Any Max Experts out there? Slow steps towards a new interactive project

Don’t mind the mess. A lot of the stuff on there is really just old ideas still scattered. These are early stages in using Max to try to figure out how to trigger some audio recording with some basic video tracking, and we’re not sure exactly how best to move forward.

This is a new project we’ve been trying to get off the ground for the window at CIVIC SPACE, but it’s slow going. Essentially, we want to use the window as a big microphone area where passersby can answer questions we ask on the future of Windsor. The questions will appear in vinyl in the window itself, but we want the interface to be buttonless. Basically, when you put your hand on the window in a designated area, it will start recording your answer and keep recording for as long as you keep your hand there. Technically, that mic will be located somewhere below the window and facing up. Sound tests so far have proven that sound quality to be very useable. While we originally wanted to try to work with contact mics to keep all the gear inside and away from the weather, the process of trying to test that has been too arduous. Instead, we’ve found a workable solution to store the small web cam and mic outdoors (yet covered) with a workable stable location looking up to the passerby, but we’re still working away to solve a couple of problems:

1. We need to test more to find the right thing to track to trigger the video. Because the installation would be up around the clock, we need to find the right place on the window and possibly an augmented lighting situation so that the cv.jit.moments object can keep track of what it’s looking for with more acuracy. So far, we can dial in the right numbers for a daylight and nighttime situation, but nothing that can do both — mostly because of the glare on the window during the day.

2. We still have to write the audio recording section. I’ve put together the basic skeleton in another patch, but essentially, we need that big black toggle box with the green X in it to automatically start a recording and then turn off again when it toggles off. That recording would be automatically saved to disk with the current date/time.

Would be happy to hear how you’d solve the problem below in the comments. We had wanted to have this up and running this month, but we’re already halfway through, so unless we can solve this soon, we might push it back to December.

Numen/For Use’s Tape Installation

Ever wonder what 530 rolls of self-adhesive tape would look like if you used it to create a spiderweb? It would probably look much like Numen/For Use‘s Tape Installation in Odeon, Vienna. While I always appreciate projects that are so ambitious and visually stunning, I’m growing wary of excessive waste. Clear packing tape is, for the most part, not recyclable (due to its adhesive) and using 530 rolls for a temporary project is a bit tough for me to grasp.

While I don’t mean to sound like a worrier, I’m just concerned about projects that are so overwhelming to the viewer that he or she can’t stop for a minute to think about the implications of production. We (BCL) have used plastic products in some of our projects in the past, but questions about waste were usually addressed. The most I can hope for is that artists keep asking these important questions when they decide to take refined materials and transform them.

There are a couple of images of this massive installation after the jump.

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Mobile Mobile: Upcycled Phones Make Music

To cut a long story short, after a company-wide upgrade the agency had a lot of old mobiles gathering dust. Lost Boys International took these, built and hoisted a gigantic interactive chandelier/mobile that plays christmas jingles in their reception area.

When no one interacts with the sculpture, it plays “Carol of the Bells”. But you can also play with it. You can control it through this website or you can send a tweet with #lbitree and it will react to it.

Given some upcoming projects that we’re going to be tackling are going to be a bit more technology intensive, and in one instance is actually going to use cell phones (though not in this capacity), I thought I’d post it to add to the research archives. What’s really great is that LBI creative director, James Theophane, offers a quick breakdown of how the installation works, well worth a read to get an idea of some of the magic behind the installation. Also interesting is the Ning project site that was used by the folks making the installation as it happened in real-time.

[via today and tomorrow]

SoundLAB 2008

I came across this last week while I was browsing for sound artists. It’s basically a collaborative sound art project directed by Agricola de Cologne, New Media curator and media artist from Cologne/Germany. There are  currently 10 curators and their contributions featuring about 200 sound art works from about 150 artists.

SoundLAB is focusing on thematic aspects, i.e “memory and identity” and related themes, and is developed for being presented in physical space in media exhibitions and festivals, as well as in virtual space as streaming applications in online environments…”

I find the site a bit overwhelming, but like the ‘soundworks‘ section which features samples of current sound artworks. Listening to them one at a time is good, but playing a few at once is the real fun. This seems like a good example of current sound art and might be inspiration for any sound work we might create.

Daniel Rozin

Daniel Rozin's Peg Mirror

Peg Mirror comprises 650 circular wooden pieces that are cut on an angle. Casting shadows by twisting and rotating, wooden pegs forming concentric circles surround a small central camera. The mirrored image produced in this work is activated by software authored by Rozin that processes video signals and breaks up imagery geometrically, seemingly pixel by pixel. The silently moving wood components in this piece flicker like jewels or coins in the spotlight, challenging our notions about what constitutes a “digital object”.”

This blew my mind, mostly because of its complexity. Making shadows work as pixels in real time is new to me. I’d love to be a part of a project like this.

Video of the Peg Mirror in action Here.

Test Signal by Phil Coy

Test Choir by Phil Coy

I promise I’m not getting lazy, I promise that I’m not just watching the RSS feed for vvork, that I do indeed visit other sites, but this project was really great, I had to post it.

Test Signal by Phil Coy uses a choir to sign to generate the colour bars that are used to calibrate televisions and video signals for broadcast. Each choir member sings one sustained note that is translated to one of the colour bars. Also check out Provincial Landscape


Sunset Now

Sunset Now by Adam Parker Smith

It’s been a little while since we’ve posted other people’s work, but I really like the idea of keeping an ongoing archive of interesting works. So, here is Adam Parker Smith’s Sunset Now. The viewer can adjust the speed of the sunset via the dimmer switch placed in front of the plexiglass sun.


Usman Haque's Primal Source

[NOTCOT at GLOW: Usman Haque’s Primal Source from Jean Aw on Vimeo.]

As part of GLOW in Santa Monica, Usman Haque’s Primal Source was a huge interactive light/projection installation on the beach. Rear-projecting onto a water-screen, the installation responded to sound from the crowd with microphones being placed along the crowd’s edge on the beach. The event went on for 12 hours throughout the night. The software was built withProcessing and PD (an open-source cousin of Max/MSP/Jitter). 

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