REMASTERPIECES

My two years of infrared investigation were rendered obsolete with the arrival of the Kinect. And I think that’s ok, because this toy is so much more fun. The games I have tried are really lame, but hacking into its data streams opens up new ways to do interactivity.

So we are entering a stage of technological artistic development where the object easily can engage in a cybernetic relationship with the observer. This feedback process opens up a series of real possibilities, in contrast to the optical illusions from the history of painting.

REMASTERPIECES is an attempt to add something to painting in the 21th century. Using Kinect to set up a space where the spectator (usually a reflexive figure standing still) is turned into an actor. With a broad range of small programs we dissect the body of painting and recreate it as vulgar entertainment.

From scribbling cave walls to aid our hunting, illustrating the lives of our saints, discovering the properties of space and perspective, creating tools that copy reality into images, to the breakdown of the exterior and the outer manifestations of inner life…the time has come to reanimate the figure of the distant bourgeois observer.

What would happen if we treated a painting as a game and decoded its message into a playful one?

Hacking a PS3 and Kinect together for the ultimate FrankenConsole™

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The Evil Hooverbot

Technical department has begun the assembly of a new robot. It will be based on our experience from Maxi Wanzl (r.i.p.), avoiding at least some of the many pitfalls from this project. And probably falling into some new.

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The problems with Maxi was many. She was big and clumsy, slow, needed a soccer field to make a turn, mechanical parts broke down all the time, took to much space to store etc etc. This one will be small, fast, and elegant (we hope).

The body:

An old Nilfisk vacuum cleaner found at Skrot Tor. A real beauty, so we will try too treat it with respect.

Movement:

IMG_1624IMG_1625The motors and gear system of two cheap cordless drills. Perfect for our mission. To control these motors we are using the FET transistor that was inside the drill, two relays to change the running directions, and the PWM outputs from a USB interface card. As simple and cheap as it gets. The motors drives the wheels directly, giving minimal chance of failure.

Head:

IMG_1609IMG_1621The head will include a webcam. The viewing angle of a webcam is very small, so the head must be able to move in all directions to get a real overview. This will also be a charming feature, giving the thing personality together with  “eyes” made of cool old incandescent 7-segment displays which I happen to have plenty of at work. Animating the displays we can probably give it some nice expressions. To move the head we use some cheap RC servos instead of trying to make some slow, weak and malfunctioning contraption ourselves. The mouth is a speaker mounted on the stationary part of the robot making bleepy sounds R2D2 style. We will reuse and tweak the voice patch of Maxi Wanzl which I think was brilliant.

Intelligence:

Ok, we have not thought too much of it yet. Maybe none. Maybe some. I do not have to high expectations of what we can make it do yet. Our primary goal will be to get it online so it can be controlled from internet with help from the webcam. You will be most welcome to visit our robot online if we get this running, a bit like in “Being John Malkovich”.

We still do not have a name for it and thus don’t know which sex it is. Probably male though. Any suggestions for a name is appreciated.