Thursday, September 30, 2004

Rider Updates

Updated tech rider, plus source files have been uploaded to project directory on

Friday, September 24, 2004

Exhibit hall from balcony

Originally uploaded by xinwei.
Crowd will flow from door at far end of the glass enclosure in the foreground, and exit via a door in the left of the glass barrier.

- Xin Wei

Van Nelle picture exterior

Originally uploaded by xinwei.
This is the exterior of the main factory building belonging to the Van Nelle tea, coffee, tobacco company. It was built in the 1930's on the Bauhaus model.

- Xin wei

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Re: vannelle images(Yoichiro Serita による変更あり)

Date: September 20, 2004 7:11:21 PM EDT

Hi everyone,
Waou, I wish I could be there! I am really happy you are having fun with the smoke
patch and I look forward to redefine/modify/enhance any part of the patch
based on your comments (and I am sure I speak for Maria too ;).

Harry, it sounds like you hurt your wrist, are you ok??? I hope nothing
too bad...

Thank you for the images (haven't seen the movies yet, will install the codec right
after this email), which picture shows the space for the membrane exhibit?
How dark will the space be? What kind of cameras will we have? Where will
they be positioned?

In this email I will try to address some of the comments re:visuals, membrane dynamics and
parameter space next, but I would also love to talk to you live, is there
a phone where I can reach you? Xinwei, does your us cell work in europe?
Or you can reach me here on my cell +33 6 60 09 41 76.

For the design of the space, I like the space that evolves throughout the
blog, the idea of contiguous screens that reflect different states but still linked by a
single thematic thread, the idea of flow, of memory, of making people
aware of the space around them, of the memory of the space near/distant
past and making people aware of the tension between bodies, of the
pertubations they create in the empty space around them.

some more specific ideas re:blog:

* "i want to have Others bodies come _into_ definition in respoonse to my

we can play around with the notion that gesturing would be like "clearing"
layers that condensed on a window fogged by time. Layer 0 is empty, layer
1 is past silouhettes (frame difference of past footage), layer 2 is past
footage. Starting with darkness, as people start gesturing, their action
are transformed into "clearing smoke" to reveal past silouhettes, finally
as the gesturing becomes
more intense and/or lasts longer, we reveal the final layer that is the
true video data (the real image of their bodies).
Technically, we would use density+velocity data to come from the frame
difference of the current video but we would use the smoke image as a mask
to operate on the alpha parameter of the pixels, so that smoke clears the
current layer to reveal the next layer buried underneath (so do this
recursively). More layers can be added, we can play for example with
near/distant pasts.

* Another idea: condensation/using the moving body as a sink for the smoke
particles ( I think this was mentionned in the blog). Xinwei, Yoichiro, we
could do this by defining as the input a vector field that traps the smoke
around silhouettes, sort of the inverse diffusion process.
So we would start with smoke and as people gesture, the
smoke crystallizes around their silouhette.
mathematically, we can use the
gradient of g(image) where g is a function defined in: , equation 7.

The vector image shows the vector field. nabla.g is basically a vector field
that creates "valleys" around edges in
the image, so the smoke would get trapped in these valleys....

We can relax this condensation, allow to create bridges between different
bodies, perhaps using a string across the image as a path for the
smoke from one "valley" into another...
Or even use a string as the only density source (source of smoke) and
silouhettes as "sinks" for the smoke, so that they trap smoke while
interacting with the string.

* Yet another way to use the silouhettes is to use as density source the
current video and to make the image clear where
the silouhette appears (for a certain time, so you can make entire patches
of the image come into focus, by making the velocity vector field zero
wherever the frame difference is non-zero) and diffuse everywhere else where there
has been no gesturing (using for example random velocity vector movement
where the frame difference is zero). So your own
movements help crystallize past images, bring the past into focus, for a certain time at least.

Just some thoughts, Maria and I can definetely push on some of those ideas
in october to see if we can get the desired effects...

for the parameter space, you guessed rightly that vel decay, dens decay,
dt and diff have the most pronouced effect.
* Vel decay applies a dampening factor to the vector field from the
previous time step, so the vector field of the current time step should be
more pronouced.
* dens decay does the same thing to the density field. So setting it to 0
means that no smoke is remembered.
* dt is basically a turbulence factor (the higher, the more chaotic)
* diff seriously dampens the smoke, a non-zero value (a small one like 0.1
I think) creates a "ghost" effect instead of a smoke effect.

Let me know as ideas for the visual design evolve and become finalized. I
look forward to working with Yoichiro and everyone else to refine the
smoke patch and create more visuals to create desired effects...

talk to you soon!

On Mon, 20 Sep 2004, Yoichiro Serita wrote:

vannelle still images are just uploaded-
or just download

Monday, September 20, 2004

Light Plot 20040920

Light Plot 20040920
Originally uploaded by harrycs.

Membrane State Space

Membrane State Space
Originally uploaded by harrycs.

Membrane_Dynamics_Harry_Xinwei chat 20.09.04

Xin Wei Sha: hey!
Xin Wei Sha: fabulous!!!
Harry Smoak: dunno
Harry Smoak: same dang error
Xin Wei Sha: yep
Xin Wei Sha: HEY this is GREAT!
Xin Wei Sha: let me email our diagram to the folks here .
Harry Smoak: yes, please
1:40 PM
Xin Wei Sha: ok -- you and i can talk. c + j are plaing with y' & patches in order to get a feel frot he dynamics
Xin Wei Sha: for the ...
Harry Smoak: some random, notes, thoughts
Harry Smoak: playful other (solids from gas)
- least "sepectacular"
- backgrounded by smoke
- bodies emerge as their vectors intersect (both bodies? maybe just one side?)

