Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Video Games as Art

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Some Political Compositions

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

I watched the RNC and the DNC and I was definitely not impressed with the subjects that the candidates decided to address, which explains the bottom image. Following the presidential debate last night, I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth. A lot of the points that the candidates touched where expected, but the one that really made me mad was that Romney wants to cut PBS!

Are you kidding me!? In a world full of Jersey Shore, The Real World and other trashy programming in the tube, there has to be something constructive. We all know that most people do not strive to learn new things and educate themselves. I’m sure more than half of the country could live with out shows like “Nature” or “Nova” but you have to be kidding me! Cutting those shows would stop inspiring bright minds who ponder about the cosmos and who want to believe that the sky is not the limit! Inspiration to learn does not come from shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The O’Reilly Factor or even The Daily Show. All those shows are about opinion, we need to see the grass in the other side. We need science and math. We need Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood; as creepy as it was!

If we cut PBS, you can expect society to go this direction:

I really hope we don’t go that direction.

Some Notes on Playbadger.com

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Time is funny, sometimes it passes by very fast. Other times it passes by really slow. Either way, the only time you have to do anything is the present, so that is the time you have to make the best in life.

What else can I talk about other than playbadger.com and electronics? Maybe I can talk about #occupywallstreet or other political events that are important in this day and age. I think I’ll just talk about Badger.

Badger has definitely been a good project to develop. I have learned a great deal about people, business and technology. The most beneficial part of it all is the actual finding of things that interest me. Which is kind of nice since working so much for so long has fogged these things.

How many times have you been asked through out your life what are the things you like to do? This was especially true, in my experience, during Middle School and High School. Teachers, parents, parents friends and anyone who knew about you would ask about your interests in hopes of giving suggestions for possible career paths. This was the time when the sky was the limit and the only thing holding you back was interest.

What am I interested in?
What do I value?

Street Art

Playbadger.com has shed some light into that question. Through badger I have re-discovered a lot of interests that I enjoy. Aside from art related topics such as Street Art and Gallery Openings or Typography, I have re-enforced my admiration and intrigue with Bugs! Specially Bees. Another thing that I realized through badger is that the reason I take so many pictures is to compensate for my really awful short-term memory. Now when I go to an event or party and for some reason leave my bike over night, I “badge” it with my personal tag. “Badging” a picture of the bike takes less than a minute. I take a picture of the bike in its environment and plot the location. The next day when I wake up and freak out because I forgot where I parked my bike, I look at my phone and boom there it is. I found that this works well with parking my car in the city.

I noticed that Badger also answer the questions “Where did you see that?” and it also helps you keep track of the location of the things you shared.

An other cool development is using pictures from Badger for interactive installations. At my birthday party the other day, I projected the latest pictures that where uploaded to Badger. The software would grab the latest image and use a microphone to make pixels grow according to the intensity of the music. The result was people taking pictures of themselves to be projected with pixels that got bigger to the music.

Here is an example of what people saw:

Image from Badger:

Image processed with low sound:

Image processed with high sound:

It was a pretty cool experience. And best of all this little experiment is opening the door for more interactive installations in the future!

Long story short, I am looking forward to have people upload bugs to my bugs badge since I enjoy looking at them so much! Also Halloween, it would be cool to see Halloween pictures from all over the country.

Hardware, Software and Badger!

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Its been a while since I wrote a blog post. The delay has been due to my immersion in the world of Badger. What is Badger? Its my awesome project and I will talk about it after I share my IOIO findings.

I noticed that sparkfun stopped selling the ioio module for some reason. After researching possible causes, I realized they had just updated the module.

While looking into the possible causes for the [non-exitent] demise of the ioio, I found a bunch amazing projects! The cool thing about the ioio is the ability to control hardware with software, in this case with your android phone! First you have the good old “hello world” which is usually a little blinking LED like this:

While looking for hello “hello world” videos of ioio’s I found this new little micro-controller by GHI Electronics called the FEZ Domino, a .NET Micro Framework module to interface with the Android. It looks like a nifty little MC and its open source, as far as i can tell.

