Friday, December 09, 2005

I managed to do something, although it wasn't any where near what I had set out to do in the beginning. My ideas about dissolving a chunk of rock salt as a record of time and memento morii did not come to fruition. I was plagued with hassles of not being able to find the materials I wanted in due time.

Let's talk about what I was able to achieve. When I started to edit the video I was really disappointed to find out that I had lots and lots of nasty background noise in the shots. I was really frustrated with this as I had purposely gotten up in the middle of the night to put together a set and shot most of my tape. I had to construct the audio artificially. I was pretty ok with this eventually because it would allow me to do what I wanted: really isolate the phenomena of time.

My shots were pretty interesting. I did find that I was really struggling with the fact that I wanted this to be a minimalist piece. I kept thinking of Warhol's Empire and looking at the minimalist phenomenist (is that a word?) work of Olafur Eliasson. I found it very hard to sit with the long shots and leave them be. In the end I think I have done too much complex shot mixing to really explore this idea of a minimalist film. I do think that I created a piece that has some visual interest but I missed the true minimalist aesthetic. It is very hard to do minimalist work in this media, the time base makes me very anxious. I believe it is far, far harder to make a minimalist video versus a minimalist painting.

Anxiety. I didn't realize the power of this anxiety when I started. Since I ran in to issues with my salt metaphor, I abandoned that and thought I would be making a meditative work. I envisioned a dark space with little reference and a rhythmic drop. A film that focused on the phenomena. The phenomena and lack of reference raised my anticipation, the length of the shots raised my blood pressure. I showed the film with the timecode specifically hidden so that my audience would have to pay close attention. Thus my film became very physiologically challenging.

Susan referred to this latest video's strategy as using a spectacular media to witness a non-spectacle. I am of two minds about this comment. I fully understand her viewpoint. Nothing happened in the mundane sense in my film, yet it was projected on the 'big' screen while thirty people sat analyzing it. My ambivalence though comes from the idea that something did happen: time passed, people got very uncomfortable, the anticipation was palpable in the room (Cat called me a Sadist, heehee), the phenomena that I am so interested in really shook them ( or annoyed them). So in this way I disagree. Phenomena are spectacular to me, time constantly makes me anxious, I take drugs to help me deal... Perhaps non-events are very good subjects to use a subject matter.

Chris made the point that the anxiety was heightened by the captive nature of the classroom audience. I agree but, I think it would be very interesting to try to work it into an installation that achieve the captive nature that worked so well on Wednesday.

Julia Bradshaw made the point that she thought I could go more minimal. I think she is correct.

Thank you for a great semester, Profesora.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I put together a set in my studio today. I came in early to do this and I started shooting about 5AM. I had an appointment at 8:30AM; when I returned to keep shooting the class next door was in full swing. I got tons of background noise which I don't want. Hopefully I can construct the audio from the 30 min. of video shot earlier.

My salt experiment to create a larger crystal did not panned out. I decided to not shoot using the salt. I hope I can pull this thing together as a medititative piece.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I was not able to secure a large block of the Himalayan rock salt last night. I was able to find some smaller pieces I am going to see if I can distill a larger crystal by dissolving some and trying to evaporate the water.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My project has morphed into my concern and focus on phenomenas. I am constructing a clepsydra as first proposed in my research. I will make a video versus an installation as I do not believe I have enough time to construct a well considered space. This will be a visualization of time.

Susan has suggested that the water drop needs to interact with 'something' to construct a metaphor. I agree with this. I have ideas of using rock salt as a co-actor to the droplet.
Excerpted from Wikipedia ( ): "...The Bible contains numerous references to salt. In various contexts, it is used metaphorically to signify permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value, and purification..." Additionally the metaphor figures in Hebrew metaphysics as the covenant of salt.

All the sacred gifts that the Israelites set aside for the Lord I give to you, to your sons, and to the daughters that are with you, as a due for all time. It shall be an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for you and for your offspring as well. (Numbers 18:19)

In Kabbala it is recognized as a tool of immutability with properties that can destroy as well as preserve.

Science shows us that di-electric properties are dependent on ionized substances like salt. The supposition that the first life on planet earth originated from the sea is no surprise due to the fact that the salinity of the sea led to complex energy transferences. Salts are absolutely necessary to life and an eletrolyte deficiency can cause severe medical problems or death. Conversely an over abundance of salt will create hypertension, dehydration and can lead to death as well.

Salt's necessity it has shaped society through taxes, trade, remember the spice trade from the Mid-East during the medieval period.
Some dubious scholarship claims that a famine of salt caused insanity and led to human slaughter during the Middle Ages in order to consume the 'salty flesh'. This is purported to have given birth or reinforced the vampiric legends of blood consumption. The research looks very dubious when I tried to cross reference this.

