Thursday, May 1, 2014

ShadowLoop Recap

It was an amazing experience to finally install the installation.  As the first thing like this I've done in an actual space, as opposed to virtual art installations either as an artist or curator, it was incredibly exciting to be able to share the experience with other people in such a direct way.  The logistics were so complicated, though, and with too little set-up time given to me in the room, some aspects suffered from the ideal plan.  But that didn't matter in the end, when people were able to make the different physical, digital, 2D and 3D Platos and Shadows run and dance.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

ShadowLoop: Interactive Media Art Installation April 30, Berklee College of Music

SHADOWLOOP   Interactive Media Installation by Lori Landay
Get in the loop with the ShadowLoop interactive media installation.
Plato's Shadow is tired of Plato's negative attitude towards shadows, and has gone on the lam!
Use Kinect, Wii balance board, Leap Motion and sound to make Shadow run, dodge, and dance. Interact with video, audio, shadows, animation, and puppets.
Get in the loop between shadow and light, digital and physical, representation & simulation, freedom & control!

What will you choose, Shadow? Reunite with Plato, or not?

Get in the loop from 4 pm to 7 pm
Drop by--stay for a few minutes, or longer . . .
The Rose Room (2W)
1140 Boylston Street
Berklee College of Music
Boston, MA 
A Berklee Faculty Fellowship Project

Plato's Shadow has had enough of listening to Plato, especially his disparaging ideas about shadows in his allegory of the cave.  So Shadow takes off on his own and goes on the lam.  In this interactive installation, you control Plato's Shadow in a Unity3D environment with the Leap Motion and Kinect controllers.  What will you do, Shadow?  Run amock or reunite with Plato?  

ShadowLoop playfully imagines Plato's Shadow as a trickster who breaks free of the bonds of representation.  The interactive installation cascades different forms of media and interactivity to cast literal and metaphorical shadows on the relationships between actual and virtual, physical and digital, representation and simulation, freedom and control.  

The Loop is not only the connection and separation of the person and his or her own shadow, played out again and again, but also an artistic approach: a loop of taking images, sounds, and movement from the physical world into the virtual and back again, recursively transforming them through interaction and reaction.  When motion capture animation that makes an avatar dance is mimicked by a person in the installation and performed by the 2D puppet, and the live video feed can be seen on an object in the Unity environment--that is just one example of the many loops in ShadowLoop.

In Plato's time, only someone like the prisoners in the cave who have never seen the actual world are fooled by the shadows; the media representations of that age were not the increasingly realistic and convincing simulations we encounter today.  Our shadows are no longer only on the wall but among us, challenging what it means to be, and what it means to seem to be.

For me, as an artist, this project has run the gamut from oft-practiced media forms like digital video to learning shadow puppetry in two courses at the Puppet Showplace Theater expertly taught by Artist in Residence Brad Shur.  It combines 2D and 3D puppetry, and frames the avatar as a puppet in both gameplay and virtual worlds.  

The installation uses two Kinect sensors, a Leap Motion sensor, a Wii Balance Board, Unity3D, Osculator, Osceleton, Main Stage, Syphon, Touch OSC, MadMapper, Quartz Composer, Max/MSP and Animata to projection map video images of live action footage of shadows, the Unity gameplay, machinima captured in the virtual world Second Life, video of a shadow puppet performance of Plato and His Shadow, music by Moby, and audioreactive imagery.

Thank you to the Berklee College Office of Faculty Development for the Berklee Faculty Fellowship (2013-2014) that made this project possible.  This project continues research begun with a National Endowment for the Humanities Enduring Questions Grant for "What Is Being?" (2010-2012) and extends questions first posed with a Newbury Comics Faculty Fellowship (2008-2009). 
Special thanks to my teacher Brad Shur, Artist in Residence at Puppet Showplace Theater, my dear friend/colleagues Shujen Wang and Michelle Glaros, Stacey Fox who is my go-to for all things new media and old, and at Berklee to Jerry Smith, Chee-Ping Ho, Chris Jo, Liberal Arts Chair Simone Pilon, Liberal Arts Assistant Chair Mike Mason, Professional Education Division Dean Darla Hanley, Dr. Richard Boulanger who led the Reboot Workshop on Max/MSP last summer, the cohort of colleagues in that workshop, and my students: Chelsea Southard who worked on the earliest version last summer, current students Alex Cote, Rachel Dziezynski, Zach Lucia, and especially Richard Ludlow and Michael Johnson who patiently helped me with MIDI and OSC.  Special thanks to my husband Richard for being a terrific partner who nurtured this project in every way, including technically and practically.

Although not meant to stand alone, there are three videos that comprise some of the images in the video projection mapping: "Dancing Shadow," filmed at LEA26: Dragon Curves by Mac Kanashimi,  "On the Lam," filmed primarily at LEA7: Machinima Open Studio Project built by Chic Aeon and also at Apollonian Empire built by Ilan Ellisson, Dark Moon built by Nepherses Amat, Aero Pines built by Cindy Bolero, and Action Surf Sk8t built by Bob Pixel, and "SlowLight," with video of shadows.  Music for all by kind permission of Moby.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

How Editing Changes YouTube and YouTube Changes Editing

This interactive video, made with Popcorn Maker by Mozilla, is part of my presentation on a panel "All the Web's a Stage: Research & Teaching in the Age of Social Media" at BTOT, Berklee Teachers on Teaching, a two-day faculty development conference for faculty and staff at Berklee College of Music.

The gist is that although we still follow the principles of editing established in the early days of cinema for continuity and meaning making, and experimented with by 1920s Soviet filmmakers who explored how meaning was made by the relationship of two shots, rather than by the shots individually, editing has become a creation tool of its own. An example of this is Christian Marclay's fabulous installation film, The Clock (2010).

The Clock is extraordinary, but anyone could use editing similarly to create a new work using the YouTube Editor.  Editing has changed YouTube, shifting it to more of a creation and making tool than a database of video, powerful for distribution and consumption.  Today, montage, assemblage, and bricolage (all terms for putting pieces together) are part of remix culture, where the media is the mix.

YouTube has changed editing, or rather the age of digital culture of which YouTube is a cornerstone, has changed editing, taking editing as a medium in which to create out of the hands of a few artists and professionals and into the hands of anyone who has access to the internet.  Anyone can create using footage from Creative Commons licensed videos on YouTube, and anyone can remix a video already on YouTube or elsewhere on the internet, remaking it into something new.

The possibilities of interactive video are in their infancy.  Are people who are making the choices in interactive video doing a kind of editing?  It should be interesting to see the next developments of YouTube, interactive video, and tools like Popcorn Maker.