Todaysart 2008

5 June 2008 at 2:54 pm (Exhibition, Hypermedia, Mechatronics, Sound)

The TodaysArt Festival 2008, which will take place on the 26th and 27th of September in the city centre of The Hague, closes the Dutch festival season and primes the cultural season, bringing over 300 artists to The Hague, from all four corners of the world, for a weekend of unique and cutting edge artistic showcases. Talented explorers invite you to witness their own personal take on today´s creativity.

Extrait from the festival’s site. More info coming soon.


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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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Laboratoire des Fictions

2 June 2008 at 9:13 pm (Hypermedia, Mechatronics,, School of Art, Sound, Videos)


The second semester of my academic year turned around a “group project” called “Laboratoire des Fictions”.

We had to get together to think on the fiction laboratory topic. The project ends up with a public presentation in the Studio space (in Aix en Provence School of Art).

We (the class) had to think on different art works and space arrangement in this big room that is the Studio. Each of us presented projects, ideas, concepts, definitions and we debated on theme in order to get a coherent set.

We decided to build a space where the visitor is manipulated, and used as laboratory object of study. The visit starts with charming attendants dressed like nurses/scientist that gives the visitor a placebo pill explaining that the active substance in the pill will make theme feel never before felt sensations. Then the visitor passes through a set of two corridors built with elastic fabrics with the objective to disturb the visitor’s senses. The visitor passes through a third corridor where the soil is soft, the left wall captures the visitors’ shadows and the right wall (nearly invisible because of the darkness)  keeps falling on the visitor’s head. This third corridor leads the visitor to the main room where several installations are establish. The first installation the visitor sees is an anamorphosis activated by a giant hamster wheel where visitors are invited to run. In the same room, the visitor can see the other side of the falling wall, this side of the wall has mirrors, when it falls (this time away from the visitor) our perception of verticality is disturbed and we feel like if we were falling. Another installation is a set of green neon lights that turn off after some time in order for the visitor to see the “Vie en rose” (there is an effect of persistence of vision, when the green light is switched off, the eyes have a adaptation time and you see everything in the opposite color – pink). When the neon light is turned off, we can hear a specialized quadriphonic mix of several versions of  “La vie en rose”. On the floor, a crazy robot drives around avoiding walls and visitors, presenting bugs and errors, annoying people. Finally, a door, in the center of the room, is used to play a Tetris game projected on a waterwall. The waterwall is also the exit. The visitor has to choose between waiting for a random waterfall stop, playing the game to see if it makes the water stop or just cross it with water anyway. Once outside the room, the visitor could find an evaluation machine called “I.D.I.O.” (in french it means “stupid”), where, during a performance, some of the visitors are randomly chosen to get evaluated by a group of (crazy) scientistes.

Since it’s hard to explain the exhibition with words, here are some videos showing it :

Here is a 3D animations made by Floriane Rebatue:

My work in this project is the Tetris waterwall projection. I have designed, built and programmed a big part. The game was programmed using Processing, the door has sensors linked to a PIC 16F876. The waterwall is 4 meters width and 3 meters high, it’s a closed circuit using a water-pump to inject water in a pipe with 1500 holes (1mm diameter). The collector is 4 meters width (in the central part) and is 1 meter large. A small bridge allows visitors to cross the water. The sound is generated by Pure Data (thanks to François Parra). I also got help from Jane, Pierre Loup and Florent.

Here are some sketches :

Here is a video :

Here you can find the code source (addapted to use with a computer keyboard and with a PIC) – Requires oscP5 (project site) library and Processing

Here is the PureData patch (activation of the OSC Library and PureData required).

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Mechatronics initiation course (AOC Mécatronique)

2 June 2008 at 5:47 pm (Mechatronics, School of Art)

In the early part of my school year, I have followed the mechatronics initiation course (AOC Mécatronique is the French course name). The course objective was to introduce us to the basics of electronics and micro-controller programming.


In the first part of the course, we had a quick course about basic linear electronic components (resistors, diodes, LEDs, capacitor, color codes) with some physics (Ohm’s law, Joule’s law). We also learned to conceive, design, print and assemble electronic circuit boards. Finally, we had a quick intuitive look at measurement and testing devices (multimeter, voltmeter, ohmmeter).

The second part of the course was to learn how to program a PIC 16F876 using SDCC compiler and Tiny Boot Loader for communication between the computer (using an GNU operating system) and the micro-controller board (the boot loader installed in the PIC 16F876 was developped by Jean-Pierre Mandon). We started with simple programs, to learn how to use the I/Os from the chip (LED chase, teleruptor, communication between the PIC’s board and Processing). We also briefly saw the different electric motors and we focus on step motors. We programmed the PIC to make a step motor work for the end of the course.

Here are some source codes.

(image from Jean-Pierre Mandon’s site)

For more info :

Jean-Pierre Mandon’s site

France Cadet’s site

Hacking Lab site

Aix en Provence school of art‘s site – Mechatronic section 

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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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Hypercube construction

27 February 2008 at 11:22 am (Mechatronics, Un-Usual Post, Videos)

I’ve decided to write this post in order to try to give an answer to Eggshell Robotic question “Tesseract / Hypercube – Mechanical Possible?“… The main reason to make a post on my blog rather then making a comment on Eggshell Robotic’s post is mainly the fact that I wrote a lot… and I use images and links… so here it is :

A hypercube is basically 8 cubes organized using the same logic as we use to build a square (2 dimensions) with strokes (1 dimension), and to build a cube (3 dimensions) with squares (2 dimensions)… We take the first cube, join its 6 faces with one face of 6 other cubes… then we go to the 4th dimension by joining all faces that are next to each other… The 8th cube is used to close the hypervolume…

It might be easier to explain it comparing to the cube construction… We have 6 squares (2D) we take one to use as center. We join 4 other squares around the one in the center… (still in 2D)… Now we rotate the 4 new squares to the upper dimension in order to link theme (now we are in 3D) but the cube is not closed, therefore we have a 6th square to close the missing face of the cube… Here is a site showing part of the process.

