COLLISIONcollective

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JitterBot - A Dialog in Dance

Computer with custom software, video projector, Kinect interface
2012
Rob Gonsalves: JitterBot - A Dialog in Dance

Overview

JitterBot is an interactive installation that allows visitors to dance with a virtual robot. This piece explores the threshold of leading / following in dance, allowing the participant to have a dialog with a technological being, using their bodies as the means of communication.

Song Selection

The user chooses a song by raising an arm and pointing to one of the seven original compositions. The computer uses a motion tracking interface and custom software to choose the song.

The Dance

The user is invited to dance along with JitterBot, the red robot. The user's movement is tracked using the tracking interface and displayed on a projection surface as the green robot. Sometimes JitterBot follows the visitor's lead and sometimes JitterBot busts a move on its own, for the visitor to follow.

The Setup

The installation is centered on using the Microsoft Kinect sensor which allows for real-time full-body 3d motion capture. A layer of custom software interprets the 3d skeleton of the viewer and renders a stylized human form, the green robot. The movement of the red robot is driven partially by the viewer's motion, but it is also driven by a library of canned moves to give a sense of autonomy. The two robots are rendered as a series of elongated spheres using OpenGL. The resultant video image is projected on a screen on the wall, and the accompanying music is played through speakers.

More info is available here:

http://robgon.com/Details.aspx?work=jitterbot

“Come Closer”

Proximity sensor and computer-controlled video, length indefinite
2012
“Come Closer”

In this sensor-linked interactive video, a character on a small screen pleads with and taunts visitors as they move through the surrounding space. The proximity sensor triggers the character to give one of fourteen canned monologues depending on whether people are moving closer or farther away from the screen. When the room is empty, the character calls out “is anyone there?” When visitors enter, the character urges them to come closer, yet when visitors approach, the character becomes upset and tells them to back away. He apologizes and begs them to return. This cycle and its various permutations continue indefinitely.

The interaction aims to amuse and frustrate, recreating communication disconnects that occur in real life and when technology replaces human interaction. The character is never satisfied; he is needy and lonely if the viewer is far away, defensive and claustrophobic if the viewer is too close. Yet despite his strong emotions, the character is clearly not a “real person.” The repetition, jumpy editing cuts and Max Headroom-like aesthetic—the character wears a suit and a bald cap in front of a green screen—emphasize the artificiality of the preprogrammed responses and point to everyday corollaries such as phone trees and GPS devices. As technology becomes more sophisticated, it becomes more humanlike. This irony/dichotomy is the content and form of this project. 

Human Nature

Projector, computer, speakers, X-Box 360 controller
2011
Human Nature

'Human Nature' is a 3D virtual art installation, created with video game technology.  It can be presented with either a screen or projector. Viewers can navigate through the installation using a standard game controller. Dimensions are variable.

See video

public text box

computer and stand
2012
public text box
public text box @COLLISION18:present

A computer reduced to a single function, to recieve text and send that text to a public twitter feed on the internet. Currently the dominant paradigm of digital information sharing is based around personal devices. We each usually own our cell phones or computers and even if we are using shared machines, we have our own individual accounts. What if instead of owning our device or the publishing account, that ownership was transfered to a shared device in a fixed location? Would this help us to collaborate more? Does adding memory to a physical space increase collaborative impulses?

Want to make one yourself? See http://broadcasterproject.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/how-to-make-a-public-text-box/

See video

The Looking Glass; Contracted & Expanding

Brass & Copper plate, wood, latex paint, nails (fasteners), Blackberry Playbook tablet computers
2012
The Looking Glass; Contracted & Expanding
The Looking Glass; Contracted & Expanding
The Looking Glass; Contracted & Expanding @COLLSION18:present

The Looking Glass; Contracted & Expanding attempts to function as a critical cross-section of contemporary portraiture and the portrayal of identity within the modern age.  Founded upon the premise of the video blog as being the most modern form of portraiture, the piece seeks to investigate socio-cultural differences between past and present and how such differences have been articulated through new-media portraits.  For starters, the video blog portrait, due to its ubiquitous nature and limitless accessibility, actively challenges our conceptions of subjective and collective significance that predecessor media had established over the centuries.  Essentially, the piece asks whether or not the power of canonization innate to the practice of portraiture has been reduced or expanded by new media.

