Archive for the 'Event' Category

TOTEM

Here’s a cheeky little thing I made at a Kinect Hackathon that was hosted by Microsoft last year. The aim was to create a surreal and creative experience that resulted in a kaleidoscopic 3D collage. It was supposed to be a “vase generator” but it ended up being so much more…

I’ve looked into the possibility of adapting the app to be able to create zoetrope-like physical sculptures using a colour 3D printer. The cost of commercial printing made this unrealistic though. I think this could be a brilliant storytelling platform so if anyone can help bring this 21st century totem to life please get in touch.

Oh, and just to clarify, I’m not a huge narcissist and I haven’t gone completely bonkers 🙂

TOTEM_1TOTEM_2TOTEM_3TOTEM_4

 

 

Cell at Audi City Beijing

I recently travelled to China to install Cell at a new media arts exhibition held at Audi City Beijing. Cell in an installation I made in collaboration with Keiichi Matsuda in 2011 that is a provocation, a comment on the commodification of identity and a vision of how we might present ourselves in the coming years (more here).

It was always our intention to change this installation over time to implement new technologies and adapt to different contexts. In this instance we decided to give the visitors the opportunity to contribute to the piece by submitting the tags. This was achieved via a web app that would present the user with one of twenty questions such as – “Where did you meet your first love?” or “What is something you couldn’t live without?”. The answer is submitted and added to the collection of tags. Whereas the original piece would allow users to adopt the role of fictional characters, the result of this version was a crowd sourced cloud of words and phrases that formed a collective identity over the course of the week long exhibition.

Cell_1

Cell_2

There were several challenges this time round. The display consisted of 2 “PowerWalls” that, when combined, consisted of 8×4 plasma screens – an overall size of 11x3m. We went with a very powerful custom PC (made by Gareth Griffiths of Uberact) as we needed to significantly increase the tag count and split the image over the 2 walls (using a DualHead2Go). We also needed the extra power as there were 5 kinects (all running from separate PCs). This allowed for up to 10 simultaneous users and meant more calculations than usual. Cell is an open source project and the code for the new iteration is available here. The piece requires openFrameworks v0.8.0 and Visual Studio Express 2012.

Cell_3

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my app Konstruct (made with Juliet Alliban) was also exhibited at the event. This section was part of the AppArtAwards exhibition and was organised by the Goethe-Institut China and ZKM.

Finally, huge thanks to Audi for holding the exhibition, to ADP Projects for helping to curate the event and acting as producers in Beijing, to Keith Watson for providing some space at Level39 for testing, to Juliet Alliban for helping with the setup and to Gareth Griffiths for building the PC.

The Rite of Spring – A Sound Responsive Laser Performance

A sound-responsive laser installation set to The Rite of Spring, performed with the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra.

Arcade were commissioned to make a visual accompaniment to Stravinsky’s masterpiece. The project was produced by the Groninger Forum for the Timeshift festival in Holland, to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the controversial first performance of The Rite of Spring. Our response was to construct a virtual architecture from laser beams, transforming the music into a dynamic forest of sound and light.

50 lasers were installed in the auditorium, each one connected to an individual instrument. Custom-built electronics allowed them to react the musicians’ performances; the louder the musician played, the brighter the beam. At certain times mirrors would be moved or unveiled to direct the beams to different areas of the auditorium, creating new abstract forms in space to compliment the different movements of the piece.

The resulting walls of light emanating from behind the orchestra and extending through the audience formed a direct spatial visualisation of the music.

Le Sacre du Printemps - North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra and Studio Arcade

Photo by Martin Lambeek

Le Sacre du Printemps - North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra and Studio Arcade

Photo by Martin Lambeek

Le Sacre du Printemps - North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra and Studio Arcade

Photo by Asami Yoshida

Le Sacre du Printemps - North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra and Studio Arcade

Photo by Asami Yoshida

 

Addressing the orchestra

Addressing the orchestra – photo by Gerda Vrugteman

Testing the lasers

Testing the lasers

Cell in Shanghai

I was recently invited to Shanghai for a week to set up Cell with Keiichi Matsuda. It was for an art/music/film/food event organised by Emotion China. They had a 5×3 LCD wall erected specifically to display the piece. This made a huge difference to the usual rear projection configuration.

Here are a few photos:


More photos of the trip here.

Fractal’11 – A diary

We’ve just come to the end of what I can quite confidently describe as the best conference I have ever been to, Fractal’11 in Medellín, Colombia. Hernán Oritz, one of the festival organisers (alongside Vivi Trujillo), contacted me around 18 months ago to speak at last year’s event. At the last minute the unpronounceable Icelandic volcano erupted and my flight was cancelled. I was relieved and excited when I was invited again this year. We’ve had an extremely busy but rewarding few days.

