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Katie Anderson-Kelly

Page history last edited by Katie Anderson-Kelly 13 years, 1 month ago



Sept 15

Things I've been checking out in my search for an artist to talk about:

ANDREW CHASE - is just amazing.I'm going to come back tomorrow and add a photograph of his work, but right now it's escaping me as to just how I go about doing that.


edit: here we go



He makes his work out of old car parts and pieces of plumbing, and they're fully articulated (but not, it appears, automated). If you poke around a bit, there is a nice stop motion of this cheetah running, and photographs of his elephant hefting things. 


Sept 16

Still can't work out how to add a photo, but these automata are really interesting - made by Pierre Jaquet-Droz in the late 1700s as advertisements for his clock making business. 





Sept 20


For anyone interested in automata - until the end of this month, there is a free pdf download of a mechanisms booklet by Paul Spooner avaliable here. You have to add it to your cart and check it out, but it is free :)   


Sept 21



Matt Kirkland is a man after my own heart. He likes to disembowel electronic toys. 


This automata blog is also quite interesting, and is turning up some intruiging links - such as this beetlebot... 



Sept 28

I am probably going to spend most of tomorrow exploring this ridiculously huge list of anamatronicy links




Oct 2 (just so you know, the wiki is completely unstable today. I only get to insert one link per safari window - the second link always crashes the browser. Yippee!)


A list of things that are very cool, as discovered when searching for something amazing enough to tell the whole class about in excruciating detail.


-  Lots of Karolina Sobecka's work is pretty nifty. I particularly like Sniff  - A projection of a dog that interacts with viewers and tries to get them to play with it (can't link, stupid website. It's the 2nd from the top in the list).


- A friend put me on to Machine Project, who do some really interesting things. It mostly seems to be performance art, with a dabbling of sound and a dash of electronics as well. See: Machine for Tapping Eggs.

They also have a book about their recent show, which is also available as a free pdf


- Speaking of performance art, my recent hours spent trawling the internet trying to discover what the digital version of street art is, dredged up a faint memory of some crazy dude with  graffiti writing bicycle. Turns out that guy was Joshua Kinberg, who launched a project called Bikes Against Bush as a protest during the 2004 Republican National Convention. The gist of the idea is that he invented a bicycle mounted device that was basically a dot matrix printer. As he rode, the printer would spray chalk onto the sidewalk, spelling out anti-bush sentiments that were sms'd in by participants (the sms's went through a vetting process, so it was not a live feed). Well, it would have done - had he not been arrested on the morning the convention started, and had his computer, the device, and his bicycle confiscated and held as evidence. Evidence of committing the crime of graffiti (ie, property damage), even though his printer used water soluble chalk dust as a medium. Suspicious,  much.


- As I was musing about this, North mentioned the Institute for Applied Autonomy, who do similar things - they have a graffiti writing robot and a graffiti writing van. While they are much more high-tech than Joshua Kinberg, I don't find their work as engaging and their website is a dull read. I do love their piece Little Brother, though. The literature dispensing robot - he's adorable.



- On a completely different track, we have Glenn Marshall and his ongoing Butterfly and Music is Math projects. These were actually my first exposure ever to Processing (which is an amazing language that you should all learn and love forever.) This is his piece Eyegasm:

Which is pretty cool, but you should check out the rest of the stuff on his vimeo as well. 



- And finally, this brings us in a round about way to Jer Thorpe, who is pretty much my hero. I was hoping to find something new and shiny to tell you all about, but I just adore this guy's work so much I kept coming back to him... I wanted to look at someone who has really influenced me, and it came down to a choice between this guy and my sister (the amazing mechanical dinosaur puppetmaker extraordinaire), and to be honest, he has better pictures.


More on him tomorrow, the wiki keeps crashing on me today so I'm stopping before I start pulling my hair out. 


A picture of one of my sister's puppets. She designs/builds prototypes for the company Erth, and her dinosaurs are in museums all over the world now. There is a puppeteer acting as the hind legs, and there are mechanisms to control the movement of the head, jaw, and forelegs. 




