I arrived to Sydney a few days ago for the ISEA. Before the conference starts on Tuesday, the event has a series of workshops with an electronic arts focus. I gave my workshop “Sensing for Visualization” yesterday and will repeat it today at 3 PM. The idea was to create a programming crash-course for physical computing. The workshop covered Processing and the Wiring board. It was cool to put the idea to a test with participants. The workshops occur at the College of Fine Arts of UNSW.
I was interested on teaching the Wiring board in the context of the Latin American Forum of the ISEA and to give information about this seminal project that preceded Arduino developed by the Colombian artist/designer Hernando Barragán. Hernando was a professor while I did my art undergrad in Bogotá at Universidad de los Andes, were he still teaches.
There are a lot cool things going on. Right now I at a workshop named SurSouth, an online collaborative conversation. It was great to reconnect with an old friend, Hamilton who now lives in London. His work is pretty cool. His objects are living organisms that exist through alchemy and technology. Check his stuff here
There we be a lot coming up. I’ll try to document other experiences of this trip. There is too much going on.
Last January, I invited Camilo Martinez and Gabriel visited to visit the Lafayette area to develop an art workshop and residency with Purdue students and the lafayette community. It was a great experience to have this artists lead an arduino-based workshop aimed for the Physical Computing students from Purdue’s electronic and time based media artists.
During the workshop, Gabriel and Camilo taught us how to interface home appliances to email and twitter. The results were displayed in a one day exhibit at foamcity.
My workshop “sensing for visualization” and paper “Stretch” were selected for the next ISEA 2013 in Sydney. Good news to start the year. The workshop introduces the use of analog sensors to produce interactive experiences. Using inexpensive microcontrollers, components and open software, participants will prototype electronic boards to read meaningful data from the environment. The sensors can be affected by the light, the orientation, or a user’s physical input. I’ll be using the Wiring microcontroller.
Last month, I met Nelu Lazar from an organization called Lafayettech. Nelu and his group have been organizing lots of community events in technology development and entrepreneurship. I was invited to do an Arduino workshop that was hosted in foamcity on June 3. It was really fun to find so many people interested in developments with arduino. In fact, I was the least knowledgeable person in arduino within the group. There were people of varied disciplines and ages, with a common interest. During the workshop, we were able to hack an accelerometer, a LED panel and some RGB lights. Here is a pic from that day.
Also Nelu made the really cool video/interview about my project. (above)
During the past month there have been a lot of ‘bloggable’ events in my life that I haven’t been able to document because of the lack of time. What can I say, new Zine, new shirts, and travel plans! It is a very exciting moment in my life that coincides with the coming of spring and my 30th Birthday. One of the projects that had me excited all semester was the Sprite Art Workshop at the CCS, Detroit. I was invited by my artist friend Brian Barr whom we went to school together at Purdue’s Fine arts grad program. We hadn’t seen each other for about 4 years, but he contacted me through FB to see if I was interested to do a lecture and workshop with his painting students from the CCS. I immediately replied because I love doing workshops, it is my favorite art activity. It’s really fun to teach something for a day and to interact and collaborate with the participants. The outline of the lecture presentation can be downloaded here: /sprite-art/
Here is a picture of Brian:
Stefi drove me there from Lafayette, and it was a long 6 hour trip with a stop in Mc Donald’s. I use to like these Mc Donald’s stops a lot, but since we saw that movie Food Inc., it really ruined it for me. I hate doing statements about meat and stuff like that, but the reality is that it is just fucking gross. Yes the food industry is ripping everybody off and there is nothing we can do about it. My favorite stop ever was on a KFC/Tacobell restaurant, you could order nuggets and burritos on the same place! I asked if I could have KFC crunchy chicken on my chalupa but that was not possible. Anyways those rest stops are over and I’m sure I will miss the MSG craving every now and then. Okay going back to the Detroit story…
We got up early in the morning to go to the workshop. Some students got there fashionably late and heard me talk about digital art for about 1 hour. After that we started sketching some characters and then we went to the computer lab. We used photo cameras to scan the drawings, it was easy and worked well. At the end of the workshop, we had a few functional animations and a lot of creative sprites.
Walking around the College for Creative Arts was awesome, the environment felt very artistic and creative. They had an amazing art library with Magazines I even didn’t know they existed. I have always wondered if state Universities with their tenure track positions are positive to the arts, and CCS shows a different model to this. The teaching jobs there are contract based and have to be renewed regularly. The focus is on education as oposed to research, which makes more sense to me. There is a lot of hostility to get to be a tenure professor. A lot of really nice assistant professors that I’ve liked have been bullied-out of the schools I’ve been to, and it’s heartbreaking and sometimes very unfair.
Detroit has also a growing young artists’ scene that has taken advantage of the real state/financial crisis to take over the city. There are lots of artist-run gallery spaces, and old factories now turned art studios. We visited Brian’s and Lauren’s studio at an old Car/plane manufacturing plant. Here are some pictures:
Lauren and Brian showed us around and they are great hosts. We ate delicious food, had lots of funny conversations and enjoyed sharing experiences. It was so nice to spend time with friends! We went to a show in a space called Butter Projects that was very nice. I had a positive impression of the place when I saw a pregnant young woman giving chilled PBR’s from a tub. The show was called ‘nude’ and featured about 10 artists I think. The quality of the work was a little strange, it seemed that the work in it had been created the night before and carelessly. I really appreciated the sense of community from this opening, and it reminded me of the lively Lationoamerican art scenes like in Bogotá, Mexico DF or Caracas. With a similar cast of participants, the show was more about the gathering of people, but not a lot about the art and the ideas. I wish I would have talked to the guy that did the croched pink costume. That was great work!
I hope that the Detroit kids learn to capitalize the uniqueness of their city to produce significant work. The setting is ideal for a renewal of the american art, with the potential of becoming an art center like LA or NY. The future is now for them and it is in the hand of the current Detroit artists to lead attention to the art critics. Or maybe not? maybe trying to imitate the big-art-center scheme would be stupid? Didn’t the scheme of ‘making it’ already fail?
Thank you Brian, Lauren and Stephanie for such great trip experience.
The craft of creating animated frames for 2D videogames is refered to as spriting or pixel art. With the advent of new image techniques and technologies in computer graphics, pixel-level editing has become an unusual practice. Hardware’s limiting constraints in resolution and colorspace, shaped early videogame aesthetics. Art director from Megaman for NES, Keiji Infaune explains that there were “severe visual restrictions” and that, a lot of detail couldn’t be added in the dot matrix of early videogame consoles. (Infaune, 2009).
Artists of the digital age explore technologies as new tool for creative development. This workshop will contextualize videogames in contemporary art and will introduce participants to some of the techniques for sprite making and further development.
By: Esteban García
MFA, PhD student in computer graphics, Purdue University. http://snebtor.chiguiro.org/