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01.25.17 Independent Study, Journal 2

01.25.16 E-mail from Gene

E-mail from Gene.


Links to Explore

123D Circuits

Virtually prototype your circuits and run an Arduino simulator as well.


to run virtual simulations of digital organisms, prototyping complex prototyping and visualizations, etc.

The Game of Life from John Conway

Bit Storm, Game of Life

You Tube About the Game of Life



Artists to Read About

Ken Rinaldo

David Bowen

Bjoern Schuelke

Beone Annee

Philip Beesley


01.26.17 My LED Cube

I made my first complete project, a 3 x 3 LED cube.


01.27.17 Fixed the LED Cube

The Cube has one bad LED but I fixed it. It took a while to find the error.


01.29.17 Coding

I worked on code for a couple of hours. I re-wrote the code to the LED cube from nothing so that I didn’t use anyone else’s base. It still does this weird thing at the end. It does whatever I tell it. Then it does it again very fast at the end of each loop. Strange.

I also spent time looking for a better editor. I miss the way the one I used a long time ago would color code everything.

I explored 123D Circuits and Processing. 123D does not seem to be entirely accurate but I was super cool. I love that it produces a schematic of each diagram. That really helps me understand how the schematics work.

I also got a bit distracted by reorganizing the Independent Study section of Word Press. This class needs a name!

I really feel more like making stuff, but I need to do my assignment so I am going to research these artists.


My Thoughts & Additional Research, Ken Rinaldo


I looked at the artist home page first. My first impression is unrelated to his work. I like the way the biography is written. I will remember it as a good model for writing an artist Bio.

I also like the word “semi-living.” I know it probably isn’t a scientific phase, but it was immediately understandable.

His work seems to be focused on group interactions between living/non-living and semi-living entities.

Project: Abiopoiesis Microbiome

This was interesting but I am not sure who the audience is. I don’t know if the average person would understand it. This is fine, if that is what he wants, but I think it is a little sad because it is important work.


Project: Angel of Car of Death

I love this. I love the concept. I love the duality of it. It can celebrate both the desirable death of the car and the importance of the car to the growth of a given culture. These things are somewhat contradictory. Seeing them together reminds people that we don’t have to think in absolutes. Sure, we should use fewer cars. That is true. It is also true that cars are a valuable part of social function. I think this is true of most technology. We have to decide when we are going to use them so that they help more than they hurt.

I also love the variety of mediums here. He has the car and found objects. Then he has the robots and the drawings they made. Those same robots were taken apart and used to make the totem pole. Then there is the incorporation of Mexican culture with all of the symbolic elements.

I also love that this is serious and silly at the same time. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and yet, underneath the light-hearted humor there is some sharp-satire and some important social commentary.

This project is also social-activism. It promotes community bonding and culture-sharing.

It is accessible to the general public.


Project: Cholula Murmurations

I don’t get this kind of work. I find it aesthetically pleasing. The images are quite beautiful. I love the shapes and the colors. The problem I see is that it doesn’t mean anything. I get the impression that his art is meant to teach something. It seems that he is using art to help people understand science and the world around them. I don’t see how this piece has done that at all.

There is nothing to learn here. He took pictures. Then he put them in 3-d software. He altered them into abstract images. The link between the final images and the initial subject is only present because he says it is present. There is no way to look at it and understand where the images came from. Even when the information is given, there is no moment of enlightenment. It isn’t as if the aesthetically pleasing abstractions are indicative of meaningful data. They are simply manipulations of it.

I feel the same way about a lot of this kind of Art/Science work. Lauara Splan used sensors to record her muscle movements. I don’t see any significant meaning in that either. The data she is gathering doesn’t contain any scientific usefulness. It is nothing more than a reaction to electricity generated by the body. I doubt that the data generated is sophisticated enough to even be called a measurement. Generating an image or anything else out of it does not produce a work that shows me something. All the work says to me is, “yes, the body generates electrical impulses.” She can gather evidence that this happens and manipulate it. Ok. So, what? (Note: I liked Laura and I found much of her work provocative. I simply didn’t like the specific work using body sensors)

I can see that it is valuable to create visualizations of concepts. If you could paint a scan of a brain being happy, then I think that would mean something. You can look at it and say, “yes, these are the areas of the brain that are active when we are happy. The brain is an active thing. It does something even if I can’t see it.” If you simply paint a brain, well… you have a brain. It exists. So, what?