October 3



Strange Patterns: Using an algorithm to produce a basic pattern.  


Warpaint: The map of a battle between particle armies. A sketch based around behavioral programming - something Thorpe has done several examples of, but I don't find them very interesting. Other examples include Smart Rockets and DarwInstruments, if anyone wants to look into that sort of stuff.



EdLab Sketch. This is a processing sketch that is visualising the processing.org community. Very Meta. Done as part of his residency at EdLab in NYC.


Petals creates samples images and uses their colour information to create an arrangement of flowers. Users are able to imput either a URL, or a string of keywords that Petals will then use to source images from Flickr. Plumage is a variant of Petals. Both were built using Actionscript.


NDNAD Infographic for Wired UK. This visualisation was made in processing, using data taken from the National DNA Database (UK). It was commissioned by WIRED UK, and I have no idea what information it is meant to convey but it is very pretty. Apparently it is made up of 5 million dots, each representing a profile from the NDNAD, but I am not sure what rules he has applied to them.



Barabasi Lab and Wired UK - again, commissioned by WIRED UK. These two visualisations were made from a dataset of the anonymized mobile phone records of 10 million people in the EU. The uppermost one shows a visualisation of a subset of 10,000 users, sorted by the amount of time they spend on the phone; and the lower one shows the movement patterns of users, based on the locations they make calls from. A very indepth writeup of this project is avaliable here.


Haiti/Avatar. Thorpe calcuated how many "Avatar Minutes" the aid donated to Haiti was worth, and broke this down by country. One "avatar minute", is approximately 5c (162 minute running time at $8.50 per ticket); and this was then multiplied by the "per person" donation ratio from each country (total governmental aid/total population of country). A full explicit breakdown can be seen here; and the original blog post (plus controversy in comments), is here. Many of the figures were taken from this post on the Guardian Data Blog (an excellent, if intermittent, resource).  



Visualising the Guardian - One of the many excellent things Jer Thorpe does is write simple, helpful tutorials for doing very cool things. This is a visualisation he made as part of his experiments accessing the Guardian's API (the full tutorial is here).



Tokyo | Cairo - visualising a much more complicated set of text. This is comparing the text of two speeches given by President Obama, highting which words were used in both speeches (the ones in the middle), and which were used most often (the largest).



NYTimes 365/360 - is a series of visualisations that chart the "top organizations and people" of each year from 1985-2001, as datamined from the New York Times (via their API). The largest words are the most important (ie, most mentioned); and the lines indicate "relationships" (presumaby meaning occasions when the two were mentioned in conjunction with each other, but this wasn't specified). Again, there is an excellent tutorial about how to access this API.



Just Landed - mines the phrases "just landed in" from tweets, and then extracts coodinates from the location (using metacarta), and then plots the presumed travel of the user onto a map. A full breakdown is here. Good Morning has a similar premise, and plots the location of every "good morning!" tweet (for a given day), on a globe. He has written (yet another) really useful tutorial for accessing the twitter API using processing.


And, just for funzies...


News Alarm is a piece that hooks into the NYTimes' NewsWire API (a live stream of articles), and triggers a fire alarm whenever it encounters certain keywords. A full breakdown is here. 






So, one of the many things I want to start exploring (on a long list that includes, but is not limited to: dancing robot monkeys, electronic tortises, internet-inspired jazz playing octopi, motorized runaway food, and entirely edible gallery shows) is participatory artwork. My sculpture classes are giving me a little bit of chance to do this, but I'd like to push it further. I'm interested in trying to make a piece that is more user-generated - essentially, my part is providing the framework and making it accessible to other people, and then standing back and seeing what happens.


Something I've been mentally kicking around for awhile is the idea of using remote controlled cars as a drawing mechanism:



- mounting a vessel on top of a remote controlled device, poking a hole in the bottom, putting it in an enclosure, and letting people drive it around on top of a canvas/whatever.


