The end of one Odyssey marks the beginning of a new life

Some seven+ years ago I made the decision to re enroll at UNI (almost 20 years prior I was banned from the faculty of science for being more interested in life than study) would the motivation be there to see me through new next 6 years of study ?

Although it would have been far better to be a full time student I set on a part time 50% load let me continue to work (part time freelance turns in to more than full time when your a person that can’t say no). It was my intention to do computing and art. Years of self-taught programming and “new media” work led me to realise that although I was always able to find solutions I knew enough to know these was much more to know. With no real avenues for a combined degree between the school of computing and fine art I chose to do computing degree. It seemed the safest choice. ( I have since decided that if I’m considering two options to choose the one I’m most scared of, I must be really compelling  if it frightens me but I’m considering it)

My plan was to build on my programming skills so I had a solid set of tools behind me for when I started out my move to art. This was an excellent choice as not only do I have a great set of tools I am familiar with but I have the confidence to take on new tools but more importantly the ability to create my own.

After 3 years I had practically all my compulsory computing subjects. I could see why 3 years is a good amount of time to study as was well inneed of a break. I took a year off ,went travelling with the family  in Europe and generally recharged. I was ready to get back in to it and tackle art school. It was a frightening step new I could do the computing stuff but did I have what it took to do art. This was incredibly important to me (hence the fear) creating was what always drove me but people tend to box you in to being technical or creative, my technical ability always meant I had been firmly boxed as technical. If I failed at art school it would be a huge dent to my sense of self.

3 years of e-media later and I have firmly found my place, art and creativity is what drives me. I have managed to move my professional work in to a more creative fields being paid to be creatively technical. My goal is to switch this around to being paid to be technically creative.

My goal is to have the resources (funds, equipment, contacts, time) available to me to create what I want. Studying e-media for the last 3 years has not only clarified my goals but it has opened my arts to art and ideas that I had never and was likely to never be exposed to At the same time as opening me up to new ideas it also helped me to become more introspective thinking about my work ideas and motivations with more depth. Where computing has added to my skill set E-media fundamentally changed my way of thinking.

If I had to choose now I would have chosen a BFA over a B-Comp, but had I made that choice I would not have been where I am now.

Although slightly sad to let go of the comfort of being a student I am excited by what a future pursuing artistic goals outside of an institution.

While I’m being all sentimental I would like to thank all the teachers, students, speakers and others I have encountered during my time at art school, thank you for challenging my way thinking, it has been a great journey, one that will stay with me for life.

Posted in e-media 3 | Leave a comment

Final thoughts on the setup process and installation. – a moment of reflection

1 week to set up (admittedly I had to work during this time) seemed like a huge luxury and I guess it was. But due to “technical issues” it was necessary. I’m glad I never panicked as this meant that during the many computer swaps and attempted re installs I was finding time to play with the setup.

The space and a new appreciation for Black cloth and gaff.
some 15 to 20m of black cloth managed to turn a theory room and piles of furniture into an inviting space. Every time a piece of clutter was removed the works came into more focus.

The stool – should it stay or should it go.

Although I called my work “Seated figure ?” I started to question the purpose of the stool. While setting up and testing the settings I tended to walk around the space creating more dynamic imagery. WIth multiple people in the room this became even more interesting. So the obvious question was should the stool go?. I would need to change quite a bit of my rationale and get a new title, it would be a bit of work but not impossible, definitely something to mull over.


The stool stays
After a huge day of chasing computers and running back between work and Art school everything was finally in place. I sat down exhausted in front of my work. I was stuck was it muscle fatigue who knows but I sat there for some 15 minutes not moving being redrawn many 100′s of times each time a with a little more definition. I was trapped, transfixed I had caught myself in my own trap suddenly all the reasons for the inclusion of the stool returned it was absolutely the right choice. Sure there is fun to be had wandering around making patterns, its quite engaging on a simple level but letting yourself be taken in by the work is where the magic lies. Maybe this was just my own self-indulgence or a by product of my exhaustion and emotional state but if someone else finds them selves similarly trapped by the work I will be extremely satisfied. I people just wander by and think it looks kind of cool that will be ok at least it might give the work a life so it can lie in wait for the perfect sitter so something greater can be shared.

