I love my mowers (and other textural depth imagery) but they just don’t fit.

I had been intending for some time to have some still images to go with my installation. But it dawned on me this morning that it makes no sense. The whole idea for “seated figure?” is the interaction with the viewer the still images were interesting by products of the creating of this work they are also excite me as an area to pursue in more detail post UNI but they are not actually part of this work. Not only that but I want the interactive work to be the whole focus It the view and having a few still scattered around will only detract from that, not to mention the fact that I want my space as dark as possible and having to light the still just isn’t going to work.

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Serendipitous Imagery – a future workflow.

While experimenting last night I  noticed the little lag the program has when when uploading an image. I had forgotten that my workspace still had the upload code running, so I went to my site to scan through what had been uploaded. I was actually very surprised by what I found. There were the images that I was trying to achieve but the were also many others that had been created accidentally. While I was focused on achieving a certain goal anything that fell outside of that was brushed aside as an error with out a second glance. Having my program systematically record these “errors” was fantastic as I couldn’t even remember making some of them and although none were necessarily something to keep they did offer hints to other directions to explore.

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A mower for all seasons – mechanical textures

Until now I had gone with predominantly blues, mainly because I liked how having an electric colour something that doesn’t feel natural with the naturalist shape of a human body along the the painterly textures. But blue seemed wrong for a mower. Green seemed the obvious choice (I had used blue for myself pink for my daughter a grass covered lawnmower hit a cord ) probably not the most inspired of choices but it was something to work on. I kept with my fully saturated palettes just shifting along to the green and yellows but the nothing seemed to work I was rapidly loosing confidence in the whole process. Not only was the colour all wrong but the texture was no longer working for me. Maybe it was  because the mower was a mechanical rather than organic object . It had been a long time since I had experimented with my texture code and now seemed the perfect time to get back in to it.

I systematically went round tweaking each parameter to re reacquaint myself with the subtleties of the code. I was attempting to get a more grass like texture, at the same time I was loading more images to extract the colours from, an image of grass suddenly brought back more definition to the image. And I was getting a handle on creating more form with my “random” strokes.

It was great to see wat a difference texture and colour made to the form I entered a phase of exploring the most appropriate textures for a given colour set (for a ride on lawn mower)

I decided a mower for each season was a good start though I dropped this to 3 winter summer spring, maybe because I never like even numbers or I have a distrust of 4 seasons being an appropriate was to break up a year, maybe its my unwillingness to accept death, my seasons will be heat, cold, growth maybe its rust because I like the Red Green Blue colour space to play in.

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Trees

The first objects I explored were the trees they had captivated me when viewing them with the Kinect so i was excited about seeing what they could generate, I started with a default palette consisting of the full range of colours. The tress immediately pop out in very bright colours I quite like the imagery but though I should tame the colours. I found an image of autumn leaves and use that to grab my palette from, the photo was vibrant but applying that to my trees made it flat and lifeless, I next tried a palette from Van Gough’s start night again the way the colours played out the image was flat, I then went to a vibrant red and orange this was better but I preferred my first lurid images to the more subtle ones. Interestingly the brighter the colours the better these images have worked for me, as soon as the saturation drops the textures make the works look like they are fabric. I like keeping the images with un unreal characteristic and running with non natural colours seems to achieve this.

After loosing momentum with the tree I started working a few of the other images, the one that really stuck with we was of a ride on lawn mower. I think this was down to the object being easily recognisable (it doesn’t seem as popular finding abstract shapes in clouds as it is finding more obvious objects)

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The sun is not the Kinect’s friend

The Kinect uses an infrared red projector /infrared camera to map out its depth data, it turns out the sun as well as all the other light it puts out also has a good (well bad) amount of infrared in it, the Kinect performed very badly in the sun (I guess usually playing on the xbox ins an inside kind of thing). I needed to wait for night time before giving my roving Kinect a proper workout.

The night test went much better, do do it properly though I would need some sort of a rig, kinect in one hand laptop in the other battery in my pocket stumbling around in the dark while loosing any night vision by looking at the glaring laptop screen wasn’t the best approach. But it was working really well. I could use have used the Kinect for night vision if I wasn’t busy capturing other things, the base images were coming through just fine.

It was interesting to see what things were interesting when dropped down to just their depth information and what wasn’t trees really opened up enhancing the 3dimensional structure of their inner branches, but tightly foliaged bushes just became dull blobs.  And old rust concrete mixer became clean and smooth. Framing an image was far more difficult as elements too far away would drop out of the image leaving dark holes, what you would have assumed would be a good focal point was losed once light was traded for depth.

