Tag Archives: system

Conference Project & Post-Mortem: SONOSPECTRUM

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 6.56.57 PM Proposal: After hearing Steve Reich’s experiments in sound through 12 Instruments and reinterpretations by Philip Glass in the hours and O Superman by Laurre Anderson, I was fascinated by generative music, and looked towards the Beads library in processing. Intended to follow Evan Merz’ instructions on the library in his book Sonifying Processing but later extrapolate on those lessons with visual additions as well as additions of my own code. Post-Mortem: The Beads processing library was complex, but set an easy groundwork with Glide and Gain that was used throughout all versions of sound generation. My most simple artwork of the many I experimented with was Warlock Groove, which used different parameters to turn an audio files into a wave,  and those variables would be randomized at the start of each run of the sketch. My next experiment was with TalkBack which uses the computers microphone to read the hertz of sound coming in and creates a playback. My next set of experiments with the Beads library used visuals that also determined the audio being played. For Roundabout and MusicBox I had four shapes bounce around the screen, and their x and y positions would determine which minute parts, or grains, of the sound file were pulled from creating a randomized sound. pic-0945 pic-1801 My next experiment in sound generation pulled off a sketch I created called Heart which used vertex drawing to make what looked like a polyhedron. I used several Beads codes to attach frequency creation to each of the points of the polyhedron, and found an interesting but not “full” noise. So I used my inspiration from Reich and played a second iteration of the sketch creating a discordant sound that fit the shape and movement of the “hearts, which became called Heartbeat and Heartbreak. pic-1948 pic-2318 Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 6.58.15 PM Finally I worked with a synth generator that used a clock to play random synth matchups and edits, which I then paired with the visual of expanding circles which I entitled GrapeSoda. pic-1697As a whole I was pleased with the experiments, especially Heartbeat and Heartbreak. Ideally as a next step I would want to experiment with the installation of these pieces of how placement could add to the interpretation of the noise. -note: sound will be added to this piece as soon as I figure out how to  

Blackspace: A Lot of Noise in a Crowded Space

IMG_6020 For my Blackspace I created a room full of water bottles, which I thought would be interesting to navigate in the dark but never expected would be a musical and noise generation experience. The original aim was to place water bottles in a manner in an enclosed space, where people would then have trouble navigating in the dark. The first run through with our class I found that the bottles made interesting noises as they crashed, and those noises in turn attracted people to kick and move the bottles around in a louder fashion. Later run throughs had people almost immediately try to make noise and move around in the dark space. IMG_6019IMG_6022What was enthralling was after the set-up I could use the moving wall to enclose people, and besides encouraging more careful groups they system could exist and expand on its own. Presentation of the piece also became important as I tried to have it in our showing, removing labels of the bottles as well as integrating the wall as an area setter to begin the piece. What was wonderful was being able to just have a start and not worry about an end.  

System 3: Infinitesimal

pic-6013 For my final system I built off of our cellular automata code, replacing the squares with text. I also put a transparent black background so new iterations would only compile over old as opposed to completely replacing. Pictured above is the code after around a minute. The way it works is all the boxes that would typically be white or the color of the background are now grey and opaque, while the shaded in boxes determined by one of the simple rules of cellular automata randomly choose colors from a set and words from an array. These arrays are created from passages from the book Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, which tells a surreal narrative about an African-American man and how his race renders him invisible throughout various events. This book is perhaps one of my favorites, but my selection of the book came with the images and colors it evoked. Firstly the main part of this automata and the system integrated is the balance of the words as unimportant and relevant. The piece I believe can stand simple as a visual without the words being read, representing a feeling of invisibility. Whereas some words and phrases can easily be read due to the way I align the text and have colors shift, reflecting the strong moral and identity questions that the novel brings up. But before I discuss that use of the novel, I must discuss the components of the system that differentiate it from a simple cellular automata. First, text of varying lengths falls in less of an organized pattern than the squares usually used in cellular automata. I also edited some of the rulesets of the cellular automata so I would have less proliferations that covered the whole screen, allowing for most run-throughs of this sketch to start as below, with one word coming to the forefront in red. And slowly the words would cover the whole screen. In the third image below the cellular automata shifts one row down, which allows for the text to not infinitely cover itself. pic-0132 pic-0323 pic-0484 After around a thousand frames, the color shifts from red to either green or purple/pink, and changes the array to another passage. I have selected three passages that have meaning to me and to the book and split them up into three arrays. Below is the progressing of the system as it shifts arrays and colors. pic-1356 pic-4167 pic-9407 pic-19741 One of the main differences of this system from my previous two is that it can evolve continuously as it exists. After being run from 30+ minutes the below two frames resulted. pic-201689 pic-211231  

