I’ve known Darwin for many years through the MaxMSP programming community, but we’ve never talked this far in depth about experiential art and technology. We talked for over an hour and covered a huge range of topics from surround cinema, to interactive music technology, to projection mapping. There was so much in this hour that I wanted to go more in depth into that I think we’re going to have to do a part two sometime in the future.
We talked about Obscura Digital, the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, the Recombinant Media Labs’ Cinechamber, Keith McMillen Instruments, and music school. We even ended by discussing the current situation with Bassel Khartabil.
This podcast is rapidly becoming a who’s who of people doing interesting work in art and technology, so I’m honored to be a part of the group.
This Tuesday, March 4th, we will be holding a very special Artup 3.5 event focused on sonic technology. The evening’s performances and presentations will address topics such as artistic practice as process, tool production as a creative act, open source software and hardware, ethical manufacturing, artist empowerment through learning to code, diy solutions and the inherent beauty of blank-slate devices.
Music and sound technology has been a huge part of the Bay Area art scene for many years, so we are looking forward to shining a lens on current work in this field.
When: Tuesday, March 4, 02014
Doors open at 7pm, performances and presentations begin at 7:30pm.
$$$: Admission is all ages and free
We’d like this event to revolve around Q & A, dialog and interaction among everyone, so bring challenging questions for our presenters and a desire to engage with your community. It’s what we’re all about.
In addition to the presenters we will have two special guests to give an overview of two sound based museum openings this week: Maryanna Rogers will discuss the REBOOT: music opening at the San Jose Tech Museum, and Ceci Moss will give an overview of Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon: It Only Happens All of the Time at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, a part of their new Control: Technology in Culture series.
Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain – Monome - http://monome.org/
Brian and Kelli are artists creating open source devices of undetermined use. Their new device, Aleph, is a powerful audio processor, synthesizer, noise machine and rapidly modifiable instrument – a platform for experimental practice and organic discovery. Brian and Kelli will perform with the Aleph and discuss concepts informing its design and purpose.
Peter Nyboer – Livid Instruments - http://lividinstruments.com/
Peter is a partner and the primary programmer at Livid Instruments, crafting custom controllers, DIY products and commercially available control surfaces. Their latest device, the Guitar Wing, is a wireless controller for guitar and bass complete with its own SDK. Peter will speak about the general challenge of designing blank-slate controllers versus one-to-one integrated devices, and what it takes to make something truly useful for musical and other creative endeavors.
Carr Wilkerson – CCRMA - https://ccrma.stanford.edu/
Carr is a System Administrator at the Stanford Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), a multi-disciplinary facility where composers and researchers work together using computer-based technology both as an artistic medium and as a research tool. Specializing in Linux and Mac OS systems, Carr is a controller and software system builder, performer, instructor and researcher. Carr will present an overview of CCRMA’s culture, current research initiatives, and the many technical resources available to the ArtUP community.
This week, Disquiet Junto, a weekly collaborative music composition event (now in its 107th consecutive week) is honoring my friend Bassel Khartabil, a programmer and activist who’s been in prison in Syria since March 2012.
It is an open project with anyone welcome to participate. I’ll be joining and hope you can find the time as well.
Some thoughts on camera about Bassel:
From Disquiet Junto:
On Thursday, January 23, a special collaborative sound and music project will help raise awareness about Palestinian Syrian programmer and Creative Commons advocate Bassel Khartabil, who has been detained in Syria since March 15, 2012. As the two-year anniversary of Bassel’s incarceration approaches, the Disquiet Junto music community on SoundCloud.com will spend four days developing original sound works in Bassel’s honor. This week’s project will invite musicians to flesh out a work-in-progress that Bassel has, naturally, not been able to complete due to his imprisonment.