- string model
- individual action can affect the strings, lift is compounded by two or more players in coordinated action
- upward motion raises local activity on the screen, moving thorugh effects, changing background images
- too much activity will push it over to --> teeming masses

wandering lost
- fog low on the ground
- kicked up like dust as people walk by
- dust floats to top of screen and collects
- when enough dust has collected forms the string which begins falling --> transition to playful others

teeming massess
- overload state
- system unable to privilege intimate activity
- calms down to <-- intimate space based on moving average of recent activity
OR decays into <-- wandering lost of if activity is low enough
Xin Wei Sha: let me read and ponder.
Harry Smoak: ok, brb
1:45 PM
Harry Smoak: ok, back. message me whenever
Xin Wei Sha: ok i will.
Xin Wei Sha: this is good -- im waiting for them to finisdh their physics meeting with y.
You left the chat.
Reconnecting to Harry Smoak
Xin Wei Sha: harry 00 sorry 0 i am wqiped outby jet lah rt now
1:55 PM
Harry Smoak: I bet

Xin Wei Sha: phooey
Xin Wei Sha: we're here with joel playinng with the smoke patch (and string patch0
Harry Smoak: how does he like it?
Xin Wei Sha: totally fun -- wish you could see this -- or even jst hear joel's comments -- he's incredibly precise and intuitive about the effects response to gesture
Xin Wei Sha: yep hes mnakiung valuable comments as we hunt for sweet presets
Harry Smoak: wonderful, wonderful
Xin Wei Sha: im trying to take some notes as he comments - ideas on how to make presets that give very fun responses -- lots of diff character
2:30 PM
Xin Wei Sha: fine details on sweeinng how the smoke patch changes response while params are varied -- looking for the right sets of params to vary as state changes
Harry Smoak: did the diagram help?
Xin Wei Sha: eg velocity decay in the smokepatch -- you can try it
Xin Wei Sha: yes it helped me -- i think it makes sense -- especially to see the state to stae changes
Xin Wei Sha: ie to see what state could overlap with what other state
Xin Wei Sha: im going to ask joel and chris and yoichiro to look at this --
Xin Wei Sha: at dinner -- after we break for dinner -- joel will have to go back to amsterdam tho -- 2 hour commute -- he may actually come back to rdm tomoror
Harry Smoak: that's terrific. he must be having fun
Xin Wei Sha: vel decay seems liek a param thta can change live -- in response to state change OR even arbitraarily to vary the behavior of the systyem, to keep it interstingf
Xin Wei Sha: Joel and chris and y have been doing very detailed work right now to find sweet spots in param space and writing down specific values
2:35 PM
Xin Wei Sha: dt time step integration and density seem like other interetsong params to vary.
Xin Wei Sha: tomorrow he plans to show chris his supercollider (os 9 only) instrument
Xin Wei Sha: and wil come back to rdam if we can supply him data in osc
Xin Wei Sha: from these jitter patches to sc
Xin Wei Sha: one global issue here -- joel asks is : is that what we want to do to our fellow man?
Xin Wei Sha: (images of our fellwos)
2:40 PM
Harry Smoak: interesing question
Xin Wei Sha: and i said all along that i want to opposite -- i want to have Others bodies come _into_ definition in respoonse to my gesturing
Xin Wei Sha: not destroy bodies
Xin Wei Sha: but the best we can do might be to move params from fuzzy to sharp edged/ better-0defined features...
Xin Wei Sha: joel thinks a few good shortlived scenes suffice
Xin Wei Sha: ie we may not need a long "narrative" carefully choreographed
Xin Wei Sha: path through state space mapped out bc
Xin Wei Sha: the parm space is so damn rich, and moset of it semes to yield fun interesting and divcersze repsonse behaviors
Xin Wei Sha: i think these guys are pretty deep into minutae of playing with the patches rightg now, so it'l be awhuile before they come up to macro design

Harry Smoak: they're fascinating. Are they capturing qt movies of their trials?
Harry Smoak: and get a camera on them playing with it, if you can
Xin Wei Sha: ok -- theyve written down some param sets and so can go through the interesting opnes with recording...
Xin Wei Sha: we don t have a spare dv cam -- oh maybe i can suie the isight and imovie?
Harry Smoak: yeah!
Xin Wei Sha: the blackbox is so dark here -- wer'e lit by a few flourescenst 20' overhead !!! we cant find the swithces to the theater lights !
Harry Smoak: haha
Xin Wei Sha: its so frustrating not to be able to use the iSights on iChat -- we should find a way to do that or undestadn the obstacle
Harry Smoak: did Wilco come back with samples of that plastic they were talking about?
Xin Wei Sha: joel says we look like we re in a bad TV prison movie
Harry Smoak: lol
Xin Wei Sha: nope. the v2 ppl sort of forgot us today monday --= being all totally intensely focused on getting stuff to the press etc.
Xin Wei Sha: that s ok -- we've been rpoductive with sw level work. and talking . im going o slap your diagram in front of chris at/after dinner
Xin Wei Sha: and yoichiro too.
Xin Wei Sha: so bascially 3 core states?
Xin Wei Sha: i agree --
Harry Smoak: yes, three seems to be a good number
Harry Smoak: with the memory spaces coursing through them
Harry Smoak: an accessible substrate that is treated differently depending on the state space
Harry Smoak: something like that
Xin Wei Sha: and three temproal regimes of memory response: immediate current, recent past, remote past -- right now they're focussed on immediate .
Harry Smoak: yes, you should be able to bump into ghosts
Xin Wei Sha: whats useful in your write up is a start on defining conditions for transition between states
Xin Wei Sha: (haha boo)
Harry Smoak: and memories of people who may no longer be there, recent shadows
Xin Wei Sha: yes -- intimate others state is in between activity -- we may figure more nuanced way of interpreting camera data to correlate with that state
3:00 PM
Xin Wei Sha: trying to imagine whether it may be confusing or compelling to see traces of ghosts
3:20 PM
Xin Wei Sha: hi
Xin Wei Sha: we;re back
Harry Smoak: hey
Xin Wei Sha: we're done with this for now -- joel's telling us about a guy who wore white gloves on black shirt and digitzed one line of video of himself
Xin Wei Sha: and used it to map to midi to make sound as he "danced"
Xin Wei Sha: 15 years ago
Harry Smoak: amazing
3:30 PM
Xin Wei Sha: we're saying gbye to joel
Xin Wei Sha: and wrapping up for the night
You left the chat by logging out or being disconnected.
3:35 PM
Reconnecting to Harry Smoak
Xin Wei Sha: ok joel just left and we're going to dinner now ... thanks for thinking along side
Harry Smoak: enjoy your late dinner
Harry Smoak: I'm going to go into the work at earthlink tuesday and Wednesday to try and salvage the time off so I can use it later
Harry Smoak: I took today off to rest and catch up on things here.
Harry Smoak: just FYI
Xin Wei Sha: ok -- take it easy so you 'll heal up fine
Harry Smoak: will do
Xin Wei Sha: my wrist is hurting
Harry Smoak: I'll be on ichat during the day
Harry Smoak: ouch
Harry Smoak: I have just the meds for that
Xin Wei Sha: any recommendations on what to do for it?
Xin Wei Sha: heat or cold?
Harry Smoak: heat
Harry Smoak: and ibuprofren
Xin Wei Sha: ok - i'll need to build up strength so i can lfit the suitacase back to paris -- damn
Xin Wei Sha: see you around harry
Xin Wei Sha: bye for now
Harry Smoak: ciao

