Monday, July 18th, 2011

Geek in residence

I officially began my term as Geek in Resident at the Emerging Writer’s Festival yesterday. This was not the first time I’d met with festival director  Lisa Dempster and co-geek in residence Daniel Donahoo. We’ve liaised a number of times already and even caroused together at the closing of the EWF festival last month. Having been away from Melbourne for the greater part of the last eight years, it has been my pleasure to catch up with a number of artistic and cultural projects that have sprung up around town. The EWF is one of them, and Freeplay (directed this year by Paul Callaghan who I had the pleasure of meeting recently) is another.

As part of our collaboration Daniel and I were given artist passes to the festival to acquaint ourselves with its structure and audiences. My reaction was overwhelmingly positive….despite having most of my writing confined to artist statements and grant applications I felt that the broader issues discussed at the festival were experiences shared by the general creative community, not just aspiring writers. Then there were some hilarious performances, both staged and impromptu, such as the darkly humorous details of getting ahead in a writing career. My overall impression of the festival was one of dynamic, flexible, fresh offerings catering to a very broad and diverse audience.

Our initial discussions regarding the outcomes for the Geek in Residence program have been fairly broad and wide ranging, but I can safely say that terms such as digital strategy, interactivity, transmedia and even generative writing were bandied about with great gusto. We also hope to provided best practices for some of the everyday IT operations of the festival as well.

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Physical Reality

After six or seven months of pain and suffering due to a condition called spondyloarthritis, I’m back in action thanks to a wonder-drug I’m taking called a Tumour Necrosis Factor Inhibitor. During this period of illness I was unable to achieve very much except contemplate my navel and feel sorry for myself. Even surfing the Internet was a chore!

However now that I’ve been restored to health this year is looking up, and already a number of projects are in motion, the first of which being the construction of some small, solar powered audio-visual devices that will hopefully be installed in the paving stones of a lane-way somewhere. They will be called Brickets and will be receptive to basic forms of interaction, creating a blinking, chirping digital ecology.

In the meantime, here’s some food for thought related to the field of Augmented Reality, an interesting critical article on the medium.

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Borderless Dreams

I’ll be heading to Seoul, Korea this thursday to setup Frame Seductions at an exhibition at the Art Centre Nabi called Borderless Dreams. It’s in conjunction with the 2010 International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality. I’ll be giving a talk as well, on the 14th of October. Hopefully I will be catching up with old friends from V2, where I was artist-in-resident in 2006. The opening of the exhibition is on the 13th of October, and lasts for a month. Here’s an excerpt from their press release:

Borderless Dreams, an exhibition co-organized by Art Center Nabi, ISMAR 2010 and V2, will allow you to explore a borderless world developed from the point where physical reality and virtual layer become entangled in augmented and mixed reality technologies. The exhibition is comprised of eight works: three entries – Augmented Shadow, Sound Walk, and Frame Seductions selected from the Art Gallery of 9th ISMAR (IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality) 2010, and three works –Mirror Scrutinizer, RE:, Serendipitor that are receiving support or being developed by Netherland’s V2 Lab, where augmented reality is one of their main research topics. Art center Nabi chose the classical pieces TelematicDreaming and Picnic on the Screen by Paul Sermon, which adopts the augmented reality concept of the early 90’s.

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Frame Seductions at Tweak Festival

I was recently asked by the lovely Nora O’Murchu to show my piece Frame Seductions at the festival she curates in Limerick city, Ireland. Tweak, now in its third year, is a festival for interactive digital festival that also includes electronic music performances, talks and films. I met Nora last year when Arturo Castro and I taught an OpenFrameworks workshop as part of the festival. Tweak is a small festival but it has a lot to offer, not the least being fantastic Irish hospitality. I’m not able to attend the festival this year, but so far I’ve watched a charming video of a demonstration of Soomi Park’s LED Eyelash and I’m already sorry I couldn’t make it. My piece is part of the exhibition program at Tweak 2010.  Tweak runs between September 17th – 24th.

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Frame Seductions wins FILE Prix Lux honourable mention

My Frame Seductions piece recently won an interactive art honour award at the FILE Prix Lux. From the FILE website:

In 2010, FILE launches FILE PRIX LUX, an international prize for professionals in the area of electronic-digital languages. This is an unprecedented initiative in Latin America that values the art of the XXI century viable for the first time by Santander through the Lei Rouanet de incentivo à Cultura.

This initiative was conceived to complement FILE’s actions in the area of electronic and digital languages, with the intent of rewarding, motivating and stimulating the emergence of new talents. FILE intends with FILE PRIX LUX, besides the exhibition and presentation of works, to add value to such manifestations, conferring to the awarded artists a national and international impact.

