Thursday, November 27, 2008

Here Be Gremlins

Well, it serves me right invoking the gremlins name as part of my project. Technical glitches abound. Though it's finally taking shape tonight, there was one perfect run, and another in which the sound from all the videos suddenly cut out for no reason. And the keyboard for the tablet kept popping up which has never happened before. Oh, and I got chased by deer again. I think they see a kindred spirit in my glassy eyed stare into the bright light of a computer screen. Either that or they want to bite me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gremlin-infested Positioning System

With open studios around the corner I've been wondering how this project is going to received. It's a little out there conceptually, but I've heard people say that the intro video (sort of a last minute consideration) really puts the things you experience into context. Essentially I want users to be able to experince hybrid tracking technology as if the gremlins are the only thing preventing it from working properly. Today I decided that since the GPS zones all seem to work it was about time to have participants try it. It was a semi-guided tour. Even with technical glitches (irony aside) it seemed to be a compelling enough experience. So with more participants trying the system tomorrow I can't wait to see more reactions. The picture is an early attempt at turning Sulphur Mountain into a Volcano (one of the many uncomfortable situations the Gremlins inflict on the user).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Graffiti Research Lab hits Banff

GRL in Banff from GRL Canada on Vimeo.

Good clean fun.  Projected on a 30 foot elevator shaft-to-be on the construction site in Banff (shown below).  I've been following the GRL here and there but was just too happy about getting to try it out yesterday.  Music is NSFW, Explicit Content, blah blah blah...  You've been warned.  Mute if you must.

Scene of the crime:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Footnotes - Kay Burns Audio Walk

Today was a terrific day to try out the large scale audio walk
"Footnotes" produced by Kay Burns. The tour consisted of GPS
activated sound clips of which many were lamentations about the
changing landscape and ecology of Banff. I found several of the
experiences particularly appealing, one of which involved the sound of
crickets followed by an antiquated ad for Bug Bombs and an anecdote
about children running behind DDT fogging trucks. The sound of frogs
then began to play hinting at the bugs role in the ecosystem. I found
it moving since I so much enjoyed the sound of the crickets.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tour of the VR CAVE at the Banff Centre

Today we had a group tour of the VR CAVE in the Banff Centre.  The project we were shown was merely for demonstration purposes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

mScapes Workshop

This workshop was one I'd been anticipating, it was our first chance to design programs in mScapes, the project that emerged from the Mobile Bristol platform.  This program is Windows only and works on Windows Mobile devices.

Overall the program is quite powerful and scalable.  The trickiest part of the whole procedure is getting your own custom map into mScapes from something like Open Street Map, or an artfully hand drawn map, so you aren't stealing maps off Google.  So that's the part I will outline here.

When you've decided on a map to use in Windows, we'll use Open Street Maps for our example, we'll need a map saved as a .jpg or .gif.  Before we get there we will need to write some stuff down.  When you "Export" the map you've zoomed into you will see some numbers below "Area to Export".  You can either manually draw an oddly shaped map or go with the square map.  The numbers that indicate the top, bottom, left, and right of the map.  Be sure to record those clearly and in the right order.  Otherwise things will be confusing later.

Open Street Map saves as a .jpg but unfortunately you'll notice it may muck up the colours if you import directly into mScapes.  Convert it to .gif with a graphic converter program then we'll import it into mScapes.  

Once you've installed mScapes (you'll notice it'll also install the .NET framework once you run the installer), create yourself a project file so you can keep all your files in the same place, it'll get a little messy otherwise.  Open the application and create a new mScape.  Save the new mScape and you'll get a dialogue asking for a LOT of descriptive information.  Don't make the mistake I did, fill in the first field (title) because it won't give it a default name like "untitled" and you'll end up with an unlabeled file (potentially annoying).

Go to the Tools menu> then Import Map from Image.  You can select your freshly converted .gif and it will create a maplib file.  It prompts you to enter your coordniates you can do so now according to the coordinates you recorded from Open Street Maps.  Notice how it will ask for the Latitude and Longitude of each corner.  The coordinates you've recorded from Open Street Maps will be the Top, Right, Left, and Bottom lines of the box you've chosen.  Thankfully mScapes only asks for 3 of the four corners to be entered.  So the fields will be:
(x) Longitude = left;
(y) Latitude = top;
(x) Longitude = right;
(y) Latitude = top;
(x) Longitude = left;
(y) Latitude = Bottom;
(x) Longitude = right;
(y) Latitude = bottom;

Whew! Hope I got that right.  You'll know you've done it right if a Map located in North America has negative (x) Longitude values, indicating it's located in the Western Hemisphere.

