Tag Archives: video

BtAnim: Processing Animator + Bluetooth V1

I’ve spent a couple of days this week working with Processing – a programming environment designed for artists and designers. I’ve found it surprisingly fun. It happens very rarely with software, that you just identify with it straight away. It happened with me and Ableton Live, and that has culminated in my album.

Anyway. I’ve managed to create something – currently extremely unimaginatively titled BtAnim. As with a lot of my work it is really just a framework for something else to happen. How it works is this;

To begin with BtAnim just displays the starting image on the screen. Anyone who sees it can add their own frame to the animation, by taking a photo on their mobile phone and bluetoothing it to the computer. If you watch the video example here, you will see that as time goes on, more frames are added (although the video is just from my own testing) just as they will be when people are contributing their own images.  That’s it.

I thought it would work really well in a public place like a shop window or something.

Technically it is my usual mish-mash of hacking together some code in Processing, using BlueSoleil for the bluetooth component and PHP to monitor incoming files. Watch this space.

Distributed Video Feedback

Feedback is an immensely interesting subject with many philosophical facets and a massive array of applications.

I’d like to set up a feedback loop that is distributed among remote locations. For it to work I’ll need to have two computers, each equipped with a camera and an internet connection. The screen on computer 1, will show the live video feed (streamed through the net) from computer 2. The screen on computer 2, will show the live video from computer 1. The cameras attached to both computers would point at the screens.

Adding some kind of moving subject infront of either camera would possibly produce more interesting results.

It would be ideal to increase the number of computers in the chain. The more distributed (and global) the better. Degredation of quality, however, would probably ruin the image after a few iterations – though maybe it would actually create something really good.

Video Lines

I made this. It is a prototype for the full 20 minute version, which also has sound (this does not). I showed the 20 minute version at University on a large screen. I was amazed we got through the whole thing without any requests to stop it.

Branka told me that it made her sick for three weeks, with the only cure being hopi ear candles. Shit!

The idea came whist in the bath, like all the best ones do. I was reading an old edition of Artists News magazine,  something that I decided to sign up to this time last year. At the time I was riding high on a wave, having completed the technical work for my Autotalk project. I figured I could use the AN resource to find out about possible out-of-University shows and so on. 12 months later none of my good intentions have come true. Although I did apply for a comission through AN that I think I only narrowly missed out on.

Anyhow, the inspiration for this idea was just a photograph of a painting. I don’t know why but it made my jump to how I could make the video below. I got out of the bath and announced to my girlfriend and her girlfriend “I’m going to make some Art”. And I did.

This is just a prototype, and pretty lame on its own. However, it has definitely lead me somewhere productive.

Commuter Stories

I love “The Commute” and hate it all at the same time. I don’t do it anymore, at least at the moment, but when I did I saw the daily monotony as a horrible chore but also recognised some kind of beauty in it. To explain; despite the abject terror it sometimes creates, not to mention to terrible frustration, it does signify “our” (the West, I guess) amazing talent for organising things and “progress” (whatever that means).

As well as the symbolism of what the commute represents, I love the patterns. The same as the cycles of the moon, the seasons, the tides (which are of course linked to the moon and the seasons) – almost everything in the natural world operates in patterns and cycles of some kind. We have created our own similar patterns. Of course they don’t just exist with the daily commute but that is the particular example I’m interested in.

There are many different ways I could take my interest in the subject, but the thing that really interests me is how if you embark on a regular daily commute everything is almost always exactly the same, but it is always a little bit different. Subtle change is constant, but virtual-constancy is permanent regardless. NB sounds like another Dylan lyric, it is brilliant:

Talkin’ World War III Blues, last verse:

Well, now time passed and now it seems
Everybody’s having them dreams.
Everybody sees themselves walkin’ around with no one else.
Half of the people can be part right all of the time,
Some of the people can be all right part of the time,
But all of the people can’t be all right all of the time.
I think Abraham Lincoln said that.
“I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.”
I said that.

I’d like to explore this with a documentary film, taking the same route each day; to notice and remark on the things that stay the same, the things that change and document encounters.

My problem with this, is that I don’t think I have the guts to actually do it. I’m quite shy around most people. Maybe I require a bolshy partner.

Anyhow, plenty of other things to be on with for the time being….

Speech Play Ideas

I used to live with a linguist and we often chatted about how words were formed aurally, psycho-linguistics and etymology. I’m also just personally interested in accents and what people sound like. I’m sure my interest stems from being born in Yorkshire, and growing up there, but having parents who both spoke with fairly bland southern accents. My accent has now become amorphous to whatever environment I’m in, but I used to have a significantly different accent to my peers and friends at school. I never felt stigmatised, but maybe it sparked this interest. Language in general and particularly links and differences between the European languages also intrigue me.

I’m considering the idea of dissecting some words into their component syllables, then writing each syllable in a variety of different ways. Each “iteration” will only have one change from the previous one. For instance with the word “singleton”;

Sin – gle – ton

Cin – gle – ton

Cin – gal – ton

Cin – gal – town

Cyn – gal – town

Cyn – galle – town

Cynne – galle – town

Cynne – galle – touwn

I thought this would make an interesting animation manipulating the form of the words as they appear on the page. Also I think it would be a nice documentary-style film asking people to read through the different versions, but out of sequence. The idea with that would be that they were not entirely sure what the word they’re trying to say is.

Maybe a combination of the two formats. Who knows, this is just an idea at the moment.

Fourtet Contest

Well my entry didn’t win the Fourtet video contest on Italian media website, qoob. In fact it received quite critical comments! However, I am still pleased with the result and it seemed to go down okay in my half year review.

The standard was very high, and the winning entry – although not my favourite – was very slick. It used still photographs of six people in a line, each with a percussion instrument, and all set against a white background. As the music progresses each person becomes animated perfectly in time with the beats of the song.

  1. Consider copying the technique with a different subject
  2. The video also used wide aspect, like a cinema screen – try it!