This week I decided to look at Keith Lam, Seth Hon and Alex Lai’s The Cycling Wheel as the subject of my Looking Outwards. With this project the three designers utilized Arduino as well as other processing softwares to make the bicycle an instrument of light and sound. By turning the wheel of the bicycle turning different aspects such as the music and light bean and color of the light would change/be altered. The bike itself becomes an instrument and the controllers of the wheel become the musician.
With this project I admire how it allows anyone to become a musician. From prior experience of the Arduino program I am assuming that they were able to alter the color of the LED strip though the influence of the motion of the wheel. The creator’s artistic sensibilities manifest itself through the use of the different color as well as the placement of the actual bike wheels.
For this week’s looking outwards, I went through the provided list of women in code, and really enjoyed the SUPERHYPERCUBE project by Heather Kelley.
A trailer and demo for the SUPERHYPERCUBE game
The project is essentially a VR arcade kind of game. It’s really simple in its idea, but the visuals are interesting and the puzzles make you work your brain which I think is cool. VR is a cool technology on its own, and it is nice to see really high quality simple concepts implemented sometimes rather than the very detailed ones. Sometimes I feel like those fall into uncanny valley territory and can be less immersive even.
Heather Kelley primarily works in game design and digital arts and media. She is very influential in the field and was named one of the five most powerful women in gaming by Inc. magazine in 2013. I couldn’t find where she went to school or what she studied online, but I did find out that she works here at CMU! I also found out that she worked on the indie game FEZ which is actually a game that I’ve played and really enjoyed so I find that very cool.
(I’m using my first LO grace day for this)
“Hyphen-Labs is an international team of women of color working at the intersection of technology, art, science, and the future.”
I remember looking at this collective when researching the Eyeo Festival artists. I wanted to go back to them and learn more about their work as a product of collaborative work between women.
The project below, Prismatic_NYC, is a kinetic sculpture above the The High Line in New York City.
The project contains 66 individual prisms, inspired by the Trivision billboard which consists of triangular prisms rotating to form 3 different images on each face. To generate a nostalgic feeling, and create a new system, Hyphen-Labs tapered each prism and alternated their orientation. Using light and movement, they can completely control the experience of being under this installation.
The performance of Prismatic_NYC can also be programmed and controlled in response to current weather conditions such as cloud cover, wind speed, humidity, and accumulation. These directly change the amplitude, frequency, speed and position offset of the wave form. It is always changing and never the same.
Using generative and parametric design, they were able to optimize the experience of being under this project. This project will be installed for 5 years.
Another project of interest is Painkillers, in collaboration with the National Safety Council and Energy BBDO. This installation features 22,000 pills carved with human faces representing the 22,000 people who died from opioid addiction last year. This rate is continuing to increase, and as an addition to the installation, it continues to carve a new pill every 24 minutes. Using a small mechanical system, they are able to get very precise details on small objects.
Stop Everyday Killers
Hyphen-Labs, as a collective of women, has the sensitivity and awareness to tackle important social issues through art, computation, and technology. I can’t wait to see what they, and many other women, do next.
**Using grace day 1/3.**
Video of Social Soul
An image of the room in which Social Soul was held.
I chose Lauren Mccarthy who created p5.js. However, the project I want to discuss today is Social Soul, an immersive digital experience that puts users in someone else’s social media stream. It was created in 2014 by Lauren Mccarthy, Kyle McDonald, and MKG for Delta Air Lines TED2014 summit. I admire it because it poses a really valid question that often goes unanswered. It’s something that we really do not think about yet pervades every aspect of our realities. It makes use of a custom algorithm that matches conference goers with other attendees’ social streams. The project uses 7 coding languages and incorporates generative audio/music as well. Following the viewing session, the viewer is sent a tweet that encourages them to connect off-screen to their soul mate.
Zanyparade is a studio headed by Emily Gobeille, with specialties in visual design, motion graphics, and interaction. A project that I found very interesting was Rise and Fall, an interactive front and back magazine cover created for the March 2010 issue of Boards Magazine. By rotating the magazine, readers navigate through the world of Rise and Fall, revealing story nodes as the tale of opposing forces unfolds. The orientation in which they rotate the magazine is directly linked to the way they move around the world. I think this project is interesting because it’s an interesting application of sensor technology to the newly digitized world of books. Print and web are two quite segregated mediums- but this project bridges the two and highlights the strength of both — that is the physical presence of a book, and the interactive capabilities of the web.
Something I have always been interested in is the field of virtual reality. Milica Zec, a NYC-based film and virtual reality director, created a virtual reality experience entitled “Giant”. This experience is based on true events and represents what her and her family went through in Serbia during the 1990s, pulling directly on personal experience. This kind of virtual reality reminds me of an exhibit I saw at the Whitney about a year or two ago — a violent but symbolic VR scene, except this one is based on real events. The media takes you through an American family attempting to survive in an active war zone by hiding in a basement during bombing outside their home. The parents fabricate a story about a giant to tell to their six-year old daughter and says he wants to play with her, creating a parallel between the footsteps outside and the loud explosions (similar to the story of Life is Beautiful, one of my favorite movies, in which the father tells his son that they are in a competition to win a tank instead of WWII).
(Giant VR experience still.)
