Refining the Space Rock shapes

First refined version of shape 4. The outer shell has been sanded ready to be cast (as a test). And some test prints in PLA of the inner part that holds the power bank and circuit board. The first version of this is not deep enough and the screw holes are a little too close to the edge of the print.

Some musical inspiration 19/07/18

Iván Paz
Visions of Space

Iván Paz is another artist who makes extensive use of live coding, yet the Mexican composer’s unsettling Visions of Space from May is also inspired by techniques employed in AI research. The album’s droning yet often harsh electronic soundscapes were put together using musical algorithms whose parameters Paz varies sequentially through time, in much the same way that the parameters controlling an artificial intelligence are altered by the process of learning. Yes, this is all too abstract to express sufficiently in a single paragraph, but the unnerving, sinister power of the dystopian title track alone is enough to prove it’s an effective method.

From this Bandcamp article – Meet the Artists Using Coding, AI, and Machine Language to Make Music

Also:

Research development workshop 18/07/18 – notes

Sun Ra - Space Is The Place record sleeve artwork
Sun Ra – Space Is The Place record sleeve artwork

Some notes from today’s research development workshop, helping to define and refine the research question for my final dissertation:

Abstract (describing my practice):
My practice explores the archeology of non-existent or imaginary worlds through interaction, immersion and communication using the universal languages of sound and light. The context to this work is to explore current human society and how we view our future through the imaginary worlds and narratives we create as projection or escape.

The research will focus on the science fiction genre, but also look the work of practitioners such as Forensic Architecture, who present immersive visual work in political and legal forums, truth commissions, courts, and human rights reports to give a real-world context.

What is the aim of the practice?

Explore current human society, and how we view our future, through imaginary worlds and narratives, using immersion and alternative ‘reality’. This will be achieved through a collection of hand-held interactive objects that generate sound and light signals and are networked to communicate both with each other, and with the viewer when handled or played with.

Key terms and definitions:
  • archeology
    the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains.
  • immersive
    providing, involving, or characterized by deep absorption or immersion in something (such as an activity or a real or artificial environment)
  • communication
    the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings.
  • narrative
    a representation of a particular situation or process in such a way as to reflect or conform to an overarching set of aims or values.
  • imaginary
    the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
  • interaction (design)
    reciprocal action or influence.
    (Physics) a particular way in which matter, fields, and atomic and subatomic particles affect one another
  • science fiction
    fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.
  • Alien:
    a person who has been estranged or excluded.
    a creature from outer space.
  • Extraterrestrial
    of or from outside the earth or its atmosphere
    a hypothetical or fictional being from outer space.
  • Human
    of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or having the nature of people
    of or relating to the social aspect of people

Glow-in-the-dark Space Rocks

Small (45mm) 3D printed Space Rocks, that glow in the dark.

This week’s (or month’s) research – 11/07/18

Not done one of these for a while, but thought it would be useful to round-up some of the research I have been carrying out over the past few weeks.

Firstly, am looking at the work of Forensic Architecture, exploring their use of design as a process of archeology.

Exploring the language of objects and existing archetypes, reading Don Norman’s Emotional Design. I am investigating techniques to undermine or subvert the communication of messages by objects.

On the tech front, I am now looking into using the XBee RSSI (Received signal strength indicator) to produce the interactions between the four Space Rocks, using the distance and relative strength of the signal to change the light (colour / intensity) and sound parameters as the objects’ proximity to each other changes. See also Reading XBee RSSI with Arduino. I also need to dig out my copy of Making Things Talk.

Also looking into the concepts of:

  • Pattern recognitionHumans Are the World’s Best Pattern-Recognition Machines, But for How Long?
  • The overview effect –  refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void”, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.
  • Bicameralism – the condition of being divided into “two-chambers” is a hypothesis in psychology that argues that the human mind once operated in a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be “speaking”, and a second part which listens and obeys — a bicameral mind.

Attended an interesting talk at Futurefest, Speaking with Aliens. Triggered some very interesting ideas around communicating with extra-terrestrial life away from Earth with Clara Sousa-Silva (a Quantum Astrochemist at MIT tasked with finding alien life on a molecular level) and Jill A. Stuart (Space Law expert and director at METI international, working on different scenarios for encounters with intelligent life). I was most interested in Clara Sousa-Silva’s mentions of trying to communicate with light, as this can be seen everywhere, and white light can be split into infinite colours via a prism (for example). She also mentioned maths as a communication tool, but this seems too tied to human communication to fit the concept of a universal language. She also mentioned studying inter-species communication on Earth to inform communications with aliens.  The panel also discussed the idea of the Dark Forest, suggesting that perhaps we should not try to communicate with aliens at all.

This has also led me to researching Danielle Wood, Director of Space Enabled and the idea of space that has not been colonised by entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and business interests. This also reminded me of this article in the Guardian discussing attempts to map underground spaces,  which are generally less regulated than the space above ground.

Audio research

I am currently conducting  research into the audio content for my final project. If you wish to participate, listen to 10 different audio tracks on this Soundcloud playlist – https://soundcloud.com/richard-1/sets/audio-research/s-3Fb37 and note your thoughts on each track on this Google form – https://goo.gl/forms/pcI9MhAZkeMpfpKx2.

First attempt at mould-making with silicone and casting in Jesmonite

A small test, mould-making from the lumpy Space Rocks created using Meshmixer, plus the resulting Jesmonite cast.