LA Flash February meeting: Stateful applications and Wii installations

Animation, Events, Exemplary Work, Flash, Flex, Interactive Design, LA Flash, Wii

Los Angeles-area Flash aficionados were lured out under Wednesday night’s lunar eclipse to attend the monthly gathering of LA Flash, a great local user group. Sam Rivello (whose blitting seminar I attended at last year’s LA Flashapaloozastock) gave a solid overview of various techniques for maintaining state in Flash and Flex applications, including one technique (custom namespaces) I’d never heard of before. I’d be curious to hear if anyone else out there is using custom namespaces to manage state, or for any other purpose. Afterwards I got to thank Sam for his seminar last year, as it inspired me to build a blitting engine as part of the forthcoming Precision Targets project I’m working on with Caren Kaplan.

Screenshot from 'Creativity Conducted'

Next up was Patrick Matte of BLITZ, the interactive director behind the amazing “Creativity Conducted” multiplayer Wii remote interactive installation. Gasps of “wow” and “cool” were heard from the crowd as Patrick deconstructed the development process, which utilized WiiFlash. The biggest revelation for me (although it’s really kind of a no-brainer) was the fact that the Wiimote won’t generate mouse events; Patrick ended up using the VirtualMouse class from Senocular to connect each remote to its own virtual cursor that sent the appropriate events in response to button presses. I saw this piece on plasma screens at FITC last fall, but wish I could have seen the more immersive “holographic” version when it debuted at MAX (a new iteration is reportedly in the works for this year’s MAX). Great presentation, and great to hear from another WiiFlash user putting the server through its paces. Now if we can just get a Mac version...


TENORI-ON is happy-making

Animation, Exemplary Work, Interactive Design, Music

Toshio Iwai, interactive media artist and creator of Electroplankton, gave a solo performance of his new instrument, the TENORI-ON, last night at a launch event in London. Composer Gary Kibler was there and posted a number of videos of the event. Check out the clip below—there’s a very specific joy about this device that occurs when he creates a loop and then hides it to begin work on another layer. Creating a tangible rhythm out of light, and then hiding the light while the rhythm persists… it immediately engages the maker instinct. The promise is one of building music with smart light, light that’s better than light because it remembers and holds its state in secret while you go to work on another facet of the composition. Great concept, can’t wait to see where it goes.

Source: Create Digital Music

Update: Further reflections on the device from Gary Kibler: Hands On Tenori-On: Close Encounters of the Interactive Music Kind


Recollections of “Recollections”

Animation, Exemplary Work

A still from Recollections

There’s a wonderful reverberation in there. It’s the concrete floors that propagate it--reminding you that you’ve been welcomed inside an experiment, a work in progress.  Even though I enjoyed the Reuben, it was carpeted, and thus robbed of that reverberation, that sound that came to represent a massive space filled with physically principled play.  I assume the reverberation is still there, but I haven’t been to the Exploratorium in probably 20 years, so maybe one of you can leave a comment and reassure me that it hasn’t changed.

My favorite memory there is of an installation called Recollections, by Ed Tannenbaum, which I must have seen in the early 1980s.  Standing in front of a large video projection, your silhouette is captured, colored, and added to the image being projected, in real time.  The result is that your movements leave cycling washes of color, creating a hypnotic feedback loop between your actions and the screen’s reactions. (Ed periodically updates the piece to keep up with the technology curve.)

I remember being aware of the pixelation of the display, which makes sense, seeing as its resolution was only 256 x 240.  I remember an indistinct realization that the colors were passing through the pixels—that the silhouettes weren’t actually self-contained objects, but data passing through a static grid.  I remember the palette shifts that would change the whole tone of the experience, and waiting for my favorite ones to reappear. I think I was vaguely aware that the piece was running on an Apple II—the technology felt within reach.  Mainly though, I remember just being really happy, and not wanting to leave. Yeah. Stuff like that would be good to make.

Thanks, Ed, that was awesome.


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