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Anyone who ever asked me what to do in Paris has heard me rave endlessly about the Palais de Tokyo. That place makes other contemporary art museums and galleries look 'ringard', outdated and out of touch. The Palais is open from noon to midnight. An entrance won't entitled you to a 2 euros discount on a hefty glossy catalog. No, Sir, when you buy your ticket you are handed out a magazine with all the info you need to visit the exhibition and go further in the discovery once you're back home.


Roman Signer, Parapluie, 2007. Courtesy: Art Concept, Paris

The ongoing exhibition, GAKONA, is set under the aegis of Nikola Tesla and its name refers to a village in Alaska. Little more than 200 inhabitants live in Gakona. There's a service station, a small school, a post office, a couple of diners and a scientific research base: the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program.



The researchers at the HAARP are studying the transmission of electricity in the uppermost portion of the atmosphere. But because of its military funding and the fears associated with electromagnetism, HAARP is surrounded by a cloud of controversy. Its forest of antennas has been accused of beaming electromagnetic waves that are extremely hazardous to human health, of disrupting climate, of having all sorts of influence on human behaviour and of being weapons able to disrupt communications over large portions of the planet.

Made up of 4 solo exhibition (but only 6 artworks) by Micol Assaël, Ceal Floyer, Laurent Grasso and Roman Signer, GAKONA oscillates between fact and rumors, science and imagination.


Roman Signer, Parapluies, 2009. Photographie: André Morin

The icon of the show is Parapluies (umbrellas) by Roman Signer. Two Tesla coils charge up, approx. 5 minutes later an alarm sounds and a blast of electricity spectacularly lights up between the extremities of the umbrellas. I'm not going to delve on this one, have a look at this video or this one instead.


Laurent Grasso, Haarp. Image by dalbera

Now Haarp, by Laurent Grasso, is a sculpture clearly inspired by the aforementioned program, not only does it look like its model but its potential effects are invisible as well: are there waves passing through the antennas? Are they harmful? Should we be worried? How real is this?


Chizhevsky Lessons, by Micol Assaël, is a gigantic generator of static electricity. The name of the artwork refers to Alexander Chizhevsky, a scientist who explored the correlation between solar activity and historical events such as wars and revolutions.

Right before being allowed to approach the installation, you are warned that people wearing pacemakers or hearing aid and pregnant women should not go any further, advised that you should "avoid touching other visitors' faces, especially the eyes" and promised that the work would "load the body with static electricity." Thank you very much!

What visitors experience is the unpleasantness of static electricity re-created artificially with a cascade generator, a transformer, copper plates, and wires that fill the space with negatively charged ions. The discharge only occurs when touching an object or person oppositely charged. Although the installation is not dangerous it definitely invites visitors to step out of their safety zone and explore uncontrollable physical, emotional and psychological experiences.


GAKONA is on view until May 3 at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

Photos of the exhibition. Image on homepage: Micol Assaël Chizhevsky Lessons 2007 Courtesy Galleria Zero, Milan Photo André Morin (via Canadian Art.)

Direct link here: http://vimeo.com/4353898

A quick app I put together this morning as a response to Todd Vanderlin’s AR scratching ( http://vimeo.com/4312616 ). The app uses the accelerometer of the ipod touch to control the speed of a ‘vinyl record’ on the ipod screen. Slowing down the record and speeding it up is just a matter of controlling how fast you spin the device.

Made with openFrameworks.

Next up scratching!

Track is Full Clip by Gang Starr.

Thanks to Zach Gage’s excellent ofxALSoundPlayer class!

On the subway yesterday I saw an ad for The Future Beneath Us, an exhibit at the New York Transit Museum and The New York Public Library. The joint exhibition is billed as "an illuminating look at the vast mega-projects that will bring New York City's underground infrastructure into the 21st Century and beyond." For those unable to visit the two venues -- The Science, Industry and Business Library’s Healy Hall, at 188 Madison Avenue, and the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store at Grand Central Terminal -- the online coverage is exemplary.

