AR Art Installations

A while ago, somewhere in William Gibson’s Blue Ant series, he laid out the premise of artists doing installations in a sort of augmented reality. These were location dependent works where one had to know the exact coordinates to view the art. It looks like that capability is knocking on our doors with XRAD Remote Positioning.

Of course, it’s currently set up only on iPhones and it appears to be only set up for the city of London. It does though open very interesting opportunities for the evolution of art. While on one level, it creates a whole new way of being creative with a palette of location and temporal tools at one’s disposal that, aside from graffiti and actually getting installation grants, allows the ability to work with spaces and time in new ways. I’m sure there could also be interactivity integrated as well. 

There is of course a few other options, like ScrapeKit which seems to be a bit more inclusive in terms of platforms. From the demos, it looks like this tech is just about ready for experimentation. Has anyone out there started using these platforms for more creative pursuits? If you know of projects, please add to the comments!

I’m thinking, since this sort of art would require an app to access at a certain point in the process, the AR format could also solve one of the more irksome aspects of digital art – how to get paid and how to preserve the value of the work. Perhaps access to the artwork could be managed with…wait for it…a block chain system*. Ownership then has a much better ability to be controlled, valued and thus sought after. This could create the demand to drive the market.

*Yeah, I went there. Had to win the tech buzzword bingo on an art blog!

Cyanotypes and Process Heavy Collage Work

Courtesy of Design You Trust

I’m a sucker for process. I’m also a sucker for works that have certain emergent qualities to them. Wu Chi-Tsung has put together a series of rather amazing landscapes using analog collage techniques combined with traditional Chinese brush work (to be honest, I’m also a sucker for the later as well to the point where I seek out books on it whenever I get to China.)

To exactly lift the description of the process from the artist,”a form of ink painting collage…a conventional method, combines with wrinkled-texture cyanotype. Rice papers with photosensitive coating were wrinkled and exposed under sunlight to record the lighting and shading on the paper. A selection from dozens of pieces of cyanotype photographic paper was reorganized and edited before mounting on a canvas. The work is displayed in a style resembling Chinese Shan Shui and photomontage.”

I wish my studio looked like the top of the image. Unfortunately, it looks like the bottom.

I found an interview with Wu as well as his personal artwork site. While the collage works are great, there’s even better pieces in his portfolio.

While bearing slightest of connections, it reminds me of back in college when I was messing around with doing collage on photocopiers. Naturally, Wu’s process is much more vibrant and intensive. I kind of wish I could find more information about the process and ideally process pictures documenting their construction.

What I did find was another artist who produces works using the cyanotype process. The best part is the article goes into detail on how to actually operate the process. Of course, there’s other descriptions on how it works and how you can do it, too. Apparently, cyanotype is the process by which blueprints were made – beware, I recall those blueprints to be a pungent, ammonia-instilled affair.

Purpose-built Glitch CD Player Build

I love the possibilities of glitch in art and music. I think it’s the technomancer’s version of free jazz – the courting of randomness as almost a musical device in itself. Dmitry Morozov, by way of Hackaday.com, has built a rather fantastic device that allows fine grain control of a CD player well beyond what we have easily available.

While the build itself is rather gorgeous and the video on the project page is tantalizing in terms of the possibilities of the machine, I really which this device could fall into the hands of some musicians so we can see what this really could do.

Please some musician out there reach out to Dimitry to borrow his CD glitch machine to put it to some use!

Machine Learning as a component of Lorem’s Adversarial Feelings

There’s a lot of hype about machine learning entering the art world. I’ve seen a lot of projects as well. The Adversarial Feelings project by Lorem seems to be one of the best examples of really integrating ML technologies into human artistic endeavors. I especially like what is described as an interactive process that moves back and forth between human and machine in terms of building the work, as I’m not really on board with the methodology that works in a one-way fashion where a data set is learnt and permutations are belched out in so often a project.

The integration of three disciplines into one project is also quite exciting. Putting video, sound design and ML specialists together makes for pushing all three further than a project of just one specialty and I think could inform the breadth of possibility when ML gets integrated even more so into the arts – far better than data scientists working in a vacuum on projects or artists wading into the shallows of the technology.

I definitely suggest checking out the interview and learning more about the project and how the interactions came together between the specialties.

Code as Poetry, Poetry as Code?

Code Poetry Slam, sponsored by Stanford University’s Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Language

An article written as a conversation, Code and Poetry, a conversation lays the foundation for opening the door to allowing the thinking that both concerns are perhaps the same thing. I’d really like it to take the thought process a bit further and explore the ‘art’ of code or the programmatic rule sets that poetry pursuits find themselves operating within to intertwine the two further but it’s nice nonetheless to set the mind to accept the concept that code perhaps is a form of poetry as form in itself beyond what it achieves on execution.

Would code eventually be written for artistic qualities rather than functional in the future? Will there be a programming language developed that is functional but has the constructs of a villanelle or other ‘conventional’ poetic form?  Or some sort of combination of both? Interesting to think about…

Internet ‘Artifacts’

While not inherently ‘digital art’ or ‘experimental experiences’ this article talking about ‘Internet Artifacts’ by Richard Cooke has a peculiar connection to the Meme post a while back. The article itself tends to rove a bit. But the landscape it traverses is enough of a thought provoking look at modern influence through digital means that it begs to be shared.