Salt therefore becomes the a metaphor for life, the body, and sacred spiritual existence as well. I am trying to track down a fair size piece of naturally occurring rock salt. The health food/alternative medicine industry sells Himalayan rock salt. Its' proponents ascribe to the medical and spiritual properties of this mineral. I am intrigued by it because it has a pinkish cast from the Iron content in the deposits. This is formally interesting to my eye and eludes again to blood because of the salt in the fluid and hemoglobin is an iron compound as well.

I bought a separation funnel as my clepsydra. This precision instrument is made for distilling chemistry. I am intrigued about using the highly fabricated device as an early technological horology instrument. In a way it seems anti-technological.

Monday, November 28, 2005

So I was contemplating making a video about the effects of traveling near the speed of light and have bagged the idea. Below is the transcript of my emails with a relativity expert.

Thomas Asmuth
to kavs
More options Nov 27 (1 day ago)
Hi I am in the pursuit of making a film about Special Theory of
Relativity. To develop my film I have been trying to construct a
thought experiment. I was wondering if you would look at my thought
experiment and see if it follows mathematical/physics predictions
about the situation I pose. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time.
Thomas Asmuth
Room 206A
SJSU Art&Design


here's my supposition:

Two Friends, Thomas and Samoht decide to celebrate the centennial
anniversary of STR with a martini cocktail. Befitting this occasion
they decide to do have a relativistic toast and cocktail party. In
order to facilitate this idea Thomas will remain in a frame of
reference that is at rest while Samoht accelerates to approximately
98% of the speed of light in his special developed vehicle. They have
agreed prior to the launch of Samoht that they will have a
synchronized toast to the history of STR when Samoht's ship reaches a
prescribed point of distance from Thomas' ship. Each colleague knows
that mixing the proper cocktail takes exactly 3:15 minutes and thus
they will start the drinks 3:30 min. (3:15 plus 15 seconds) before the
synchronized point X, giving them a few moments to repose with the
cocktail before they begin the toast at the agreed coordinates.

This assumes they are experimenting in a section of space completely
devoid of any other bodies other than the ships that Thomas and Samoht
occupy. Assuming instantaneous communication exists so that Thomas and
Samoht can telepresently monitor one another, what would Thomas and
Samoht each witness?

I believe that Thomas would witness a slow motion (5x slowdown) of
Samoht as he prepares and toasts. Thomas would see Samoht start at
17:30 minutes before the point of synchronization but it would appear
to take Samoht 5 times as long to prepare.

Logic tells me Samoht's monitor would show the opposite: Thomas would
appear that he waits to the last second achieving the task in 42
seconds (5 times as fast) instead of 3:30 minutes.

Thomas Asmuth
Room 206A
SJSU Art&Design

To which Ken replied:

Ken and Vicki to me
Nov 27 (1 day ago)
Yes okay, I'm delighted to be of assistance. Well, I'm afraid your suppositions are nearly 100% incorrect... and the assumption of "instantaneous communication", even though it is merely a fictional assumption, introduced solely to simplify your thought experiment, it cuts straight against the fundaments of relativity. Relativity is entirely premised on the impossibility of instantaneous communication between remote locales! But OK, we'll let that assumption stand anyway; I'm in a charitable mood.

The main problem with your write-up is that the distortions of relativity in flat space (what is generally classified as 'Special Relativity')... those distortions are completely covariant, ie. mutual. So, quite simply, whatever Thomas witnesses of Samoht, Samoht will witness of Thomas. They both see each other's time slow down! A second problem with your write-up is that the entire notion of simultaneity between two disparate frames becomes utterly moot (ie. undefined) under relativity. Only if Samoht came to a dead stop with respect to Thomas could the two of them then establish any real premise of simultaneity. Of course, by then, the accelerations that the one undergoes has thrown things off considerably.

And yet still another problem in your write-up is the fact that the "prescribed point" where Samoht will drink his toast is a predefined distance from Thomas' ship! Once the two fellows are in motion with respect to one another, that distance becomes distorted (by Samoht's reckoning), and that changes things considerably.

To better understand the complexities involved, please read that section of my web site labelled Addendum IV,

Thanks for your interest,
Sincerely, Ken

Add the fact that I then saw the ways of my error:

Thank you for the feedback. As I thought on this after I had emailed
you I came up with similar misgivings. So the conclusions I come to is
that the only way to measure or compare is for the two to return to
the same frame (i.e. Samoht to return) and compare clocks. If Thomas
accelerates though to catch his friend, it will distort time and space
similarly and probably negate any effectual difference.
Am I on target?

