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“Listening to Firefox” – presenters

“Listening to Firefox” is finally here! After months of planning and organising, our inaugural North West salon/meet-up for discussion across “wider implications of software culture” is happening at 2pm Sunday 15th of May over at Manchester’s MadLab.

5 practitioners have been invited to present extremely short (<3mins) single-slide examples of work across a spectrum of digital-art-technology. From there, the emphasis moves to an open and critically aware roundtable discussion of the wider implications of this practice:

 

Stephen Fortune – Data and Reality

 

Markus Soukup -  relicts / 2011

John O’Shea – Open Source Swan Pedalo

Nick Holloway – UK libraries cuts map

Caroline Heron – “Precarious Labour”

 

Listening to Firefox exists to create a space for open and engaged discussion across a spectrum of digital-art-technology practice with an emphasis on the social, cultural and political implications of this work.  This inaugural event has been co-organised by John O’Shea, Simon Poulter and Hwa Young Jung at MadLab.

 

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MadLab Manchester 15th May 2011

http://listeningtofirefox.eventbrite.com/

Wider Implications of Software Culture

The Event

  • What: Salon discussion and short presentations at Mad Lab in Manchester
  • When: Sunday 15th May – 2pm-4pm
  • Theme: “Open Source vs. The Big Society”

 

Listening to Firefox exists to create a space for open and engaged discussion across a spectrum of digital-art-technology practice with an emphasis on the social, cultural and political implications of this work.

 

Theme for this event: Open Source vs. The Big Society

 

Format: 5 practitioners are invited to present extremely short (<3mins) single-slide examples across a spectrum of digital-art-technology practice. From there, the emphasis moves to an open and critically aware roundtable discussion.

 

Rooted in practice, the event will facilitate greater peer awareness, cross-pollination and hopefully instigate conversations which need to be had!


Origins: Listening to Firefox emerged out of discussions held at the 2011 Metal/DEC Digital LAB held at Metal’s Chalkwell Hall in Southend on Sea. The LAB was facilitated by artists Graham Harwood and Simon Poulter and attended by 8 artists from a wide spectrum of disciplines.

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Metal DEC Lab Interviews

The interviews from the Metal DEC lab are now online at the youtube page

 

 

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Light Responsive Animation

Animation Still

Click here to see an extract of the animation: animation(s)

 

Before I came to the Metal Lab I had been working to create an animation that would connect light to duration and time and explore an idea of exposure in digital format.  The lab offerred a great site to try out the apparatus. The were some nice windows with a view out to the amazing estuarine vista, there was a buzz of activity in the space in front of the window so the opportunity was there.

The apparatus itself would monitor light levels coming through the window using a light dependant resistor. This went through  a micro-controller, into the software and would in turn control  the brightness and contrast of an image captured through a video camera and then the frequency at which the images were captured.  When the images were captured they were uploaded to a server where they could be captured and compiled into a stop-frame animation.

 

Here is the patch for people who like these things:

Screen shot of the Max patch I created

 

 

The apparatus created a space for me to have many conversations and reflect on the critical environment of the labs and begin to take apart and address the individual elements of the work and how they interact with this idea of software culture.

My conclusion is something like…. why am I trying to create a device to capture an image in response to light when I have a camera already?

 

 

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UN SPACE?

Graham Harwood invited me to have a walk on the ‘mud’, which was a very fascinating meditative experience. It was shortly before the tide would arrive in the afternoon so we had around 30 minutes to walk through the ‘drill’ of water, which is a little river bed. Interestingly you actually walk in that drill as it has a harder soil than the mud beside, which is very sticky and makes walking nearly impossible.

Since a couple of years I am interested in the phenomenon of travel and it’s impact on the perception of space and dimension. The walk as the ‘basic’ human walking speed provides a very close connection for the individual to its surroundings, sensory experience and memory.

The ‘mud’ walk brought us to an ‘in between place’, which is accessible at certain times either by foot or boat. The space is probably more considered as a water area than a soil area in our psycho geography. The cyclic accessibility interestingly relates to gravity between earth and moon.

 

stills from video fragment 'UN SPACE'

 

I filmed a bit and started to work on an experimental video fragment (sketch). The walk as a starting point for creating an audio visual fragment might seem naive, but it brings about a meditative element reminding on the dependence of human activity in relation to its situation of the planets climate condition as well as its unique set up in the universe.

As a result I tried to create an ‘in between space’ visually, which is not easily to locate and which allows the imagination a drift for identifying it.

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A class of old habits

The elegance of coding is a topic that popped up regularly in the conversations between the participants of this lab. Graham Harwood inspired me to think a bit more about coding in general. This phrase on Wikipedia seems to summarize well what elegant code should be:

… a computer program or algorithm is elegant if it uses a small amount of intuitive code to great effect.

I do not consider myself as a pure coder, but I might begin to understand why I am so attracted by the act of coding. There is simply something beautiful about an elegant piece of working code.

During this week I managed to spend some time with Processing. Not much, but still I rewrote some old Actionscript to function in Processing and turned it into an ‘elegant’ class. Then I browsed the available ‘Getting started with Processing‘ examples and in a very basic way plugged in my class. Here is a result of these ‘messing around sessions’:

Processing exercise

Obviously it resembles my previous work in Actionscript since I simple reused my old code. But I have it now in an elegant reusable class. The very traditional wish for visual beauty in art is matched by a very similar ‘feel’ of beauty in writing code.

It think I still need these kinds of visual outputs just to show or communicate to people what I sense while writing ‘elegant’ code.

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A game of QR chess

QR Code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

QR-code look basically like this:

example of a qr code

My interest in these codes was among others a pure visual one. (more…)

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