LEMURplex ReSiDeNt show Tonight!

It’s the end of April, which means my time with the musical robots of LEMURplex is at an end.  To celebrate I’m saving the last dance for THIS FRIDAY NIGHT May 2nd at 8:00 PM at LEMURplex in Brooklyn.  I’ll be performing some disjointed technopromtendobluesical numbers and telling a tale of love, life, and loss, which together make up the work in love progress called ALLMYPERFORMANCEAREBELONGTOYOU 1ø>3 is a Work in Progress.    It’s a triptych quadtych really.   To those interested, the set list includes songs by Mungo Jerry, The Bangles, and STYX, just to name a few.  Here’s a tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny preview:


The night’s line-up includes sound artist Dafna Naphtali, and new media artist Simon Morris.

It’s all going down at LEMURplex in Brooklyn on 3rd Ave. between 9th and 10th Streets: (map)  Bar Tano is a hip joint right next door that were bound to grab a drink at after the show so come even if you come late.

more info below.

Take the F/M/R to 4th Ave. and walk one block down either 9th or 10th St. to 3rd Ave. LEMURplex is on 3rd Ave. between 9th & 10th Sts. Or, take the F/G to Smith & 9th Sts. and walk two blocks up 9th. Cross and then turn right onto 3rd Ave.

$5 at the door

bring friends!  love summer!  save the last dance!



April ReSiDeNt show: Friday, May 2ndFeaturing new works by Dafna Naphtali, Andrew Schneider and Simon Morris
Dafna Naphtali is a sound-artist and improviser-composer from an eclectic musical background. As singer/guitarist/electronic-musician she performs and composes using custom sound processing of voice and other instruments. Besides her composing and improvised projects, she co-leads the digital chamber punk ensemble What is it Like to be a Bat? with Kitty Brazelton (http://www.whatbat.org) and has collaborated/performed with Lukas Ligeti, David First, Joshua Fried, Ras Moshe, Alexander Waterman, Kathleen Supové and Hans Tammen, among others and done sound design and programming for Jin Hi Kim, Shelley Hirsch, Pamela Z, Phoebe Legere, Fred Frith, Jim Staley, Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, Chico Freeman and others. Dafna can be heard with Mechanique(s) on a forthcoming release on In-situ, and was featured vocalist on José Halac’s CD “Dance of 1000 Heads” (Tellus), as well as on her acclaimed release with What is it Like to be a Bat? on Tzadik/Oracles.
Dafna’s residency will involve dynamically controlled algorithmic improvisation and live audio processing, using vocal cues and controls to trigger and manipulate LEMUR robots.
Andrew Schneider is a multimedia designer and performer whose work investigates human/technological interdependence. He is the co-founder and Associate Artistic Director of the Chicago-based theatre company, BigPictureGroup. His solo performance work has been seen at P.S.122, Monkeytown, The Prelude Festival, and The Tank. His multimedia devices have been featured in Art Review, Wired, TimeOut NY, Maker Faire, SIGGRAPH, Dorkbot, the Telfair Art Museum, and at the Center Pompidou in Paris. His Solar Bikini has been featured internationally and is slated to be featured in the next Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. His latest projects include Experimental Devices for Performance (.com) and Acting Stranger (.com). Andrew Holds a Masters Degree in Interactive Telecommunications from NYU. He is currently working with The Wooster Group. (http://andrewjs.com)
Doing musical theatre with robots used to be Andrew’s standard joke answer to the question “So what do you want to do with your life?” Finally, a life-long dream comes true. He plans to start with a dance number, interfacing his movements with the robots via custom-built wearable controllers.
Born in New York City, Simon Morris (US/France) is a new media artist exploring urban landscapes, new musical interfaces and skateboarding. Investigating new forms of musical expression, his work examines technology and its role as a socially engaged art practice. He has conducted live performances at Eyebeam, NYC, the Article Biennale 2006 in Stavanger, Norway, the KiasmaMuseum in Helsinki, Finland and the Barker Theatre in Turku, Finland.
Simon is planning an interactive musical performance orchestrated by the movements of three skateboards.