Now… Imagine a creature that has a 2D perception of the world…. He can only move in 2 dimensions. Now let’s imagine that one of those 2D perceptive creatures live on one of those 4 faces that will rotate to the third dimension of our future cube… When we add his world (the square) to the rest of the cube path, our dear creature will see a huge augmentation in his world… Imagine, in an imperceptible laps of time he sees his world size multiplied by 5 (scientists would get crazy!)… But when we build the 3rd dimension by rotating the cube faces, the creature will see his world size become 5 times smaller and it will not be able to have a perception of the rest of the cube (scientists get crazy again and then they will start research and they will create some hyperspace theory advancing the 3rd dimension)… In fact this creature can’t build a cube… Because he lives in a 2D world (and a cube is, by definition in 3D)… so even if he gets to build a cube, he will only see a bi-dimensional section of it… and he will observe that the rest of the material used to build the cube just “disappears”…

With us it works the same… We have a 3d perception (for spacial dimensions, the 4th being time – or the ability to percept the changes of our space)… If we want to build a hypercube we need 4 spacial dimensions (plus time)… So we could build an hypercube but we won’t be able to see it in its totality… We only see a 3D projection of the hypercube…

What we see in this animation is a hypercube that remains still in our 3 dimensions and that is manipulated in the 4th dimension… To have that resultant movement, we have to be able to manipulate the 4th dimension of the hypercube, if we suppose that we reach to build a hypercube, we would be able to manipulate the 4th dimension… To do so, we need hyper dimensional engines… Really complicated (in my eyes…)

But what forbids us to inspire ourselves with the hypercube transformations to find new ways to move? Nearly nothing (except the physical constraints and costs)… To be honest I like the idea presented in Eggshell Robotic… And who knows, maybe sometime in the future we don’t play hyper-rubicube?

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Gamerz 2.0

4 February 2008 at 9:13 pm (Circuit Bending Workshop, Exhibition, Games, Hypermedia, Mechatronics,, Sound)

I didn’t had time to write about the Gamerz 2.0 exhibition, so here I am trying to fix this…

First, Antonin Fournaud and Manuel Braun’s Patch&KO, a mod of Street Fight II introducing a control device where you must loose control to be able to play. The device is basically an hybrid between a bean game, a Pachniko and a marble machine using iron balls in a pin field making electric contacts. Each contact may be transformed in an action (like hit, jump, etc.). Here is a video showing it in action:

Servovalve presented a “worm” version of Carbone: a software that copies an image (a face to be precise) in a random mode.

Damien Aspe built a real and colorful Tetris wall called From Russia with fun:

Guillaume Stagnaro presented a piece called XOX, two robots playing Tic-tac-toe programmed to never loose and never win. In this situation, the only way to win is not to play.

Grégoire Lauvin presented Weith Contest, a multiplayer music game where the gameplay is based on weight. The heaviest measure plays the sample.

Pierrick Thébault (from L16) made a cool hack from CyWorld making a porn version called CyPorn.

The night finished with a live musical performance by Confipop and Sidabitball using Game Boys as instrument to generate sounds and images.

More information about the works presented here and the ones I didn’t mention here.

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Gamerz 02

9 January 2008 at 9:12 am (3D, Exhibition, Games, Hypermedia, Mechatronics,, Sound, Videos, Wiimote)

Gamerz 02, an exhibition about artistic experimental video games/game culture, organized by Collectif M2F Créations will be held in Aix en Provence in January 2008 from the 15th until the 27th. Here you can find a french descrpition of this exhibition.

M2F Créations

Coming up… More content about this exhibition with photos, videos and comments…

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High Voltage Circuit Bending

9 December 2007 at 2:58 pm (Circuit Bending Workshop, Hybrid Workshop, Links, Mechatronics, Sound, Videos)

Here is an example of high voltage (HV) circuit bending: a keyboard connected to a tesla coil. When you play a note, the tesla coil is activated. I don’t know how dangerous this is… so… I don’t know if it is a good idea to do it…

Still in the HV theme, here is another video of what we can built with a HV Power Supply (more then 30k volts): we can build lifters. Basically, when the 30kV field is generated, the air around the anode and cathode gets ionized and start to create an unstable plasma gas vertex. When the air particles hit the aluminum sheet, a small force is generated, when you make the sum of all the forces, the structure starts to lift. To build a HV Power Supply, you can use and modify an old cathodic tube. Here, you can find how to build your own lifter (be careful please…) and here you can find some theories about how lifters work…

Well, here are videos of lifters, enjoy it:

And now with some speech:

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Programming, sound and moving

9 December 2007 at 2:18 pm (Hybrid Workshop, Hypermedia, Mechatronics,, Sound, Videos)

During the Sound/Hypermedia acquisition workshops we had to think on a project using the Wiimote, processing and sound.

Well, here is a video showing what can be done with accelerometers, programming skills and sound production:

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