…and did i have fun? sheesh!
photo credit: jon @ contains art
…and did i have fun? sheesh!
photo credit: jon @ contains art
the brief was computer game. so, let’s make this thing an immersive experience. you enter the container, the ‘press play to start’ message is flashing, music booming…
with a micro:bit – and it’s radio-link to the track and car – connected to a laptop, a quick bit of patching i’d done the day before got some videos and coundown sounds playing in response to the “wait, 3, 2, 1, start, finish, wait” coming down the USB cable. add projector and PA, and boom!
we’d done it. ten teenagers, ten hours. quite the achievement, and time enough to play with it!
so how does it look? and how does it look with a computer-driving-game first-person-view!? could you stream that camera feed to a phone hanging in front of someone’s eyes?
now i know that wifi streaming from a go-pro isn’t going have the low-latency required for actually driving it, but that’s just a spur to research what might… fpv racing drones seems to have this solved.
bonus: this photo was taken by one of the teenagers. it’s a great one.
track hacked, onto task three: the car.
with micro:bit in there, parasitising it’s power off two of the three car batteries, we could disable the motor until the go! of the countdown, have different team logos lit up on the roof, send accellerometer data back to a computer to make futuristic driving sounds… or, most simply, give us a button to start the countdown. feels right having it on the car.
with the limited time, this is actually one i made earlier; the removable roof and fit of the micro:bit was a bit of a gift. within the workshop, we experimented with fitting cameras to the back-up car…
lights programmed with a countdown and chase animation i’d made the day before, onto the next task: fit them round the track.
with the track made, time to add the digital magic and make it a game.
first up: LED strips with an extra wire… a programmable wire. and here is a micro:bit, essentially the guts of a phone made so we can control and play with things. with a bit of drag-and-drop in a web browser, we can make patterns down the strip and animate them.
but we need two strips, with a controller each, to go round our track. so how to animate them together? the micro:bit has radio, they can talk to each other and say “now!”. this is also how we’re going to make the whole game work, with more of these boards talking to each other.
photo credit: jon @ contains art
to watchet, for the first of my two workshops getting teenagers to do creative-tech stuff. twee for me, but west somerset has the lowest social mobility in the whole of the UK and watchet is the most deprived ward in the district. so kinda serious.
the brief was gaming, and one idea led to wipeout-with-cardboard. one shipping container, two dirt-cheap radio-controlled cars and a village’s worth of post-christmas cardboard later, we had a track. admittedly more cardboard than tech at the moment, but this route is surely more engaging than coding 101.
aaaand… wipeout? i challenge anyone to find a better cultural artefact from 1996 than the opening sequence of wipeout 2097: the designers republic, future sound of london, it’s a coming together of all the arts.
a day in a coffee shop making a major revision to the about the live in live cinema talk, and then back to USC to give it as a IMAP seminar. the host was holly willis – former editor of the amazing res magazine amongst other things – and somebody who not only is published on digital cinema and live cinema, but whose definition of live cinema is often embraced: “real-time mixing of images and sound for an audience, where the sounds and images no longer exist in a fixed and finished form but evolve as they occur, and the artist’s role becomes performative…” Holly Willis (Afterimage July/Aug 2009, Vol 37, No 1, p. 11/). my talk is not about definitions however, its about exploiting the liveness, and what that could mean.
also found the adage that everything can change in two blocks is indeed true, routing from the recommended coffee shop that turned out to be closed to one that was open put me through some streets i’d prefer not to walk down, let alone with a bag packed with my digital life. the no-healthcare-mashed-up-bodies of the homeless seemingly kettled / corralled to then be routed around: it isn’t a phenomenon unique to america, but its the one that alienates me the most.
as part of the rhythms and visions event, a day of workshops was organised. los angeles visual artists - lava had the morning, and covered the past and present of ‘visual music’ works. mike, matthias and i had the afternoon, which we nailed the four hours precisely with a tour through the d-fuse oeuvre and a journey through our particle production process. the latter was my main contribution, and its a tricky balance to give: lots of really cool stuff – shooting, taking crops, building abstracting effects – but with what can reduce down to a sea of noodles and buttons. pretty happy though, good feedback that the thread was there and it all tied up: people got it.