Fractal'11

DAY 1

During a fun first evening getting to know the other speakers and organisers over crepes and smoothies we discovered we had an interview for Colombian daytime TV at 8am the following morning (the first of several surprises). An early night followed. After a gorgeous breakfast we went to the lobby to meet the film crew. I think we were all a bit apprehensive, but as with most public speaking, once you start talking the nerves tend to evaporate.

Once the interviews where over I was whisked away to do an Augmented Reality Q&A at a local tech company called Ilimitada ran by the charismatic (and slightly mental) Juan José Mejía. After a brief introduction to AR the questions began. The audience seemed very excited by the technology and many interesting ideas came up during the discussion. Next stop, lunch in the jungle.

Lunch in the Jungle

Lunch in the Jungle

The launch party was at a great venue called DRY. We were treated to Martini cocktails called Fractum created especially for the event before partaking in another TV interview. Halfway through the night I was introduced to an interesting character called Alex Bennett who is the Headmaster of a local school. He informed me of our next surprise, that we were coming to his school the following morning to to judge an innovation competition his students had been involved in. We continued drinking and laughing into the night with Alex and the rest of the guys, all looking forward to our next adventure.

DAY 2

Another early and slightly hazy start. We made our way up the mountain to the heavily guarded Columbus High School and met some of the teachers and students. We selected a category each and began to sift our way through the work. I chose the video and stop motion projects which were, on the whole, very impressive. Once we had selected our top 5 we made our way to the assembly hall where we got on stage in front of 300 students to discuss the categories and announce the winners. My fiancé Juliet had come along and was also on stage. She was handed the microphone a couple of times to address the audience. She was nervous but did a great job.

Columbus High School Assembly

Columbus High School Assembly

Presenting at Columbus High School

Presenting at Columbus High School

After a quick lunch and a tour of the school we went to the event. The venue was the outdoor theatre at the beautiful botanical gardens of Medellín. This made such a change from the usual stale conference rooms. The surrounding forest and mountains combined with the sounds of the exotic birds and occasional thunder resulted in a dramatic location for such an event.

Medellín Botanical Gardens

Medellín Botanical Gardens

After Hernán introduced the event, John Kessel, the award winning Science Fiction author and professor of creative writing at the NC State University began his talk. The heavens opened within moments of his presentation but he didn’t let it phase him. John discussed the way in which science fiction authors consciously and subconsciously include current social issues in their renditions of the future.

Hernán introducing Fractal'11

Hernán introducing Fractal'11

John Kessel

John Kessel

Sam Pool AKA SPL is a Dubstep DJ and producer. He had been invited to perform a set and do a presentation. Sam spoke with passion about the current state of play in the music industry, the effects of piracy and digital technology and his open source approach to his craft. He ended with a walkthrough of the technology he uses to perform and create.

Sam Pool

Sam Pool

Johanna Blakley is deputy director of the Norman Lear Centre, a think tank at the University of Southern California. Her presentation was a discussion of her background in academia and her current research into entertainment, particularly TV drama and it’s influential effect upon the behaviours and attitudes of the viewers.

Johanna Blakley

johanna Blakley

DAY 3

I was one of the first speakers of the day with my Augmented Storytelling presentation. It’s an investigation of AR as a platform for constructing unique interactive stories. The gorgeous surroundings definitely put me at ease and, according to the other half (and my fiercest critic), it was the best presentation I had ever given. Even my demos worked perfectly which is always a bit sketchy in an outdoor environment. Lots of great questions followed and even a little Spanish heckling by a crazy old guy.

James Alliban

James Alliban

My first heckler

My first heckler

In addition to speaking, I was also exhibiting my new AR iPhone app Konstruct – see here for more details. Last year my Fractal’10 AR ident, made especially for the show was exhibited.

Konstruct

Konstruct

Kij Johnson is another award winning Science Fiction author and educator. In her talk, she compared writers to enigma machines in the sense that they use fiction to encode their own ideas into stories. She finished up by reading one of her short stories. Tij also contributed a story called “Myth Girls” to an interdisciplinary book created specially for Fractal’11. This work also involved fashion designer Camilo Álvarez, illustrator Oscar González, graphic designer Carlos Andrés Ortiz, and editors Viviana Trujillo and Hernán Ortiz.

Kij Johnson

Kij Johnson

Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and tech consultant. Amber discussed the idea that our reliance on technology is transforming us into cyborgs. A wide variety of technology was discussed with in relation to how it is affecting us. I found the discussions on mobile phones and our online social selves particularly fascinating.

