September 26, 2008

Brecht is an interesting performance software created by Alex Dragulescu which mixes rather than separates the performers interface and the projected visuals seen by the audience. This is a trend of late in performance which has primarily taken the form of live coding performances. Brecht does this but uses the live coding both as a means to retrieve content from a database for visual use and textually as part of the visuals:

An unique feature of Brecht is the command shell which is superimposed over the visuals generated live from junk data. Queries and code typed in real-time, logs of server transactions and syntax errors transcend their textual form and become narrative gestures. The process of navigating the database becomes transparent, contrasting the way databases exist today: an ubiquitous, yet hidden cultural form.

Posted by: Garrett @ 8:48 pm
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September 24, 2008
Network Touch

Network Touch (image above, video below) by Galen Scorer is a networked performance / installation involving two participants communicating through gesture. The work has similarities to works by Paul Sermon (i.e. Telematic Vision and Telematic Encounter). Here’s a description of the work:

At the moment of touch we give reference to our self and to our surrounding. Touch not only spatially orients us but also symbolically orients ourselves to another. The idea of a Network Touch plays on the possibilities and impossibilities of this moment in cyberspace where two people try and make a haptic connection. The video streams of two cameras from two distant locations are stitched together to form a single image. Using customized software, these images appear to join seamlessly. In both locations a users hand enters into the video space. As they reach their hand into the space they also see the hand of someone else reaching out to touch their hand. As the two hands move closer together and finally make contact, sounds and words are triggered signifying that moment of contact. The two participants playfully ‘touch’ and create music off of each other, poetically giving a new form and understanding to reference.

Posted by: Garrett @ 5:15 pm
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September 22, 2008

more and more

more&more (image above of the performance, image below of the software) is a performance by Hans W. Koch for an infinite number of laptops, playing without a pa. The performance uses software built in max/msp which progressively crashes the computer it resides on and in so doing creates a unique performance.

in failing, the machines produce sounds, impossible to obtain with mere software. each participant has the same program installed on his machine, which progressively overloads it: new windows are created in random positions and colours, each representing a simple fm-synthesizer. after a while, the computers start choking, dropping and/or distorting sound, the window creation stumbles. when the computers produce almost no sound anymore, the piece terminates by all participants purposely crashing the software…each window contains a synthesizer, represented by the shape of an envelope and producing a random fm-sound. at first, creation of windows and sound is synchronized. after a while, the computers start choking, first the beat gets irregular, then sound starts dropping and/or distorting, the creation of window stumbles. the longer the process runs, the more the computers become silent, resorting to emitting random pops and clicks once in a while, stuttering in visuals, trying to catch up with an impossible task.

more and more

Originally seen at VVork

Posted by: Garrett @ 8:00 pm
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September 20, 2008
Orit Zuckerman’s portraiture works

Orit Zuckerman creates interactive portraiture works, some of which at first glance seem to reference popular culture such as The Brady Brunch title sequence (watch it and you’ll see what I mean) or the format used in The Hollywood Squares, but which explore ideas of behavior and mediated social interaction.

Spotlight (image above, video of the installation here) which exists in two versions, the original and the version commissioned by British Telecomm, is a photographic installation:

of 16 interactive portraits. Each portrait has a set of 9 “temporal gestures” – photographic-quality sequences of human gestures such as “looking up”. The portraits are networked, and placed in a 4X4 layout. Every few seconds, a randomly selected portrait is looking towards a neighboring portrait. In turn, the neighboring portrait will look back. To a viewer of the installation, these “random discussions” create a sense of “social dynamics”. The viewer can interrupt the group dynamics at any time, by selecting one of the 16 portraits. The remaining 15 portraits automatically react and direct their attention to the viewer-selected portrait, which reacts with a special gesture – “being the center of attention”. Using a combination of interaction techniques, Spotlight engages the viewer at two levels. At the group level, the viewer influences the portraits “social dynamics”. At the individual level, a portrait’s “temporal gestures” expose much about the subject’s personality.

Influence (image above, video here) is another interactive photographic installation which this time employs interaction as its trigger rather than as a means of interrupting process. The work visualises:

how collective behavior emerges from decentralized interaction in a small social network. Individual people are affected by the behavior of people around them, and as a result, they influence the people around them as well…This interactive video piece presents 16 people as black and white “moving portraits”. Each portrait has a set of gestures, such as looking to the right, looking to the left, yawning, falling a sleep etc. Each portrait has a predefined threshold level for “catching the yawn virus” from a neighbor portrait. The viewer interacts with the portraits by selecting the first portrait that will yawn. The first yawn starts a unique chain reaction of yawning, based on the predefined threshold levels and some randomness. A cycle ends when the “yawn virus” has finished spreading. Portraits that yawned “fall asleep”. A cycle might end with some portraits unaffected just as people resist influence in real life. At each cycle, the yawn spreads among the portraits at different patterns and rates.

Evocative Portrait (image above, video here) tackles the idea of an interactive portrait in a slightly more classical sense. It has a few comparisons such as Miroir Aux Silhouettes, a_mirror, MirrorSpace, Reface [Portrait Sequencer], however while many of these deal with reflected portraits / self-portraits, Evocative Portrait attempts to take the classic genre of portraiture, that is depicting a sitter / portraying their identity and providing the user of the portrait with a unique experience whether it be through interaction (as is the case here) or another means, closer in fact to the aims of perpetual.portrait.

In this era of video games and 3d computer graphics characters, people are used to interacting with computer-generated personalities. Although these characters are quite realistic in their movements and behaviors, the interactivity they offer to a user has so far been very one-dimensional and simplistic…The aim of the Evocative Portrait project is to advance the state of the art by offering a more open-ended engaging interaction with a character…A picture frame displays a black-and-white picture of a person. When a viewer approaches this portrait, the character in the portrait starts interacting with the viewer. The character portrayed in the portrait is “believable” in the same sense that characters in non-interactive media are (characters in theater, books and movies), but in addition the character can be highly interactive and the viewer-character interactivity can be quite complex.

Posted by: Garrett @ 10:25 am
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September 19, 2008

Crackle-canvas is some great performance work by Tom Verbruggen which has manifested itself in a number of different versions. The work is essentially a series of built / circuitbent devices which when patched or networked together produce sounds that can be manipulated in live performance. For examples of this see the videos below (in the last video Tom talks about his work before performing) or Tom’s YouTube profile.

Above: Crackle-canvas#1

Above: Crackle-canvas/ Primary

Above: Tom Verbruggen performance in Bristol

For similar work see Douglas Irving Repetto’s Crash and Bloom.

Posted by: Garrett @ 12:08 pm
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