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September 14 2009

What Inspiration can ArsElectronica09 be to a Hackerspace?

The 5:16pm train brought me back from Linz/Upper-Austria yesterday. It also brought some blisters, exhausted legs and an innumerable array of impressions from Ars Electronica 2009, some of which I'll try to relay in this blogpost.

I bought a daypass on Sunday, which might or might not have paid off, I'm not quite sure.. 33€ is quite a lot of money, especially when the train ticket already cost you a hundred bucks. To anyone going to Ars in 2010 I suggest to buy a festival pass, spend at least 3 days on the various exhibitions and talks and prepare yourself a schedule (because theirs clearly sucked).

Ars Electronica Center (AEC)
The labs
The Ars electronica center clearly has an abundant array of interesting stuff sitting around. With their Fab-, Brain-, and Bio-labs on the -3 floor, they touch a broad variety of subjects, from cyborgs via sensor-enhanced art to 3D printers and lasercutters. This is actually somewhat like MIT's Medialab in Boston, only that this is clearly more exhibition-focused and less a working space. And clearly a lot smaller.

The picture above is a web made of wire straps.

The sculpture in the above picture does actually sense when you go near it and it reacts by moving its various "body"-parts.

Knock! Music Program (by Novmichi Tosa)
The second floor actually has some cool hands-on stuff that you can't actually touch, which is sad. But anyway, the Knock music machine is a pretty cool concept of an semi-electric music instrument. There were several components to it, the picture below is just one of them.
I actually found a couple of youtube videos of the machine in action. I just hope you understand some japanese ;) (Another resource I found is Novmichi's sketchblog.)

loopScape (by Ryota Kuwakubo)
Another great thing on the second floor was obviously loopScape. In contrast to ordinary computer games, this is one where you actually have to move around the "screen", which is made out of leds. Steering your fighter-jet with a wireless controller, your goal is to shoot down the enemy's fighter. To get all of the action, you can't stand still but have to move around to actually see everything that is happening in this fast-paced game.

Quartet is a huge machine that produces sounds from resonating wine-glasses and golf-balls being projected onto wooden xylophone bars. I hope I managed to capture some of that motion in my still.

Höhenrausch was an exhibition above the roofs of Linz. Walking on a wooden structure, you get from exhibit to exhibit while having a grandiose view over the city. You could even take a ride in a Ferris wheel.

One exhibit was really awesome! If you stood below the sprinklers with an umbrella, you'd hear 8-bit music as produced by the frequency of the water being released. The umbrella's tissue serves as a simple membrane and produces astonishingly clear sounds.

Cyberarts Festival
Tantalum Memorial - Residue (website)
Relay station for a social phone network used by the congolese diaspora in London.
And yes, though this thing is not your most recent asterisk pbx, it actually worked and was relaying calls for people on that network. From the project's website:

"'Tantalum Memorial' is a series of telephony-based memorials by the artists group Harwood, Wright, Yokokoji, to the people who have died as a result of the “coltan wars” in the Congo. The installation is constructed out of electromagnetic Strowger switches – the basis of the first automatic telephone exchange invented in 1888. The title of the work refers to the metal tantalum, an essential component of mobile phones"

Pursuit of the unheard
One of the things that kept me awake on Sunday evening was the "Höllenmaschine", one of the first, if not THE first synthesizer ever. Built by Bob Moog for Max Brand. As it says in the brochure: "The first wiring diagrams for the Max Brand synthesizer by Bob Moog are dated 1957."

On Monday morning, I decided to check out the MIT Impetus exhibition nonetheless, even though I thought I had already seen most of it in the Medialab itself.
And oh and I was so wrong!

littleBits (website)
Again, a little excerpt from their website:
"littleBits is an opensource library of discrete electronic components pre-assembled in tiny circuit boards. Just as Legos allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are simple, intuitive, space-sensitive blocks that make prototyping with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together. With a growing number of available modules, littleBits aims to move electronics from late stages of the design process to its earliest ones, and from the hands of experts, to those of artists, makers and designers."

Various impressions from Linz

One thing that I noticed already on Sunday were these "stencils". Only, it only came to me on Monday though that these weren't your ordinary stencils. What is so uncommon here is that the stencils are actually areas that are cleaner than the area around it. So what you see here is kind of a 'cleaner's graffiti'. (No, I'm in no way affiliated to Mazda or any other automobile manufacturer)

Finally, a last picture of the "Fassadenfestival":

A couple more pictures will be made available on my soup.
(All images contained herein are subject to the CC-BY-SA license.)
Reposted fromkwisatz kwisatz

June 09 2009

Audio, Video and Photo Resources from Boston

You'll find our recordings, the hyperstudio videos as well as a link to the only photo-gallery. Mind that access to the audio files is restricted.

