Nova Jiang's "Figurative Drawing Device" (link here) was exhibited at the New Wight Gallery in Los Angeles. This device requires two people, a designated tracer and the person to be outlined, and graphs the outline with imperfections that are clearly evident. I was drawn to this piece because of its personal and irregular nature. No two outlines would be the same and it was also dependent on the tracer. The device seems to be made up of a series of metal bars that translate the bigger outline of the tracer's drawing to something that could be fit into a sketchbook's size. Although overall, I love this piece, I wonder how the traces would look if the outline was completely black, creating a stronger contrast with the white paper's background. I respect the social and psychological elements in this piece within the relationships that it creates and also the fact that a single outline is not something that can be done quickly and perfectly. The poser must stay relatively still in poses that may be hard to maintain while the outliner must focus on doing his/her best in creating the drawing. Within completion, the drawing serves as an interpretation of the participants' combined effects, which is something I find exciting.
483 Lines Second Edition (2015) by Mimi Son explores how light and image can create a surreal digital environment. The interactivity is in how the viewer views the piece. Today, I viewed one of Memo Atken's pieces that explores creating different environments in each eye in virtual reality. The users explore the space by moving their head in the VR environment and by attempting to focus on different parts. Son's work attempts to create similar surreal environments in reality through projection. Standing closer or farther away from the lines create senses of motion through the plane of lines. Looking at the piece from the angle of a tunnel creates a sense of motion along the plane of lines.
This project interests me not because of the artistic concept behind it(which I find a bit simplistic), but because of the novel use of media. The way the artist uses projection mapping to bridge the divide between the digital and the physical is incredible - giving digital objects a "presence" without much effort. This served as a reference point for my "Augmented Body" project.
Recently I have been making more use of my Fitbit, and one of the social "games" I have been playing on it is the step challenges. Counting steps as a form of interactivity is a fairly old concepts, with the first pedometers showing up from Japanese manufacturers in 1985 (interestingly, Leonardo Da Vinci had envisioned a mechanical step-counting gadget centuries earlier!).
What I found unique about the Fitbit's spin on the "step challenge" concept is the virtual races you can hold with your friends. Users can pick an iconic expanse to walk across to race on like the Alps, Appalachian or Rocky mountains and can see realtime where their friends stand along these trails. The fitbit will (if permitted) use GPS tracking to figure out how much distance users cover, or utilize their gait and steps taken to generate a somewhat accurate representation of distance covered on these trails. Furthermore, walking these trails allows users to unlock 180 degree views of these locations and in-game "treasures" and unlockables.
The second and somewhat less obvious effect of this interactivity is that I find myself feeling closer to the people who do these challenges with me, regardless of the multiple thousand miles between us. The concept of catching up and being able to overtake your friends helps me feel closer to them. I am not sure if the developers realized this aspect of their product, but I think this is something special, and I see the potential in a game that makes you feel closer to people by moving relative to them.
This is an interactive installation work by Camille Utterback from 2013 entitled Flourish. It is a series of 7 glass panels, each with 2 layers, and 3 of which are interactive. The combination of colors and textures creates a sense of depth which is heightened by lights that respond to viewers' movements and travel between the panels. I'm inspired by the combination of materials and ideas in this piece. Painting, sculpture, interactivity, time-based media, and glass-work are all being combined to create what I see as a living painting with an incredible sense of depth. It's hard to know without seeing the piece in person, but I wish all of the panels were interactive, though perhaps it is more surprising if only a few are. I think the image of the tree is a bit cliche, and that the more abstract but still very natural elements of the rest of the panels are much more compelling. The idea of creating interactive paintings that change over time is one that is exciting to me, particularly coming from a painting background myself.
Daniel Rozin has created many mechanical "mirrors" using video cameras, motion sensors, and motors to display people's reflections. I had seen the popular pompom mirror before, but I was interested to see the other mirrors he created. One mirror that I found interesting was the penguin mirror. Rather than facing the user directly, this mirror is flat on the ground and takes the shape of a projected shadow. As the user moves, the stuffed penguins turn so that their white bellies are showing. I really enjoy how Rozin uses his mirrors to take a simple shadow and turn it into a huge mechanized process.
I think that penguins were very fitting for this mirror, because the colors of the penguin allow for a transition between black and white as they turn. The appearance of a huge group of penguins together also gives the appearance of a penguin huddle. The sound of this mirror is also very pleasant. As you move more, the clicking sound of all the penguins turning increases. There is something very soothing about listening to an army of penguins follow your movements.
We Make the Weather is an interactive installation made as a collaboration between Greg Borenstein, Karolina Sobecka, and Sofy Yuditskaya. It was made in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and uses breath detection, motion capture, and the Unity game engine. The user controls a figure crossing a virtual bridge with their breath, where each breath makes the bridge longer and further from the figure. The user wears a headset that sends the sound of their breath to Unity, which controls the 3D environment projected on a screen. This is a particularly clever and unique way of interacting with the environment, and it plays perfectly into their concept and its environmental themes. It's also notable for both its visual simplicity and conceptual complexity.
I looked at Danny Rozin for this Looking Outwards, as I recognized his name when I saw it on the list of artists Golan provided. When I clicked on his website, I realized that I knew him from my Art and Arudino class -- I am working on an "Interactive" project in that class right now as well, and my professor had also used the wooden mirror as an example of what kinds of interactivity can be achieved with Arduino (Rozin made the wooden one just with servos). It amazes me how basically anyone could make this kind of art, since Arduino is so accessible and easy to learn. There is a beauty to how simple it is, yet this idea is so creative.
I love how there is a juxtaposition between the facts that many of his "mirrors" are made with natural or recycled materials, but they are technically put together and controlled in a calculated and digitized way with software. I also like how Rozin questions the self in his artwork, as he has come up with so many ways to represent reflection. It's interesting to discuss whether he is trying to critique society and its narcissism by showing how we interact with our reflections even when we are reduced to just shadows, or if he means for individuals to look deeper within themselves and discover things they couldn't see on their obvious surfaces.
The project I selected is a kinematic maze called Landscape Abbreviated created by Nova Jiang. I think the interaction here is extremely interesting because, unlike many other interactive work, the initiative is held by the art work itself. The installation purposefully fills the room so that the visitor has to walk through the maze before going to the next room. Yet which specific path they will eventually end up taking is determined by the installation itself. The modular elements that consist the work can individually turn at different angles and different time thus forcing the visitors to his/her unique path. The simple yet effective unpredictability of this piece makes it an extremely intriguing work to interact with.
Aerobanquets RMX is an immersive VR/gastronomy experience by Mattia Casalegno. The participants sit at a table and are served food on small platters, while wearing a VR headset. The headset displays forms that were generated based on the flavor profiles of the food items. The recipes and cooking were made by chef Flavio Ghignoni Carestia based on the Futurist Cookbook. The futurist cuisine fits perfectly with the rest of the concept, somewhat alien and pretty dang cool.
While I think the implementation of the project could have been pushed further, with a more seamless way of consuming the food, more refined graphics, and potentially more interpersonal interaction; the concept of involving food with a VR experience is a very good one. Taste and smell seem to be the most neglected senses in interactive art, so I really like the idea of integrating food into the experience. I also like the idea going the other way, integrating visual experience into eating a meal.
This piece suggests the possibility of a full sensory experience, and only with fairly recent technologies could the senses could be very carefully calibrated and coordinated. We could move beyond the visual/olfactory of scratch n' sniff markers or auditory/gastronomic of a restaurant with live music, and into an artificial and hand-tailored world that incorporates every sense.