Session 12: Posters, Ikea and a Trackpad

Jules, Diane and Jayson were all in attendance.

On Wednesday 19th July people started picking spaces for the group show.

We started with Diane’s homework from her previous session:

  1. Think about the narrative of the show – what does she need to make?
  2. Send the poster for the show she is curating
  3. What objects or scenarios are you going to explore in the show? Inpill/outpoo? Could people encode information in DNA as a secure backup? What happens when people die with this information inside them? What happens when they kiss or have sex? Could these be future secure methods of data exchange?
  4. Continue working on dissertation
  5. Create diagrams for explanations using p5.js.

She’s been working to a final draft of her dissertation this coming Sunday.

I N N E R  O T H E R is the title of the show that’s she’s been working on  as a curator. The image is a macro shot of an Indian squash:

The above image for the show is the style that she wants to follow for her final show at Goldsmiths. She’s interested in making it using p5.js – and using screens in a portrait format. I commented that this changes them into portals. She’s thinking about what colours she’s going to use and getting to an Alien look. I said it was fine to use animated gifs in her p5.js code – being pragmatic with her programming is fine. We talked about how the special effects team on Stargate ended up using a side shot of a stirred bucked of water:

We then discussed the narrative of her show – what new things does she have to make?

Think about the narrative of the show – what does she need to make? Diane referenced the capacitive sensing technology she used in her previous Cross Talk project. She discussed using capacitance to sense a touch and using that touch to create a generative visual – distorting the screen – even using a VGA cable to display the image generated when you play a sound through it. – Making a reference to the idea of collaboration between human and bacteria being perceived as similarly “wrong”.

I suggested using a triptych of three 16:9 forms – lots of art history around the triptych – the human, the bacterial, the blend or thesis, antithesis and synthesis.  Is the synthesis the visualisation of sound? The simulation aspects of the research she’s doing are referred to as “in silico” instead of “in vitro”. She’s considering casting silicon for the final show.

We then moved onto a discussion of what scenarios she wants to explore in the final show. She hasn’t factored in the previously discussed DNA encoding into her dissertation. She referenced the recent story about Madonna blocking the sale of her hairbrush because of concerns about her DNA being extracted. I suggested a show structure of:

  1. Autobiographical
  2. Dissertation
  3. Example objects or scenarios

She’s been looking at plinths to display things on, I said think about three minutes of time at each station, a three minute loop at each.

I said less kebab, more autopsy!

We discussed the display of three objects:

  1. Her science poster
  2. A live bacterial object
  3. Still macro images from the Indian squash she discovered

I referenced the IDEO business card project from 2001 – a deep dive into thinking about person identity in the future that resulted in a series of speculative designs in the form of business cards. I also suggested that she think about narrating some or all of the show.

I set the following homework:

  1. Full narrative for show
  2. First pass on content for each of the three
  3. Kit list of what things are going to be
  4. Think about the handout
  5. Think about sound/narration

Next was Jayson’s homework from the previous session:

  1. Get one Ikea object and attempt assembly
  2. Keep going on final kit list – especially around screens and printed output
  3. Experiment with splash screens and proxy injection on crystal wifi
  4. Continue working on timeline and map content
  5. Consider audio – what does crystallisation sound like?
  6. Think about selfies – how do you put visitors in a crystal world? How do they become Crystal Punks?

He got all the Ikea objects! Two Vittsjö’s and two Vittsjö desk parks too. He’s assembled them without the letter draw in each case. The tables are pretty long and narrow – he’s been experimenting with vinyl cutting to make text too. Ikea have stopped making them so he’s had to shop around.

In terms of the final kit list, he’s decided to use his own screens to fit into the book cases – it’s easier than using college stock, which is limited as it has to be shared between all students. The list is currently as follows:

  • Two bookcases
  • Two tables
  • Crystal Memory stick
  • Crystal Cable
  • Crystal Bluetooth earpiece
  • Crystal Hard drive
  • Crystal CD
  • Crystal Router (with faked his own wifi unit instead as he doesn’t have password for the original hardware)

He’s given up on captive portal on the Crystal Wifi (proper name for splash screen) which are generally built into routers. Instead hee’s made a little Processing server to serve up pages, he thinks it should work. I suggested that he’ll have to make a DNS server to do it properly. I also suggested  a plan b of a browser set up that crystallises content, we found the following links together:

He’s continued working a crystalisation timeline and map – he demonstrated a crystal map in Processing. He’s currently working on an animation or slideshow using the narrative we discussed previously.

I suggested the idea of using a series of fake news broadcasts, referencing the above title sequence for Romeo and Juliet from 1996. I also referenced two recent shorts from Neil Blokamp’s Oats Studios:

He decided not to add sound to the experience or selfies – he thinks the space is going to be dense enough already. We finished by discussing possible things for the audience to take away – we decided that crystals were too poisonous, but business cards from the future might be interesting.