Formally, the objective with the piece is to expose the widening rift between this form of contemporary portraiture and its roots in commemorative portraiture by contextualizing selected video blog portraits within an archaic and somewhat ironic realm of tribute.  The piece itself consists of five wooden handmade frames (12.5”x10”) that have been coated in etched copper and brass plates.  The plates have been acid etched using a process similar to most methods of circuit board etching, thereby uniting the materials’ connection to contemporary practices of fabrication.  The etchings themselves depict classical framing iconography derived from pre-photographic eras wherein the subject of a (painted) portrait was intended to have commemorative or honorary value; an aspect that seems to have been perverted or at the very least watered down by this new method of portrait making.  Moreover, the etched framing iconography subtly morphs into arguably more familiar icons that traditionally decorate circuit boards.

Housed inside of the frames are tablet computers that play looped animations ranging from eight seconds in length to forty two seconds.  Four of the animations (subjects) are hand-drawn portraits of randomly selected video-bloggers from YouTube.  The stills reflect a disparity between the identity projected from a video and that of the identity projected by a two-dimensional portrait, and yet candid shreds of the subject’s honesty and vulnerability shine through the abstracted stills.  A single subject is not animated, but instead she remains a single screenshot that attempts to articulate the minute and rare beauty privy to this select medium of portraiture; all the while referencing the medium of photographic portraiture that exists somewhere between a hand fabricated portrait and a video portrait.  Altogether, as each ‘portrait’ plays endlessly, ones eyes are fervently pulled in every direction as the viewer attempts to simultaneously digest each of the portraits.  This particular action replicates the sensation of binging on Internet personalities and identities, leaving one commonly feeling over-stimulated and under-impressed by the individuals featured therein.

Digital Synthetic

HDTV and SONAR sensor, computer
2012
Digital Synthetic
Digital Synthetic
Digital Synthetic
Artwork by [user-name]

 

Will Copps’ Digital Synthetic is a new-media twist on concepts previously explored by visual artists and musicians like Wassily Kandinsky and Brian Eno. An abstract installation piece, Digital Synthetic explores the concepts of ambience, synesthesia, color, generative programming, and human interaction through the capabilities of a computer, SONAR detection, and the canvas of a high-definition television.

Unique to the project is its generative nature, produced by infinitely looping audio and video effects, using different loop intervals and the ability to send data back and forth to ensure that no two instances of the work are ever exactly the same. The use of a SONAR sensor to detect when a viewer is present pushes the work into a “painting” mode, where a video painting unfurls that is completely unique to the viewer’s presence and that moment in time, giving the viewer a personal relationship with the work, and thereby collapsing a traditional understanding of spectatorship.

Digital Synthetic pushes forward the ideas of many pioneering artists by using complex engineering; radical combinations of texture, sound and color; and the power of modern technology to redefine a viewer’s perception of true generative art, spectatorship, and the capabilities of technology.

Untitled (computational composition)

Desktop computer and 1080p flatscreen
2012
Mark J. Stock: Untitled (computational composition)

Untitled (computational composition) is a work of digital video, computed and rendered in real-time on a desktop computer, and displayed on a wall-mounted high-resolution flatscreen. The images are of thousands of very simple blurred objects flowing or floating across the screen, sometimes moving in unison with their neighbors, and sometimes not. As they move, collective structures repeatedly form and are swept away. Underlying parameters change slowly and subtly, leaving the piece with a different character each time it is approached.

Schrödinger v. Cat

Rubber, wood, computer with custom software, video projector, LCD display
2012
Rob Gonsalves: Schrödinger v. Cat

Schrödinger v. Cat is an interactive video installation that allows visitors to run experiments to test the famous quantum physics paradox devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger. In 1935, Schrödinger proposed a thought experiment to illustrate what he saw as a problem with the current theory of quantum mechanics of his time, the Copenhagen interpretation, as applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that might be alive or dead, depending on an earlier random event.

To run the experiment, press the large Setup button on the control panel. This starts an animated sequence that shows the apparatus being prepared for the experiment. Next, use the buttons and knob to indicate the subject of the experiment (either a cat or Schrödinger himself) and the quantum mechanics model (the Copenhagen interpretation, the many worlds interpretation, or the Hanna-Barbera interpretation).

