Centre for Art Tapes

Aviary with Leola LeBlanc

I’m just back from a visit to Halifax next week for a workshop at CFAT on cell phone controlled installations. I have lots of fond memories of Halifax, having shown at CFAT more than 20 years ago!

CHI 2011

I’ll be making two presentations at this year’s conference in Vancouver later this week: The Art of Waiting – Interactive Displays in Healthcare Settings (with E. Biddiss, P. McKeever) and Identity Play in an Artistic, Interactive Urban Projection (with Michael Longford). I’m really interested to hear what the other presenters have to say about the topic of Large Displays in Urban Life. The abstracts are online.

Tentacles at MoMA

Tentacles will be included in the Talk To Me exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, July 24–November 7, 2011. The show is being organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Kate Carmody, Curatorial Assistant, and explores the communication between people and things. Hope to see you at the opening!

Itch Magazine

A selection from my photo series: Tools is reproduced in Itch Magazine. It’s an older series from the 90s, but Mehita Iqani was looking for work which addressed bar(codes). In the original version, viewers could actually use a bar code laser scanner to trigger audio snippets from a jumbled narrative.

Festival Update

We’ve just confirmed that Brooke Singer will be participating in the panel discussions. Check out her work here.

And there will be several visiting artists on site creating new work, including Ken Gregory, Andrew McPherson (eccodek) and Jessica Field. Now I just wish the actual website was up and running so you could read more! It’ll be at www.commonpulse.ca eventually.

TRIO according to NOW Magazine

A nice summary of the installation at Nuit Blanche by Jordan Bimm of NOW Magazine:

Geoffrey Shea, one of two OCADU professors involved, takes on digital billboards with his interactive music projection piece TRIO. Revellers will be confronted by large projections of three folk musicians jamming, while corresponding audio tracks mix together to create a song. Viewers can dial a number on their mobile devices to change musicians in the trio – there’s a pool of nine, each with a different instrument – and create a new audio mix in the process.

Shea says he chose to showcase folk music because of its politics of participation and inclusion. “Folk was started by people who felt like they had something to say, who wanted to get involved. As a genre, it puts less emphasis on technique, and makes music more accessible.”

While it might seem contradictory to link folk music and high technology, Shea explains that the connection is all about art and democracy. “Everyone is getting creative with digital media these days, so I see media art as the new folk art.”

Shea hopes that groups of people dialing in to create the perfect trio onscreen will be drawn into a conversation about advertising, individual agency and mobile devices.

“We’re increasingly surrounded by large public screens, and I’m hoping that not all of these will be advertising. People should have access to them, be able to play with them and inject their own content. I want people to leave feeling empowered, and that they might want to try something like this on their own.”

Geoffrey Shea Wins the Twilio Developer Contest with Play: The Hertzian Collective

Gshea_play_2 Congratulations to Geoffrey Shea, creator of Play: The Hertzian Collective, a musical sound game/toy created with projected video images and played collectively by viewers on their mobile phones.

For the past two weeks, we’ve run a developer contest category for phone controlled multi-player games, and among the fun submissions the Hertzian Collective struck us as the most unique and impressive installation.

What is Play: The Hertzian Collective?

Visual rhythms and a spoken text explore schoolyard games: the structured and unstructured play we invented as children.  Arranged in three groups of overlapping, circular, video-projected images, rhythm sequences are controlled by viewers dialing a toll free phone number and selecting beats by pressing buttons on their keypad.

Inviting and participatory, structured something like a primitive musical instrument or an elaborate clockwork toy, visitors with mobile phones take control of some part of the action or another. Exploration quickly gives way to jamming and collaboration as each player realizes that they are sharing control with other viewers standing nearby. Continue reading

Interactive digital artwork premieres at Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad

Larissa Kostoff at OCAD writes:

With slogans as compelling as With Glowing Hearts and Go World, it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games — and that’s before you even factor in the athletes. Faculty of Art Assistant Professor Geoffrey Shea was in Vancouver, the city that had the eyes of the world on it last month, but he asked visitors to engage in a different kind of play via the 2010 Cultural Olympiad.

Shea’s interactive musical sound and video sculpture PLAY: The Hertzian Collective, ran from February 4 to February 21, 2010 in Vancouver. The sculpture, specially commissioned by organizers of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, invited viewers to “play it” with their mobile devices.

PLAY: The Hertzian Collective was featured as part of the Olympiad’s multi-venue CODE Live program, which showcased digital technology-based artworks that champion participation, exploration and research. CODE was the 2010 Cultural Olympiad’s “Digital Edition,” developed to creatively engage national and global audiences through the creative use of digital technology.

The focus of Shea’s piece was serendipitous. “It just so happened that a significant aspect of the work I was doing had to do with play,” Shea explains, acknowledging the artwork’s unintentional complement to the spirit of the Games. Continue reading