Aron Altmark Painted the Town Red, and It Was Good

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On April 20, Aron Altmark Painted the Town of Birmingham, Alabama Red.  It was good.

From the videos I got from Aron, it was really good.  Since the first post about Aron’s IndieGogo funding campaign, I’ve been excited to post about what he did, and that it benefitted the American Red Cross, which is also excellent.  Light for Enjoyment AND helping people in the process is what I am all about lately.  Sometimes you just have to use photons for happiness.

I emailed Aron and asked him about this adventure, links and bolding are mine:

All of this was for Paint the Town Red, an annual digital arts festival that turns downtown Birmingham into a giant media canvas for digital artists. We had a projection-mapped dome with a silent rave in it, many small installations featuring local light artists, a projection-mapped Mini Cooper, fire dancers, trapeze artists, and of course my two large installations. I was the featured artist this year and flew in from LA to do the show.

My main work was a Kinect hack utilizing a video camera, depth sensor, and custom applications — this setup allowed any of the festival attendees to walk into a “stage” area and interact with their digital proxy, projected thirty feet high via a 10K HD projector. It was a bit of an interactive painting game (with a healthy does of DanceDanceRevolution), with realtime input of up to six users. In addition to this, about every half hour my good friend and amazingly talented dancer Erica Thornton put on a performance for the crowd. For the performances, I ran a different custom application that tracked Erica’s left and right hands and created particle systems based on speed and motion, with audio-reactive elements built in as well. Both applications were controlled by a custom UI on an iPad.

Of course, we also had a giant laser graffiti setup going — this one five stories high and about 100 feet wide using a 15K projector + 50mW laser pointer. The citizens of Birmingham came out and made their mark on the city, with messages ranging from the ever-present “Roll Tide” to “I Believe in Birmingham”. The entire event was put on to raise money for the Birmingham-Jefferson Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Aron, you’re awesome.  Let’s check out some videos!

The Multi-user Kinect station:

Paint The Town Red – Kinect Station Multi-User from aronaltmark on Vimeo.

The Single-user Kinect Station, with a dancer:

Paint The Town Red – Kinect Station from aronaltmark on Vimeo.

The Single-user Kinect station, again:

Paint The Town Red – Kinect Station from aronaltmark on Vimeo.

The 3 photos here and all of the videography in this post comes from AK Photo (www.facebook.com/asherkrellphoto/), who is Asher Krell from Birmingham, Alabama.  Great work, AK!

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Thanks to Aron for letting me know about the work!

The Daily Lamp – Full-Size Human Lamps from Al Hamad Design

Today’s Daily Lamp is a pretty awesome (at least to me!) selection of actual human-sized mannequin lamps from Al Hamad Design in Kuwait — and when I say actual human-sized, I mean that the lamp is a standing version of a person with a lampshade where there should be a head.  Oh, and to turn the lamp on?  You shake its hand.  Check it out:

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From the Al Hamad Design website on Embarakiya, the line’s name:

Embarakiya are human floor lamps dressed in traditional Kuwaiti wardrobe.  The lamp shades are upholstered in the actual fabric of the headdress.  Each of these lamps features a touch sensor in the hand with three dimmer settings.  Shake hands and the lamp will turn on.  The men include a built-in speaker in the torso.

Well I sure the hell have never seen anything like this before!  Embarakiya lamps have a fiberglass body, real fabric covering, and have cultural significance as they’re modeled on Kuwaiti clothing.  There’s a standing man lamp, a standing woman lamp, a woman lamp sitting, and a standing child lamp.  This is certainly different than any lamp I’ve ever seen!

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I’ve read nothing but article after article on these lamps that says they’re creepy.  Do you agree?  I think they’re awesome!

 

Infra, A TV Built from Remote Controls from TVs

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All of the remotes in the world that wind up getting lost in couches and/or accidentally stuck in the refrigerator are all cheering right now, mostly because Chris Shen has turned the tables for them. Meet Chris Shen‘s installation called Infra, which is composed of 625 re-purposed remote controls hooked into a Peggy and made to broadcast low-res live TV, albeit in infrared:

INFRA by Chris Shen from Chris Shen on Vimeo.