But... this doesn't really seem to be taking advantage of this class properly, as it's pretty much an entirely analog process (I wouldn't be doing any programming, just phyisically modifying the cars), which I can do in my own time, or possibly in my sculpture one class.


Along similar lines though, I've been thinking for awhile about the idea of digital/virtual grafitti - I really like street art, and I enjoying looking at street art, but it occured to me a little while ago that I spend much more time looking at the internet than I do wandering the streets. I'm very interested in the concept of "writing on the walls"; and I doodle all over everything all the time - and I started thinking about what would happen if I was able to draw all over the internet. More specifically, what would happen if lots of people were all drawing all over the internet together - occupying the same virtual "space", but not confined to one website built just for them, because that's boring. Some people I've spoken to have kindly explained to me that the entire point of graffiti is that it is intrusive and illegal, and so the only possible way to have a digital/online version is to maintain these elements. I am completely uninterested in hacking, or in any way modifying existing websites, because that's a jerky thing to do, so perhaps graffiti is not the right word to describe what I am interested in doing.


What I would like to do:


The Someday Version

- Build a browser plugin that would allow people to "draw" on any and every webpage they visit. All users would exist in the same "space", able to view and modify any page (they can draw over/modify the works left by other users).


There is such an incredible amount of "I don't know how to do..." in that, and I really don't think it is anything I would ever be able to do on my own. A live online version is something that requires all sorts of programming knowhow that I don't have and have no intention of trying to learn; but luckily my home university has a whole computer science department and there possibility exists that I might be able to find a programmer to collaborate with.



The Interface Version

I would like to build a pared down localised version of the above. It would be site specific (ie, accessible on only that computer), and would be built with max and emulate a real browser, rather than trying to build a plugin for an actual browser.

Additionally, I would like to make a physical controller for use with the show - a teeny tiny spraycan that the audience uses to perform their acts of "grafitti" (rather than mouse/tablet control, which would have to be the case for the maybe someday version). I am thinking this would pretty much operate like a mini-wii controller, but conceptually I think it makes more sense to have it usb tethered (which conviently means no messing around with wireless controlling). One of the main things I would like to go over with you guys is the best way to get this controller working.



The way I envision it is:

- the audience can use the mouse and keyboard to navigate the internet as per normal. When they want to grafitti, they use the spraycan.

- they are only able to grafitti within the active browser space - the headers, menus, etc are immune.

- everytime a page is drawn on, max saves an image of the drawing layer into a database. Everytime a webpage is opened, max checks the URL against the database, and loads the existing grafitti if there is any.

- everytime any drawing is done, max screenshots the page and saves it in a seperate location. This is for my own documentation/exploration (movies of the changes over time), and not used at all during the show.

- it would be interesting to look at exploring different spray effects, if I have time.

- a seperate physical colour wheel that allows the user to select the colour they are using could be fun

- it could also be fun to play with the space it is displayed in. I feel like the computer should be on a pedestal, so it can be used while the audience member is standing upright (not sitting at a table), and possibly the space could be decorated to look more bricky than gallery wall, or something.


Breakdown of what I need to work on:

- Maxpatch that emulates a browser, allows you to draw

- database to store drawings and call them when required

- can controller - internal electronics and fabrication of the external shell

- colour wheel controller (mostly optional, but would be very nice)






November 3rd


- I was feeling very doom and gloom after hitting a wall with jweb, but playing around with this: http://erkie.github.com/ made me feel much better. Thought: would it be better to stop trying to emulate the browser, and just work directly in the browser space? *eyebrows eyebrows*


Also, mozilla's chromeless project is looking pretty interesting, in an "I don't really understand what they're talking about, but it sounds cool" sort of way.

Comments (2)

north said

at 10:23 pm on Sep 16, 2010

Nicole Santucci said

at 4:27 pm on Oct 16, 2010

Great sources for visually stimulating representations of organized data (sort of addicting, so consider yourself forewarned) : http://io9.com/tag/infoporn/ or http://io9.com/tag/chartporn/

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