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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Session 4: See- Golan Levin

"Looking at looking at looking"

For us, Golan notes this: Hey! The iPhone app store is missing the “art” section. So, he is making that now. Among many, many other things.

His toys:

Interstitial fragment processor: a way to make someone aware of their negative spaces.

On to the next fun toy... Wolfgang Kohler’s research shows we have phonaesthesia: takete and meluma have shapes we intuitively know. [I'm gonna have to say... reference the talk by Vilayanur Ramachandran neurology talk (about 21 minutes in).] This led to project Re:Mark to give a feeling that speech creates shapes.

Worked with famous performer to take on the Ursonata, a 30 minute long poem of nothing but nonsense sounds. I kid you not, the poem was inspired by a work called "fmsbw". Golan created software to visualize what he was saying as he was saying it. It's actually beautiful and rather beautiful to hear (maybe not all at once. but a little like scat). The most impressive is the most obvious: they made subtitles of what he was saying as he was saying it. Golan & Co were able to transcribe nonsense... what does this kind of technology that was made for fun mean to the world of subtitling television etc...?

Also, what about the gaze? There's so much communication with eye contact. What if art was aware that you were looking at it? [Anyone else remember David Hanson's presentation with his robotic Einstein?] You can make a recursive observation system. An eyeball project tracks your eyes and reacts: the Opto-Isolater, follows your eyes and blinks after you do. If you stare too long it gets shy and looks away. Awww.

Snout is an 8 foot snout with a googly eye at the end of a robotic arm. It stares at you from above and reacts to people so well it's also called a "double-taker". For this you MUST click that link and watch the video.

Man, the stuff you can build with friends at Carnegie Mellon. Me, jealous of your toys? Yeah.

Btw, it's nice to see Golan's talk this year. I have to look back at his old one, I don't remember feeling so compelled by it then. May I see you in a new and wonderful light! Anyone reading this, feel free to tell me how wrong I was about finding his 2007 talk not so charming...? As seldom as it happens (*ahem*) I do enjoy being wrong sometimes. That can be such a delight.

Golan Levin's TED profile & website.

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