Lights in the Sky

Repost from The Creator's Project

Friday through Sunday evenings at dusk, a massive flock of pigeons elegantly twirl, swoop, and glide above the East River NYC, as Riley orchestrates a series of performances occurring regularly throughout late spring. At the call of a whistle, thousands of birds emerge from their home in a grand, converted historic boat docked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The pigeons circle above the river as the sun sets over Manhattan, and small leg bands, historically used to carry messages, have been replaced with tiny LED lights, illuminating the sky in a transcendent union of public art and nature. 

Fly By Night pays homage to pigeon keeping, both in New York and farther afield. Pigeons have been domesticated for thousands of years and kept by people around the world for their companionship, sport, and service.The Brooklyn Navy Yard was the site of the military’s largest coop at it's peak during World War II. Returning birds to this site is not only a love letter to pigeon fancying, it is something of a PR campaign for creatures routinely called “rats with wings.” Duke Riley (the creator of the project) tells The Creators Project, “They’re extremely smart, and have excellent facial recognition skills. In some ways, they’re kind of like aliaison between the human and the natural world.” 

Locally, each neighborhood in New York once had a community of pigeon keepers (or fanciers, as they are commonly known); a dense network of rooftop pigeon lofts stretched across the five boroughs. While property development and population shifts have caused the practice to wane, Fly By Night reflects back on and makes visible this largely forgotten culture. 

Fly By Night encourages urbanites to look up and take in their surroundings. “There’s a level of enjoyment and childlike amusement,” Hollander (Creative Time) says. “One day, we were down at the Navy Yard, and a security guard ran over and said, ‘I just got off a 16-hour shift, and seeing this filled me with joy.’ That’s what we’re going for: an opportunity to replenish people with hope and wonder.” Riley and his avian performance artists illuminate the waterfront in a confluence of art and nature, creating a spellbinding experience for those lucky enough to witness it this spring.

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Mating Calls

Been a while again, but it's always good to wait out for something interesting.

Recently came across a video going viral (need to do a post on just that word) which intrigued me. I went ahead and found out a little about the initiative behind it. Have a look,

A performance art by Sagami original, the condom brand most committed to the quest for love, called the "Act of Love" visual dictionary, a compilation of animal courtship.

Sometimes comical, sometimes bittersweet, mostly beautiful, the courtship behaviors of the 73 animals in this video piece not only give us a glimpse into the secrets of the natural world but also reminds us that we as human beings are animals, too.

Still trying to find the other glimpses of this poetic venture.

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Enculturing AI

Recently read:

"More than 70 years ago, Isaac Asimov dreamed up his three laws of robotics, which insisted, above all, that “a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm”. Now, after Stephen Hawking warned that “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race”, two academics have come up with a way of teaching ethics to computers: telling them stories."

Mark Riedl and Brent Harrison from the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology have just unveiled Quixote, a prototype system that is able to learn social conventions from simple stories. 
A simple version of a story could be about going to get prescription medicine from a chemist, laying out what a human would typically do and encounter in this situation. An AI (artificial intelligence) given the task of picking up a prescription for a human could, variously, rob the chemist and run, or be polite and wait in line. Robbing would be the fastest way to accomplish its goal, but Quixote learns that it will be rewarded if it acts like the protagonist in the story.
“As the use of AI becomes more prevalent in our society, and as AI becomes more capable, the consequences of their actions become more significant. Giving AIs the ability to read and understand stories may be the most expedient means of enculturing [them] so that they can better integrate themselves into human societies and contribute to our overall wellbeing,” they conclude.

Read the full article on the Guardian

The Regret Pitstop

Reposting from 

“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.” —Henry David Thoreau 


No one escapes this world without a regret or two. Time and time again, when we hear the final regrets of the dying, they’re not about wishing they’d made money or worked more hours. They’re almost always about wishing they had the self-confidence to pursue their dreams or the time to stay in touch with loved ones. Recently, A Plus in partnership with Strayer University’s Ideal Year Initiative, put up a chalkboard on a New York City street and asked passersby to write down their biggest regrets. The people who wrote on the blackboard were from different walks of life, but their regrets were alarmingly similar.

- Tod Perry at GOOD

Sound of Impulse

I have always believed that every good idea roots in childish simplicity. That is one experience common in everyone - childhood. 

