Pages Blanches / Blank Pages

24 October 2008 at 12:00 pm (Links, School of Art, Sound)

Some days ago, I’ve seen in my academy (Ecole d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence) a Blank Pages jam-section. But… What is Blank Pages? The easy answer is visit this link.

 On this link you can watch the video (sorry for that, I stopped using Youtube since they started to put adds in the video itself and still don’t allow to embed videos… grr…) Blank Pages session at the Aix-en-Provence School of Art on Vimeo.

Ok… I’ll explain you in a more explicit way. Blank Pages is a jam session (improvisation) concept, initiated by Thomas Thiery and Erwan Inyzant, using Pure Data (free) or MAX/MSP (not-free). People with all levels in programming, without having prepared themselves for the occasion, get together and produce sound starting with a blank patch (in Pure Data or MAX/MSP). There are some rules :

The session lasts 60 minutes ;

Only use MAX/MSP or Pure Data ;

Start with a blank page ;

You cannot load previous projects or save ;

Some notes : You cannot use abstractions or objects that are not built-in Pure Data or MAX/MSP ; you can use help files ; the number of participants is unlimited.

An advice : Think to listen your mates while programming your patch.


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New 3D modelisation tool by Microsoft

23 August 2008 at 10:37 am (3D, Hypermedia, Links)

I have just read a New York Times  article presenting a new “free” 3D modelisation tool, called Photosynth, developed by Microsoft. To have a 3D photorepresentation of an real object or space you have to take as many pictures as you can from the object (with a minimum of 3 pictures per area). Then the software compares the pictures (I belive the logic used in this operation is similar of the one used by photoshop to produce panoramic images from different shots ; Microsoft added some algo to calculate distance by comparing object sizes) and you have a weird animation where you see the actual pictures and are able to navigate arround, zoom in and out.

The problem is, some month ago, I’ve read another article, this time in Wired website, presenting another tool that do exactly the same (you can find it here in my blog). The only difference is Microsoft keeps the image data to have a colorfull representation while Washington University’s tool seems to represent the vertex of the spoted object.

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ARS Electronica 2008

5 June 2008 at 2:49 pm (Exhibition, Hypermedia, Links, Mechatronics, Sound, Videos)


Text from the festival’s press release :

In 2008, the Ars Electronica Festival is scrutinizing the value of 

intellectual property and thereby facing one of the core issues of our modern knowledge- 

based society: that of freedom of information vs. copyright protection, big profit-making 

opportunities vs. the vision of an open knowledge-based society that seeks to build its 

new economy on the basis of creativity and innovation. And beyond that, we want to 

hammer out practical, workable rules to govern this new reality. 


The 2008 Ars Electronica Festival. September 4 to 9. In Linz. 

The 2008 Ars Electronica Festival 

If Old Europe’s future prosperity truly is to be built upon creativity and innovation, then 

the free flow of knowledge is indispensable. Innovative business ideas and new 

marketing channels cannot be left to choke amidst a regulatory jungle enacted by 

individual nation-states or left up to the management practices of monopolists. Under the 

banner of “A NEW CULTURAL ECONOMY – When Intellectual Property Runs Up against Its 

Limits,” the 2008 Ars Electronica Festival aims to co-author the preamble of this new 

knowledge-based society. What’s at stake: the interplay of freedom of information and 

copyright protection, of big profit-making opportunities and the vision of an open 

knowledge-based society. And the fact that we still lack practical, workable regulations 

governing this new reality, rules whose formulation ought not to be left up to lawyers 

and MBAs alone. 

Ars Electronica is inviting artists, network nomads, theoreticians, technologists and legal 

scholars from all over the world to convene in Linz September 4-9, 2008. Their artistic 

and scientific findings will be presented at symposia, exhibitions, performances and 

interventions staged in settings that go beyond classical conference spaces and cultural 

venues to permeate the cityscape at large. And as a final test-run before Linz’s European 

Capital of Culture year in 2009, this production will heavily emphasize the interaction of 

our local network of cultural facilities and educational institutions. 



The 2008 Ars Electronica Symposium 

The computer and the Internet have tremendously accelerated the production and 

dissemination of information while slashing their price in the bargain. Suddenly, content 

is accessible worldwide. This has not only modified the way we deal with information; it 

has produced a shift in our whole economic system. We are being forced to adapt 

traditional conceptions to a changed technological reality. Some of us are already doing 

so quite successfully; others are resisting—and failing. This year’s symposium will 

connect up application-users, artists, entrepreneurs, scholars and politicians, and provide 

an opportunity for them to get jointly geared up for what’s ahead. 