Weather its the FEZ or the ioio, after your Eureka moment, there will be a flood of possibilities crossing your mind. Soon you will be making little interesting projects with your Android’s accelerometer and the voice recognition apps:

And sooner than later, you make the leap to making a robotic contraption with an algorithm that can actually solve the most difficult of puzzles like the V-cube 7:

This brings me back to why I’m writing this blog post.
1. I love opensource hardware
2. I love mobile
3. I began a project called Badger that has sucked my time and would like to tell you about it!

Badger is a website (and soon an iPhone App) that allows you to make badges of anything that interests you. These badges become Visual Hash Tags that are used to group picture and videos that people upload into blogs and maps.

This is a map of the stuff that I uploaded to Badger from my Desktop, Android (via picture text message) and iPhone App (The Beta).

badger map

Badger gives you a place to upload pictures of interesting things that you encounter. Even if they may seem like silly mundane thing that nobody cares about.

In Badger people like Jacek (Co-Founder) made a “Street Art” badge to upload all the street art that he sees. Since badges are collective, anyone can submit content to the badge. Natan (Co-Founder) and I started uploading pictures to the street art badge which is becoming an interesting game/conversation around this topic. I cannot see street art now with out having the need to “Badge” it and I did not even know I liked street art this much!

badger blog

In Badger everyone cares! All the pictures are public, which means that everyone interested in similar topics is looking. You can share the silly pictures you take (which Badger takes very serious), like that nice lamp you saw at the restaurant that was serving the fancy drinks! Or maybe it was a bug that you stumbled across while taking a break from riding you bike around town.

Badger is about all those moments when you are behind the camera, not in front of it. We are hoping that Badger becomes the central venue to go find a map or a blog of pictures about anything! And a place to perhaps connect with a group of people that are interested in the things that you might find weirdly appealing… or not.

Fell free to sign up to the Beta Site and poke around at the content. Every picture has a badge associated to it and you can see more pictures that are similar by clicking on the badge associated to the picture. You can make your own badges once you sign up. Try it out and send us some feedback if you like, at info [at] playbadger.com

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.

Mortal Engine by Chunky Move

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

I think this performance has made an impact in my creative life more than any so far, yet it has taken me around 4 years to figure out.

It is the new dawn of beauty, when the machine meets the human and algorithms work with spontaneous human nature to give birth to this new Art.

The Video was done by chunky move a company that specializes in projection and video tracking technology that responds to the movement of performers. Fascinating.

And now a new generation of art is evolving that relates to this genera of projection enhanced performance.

Images of The Pianocktail

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I was browsing around and found some good images of The Pianocktail:

The Pianocktail

The Pianocktail

The Pianocktail

The Pianocktail

Vimeo video:

The Pianocktail by Florica and Oscar from Oscar G. Torres on Vimeo.

A link to a nice pic on the Scientific American web site:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow.cfm?id=grad-school-for-gadgeteer

Who Cares About Twitter

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

A lot of people still have question about how or why web sites like Twitter are valuable. Why would anyone care? I guess the simple answer is that people do care. They care about other people and about random things that is hard for anyone to predict. I may not care about cats but I may care about kittens, which is indeed a cat but not really. So is that it, twitter is important because people talk about things that we care about? No, that is not why. Twitter is important because it is a tool, a tool that we (anyone) can use to figure out what people are talking about, doing, interested in, etc.

With that in mind, lets take a look at some interesting Twitter integration.

I recently saw this awesome example of a twitter search and visualization. Its a literal representation of Clay Shirky’s book titled “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations”

The web site isparade.jp allows you to see what people are saying in a new context. A cartoon animated world where clusters of people march and display their tweet. So this is a new step of group awareness and the advancement for collective action.