Membrane Description_Press

DEAF04 • 9-20 November 2004

Membrane is a set of large translucent screens suspended throughout DEAF04's Van Nelle exhibition hall. Approaching a Membrane, passersby see people on the opposite side re-projected onto the translucent material. A sweep of the hand reshapes, swirls, thickens and thins what one sees through the membrane via dynamics of water, smoke, shockwaves or particles. The system's visual and acoustic responses evolve according to the activity of the visitors with the passage of time. The interplay between the Membrane's calligraphic media and the visitors' moving bodies generates vortices that entangle the Van Nelle factory site's present visitors and past ghosts.

Turbulence muddies the waters, feeds the social organism, thickens history.


Harry Smoak, Altanta, USA, Creative lead, material design.
Yoichiro Serita, Tokyo, Japan, Lead visual design, flow design, graphics programming.
Sha Xin Wei, Atlanta, USA, Argument, visual design.
Chris Salter, Berlin, Germany, Flow design, sound design.
Joel Ryan, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Sound design and programming.
Delphine Nain, Atlanta, USA, Visual effects programming.
Maria Cordell, Atlanta, USA, Visual effects programming.

Topological Media Lab,

Joel/Chris/Yoichiro/Xinwei: Membrane Parameter Space

notes joel comments
most of these are in joel's and chris' paper notes, but here's what i eavesdropped

tried 3 instruments: string, smoke, and liquid

be sure to mount screen high enough so that people cant so easily push the string up to the top of the screen.

smoke - navier

maybe track only one color so only certain things will smoke, not others
vel decay
density tweak but leave as preset

flush /clear may be useful

joel would like some tempo numbers

link concrete scenarios to states and transitions
based on the activity measures -- tempi

Harry: Notes on Membrane Media Choreography

Harry Smoak: some random, notes, thoughts
Harry Smoak: playful other (solids from gas)
- least "sepectacular"
- backgrounded by smoke
- bodies emerge as their vectors intersect (both bodies? maybe just one side?)

- string model
- individual action can affect the strings, lift is compounded by two or more players in coordinated action
- upward motion raises local activity on the screen, moving thorugh effects, changing background images
- too much activity will push it over to --> teeming masses

wandering lost
- fog low on the ground
- kicked up like dust as people walk by
- dust floats to top of screen and collects
- when enough dust has collected forms the string which begins falling --> transition to playful others

teeming massess
- overload state
- system unable to privilege intimate activity
- calms down to <-- intimate space based on moving average of recent activity
OR decays into <-- wandering lost of if activity is low enough
Xin Wei Sha: let me read and ponder.
Harry Smoak: ok, brb

