Moshe Ladanga

Archive for February 2008

Interactivity and Programming

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We had a fruitful 2-day workshop with Ed Kelly, who introduced us to Puredata last year. The explanation was more in-depth, and we were able to load a basic puredata program into Arduino boards.

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Arduino Board- Illustration by Elisa Canducci

As in the diagram above, there are analog and digital inputs, which makes it ideal for interactivity; it is usually the case for interactive works to have both analog and digital components.

Puredata, as explained by Ed, is designed for interactivity because it is a programmable language for the play and interpretation of numbers, hence “pure data”. The data can be streamed in from microphones, different sensors, video cameras, etc. What makes it quite interesting to me is the graphical interface, which uses the simple logic of objects, feeds, taps, switches, buttons (“bangs”) and lines that connect these things together. It’s like a virtual lego set with endless possibilities for configuration.

Julien Ottavi PD Patch.jpg

Julien Ottavi’s Pd patch for fibr1: meta-percussions (http://www.noiser.org/noise/doku.php?id=puredata&DokuWiki=da4b3ac3319270ee81a84d759f3e449c)

Since Pd was invented by a musician (Miller Puckette), the way it works is quite different from other programs- instead of a user interface that facilitates different functions, Pd is a meta-program tablet; I liken it to a piece of paper where, instead of a pencil, you have data streams. And instead of drawing something directly, you shape and configure these “channels”, and these in turn can be connected to each other, creating a system that can be open to data feeds (sound, video from sensors via the Arduino chip). The way I understand it (I hope I’m not being too prosaic) is that you can modulate data, shape and sequence it, and sort of choreograph how data is interpreted, transformed.

I’ve never done serious programming all my life, and admittedly I was afraid of it. But the graphical interface really intrigued me and when I was able to load the program into the arduino board and figure out how to make the LED blink without a hitch, I was hooked.

For our project though, the thing that I’m worried about is the stability of the system; Puredata is open source, and unlike other interactivity programs (like MaxMSP), it is still being developed, and there are bugs- during the presentation of Ed Kelly, there were quite a few times that his laptop would freeze up.

But the great thing about the workshop is that my mind opened up to the possibilities of interactivity. We had an informal tutorial with Ed, and we explained our ideas for the project. He said a really brilliant thing about interactivity, and that it is about how you want the viewer to experience your work. The sensors and the technology is not the art, but it is the choreography that you design between the viewer and the moving image that will shape the experience.

That made my day.

Written by mosheladanga

February 23, 2008 at 8:09 PM

The Digital Moving Image

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Ernie Gehr

“The artifice of the film image stands in stark contrast to the ‘reality’ of the scene-one is highly conscious of the frame outlines-of what’s in and what’s out. The color is almost always ‘unreal’ -some artifact of photographic depiction. The spaces and sounds between, behind, and above the image comes through, we fill out the scene. The mind permeates the space and we become highly aware of the processes used for this inspection. While watching you become aware of your own space, your own patterns of movement. Common ground and individual experience are the poles here, and the active mind shuttles between them in the duration. The recalcitrant world, once it is depicted and articulated, can be peeled back like an onion, revealing constituent layers…”

-Daniel Eisenberg, “Some Notes on the Films of Ernie Gehr”

Gehr has always been unusually reticent about his life, and as a result we don’t know a good deal about how he came to make the earliest of his films currently in distribution; but, by the time he made Morning (1968), he was clearly a sophisticated filmmaker, capable of using the film experience as a means of exposing and considering specific elements of the mechanicall chemical apparatus of cinema. Morning is a brief (4’/-minute) visual interpretation of a portion of Gehr’s apartment at dawn: The end of a bed and the legs of someone presumably still sleeping and a cat are visible – but the personal elements are basically a context for the film’s focus on light. The camera points toward a window that opens onto an alley; by working with the single-framing function of the camera and the aperture, Gehr takes control of the light this window lets into the space: We can see – or seem to see – its actual substance.

-Scott MacdDonald (From UBU)

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Peter Campus

In Three Transitions, Campus presents three introspective self-portraits that incorporate his dry humor. He begins with an image created by two cameras facing opposite sides of a paper wall and filming simultaneously. His back to one camera, Campus cuts through the paper. In the double image, it appears as if he is cutting through his back, which is both disconcerting and tongue-in-cheek. Campus then uses the “chroma-key effect” of superimposing one video image onto a similarly colored area of another image. He applies blue paint to his face, and during this process another image of himself is revealed; he then superimposes his image on a piece of blue paper, which he sets afire. As Three Transitions moves between deadpan humor and seeming self-destruction, Campus explores the limits of visual perception as a measure of reality.

Faces and masks have long been subjects in art, but, with the advent of television, these analytical discursive figures intimately entered our daily lives. Campus’s video art is concerned with exploring the subtle balance between remote but penetrating and formal, but unsettling, elements. (From UBU Website)

Latest works

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Materiality in Immateriality

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The Lines Between Us

Written by mosheladanga

February 14, 2008 at 6:36 AM