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OCTOBER 27, 2009   

Art & Code

Detail of Mobile Art & Code websiteJust sent in my registration for next week's conference at Carnegie Mellon, Mobile Art && Code:

Mobile Media and Interactive Arts - a symposium on the aesthetic and tactical potentials of mobile, networked and locative media. The three-day event will feature intimate, practical, arts-oriented programming workshops for popular mobile platforms (such as the iPhone, Android, Nokia Smartphones, Arduino, SMS, and Asterisk PBX systems) along with an all-day series of free lecture presentations that contextualizes the use of these technologies in a variety of contemporary critical, artistic and design practices.

I just love that contextualizing stuff, don't you?

Why this conference?

The guy behind the conference is Golan Levin who I heard at Akron U. a few weeks back. He's doing very interesting work that's at the intersection of art and design. He's also working to escape from the shackles of the computer mouse and keyboard. That's all very interesting to me, so the conference will be an opportunity to hang out and learn from folks doing what I only can dream of at this point.

Two other things: since I got my iPhone a year ago I've realized that it's biggest value has nothing to do with calling people. It's the connection to the internet as well as the thousands of apps that make the phone an extremely portable computer, capable of lots of interesting things. Add in the GPS aspect (the phone knows where it is) and you've got potential to create location-based interactivity. Again, something I'd love to do but am clueless about.

Oh yes, then there's Arduino:

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators.

In other words, make things like a laser harp or a cube that lights up when you get an email.

Sounds like fun, so next Sunday I'll be going to a workshop where I'll learn to program one of these little guys.I want to explore the possibility of having a computer respond to the world in ways that transcend the keyboard and mouse. This alone is worth the price of admission.

While I'm in Pittsburgh I'm looking forward to re-connecting with Dan Boyarski, my thesis advisor when I was in grad school, and spending time at the Warhol Museum, where there's a show of work by Shepard Fairey, the Obama poster artist I've frequently discussed.

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