Archive for November, 2011

Interfaces for editing (sketches)

Written by on 6th November 2011 in Sketches, Thoughts with 0 Comments

A Tangible Interface for simultaneously editing a world through a birds eye view & a first person view. Aarti and I have been playing a lot of Carcassonne lately. There’s something quite relaxing about forming towns and roads with those interchangeable tiles. I imagine  a similar system that uses map tiles that also gives you a street level view. Also you could add elements and see them automatically appear in the space.

A screen based interface for customizing individual tiles and updating the collective panorama. This one seems like it would be kind of easy to quickly prototype using the google shared doc + embedded image tiles technique I used to make the bingo boards. The only downside is the animation part… I REALLY want it to have the ability to add animated elements and not just stills…


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Playing with time

Written by on 6th November 2011 in Experiments, References, Thoughts with 0 Comments

MDP Wind Tunnel Scrub (live demo)

MDP Wind Tunnel Pan (live demo)

Playing with the animation within the pano makes me think about other ways to show time passing within the constraints of the navigation tools. The pan example is certainly not a new idea within the world of film. I’ve been thinking about Michel Gondry a lot lately and remembering some of my old favorite videos which I realize are almost 10 years old at this point! But they’ve certainly been burned into my brain.. and watching them again now, I still love them even though I now notice the seams of the compositing & CG. There is just something lovely about life on loop and manufactured landscapes.

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Occupy the Internet

Written by on 5th November 2011 in References with 0 Comments

As a side note… I love FAT Lab’s version of the Occupy thing…  (click the pic to see it live)

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Collage Culture vs Network Culture

Written by on 5th November 2011 in Thoughts with 0 Comments

For colloquium yesterday we had the team behind Collage Culture do readings and talk about their process and how they worked on the book. But the essential questions they’re raising (quoting from the site) are:

“Why has the 21st century become an era of collage, in which creative works are made by combining elements from the former century?”

“Why have musicians, writers and designers fallen in love with the past, busying themselves with borrowing instead of creating their art from scratch?”

And from the talk I generally get the feeling their collective conclusion is basically that “collage culture is too mainstream now. The remix is dead.” (I find it particularly fitting that the idea for this book came from a conversation at a coffee shop in Echo Park)


I have a hard time processing talks fast enough to be able to come up with questions to ask people while they’re sitting in front of me. Some interesting stuff but my general initial reaction in my head was “Strongly Disagree!” Other thoughts included, “If you were asking artists to create work without any outside influence or reference, why didn’t you approach your writing in the same way? Why did you need that giant stack of historical references? Why didn’t you write from scratch? Why didn’t you have algorithms write it for you like the collages? Can you even write non-fiction without making references to things that already exist? If you’re so down on nostalgia why did you release a vinyl record with the book instead of inventing a new form of audio delivery or at least use a modern one?”

I’ve been thinking about it more and I still feel the same way. I think partially because I am definitely part of the remix culture and that way of working is very much a part of my work. But I don’t think it’s dead, in fact I think it’s alive and stronger than ever. That’s the whole idea behind open culture. I don’t think it’s a problem that lots of people are making remixes, because the remixes themselves individually aren’t the point. It’s about the power of the networked collective and the emergent remixes.

Barbara Kruger collages from Google Image Search


Hipster Disney Memes from Google Image Search


It’s not necessarily about one person’s collages as a form of rebellion or commentary about society, like the Barbara Kruger collages above. Because we live in a networked culture, it’s about creating platforms to encourage other people to remix it so the collective commentary about our society comes from a range of voices, like the Hipster Ariel meme which broadened into the Hipster Disney meme. The body of work is owned by no one and everyone at the same time. Not that the two examples are equal, but I feel like they illustrate the difference. If collage culture is mainstream, it’s because it’s been rolled like a Katamari into our collective toolkit. Even real life things like the Occupy _____ represent the sort of shift in thinking towards a more emergent form of expression.

In the book they have a section of generative collages that were created by algorithmic rule sets that were then curated for the book by the designer. If we want to release our selves from being stuck in a continuous loop of our own references, I don’t think the answer is handing off choices to machines, but by opening up the opportunity for other people to influence the end result.

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Rolling in the street

Written by on 5th November 2011 in Experiments, Thoughts with 1 Comment

A few weeks ago I was talking to Andrew about the street view stuff I’ve been playing with, and how I was trying to figure out how to get animated GIFs in there. He had played around with making custom panoramas in the past so he dug up the old file and swapped out the panoramic image for an animated gif, and it worked! I had initially been thinking about it in terms of having the regular image with some sort of animated marker on top. I hadn’t thought about having an entire tile actually be an animation.

He shared the code, but with the bingo game + science fair + writing the lit review I didn’t get around to looking into it until today. All I did was put in my own animated pano, but it works, you can zoom & pan!

Check out the interactive gif here. 

The kitty gif is not mine. I just found it from the internets, although as a side note this is my trail for coming across it this morning. (Sometimes I just like thinking about the chain of events and people involved that lead me to a particular thing):

  1. Dustin posted a PBS video about video games on my Facebook wall
  2. I watch & enjoy said video
  3. Click on another related video about F.A.T. Lab
  4. They mention so I check it out
  5. End up on Jeanette’s page where I found the kitty gif.
  6. I repost kitty gif on my tumblr.

I was really intending to be doing more of the physical making stuff. I really want to be making more sausages and things with my hands right now.

