2018-11-05

SCREENIZATION: AUTONOMY

SCREENIZATION: AUTONOMY

Experiment on pixels creating a swarm screen
Presented in November 2018
Produced as part of series of "Screenization" Experiments

What if pixels could be spread like paint? What if they would not need to know about their position and context in relation to the “bigger picture”? What if individual pixels became autonomous, in the sense of power supply, input and output? What if they could memorize the content that they are showing?

For this experiment, a series of autonomous pixel units were build, each consisting of a light sensor, a micro processor and a light emitting diode. Whenever a unit receives a certain light signal, it starts recording the following sequence of light intensities and is afterwards able to replay it. These “Spatial Pixels” can be equipped with magnets or adhesive parts, so they can be distributed on almost every surface. Using a directed light source, like a projector with a custom-fitting projection, to “imprint” the sequences it is possible for the pixels to act as sort of swarm screen, working together without having to know about the context or each other. To demonstrate the principle functionality, fifty autonomous pixel units have been built and presented in an experimental setup.

Credits:

Process

Thinking further, with improvements in the electronic engineering and by reducing the size and production costs, a larger scale production would enable for a whole new field of screenic applications. In theory, three of the fundamental functionalities could also be realized with the technology of LEDs alone: Obviously they can emit light, but also they can be reverse-biased to generate electricity and to act as light sensors.

This experiment was part of project “Screenization – On the Diffusion of Digital Screens”, which combines a detailed examination of the historic development of screens and theoretical thoughts about the essence of screenic properties with two experimental infrastructures to make speculations about screens of the future tangible. You can find the theoretical background in the PDF and some more context here.

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SCREENIZATION: MATERIALITY

SCREENIZATION: MATERIALITY

Sculpture consisting purely of screenic material
Presented in November 2018
Produced as part of series of "Screenization" Experiments

What if screens could be shaped into any form? What if every surface could gain screenic properties? What if the screen’s quality to change its appearance left the flat rectangle that it is currently bound to? What would happen to our expectations of forms and materiality, if every surface could gain the ability to change its appearance?

A screenic sculpture was built, that consists of a thin mold of semi-transparent plastic, cast from epoxy resin. The form of the object is deliberately designed as a “non-shape”, not representing any known form and also the materiality of the plastic is strangely unfamiliar. Following the tendency of screens for self-effacement, the materiality and surface condition of the object step back in favor of its content: The appearance of the sculpture is defined purely by its screenic materiality. As a mock-up of a screenitized object, the sculpture simulates the behavior of screenic properties outside a flat rectangle. Regardless the technologies used, the sculpture questions our understanding of shape, material and surface in a world where screens are increasingly dominating our visual perception.

Credits:

Process

In the inside three mini-projectors are mounted with a custom-built short-throw lens system. A specific projection setup creates a seamless coverage that fills the whole object from the inside. The projectors are battery driven and wireless connected, and therefore allow for the sculpture to be moved around in space freely without limitations or shadowing. The images shown on the surface can reach from abstract shapes to concrete depictions and are controlled by an external computer. A parallel existing digital version of the object is used to merge virtually simulated properties with the physical appearance of the object in real-time.

This experiment was part of project “Screenization – On the Diffusion of Digital Screens”, which combines a detailed examination of the historic development of screens and theoretical thoughts about the essence of screenic properties with two experimental infrastructures to make speculations about screens of the future tangible. You can find the theoretical background in the PDF and some more context here.

Download PDF


2018-03-13

OFFENBACH CENTRAL

OFFENBACH CENTRAL

Façade Projection with Email Participation
Premiered in March 2018
By invitation of “Initiative Hauptbahnhof OF”
Presented at Luminale - Light Art Biennial

During the Luminale 2018 we devised a participative projection onto the façade of the main station in Offenbach. We were invited by a local initiative aiming to reactivate the otherwise empty building once more. Our motivation was to engage with the public perception of the station’s role, its characteristic as a node in a network and the emerging analogies to digital communication.

The visitors were asked to answer the question: “What is your connection to this place?” by sending an email to a specifically-programmed email server. The server calculated the supposed route of the Email through the global Internet, which was comprehensively visualized and culminated in an animation of their answers accompanied by a responsive soundscape throughout.

Credits:

Making Of


2016-11-06

SITE-SPECIFIC NARRATIONS

SITE-SPECIFIC NARRATIONS

Keynote Presentation
Presented in November 2016
As part of the Real of Reality
International Conference on Philosophy and Film
Organized by the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

The language of film was made for the cinema. When a film starts and the auditorium gets dark we forget about the room around us and get into the reality of the film. Here the montage is a fundamental technique to narrate a story. We jump from one place to another and bridge the gap of unnecessary time. The cinema auditorium is a place where we lose our normal perception of space and time.

But what happens if we carry a film to a place where we are aware of our environment, where the screen is no more a flat surface nor restricted to its usual dimensions? What happens if we think about film as a site-specific narration and a form of mixed reality? If film gets embedded into a spatial surrounding the montage becomes a disruptive element in an environment which remains the same.

The spatial film requires a new language! A language which takes the environment and the three dimensional projection surface into account. The technology of Projection Mapping gives the opportunity to work with spatial structures accurately on every detail. But how do we use these new potentials of film?

In our talk we tried to re-think common ideas of film and focus on practical examples of cinematic aspects outside their common spatial localization. We discussed theoretical aspects of cinema and brought it in context with the philosophy of site-specific narrations and the technologies of mixed reality. To illustrate the differences we discussed observations and examples from our practical experiences and projects.

Credits:

The Real of Reality – International Conference on Philosophy and Film

Speaker: Lorenz Potthast and Marcel Bückner

Video Documentary: ZKM | Institute for Visual Media
Camera: Peter Müller
Editing: Frenz Jordt
Live Editing: Martina Rotzal

Many thanks to Christine Reeh and the ZKM for the invitation and the organization of the conference.