Late in the day each Thursday, a new compositional prompt goes out to members of the Disquiet Junto, who then have until 11:59pm the following Monday to submit a piece of music. The Bassel project will be the 108th weekly Disquiet Junto project. As of this date, over 3,000 original pieces of music have been uploaded to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud by over 400 musicians from around the world. The Disquiet Junto began the first week of January 2012, and has continued weekly ever since. Past Disquiet Junto projects include the interpretation of polling data as a graphically notated score, the use of wind chimes as a percussive instrument, the creation of “goodbye music” for the Voyager 1 space probe made from the sounds of interstellar space, and numerous Creative Commons–inspired remixes of music originally published on netlabels.
The Disquiet Junto was created and is moderated by Marc Weidenbaum, the San Francisco–based author of the book Selected Ambient Works Volume II, based on the Aphex Twin album of that name. Subscribe to the Disquiet Junto email announcement list.
I’m pleased to have been invited to participate in a panel at this year’s Leaders in Software and Art Conference, happening in NYC on November 1st.
Titled Creative Code, Art and Advertising, this panel is designed to show off some of the best creative software work being done in advertising today, and to explore questions like “What are the alignments and conflicts between software art and advertising?”, ”What is different between when artists are doing commercial work vs. ‘their own’ work?”, ”What is the true marketplace for the work creative coders do?” and “How can the tech artist community and the interactive agency community be more aligned?”.
When: November 1, 2013
Tickets: $500 here.
Leaders in Software and Art (LISA) annouces our second annual creative coding, software and electronic art conference in NYC on November 1 at the Tishman Auditorium on 12th Street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. This event gathers together the leaders in established and emerging software and electronic media art to showcase the forefront of what is happening in these fields. Attendees will come to meet each other, network, recruit creative coders, do business, and get inspired by new possibilities in tech art.
Where’s the impact? Think museums and gallery installations glowing with life and movement. Think ipad apps, out-of-the-box interaction design, the coolest ads you have ever seen. Rethink the book publishing and music business. All of those innovations and many more will be driven by the kind of creative thinking and inspiration that our presenters engender every day. The impact of art reaches beyond museums and galleries and into corporations and product design.
Our speakers are the cutting edge, forward-thinking practitioners in the arts tech scene, including interactive and visual computer art designers, engineers and coders, plus collectors, gallerists, curators, creatives, entrepreneurs, architects, product designers, marketing managers, photographers, data scientists and more. They’ll be talking about everything from art in advertising to 3D printing to open source art to new steps forward in art collecting and museum and gallery curation. Twenty artists will show cutting edge projects, to get you inspired for your next project. Join us!
The discussion about how to make a living off digital creative work is a timely one that is ongoing in both the art and commercial worlds. I look forward to some lively discussions about the relationship between arts and commerce, and how we can possibly live with ourselves doing work funded by brands.
I will share the stage with a great list of panelists with backgrounds in art, art buying, advertising, augmented reality, interactive installations, virtual museums and projection mapping – Jamie Zigelbaum, Vivian Rosenthal and Margaret Brett-Kearns – and will be moderated by Chick Foxgrover, Chief Digital Office at American Association of Advertising Agencies.
Jamie Zigelbaum makes interactive sculpture—conceptual, physical, computational objects and environments that metabolize and express our emerging contemporary experience. His work can be found in private collections, including the Frankel Foundation for Art and the Rothschild Collection. He has exhibited internationally, in venues such as Ars Electronica, Design Miami / Basel, The Corcoran Gallery, Saint-Etienne International Design Biennial, The Creators Project, The Tech Museum, Riflemaker Gallery, and Johnson Trading Gallery. His awards include Designer of the Future from Design Miami/ Basel, Best Music Video and Video of the Year from the British Video Music Awards, Honorable Mention from I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review, and Honorary Mention from Prix Ars Electronica. Jamie co-founded the Industry Lab co-working space in Cambridge, MA, Zigelbaum+Coelho, and is founder at the new studio Midnight Commercial.
Jamie has a BS in Human-Computer Interaction from Tufts University and a Masters from the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab where he spent his time inventing and researching next-generation user interfaces.