Yeesh.  A really short day in the LEMUR studio this evening.  Leif helped me out with note dampening on the guitar bot which helps with things like this:


More to come tomorrow. The long haul for show prep (which happens on Friday, May 2nd) will be over this weekend. All my performance is belong to you.


Okay day three.  I had a vision in the shower.  That’s usually how it happens.  Change of plans somewhat.  Today I shifted focus from gestural mapping cueing to programming.  The “ModBots” / or the bots that are mainly percussive and tend to hang from the ceiling at LEMURplex / are easy enough to control using simple thresholding detection while wearing the TwitchSet.  But the bots with notes, i.e. the XyloBot and the GtrBot are much harder for me to control with any sort of fine resolution.  The GtrBot, for example, takes MIDI notes of 36-81, which means 45 note resolution.  I had been trying to control notes variations using one axis of the TriAx accelerometers on the TwitchSet.  An accelerometer is not a tilt switch and is a bad substitute for one in this case of trying to get 45 steps of resolution with a 180˚ rotation of my shaky hand.

Besides, I’m not a musician.  I’m not going to become a musician just because I have the pleasure of spending the next two weeks with musical robots.  I’ve decided to focus on the performative aspect of why I’m doing the residency.  Hell yes.  I think I’ve got something going here.  Below is a short clip documenting the partial results of today’s programming.  I didn’t write the song.  And I’m not going to tell you what song it is based on, or who wrote it.  That’s the surprise for the performance.  In progress:


Recently I spent my first significant amount of time at LEMURplex in Brooklyn as part of my April residency in preperation for the Resident show on Friday, May 2nd.  I’m not great with Max/MSP for logic, which seems to be the biggest hurdle for me right now.  That and not possessing the ability to write music are bringing me down.  I will not rest though.  Hopefully I’ll use these obstacles to make more interesting work.  Here’s a video of yesterday’s experiments:

LEMUR pre-preview

April showers bring May flowers musical robots.  I am fortunate enough to be a ReSiDeNt  at LEMURplex this month in Brooklyn.  LEMUR stands for the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots.  Um….could there be a more perfect residency?  I get to interface with their xylobot, guitarbot, hydrobots, and modbots.  I’m planning on using the Twitchset and Performoshoes (together)as a starting-off point with the bots.  I also plan on doing a lot with the fiddle~ object.  Fellow ITPer and now full time LEMURer, Leif gave me a breif walk-through of the space yesterday.  I’ll be setting up another blog over at LEMUR to document my stuffs.  Here we go…

FINAL : Physical Computing

Physical Computing FINAL : PROGRESS

As I continue work on the eye tracking code in Processing, the microcontroller code in PIC Basic Pro, the IR camera hacking, and the VCR hacking poblems abound. When sorrows come, they come not single spies, But in battalions! Follow me:

The Camera:

The original camera I was working with was an infrared sensor b/w camera ordered from All Electronics some three years ago. It has since passed:

As I hacked the 6 individual IR LEDs to lengthen the legs and give flexibility of focus the power was cut and the board divoted beyond repair. Time for a new camerea. And a new hack. Success:

Time to try my hand a hacking a better VCR than the $20 Samsung I have been using. I turn to a forgotten SONY left as a partial sublet payment. It’s got a jog wheel allowing for greater speed control between normal play, fast-forward, and rewind:


These were important factors as the line between “invisible design” and the installation having a sense of self-reference. I chose the VCR over screen based imagery in processing for two reasons. [1] I wanted to hack into a household device, a device of popular culture. A product, a throwaway, consumer trash. [2] A VCR calls attention to itself as a slightly dated device for the mechanization of memory. Contrary to data stored on a hard drive, a video tape shows linerarity. It is our happy days, scandal, nostalgia, and throw away culture manifest.

On to the jog wheel:

The jog wheel poses an interesting challenge. When it was taken apart, and put back together it was broken. Luckily, after 2 hours of jamming my pinkies into the leads, I am starting to get some results. 5 leads control four different controls: PLAY / STOP / INCREASE SPEED / DECREASE SPEED. The reason I am not calling this “fast-forward” and “rewind” is due to the fact that the jog wheel, when turned one click to the right, and in PLAY mode, will increase the speed by 200% (X2). One more click to the right and you have yourself a full-fledged FFW. The same works in reverse. From FFW, one click to the left is “X2″ play. One more click is PLAY. One more is slow motion. Further clicks to the left result in further slow dows and eventual reversal.

