Modern Construction

Written by on 7th November 2011 in References, Thoughts with 0 Comments

I was in Old Town Pasadena the other day and noticed the new crosswalks they installed. They’re made to look like brick but it’s really just black asphalt that’s been poured out and stamped to look like it has a brick texture. Who even needs brick layers anymore? How much longer until lego block style toys no longer represent how our world is built?

Meanwhile those crazy kids who are obsessed with Minecraft are finding all sorts of ways to bring the 8-bit block world into the real world. In our high-res world, it’s like blocks are already vintage. Like the minecraft blocks, real world things can be textured to be something else with just a surface treatment. Part of the idea behind the sausage links is that it more accurately represents the way our idea of making is shifting from a physically accurate blocky system to a more fluid representational system. Even our physical things are just surface level abstractions of what we want to imagine them being.

Also, a side note of a pretty sweet minecraft + kinect hack.. more examples of the real world invading the virtual world…

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Play/Remix Street View

Written by on 7th November 2011 in References, Sketches, Thoughts with 0 Comments

Tangible Editable Map Interface Sketches

Another version of the tangible tile interface, the main difference here is just that it’s round, which allows for looping. Also allows for the idea of making it something clock based, where you could potentially see the images change based on the time of day it’s set to (or the time of day it actually is).

Also, there’s options for changing the “playhead” to car, bike, or pedestrian which would account for the speed. There is also a separate ”viewer” object which you can place on a tile to peek a preview of the what the street view looks like. I’m looking into maybe using something like this full screen jquery slider instead of the google interface if I can’t figure out how to work with the api to get the tiles working. There would also still be supplementary props which you can add to the physical board that will change the street view as well. The added element is that the view can be edited by people online as well. It’s sort of similar to the idea of a massively single player online game like Spore where even if you don’t directly interact with other people what they do affects the whole world. I’m also still thinking about the potential in thinking about the pieces not as flat things but dimensional things, like the sausages.

Also, some related references from my mental archive. There was another project where someone had pieces of vinyl record cut into tracks with a little car driving over them but I can’t seem to find it anywhere…

Lauren Hill – Everything is Everything (1998)

Soundwagon (1970′s + 2010 re-release)

Isle of Tune (2010)

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Street Editor

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

Pano View

Editing Interface

Quickly prototyping an interface for dynamically editing a panorama, based on Media Design Bingo technology! Basically just made a Google Drawing for each of the 3 tiles that create the panorama, and then embedded them into a page together, except this time clicking on one of the tile opens up the editor window, making it more of a continuous interaction. (One of the comments I got from the bingo game was that people wished the main page with all the boards let them access the individual boards.)

HIT me up.


I also wanted to see what type of things people would do with it so I created a HIT on Amazon Mechanical Turk to get it going. I’m offering up $0.25 for up to 20 people to edit the panorama in some way. I know people like Aaron Koblin  have explored the potential within Mechanical Turk in the past, but I still think there’s some potential for other interesting things to emerge from there. Plus it’s just kind of fun to play with. We’ll see how it goes, hopefully by the end of the day it’ll be full off stuff…

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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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