Thank you,

Ken's affirmation of my understanding:

Yes, you're on target, assuming Thomas undergoes the precise same
accelerations and motions that his friend had, their clocks will agree once
they are together again.

SO I decided I am not ready to make this film because I can not solve these issues in mind artistically or not, thus I defer this work until another day.
I did some shots in my kitchen this evening. I was concentrating on trying to get really precision shots of the droplet hit the water. I set up black felt and was using three flashlights to light the subject. I got very poor results from the flashlights. I then moved to an incandescent flood lamp. This additionally frustrated me because I couldn't focus the light to a point. A compromise was a 20watt halogen light stripped from my bookcase. It had a small enough 'footprint' not to blow out my shot otherwise.

The camera also had a minimum focal length that frustrated me. I will need to abandon the idea that I will be able to get that perfect high velocity shots I am after. I will still try to get as close as possible.

I don't know maybe I won't use any of this.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Research for Last Project

Time has been my enemy all semester. So I will embrace it.

"To know your enemy, you must become your enemy ... Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." -The Art of War, Sun Tzu (400 BC)

A water clock or clepsydra is a device for measuring time by letting water regularly flow out of a container usually by a tiny aperture. These devices are one of the oldest time keeping apparatuses independent on observation of celestial bodies. The earliest examples are found in use in Egypt around 1500 BC. The artifacts appear in Greece around 350 BC who termed the appliance: clepsydra or "water thief". Intricacy and complexity continued to develop with some of the most complex of these structures built by the Greek and Roman peoples between 100 BC and 500 CE. Chief amongst the complex clepsydra is the Horlogion, a tower was built in the first half of the 1st century BC by the astronomer Andronicos, from Kyrrhos in Macedonia.

The Flexibility of the Space -Time Continuum

"Newton's dissection of the rainbow into light of different wavelengths led on to Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism and thence to Einstein's theory of special relativity. If you think the rainbow has poetic mystery, you should try relativity." -Bar Codes in the Stars,Richard Dawkins

Known as the special theory of relativity, Einstein's master equation energy equals mass time the square of the speed of light has become a cult icon in the contemporary period. I tend to believe the popularity is due to the metaphysical implications of the this very physical theory. If you take that all things in the universe are made from the same fundamental stuff this theory implies the interconnectedness of all things in our universe. Matter, energy, space and time become irreversibly intertwined in this theory and a conceptual web becomes very real.

The Special Theory of Relativity
1. First postulate (principle of relativity)
The laws of electrodynamics and optics will be valid for all frames of reference in which the laws of mechanics hold good (non-accelerating frames).
In other words: Every physical theory should look the same mathematically to every inertial observer; the laws of physics are independent of the state of inertial motion.
2. Second postulate (invariance of c)
Light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c that is independent of the state of motion of the emitting body; here the velocity of light c is defined as the two-way velocity, determined with a single clock.

Implications: Since the velocity of light can never vary in a non-accelerating frame, time must slow in a frame of reference for the observer moving at a significant percentage of the speed of light.

A link to a webapp that calculates the time space interaction: Relativistic Star Ship Calculator

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Questions and Methodologies

So this gradual student wants to inform his artmaking more effectively and fulfill the assignment for Art 105 by Profesora Otto. (BTW I have been staring at the ceiling for 72 hours with li'l to no cognitive activity, leading me to think that I am possibly the love child of the unknown fourth Stooge. Thank the Gods on High for Insomnia!) In the pursuit of such endeavors here is some wacky and hair-brained shite:

questions to ponder:
what is the nature of time? (eww this should be trouble)
I will add more as my mind allows


(1)video, no kiddin'. This foist methodology is straight forward video project. Manipulate the TV experience.
(2)no visual shots of timepieces, daylight, or phenomena such as celestial bodies
(3)audio can be linked to compensate for the video exclusions
(4)no narration who needs it, plus I am talking about experiential concepts can I achieve it without feeding that TV generation mind, mst have auditory component
(5)one continuous shot that can be looped seamlessly, time has no start/end
(6)duration between 3 and 5 minutes cause I like odd numbers : )

(1) no video. no shite?! installation is not always video dependent
(2) uses technology that anyone can assemble or that is easily available
(3) auditory component
(4) cycles in 3 minute period has a beginning or end

(1) incorporates video and installation.
(2) visualizes and must form a spatial experience
(3) cycles in a 3 (or more) minute period
(4) audio
(5) hmmmmmmmmm


Time: to go the defintions please follow this wikipedia shortcut link for the complete page and links. The abstract nature of the concept of Time has confounded philosphers, scientists, etc. for thousands of years. The debate and effort to define this phenomena continues to contemporary times.