Harry/Chris Chat Re: Membrane material and Lighting 20.09.04

AIM IM with plateau1389
2:27 PM
Chris Salter: there?
plateau1389: yes! good morning
Chris Salter: good morning
plateau1389: morning for me that is
Chris Salter: xinwei is trying to bring us into a chat
plateau1389: k
2:30 PM
Chris Salter: meanwhile...i'll send you the gant chart....i can export it as html...hmm...lets see if that actually still works
plateau1389: send it it
plateau1389: gatech's mail servers have been down all morning
Chris Salter: it will take time to figure out the html export...meanwhile i'll send you a jpeg...which of course, you can't alter
plateau1389: right
2:35 PM
Chris Salter: seemed to go through this time...maybe it was the firewall here...
plateau1389: got it
Chris Salter: the dates are all provisional, of we don't know much at this moment!
plateau1389: understood
Chris Salter: talked with alex last evening about the timing with material testing...later october...
plateau1389: BTW, I've been playing with this OS X gantt project tool:
Chris Salter: he said...
plateau1389: pretty basic, but it works
plateau1389: oh, and...
Chris Salter: oh good...does it also do pert diagrams
plateau1389: no, not yet
Chris Salter: i'll check this out....
plateau1389: k, so back to Alex...
Chris Salter: we asked to try and do a projection test in the van nelle space this tracking..just to get a sense of scale and flow
Chris Salter: still waiting to hear from pascal here though
Chris Salter: later october he thought...
Chris Salter: but we don't know yet...we'll know more before we leave.
plateau1389: ok, keep me posted
Chris Salter: talk a little about the lighting issues
2:40 PM
Chris Salter: especially since martin is going to soon spec out the lighting stuff for the whole exhibition space
Chris Salter: so its a good time to begin thinking of what we could use.
Chris Salter: what we would need...sorry...cold day here in rotterdam
plateau1389: given the height of the space, we would likely need focused instruments
plateau1389: positioned overhead to light the players as they pass by each of the membranes, but not cast light directly on the membranes
2:45 PM
Chris Salter: essentially a rectangular strip on the front and back sides, slightly away from the screen surface.
plateau1389: yes, exactly
Chris Salter: down light will cast strong shadows...
plateau1389: one fixture one either side (SL and SR) angled should help with that, yes?
Chris Salter: will help smooth out the sharpness of the downlight...
plateau1389: low light levels, just enough to bring out the figures without creating too much contrast/shadow
2:50 PM
Chris Salter: we would then run a direct dmx feed into their main our lanbox would function like a submaster
plateau1389: yes
plateau1389: 2x 1k Fresnels on either side of each mebrane-- could be same DMX channel
Chris Salter: tightly barndoored...
plateau1389: 1 channel for each side
2:55 PM
plateau1389: yes, definitely
Chris Salter: 2 dmx channels per membrane
Chris Salter: so, we would need (for 3 membranes) 6 in total.
plateau1389: 6 channels, 12 instruments
Chris Salter: 12 1K Fresnels
plateau1389: we provide control DMX via LANBOX direct to their main board
Chris Salter: yep...ok, lets put this in the main spec.
3:00 PM
Chris Salter: i'm making a master list here of everything
plateau1389: oh good, I was just starting one. better that we just have one list
Chris Salter: lets see: materials:
Chris Salter: 1. How big is the lexan that you have?
3:05 PM
plateau1389: the samples are 2x4 ft each
plateau1389: spec film is available in any lenght, 4ft standard width
plateau1389: it is .015-
plateau1389: 0
Chris Salter: how much does it run a roll?
plateau1389: between .015-.03 mm thick
plateau1389: I'm estimating $2-3 a linear foot
Chris Salter: per screen then...
plateau1389: 4m x 1.5m = $40
3:10 PM
plateau1389: one sec, let me confirm something
Chris Salter: ok
plateau1389: my estimate was off
plateau1389: $4-6 a linear foot
plateau1389: 4m x 1.5m = $48-60 for lexan
plateau1389: I'd budget $200 per membrane
Chris Salter: so,,,its still affordable
plateau1389: As long as we stay in the films.
Chris Salter: can this lexan wrinkle?
plateau1389: if we move up to more rigid materials it can get real expensive
plateau1389: not without darting
plateau1389: it's amazingly durable
Chris Salter: i assume then we can sleeve or grommet it from the top?
plateau1389: definitely
3:15 PM
Chris Salter: this is made by GE?
plateau1389: it may want to curl a bit if we hang it horizontally
plateau1389: GE Polymer film division
plateau1389: based in Chicago, US (film division)
Chris Salter: if we run two pipes through a sleeve at the top and bottom?
plateau1389: their european distibution headquarters is in NL
Chris Salter: how convenient....
plateau1389: we'd have to grommet it, or clamp it (better)
Chris Salter: just thinking uif we do a test here in october...
Chris Salter: what the best solution would try and get it here or for you to bring it from the states
plateau1389: it's lightweight
plateau1389: once I get the samples back from the airport I can make some inquiries in Chicago about local sourcing and or shipping samples
3:20 PM
Chris Salter: in our talk with alex about budget, he indicated this would be paid by v2...

XW: Near and Distant Pasts-Van Nelle Fabriek and Membrane

i wonder how we might plant membrane more deeply into the local history of the van nelle fabriek. looking at the historical footage i was struck by the repetitive taylorist movements of the workers in the factory, so modern so sleek, such a dream for these women and men.
intercut with the chained cadence of paper rolls folded by mechanical blades, and boxes of coffee moving in perdiodic rhythm across the flying corridors. all in the very same spaces that the exhibit will be in. we have a rare opportunity to excavate the images of true ghosts from the very same space in which the visitors will be standing at deaf04.

van nelle 1930's

Attachment converted: salt:vn1_handout2.tif (TIFF/8BIM) (00054D3A)
Attachment converted: salt:vn3_coffeeboxes.tif (TIFF/8BIM) (00054D3B)

i was thinking that as the live (present day) activity drops around a membrane, that the system would pull footage from more and more distant past (all the way back to the 1930's...)
and feed that footage into the current "instrument" (whether it's some parameterized version of string or wave or smoke) to drive the synthesis of effects video. also the energy of the near-person's activity would be used to mix between a pass-through feed of the remote person and the effect video.

this would be away of recalling past in palimpsest, excavated or surfaced by foreground activity, a more nuanced refinement of my suntrust membrane.

we can tone the most ancient images in reduced range too (tinted earth) or use a different effect to clarify difference between membrane's synchronous to "current" data and its response to ancient, replayed data.

- xinwei

Sunday, September 19, 2004

more ideas re visuals

key themes:

- membranes should thicken sociality already latent in space
- membranes do this by creating m=more turbulence, vortices in social dynamics, flows
- multiples better than one or two large screens
- avoid calling attention to themselves, or at least minimize spectacle and maximize social thickening
- you see "through" or better: because of it, you pay more attentikon to the space between membranes and more attention to other people (than to yourself)
- encourage play with one another

design ideas for van nelle fabriek hall
- define modules that can be replicated
- establish hint of a topography for the space
- use horizontal membranes to establish traces of horizon parallel to the 3 windowed walls
- use a cluster of vertical to establish a heart to the space

multiple time scales in palimpsest
- immediate response (< second)
-recent past from past festival sessions (hours, days)
- remote past from factory 1930's: use as motion input archival footage of the repetitive taylorist factory women -- queueing past manager handing out worksheets, on assembly lines/tables, boxes of coffee on conveyer belts

visual effects
- start with fog, but wiping/activity brings the other person into form and visibility
(ie like time-reversal of to the diffusion process) you bring the other person's body into definite shape by your activity.

- if we can glue boundary conditions on the lattices across different hosts, (ie by shipping edge cells acorss osc to neighboring host computers), then maybe we can give a dynamical flow coherence to widely separated membranes. we can even introduce time lag to give an antiphonal quality. time lag can vary according to ambient activity -- from "rigid" sync to loose.

- yoichiro: dust or residual mist can float up and collect at the top edge of a membrane
- x: maybe with enough accumulant it can settle as string, start a little ecology
- asymmetrical processing of video from the two sides: eg. in fluid: one person introduces density, the other introduces wind, then switch.

- overall state should respond to degree intensity of local activity
perhaps by moving from showing only historical palimpsest to asynchronous full fx.