Sound & symbiotic relationships
It did occur that it may be  a parasitic relationship with me leaching sound from Ryans work, however I tend to feel that entering our space will people in to the right emotional state to view each others work. That the two works although completely separate do share a similar emotional space, and who evers work is viewed first will in help set the viewer/listener up to appreciate the second even more. When I first heard Ryans experiments for what we was planning I new that it fit perfectly with the head space I was in but I was still surprised by the final impact. When I was tweaking my work it always seemed to be missing something vital if Ryans work was turned off. I am very happy we made the choice to share the space as coming up with my own sound bed would have been a huge undertaking and one that I know would not have been as successful. The realisation of range of skills required to master a really great instillation does lead to just how vital collaboration can be. Although Ryan’s music wasn’t written for my work, and my work wasn’t a response to his sound, it was always in my mind that this would be the type of backdrop my work would have. Had it not been going to be there then the sound, or the choice not to have it would have needed to be deliberated much more rigorously.

A portable installation adjustment device. – (phone)

Setting up TouchOCS on my phone proved to be a pivotal part of this project, previously I had used a settings file to adjust things but that would recuire access to the computer editing the file then running the program again to see if the new settings were better.All very time consuming and doesn’t allow for easy fine tuning. With this system I could dial in setting from my phone. I built a 3 custom interfaces they allowed me to have very detailed control of line style, colour and fine adjustment of the Kinect sensor its self. I could alos save these settings and load them up as desired. Playing with these during the setup actually led me to changing the work to have it change it texturing at certain intervals. Something that I’m quite pleased with and has been the catalyst for ideas about future works.

Lighting – a subtle touch of sophistication
Thinking about lighting was something that came about by accident.(I’m a little embarrassed to point out that it wasn’t part of any plan) Setting up for the open day in a room that includes a huge lighting rig was extremely fortuitous. I used it because it was there. Now my lighting here wasn’t quite as successful as it was in a fully equipped video studio but it does make a difference in is subtle and understated way. Also having high quality stands and light helps give an extra touch of class to the space (My thoughts of home made shutters on a desk lamp were never going to cut it). Even mocking a rough adapter to allow using one of the light stands to mount the Kinect added a little something.

The final touches
Hiding the computer as much as possible was a vital part of the setup. This necessitated the purchase of extra long cords and a few extra layers of black (while apple wont let you turn off the monitor when connected to an external display I’ll never know). I really didn’t want the computer visible as part of this work, having it out in the open reveals to much. Having the engine on show gets people in to the “how” frame of mind; “oh theres the computer so xxx is running in to that”. Removing the computer goes a little way towards taking away the catalyst for people to start thinking about it.

The final tweak to the room involved dropping a cloth between Ryans and my work, this wasn’t because we wanted to be in separate rooms but because on entering you walked in to a big empty space. From there your focus was straight to the door in the opposite wall. You then found yourself trapped between two works wondering which one to look at. By placing the curtain directly in front of the entrance this forces you to choose a direction to go. Once you have made up your mind you quickly find yourself in one of the spaces and although you are aware of the other space it doesn’t fight for your attention. It was a deliberate choice not to curtain of the two spaces completely as we never intended it to be two separate works in tow separate rooms. We like the flow between the two spaces. The wash of light coming from the other space adds to the ambience of each space and helps to add to the excitement that there is more to explore.