Vivian Rosenthal is the founder and CEO of Snaps! (formally known as GoldRun), a mobile engagement platform. Snaps! connects brands and consumers by allowing users to embed branded content into photos and share the UGC photo based ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, turning the users into brand ambassadors. We connect brands, celebrities and artists to consumers, by creating valuable photo-driven mobile engagement. Members share and inspire each other with virtual content, sticker images, celebrities, characters and more in their photos, as they share with their friends and social networks.
Previously, Rosenthal co-founded Tronic Studio, a digital media agency. She has been named one of Creativity Magazine’s top 50 global creatives of 2010 and was selected as one of the five finalists for L’Oreal’s NEXT Generation Awards highlighting women founded tech companies. Rosenthal has spoken at numerous conferences on the intersection of advertising and technology, including the CaT conference by AdAge,TEDxSilicon Alley 2011 and 2012, Bloomberg Money Moves, Ad Tech and Socialize West. Rosenthal has been featured in Fast Company, The New York Times, Mashable and AdWeek, among many others. She has been selected as a jury member for the Andy Awards, D&AD, One Show Interactive Awards, and the Art Directors Club.
Margaret Brett-Kearns is Executive Interactive Producer from Goodby, Silverstein and Partners. She spent eight years as an art buyer and joined Goodby Silverstein ten years ago as an executive producer in print. Margaret was the producer on the Adobe Museum of Digital Media project. She has a degree in art history from Mount Holyoke College.
I’m in Berlin for the next few days in an attempt to wring something compelling out of myself for Art Hack Day Berlin. Art Hack Day is a cross of hackathon and art exhibition where attendees spend about 48 hours producing new creative works. It aims to expand the artistic process and create an interdisciplinary platform for the creation of new projects and ideas. This time around, the theme is “Going Dark”, broadly concerned with our reliance on data and what it would mean to lose access to it.
This year has an amazing roster of about 60 participants representing artists, technologists and every shade in between. Having participated in the San Francisco “Lethal Software” edition I can say without a doubt that this will be an incredible experience culminating in a public showing worth attending.
If you are in Berlin then make sure to come to the closing exhibition and party.
Lab for Electronic Arts and Performance
(Berlin Carré 1. floor)
HOW TO FIND LEAP: http://vimeo.com/20384216
When: Saturday 28.09.2013, 19.00–late
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/557710164277488
Our actions are increasingly mediated by data. Previously we formed our artifacts, now they form us. Woven into a seamless network, they quantify our lives, affect our thinking and become intrinsic to our being. As such, the urge to go dark has never been greater. Arguably it has also never been harder. But is concealment a solution or rather a retreat? Perhaps there is a quality to this quantification that reveals the full potential of the new codified world? Can you have control over data? Who has access to it and why? Data takes on a life of its own as it’s replicated on servers across the globe. It can’t be deleted, it piles up like trash. In fact, polluting your path with fake data may offer better protection than cloaking or jamming. But does this not come into conflict with the open structure of the internet? While digital detritus fills the open web, darknets (corporate, military, governmental and civilian) loom large, inaccessible to the public, bigger than the internet itself. This reveals the other extreme of the new power structure: Secret networks, beyond the reach of the public and reserved for an elite. Can you escape their control without restricting yourself? Similarly part of our inner being is not yet accessible or recordable, and we yearn for what is out of reach: our own dark matter. Who lurks in these unexplored spaces? Can you engage authentically and not reveal yourself? Can you go dark?
Juan Pedro Bolivar Puente
Alberto De Campo
Andreas Nicolas Fischer
Mey Lean Kronemann
Nora O Murchu
Tor Rauden Källstigen
Jacob Sikker Remin
Nicole Srock Stanley
Harm van den Dorpel
I’m excited to be presenting this Friday, September 6th at the first TouchIn TouchDesigner meetup in NYC. TouchDesigner is a graphic programming language for all variety of events, 3d operations, and interactive installations.
