[-empyre-] Wired sustainability and Ambient Media

B. Bogart ben at ekran.org
Sat Apr 12 03:12:25 EST 2008

Hello all,

I've been mostly lurking on the list of a couple years now.

I'm quite interested in the current topic, in particular as it relates
to some work I'm currently doing and hoping to do in the future.

Its really a research project so it will have a number of different
artworks associated with it. The current one, "Memory Association
Machine", is something I'm writing about for my MSc thesis at the School
of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University, in
Vancouver Canada.

The project started as an exploration of how a responsive installation
could relate to its context in a way that is not predetermined by the
artist. In order to relate to its site the system only uses content
(visual images in this version) from its environment in the creation of
a kind of daydream:


The work is meant to be long-term public exhibition. So far it has only
been installed in gallery store fronts, and in areas of the campus.
Since these artworks get all their content from the world around them
they need to be in an interesting and dynamic context that is always
changing. They are meant to be ambient in that I'm less interested in
them being the focus of attention and more a lens through which the
world both the viewer and the artwork occupy is reconsidered and
rediscovered. The machine's artificial focus on (random) parts of our
world mean they highlight things we would not normally look at.

The reason I'm posting is that I'm particularly interested (in the much
longer term) making the project self-sufficient, that is generates its
own power and runs for 10 years or more independent of infrastructure.
So far the failure would be the moving parts in the camera that looks
around, but I'm sure some security cameras would be able to take on the
long-term constant movement challenge. I find the approach of using old
technology because it is proven and is known to work for longer periods,
rather than constantly striving for more computational power. It is
certainly a restriction of what is visually possible though.

Another aspect of sustainability is the software running the system
itself. I've committed to an almost 100% open source artistic practise,
with installations running on Linux and using Pure-Data. The only
software not open source in my practise is the nvidia driver used to do
fast openGL on my graphics cards.

Anyone else have any thoughts on open-source software as an aspect of a
sustainable artistic practise?

B. Bogart

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