I imagine we have all seen the images of neurons in the brain compared to structures in Astro-physics. That makes sense. When we see that, we are saying “look, there is something about these patterns that is similar. Is it important? Does it mean anything?” We could also be making a symbolic statement, “We and the universe are one.” It has meaning.


Project: C-Borgen Bots

This is a cool idea. The robots will parallel the responsiveness of Denmark’s government. It is cool because Robots are cool and interactive robots are cooler. I wonder if people will understand that the robots are responding to something?


Project: Spider Haus Movies

I do like spiders. I think they are pretty. I don’t like when they bite, but most self-respecting spiders have no desire to bite a big tasteless person. I am at peace with spider kind. Except Black Widows. I know. They are passive and lazy and don’t want to bite you BUT one bit me. It sucked. It was my fault. I stuck my hand in its’ home but that bite was not a proportional response.  I am holding a grudge.

I like that he has made the spider a movie star. Putting this intense focus should help people understand the spider without being so fearful. I also like the way he tries to show us the spiders communication. I think it is important to understand the role of communication between organisms. In this case, communication through vibration is so different from human communication that it is akin to a super-power. If he can use art to show us this alien perception, I think that is important.


Project: 3-Story Robots

I wonder if he means to make the project disconcerting? I feel like this project will produce “the heeby jeebies” rather than acceptance of robotics, A-life or AI. However, I like the idea that the robots can tell their own story. The story he is inventing is not the story I would tell but I understand his take on it.

I love the word “symbiogenisis.”

He talks about a future where the robots can read our secret desires. I think people are afraid of that, but I think it is an exciting idea. It speaks to the possibility that while god did not make us, we could make god.


Project: Trans-species

I like this. I think the world of tiny things we don’t usually see is fascinating. Bugs, microbes, physics, etc etc etc. I also approve of the anthropomorphizing of the spiders and insects.


Project: Drawing Bots

I have seen lots of drawing bots. I was thinking of making my own robots draw from time to time. I am not sure it means anything by itself. I don’t see how it is any different than giving an animal a paint brush to see what it does. It is cool because … you know… robots… and any time we can make something capable of making something, that is fascinating but I think the project should say more.


Idea Brainstorm: I have toyed with this idea a lot.

I thought it would be interesting to have my colony of robots draw because the drawings would serve as a record of the robot’s patterns of behavior. If, in fact, I am able to create relatively simple robots that show complex responses when grouped, then some kind of visual record of those patterns would be very cool. I suppose it would be a kind of “Multiple” of the work.

I also like the idea of drawing robots that respond to some kind of environmental stimuli. Thinking about the Braitenberg thought experiments, you could have the robots illustrate their “psychological states.” It would be interesting to see if traditional art criticism would interpret the robotic art as reflections of that state. It would also be worth seeing the responses of the viewers. Maybe you could set up some kind of game where the viewer matches the images to the psychological states. It could be like a memory game. That would make a cool “Multiple.” It could be exhibited by showing the robots themselves and giving out boxes of cards to match. Yes! I like that idea.

It would kind of be a “proof” of concept. If people were able to see the psychological expressions, then that shows us that the robots behavioral patterns are meaningful and indicative of what I will call, “near-life” processes.


Project: Autoelematic Spider Bots

I do love this. It has a lot of elements I want to do myself. They are self-charging and adaptive,


Project: Cybersqueaks

Cute name. Nate told us about a project a student of his did that was like this.


The Tissue & Culture Art Project

I entered “semi-living” it into a search engine and got links to “The Tissue Culture and Art Project.” The primary artists and curators are Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr. The project is dedicated to the “use of tissue technologies as a medium for artistic expression.” The work ranges from artificially grown leather to Guatemalan Worry Dolls which are infused with cells that transform them into semi-living organisms. I think this work is important because it shows us how we can incorporate varying definitions of life into our thought processes.