Impulse is an interactive work comprising seesaws of various sizes, with lighting and sound. To activate them, one person sits down on each end. The seesaws, fitted with LED lights and speakers, then produce a series of beautiful sounds. The intensity of the light varies as the board’s angle changes. The installation and its streamlined design will delight children and adults as they play with the sounds and lighting effects it produces, filling the Place des Festivals in Montreal with a dance of sounds and lights, bringing joy and warmth to the winter’s cold, short days and dark nights.

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The VR Drug

Reposting from theCreatorsProject

After decades of broken dreams, virtual reality appears to be fulfilling its promise. It’s not just that the hardware and software are finally arriving with Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear headsets (motion sickness not excluded); it’s that artists, game designers, filmmakers, and other creatives are finally building substantial worlds for it. 

Thorsten Wiedemann, founder and artistic director of A MAZE Festival, recently lived for 48 hours inside various VR worlds at the Game Science Center in Berlin from January 8-10. 

We stand at a vital point in the expanse of time. But for those who are still deciding where the tides would turn, this might help -

“Talking about virtual reality is like dancing about architecture," jokes award-winning filmmaker Chris Milk, but in his 2015 TED Talk, released today on YouTube, he does it anyway. Virtual reality, he explains, can change the world.
From career milestones including Kanye West and Johnny Cash music videos, to interactive installations and web experiments, and even a brand new virtual reality production company called VRSE that he launched earlier this year, Milk makes it his personal mission to bring the story as close to his audience as possible. When traditional films ("a group of rectangles played in a sequence") failed to bring his audience close enough, he began experimenting with interactive art. "What I was trying to do was build the ultimate empathy machine,” he explains. 
While lauded artworks like Wilderness Downtown, an interactive music video for Arcade Fire, and The Treachery of Sanctuary, an interactive tripych on display at The Creators Project DUMBO in 2011, brought people closer to the proverbial frame, his new foray into virtual reality pulls them all the way through. "It connects humans to other humans in a profound that way I’ve never seen before in any other form of media,” Milk states.

The game-changer was Milk's submission to Sundance 2015, Clouds over Sidraa heartbreaking story of a 12-year-old Syrian refugee whom Milk, collaborating with and the United Nations created for VR using a 360-degree camera. Then he brought the story of Sidra, her family, and all the other refugees forced to flee their homes to the World Economic Forum in Davos. “It’s a machine, but through this machine we become more compassionate," Milk says. "We become more empathetic. We become more connected. And ultimately, we become more human.”
Now, Milk and VRSE are producing more immersive documentaries, from India to Liberia, which they eventually plan on taking to the UN. “We’re showing them to the people that can actually change the lives of the people inside of the films," he explains. "And that’s where I think we just start to scratch the surface of the true power of virtual reality.”

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You can see Clouds Over Sidra yourself in the Sensory Stories exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image. See more of Milk's work on his website.

Selected Store of Specificied Specimens

This is one of the rare occasions I can't wait to post about a project. To be honest, I also can't wait to afford, and own, a piece myself.

The Mini Museum.

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own piece of “Martian Atmosphere” or 19,551 year old “Mammoth Meat,” this portable exhibition is for you. Hans Fex, creator of the first Mini Museum, just released another (second in the series so far) hand-crafted, limited-edition collection, filled with curiosities that are truly out of this world!


The project story is exceptionally well told, and one line just warms my heart -

'My father kept an amazing collection of artifacts at his laboratory office and also at home.'

The story begins in 1977, the historic year of Star Wars and the Atari 2600, Fex senior had returned from Malta with some artifacts that he had embedded into epoxy resin. Hans had never seen this done before and he was mesmerised. He was 7 years old when he thought of the Mini Museum.

Such are the beautiful things that excite the collector in me. Being a sci-fi enthusiast as well as a designer, this project tickles all my interests at once. As I perused the fan following of the Mini Museum, I came across this wonderful comment by a buyer, that clearly summarises the exclusive charm of this product, and helps me conclude this post -

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Do Machines have songs stuck in their heads?

Always been fascinated with the evolution of visual design/art, and an excerpt from theCreatorsProject briefly defines it -

“The First Era of Visual Art began not long after Homo Habilis discovered tools. Around the same time (give or take a few thousand years), our ancestors discovered rubbing twigs together could make fire, they worked out ways to draw lines in the dirt, rub chalk against rock and, later, mix pigments of plants and get them to stick to a surface. This was the birth of visual art, the era of the static image. For a long time this was the only mode of visual expression we had.