625 discarded remote controls, repurposed to broadcast live television using the infrared LEDs inside each device. Creating an infrared display invisible to the naked eye. When viewed through infrared goggles, the light becomes visible and the low resolution TV broadcast can be seen.

A TV made from remote controls.

Exhibited at 18 Hewett Street, London – January 2013
More info: http://chrisshen.net/infra

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Awesome. The also equally awesome compadres over at Evil Mad Scientist Labs also got Chris to talk a bit about how he made everything work — which these guys are really, really, really good at doing! Chris Shen used a modified Peggy 2 from the Evil Mad Scientists’ Lab — the Peggy 2 is a pegboard-kind of system that can drive 625 LEDs into a display. Chris modified his Peggy 2 with Molex connectors and then again on each remote so they could be plugged directly into the Peggy 2.

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I love being a nerd.  We are inheriting the Earth.

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Something extra cool — an interview with Chris about Infra at Post New.

One Hundred Live and Die from Bruce Nauman

Another statement from an artist I’m seeing now as a cross between VIcki DaSilva and Dan Flavin — Bruce Nauman’s work, One Hundred Live and Die, is absolutely chilling to me:

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From the post at The Fox is Black:

One Hundred Live and Die is what many consider to be Nauman’s masterpiece. Sad and hopeful, One Hundred flickers through each possible flippant, mundane, and tragic way to live or die in a blaze of neon exuberance. Each phrase (“LAUNCH AND LIVE,” “FALL AND DIE,” “SPIT AND LIVE,” etc.) light the room with its orange, blue, white, or whatever color it may be. It paints the room and provides a surprisingly profound commentary on life, telling a story with each phrase, reiterating just how fucked up life can be (which may elicit tears, laughter, or blank stares). In the end, One Hundred resonates with all one hundred phrases lit, blindingly beautiful and a little overwhelming.

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Illustrations for An Asteroid Novel

I saw these on 50 Watts, and I was just taken aback at how accurately the light in each scene was sketched. I mean seriously – check these out and tell me if you don’t have an exact idea as to how to light every one of these plates!

These are from a book called Lesabéndio: An Asteroid Novel (1913) by Austrian illustrator Alfred Kubin  (1877- 1959):

First published in German in 1913 and widely considered to be Paul Scheerbart’s masterpiece, Lesabéndio is an intergalactic utopian novel that describes life on the planetoid Pallas, where rubbery suction-footed life forms with telescopic eyes smoke bubble-weed in mushroom meadows under violet skies and green stars. Amid the conveyor-belt highways and lighthouses weaving together the mountains and valleys, a visionary named Lesabéndio hatches a plan to build a 44-mile-high tower and employ architecture to connect the two halves of their double star. A cosmic ecological fable, Scheerbart’s novel was admired by such architects as Bruno Taut and Walter Gropius, and such thinkers as Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem (whose wedding present to Benjamin was a copy of Lesabéndio). Benjamin had intended to devote the concluding section of his lost manuscript The True Politician to a discussion of the positive political possibilities embedded in Scheerbart’s “Asteroid Novel.” As translator Christina Svendsen writes in her introduction, “Lesabéndio helps us imagine an ecological politics more daring than the conservative politics of preservation, even as it reminds us that we are part of a larger galactic set of interrelationships.”

So it’s not light Musical Theatre reading is the general gist…

Lesabendio-Scheerbart

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Being able to sketch out light is so essential for Lighting Designers; I think that rendering digitally and pre-viz have perhaps caused a lack of teaching of this skill.  It’s also not a skill that I never really mastered, which was why I learned how to do it on a computer.  Ah, the circle of life…

LEDs, Lady Gaga Smell-Well, and Projections at Nuit Blanche 2012

Did you go to Nuit Blanche 2012 in Toronto in October?  Laura and I did, and we took some photos that I’m just now able to get to after the trade show season.  I spoke with lots of people on the street at Nuit Blanche this year, and everyone seemed to have a great time — the only thing that was a bit hard to manage was the influx of people that were present downtown for this event.  There were some awesome exhibits and light installations — but anything interactive was pretty much mobbed with people and hard to really get a sense of the artists’ messages.  Regardless, it was a lot of fun!  Check out some photos below, and experience my entire trip with the photo gallery at the bottom!

There were some fun words at the top of this post that describe how f*cked up some of the Nuit Blanche-goers got, it’s worth a quick peek.  It’s totally true — lack of organization, and a real lack of general community.  Read the post.

