November 24, 2008

The 11th International Architecture Exhibition, Out There: Architecture Beyond Building, at the Venice Biennale which closed yesterday the 23rd November 2008 had an interesting installation entitled Maeve (image above and video below) which was developed by the Interface Design team of the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam. The installation was created with Processing and reacTIVision (of Reactable fame) along with several other technologies.

The website for the installation provides some great documentation. It described the work as connecting:

the entries of the Everyville student competition and puts them into the larger context of MACE ( content and metadata…The installation consists of an interactive surface and a large projection area. While users are interacting with the contents of the installation on the interactive surface, the network and the media files are displayed on the large projection…If a card is placed on the interactive surface, a contextual space is opened around the project. Within this space, media files, related projects and keywords are visualized. When a second card is placed on the surface, the space turns into a network displaying similarities between the projects…interaction with the cards is not limited to the one person, entire groups and teams can explore the content together.

Below is an image illustrating the table interface of the installation with a video of its workings.

Originally seen on the Processing website.

Posted by: Garrett @ 8:46 pm
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November 16, 2008

EPROM by Alberto Tadiello consists of ten music boxes driven by little electrical engines and a transformer. Not very network like as a work of art in function but the reason I’m posting this is because I’m fascinated by this style of visual presentation which employs the cabling and mechanics of the work as part of the art itself. This attitude of ‘hide nothing’ seems to currently be a very popular way of showing contemporary and new media art. Other examples I’ve posted here include Taiwa-Hensokuki, Relay Works, Line, Vacuum Filaments, Earphones, Distant Views and Crash and Bloom.

I’ve mixed feelings about whether this technique is useful. I like the visual network aesthetic but does revealing all, well reveal too much? Does allowing the user / viewer to understand the works workings in this almost scientific diagram style add to their understanding of the works themes / ideas? Or does it simply take away the magic that should remain hidden in this type of work?

Originally seen at VVork.

Posted by: Garrett @ 11:02 pm
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November 15, 2008
Arithmetik Garden

Arithmetik Garden by Sato Masahiko and Kiriyama Takashi is another work which was exhibited at ICC in Tokyo last year, this time as part of the Open Space. Users enter the garden with a numbered RFID smart card:

Passing through the gates (with the calculating formulas shown) starts the “garden’s” calculations of your number. When their sum becomes exactly 73, you are finished, and can leave the “garden.” “Arithmetik Garden” was created to substitute a concrete idea of calculation for our usual abstract one. Becoming numbers ourselves allows us to experience calculating and being calculated via the position of our own bodies in this space.

Posted by: Garrett @ 11:06 pm
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November 9, 2008
The Portrait in a Mirror

The Portrait in a Mirror was a work I spotted yesterday when I posted about Taiwa-Hensokuki by Yuko Mohri. Both formed part of an exhibited entitled Extended Senses at ICC in Tokyo last year. Created by Kim Dongho, Yim Sungyul and Kang Kyung-Kyu, the installation changes the appearance of the approaching user.

Through analysis by a video camera and image sensor, the image of the visitor is displayed on a mirror-type LCD monitor. The style of the image that appears is determined by the distance between the work and the visitor. As the visitor approaches, his image changes from an ordinary mirror image to something like a painting. This work explores a new approach to portraiture in the digital age.

Not overly awed with this particular work I do have an interest in how mirrors and new media can be used to distort connections / relationships between the ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ – essentially blur distinctions between representations and simulations. Some similar work includes M_M_, Miroir Aux Silhouettes, a_mirror, MirrorSpace, Reface [Portrait Sequencer] and MotionMirror.

Posted by: Garrett @ 8:42 pm
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November 8, 2008
Computers in Conversation

Two installation works which employ two computers each to generate a dialogue.

Taiwa-Hensokuki (image above) by Yuko Mohri is an installation consisting of two computers which converse. The computers:

each equipped with speech synthesis software and speech recognition software, interact: the text that one computer reads aloud is analyzed by the other, which reads out the results for the other to analyze. That process is repeated throughout the day, during which the text gradually mutates.

Permanent Vacation (image above) by Cory Arcangel consists of two computers which endlessly bounce auto-replies to each other saying their user is away. The audience are not permitted to see the emails themselves just the inbox’s of the users who every so often hear the hear ding of a new email arriving. Marisa Olson’s review on rhizome questions:

Could this exchange go on forever?

It seems it could continue until the network connection is broken, the computer runs out of space or is shut down however what I’m curious about is how did the exchange start? Surely it was initiated by one user at one of the computers? So is this a statement about the break down of user communication or the lack of any real intelligence in automated systems?

Some related personal work, Video Network #1: Dialogues, while not text/language based does create a dialogue between two parts of the installation.

Originally seen at Neural and Rhizome.

Posted by: Garrett @ 1:35 pm
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