Sunday, September 25, 2005

Editors Note Updated 27SEP05 19:36

Transvergence Proposal: Oculus/Observatory

This is a proposal of my project for the ISEA2006/ZeroOne Festival. I have asked my contacts in the art, tech, physics and other communities to help me form this proposal. I will post some of the correspondence from these contacts as it develops.

Proposal Zero One Festival 2006
Working title: Oculus/Observatory/ staring at the sun

The Oculus/Observatory: Staring at Sol is a large form public art platform to provide visitors to the ISEA 2006 symposium and the Zero One Festival a point to relax. The space is structured as an icon of the futurist ideal, the geodesic dome. The Fullerian space is designed to develop the dialog away from the symposium, a place to unwind, a place to discuss.

It employs metaphors to the eye, different ways of seeing and stargazing. The physical structure also mimics the space of a planetarium or an outdoor stargazing experience through a video projection of visual data from the SOHO solar research platform. The space provides a getaway from the festival and symposium in a climate controlled (cool, dark) space. It offers the participants places to sit or lie back as they stare at the projection of the sun mediated through the SOHO satellite. Through this mediation the viewer is allowed to do what normally would be devastatingly harmful: endlessly stare at the sun.

Physical Plant

Layout and Space:
The physical plant of Oculus/Observatory is a 30-foot diameter tent domed with geodesic dome. The geodesic frame will be traced with neon-like lighting of cycling secondary colors that will affect an illusion of a modulating glow from within during the dawn, twilight and night hours. Two corridors spiral into the observatory allowing egress to the oculus. Inside the structure viewers will find a cool dark environment, centered overhead is a projection of near real-time images of the Sun mediated from the SOHO satellite. Places to lounge will be provided as well as a ‘lawn’ to lie down on and gaze.

The Corridors:
These corridors are known as the paths of envisage/pre-retinal and encounter/post-retinal. These passages will begin transition to the darker interior environment. At the end of the corridor Visitors will enter the observatory chamber through a light lock that will mediate the daylight input. These passages are neither entry nor exit; they are egresses or portals into the metaphor. This is purposely done to deconstruct binding nature of the narrative form of beginning-event-ending. It is the choice/option of the viewer to engage the passage from either mode of seeing and flow toward either portal as exit.

The Dome and tent construction:
The dome is a lightweight tent structure made of fire-retardant material and PVC manufactured by Shelter Systems of Menlo Park. Shelter Systems provides a covering option of light exterior and black interior. Each of the vertices will support up to 15 lbs; overall weight can be distributed over many vertices to achieve a safe suspension. The tent can be knee-walled to form a higher head clearance on the interior. The 31.5-foot diameter tent is approximately 15.5 ft at the highest point inside. The tent is easily staked down to provide stability. Additionally the side can be opened to allow an arched opening that allows for normal passage without ‘ducking’. The tent can be assembled in an hour without the need of special tools. More information is available at: and

The Climate:
The inside space is climate controlled maintaining an environment approx 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is to lend to the illusion/theatrical experience of night temperatures. Additionally, it offers the visitors a spot to escape the normally warm to hot weather of August. The mean maximum August temperature for San Jose is 82 with a record high of 89 (data from: Research on keeping tenet cooled in progress. The volume of tent is approximately 30,000 cu. ft.

Images from SOHO(Solar and Heliospheric Observatory will be projected on the ceiling of the dome allowing the visitor to stare endlessly into the sun. The images are obtained every hour and processed through the Transformation Engine, a computer generated animation. Over the hour this system will morph one photographic state into the next. The overall effect will be a near-contemporaneous image of Sol mediated by satellite/researcher/animation.

The center of the oculus floor will be covered with an artificial lawn and few pieces of furniture to allow the visitors a space to sit or lie down and watch the slowly unfolding projection. Participants are encouraged to sit on the lawn. A walkway is separated from the lawn by a cordon and encircles the outside the perimeter of the ‘lawn’ and connects to the light-locks. Outside the walkway, the perimeter of the observatory is flanked with seating for alternative viewing and visitors who wish not to sit on the floor.

