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Recently my friend and collaborator Josephine Dorado invited me to speak with her Social Media Mashup class at The New School, which I was delighted to do. The conversation (on Seesmic) ranged across a variety of topics, including improvisation vs. structure (in my work and live visuals in general), visual performance tools, and how my own background as a theater/comedy actor has impacted my live visual work. Now that the class is moving on to another topic, I’m posting this here for anyone who’d like to keep the conversation going, e.g., ask me all the heavy, technical questions I said I’d answer later. 😉 Thanks again, Josephine, Barb, Tom, Debbie, andrihatesjazz, Cecelia, Antoine, Rick and all you lurkers. Happy holidays!

Nov
4

I voted. And I volunteered as a videographer for Video The Vote, going to polling stations in Brooklyn where voters had reported problems or obstruction. Pretty minor stuff: at my polling station and another nearby, they were requiring ID, which is not required in New York state; at another, a poll worker refused to take off her Republican campaign button. When I showed up and walked through, there were no buttons to be seen, so I drove all the way over there for nuttin. Drat.

Also, I posted about the public beta release of the v002 Rutt/Etra software synthesizer on CreateDigitalMotion.com. I’ve been an alpha tester and helper on the project, even putting my meager Illustrator skills to use recreating the RE logo. It’s a beautiful tool — check it out. 🙂

And I picked up my girlfriend from the airport, who was down in North Carolina getting out the vote. Now she’s glued to television, radio, Twitter and NYTimes.com while I make dinner. Ah, domestic bliss. Later we might go by 3rd Ward‘s election party to agonize over the returns among like-minded Brooklynites.

Paul Owens writes to say:

Hey everyone, I just wanted to spread the word that the feature length documentary [Reformat the Planet] that I directed is now streaming off of the mega hipster site Pitchfork Media…

http://pitchfork.tv/week/blip-festival-reformat-the-planet

the whole movie. for one week only!

If you haven’t yet seen it, or have been waiting for a copy that I never got around to sending, please check it out now. for those of you who aren’t familiar with the movie, a little history lesson: i’ve spent the last few years documenting (with pals Asif Siddiky and Paul Levering) the Chip Music scene, which is an underground music movement based around using old videogame hardware (gameboys, nintendo, atari, etc.) as musical instruments.

Eventually we realized we had captured enough footage to make it into one of those feature length documentary-type things. Taking a year to compile the footage, we eventually premiered the film at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin in March. It also recently played in Melbourne, Australia and will be seen in Seattle, New York, and Amsterdam in the coming months. But who cares about that? Just go watch it now.

I’m off to Budapest today to teach workshops and host a Share jam in the Ultrahang Festival. 🙂 Wish me luck!

Thursday was the end of my five-week project at the Institute for the Future of the Book, helping them get ready for the next big alpha release of Sophie. It was a pleasure working with them and I hope to do so again. If you haven’t heard, check out the call for visualizations of Gamer Theory 2.0, which I’m happy to say I had a hand in formulating. It looks like we’ll be seeing some really nifty visualizations in the next couple weeks.

And the final session of Hyperpolis was so good that I didn’t take any notes. Also, I was busy setting up three webcasts from and to the conference for the SHARE jam that merged with the last presentation about SHARE by Michael Liegl and kept going and growing afterwards. John Hopkins in the mountains of Arizona and Koosil-ja in a Moscow Internet cafe sent inspired, live audio streams, John manipulating and performing while Koosil-ja sent the raw cafe ambience of Russian radio pop and late night carousers. SHARE peeps Keiko, Daniel S., James and Dan — there are a lot of Dans at SHARE NYC 😀 — setup the audio mix and made sounds. As Micha showed his final Keynote slide, he silently switched applications to Keyworx, where the same slide was manipulated in a Keyworx jam between a few of us (Eric Redlinger, Dan Vatsky, me, and Micha, of course). Before him, Eric gave an excellent presentation on networked, collaborative performance and Michael Schumacher spoke about sound art, placing it in a music historical context and talking about his own ambient, multi-channel, long-time work. Before Michael, I missed almost all of the presentation by Katherine Carl and Srdjan Jovanovich Weiss from the School of Missing Studies as I was in an IRC channel with Koosil-ja and John setting things up. :X

The end of the conference was warm and bittersweet, as it was the last time I would see Eric before he left for a year sabbatical in France yesterday. :-/ I know we’ll see each other online a lot but it was hard to say ‘so long’ to such a close friend.

I left straight from the conference for a flight to Boston for my new gig doing video and visuals for Jamarama Live, a rock show for kids. (I’m playing the video that is projected on a screen behind the musicians onstage — about a 1/3rd of it is improvisational and thus, to me, “visuals”.) “If you’re old enough to walk,” so they say, “then you’re old enough to rock.” Indubitably! It is a fun gig, everyone I’m working with is professional and laid-back and I’m grateful to my friend Benton for recommending me for the job. 🙂

So I’m slowly { de | re } -compressing following the end of my graduate studies at IDMI, getting used to this thing called “free time” once again. (In case you haven’t been taking notes, two weeks ago I successfully defended my thesis, casting off the last line from HMS DanWinckler to the IDMI dock in the safe harbor of Polytechnic, nautically speaking.) I’ve been spending buckets of time with Emily, my girlfriend of (what is it now?) three months, who is a passionate do-gooder, an educator who brings new media to schools. She is delightful. I’m working on my freelance business (visual performance, webcasting, teaching), catching up with friends, picking up my share of the work at SHARE, getting back into art projects (visuals, video art, metaverse stuff, programming) and, how do you say?, a sew…shul lyf? There aren’t nearly enough hours in the day for everything I want to do and blogging about it but the main impetus in switching to WordPress was to make that easier so, so far, so good. Time to de-computer now, I think.

But lastly — I almost forgot! — I’d like to mention that I started volunteering for MoveOn.org today by calling MoveOn members in competitive districts to remind them to vote in (gulp) two weeks. It’s ridiculously easy to do and SHS* that calls from real volunteers to undecided or un-reminded voters make a big difference. I went to MoveOn’s New York call center (nothing glamorous, just a donated office) and spent an hour or so making calls, at which point I offered my technical expertise (“er, need a hacker?”), which is how I ended up leading a training session tonight for a positive, chatty bunch of new phone volunteers. If you’re interested in helping — the time commitment is so tiny and the election’s coming up fast — you can sign up at CallForChange.org. Excuse my boldness, but I think it’s time we take back the government. 😀

* Studies Have Shown