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

yoichiro xinwei chat re flow, visual effects 040910

Date: September 10, 2004 9:45:08 AM EDT (lightly edited by sxw)
Xin Wei + Yoichiro Serita
Xin Wei Sha: good to see you -- what time is it?
Yoichiro Serita: it's.. 10:15pm @ tokyo
Xin Wei Sha: i hope you're doing okay with work, and am looking forward to seeing you in rotterdam!
Yoichiro Serita: yes, me too!
Xin Wei Sha: delphine has made a very nice extension of the fluid jitter external so that it can now take optical flow as vector field
Yoichiro Serita: wow, that is a great news. I'm really looking forward to see that!
Xin Wei Sha: i encouraged her to communicate with you and give you the external when it's debugged and neater -- maria cordell is working on the max interface. that way you can use it too
9:20 AM
Yoichiro Serita: coool! do you have some captured image?
Xin Wei Sha: mm not me, but she and maria do -- maybe you can email them directly for some qt video
Yoichiro Serita: sure, i'll do that-
Xin Wei Sha: and joel would like to even use your jitter results as inopout for his sound synthesis
Xin Wei Sha: could be very interesting. so then we can think more about
Xin Wei Sha: the visual response to people's movement.
Xin Wei Sha: excellent -- whatever is inspiring for you ! the one extra comment is that if we light the space with strong downward pointing lights, we could isolate certain areas in "cones" of lllumination thatthe cameras would pick up
Xin Wei Sha: ie people who happen to be in those cones of light would have their motions picked up more by our system,
Yoichiro Serita: hahaha interesting!
Xin Wei Sha: so that's something to think about -- it would make people sensitive more to their surrounding space, than just focus on staring at the membrane screen -- which could be very good, what do you think?
Yoichiro Serita: yes, I agree! this time, my primal concern is "flow", so..
Yoichiro Serita: i want to use membrane for people to be more sensitive to the environment
Yoichiro Serita: the idea is yet abstract, though,,
Yoichiro Serita: but anyway
Yoichiro Serita: i don't want people to "stop and see" membranes, too much
Yoichiro Serita: this time
Xin Wei Sha: yes we agree on this
Yoichiro Serita: ok, thanks! any ideas you've already come up with would be a great stimulation for me- so please email me when you have time-
Yoichiro Serita: also,
Yoichiro Serita: well,,, by the way
Yoichiro Serita: where should i go on 17th when i arrived rotterdam?
Xin Wei Sha: we all should agree on that location. it could be v2 office which is easy to find in rotterdam. but chris will work that out with v2 for us.
Xin Wei Sha: questions re flow:

how the visual effects should change over time, and in response to, for example, varying density of bodies, and to rate of flux of bodies past the cameras.

and also how the 3 screens could echo, or relate to each other.
it would be interesting if somehow some "antiphonal" or echo relations between the membranes could do what you like -- make people sensitive to the spaces in between rather than the screens themselves... the simplest could be time delay of effect, that could vary.

and how to use journaled past activity, maybe build up a layer that recalls/echoes past activity that becomes more visible when there is less current activity? that way if people congregated near a location in the past, that location would be registered somehow. but we cannot expect the projected video to register with what a person sees through the physical screen.
Xin Wei Sha: just for the record :_
Xin Wei Sha:
Yoichiro Serita: i'm reading..
Xin Wei Sha: i'll record this chat now and go to my office (in cambridge) now to write up notes for you, ok?
Yoichiro Serita: great, thanks!
Xin Wei Sha: maybe if as you and i get a chance to walk past lots of people in this week, or walk past nature -- the sea perhaps ! -- this will generate flow ideas, too.
Xin Wei Sha: do ask delphine and maria to send the external and videos when they're ready...
Yoichiro Serita: yes! i agree the idea!

More membrane topologies

Originally uploaded by harrycs.
More images from the paper prototypes session.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

May Projection Tests

Originally uploaded by harrycs.

Membrane Workshop September in Rotterdam

Membrane Workshop
Originally uploaded by clsalter.


Harry Smoak
Gannt Chart: Sponge Itineraries

M: 001-404-483-4985 (usa)

Number will work in Europe for Emergencies.

Delta Flight No. 38 17SEP04 (Atlanta to Amsterdam)
Arrive AMSTERDAM 825A 18SEP04

Delta Flight No. 45 22SEP04 (Amsterdam to Cincinnati)
Depart AMSTERDAM 1135A 22SEP04


Yoichiro Serita •

SU 584 16SEP    NRT    SVO    12:00   16:50
SU 225 16SEP    SVO    AMS    20:30   21:50

SU 230 22SEP    AMS    SVO    13:10   18:25
SU 583 22SEP    SVO    NRT    19:55  10:00


Sha Xin Wei •

Arrive Fri, Sep 17: AMERICAN AIRLINES, AA 0062
Paris (CDG) 9:20am

Depart Paris (CDG) 2:20pm

mobile phone: +1-404-579-4944

Chris Salter


Joel Ryan

Membrane Morphology (IMG_3015.JPG)

