Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, museum

Joy stick runs the art viewing experience

A write-up from The Stranger of a new art exhibit at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, WA:

Seattle’s contemporary art museum, the Henry Art Gallery, does not provide zoomable pictures on its website, to the endless frustration of all who seek them. In response to this hunger, Seattle artists SuttonBeresCuller have turned the museum’s collection of paintings, prints, sculptures, and photographs into a zoomable and physically present landscape, as well as a field for surveillance and voyeurism, and a mechanical factory setting. The scene—it’s rightfully called a scene, because it is a whole live system—is called Panoptos, and it takes place in one tall gallery at the museum. Panoptos is named after the word “panoptic,” which describes a single view that takes in everything visible. It’s a devouring, total view—a perfect, controlling fantasy. (This is the inspiring idea behind prison tower architecture.) Panoptos is a response to the Henry’s request that living artists make new art based on the museum’s holdings, a request that has become trendy across the art world in the last 20 years, and one which the Henry has made before of other local artists.

Read more…

Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, physics

Light, Tough Ceramic Origami

From MIT’s Technology Review:  A new way of printing and folding ceramic and metal lattices into miniature structures could lead to novel lightweight engineering structures. The technique involves making latticed sheets from ceramic ink, then folding and heating these sheets to create intricate shapes. The method could be used to make lightweight parts for aerospace applications, complex scaffolds for tissue engineering, and filters and catalysts for industrial chemical production.

“We can make complex, three-dimensional shapes that can’t be made in other ways,” says Jennifer Lewis, director of the Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Lewis developed the technique with Illinois researcher Bok Ahn and David Dunand, a professor of materials science at Northwestern University. The researchers say it fills a need for a way to fabricate complex structures on the centimeter scale–too small for conventional molding or machining, and too big for lithography or similar techniques.

Read full story…

Posted in communication and networking, music

Reverse Karaoke

Debuted at SXSW, the LaDiDa iphone app that performs reverse Karaoke (from blog Underwire): Outside of isolated cultural pockets — the Irish countryside, Appalachia and church among them — most people think of music as something other people make for them to enjoy. But as anyone who sings or plays an instrument knows, making music can be a deeply satisfying act, and it’s a shame that more people don’t get to do it.

The husband-and-wife team behind LaDiDa — Khush CTO Parag Chordia and CEO Prerna Gupta — have devised a “reverse karaoke” app that makes it simple for anyone with an iPhone or iPod Touch to make songs with full instrumentation using only their voice.

Read the full story and see the app in action.

Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, engineering

Learning the art of computer games good for the brain

Or at least the art of building computer games.

ScienceDaily — Computer games have a broad appeal that transcends gender, culture, age and socio-economic status. Now, computer scientists in the US think that creating computer games, rather than just playing them could boost students’ critical and creative thinking skills as well as broaden their participation in computing. They discuss details in the current issue of the International Journal of Social and Humanistic Computing.

Nikunj Dalal, Parth Dalal, Subhash Kak, Pavlo Antonenko, and Susan Stansberry of Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, outline a case for using rapid computer game creation as an innovative teaching method that could ultimately help bridge the digital divide between those people lacking computer skills and access and those with them.

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Posted in design and architecture, electronic imaging and displays, museum

Computers aren’t good art critics…yet

From Scientific American (click here to hear the podcast):

A study in the journal Computers & Graphics finds that computer programs for identifying works of art fall far short of even nonexpert human judges, because of our ability to psychologically evaluate scenes.

No surprise: machines and humans have differing opinions about art. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute and the University of Girona had computers and non-art expert humans place each of 275 paintings into one of 11 artistic periods, for example, Baroque or Surreal. And, unlike in chess, people far outshone their silicon competitors. That’s according to a study in the journal Computers & Graphics.

Computer algorithms judged the art by obvious and quantifiable parameters, such as the way the paint was laid on the canvas, or the color composition. But humans classified art based on complex psychological evaluation. We ask questions such as, who is in the image? And, what emotions are being portrayed in the scene? This kind of analysis is crucial for correctly identifying art—because even non-expert people were right two thirds of the time, far better than their computer competitors. And that makes sense: ultimately, art is about our emotional reaction to a Starry Night or a Girl With A Pearl Earring. But to a computer it’s all just brushstrokes.

—Molly Webster, Scientific American

Posted in communication and networking, music

Live music using 1s and 0s

Live coders jamming together
Live coders "jamming" together

I kid you not: writing coding to make music, in front of a live audience. Truly New Wave.

It might just be the most conceptually complex way of making music that modern man has yet devised. But that is the challenge of live coding – the process of writing computer code, in real time, to compose and play music or design animations.

“It’s not just a passive process, not just someone creating sounds, which is the problem with electronic music – because people don’t really see what it is that the musicians are doing,” says Dave Griffiths.

Dave is a live coder and a performer in a night of live coding held in a south London pub, organised by the collective Toplap.

“Live coding brings the audience closer; they can see that you’re making something in front of them,” he says.

The furious coding is also projected onto a screen for the audience, making the programming as much – or more – of the performance as the music it codes for.

If anything it should go wrong – and anyone who has ever done any programming will know how frequent this is – they get nothing out.

A crash. Epic fail.

Because the software that live coders use is designed for a compile-free, real-time use, the performers face this prospect much less often.

But it does happen, Dave tells me. “That’s what keeps it exciting,” he says.

Read more on BBC

Posted in communication and networking, electronic imaging and displays, engineering

Gnomedex 2009

Touted as “a Technology Conference of Inspiration and Influence,” the Gnomedex conference starts today at the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle, WA, and runs through August 22.

This year’s theme is Human Circuitry, and is organized by self-proclaimed “Geek, Internet Entrepreneur, Hardware Addict, Software Junkie, Book Author, Once TV Show Host, Technology Enthusiast, Shameless Self-Promoter, Tech Conference Coordinator, Early Adopter, Idea Evangelist, Tech Support Blogger, Bootstrapper, Media Personality, Technology Consultant, and Thicker Quicker Picker Upper,” Chris Pirillo.

Chris describes the event as: 

  • An intersection between technology and community
  • Technology that transforms and extends the human experience
  • Social Media stories that inspire and empower
  • Conversations that become the stage: the backchannel is the frontchannel
  • The Science and Mathematics of our Real Lives

It’s not directly art-themed, but it has a lot of artists, animators, authors, and designers who attend and give their feedback to the digital storm.

Sounds good to me.