Systems Aesthetics: System 2 Branch Unfolding

System 2-4 Moving on system 1, which attempted to recreate the systematic approach that Ron Resch used on paper crumpling, I changed the trajectory of my attempts at manual systems with a digital tool I was very familiar with: Adobe Illustrator. My thought was that Resch was able to create such a complex system from simple rules because he had spent weeks in a way studying the paper through interaction, and I guessed that my knowledge of Illustrator would give me a similar understanding. I began with the CMYK color settings of lines, creating a two more lines at the end of each end of a single line. The more left line would have a small decrease in magenta, while the right would have a decrease in yellow, resulting in the image below. System 2-2   The splitting of lines would end when the magenta or yellow value reached zero. Again I lost the feeling and nature of a system due to my own manual input. I quite like the result of this system attempt, but acknowledge that it is not a true system. As there is no room for evolution and self-sustained change.

Systems Aesthetics: System 1

92e2d1df57e74a5b9281aa34bbed29a4 After Ron Resch’s Paper and Stick experiments and systems, I attempted to investigate his method and define his system in simple steps that could be recreated: My notes of all his processes were: He aims to solely crumple the paper and do no other motions: Only allowed to crumple > diagrams the essential folds > lines becomes straight, triangles or equilateral triangles > triangles become the central idea to the folds > later squares and hexagons > lines in the folds can be turned into essential shapes >>> shoot light at solids > turn the folds into rounded shapes > turn paper models into sticks > hook together with gelatin > shaded shadows create patterns >>> platonic solids can be connected in joints to other shapes > now shapes can transform by shifting along connections >>> squares connected together move predictably > attempts at 3D movement of up and down > sticks in an octahedron together form a dome >>> buildings and applications My simplification of steps became (with the help of some class suggestions):
  1. Use paper
  2. Fold paper
  3. Restrict freedom (only crumple)
  4. Follow/diagram “essential” folds
  5. Simplify to essentials for shape-making
  6. Some ideas control, some follow
  7. 2 different things work together
  8. change material, keep process
  9. Find pattern, change pattern order
  10. higher iterations/quantities
  11. join multiple created systems
The simplest way for me to next interpret this system would be to try and recreate some of it, at least what I considered the bare beginning of it with the paper folding. d334e3835709441aaac6c15d7905f37a 587523442a6849d091fb04de930d929e I found that even small iterations of following Resch’s process were tedious and hard to remain focuses and as systematic. I ended up following a slanted folding pattern, but soon found myself trying to move forward and expand in several different ways.f6e2abc0b9514e61816f7765ce6e61b2 2425d7ed4113426dbbe9acffc6859dc2 The crumpling of paper evoked a certain destruction, so I leaned towards trying to rip the page instead of crumple. I found interesting patterns but found it hard to discern a pattern. I next tried to use an object, a ball in this case, to do the crumpling and folding. Again, my results were not as concise as I would have liked, so I attempted to contain them.f1f332a8020347ab9760d8550701c312 e3a02a90fc624ccc94c3d1e5253e29ba I instead tried to limit the space the paper existed in, and found it an interesting extrapolation, but not a good reflection of Resch’s exact process. These experiments illustrated early on how complex the creation of the rules of system could be and how detailed it truly was to make the decision to just simply crumple paper.  
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(_)Elements, or: Ron Resch Now Digital (Picking Up: An Early System)

