Archive for the ‘Living Art’ Category

Post-Analog Fashion

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

I came across this video from Alexander McQueen’s fashion show:

It reminded me of the automated system in the commercial fashion world. Mass production of clothing is now a job for robots so why not give them a shot at making fashion too… Actually this performance is more that just a fashion statement, its a reflection of society and the integration of technology in our life.

Trends in fashion mirror trends in society. The current state of humanity is the adoption of technology to enhance our lives. Mobile technology, algorithms and micro-computing are allowing us to patch our personal flaws. Having bad memory is easily solved with a smart phone which can remember things for you or help you google something on the spot, so remembering something becomes a little trivial…

Elizabeth Fuller's Life Dress

Embedded technology will be the next generation of mobile tech. Just imagine a pice of clothing, kind of like Elizabeth Fuller’s “Life Dress” but who’s capabilities go beyond just emission of light. What if it was a reception-emission model. In other words, what if each little light in the dress also had sensors that would study your environment for you and then the dress tells you what it found out.

Maybe its co2 sensors that tell you that you may be in trouble like Kristin O’Freil’s CORSET which reacts to high levels of CO2

Kristin O'Freil's CORSET

Maybe its like Nike+ that has a little accelerometer in one of the silicone squares. Maybe every little square is a different sensor!

The bottom line is that the embedding of technology in our garments has great potential to extend our abilities to comprehend our world. It will also let us know great correlations from the data gathered from our behavior.

Sooner than later we will see Smart Clothes which will be replacing our dumb clothing. I can’t wait for my self drying vest to go with my hover board!! =)

Great thanks to Mr. McQueen for laying the foundation for this great movement in the fashion world.

Postanalog or Post-Analog

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

So I have decided to start classifying a lot of the new art I see as Postanalog (Post-analog). It is the only way I can describe or categorize things like Art Robotica or projects such as Mortal Engine

Postanalog is similar to the term Postdigital but with a dramatic difference. Postanalog is art that embraces digital technology. This is that art that sees humanity and digital technology as symbiotic. It is when you see a natural element and an algorithmic digital element combine and for a new beautiful form.

Postanalog will revolutionize the world as we see it.

Art Robotica: Thesis Presentation!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Art Robotica is a term used to describe the body of work created by the collaboration of “ArtBot” and artist. ArtBots are Autonomous Machines that paint or draw on a canvas, sheet of paper or a surface of some kind. Art Robotica reflects our new codependency and symbiotic relationship with machines. ArtBots are, in essence, collaborators rather than just new tools.

A presentation of Art Robotica was part of ITP Thesis Week 2009.
The thesis presentation was Tuesday May 5, 2009 at NYU’s ITP (721 Broadway, 4th floor)

Web Video Archive:

This is one of the paintings created so far:

“Girl” 2009, Acrylic on paper, 48″ x40″

To find out more about Art Robotica visit:

More Art Robotica:

Oscar’s Thesis Concept: The ArtBot

Monday, March 9th, 2009


ArtBots are painting machines that paint their environment in a unique artistic style. They collaborate with each other and with an artist to make a painting. Each robot will have a personality which will translate to their brush strokes and painting style.

These are two quotes from a couple of my favorite artists that inspired me to pursue the concept of a robot artist:

“[painting] is colored dirt smeared on a flat surface, usually stretched around some wooden sticks. And it is for me, the most magical of all mediums. You smear that colored dirt and it makes space where there is no space” ~Chuck Close

“The photograph meant the death of painting, but its resulting to be the opposite. Thanks to photography, art is resuscitating.” ~Salvador Dali

This is what I think the robots will look like in a gallery setting:


The way the robots will function is similar to the way that Jackoon functioned. There will be a video camera in the ceiling that will track the movement of the robots and will be used to know when the robots should paint. All the logic for the painting composition and collision detection will be done in a laptop and sent to the robots with wireless communication. This is an image of the set up:

The mechanics for the mobility of a couple of the robots are inspired by Theo Jansen’s leg design. The other robots will have servo motors and are inspired by hexapod.

I am not the only one using Theo’s leg design, I have a feeling that this design will become very popular as time goes by.

This is a rough sketch of what the robot using the Theo’s leg design may look like, the arrows point to the direction they are facing:

And this is a robot who’s leg design is similar to Theo’s concept but I am hoping that I will be able to get better movement from this design.

This is a simplified sketch of the isolated legs and the places where joints exist:

These are the physical legs that I built and am in the process of testing and some videos that I took of the rough motion that is achieved by the respective designs:


Theo Jansen Leg Design from Oscar G. Torres on Vimeo.


Theo Jansen Inspired Leg from Oscar G. Torres on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for updates on the ArtBots!

Helios: The Power Tree

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Helios Tree

I will be showing the Helios Power Tree in the ITP Spring Show 2008.
Here are some links to more blog entrees about this project:


About the installation:

technical info:

Feel free to leave me a comment about what you think of the tree.

Jackoon the Painting Machine

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

I decided to name my painting machine Jackoon which is a combination of the names Jackson from Jackson Pollock and Kooning for Willem de Kooning. I feel the name is appropate since they the made work similar to the work my machine is creating. The abstract, gestural, expressionism-like paintings are a result of the simple algorithm that makes Jaskoon paint.

I set up Jackoon in an installation at ITP; for the class Living Art. The installation consists of a firewire digital camera, the Jackoon circuit, a painting ring, a fixed MacBook Pro and Mr. Jackoon himself. I served as the assistant to Mr. Jackoon as he painted a magnificent piece called “The Creator” 2008.

This is a picture of the set up.