Monday, September 13, 2004


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

v2 Equipment checklist_chat harry_chris 14.09.04

AIM IM with plateau1389
13.09.04, 22:54
Chris Salter: hey harry...are you online?
plateau1389: Hey
Chris Salter: hola...
plateau1389: howdy
Chris Salter: i'm taking off for italy in the am
Chris Salter: and
plateau1389: Any more information from V2
Chris Salter: ,,,not yet
plateau1389: hmmm. need to know how much tech to bring
Chris Salter: lets think as much as possible
Chris Salter: lets see,,,well, certainly the screen material
plateau1389: covered
Chris Salter: why dont we go through the list
Chris Salter: OK
Chris Salter: what decision on camera stuff
plateau1389: I don't have the list handy. Can you send the latest draft over to me?
Chris Salter: firewire-based...isights
Chris Salter: uh...yeah, hold on a sec...
plateau1389: Cameras for workshop:
Chris Salter: yes
Chris Salter: should i bring the led reflectors
plateau1389: - isight + Firewire hub and long cable
Chris Salter: ir reflectors, i mean
plateau1389: yes: bring the reflectors
Chris Salter: should i also bring the video card i have
plateau1389: - fire-i camera
Chris Salter: formac...
plateau1389: - wireless analog camera (color)
Chris Salter: that means, yes...i should bring the analog video card
plateau1389: Yes, bring the card if you can. I'll bring a CCD camera
plateau1389: as well
Chris Salter: hold on a sec///let me consult the list...then we can upload it to the wiki
Chris Salter: wait a sec...
plateau1389: ok
Chris Salter: ok...lets see...
Chris Salter: starting with space stuff:
Chris Salter: screen...ok
Chris Salter: computers...we asked for one g5, 2.5 GhZ or better...
Chris Salter: plus we will all have laptops as case something goes dreadfully wrong
Chris Salter: projection...
plateau1389: Should I bring one from the lab?
Chris Salter: we asked for an LCD or DLP with DVI input...
Chris Salter: a g5???
plateau1389: No, small LCD projector with DVI
Chris Salter: yes...that would be good if you can
plateau1389: 1200 ANCI Lumens
plateau1389: ok, it's preconfigured for EU power.
Chris Salter: case something goes dreadfully wrong....
Chris Salter: can you also bring a bunch of US-Eu adaptors
plateau1389: I'll try to wrangle some together.
Chris Salter: they are hard to get here for some reason
Chris Salter: ok...going on with camera stuff
plateau1389: ok, good to know
Chris Salter: we asked for tripods from v2
Chris Salter: plus mini DV cameras
Chris Salter: i will bring mine, just in case
Chris Salter: for documentation purposes...but we may need it as well as a backup
Chris Salter: lighting stuff
Chris Salter: plus cabling
plateau1389: I can bring the LANBOX
Chris Salter: so...we bring
Chris Salter: will we need that?
Chris Salter: bringing it back home to holland
Chris Salter: what is the longest fire wire cable you have?
plateau1389: 10m
Chris Salter: ok cool
Chris Salter: definitely bring that
plateau1389: will only work for DV video
plateau1389: too long for data (harddrive)
Chris Salter: that is ok...i was thinking for the camera
Chris Salter: cameras
Chris Salter: ok...i'll bring the IR emitters....should i bring the IR camera?
plateau1389: harry bring: isight, unibrain firei, wireless analog (color), CCD + lenses
Chris Salter: the expensive near field one with
plateau1389: yes, please
Chris Salter: the band pass filter at 920 nanometers.
Chris Salter: OK
Chris Salter: sound is covered here...i willbring the RME breakout box
Chris Salter: plus enough 1/4 to RCA adaptors
Chris Salter: this is all mostly backup in case v2 totally flakes out...which is always possible...just to warn you
Chris Salter: tools?
plateau1389: I've been wondering about that.
Chris Salter: screwdrivers, wrenches, measuring tape, marking tape,etc
plateau1389: Will I have trouble with customs?
Chris Salter: maybe just a normal tool kit...we don't have to deal with electronics
Chris Salter: hmmm...customs...
Chris Salter: you are flying into amsterdam?
plateau1389: yes
plateau1389: direct from Atlanta
Chris Salter: in case they ask...
Chris Salter: say it is for an art installation in rotterdam
Chris Salter: but never say that you are "working"
Chris Salter: i dont suspect you'll have any problems..maybe getting back into the US you will
Chris Salter: what about these digitizers that xinwei was talking about?
plateau1389: the AD/DA converter?
Chris Salter: if we have these analog cameras...
plateau1389: he has it with him in Boston. I'll make sure he brings it.
Chris Salter: ok
Chris Salter: are these bnc or rca connectors
Chris Salter: on the analog cameras...
Chris Salter: is there anything that needs to be converted over to 220V?
plateau1389: BNC, but I have RCA style adapters
Chris Salter: ok...what about conversion?
plateau1389: I'll need to check the receiver for the wireless camera, but the CCD cameras are switchable.
Chris Salter: ir camera i believe is switchable...but i have to check it
plateau1389: I'll confirm all powered equipment and post an update.
Chris Salter: ok cool...shall i post this to the wiki as the itineraries (text)
Chris Salter: i wont have easy email access for the next days so i'm going to give you stephen and martin (the v2 td) emails...
Chris Salter: is that OK...?
plateau1389: yes, definitely.
plateau1389: Please send them an email indicating the handoff, and Cc: me.
Chris Salter: hold a sec...yes
Chris Salter: (steve kovats..v2 project manager)
Chris Salter: martin taminiau ( td
Chris Salter: will do this first thing in the am...will also call steve if i can get him on the phone///
plateau1389: great.
Chris Salter: ok...i'll save our talk here and post to the wiki...bring warm clothes...autumn has come
Chris Salter: it will be good to see you rotterdam...its an interesting city
plateau1389: Oh, do we have accomodations?
Chris Salter: ok///onto packing..will post this...
plateau1389: Wondering if I should bring a sleeping bag.
Chris Salter: they know we are coming and steve said in his email that he is confirming i again wrote
Chris Salter: and told them exactly how many people and how long....
plateau1389: Ok, I'll just tell immigration that I am staying with Kovats.
Chris Salter: oh yes...that is good
Chris Salter: or say steim
Chris Salter: joel ryan
Chris Salter: that is probably better
Chris Salter: address in case they ask:
plateau1389: Ah, good idea.
Chris Salter: Achtergracht Joel Ryan
plateau1389: Excellent. I can get the rest off the Steim web site.
plateau1389: See you Saturday.
Chris Salter: achtergracht 19...
Chris Salter: okeydokey...tscuss
Chris Salter: i can be reached on my cell in case of disaster
Chris Salter: have a good flight!
Chris Salter: cs
plateau1389: ⋯

V2 contacs

V2 contacts:

Technical director Martin
Program director / special projects: Stephen Kovats

Eendrachtsstraat 10
(exhibition & store)
Eendrachtsstraat 12
3012 XL Rotterdam
Postbus 19049
3001 BA Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Vox +31 10 206 7275
Fax +31 10 206 7271

Friday, September 10, 2004

AIM Chat with Chris Salter, Harry Smoak, Sha Xin Wei

7:59 AM EST (-0800)

Xin Wei Sha: ok here we're in common chat i hope
Harry Smoak: I see you, but not Chris.
Chris Salter: hmmm...are we
Chris Salter: hello all
Harry Smoak: hallo!
8:00 AM
Xin Wei Sha: so chris what's happening with v2 on the space ? do you have any idea
Chris Salter: down to business...
Xin Wei Sha: what the alternatie public space might gbe?
Chris Salter: seems they are having problems with the club
Chris Salter: which i originally thought culd be a prob
Xin Wei Sha: h and i have seen the email from steven -- thx.
Chris Salter: but i didnt say anything...