Its not hard to see the value of these technologies once you see them working in front of you. It would be awesome if more companies had these tools. Well maybe we will not have to wait too long. Currently, most major web sites have released their APIs which allows people to use the data and functions that the web tools offer. It allows for companies an organizations to get creative in very unique ways. Lets look at the Grammys for instance. Would Lady Gaga be interested in what people think about her?
Maybe not, but her agent sure does. Not only her agent, but other fans care as well. And who cares about fans more than the agents? Organizations like the Grammys, so let them come up with a nice visualization tool to allow people to see what everyone else thinks about a specific artist. This is a group of people being aware of their collective thoughts, actions, intentions and even feelings. http://wereallfans.com is a venue that allows people to explore what other people think of a specific artist in real time.

As it can be seen from the example above, this information can be very confusing, but beautiful at the same time. So how do we make sense of all this information. The more information we have the more confusing things get. If you have tried to organize a group of people to do something, you may have already found out that each additional group member exponentially increases the complexity of the organization process. So what do you do when you are trying to get data from every single web site that has data available for you to digest? How do you make sense of Google Zeitgeist, Yahoo Buzz, Trend feeds, Twitter, Etc? Your traditional Pie chart or line graph is not enough. You will easily go from a nice little graph:

to something that looks like a barf from a computer:

The goal is not just to show data. It is to visualize data in a comprehensive way. To accomplish this task you come up with tools to sort data for you. Maybe tools like Zoe Fraade-Blanar’s “Current” tool which organizes data into digestible visuals.

You can also use other tools like Circos which looks,
like pac man on < insert drug name here .>

Going back to Twitter; Who really cares about twitter and its potential? People who want to know a little more about everything. The new question is: how are individuals going to be able to digest 4 years of information (twitter was launched in 2006) submitted by the masses?

Soon, we will all be walking data generators and we will have apps that give us summaries of what all our actions meant. This is not too far fetched if you look at projects like Nike Plus. And people have already started looking at ways to visualize life in general like Nicholas Felton who likes to map and visualize the data he collects in his every day life:

Halle 14 Exhibit Featuring Artbots

Friday, May 28th, 2010

The Exhibit “An Das Gerät!” opened on May 1st at Halle 14 in Leipzig, Germany. Leipzig is a nice city south of Berlin. There you will find the The Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, a group of galleries constructed from a renovated cotton spinning mill. Halle 14 was among the biggest mills housing over 76,000 spindles and now it houses some of the worlds most innovative art.

May 1st was the time when all the galleries in the spinner unveiled their spring exhibits, with thousands of visitors scrutinizing the work in display. Halle 14 exhibited an international group show titled “An Das Gerät!” which translates in english to “To The Tool” which was an exhibit focusing on the new tools being used by artists around the world.

The spinning mill area is an amazing sight, the integration of modern culture with a nostalgic feel from the past that is being preserved in the architecture of the cotton spinning mill. In the distance I could read the words “An Das Gerät!” which made it clear where the group exhibit was being held.

The first thing you see when you step in the door is a spectacular library that is the home for over 30,000 art books acquired from various galleries, funds, libraries and artists looking to show their work. The Books are available for the public during regular gallery hours.

The exhibition area is a massive space in the ranks of MASSMoCA and attracted talent in the past such as The Yes Men, The Surveillance Camera Players and NYC artist Michael Rakowitz to name a few. Now is attracting artists like Stelarc, Halldor Úlfarsson, Morten Viskum and Oscar G. Torres (me).

There are two giant pis by artist Stelarc a giant gun by Barking Dogs United and a pin hole camera installation by Liisa Lounila among the twenty five artists being featured in the exhibit.

Its great to exhibit with people this talented, specially when you get to meet a few of them and share ideas and theories behind their art and art in general. I definitely got a lot out of the show. These videos give you a glimpse at the exhibit.

More, An Das Gerät! from Oscar G. Torres on Vimeo.