Nik Hanselmann, Artist

Source Image: Artist's Website

To learn more about Nik’s work, please click here.

Currently working on a piece about Nik’s work. He’s an incredibly intelligent, talented, and humble guy. I couldn’t help but reflect on something he shared with me recently about Video and Programming (related to new media arts). Here’s what he said…

I am a big believer that work should perform and be as it is — that whatever phenomena that you are trying to describe be embedded in the work itself. But I also think that the somewhat anachronistic attributes of past media have a significant weight on how work can be put in conversations today.

~ Nik Hanselmann, Artist

Culture Criticism Observations

Last night, I geeked out @ the Girl Geek Dinner hosted by Perforce

How could I resist the little yellow Perforce robot? Had to grab a coaster!

Last night, I accompanied Danielle Siembieda, Community Engagement and Special Projects Manager for zero1, to Girl Geek Dinner (GGD) held at Perforce, a Tech company in (Downtown) Alameda, CA. Granted, it’s some distance away from Silicon Valley but seemingly filled with just as much energy and innovation (if not more). You can read more about Perforce’s revision control system here.

Upon entering the GGD, I was given an icebreaker Bingo card. I met some pretty interesting people and won a plush Perforce robot!

Upon entering the GGD, friendly, smiling faces welcomed me (as well as a lot of pink and purple decor). In the main office downstairs, everyone was preparing for the evening and running about and this is where I noticed the P4 robot. One of the Perforce employees actually created an entire costume that looks just like the plush doll you see above. I regret not taking a photo but I learned pictures will be posted to the company’s blog! Overall, the ambiance and environment was fun and inviting.

Perforce Branding on the front...

Nobody likes to have expectations but I have to admit, I had them. Quite frankly, I assumed the many engineers, programmers, and web developers would be out of my league when it came time to discuss new media arts. I know very little about the technical side (I don’t count playing around in Processing as technical knowledge either). There was a lot of trepidation to engage in conversation but when asked about the art writing and my strong interest in new media artists, some of the discussions ended up being much more lively than I had expected.

I met James Creasy, a Perforce Product Technology Manger, who is also an artist. Some wonderful discussion ensued about art and technology. I also learned that his job entails looking at trends and seeing what new technologies people are using and what has needs to be created. Ashley, a Tech recruiter, and Christine, CEO of Sharefund, joined in the conversation. It was definitely a sweet start to the evening.

Girl Geek Dinner logo on the back (or front, depends on your perspective)...

A couple of memorable events: 1) Defining ‘geekiness’ and 2) Discussing new media art with programmers and engineers and hearing, “Hmmm, what is new media art? I don’t really know what you mean by that?”

1) Seeing what defined ‘geekiness’ last night, well, to me, those things aren’t geeky (i.e., building a 3D printer, being the only girl in the math club in high school, and having multiple Apple devices, etc.). All of these things are pretty awesome. I’m no mathlete BUT I love mapping and flow charting my writing ideas, I’m a sucker for continental philosophy, and own multiple Apple devices. Oh, and I’m into corny jokes (now, THAT is really geeky). So, perhaps, I fit in more than I originally thought.

2) Now, this is my passion. I’ll spare you transcripts of the conversations but let’s just say it was great to discuss new media arts with technologists. From electronics to robotics to programming and immersive environments, I was more than happy to discuss new media arts, conceptually and philosophically. Hoping I sparked some interest but just as long as one person engages in fruitful and thought-provoking conversation around the topic, I’m happy.

Open up the snazzy bracelet to reveal...a thumb drive! Nice.

The question after last night, Would I do another GGD?

Yes!! The dinners are facilitated and hosted by different companies but I’m totally into going to these events after all the unique conversations I had from last night. Next time: I’m bringing a stack of business cards! 🙂

Art and Technology Creative Coding | Programming Digital Art Graphic Design Internet Art Multi Media Neurology Social Networking Virtual Art

New York MoMA | Talk to Me Exhibition Photos

Talk to Me: The Design and Communication between People and Objects

An incredible exhibition of new media and interactive art at the New York Museum of Modern Art. I took an insane amount of photos but wanted to share the pieces that stood out. All of the works were impressive but this would be a ridiculously long post. Please feel free to comment and/or ask questions start a dialogue. Enjoy!!!

SMSlingshot, 2009 ~ Team: Christian Zollner, Patrick Tobias Fischer, Thilo Hoffmann, Sebastian Piatza, and VR/Urban

SMSlingshot was made from the following: high-frequency radio, Arduino board, laser, batteries, plywood, and ash wood. The SMSlingshot marries a traditional weapon with text-messaging technology, projecting digital information onto building facades and other surfaces and turning them into public screens. The battery-powered device is a wooden slingshot with a display screen, keypad, and laser. Users type text messages and then release the slingshot to “blast” them onto nearby surfaces, where they appear within a splash of color and linger as long as the writers decide: at the same instant, the text is transmitted globally via Twitter. For the designers, the SMSlingshot is a tool for reclaiming and occupying increasingly commercialized urban space.

~ Text Source: New York MoMA Exhibition Plaque text

Engaging work by Jaakko Tuomivaara

Hide & See by artist, Jaakko Tuomivaara

A constantly ringing phone doesn’t delight anyone – especially when you have guests around. A discreet cue showing incoming calls and their relative importance gives you the chance to ignore anything that can wait and make your excuses when something can’t.

