COLLISIONcollective

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*                        For engineers that moonlight as artists and artists that moonlight as engineers                                         *
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Minimals

web, computer, urethane
2011
Artwork by [user-name]
polyurethane hippo

Minimals are low resolution animals constructed out of digital material building blocks which form strong structures and can be readily assembled with a low cost robot. The concept of this work is to scientifically determine the number of parts where a shape turns from abstract to concrete. The number is determined to be the number of parts that yields 50% object recognition. We determine this number using an online survey that asks users to identify the given animal rendered with a certain number of parts. We employ a CAM system for constructing a model derived from a given shape mesh and php scripts for running the automated online survey.

Thanks to Sarah Hovsepian for help building parts and MIT CBA group for their support.

the timelapse blackboard

blackboard, computer
2011

Every morning when I wake up, I try to remember to say to myself, "I am thankful, I have a life and that is amazing. How can I devote my energy of the day to something positive?" I like to think of myself as a supporting actor, or a member of a life support team. All of my actions, all of my transactions, they support other life. What kind of life am I supporting? What am I keeping alive? Am I strong enough to be the change I want to see?

I've been thinking a lot more about plants lately. Fruit trees are something else. I go up to a fruit tree and I find a tasty piece of food in a convenient biodegradable package. I enjoy this tasty treat for free and then toss the wrapper and possibly a core on the ground. Or maybe the seeds pass through me or another animal. There's a chance some of those seeds might end up in the ground again. Take some care, find the right spot, have some patience, and... lookie here! Another fruit tree making more treats! Holy moley!!! That is some high tech wizardry. Clearly I have a lot to learn. I am thankful for that.

Personas

computer, monitor, keyboard
2009
Artwork by [user-name]

Personas is a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, recently on display at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one's aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you.
Enter your name, and Personas scours the web for information and attempts to characterize the person - to fit them to a predetermined set of categories that an algorithmic process created from a massive corpus of data. The computational process is visualized with each stage of the analysis, finally resulting in the presentation of a seemingly authoritative personal profile.
In a world where fortunes are sought through data-mining vast information repositories, the computer is our indispensable but far from infallible assistant. Personas demonstrates the computer's uncanny insights and its inadvertent errors, such as the mischaracterizations caused by the inability to separate data from multiple owners of the same name. It is meant for the viewer to reflect on our current and future world, where digital histories are as important if not more important than oral histories, and computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant.

Axiom Broadcaster (Part of the Broadcaster Project)

a computer and a button and a booth of some sort
2010
Artwork by [user-name]

The Axiom Broadcaster is a single button video booth where any visitor to the gallery can record a short video of their experience. What is on your mind? The videos are then automatically uploaded to http://youtube.com/axiombroadcaster
and labeled with the time and date. This creates a public history for the gallery and an archive of the views of visitors. When you see the videos online, you can really say "I know where you're coming from."
How do we imagine a device like a public telephone (cheap, ubiquitous, public, easy, many vendors) but instead of making a call to a specific person, it allows you to place a public photo or video online?

LumaTouch Synesthesia

wood, Plexiglas, fluorescent lights, computer with custom software, webcam, video projector, headphones, speakers
2010
Artwork by [user-name]

LumaTouch Synesthesia is an interactive system for creating abstract artwork with electronic music by manipulating tangible objects. The system consists of a light table with five movable objects on the surface, four small cubes and a small cylinder. By manipulating these objects, the user can simultaneously create an abstract painting and compose electronic music to complement the painting. The phenomenon of synesthesia is experienced literally in the creation of color and sound.
The location and rotation of the four cubes are detected by a webcam in the light table. The custom software uses these inputs to choose up to eight of 16 reference images to be morphed and combined for the painting and up to eight of 16 music loops to be mixed for the song. The cylinder is used to change the color of the images and the musical key of the song.
While a viewer is interacting with the piece, it will show the digital painting projected on the wall behind the light table, and play music at a moderate volume level in the room. Headphones are also available to allow the operator to listen more closely. The user can retrieve his/her painting by sliding the “ROBGON” gadget to the center of the light table. The image will be uploaded to www.RobGon.com and instructions for retrieval will appear on the screen.
LumaTouch uses OpenFrameworks, an open-source C++ library for creative coding. The tracking used by LumaTouch is based on the concepts from TrackMate, an open-source tracking system. The reference paintings are from the Smithsonian Institute Website, www.si.edu, and are used in accordance with the Smithsonian's terms of use. Some of the music loops are original and some are from looperman.com and are used in accordance with their terms of use. I would like to thank Jennifer Lim for her help with this project.

the phenomenology of painting (Albers machine)

3 stretched and gessoed canvases, 3D animation with sound, software, video projector, speakers, computer
2010
Artwork by [user-name]

This new body of work is an extension of my previous explorations, in which I created a series of interactive installations and sculptures featuring lifelike 3D animated forms. That work investigated empathy, and the way we come to identify with the objects of our gaze, be they living or technological. In this new work, which I am calling “unspecific objects” (in both parody of, and homage to Donald Judd’s famous essay, Specific Objects), my goal is to use projected 3D animation combined with material forms to create objects that have a strong physical, almost lifelike presence. Despite their simple formal constraints, they elicit an awareness of our process of perception, and the difference between perceiving and knowing. They also expose the anthropomorphism latent in our perception of even the most minimal of objects.
the phenomenology of painting (Albers machine) specifically explores the relationship of abstract painting to spatial illusion. Throughout the last 100 years there has been much discussion of the “nature” of painting, and the relative value of acknowledging the flatness of the picture plane vs. explicitly creating the illusion of depth. This piece both pokes fun at and investigates these stances by creating the illusion of depth in three wall-mounted objects that very closely resemble Joseph Albers' paintings from the series “Homage to the Square.”

Masked Thoughts

wood, mirror, computer with custom software, webcam, video projector, foam board, mic. stands
2008
Artwork by [user-name]

Masked Thoughts is an interactive video installation that allows viewers to try on virtual masks, and think virtual thoughts. The installation is comprised of the following components: a large mirror mounted in a wooden frame, a video projector and video camera mounted on top of the frame, and two projection surfaces mounted on mic stands in front of the mirror. One of the projection surfaces is a mask with eyeholes cut out. The other surface is a thought balloon - comic book style. Both surfaces are front/back symmetric and can be swiveled around to face the other side.

A webcam provides a video feed to the CPU, which scans the area and detects changes to the mask and thought balloon. Swiveling the surfaces cause the projected images to change in real-time. Turn the mask around, see a different face. Turn the thought balloon around, see a different thought. Note that the surfaces can be changed at any time, in any order.

A variety of recognizable faces are available to try on: politicians, historical figures, entertainers, etc.

Underneath the Skin V.2

Computer, screen and matte
2008
Artwork by [user-name]

Underneath the Skin challenges our personal suppositions of soul and what remains after the body is gone. Without a body, we are neither male, female, short, tall, pretty, frail, hungry, tired, cold, amorous athletic, nor forgetful. As the body may be thought of as a temporary skin that houses the soul, then what is the nature of what lies underneath the skin? The multiplicity of meanings of the term "skin" and its psychological components are mirrored in de-familiarized skin imagery and abbreviated digitization. Forming meaning from the fast-moving text is similar to the activity that one engages in while trying to determine the nature of oneself by decoding and arranging the clues and events that occur over the time span of experience.

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