After all of that, your map won't instantly appear in the window, you have to manually Add Map, and choose the newly created maplib.  I can't recall how to import a map and I'm blogging this without the program infront of me, but just to be aware if you choose at any point not to enter the coordinates in the first step, you reimport the map and will be given the option to change the coordinates of an existing map.  I'll clarify this post at a later time with more detailed instructions.  If I have the opportunity I'll create something within mScapes before I leave Banff so I'll know the program a bit better.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Antoni Abad - Workshop I


Z -

"A personalized fly that inhabits your computer".
The fly is a visualization of a viral network for chat and visualization of other users who have downloaded the software.  You can use the fly or kill it at your discretion.  The metadata indicates the DNA of each fly, the timezone of each downloader, and language of each user (PC only).  

Colectivos Transmiten Desde Teléfonos Móviles -

A series of participatory and networked activities involving the distribution of GPS enabled cellphones to marginalized individuals in order to create new lines of communication about social issues.  Some groups include the motorscooter couriers in Sao Paulo, mobility reduced individuals in Geneva, and taxi drivers in Mexico.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


From the Almost Perfect agenda:

"The theme of this year’s Almost Perfect residency is ‘Call and Response’, suggesting not only artistic responses to particular places or environments, but also the extended conversations or dialogues (i.e., ‘media ecologies’) that emerge when works of locative media intervene to create complex interactions between people, technology, and places. This topic seems particularly relevant, given that mobile and location-based media are now exerting their expressions and impacts within virtually all global environments, and are on the verge of becoming an integrated part of the planet’s complex ecology, with ‘everyware’ technologies such as sensor microprocessors and wireless networks pervasively lodged into everything from buildings and household objects to wild landscapes and remote terrain, enmeshing the world within an enveloping field of information, potentially connecting us to everything else and affecting our experience and perceptions of time, space and place in profound ways."

"This open design workshop invites participants to explore the interactive dialogue between people, locative media and places via a fun and simple creative exercise in which we will form into small groups, wander the terrain around The Banff Centre, and brainstorm ideas for invisible location-based sculptures. Inspiration for this workshop draws upon diverse sources, from the notions of geo-hacking and locative media put forward in William Gibson’s Spook Country, to mythology and biomimicry, to venerable traditions of land art and nature poetry. Please come prepared to walk outside again and explore the landscape of Banff."

GPS Experiments with Daniel Belasco Rogers

Yesterday we went for a stroll around the Banff centre and took some interesting GPS readings to get an idea of where and how certain GPS devices behave in a variety of surroundings.  This was particularly relevant to my project, but it will take some real leg work today to get an idea of how well my own GPS device will behave on the ground.  Yesterday was the first time I'd managed to acquire a KML file from a GPS device and map in on Google Maps.

This is a picture of me video taping the GPS as we were walking (thanks Nikki!).

Below is the route we took around the Banff centre, the white line is a little tricky to see but you can toggle it between the views to see it better.  

Monday, November 3, 2008

Artist Talk - Daniel Belasco Rogers

Daniel Belasco Rogers, newly arrived and astounded by the mountains,
presents his works at 10:30am.

Artist Talk - Antoni Abad

Peer advisor Antoni Abad presents his work 9:15am, Monday, November
3rd, 2008 in JPL 204. The artist talks are open to the public.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Almost Perfect - Artists Talks

Poster for the big event.

Glitches and Gremlins

Some random thoughts and links that interested me in exploring the role of the glitch in artistic practice.
"Glitch @ Gene Siskel Centre" : Creative Problem Creating.
Glitches on Flickr

I have to pay homage to Anton Marini (vade) who is an ongoing source of inspiration to me for his work with Jitter and Quartz Composer.  Here is a terribly interesting overview and tutorial on the Glitch.

And just for something silly:

Check out the participants of this years Almost Perfect Locative Media Co-Production Residency BNMI (2008).

Artists and their projects

Join us for the public artist talks on Monday, November 3rd, 2008.

4:00pm - Maia Iotzova

4:20pm - Nikki Pugh

4:40pm - Robert Damphousse

5:00pm - Florian Hollerweger


6:30pm - Andrew Roth

6:50pm - Christopher Quine

7:10pm - Austin Angelozzi

7:30pm - Sarah Shamash

7:50pm - Laura Silver

8:10pm - Amos Latterier

8:30pm - Jesse Scott

Almost Perfect - Banff New Media Residency 2008

The Almost Perfect co-production residency kicked off at the BNMI on October 29th with an overview of past projects.  On October 30th we experienced Tracklines, a locative installation based on portable GPS systems.  Primarily used as an educational tool, Tracklines allows users to play short movies about their surroundings when they reach predetermined GPS hotspots along the Hoodoo Trail.