But for some reason I can’t stop playing with this street view stuff. And I can just watch that kitty rolling in the street for several minutes at a time. What I need to figure out is how to actually tile things together, as this is just one very large gif. I can imagine that if it were to gett really big it would be very sluggish. The fact that each tile could be a potential animated gif is super exciting to me… because what if you could edit each of those tiles individually, in a crowd sourced kind of way? I’m imagining being able to create your own animated tile, save it, and have that dynamically load into the street view viewer again…

The frustrating thing is that I know conceptually it would be super easy to do it if I had the code chops. I can think about the flow of how it would work and what sort of things I could need to do. But when I start getting into the details of the code for creating the whole thing it’s a little overwhelming. Maybe it’s cause at this point I’m still ironing out the big picture stuff, that dealing with the details is too much to worry about at once…


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Low Resolution Soft 3-D Printing & Interacting

Written by on 4th November 2011 in Experiments, Thoughts with 0 Comments

I spent the afternoon making a 2 yard long plush sausage. I was hoping to make quite a few but the one took me quite some time to make and stuff, so I’m just playing with this small length for now.

What does a low resolution large scale 3D print look like? What if the material varies? Left side are the raw “prints” of a sphere and a cylinder, while the ones on the right have textures mapped to them to suggest a kickball and an armwarmer.

And what does a low resolution large-scale3 3D print look like in a space? What if you could print out the sketch so you have 3D graffiti?

And sort of tangentially while playing with the plush sausage I sort of started to feel like it could be an interesting interface device. Perhaps with sensors inside or perhaps just through the computer vision pattern recognition or something… initially I thought about it as a way to do some 3D modeling.. but maybe its more of a way to augment your communication with another person?


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Literature Review & Map

Written by on 4th November 2011 in "Official" Papers, Thoughts with 0 Comments

Revised Literature Review and a Survey Map with biographies of some people of influence…



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Big 3D printing

Written by on 2nd November 2011 in Sketches, Thoughts with 0 Comments

I got this idea in my head going to bed last night. It involves “3D printing” large objects using a large spool of plush “sausages”, with various textures printed on the fabric, as the printer material. The image above is just a rough collage sketch. But I’m thinking this might be awesome. I bought some off white fleece tonight and plan make a lot of sausages tomorrow. I’m thinking this might be a way to prototype being able to 3d print my First Person Creator objects. But also just a fun alternative way to think about making 3D things.

The trick is figuring out how to join things together. I was initially thinking magnets but maybe that would make it a little to complicated for now. So I just got some velcro. Also trying to figure out how to make things that can stand up in a solid way and not just collapse… Something to ponder as I sleep tonight.

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Science Fair

Written by on 2nd November 2011 in Thoughts with 0 Comments

We had our week-8 adjunct advisor speed dating science fair thing yesterday from 10:30 – 3:30. A long day of talking, a lot more than I usually do in one day at least. I tried taking down notes as I talked to people but got a little overwhelmed and didn’t end up taking down as many notes as I probably should have. But I did at least get to talk to everyone. I can’t remember what everyone said exactly though it seemed generally positive overall I think… at least what I can remember… People seemed to be all over the place in terms of the things they found interesting, though I think the streetview experiments were most frequently talked about.

Anne was interested in how they could play with the barrier between the virtual and physical more. And also asked what questions I was asking other than the main one which I had explained. Phil seemed to think there was something in the e-mail stuff I was doing if I pushed it further, maybe its the idea of having an ultra ultra customizable (ie not just one alternate metaphor but many custom ones). Ben & Sean did feel like there were ties between the old work I was showing and the street view stuff. Molly had some good references in relation to the street view stuff and urban gaming. Mike asked if there were more opportunities for people to create within the things I was making. Elise felt like I was still pretty broad but could see a common thread through the work. And she had some good suggestions for possible ways to think about taking it further. Lisa seemed pretty into most of the stuff, and more interested in the bingo game than most others. Garent was especially interested in my old huddle project and the street view stuff specifically.

So.. I’m not really sure what to make of all the feedback. People asked what I was planning on doing next, and my general response was putting some of the game stuff aside for now and try to bring the work back into the real world for a while since a lot of the the things I’d been working on has been stuck on the screen lately.

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Bingo Results

Written by on 1st November 2011 in Experiments, Thoughts with 0 Comments

2011 MDB game came to an end on Friday. Afterwards I tallied up the results: how many dots on each person’s board, how many times each person appeared on another person’s board, number of badges created, number of badges collaborated on, and total badges overall. Salvador & Jessica both tied for 1st place most helpful overall and Brooklyn & John tied for second. Matt M. created the most badges. And Mike had the most orange dots. I also made little award certificates (and certificates of participation) where the end badge was generated (by me, not code) using the badges and dots they had on their board. So everyone’s end medal was personal to their experience.

Overall I feel like it was a good experiment in creating a large scale, asynchronous game. From what I’ve heard it seemed to inspire some increased helpfulness and socialization. I know that I at least felt more social within the studio than I had been in the past few weeks. Level of engagement ranged from feeling competitive to sort of passively playing. Some people proactively went out of their way to talk to people they wouldn’t usually talk to, while others just used it to log the interaction just as it happened. I think creating the cumulative award badges at the end was also really interesting to me. In the end I felt like the game actually simulated the benefits of online networked culture in an interesting way, since it was really only possible to do well by helping other and having help from others.

So overall it seemed like a relatively good exercise in creating a game system to encourage social collaboration within a real social network. But now I think I need to leave it for a while and let it sit, maybe returning to parts of it later on.

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