The Audience:
The installation is focused on the participants of the Symposium/Festival. Additionally my project is focused on the scientific community that is found in the Silicon Valley area. Stanford Solar Lab and AMES are two of the of science institutions that come to mind. In addition the physics dept at SJSU is advising me. They have shown great interest in the project as a platform to

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

.avi (pc)
.ram (pc)
mpeg (mpg)cross platform
mpeg4 scales to any bandwidth dvd quality, better compression ready to stream, focused on streaming video over wide variety of devices
.qt alternate quicktime
.mov quicktime native MAc

mpeg2 dvd quality

mp3 both
.aiff mac
.au most common file (mac and unix)
.wma microsoft competitor to mp3
.wav windows (sound application to play on Mac)
.ra (.ram) both real audio player

audacity program for audio

riping from dvd dvdshrink

Monday, September 19, 2005

notes 19 Sept 2005

Julia has output problem in export drops into avi instead of quicktime she is using primiere on pc platform

Kat problems with converting files

Cyrus media offline error.

Discussion on what is Cinema article from this weekends homework.

Abstraction is a point of argument in class

the difference between the graphic and photographic and the implications.

Stan Brackage

New media is going through the growing pains that greenbergs children using tool to their ultimate use

interactive narrative
gaming vs cinema
games often have narrative skeleton at very least
isn't the act of cognation an interactive act
Writing/creating to an audience is an interactive act

watched manovich little movies

soft cinema by manovich

Saturday, September 17, 2005

musings on "what is digital cinema?" from

Manovich's article 'WHAT IS DIGITAL CINEMA?' is a dissertation to clarify a historical context that contemporary cinematographers stand upon. It analyzes specifically the role of how technology is pervasively infiltrating film and tries to define the terminology: digital cinema.

Cinema even in its historical infancy is dependent on the same idea as an illusion of moving reality directly bonded to the transition of time. Manovich excavates proto-film/projection history by pointing to the Phantasmagoria shows of the late 18th century. Actual movement was employed to utilize the temporal in these shows. The projectionist moved the projector to zoom or pan the image.

Development of the projected image advanced toward the loop-image devices such as the Thaumatrope and the Zoetrope. These devices were dependent on a relatively small number of image 'cells' and were drawn or painted images in the early development. Muybridge used paintings in his Zoopraxiscope lectures, because technology had yet to offer a reasonable photographic alternative. As projection moved toward mechanization the length of the projected media extended and thus the illusion of temporeality could be extended toward a more realistic experience. This of course lends itself to storytelling and narrative was to become the dominant paradigm in film for the next 100 years.

I am critical of Manovich's second principle in digital filmmaking. The statement is as follows:

2. Once live action footage is digitized (or directly recorded in a digital format), it loses its privileged indexical relationship to pro-filmic reality. The computer does not distinguish between an image obtained through the photographic lens, an image created in a paint program or an image synthesized in a 3-D graphics package, since they are made from the same material -- pixels. And pixels, regardless of their origin, can be easily altered, substituted one for another, and so on. Live action footage is reduced to be just another graphic, no different than images which were created manually.

I believe this point is partially flawed in the respect that film is a mediator even its’ verisimilitude to reality. Film mediates in the same method as the selection of images chosen by a painter. The filmographer chooses shot, time, etc. Film is not a pipe/reality (read my semiotics rant in the post below). Film is a chemistry-coated strip that is akin to a canvas and paint or perhaps more likely stained glass. Pixels are just the technologically current transformation in medium. I acknowledge that pixels by their binary nature are more abstract than film chemistry since their reality is only appropriately ordered ones and zeroes mediated through a tool. Film to digital media is not any more defining a transition than painted image to mechanically advanced image. It (projection!) is the transformation of the signified (nature) to the signifier (image); humankind has pursued such acts since at least Lascaux. I believe he means to show the level of mediation has advanced another layer, it is technological change nothing more mysterious.

Manovich arrives back at this firm theoretical footing through some wormhole in fabric logic as he acknowledges digital cinema to be a sum:

5. Given the preceding principles, we can define digital film in this way:
digital film = live action material + painting + image processing + compositing + 2-D computer animation + 3-D computer animation

This approach extends the possibilities of the medium and frees it of the enslavement of narrative bonds. It achieves the elasticity and creative possibilities that are akin to painting. I am going to base my first projection on this concept as painting.

-kn, out!

