Complex Objects

Monday, August 28, 2006

Monday 21st August 2006 - In Transit

approaching LAX
approaching LAX 2
approaching LAX 3
Monday didn't really exist - due to the flying backwards across the dateline... Instead, the above are a few images as we were approaching LAX.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday 20th August 2006 - San Francisco

Had brunch this morning with James Sheridan - a Canberra based PhD student from CNMA, ANU - who's been in the bay area for the Apple Developers Conference.
building view
After brunch, headed up through China Town. I love this area of San Fran, particularly at night...
china town view
Wandered through the city, taking it all in and wondering when I'll be back here next.
bush street bridge
bush street alley
Took some video of the city traffic off the tunnel bridge near Stockton and Bush streets, then headed back to the hotel to pickup my bag and grab the airport shuttle (taking my bag downstairs via the old-school graffitied lift).
hotel des arts lift
Arrived at the airport with many hours to spare.
san francisco airport
There's hardly anyone here, it's not frantic and security seems pretty normal. Apart from no makeup being allowed on the plane and security alert warnings levels up to "orange", nothing much seems to have changed since arriving.
san francisco airport roads

Now I'm waiting for my flight to LA, then a few more hours wait before boarding the flight back to Sydney.

My trip is pretty much over...

Saturday 19th August 2006 - San Francisco

Today I have the whole day off to explore San Fran. Headed down to Rasputin Records near Market street and then off to the Ashbury Haight area.
Haight Street
Spent a whole lot of time wandering up and down Haight Street, thinking about what it was like when my mum was hanging out here in the '60s.
view from Haight Street
Spent the day hanging within a few blocks, buried in stores like Giant Robot - cool little toys including Miyazaki and Murakami stuff, a pretty yummy pizza shop and handing my coins out to guys on the street - some of whom look like they're roughing it pretty bad. Extremes.

When Haight Street started to close up at the end of the day, we for walk through the park.
view from the park
Its a pretty huge and amazing place. So many different venues and places in the park, including a compost heap!
san francisco park map

Back to the city and tried to get to a gig at the Audium. Arrived late and unfortunately they only let ppl in before the event starts, so missed out. Dissappointing.
Another night view
Went for a drink at a bar on the way home, and then to pack my bag - properly - before flying out on Sunday.

Friday 18th August 2006 - San Francisco (Internet Archive)

Up this morning to head to the Internet Archive in the Presidio of San Francisco. Grabbed a quick coffee and then a cab - with a beautiful russian guy as the driver - i love the multiculturalism in this city too.
buildings in rows
Took a cab with a young Russian guy (the driver). Between us, we navigated our way to the Presidio.
the presidio buildings
Arrived at the Internet Archive in time for their infamous Friday lunches.
the Internet Archive building
After lunch a few meetings...
Internet Archive staff at work
Met with Stuart who manages the audiovisual archives for the Internet Archive. I also met with Kristine and Gordon from the Webteam. We spoke about their audio, multimedia, software and video content. I also met with Gordon from the web archiving section of the archive. He spoke about their web crawling activities as well as their backup and storage and we discussed whether the web archiving strategy could be used as a possible model for archiving other complex resources - such as interactives.
Internet Archive webteam
Waited for about an hour for a cab - and after calling the company a few times, gave up.
view from the Internet Archive building 4
In the end Igor gave me a lift back into the city.

It's strange being in a city where you know no-one.
nighttime city view
Here you can walk through the streets on a Friday night along with all the other people. Went out about 9.30pm for a long walk through China Town...
nighttime windows in chinatown
...and down Columbus Avenue (the Italian part of town). Its bustling. Loads of people on the street, or having a late dinner or drink.
china town city at night

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thursday 17th August 2006 - Berkeley (CNMAT)

Was getting ready to head off to BAMPFA this morning... unfortunately my meeting with Jen Pearson the Digital Media Developer was cancelled.

I decided to call a friend of a friend - Scot Gresham-Lancaster - who's been part of the SF contemporary music scene for many years - as I'd been given contact details but hadn't had a chance to make any plans. Luckily for me he was around and decided to put everything that he was doing for the day on hold. His wife Kathy and he arrived and took me to a newly discovered favourite mexican restaurant of theirs. Mmmm.