[8-project map | image source]

The eight projects are: 1) East Side Access 2) Second Avenue Subway 3) Fulton Street Transit Center 4) 7 Line Extension 5) Croton Water Filtration Plant 6) City Water Tunnel #3 7) Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel 8) World Trade Center.


Photos and text trace the history and provide a glimpse of the future via renderings of stations, for example. The most well known is surely City Water Tunnel #3, "the largest and longest running capital project in New York City’s history and among the largest engineering projects in the world," running for a total of 60 miles (96km) at a depth of 800 feet (244m), though the Second Avenue subway is probably a close second. All of the projects illustrate the importance of underground infrastructure in serving the people and buildings above ground, but they also show that infrastructure is always an incomplete project, dependent upon technology, the evolution of the city and financial constraints.

This art display system was created by [Peter Sand]. It is called Plant Fasting and is comprised of a giant robot with interchangeable tools for various gardening tasks. Though the system is mostly automated, it can be controlled via a game pad. It has an Arduino as its brain and it looks like he’s done a completely custom setup for powering the interchangeable pieces.


Eyebeam will hold Open Studios for Artists In Residence and Senior Fellows
Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16, from 3-6pm on both dates.
A two-day presentation allowing a rare inside look at the current state of research at Eyebeam

Eyebeam will hold Open Studios for Artists In Residence and Senior Fellows
A two-day presentation allowing a rare inside look at the current state of research at Eyebeam

Eyebeam is pleased to host Open Studios for its 2009 Senior Fellowships and Winter/Spring Residencies at Eyebeam’s state-of-the-art new media design, digital research, and fabrication studio; showcasing work in the areas of  performance, experimental film, wearable technologies, open culture and sustainable art.

Eyebeam’s residents are selected from two yearly open calls of emerging artists, technologists and engineers for a six-month residency, which includes a stipend as well as access to Eyebeam’s facilities, equipment, and opportunities for collaboration and presentation of work. This group of five residents was selected from a group of 144 applicants.

Selection panelists included Eyebeam alum Robert Ransick (Bennington College, VT); Erika Dalya Muhammad (the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC); Eyebeam senior fellow Michael Mandiberg (College of Staten Island/CUNY, NYC); Paul Amitai (Eyebeam programming coordinator); and Amanda McDonald Crowley, executive director of Eyebeam, with moderation by Roddy Schrock, production coordinator at Eyebeam.

Di Mainstone
Through a hands-on choreography of fashion, technology and performance, Di Mainstone creates playful adornments that roam the body, hiding and revealing tales that are close to her heart. For the Eyebeam residency, Di will prototype a set of wearable structures that question both our sense of interconnectivity as well as our understanding personal space within the city environment.

Reid Farrington
Reid Farrington is a director of work for the stage.  He has worked as a technical artist for The Wooster Group in NYC for eight years, with which he has toured internationally. He has also shown his work widely, both in the US and abroad. Reid is proud to be joining the ranks of Eyebeam residents to develop a software program to run the technical elements of his next piece Gin and “It”, which will premiere at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, in March 2010. The NYC premiere will take place in May 2010 at Performance Space 122.

Jon Cohrs
Jon Cohrs is a recording engineer and visual/sound artist who lives in Brooklyn. He has worked at the Guggenheim Museum as a new media art installer, and is currently employed by the artist Laurie Anderson. Jon also runs a successful recording business, Spleenless Mastering. His work has focused on exploring technology and how it can foster connections that invoke a sense of nurturing and growth.

At Eyebeam this spring, Jon will create a new form of TV by using the abandoned analog bandwidth ditched in the digital transfer. Jon will attempt to invert traditional television programming and replace it with user-generated and pirated content to address the evolution of media.

