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This past week I participated in 5-in-5, along with a number of current ITP students and recent alumni. The challenge:

Do a creative project every day for five straight days, starting Monday, July 28th 2008

Projects must be completed in a day, so they need to be as compact as they are creative

Each project needs a name and documentation posted by the end of the day. It should be a stand-alone accomplishment

And so I did! It was fun and productive, but surprisingly exhausting. Here are my projects. The links for each day go to more detailed documentation on the 5-in-5.com blog.

Day One: Mega Man Linocut Prints

Also featured in Bre Pettis' overview video.

Day Two: twbasic: BASIC for Twitter

Send your BASIC listing to @twbasic. (It may take a while to respond... for some reason the replies API doesn't like to update very frequently.)

Day Three: Subwoofer Tactics (w/C. Anderson Miller)

A board game powered by a 30-watt subwoofer.

Subwoofer Tactics from Anderson Miller on Vimeo.

Day Four: Strokeweight (a New Interface for Textual Expression)

Translates between "drawing" gestures and "writing" gestures.

Strokeweight: Writing with fruit and Dunsany from Adam Parrish on Vimeo.

Day Five: Binary Telepathy (also with C. Anderson Miller)

I attempted to transmit binary data to eight experimental subjects using only my mind. Of the attempted 64 bits, 36 were correctly divined.

Distribution of Correctness for ESP Transfer

A few of my favorite projects by my fellow 5-in-5ers: Throwing Light, Japanese Family Crests, ZenTV, Flexible Cardboard Surface, and Vikram's honey, lavender and habanero ice cream.

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Make: Blog put up a post this morning about APxD (Autonomous Parapoetic Device) (my project that was in the Spring show)! To be fair, they put up posts about pretty much every other damn project in the show too. But I'm still pretty excited.
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I've been working hard this semester on a little project I call the Frotzophone. It's a musical instrument that you "play" by playing Infocom-style interactive fiction. I'll be performing with it as part of the New Instruments for Musical Expression class show at Exit Art on Thursday, December 13th.

There are a bunch of very cool projects that will be displayed and performed at this show: a musical cow's udder, a musical abacus, a weirdo mutating analog synth, a loom(!), and more. So even if seeing yours truly perform the Z-Machine's object tree doesn't seem like too much fun, something there is bound to appeal to you. It would be great to see some of my NYC area friends there!

If you can't make the NIME show, don't fret: a kiosk version of the Frotzophone will be available for the public to play around with at the ITP Winter Show on December 16th and 17th. Actually, you should come to the Winter Show anyway, as it's bound to be awesome (like it is every semester).

Our game, The Invention of Murder, will also be a part of the Winter Show. We'll be running the game again on either Sunday or Monday of that week. Details and web page forthcoming.
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Hi everyone! I would like to share with you some of my projects from this semester.

1. The Networked Byte Organ takes data from the network, breaks down the bytes into bits, then uses those bits to trigger music (like a virtual piano roll). It's a continuous (and involuntary) collaborative composition. Will be in ITP's Spring Show.

2. Super Pixel Island is a gardening simulation/generative drawing tool. It's Animal Crossing meets Karl Sims! That's the idea I had, at least. Please please try it out and let me know what you think (or if it even works on your computer, I didn't really user test this thing at all).

3. The Life Tower draws Conway's Game of Life in three dimensions: subsequent generations are drawn beneath the current generation. As the tower grows, interesting forms emerge (kind of like one-dimensional cellular automata).

4. Generative Poetry with L-Systems: I mentioned this idea earlier but found it much less crappy after I played with the algorithm a little bit. Includes a web interface and Perl source code.

5. We were told to give a presentation about our "work" in Marina Zurkow's Site-Specific class, particularly our work that related to the theme of the class. Here's the presentation I gave (and here are notes for each slide). As it happened, Ruth Ozeki was visiting the class that day. After class, she took me aside to compliment the presentation and repeated back to me a synthesis of the presentation's ideas, in a manner more precise and compelling than my own. She even asked for a copy! So that was cool.

Smaller assignments and miscellanea:
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Leonard puts me on the cover of Wired. Thanks for coming to the show, guys!

We really need to get a web page up for the Byte Organ, but in the mean time here's a prototype version from earlier in the semester (before Andy added his sound design and Jack added the network connectivity). Two other projects from the show, Rui Pereira's Looop-R and Rory Nugent's Solar Xylophone, do have web pages, so check them out.
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Hi everyone! My Audio Art class is having a show tomorrow. Any and all are invited. Here's the information:

ITP Audio Art Show - 'an exhibition of sound based work'
Sunday April 29th, 5 - 9PM
In the Lobby of the Skirball Center for New Media Studies at the Maurice Kanbarr Institiute of Film and Television.
721 Broadway, 9th floor


The show consists of a number of installations (among them the NETWORKED BYTE ORGAN, a project I've been working on with some other folks in the class) and live performances. If you're in the NYC area, please stop by! The environment promises to be much more relaxed than the upcoming ITP Spring Show which, with nearly 150 projects, is going to be crowded as all hell. (Though you should definitely go to that show too.)
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I'm a week into Spring semester now, but I thought this would be as good a time as any to post about what I did last semester. A Fall Retrospective, if you will. Anyway, here's the stuff that I did last semester that I'm especially eager to show off.

