Pecha Kucha Coventry Volume 14

On 11th June I took the fast train to Coventry to take part in Pecha Kucha Volume 14, which was curated by Ludic Rooms for Coventry Mysteries Festival.

Game Boy Camera photography

Pecha Kucha Coventry Vol 14

Game Boy Camera set-up

One of my two primary reasons for being there was to take pictures using my Game Boy Camera. Despite it being a piece of kit that’s 15 years old, the camera was quite a hit, with over 60 people lining up to have their portrait taken in four shades of grey and printed out onto a one-inch sticker.

Pecha Kucha Coventry Volume 14 Pecha Kucha Coventry Volume 14 Pecha Kucha Coventry Volume 14 Pecha Kucha Coventry Volume 14

Pecha Kucha Coventry Volume 14 Pecha Kucha Coventry Volume 14 Pecha Kucha Coventry Volume 14 Pecha Kucha Coventry Volume 14

There are, of course numerous phone apps for Android and iPhone that aim to reproduce the 8 Bit aesthetic of the Game Boy Camera, but nothing can be better than the real thing! To transfer the photos I was using this method, which worked flawlessly! There was a 10 minute wait whilst I developed the film transferred the pictures, but this was still much faster than using the Mad Catz Camera Link cable.

hellocatfood/Arctic Sunrise/Bitjam performance

The other reason for my appearance was to perform with Arctic Sunrise (one half of Ludic Rooms) and Bitjam on a post-Pecha Kucha noise fest!

As usual, I took to the VJ deck whilst they kicked out the jams. Here’s a sample of the output

This was created using video synthesis in Pure Data. There’ll be more talk of that in a later blog post.

It was a shame that I missed most of the talks, but I was otherwise glad to be part of such a successful event! Thanks to Ludic Rooms for inviting me over!

Preserving the glitch

On Thursday 4th March I took part in the AntsArtJam at BitJam in Stoke-on-Trent. Three canvases were set up on the stage and artists were invited to get creative on them as the night went on.

Antonio Roberts (by These Ants)

Photo by These Ants

Those who know me will know that live art is not something that I’ve really done before. I’ve done a fair bit of performing, but nothing like this, so it was quite an exciting challenge.

In my performance I set out to explore how to preserve glitches. Although there are no rules or even strict definitions to terms such as databending or glitch art, to me glitches are naturally occurring errors whereas databending is the act of reproducing an error. Take, for example, my Glitches set and my Databending set on Flickr. Whereas the Databending set is quite full the Glitches set has only three items. I feel this is because it’s harder to capture naturally occurring glitches as you’re often not prepared for them.

To prepare for my performance I downloaded the two movies from the Blender Foundation (Big Buck Bunny and Elephants Dream) and used a modified version of MPEGFucker to databend them. I opened them to at least see if they could be played, but otherwise had no idea what state they were in. This was then projected onto the canvas where I began to paint it.

bITjAM (by These Ants)

Photo by These Ants

I got a few questions asking how I was actually determining what to paint. Afterall, images were zooming by at 24 frames per second, so how would I decide what colour to put where? Overall I was looking for patterns. From the five or so seconds of footage that I’d see I’d try and determine what average value best represented it.

In some ways this is a randomised process. I had only seen seconds of the glitched movie prior to the performance so didn’t know what to expect. Also, marks that I made on the canvas were determined by where my brush was, what colour was on there at the time and what was being projected. To add to this throughout the three-hour performance I didn’t really get to see any of what I was painting, due to the projection onto the canvas. I’m sure there were many occasions where I painted over the same spot many many times.

Here’s the finished product, next to work by Iona Makiola

IMG_0510 (by These Ants)

Photo by These Ants

All of the work from the night, including the video footage that I used, will be exhibited as part of The Talking Shop project in Stoke-on-Trent in the near future

Visualising BitJam

On Thursday 4th February I was Stoke-on-Trent for BitJam. I still don’t have anything ready to show on stage but thought I’d use the night as a testing ground for some of my ideas. I wanted to investigate ways in which to interpret what was happening around me. The main performance of the night was from a chap called Arctic Sunrise

For my first test I fired up Alchemy and attempted to draw the music. Alchemy fortunately has a few tools that can make your sketches react to sounds. They are Create > Mic Shapes and Affect > Mic Expand. Here’s the result of using both of them together

Visualising BitJam (by hellocatfood)

And a nice little animation of those done using GIMP and Openshot.

The next method was to use the Echobender script on a webcam pointing at the stage. Obvious errors in the sound recording actually kinda complimented the video. However, I’m a lil bit disappointed by the speed of the script at the moment. I may investigate doing something similar in Processing.

The final method involved a bit of post-processing. I made a short compilation of clips I shot at BitJam and then opened the video in a text editor and replaced loads of text with other text. The output was then reencoded using Avidemux

So, there you have it! Now to figure out how I can turn this into some sort of performance