MindSpace Art

Art, Technology, Opinions

13 December, 2006
by Eric

Two thumbs up for “The Eight Competencies of Online Interaction”

This is a copy of a post I made at my education oriented blog, but I figured it is also of relevance here because the topic of ‘online interaction’ equally applies to creative endavours:

The Eight Competencies of Online Interaction: What Should We Be Learning and Doing? was recently presented at the NYSAIS Mohonk 2006 Conference. Its a long (89 minute) mp3 so jammed full of interesting observations that I had to go back and have a second listen. The energy of the presenters also helps keep you interested for its entire length. My only negative comment would be that in the audio version it was not clear what the 8 competencies were, with only some indications when they were moving on to the next topic, but that does not detract from the insights within.
So what is it about? The title really sums it up, and because online interaction pretty much applies to everyone nowadays, I would reccommend that anyone online take a listen (especially if you are eclectic enough to be reading this blog post). Why? I think it can offer valuable insigts into what you are doing online and how you go about it, and quite importantly, better understand your own strength and weaknesses, which in turn will help you play to your strengths and improve or at least anage your weaknesses. Sounds like a good idea to me.

27 June, 2006
by Eric

The Potential for 3D Technology in Art

CGWorld ran an interesting article called “Extreme 3D“, which reviewed many different ways that artists can now convert real 3D objects into virtual 3D objects (often called digitising or scanning), and inversely convert virtual 3D objects into real 3D objects (often called 3D printing or rapid prototyping).

While this is not directly related to MindSpace Art, I thought it would be of interest to people, and I have used some of the 3D Laser Scanning techniques in the past, but more for education than art.

It pleasantly surprised me that there are so many ways to do this now, that service everything from molecules to galaxies, and that so much of the data is either affordable to acquire or already available on the internet.

Bear in mind that for completeness’s sake, you should also be aware that just as it is possible to convert a Real 3D object into another Real 3D object (plaster cast etc), it is also possible to convert Virtual 3D objects into other Virtual 3D objects. It is also possible to convert both real and digital data, events and media into both Real and Virtual Objects.

For example, I saw a great kinetic sculpture in the Minneapolis Science Centre where real seismic events (earthquakes) are digitised as they happen, then the real, kinetic sculpture takes this live digital data and makes a series of hammers hit pipes to make an intriguing sound-scape based on seismic events from around the world.

I added in analogue components (which interestingly, seemed to lack events and objects – at least I couldn’t think of any) and came up with the following illustration:

MSA 004 - Ways of Converting from One Form to Another

23 June, 2006
by Eric

Upgrading to the term Web 2.1

Unfortunately I tuned into this podcast a couple of weeks after the fact, but even so, I’d like to share an interesting perspective. It was one of many discussions that flared up around this blog post by Tom Raftery from IT@CORK (in Ireland) who received a cease and desist letter from the legal team of O’Reilly publishers. Apparently O’Reilly StyleMarked (similar to TradeMarked) the term “Web 2.0 Conference” and after many opportunities, took this opportunity to start enforcing it on a small 1/2 day conference on the other side of the world. Follow either of the above links for more info.

Firstly, I should mention that I am not against companies protecting their ideas and their names, but I think O’Reilly has stepped way out of line for many reasons. Firstly, having known about it for 9 months and waited till the last 2 weeks was just rude. Secondly, not bothering to have a polite discussion and jump straight into legal threats is not only very rude, but very inefficient (unless you like feeding legal piranhas). Thirdly, when I was taught about trademarks, I was told that you had to be careful, because if your trademark becomes a generic term, you loose control of it, so I think O’Reilly has lost their dubious control anyway.

It is almost an anti-climax that O’Reilly have no jurisdiction in Ireland to be trying to enforce anyway – while it is extremely shameful to O’Reilly, it kind of leaves the core issue unresolved. And as I learn from Lawrence Lessig, unresolved issues are a lawyer’s playground, and ‘chill’ the environment. In this case, people in America will still be scared of receiving a letter from O’Reilly, so many will confirm, whether they really need to or not.

So I propose an interesting solution to this issue. I think from now on, everyone should refuse to refer to the term “Web 2.0” and instead use the term “Web 2.1”. Not only does this give O’Reilly no leg to stand on, it also sends a clear message that the social web will not stand for corporate intimidation. So in this way, it is describing a new version of the web, which justifies an incremental version increase. And with an almost self prophetic irony, it is creating a new version of the web that the term itself ushers in. Web 2.0 has been around long enough for it to look significantly different now compared to when it first emerged, so I think it is high time to evolve to Web 2.1. Web 2.1 can also represent the related fights for Internet Neutrality (www.savetheinternet.com and www.itsournet.org) and Free Culture (www.lessig.org and www.eff.org).

