CITYWIDE


Citywide In Paris: Futur en Seine
June 22, 2012, 6:29 pm
Filed under: Exhibition, Technology

On my first day on my freshman year floor, our RA Jenna chose “Two Truths and a Lie” as our inaugural icebreaker. When my time came to make my new floormates what my lie was, I told them that my uncle was a huge rockstar in Madagascar and that I loved computers (I can’t remember what I gave as a third option). Immediately, everyone guessed the computer one was the lie. They were right; other than their practical nature, I saw nothing particularly appealing about computers then–try to tear me away from it now though and you might have a different answer. I thought I had been so smart by putting in something ridiculous to throw them off, but I guess my un-techy-ness was visible from the get-go, even to complete strangers.

All this to say that Futur en Seine, the digital innovation festival going on in all of the Parisian region until the 24th, is not at first sight a place where you might expect to find me. Even though I have now warmed up to what the digital culture has brought for us and feel much less of a need to be hostile to the technological innovations around me, a lot of what gets discussed in these circles is way beyond my level of understanding.

Luckily, I went to the festival’s inaugural fair at the CentQuatre on the two days it was open to the public, when kids were running around everywhere  and many curious souls erred, which forced all the people presenting their work to make what was often probably very complex technology seem intelligible to simple minds like mine. Also, thanks to a plethora of tactile screens and Kinect-based games, a good amount of stations ended up being somewhat interactive, even though a lot of it was aimed at children. For example, I passed in front of one screen that detected bodies going in front of the camera and added Iron Man suits on the image that was then formed on the screen. Another station allowed you to embody a flying creature in a videogame if you spread your arms out and bent side to side to mimic flight. Thinking back on it, the whole Kinect experience was doubly unreal. The center where the fair took place, the CentQuatre, used to be a morgue so with these games, huge crowds of people played with these almost ghostly, mirror images of themselves while standing in a place with a bit of a haunted history. I realize as I’m writing it that it sounds rather morbid, but I’m keeping it because I still find it quite fascinating.

However, the most fun application of that technology was shown during a workshop for children who had recorded and filmed a few video samples during an after-school program. One of the program directors would put up some of the pictures they’d taken on the screen and as a few girls volunteered to dance in front of the camera (their song of choice was Danza Kuduro), any big arm movement would make the picture superimposed over their feed change shape so that as you saw the girls moving around to the rhythm, the picture on top would also then follow that same beat. So a much more alive use of Kinect, this time.

While Futur en Seine wasn’t a place where I thought I’d find much artistic inspiration (going there was really just an excuse to go see my sister and hang out), I was pleasantly surprised, because there was still a lot of creativity at work once you looked past the more commercial ventures present. Below, you’ll see videos of some of the projects I talk about in the piece that aired on the show in case my description of them didn’t give you a full idea.

Here’s Object Avatar by Digitalarti‘s Jason Cook:

And Jules Hotrique’s Dualo:

With my new, more open mind, I look forward to telling you about more Parisian adventures!

Sedera

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The 2012 Vimeo Film Festival with Jeremy Boxer and Eliot Rausch

The online video-sharing platform Vimeo signifies much about the current relationship between art, society, and technology. Users of Vimeo utilize the site to share originally produced video content on a high-quality player for free. For independent filmmakers, artists, and documentarians, who may have spent zero to hundreds of thousands of dollars creating a video, to share their work in the way it deserves to be seen without having to pay a distribution company or rent out a theater. It is a way for people to get their work noticed without taking the risk of submitting to film festivals, which sometimes only accept films on the condition that they do not screen at any other festival or be seen online. This may be true of just about any video-sharing site, but the quickest glance at Vimeo exhibits its uniqueness as a media platform.