Serendipity-  (when I grow up I want to build a serendipity machine)
I like how little perfect moments happend when interacting with the work. Just this perfect balance of colour and form, they were most always lost as I would have to move to grab that exact moment and these movements would alter the image, so what I had was always an image just after that moment. I have always been of the idea that memory embellishes so the best moments are those that can’t be recorded.
My favorite moment from sitting contemplating the work was when  the textures swapped to the blue streaky rain like texture just a a rain like sound from Ryans work kicked in. I haven’t gone through the permutations of how likely this is, but I don’t think It was likely to happen in the first place let alone ever again but I do hope there will be many more that pop up over the life of the work.

A few images from the setup can be found at
I will move them and update the link once The grad show starts

Byproducts of my process can be found here
Most of these were images my program just happened to collect while I was experimenting.

Posted in e-media 3 | Leave a comment

A few observations

You can never have too much

  • black fabric
  • Gaff
  • Extension cords
  • Time
  • Assistance
  • massively long VGA – USB cables

Ladders are better ladders than stools (especially for reaching out while standing on)

Having ever setting easily accessible via remote control is the only way to go.

Working with someone who has similar drive and aesthetic make it all easy, better, more enjoyable.

Where possible use your own gear, relying on other gear that you haven’t tested (no matter how helpful everyone is) is fraught danger.





Posted in e-media 3 | Leave a comment

Theres always something

It had been a hectic few days, I spent way too much time time fighting computers rather than playing with the space. This in the same week that work had me needing to get a project finished by Friday (Thursday night). Oh and today is my sons birthday.

Well the deadlines about to fall and the space is looking great Ryan and I have managed to turn a dull theory room in to an exciting space; feeling pretty good.

The only downside is that my work is running of my laptop due to a long list of dull issues (hopefully a new install disk will have that sorted out tomorrow)

Posted in e-media 3 | Leave a comment

300 words – just needed some space edit 27th 10 – some subtle changes

I have achieved so much while putting off writing these words, but I finally came back to it tonight and things pretty much fell in to place. Now maybe I should get this blog back into shape finding all those draft post things I’ve emailed my self and notes on my phone, all dated in some sort of order fun fun fun (maybe I  should do those skirting boards)
Oh here is the 300 word statement.

I have always been enticed by the promise of technology.

My work “Seated figure?” repurposes game technology, using it to set up a discussion as to what is our relationship to these new technologies. In the work, the viewer is the art, viewing the art, being viewed by the art. This raises the question; who is the artist, and what role can technology play in blurring these lines? This work follows on from a long fascination of how people relate to technology and what role it has in both art and play.

The work reaches out gathering data based on the proximity of physical objects in the space. A depth-sensing camera creates images based on depth rather than light. The work deliberately embellishes these simple images, imagining the detail and vibrancy that we might see if this was our primary form of perception – a hybrid sense somewhere between touch and sight. As well as the conceptual ideas behind this process the brush like strokes and impressionistic style intend to convey the idea that the viewer is painting this image.

My artwork doesn’t just inhabit the wall; it encompasses the entire space ensnaring the casual viewer, bringing them in to the work. The longer a person engages with the work the more they become part of it.

Time is an integral part of the work as the image is constantly redrawing, re-seeing the moment over and over again, reinforcing the current to the detriment of the past. Often the most intriguing images are just as a person leaves. We see a wash of colour as they go; for a brief moment their essence remains. Some of these ghosts are captured and saved for later retrieval but this is a random process – will your dance with the work be remembered or will it just be a footprint in the sand?



Posted in e-media 3 | Leave a comment

TouchOSC interface

Texture creation interface

Includes setting for adjusting strand size and length, the number of segments for each strand, the starting ange and amount of curl. Wobble adds a random factor to each strand. Speed affects the rate an image builds and threshold determines the threshold atr wich the work it actively save images to the server. The right had side includes a manual way to save images, as well as toggles to display extra information useful for tuning the work. The numbered buttons allow for 8 slots for saving settings. Pressing the button will load a setting while if the save/load  is selected then the current settings will be saved .

