visiting the Center for Land Use Interpretation

6 January 2010 | by | In process

While visiting family for the holidays, I stopped by the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Culver City, CA.

What a wonderful visit! The current exhibit being shown is Urban Crude: The Oil Fields Of The Los Angeles Basin all about the oil field underfoot throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. Having grown up in Culver City, sporadic oil pumps were just an occasional part of the landscape, but as a child of course I had never stopped to think in-depth about what their presence meant, and definitely never realized the complex and unique network underpinning the entire endeavor.

I was also lucky enough to meet Matt and Sarah, and I told them a bit about our project and they shared some ideas about potential connections to stuff they are working on. When Marek arrives this evening I’m looking forward to relating all this to him and I think we should consider applying for CLUI’s residency program in Wendover, Utah.

After hearing about our project, Sarah recommended You Are Here: Personal geographies and other maps of the imagination by Katharine A. Harmon, which I purchased and have just begun reading. It is a collection of many people’s uniquely personal maps and relates quite nicely to some things we are trying to do with [here][now]: mainly, aggregating subjectivities into something that hopefully creates a whole greater than the sum of parts.

looking ahead

5 January 2010 | by | In process

Marek and I have been reading about the upcoming 01SJ Biennial put on by ZER01 and others, and taking place in San Jose, CA in September.

We’re super excited about the show, and especially about the possibility of participating in it, as it seems exactly in line with many of the ideas we are interested in with [here][now]. Mainly that people can not just affect, but literally shape their world, just by participating in it. The path to meaningful change consists of thoughtful observation, conceptualization, and confidence in the belief that we all possess the capacity to re-program our environment.

Some literature about the show proposes that contributing artists are “invited to either interpret the UN Millennium Development Goals or to propose goals of their own.” The goals are listed as:

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Develop a global partnership for development

The thing that initially strikes me about all these items (except for perhaps the last) is just that they are such massive problems despite many possible solutions existing, and despite the fact that most people clearly agree they are problems.

One reason for this disconnect — between the world we all want and the world we have — is our inability to recognize our ability/responsibility to change things. In this “information age” now more than ever before, as life becomes data and data becomes digital, we all possess the capacity to reprogram the pathways and architectures that define society. Technology can be a democratizing force or it can simply reiterate past structures. The key is to recognize and harness it’s distributed capacity, to realize that we can come together to talk to each other, and collaborate to visualize and make the future.

back at Montalvo

4 January 2010 | by | In process

Yesterday I arrived at Montalvo Arts Center for another residency. I’ll be here until January 16th and Marek arrives on the 6th to stay until the 20th. It’s been great to see lots of familiar faces and some new ones and we’re looking forward to another productive time here.

On the evening of January 12th we’ll be doing another showing of our work in progress. If you are in the area stop by! And we’ll posting more reports and documentation of progress here over the next couple weeks.

simulation and urban space, an abstract

15 November 2009 | by | In process

I recently submitted an abstract for a paper to the “Taking Up Space” conference at Duke University.

The abstract describes one potential theoretical framework for understanding some of the ideas addressed by the project. It focusses on urban space as understood through simulation, and touches on our use of psychogeographical methods in constructing virtual urban worlds.

The abstract is here: Neither Here nor There: Simulation and Urban Space (pdf).

First setup at DPI

11 November 2009 | by | In Uncategorized

IMG_1890 On Sunday we set up for the first time at the Digital Performance Institute with two projectors and screens. We will continue to do this each weekend for several weeks, aiming at having 3 projections.

The next weekend we will tweak some of the formal elements in the piece, such as camera views, transparency, testing inverted normals so that your current avatar doesn’t obscure the view of others. etc.

We love it! Thanks to Hal and others.

We also discussed the idea of ‘rogue’ installations in various spaces, and are on the lookout for places where we can workshop and project the piece… for a weekend, an evening etc.


5 November 2009 | by | In Uncategorized

We have been thinking of different ways to show [here][now]. The project begins through a series of workshops in or near the final installation. Using individual experiences, of a sense of place, of city or town, we distill a set of ‘elements’. These are a distillation of how the workshop participants understand the physical and virtual influences around them.

The installation then, is an expression of the workshops, where we try to create a set of dynamic codes that correspond to an experience of place. These installations can be formal – in a museum of gallery setting as at Incheon, or can be informal, spontaneous events that take place on an outside wall or other non-standard place.

see workshops

see installation at the Incheon Digital Art Festival

Installation Images

10 August 2009 | by | In process

Images from the installation at INDAF. The software takes you from “creation mode”, where you are in the middle of the structures, to the center of the piece, where you observe the entirety of the ‘city’. This city is wiped out every night and generatively created every day from scratch, always a bit different . The actual location of the festival in Incheon, Korea, all the buildings and structures will themselves be demolished at the end of 80 days.

On the left is our hotel, in the middle the walk we did every day to the festival, with the festival buildings at the end.

First View

4 August 2009 | by | In process

First view of the project, with code completely re-written and based on the Nabi workshops.

there`s no there where?

3 August 2009 | by | In process

We realized last night while working into the wee hours that, with this installation, what we are essentially creating is a virtual space that must be experienced in person in real life.

… which is kind of hilarious.

The midnight oil burning was due to the fact that we needed to rewrite of a huge chunk of the Java code, and almost all of the VRML — the details about why that was necessary will be included in another post to come soon.


2 August 2009 | by | In process

Details of our working installation at Nabi :
Top Left : Router and server
Top Right :
Two of the four performance computers
Bottom left :
Short-throw projector and camera with power cell
Bottom Right :
Marek & Rory’s laptops

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