May 24 2009

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the main building of the MIT
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student life at Harvard on a sunny day

May 20 2009

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Visiting Harvard - on the right our tourguide, a local student
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Having dinner together at Joe´s (?)
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The view overlooking Boston from Prudential Tower

Personal Highlights

Vorausgeschickt: Ich erlaube mir meinen Beitrag auf deutsch zu schreiben, weil das schneller und wahrscheinlich auch fehlerfreier geht.

Highlights gab es für mich während der Exkursion mehrere, bzw. eigentlich war alles was wir gesehen und erlebt haben, in gewisser Hinsicht ein Highlight. Genannt seinen hierbei der Besuch des Harvard- und des MIT-Campus, welche es uns ermöglicht haben, einen kleinen Einblick in die amerikanische Universitätskultur zu erhalten; der Besuch im HyperStudio und das Treffen mit Kurt Fendt, sowie die Möglichkeit MediaLab und deren Projekte näher kennenzulernen; der Besuch des Kongresses MIT6 und das damit verbundene Sammeln vieler neuer, interessanter Informationen bei den verschiedenen Vorträgen; sowie die einmalige Chanche Noam Chomsky und Ernst von Glasersfeld persönlich zu treffen.

Alles Ereignisse die man gesammelt hat, aber bis zu einem gewissen Grad erst verarbeiten musste, bspw. wurde uns erst nach mehreren Gesprächen bewusst, was für eine großartige Möglichkeit es überhaupt war, sich mit den beiden international renommierten Wissenschaftlern persönlich treffen zu dürfen - eine Chance die sicher nicht viele Studenten bekommen.

Bei dieser Gelegenheit, ein herzliches Dankeschön an Theo Hug, der das alles ermöglicht hat und an die beiden Tutorinnen Barbara und Johanna für die ganze Organisation. 

Die Exkursion war für mich ein absolutes Highlight meiner Studienzeit. Abgesehen davon, daß ich eine tolle Stadt kennenlernen und neues Wissen sammeln konnte, hatte ich auch die Möglichkeit neue Studienkollegen kennenzulernen. Dass wir teilweise aus unterschiedlichen Studienrichtungen kommen, habe ich dabei als besonders bereichernd empfunden.


May 04 2009

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Our last stop on Wednesday the 22nd was The Education Arcade (TEA) group. We learned about their aspirations and projects, such as labyrinth, "an on-line puzzle adventure game, designed to promote math and literacy learning".
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More Media-Lab Madness
I can't seem to get the media-lab's awesomeness out of my head. This place would be my perfect playground. It has lots of technology, hands-on experience, open spaces, couches, manufacturing apparati... toys and theory...
When we eventually left the building, I did so very reluctantly.
Reposted bysyn2cat syn2cat

May 03 2009

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Chilling in the Boston Public Garden after several conference- sessions and watching the sunset.
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The crew having lunch on the way to another marvellous meeting with Mr. Ernst von Glasersfeld.

May 01 2009

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First Call Session of the MiT6 conference. The Sessions were generally held in small to mid-sized MIT classrooms or auditoriums.
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Tangible Media Group's Jamie Ziegelbaum walked us through the G-stalt (has video) user interface. This thing is simply awesome! Anyone reminded of Minority Report? ;)
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Being walked through MIT's Media Lab on Wednesday the 22nd was definitely one of our highlights. Projects from the Tangible Media Group were to be discovered and experienced hands on!
Thanks go to Daniel Leithinger for his introduction to the group's innovative work.

April 27 2009

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Hacking @ MIT
Reposted bysyn2catSteveClement
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Media Lab and more of the MIT Campus
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Kurt Fendt @ Hyperstudio, CMS, MIT
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Henry Jenkins: What happened before Youtube

Sunday night

The conference is already over. We gained a lot of new knowledge about many several issues in media studies and business culture. It was really a great opportunity meeting experts of different universities from various countries. After all it was a pretty tough weekend, but on the other hand it was for sure a unique experience. Furthermore students and even lecturers joined the Boston-Nightlife in Cambridge.
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