Friday, August 27, 2004

Dorkbots in raincoats

From left to right: Saul Albert, Douglas Repetto and Alex McLean.

"Talking about performance is like dancing about software"

Amy Alexander's presentation revolved around the concept of breaking down the usual interface of the computer - especially in connection to vjing. VJ Übergeek rocked and Saul Albert did his thing on the foot operated vj interface. Check out where you can download a freeware version of the search engine based vj tool CyberSpaceLand("Critical Eye Candy. Or Something.")

Printer Poetics

Dallas based duo Tree Wave (Paul Slocum and Lauren Gray) gave a stunning performance at Musikcafeen. Who would have thought that an obsolete matrix printer could sound so beautiful. Truly poetic.

Thursday night out

Pics from an inspiring night at Musikcafeen. One from Eugenio Tisseli's vj performance and one from an experiment with collective vjing.

Grown-ups doing strange things with lego

Rasmus Lunding works on expanding the Lego Mindstorm robot kit into musical components. We watched the lego creatures create sound by rolling over and into various objects and at one point slip into a destructive frenzy.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Alexei TV

Minced Cinema

The Movie Mincer Cinema is a project by Sergey Teterin in which an old Soviet meat mincer is used to manually control motion pictures by turning the mincer's handle (both back and forth). At his presentation at the Runme/Dorkbot city camp Sergey characterized the project as a cheap hardware solution for Vjs. The current version doesn't however actually support grinding meat at the same time. It will be interesting to observe which direction the development of this tool will take.

Distort your media

Aristarkh Chernyshev’s project Shining TV proposes to manipulate the TV-signal, transforming the signal into a range of new TV types. One of the physical interfaces is the the real-virtuality-helmet (a joint project with Alexei Shulgin), that allows the spectator to see the world in ASCII mode. Another interesting one is the attachment Shine Box which allows the user to watch regular TV programmes in a range of distorted modes (12 different ones). Also see a partial version of the project: "Final Adjustment" at the exhibition space rum46 here in Aarhus.

Dot Matrix Music

Paul Slocum demonstrated how he reprograms various devices eg. turning the 1985 Epson LQ-500 printer into a rythmic musical instrument by adding a reprogrammed EPROM. This printer-instrument was demonstrated here at the Runme/Dorkbot citycamp in Aarhus and is currently on display at the local gallery rum46. It will also be demonstrated live at Musikcafeen tonight, where the band Tree Wave (Paul Slocum and Lauren Gray) will use a larger setup of obsolete computer equipment to produce music. and

Unpredictable radio

Tom Betts and Joe Gilmore have created a live streaming radio station with generative music. Its called Rand()%. The individual pieces are created by various artists using very different tools like Max/MSP, Director, Flash, HTML, Pure Data etc. A UK based computer runs the programs broadcasting the result to the internet. Joe explained how he’s been looking into different ways of incorporating randomness into music eg. utilizing streams of numbers based on radioactive material or atmospheric pressure. Suggestions from the audience included basing music on the London bus schedule…

The guys are always looking for new material, so submit your pieces at:

Read_me documentation

Here are some links to some media clips dealing with Read_me (In Danish). Thanks to Soeren Pold for compiling the list.
- Kunstmagasinet (Radio, 19 August) - 27 minutes into the stream . 12 minutes long, Søren + Morten:
- Kulturnyt: (Radio, 23 August) (Shorter version of more or less the same but with Jacob and without Morten):
- TV2 Østjylland, (TV, 23 August) (in the beginning and at the end - Rasmus Lunding + Morten Breinbjerg):
- A fine article in Danish made by students at the Journalist School:$203

People doing strange things with beer

The first day of the Runme/Dorkbot city camp found its conclusion in a get-together at the art academy. Shiny happy software artists and an insanely eclectic mp3 play-o-rama.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Critical filtering

Among other projects, Peter Luining premiered a set of custom filters created for Photoshop effectively planting a critical comment inside the original software. One set of filters literally takes over the entire visible space of the interface, others allow you to apply the views of media gurus to your images. Try adding some Foucault...

Meet Soeren Pold

Organizer Soeren Pold in a rare relaxed moment. Based at the Digital Aesthetics Research Centre ( he has been one of the Danish persons responsible for bringing Read_me to Aarhus. The idea was originally conceived while Alexei Shulgin was visiting to do a lecture, workshop and concert in Århus in 2002. One of the goals of this particular research centre is to build a bridge between the art departments and the departments dealing with multimedia and information technology. Read_me also brings the Jutland Academy of Fine Art into the equation, hopefully letting the festival act as a catalyst for the digital arts scene in Aarhus. And lets see if they will also start a Dorkbot branch at some point!

Granny Smith

Georg Tremmel and Shiho Fukuhara presented the Biopresence project, proposing to incorporate strands of human DNA into eg. trees. In the case of incorporating a dead relative's DNA into an apple tree, the question is if you would eat the fruit from the grandma tree. Check out: A totally unrelated detail in this connection is Shiho's pseudo dial-up audio watch which will only tell you the time when stimulated whith the right combination of numbers.

