.Block the show

.Working in Allan’s apartment has already proven troublesome. The dimensions of the Live Bait Theater are significantly bigger than that of the interior of this West Lakeview railroad. This is not an insignificant comparison as the groundplan for Live Bait does not exist outside of BIG PICTURE GROUP’s Master Electrician, Margaret Hartman’s own drafting. I personally visited the space for the first time today and documented as much as I could, to send to Christine Shallenberg, dependent study‘s lighting designer, as she has not yet flown in from New York.

Although it is hard to get a sense of space, everyone seems more than properly focused and prepared. Allan has impressed me with his preparation. We made a lot of progress getting him out of his head today. Getting someone out of someone else’s head definitely helps me to get myself out of my own head. Sally continues to impress with her natural ability and connectivity.

We blocked the show, with few choreographic and movement based exceptions. Much of the stagnant “stilyzed” blocking is in transition, or flat out has been changed. I am not sure if this is a product of doing what is right, or simply being a bit bored with the blocking from the previous two incarnations of this particular show. (dependent study was originally presented as part of the Phoenix Season during my undergraduate years at Illinois Wesleyan University / subsequent productions include a run at P.S. 122 during the New York City International Fringe Festival.) “DISSECTION” has also been re-introduced in this production after being cut during the Fringe run.


.Table Work
.Read through
.Ensemble Building

.A first rehearsal is always both nerrrrvwracking and fun. I feel more of an obligation to make things right since I wrote the show. There is no “done” with your own work. No one’s published it. It’s not another author’s work who has already gotten it right. It is us. It is me. Mine. It’s twice the work. Figuring out what it all means in the retrospect. It also happens to be one of the most rewarding things I know of in life.

here we go.


BIG PICTURE GROUP‘S second show, dependent study, opens on January 6th, 2005, at the Live Bait Theater in Chicago, IL. I’ve decided to keep online documentation of the process. Throughout the next several weeks, I will organize, document, and post the process as I see it relevent to the process itself to activley keep a log of discoveries, thoughts, doubts, and various works in progress.




The latest late-breaking news, (to me anyway) ROCKETBOOM!

rocketboom press.jpg

Mom will be proud:



whether man OBSERVER.jpg

This is all well and good. But how long can I keep up the act? How can I compete with the likes of Cecily Tynan, (compare) A redheaded beauty who delivers the news with compassion and charisma to Philadelphia-area audiences; Cecily Tynan is one of the brightest and most beautiful anchors in the business, who, I have been told, has herself been told on December 11th of this year to “suck it” by the likes of the proud blogger known only as the “bella vista social club?

Another link from a guy who’s latest blog includes the phrase:
I am now selling some back issues of Sassy magazine (for a friend, I swear!)” Thank you MAGNETBOX, for the link.


The Processing Side of Things

I have decided to pair my PCOMP final with the final for Intro to Computation Media. The VCR project fulfills the requirements of both final projects. ICM’s main requirement is to use Processing.

The Code has been giving me some trouble as ITP is my first experience with a programming language of anykind. The trick with most eye tracking as I understand it is tracking both the pupil and the glint – the bright reflection caused by shining an infrared or other some-such light into the pupil. Jason Babcock is an ITP alumnus who wrote an eye tracking application for OS X for his final. His site has been helpful. For my purposes, fortunately, I only need three differentiable areas to correspond with the three controls of the VCR: “fast-forward,” “rewind,” and “play.” View the code here.


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.”