Archive for Specialist Project

Setting Up

Today the class are setting up their installations for the critique tomorrow.  Its nice to see so many interactive media students away from their Macs, climbing ladders and being more active than Ive seen since the last fire drill.

My setup has a web cam suspended above the user, tracking their movement, and a screen behind a deep based picture frame.


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Video Installation

Light show by AntiVJ

Their website has a showreel of some very impressive work.

And their blog with very interesting articles.

I’m a big fan of their work, the concepts behind them are strong and the vizualisations impressive.

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Ambient Noise Experiment 1

I have been conducting sound experiments to see the effects of ambient noises and sounds. This particular experiment was conducted with a guitar being played through a tremolo effects pedal, recorded with a hand held camera.

During the experiment I varied the rate of the tremolo effect, the velocity of the note and switched between random note playing and sequenced notes.

After recording the experiment I played it back to myself late at night whilst working on the computer. My conclusion is as follows.

Whilst varying the volume of the playback, I found a very low, almost inaudible volume to be best suited for an ambient atmosphere.

Even with a low volume, the velocity the note played still has effect. A strong note can disrupt the ambience and some times causes distortion, causing the listener to flick from ambient to attention.

The slower rate of tremolo gives a more relaxed atmosphere and allows longer room between notes. The faster rate turns the relaxed echo into a short stab with a haunting after effect. It also means the note doesn’t hold as long and causes a sort of expectation for the next note.

Note sequence
Whilst listening to the random note sequences I cant help but feel the need to turn and face the speaker, the randomness in the notation and timing causes an uneasy tension, where as a simple note sequence with loose timing allows the listener to relax into a groove.

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Specialist Project – Learning Agreement

Two weeks into the project and I’ve secured an idea for what I want to work on and have written up a learning agreement.

Here’s a brief summary of what it is I want to create…

  • “For this project I want to explore the concept of interactive ambience. In aim to create a visual display, that can change between states as the user switches their attention to and from the piece.
    The idea came from working late at night, in a dark room with only the computer as company. Whilst in this dark, lonely room, I wanted some kind of presence or company that would fill the room without demanding my full attention. In an attempt to cure the lonely atmosphere I turned on the television only to find that its fast pace and demand for attention would only distract me from the work that needed my full awareness. From this I decided that it was my duty to explore this concept and create a ‘polite’ media presence that would react to the users attention, providing entertaining visuals when looked at, then as attention is given elsewhere it would die down and create only atmospheric ambience.”
    “The reason for doing this is to bring back the freedom of thought, to give people a chance to relax and think without the influences of advertising or television. In modern life its normal to relax in front of the TV, in the older days people would relax in front of a fire. The television and the fire both have mesmerising qualities, yet the fire has the innocence of being ‘just a fire’.”

The best way to sum up the concept for this project would be ‘Polite Media Presence’. As far as I am aware this term hasn’t been used yet and is something I have rather cunningly conjured up!

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Specialist Project – First Lecture

Today we had our fist lecture with Anthony, he gave us a talk on what is needed for the specialist project and shown us some incredible examples of work. The presentation document can be downloaded HERE.

My most memorable examples were:

Delicate Boundaries
Delicate Boundaries
“Delicate Boundaries imagines a space in which the worlds inside our digital devices can move into the physical world. Small bugs made of light, crawl out of the computer screen onto the human bodies that make contact with them. The system explores the subtle boundaries that exist between foreign systems and what it might mean to cross them.”


Johnny Chung Lee’s Head Tracking for Desktop VR Displays

This is an incredible use of the Nintendo Wii that adds realistic depth to a virtual world.


United Visual Artists



“Hereafter uses a high speed camera to create a live history of the space, mixing previous recorded interactions, objects and people.”

UVA have done some fascinating work, i would recommend taking a look at their website, and if you want more, there’s an interview with Creative Review Here.




This is an incredibly simple interface design that has no specific function, it is only an input device, which allows users to create all kinds of functions for it, music sequencing and control, sound effects, synthesizers mixing and even games . Each box is hand made and rather rare, so rare that people are making there own using light bulbs and arcade buttons.

“The wonderful thing about this device is that it doesn’t do anything really,”


Primal Source

Primal Source

Primal Source uses microphones to pick up noise from the crowd then turn them into visualizations that are then projected onto mist on a beach to create a huge 3d like display.

“Responding to sounds emanating from the crowd, the system’s modes changed every few minutes depending on how active the crowd participation was (more quickly when there was more noise). Each mode responded in a slightly different way to the individual voices and sounds picked up by 8 microphones distributed towards the front.”




A curtain like door made from steam and projections.

With all this inspiration, there’s no way i couldn’t be excited about this year ! I have a few ideas I intend to post up on the blog, but i feel they need a little refining and explanation first.

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