The 2008 Ars Electronica Symposium is being curated by Joichi Ito (J). Activist, 

entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Joichi Ito is founder and CEO of NEOTENY, a venture 

capital firm that specializes in personal communications and basic technology. He has 

started up numerous Web enterprises including PSINet Japan, Digital Garage and 

Infoseek Japan. In 2001, the World Economic Forum named him to its list of 100 Global 

Leaders for Tomorrow. As CEO of Creative Commons and a member of the board of 

ICANN, WITNESS and TECHNORATI et al., Joichi Ito is actively involved in cutting-edge 

Web 2.0 developments. Detailed info about Joichi Ito and Creative Commons is available 

online at 

Festival site HERE.


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Human-Machine interaction and interface

15 April 2008 at 11:26 am (Hypermedia, Links, Mechatronics)

I have recently read at Digital Tools a post presenting the Don’t Click It website and an article about the QWERTY keyboard. Accessing the Don’t Click It website for the first time was a strange experience: I had to get used with the idea of not using the click button, at the beginning it was quite annoying. The site has some interesting data about the click culture pointing its starting point as being a technical issue when computers and navigation were particularly poor. But clicking did enter into our contemporary culture and does represents a voluntary action, unlike Don’t Click It presents this gesture when speaking about Spam, banners and annoying advertisings. If we should follow Don’t Click It literally, we should not use the keyboard anymore, since the mouse is an extension of the keyboard (it’s like the arrow keys for navigation and return key for the click, and a computer can work with no mouse but can’t work with no keyboard). The mouse is just a pointer on the screen space allowing the user to navigate easily.

Real computer mouse

I started then to think about the possibility of building a click free interface. I started then to build a small sketch using Processing based on the Don’t Click It propositions: gesture reading and time control (you will see the beta version soon here). Once I got it done, I realized that click free interface might not be the best for speed performance: the gesture is way bigger and you need to learn each gesture – that could change from one interface to another. And I suddenly realized: Palms, PDA and Pocket PC already used mouse free interfaces, and sometimes even keyboard free. I have a Palm Zire 71 (old school nearly) and I remember learning to write with the pen and learning all the shortcuts wasn’t easy. I always had to open the reminder application to remember how the gesture should be done (and sometimes I just couldn’t reproduce it). As a result: I notice that I type faster with a keyboard then doing all kind of gesture that approach in a very poor way handwriting (I write so bad on paper, I don’t know how teachers do to correct my essays or even read theme). Then I thought, but palms are not the only devices that are mouse free, we have mobile phones and tablet PCs. And I remembered when I was teenager I used to text message a lot, so much that I could type a text message faster then on a regular keyboard (I used to take class notes on my cellphone). But today I type faster on a keyboard then on a mobile phone, I think it’s a meter of training and practice – and a cellphone keyboard and a computer keyboard are quite similar in concept: keys pressed to reach a symbol. Then I thought on video games, they do not use keyboards… Well somehow, yes, they are. We press the control buttons to make an action/movement.

And when I was thinking that mouse was the black sheep of Human-Machine interaction (translating a real movement to a screen movement) I realized that I totally ignored a brand new trendy object: Nintendo’s Wiimote: thanks to its accelerometers and to its built in infrared camera you can use it without pressing any buttons. Playing Zelda for instance, you just need to grab your Wiimote like a sword and your Nunchuck as a shield . In Wii Sports, you play box like if it was for real. Those gestures are way more easy then the old school key combinations (like for instance Up – Up – Left – A – Right – L1 – L2 – Left – R1 – A – Start – Select – Down – X – O – A – B – R2 – L1 so you can jump backwards).

PS: No buttons were pressed during the footage of this video.

I don’t think that Don’t Click It is a bad research, I agree that it’s interesting for future technologies to think what are the possible solutions to avoid to use the present devices and standards. Some researches might get us more practical solutions then just moving the problems. I’m thinking on mind controlled computers.

