cover the flowers’ wireframe.
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.