Monday, November 14, 2011

Interactive YouTube

YouTube is by far one of the most popular video sharing sites on the internet. Recently the company announced that they have reached over two billion videos viewed per day. That seems almost impossible! People are using it for news, entertainment, education, dreams of fame, and for speaking their minds. I personally have it set as my home page on my browser and there is almost never a day that goes by that I don't use it. It's just that videos seem much more entertaining and straight forward. This is probably due to the fact people can just sit back and relax as the videos play themselves at a steady pace, compared to text or images which people read at their own pace. Then there is also just the wow factor of being able to see almost anything you want, except for porn. I mean you can still find chicks shaking it on YouTube but basically they try to keep that stuff off their site. This is a good thing, because most other video sharing sites that allow porn usually just turn into porn sites.

Another great innovations that YouTube has created for their video sharing experience is the ability to embed links within videos. Most of the time the links just take you to someone's channel or something but some people are actually using the linking to create a 'choose your own adventure' type interactive video story. People started doing this as soon as the ability to embed links in their videos started. Recently though, the production value on these adventures has begun to go up and we are now seeing much more polished works of art.

I had the luck of stumbling across a piece entitled Interactive Movie Zombie Adventure which was made to promote a company called Hell's Pizza. I must say, this is by far one of the best interactive videos I've seen yet. Throughout the video the user gets to make about three decisions (more if you make the wrong decisions like I did) that either end the story or keep it going. However the thing that really got me was the the quality of the production. The whole thing was in HD, the actors were pretty hilarious, costuming seemed legitimate, and the story line was nicely written. At one point there was a little skit concerning a scooter that can only be described as ROFL.

This is the kind of artwork that I like the best. Artwork that uses the newest and hippest technology to infiltrate an audience. Ten years ago, even five years ago, this would not have been possible. We needed to wait till peoples internet connections were fast enough, until the website supported HD, and until a non pornographic video site took over the internet. And still with all that we needed crafty individuals to come up with a way to use technologies in alternative ways. Admittedly though YouTube is so big now that many people will never find this video amongst the endless sea of other videos that are constantly growing ever day. I still think its cool though how people can figure out how to take something as passive as watching a video on the internet and make it into an interactive artwork by simply using the tools that we take for granted everyday. Happy YouTubing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Artistic Goals

I plan on creating an immerse 3D space in which live webcam feed is assigned to finite user controlled 3D "points" within that space. Users would then be able to move thier "points" freely within the 3D space. The viewer can choose to navigate to and observe the webcam feed on other "points" or a they could simply sit back and watch the interactions between the various "points" navigating within the 3D space.

Technical Tools

- Generate a 3D space using

-Generate 3D points with

-Webcam Integration onto 3D objects.

-User control via mouse or keyboard.

-Support for multiple user.


Week 1

-Decide on the 3D space to work in. [1hr]

-Code camera view controls to mouse and keyboard. [2hrs]

-Decide the best way to display the controllable points (g. on boids or on 3D shapes?) [1hr]

-Research the best way to pull webcam feed off the internet and figure out the limitations. [2hrs]

-Assign a webcam to the camera view/3D shape. [1hr]

-Troubleshoot [5 hrs]

Week 2

-Make demo program [2hrs]

-Load it to another computer [1hr]

-Integrate a second webcam [2hrs]

-Troubleshoot [5hrs]

-Integrate more webcams [2hrs]

-Troubleshoot [5hrs]

Week 3

-Work on proximity interactions
-Sound [2hrs] Video [2hrs]

-Work on other visual interactions [4hrs]

-Troubleshoot [5hrs]

Week 4

Final Touches

Monday, October 24, 2011

Interactive Art

In his 2004 article entitled Trouble at the Interface, or the Identity Crisis of Interactive Art, Erkki Huhtamo tries to define the crazily progressive world of interactive art. He goes over his first encounter with interactive art at the Prix Arts Electronica and how he has been obsessing over it ever since. Huhtamo even drops some important history about the beginnings of interactive art, starting with the Futurist, and Dadaist movements of the past. Actually he drops a lot of history about interactive art; how it was influenced by the industrial era, invention of the computer, toys, and even vending machines. Overall, Huhtamo seems like hes pretty ecstatic for interactive art. Or is he...

In 2004 Huhtamo returned to his happy place, the Prix Arts Electronica. But this time, to his dismay, he is awestruck to find that an artwork which he considered non-interactive, winning the Grand Prize in "Interactive Art." The piece was entitled Listening Post and was created by artist Mark Hansen. Basically it uses a computer to pull random text from various internet chat rooms, arranging them one word at a time onto a display consisting of hundreds of little LCD screens. Many audience members described the experience as meditative. Huhtamo's didn't see it the same way.

Huhtamo went into a whole long explanation about why the piece won but didn't deserve to win. First he looks at the Jury's perspective and finds that they have shifted their perspective and altered the definition of "interactive art" to include: 1. Computers as non-required, 2. The idea of "real-time" was relaxed and 3. passive interaction as allowed. Hutamo's response was -just make a whole new category of art already.