As we walked by the Hudson’s Bay Company in Toronto we noticed this freaky storefront window scene that we had to stop and check out — and it was Lady Gaga’s perfume on display.  That’s some pretty crazy perfume marketing, huh!  I definitely liked the design enough to take photos…

Lady Gaga's Smellwell

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Apparently this perfume makes you smell like a psycho mad scientist:

Lady Gaga Does Window Displays

Oh, officially of course Lady Gaga had nothing to do with Nuit Blanche, but her display was part of MY Nuit Blanche, so that’s why it’s here!

Something that we saw but didn’t really get a chance to experience was Beam of Underground Sun by Arezoo Talebzadeh and Kaveh Ashourinia — ostensibly, they had taken some very bright LED sources and put them down under the street at several meters down.  Arezoo and Kaveh also added some powerful fans and some silk cloth under the street to give the effect of waves of light being cast up through the grate they chose in the street.  Check this one out, it is beautiful, especially with the photos of no people around it:

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This, however, is what the real Nuit Blanche Beam of Underground Sun experience was, which was different than intended I assume but had its own jua de vive, if you will:

It was still beautiful, just mobbed with people standing directly in the way of the beam and the overall everything of the piece.

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You can kind of see down into the shaft with the fan, the fabric, and the LED units:

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It was pretty cool to be standing in an intersection of Bloor Street with no one trying to honk at me or run me down!

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Probably one of the coolest things I saw this year at Nuit Blanche was the installation called Planes by Tricia Brown Dance Company — and it was awesome!

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…and behind the walls you can see a little behind-the-scenes action!  I almost didn’t want to see this — the movement of the dancers and the projections themselves were so riveting that seeing the how-to took away from it for me.  Ah, the life of making mystery for the audience!

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Check out the Gallery View below of the Nuit Blanche event in Toronto — and check out the official Scotiabank page on Nuit Blanche so you can see the intended (and actual) views of the art from this year’s show!

The Best Use of Light and Shadow is Love

Fabrizio Corneli made a shadow and a reflection into a light statement of love.  Meet AMA, which means love in italiano:

Is that not just awesome or what?!  Shadow propagation and reflections all calculated so that they spell the word love.  I think that’s the best use of light and shadow together I’ve seen lately.

Check out Fabrizio’s website, he’s got fun work there!

Chris Fraser Has A Brilliant Mind

There is something about light emanating through a slit in a surface that just blows my mind.  As suggestive as that comment is, I ensure you it is not meant for that kind of thought, even though I know about half of you out there immediately went there.  What you’re seeing above is the genius of Chris Fraser, a light artist from San Francisco.  His work is definitely pretty awesome — this particular case above is a “line drawing” of his from Oakland, CA.  The one below is called Points, Lines, Planes from the Performance Art Institute:

Chris’ work is like a crazy slit spectroscope of whatever light source is in front of it — like in these below, he did them as on-site pieces of work, creating something magical at a given day and time, never repeatable again.  You have to see more of Chris’ work:

Excellent, and beautiful.  I have got to see some of this stuff up-close and personal.

PLEASE check out Chris Fraser’s portfolio site and his Experiments on Flickr — VERY cool stuff!

This is my Chris Fraser-esque work for the day, a la 2007:

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Thanks to Lost in e Minor and We Waste Time!

JOL Sunday Flickr #3

Another Sunday, another time to take a moment for some excellent digital photo art, complete with light!

Well, that’s kind of a redundant statement obviously…

Check out this Sunday’s installment of the new and improved (somehow, I think this is sarcasm on my part) JOL Sunday Flickr, in this case being episode 3!  Everything ever posted here comes from the JimOnLight Flickr Group Photo Pool, which has lots of beautiful work submitted by photogs and light artists across the globe!  All of the photos are All Rights Reserved for the photographer, protected by Flickr and Creative Commons.  Don’t forget!

Anti Tank Domes

Chicago Airport - 1

Periaktoi Light Boxes

Lyon in the Evening

Skylight

Circle Circus

The Mothership

Marble Lamp

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“BATALAN”

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Camera Toss 81

Alberto Rionda (Avalanch)

Museumnacht 2008

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Have a great Sunday, everybody!