Every call shows up as a dot, with the red dots around the lips reserved for important numbers. This way the owner of the piece can quickly decode both the number and relative importance of the calls.

~ Text Source: Artist Site (Please click on the image above to learn more about Hide & See and other works by Tuomivaara)

Growing up Catholic, this piece absolutely intrigued me...

Prayer Companion (2010) is made from Photopolymer resin, dot-matrix, display, and printed circuit board. The piece was created by Interaction Research Studio at Goldsmiths – University of London.

Prayer Companion alerts the nine Poor Clare nuns cloistered at a monastery in York, England, to issues that need their prayers. The nuns, whose everyday lives have changed little since medieval times, take vows of enclosure, and presently their connections to the outside world are occasional and limited. Designed to be understated and unobtrusive, the Prayer Companion – the nuns call it “Goldie” – sits on a table in a well-traveled hallway, scrolling a ticker tape of current issues sourced from RSS news feeds, social networking sites, and blog entries aggregated by the website We Feel Fine (which compiles the emotions of anonymous strangers who have posted the words “I feel” or “I am feeling”). The nuns report that Prayer Companion “has been valuable in keeping (our) prayers pertinent”.

~ Text Source: New York MoMA Exhibition Plaque

Art and Technology Creative Coding | Programming Digital Art Internet Art Multi Media Virtual Art

10K Hours of Practice

Tonight, the Processing 101 class at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) concluded and after the 4-day course, I know the (very) basics of Processing, which is a programming language developed for the visual artist in mind. The course was taught by extraordinary teacher, Ben Chun. The primary reason I decided to participate was to learn and engage with the very technology used by new media artists and I figured learning and exploring the language would inform my writing and reflections. The course has, absolutely, done that. Chun reminded the class that programming takes (a lot of) practice. Specifically, he mentioned practicing for approximately 10,000 hours in order to master a skill, which I whole heartedly believe. I think I found me a new hobby, folks…

Now…only 9,992 hours of Processing and Creative Coding practice…and so it begins. 🙂

Art and Technology Creative Coding | Programming Multi Media Social Networking

Playing with Mud: Discovering Human + Computer Interaction

Processing, Programming Language and Environment developed by Ben Fry and Casey Reas helped create Mud Tub

The past couple of weeks have been a great introduction into Processing. Processing is the programming language developed by Ben Fry and Casey Reas. Being the complete novice, it has been quite the experience. What’s even more exciting than learning a new language is seeing designers, artists, engineers, architects, educators, and so many different creative minds (some with very little to no programming experience – I fall into this category) learn the language and create interactive works that will astonish you. Going through the Processing exhibition page, I had to share my latest discovery – Mud Tub! Please click on the image above to see how this artist and his team utilize open source programming for this phenomenal experiment in human and computer interaction

Art and Technology Creative Coding | Programming Graphic Design Virtual Art

Processing and Creative Coding as a medium for the Arts

Being a volunteer at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has given me access to some amazing resources. It’s been both an enriching and engaging experience. I’ve met some of the most creative minds (ever) volunteering and one of the latest ventures involves Processing.

At first, there was a fair bit of trepidation taking the Processing 101 class. I have never programmed or coded before but I wanted to get a glimpse into the creative side of it. Since many of the artists I research have utilized some form of new media, in particular, creative coding and computational design, I figured I would immerse myself in the technology that serves as their medium. However, I have to admit, it wasn’t a great feeling introducing myself in class. It was intimidating. Going around the circle and introducing ourselves and realizing my classmates were either a) an interactive designer, b) a programmer, c) a design +  technology educator, or d) an engineer! What tha?! The inner monologue was definitely thinking, “Ummm, I thought this was a 101 class!”. However, being the only art writer there and sharing my purpose, which was to learn a thing or two about processing and how new media artists use creative coding to better inform my writing piqued some folks interest and that was welcoming, indeed.

What have I learned after this week’s Processing classes?

  • Beautiful art can be done with Processing
  • Processing allows for two things: 1) creative outlet and 2) a place to practice your problem solving skills
  • Processing/Coding takes A LOT of practice: Yes, you’re using language to process and tell the computer what you want it to do but it’s the way in which you execute commands and all of the little details but it’s rather addictive!
  • Ben Chun, our instructor, is phenomenal teacher and creator of

Overall, Processing has been a great way for me to learn more about new media arts and the technology that helps artists extrapolate abstract ideas. Below are some of the artists that have used Processing to create some cutting edge art…

Below, you will find a video of Berlin based Information Designer, Stephan Thiel, and how he created a data visualization of Shakespeare’s work. It’s such an innovate approach at viewing how one reads and understands narrative. It’s also an incredible method of investigating reading habits and commonly used words within Shakespeare’s texts. Fascinating! To learn more about the project, please click here.

Process N°2 / Dramatic Structure from Stephan Thiel on Vimeo.

How about interactive installation done by artist, Niklas Roy? Roy uses a Surveillance camera, computer vision, and a motorized curtain to create some “privacy”. It is one of the most ingenious art installations that uses Processing I’ve seen thus far. One of the great things about interactive art and design is its engagement with an observer. In this case, the most curious onlooker completes the work. I highly recommend visiting his site!! His work is beyond awesome. Seriously.