although it meant i had to forgo the celebratory beers-in-the-sun after the showcase, i managed to get the digimedia showcase onto the plasma screens at the reception - so we got to show some work as well as the film that yeast facilitated documenting the whole forum. that film really did the job: well done james.
here’s the presentation in pdf form that was built-up during the workshop, finished by me and shown to all at the final showcase. i’m quite proud of it, and watching your computer turn pin-yin into chinese characters for the first time is pretty cool.
while excessive taking group photos seems is definitely endemic here, its nice to see all the group in one.
the other play, caught in the moment.
steve with the final day’s project: watch a 10-word play developed by another workgroup, and turn it into an animation. this is the moment when they realise that stop-motion is a long-haul game…
no arms but want to play the piano? yes you can.
and so it starts. 27 “young advocates” drawn from china, the uk and beyond, of mixed abilities, ranging from learning difficulties to physical impairment, representing those who’ve achived great things in their communities back home to those picked out of special schools… and in some cases all in those in the one person.
yeast culture ran the film making workshop and the digital media workshop, and i was a leader for the latter. in what could have just been a get media-savvy and learn powerpoint thread, we instead delved into the power of the image; communication beyond photos and text. and they learnt photoshop, and when to abandon photoshop in favour of print-outs, scissors and card.
here is kelly during our (ahem) ‘monkey see, monkey do’ afternoon of photoshop tutorials.
spectacular, it was. the paralympics opening ceremony might not have had quite the lavish and epic reach of the olympics that i saw broadcast, but it did have soul - and watching a wheelchair bound athlete pull himself up a rope to the top of the stadium to light the olympic flame was something both awe-inspiring and humbling: when he paused to get his composure back 50 meters up and still a little of the war to go, i’d wager there were 90,999 other people also experiencing a deep moment of reflection.
kelly and steve just having got their tickets - we’re going to the paralympic opening ceremony, school trip style.
30 desks… not quite filling the room. not your average digital media workshop venue, this.
…which is (to oversimplify) a british council project working with young people, hosted as part of the paralympics here in beijing.
young advocates programme: http://www.yaponline.org/index.jsp
yap youth forum in beijing: http://www.yaponline.org/youth-forum.jsp
oh - and just when you’d appreciated the scale of the beijing airport terminal, you take a shuttle train out and under a few more identical and identically sized terminals, eventually walk out into what you think is the outside, just to find yourself in another cavernous hall. scale… scale…
the pavillion is a day, park, outside thing. strange to see it misty at night as we walked away, project over.
and on performance day, the sun comes out. aaaah.
i’d happily forgotten about things like this in an age of solid state. managed to rescue what was needed, but the last minute stress quite apart from the glitches wasn’t welcome at all.
not just playing with a live camera feed and kaos pad, but shaping the dance through the control of graphic elements: a simple cross can become a character, a circle shape the movement
working as part of yeast culture for bbc blast on a two week project for young people that encompassed film, vjing, soundscape, spoken word and dance culminating in a performance at this years summer pavillion at the serpentine gallery. frank gehry, no less.
gave a complete overview to quartz composer from a vjs perspective, and got some really nice feedback. photo by todd thille.
quartz composer 101
your first patch
the key idea of time
applying it and getting advanced
qc and vdmx
qc as dynamic clips
qc as filters
qc as rendering stacks
3rd party plug-ins
guess what we were up to. if only leopard and reactivision would play nicely together: the qc osc receiver doesn’t seem to be receiving what it should, and its beyond me to port the tiger hacked-up plug-in to an official api leopard one. that is something that will hopefully change after christmas, when i finally embrace cocoa and the live cinema interface.
straight from a marina in italy to a biscuit factory in newcastle, home of the most proper name. they had organised three days “mentoring” aka professional development funded by the region, and i was the mentor. first up was quartz composer 101. so glad we waited for leopard to debut, what a change: its actually sane now!