One of my earliest introductions at CMU to new media art (specifically mixing technology and social art) was when I had the pleasure of attending Lauren McCarthy’s seminar. At the time I had heard many things about Lauren as our artist in residency but was still utterly blown away with her work after attending her talk. Lauren has done countless amounts of different phenomenal projects with some of the best serving as great examples of information visualization and data collecting in art. While Facebook Mood Manipulator, CrowdPilot, and Social Turkers were all good examples of art projects which require information visualization and data collection the two projects that best stand out in my mind are pplkpr and us+ .
Both of these projects serve to aid people in social scenarios or situations by analyzing either their pulse (like in pplkpr) or their facial expressions (like in us+) to read their current emotions and visualize the data to help the user. As comical as these projects are, they are a fantastic example of how artist require and implement things such as data visualization into experiences all of the time.
For this weeks assignment I finally felt myself begin my process by thinking through coding rather than drawing. Instead of having a fully rendered drawing detailing every pixel of what I want to create I began by considering the concepts we had just learned and incorporating them into my idea as I planned. Since I spent less time trying to draw out beautiful visuals I wanted to be sure to have a more purposeful reason to my work than just to create something that tells time. When speaking of abstract time and image I began to be reminded of my room in my old home and the only way I could tell time then – through the sky. I had been too young to own a phone and refused to have a clock and thus settled for always peeking at the mirror on my wall which reflected the sky outside, always giving me a sense of what time of day it was. Despite the fact that I’m slowly becoming more familiar with programming, this project proved to be quite the challenge as my ambitions continued to rise and my skill set has yet to catch up. I’ve realized in this last project that at times my desire to create something visually extraordinary will lead to novice mistakes and confusing syntax which are two areas I need to continue to develop and grow in. Regardless, the process was challenging and fun as always.
While there are countless of insightful and interesting projects studying the concept of sound, one of my all time favorites I have seen was a project done by a first year BXA student last year at CMU. As a neuroscience and music student, Teddy created a device and software which he could connect to another person to transmit their brain waves into playable music. Unfortunately after much searching I could not find any documentation online of his work despite it’s brilliance but hopefully he will continue to create fascinating projects combining his talents which we will be able to see in the future at CMU.
Firstly, I began by considering the concept of what a wallpaper and pattern both are. When thinking about a wallpaper, there were several ideas in my mind. The first was of the traditional concept of a wallpaper – a patterned paper used to cover walls to add a decorative effect. The second – and the one I took most interest in – was that of a digital wallpaper. The decorative display, background, or screensaver we all see daily on our cellphones, laptops, tablets, televisions, etcetera. Lastly, I thought about the idea of a wearable pattern, and how different the aesthetics to consider are when adding the wearable aspect to a print. While I had originally liked several designs as wallpapers, once I considered them as a piece of clothing I quickly ushered them away. Finally, after struggling to find a balance between all of these and a theme I personally enjoyed I set about making a sunset through prints and patterns.
When I read the prompt for this particular week’s Looking Outwards I was happily surprised to see both the Computational Fabrication Group and Mediated Matter Group from MIT. While both their work has been commonly shown around the new media courses in my time at CMU, I too have a slightly personal connection with both of these groups and their work as well. First to fall into my view was a video by the Computational Fabrication Group from MIT. In late 2013 when my brother had just started his first semester at MIT he had sent me the link to one of their video’s titled ‘Computing and Fabricating Multiplanar Models’ and insisted I watch. Back then I was much less aware of how technological advances had influenced art so potently and was fascinated at the concept of inserting a blunt line of command into the computer and arriving with a real physical fabricated copy modeled already through technology.
I find it not only astounding, but admirable (to say the least) that through a strict, blunt, logical line of algorithms one can manifest a real, new, and tangible creative form. These technologies allow the future to hold no boundaries for imagination and groups such as the MIT Computational Fabrication Group continue to charge forth in discovering new and creative innovations that expand artistic practice even further.
When considering an introduction into this course and the world of creative programming I contemplated many different version of what my sense of a ‘self portrait’ ought to be. Despite making countless sketches and turning around endless ideas I soon realized that in this new medium of programming my creativity was useless if it was too convoluted and soon found myself starting off back at the beginning to create a self portrait that – just as I did – began with the basics.
As far as the process itself went – the ‘drawing’ of the figure through code was fun and simple enough yet the duplication to create the different gradient selves was a tedious amount of copy paste and basic arithmetic that I would prefer to learn how to skip around.
Prior to taking an interest into the world of new media and technological art there were few works that I had seen and been familiar with. As I arrived at CMU and became further engulfed in new media art, the possibilities began to seem endless and more and more interesting achievements of artists past caught my eye. This sudden interest in interdisciplinary forms of practice soon led me to the VIA festival and from there my first memorable hands on experience with new media art occurred. Although VIA consists of hundreds of outstanding people coming together to make all of the events and works showcased throughout the festival, one of the most memorable for me was Lauren Goshinski’s own ASMR NPC experience.
This piece consists of immersing the audience into an all consuming virtual reality experience in which their visual and auditory senses are stimulated through the phenomenon of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). Although the software used for this piece was not entirely created by Lauren herself, the entire team that came together to make each piece of the whole experience possible still shows a magnificent and new aspect of technological art which widens the horizon for future art to come.