COLLISIONcollective

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*                        For engineers that moonlight as artists and artists that moonlight as engineers                                         *
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SONAR Duel

two televisions on stands; two computers running PureData, Ableton Live and Resolume Avenue; two SONAR sensors
2013
SONAR Duel

SONAR Duel positions two TVs in a computer-generated audio/visual dialogue. Sonar sensors embedded in the televisions and connected to hidden computers converse: the sonars’ interaction triggers coding in the computers that creates unique patterns on the screens. On their own, the TVs “talk” to each other, moving in and out of visual and harmonic sync. But people can literally step into the conversation by standing between the two televisions. This human intervention generates human-like responses in the sonar dialogue. The screen images react with patterns, colors, and sounds that appear to reflect emotions such as happiness, agitation, and even jealousy. The interaction of the sonars with each other and with people in the space generates random coding in real time, so that audio and visual effects are dependent on the changing environment. In this way, SONAR Duel conveys the illusion of human sentience in technology.

For more information see Will Copps' article here: Full Circle: SONAR Duel Install at Boston CyberArts Gallery

“Come Closer”

Proximity sensor and computer-controlled video, length indefinite
2012
“Come Closer”

In this sensor-linked interactive video, a character on a small screen pleads with and taunts visitors as they move through the surrounding space. The proximity sensor triggers the character to give one of fourteen canned monologues depending on whether people are moving closer or farther away from the screen. When the room is empty, the character calls out “is anyone there?” When visitors enter, the character urges them to come closer, yet when visitors approach, the character becomes upset and tells them to back away. He apologizes and begs them to return. This cycle and its various permutations continue indefinitely.

The interaction aims to amuse and frustrate, recreating communication disconnects that occur in real life and when technology replaces human interaction. The character is never satisfied; he is needy and lonely if the viewer is far away, defensive and claustrophobic if the viewer is too close. Yet despite his strong emotions, the character is clearly not a “real person.” The repetition, jumpy editing cuts and Max Headroom-like aesthetic—the character wears a suit and a bald cap in front of a green screen—emphasize the artificiality of the preprogrammed responses and point to everyday corollaries such as phone trees and GPS devices. As technology becomes more sophisticated, it becomes more humanlike. This irony/dichotomy is the content and form of this project. 

Digital Synthetic

HDTV and SONAR sensor, computer
2012
Digital Synthetic
Digital Synthetic
Digital Synthetic
Artwork by [user-name]

 

Will Copps’ Digital Synthetic is a new-media twist on concepts previously explored by visual artists and musicians like Wassily Kandinsky and Brian Eno. An abstract installation piece, Digital Synthetic explores the concepts of ambience, synesthesia, color, generative programming, and human interaction through the capabilities of a computer, SONAR detection, and the canvas of a high-definition television.

Unique to the project is its generative nature, produced by infinitely looping audio and video effects, using different loop intervals and the ability to send data back and forth to ensure that no two instances of the work are ever exactly the same. The use of a SONAR sensor to detect when a viewer is present pushes the work into a “painting” mode, where a video painting unfurls that is completely unique to the viewer’s presence and that moment in time, giving the viewer a personal relationship with the work, and thereby collapsing a traditional understanding of spectatorship.

Digital Synthetic pushes forward the ideas of many pioneering artists by using complex engineering; radical combinations of texture, sound and color; and the power of modern technology to redefine a viewer’s perception of true generative art, spectatorship, and the capabilities of technology.

Wonder

proximity sensor, 54 servo motors, Arduino microprocessor, MDF panel, acrylic, house paint, spray paint, ink and graphite
2011
Artwork by [user-name]
Artwork by [user-name]
Artwork by [user-name]

Wonder (2011) is an interactive, kinetic sculpture that is brought to life by the movement of others. From a distance, the white dots appear to be a constellation, and the work remains static. As a person approaches, the motors suddenly come to life and the dots slowly coalesce to spell the word 'wonder'. However, much like a pointillist painting, the word is illegible when viewed up close. Because of that, it ideally requires two or more people to participate. The person approaching or ‘wondering’ becomes the artist/performer, physically bringing the work to fruition with their movements. Onlookers are given the ability to see the ‘wonder’ in the making, both literally and metaphorically. The typically passive act of looking becomes a physically active performance, and people in the vicinity are able to watch and be entertained by the spectacle of it. It is the sculpture's playful nature that really interests me. Whether or not viewers ever discover the word ‘wonder’ within the work is not important. Meaning is constructed and elaborated collectively, through a shared and hopefully memorable experience. 

One Small Step

Moon globe, child’s moon-boots, plastic, metal foils, light blue paint, Qwerk robot controller, motors, sensors, misc. additional mechatronic components.
2009
Artwork by [user-name]

A moon globe sits in a stand on the floor of the gallery near the wall. A mechanical structure attached to the gallery wall supports a child’s moon-boot above the globe by two thin cables each of which is controlled by a winch motor. Movements of the winch motors puppet the boot to perform a walking motion with a bounce like that of the Apollo astronauts as they explored the moon’s surface. A small toy satellite dish is gimbal-mounted above the boot mechanism so that two additional motors can make it peer in different directions around the gallery. It sweeps the gallery looking for “life” which in this case equates to anything that interrupts the beam of its low-end IR range-finder, including occasionally itself. A third motor on the boot turns the winch assembly so
that the boot can “walk” in different compass direction depending on where the satellite dish indicates it should search. “One Small Step” is a simple robot that quixotically “believes” it is living every robot’s dream: to go to other celestial bodies and look for life.

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