Monday, August 29, 2005

The Pneumatics of HERO OF ALEXANDRIA

One of the hundreds of inventions by Heron, who is one of the fathers of Automata. The doors of a temple are opened (and closed) by the fire in the altar. Heron lived 10-70 AD. His ideas have inspired and inspire inventors, tinkerers and certainly puppeters. Leonardo and other artist-engineers from the Renaissance (like Brunelleschi) tried their hands at some of his descriptions.
See this apparatus that sets figurines in motion by heat.
This next site is one of my favorites, since it is a translation from the greek of his "Pneumatics". Check it out! I am sure you will want to build one of those. The following pic is a modern version of his "Aeolipile", perhaps one of the first steam engines. It revolves at more than 3500 rpm!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

share what we've found...

I've been doing a little research, since I am new in this field of art, and I wanted to share a little of what I've found. I was hoping others would do the same. I had fun looking through the Cabaret Mechanical Theater, a museum in the United Kingdom that displays a collection of contemporary automata.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Paper Forest

Paper Forest
This site is just plain fun and it leads to great discoveries. Such is the nature of bloggin. Lots of relevant construction techniques and working models made with the simplest of materials (paper!) Check this link as an example.

iCAGE: Experimental Performance Hybrid

iCAGE (2005)
for ipod, fm transmitter and any number of FM radios
arranged by pagano.

iCAGE is an homage and a pun on contemporary consumer entertainment trends.
it seeks to remind us of the possibilities embedded in electronics without providing a judgment system or defense of digital fine arts. It also serves as an overdue expression of personal gratitude to John Cage.

Prior to the concert, the performer pre-loads either John Cage reading his diary, or Indeterminacy lectures from 1950 on the ipod. The piece can use any number of radios or "receivers" that can tune into the frequency emitted from the ipod
The radios are placed all around the performing space at variable distances from the performer and variable locations depending on the performance space
Using a readily available FM transmitter attached to ipod, an itrip, [made for tuning ipod to car and home stereos] the lecture or reading is broadcast to the radios arranged in the space.
The menu dial on the ipod is randomly tweaked back and forth in scrub mode to reveal chance phrases and noises.
the performance would conclude when the performer allows one entire sentence to be spoken by John Cage.
static and other interference from the radios is considered a plus.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Caffeine Frenzied Few Weeks

Well What a few weeks. What can I say…. We all did a wonderful job and I hope we get the chance to keep the connections up. Until we get the chance to do it again with even more nodes.

Here is a brief account of the some of the key moments for the UK crew.

Rebuild number one. Reconfigured access grid node to use the Insors software. Went easily enough.

Rebuild number two. Running network with minimal security. Got hacked. Got a call at home after 2 hours sleep to say that the machine was on and sending suspicious data. Super Janet was about to shut down my connection over the weekend !!!!!!!!!!!

5 hours later I had it sorted but not tidy!!!!!!!!

We had two major network outages one was the main municipal switch which took down around 5 colleges and we missed a rehearsal.

The other was less serious and was fixed by rebooting our switch at another college site.

The performances were filled with anxiety, anticipation and excitement (a strangely addictive mix), what would crash this time? Would we be able to fix it in time? Would our performance be ok?

Pat, Sue and Dave trying to stave off sleep and understand direction :-)

Pat puts in some Camera training whilst waiting to go on camera. Ably assisted by Paul (Senior camera man) and Kate (Production Assistant).

Rod (Producer) and Mike (Production Manager) come alive in front of the camera....
Like all good British shows. The cast and crew were kept awake by many cups of tea.

Well that brings me to the end of my thoughts for the week. It was hard and challenging but all the problems seem to fade away when you see the reactions of the children around the world.

I tend to see these things as technological challenges but they are far far more than that. One day I would like to meet you all in person.

One final thought.

We had all this technology but we could not do anything about the time zones :-( I imagine i will have to wait for teleportation!!!!!!

Best wishes to you all and lets just keep doing it.....

Friday, August 05, 2005

Music from the High Andes

Jaime, Hugo and Nicolás delighting us with
the ancient sound of the zampoña and quenas.
Learn more about the zampoña and quena and
listen to the sound.

Figuring it out

Jose Antonio and Cynthia trying to make sense
of the ever-morphing script

You tied up sparrows in our arms and taught us how to fly

Almost a day has passed since we waved our hands –saying goodbye- to the cameras that connected us, through the AccessGrid, with James, Arturo, Andy, Manuel, Ivi, Caitlin, Jung-Min, Geonae, Michael and his kangaroo tail J, Taylar-Jo, Mick, Rosie, Sheree, Susan, Patrick, David and all that huge team behind the cameras. One day is not too much… well yes and no. A day seemed to be too much when we were rehearsing, suffering local and remote problems, tired some of us, sleepy others, all of us worried. A day is nothing now, when we are able to look back and we start to count all the magnificent things that occurred to convert “In Common: TIME” not just in a successful project and a wonderful experience, but also in a MAGIC TIME.

Yes, MAGIC, in capital letters. Isn’t it magic what happened between us and with us? In a period of time in which the anger, traduced in such horrible and violent attacks to different countries (hearts and souls have been broken worldwide), seems to be the only global thing that happens; Someone called Arturo, that has a wonderful group of people that believes in his wacky ideas, thinks that it is quite possible to create a virtual scenario in which children and adults of Korea, Australia, USA, England and Chile, can get to know each other and also to do a really good thing just because of the pleasure of trying something new… Hi tech? Yes. But is there anything more cold than technology? I don’t know, but I can tell you that with that technology that crazy man tied up sparrows in our arms and taught us how to fly… that wasn’t cold at all.