All told there are ELEVEN speeds the VCR can feed the tape through the heads:

X2 reverse
reverse play
reverse slow motion
reverse frame by frame
forward frame by frame
forward slow motion
forward play
X2 play

The beauty of this is the fact that these eleven stated result sequentially from only two “button presses.”

FINAL : Physical Computing

Physical Computing FINAL : START

The Project: I have chosen to create an installation that uses video tracking to control a VCR.

The Plan:

As the user watches a television screen on which the content is displayed a camera attached to the television tracks their eye movement. The pixels are captured into Processing and the darkest part of the pupil is tracked. Processing talks serially to a PIC microcontroller which, in turn controls a hacked VCR. The VCR displays the content to the TV screen.

all:most state machine diagram.jpg
This cycle opens up possiblilities of strong artistic statement and relevent content. The user’s eye “controls” the content which in turn “controls” the user’s eye.

The Process:
(week one)

Things are still very buggy as I concentrate on the physical computing side of controlling the VCR serially through Processing.
thumbs up pcomp.jpg

VIEW the clip

eyes to the soul.

This week marks the start of the second PCOMP group project. You can view a description of the project
under “Project 2.” Ed Purver, Brijetta Hall, Summer Bedard and I will be working together. Summer has put together a website where you can view some of what we are thinking…about doing. Week four’s (servo) lab results are also posted here.
– or –
watch the week four video

A brief outline of Project II

The Device: A window

The Action: Opening and closing a window

Other actions considered: cleaning the window, writing/drawing on the window

The Medium: 1. Sound
2. Temperature
3. Viewpoint
4. Smell
5. Communication.

The Goal: To affect change in the immediate environment.

By opening the window, the participant changes their immediate environment by making changes in the above mediums.

The degree of change in each medium is variable, according to how wide the window is opened. For example, if the window is opened just a crack, then there is only a small change in the sound and in the temperature, and the viewpoint does not change. However, if the window is opened wide, then there are much greater changes in sound and temperature, and viewpoint can be changed by leaning out of the window.

Different degrees of opening affect varying degrees of change in different mediums. For example, a window that is open just a crack may not immediately change the temperature of a room, but may quickly change the smell of a room.

The Physical Parameters of the Action:
Opening a window requires physically moving part of its structure.

Observations on this action:
1. Often requires both hands
2. Often an awkward activity that requires the exertion of force (usually pushing or pulling) from an uncomfortable
position, such as bending down, or reaching up.
3. Often hard to position body close to the window, due to furniture, heaters, other obstacles, or the position of the window itself.
4. Sometimes the window will not stay open
5. Different designs of window require different specific actions. For example, pushing up vertically as opposed to pushing out horizontally, or winding a handle as opposed to pulling down.
6. Sometimes hard to make the window stay open.

What patterns appear when the action is repeated?
1. Desire for change in the environment.
2. Build up and release of force.
3. Reaching, pushing, pulling.
4. Pausing. Suspension of action as the window is opened.
5. Increased awareness of senses as environment changes: smell, hearing, sight, sense of touch.

Physical characteristics of the device
1. Creates a variable, transparent boundary between an “outside” environment and an “inside” environment.
2. Security: locks.
3. Heat/Sound efficiency: double glazing
4. Frame
5. Design for motion: hinges, pulleys/weights, etc
6. Design for physical interaction; hand grips, handles, etc
7. Safety: not falling out
8. Enclosed in a greater structure, such as a wall.

What are the physical characteristics of the medium that are a given?

We think that the only given is that change has to be affected in the immediate environment, and that this change is physically initiated and controlled by the user. The glass of the window could possibly be replaced by video screen or projection, just like this ad on https://windowrepairphoenix.com/commercial/ . The device could be a “virtual window” or some kind of reference to a window.

past PCOMP work.