- January 8th, 2015
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I could see the humorous frustration in Jens Hauser’s face when the Men In Grey (Julian Oliver & Danja Vasiliev) came to the stage to “talk” about their project which was a prize winner in the Hybrid Art category. Two fellows, straitlaced and quite automaton-like, showing up at the podium; über-briefcases in hand, then on the floor, doing all of the speaking for them.
Living in an era of government wiretaps and feeling the ever increasing pressure of the jack-booted heel of para-corporations, we nevertheless feel mostly secure and trusting while we network online. The Men In Grey are here to present a type of situationist activity that dissects wireless network traffic, then presents it back to us as if we were looking at ourselves in a fun-house mirror – comical, yet unsettling. The video that they’ve put together is fairly self-explanatory, but I want to mention the basic tactics that may appear during an MIG situational-event:
• The Glance: Any image downloaded by a user of the network may appear on a screen on the side of their hardware and software filled briefcases.
• The Utterance: Facebook, AIM, ICQ, IRC, MSN Messenger chat, Yahoo, a.o. may also appear on the briefcase with built-in audio speaker recitation using text-to-speech synthesis.
• The Mirror: Full webpages browsed by a user on the network may appear on the briefcase display.
• The Forgotten: Earlier browsing sessions may be “replayed” to the user on their computer with each successive click.
• The Lost Identity: Webpages may be manipulated, URLs redirected, chat text altered, and images seen on one laptop could replace those in webpages of another.
• The Trace: Detailed network topology, system fingerprints, routing tables and host-names may be displayed on the side of the briefcase.
Importantly, the Men In Grey never view the output of the briefcases; nor do they store any data. All logs are destroyed by crushing the storage device – a small SD card – under foot at the point of departure. This act doubles as their calling card.
(thanks to Julian Oliver & Danja Vasiliev)
When you think of the Swiss, sometimes precision and fine craftsmanship comes to mind.
When you watch this extraordinary kinetic work of Michel & André Décosterd you are reminded of not only these qualities but you’re captivated by the hypnotic interplay of it’s sound and movement.
Metal tubes, equipped with loudspeakers that, as a group, rotate on it’s own axis and that,
at indeterminate times, seems to want to fling itself off this centre-point by thrusting forward and back; all with a beautiful organic-looking movement accompanied by sound-speed synchronization.
Three videos follow: the second of which I tried to follow the movement so that there was less chance of the tubes leaving the video frame. The third one is from the brothers themselves.
(thanks to Michel & André Décosterd)
At first you walk by and you think, “Oh look! There’s a Hokusai,” –
it looks a bit out of place at the entrance to the Tabakfabrik
or probably at any of the exhibitions here in Linz.
…but then, you get right up on it and look deep down into it and you see…TRASH –
plastic, to be precise – and now you understand completely because this is a picture of mass culture.
You begin to realize that you almost walked right by this in the same way that
you might walk past a discarded plastic bottle that once held “spring” water.
It’s a zooming in from the collective mass to the individual modern icon from yestermorning.
This work, Gyre, from Chris Jordan, depicts 2.4 million pieces of plastic,
equal to the estimated number of pounds of plastic pollution that enter the world’s oceans every hour.
All of the plastic in this image was collected from the Pacific Ocean.
It’s part of the second in a series known as Running the Numbers.
Through the use of shape memory alloy actuators, Akira Nakayasu has created an interactive installation that allows 169 artificial leaves to respond to movements of the hand. Each leaf is independently controlled and provides visual and aural stimuli that is beautiful and relaxing.
In 2006, the Council of Europe released a report concerning human rights in Denmark. The report was highly critical of parts of the Danish legislation relating to foreigners and of the tone of the Danish debate on immigration. The Danish government began damage control measures a full month before the report was ever released to the public. Mogens Jacobsen takes the final chapter of this report as the point of departure for this work.
At the beginning of the installation, we see a computer submerged in vegetable oil coupled to a galvanic battery that consists of hundreds of potatoes (which happens to be the Danish national food). The electrical power from the network of potatoes drives a software system that suppresses most of the words in that final chapter of the ECRI report which can be seen at an online location. As the potatoes begin to dry out, rot or begin to sprout, the biological battery begins to become less effective at hiding the suppressed text because of it’s reduced power. Gradually we see a slowly uncovered controversial text – an unveiling of a report and it’s conclusions that originally were meant to be quelled.
In 1986, Honda began developing a two-legged humanoid robot. In 2000, with a major leap in it’s style and function it was given the name ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative MObility). It’s practical application is enhanced by it being relatively short and lightweight but still able to reach light switches and doorknobs or provide services at a table making it suitable for living spaces of various sizes.
The improved model of ASIMO has some advanced capabilities that are pretty dazzling when you have the chance to see it in motion. I was pretty impressed by its weight-shifting and balance aptitude which, with somewhat of a delay, is a major accomplishment. It appears to be able to harmoniously react to humans physically – knowing how to walk hand-in-hand with a human or even shaking hands in that gently rocking arm motion that happens between two who meet and greet. Basic handling and maneuvering has been improved so that the robot can, for example, push a small grocery cart or carry trays of food or drink without spilling. In the videos below (a bit shaky, sorry), you’ll see, first, a very short bit of history followed by ASIMO walking forward, then backwards (emphasizing the use of sensors), and finally kicking a ball. The second video shows ASIMO‘s Hawaiian hula dance followed by a swift run (well, swift for something a little more than 4 feet tall). Next, you’ll see a pretty groovy video of ASIMO interacting with children in a kind of psychedelic paisley dervish pad and finally, you’ll see a longer, better quality video from the final ASIMO presentation. OK, I’ve added an appearance on QI with Stephen Fry too.
Height: 1.3 m (4.3 ft.)
Weight: 54 kg (119 lbs.)
Speed – Walking: 0 – 2.7 kph (0 – 1.7 mph)
Speed – Running: 6 kph (3.7 mph)
Sensors: Stereo camera (for human) • Slit laser sensor (for floor shape) •
Ultra-sonic sensor (for obstacles) • IC tag with optical communication unit
A nice, short video compilation from Michael Hierner.
I plan on giving you more photos, video and text on many of these projects.