To pre-empt any future issues, I’ll state that not only Web 2.1, but Web X.X can now be considered a generic term, so no one can own trademark control over it in the future.

Of course, the only way for the term Web 2.1 to become completely generic and for people to be free of unacceptable corporate restrictions and intimidation is for this idea to be spread and used. Ok, sure, it is a long shot, but if it was to happen, ideally, it should not be used blindly, but should be used with knowledge of what it represents and why it became necessary.

I’ve now dug a little deeper, and found that quite a few people have proposed that incrementing Web 2.0 is a good idea, which is great – it might just catch on yet. Liam Breck mentions that Web 2.5 is already coined for “the fusion of web 2.0 tools with mobile tech” so its probably a good thing we steered clear of that. However, none of the posts that I read went into the same detail I’ve covered above:

21 June, 2006
by Eric

Adliberation: One Time Only. Seriously.

I wanted to let people know about the origins of the music I am using as a backing to the podcast at the moment, and as luck would have it, it kind of fits with the topic of the blog/podcast. I’ll play the entire track at the end of this podcast.

I love a wide variety of music, and have been playing percussion since I was about 12. Or should I say I’ve been taking lessons since I was about 12 – apparently I was turning pots over and hitting them with chopsticks not long after I could walk.

Back around the turn of the century (ouch!) I was at university (learning Biochemistry actually, but that is a different story) I met up with some like-minded musicians, and we started playing together on a regular basis. We were really into improvisation, and would hardly ever play the same piece twice. We were also into community involvement and participation, so when jamming, we would do it in a public space around university, and encourage the audience to come join in with a variety of spare instruments we had lying around. We eventually settled on the term JAMM, as in Just About Making Music, which summed it up very eloquently. This was a great experience, not only to be creating something interesting and help people develop their musical skills and expression, but also to quite simply stop me going insane. In Biochemistry Honours, I was researching and writing a 5000 word (roughly 20 page) essay every week, along with other work – it was all very dry and uninspiring, so having the opportunity to really let my creativity fly once a week kind of refreshed me and cleared my head – almost like meditation in many respects.

I often recorded our work, but at one stage, we decided to do a more professional recording, so we went out to the Ellesmere Concert Band hall where some of us also played, took along a 4-Track hard drive recorder, and got to it. We had Siva Sothinathan on guitar, Matthew Redmond on Keyboard and myself on Drums, though we did switch around a bit too.

The backing track is actually from the first track we recorded. The really interesting things about this recording was that it was entirely improvised and that it was recorded in its entirety. while we took a break between songs, we did each song in one take, We never composed or rehearsed beforehand and as far as I can recall, we didn’t chop any of it out. Afterwards, I transferred the tracks to a computer and mastered the levels and tones, but that is about all that was tweaked.

We ended up with 5 long songs that filled a CD, so I chopped it into about 14 tracks where the themes change, but set the CD to have 0 seconds pause between tracks, so it does not interrupt the flow of the original songs. We called the CD “Organic JAMM, Adliberation”, though we never could decide which was the name of the band and which was the name of the CD. In the end we decided that the CD would be called Adliberation, but that in the future, all CDs we make would be called Adliberation, and that the name of the band would change for each CD. While this is humorously unorthodox, it is also very appropriate, because the people playing in the band would probably be different each time, while the philosophy of the music would stay the same.

Unfortunately, the core JAMM members have scattered across the globe (New Zealand, USA, Malaysia) so I don’t think a single pair of them are in the same city now. So we’ve been planning to do set up a Web 2.1 website to support remote JAMMing, but more on that in a later episode.

So play the audio below and skip to about 4mins 30 sec to hear the song. Or better yet, subscribe to the PodCast version and have it all downloaded to your MP3 player automatically.

19 June, 2006
by Eric

Introduction to the MindSpace Art Podcast

Welcome to the MindSpace Art Podcast. I am Eric Woods from Christchurch, New Zealand.

The backing music used in the podcast is from an improvisation CD I did with some friends quite a while ago now, but I’ll talk about that in a following episode.

In my day job, I do a variety of different things, but mostly applying technology to the education and creative industries (www.MindSpaceSolutions.com).

www.MindSpaceArt.com is more of an informal place where I put up a few of the things I play around with in my spare time.

The MindSpace Art Podcast is an audio version of the blog I have at www.MindSpaceArt.com/blog – I am going for a kind of hybrid blog/podcast (blogcast?) so where possible, the blog and the podcast will cover the same information. Occasionally I suspect I might get lazy and simply mention in the blog that the podcast goes into more detail, or vice versa.

So the MindSpace Art Blog/Podcast will focus on my applications of technology to art, but will also have a few of my personal views mixed in there for good measure.

So I hope you find something of interest, and have a good day,