Amber Case

Amber Case

My last responsibility on the list was to take part in a panel called ‘Decoding the present’ alongside all the other speakers. I’m not usually a fan of panels so I can’t say I was looking forward to it. The fact that it was being broadcasted live on local TV didn’t make me feel any better. Within minutes of it starting I knew it was going to be a good one. John was moderating and had put together a thought provoking collection of questions. A stimulation discussion ensued in which everyone had something interesting to say.

The panel - Deconstructing the present

The panel - Deconstructing the present

The evening ended with Sam’s stomping 2 hour Dubstep set. Although there were only 50 or so people present, the crowd soon transformed into a crazed mass of dancing maniacs. A Peruvian feast and much merriment followed before heading back to the hotel for the final night.

Sam Pool's Dubstep set

Sam Pool's Dubstep set

Dinner at the Peruvian Restaurant

Dinner at the Peruvian Restaurant

I’ve been to some great conferences in the past but this one had it all. Interesting and affable speakers, excellent organisers/hosts, a lovely enthusiastic audience, a stunning setting, excellent catering and entertainment and a full and rewarding schedule. What more could you ask for. A big thanks to Hernán Oritz and Vivi Trujillo for inviting me to such an exciting conference. Event organisers, take note.

The latest

OK lots of things to mention so I thought I’d be lazy and lump them into one blog post.

String Progress

I’ve spent the last month beta testing a new iPhone tracking technology called String. I’ll leave the details for a future blog post, but I will say that it is one of, if not the fastest and most accurate mobile trackers I have seen to date. Also, importantly, there is no license fee for artists and designers wanting to experiment with and publish apps using the tech. It’s about to be released any day now. Definitely one to watch.

I’m currently experimenting with generative art in AR space using OpenGL ES. Should the app be accepted into the store, it will be included in the Square Art exhibition. The theme is Blank Canvas, which ties in freakishly well with what I have in mind.

Young Creative Council

I just had an article published on the Young Creative Council (AKA YCC London) blog. Every week they get a guest author to write about whatever they like. I used it as an opportunity to write about my work, my inspirations and my thoughts on AR in terms of the current state of play, the future and my approach to it as a platform for art. I don’t tend to use my blog as an outlet for those sorts of ramblings so it was nice to write down my thoughts on these matters for a new audience.

You can read the article here. Big thanks to Laura and Emma for sorting this out.

AR Summit

I’ve been asked to both speak at and be on the advisory board for the AR Summit. This event is penned to be the biggest augmented reality conference in the UK and is taking place in London in June. If you don’t fancy the presentations, there will be an exhibition hall showcasing the latest and greatest in the world of AR. Definitely worth a visit.

It’s a huge honour to be given this opportunity. I’m looking forward to having a say in the organisation of the event. Hopefully I can inject a creative edge into the proceedings.

Look here for other upcoming speaking engagements.

Web Designer Magazine article

I was featured in this month’s Web Designer magazine. The article is titled “Whatever happened to Augmented Reality?”. I attempt to answer this question and give my thoughts on current trends, mobile AR and the future. I’ve been informed that I also had an interview published in the iPhone special of Computer Arts Projects about my iPhone app Fracture last month. I didn’t actually manage to get a copy so if anyone has the issue and a few spare minutes I’d really appreciate a scan.

Augmented Storytelling at Cinekid

Last week I was privileged to speak at one of the world’s biggest children’s media festivals, Cinekid in Amsterdam. I just wrote a post on the Skive blog about my experiences.

Check it out here.

James Alliban speaking at Cinekid

AS3->openFrameworks at DotBrighton

as3-oF

It was great to be invited to speak at DotBrighton (formerly FlashBrighton) by Flash maverick Seb Lee-Delisle. I saw this as an excellent opportunity to talk about getting started with openFrameworks from the perspective of an Actionscript developer. The session was pretty tech heavy but it went well with plenty of questions throughout and lots of positive feedback afterward.

As promised, the source code is now available here. You can also get the slideshow in PDF format here.

If you missed the talk and you’re based in or around London on 25th November, I’ll be doing it again at LFPUG. This will actually be hosted by the digital agency I work for, Skive. Also speaking that night is Filip Visnjic of creativeapplications.net so it should be an interesting evening.

****** UPDATE ******

The video of this talk has just been put online for all to enjoy:

***** EDIT *****

I should point out that there’s a bit of confusion around 18:40. Just to clear up, the main.cpp file is not part of the testApp class. It is there purely to start the program up.






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