On Vimeo, you will not see television or popular movie clips, you cannot search for any song you want to hear and expect to find a video file of it, and you do not find commercials. Rather Vimeo contains only the original work of its users, most of them aspiring artists or media creators. As such, the site is rife with music videos, lyrical documentaries, tone poems, tutorials, clever/cute animations, etc… There is no shortage of beautiful and entertaining content in the age of DSLRs, prosumer editing software, and easy access to educational resources. While technical quality and formal qualities do vary between extremes, the site is curated to an extent. In short, Vimeo has found a new way to contribute to the elimination of exclusivity in art.

This being the case, it can be pretty easy to get overwhelmed by the massive amount of video art with immediate availability. No one wants to become sensitized to beauty and artists have good reason to feel reluctant exhibiting work on a platform absolutely flooded with high quality, original work. Premiering video online can be just as risky as preparing a film for a festival. Thus the Vimeo Film Festival.

The Vimeo Film Festival goes against many accustomed film festival traditions. First, it is among the few festivals in existence that even allow screenings of films that have premiered online, and it is one of even fewer that focus on internet-released films. The festival also follows an opposite format to most festivals by holding the award ceremony at the festival’s opening rather than its conclusion. Jeremy Boxer, the festival’s co-founder and director as well as creative director for Vimeo, states the reason for this as an attempt to celebrate the winning filmmakers throughout the festival, which culminates in a winner’s screening at the end of the event where attendees can see all the films that have risen to the top without feeling like they missed out. The awards, too, go to less conventional categories like ‘Advertising, Lyrical, Action Sports, Motion graphics, and Remix; categories meant to reflect the work of Vimeo’s community.

This year’s festival also features many workshops and lectures from illustrious members of the film industry including Ed Burns. It is the work of these people and those like Jeremy Boxer who create a channel for people with passion and a message to express themselves freely. It has always been possible, but it was never the popular path. Filmmakers these days are beginning to take advantage of the fact that they do not have to tailor their work to appeal to someone who can give them a job. Platforms like Vimeo and its associated film festival create an infrastructure for art to disseminate off of its own merit rather than the approval of a single curator or “taste-maker.”

Listen to the show to hear Jeremy Boxer discuss the highlights of this year’s festival and previous Vimeo Film Festival Grand Prize, winner Eliot Rausch, talk about what Vimeo has been able to do to propel his own career forward. The trailer for his new film “Limbo” appears below and below that is his award winning film, “Last Minutes with Oden.”

Eliot Rausch, director of “Last Minutes With Oden” and the forthcoming “Limbo”

 

[audio https://files.nyu.edu/ltg219/public/Eliot%20Rausch.mp3]

Lucas Green



110 Stories Interview with Brian August
September 13, 2011, 6:37 pm
Filed under: New York City, Projects, Technology | Tags: , ,

When it comes to the reckoning of a tragic event, some methods can be dubious indeed. Some people are content to keep a picture around their house or a note on the fridge to manifest their personal means of “Never Forget[ing].” Others feel a pull to extend their own thoughts and feelings by publishing poetry, publicly demonstrating, or proliferating a painting. Each of these and more were reactions to the obliteration of the Wold Trade Center towers and the people inside them on September 11, 2001. Of course, some efforts are less benign. Coming through in a fashion statement or a pathos-ridden television program, many implements frequently skirt the gap between commemoration and monetary or political capitalization. And it when it comes to the erection of public monument even more troubles arise.

Not even the most sensitive artist could design the physical structure that both captures the collective sentiment and remains stolidly democratic. To be sure, most people when confronted in depth would be hard-pressed to truly and succinctly describe what they feel and why it is that everyone should feel that way. My own personal feelings are skewed by the fact that I was 10-years-old when the Towers fell and on the West side of the country. Because of this ambiguity, most public memorials tend to be objective and monotone. This isn’t to disregard the enormous well of feeling that floods the mourner at the Vietnam Memorial. However, although the objective and perpendicular orientation of the confrontation in this example effectively  evokes a powerful notion, there is little room left for the profound public discourse that can only take place from a single person sharing their story in their own words.