I’ll be giving an overview of some of our more recent projects at Obscura, and am excited to share the bill with Dev Harlan, who does elegant and extremely impressive projection mapping installations using TouchDesigner. (www.vimeo.com/devharlan)
I hope to see you there.
When: 6:00 pm, Friday, Sep 6th, 2013
Where: Brooklyn Fire Proof, 119 Ingraham Street (in the alley), Brooklyn, NY
Facebook Event RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/332695706866722/
$$$: Free. Donations for artists accepted.
Time: 7-11PM, Sunday May 19th, 2013.
Location: The Lab, 16h and Capp, San Francisco, CA.
We’re very excited to announce Artup 2, our second in a series of monthly gatherings that foster an environment of sharing and debate in the Bay Area arts and technology communities.
This edition warrants your attention as it opens our dialog about the relationship between art and technology in the Bay Area with some insightful provocations. To kickstart the discussion we are delighted to welcome Ellen Cushing (East Bay Express) to present some thoughts on her powerful article The Bacon Wrapped Economy, which explores how tech and money has changed culture in the Bay area.
The Artup mission is focused on socially lubricating the culture and innovation sectors of our community, two groups which are massive stakeholders in every aspect of our lives here in San Francisco, but often don’t connect in real world situations. It turns out these groups have common needs that can be easily addressed through meeting and asking the right questions.
Bay Area artists are increasingly finding the economic climate difficult to survive in, forcing mass exodus to cities with either lower costs of living of more advanced art markets (NYC, LAX, MIA). This situation is perpetuated by at least two trends driven by the technology sector: a housing and studio rental market driven up by an influx of cash from silicon valley, and a tech sector apathy toward financing forward looking technology driven art by independent producers.
Tech workers are similarly (and perhaps unknowingly) wanting for outlets to participating as culture producers. Too many talents young creative people have found themselves in the cogs of mundane industry jobs without knowing how much the art community in the Bay needs their expertise to produce relevant work.
Interface between these groups is vital in a city that should be the epicenter of advanced medium art works in the world.
Music for the evening will be provided by artist and academic Brian Rogers, who will be playing records from his bottomless collection throughout the evening.
Last, but certainly not least, we will be announcing the recipient of the first Artup Venture Fund grant, and inviting people to contribute new project ideas for the next.
I truly hope to see you there.
This video is the first behind the scenes look at Obscura’s new architectural projection show of physical phenomena, Emergence, to be shown April 17th and 18th on the front of the new Exploratorium building at Pier 15.
The special mission of the Exploratorium as a “hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception” made us take a unique approach to this job by capturing the wonder of natural interactions and creatively displaying it as only possible through digital technologies.
Countless hours of media production time have gone into creating a singular experience of natural wonders through architecture. To create the content Obscura fabricated replicas of the Pier ranging in size from large terrariums to microscope slides. This process allowed us to capture physical processes of order arising inside chaos, and to view the world through a unique lens in a way never before seen.
As a bonus for those in line we are creating a special interactive projection with extremely sensitive thermal imaging cameras from FLIR. Able to detect variations in temperature with a sensitivity of <0.03°C, these cameras will be capturing the audience, processed and projected to cover the West wall of the building.
I encourage you to come out and see the show on April 17th and 18th, from nightfall until 11pm.
At nightfall on April 17th and 18th, Obscura Digital transforms the historic Pier 15 into a luminous portal revealing unseen dimensions of complex micro and macro phenomena. ‘Emergence’ takes visitors on a dynamic journey through a vivid array of non-computer generated, real-life visualizations that evoke a sense wonder and awe about the nature of order in our universe. To capture these marvels of nature, Obscura designed and fabricated ten miniature replicas of the Exploratorium’s façade, some microscopic, to contain unique experiments involving fluid dynamics, microorganisms, particle interactions, living systems, crystallization, and growth in time lapse. Documented in ultra high definition video, these compelling natural subjects are projection mapped back on the surface of the building, creating the illusion of being contained within its structure.