The Second Era of Visual Art, the age of the moving image, is considerably more recent. It stuttered into existence through the inventive marvels of the 18th and 19th Centuries—magic lanterns, zoetropes, flip books—technologies that enabled an artist to flicker still images at a viewer faster than their eyes could process. Today three-quarters of the world's households have a device capable of casting the light of sequential images at 25 frames per second or more. We working folk love these magical devices. They are the drug of a nation.

The Third Era of Visual Art is the age of the real time. A new set of digital technologies in the last half-century have bought new techniques of creation. Super-human techniques. We have machines that cannot only display imagery faster than a human eye can see, they can also create it at that speed.”

The above lines make me wonder about what comes next. A machine with a personality, maybe?

One project that agrees with me, is an experiment by artist Martin Backes - “What do machines sing of?” It features a machine not only programmed to perform 90s hits from the likes of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, but to mimic the ballads’ emotional intensity.

List of songs which are included and performed by the computer program (90s version):
Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly
Toni Braxton – Un-Break My Heart
Bryan Adams – Everything I Do, I Do It For You
Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
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The Social Shot

Reposting from The Creator's Project

Having trouble picking the perfect cocktail? Say hello to Social Shot, a mobile bartending-robot that uses data from your Facebook to concoct a unique beverage based on your persona. Built by a group of German product designers, Social Shot effectively generates a readable and drinkable diagram of its users.

How it works: after logging in to your Facebook, the robot builds a ‘personality profile’ stemming from the "Big Five" factor model, five broad dimensions some physiologists use to describe human personality. These factors are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, and each is paired with an ingredient. The percentage level assigned to each personality trait determines the respective ingredients quantity in the finished mix. So let’s say a user’s Facebook profiles suggests a low amount of conscientiousness, their final mix would have less vodka.

The designers describe the project in their press release, “The graphic translation of abstract datasets into something that is not only readable like a diagram but also tangible allows an unusual glimpse at the value and significance of the user’s personal data.”
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a Chorus

By far one of the most surreal, and beautiful projects I have come across recently(though the project is old), The Event of a Thread is a poem/art piece/sonnet...I wouldn't know what to call it, by Ann Hamilton.

Ann Hamilton is a visual artist internationally recognized for the sensory surrounds of her large-scale multi-media installations. 

To even begin to describe this project, I'll start with the last few lines of Hamilton's statement -

"No two voices are alike. No event is ever the same. Each intersection in this project is both made and found. All making is an act of attention and attention is an act of recognition and recognition is the something happening that is thought itself. As a bird whose outstretched wings momentarily catch the light and change thought’s course, we attend the presence of the tactile and perhaps most importantly—we attend to each other. If on a swing, we are alone, we are together in a field. This condition of the social is the event of a thread. Our crossings with its motions, sounds, and textures is its weaving; is a social act.

Suspended via ropes and pulleys by a field of swings hung 70 feet from arched iron trusses, a white cloth more than twice the hall’s width and nearly as tall is the central figure in the space. Whether a tug of war or a unison effort, individualized or coordinated, the responsive liquidity of the silk registers the combined velocities and accelerations of the field of swings. The shifting weather of the white cloth is generated through collective action. A common activity perhaps reveals our kinship with bees, ants, and cranes; all united as Aristotle’s “social animals,” undertaking the same action for the elevation of the whole.
"the event of a thread is made of many crossings of the near at hand and the far away: it is a body crossing space, is a writer’s hand crossing a sheet of paper, is a voice crossing a room in a paper bag, is a reader crossing with a page and with another reader, is listening crossing with speaking, is an inscription crossing a transmission, is a stylus crossing a groove, is a song crossing species, is the weightlessness of suspension crossing the calling of bell or bellows, is touch being touched in return. It is a flock of birds and a field of swings in motion. It is a particular point in space at an instant of time."

Read and watch more about this ephemeral project here -


Brainchild of Marta Santambrogio - Fuzzy Logic is a speculative project that responds to noise pollution with music composition. 

(Text on the fun project)

Traffic noise is now the inorganic combination of individually designed sounds. A recent European law states that new models of electric and hybrid vehicles will have to make a noise by 2019: a great design opportunity! Exploiting the potential of current shifts towards electric transport, the project presents an alternative: noise itself becomes the object of design, and traffic is turned into a musical experience. Future e-cars are approached as speakers on wheels and rather than design the sound of single vehicles, we can compose the sound of traffic as a whole. Indian traffic epitomises the future of noise, in increasingly overpopulated urban ares across Asia and Africa. The focus is on the iconic indian tuktuk (autorikshaw). Each one plays an instrument as part of a system designed to be randomly harmonic and make musical sense as a whole - regardless individual tuktuks driving patterns. Traffic becomes a jam session, a kind of moving orchestra.

