December 11, 2009

For the Final Project in my Interactivity, Installation, and Performance Class at Metropolitan State College of Denver; Rebecca Dolan, my Instructor, as well as my classmates and I curated  Bang, an Interactive Digital Art show which will happen from 6-9pm Friday Dec. 11 at 1777 Larimer St.

For the exhibition two of my classmates and I teamed up to create an interactive artificial intelligence using MAX/MSP/JITTER.

The Digital Life Form

Sean Flater, Jeff Olson, and Ryan Pattie

Created using MAX/MSP/JITTER, After Effects, Projection, Fog Machine, Aquarium

Artist Statement:

Meet Max

Max is a digital life form created using MAX/MSP/JITTER. As it exists only in a digital realm, it must stay in its specially designed container to survive.  Max enjoys company, but loud noises will frighten it. Give Max commands using the keyboard. Some of the words in  its vocabulary include: Hello, Bad, Good, Sit, Jump, Roll Over, Dance, Love, Change Color, Vanish, Grow, Shrink, Glow, Stupid, Bad, Die, and Defrag.

The relationship we feel for inanimate objects has been changed in the age of artificial inelegance.  We feel affectionate for something designed to be life-like, especially when it seems to be aware of our presence. Interactivity in digital mediums is becoming more and more important in our society. This means less actual human interaction, and more human-like interaction with digitally created interfaces. Making that interaction more meaningful allows us to become more emotionally involved with the digital world we live in.

The patch works by reading the volume in the room, which is sent to an object that gives a bang to different loop points in the movie file of the character depending on the volume. A camera tracks the audience movement which causes the character to adjust it’s position on the X-axis.  Commands are given by using the “match object” which waits for a combination of numbers which are sent by the keyboard. Once a command is typed, the video plane size, position, color and effect is changed to create the illusion of movement.

We hope this project shows people how interactivity, and a reliance on the presence of the viewer is what makes digital art so interesting and refreshing.

Homework: 11/14

November 14, 2009

Two patches:

The first is a patch that selects a looping portion of video based on selectors and volume level.  This determines the animations ‘mood’.

The second is a patch that Sean modified to determine the creature’s x axis in relation to the audience’s x axis.  It uses 2D video tracking.  I turned the ‘mood’ patch into a subpatch to see if the two would work in tandem.  A successful weekend.

Mood Patch:

Picture 2


Movement W/ Mood Patch:

Picture 3

Homework Nov 7

November 7, 2009

Here is a failed experiment that was an attempt to use a Bpatcher to communicate OpenGL code with my movement patch.  These are two patches that are suppose to communicate with one another but are refusing to for an unknown reason.  I would like to get it to work but I will settle for homework points.

The Draw and Movement Patch:

Picture 2

The Bpatch with OpenGL code in it:

Picture 3

I don’t like this program.

Homework October 25th

October 25, 2009

I only had time to experiment with a single patch this week.

This patch is an attempt to better understand numbers by organizing them for 2D coordinates x and y as well as how inputs can control them.  It also documents number of moves through space.  Controls have been linked to the arrow keys and turn the number of key presses into cumulative values.


Karaoke Documentation

October 21, 2009

Below are two Max Patches that use pitch and volume to manipulate a video image for use in Karaoke VJing.  The two patches use similar effects to produce different outcomes.

Hateful Banana Karaoke:

Hateful Banana is a MSP Patch designed to manipulate a video image with data acquired through sound pitch and volume, and through manual inputs.  It uses an cross fade between two separate videos in order to create a back and forth play between the two images.  The immediate image seen is a dancing banana and the secondary image is a clip of a young man who writhes in pain from an excruciating amount of noise, to the point of covering his ears and an end result with his head exploding.  Dominance between the two images is established through volume level.  Low volume causes the banana to maintain full clarity.  High volume increases the opacity of the suffering man until it dominates the video feed.  Pitch controls the saturation of the suffering man which scales from low saturation to high saturation as the pitch rises.  Pitch also controls some spacial orientation for the dancing banana with higher pitch dictating more erratic movement.  Manual control through keyboard buttons A, S, D ,F and other are used to swap between different videos that have modified the spacial orientation and scale of the dancing banana.  The result of the interplay between the video content is meant to achieve irony between the experience of “fun” and misery.