Let us consider these definitions, as put forth by Wikipedia:

Attempting to understand time has long been a prime occupation for philosophers, scientists and artists. There are widely divergent views about its meaning, hence it is difficult to provide an uncontroversial and clear definition of time except its physical definition, which dictionaries give as "a non-spatial linear continuum wherein events occur in an apparently irreversible order." This article looks at some of the main philosophical and scientific issues relating to time.
The measurement of time has also occupied scientists and technologists, and was a prime motivation in astronomy. Time is also a matter of significant social importance, having economic value ("time is money") as well as personal value due to an awareness of the limited time in each day and in our lives. Units of time have been agreed upon to quantify the duration of events and the intervals between them. Regularly recurring events and objects with apparently periodic motion have long served as standards for units of time - such as the apparent motion of the sun across the sky, the phases of the moon, the swing of a pendulum.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Meeting with Stanford's Solar Oscillations Investigation (SOI) Lab

The Observatory Team met with Philip H. Scherrer, Principal Investigator and Deborah Scherrer of Educational at Stanford's Solar Oscillations Investigation (SOI) Lab. The team presented the proposal to investigate the proposals goals, information, gather more information, and to request support. Deborah pointed out that it is actuall fallacy that irrepairable damage is done by staring into the sun. This was shocking news and I am not ready to personally do experimentation on this effect. This team and all of it's associates make no promises and discourage anyone from performing this act. Phil suggested I focus on the fact that the Sun could bee observed 24hours per day in my structure.

I reported the poor results in my findings on the play testing of the screensavers. Phil and Deborah informed me that this did not suprise them as the data stream coming to the SOI Lab comes irregularly. They were additionally suprised that EIT 195 updates every quarter hour.

Phil said he thought my idea was reasonably achievable to gather data more regularly. He saw issues with only projecting a real time image because of the relative quiet period we are in with Sun's cycles. It was suggested maybe we play some peak activity footage from the ten years that SOHO has been in flight. We checked the time period for the festival and the satellite should be operational during that period.

Deborah has contacts with other solar labs and said she would make some contacts with them for the Observatory Team. She knows of programs developed at UC Berkeley and UT. They were encouraging that some equipment maybe able to be loaned to our team in the pursuit of this project. Deborah was also going to check into an inflatable system for the structure. Additionally they have offered to make introductions to the Lockheed team build the next generation of Solar research platforms.

The SOI staff also offered webspace for the Observatory site and materials for the public. They provided samples to the team, including a punchout and fold together spectroscopy kit!

Overall Phil and Deborah were very encoraging. They agreed it is a good public outreach and thought it was a good project to pursue.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

methodologies discussions

The class discussed our methodology procedure for the last project. In general the class was very uncommitted. Some of the ideas thrown at the wall to see if they would stick are:


group projects
group methodology
independent methodology
Group projects completely failed (thank the gods on high!). Group methodology and independent methodologies were pretty well split down the center in supporters because of this Susan suggested the following variant: A group methodology that you either follow strictly or break every stance. In other words: take it or break it!

We started a list of standards which seemed to be coming out very arbitrary such as:

1. video
2. 1 to 5 min
3. all original footage
4. no repeat shots
5. possible: no man made set

We took a 5 minute break because this all seemed unsatisfactory and when we returned Susan requested that we have three methodological questions such as "what is your relationship to technology?" to compare with the rest of the class. For Friday night early Saturday morning a blog entry of 5 rules and the justification for them. Susan and I agree :we don't want arbitrary hurdles.

Other things to do before Monday:

research content
play with final cut pro to learn new
learn about artists to reference, project to reference

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Image: Hot Shots from SOHO. EIT 195 (Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Telescope) image from a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) and Particle Storm on July 14, 2000.

Update to the Observatory Project

Today Sarah Lowe and I had a conference call with Steel Hill and George Dimitoglou from the SOHO project at the Goddard Flight Center in Maryland. As you remember, SOHO is the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, a sattelite launched Dec 1995 cooperatively run by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA. SOHO houses several types of detection equipment and monitors the nearest variable star to earth, yes I mean the Sun. This data is collected both for research purposes and practical purposes such as keeping communications networks operational.

I presented the Observatory/Oculus proposal to Steel and George. I then requested help in developing a data feed from the sattelite to be able to project a near real time image of the Sun mediated through the satellite 24 hours per day for the length of the Zero One festival. My request had two specific points. (1) Does the SOHO lab receive data faster than the 4 hour periods published on the public website and (2) can I get a dedicated connection to this more frequent data so I can feed it into a software to control the projections.

(1)George informed me that the EIT 195 (Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Telescope) reimages every 15 minutes. Thus this might be a reliable image to animate for the public.

(2)George and Steele directed us to screen saver software in the public side of the NASA/ESA. George said it might just have the animation techniques I am requesting available. The software already downloads the latest images from the website.