conf.{A}.OLD1.elem.ents.&and.conf.NEW1 Because the application is a system that only exists in relation to a user, a user who ultimately has to click and search through the application for it to reveal itself fully (it is informational, it exists on a server somewhere, but it is only actually “there” when it is read. Kind of like the tree that falls when no one is looking, except this is more about /use/: there is only a point to it if someone uses it) – it has to have an appeal and an elegance and a /flow/. What emerges in our systems class is the idea of systems aesthetics, and I find the perfect application in an actual web application, at precisely this intersection of machinery and observer. For it to work well ultimately, these separate entities must work together, and the actual meeting point is the aesthetically sophisticated system. Where if it does not have sophistication (visual appeal in color and form, elegance and good function), the system is not only not engaging, but won’t be used in the first place. The internet and its web apps and sites are designed more and more to be consumable: something that is not palatable can easily be discarded in favor of something more usable. The internet is competitive and the drive goes towards consumability, in this sense. But anyway, it’s what I wanted to achieve in designing a portfolio of systems: an actually system-inspired application, that more than anything, marches to the drum of system aesthetics. While always being mindful of the too much and kitsch that might go with that. I don’t want to be the person with the crazy power point – all those transitions and effects, so that the thing is just unprofessional in how dynamic and centerstage it is. (You know?) Finally, some concrete examples of what I mean here, in funkelsteine.com: – the tabs in top of the site alert the user to their location in the logical flow of the website – the center piece of the page is a an animated triangular design (svg images loaded by a script) inspired by the work in my analog system right at the beginning of the semester (Ron Resch paper folding ideas). It is based on the scanned version of the actual, physical Resch fold: IMG_0146   Subsequently turns into (screenshotted): Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 11.03.42 PM – sitting on top of this field of triangles is a pop-up menu that follows the user and collapses depending on their location on the page (css menu manipulated by script). The idea was to have this be very dynamic, and also centered (literally) and prominent, hovering slightly above the rest of the page (drop shadow): the social media icons that will populate this “flower petal” menu are central to the content ideas of the project. The idea is that these things get shared and find their way to lots of users, so that something really /systems/ grows out of it. Apart from these design ideas inspired by systems aesthetics, of course, the whole website, and the actual code that runs it, on a sever, is a system. I also decided to appropriate the thing as a portfolio of my work this semester: I am also showcasing the Garden of Life (processing piece running on Conway’s Game of Life logic), and last semesters work in Unity, on ADAM, on this website!

System Aesthetics: An Early System RandomCityTour

Rules of the RandomCityTour system:
  1. Make a cube and label each of the six faces accordingly: RIGHT, LEFT, STRAIGHT, BACK, LOOK UP, LOOK DOWN
  2. Pick a corner or an intersection of streets in a city, this will be your starting point.
  3. Roll the cube on the pavement and note the face that ends up on top. Follow instructions: RIGHT- turn right and walk, LEFT – turn left and walk, STRAIGHT – continue walking straight, BACK- turn back and walk in the opposite direction, LOOK UP – look up for 15 seconds and roll the cube again, LOOK DOWN – look down for 15 seconds and roll the cube again
  4. Keep walking to the next corner and roll the cube.
  5. The performance continues until you hit your starting position.
  6. Repeat as necessary.
    IMG_4034 map of the approximately 40 minute performance starting near Grand Central Terminal in New York City Walking with no purpose allowed me to experience the city in a unique manner. I suddenly felt hypersensitive to all the stimuli of the urban life, bodies, voices, street sounds, smell, light, volumetry of the buildings, irregularities of the sidewalk. In my mind I became an invisible observer, sinking into the lives of people I passed and into the brief moments/encounters we shared. Rolling the cube that decided the direction of my walk accentuated the chance we are led by every day. The lives and the moments we live are a sequence of statistically improbable events. Out of infinite possibilities of reality, our current condition has the probability of . We live in a limit as the moment approaches infinity. The inspiration for this performance came from my ongoing research of psychogeography and especially the concept of the flaneur as described by Walter Benjamin and the concept of the derive as stated by Guy Debord and the Situationists. The path to developing that system was sudden and the impulsive. Some of the challenges that I encountered during the performance was the physicality of the cube and it’s lightness. Sometimes the cube would roll over and it was hard to note it’s initial face. Moreover, as discussed in class the system is not self-evolving enough. Perhaps further investigation on the decision-making of the cube or introducing computer generated decisions that react to the environment or build on previous outcomes would better satisfy the requirement for this system.   Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.16.12 PM Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.16.37 PM photos of the cube used during the performance Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.16.57 PM   link to the excerpts from the performance :  

