Archive for September, 2009

NIME: A Mish Mash of Something Like These

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Shadow Puppet Sequencer from Semiotech on Vimeo.


Keyboard Drum

Modeling Character

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

I just found that I am one of the bazillion names credited for GTA IV and listed as a Character Model. The 3-D scan was pretty fresh, but I have no idea if any likeness of me was actually used.


Monday, September 28th, 2009

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

This reminds of me of that scene in Big when Tom Hanks is in FAO Schwartz playing the floor piano.

Cabinets of Wonder: Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Walking into the Brooklyn Botanic Garden initially feels like walking into a wealthy private residential community, complete with a fancy gate and security guard station. One of the first things I noticed upon entering was a small sign that read “Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a museum of living plants.” Before that moment I had never considered that a garden could be a museum, though I knew that a museum could have a garden. The second thing I noticed was a long and narrow expanse of grass that looked like a giant lawn. My impulse was to walk straight through it, but because there were people on it’s perimeter and not actually on the grass, I hesitated. I looked down for a “Keep Off Grass” sign, but didn’t find one. Surely if they didn’t want you touching something, it would be clear. I still wasn’t convinced and decided to explore that later and go through a paved pathway. That was the moment I had a sense of museum-ness; the feeling that I could look, but not touch.

Overall I felt like I was in a public park; being outdoors in a landscaped area, the benches, the fountains, the statues, and the people wandering or lounging about. The distinguishing difference was that this park had lots of labeled flora, gates around it, and an admission fee. And unlike most museums, there weren’t many lengthy descriptions, not many security guards, nor did it have a way to get to or find a bathroom easily. However, it did have subtly dynamic displays, lots of natural light, awesome smells, freely roaming wild things (or creatures rather), plenty of things you could touch, and a great view of the sky.

After an hour of wandering around, I found the visitor center, which had a bathroom. Centered was a kiosk of printed info, similar to the security kiosk at the Eastern Parkway entrance. The lone attendant had left her post as I was entering and was gone the entire time I was there. On the walls surrounding the kiosk were a series of uninteresting glass displays filled with what looked almost like magazine or brochure tear sheets. Behind the kiosk was a diorama of the garden that was unlit and difficult to view and read. The visitor center felt like it was deliberately designed to compel you back outside, so you could experience the garden as it was intended,.

Navigating through the website, it’s revealed that the visitor center is being redesigned and scheduled to open in 2011. I appreciated that the Garden Hours are posted on the home page of the website and is one of the first things I saw. And it took only two clicks to get to the detailed directions. I personally found the website easy, informative and clear compared to my experience with the Met Museum’s site.


If I were someone in a wheelchair, I don’t know that it would be worth my dollars to pay admission to the garden. I could get around easily on the paved paths, but that would limit what I could see. There are narrow dirt paths, inclines and steps that definitely not wheelchair friendly. Experiencing some nature is great, but I could just as easily go to Prospect Park nearby, which has more paved paths and is completely free.

As someone who speaks no English, I think I would still enjoy the Garden. I don’t really need detailed descriptions of the plants and trees. Even though they’re labeled, they’re just names anyway and most don’t say much more. Unlike a typical natural history museum, I can enjoy the exhibits because they are alive and somewhat natural (because they’re artificially arranged) and not necessarily recreated versions of the real thing. They are the real thing.

Observing the toddlers that were in the garden, it seemed they were enjoying themselves way more than being in any other kind of adult-centric museum. It’s basically a park to them, but with more visual effect. Walking through the rose garden, this little girl of about two years was “Oohing” and “Ohhing” with great exclamation at every other rose. The displays are colorful and interesting and there are smells and crawling creatures along with them, making it all the more interesting.

I loved the garden. I loved finding curious nooks, winding paths, and places where I could stretch out and lay down. What other kind of museum would you find people sitting on the ground or doing yoga undisturbed?

Freestyle, Raining Texts and an ITP MacArthur Genius

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Camille Utterback is one of this year’s recipients of the MacArthur Grant. Text Rain was a project she created while at ITP and is currently one of the inspirations I have for my NIME project.

I want to incorporate audience participation to create a freestyle composition live. One idea I have is for audience members to text into a server that will trigger sound samples live onstage that I will manipulate and arrange. The composition would be created using some computer vision techniques a la Jitter and/or Processing that recalls (at least to me) some Text Rain imagery. Not the content of imagery, but rather the concept. The shadows (rather, my shadow) bouncing letters or shapes or colors even, but also in turn producing sound.

I just realized this is also similar in effect to Mike Clemow’s NIME project last year, the Shadow Puppet Sequencer. The twist here being the audience participation and myself as the shadow. As well as some other randomness.

