Saturday, February 28, 2009

On Light InSight

Experienced some entirely new spaces at the final day of the Light InSight exhibition at the ICC (Tokyo):

"Light InSight exhibition offers new perspectives on the past, present and future possibilities of the existence of "light", here investigated from the perspective of perception, beyond art and science."

Some Highlights included:

"You and I, Horizontal" 2006
Anthony McCALL

"Entering the space, the viewer faces a seemingly immaterial and yet three-dimensional body of light, realized by projecting light onto a delicate mist. On the wall a line extends so slowly that it is almost imperceptible to the eye. The immaterial 3D sculpture gradually changes form and scope. By passing through, inside and outside of the almost-tactile light "membrane", you become receptive to a new perceptual experience, influencing the work's sculptural aspects and scope. This work is the realization of an early 70s experimental installation using the technology of today."

from Light InSight

"Thought Projector" 2007
alien productions

"This installation was inspired by an unrealized concept for "a camera to photograph the thoughts of its subject (through their retina)" mentioned by inventor Nikola TESLA* in 1933. First, the participant sees high-resolution magnified images of the surface and rear of their eye projected on the front wall created through a three-step process. Second, the image is projected on the left wall as overlaid on imagery from an archive prepared by the artists and streamed on the Internet. Thirdly, the result is projected on the right wall, along with comments from Internet viewers. The work was first shown at Künstlerhaus Graz. Thoughts are read with a fundus camera manufactured by Zeiss."

from "Light InSight"


Also, checked out Mark Ryden "The Snow Yak Show" at the Tomio Koyama Gallery. The gallery, located on the 6th and 7th floor of an obscure industrial building, turned out to be more surreal than the exhibit itself:

He's weird.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eric Rodenbeck: Beyond the Web We Know

Eric Rodenbeck from stamen design on mapping and data visualization, interactive design, and the post-utopian future of the web:

Monday, February 23, 2009


A research project on the rise of supercities:

"While some say the world is flat, supercities are rising -- vast, intensely urban hubs will radically redefine the world's future macroeconomic and cultural landscape. Most of the world's population right now lives and works in cities. Many more will. It's critical to gain a truer understanding of what's happening: the rise of supercities is the defining megatrend of the 21st Century."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

using games to solve real-world problems

Excerpts from John Ferrara's blog:

"Josh Klein, for his master’s thesis at NYU Klein invented a device that, through operant conditioning, trains crows to gather coins and drop them into a slot. The device then disburses peanuts as a reward, like a vending machine. It’s a fantastically efficient arrangement, since he only needs to keep the machine stocked and the crows take care of the rest.

This is formally described as “synanthropy”, adapting animals to work within human environments. But I think it’s an awesome demonstration of an even larger strategy: getting an organism to do a useful job while pursuing an unrelated goal. The crow doesn’t share our interest in money, it’s just trying to get some peanuts.

Luis Von Ahn applies the same strategy to solve difficult computational problems, using human beings as crows. A researcher at Carnegie Mellon, he’s developed a series of “Games with a Purpose” that surreptitiously gather useful metadata while engaging players in 2-person online computer games. As with Klein’s crows, the players are pursuing their own goal — in this case to have a bit of fun. But through the games’ design, they create a byproduct that has real value. All of the games attach human meaning to data that machines can’t read."

Luis Von Ahn's homepage:

"When we think of games as being specifically unproductive, we’re missing the opportunity to engage users at a level beyond what can be achieved in more conventional interfaces.

In fact games can serve as catalysts of production. Take, which is a puzzle game that challenges players to find the best ways to fold proteins. This is in fact among the most difficult problems in modern biology, as a protein can take on very different characteristics depending upon its shape. For example, mad cow disease is caused by proteins that already exist in the body, but which have been folded into irregular shapes that make them agents of the disease.

People who play are actually contributing to science, because the game uses the real physical properties of the proteins as its rules. Players are awarded points for things like reducing the size of the protein efficiently, or turning certain types of molecules so they all face inward. The New York Times notes that it’s plausible that by playing this game, you could actually win a Nobel prize (even if you know nothing of biochemistry)." -- John Ferrara

Wright and Eno (Generative Systems & Spore)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

In Bloom

Brian Eno's Bloom: new album or ambient joke?

In 1893, the French pianist Eric Satie composed a piece of music titled Vexations, consisting of a short musical phrase that could, in theory, be repeated indefinitely. Its first performance lasted for a modest 18 hours.

Satie, considered by many to be the grandfather of ambient music, was also a precursor to the theatre of the absurd, and Vexations is as much a meditation on boredom as it is an ambient masterwork. Satie imagined music that should be almost completely unobtrusive - "furniture music". Brian Eno later adopted the idea for his ambient albums, most notoriously, Music for Airports. When the album was finally played at an airport people complained of nameless, gnawing anxieties - not what one needs moments before boarding an aeroplane.

Now Eno, along with his collaborator Peter Chilvers, has taken Satie's notion of an endless composition to its logical conclusion with Bloom. Bloom could be regarded as an album in which you, the listener, are also the composer. It is a computer programme written for the iPhone and iPod Touch that presents users with a blank screen and a low rumbling bass. If you touch the screen notes tinkle to life alongside splashes of colour like ink drops on blotting paper. Leave the screen alone and after a few minutes it begins to paint its own abstract paintings and compose its own strange, interminable symphonies.

It is hypnotic and ludicrously addictive. A friend of mine spent six hours poking the screen of her iPhone, mesmerised by the colours and noises she was making. So should Bloom be regarded as a new Brian Eno album (because it certainly sounds like one), a clever but singularly pointless computer application, or a massive Satie-like joke at the expense of its listeners?

Japan Media Arts Fest (2009)

check out the winners this year at:

had a few minutes on this thing. not as easy as it looks! but fun...