20070530

What is Circuit Bending?

What is circuit bending?

An introduction to a strange and wonderful hobby.


20070524

The Einstein's Brain Project (re-post)

(I accidentally deleted this post of Keegan's )

This is some amazing madman stuff.

"In The Fall, The Furnace, The Flesh... participants found themselves in a cubic space defined by four screens. In the middle of the space was an anatomically correct model of the human head covered with touch-sensitive pads (audio-digital)... As participants pressed the pads, a series of video segments were projected on the wall. These segments, which came from various sources, showed irreconcilable objects and events that evoked the series of random associations produced by the brain as it assembles fragments of stored memory.

In The Errant Eye, the biological data gathered in real time on the participant's body altered the display parameters of a three-dimensional virtual universe. The participant donned a head-mounted display equipped with encephalogram electrodes that recorded the changing amplitude of brainwaves from the brain's right and left sides. The participant then navigated around a recognizable visual environment, a forest whose outline faded into an abstract visual universe reflecting the variations in biological signals processed in real time by a computer module. Once the feedback process reached the balance sought, the participant could recognize recurring motifs that corresponded to certain types of reactions and perceptions."


20070519

Kentucky Meine Heimat

Old Kentucky Land, bist meine Heimat.
Muss dich wiedersehn, einmal wiedersehn.
Old Kentucky Land, bist meine Heimat.
Dich und Rosemarie vergisst ein Cowboy nie.

(lyrics here)

I wish I could post the MP3, but for now, you'll either have to hunt down your own contraband copy of the large integer that encodes this unforgettable piece of cultural confusionism or use your imagination to find out want Volkst├╝mliche Country would sound like. I love the Kingston Trio.

And of course, a vapid post would not be complete without a shameless plug, or a reference to the fact that the California Minimum Wage applies to all professions except sheepherding.


20070517

Botborg: more video feedback art

'Botborg is a practical demonstration of the theories of Dr Arkady Botborger (1923-81), founder of the 'occult' science of Photosonicneurokineasthography - translated as "writing the movement of nerves through use of sound and light". Botborg claim that sound, light, three-dimensional space and electrical energy are in fact one and the same phenomena, and that the capacity of machines to alter our neural impulses will bring about the next stage in human evolution.'

I like the concept, but it's kinda ugly. In a pure visual-aesthetics sense, I think we could do better. On the flip side, it's also nicely disturbing (it makes some nice growling noises).

On a related note, do any of you know anything about applying to art schools in new-media art? I have some idea of which schools I'd apply to, but no idea how to convince them to take me seriously (or indeed how to convince myself to take me seriously).


20070510

Survival Machines

Four thousand million years ago, what was to be the fate of these replicators? They did not die out, for they are past masters of the survival arts. But do not look for them floating loose in the sea. They gave up that cavalier freedom long ago. Now they swarm in huge colonies, safe inside gigantic lumbering robots, sealed off from the outside world, communicating with it by torturous indirect mean, manipulating it through remote control. They are in you and in me; they created us body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rational for our existence. They have come a long way, these replicators. Now they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines.
--Richard Dawkins

As semi-legitimate scientists (and not biologists), we probably all think that Dawkins is pretty damn cool. But it never hurts to be reminded of this fact. Dawkins views about evolution, and the role of the gene as the fundamental unit are some of the most sensible things I thing I've ever read.

As I continue reading The Selfish Gene, I will try to more fully develop my semi-bullshit theory of memetics. One of the things I believe is that we are very close to self replicating machine life, at which point the meme will surpass the gene as the fundamental unit of survival. Even if classic nano-replicators are impossible, increasingly more of the interesting activity on Earth is taking place in entirely virtual realms. Assuming the fundamental substrate survives, software will become increasingly complex, and free itself from using us as agents of its selection.


20070506

Flock: for saxophone quartet, audience participation, and video

This work incorporates several of the ideas we discussed here previously, relating to crowd feedback and such. Looks pretty cool.


20070503

More on VR for consciousness hacking

I was talking to Biff today about uses for various senses in the VR consciousness hacking idea. It occurred that smell is very low-bandwidth, but strongly tied to memory, and thus might be useful for maintaining state across multiple sessions.

Also, apparently Terence McKenna was also interested in using VR for similar purposes. I'm not sure if that makes the idea more or less credible.

In other news, the laser glove is about 80% done; all I need to do is wire it up. I need to talk to some sort of EE person about how to do this without exploding the lasers from overcurrent.