I could almost see that any one of these ‘artifact’ aspects the author touches on could be the basis for an artistic exploration or social commentary experience all by itself. Even the more concrete example of an artifact developing into something of a societal wave from such an innocuous birth at the beginning of the article temps the construction of more pointed fabrications, in my thinking.

The intriguing connection to some of the other subjects on Of Peculiar Utility is how a lot of these examples seemed to have come into being through seemingly a random fashion – which is really quite similar to the basis of a lot of the artworks in the orbit of the manifesto of this site.

The article is certainly worth a read, if only you’re a fan of William Gibson’s later work. Enjoy!

 

The Process of Designing a Data Visualization Project

Way back in the day – about the aughts – I remember when digital art really became a thing. The tools were in abundance, like Processing.org and Flash. Both had the relatively new and approachable ability to actually program an art piece. It was an game changing ability. This brought digital art out of just being an extension of hand techniques into something truly new.

First, random data was used to manifest projects.  We searched through endless machine-made permutations to find something worthy of hanging the word ‘art’ onto. Certainly we got to the point where we realized that there was no soul in random noise, no matter how pretty it looked. Artists then used datasets from real things to build digital works.

Things got a bit more meaningful.  What really happened was a whole new job category was developed. Much like how headphone drum and bass was swallowed up by more dancy-ier explorations, the digital artist was swallowed up by it’s more useful child, data visualization. Suddenly science couldn’t live without art anymore.

Why the devolvement? Well Peter Beshai has written a really great article for Medium that takes the reader through the process of developing some truly amazing visualization of Twitter conversations. I’d say that these visualizations certainly move into the art category.  

Perhaps the best part is that Peter has done us a solid of name dropping and even link dropping the technologies and the theory work that went into the project. Even better, he’s given the article a step-by-step visual record of the path taken to get the end result. Just the sort of article for sharing here at OfPeculiarUtiltiy.

 

Glitch Art – A Nice Introduction

A sample of David Kraftsow’s work

In a bid to be all things to everyone – or at least try and do a good job of cross-pollinating as is the matra of this site – Verge has put up an article that nicely dips the toes in video glitch art. It also tips the hat to David Kraftsow’s Twitter glitch account – which is also cool, check that out.

Link-heavy pages are really like hitting gold for me. This one has a lot of links. While there are some nifty links in the beginning, the real gold of the article is taking you through the how’s and why’s of a certain process for creating video-based glitch art in the bottom half of the article. The certain process listed is called datamoshing. And there’s links to tutorials!

Along the same lines ToolFarm has a page that has even more links to not only tutorials, but an array of tools for the craft.

So, I’m thinking the ultimate awesome thing to do is learn how to auto-magically dump some 4K samples to print…

Robot Art Competition

This was the one intriguing image from the article that got me to read it.

Apparently there’s a robot art competition and it’s a thing and it’s been going on for a while, at least according to VentureBeat. VB puts out a lot of interesting avenues to explore in terms of what people are doing in the field and from the surface, it’s mostly built upon machine learning.

My favorite aspect of the article revolves around someone who’s produced what sounds like a rather elaborate real-world robot to execute his creations,  and the rather long list of software that people are using in this competition all are things I intend to explore further. Hopefully with another blog post as we go down the rabbit hole together.

Personally, while the bulk of the artwork shown in the article appears more than a little derivative to me, I’m sure that this is the phase of ML art similar to the time in the late ’90s where everyone found digital art production.

That was a terrible time where everything that was new basically was somebody either painting just like they did only with digital means (woo! Wacom tablets!!!) or sliced and stacked myriad filters on stuff (have you seen the lates Kai’s Power Tools??) – sort of an Andy Warhol nightmare. I’m sure he’d have laughed.

Then things got really, really good – and all with the same software, well maybe not Kai’s Power Tools.

The Oddball Drum Machine

UI design is something that has, at certain points in time, an amazing amount of innovation. When any new software technology starts out, that’s when we see the most inventive come forward. Eventually, though the more interesting eventually gets beaten out of the market and we’re left with what amounts to VB widgets designed for confusing the human mind and hand instead. But sometimes, something new shows up further down in a technology’s maturity.

Such is the case with Oddball. There’s a real interesting dynamic being brought to music creation – a way to engage with software-based music making that proves to be something that could at least open up how we all think about creating music.  It’s also a nice way to break out of standard music software paradigms, which is good because if we all don’t watch out, we could end up making what’s easiest with the UI instead of what should be made.

For instance, with the bouncing aspect there’s an opportunity to create second and third degree actions after the initial. Sort of like having a sequential kick but now that second kick is nearly infinitely adjustable on the fly. I’m intrigued about how programmable the ball is in terms of what happens at each bounce and how assignable they would be. So yeah, I’m going to get one.

The product looks to have closed it’s Kickstarter already with flying colors and now has an Indiegogo set up with a pledge to ship in March of 2019. Create Digital Music has a better write up of the tech than I do, so I suggest for more heading there first.