Additionally, George and Steele have promised support to the project in providing materials for public consumption.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Cloud Chamber Mark VI

This is the sixth version of a prototype particle detector I have built over the last 3 years. I see Mark VI and its’ kindred are a continued metaphor on the themes of the nature of reality. Whereas painting is an extension of the illusory reality like the shadows in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, these projects allow visual evidence of reality that intersects our lives constantly yet lies beneath the usual visual perception.

This tool, known as a Langsdorf Cloud Chamber, allows one to witness the passage of some of the fundamental particles that make up everything in the universe as they pass unhindered through our world. Like spirits they pass through air, earth, and flesh and bone. We are in rivers of energy. It ebbs and flows around and through us and thus questions the concept of inside and out. The fact that this is the same material that makes all things questions the reality of individuality and distinctiveness.

Discussion of the project:

The cloud chamber project was recontextualized in a new format. The concept was to roll out the chamber in a transparent fashion revealing all of the components. The picture above shows the drawing I made in early October that started to form this idea. In my project I wanted to achieve a few (1) make a formal and aesthetic modernist statement in white and transparent media, (2) do good science, (3) have both of these themes play against one another to suggest the philosophical ideas I am concerned with. The fact that one can approach the experiment from all angles except below is highly effective strategy bridging those concepts of good public science and aesthetics.

Mark VI Technical

My scheme in this version is to illuminate all the parts and solve the problem with the focal length on the camera. In previous generations I had to adjust the camera as the angle the dry ice sublimated. The plexi structure solved the first issue by revealing all the parts; of course this required me to be very precise and neat in the fabrication, you cannot patch plexi very easily. The focal length issue was solved by making the table top ride down as it rode on ice. Four pins are intersect the platform holding ice as well as the second top on which the experiment sits. As the ice vaporizes*, the experiment and camera descend as a unit solving the earlier problem.
*dry ice goes from solid to vapor without turning to liquid at standard earth temperature/pressure, thus it is dry.

For two weeks straight I put in 15-18 hour days in the wood shop, making 5 or 6 trips per day to the hardware store to buy stuff, fabricating the Plexi box, doing research at the plastics shop. The actual craftsmanship became nerve-wracking. Even though all of the component took amazing focus, the custom work on the plexi box was a prime example.

Once the basic box was fabricated I needed to attach all of my equipment, which required careful cutting and milling of the plexi box. This took a lot of patience, as this material can be super fragile when cutting. Plexi shows any mistake so every surface was cleaned and padded between each move. Measure, make one cut, carefully clean, pad, measure, and so forth. Then repeat the procedure again. On top of that, the material costs were $200.00, the threat of breaking the materials meant I had to go excruitating slow: think out every procedure, discuss them with the shop manager, etc.

It was very important to me to fabricate each and every part of the experiment device. A few parts of course are off-the-shelf: the video camera, the fan, the ventilation hose... Overall I wanted to be the author of this sculpture. I wanted to use glass on the chamber itself for the longevity of the material. In the past I have used acrylic tube. The experimental components degrades acrylic. When I was offered a collaboration by Jeff Sarimiento of the SJSU Glass Lab, I eagerly accepted his proposal to make the experimental vessel. Mr. Sarimiento made a glass cylinder to my specs with the help of the glass blowing students. I feel that this custom labware only added to toward the formation an aesthetic object.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Editors Note Updated 27SEP05 19:36

Transvergence Proposal: Oculus/Observatory

This is a proposal of my project for the ISEA2006/ZeroOne Festival. I have asked my contacts in the art, tech, physics and other communities to help me form this proposal. I will post some of the correspondence from these contacts as it develops.

Proposal Zero One Festival 2006
Working title: Oculus/Observatory/ staring at the sun

The Oculus/Observatory: Staring at Sol is a large form public art platform to provide visitors to the ISEA 2006 symposium and the Zero One Festival a point to relax. The space is structured as an icon of the futurist ideal, the geodesic dome. The Fullerian space is designed to develop the dialog away from the symposium, a place to unwind, a place to discuss.

It employs metaphors to the eye, different ways of seeing and stargazing. The physical structure also mimics the space of a planetarium or an outdoor stargazing experience through a video projection of visual data from the SOHO solar research platform. The space provides a getaway from the festival and symposium in a climate controlled (cool, dark) space. It offers the participants places to sit or lie back as they stare at the projection of the sun mediated through the SOHO satellite. Through this mediation the viewer is allowed to do what normally would be devastatingly harmful: endlessly stare at the sun.