In addition to the ‘Emergence’ exhibit, Obscura presents an interactive thermal imaging wall (in cooperation with Flir), located on the side of the Exploratorium building, where visitors can see their heat signature projected in real-time, at large-scale, with brilliant color.
I’ve been listed in tandem with a couple of projects I’ve collaborated on in Dummy Mag compiled by tech aware artist Holly Herndon. Standing next to technologies such as OSC and being grouped with artists no less than Andrew Benson and Kyle McDonald is a great honor to say the least.
Holly Herndon: BARRY THREW is an artist, engineer, friend and collaborator who has done incredible things in the realm of instrument design and the development of immersive audio visual environments ( perhaps best characterized by his work as technical lead of RECOMBINANT MEDIA LABS ). This video is of a projection mapping project he developed with Obscura Digital to illuminate the entire Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the UAE, which is an unbelievable technical and aesthetic achievement.
These projects are prime examples of the use of experiential technology for spatial cinema presentation. This kind of augmented and alternative reality will continue to make an appearance. It has a unique ability to deal with physical space and digital content in a way that is compelling in a culture where sense of place is increasingly ambiguous. The use of digital technologies to create new spaces for the body to experience work runs counter to its normal role of breaking down geographic barriers, and makes this kind of work relevant and timely.
Both of these projects were both massive collaborations with teams from around the world. Recombinant Media Labs would not be possible without a very large list of contributors over the years, but in its current incarnation Naut Humon and Vance Galloway keep the show alive. The Mosque was an even larger undertaking, with the entire Obscura team working non-stop to ensure its success, especially the unsinkable Mary Franck who lead show control and development on this installation.
When: Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 7:30pm - 10:00pm
$$$: Free and Open to the Public
Where: San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA
April 4th I will be moderating a panel for the SFAI 2013 Design and Technology Salon called Shared Feedback: Active/Passive Collaborative Installations and Performance. This evening includes new works and presentations by a number of outstanding Bay Area artists and SFAI students. The exhibition focuses on off-screen media engaging audience in social experiences outside of the cybersphere.
While screen-based social media is certainly the buzz of the moment, immersive media installations and performances challenge this idea of “social” by activating otherwise passive audiences and providing off-screen spaces that engage imaginative experiences among diverse participants. In exploring the collaborative possibilities that are framed by such spaces, the Spring 2013 Design and Technology Salon presents and contextualizes a series of projects at the intersection of performance, installation, and responsive systems. Unities within these systems are examined by the event audience together with the presenters in order to mark out strategies for influencing the creation of participatory media, and to explore the potential of these experiential systems for activating personal, social, and political change.
7:30–8:30: Presentation of project displays in café, adjacent McMillan conference room, and Zellerbach Quad
8:30–9:30: Panel Discussions with presenters, moderated by Barry Threw
9:30–10: Questions & Answers
Participating artists and projects:
• Mary Franck: “Rouge: A Video Performance Platform”
• JD Beltran and Nick Lally: “RGB Space”
• The Big Conversation Space (Clémence de Montgolfier + Niki Korth) in collaboration with John Mowitt: “Live Readings from the Tarot of Technological Change (Conducted via Analog Skype)”
• Spencer Holoway: “Disintegration, Time After Time”
• James Howzell: “Go! Arthur Go!”
• Christopher Palmer (CTP): “Mixmaster Motion Study 1″, 2012
• Laetitia Sonami and Andrew Benson: “Magnetic Memories in the Age of the Oracle”
• Ben Wood: “The Man who stopped Time, Eadweard Muybridge’s Magic Lantern Lecture at the San Francisco Art Association 1878″
I'm Barry Threw.
Here I write from the trenches about emerging aesthetics in experiential technology and spatial media arts.
If you'd like to collaborate, email me.
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gray area foundation
gray area foundation for the arts
keith mcmillen instruments
recombinant media labs