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Back in Aix en Provence

24 February 2008 at 11:55 pm (Exhibition, Links, School of Art, Semaine thématique, Sound)

Here I am, back home again, in Aix en Provence, after a two week trip to the Netherlands. In a future post, I’ll be giving more details about the 12th edition of Sonic Acts. I’ll also present Yolande Harris, English artist in residence at the Montevideo institute in collaboration with the STEIM (STudio for Electro-Instrumental Music, located in Amsterdam), working with sound.

Coming week, in the Aix en Provence School of Art, we will have Sonotorium, 3 days with conferences about sound and art.

first result in google image for

The first day, February the 25th, Jean-Paul Ponthot, headmaster of the Aix en Provence School of Art, will present “Idéologie du bruit” (Ideology of noise). Then Bastien Gallet will held “Le son et ses dehors” (Sound and its outsides). Finally, Christina Kubisch programmed a sound projection.

The 26th, Alexandre Castant will start with “Le son, l’image et son double” (Sound, image and its double). Jerome Hansen will continue with ““Le problème d’image“ des arts sonores, une généalogie en trois zones de contacts” (The sound art “image problem“, a genealogy in three contact zones). We’ll finish the day with Kaffe Matthews‘ performance.

The last day, February the 27th, will start with “La forme comme traversée” (The shape as crossing) presented by Christophe Kihm. The next conference will be “Son et déraison” (Sound and unreason) by David Zerbib. To enclose the conference week, we will watch Philippe Franck’s selection of films:

Luc Ferrari face à sa tautologie, 2 jours avant la fin” (2006, 52min) by Guy-Marc Hinant and Dominique Lohlée;

“The movement of people working” (2003) by Phill Niblock.

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22 February 2008 at 4:56 pm (Exhibition, Hypermedia, Links, Sound, Videos)

This morning was marked by two conferences and a performance in De Bali.

The first conference “The Diorama Revisited”, presented by Erkki Huhtamo, treated about Diorama and many “ama” ending words (like panorama, diaporama, futurama…) history.

You can find here videos from the performance “Digit”, done by Julien Maire, where Maire printes sentences passing his finger over white paper. He uses the words as lines to draw.

The third morning conference was a round table about yesterday’s drone performance. The participants were with Stephen O’Malley, Joachim Nordwall and CM von Hausswolff, moderated by Mike Harding.

The afternoon started with the conference “INTERACTIVITY AND IMMERSION” held by Jeffrey Shaw and Marnix de Nijs.

Jeffrey Shaw presented different technologies to produce images providing an immersion experience and the ways to interact with this devices. He mainly focus his conference around the iCinema center. He presented Cave immersion (projections on the wall, roof and floor) and cylinder immersion environment (the viewer is in the center of a cylinder, the images are projected on the cylinder wall’s) and spherical modular video cameras (cameras that films 360°).

Marnix de Ni presented some of his works:

Exercise in immersion is a 3D immersion experience game where the user wares a suit to travel inside a virtual world superimposed over the real space. The player is free to move around, interactivity is controlled by it’s movements.

Beijing accelerator is an interactive installation with a rotating video projection. The viewer sits on a rotating chair with a joystick (that controls the chair rotation). The objective is to syncronize the chair with the image.

Run motherfucker run is an interactive installation inviting the visitor to run within one of the 25 scenes mostly shot at night in the Rotterdam area. The device, a roller carpet, tends to slow you down by increasing running resistance. This piece is about adrenaline and the expirience of speed.

You can find this post too.

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Sonic Acts opening night

22 February 2008 at 2:45 pm (Exhibition, Hypermedia, Links, Sound)

Today, February the 21st 2008, was the opening night for the 12th edition of the Sonic Acts Festival, in Amsterdam – Netherlands. The festival takes place in 4 different localizations: the Netherlands’ Media Art Institute, also known as Montevideo; the Melkweg, the Paradiso and the De Balie.

The night started at Montevideo, where we could enjoy the exhibition opening. In there, we can see the instalations from Ulf Langheinrich (Soil – 2005 – and OSC – 2006)

Julien Maire (Low Resolution Cinema – 2005 – and Exploding Camera – 2007)

Boris Debackere (probe)

and Kurt Hentschläger (Scape – 2007).

After that, in De Bali, we could watch Stan Brakhage‘s film Dog Star Man (1961-1964,73’00), in parallel we could experience the live performance done by the Drone People(Joachim Nordwall, Mika Vainio, Hildur Gudnadöttir, C. Spencer Yeh, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Stephen O’Malley and BJ Nilsen). The live performance is a 4 hours succession of individual performances. No rules were defined except to be alone on the stage and to end like the beginning.