MicroPoet 200

The MicroPoet 200, a creative tool for transforming texts. (Make sure to try out the applet.) I really wanted to get this into the Winter Show, but I didn't actually finish the physical interface portion of the project until a few days after the deadline. Previously featured on crummy.com!

Two-Note Synthesizer Orchestra

The Two-Note Synthesizer Orchestra was my final project for Introduction to Physical Computing. It's a collaborative performance not unlike Dialtones (the cell phone symphony thing), except we built the instruments ourselves. I worked on the project with my colleague Armin, whose blog is linked above. (He has the raw WAV recording of the performance available for download there, but I have a slightly cleaned up but still mostly inaudible MP3 here. Turn up the volume and skip maybe halfway through the track to get an idea of what it sounded like.)

Alan Alda Attacks

You saw the storyboard, you saw the pretty good photograph of Alan Alda, but did you see the FEATURE PRESENTATION? I'm pretty satisfied with how it turned out, though now I realize my mouth shape for "ee" doesn't quite cut it. A sequel would be forthcoming, but my 30 day trial of Flash expired. :(

STFU, a film

Here's co-producer Adam Simon's take on our short film for Communications Lab, STFU. My role was mainly in the storyboarding and planning phases, as the internal workings of your "digi-cams" and Final Slice Pro or whatever are deep mysteries to me. I did carry the light kit around all day when we did the shooting, though, and I have to say I think I'm pretty convincing in my (acting debut) as "Pencil Tapper #1."

My classes for this semester include GL Art (intro to programming with OpenGL), Audio Art (Max/MSP and synthesis and field recordings), The Nature of Code, and an art theory class that seems like it's going to kick my ass. I'll let you know how they go. No, really, I will. "Post More to LiveJournal" is like number one on my list of resolutions for 2007.
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Adam's very first Flash animation! This was just an exercise that I did as a warm-up for my more ambitious animation project, tentatively entitled "Alan Alda, Destroyer of Worlds." You can see the storyboard here.
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I was originally using this image in an animation storyboard (oh yes, we're learning how to make flash animations in my Communication Lab class), but once I loaded it up in Processing I couldn't help but have a little fun.

The Alan Alda Clock (Java applet, but don't let that scare you off)

Other noteworthy grad school-related tidbits: My final project idea for my Introduction to Computational Media class, tentatively entitled "Subtractive Text Synthesizer"; Point of Disgust (Dr. Wily Mix), made in response to the audio editing assignment in Comm Lab; and The Mystery Clock, which was sort of a joint assignment for ICM and my Physical Computing class.

Have I mentioned that I love my graduate program?
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Fit the First: Do You Not Like My Mouth Words?

Hello there. Today I learned how to use various saws. This was part of a "Safety Seminar," whose completion allows me to use the shop at ITP. Saws are new to me, so I was timid at first, but soon I got swept up in that masculine rush only attainable from loud activities that threaten your digits.

My physical computing course (of all my courses the most likely to require use of the shop) daunts me more than any of the others. There are like wires and stuff. And solder. Tools. This, the realm of the tangible, has been foreign to my sphere of study for so long that now I almost feel it necessary to don some kind of moon-helmet. I'll put on a helmet, breathe canned air, bounce with care across this lunar landscape and hopefully fail to cut my damn fingers off. Or electrocute myself to death.

Fit the Second: On Being Very Late to the Party

Did I tell you that I bought a Gamecube? I bought a Gamecube. At $4.99 used, Metroid Prime is perhaps the best value in gaming of all time (according to my instruments, it registers over four bajillion metric fun units per cent). I'm chipping away at Skies of Arcadia Legends, I managed to get through "Classic" mode on "Easy" with Pikachu in SSBM, I have Super Mario Sunshine but that's kind of on the back burner (simmering there with Animal Crossing, which I can't justify playing much since I spend 30 minutes or more with AC:WW daily). Good stuff.

So anyway, here's my question. Aside from those I've mentioned above, what games are really worth playing on the Gamecube? Is it, for example, worth getting gouged on eBay for Ikaruga and/or Beyond Good and Evil? Which should I play first, Wind Waker or Resident Evil 4?

Here's another, related question: Can someone defend Yoshi's Island to me? I'm playing it on the GBA and am finding no grounds on which to agree with those who claim it's the best platformer of all time.