Physical Plant

Layout and Space:
The physical plant of Oculus/Observatory is a 30-foot diameter tent domed with geodesic dome. The geodesic frame will be traced with neon-like lighting of cycling secondary colors that will affect an illusion of a modulating glow from within during the dawn, twilight and night hours. Two corridors spiral into the observatory allowing egress to the oculus. Inside the structure viewers will find a cool dark environment, centered overhead is a projection of near real-time images of the Sun mediated from the SOHO satellite. Places to lounge will be provided as well as a ‘lawn’ to lie down on and gaze.

The Corridors:
These corridors are known as the paths of envisage/pre-retinal and encounter/post-retinal. These passages will begin transition to the darker interior environment. At the end of the corridor Visitors will enter the observatory chamber through a light lock that will mediate the daylight input. These passages are neither entry nor exit; they are egresses or portals into the metaphor. This is purposely done to deconstruct binding nature of the narrative form of beginning-event-ending. It is the choice/option of the viewer to engage the passage from either mode of seeing and flow toward either portal as exit.

The Dome and tent construction:
The dome is a lightweight tent structure made of fire-retardant material and PVC manufactured by Shelter Systems of Menlo Park. Shelter Systems provides a covering option of light exterior and black interior. Each of the vertices will support up to 15 lbs; overall weight can be distributed over many vertices to achieve a safe suspension. The tent can be knee-walled to form a higher head clearance on the interior. The 31.5-foot diameter tent is approximately 15.5 ft at the highest point inside. The tent is easily staked down to provide stability. Additionally the side can be opened to allow an arched opening that allows for normal passage without ‘ducking’. The tent can be assembled in an hour without the need of special tools. More information is available at: and

The Climate:
The inside space is climate controlled maintaining an environment approx 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is to lend to the illusion/theatrical experience of night temperatures. Additionally, it offers the visitors a spot to escape the normally warm to hot weather of August. The mean maximum August temperature for San Jose is 82 with a record high of 89 (data from: Research on keeping tenet cooled in progress. The volume of tent is approximately 30,000 cu. ft.

Images from SOHO(Solar and Heliospheric Observatory will be projected on the ceiling of the dome allowing the visitor to stare endlessly into the sun. The images are obtained every hour and processed through the Transformation Engine, a computer generated animation. Over the hour this system will morph one photographic state into the next. The overall effect will be a near-contemporaneous image of Sol mediated by satellite/researcher/animation.

The center of the oculus floor will be covered with an artificial lawn and few pieces of furniture to allow the visitors a space to sit or lie down and watch the slowly unfolding projection. Participants are encouraged to sit on the lawn. A walkway is separated from the lawn by a cordon and encircles the outside the perimeter of the ‘lawn’ and connects to the light-locks. Outside the walkway, the perimeter of the observatory is flanked with seating for alternative viewing and visitors who wish not to sit on the floor.

The Audience:
The installation is focused on the participants of the Symposium/Festival. Additionally my project is focused on the scientific community that is found in the Silicon Valley area. Stanford Solar Lab and AMES are two of the of science institutions that come to mind. In addition the physics dept at SJSU is advising me. They have shown great interest in the project as a platform to

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

.avi (pc)
.ram (pc)
mpeg (mpg)cross platform
mpeg4 scales to any bandwidth dvd quality, better compression ready to stream, focused on streaming video over wide variety of devices
.qt alternate quicktime
.mov quicktime native MAc

mpeg2 dvd quality

mp3 both
.aiff mac
.au most common file (mac and unix)
.wma microsoft competitor to mp3
.wav windows (sound application to play on Mac)
.ra (.ram) both real audio player

audacity program for audio

riping from dvd dvdshrink

Monday, September 19, 2005

notes 19 Sept 2005

Julia has output problem in export drops into avi instead of quicktime she is using primiere on pc platform

Kat problems with converting files

Cyrus media offline error.

Discussion on what is Cinema article from this weekends homework.

Abstraction is a point of argument in class

the difference between the graphic and photographic and the implications.

Stan Brackage

New media is going through the growing pains that greenbergs children using tool to their ultimate use

interactive narrative
gaming vs cinema
games often have narrative skeleton at very least
isn't the act of cognation an interactive act
Writing/creating to an audience is an interactive act

watched manovich little movies

soft cinema by manovich

Saturday, September 17, 2005

musings on "what is digital cinema?" from

Manovich's article 'WHAT IS DIGITAL CINEMA?' is a dissertation to clarify a historical context that contemporary cinematographers stand upon. It analyzes specifically the role of how technology is pervasively infiltrating film and tries to define the terminology: digital cinema.

Cinema even in its historical infancy is dependent on the same idea as an illusion of moving reality directly bonded to the transition of time. Manovich excavates proto-film/projection history by pointing to the Phantasmagoria shows of the late 18th century. Actual movement was employed to utilize the temporal in these shows. The projectionist moved the projector to zoom or pan the image.

