Floribots

floribots-4.jpg

Floribots, a massive art piece created by Geoffrey Drake-Brockman in 2005, is essentially an array of 128 simple folding paper flowers that are mechanically controlled. Each large flower extends out of a rigid base, and is capable of mechanically “blooming” and extending higher. Geoffrey acquired help from Altronics, ArtsWA, JED Microprocessors, Onesteel, and family members to help construct Floribots[1].

Part of what makes the Floribots unique is that the collective array operates under one simple hive mind. As a whole they react to stimuli sensed by special “flowers” along the outside edges, creating dynamic patterns of motion to display a collective artificial mood. Essentially, the Floribot matrix senses motion around it and, based upon the nature of the movement, reacts differently. Based on its programming it can perform either solely or a combination of the following traits, or “moods”:

Asleep – A dormant state after the Floribots are deprived of stimulation for an extended period of time. All the bots go to a resting state, and is incapable of detecting movement for a short period of time.
Blip – A single rapid movement while the Floribots are waiting for stimulus, but aren’t asleep.
Bored – A dance of sorts in which the Floribots are, in a sense, trying to attract attention. This pattern occurs when stimulation is below a certain threshold.
Excited – A semi-random sequence of movement displayed after a particularly intense amount of repeated movement is detected.
Naughty – A series of movements Floribots perform while Bored and unable to attract attention.
Reactive – A wave-like sequence in which all the floribots bloom at a set interval in response to motion stimulus. The reaction changes based upon location, and repeated motion detection at the same location causes diminished “waves” as the hive mind grows accustomed to that particular stimulation.
Wake Up – A “stretch-like” movement they flowers make when initially turned on or awoken by stimulus from the Asleep state.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUjPu0Jif-U height:220]

The Floribots can even mix different moods of varying degree, creating new and transitional behaviors. All of the artificial “organism”s reactions, moods, and movements are controlled by a microcontroller in one of the central flowerpots, which essentially manages the entirety of the hive mind[2].

5ad619518d64e-floribots-by-geoffrey-drak

While not strictly a body augmentation, Floribots can be considered a form of Cybernetic art based upon their purpose as a reactive component to human body movement. The sensors are meant to intake input from people moving around them, and react in a somewhat predictable but “living” manner.

[1]https://nga.gov.au/Exhibition/SculpturePrize05/Detail.cfm?IRN=139758&BioArtistIRN=15919&MnuID=6

[2]http://www.drake-brockman.com.au/GDBFloribots.html

PHAROS

Rapper, singer, comedian, writer, director, and producer Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, is no stranger to experimentation when it comes to art. From his Emmy-winning comedy-drama series entitled, “Atlanta” (the city of Atlanta is depicted as a parallel universe of our own) to an interactive music tour, Glover has created a tradition of connecting with his audience that no other rapper or singer has done in quite some time. In 2014, Donald showcased his first interactive music tour entitled, “The Deep Web Tour”, for his sophomore album, “Because The Internet”. This tour was the first interactive concert that I’ve personally ever been to. The show was interactive in that there was a companion app available to download through a link that ticketholders were emailed. This companion app gave audience members the ability to interact with the background screen on stage during the prologue and middle of the show. During the prologue, the app would allow audience members to write short messages within the app in a Twitter-like fashion and the messages would then appear onscreen. [1] The second time audiences were able to interact with the stage’s screen was during the middle of his set a poll question appeared onscreen and the audience would vote in the app.

iw1gq1v0hgyy.jpg Most recently, Childish Gambino released a funk album entitled, “Awaken, My Love” in which the vinyl copy of the album came with a QR code and a Google Cardboard-like VR viewer and a link to yet another companion app. Once scanned in the app, the QR code would then unlock the virtual concert experience (similar to the one shown in the video below). Although, once scanned the code could not be shared and if shared the app would lock you out and codes would not be re-sent. [3]

However, Childish Gambino’s take on an immersive concert experience did not stop there. By collaborating with Microsoft, Childish Gambino created a 3-day VR concert experience for his 3rd album entitled, “Awaken, My Love.” For the event, he and Microsoft deployed a combination of Microsoft’s Kinect Cameras, motion capture technology, projectors, and other media technology, to create an immersive world that engulfs fans in a massive dome in Joshua Tree National Forest. [4] According to Creative Director of Microsoft’s Fred Warren, “We use Kinect [cameras] in an array to allow us to create a 360 model of Childish Gambino as he performs and bring that into a computer-generated environment.” [5] Childish Gambino’s likeness would then appear within the dome as a giant tribal figure standing and dancing above audience members’ heads. Donald’s approach to how the artist and the audience interact with each other exemplifies the notion that a concert can be an experience. With this 3-day experience, Glover and Microsoft have created a new intersection of music and technology, and a new format for how audiences can experience their favorite artists live. Blurring the lines between art and technology. Thus, provoking the question of whether or not technology in itself, is art?

