Thursday, 24 February 2011

Hooray, I've had a paper acepted for the GLITS e-journal (an electronic journal of literary and cultural criticism produced in the Department of English & Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths, University of London. ) about the South project and Ivan Dar's exciting week all round - with Alexandra and I doing a Thursday Club talk and presenting my EEG paper on Saturday at the Amnesia conference...a whirl of academic chatter...the panel discussion on the Social Web was very exciting in light of events in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia etc. It's a good point that once you knock out the internet and mobile communicvations the only place people can find out what's happening is on the streets..

Monday, 21 February 2011

God and Geometry film

The sound and light are coming from the box...

God and Geometry

Interesting that the film came out backwards, I take this as a sign of well founded resistance to figuration...

Saturday, 19 February 2011

potentiometer to motor

int sensorPin = A0; // select the input pin for the potentiometer
int ledPin = 13; // select the pin for the LED
int sensorValue = 0;

int motorPin = 9; // define the pin the motor is connected to
// (if you use pin 9,10,11 or 3you can also control speed)

* setup() - this function runs once when you turn your Arduino on
* We set the motors pin to be an output (turning the pin high (+5v) or low (ground) (-))
* rather than an input (checking whether a pin is high or low)
void setup()
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);
pinMode(motorPin, OUTPUT);

* loop() - this function will start after setup finishes and then repeat
* we call a function called motorOnThenOff()

void loop() // run over and over again
// motorOnThenOff();

sensorValue = analogRead(sensorPin);
// turn the ledPin on
analogWrite(ledPin, sensorValue);
// stop the program for milliseconds:
digitalWrite(motorPin, sensorValue);
// turn the ledPin off:


* motorOnThenOff() - turns motor on then off
* (notice this code is identical to the code we used for
* the blinking LED)
void motorOnThenOff(){
int onTime = 2500; //the number of milliseconds for the motor to turn on for
int offTime = 1000; //the number of milliseconds for the motor to turn off for

digitalWrite(motorPin, sensorValue); // turns the motor On
delay(onTime); // waits for onTime milliseconds
digitalWrite(motorPin, LOW); // turns the motor Off
delay(offTime); // waits for offTime milliseconds

* motorOnThenOffWithSpeed() - turns motor on then off but uses speed values as well
* (notice this code is identical to the code we used for
* the blinking LED)
void motorOnThenOffWithSpeed(){

int onSpeed = 200; // a number between 0 (stopped) and 255 (full speed)
int onTime = 2500; //the number of milliseconds for the motor to turn on for

int offSpeed = 50; // a number between 0 (stopped) and 255 (full speed)
int offTime = 1000; //the number of milliseconds for the motor to turn off for

analogWrite(motorPin, onSpeed); // turns the motor On
delay(onTime); // waits for onTime milliseconds
analogWrite(motorPin, offSpeed); // turns the motor Off
delay(offTime); // waits for offTime milliseconds

* motorAcceleration() - accelerates the motor to full speed then
* back down to zero
void motorAcceleration(){
int delayTime = 50; //milliseconds between each speed step

//Accelerates the motor
for(int i = 0; i < 256; i++){ //goes through each speed from 0 to 255
analogWrite(motorPin, i); //sets the new speed
delay(delayTime); // waits for delayTime milliseconds

//Decelerates the motor
for(int i = 255; i >= 0; i--){ //goes through each speed from 255 to 0
analogWrite(motorPin, i); //sets the new speed
delay(delayTime); // waits for delayTime milliseconds

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Notes after meeting with Sarah today, re viva:

Viva notes Sarah asked some very good questions, so I'm really grateful to have time to think carefully about my responses..

The main focus of work – subjectivity and representation and the acquisition of knowledge (epistemology)

when making software agents, I also needed to understand agency.

These themes emerged as they are linked to core problems in artificial intelligence – state clearly what those problems are -

what is propositional knowledge, what is symbolic representation – how else do we humans

know things? Tell this as a story that relates to my practice – how did I identify these themes?

How did my practice develop in relation to these themes?