With a few images captured I decided to have a play with them and see what would eventuate.

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Too hot for the grad book

No Not really just wasn’t actually graduating in fine arts so it was fair enough I guess. I was a little disappointed as I have been with the e-media class for the last 3 years, I was doing less points (not because I wasn’t interested) because it meant I could do more subjects. Doing tops even though I didn’t need to also add to the feeling that I was almost doing a major. It seems mad to me that there wasn’t the possibility of doing a combined degree with computing and fine art but I guess that just changes a piece of paper which has never been my motivation for going to UNI.

So was the 100 words a waste of time ? Maybe spending 5 hours on it was a little foolish, but it was a good exercise and I do now have a pretty succinct statement for my work.

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Hacking the hacked

Sitting here pretty pleased with myself, most people are just hacking the software but I just hacked the hardware. A pair of side cutters a soldering iron and a few connectors should do the trick.

I was pretty nervous about cutting the power lead off, logically it all made sense but I didn’t really want to blow $200 bucks and my art project wasn’t going to work with out it.

But a few deep breaths later it was done. Yes I got the polarity right and it all worked just fine after reassembly, I was now mobile with the kinect plugged in to a 12volt battery sitting in my pocket I hit the great out doors.

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100 words ~ 3 minutes a word remind be never to take up writing as a career.

We need to have a 100 word statement for the grad book. I think I started this at least 10 times. Normally I can just right through it then cut it back. For some reason this time I never got to the end, I would give up then start again. I decided the issue was I was trying to say too many things after about 5 hours I ended up with a statement that I quite like. See below.

I have always been enticed by the promise of technology. I am fascinated in how people relate to technology and what role it has in art and play. My work “Seated figure?” repurposes game technology using it to set up a discussion as to what is our relationship with these new technologies. Who is leading whom? In the work, the viewer is the art, viewing the art, being viewed by the art. So who is the artist, and what role can technology play in blurring these lines?

 

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What about some prints. – broadening my hozizons

For a while I have been toying with adding prints to my projected work. I liked the idea as they suggested the possibilities of what it can do. Using the instrument analogy I had used before (I have created an instrument for creating visual works) I you gave someone a saxophone and they had never heard it played they may pick it up and make same bad noises before discarding. If I show what my work can produce people may spend more time with it.

I had some images that I quite liked but wanted to expand on what I had. All the images were created inside of pretty much the same subject matter. I needed to broaden my horizons. Using a lapton meant I was partially mobile but the connect need to be plugged in to a powerpoint to work. This made thinks quite limiting so I set about modifying the kinect to make it portable. The power supply output 12volts so a plan was hatched to remove the transformer and replace it with a battery.

 

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Evolution form consumer to creator – how technology is driving social change

No This isn’t a thesis I have no references its complete conjecture, observation and opinion.

The rise of technology and its acceptance by the mainstream has had huge social implications. I grew up in an world that predated digital cameras, media was something that you consumed there was limited opportunity and practically none to distribute it (there wasn’t even much choice in what media you got too consume) In the last 20+ years not only have we have gone from this to a practically infinite choice of media but now almost everyone has the tools to create their own content. Huge numbers of people do in one way or another people take photos and can straight away share them with their friends, people are posting thoughts and ideas on the social networking site , uploading video to sites like vimeo and youtube, writing blogs twittering posting on forums and editing Wiki’s (my son was writing Wiki entries hints for his favourite game at 8years old) people are growing up not only capable of creating content but expecting to be involved. Electronic games are an incredibly new form of entertainment but the games industry is already as big as the movie industry, people are no longer content to just sit and consume it is no longer the only choice they want to participate they expect to be able to add their voice at some level they understand what it is like to create and they want to be part of it. This is where I feel interactive art or art using game technologies is just starting to bubble, like their media people will want to participate with their art film has been embraced by the Art communities and I think games will also find their place the changing attitudes and expectations of the populous will ensure these new artforms will be a very powerful and relevant way to communicate ideas.

So not only will technology play a large part in delivering these new ideas but this transformation has all come about by the empowerment that technology has given us. It is incredibly easy to create a film and have a potential audience of 100′s of millions of viewers to get you vision out to that many people would have once been impossible and to get close would take a massive team and a huge budget. Now I’m by no means suggesting that most of what people are creating is good but what it does mean is people are thinking about creating slowly shifting to see the world through the eyes of a creator and my hope is this will bring more attention and and a greater understanding of the importance of the arts.

Yes I love technology, yes it has caused countless problems, but what if we can use it to enhance creative thinking in the world.

 

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