Development of the projected image advanced toward the loop-image devices such as the Thaumatrope and the Zoetrope. These devices were dependent on a relatively small number of image 'cells' and were drawn or painted images in the early development. Muybridge used paintings in his Zoopraxiscope lectures, because technology had yet to offer a reasonable photographic alternative. As projection moved toward mechanization the length of the projected media extended and thus the illusion of temporeality could be extended toward a more realistic experience. This of course lends itself to storytelling and narrative was to become the dominant paradigm in film for the next 100 years.

I am critical of Manovich's second principle in digital filmmaking. The statement is as follows:

2. Once live action footage is digitized (or directly recorded in a digital format), it loses its privileged indexical relationship to pro-filmic reality. The computer does not distinguish between an image obtained through the photographic lens, an image created in a paint program or an image synthesized in a 3-D graphics package, since they are made from the same material -- pixels. And pixels, regardless of their origin, can be easily altered, substituted one for another, and so on. Live action footage is reduced to be just another graphic, no different than images which were created manually.

I believe this point is partially flawed in the respect that film is a mediator even its’ verisimilitude to reality. Film mediates in the same method as the selection of images chosen by a painter. The filmographer chooses shot, time, etc. Film is not a pipe/reality (read my semiotics rant in the post below). Film is a chemistry-coated strip that is akin to a canvas and paint or perhaps more likely stained glass. Pixels are just the technologically current transformation in medium. I acknowledge that pixels by their binary nature are more abstract than film chemistry since their reality is only appropriately ordered ones and zeroes mediated through a tool. Film to digital media is not any more defining a transition than painted image to mechanically advanced image. It (projection!) is the transformation of the signified (nature) to the signifier (image); humankind has pursued such acts since at least Lascaux. I believe he means to show the level of mediation has advanced another layer, it is technological change nothing more mysterious.

Manovich arrives back at this firm theoretical footing through some wormhole in fabric logic as he acknowledges digital cinema to be a sum:

5. Given the preceding principles, we can define digital film in this way:
digital film = live action material + painting + image processing + compositing + 2-D computer animation + 3-D computer animation

This approach extends the possibilities of the medium and frees it of the enslavement of narrative bonds. It achieves the elasticity and creative possibilities that are akin to painting. I am going to base my first projection on this concept as painting.

-kn, out!

A bio from his website:
Lev Manovich ( was born in Moscow and moved to New York in 1981. He studied fine arts, architecture, animation, and programming before starting to work with computer media in 1984. Since mid 1990s, his projects have been shown in the key international exhibitions of new media art; In 2003 ICA London presented a retrospective of his works entitled "Lev Manovich: Adventures in Digital Cinema." Currently he is working on a five year project Soft Cinema which was supported by commissions from ZKM (2002) and BALTIC (2003).
ok the grossest oversimplification ever put forward on the ideas known as Semiotics:

Semiotics the study of signs and signifiers: A literary and philosophical study/science of the representative (and misrepresenative) nature of language and linguistics. The roots of this study lead from the early 20th century theories of Ferdinand de Sasseur (Course in General Linguistics, 1916). Semiotics and related linguistic theory/study often implicate the frame of reference of the audience of the work as the chief determinant of the signified image or work. The theory exploits the abstract nature of language; language and art can never really represent the plasticity of reality and thus is always in conflict with nature/reality. This thought is highly exploited in Rene Magritte's painting Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

In addition to this mediative effect, messages (art,news,media, etc) of course can be twisted by the mediating influences of the author and the culture at large. By filtering the work through the dominant paradigms of the author/culture, a work can be fetishisized into a belief system emergent only from these a prioris. This cultural assumption thus reinforces the paradigm further removing objective reference.

Again another gross oversimplification of the facts and story but consider this: a fascinating convergence happened in theories of cosmology in the same decades that semiotic theory was being hatched. A young physics uspstart named Albert Einstein was thrusting upon the world the theory that the study of our universe was dependent observers frame of reference. His theories show how the observer can effect the observered natural phenomena. Again the Viewer biases the Viewed. Put that in your Ceci n’est pas une pipe and smoke it!

more reading if you are truly masochistic:

-neutrino, out!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

notes from class on 14sep05:

Play PLay Play

use lab time to work network learn from one another

be sure to blog on the semiotics intro

read what is Digital video on syllabus

paly play play

disolves, filters, tools from FCP
check out this kick ass site! watch other luscious video projects. post your work!