An Early System: lttle match grl

IMG_2889 IMG_2890 IMG_2891  IMG_2893 lttle match grl is a performance piece in which the audience is faced with the elements of the Little Match Girl to explore performance and story telling as a system. The darkness was never a constraint for me but I an added element of the story telling experience. Because I focus on body movement and the voice, I gave the audience free range to develop the images of this world. I had planned to use matches. Unfortunately forgetting them, I quickly used pieces of paper. These surprisingly made my piece much stronger. The sound provided an extra layer of anxiety an mystery to the piece that I was incredibly surprised by. I started this project by looking into Quad and children’s games like Ring Around the Rosy. These games provide the basis for which I add questionaries to probe the performers throughout the experience. The intent was to blur the line of the audience as a collective entity with related thoughts and as individuals.   For example, i’d ask very private questions that must be answer with shouting. This shouting gave a strange and vaguely threatening tone to the piece, but the more private questions made the audience further interested into being engaged. I overall feel the piece needs more work. It felt intentional but unnecessarily obtuse at points for my own liking. I would describe it as a system because it evolved in relation to an audience. The audience themselves and their collective number are the uncontrolled variables that changes the piece continuously through the performance.

Systems Aesthetics: An Early System

system2 The second system I created for the class is a “game” system called Number Swap. The game was created specifically for the class and the amount of people we have, but can be altered to fit any number of players. The game is played where each person is given a number 0-9, and the group walks around exchanging papers with one another for a set period of time. At the end, the group compares numbers. There are a few rules and variables that alter the course of the game: system2-2The first rule is set in place to ensure a lack of repeats in the numbers received. It could be easy for two people to just continually swap numbers the entire game and it defeats the purpose of the system. The second rule is important because it encourages people to stray from intention and just act. There are countless of variables that could be added to each game. The example variables are the basics and decided upon at the beginning of the game. Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 6.51.46 PMThere are also several goals one can work towards to make the game more interesting. Not all the goals listed are necessarily fair, but they’re interesting nonetheless. This system is simple, but can gain complexity depending on what rules and variables are set in place. The players are constantly moving and changing numbers, free of restraint. The end results are based on the randomness within the game. Decisions are made based on each player, but not every player makes decisions the same way. For instance, a person could simply be looking to swap with the person closest to them, while another could be drifting towards the farthest person. Though there are decisions in place before the game starts, for instance: at what speed is the group moving, each player interprets those decisions differently. What is defined as fast? Slow? This system was inspired by a game I used to play when I was younger where a group of people would walk around shaking hands. Before the game starts, a “murderer” is established (by an outside party), but nobody knows except for the murderer themselves. The murderer would shake hands with someone and “kill” them by scratching the inside of the other person’s hand with a finger. That person would then die, but only after shaking one other person’s hand. That way, the players see that person “die” but are unsure as to who killed them. It was a silly game, but it gave me the idea of the scrambling group encounters. IMG_9110 I was still a bit unsure of the exact definition of a system, but I knew this game could fall under that category in that it is restricted, active, and follows the “simple rules lead to complex phenomena” characteristic. After playing in class, other ideas were brought up that could make the system self-evolving such as “each player establishes their own rule they follow themselves, but nobody else knows” kind of thing. Or “swap numbers and if the number you receive is even, continue in that direction, and if it’s odd, change directions.” That way the system can keep building and changing itself, leading to even more interesting results.    