This is NOT a geek convention

I want my mommy

Christophe Bruno demonstrated the interface of his new project Dreamlogs, which is still at a prototype phase. Starting with the sentence "I want my mommy" he started downloading sentences from Google that are in some way close to the original one, picking out the phrases he liked. The result was something like an associative trail through the textual soup of the web: I want my mommy... Jesus was a terrorist ... Woman don't control their bodies etc. After this a standard-looking web page (a dreamlog) can be created, feeding the content back to the web. You can imagine the confusion of the ordinary user stumbling onto one of these pages... More of Bruno's work at:

WIMP and the beautiful world

Alexei Shulgin and Victor Laskin presented WIMP (stands for Windows Interface Manupulation Program or Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointing).
In all of his years of working with computers, what made the biggest impression on him, Alexei remarked, was the interface. Basically what WIMP does is animate the different layers in the Windows GUI.

When Soeren Pold asked Alexei if he found Windows beautiful, the answer was: "I think the world is beautiful".

Processing presentation

The first presentation at the Runme/Dorkbot city camp at the Art Academy in Aarhus was by Casey Reas. Only being able to give a very brief presentation of the Processing project (by Ben Fry and himself), he was open for the possibility of doing one-on-one practical Processing sessions while in Aarhus. One of the points of Processing is to ease the access to art/design programming for non-expert programmers.

Virus show later this year

We met Alessandro Ludovico from Neural Magazine (, who told us about a forthcoming exhibition on computer viruses thats coming to Denmark and USA later this year. Its going to be about the destructive elements as well as cultural and artistic approaches. The title of the exhibition? I Love You...

Dates and places: USA: Brown University, Watson Institute, Providence, 10th September - 4th October 2004. Denmark: Post & Tele Museum Copenhagen 7th October - 14th November 2004. URL:

Quote: Douwe Osinga

I think of the web as a huge cocktailparty
[Douwe Osinga in his presentation at the conference yesterday]

More pics from Tuesday at rum46

Here are some more pictures from the Human Computer Interface Exhibition and the live coding session by Slub.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Pics from tonite

Art opening and performance (live coding - what else?) at rum46

Performance by

Closing remarks... now onto the workshops

Soeren Pold closed the conference with a few remarks: "These days have shown that software art has gained some ground. It has gone from an avantgardistic thing to something more widespread."

And now: Let the workshops begin ...

Dorkbot Wiki

Remember to check out the Runme/Dorkbot Wiki: Everyone can participate by adding files, images, project descriptions etc.

User participation

Mirko Schaefer stated that "Computers are not meant to do something; they are rather meant to do anything that can be formulated as an algorithm.". Carrying this point further to the way certain individuals extend their game consoles' (and other computerbased units) functions by hacking into them and programming new ones, he showed examples of a hack of the Sony AIBO robot dog. These hacks were published on the website constituting an open source forum for shaping the AIBO toy. Sony did definitly not appreciate this new form of user interaction. Schaeffer comments in the Read_me proceedings: "Culture is too important to leave the definition of its values to monopolistic companies and their lobbies"

Statements: Trevor Batten

Asked what he thought the point of software art festivals are, Trevor Batten answered: "People like me to make points. I don't like to make points, I like to create spaces."

Algorithmic worldmapping

Douwe Osinga and Ernst Wit have created an algorithmic tool to generate different types of world maps. By seaching the net for relations between countries, the algorithm places the countries on the map according to size (how often are they mentioned) and relations (how often are two contries mentioned on the same page). The latter places the US quite close to Iraq on the map.
In the discussion afterwards, Fatima Lasay's comment received the first spontaneous applaus of the conference: " It is dangerous to see mapping of the web as reality".

The map project was done using Altavista, but the conference's bio reveals that Douwe works for Google ...

A conference of laptops!

No Future

An unforgettable line from Troels Degn Johanssons presentation (Mise en Abyme in software art): "After (Florian) Cramer, software art seems to have little to do but to repeat the point; to follow the straight line that they have drawn (into the abyss)". Among other comments Andreas Broeckman from Transmediale asked Troels about his relation to Cramer's position. Troels proceeded to characterize Cramer's program as "a terribly rigid no-future program". This point did not generate much protest. Read Florian Cramer's "Concepts, notations, software, art" (2002) for yourself:


Christophe Bruno presented various examples of his Google Hacks. One of the older pieces was the AdWords happening ( from 2002. This piece exploits Google's advertising system by posting short poem-like texts (as ads) in connection to certain web searches. Bruno soon received a mail from Google stating that he was discrediting the economic dynamic of Google (!). Another one of the presented projects was the new piece Dreamlogs. In short: " start with an element of discourse, and little by little you perform search requests and let the propagation occur ... until you reach some other discursive position.". This results in a kind of imaginary blogs. Dreamlogs will also be presented at the Runme/Dorkbot camp. Can't wait to see this one in action.

What software does ...

Matthew Fuller asked:
"How can social software projects establish the conditions for other forms of knowledge to become manifest and active in the use of the digital objects they make available? To put it in another way, what happens to the special understanding the poppy farmer, the food manufacturer and the architect have about the object they take part in generating when you find an object that links them: say, a few wraps of heroin hidden from moisture in a crisp packet and from sight between loose bricks in a wall in the pub?"(from Read_me 2004 edition, p. 36)

He also introduced two types of social software: Nine: and
Opus Commons:

Electrohype is here!

Lars Midbøe and Anna Kindvall of Malmoe-based Electrohype ( are here.

It ain't all theory

Chroma key djing and excellent food are also important factors. The Read_me crowd landed at CAVI (Centre for Advanced Visualization and Interaction) taking the vibe to another level.