Zec states that it was difficult to create this film in that many technical aspects of the project had not been tackled previously, requiring technology that had not been fully developed yet. The process also included live-action actors (instead of computer renders) with depth data and three-dimensional environments inside a video-game engine. Combining reality with technology was a challenge, but she wanted to create an emotional impact, making the viewer feel trapped in this dangerous and frightening situation. Virtual reality possesses the power to do so, and it amazes and excites me at how much potential (whether scary or not) this type of technology has.
The project I chose to discuss is called SUPERHYPERCUBE. It is a “VR first person puzzler” that was originally developed for PlayStationVR. In order to play this game, you must figure out how to rotate the cubes on your screen to fit the approaching wall. With each successful completion, you get more and more cubes, making it more difficult to see the shape of the wall behind you. At that point you must quickly peek around the cubes to see the shape of the wall and figure out the correct rotations.
This fascinating game was created by Heather Kelley who is a veteran game designer, digital artist, and media curator among many things. She has served as the co-chair of the IGDA’s Women in Game Development Special Interest Group for 7 years and is clearly very passionate and good at what she does. She is the co-founder of Kokoromi (an experimental game collective) and has created many creative games under her belt. I admired this game in particular because I really love puzzle games and the idea of a VR version was very interesting to me. I also admire how involved she has been in advocating women in game development and it has inspired me to try to create a small, simple game as a side project during the remainder of this semester!
Kaho Abe (Group project with Ramsey Nasser and Francis Hsueh), Don’t Wake the Bear, 2013
Kaho Abe is an artist based in New York who create games and installation art. She has also been sharing her research findings and knowledge through holding classes and workshops at New York University. Interestingly, she graduated from Parsons New School of Design and was actually a fashion designer before becoming a media artist.
My favorite work of hers is a game that she designed with Ramsey Nasser and Francis Hsueh named “Don’t Wake the Bear.” In this game, players take turn passing around the device to pick items to drop on the bear. The goal is to not wake the bear and get “eaten.” The player who wakes up the bear loses. My favorite part of the game is that the players have to be careful while handling around the device too, as shaking the device also wakes up the bear. I really admire how the game involves both digital and physical interactions. How the game was designed to be for the players to pass around the device involves interaction between the players and could serve as ice breakers at events! The way the game is planned out also encourages strategic thinking and decision making, which levels it up from being just a game.
Kaho Abe’s website: http://kahoabe.net
For this week looking outwards, I would like to looking into Neri Oxman who is well-known in computation design filed especially in architecture, an excellent designer in MIT Media Lab.
Her work embodies environmental design and digital morphogenesis, with shapes and properties that are determined by their context. She coined the phrase “material ecology” to define her work, placing materials in context. Stylistic trademarks include brightly colored and textured surfaces with structure at many scales, and composite materials whose hardness, color, and shape vary over an object. The results are often designed to be worn or touched, and inspired by nature and biology.
Designer and architect Neri Oxman, working with the Mediated Matter group, has unveiled “Mushtari”: a 3D-printed wearable that can convert sunlight into usable products. Joining the “Wanderer” collection, Mushtari was designed as a relationship between the most primitive and most sophisticated life forms. The wearable contains 58 meters of internal fluid channels and functions as a microbial factory, using synthetic biology to convert sunlight into items for the wearer.
Using a symbiotic relationship between a photosynthetic microbe (e.g. microalgae or cyanobacteria) and compatible microbes (e.g. baker’s yeast or E.coli), Mushtari mimics phenomenon found in nature. The wearer triggers the photosynthetic microbe to produce sucrose (table sugar) using sunlight, which is then converted by the compatible microbes into the desired products, including pigments, drugs, food, fuel or scents.
The 3D printing of Mushtari was accomplished with the collaboration of the Mediated Matter Group and Stratasys, makers of the Object Connex3. The Objet Connex3, a color, multi-material 3D printer typically would dispense gel-like support material which could not be cleared. To create the hollow channels necessary for Mushtari, a liquid support which could be dispensed into channels during printing and subsequently cleared was developed.
What I admire about her project is that she is integrating biometric technologies into what could be developed and the project I chose is close related to undergoing project.
Body on Screen by Claudia Hart
The woman I’ve decided to focus on is Claudia Hart and her project, Body on Screen. Claudia Hart has worked on both contemporary art and 3D animation and has taught both of those for a really long time. She’s taken classes at New York University’s Center for Advanced Digital Applications to learn Maya 3D animation software and she’s attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She states that her main focus as a female artist in a high-end technology industry, is to, “subvert earlier dichotomies of woman and nature pitted against a civilized, “scientific” and masculine world of technology”. And you can clearly see that in her project, Body on Screen.
Hart was inspired by Trisha Brown, a American postmodern dancer who challenged the dance tradition that focused on formalistic beauty of the body and stylized move. Brown emphasized pedestrian movements and de-highlighted the “feminine” features of a dancer’s body. Similar to Brown, Hart portrays women in a simple way by drawing their bodies with sagging breast, rocky hairs, frozen-looking body, and characterless face, which accentuates their physical agility in regards to the choreography rather than their erotic quality. By doing this, she desexualizes women and presents them at face value. Furthermore, she allows people to understand womens’ representation issues, whether or not they’re specific to the digital practice. And as a female, this is something that I think is important to present to the world and that is why I admire her project.