Blackspace: Point Cloud

blackspacepost2The idea of working in complete darkness was exciting, but I had a hard time coming up with a system that would successfully translate to that situation. When I began working with the Kinect for my conference project, I realized I could use the Kinect for Blackspace. The thought never occurred to me before, but once I discovered that the Kinect works with an infrared camera and calculates depth it became the perfect project. pointcloud2I had only just begun figuring out the Kinect and at the time the possibilities seemed endless. However, I was very limited when I began due to the fact that 1. I was working with the Kinect version 1 which holds less capabilities than the second and 2. I had no idea how the “language” for the Kinect libraries worked. Daniel Shiffman’s Open Kinect for Processing libraries helped a great deal and provided complete examples for various Kinect projects such as Point Tracking and Depth Testing. It was all very overwhelming, but with time I began to understand how each of the examples functioned. BlackspacePointCloudGif The one example that stood out to me was the Point Cloud example. A point cloud is basically a large amount of points that resemble the depth of a person or object in a 3D space. Shiffman’s Point Cloud was white on a black background and rotated, giving various perspectives of whatever the camera was seeing. It seemed like the most interesting and interactive, so I decided to alter his Point Cloud for my Blackspace presentation. Working with the Kinect required an understanding of the machine itself as well as the logic of depth and distance. The new vocabulary and functions provided a great challenge for me. I had to study and interpret someone else’s code rather than one I’ve written myself. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to create my own codes with the Kinect, but not for Blackspace. The end result is a non-rotating point cloud on a black background. The points are pink when a person is closer to the Kinect, and blue if they are further away. It is a simple idea, but one that I thought would be fun and interactive for the whole class. The reason I decided to use two colors to represent the depth is because it felt more gratifying that way. People want to see results and changes, so the change from pink to blue is a fun one to watch. I also added various keyPressed() options that altered things such as changing the stroke of each point in the sketch, changing the point density (how concentrated or spread out the points are), and the tilt of the camera. I felt the project was received well and was fun for everyone. It was fun to see how everyone’s individual movements helped create and alter the sketch. blackspacepost3 I believe my project is a system due to the fact that it follows the “simple rules lead to complex phenomena” aspect of a system. The rules are simple: draw points wherever there is an object and if that object is close, make it pink, and if it is further, make it blue. However, the entirety of the system itself is complex in that there are many things to be taken into account such as object/person position, camera position, location, and movement speed. It is not self-evolving I don’t think because it does not evolve over time on its own, we cause the changes and they are reflected back to us instantly. I suppose in order to make it self-evolving there would have to be change within the code itself over time that cannot be controlled, simply followed.  

Blackspace : The Night Sky

17760607_10211930084185620_1623211113_n   17760510_10211930083945614_719956823_n Gazing at the stars is an extremely personal and natural experience that many encounter, when we were children the lullaby, twinkle twinkle little star was sung to us. It represents a simplicity and purity, the removal of outside influences, in which one abandons all thoughts and becomes fully encompassed by this magic. Deciding to code something so natural and pure strips it of these qualities that make it so attractive in the first place, becoming a commentary on how technology is now taking over humanities ability to access the rawness of nature and in life. Through the self evolving nature of this system, the originally star looking dots spread into one another and enlarge, morphing into floating bubbles, what we perceived earlier has been abandoned, forcing us to question what we are seeing and what it is evolving and its significane. Through the constant growth, development and expansion of technology today, the authenticity of the natural is minimized and instead we are replacing these experiences with the artificial, this is epitomized in my blackspace instillation. Also by projecting it on the roof, we are forced to lay and look up, a move that we also must do outdoors when gazing at the stars and the moon, however by projecting these on the roof of Heimbold that is largely pipes, the sterile atmosphere of the building is emphasized in what is supposedly the most ‘creative’ space on campus. Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 12.30.31 pmScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 12.30.39 pm Overall, I am quite pleased with how my Blackspace installation went. I found it very interesting watching others and how each person in the class interpreted the assignment very differently from one another. This was my first time coding something for this class alone and although it was challenging at times, I persevered and stuck with it. I had to be very patient as I often found that when I thought I had the hang of it, issues in processing would occur, and therefore I was unable to run the code. I think if I were to change and alter my code I would do more to make it change over time and I would also like to use perhaps more than one projector so it takes up more space on the roof, effecting its overall impact. I think if I were to make take this simple code and then project in on all walls and surfaces of the room, roof, walls and floor, it would be extremely powerful, overwhelming and encompassing. The audience reacted well to the instillation, however I think the most effective part of it was the beginning in which it looks closer to the night sky therefore I would keep this in mind if I were to make further adjustments. I think these changes would cause the project to fall more directly into the category of a ‘system’ as it would make greater changes over time and would become self – evolving (more than it already is). 17793175_10211930084065617_2065118028_n     17793348_10211930084385625_1233842294_n