Sean Meng – Looking Outwards 01

TeamLab is a collective group that explores the connection between human and nature by applying technology to art field to create “digital art”. 

One of their project called “Paper Plane Music Airfield” engages with sound and light technology. This project is created collaboratively by the whole teamLab group. It is an interactive art installation that consists of multiple layers of sensors which can sense the motion of paper planes. The light and sound of the space are connected to the flight of the paper airplane, when the airplane touches light it influences the entire space causing it to change color and emit a sound tone. The project aims to evoke children’s curiosity of how the flight works by provides them interaction with technological installation. They work with coding to produce and manipulate the variation of the light and sound. This innovating interaction between digital art and humanity opens up a bright future for a broader overlap between technology and art.

Sean Leo – Looking Outwards – 01

4/20/18 Algorave at PS122, Codie Live Code

An Algorave is a niche subset of the live club scene. It’s the portmanteau of Algorithms and Raves, where the music and visuals are generated by code. Rather than mixing sounds or performing instruments, everything is created in real-time and improvised by changing the code live. Normally a VJ would mix and composite collected media elements, whereas a Live Coder would create and generate their own visuals and effects through the code they are writing.

Often coding is thought of a as a published medium. It is written, drafted, edited, and then finalized. Updates are scheduled and versioned. Algoraves directly contrast that. By performing live, the code is always changing, and has the opportunity to be influenced by the crowd and the music in the room.

Sarah Kang – Looking Outwards – 01

Virtual walk-through of the Borderless World exhibit in the Museum of Digital Art in Tokyo, Japan by teamLab on YouTube

The world’s first digital art museum opened in Tokyo, Japan early last year. One of its most famous exhibit sections is Borderless World, where visitors can experience an otherworldly waterfall, an interactive digital installation by teamLab. teamLab is an art collective created by an interdisciplinary group of ultra-technologists aiming to analyze and explore the interactions between humans and nature using art. I was immediately drawn to this exhibit because of the virtual three-dimensional experience inspired by the fusion of natural elements with the world of digital art. This is an example demonstrating the possibilities that can be created in virtual reality to take art installations to another dimension in the future. The interactions amongst the water particles are extensively calculated to simulate the reality of a waterfall, and directly react when people approach the water flows that transform in real-time. The lines that are drawn from the interactions between the water particles are flattened using “ultrasubjective” space resulting in visual states that can never reoccur, or be replicated.

image of visitor interactions with the digital waterfall

Kimberlyn Cho- Looking Outwards-01

Disturb me – Brussels from PopcornMakers on Vimeo.

demonstration of how the installation works by thepopcornmakers

“Disturb Me” is an installation that strives to engage people with their environments, an often forgotten interaction amongst the prevalence of technology in today’s world. It absorbs the sounds permitted in the room to project lights that comply to the room’s “mood”. The senses are turned on once someone physically interacts with the room.

example of a light projection in the room by thepopcornmakers

Although I’m not too sure, I believe this project used a custom script for the interaction between the users and the space. I find this installation intriguing in its irony of using technology to draw users away from a focus on technology. It also shows promising signs in computational art in its attempt to engage multiple senses. Most installations I’ve come across only interact with one sense, but this room interacts with both sight and sounds. I also find the practicality of the installation very reasonable. Many art installations don’t intend for practical use, but I found it very inspirational how the designers took into account how the installation would be applied to daily use. A missed opportunity would be the possibility of incorporating smell as well to create a more accurate environment for users. However, “Disturb Me” points to a more interactive future in general and the practicality of computational art in the modern world.

Ammar Hassonjee – Looking Outwards – 01

A video showing the project, unofficially titled ‘Sensing Change’, examined up close and how it changes graphical data to match current weather conditions.

