The X-Ray project

For this years StedSans I ended up creating a machine “x-raying” a building as the audience walked by, off course  sporting a projector and  a PC.  (I know everyone else would use a Mac. And I don’t care.) The building was about 50 meters long, so I had to rig the contraption onto  a trolley which I pushed manually down the opposite sidewalk of the building.

As the trolley moved along videos of bizarre situations should be displayed on the wall of the building.

I needed some way to sync the projected image with my movement so all the action would appear to stand still on the wall while the view port was moving. I was planning to connect a wheel to an optical fork, connected to an Arduino calculating the movement and sending it to the PC trough the USB- serial port. It ended up A LOT simpler; a large Lego wheel connected straight into the scrolling wheel of a mouse. Easy to make, easy to interface.

Foto: Dag Jensen

Foto: Dag Jensen

To display the more then 15 videos on the right place I made a patch in Processing begin able to start, stop and wall-sync up to 30 videos simultaneously.  To keep frame rates up I started and stopped the videos as the entered and left the view port. Most of the videos had no sound, so suiting clips where played from Reason controlled from the Processing patch trough midi.

The plan worked out quite ok, but far from perfect. The problem the wheel sync is that it does not account for changes in projector angle or bumps in the sidewalk. My trolley also got far to heavy and was hard to control. I ended up making cue marks with chalk on the sidewalk where I stopped my trolley and pushed a key to resync the viewport position to the next cue. Hard to explain really but it did help a lot.

Footage is taken of the whole performance, but I doubt I’ll ever get finished mixing it down to a decent Youtube video to show around. Andy, I need you! To many projects and to little time!

And .. eh .. should write more details but I’ll just publish it now. Cheers!

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Forrest canceled – A new project emerging

After to many changes in the plot of the Stedsans Drammen scene, and after seeing the area with my own eyes, I figured the Lamp Forrest would thrive there. Instead we have agreed to do a virtual x-ray scan of one of the buildings which has a nice flat and bright surface for projecting.

A bit like this: http://www.chrisoshea.org/out-of-bounds but with the projector moving on a trolley to cover the whole building.

The idea is very much inspired by Luca, the Italian artist contributing to Stedsans Porsgrunn and other GF events.

The time is short and the road is long and winding. Godspeed myself.

(by the way, the new “white” layout is awful… I want Chuck back! )

The Lamp Forest #2

Foto: Torbjørn StråndOk, there never was a post for Lamp Forest #1 because of Norwegian dept’s prolonged uselessness.

The Lamp Forest is a grid of old worn indoor lamps individually controlled from a laptop. This makes it possible to make the lamp dim and twinkle in interesting patterns, or to let the lamps interact with the audience or actors.

Foto: Torbjørn StråndAt the fall of 2010 the Lamp Forest was set up for the first time for Stedsans Porsgrunn. It consisted of 64 lamps in a 8 by 8 grid in the park. Add some rain and we probably set the record for Porsgrunns ground fault of the year 2010!

Anyway it all went well with no dead actresses or technicians, and this year we will try again at Stedsans Drammen. I have still not discussed the matter with Mario, my programmer for the last year lamp forest (hatted gentleman below), and I still do not know what to change and what to keep. I’ll keep you updated! (maybe.. or maybe I just fall into prolonged uselessness again…)
E, Norwegian/Technical department.

These dimmers are older then you... Yes you!

MouseMan Mapping Porsgrunn

Dag-en-abyme

This is an image of Dag Jensen, the photographer that has done most of our performance photos, standing in our installation, taking pictures of a picture he took in 2006, with the audience in front of a 6 x 5 meter poster of the photo he took in 2005 of a girl running away from fire. The sequence has a dizzying effect, it reminds me of learning strange new words in college, like mise-en-abyme meaning, “placing into infinity” or “placing into the abyss”.

First of all the two MouseMan projects in Porsgrunn and Madrid are almost opposites, in Madrid it was inside the Altamira Palace, all made of marble, with a cool atmosphere and plenty of time for people to interact.  In Porsgrunn it was inside the popular Folkets Hus, at the end of a 2 hour theatre walk in the city, together with lapskaus (traditional norwegian food) and entertainment. The visitors had become audience and as an audience they where in a theatrical time mode.

We tried making interactive things for Stedsans in 2007 with little success in the field, so we ended up performing the interactivity. With the Tesla Coil in 2008 we dropped the interaction altogether and did a Pythonesque mad professor routine which worked well. This year, because of reproduction and MouseMan being our new project, we went back to full scale interaction. It seems that Stedsans and interaction doesn’t belong together.