Rebecca Bray and Britta Riley
Rebecca and Britta are artists who have set out to start a NYC window-farm craze. They will work with agricultural, architectural, and other specialists to create high-profile prototype window farms and the means for sharing design ideas to meet the varying local environments of the city. Rebecca and Britta’s inspiration for community involvement derives from concepts of local production (think of the coming network of 3-D multi-material printers), mass customization, and mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0.

They envision the DIY aspects as a futuristic infrastructure-light alternative to large-scale R&D. Through a combination of social media, and good old window advertising, they hope to frame a movement where people feel welcome to take part in the effort to turn scientific breakthroughs into actionable local tasks.

Kenseth Armstead
Kenseth is a multimedia installation artist. His works have been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the Berlin VideoFest; and MIT List Visual Arts Center. His videos, drawings and sculptures are included in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, African American Museum, and numerous public and private collections.

While at Eyebeam, Kenseth will work on his ongoing HD digital video production environment that utilizes hand-made sets and an open source casting methodology to create the footage for the narrative feature-film Spook 1781. The film, which is based on a true story, relates the incredible tale of the spy/slave James Armistead Lafayette and his role in ending the American Revolution.

Senior fellows are former fellows who are invited to continue their research at Eyebeam as well as serve as mentors for incoming residents. These individuals are selected in recognition of their exceptional talent and the belief that a sustained research period is critical for the development of new ideas and innovative work—goals central to Eyebeam’s mission. All of the current senior fellows teach at graduate and undergraduate programs throughout New York City, have received numerous awards for their work, and are regularly invited to speak at conferences and take part in exhibitions both in the US and beyond.

Jeff Crouse
Jeff Crouse creates software and installations that combine, in equal parts, humor, absurdity and technology. Jeff’s previous work includes YouThreebe, a YouTube triptych creator; Invisible Threads, a virtual jeans factory in Second Life; and James Chimpton, a robotic monkey that interviewed the artists of the 2008 Whitney Biennial. He is currently developing BoozBot, a bar tending robot/puppet; and DeleteCity, a Wordpress plug-in that finds and republishes content that has been taken down from sites such as Flickr and YouTube. His work has been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, the Futuresonic festival in Manchester, UK, the DC FilmFest, and the Come Out and Play Festival in Amsterdam.

Jeff received his MS from the Digital Media program at Georgia Tech in 2006 and joined Eyebeam as a production fellow in 2007. He is currently an adjunct professor at the IMA program at Hunter College, and a freelance programmer.

Steve Lambert
Steve Lambert was born in California and is currently based in NYC. His father, a former Franciscan monk, and mother, and ex-Dominican nun, imbued the values of dedication, study, poverty, and service to others—qualities that prepared him for life as an artist. Steve uses popular culture and humor in a variety of media including drawing, performance, and video to deal with issues of public space, social controls, and commerce.

Steve is the founder of the Anti-Advertising Agency, and a creator of Add-Art, a browser plug-in that replaces ads on the Internet with art. Steve’s projects and art works have won awards from Rhizome/The New Museum, Turbulence, the Creative Work Fund, Adbusters Media Foundation, the California Arts Council, the Belle Foundation, and others. His work has been shown internationally. Writings about his work have appeared in multiple publications such as the New York Times, Punk Planet, GOOD, Newsweek Magazine, and NPR.

He currently teaches at Parsons/The New School and Hunter College.

Ayah Bdeir
Ayah Bdeir is an artist, engineer, and interaction designer. She graduated from the MIT Media Lab with a Masters of Media Arts and Sciences after studying Computer & Communication Engineering and Sociology in the American University of Beirut. With an upbringing spanning Lebanon, Canada and the US, Ayah’s work uses technology to look at cross cultural dialogue and media representation of the Middle East and its identities. Through mixing and matching tools and materials, Ayah experiments with animating classically static objects and putting technology where it typically doesn’t belong—from kitschy underwear, to design furniture, to electro-phobic art supply stores.