On 151 North Franklin street Chicago, a design firm named ESI Design recently led the development of a 95 ft long display attached to the side of a Loop Parking Garage that shows weather inspired graphics reflecting the current real time weather in Chicago, mimicking graphics such as downpours, fluffy clouds, and even falling snow. I personally love the simplicity and purpose of the graphics and how it corresponds with real time data to be something both aesthetic and useful. A missed opportunity in my opinion that the project had was perhaps finding a way to graphically represent upcoming weather in the next few hours in order to show weather predictions as to communicate even more data, but the creators made a wonderful decision to use a parking garage as the background of the canvas, a very public element, as the background so that the graphic is seen by many.

Image of facade with graphics changing, courtesy of ESI Design.

Although I couldn’t find any inspiration for this specific project or design idealogies from ESI Design, according to their website, the ESI Design studio’s main objective in all of their projects is to combine both digital and physical elements in order to create a truly transcendental experience for visitors. In this Loop Garage display, their hope is that natural ivy and foliage will grow over the canvas, leading to a beautiful harmony of both digital graphics and natural figures.

Jasmine Lee – Looking Outwards – 01

The interactive piece that I’m choosing to talk about is an exhibit I came across in the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. The Visitors by Ragnar Kjartansson is a 64-minute music piece that uses synced video projection to create an immersive visual and audio experience for visitors.

A female performer playing the violin recorded for The Visitors piece.

Set up in a dark room behind curtains, visitors are drawn in by a chorus of instruments. Stepping in, they face nine different video projections placed on different areas of the wall. There are different performers in each projection and as music stops coming from one video, it begins in another video. The experience is especially interesting because of the way the performers seem to leave their respective videos and walk into the space of another performer. The performances together create a chorus that can only be experienced in the room of the exhibit itself.

A third-party recorded video of the exhibit by Ragnar Kjartansson at the Boston ICA museum.

This work is profound because it explores the potential of video as a medium to create more immersive experiences for visitors in a way that a single video cannot. It experiments with how 2D visuals can transform into a 3D experience by encouraging the movement of the viewer. The artist, Kjartansson, often uses repetition combined with music to explore the potential qualities of sound. Born to an actress and a director, Kjartansson was very influenced by both historical art and performance. He collaborated with other musical performers in a historical upstate New York house to create this piece.

Timothy Liu — Looking Outwards — 01

This is a before-and-after map of Kamrangirchar, Bangladesh — a striking example of the type of impact Missing Maps can have on a rural area (via Missing Maps, Twitter)

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a “mapathon” through Missing Maps, a collaborative initiative that aims to map “off-the-grid” parts of the world in order to improve humanitarian access and disaster relief efforts during times of crisis. The platform was designed and launched in September of 2014 by the American Red Cross alongside Doctors Without Borders. The project is an open collaboration that involves volunteers mapping streets, buildings, and infrastructure in high-risk areas into OpenStreetMap. Community volunteers then take these satellite maps and add in specific details, including what each building specifically is, before handing them off to humanitarian organizations that then use these maps to plan more efficient disaster responses. This project heavily utilizes OpenStreetMap (OSM), a software that actually originally involved a java-based applet on the OSM homepage. Over time, the basis of OSM has evolved into an online JavaScript editor known as iD.

The creators were likely motivated to create an initiative that enabled anyone with a working computer to help those in need. OSM was already in existence before the start of Missing Maps, and the creators of the initative likely felt that OSM could be better utilized through humanitarian efforts. Through its simple and easy-to-use online OSM editor, Missing Maps has impacted hundreds and thousands of people around the world who have suffered through crises. I was incredibly inspired by how simple yet powerful Missing Maps’ mission is, and it was amazing to think that I was able to potentially impact a small town in Kenya simply by mapping out a portion of their rural roads. And yet, the opportunities for further exploration and mapping are endless. There’s still a massive amount of rural area that needs to be mapped, and the 86,543 contributors thus far are ready to continue with their efforts to help the Red Cross save lives.

Some of the incredible contributions that have been made by the thousands of Missing Maps volunteers around the world (via
A video explaining how Missing Maps works (

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