Scot, Kathy and I headed to CNMAT - the Centre for New Music and Audio Technologies - to see if i could have a quick look around.
Scot, Kathy, CNMAT
The Spanish architecture of this little house is beautiful.
stairs at CNMAT
Met Adrian Freed (with a fantastic multichannel speaker in development).
Adrian Freed and speaker
Ended up spending quite a bit of time there talking about a range of different things - anything from new sensor interfaces to music information retrieval to genre classifcation metadata to chemical sensitivities.
From here dropped into Mills College very briefly (infact for about 5 minutes as Les Stuck was just on his way out the door...).
Mills original equipment
Concert hall at Mills
So glad that while I was in this area I had the chance to see these places.

In all their hospitality, Kathy and Scot took me home for a cup of tea, which turned into many hours of conversation, tea and dinner with them plus their three cats and dog. Finally they decided to drive me all the way back to SF and drop me off at my hotel, the Hotel des Arts. Checked into another cute room here...
hotel des arts - new room
hotel des arts - new room again
hotel des arts - new room more

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wednesday 16th August 2006 - Berkeley (BAM/PFA)

Walked up to BAMPFA again this morning.
on the way to BAMPFA

Met with Rick Rinehart at his little downstairs office space at BAMPFA. I had been planning to present a short presentation/discussion on the work that the Library is doing, however we had to change plans as Rick needed to get to the classroom earlier to setup for his summer session class.
Somaya Langley and Richard Rinehart
I went along to the summer session class where his students presented their work that they had carried out at ISEA - they had analysed a number of different artworks each and then, using the MANS model and the Final Cut pro database that Rick has developed, add in as much detail as they could about the artworks. The class was divided into groups and each group had reviewed three artworks, which they spoke about. While most of the talks glossed the surface of metadata issues, they also had to submit documentation in the form of a Filemaker Pro MANS database file. These would be interesting to see.

Caught a train into San Fran to go to the Recombinant Media Labs. It's a fabulous performance venue and has only been running for less than a year. Full of surround video and sound, the audience immerse themselves into the experience whilst seated, lying on the carpet.
carkpark at night (san fran)
Took this whilst walking back towards the train station

Tuesday 15th August 2006 - Berkeley (BAM/PFA)

Met with Richard Rinehart at BAMPFA at lunchtime and then met with Nancy Goldman and Susan Wester from BAMPFA aswell. Rick and I talked about the MANS model that he has developed for notation of media art, then Nancy talked a little bit about film and video issues, including copyright. Finally Susan showed me through their CINEFILES database - which they're using to manage any film related materials - mainly ephemera. [Full details to come later.]

Went for a walk in the afternoon around Berkeley - there are some pretty lovely views around here:
street hill view

and also some amazingly huge Eucalypts here...

then back to the hotel in downtown Berkeley... okay so there's only one main street that runs for a few blocks (it's not a very big place at all).
fire door

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday 14th August 2006 - San Jose

packed up my case again... and then spent most of the day in the lobby of the St Claire Holtel - catching up on a whole lot of email, doing some homework and preparing for this week. It's been a pretty hectic time since I've been here.

Caught the cal-train from San Jose (goodbye SJ...) back to San Francisco again. I feel like I'm getting to know this place pretty well now. It's a good feeling to get off the train in San Fran.

[No photos today - but I shot some video out the window from the top carriage in the train.] Infact I was shooting video near a place called Mountain View - home of Google and the Computer History Museum. It's not until I visit the Internet Archive (on Friday) that they say I should've organised a meeting with both of them.

Then switched to the BART and up to Berkeley. Coming up the stairs from the station, and onto the street - yet another feel, to another town. This is definitely more of the alternative, intellectual variety.

After dropping my bags off to the hotel, I went for a walk to find some dinner. On gut instinct found a Nepalese place where they served me a 'normal' amount of food. Unlike almost all other meals I've had since I've been here which have been massive. I feel awful leaving food to be thrown away when there are guys outside asking for change.

(The food was great at Mount Everest too - it's very much what I needed after such an intense last week.)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday 13th August 2006 - San Jose (ISEA)

The symposium is now winding down, and the works are starting to be dismantled. I sat in the park just near the hotel and ate some breakfast and glanced at the papers that I'd wanted to see but hadn't - including Timothy Murray who paper was on the archiving new media art at Cornell University's Goldsen Archive. (Saw a cute little squirrel - cute enough to go on cute overload - a site that my flatmate put me onto...)

back to the hotel to do a bit of research on where to buy a case for my equipment. I'm not going to be able to take it all handluggage on the flight back to Aus as I was here and its too fragile - and expensive - to be packed in just my suitcase. Dilemma.

