Recent Projects

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Inspired by distributed computing projects such as Folding@Home and SETI@Home, Praying@Home is the name given to a suite of technologies developed by The Institute for Faith-Based Technology, or IFBT, innovators in the field of technologically-aided spirituality.  The first development is the PrayerRecorder™ - a USB device that plugs into any PC and allows the user to capture her unique Prayer Signature®, an ultra-frequentic resonance that is “broadcasted” by the human body while praying.  The user simply attaches the InFaBat Senso-Cap to her temples and forehead, presses a small InFaBat Prayer Paddle™ between her hands, and prays on a particular subject.  Meanwhile, the PrayerRecorder captures and records the PrayerSignature to the users’ hard drive.  Then, using the InFaBat PrayerBroadcaster™, we can broadcast her Prayer Signature, somewhat like an FM radio station that only God can hear!  Unlike humans, who need to take breaks from praying to fulfill biological needs, computers need no breaks, resulting in 24/7 prayer output.  Additionally, the PrayerBroadcaster unit is equipped with a SPU (Standard Prayer Unit) Amplifier, which increases the strength of your prayers by up to 54%.  These technologies truly represent a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of Digital Prayer Technology. Praying@Home is a parody of Christianity’s attempt to validate itself in the scientific academy, as seen in “scientific” studies about the effectiveness of prayer, creationism, intelligent design, and faith healing.  Our fictitious group - The Institute for Faith-Based Technology - claims to be interested in finding a link between technology and faith, seeming not to notice that their attempts undermine the very idea of faith - namely that it doesn’t care about evidence.  They believe that praying is a purely mechanical task and should be dealt with like any other task that is such a waste of human effort - by mechanizing it.  In so doing, not only do we save time, but we take advantage of the added efficiency, tirelessness, and networkability of computers to multiply the worlds prayer output infinitely, thus solving all of the worlds problems and creating a utopia on Earth.

Praying@Home pamphlet

The Institute will invite visitors to try out their PrayerRecorder and PrayerBroadcaster technology at the Expo in an attempt to get them to buy the home version.  As a marketing scheme, the Institute has announced that they will try to collect 375,000 “Beckells“, or “Standard Prayer Units” (discovered by Fredrick Beckell in the 1970s) during the Expo.  Each user who volunteers to kneel down in the booth and use the PrayerRecorder contributes a varying number of Beckells depending on the purity of their thought and the strength of their unique Prayer Signature.

The Institute also displays a not-so-subtle favoritism towards Christianity, simply assuming that the Christian God is the “correct” god to pray to, while also imposing their on values on the users by warning them against thinking any un-Christian thoughts while operating the PrayerRecorder.  This very dystopic attitude betrays the fact that the illusion of utopia often hides a darker truth.

In society today, criticizing a persons religion is often seen as un-PC at least, and completely taboo at worst.  Religion is given special privileges in most areas of public life, from politics to casual conversation, where other beliefs, like non-religious pacifism, are not protected by the law.  People treat religion as if it is something immutable, like race or sex, rather than as a choice that a person makes for themselves.  Through this parody, we hope to open a debate that is often enthusiastically avoided by forcefully insisting that religion should be open to criticism just like any other belief.

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AddArt is a Firefox extension which replaces advertising images on web pages with art images from a curated database. As of June 2007, there are prototype versions of the plugin, collaborative relationships with the developer of AdBlockPlus, and plans for further development.

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Bright Bike is a Retroreflective Vinyl coated bike. It is like coating your bike with a big sticker that turns ultra-brite in headlights.

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YouThreebe is a tool that allows users to make triptychs out of YouTube videos.

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Real Costs is a Firefox plug-in that inserts emissions data into travel related e-commerce websites. The first version adds CO2 emissions information to airfare websites such as Orbitz.com, Delta.com, etc, and to car direction websites such as Mapquest.com. Think of it like the nutritional information labeling on the back of food... except for emissions.

The objective of the Real Costs is to increase awareness of the environmental impact of certain day to day choices in the life of the Internet user. By presenting this environmental impact information in the place where decisions are being made, it will hopefully create an impact on the viewer, encourage a sense of individual agency, and provide a set of alternatives and immediate actions.

Experience the project by installing the Real Costs plug-in into your Firefox application. Currently, this plug-in pulls each flight/driving information from the page, calculates and reinserts the CO2 produced. It is configured to work on the websites of the major worldwide air carriers, and several car direction websites. A list of these sties and scientific documentation is available on the Wiki (http://therealcosts.com/wiki).

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An interactive multitouch blackboard aiming to make the specificities of the arabic language a fun activity for kids.

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Jamie Allen explores peoples’ relationships to art, technology and resources attempting to give them new, subversive and comic interactions with these.  Speaker sketch is a drawing machine that uses very loud music to move a drawing implement. This project was presented at Eyebeam as an active installation and drawing exhibition.

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Wish You Were Here was a site-specific installation by Addie Wagenknecht, Production Lab Fellow, installed on April 3, 2008, in the Northwest corner of Clement Clarke Moore Park, located at 22nd and 10th Aves.

A flock of stark, white, static two-dimensional birds inhabited a tree. The birds’ physical negatives were modeled on the actual species that once inhabited Manhattan. According to a recent Audubon Society report, 20 species of birds are declining at a rate of 68 percent.

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In 1999, Dan Torop dreamt that he was drifting over the Bowery at sunset. The street was covered by a red fog laced with yellow-orange fumes. Cars wove heedlessly between lanes yet never collided. He spun and circled through the air above, watching the silent passage below. When he awoke on the couch in his studio, a few streets east of the Bowery, he resolved to replicate the vision.  His vision culminated in a computer program which simulated the Bowery circa 1997.

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Gearbox is the outcome of twelve-months development work between the MediaShed and Eyebeam, to create a resource for low-budget filmmaking. Comprised of “how to” step by step examples, Gearbox shows people innovative ways of recording footage using unusual combinations of found resources (such as CCTV Video Sniffin' or Spy Kiting) and low-budget methods of reproducing professional film making techniques (for example, achieving a crane shot using a fishing pole). This one-stop shop for all your moving image needs places a potent means of expression in the hands of people irrespective of money, status or environment. Building on the core aims of “free-media”, it offers new ways of thinking about and using technology and media available within the environment, of recycling and re-using outdated and junked equipment, and of adapting cheap materials from local DIY and electronic stores.

It encourages people to further develop means of expression, equipment and ideas by uploading their work for comment and sharing. Gearbox invites people and other organisations to become involved with the development of the Gearbox website by developing new film projects and up-loading their own content. This will put filmmaking tools into the hands of more individuals who may have wholly different approaches to using them, creating a sharable, reusable and expandable resource.

The MediaShed is the first “free-media” space to open in the East of England and is located at the mouth of the Thames. It's a place for doing art, making things or just saying what you want for little or no financial cost by using the public domain, free and open source software, recycled equipment and enthusiasm. It's also a place to say what you want “freely”, using accessible media systems that can be taken apart and reused without unnecessary restrictions and controls. The MediaShed was founded by members of Mongrel, an internationally recognized digital arts organization.