Post done for the festival, you can see it here

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Bio feedback anti-stress game

9 January 2008 at 10:06 am (First ones, Games, Hybrid Workshop, Links, Un-Usual Post)

I’ve just seen at the French news a biofeedback anti-stress PC game made by SymBioFi. The game idea is quite simple: you stick some cardiac and breath sensors on specific parts of your body and plug theme into your computer: this is your control. But how can you play with this stuff on you? “Easy”: all you need to do is to control your breath and cardiac rhythms. In other words, you need to control your stress level… The less stressed you are the more points you get…



Besides the Zen attitude, Jedi training and therapeutic proprieties of this game, the control system seems very interesting to me. It could be used to develop games where self control is a part of the plot. For instance, in a war strategy game, if you get too stressed your leadership level decreases.

This device can although be used in some kind of interactive installation where your stress level change proprieties of the installation itself…

Since we are working with Laboratory of fictions theme in the Hybrid Workshop, this device could be part of a future project. Therefore, it deserves to be presented and to have a more serious reflexion on it.

Now that I am thinking, we could use it in sound applications too…

More reflexions coming up…

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8 January 2008 at 12:23 am (3D, Hypermedia, Links,, Wiimote)

TGS 2005 + Nintendo + Bluetooth + Johnny Lee + CES 2008 + Alienware = Head Tracking for Desktop VR ultra panoramic displays

Ok… This is not clear at all…

Here are the explanations about this post:

As some of you may know, Nintendo Wii‘s control, the Wiimote, was presented by Nintendo in the 2005 edition of the TGS (Tokyo Game Show). I’ve spoken many times about the Wiimote here, but this small industrial object represents a huge advance in man-machine interaction. The best of all, it uses Bluetooth to link with the Wii. In fact the Bluetooth signal used by the Wiimote is not encoded, allowing other Bluetooth devices, like a computer for instance, to receive informations. That allows us to make programs using the Wiimote. This is one of the objectives of the AOC classes in Hypermedia.

Reading the Digital Tools blog, I’ve discovered the work of Johnny Chung Lee, an Ph.D. Graduate Student in Human-Computer Interaction Institute at the Carnegie Mellon University. Among his works, I’ve been captivated by the head tracking device for VR (Virtual Reality) desktops. Here is a vide, way more explicit then any text:

In the 2008 edition of the CES (Consumer Electronics Association), Alienware (a company that produces high performance computer systems) presented a ultra widescreen display. Here is a video showing it in action:

Now, imagine both videos working together… Nice… :)

This head tracking device made me think on a Philips project : the WOW vx 3D presented in this year CES, making from a flat screen a 3D experience. Now, only personal experience can say what of this two solutions can provide a high end 3D feeling.

Here a link to some 3D videos for the Philips system.

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Netherlands here I go…

21 December 2007 at 5:22 pm (Exhibition, Links, Un-Usual Post)

I’ll start tomorrow another Netherlands tour. In my plans, I intend to start with the Netherlands Media Art Institute, to see the exhibition Video Vortex.2, in Amsterdam.

Video Vortex.2 Nancy Mauro-Flude

Then, I’ll meet some students from the KABK (Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten), an art academy, in The Hague.

Among the museums I intend to visit are the Stedelijk Museum, holding an Andy Warhol exhibition.

I’ll although go to the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam, holding the Surreal Things: Surrealism and Design exhibition and the Paul van der Eerden ‘Enclosures’ exhibition.

Paul van Eerden, Enclosures no. 1, 2002, potlood – kleurpotlood, 20 x 25 cm, courtesy: Galerie Bernard Jordan Paris.

Then I’ll go to the Hague to see different exhibitions (no clear plans yet) and to meet some KABK people. After this, destination : Antwerp Belgium (by the way, it is one of the twin cities with Marseille), to visit the city and the MOMU (MOde MUseum). This is going to be my first time in Belgium, I’m excited about it…


Back to the Netherlands, I plan to go to the Groninger museum, I’ll go back to Amsterdam to visit the Rijksmuseum and I’ll finish with the Centraal museum in Utrecht.

As you can see, coming trip is going to be very… Culturaly rewarding and turbulent… So I’ll certainly be posting a lot coming month… I’ll although use my free time to go on into my academy projects with Processing and Pure Data.

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