Visited the San Jose Museum of Art - there were a range of works in the cafe including an table with 2-d swimming fish that interact with objects placed on the table.
swimming fishies

also lunch in the park - looked up at one point to see a mobile artwork just hanging around in the leaves...
thing in the leaves

Then went to see the Jennifer Steinkamp exhibition and then onto Edge Conditions exhibition - looking at (mainly) digital media art, and some just electronic based art.

Headed back to South Hall (where I'd been yesterday to see works) and to experience the ones that I hadn't had time for... but my brain is feeling quite saturated now.
taxi cab

then the matinee performance off Troika Ranch - a NY based dance ensemble who work with technology. They're known in the video/vj-ing world for Mark Coniglio's software Isadora. The work was more dance-oriented than I thought it would be - and definitely more minimal in the use of tech that I had expected. There were moments when dancer and video interaction were interwoven and many where the video and performers didn't gel. The harder edged video was in opposition the softer lighting which detracted from really immersing myself in the work. Needed to stick to one aesthetic than two - is my opinion.

Many of the presenters and artists have left San Jose today - and it was all to hectic to really speak in depth with anyone about their works (let alone interview them with my harddisk recorder that I brought all this way). I've got some names and contacts now so a follow up study via email might be the best way.

Saturday 12th August 2006 - San Jose (ISEA)

Exhausted by now, after a week of being here - but the discussion of concepts is enlivening.

In these discussions, ideas for approaches are applicable in so many paradigms: work dealing with environmental concerns - such as polution - and the collection of this data, working in bio-technology, digital preservation. These notions are being discussed at the theoreical level and could apply to whatever field... it's interesting to think through these problems.

Attended a panel presentation on Wetware and bio-technology. Amongst the people on the panel are Oron Catts (Aust) Beatriz da Costa and Paul Vanouse and Natalie Jerimijenko (NY, originally Aust) is voice linked in but theres very little time for this panel to discuss much in detail.

Following on from this is a panel Sound Culture. Stemming from the discussion of a festival run in Sydney in 1991 and continuing once every few years. On the panel are Nigel Helyer (Aust - who's work I included as an example of complexity in my Vital Signs paper last year), Ed Osbourn and Shawn Decker. Both Shawn and Ed come from a traditional music practice and this drives the discussion towards differentiations between traditional (contemporary) music practices and sound art practices. The presentation of the output is one significant factor.

Off to my room late-lunchtime-ish to download photos off my camera (it's now well and truly full).
The to see a performance by the Builders Association called Super Vision. This work integrates both theatre and new media technologies and deals with concepts of how this technology brings us together and yet can inhibit us at the same time. Via three stories, it shows how information can wield such power.

A rushed trip with Melinda Rackham to a textile and media gallery for 5 minutes just before they shut. There are some beautiful textile works by Alyce Santoro. She's woven audio tape to make clothing and by a modded walkman you can run the playback head along the material to hear burbles of sound.

After numerous discussions, I'm starting to feel that there are really two modes for digital preservation. That of the "preservation" with intent to provide access to the original, and the other of documentation (borrowing from the theatre and performance) where part of the work is actually the involvement interaction by a human or other animal. (There's an environmental work at this symposium where a series of homing pigeons have had pollution detectors strapped to their backs and as they circle the city this data stream is transmitted back.

Visited South Hall for a few hours - it's cool in there. A huge array of projects including the following:
Shipping Crates - media installations
traffic robot remixer
robot tilt projection
robot tilt projection
Playas: Homeland Mirage - 'win' scene (USA, Texas)
Playas: Homeland Mirage - loungeroom (USA, Texas)
homing pigeons - air pollution detection
interactive garbage in the ocean
Shilpa Gupta - Untitled video (India)
fox-spotting installation - cameras
biotechnica - symbiotica (Australia)

Dinner with the same Australian PhD students i met up with in SF earlier in the week, and then an hour or so at the block party - where they've closed off the street to put on some performances and music...
the mobile collective - laptops and shopping trolleys
bicycle with a megaphone
however, everyone is too tired to participate (including myself). So instead I've come home to write this blog and upload images (which takes quite a while).