Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Mid Point Review (FT)

This week we watched via live streaming the full-timers MPR. This was going on throughout the day, and I joined in for the afternoon session. Live streaming hasn't worked very well on other occasions but this time it was much better :-) The full-time students had five minutes each to present their work, and then remain silent while the rest of us discussed their presentation afterwards, along with making suggestions for contextual research artists, and giving helpful hints and tips! We used Skype to type our comments and suggestions that Jonathan would relay by speaking out to the class, which happened live in the session. The f2f full-timers got a copy of the comments from skype to reflect on afterwards. There were also some 1st year students that joined in via skype, and it was good to meet them too.

Below are some of the presentations that I joined in with, along with my suggestions:

1. Zabou -Video Surveillance and related issues.

Suggestions: Contextual research: Nancy Nisbet,  Steve Mann, Paula Roush, and cyberneticist Kevin Warwick. They have all previously done work regarding surveillance of some kind.

2. Emily - Lights and Animation.
Suggestions: Look at the Light Works by artist James Turrell.  Also if continuing to use music, it would be best to  either make it yourself, or commission someone to make for you due to copyright issues.

3. Pan - Breathing & Nature. Pan's work is similar to my own work in a way since she has been recording breathing sounds, and is also interested in natural generative elements of nature too, though the concept of her work is very different to mine.
Suggestions: Look at artist Kimsooja for contextual research as she has done work with breathing, and checkout this site: Art and Breath

4. James - Chaos Theory and Bubbles.

Suggestions: I didn't  know if James had seen this already, but I suggested that he watch a documentary called The Secret Life of Chaos.  I also thought that he may be interested in reading some of my Research Paper as I explored Chaos Theory too. For contextual research I suggested to look at bubble artist Fan Yang I also suggested that if he videoed the bubble installation that he was thinking of making, it may be fun to experiment using a video feedback loop too.

I had to go after James' presentation so unfortunately I didn't get to see the very last presentation of the afternoon :-(

I really enjoyed being able to take part in these presentations and found them all really fascinating :-)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Intuition & Ingenuity

I recently went to an exhibition titled Intuition & Ingenuity at the Lighthouse in Brighton. I found it particularly intriguing since the artworks were inspired by Alan Turing. I really enjoyed this exhibition it was a lot of fun, and there were so many fascinating artworks to explore. I think my favourite were Fragments of Lost Flight by Boredomresearch, and My Robot Companion by artist's Anna  Dumitriu and Alex May. Inside this robot there seemed to be a camera which filmed visitors faces. This appeared to be processed using software first and then projecting through the face of the robot using a mirror behind the robot face. I'm not sure exactly how this works, but the original  image of a visitor's face would reflect back through the face, so that you were looking at yourself :-)  but this image could also be merged with others. My friend and I spent ages playing with this robot. It was so much fun trying to get our faces to merge :-)

Intuition & Ingenuity is a group exhibition that explores the enduring influence of Alan Turing – the father of modern computing - on art and contemporary culture. The exhibition features a group of outstanding artists, including boredomresearch and Roman Verostko, whose work responds to key themes within Turing’s life and work.

2012 will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, one of the greatest minds Britain has produced. Between inventing the digital computer and helping to decode the German Enigma machine, to founding the science of artificial intelligence, the world today would have been a very different place without his ideas.

His work on morphogenesis (what makes organisms grow in particular shapes) and the now famous “Turing Test” for machine intelligence have captured the imagination of artists for decades.

This exhibition, which takes its name from Turing’s own writing, brings together a number of important artists from digital art pioneers to emerging contemporary artists, including Roman Verostko, William Latham, Ernest Edmonds, Greg Garvey, Patrick Tresset, Anna Dumitriu and Alex May with newly commissioned work by boredomresearch and Paul Brown.  Lighthouse

Fragments of Lost Flight by Boredomresearch

In boredom research's generative artwork 'Fragments of Lost Flight' (2012) scaled wing fragments are generated by computational mechanisms, inspired by Alan Turing's descriptions of a virtual machine now known as a Turing Machine. Over time a narrow facet of diversity is explored as the 'machine' is fed random programs. Each wing fragment generated by the 'machine' exists only for the time it is on screen and is unlikely ever to be recreated. In nature the process that leads to familiar forms such as butterfly wings are exposed to intense selective pressure with only those of value for survival remaining, in contrast, 'Fragments of Lost Flight' treats all possibilities equally. 

My Robot Companion by artist's Anna Dumitriu and Alex May

My Robot Companion

Taking Alan Turing's ideas about what we would accept as an intelligent machine into contemporary ethical debate,s artist Anna Dumitriu and Alex May are collaborating with Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn and Dr Michael L Walter to investigate their research into social robotics and to ask - do we want and need robot companions? And, if so, what kind's of robot companions do we, as a society, want?  Uses for robot companions can vary, forms currently in development worldwide include robot carers for older people, robot nannies to watch over children, sexual companions and home defence robots. Bear in mind that the word robot derives from the Slavic word robota meaning forced labour.

Research shows that often people find humanoid robots appealing as companions and that the head, though technically irrelevant (sensors can be placed anywhere on a robot), acts as a focal point for users to communicate with their robot companions. the robot head shown here is the ultimate in personal robotics. I can take on the appearance of any user to provide a potenially comforting sense of recognition and familiarity, and can aid users in every aspect of their lives, even while they are sleeping (reminiscent of witches familiars from folklore). The Familiar head takes features from visitors faces and combines them with robot. This can lead to a feeling of discomfort known in robotics as the uncanny vallery (Mori, 1970), where users feel a sense of repulsion as robots become very humanlike (in this case very like themselves and their companions) but stopping short of being wholly human.

My Robot Companion

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Balloon & Breathing Experiment

For this experiment I used a previous video that I filmed of drift-line sand patterns which I left running on a loop on my monitor. I then set up 4  canvases around the monitor and placed a collection of clear balloons in front of the screen, and then pointed a hair-dryer to aid movement of the balloons while filming this.  I then added some effects and used the breathing sound of my nephew for the sound.

The first video below is a very short video clip.  The second video is double the length of the first as I used the original previous clip and copy and pasted it on the same track, but reversed this section to see how the video would flow.  I left the breathing sound the same.

I also discovered a quick way of blowing up balloons. If you go onto some of the balloon sites online, they suggest buying an electric balloon pump which cost about £58. This may be worth it if you intend to blow up a lot of balloons. If you don't need that many, then just use an ordinary hand pump for the initial burst, then quickly attach the balloon to a cheap electric pump to do the rest. These cost around £6 to buy and they are also great for blowing up kids paddling pools and air beds etc.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Reflective Chat: Ted Talk and Predictions.

Last week's chat was based around a Ted Talk by Clay Shirky, titled:  How social media can make history. I found it quite interesting to hear more about how Web 2.0  has facilitated in social change. See video below:

Another area we discussed was predicting the news. This also gave me the idea of predicting the future where Media Gambling sites would be the next craze :-)

This short video below titled Epic 2014 attempts to predict the future of social media. However there appears to be an agenda behind this film. I see it as a propaganda exercise, as it implies in a round about way that corporate news is more reliable.