Her work has been published and exhibited in conferences, festivals and galleries in Amsterdam, Paris, New York, Rhode Island, Boston, Sao Paolo and others. Ayah teaches at Parsons and The New School with her colleague, Eyebeam alum Zach Lieberman.

Michael Mandiberg
Michael Mandiberg is an artist, programmer, designer, and educator. His work includes: the web applications about environmental impact, Real Costs, and Oil Standard; a textbook, Digital Foundations, that combines the historic design principles with modern software; and laser-cut lampshades for compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

Michael is an Assistant Professor at the College of Staten Island/CUNY. He lives in, and rides his bicycle around, Brooklyn.

I need someone to build a basic web filter (censorware) for Mac and/or PC that uses as much off-the-shelf code as possible. This filter will be integrated into a product that will be used by parents and school teachers to block out certain objectionable content.  If, like me, the mere idea of censorware leaves a bad taste in your mouth, please don't let that deter you. This project deals with censorship, among other issue, so it won't be used exactly as you think it might be.

This filter should work in the following way:

  1. The administrator downloads and installs the software.
  2. For any non-administrator user, the software cannot be disabled or removed.
  3. Every time an HTTP request is made, the URL should first be securely sent to a remote script (say, http://www.eyebeam.org/filter.php?url=)
  4. This script will securely return a message saying that the page is deemed OK, or that the page is not allowed, along with a description of why the page cannot be loaded.  I will provide this PHP script.
  5. If the failure message is received, the filter should instead return some HTML, including the reason why it was declined.  This page need not be well designed - we will be changing it in the end.

Applicants should have built something like this before.  I am not a security expert, so I am likely leaving out some important security steps.  If you can point them out to me, you will earn major points.

As it says in the project name, I cannot yet say exactly what this is for.  OnCaller will be given credit as the assistant programmer on the project and included in all material where credit is given. A full description of the project will be sent on receipt of application.


Media scholar Henry Jenkins and Babylon 5 creator Joe Straczynski are doing a double-header at MIT on May 22, and it's open to the public. Sounds like a hell of a way to spend an evening.

Previously known best for his role as the creator of the cult science fiction series Babylon 5 and its various spin-off films and series. Straczynski wrote 92 out of the 110 Babylon 5 episodes, notably including an unbroken 59-episode run through all of the third and fourth seasons, and all but one episode of the fifth season.

His early television writing career spans from work on He-Man, She-Ra, and The Real Ghostbusters through to The New Twilight Zone and Murder She Wrote. He followed up Babylon 5 with the science fiction series Jeremiah.

Straczysnki also enjoys continued success as a comic book writer, working on established superhero franchises, such as The Amazing Spider-Man, Supreme Power and Thor, as well as his own original series, such as Rising Stars, Midnight Nation, The Twelve, and The Book of Lost Souls. He is also a journalist, publishing over 500 articles in such periodicals as the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Writer's Digest Magazine, and TIME Inc.

He was one of the first television producers to actively engage his fan community online and has consistently explored the interface between digital media and other storytelling platforms.

2009 Speaker: J. Michael Straczynski

(Thanks, Andrew!)

Mechanisms 101 -  online resources for devices

Here is a great site with resources on various types of mechanisms. There are many great animations, some of which are interactive so you can plug your own numbers into the system and see the results.

Mechanisms 101 has animations and information about: linkages, indexing mechanisms, gears, pumps, couplings, pneumatic systems, electronics, and many miscellaneous mechanical things. You will need the Flash player plug-in for your browser to see most of these great resources.

Here the link to Mechanisms 101.

[ Thanks Steve! ]

I'm no authority on clocks or clockworks, but you just have to love a large skeleton clock with all the exposed metallic mechanical finery. Here is a good example of what I mean. This clock happens to use what is known as a 'chronometer escapement'.

Here is a book on various clock and watch escapements with detailed instructions for making all types of escapements and for locating and correcting problems with them.