Recent Projects

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xtine burrough and I just published Digital Foundations: an Intro to Media Design with the Adobe Creative Suite with AIGA Design Press/New Riders under a CC license (a first for the publisher.) The book teaches the formal principles and exercises of the Bauhaus through lessons in the Adobe Creative Suite. There are a whole spate of reasons why we wrote this book, but the focus of this post is on how we were able to negotiate the Creative Commons license from New Riders, which is owned by Peachpit, which is owned by Pearson (a big big corporate big thing.)

http://www.mandiberg.com/2009/01/12/howto-negotiate-a-creative-commons-license-ten-steps/

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Anthony McCall's You and I is a light sculpture and video installation based on two 25 foot projected forms of 'solid' light.' Projecting downwards through a darkened, foggy space, the light takes on formal properties and a physicality of its own. During the course of a 60 minute viewing cycle, the two forms move in continuous motion, each gradually shifting toward the formal properties of the other until their positions have been reversed.

You and I was realized with the assistance of Eyebeam's Production Co-op, with programming by Eric Socolofsky.

Don't Let Me Down (2002)
digital video with sound (7 minutes)

Don't Let Me Down examines contemporary American culture's tenuous relationship with popular technology [such as cell phones, ATMs, and personal computers]. Through absurd juxtapositions and surreal collages, the piece problematizes conventions and assumptions our culture holds regarding technology. Borrowing equally from a variety of ideological and aesthetic rhetorics, Don't Let Me Down leaves the viewer facing the ridiculous nature of our daily, increasingly dependent relationship with technology.

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Brian Alfred’s Conspiracy? is a dual channel video animation of cityscapes, landscapes and interiors that refers to some of the many different corporate and government conspiracy theories that circulate in our information-saturated culture. Based from images gathered from media sources including the internet, the animation groups together a range of scenes related to conspiratorial thought. The work remains ambivalent as to whether any of the theories are true. However, the absence of human life in the works brings to mind the sinister implications of their possible truth, as well as the paranoid beliefs about the lengths that government and corporations go to hide their truth from the public.

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Is email a distraction? SelfControl is an OS X application which blocks access to incoming and/or outgoing mail servers and websites for a predetermined period of time. For example, you could block access to your email, facebook, and twitter for 90 minutes, but still have access to the rest of the web. Once started, it can not be undone by the application or by restarting the computer—you must wait for the timer to run out.

Developed at Eyebeam by Charlie Stigler with senior fellow Steve Lambert. Download the code here: http://github.com/slambert/selfcontrol/

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We are creating several different designs for suspended, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield light-augmented window farms using low-impact or recycled local materials. These prototype window farms, to be located in high-profile windows throughout the city, are intended to inspire other New Yorkers to design and implement their own window farms. Signs in the windowfarms will challenge New Yorker to create their own and direct them to a website where we can all share photos, plans, designs, and information. Together, we will derive viable methods for growing food under the local conditions of our own homes in a way that is efficient enough for New Yorkers' lives.

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Tune in as the most talented fingers from all over the world come together to compete in events ranging from sprinting to javelin to pole-vaulting, and ultimately celebrate what it means to be a finger, and a citizen of Earth.

The Finger Olympics started out asn an idea tossed around at Eyebeam between Friedrich Kirschner and Zach Lieberman, and eventually turned into a playable computer vision project.

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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.