Thursday, March 31, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Well, the DU Winter quarter finished a bit ago - the quarter where I do my Visual Programming class. This was probably my best class ever, perhaps because it was heavily pushed by the Art Department, and we had a lot of participation by people that were as interested in art as programming.
An interesting thing happened: although my teaching stuck with the typical "20 Objects" model that I've developed, I tried to force people into non-traditional media output. This cause people to spend a lot of time digging through the Max Reference and maxobjects.com to find ways of doing things that I hadn't directly taught. The result was an inspiring set of team projects.
The class was divvied up into 4 groups of 4 people, and their final team projects consisted of:
- A realtime 4-person live improv where a narrative was created out of random old science video snippets.
- An installation piece that pulled and stored seismic data, then created a projection piece with mediated OpenGL shapes.
- A realtime piece that used MSP to generate sculpture-ettes from corn starch and water dropped onto a speaker cone. This was further mediated by having a video capture and effects system alter the view of the process for presentation.
- A realtime piece that used a Twitter feed to alter the mix of a musical piece (think Twittering "more cowbells" and having a mix add more cowbells).
I was blown away by the results, and commend everyone in the group for their inventive thinking. They worked really, really hard on this, and I'm proud of the results.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Yeah, it's been a half a month since I've posted. Not because I don't want to share, but because I've been overwhelmed. The month started out with some Mr. Mom duties (a job that everyone, especially the kids, are pretty sure I'm crap at). Then was finals week for school, featuring the biggest debacle ever.
I built this really nice and interesting box of goodies for my electronics class. Basically, it is beatbox/babblebox made from a bunch of kids' voice recorders and an arduino. I put it in a nice (and expensive) Budd box, with groovy panel controls and some blinky lights. Worked on cleaning it up for a week before class, and was really happy with the result.
I took it to school on Tuesday to show it off to my Visual Programming class, which was also doing its final presentations to me. I hauled all the video gear, cameras and my beatbox back to the car, setting all of the stuff on the roof while I unlocked. I loaded my stuff into the car - or at least most of my stuff. I left the beatbox on top of the car as I rode off.
This big aluminum box apparently decided to leave my employ somewhere on Hwy I-25, and I'm sure it made a nice hood ornament for someone. I retraced all my steps the next day, and Kristin even called the state patrol - with no success. In order to make my final on the next day, I had to redo the entire project over in one night. Luckily, I had documented the work for the class, but this represented a whole lot of work in just a few hours.
Finished about 6am, then got 3 hours of sleep before I had to head into school. It worked, and using it in "babble mode" with the input of the iScan police scanner software worked to perfection. But it almost took me out.
Follow that with a week of head-crushing meetings in San Francisco, and I'm looking forward to a long nap. I should be able to get it in about 10 weeks - when I graduate.