Oh my () by Noriyuki Suzuki is a Raspberry Pi and Arduino installation that exclaims "oh my god" in the appropriate language when the word "god" is tweeted on Twitter. I chose this project for my looking outwards because I am always fascinated by how social interactions manifest in a digital world, and how we can use technology as art to highlight this. Taking a deeply social construct like "god" and projecting it through the disembodied voice of a machine is a perfect example of the type of work I'd like to create. The chaotically frequent outbursts coupled with the stream of text updated in real time perhaps demonstrates something about the uncanniness of an attempt to capture "god" within the output of a machine.

I also chose this project because I'm interested in gaining more experience creating art with the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino. I created a two-channel synchronized video installation with a Raspberry Pi three years ago, and I haven't touched a technical installation since. My work is all very intangible, and I want to explore creating work that alters the space and the presence of the world.

Perhaps my only complaint about this work is that it's so heavy-handed that I don't have much to say about it besides the obvious and besides what I want to pull from it into my own practice. Sure, there could be a whole conversation about religion, but there always is, and that's not enough to make a work of art significant. Maybe I am just a heathen.



I found several pieces that I liked: ChineseWhispers by Saurabh Datta, Poetry in Motion by St Marie φ Walker, Augenblick by Manasse Pinsuwan and René Henrich, Zimoun's work, and Electrostatic Bell Choir by Darsha Hewitt. I'll choose electrostatic bell choir, by Hewitt to dicussi more about. The Electrostatic Bell Choir is an electromechanical sound installation that plays with the static electricity emitted from discarded CRT television monitors. I really love the atmosphere of the installation it brings to mind a kind of gravesite or shrine that has come alive. Now that I think about it, this is not really a physical computing art piece, in the sense that no new physical computing elements were really created for the completion of this art work (pre-existing circuitry was used). Anyways, I think that Hewitt's recycling of the televisions is a successful re-imagination of the CRT TV's obsolete circuitry.

The Electrostatic Bell Choir (2012-2013) Darsha Hewitt


The tabletop projection interaction is nearly a trope at this point, but Kollision's Tangible 3D Tabletop adds some interactions that I found new and useful. The idea of treating a plane as a viewport for a map is a fairly natural interaction. I think the perpendicular nature of the plane could still use some tuning, but the execution is pretty incredible. I can imagine this interaction being used in the reverse--a block representing a section line moving across an image of a brain and show MRI slices for instance. The attractive part of this interaction is that it breaks the keyboard, mouse, screen paradigm. It also manages to stay in reality, unlike VR for instance. I think this technology could have strong use in educational environments.

Link to project.


Unfit Bits

Tega Brain and Surya Mattu - 2015

The artists analyzed fitbits to figure out how to easily fake fitbit data without having to actually exercise, publishing the methods they came up with. This project does so many things at once: it gives you (potentially) practical ways to resist fitbits, it's really funny, and the objects are actually really beautiful. The website presents the work as a parody of lifestyle products. That kind of shtick, while kinda funny, I find a little distracting. I think the humor of the solution is best in the physical objects. I would also like if instead they published how-to guides on creating your own unfit bits.

The work might be drawing from "readymades" like Man Ray's Object To Be Destroyed and Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel. It also is part of a long tradition of finding exploits in technology to circumvent the ways it is used to restrict us. There are lots of other people coming up with ways to trick surveillance technology (some of which we looked at in class):

MoMar -LookingOutwards04


Related image

Claytronics is a physical computing concept that combines nano-scale robotics and Computer Science. It is a programmable matter which is being developed and researched at Carnegie Mellon University by Professors Seth Goldstein and Todd C. Mowry, as well as graduate, undergraduate students in collaboration with Intel Labs.

Claytronics is a collection of solid-state components called catoms which attract each other to create objects. Modern catoms (as of 2009), attract each other using electromagnets. Magnets, however, don't work too well on the microscopic scale so they are looking at other possibilities such as electrostatic attraction.

The research team focuses on two main projects:

  • Creating basic catons.
  • To enable this, we adopt a design principle which we term the ensemble axiom: a robot should include only enough functionality to contribute to the desired functionality of the ensemble

  • Designing and writing 3D software to manipulate catons
  • Millions of sub-millimeter
    robot modules each able to emit variable color and
    intensity light will enable dynamic physical rendering
    systems, in which a robot ensemble can simulate arbitrary
    3D scenes and models

In the future, artists using claytronics would be able to create plays/movies using fake people. A popular idea is a 3D fax machine which scans the inputted object and "prints" the same object using the programmable matter on the other end. Robots and other items that break can fix themselves by just reforming into their programmed shape (i.e. T-1000 from Terminator 2).

Such systems could have many
applications, such as telepresence, human-computer
interface, and entertainment.


Sources:    Shown above



David Rokeby - Minimal Object (with Time on Your Hands)


This piece specifically was very interesting to me. It tracks movement and manipulates the data it receives to produce different sounds. I love the idea of abstract physics formulas and the exploration of the unknown, so this piece has a very similar feel as the Schrodinger's Cat problem. The piece plays with both intangibility and tactility, where the piece is present but only truly visible once the viewer interacts with it. I also love the idea of manipulating sound in such a way that it can be perceived and felt by senses other than sight and hearing, and this piece delves a bit into that particular field. It was also unique in that this is one of the few pieces I've seen which peruses interactivity through a medium other than visual stimulation or without using video at all, and I thought that that was pretty interesting.

sovid – Looking Outwards: David Rokeby

I initially clicked on this piece because it focused on Trafalgar Square, the area the street I lived on was named after, but I actually ended up enjoying the piece itself. Rokeby uses images and footage taken from above Trafalgar Square and slowly interpolates through time, revealing the patterns and trails the living things and the environment itself create.



Contellaction is a piece by panGenerator, consiting of multiple acrylic pyramids that light up individually in response to light. This results in a 'wave' of light patterns depending on their proximity to the other pyramids. What I particularly like about this work is that each of the pyramids can be moved and assembled into any location or pattern, allowing for those who interact with the work to actively take part not only in the initiating a 'light wave' effect, but in creating and interacting with the patterns and forms that they can then light up. It feels a little bit like a dominoes game.

I also think that there is something very beautiful about how simple the interaction and resulting reaction is, yet this allows for changing experiences and freedom to play for the audience.

I think that this piece is most effective when there is a large mass of clustered or patterned pyramids, rather than in the shorter lines/segments. In those shorter segments it loses the ripple element that makes this piece interesting.

vingu – lookingOutwards03


ADA is an analog interactive installation by KARINA SMIGLA-BOBINSKI  that creates art. ADA refers to Ada Lovelace who created the first prototype computer in the 19th century. The white room is the hardware, ADA the software, and the visitors are giving the input to ADA to create art. I like the aspect of play, and input from the user. The structure of ADA reminds me of a micro organism. Karina Smigla-Bobinski mentions that the art created by ADA resembles nanotech.


Rain Room, 2012Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass

"Rain Room" is an installation where artificial rain is falling from the ceiling throughout the room, but when the viewer steps into the rain, a gap opens up around them so that they remain dry. The effect is achieved with cameras that track the 3D location of the viewers.

The sheer size of the installation and the power of the interaction with it is bound to create a strong effect. While I can't really experience it from behind my computer screen, even imagining what it would feel like to be in that room is affecting: being surrounded by the rain but not being able to touch it, the frustration of hanging a carrot in front of your face. Also realizing the imaginary experience of being in the middle of the rain and staying dry is cool in itself.