Sources:

https://www.microsoft.com/inculture/musicxtech/childish-gambino/

We Went There: Childish Gambino’s Deep Web Tour

https://www.thefader.com/2017/05/10/childish-gambinos-virtual-reality-vinyl

Childish Gambino announces The Deep Web Tour 2014

Comments-

1] Great information when it comes to explaining Donald Glover history with with experimental art. Appreciate you including all of the pieces he worked on and included the video of his collaboration with Microsoft. I would love to see additional visuals like the album with the QR code and maybe athe cardboard VR viewers. I would maybe work on breaking the text up into paragraphs to make it easier to read and also adjust the apsect ration for the videos you included. – Cody

9 evenings: theatre & engineering

Perhaps the most influential event joining art and technology in the 1960s, 9 evenings was held in October 1966 in New York. Spearheaded by artist Robert Rauschenberg and engineer Billy Klüver, a total audience of some 10,000 witnessed performances by ten artists collaborating with thirty engineers. In the technical development of their work, the ten artists, John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Oyvind Fählstrom, Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Rauschenberg, David Tudor, and Robert Whitman benefited from 8500 engineering hours, worth an estimated $150,000, provided mostly by Klüver and his colleagues at Bell Laboratories. Fahlstrom’s work, Kisses Sweeter than Wine (top), a biting satire on the war in Viet Nam, incorporated a giant spinning head of President Lyndon Johnson, an anti-missile missile, and undulating tentacles made of bubbles. It was during the process of organizing 9 evenings that the foundation, Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) was initiated. During the late 1960s, twenty-eight E.A.T. chapters were established throughout the US in order to make, in Klüver’s words, ‘materials, technology and engineering available to any contemporary artist.’ [1]

 

9 evenings collaborators at the Armory

“In 1966 10 New York artists worked with 30 engineers and scientists from the world renowned Bell Telephone Laboratories to create groundbreaking performances that incorporated new technology. Video projection, wireless sound transmission, and Doppler sonar -technologies that are commonplace today – had never been seen in the art of the 60’s. The 9 Evenings DVD Series is an important documentation of the collaborations between the artists and engineers that produced innovative works using these emerging technologies. These performances still resonate today, as forerunners of the close and rapidly-evolving relationship between artists and technology” [2] Fahstrom Kisses Sweeter than Wine

 

[1] Edward A Shanken, Art and Electronic Media, 2009, p 184

[2] http://www.9evenings.org/

The Scene (Demoscene)

The videos give a good impression of the demos. But to share the spirit of the scene, demos should be run as executables on your machine.

 

Introduction to the Scene

The scene, or demoscene is an important computer art subculture that focuses on the production of audio-visual real-time presentations. Succeeding the early display hacks of the 1950s and 60s, the non-commercial movement started with some kids in the late 70s and early 80s who just wanted to play games. Thus, they removed the copy-protection of (floppy-disk) games and instead left small screens or intros that were their signature as a cracker.

These close ties to the cracking-scene, beginning in the times of c64 computers, have dissolved over time and the scene has completely separated from cracking in the mid to end 80s. It then had a huge rise in popularity in the tech-scene with the commercial avaiability of more powerful home computers, such as the Amiga, or Atari 16/32-bit systems.

fr-041: debris [Farbrausch, 2007] (examplatory nuskool demo)

Download this demo (PC)

ARTE [Sanity, 1993] (example of an oldskool / middleskool demo)

Download this demo (Amiga)

Demos are complex audio-visual productions and are typically created by demogroups, collaborations of talented coders, graphic artists and musicians that work together on their demos as a team, meet in real-life on scene-parties that are similar to LAN-parties, or in virtual-life on message boards (e.g. http://www.pouet.net/) or in IRC channels. The communities they created are basically first-generation online communities, which date back to Compunet and newsgroups. Demogroups often share carefully shaped ‘corporate identities’ including logos, slogans, intros, ASCII-signatures, etc. and their members use pseudonyms as nicknames in the communities.

While the traditional focus of the productions lies in exploring the limits of contemporary computer graphics and audio equipment many groups also release artistic productions, or embed such ideas in their normal releases.

The challenge in the male-dominated and competition-oriented community is also held up high by different limiting categories of demos, such as size limitations (e.g. < 4 kB, < 64 kB). Many members of the scene also still prefer to develop on old standardized platforms and create works with typical 8-bit and pixel-art aesthetics.

Although the scene has shared news and information through various media (in oldskool and middleskool times mostly diskmags, more recently through online-communities, such as scene.org), it has experienced little to no recognition by the traditional art scene. Nevertheless over the years it helped the development of many talented artists, programmers and musicians that now hold important positions in the gaming-industry, are active new media artists, vjays, online-community activists, etc.

Because of the size-limited challenges powerful procedural content generation algorithms have been developed by the scene-coders that can save gigabytes of diskspace in textures, but remain largely unknown to the computer games enthusiasts and the game development community.

On the other hand trailblazers of the gaming- and art-communities are beginning to pick up some of the achievements of the demoscene in using the procedural algorithms (Spore) and recognizing the artistic potential (for example of the demogroup ‘Farbrausch’).

An informative timeline of the development of the scene can be found on the pages of the demoscenebook:

oldskool, middleskool, nuskool

 

Demoscene reel NVISION08 (overview of contemporary demos)

 

References

Websites:

http://www.scene.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demoscene

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demogroup

http://demoscene.tv/

http://www.pouet.net/

http://www.demoscenebook.com/

http://www.scheib.net/play/demos/what/borzyskowski/

Videos:

The Full History of the Demoscene

Demoscene Doku (inkl. Interview with Farbrausch) (German)