-kn out
Methodology for first project video

1 minute long exact!
Audio and video cannot be linked
10 seconds max. each cut
Found footage

Due October 3rd.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

the tyranny of the narrative and classic films

narrative is a methodology. by this device stories are unfolded in a linear fashion. like a Rube Goldberg machine one action causes a reaction; this in turn precipitates another reaction and so on. narrative methodology is rather rigid and will follow these progressions:
(1)scene/setting established
(2)characters(heroes/antiheroes/protagonists/antagonists) introduced
(3)conflict arises between character-this arc is where we find the drama/comedy/tragedy
(4)conflict resolution

This methodology is oppressive because of its' inherent tidiness. Rarely do we find life so neat and clear cut. this vehicle is a pale reflection of life and all its' backwaters and subplots. to consider this form of methodology the class has been assigned to watch some films from the Golden Era of Hollywood. i was provided the rare opportunity (man, i was sick) to watch three films from to fulfill the assignment. the films are:

A Night at the Opera1935 directed by Sam Wood; starring: Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones and of course the Marx Bros.

an amazing film, the Marx brothers assist two young lovers to rise into elite opera community against the hurdles of society snobs and egotistic stars. all the while Groucho and Chico skim and bilk, Harpo teases, and all three chase women. the story unfolds strictly in narrative form:
(1) high society of the opera scene
(2)Groucho is courting the rich heiress and hanging onto the opera society for free lunches, we are introduced to the young performers beautiful talented and gracious, and we see the established talent (gross, overconfident, egotistic)
(3)the established, egotistic performer and heroine are signed to the prestigious company which splits up our young heroine and hero, separates Groucho from his free lunch train, etc
(3) groucho and bros and hero follow the heroine to reclaim his love and win the position overturning the egoist. They 'delay' the established performer during the season opener and the hero rushes in and proves he is a worthy talent.
(4) groucho gets his free lunch back, the lovers are reunited and the hero wins the lead in the company.

Key Largo 1948 directed by the inimitatable John Huston; starring: no less than Bacall, Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lionel Barrymore...

(1&2)Frank McCloud (Bogart) is a dour veteran of WWII passes through the Florida Keys stops to meet the family of his fallen war-buddy. He find s himself in the middle of a group of nervous shady characters that are obviously up to something. Chief among them toughguy Johnny Rocco (Robinson) who seems to be putting the Temple Family in awkward if not dangerous situations
(3)Frank struggles with his own mortality and bitterness at the war as sadist Rocco pushes everyone's buttons to pass the time while he waits for another thug to get there.
(4) Frank is victorious after the big shoot-out, yet he is wounded ahhh film noir....

A Night in Casablanca 1946 directed by Archie L. Mayo and starring the Marx Bros. I am not going to analyze this film but to say I have wanted to see it ever since I read the Goucho Letters . Check it out even if you have to read the little bit on line. this is the funniest damn thing I think I have ever read is the letters from the Warner Bros. lawyers and Groucho's responses regarding this film.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

the film the five obstructions is a study in the rules of engagement for artmaking. This is a collaborative work where Lars von Trier sets up new rules for Jørgen Leth in the remake of his film The Perfect Human. The five experiments von Trier sets up investigate the nature of methodologies. His rules for the First Obstruction seem almost sadistic:

(1) No edit longer than 12 frames
(2)To be shot in a place the director has never been
(3) No Set
(4)and the questions (rhetorical) have to be answered

Von Trier is displacing Leth, putting him in alien surroundings, refusing to let him do long, sensual shots that the populated the original film. The rules seem antagonistic to Leth and viewer, we see Leth wrestle with the absurdity. Leth's response is abeautifull sensual film of texture and visual pleasure. In fact Leth makes four gorgeous films no matter the absurdity of the rules.

Von Trier's experiments/tortures reveal that in fact that by setting a few parameters for a project, one can free many unknowns and foster the creative process.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

two of the most intriguing videos I found via the web this weekend are

BCC by motomichi nakamura ----->



BCC is an interface of web objects resembling arms/hands/fists each links to an animation that reflects upon the disaffection of the contemporary techie/nerdly user. The CSR (customer service rep), in bondage gear monotonously supplying rote answers, struck me as completely fuckingly fascinatingly appropriate reflection of the lives of those poor bastards. Technically the film is beautiful in it's direct and graphic form. This only further compliments the mood and story of disaffection and angst. Bad ass shit!

SUPERSMILE is also a direct graphic beauty but, that elegant simplicity is its' only relation to the former. It is a peppy stream of consciousness that will make you guffaw out loud "what the fuck!!". I loved the soundtrack and stayed through the entire animation; I had to find out how it ended!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Read you Loud and Clear, KN. All systems are optimal, all back-up systems optimal, proceed as necessary.

kid neutrino to command, do you read me?, over.

Thursday, August 04, 2005