Conceptual Research and Development

7 06 2008

The concept of the project has developed tremendously. From something that was supposed to be just two films to be viewed side by side, it has become a video feedback that constantly changes as the other changes. Just like in relationships and collaborations.

Because of the possibilities of this Video Feedback loop that we discovered in the 2nd Term, we began experimenting with all sorts of interactions. This made us get a little lost; it became fun, but meant nothing. This led us to the book of John Maeda, The Laws of Simplicity.

John Maeda, Laws of Simplicity:

1. REDUCE The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction. When in doubt, just remove. But be careful of what you remove.

2. ORGANIZE Organization makes a system of many appear fewer. Of course this will only hold if the number of groups is significantly less than the number of items to be organized.

3. TIME Savings in time feel like simplicity. And we are thankfully loyal when it happens, which is rare.

4. LEARN Knowledge makes everything simpler . This is true for any object, no matter how difficult. The problem with taking time to learn a task is that you often feel you are wasting time, a violation of the third Law of time. We are well aware of the dive-in-head-first approach—“I don’t need the instructions, let me just do it.” But in fact this method often takes longer than following the directions in the manual.

5. DIFFERENCES Simplicity and complexity need each other. The more complexity there is in the market, the more that something simpler stands out. And because technology will only continue to grow in complexity, there is a clear economic benefit to adopting a strategy of simplicity that will help set your product apart.

6. CONTEXT What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral. Context – what holds story together… embrace = engaged

7. EMOTION More emotions are better than less.

8. TRUST In simplicity we trust.

9. FAILURE Some things can never be made simple.

10. THE ONE Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.

Through these rules, I decided to go into a simple image, and a simple interaction. I chose to focus on expressing the idea of vulnerability. How the state of consciousness is always in constant flux and how one cannot even begin to comprehend and understand it. We can merely live with the knowing that it is there, but until today, its presence is still a mystery. I also chose to focus on bringing out this image into the interaction between myself and Mosh and to allow the video feedback to change the image naturally.

Another big factor in my choosing this was our tutorial with Andy. He kept on mentioning simplicity and the strength of the idea. This led both myself and Mosh towards a deeper reflection of what we really wanted to do and say.

Initially, we wanted to let each other’s techniques go from one side of the work to the other, but it became more of a game, and as a viewer, it became confusing. Watching it, even I was asking myself what it all means. So we decided to keep it simple. To allow the work to speak through its simplicity.

Mosh and I also visited the Albion wherein a Peter Campus retrospective was being held. A particular piece of work caught my eye, wherein a viewer sees a double image of themselves that is a few seconds past. It is almost like seeing oneself reacting to oneself. Or even a window into the past of oneself. The work was very powerful and might I add, simple. There was one other viewer that I watched as she interacted with the work. She was absolutely taken by it. She fell into silence as she watched herself. Here is an image of the work in another exhibition.

Because of this, I decided that it was of utmost importance to keep the interactions simple. Not to wow the audience with the technology, but to focus on the idea or the concept, so that they forget that the technology exists and it merely becomes another medium for communication. When the technology becomes invisible, the idea becomes visible.

Technical Research and Development

1 06 2008

Basically, I have been researching, learning and implementing Processing for my project. It has been both difficult and rewarding (the beginning was hard, due to learning the language) but now, it has gotten easier as I am now understanding how it works. I started with a bit of code which was created by Golan Levin. It’s a presence detection code, which allows the computer to sense how many new objects enter the frame. Here is the original code:

By reading the book of Ira Greenberg called Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art, I realized that I can add an additional element to the code which is the Alpha Factor. By studying the chapter on Bitwise operations, I found that I can use this with a much faster processing time, this way the interactivity becomes more immediate.

I decided to use the Alpha factor because I wanted to create a color blur, more like an imprint of a presence rather than of the presence itself. I wanted to create a void between the viewer’s expected image of themselves and the image they actually see. Through this difference, the viewer will begin to question the meaning of the experience…therefore, creating an experience with the work itself.

Here is the code that I changed:

As seen above, I added the Alpha Factor through bitwise operations into the code. This way, the presence detected is layered on top of itself, blurred color presence.