A bio from his website:
Lev Manovich ( was born in Moscow and moved to New York in 1981. He studied fine arts, architecture, animation, and programming before starting to work with computer media in 1984. Since mid 1990s, his projects have been shown in the key international exhibitions of new media art; In 2003 ICA London presented a retrospective of his works entitled "Lev Manovich: Adventures in Digital Cinema." Currently he is working on a five year project Soft Cinema which was supported by commissions from ZKM (2002) and BALTIC (2003).
ok the grossest oversimplification ever put forward on the ideas known as Semiotics:

Semiotics the study of signs and signifiers: A literary and philosophical study/science of the representative (and misrepresenative) nature of language and linguistics. The roots of this study lead from the early 20th century theories of Ferdinand de Sasseur (Course in General Linguistics, 1916). Semiotics and related linguistic theory/study often implicate the frame of reference of the audience of the work as the chief determinant of the signified image or work. The theory exploits the abstract nature of language; language and art can never really represent the plasticity of reality and thus is always in conflict with nature/reality. This thought is highly exploited in Rene Magritte's painting Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

In addition to this mediative effect, messages (art,news,media, etc) of course can be twisted by the mediating influences of the author and the culture at large. By filtering the work through the dominant paradigms of the author/culture, a work can be fetishisized into a belief system emergent only from these a prioris. This cultural assumption thus reinforces the paradigm further removing objective reference.

Again another gross oversimplification of the facts and story but consider this: a fascinating convergence happened in theories of cosmology in the same decades that semiotic theory was being hatched. A young physics uspstart named Albert Einstein was thrusting upon the world the theory that the study of our universe was dependent observers frame of reference. His theories show how the observer can effect the observered natural phenomena. Again the Viewer biases the Viewed. Put that in your Ceci n’est pas une pipe and smoke it!

more reading if you are truly masochistic:

-neutrino, out!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

notes from class on 14sep05:

Play PLay Play

use lab time to work network learn from one another

be sure to blog on the semiotics intro

read what is Digital video on syllabus

paly play play

disolves, filters, tools from FCP
check out this kick ass site! watch other luscious video projects. post your work!

-kn out
Methodology for first project video

1 minute long exact!
Audio and video cannot be linked
10 seconds max. each cut
Found footage

Due October 3rd.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

the tyranny of the narrative and classic films

narrative is a methodology. by this device stories are unfolded in a linear fashion. like a Rube Goldberg machine one action causes a reaction; this in turn precipitates another reaction and so on. narrative methodology is rather rigid and will follow these progressions:
(1)scene/setting established
(2)characters(heroes/antiheroes/protagonists/antagonists) introduced
(3)conflict arises between character-this arc is where we find the drama/comedy/tragedy
(4)conflict resolution

This methodology is oppressive because of its' inherent tidiness. Rarely do we find life so neat and clear cut. this vehicle is a pale reflection of life and all its' backwaters and subplots. to consider this form of methodology the class has been assigned to watch some films from the Golden Era of Hollywood. i was provided the rare opportunity (man, i was sick) to watch three films from to fulfill the assignment. the films are:

A Night at the Opera1935 directed by Sam Wood; starring: Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones and of course the Marx Bros.

an amazing film, the Marx brothers assist two young lovers to rise into elite opera community against the hurdles of society snobs and egotistic stars. all the while Groucho and Chico skim and bilk, Harpo teases, and all three chase women. the story unfolds strictly in narrative form:
(1) high society of the opera scene
(2)Groucho is courting the rich heiress and hanging onto the opera society for free lunches, we are introduced to the young performers beautiful talented and gracious, and we see the established talent (gross, overconfident, egotistic)
(3)the established, egotistic performer and heroine are signed to the prestigious company which splits up our young heroine and hero, separates Groucho from his free lunch train, etc
(3) groucho and bros and hero follow the heroine to reclaim his love and win the position overturning the egoist. They 'delay' the established performer during the season opener and the hero rushes in and proves he is a worthy talent.
(4) groucho gets his free lunch back, the lovers are reunited and the hero wins the lead in the company.

Key Largo 1948 directed by the inimitatable John Huston; starring: no less than Bacall, Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lionel Barrymore...

(1&2)Frank McCloud (Bogart) is a dour veteran of WWII passes through the Florida Keys stops to meet the family of his fallen war-buddy. He find s himself in the middle of a group of nervous shady characters that are obviously up to something. Chief among them toughguy Johnny Rocco (Robinson) who seems to be putting the Temple Family in awkward if not dangerous situations
(3)Frank struggles with his own mortality and bitterness at the war as sadist Rocco pushes everyone's buttons to pass the time while he waits for another thug to get there.
(4) Frank is victorious after the big shoot-out, yet he is wounded ahhh film noir....

A Night in Casablanca 1946 directed by Archie L. Mayo and starring the Marx Bros. I am not going to analyze this film but to say I have wanted to see it ever since I read the Goucho Letters . Check it out even if you have to read the little bit on line. this is the funniest damn thing I think I have ever read is the letters from the Warner Bros. lawyers and Groucho's responses regarding this film.