But then a challenger appears. Kids. The kind of people that’s not content with sitting politely at the table and listening about the good old days. We made an easy to understand interface, when you move the red circle follows, a 5-year-old could get it, but it was difficult to grasp for the pre-computer generation. The future for MouseMan could be a large 3D version of PacMan.

Harder Better Faster Longer

IMG_1960

Dear Internet,

We are currently in Porsgrunn at the Stedsans festival updating our MouseMan project. In this small town we have access to more equipment and the infrastructure is of a happy-go-lucky type,  so v2.0 will be better, faster and longer. There is no hacked web camera, but a newly bought IP security camera. Not one projector, two of course. And why not use six par cans with RGB filters instead of buying one expensive IR light.

So the project is upgraded, but and this is why we ask for your help Internet, when we started testing our two projector vertical set-up, we found no solution to spanning the desktop over two monitors with a flash program in full-screen. Our dualhead2go can pivot the screen, we have downloaded Pivot Pro and searched up and down on the net, but still can’t find a solution. There was three entries in forums addressing the same problem, no one has answered yet. Come on Internet, this is relevant for everybody.

How do you put one projector on top of another and get their desktops to function as a whole, just like it is in horizontal set-up?

IMG_1894 IMG_1920IMG_1941IMG_1947

The Crop Circle Incident

We are currently working on a project similar to Mapping Madrid in home town Porsgrunn where a major theatre event called “Stedsans” is held for the fift time this year. This time the projected map will be a air photo of Porsgrunn and the surrounding area, and the pictures will be from the earlier events of Stedsans.
During the assembly of the air photos which I collect from gulesider.no/kart, a service similar to goole maps but with better norwegian coverage i made this amazing discovery:
(bilde av kornsirkelen)
I have never heard of any crop circles in this area so I though that “this is big!”. I am avare that the images used can be several years old and that the circle probably was gone by now. However I wanted to find out just how old they where, so I could search lokal newspapers and other sources for unusual events araound the time the pictures where taken. I contaced gulesider.no to find the source of the image database. They politely forwarded me to Statens Kartsentral which translates the State Map Center. I sendt them a mail with the GPS coordinates, explaining the issue and asking for the date of the images. I never got any respons.
Here comes the weird part: A couple of weeks later I wanted to show the phenomena to a friend opened the browser on the gulesider maps. The crop circle was gone!
(bilde uten kornsirkel)
Now I should explain that I am a great sceptisist of “supernatural” phenomenas like crop cirles. I have allways beleived that human beings are clever folks well capable of making these patterns just to have a laugh at the people beleing they come from outher space. I just havent figured out HOW they have made them and I thus keep an open mind.
The real question is not hwo made the cirle and how. It is: Why did the gouvernment remove the evidence? What are they trying to hide?
Me, I’m pussled. Maybe time will show…

We are currently working on a project similar to Mapping Madrid in home town Porsgrunn where a major theater event called “Stedsans” is held for the fifth time this year. This time the projected map will be a air photo of Porsgrunn and the surrounding area, and the pictures will be from the earlier events of Stedsans.

During the assembly of the air photos which I collect from gulesider.no/kart, a service similar to Google maps but with better Norwegian coverage, I made this amazing discovery:

crop copy

I have never heard of any crop circles in this area so I though that “this is big!”. I am aware that the images used can be several years old and that the circle probably was gone by now. However I wanted to find out just how old they where, so I could search local newspapers and other sources for unusual events around the time the pictures where taken. I contacted gulesider.no to find the source of the image database. They politely forwarded me to Statens Kartsentral which translates the State Map Center. I sent them a mail with the GPS coordinates, explaining the issue and asking for the date of the images. I never got any response.

Here comes the weird part: A couple of weeks later I wanted to show the phenomena to a friend opened the browser on the gulesider maps. The crop circle was gone! Link:

nocrop

Now I should mention that I am a great skeptic of “supernatural” phenomenas like crop circles. I have always believed that human beings are clever folks well capable of making these patterns just to have a laugh at the people believing they come from outer space. I just haven’t figured out HOW they have made them and thus I keep an open mind.

The real question is not who made the circle and how. It is: Why did the company remove the evidence? What are they trying to hide?

Me, I’m puzzled. Maybe time will show. Maybe not…