5 page contextual research

Andrew Schneider
Spring 2007
Wednesday 3:30 – 6:00
Caren Rabbino, Instructor

The purpose of this paper is to provide a contextual background to the development of Avant-Garde-Ables, my thesis project for the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. Avant-Garde-Ables (working title) are a series of wearable, performer-oriented devices for the direct real-time manipulation of live and prerecorded media in the live performance space. For the purposes of this paper I will use the term media to refer to video, audio, lighting, and mechanisms. These devices will be used to develop and refine the action of a specific performance in parallel development called PLEASURE (working title). PLEASURE is a one-man show exploring the human condition in a technologically saturated and hyper-everythinged world.

Blood & Semen Earrings – Wearables Project.01

jarsSmall.jpgThis week’s task had us create out own Venus of Willendorf (Wikipedia link). Many things about this project allow for wild interpretation. When creating this archival object we are encouraged to think about what we want to represent personally. What do we want to leave behind as an artifact of our relationship to ourselves and to the world.

One of the most interesting speclations regarding the Venus of Willendorf I came across in my research was from collective know-it-all Wikipedia. It states,

“The statue’s feet don’t allow it to stand on its own. Due to this it has been speculated that it was meant to be held, rather than simply looked at. Rather than an icon of a Mother Goddess some archaeologists have called it merely a good-luck charm.[citation needed] Others have raised the possibility that it was designed to be inserted vaginally, perhaps as a fertility charm, to become pregnant. Yet others have suggested that the object could have been a male masturbatory aid. The purpose of the carving is subject to much speculation.”

I find this part about fertility especially fascinating. Thinking about fertility, life anew, in the same context as thinking about what archaeologists will find of us in thousands of years is an interesting notion. Birth and death. Objects to literally help with life. Charms. Pornography.

Knowing that I want to explore this project in three distinct areas (the personal, the cultural, and the archaeological) I’ve come up with a set of components to use:

medicinal miscellanea

…and so I made earrings. Genetic jewelry.

First I need to draw blood. I’ve borrowed a couple of insulin syringes from a friend.
Next I need the semen. (silence)

Okay. So I’ll use the blood and semen that I’ve collected and fill empty gelatin capsules (the kind that you get from the Vitamin Shoppe).

These will start to dissolve fairly quickly after coming into contact with liquid, and even quicker when that liquid is warm. Because of this I’ve chilled some water in an ice cube tray to the point immediately proceeding the first signs of crystallization. I’ve formed wire into the earring shape and length that I want in order to hang about the neck in a certain way. The wire is affixed to the side of the ice cube tray and will hold each gelcap in place while it freezes. Wait until they are completely frozen.


Then wait 26,000 years for an archaeologist to discover them and make some fairly bold statements about our world. Oh, and there’s always the possibility of clones from the genetic material stored within the earrings. Getting the ice to melt is the fashionable part.




Wear your heart. Wear your sex. Wear some one else’s. Excessorize.


Only after the entire class ran its course could I be bothered to actually share some thoughts on the ins and outs of my time spent there. Nancy is a great mentor.

Here are the fruits of my labour:

acting stranger

The premise? I write short, climax only, two person scripts, stripped of exposition, and denouement.
Strangers contact me, we set up a date, time, place and decide on parts. They come with their part memorized. The camera is rolling. No introductions are made. We exist in a relationship only within the scene. The scene is our only interaction. The scene ends. They walk away. The video is posted.


video workshop week.07

Although the sensor project is not due for another week, I have decided to post the progress I’ve made on my own personal project. I am also again working with Ed and Ariel on a modernization of the old “Pepper’s Ghost” Illusion, and with GabeBC on an elegant installation dealing with depression.

My own project centers around the concept of augmenting perceived real-time video with prerecorded video. It’s much easier to show the demo I built this week than explain it in prose.

check the photos for what I am envisioning the final project to reflect. I am considering using the body as a possible subject, although my college photo teacher said that using the body as subject is “fuckin overdone.” We’ll see what happens.

networked objects week.05



This week’s task:
“For this project, the whole class will play a giant game of networked Pong together. You’ll be given the address of a server on which the Pong game will run, and the details of the protocol for each Pong paddle client. Your assignment is to make a physical input device that logs into the server and plays the game.”


The classic Pong game maps physical movement to a virtual screen representation. How can I magnify and extend this?

mapping the real to the virtual:

The pong controller from the classic game is fairly simple. Rotate the controller counter-clockwise and the virtual paddle moves left, rotate the controller clockwise, the virtual paddle moves to the right. With such a structured and simple set of parameters, mapping the movement became an excercise not in what was most suitable, but what was most fun and expressive.

After some time working through a pong set-up based on some of the techniques of Matthew Barney, I decided to take the thinking in a less lofty direction. What I ended up with, is a very physical mapping scheme: taking off one’s clothing.


Using a very low resolution method of analog video tacking, I was able to determine whether the paddle (stripper) was to move left or move right.

A small security camera feeds an upturned black and white monitor. The monitor is capped with a perf boards covered with strategically placed photocells. As the stripper moves from left to right, their corresponding image moves left and right on the monitor. Pixels grow brighter and fade. The photocells pass the corresponding brightness values to an Arduino module, which connects to the network and plays the game. Arduino Code.

A short clip documenting the pong client I created as part of Tom Igoe’s Networked objects class in the fall of 2006.  I used analog video tracking (camera to monitor to photocells to arduino) to send values that corresponded to moving the paddle left and right.  Short lived, but burned into the memory of my classmates forever. 


networked objects week.03

Picture 4.png

Rocio and I (in the absence of Chris Paretti and Kati London) presented our concept of “The Future of the Clock Radio in a Networked World”:

Ultimately we decided to flesh out the “Around the World Clock” from last week’s notes. The clock has now been dubbed “RadiUs.”
We got some good feedback, and Rocio and I both expressed some interest is exploring the project further.

A pdf of the presentation can be found here. Although without the notes we read from it doesn’t really do you much good now does it?

video workshop week.03

thoughts on this weeks reading from Database as a Genre of New Media by Lev Manovich

The Database Logic

Lev Manovich opens with a fairly agreeable series of statements that read as follows: “Many new media objects do not tell stories; they don’t have beginning or end; in fact, they don’t have any development, thematically, formally or otherwise which would organize their elements into a sequence. Instead, they are collections of individual items, where every item has the same significance as any other.” There are two ways of looking at this statement. The first, is to agree: traditional narrative cannot live and grow contained within the structure of many new media objects. The second, is to take a realistic, albeit relative, approach and assert that this is presicely the place to where story telling has evolved (or devolved).