No, this is not a metaphor, it can’t be a metaphor, because I saw five children –named Cynthia, José Antonio, Jaime, Hugo and Nicolás- happily giving their best efforts to accomplish Arturo's dream. Five children enjoying the work, the jokes, the words, the creativity of an enormous group of people that taught them that a dream can become real if you trust others and collaborate with them no matter how distant they are, or how many differences they have with you.

All I’ve got to say is THANKS TO ALL OF YOU! It was such a pleasure to experience this fly with you. And, by the way, Hugo, Nicolás, Jaime, José Antonio and Cynthia, asked me to tell Arturo and his wonderful team, that if they plan a new wacky performance, please count with them.

Ooops, I’ve almost forgot, a very nice report was published today in the most important Chilean newspaper, El Mercurio, check it out at:{E9A667C4-852D-453E-8B56-1C177658FBFF

Pictures at:

Thursday, August 04, 2005

What a week!

Many days later then planned, we have finally resolved our technical problems here in Los Angeles.

The network never worked well until Monday afternoon. Even though we have a dedicated pipe to the Internet, we were sharing a router with every wired and wireless user at the conference! Successfully upgrading the Insors node from 512MB to 1.5GB of RAM was humorous -- at first. Three trips to the local computer store and none of the memory worked. The Insors home office finally ripped apart their machines and by Tuesday noon, we were free of virtual memory woes.

With the help of Nate from Insors and replacement of wireless microphones, audio from our remote sites was much improved on Wednesday.

Hard work by EVERYONE has resulted in a great set of performances on Wednesday. We greatly appreciate the enormous effort made worldwide. Some very important people saw the show on Wednesday. I will not be surprised if we are asked to do something even bigger next year.

Hey Michael, that's a mighty big instrument and remember to shake that tail!

Setup in the rear of the LA room is a giant audio mixer, six laptops, and just a keyboard, mouse, and monitor for the Insors grid.

Spatialized audio from the Grid only took six laptops!

Fantastic Show Fantastic People

I was so pleased with the performance last night especially after all the technical challenges we have all had.

It is my hope that this work will push back cultural boundaries and enable people to share in each others culture and gain an understanding of each other in ways not possible with current media.

Lets smash the preconceptions people have of other cultures and countries.

It’s a shame people do not see the support offered between countries as these events are orchestrated.

Many thanks to you all and good luck with our final shows!!!!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What a great way to work!

To live in Chile and work in advanced networks and in communications it is not easy for a journalist. Not at all. First, we are far away from everything, and this implies that most of the people believe that we are also far from development, most of them don’t know how close to everything we are since we have this huge network called REUNA. But... and this is a really good “but”, because of James’ performances, thanks to him and his team (all very nice and funny people), we are starting to conquer a position in some citizens minds and hearts.

I have posted a report at REUNA’s website (just in Spanish... sorry:
) and with the collaboration of Alejandra and Loreto –the two journalist that work with me- we have attracted the attention of the media. Today a very good report was published at La Tercera newspaper, the second one in importance in Chile, you can check it out at: Also, on Friday we will have a nice huge report of 1 big page, at El Mercurio, the most important newspaper of our country. Thanks for this!

But what I consider the most important thing it is not the media, it is the wonderful experience that the children that are working with us are living, and this is because of you. The little ones, Cynthia and José Antonio feel like they are TV stars, and they have really enjoyed the experience. The musicians, Jaime, Hugo and Nicolás, can’t belive that they are playing for such an audience and, most of all, for a maestro like James.

We have all really enjoyed the experience... of course we are a little (too much) tired, but when we see the results, when we see this kids faces, and their reactions, and their parents reactions, and the amusement that the journalists that are comming to watch the performances shows... well, we feel fantastic, and that is exactly the most great way to work.

Thanks a lot... and for the performances of the 4th, let me say: ¡Mierda, mierda, mierda! (“brake a leg” in the Chilean way).

Monday, August 01, 2005

Break a leg!

this is an audio post - click to play

Aussie in LA

This is what I mean by no comparison !
It was great seeing our workmate Ashley live on the set in LA
Many thanks to James, Andy etc for making Ashley welcome

Oh well maybe the powers that be will be impressed and give us more $ next time
for an even bigger space, team equipment ,,, ;-)

Ashes we expect a good report hope you took lots of details !


The Loft

Hi all

Check out the theatre we bumped into early (6am) Sunday morning
.. Not as impressive as our very own Ashley Wright in LA .. but pretty good for BrisVegas

Australia Rocks

This is so great to be able to participate with people all around the world

Our crew have done an amazing job of moving from our media lab rehersal space see left
into the theatre ..aka"The LOFT" pictures soon

Ali has been mum to us all with plenty of food and sympathy at the right times .. however we need to stop Taylor Jo eating all the lollies !

Chen and Gavin have made some improvements to the AccessGrid rack .. Portable Access Grid - PAG .. now called UberPAG see below

We are getting used to working in the dark and Hayley loves to use the gaff tape to keep us safe from all the cords..

and will upload some pics of the theatre soon .. we think we have killed the phantom BuZZ that came in with the move ..

see you all online soon