Pressing the Start button runs the experiment for 60 seconds. During the run you can observe the interaction of the subject with the apparatus. Note that you (and other viewers in the gallery) are unobtrusively omniscient; you do not change the quantum state by observing the experiment. After the run, the cover of the chamber is opened to reveal the experiment to the giant eyeball overhead. This act of this "observation" affects the outcome of the experiment, to reveal if the physicist or cat is alive or dead.Watch on YouTube

Copenhagen Interpretation

In the Copenhagen interpretation, a system stops being a superposition of states and becomes either one or the other when an observation takes place. [Niels Bohr - The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory, 1930]

Many-Worlds Interpretation

In the many-worlds interpretation, both alive and dead states of the cat persist after the box is opened, but are decoherent from each other. In other words, when the box is opened, the observer and the already-dead cat split into an observer looking at a box with a dead cat, and an observer looking at a box with a live cat. [Hugh Everett Theory of the Universal Wavefunction, Thesis, Princeton University, (1956, 1973), pp 1-140]

Hanna-Barbera Interpretation

The Hanna-Barbera interpretation of quantum mechanics generally follows the accepted laws of physics — unless it is funnier otherwise. For example, any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent. Cats heal fast and/or have an infinite number of lives. [ACME Journal of Cartoon Physics, 10/94; V.18 #7 p.12, 1980]

Campaign Horse

wood, basketball, guy-wires, video projector, 3-axis accelerometer, computer with custom software
2011
Artwork by [user-name]

Campaign Horse is an interactive video installation that allows the visitor to participate in a modified version of the basketball game "Horse". This version of the game pits Team Blue against Team Red, using actual caustic insults from the recent national elections.

In the original schoolyard game Horse, the objective is to get your opponent labeled a horse, one letter at a time, by making basketball shots. The insult start with an “h”, then “ho”, “hor”, “hors”, and finally progresses to when player is labeled a “horse”, which ends the game. Unlike the standard game, in Campaign Horse the ensuing insults are not initially known, but are revealed through the course of the game. All insults in the game were uttered (if not shouted) by rival candidates in the vitriolic 2010 congressional elections.

There are two main visual components in Campaign Horse, a projected screen and a physical basketball suspended by guy-wires. The screen shows the following components:

  • A list of insults from previous rounds, for Team Blue and for Team Red
  • A reference map showing Blue States and Red States
  • A basket ball hoop and net
  • The current insults in play, which mark progress in the game

The basketball is the means of interaction with the piece. The ball is tethered by two guy-wires and can be tossed by visitors in the direction of the net. Although the guy-wires will prevent the ball from travelling far, there is a 3-axis accelerometer in the ball. This sends a signal to the controlling computer, triggering a virtual ball to travel towards the net. A physics simulation will determine if the ball goes through the hoop or not. Note that, as an aesthetic touch, the net is rendered using an intricate spring-model simulation for a realistic look.

As the game goes on, the players alternate shots. If Team Red makes a shot, then a new letter is revealed in the insult against Team Red. If Team Blue makes a shot, then a red insult letter is revealed. This play continues until one of the insults is fully revealed which ends the round, and a new round starts. Note that the opposing insults always have the same number of letters in each round. Also note that sound effects can be heard when the ball hits the backboard, bounces off the rim, and swishes through the net.

When Campaign Horse has been idle for a while, (i.e. if there have been no players interacting with the piece for five minutes), the installation enters “demo” mode. In this mode, the system runs as if people are playing the game, automatically tossing balls and revealing insults. If new players come and interact with the basketball, the system snaps back into interactive mode, proceeding with a new game.

By interacting with Campaign Horse, perhaps visitors will get a sense of what it is like to have unfounded insults and accusations directed against them. There is the added benefit of being able to hurl some insults right back at your opponent.

Shanghai Traces

computer, monitor
2010
Artwork by [user-name]

Shanghai Traces was a response to the massive beautification campaign that the city underwent in preparation for hosting the World Expo in 2010.  New buildings were constructed, new subway lines were dug, and everything got a fresh coat of paint, while elements deemed unsightly were suppressed.  The falling objects in my video are the wares of street vendors who were evicted from the city center during the Expo.

Perhaps to a greater extent than most cities, many of Shanghai’s residents are just passing through.  From the poorest migrant worker to the flushest CEO, people come from all over seeking opportunity, adventure, and fortune.  Shanghai Traces is a meditation on the manner in which these passing inhabitants leave their mark on the city.  The tumbling images are collaged together algorithmically in real-time, mirroring the interactions of city dwellers in ever-changing patterns and configurations.  Some stay, many move on, but every life leaves a trace, however fleeting.

For a complete presentation of the piece, visit http://www.benhouge.com/shanghaitraces.html

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