Music; ITP

Sep. 5th, 2006 10:25 pm
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1. From an old MeFi post, I present to you the Tromba Marina, a massive and obsolete one-stringed instrument played with harmonics rather than entirely depressing the string against the fretboard. The instrument's signature "brassy buzz" results from a loosely fitting bridge (helpful visualization). In combination with the 7th grade orchestra at Chippewa Middle School (mp3 link) the tromba marina makes a noise that can only be described as "a great way to get the neighbors to call the police if you play it pretty loud."

2. Speaking of cacophony, here's my Reverse Organ, a little Processing sketch I worked up last night in response to a recent e-mail discussion with Josh. (This is, incidentally, Blog Post for Josh 2 of N.) The discussion concerns methods of notating music that specify which notes not to play, rather than the other way around. I already sent this to him but I thought you folks might enjoy it too.

It works like this: each of the vertical bars represents a note in the C major scale. By default, all seven notes are playing. To make a note stop playing, depress (and/or hold down) the key on your keyboard corresponding to the note, as follows (if, like me, you've used Impulse Tracker, this is already muscle memory):
  • z: C
  • x: D
  • c: E
  • v: F
  • b: G
  • n: A
  • m: B
So to play a C major chord, hold down X, V, N, and M; to play a D minor chord, hold down Z, C, B, and M.

3. Tonight was my first night of class. Specifically: Vito Acconci spoke in my "Applications of Interactive Technology" class. Up until this point, I didn't know Mr. Acconci by name—I had only read about his performance art from the '60s (e.g., Seedbed). He spoke about that for a while, but for the most part he focused on what his design firm has been up to lately. Like this.

Oh man was this talk awesome! I'm not even all that into architecture but the concepts and techniques he presented are universal and really got me thinking about applications in my areas of interest. If ITP wanted to convince me that it's worth taking out loans for this stuff, they couldn't have started out with a better speaker. They sure as hell would never have had a performance artist speak in a linguistics Ph.D. program!

The real value of ITP, I'm coming to understand, lies in its engagement with art. I've always been a technical person, really, a nerd. For a little while, though, I get to think of myself as an artist. This is a new thing for me, and I'm enjoying it so far.
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1. ITP let me in! If I can scare up some funding, I'll be fiddling with PICs and Processing there starting this fall. Man, you guys are going to get so sick of all the BoingBoing posts about my projects.

2. I will be attending the 1st Language Creation Conference next weekend at UC Berkeley, there to attend lectures given by such conlang luminaries as Sally Caves, Matt Pearson, and my old college bud David Peterson. I'm super stoked about this. Folks in the Bay Area interested in (con)linguistics: consider attending, it'll be fun! Folks in the Bay Area not so interested in (con)linguistics but who might want to hang out anyway: send me an e-mail.

3. Right now, there are for me only three great albums in the world: Songs of Green Pheasant, Etiquette by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, and a third album which I cannot name ('cause it's not out yet and I'm not technically supposed to have it). Together, they obviate any need for further musical expression in this lifetime. As a consequence, I've sold my guitar and my CDs and I've deleted all else from my iTunes library. I suggest you do the same.
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ITP. I attended the group interview today for admission to ITP. My gut was twisted with anxiety: I was sure I'd be the squarest kid in the room. Turns out everyone else there had at least as many right angles as I do, and some even had sides whose lengths were equaler than mine. I think I distinguished myself with my witty banter - most everyone else was stuck on their dour stories about how being a programmer in the finance industry affords them no opportunity to be "creative." All I want, I said, is to study at a place that will reward me for my relentless dilettantery. Like Douglas Rushkoff, I want to write comic books, have an article in Arthur about the occult, learn to fly, teach an online class about neat yo-yo tricks, etc.

Animal Crossing Wild World. This game is like pure bliss crack cocaine. I never realized before how much I needed to have a sheep send me a cactus in the mail; how I could have even existed before such joy is a mystery unfathomable. S & I spent the whole weekend fishing, transplanting flowers, collecting shells, re-arranging the house, paying off the mortgage and otherwise exploiting this convenient outlet for one's domestic proclivities. (Other games recently enjoyed: Super Mario 64 DS, Final Fantasy I & II on the GBA. Now that I beat FF I finally understand what everyone else was going on about back in the MegaZeux days ...)

Recently discovered songs. Ducktails (Moon Stage) - the Advantage. Soon it will be fire - Richard Youngs (this is the most beautiful song ever written and/or sung). Heartbeats - Jose Gonzales. Anadromous - Mirza (the whole album).

Sumana and Leonard move to town. Last week we all had pierogi and kielbasa in the Village and Leonard took me on a brief yet insightful tour of the sci-fi section at St. Mark's Books. It was fun. I hope we get to do it again soon.

March 2016

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