Colour selection interface

This panel is for adjusting colours currently the imagery is generated from sampling a colour based on the dept data at any given position on the screen. I have 6 panels of colour that are either gradients or images. The colour placement X,Y component lets me adjust the position of sample swatch effectively changing where the colours are sampled from this was very useful as depth data is different for any space measured, I can slide the texture to get an appropriate palette. Colour scale compresses or expands each sample swatch giving a more or less detailed texture respectively. The black overlay slider allows me to slide some black over the main colour, this effectively gives me fine tuning in removing any background content. The show button makes the sample swatch visible its easier to see whats is going on with the swatch adjustments.

Kinect Control interface

COntrols for controlling the Kinect hardware the top two sliders control the near and far sensing of the device. The middle vertical slider tilts the power head, the large square on the left mirrors the image while the 6 small buttons (included only for completeness) change the colour of the flashing led on the device.



Posted in e-media 3 | Leave a comment

procrastination coding – (100 words took 5 hrs 300 could take a life time)

I had my first marathon effort of trying to work out what my 300 words should contain. I wrote about 1500 much of it is the same thing repeated still not sure which bits to leave out. So I have been firmly stuck in procrastination mode. I have moved the grass painted the deck etc, but I still seemed to have some spare time to fill so I decided to look in to a new system of being able to adjust settings on my textures colours etc, with out needing to keep adjusting the code.  So I looked at using OSC (Open Sound Control) and now have a system where I can use my phone to quickly try out various setting. The beauty of this is it easy to try far more combinations and permutations than I could have by editing the code every time.

This has been one of my most constructive pieces of procrastinating ever. As this is a system I will also be using in all future projects. Combined with my auto saving code experimentation we be much faster and more enjoyable. This project as well as giving me a strong focus of what I want to continue to pursue has ended up in me having built quite a good tool set to assist with future projects.

Posted in e-media 3 | Leave a comment

Setting up day 1

Ryan And I finally have access to the room. We rearranged the furniture and I hung the screen. Its starting to look like it might actually be a reasonable space. The projector is going to be a challenge But I’m sure that will be sorted out. I was concerneed about the height and distance back it needs to be placed. A short throw projector would be idea but we don’t have access to any. The biggest issue is that I would have preferred a wider space fot the Kinect. My idea position is side on to the seated figure, so when projected they look like they are looking into the image. The placement will be a bit of a compromise  is just something I will have to put up with.I also need to locate a light to light the stool but I’m hoping that won’t be too difficult.

Posted in e-media 3 | Leave a comment

Adding seasons – a mower for all seasons (almost)

It seemed sad to loose the work I had done playing with other textures and colours that would have made up the still images. So I am toying with the idea of including the “seasons” in to

the  installation. The rational behind this is to play with the idea that the work its self can change over time. This now starts to brings the outside environment it to the work. I could be measuring other things like temperature the number of people who enter the space the speed at which those people move. I had toyed with the last briefly in the past but rejected it as it was likely to make the work too reactionary with people jumping about trying to get it to change colour. Time is nice and simple and fits my seasons theme. Time is already present in the work as any one image is only there for the breifest moment. Now time has another role the time of day when someone views the work will greatly effect the image produced. From cool blues to fiery oranges. I’m not entirely sure how many “seasons” to add and what might make them up. I realy want to feel it in the room before locking that down.

Edit- green just didn’t work for me on the projector – my texture editing tool led me donw the path to more diverse textures so ended up dropping the idea of seasons for fairly fast changes over 8 settings




There are numerous images my software grabed and these can be viewed at then choose the mover tests folder


Posted in e-media 3 | Leave a comment

What to do with my other images

One option is to display some of my other imagery in another location, I’m not sure if there will the wall space nearby. The other issue is these images aren’t really fully resolved works they are really just interesting byproducts. My intention is to wait and see if an available place space is available but in the meantime make the imageas available online. As the work takes grabs and posts them online it is my intention to make these images available by posting a website and a QR code near the work so people can view the history of images grabbed. At a similar location I will post the serendipitous images.

Edit – they are here

Posted in e-media 3 | Leave a comment