Chris Salter: at least they have read the spec...xw...i se that martin is still the td
Chris Salter: i would have thought that tg would have finished him

Chris Salter: options:
Chris Salter: 1. i dont know what kind of space they are thinking in terms of public
Chris Salter: but they obviously know the spec
Chris Salter: one might think
Chris Salter: i shouldn't assume anything at the moment
Chris Salter: but what about the possibility of just lifting the screens?
Chris Salter: on a hoist or pulley system...
Chris Salter: would this work?
Chris Salter: we don't have to worry about the metal detectors since we aren't going to use that area anyway
Chris Salter: thoughts my friends?
Harry Smoak: the ceilings in the club space are ~18'
Xin Wei Sha: all sorts of mechanisms could work but we dont havbe the people power and time to do it for v2 deaf , i think. not without someone extra to actually help build.
Harry Smoak: so, no it would not work with the current scale
Chris Salter: just about
Harry Smoak: would need to get them at least 10' off the ground
Xin Wei Sha: what do you think?
Chris Salter: yeah,,but that would be v2 responsibility
Chris Salter: they've obvously been thinking of this
Chris Salter: i mean the exhibition space is also fine...
8:05 AM
Chris Salter: as another option
Harry Smoak: Would we fit? What would we be competing with for traffic flow.
Xin Wei Sha: its a cavernous space? would membrane be lost in it unless it's near some entry?
Chris Salter: could the material be slightlyrolled up?
Chris Salter: its big...the exhibition space...but the trick of multiplying the screens would reinforce
Chris Salter: the work
Harry Smoak: screens could be tabled, pulled up from the bottom
Chris Salter: that was what i was thinking too
Chris Salter: traffic flow
Chris Salter: don't know yet...
Harry Smoak: a passage space would be ideal
Chris Salter: yes, i think so as well
Chris Salter: well, rdam has a history of this kind of they are used to it...afterall, v2 did manage to pull off raphael's piece in the square
Chris Salter: somehow or other

The AIM service could not send the message: A message or picture is too large to be transmitted.
Harry Smoak: unfamiliar. do you have a link?
The AIM service could not send the message: A message or picture is too large to be transmitted.
Chris Salter: lets not panic quite yet...there are options and anyway
The AIM service could not send the message: A message or picture is too large to be transmitted.
Xin Wei Sha: still thinking. about people -- we could definitely find an alternatre location there at las palmas --
Chris Salter: (body movies)
Xin Wei Sha: but should we agitate for moving to a diff loca and statying with fixed screens , or stasying in the main lobby and using lifting scrfeens?
Harry Smoak: oh yeah, right.
Chris Salter: if we are in the lobby...then the screens will have to lifted...
Chris Salter: the screens and cameras...the projectors and speakers can stay
Chris Salter: is there anything else that would have to be flown?
Xin Wei Sha: lobby and club audience would be cool...
Xin Wei Sha: i prefer that, but then it ups the ante on our design.
Chris Salter: well,,,doesn't sound like the club audience would be so cool if they pull the screens down!
8:10 AM
Xin Wei Sha: for ex, it should perhaps work even in :"lifted" mode .. somehwo reactinng to the movement of masses of people in the club
Chris Salter: hmm///
Harry Smoak: no, just screens
Chris Salter: that would be complex....

Harry Smoak: interesting
Chris Salter: it would go wild most likely
Chris Salter: so, another projector mounted higher up?
Xin Wei Sha: we could ask for a second set of fixed projectors aimed high, and switch the video
Chris Salter: positioned from the start
Xin Wei Sha: yep

Chris Salter: time lag here

Harry Smoak: or mount them higher in the ceiling and rear project
Chris Salter: that would look pretty weird...but interesting
Harry Smoak: screens could be at a slight angle
Chris Salter: would have to be
Chris Salter: so...options:
Chris Salter: 1. screens stay in lobby (provided there are not other problems that we don't know about)
Chris Salter: and we see if we can get a second set of projectors to project onto them in lifted mode
Chris Salter: wouldn't we have to have another camera that acts as an "ambient
Chris Salter: one
Chris Salter: to gather data past 11 o'clock?
Xin Wei Sha: (pssst harry said he has to leave in a few minutes... )
Xin Wei Sha: yes thats a cool idea
Harry Smoak: (yes, work meetings)
Chris Salter: did you whisper that in xw's virtual ear?
Chris Salter: work..what a concept
Xin Wei Sha: that was a journaled result -- from past activity
Chris Salter: xw...shall we continue and save the log for hs?
Harry Smoak: yes, please
Xin Wei Sha: one camera could always be aimed ofrm high, down on the floor to sample people flow across the floor
Xin Wei Sha: (yes i will)
8:15 AM
Xin Wei Sha: this would work better as density of crowd increases, in fact
Harry Smoak: ok, talk to you later
Chris Salter: yes...since the club is behind the doors
Harry Smoak has left this chat.
Chris Salter: bye harry...more soon
Xin Wei Sha: see you later harry
Xin Wei Sha: anyway back to v2
Chris Salter: shifting sands, you mean
Chris Salter: well...the flying of the screens should not be difficult
Xin Wei Sha: (actually bardo is an antiterrorist technology ... hmmm -- ok ok)
Chris Salter: yes
Chris Salter: yes
Chris Salter: yes
Chris Salter: why are you a butterfly...sorry, back to v2
Xin Wei Sha: can we pull them up into a positon that keeps them visible to the folsk on the floor below then its worth it
Chris Salter:

