I was honored to be a part of the team behind EDSVJ, which was featured at the 2005 Zoom festival in Brno as well as at Marius Watz’s Generator.X 2005 in Oslo focused on generative art. So lets dig into what it is.
Firstly: to find an approach in V.J.ing that would allow more partaker-orientation. Partaker focus in terms of being able to influence the visual outcome by ME as a recipient. In other words it is an attempt to pass on to the partakers a part of the active elements of the V .J .ing process.
Secondly: this experiment is based on our understanding of computer humanization. Under the term humanization we understand, that the computer is becoming more human-like (but we are not speaking about conventional usage of the term A.I.). In this case the humanized computer is in harmony with the human which in a way stands in opposition to the thought of computers “creating ad hoc the new”.
Besides gaining knowledge in the medical field we also explored the world of 3D, polarization projectors, stereographics, image retrieval and some other fun fields. We got to the point where our head was just exploding with spooky ideas and we got a fairly large amount of freaks willing to cooperate with us. We also found out that we have to start somewhere because all the tiny processors and wires are not exactly for free. So we started with a concept that would be able to root into reality the entire vision.
We came down to the following:
– ECG real-time input – ECG analysis
– audio real-time input- audio analysis
– video real-time input – video analysis
– stereographic video output
– real-time video
– 3D glasses
– lots of Apple computers
Software-wise the corner stone is opensource software Processing.
How does it look?
The curve in space is defined by a certain mathematical formula. This equation has X variables. The change of the parameters causes a change in the curve and it makes it more sophisticated. If it is a simple curve than it is easy to recognize it, the more complicated it gets, the more chaotic it seems and the human eye is unable to recognize the nominal outline of the curve. The mentioned X number of variables are modified by various inputs. Each input modifies a certain variable that is used or the inputs may add etc.
The curve is mapped by around 400x an image from a camcorder – this creates an effect of organicity (colors, transparency, inner structure etc.). Also chaotic movement with the cam lense creates specific interesting effects (effects are created by the low quality of a lense – at first we tried DV cams, but the quality was so high that we decided to choose webcams instead – namely iSight). These 400 images are image-wise the same except for certain variables causing different size and transparency. The software remembers input history – last N values. These N values influence each image. Let us call these 400 images an object O. O changes its size, shape and two axis rotation (out of three – Y and Z axis) based on two variables (beats and heart).
Well, why am I saying this in such a complicated way, when I can quote the author of the algorithm himself:
“The facts are as follows: the object changes its shape, position and rotation in 3D. The same behavior is observed with the mapped images. The objects keep a certain input history. All variables are influenced by a sum of audio and ECG inputs. The software is controllable in real-time. Audio and ECG inputs are softened at both ends in simple words, in order to get more significant changes. All the values are automatically monitored and generated by the mentioned self-monitoring – so after plugging onto another person or different music, the installation itself calibrates to the new environment.”
Where we would like to go In the future we would like to continue in this experiment in cooperation with psychologists, scientists from biofeedback field. With the help of these academic workers we would like to reach the goal of creating an educational therapeutical device. Even though we have to admit that this vision is so far a sci-fi, because we have just finished the first two steps of a long journey. Nevertheless search for more academic and commercial support is continuing.