It’s an ambitious idea and I’m excited, but we’ll see how this concept unfolds and possibly shifts and changes as I go along (and am constrained by time). Here we go….ITP Fall/Winter 2009!

WWII Female Computer Programmers

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

(*Image is from the ENIAC Programmers Project)

This article is from 2007, but worth the revival:

Children Playing in the Congo

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Found this while looking for footage of children playing in different African countries.

TNO Tonight @ Solas!

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

TNO @ Solas, Sept 17th from Winslow Porter on Vimeo.

TNO @ Solas, Sept 17th

232 East 9th St
(btw 2nd and 3rd)

$4 Draft Beer all night
$5 Margaritas, Mohitos and Sangria

Round Robbin DJ sets by your very own:

Cabinets of Wonder: Assignment 1

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Frick Museum

A Teenager’s Perspective:

This place isn’t so huge, not like the Met or Natural History, but it does seem just as old. And kinda smells like it too. I wonder when all this stuff was made. Hey cool! Sweet – that old guy walking around with that lady seems to know a lot about everything here. Wait a minute. This was some dude’s house? This place is GINORMOUS! What are those bell sounds? Those old-school clocks work? Hmm… time is wrong, but oh snap! they still work! Stuff in museums never work! Awesome!

Metropolitan Museum

Stadium sized stoop to sit and have a bite
The building’s massive, but not too bright
Inside spaces with outside places
Recreated from the now devastated

A maze that lays out history
To uncover some mystery
Juxtaposed incongruity
An expo for you and me

We’re supposed to experience
Cultural significance
Through fragments and ornaments
And temperature controlled environments

But the roof is the room with the real view
A sky blue, or gray, or whatever that day
There’s something I can definitely touch and feel
Trees and buildings in a scene more surreal
Than surrealism

NIME: Assignment 1

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I’ve noticed that lately, I haven’t been listening to music as much as I usually do. I think it’s been my attempt to try and tune into my environment whereas normally I would be tuning out. One thing that remains constant is that my alarm clock is set to the radio. I’ve tuned it to Hot 97 primarily because I don’t listen to that station. I find Hot 97 a little annoying, so it prompts me to get up and at the very least, hit snooze. I tried tuning it to some talk radio before, but found that I would sleep right through it. The volume on the radio is loud enough to be audible, but low enough to not be so jarring to wake to. Other than that, I’ve only been listening to music while commuting.

Here’s a medley of intros to some songs I listened to this week:

Whenever I’m home, there’s always a car driving past my building that is blasting music loudly. The other night, I came home to hear my roommate singing along in his room to some folk artist that I didn’t recognize. Within a half hour, he emerged dressed to go out. I’m assuming that was his “getting-ready-to-go-out” music.

I was watching a video made for a particular entry into the Guggenheim Design It Shelter Competition which had music for all 2:20 minutes of the video. It was simple, but pretty cheesy. It basically sounded like a prerecorded track on a synth from the early 1990s. And even though the design was interesting, the music that accompanied it was boring and seemed to do nothing to enhance the visual.

NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression)

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

NIME was the first class I went to this week and it was an awesome introduction to my 2nd and graduating year at ITP. Hans-Christoph Steiner is teaching the class together with Greg Shakar. We have a great group of people in the class and I’m looking forward to everyone’s projects and our performances this December.

Some ideas I have for the class are:

* Some kind of audience participated, improv composition. What initially came to mind was Freestyle Love Supreme, but with a twist. I first saw Freestyle Love Supreme some years ago when my friend Arthur Lewis was performing with them. At the time, Lin-Manuel was also performing, but I’m not sure if he still is since In the Heights has been on Broadway.

In any case, Freestyle Love Supreme is an improv group that “get words from the audience – use them to inspire new rap songs – build a hip-hop community.”

My very loose concept takes a similar approach, by having the audience contribute to the sonic composition during the performance. I currently have no real cohesive idea as to exactly how I’ll be doing this except that it may involve sensors, colors, lights, camera, computer and Max/MSP/Jitter in some way.

* Another idea (again, very loose), involves Jitter and segmenting quadrants in space. Each quadrant will correspond to a sound or effect. The camera will be used as a sensor and will detect the movement (and possibly color) in space to create sound. The movement will namely be me (or some other moving being) sort of dancing around to create the composition live. But this idea may potentially find itself fusing with the first idea.

Ideally, I’d like some cohesive beats/rhythms in my piece as opposed to something more random and ethereal. I do DJ after all, love beats and enjoy when people are dancing. I definitely don’t expect people to dance at NIME, but some head nodding would be cool.

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