October 2003 Archives

Kopenhagen.dk: In conversation with Casey Reas

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Casey Reas talks about this year's Ars Electronica Festival and his child project, Processing which final 1.0 release seems will be out there anytime soon.

Regardless the context of it, this quote by John Maeda let me thinking a lot.

"When you use other people's software you live in somebody else's dream".

Which I can hook-up with Reas quoting Alan Kay in the festival's catalog:
"The ability to "read" a medium means you can access materials and tools for others.
The ability to "write" in a medium means you can generalte materials and tools for others. You must have both to be literate. In print writing, the tools you generate are rethorical; they demonstrate and convince. In computer writing, the tools you generate are processes; they simulate and decide."

How far have GUI's gone? how far has the whole abstraction of the system gone?
Everyday I see people pushing more and more into breaching the world of zeros and ones with the world of colorfull icons. While that gap continuosly grows bigger and bigger, we are starting to see that everything around us starts looking exactly the same. Yes, it is not about teaching ourselves how to talk to a computer but about teaching the computer how to talk to us. But when we talk about expression, are we going to teach the computer how to express ourselves?

It is excellent to focus on just building the tools, but if we really want to inspire people by letting them "live our own dream" we are not contributing then with anything. On the other hand we want to focus on just performing? excellent, but who builds your tools?

Me? I rather build my own brushes, explore my space for new pigments. Afterall, in my opinion, those environmental qualities that are most influential in one's work are superbly interesting. Yes, the media is NOT the message, but that's the question of which one was first, the chicken or the egg. None of them make any sense without each other. There needs to be a balance. The media shapes the message, the message makes the media.

Habitat Perspectives

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Habitat perspectives is an online instalation that atempts to visualize spatio-temporaly the places we inhabit. Through GPS-capable mobile phones, participants will be posting geocoded images to an online shared space which starts as a black canvas. As participants post more and more content, a map of the city, and the map of each of the participants "places" will slowly start emerging.

One of ther reasons why Tokyo is such a mess as a city is that it is a tangled mess of intertwining main streets intersected and crisscrossed by back alleys and side streets.
Specially when you don't own a car, and you mainly travel by subway as most other citizens, one of the biggest problems you get in such a place is that you never get to mentally visualize the relationship among all the places you usually hang out at. You only know about "islands" in the city; you get in the subway in Shinjuku island, you pop-up in Shibuya island. The more you move around those spaces you'll slowly start turning them into neighborhoods, along with your own personal networks of places. If you asked a group of people to draw you a map of the city, you'll notice that all of them will be inevitably different - each of them will have their own particular perspective of their habitat.

This is currently work in progress, so as time allows, I'll be adding more functionality to it. Also, I'm currently looking for participants, so if you are interested in popping up in there, please don't hesitate to drop me a line: [ mail at marcosweskamp.com ]

visit the instalation

phidgets: playing with tangible bits

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"At the seashore, between the land of atoms and the sea of bits, we are now facing the challenge of reconciling our dual citizenship in the physical and digital worlds. Our windows to the digital world have been confined to flat rectangular screens and pixels, or 'painted bits.' While our visual senses are steeped in the sea of digital information, our bodies remain in the physical world. The vision of Tangible Bits is to provide seamless coupling between these two very different worlds of bits and atoms."
Hiroshi Ishii, Head, Tangible Media Group, MIT Media Lab

Alright, that's it for me. It's time to expand the toolset - just ordered a phidget starter kit. wohoo!
Why not mindstorms? well phidgets seem to have a very well documented API, and a very nice student community behind it, plus, they are super cheap!

just wait till I get my hands on these;)


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reactive "is a live video installation that amplifies a user's movements with exploding particle systems in a virtual space. Each pixel of the image captured by a video camera is represented as a set of particles and each particle"

also: swarm, mosaic


watchout: it's the fantastic four

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So it seems that mario, claus, florian & bokel just teamed up. Ladies and gentlemen, get your snacks and grab a good seat 'coz these guys surely ain't have any small plan.

more at codeazur.com

Light messages in the sky

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'Amodal Suspension,' a large-scale installation by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer to take place from 1-24 November in Yamaguchi, Japan. Participants will be able to send short text messages to each other using a cell phone or web browser connected to address www.amodal.net. However, rather than being sent directly, the messages will be encoded as unique sequences of flashes and sent to the sky with a network of 20 robotically-controlled searchlights.

need a gps phone?

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arrrsh. Ok, a week ago I switched my cellphone carrier to au, just because I wanted to experiment a little bit with their gps phones. so I went out there and got this one, which works beautifully, it's super slick and gps works reasonably well. Ok, so, again, that was only a week ago. Yesterday KDDI announced new services coming on for their new phones - which seem to be suuuuper-nice
so... anyways, where is the trash bin for cell-phone recycling?

via [ IN-duce ]

the singing tower


Simply beautifull. Syncronizing 300 lights on Roppongi Hills Mori tower, J-wave and Mori tower build and inmense sound equalizer, analizing the sound signal from the J-wave radio station. - I hadn't heard of this until on the way home tonight I see on the distance in the cityscape the always imposing Roppongi Hills which lights where dancing like an inmense graphic sound equalizer. Rightaway I got the pictures that you can see here.
Tomorrow I'll definitivelly go out there to stare at it again while listening to my radio walkman.