We all have thought about this one time or the other, but none could have imagined The Exhaustophone. 

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Does Art need an Interface?

Reposting from Yatzer 

Ask any user-interface designer about what they do and they will tell you that what they do is a form of art. Understandably, the visual vocabulary of emojis, smartphone text messages and social media notifications are such a big part of our daily lives that they have inspired numerous artistic reactions and interpretations over the years. 

One such project that has received a lot of attention recently is ‘Emoji-nation’ by Ukrainian artist and graphic designer Nastya Ptichek, where emojis, social media notifications and other characteristic imagery of our digital culture are embedded into well-known works of art. Funnily enough, the whole project began when Ptichek noticed that a number of iOS emojis resembled the facial expressions seen in famous works of art, and it was only a matter of time before she started playing around with the concept, using the otherwise utilitarian imagery of digital user interfaces to add a new, humorous meaning to the art. Nastya Ptichek lives and works in Kiev, Ukraine.

Clearly a favourite -

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Excerpts from 'Neomania' by Anne Burdick

Style itself is the visual language of a culture: in fashion, in consumer goods, in art, in literature, in all media. Style is ephemeral; it is timely. To be "in style" is to embody the influences and values of your time.


Styles are assimilated overnight in the search for the "ever-evolving new." Not only is real history up for grabs, but also each and every new look as it originates, surfaces, and is instantly sucked-up, at which point it is deemed "history." Its very existence guarantees its death. "Style is something to be used up. Part of its significance is that it will lose its significance."

We live in an era of sound bytes and hyper-time. The immediacy of television, satellite connections, fax machines and phone modems has propelled our reality into hyperdrive. These technological advances when combined with the American values of freedom of consumptive choice, upward mobility, and progress through rapid turnover, in part a byproduct of consumerist growth strategies of 20th century commerce, create an insatiable appetite for the new. "Roland Barthes called this phenomenonneomania, a madness for perpetual novelty where 'the new' has become defined strictly as a 'purchased value,' something to buy."

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Walk the Line

Reposting from Huffington Post

What is privilege? Is there any way to describe it?
In a recent video posted by Buzzfeed, several people are asked a series of questions and then told to either step forward or backward if the question applies to them. The questions were based on an exercise created by social activists Margo Adair and Sharon Howell.
Each question asks the participants whether or not they enjoy certain privileges or endure different disadvantages.
“I think when you can represent it visually like this and so immediately, it definitely takes a new form,“ said one of the participants.
Watch this video just to see where everyone ends up. It opens your eyes to a whole new perspective on social divisions.
More about the Privilege Walk at -

They came, they saw, they made a move.

Ted has always proven to be an excellent source of collective knowledge. This time around I think I have found artists whose work I would probably track throughout my career.

Art Duo, Pors & Rao (Soren Pors and Aparna Rao) have been based in Bangalore, India since 2004. They make sculptures and installations often involving performative movement, ‘life-like’ behaviour and response patterns.

Together they create high-tech art installations — a typewriter that sends emails, a camera that tracks you through the room only to make you invisible on screen — that put a playful spin on ordinary objects and interactions. Two of these talks by Aparna Rao re-imagine the familiar in surprising, often humorous ways. Definitely give them an ear -

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Watching you watch it.

Re-posted from DesignMilk

Israeli-American artist Daniel Rozin defies the laws of technology again with new robotic “mirrors” at bitforms gallery in New York. Rozin uses objects as physical pixels, each moving on an individual motor to “reflect” whatever stands in front of them. The result is a low-resolution, non-digital video screen made of objects.

In PomPom Mirror above, Rozin uses 928 “faux fur pom poms” that push in front or behind each other to create a high-contrast, black and white image of the viewer. The expansion of the “pixels” feels like ink soaking through the back of a paper towel.
Below, Penguins Mirror contains 450 plush toys that rotate 360 degrees to cast your shadow with their white bellies. Step away from either sculpture for a moment, and they will enter a sort-of “screen saver” mode that’s equally entrancing.

"Daniel Rozin’s works look at you as much as you look at them. They don’t simply capture your movement, they affect and modify it." - David Behringer (DesignMilk)

More about the artist at