Video of Talk at DXArts

The video of my talk at DXARTS 450 at the University of Washington is now online (thanks Ed Shanken for inviting me!). It’s a real treat to have an editor put something together, where they cut between my slides and me talking.

I’ve long ago become comfortable with how I look on video and sound on audio. In the last several years, I’ve become 100% comfortable with public speaking — and I love doing it. (I still indulge in too many ‘ums’…this will take some practice).

Plus I got a chance to talk a little bit about my work at The Exploratorium, tying it back to my art practice.

Here are some recommended sections, since the whole video runs for about 50+ minutes.

Intro + No Matter: 00:00 – 8:31
Wikipedia Art: 21:10 – 26:45
Exploratorium: 43:00 – 50:35

Also, this is the Vimeo video of Grand Theft Avatar, so you can watch one of the Second Front performances in better quality.

Cracking the Code

After some several days of brainstorming on generating 3D models using simple coding tools, I started diving into Processing* using Marius Watz’s Modelbuilder Library (which is incredible). This is what I have going so far. Super-excited about the possibilities!algo_3d

Version 2 with “clustering” algorithm

* Technically speaking, I’m  using the Processing libs with Eclipse, which makes development far easier. This Instructable that I wrote shows you how to migrate your Processing projects to Eclipse.


Introducing @suntzubot

@suntzubot is the newest member of the Bot Collective. This is another quotebot (there will be several more) before I create a second generation of Twitterbots .


Why did I pick Sun Tzu as an emissary from the past? Because his writings in Art of War influence still military leaders. Here are some quotable gems:

The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

While we still have nations and boundaries, this seems true. Only when boundaries are fluid is an end to the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality at all possible.

There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.

Doesn’t this sound like the War on Terror or a the state of “Perpetual War” as described in Orwell’s 1984?

…My next quotebot will be a woman, I promise.

@marktwainbot + Bot Cache

Lately I’ve been obsessed with Twitterbots and just a few days ago, I wrote my first one: @marktwainbot — a simple quotebot, which sends a tweet every day at the exact hour and minute of Mark Twain’s death. The quotebot isn’t super-exciting, but I wanted something that was easy to make and was a proof of concept for future Twitterbots.


I used a Raspberry Pi to make this happen and wrote the code in Python, using Twython. For the gathering quotes, I tried the the crowdsourced-labor site: TaskRabbit, which made me feel like I was exploiting a 20-something woman in New York, until it became clear she was doing this during her own work time and so was being double-paid. Full steps for the project will soon be available as an Instructable.

My friend Ben Valentine recently e-troduced me to An Xiao Mina, artist, research and journalist, who is collaborating with folks on Bot Cache, a compendium of Twitterbots, currently in alpha development.

Here’s a short video of her talking about Twitterbots — compelling stuff!


Where is the Art?


Yes, to your left.