I set the following homework:

  1. Full narrative for show
  2. Full kit list
  3. Think about a takeaway/handout

We finished by going through Jules’ homework:

  1. Continue working on speech interaction.
  2. Firm up projector and tablet models.
  3. Work on getting swipe interaction working via OSC using HammerJS and p5js-osc.
  4. Finalise kit list.

We started by looking at the swipe interaction and re-factored her code. I suggested using the Magic Trackpad from Apple instead of messing around with a separate Android tablet and having to connect that to another device.

I set the following homework:

  1. Try Apple trackpad
  2. Complete kitlist
  3. Try splitting into four quadrants
  4. Try different colours
  5. Reorganise the content
  6. Have the text read it out when you swipe

Session 11: Crystal Wifi, John Dee and Vittsjö

Previous to the session in Goldsmiths I checked in with Jules via Skype as she’s currently out of the country. She’s currently pushing on her dissertation before moving onto Hammer.js and OSC integration. I emphasised that it’s critical to get all technical connectivity issues out of the way as soon as possible. We found the following links which she’s agreed to take a look at before our next session in two weeks.

Unfortunately, Diane was unable to attend, so Jayson and I got down to discussing his homework from the previous session:

  1. Re-approach Theo about computational relevancy
  2. Continue with crystal growing around the computer case
  3. Get kit list worked out for show and consider the layout
  4. Ask the technician team about the availability of vitrines and plinths to display objects within
  5. Do some investigations about how light is cast through his crystals
  6. Continue to work on text based Game of Life simulation and how it can be incorporated into his show
  7. Look at museum displays for ideas on how to label his project and individual pieces

Jayson emailed Theo about the computational relevancy of his work – he got confirmation that he’s taking a good approach overall – he’s planning on having at least one screen at the exhibition display the experimentation he’s been doing around Game of Life style simulations. He’s very interested in the idea of petrified or crystallised data.

Jayson is planning on crystallising a Wifi router for the show, and we had a discussion about how he could have a customised splash screen that would display when people connect to it. I referenced the Star Wars ASCII Telnet project, but we realised that it would be technically too challenging to expect people to Telnet in a gallery context. We went on to discuss the possibility of doing a JS injection on every web page browsed through the Crystal Wifi, a legal man in the middle attack. It looks like Jayson will have to set up a proxy server, running locally.

The attempt to grow a crystals around a large computer case was a failure – he’d need a far larger container to grow in – with gallons of boiling liquid safely contained. He did have an interesting failure with an attempted crystallisation of an old mobile phone:

Jayson visited the Science Museum archive to view John Dee’s crystal amulet – something that took months of arrangement. He’s going to return next week in order to view some accompanying documents. He feels he could do a whole project on John Dee alone!

Quoting from the British Museum website:

John Dee (1527-1609) was an English mathematician and astrologer interested in divination using crystals and mirrors. This purple crystal was used for curing disease and predicting the future by looking for symbols or the ‘ghosts’ of people in the stone. Dee claimed that this crystal was given to him by the angel Uriel in November 1582, and that Uriel had instructed Dee and his assistant Edward Kelley (1555-1597/8) on how to make the Philosopher’s Stone – one of the goals of alchemy. The crystal was entrusted to Dee’s son, Arthur (1597-1651) who passed it on to Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) as a reward for curing his liver complaints. Culpeper was a physician and alchemist who used the crystal to try and cure illness, until 1651, when he believed a demonic ghost burst out from it.

Jayson has viewed the available display equipment (vitrines and plinths) from the Goldsmiths stores and has decided to attempt to customise a series of Vittsjö stands to make his own custom display for the graduating show. He did consider aluminium extrusions and 3D printed connections, but decided that he liked the look of the Ikea designs, especially with their glass inserts.

Reference for the installation look Jayson is aiming for.

In terms of content, he’s planning on displaying the following things:

  1. Four crystal objects: ethernet cable, bluetooth headset, router and hard drive.
  2. A map of the world with timeline of crystallisation narrative – he’s currently working out if these should be printed or displayed on a screen for maximum edit-ability up to show time.
  3. The game of life crystallisation visualisation
  4. I suggested a crystal mirror or display of his crystal mask in some way – something selfie-able. I referenced the seaside mask cut out displays that are endemic to English resorts. He is going to research something realtime, possibly using machine learning. I said that something full length – even only analogue would be great.
A previous installation of Jayson’s work.

He’s been trying different coloured lighting through his crystals – it turns out that white light is the only one that works – a specific colour tends to produce poor results. We discussed the possibility of making a crystallised disco ball – something that could effect the whole space. I set the following homework:

  1. Get one Ikea object and attempt assembly
  2. Keep going on final kit list – especially around screens and printed output
  3. Experiment with splash screens and proxy injection on crystal wifi
  4. Continue working on timeline and map content
  5. Consider audio – what does crystallisation sound like?
  6. Think about selfies – how do you put visitors in a crystal world? How do they become Crystal Punks?