My Thoughts and Additional Research: David Bowen



Project: Fly AI

The flies are dependent in the AI. I hope it did a better job with its’ flies than I did with mine. I was supposed to breed wingless fruit flies in my genetics class but they flew away. Little bastards are sneaky and promiscuous and hard to control.


Project: Landscape #1

Why? It’s neat tech but what does it say?

I am writing that a lot. It is because I know I do all kinds of things “just because I can” but those things never seem very important.


Project: 46°41’58.365″ lat. -91°59’49.0128″ long.

This is pretty. It’s nice to see a visualization of the different states of water. Unlike the butterfly project above, this is something recognizable. When you know, it is water, you can look at it and appreciate what it is. It brings you closer to it, connects you. I see the value in that.


Project: Cloud Piano/Underwater

Again… why? I need to understand it more. Do the notes correspond to meaningful data? That could be awesome. If you can make the clouds movements into auditory patterns that we can listen to and recognize the patterns within them, that would tell us something. BUT I kind of think that isn’t the case since from what I understand, weather patterns are incredibly chaotic and lacking in cohesive patterns.


Project: Growth Modeling

Well…. It makes a record of the process.


Project: Tele-present Water

This would be good for activism. People might care more if they could see distant places.


My Thoughts and Additional Research: Bjoern Schuelke

My first thoughts… AWESOME I love the first sculpture I saw. I don’t know what it means or why I love it. I just find it pleasing. It is an image that is a little exciting. It makes me think of possibilities. That’s what I want to see.

Yes, I really like his work. All the images have me thinking “I want to do that.” I think that’s a good response.

Could I?


Idea Brainstorm: Could I build sculptures that integrate robotics? Yes. I put an idea in my Idea Log a few weeks ago, I was noticing how pretty the resistors are. Then I thought about the general appeal of many electronic parts. I wanted to make sculptures out of them then.

When I was working on the laser cutter, I had a similar thought. I love paper. I have done lots of paper sculpture.

I do my origami. I once tried to make my origami move with robotics, but I did not know enough and the paper was too fragile. I think it would be quite beautiful to have a series of relatively simple origami displayed and then have them suddenly move and seem to be alive.

I also do things like paper beads, paper dolls, cut paper and embossing and papier-mâché. It is such a versatile medium. You can make paper look like almost anything. I was wondering how I could incorporate the laser and I started thinking about light. Then I was thinking about Wades project mobbing lenses in front of a projector and I thought about moving colors behind a laser etched image.

This moved on to the idea I had in the History and Theories class. I was thinking about an analogy that Owen made to describe Intermedia. He compared it to the process of discovering exoplanets and the poetry of it struck me. I decided to play with the concept a little. I thought I might make a visual poem with the laser cutter to express that idea. I could do a starscape but occasionally tell the laser to cut all the way through and make a hole. Then when you layered the image over something colored, you would see a message in the holes, similar to viewing a constellation.

I was also staring at my little LED cube and thinking I should make it prettier.

Maybe I could do something conceptually interesting with sculpture. I am much better with 3-dimensional work than I am with 2-d design. I can draw and paint but I am not great at it. I can think better with 3-d. I don’t know if I have access to enough materials. Sculpture often requires adapting to your material rather than adapting the material to you. It helps to have a range of possibilities.


My Thoughts and Additional Research: Beone Annee

This page is in French. A web search for “Beone Annee “ did not produce anything.


My Thoughts and Additional Research: Philip Beesley

My first thoughts. He is an architect. I once thought I would like to study architecture. Producing a total environment gives you a lot of power.

Also, his biography is a bit boring. I will use this as a “non-example.”

He is prolific. There are a lot of projects to look at.


Project: Ocean

I would go to see this. He is definitely creating his own worlds.


Project: Living Architecture Systems

The idea of incorporating art, science, technology and nature so that they are symbiotic instead of destructive is important. It speaks to my own ideas that technology shouldn’t be halted but rather integrated more conscientiously.

I don’t really want to look at every one of these projects. They are great but they don’t inspire me very much. I simply like to look at them. I don’t fully understand what they are.