Interview with Erik Adigard

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Erik Adigard is a communication designer whose work stretches into domains as broad as identity systems, web sites, videos, visual essays, and book design, as well as documentary films and installations in art museums and exhibitions. With distillations of trends and ideas into visually arresting spreads and iconography, Adigard and his M.A.D. company partner Patricia McShane's work was a key element establishing Wired magazine's visual storytelling from its start in 1993. This last decade has seen Adigard nearly as involved in installations and art venues as he is with his admittedly broad design practice.

Adigard’s most recent public work was AirXY, for the 2008 Architecture Biennale in Venice, created with M.A.D. and Chris Salter. A multimedia installation with interactive animation, sensors, haze, light, and sound, AirXY explored space, architecture, media, and the human presence, extended by sensors and transformed by interfaces and networks. Its manifesto described the “de facto landscape of screens” and disembodied living and called for “re-materialization” that would unite “data and bodies.” It followed Dualterm, in which Adigard and Salter used a Toronto Airport Terminal as a mixed point of departure into a SecondLife 3D world, along with other, less virtual destinations.

Friends and sometime collaborators, we sat down in a San Francisco Mexican restaurant--in the midst of a blaring and lengthy Michael Jackson tribute--to talk about how his approach changes when working in the different modes of art and design. -John Alderman

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Art In Your Pocket

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As the niche genre of software art expands beyond the web and into mobile devices, media artists are finding ways to integrate their work into a new form of business model. Instead of giving away your work for free on the web, Apple's iPhone and iTouch devices provide an ample platform for distribution (through the Apple App Store) and hardware support for novel ways to experience screen-based work.

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Ivan Sutherland : Sketchpad Demo

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This video is a TV show made about the software Ivan Sutherland developed in his 1963 thesis at MIT's Lincoln Labs, "Sketchpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System", described as one of the most influential computer programs ever written. This work was seminal in Human-Computer Interaction, Graphics and Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), Computer Aided Design (CAD), and contraint/object-oriented programming. While watching this video, remember that the TX-2 computer (built circa 1958) on which the software ran was built from discrete transistors (not integrated circuits -it was room-sized) and contained just 64K of 36-bit words (~272k bytes).

(Originally via Networked_Performance)

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Obzok (2001) - Golan Levin

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Color Field Paintings (Browser) (2009) - Michael Demers

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Click Click Click (2009) - Seth Nicholas Stephens

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Robotic Geese (2003) - Natalie Jeremijenko

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Natalie Jeremijenko Robotic Goose launch from xDesign Project on Vimeo.


Robotic Geese are remote controlled goose robots that enable participants or robotic goose drivers (aka goosers) to interact with actual geese in urban contexts. The robotic goose interface allows people to approach the birds, follow them closely and interact in a variety of ways that would not otherwise be possible without this interface. The goose drivers can 'talk to' the geese, issuing utterances through the robotic interface, delivering prerecorded goose 'words,' their own vocal impersonations, or other sounds (such as goose flute hunting calls). Each utterance via the robotic goose triggers the camera in the robot's head to capture 2-4 seconds of video recording the responses of the actual biological geese. These video samples upload to the public web-based goosespeak database that the participants can annotate, i.e. "the goose was telling me to go away," "he was saying Hi." As this database of goose responses accretes, redundancy and correlations in the annotations may provide robust semantic descriptors of the library of video clips.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S WEBSITE

Note: Robotic Geese is part of the artist's ongoing project Ooz.

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selfcontrolfreak (2008) - Olivier Otten

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Collection of 13 Interactive Videos

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A New History for New Media

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Image: Art and Electronic Media (Cover)

Edward A. Shanken’s new book Art and Electronic Media (Themes & Movements), published by Phaidon Press, presents a rich and comprehensive overview of the history of electronic media art practices in the twentieth century, focusing mostly on work produced in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The book balances the historical and the contemporary, the analytic and the particular, with style and critical rigor.

The text is organized thematically in order to cover major topics in the field: Motion, Duration, Illumination; Coded Form and Electronic Production; Charged Environments; Networks, Surveillance, Culture Jamming; Bodies, Surrogates, Emergent Systems; Simulations and Simulacra; and Exhibitions, Institutions, Communities, Collaborations. Given the extensive breath, in historical accounts and details, this organization system presents the reader with a convenient way to access a historical period, artist, or practice of their particular interest. Each theme reappears three times throughout the book, in each of the three main sections: Survey, Works, and Documents (a division that is consistent with previous volumes published in this Phaidon series).

Quality research into the history of electronic media art production, exhibition, and conception is consistent throughout. The section on "Networks," for instance, includes an insightful contextualization of new internet-based art with pre-network art, such as Hans Haache’s 1969 News, an installation that involves a series of Teletype machines set to receive and print local, national, and international news in real time. Shanken’s placement of current genres in these historical frameworks not only enhances our appreciation of the newer practices but also develops an understanding of the historical origins of net, systems, or environmental art.

Over 200 colorful images accompany the text, many of them projects that have not been exhibited widely. One example is the photograph of Christa Sommere and Laurent Mignonneau’s A-Volve (1994-95 ...

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Interview with David Kraftsow

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Nam June Paik's "Global Groove" Played Through YooouuuTuuube

David Kraftsow is the artist and programmer behind the Featured Online Artwork for Internet Week YooouuuTuuube, which has been making a splash since it first launched just a few months ago. The site allows users to tile YouTube videos frame-by-frame, with options to resize the frames and even display them as a spiral. I recently spoke with David at greater length about his project. - Ceci Moss

How did you come up with the idea for YooouuuTuuube?

I had wanted to create a program that uses YouTube videos as source material for a long time. At first I didn't really have a very specific idea of how I wanted it to work. It wasn't until I finally sat down and started coding little experiments and prototypes--in order to see what could be done from a technical standpoint--that a final project idea started to emerge.

Have you worked on projects like this before?

Yes, a lot of small things. I wrote a lot of prototype programs that read from YouTube and displayed videos in different ways. I had a bunch of video players including one that selected random videos of tornados and one that played a looping fullscreen video of the game MYST. I also created a more complex version that played lots of assorted videos at the same time in a dynamic grid layout with cross-fading sounds.

What are some of your favorite uses of YooouuuTuuube so far?

- The video where someone figured out how to write Japanese characters is pretty rad: http://yooouuutuuube.com/v/?rows=24&cols;=960&id;=GE2wQNfMcjk&startZoom;=1&showVideo;=1

- This Norman McLaren video: http://yooouuutuuube.com/v/?rows=5&cols;=2880&id;=qJwfeG3Mntk

- This "Alice" video which is by an Australian musician named Pogo has been, by far, the ...

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