Why connect artists's books and narrative? This is not a link that all book artists would make, we might think at first, but the focus of book art is to use the book as a medium the way other artists might use paint, and also to interrogate the book form, this often encompasses an exploration of the meaning and form of narrative, whether it is Sol LeWitt's algorithmic books, some artists also refer to themselves as narrative artists, but I not much of their work is unswervingly orthodox, and rooted in the auratic domain of the art object. William Blake is perhaps the best known book artist, although Drucker et al define book artists as essentially a late twentieth century phenomenon (60's onwards) . The Livre d'Artiste commmisioned by Anbroise Vollard from Bonnard etc were also illustrative , such as the loosely narrative pornographic poems of Paul Verlaine's , Parallèlement, 1900

But if I can return to Sol Lewitt and also Dieter Roth (daily mirror book 1961) and Ed Ruscha 26 gasoline stations (1963) we see a concern with seriality and sequence provided by the turning of pages -

'Roth's distinctive contribution to the emergent genre was his examination, through his bookworks, of the formal qualities of books themselves. These formal qualities such as flat pages, bound into fixed sequences were deconstructed and investigated, for instance in 2 Bilderbücher (1957) which comprised 2 picture books of geometric shapes, with die-cut holes cut into each page to allow glimpses of patterns from the pages beneath. Structural investigations such as these became the subject matter of the book itself.'

Many artists have taken up the challenge to experiment with the content and physical structure of the traditional book form.

(Tate Modern site tp://

also Guy Debord and Asger John making artsist books of found narraitives – narrative derives from

news papers, eg Memoires (1959)

unreadable books such as Dieter Roth's Literature Saussage (a pulped book sausage) Literaturwurst 1961 – 1974

Legendary, Lexical, Loquacious Love by Eve Rhymer (Karen Reimer), 1996, an alphabetical re-ordering of the text in a romance novel

More explicitly, as identified by Katherine Hayles in Writing Machines, such books as House of Leaves , and Tom Phillip's A Humument, 'Hayles examines the ways in which literary texts in every genre and period mutate

Hayles explores works that focus on the very inscription technologies that produce them, examining three writing machines in depth: Talan Memmott's groundbreaking electronic work Lexia to Perplexia, Mark Z. Danielewski's cult postprint novel House of Leaves, and Tom Phillips's artist's book A Humument.

A Treated Victorian Novel. 'One day, Phillips went to a bookseller's with the express intention of buying a cheap book to use as the basis of an art project. He randomly purchased a novel called A Human Document by Victorian author William Hurrell Mallock, and began a long project of creating art from its pages. He paints, collages or draws over the pages, leaving some of the text peeking through in serpentine bubble shapes, creating a "found" text with its own story, different from the original.' (wikipedia/) explicit playfulness with narrative and the book form.

Hayles concludes by speculating on how technotexts
affect the development of contemporary subjectivity.

"Writing Machines is a major addition to the scholarship on hypertext and, in general, on the relation of technology to literature. As this volume so clearly demonstrates, Hayles is a subtle reader of texts, a knowledgeable critic of new technology, and a fine theorist of culture... I am certain readers of Writing Machines will place it near the top of their list of books on hypertext."
--Mark Poster, University of California, Irvine

notes – further Suchman, Braidotti,

where have I not succeeded? South requires intensive involvement, its fragmentation may also be problematic (like much digital fiction) though I see this as a necessary quality may annoy some, as might the intrusion of the software – this came out in the evaluations, also there are techniocal problems – the small screen requires small computational input, but I think this constraint may be beneficial, I am not averse to Twitter's constraints. I would now write the sofwtare for Mobile phones. I would make a device myself, I now have the the skill, with a voice and bio sensors, I would use technology for more deeply embodied interaction – eeg and GSR, as I have now done for new projects.

The basic problem of representation is not fully resolved in this project, but I have been able now to move forward with works that have sprung from this, involving bio sensors, motion capture and physical computing. There are still hard coded rules in the system, but I think the hackablity of the code goes some way to opening up the issue of representation.

Why do I say the digital can 'enliven' ?? I argue book art is in danger, as Lucy Lippard has also noted, of reverting to the rarefied and antiquated Livre d'artiste, instead of the medium that interrogated the meaning and form of books- it must address the digital if it wants to remain current, and vital. Encompassing the digital and save it from fetishistic and anachronistic, auratic craft objects. I am not against craft at all, but I am against stasis and stagnation in art form particularly an art form that has as rich and radical a history as book art.