However, out of his frustration with the Listening Post , he does point out a lot of other interactive artworks that share things in common with the newly added rules. Like the fact that interactive art started before computers. But he still points out that its not interactive and is more like a painting in the sense that you just sense it and nothing more. Oh, and he doesn't like the idea about incorporating the internet either. Something about cybernetic organisms... and um John Connor? Might of just threw that in, anyways... Huhtamo finishes his argument with the statement that we should make a new category for things like the Listening Post that aren't up to his standards of interactivity.

So after reading that, I looked at some a couple of other Grand Prize winners for interactivity at the Prix Ars Electronica. First I looked at The Fulgurator which is this cool camera-gun thing that this guy Julius von Bismark made. It uses the cameras flash to flash words or images that are captured on film but too fast to be seen by the naked eye. It leaves a cool little image in "real-time."
The second artwork I looked at was called the EyeWriter and its a cool little mod this team of guys made out of existing technology. It allows artist who are paralyzed to draw with their eyes. The Eyewriter is pretty amazing. After watching the little video they made to demonstrate the technology, I was inspired. I mean, art is all about being able to express yourself. Developing something that allows someone to do that, especially for someone who thought they would probably never be able to express themselves ever again, is simply amazing.

All in all, I don't see what Huhtamo is so worked up about. Interactive art is part of art which is defined by its ability to incorporate new ways of interactivity. In this era of high technology, it is no surprise that innovations in the field are going to happen fast. And not all of those innovations are going to fit nicely into the previously constructed category. I think the problem comes with trying to define any aspect of this realm of infinite potential and creativity known as art. Especially when you start to break things into categories such as "interactive." After all, anything that is art has to incorporate some level of interactivity, even if its just through your eyes, which can do much more than just look at things, as proven with the EyeWriter. I say we take some pointers from the some of the original curators of this type of art-form, like the Dadaist, and stop trying to define all our parameters.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I read Jim Campbell's Delusion in Dialog and he talked about how people don't understand computers. Then he gave me a confusing riddle about how we interact with ourselves by interacting with the computer. He also said programs like photoshop suck 'cause they don't let the user do anything. That it's better to use third party software but you don't want to get stuck on that either. I got no new way of understanding how to talk about art on computers other than saying computers can do math functions like; simulate randomness, get input and remember stuff. We are suppose to describe stuff as functions like; activating a hidden button to cause "seeming" intelligence or something.

So I looked at this guy Prix Ars and he made what he calls a Gambiocycle which is just a fancy name he gave to his rig that he built upon his bicycle, making it "portable." It pretty much consist of a bunch of input devices rigged to a computer with a projected output. This allow for real time interaction between viewers and the artwork.

So what I got out of the reading is that we need to input into a computer and get an output since the computer is just numbers and doesn't do any real thinking. I think Campbell's framework should be extended to analyze the way the art is being output. To me the most important piece of technology is not the computer but the projector. Sure the computer is running all these processes but the real draw to the work and what makes it interactive is that it is being projected onto a huge visual screen. The fact that its now apart of the environment means that anyone can enjoy it from their own unique perspective. It also allows the audience to feel connected in an experience without being constrained to the experience. Like when you go to a club you don't go to listen to music but the music is a necessity.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Branigan's Art Experiment

From the beginning, all I was trying to do was something original in the hopes that it would help me live a better life. So I started out with an idea I thought was impossible: Animating without having to change the image, just changing the filter or perspective. This drew its inspiration out of Rufus Seder’s “Scanimation.” I wanted to construct some sort of stationary display that would change when the viewer walked past it. I had some prototypes:

videoBut through more and more research, found out Seder already had it covered. Originality Fail!

I tried to be more original (like 10x) and figured there should be a way to simply design a flat image that would work somehow. Kind of how auto-stereograms, optical illusions, or holographic images work.

Ended up with stuff like this:

Then I heard a few people in class talking about online art contest and monies and I got distracted. Idea: use one of the unique display styles I’ve been working on in an online contest. Woot! BTW here’s a good site for online contest.

However, at this point I began to get frustrated and tripped out with all the weird angles and patterns of everything I’d been doing.

(I used all the different colors so that I could easily select the different sections alternatively by color to compile my images.)

I thought maybe I was being too technical and needed to be more emotional or something. Awww.

Anyways… made this pretty picture:

Originally meant for the ladies ;) I entered it into a condom design contest, so I guess now it’s for men... As you can probably tell, I incorporated some of the line style from the scanimation into it. I think it looks pretty good on a rubber and the catch phrases I thought up go with it pretty well. Condom companies name is “One” BTW.

I know your suppose to let the audience interpret the emotional message of the artwork but I interpret it as my longing to return home to Hawaii this summer and spend a nice time on the beach with those who are closest to me. Fueled by emotional intent, I decided to enter more art contest in hopes to make the monies to do that! The next contest was to make a commercial for 3M following a theme dealing with "couple speak". So I made one in flash. Took me 2 days or around 10 hours. I rushed it ‘cause there was an extra $1,000 that could be made if you got it in on June 1st by 4:00 pm. I got it in that day at 3:59pm :P Here it is.

In conclusion, I learned a lot through being both technical and incorporating emotions. Now I have some motivation through online art contest to get my work at least seen.