I also was able to debug the program by creating a loop within the code, so that as the layered image reaches a maximum point, it returns to its original form. At first, I couldn’t figure out why after a time, the image turned completely black, then through Moshe’s suggestion (he said quite simply that the image was layering unto itself until nothing could be seen), I figured out that I had to create a loop. So I wrote this bit of code to allow the program to return back to its original commands after it reaches a certain point.

I realize that there is still so much to learn about Processing, and to be honest, I feel I’m only beginning to understand the possibilities of this environment. But now, knowing how to do it, I can see that this can be achieved.

Zai Chang’s White Noise

19 04 2008

Reading the Processing book by Reas and Fry and found this artist who basically did what I wanted to do. His name is Zai Chang and he created white noise. Viewers are seen as particles that basically affect each other (infect each other more like) with different colors merging and exchanging. The overlapping of different people, creates and exchange of particles. Quite interesting. Will try to find his code. Here is an image of his project:

*Click on the image to see a video of his interactive project.

I will be developing the idea further, interpreting it in my own way. More to come…but first to find the code.

Joshua Bell Interview with the Washington Post

13 04 2008

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

— from “Leisure,” by W.H. Davies

— quoted from the article:

Pearls Before Breakfast

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, April 8, 2007; Page W10

‘It’s like a juggler, he says, who can keep those balls in play while interacting with a crowd. What he’s mostly thinking about as he plays, Bell says, is capturing emotion as a narrative: “When you play a violin piece, you are a storyteller, and you’re telling a story.”‘

It was an experiment…where a world famous violinist would play at a tube station for an hour and would see what happened. Only a handful of people stopped…most just rushed to work…but all the children looked. Sometimes, I think of our conditioning and how we lose our connection to beauty as we grow older.

‘The poet Billy Collins once laughingly observed that all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother’s heart is in iambic meter. Then, Collins said, life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music, too.’

I think of priorities, and I wonder what these priorities are really for if we can’t see what’s right in front of us.


8 04 2008

Interactive Trees from

Interactive Trees

Software is a unique medium with unique qualities.

Concepts and emotions that are not possible to express in other media may be expressed in this medium. Software requires its own terminology and discourse and should not be evaluated in relation to prior media such as film, photography, and painting. History shows that technologies such as oil paint, cameras, and film have changed artistic practice and discourse, and while we do not claim that new technologies improve art, we do feel they enable different forms of communication and expression. Software holds a unique position among the artistic media because of its ability to produce dynamic forms, process gestures, define behavior, simulate natural systems, and integrate other media including sound, image, and text. (Reas. 2007: p1)’

Reas, C., Fry, B. (2007), Processing, MIT Press: Cambridge.

2nd Assessment Research

16 03 2008

A. Theoreticians :

1. The Viewer as Subject – Based on the Theories of Hofstadter and Foucault


B. Installation Artists :

1. Seeing Double – Pushing the Work of Olafur Eliasson, Gary Hill and Nam June Paik.


2. Expressing Experience – Investigating the Work of Bill Viola


3. Framing Light and Space – Analyzing the Work of James Turrell


C. Software :

1. Puredata as Consciousness


2. Puredata Research


3. Pushing Puredata


Puredata as Consciousness

16 03 2008


Got an idea after our workshop on Puredata with Ed Kelly. Basically, he was telling us that Puredata can react in terms of a curve instead of it just being triggered with a yes and a no. This way, as the audience approaches a particular screen, things don’t automatically change like a switch. But it can change in a curve-like manner, meaning it all of a sudden transforms quickly when one hits a certain point.

This led to the idea of programming a sort of personality to make it seem like it has Artificial Intelligence.


This sort of experience would add to the curiosity and the mystery surrounding the installation. Perhaps, as the viewer gets more curious, and spends more time, discourses can open up about what it is they are viewing, why their image is changing the way it is and the nature of the differences between the two perspectives.

This is leading me to question what kind of interactivity I would like to program into my screen. How would I change or transform the image of the viewer and for what purpose. It all boils down to getting more specific about what it is in particular that I want to say so that I can merely use the technology as the vessel to communicate it.

This simplicity of experience is what is necessary for me to create a strong piece of work.

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