The 2010 prize received 1,235 registrations from 44 countries among which 90 works were nominated. Of those nominated, 21 works were selected, 7 in each category (Interactive Art, Electronic Sonority and Digital Language). The top two works were given 1st and 2nd prizes respectively. The remainding five works (such as mine) were given honourable mentions. The Awards ceremony took place on July 26th, 2010, at Teatro do SESI – São Paulo, in conjunction with the opening of the FILE exhibition.

Due to bad health, I was unfortunately unable to attend the opening exhibition. However in my place I sent my friend and collaborator Andre Mintz to set up the installation. Andre worked on the project during the Interactivos workshop in Lima, Peru, where the work was conceived. Andre can be seen in the picture above taking a photo of the installation with what looks to be his phone camera.

A review of some of the projects from the FILE Prix Lux exhibition, including mine,  has been written up at We-Make-Money-Not-Art.

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

All Our Lives Are Symbols

On the 28th of May I attended the opening of the Real-Fake exhibition at the Art University of Linz (Kunstuniversität Linz). I developed the sound design to my friend Letitia Lehner’s installation All Our Lives Are Symbols which was part of the exhibition. The piece is an ambitious attempt to represent the symbolic in both the visual and audio realms. My contribution was to compose sound for 4 different abstract graphic symbols, which each sound somehow signifying the visual in some way. The installation setup consisted of four turntables playing back 7″ vinyl records of each of the 4 sound pieces I had designed. Above each turntable sat a record case with a printed insert depicting the symbol that was used as inspiration for the sound. The end result was meant to be an abstract tension between the visual and auditory, a kind of symbolic synthaesthesia. Here’s my rough translation of the german from the website:

A graphical and auditory interpretation of the fictitious symbolic language »SYNCHISIA SYMBOLS« – an international art project by the scottish artist Ryan Hays. Information is being constantly mediated in syntactic, semantic and pragmatic ways. »ALL OUR LIVES ARE SYMBOLS« is a purely aesthetic and formalistic formulation, which the concept of language highlights ad absurdum.

Obviously difficult to imagine this without the audio and symbols, however here’s one rendering of the symbols which I used as inspiration:

For the first symbol, an inverted “V”, I created a periodic ramping, sound, as of someone breathing or a wave breaking and receding on a shore.

For the second, the pyramid, I created a solid foundation to the piece in the form of a low frequency bass sequence effected by some phase distortion to give an eerie touch. To me, the pyramid reflected strength, power and stability.

For the third, the triangle-circle, I created a rhythmic, clicking, looping sound that was both circular (cyclic) and triangular (ramping up and down in amplitude).

For the final symbol, the circle, I used an effected recording of my finger moving in circles around the rim of a half filled wine glass, creating at atmospheric resonant ringing sound.

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

File Prix Lux

My project Frame Seductions has recently been nominated for the File Prix Lux. There are a number of candidates, so competition is going to be tough, but if you like the piece, vote for me!

I’m on page 3 of the interactive art section. This category includes the following types of works:

interactive art includes all research and experiments in the scope of art that use interactive media and have in mind the intersection among art, science and technology, as well as the possible crossings with other disciplines, such as: installations, performances, internet projects, virtual reality, augmented reality, multitouch tables, digital objects, outdoor projections, projects for mobile phone, electronic graffiti, VRML, etc.

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Seeing Is Feeling Exhibition

On April 26th I had a small exhibition at Ciant titled “Seeing Is Feeling”. It consisted of a couple of works, sovaldi the first being a new piece called Stutterspot and the second being my interactive video project Frame Seductions. The concept was to show a couple of installations that dealt with audio-visual immersion from different perspectives.

I edited some video of the two pieces, sickness and here they are:

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Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

openFrameworks workshop in Olso

Arturo and I recently trekked up to Oslo for the Art on Wires festival for live and interactive art and technology where we taught an introduction to openFrameworks.

The event was located in the majestic Kanonhallen, stuff an old munitions factory from WWII that has since been converted into a very funky space with a classic Scandinavian design and finish. A mix of people from different backgrounds attended resulting in an intimate but enriching experience, not to mention fun as well.

Hopefully organiser Alexander Eichhorn will continue to produce more events in this vein in the future.

Highlights were the keynote talk from Mark Coniglio from Troika Ranch and the sound performance by Lars Graugaard (who also has some tracks on myspace) who transformed the hall into an post-human poly-rhythmic sound-scape.