It takes 154,000 breaths to evacuate Boston by kanarinka

kanarinka is a new media artist whose research interests include the politics of digital information, feminist performance art, participatory culture and the emotional landscape of Homeland Insecurity. She is Co-Founder of the non-profit collective iKatun, a founding member of the Institute for Infinitely Small Things, and teaches at RISD’s Digital+Media Graduate Program and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

In Spring 2007, kanarinka ran the entire evacuation route system in Boston and measured its distance in breaths. The project is an attempt to measure our post-9/11 collective fear in the individual breaths that it takes to traverse these new geographies of insecurity.

The $827,500 Boston emergency evacuation system was installed in 2006 to demonstrate the city’s preparedness for evacuating people in snowstorms, hurricanes, infrastructure failures, fires and/or terrorist attacks.

It takes 154,000 breaths to evacuate Boston consists of a series of running performances in public space (2007), a web podcast of breaths (2007), and a gallery installation of the archive of breaths (2008). There’s also an online collection of podcasts, with audio recordings made during each running performance.

The work is being shown as a part of Experimental Geography, an exhibition that explores the distinctions between geographical study and artistic experience of the earth. I picked up the book from this traveling exhibition a while ago and it’s an interesting read. There’s some inspiring work, but as is often the case with these kind of collection books, the introduction is far more enlightening than many of the preceding chapters.

What I like about this project is the physical translation of a kind of bureaucracy along with the gesture of exploration through so much of the city under the restrictions of urgency and evacuation. It makes me want to imagine ways for exploring bureaucracies of Windsor.

Open Source Hardware

Team Arduino: Gianluca Martino, Massimo Banzi, and David Cuartielles Photo by James Day

There’s a really good story over at Wired about the idea, business models, and inventors behind open source hardware. Pictured above are the founders of Arduino, three pretty relaxed looking dudes, making knowledge open and free. It’s really incredible to realize that there are companies and projects that are based on open source hardware and profit from it in one way or another. We could build an exact copy of the Arduino board, call it Broken City Board and sell it, as long as we kept the same Creative Commons licensing as the original Arduino board. Walmart could also do the same, but of course, would also be subject to the same licensing requirements.

Open knowledge and the potential to make things more open, more accessible, more functional is the future. Again, it’s a great read and just goes to show how important it is for us to document and share everything we do.

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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