Explain situatedness – Suchman, sailors, Brooks, etc reread Haraway.

Need for a sucessor science, realist, relational, not a god trick or a view from nowhere.

Site specificity and situatedness.

What are my agendas? If I have them they emerged from practice and research. Alternatives to rigid a priori structures that lead to an impasse in AI, and disembodied models of knowledge.

What does the digital add to books? Potentially - dynamism, learning, mutability, adaptation, intersubjectivity, multi-media, growth, sensitivity, knowledge of situations and sites and subjects.


Lemurs and storytelling

K Dautenhahn

non-human primates do have symbolic representations and K Dautenhahn sees human primate storytelling as evolving from intersubjective expression of knowledge about family members, primates do remember reationships among groups, and do exhibit evidence of referring to a past - a proto-storytelling behaviour.

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Neural Art Navigator

oops will have to be The Neural Art Navigator as the Neural Navigator is being used by a medical imaging system in Utrecht, its an exciting phase for VAINS, as we will get a chance to demonstrate a radical new system for online art interaction..curtesy of the EEG headset and christmas holiday hack.

The Neural Navigator


The Neural Navigator: a novel navigation and collaborative filtering system for retrieving online art content.

The problem of suitable and innovative means for filtering and navigating online art content has long been acknowledged by influential figures in the domain of digital art practice, for example Beryl Graham (1999), Edward Shanken (1992) and Lev Manovich (1996) have all critiqued the fragmentation and anachronism of many online art contexts. This paper will describe the development, testing and evaluation of the Neural Navigator, an embodied system for navigating and collaboratively filtering online art content that addresses many of the core problems in the field of online art interaction.

The Neural Navigator is a physical computation system that deploys EEG (electroencephalography) to sense the electronic brainwave frequencies of individuals while they are visiting online art sites. The system analyses the patterns of electroencephalographic signals and matches them to suitable art works based on a collaborative filtering algorithm developed over the last two years by Eleanor Dare and Lee Weinberg, doctoral students at Goldsmiths (University of London) in the departments of Computing and Art.

The paper will describe the reasons for pursuing an embodied form of online navigation, framing this goal within the context of increasing interest in embodied interactive systems, while acknowledging the contribution of cognitive scientists such as Francisco Varela, Eleanor Rosch, Evan Thompson (1993) Alva Nöe (2009, 2004) and significant art practitioners such as Jeffrey Shaw (2002) and Robert Lazzarini (2001).

The proposed paper will describe the empirical testing of this system and the reactions of users to the experience of a seemingly sub-symbolic, autonomic process of interaction with the Computer Fine Arts Collection, which has been the focus for the development of the Neural Navigator. The architecture of the Neural Navigator has been influenced by an enactive and situated methodology that privileges action over a priori goals, and instead seeks an emergent, fluid and constantly changing set of navigational pathways. The paper cites Lucy Suchman (2007) and Alva Noe (2009, 2004) as key theoretical figures in the decision to pursue an enactive methodology, this will be clearly outlined and justified, as will the contribution of this work to the field of online art navigation, filtering and content retrieval.

Key words: Content retrieval; collaborative filtering; bio-sensors; social content and tools;

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Friday, 4 February 2011

Alexandra made this poster for our Thursday club appearance, it brings back losts of good and funny memories about this project. I am glad we are going to do a sort of retrospective of it, leading up to our more recent work with getures.

A Strange House in Stockholm

This is ED and AA in Nils Bohr's house in Carlsberg city where we presented our individual doctoral research last summer...

Look A, the door! To nowhere...In Stockholm. We will talk about this place at The Thursday Club, a house that generated stories while we were there.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

some Arduino blinks

note to self
//blink light number of button presses
int count = 0;
const int ledPin = 13; // the number of the LED pinconst int buttonPin = 7; int buttonState = 0;

void setup() {

pinMode(buttonPin, INPUT);
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);

void loop(){

buttonState = digitalRead(buttonPin);
if (buttonState == HIGH) {
doBlink(count); //method for blinking

if(buttonState ==LOW){
// turn LED off:
digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW); }

count = 0; }


//pass button presses as arguments for number of blinks:
void doBlink(int aa){
for(int i =0;i//stupid blog wont allow me to
//write a for loop, but this is a for loop while i is less than aa

digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH);
digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);