New Yorker Brian August, with the help of augmented reality developers I-nnovation and doPanic, used novel technology to eliminate the paradox of mass memorial and personal mourning. Brian designed an application for the iPhone and the Android that places the images of Towers as the y stood before 2001 back into their rightful location. It is called “110 Stories.” The app works by orienting your smart phone to face the skyline where the towers once stood. Once located an outline of the Towers appear as they would from the perspective of where you are standing. You are then asked to take a picture, and to publish you are required to write a personal comment or “story” relating to the towers.

The design of this application enables a platform where people can compare and understand the innumerable combinations of connections people have/had with Ground Zero. Brian and his team create the outline of a memory and it is up to whoever wishes to fill it in. It is a monument that expands over a web and emphasizes the personal story rather than consolidating it. In the interview Brian discusses his inspiration and what motivated him to dedicate hours of life in creating a FREE app. He also shares some of his own memories and feelings about the World Trade Center. Please enjoy-

[audio https://files.nyu.edu/ltg219/public/01%20110%20Stories%201.mp3]

Lucas Green



110 Stories
August 7, 2011, 3:37 am
Filed under: New York City, Technology

Hi everyone!

I thought I’d set down a quick post to announce that I am returning to the show after some time off in which I spent studying outside of the country. I am thrilled with the shows that have been put together the past six months and I am excited to start up again recording interviews that reach the standard that Zoe and Sedera have set these past six months.

I want to start things off again by previewing to you an amazing project of an upcoming guest that I ran across at the New York Tech Meet-up this month in August. The project is called “110 Stories.” It is a digital memorial to the events of September 11th, 2001. Through an iPhone application, Brian August has designed a means by which people may share their stories of the World Trade Centers in their lives and provide the community with both their emotional and visual perspectives. It is high-concept and deeply felt. The Kickstarter page speaks for it better than I ever could. There it is below. Look forward to hearing more about it in the future on Citywide.

Lucas Green



Ryoji Ikeda’s ‘the transfinite’
May 22, 2011, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Art, Exhibition, New York City, Technology | Tags:

trans·fi·nite [trans-fahy-nahyt] –adjective

going beyond or surpassing the finite.

In his upcoming installation at the Park Avenue Armory, Ryoji Ikeda explores the transfinite.  As the installation will be housed in the Armory’s 55,000 sq ft. Wade Thompson drill hall, the infinite may not seem so far off.  Articulated to me by Armory president Rebecca Robertson and artistic director Kristy Edmunds, Ryoji’s conception of the infinite is something beautiful; a concentration composed of the sonifying and aestheticizing of sets of data.  For this particular installation Ikeda synthesized data sets from the human genome sequence, NASA constellation coordinates, and non-human muscle structures, amongst others, to create the installation’s soundscape and aesthetic cues.

To the unfamiliar ear Ikeda’s installation may sound like sonic destruction, but it is that confrontation with seemingly infinite sets of data that brings the transfinite into the realm of the sublime.  The installation is limitless in its scope and its sonic possibilities.  Listen in for Kristy and Rebecca’s take on Ikeda’s infinite precision, and the challenges of curating such an installation.

[audio https://files.nyu.edu/zar205/public/Ryoji%20Ikeda%202.mp3]

Zoe Rosenberg



Evan Douglis [rebroadcast]
December 30, 2010, 12:40 am
Filed under: Art, New York City, Technology | Tags:

I have never had a conversation with anyone who speaks as eloquently, artistically or passionately about architecture and design as Evan Douglis did when we spoke over a year ago.  Despite the time passed, his metaphors have stuck in my mind and continue to reveal themselves to me as I walk around our fine City.

I remember the night I left the studio after I spoke with Mr. Douglis; eyes up and mind open to the immense possibilities brought to the world through architecture and design.  Begin on your path to urban enlightenment and listen to Evan unfurl the “beautiful tweed” of architecture and design as he expounds upon emerging technologies in design, the relationship between architecture and legacy, architectural rigor in terms of chess, and more.

Zoe Rosenberg