Chris Salter: most likely...again, remember that visually the space doesnt seem so high as it does wide
Xin Wei Sha: otheriwse i wooul;dnt want to see all this effor tjust to get them out of the way you know.
Chris Salter: well...yes...but we don't want them covered in beer or lit on fire by someone's joint
8:20 AM
Chris Salter: wait a sec...
Chris Salter: oik..
Chris Salter: back
Chris Salter: i just sent you a pic again...can you judge

Xin Wei Sha: 18' high if the screens are no more than 8 feet tall itd work. in fact that's about what we worked with in tsrb 209
Xin Wei Sha: thx
Xin Wei Sha: i see it -- yes it does seem squat.
Chris Salter: strange space isn't it
Chris Salter: can we put these imgs into the blog as well...?
Chris Salter: so everyone has reference points in our chats?
Xin Wei Sha: fine , so when it's lifted high over head we dont even need to angle the screen -- they'll just be visible form a distance -- but then it's no longer a membrane but a spectacle screen
Chris Salter: yes...just like the club itself
Xin Wei Sha: (yes let me try now)
Chris Salter: but that's just has to be an easy system...pulleying three screens
Xin Wei Sha: (failed)
Chris Salter: dont worry about it xw..we'll try later
Xin Wei Sha: anyway -- lets move on'
Chris Salter: yup
Xin Wei Sha: i have to go pretty soon since my ride is leaving

Chris Salter: so...that would be ne solution
Xin Wei Sha: but i''ll be in my office today
Chris Salter: where are you
Chris Salter: what's your office no?
Xin Wei Sha: at harvard dep of hist of science
Chris Salter: feel like you're home again
8:25 AM
Chris Salter: ok
Xin Wei Sha: anyway, we'll have to create a diff effect
Chris Salter: sure...
Xin Wei Sha: for the "lifted" version --
Xin Wei Sha: more visual design owrk -- we'll need to get sample videos to play with then
Chris Salter: the lifted version..should we perhaps write stephenand say that have a possible solution if the screens need to be lifted?
Chris Salter: or wait...
Chris Salter: of course...that is even more work for them

Xin Wei Sha: yes -- pls do that , but also id liek to see exactyly what the alternative locs are
Chris Salter: ok....
Chris Salter: i'm trying to have a buddhist attitude about verything at the moment////in ay case, i will book my flight from nizza today
Chris Salter: will arrive amsterdam around 13 Uhr on saturday
Xin Wei Sha: ok
Chris Salter: and go straight to rdam
Xin Wei Sha: this is good -- me too
Chris Salter: 99 euro from nizza
Xin Wei Sha: in fact i think the value of this sep could be in bringing us togetehr
Chris Salter: definitely
Chris Salter: looking forwards to that
Xin Wei Sha: to wok together -- y h you me etc.
Chris Salter: yes
Chris Salter: ok...lets talk later when you have time
Xin Wei Sha: i'll be at my office much of the day -- will you be working at hiome then?
Chris Salter: yes...anke is gone to west germany so i am working here away on bardo...
Chris Salter: shoudl i call your cell?
Xin Wei Sha: (i'll just keep my ichat open when im working -- i also sent yoichiro an email, bc i think we should really try to feed him news... i am encouraging delphineto communciate with yoichiro
Xin Wei Sha: Sha Xin Wei
Department of the History of Science • Harvard University
1 Oxford Street • Cambridge, MA 02138
mobile: 1-404-579-4944; phone: 1-617-496-4268
Chris Salter: who is delphine?
8:30 AM
Xin Wei Sha: a phd in cs who is expert in vision, she worked all last year-- ported the fluid flow to max
Chris Salter: she coming to rotterdam???
Xin Wei Sha: worked with yoichiro a little
Xin Wei Sha: she couldnt -- tried to bc she will be in paris and s france for a wedding
Chris Salter:
Xin Wei Sha: but id liek to do aoine conference call with her + y to discuss her external with us
Chris Salter: since we only told v2 4
Xin Wei Sha: it's ok -- shes not coming.
Chris Salter: anyway...i will stay on top of this
Xin Wei Sha: great, thanks!
Chris Salter: i called alex this morning but he was in a meeting
Chris Salter: dont have time to put the sponge thing for tmediale together but will begin the article for creativity and cognition
Xin Wei Sha: we'll talk later then. i need to talk more with h and yoichiro about the visual response too
Chris Salter: and then send pieces to you
Xin Wei Sha: if you have ideas on that -- just feed them to y h and me
Chris Salter: i haven't talked wit jr yet
Xin Wei Sha: he foudn a place for yoichiro on 9/16 at steim.
Chris Salter: yeah!
Chris Salter: that's great...
Xin Wei Sha: ok... later?
Chris Salter: later...
Chris Salter has left this chat.
Xin Wei Sha: ciao take care.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

calligraphic video

Hi everyone!

On the calligraphic video side:
Maria and I were able to improve our fluids patch to take as input any velocity vector field and we got some really nice results! A video will come soon :)
We will post the patch + explanations so can also play with it, we will do that by the end of this week after we clean things up a bit.
Yoichiro, Maria and I were thinking of contacting you via ichat or phone to touch base :) When/How would be the best way to connect?

Screen update

Polymer samples for membrane displays arrived from Chicago yesterday. Working with Fiberboard to prototype some ideas I have regarding alternative morphologies. I'll post some images once I have some models to show. Current todos related to screens (sub-list of all todos):

A - Priority
- projection test of film samples
- fiberboard prototypes (different morphologies)
- assembly and skeleteon techniques (hardware)
- evaluate rigging techniques

B - Priority
- set visit architecture/ID lab (any reliable Archi/ID type contacts who could facilitate?)
- orientation of laser cutter and facilities (ditto on contacts)
- lexan prototype of working morphology with hardware
- CAD pattern for cutting

inaugurating membrane blog

Welcome to Sponge's Membrane project blog. Membrane artists, creators, we'll post our notes and sketches here.

Xin Wei