Creepy Doll Karaoke:

Creepy Doll is a MSP Patch that manipulates a video output by measuring data collected from sound and through manual controls.  The video is a textural image produced through the cross fade function in Max.  Two video feeds are sent int to overlay each other with the intent of modifying image dominance through volume.  The two videos feeds contain various shots of a ventriloquist’s dummy, one consists of panning views over the dummy’s inanimate form, the other is a collection of shots with the dummy’s mouth animating for speech.  The higher the volume causes the speaking dummy to dominate the video frame while a soundless environment loops through the montage of the inanimate dummy shots.  Volume also controls the rate of speed for the speaking dummy video, causing it’s mouth to chatter more rapidly as the program reads higher volume.  Pitch controls the color contrast between the two video images as well as a temporal blur effect to achieve better blending between them.  Higher pitch rises the values for these effects to help distinguish the speaking dummy from the inanimate one while blending the two into a single texture.  Manual controls through the buttons A, S, D and F swap out video feeds of various mouth gestures to create variety in the dummy’s expression.  The result of the unified images pushes a disturbing organic yet inorganic texture.


Digital Interactive Installations: Questions

October 12, 2009

Sorry that this is getting in late.  I’ve had a rough weekend filled with flu symptoms and completely spaced all of my school work.  I want to give a thumbs up on the reading and especially enjoyed the author’s clearly written musings on the definition of interactivity, itself.


1. Russel Richards stressed the “user’s position” within simulated content as an important element in interaction.  He goes further to say that this position can challenge the user politically, intellectually and emotionally.  I felt an affinity for this statement and believe that it strongly relates to the article on the behavioral psychology within interactivity that I linked to in an earlier blog post. The “user’s position” seems to embrace perception, role and space as themes.  Implementing behavioral science in interactivity can “train” a user to adopt a role or perception through cognitive or emotional stimuli and physical action.  Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

2. The author briefly talks about “meaningful interface” and presents it as “the strategy of getting the user to look at the interface or object of design rather than through it”.  Later we get a list of conventional interfaces including, a Waccom Tablet, the Lemur, the Joystick and the Camera.  What conceptual themes do you immediately attach to these interfaces when treating them as signifiers?  What other common interfaces come to mind and what conceptual themes would you attach to them?

Star Guitar by Michel Gondry

September 24, 2009

Three Artists

September 22, 2009

Toshio Iwai is a Japanese artist who works in installation and interactive media.  He is most popularly known for his commercial video games.

Maurice Benayoun is an interactive and installation artist who works in Paris.  Much of his interests appear to be about subjectivity and communication within interactivity.

Somebody, Somewhere, Some Time

Woody Vasulka and Steina reacting from inside to Maurice Benayoun’s interactive installation : So. So. So. Somebody, Somewhere Some Time:

Golan Levin

From his bio page:

Golan Levin develops artifacts and events which explore supple new modes of reactive expression. His work focuses on the design of systems for the creation, manipulation and performance of simultaneous image and sound, as part of a more general inquiry into the formal language of interactivity, and of nonverbal communications protocols in cybernetic systems. Through performances, digital artifacts, and virtual environments, often created with a variety of collaborators, Levin applies creative twists to digital technologies that highlight our relationship with machines, make visible our ways of interacting with each other, and explore the intersection of abstract communication and interactivity.<!– Identified by Technology Review as one of the world’s “Top 100 Innovators Under 35” [2004], and dubbed by El Pais as “one of the most brilliant figures in contemporary audiovisual art” [2002], –>Levin has exhibited widely in Europe, America and Asia.

Ozbok, a project submitted to

Playing with Identity in Shattered Memories

September 21, 2009

Konami is releasing a new game called Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.  The Psyche Profile is interesting to me.  The fact that it tries to determine the psychological characteristics of the player and then addresses these with changes to the environment is pretty innovative.

An Article On Survival Horror

September 21, 2009

This article discusses many of the presentational design choices found in contemporary horror games, drawing out the genre’s similarities and differences with it’s film counterpart.  Especially important to the author’s analysis is the role of sight and perception as a tool for creating oppressive and paranoid experiences within the game environment.

Irene Chien’s Playing Undead