Jackoon the Painting Machine

Video Tracking System:


This is the artist and his work:


This is what Jackoon sees:


This is the resulting art by Jackoon:

painting by painting machine, Jackoon
“The Creator” 2008
Acrylic on Paper, 40″ x 70″

This is a video of what Jackoon sees:

This is a video of Jackoon painting:

Painting Machine Concept

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

An other Project I will be working on is the development of a painting machine.

I will be making a little mobil unit that will travel around a canvas and paint the portrait of a person. The little mobil unit will be assisted by a computer which will be the eyes and brains running the mechanism.

This is a simple drawing of what I have in mind:

The mobil unit will have an arm with a paint brush that will be controlled with impulses that make servo motors turn in a precisely calculated manner.

The computer will be analyzing and two video feeds that will be used to track the subject being painted and the position of the mobil unit on the canvas. This is a screen shot of the beginning stages of the video tracking:


Stayed tuned for more on the painting machine.

“Synthetic Oasis” 2008

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

A Helios Power Tree was used in an installaton at ITP. Blue carpet and some grass-like foam pieces where used in “Synthetic Oasis.” The overall form was achieved by omitting symmetry, leading to an organic feel, that captures a sense of life; not mentioning the Helios’ inner pulse that mimics a heart. It appears as though the branches where made using a random system, something reminiscent of fractal formations.

The composition shows an inevitable symbiotic relationship between human beings, technology and the environment. “Synthetic Oasis” functions by collecting ambient energy in the form of light and stores it as potential energy in at its base. The energy is then used to illuminate the installation at night and to power the gadgets of the public lounging at the helios’ shade in the day time.

The word “oasis” implies the presence of water and vegetation in an isolated area in the desert. This applies to the Helios installation, since the Solar Tree can collect electricity anywhere the sun shines. The pool of electricity can then give “life” to electronics who’s batteries are dying in an area isolated from the power grid.

The blue foam is an ironic choice of color and material which contrasts that of plants yet it is the Helios that is producing the energy that would otherwise be produced by burning ancient plant matter such as coal. It is this blue hue that allows for a “Post-apocalyptic” feel to the installation in the day time and a tranquil, soothing glow which is accompanied by ambient cricket sound at night.

This new body of work is aimed to allow for a system where people can benefit in a quantitative manner as well as capturing the ideal form of entities in our environment such as trees.

Synthetic Oasis

Presentation on Helios-The Power Tree

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Helios Tree

Background: Energy Consumption Has reached a level that is having a drastic effect in our society, environment and economy due to greenhouse gasses produced from burning fossil fuels.

World power usage in terawatts (TW) from Wikipedia:

Possible Solution
Use energy that is “clean” and that does not harm the environment as much as fossil fuels. Surprisingly only 7% of total energy used in the world is renewable.

Diagrams from Wikipedia:

An area of energy production that is being overlooked is Photovoltaic technology, whose use was only at 0.42% worldwide in 2005.

Photovoltaics (PV) is Clean, and taps into the most abundant energy available. PV cell prices have dropped from around $90 in the 1970′s to around $2.5 in 2003. Technological advances increases efficiency of cells and lowers the price, so we should expect to see more of PV in the years ahead. Solar energy is the energy that runs most life on earth. Plants and algae make sugars from it to power their metabolism. Other living things like fish insects and humans then feed on plants and take their energy. The total solar power available is a few thousand times greater than the current global energy consumption.

These variables lead me to The Helios concept. A tree that uses and collects solar energy.
Helios PV Tree

Prototype Materials:

* 192 x 3V, 22mA solar cells
* 40 x LED, white superbrights 3.2-3.4VDC 20 mA,
10,000 to 12,000 mcd output
* Blue prototyping foam
* Wire/ solder/ electric tape
* Arduino Decimila and various components
* Solar Charge Controller
* 12VDC, 7A Battery
* Lots of Coffee! I mean like, A lot of it.
* VoicePad Recorder


What does it do?
The Solar Charge Controller monitors voltage and when energy conversion is optimum, the solar cell circuit charges battery. In Beta version, the tree will have an addition of functioning outlets. An Arduino micro controller is used to monitors light via photocell sensor.
The lights on the tree turn on when the Arduino senses that its night, as well as a cricket ambient sound.

Specs of the Helios Tree:

14V peak, .6A
8.4 joules/ second
30 240 joules

12V, 7A battery
302 400 joules

4-5% at optimum light
Circuit Usage:
12V@ 400mA Watts

The chart below illustrated the energy collection and power usage of the Helios Tree.

Summary: Why make a Helios Power Tree?

* To diversify our energy portfolio!
* A step in the right direction, we need to go from 0.42% of PV usage worldwide to 42%
* Micro-generation is the key to avoid 8% loss in transmission
* Electricity Access in places with lack of infrastructure
* Help cut CO2 Emissions but producing power locally near the place of usage and turn the CO2 chart 46 degrees clockwise.
* Inspire future generations to use clean energies in a creative way.

Helios: The Power Tree

Monday, March 24th, 2008

I decided to rename my solar tree to “Helios-The Power Tree” or Helios Tree for short. I don’t want people to confuse my flexible solar PV cell tree with the Solar Tree a project by Ross Lovegrove of LONDON. My tree has an organic form and is a blue color and silver leaves. The idea behind the form of my tree was inspired by a fellow artist’s by the name of Roxy Paine who’s work is in Madison Square Park in New York City. Now that the solar PV cells where installed to the blue foam skeleton, the prototype is actually starting to look like a tree! Behold The Helios Tree:

Helios Tree

View from below:


View from above: