New York Tech Journal
Tech news from the Big Apple

A Panel Discussion on The Future of #DigitalPerformance

Posted on November 21st, 2015

Volumetric Society of NY

11/20/2015 @Westbeth Gallery, 155 Bank St, NY

20151120_193127[1] 20151120_193723[1]

The Westbeth Galley, which displays art incorporating digital technology, hosted a discussion on the future of images and other digital media in performing arts. The panelists had a range of backgrounds and current uses of digital presentations.


Mark Coniglio  – Creator of Isadora Software, Co-Founder, Troika Ranch

Wendall K. Harrington – theatre and production design, Assistant Professor, Yale School of Drama

Jared Mezzocchi – Award winning multi-media theatre director and designer, designer, Assistant Professor University of Maryland

Maya Ciarrocchi – Interdisciplinary Artist

Kevin Cunningham – Director 3 Legged Dog Theatre

Moderator: Andrew Scoville – Brooklyn based theater director focusing on developing new work that merges science and performance

Several themes were explored by the panelists.

  1. The inclusion of alternative or digital content in performances should push the main ideas forward and needs to be consistent with the other parts of the program as if it was just another performer/actor/musician in the ensemble
  2. One needs to express the idea before thinking of technology. Make sure that technology is not attached at the end. It should be given time within rehearsals to grow. If possible avoid the word “digital” as it artificially divides you and the rest of the creative team.
  3. The artist needs to intuit the director’s vision and present what is needed not what is requested.
  4. Flash may be easier with digital media, but the goal is still to give the audience a new experience so they have a chance to grow. The goal is still to tell a story and give a memorable experience.
  5. Creative tension is important as it is in all artistic ventures.

The panelists also mentioned digits works that they considered unusually immersive or interesting.

  1. Daito Manabe (Rhizomatiks) puts his experimental videos online. He has a series in which he electrically stimulates his face. He also has videos with dancers interacting with lights and drones and robots.
  2. Tod Machover and the MIT media lab worked on a glove and other interactive instruments.
  3. Luke DuBois drew a map of the U.S. with cities identified by the most used words on the dating sites for people in those cities.
  4. Audience participation at ”danger parties”.
  5. On commercial side there is a call to make it immersive which can only be done with digital technology: “Charlie Victor Romeo”.


posted in:  Art, Media, Volumetric Society    / leave comments:   No comments yet

NYC Mesh

Posted on July 29th, 2015

Volumetric Society

07/29/2015 @ ThoughtWorks, 99 Madison Ave, 15th Floor, NY


Brian Hall and Dan Grinkevich introduced the group to @NYCMesh a city-wide independent #wi-fi network for computer-to-computer communications without going through the commercial web (e.g. Comcast, TimeWarner). The mesh is owned by the community and individuals can install routers hooked into the network. See the image for other reasons to join this network.


Community meshes are relatively new in the US with the most prominent being: Red Hook wifi (25 nodes) and (10 nodes). By contrast, there are many large networks in Europe. Two noteworthy ones are Spain, which started as a way to get internet on farms and Germany, which has few wifi hotspots (providers are liable for anything anyone does on your hotspot).

Routers can be set up in less than 2 hours using open source software BMX6 in qMp. More information and downloads can be found on their web site:

posted in:  hardware, Internet of Things, Volumetric Society    / leave comments:   No comments yet

Tomas Laurenzo on #art and  Tom Ritchford on #Git

Posted on June 11th, 2015

Volumetric Society of New York

06/10/2015 @Thoughtworks, 99 Madison Ave, 15th floor, New York

The two speakers talked about the two aspects of this meetup: art and technology.


In the first presentation, #TomasLaurenzo (@SCM CityU Hong Kong) talked about his art: visual, politically motivated and whimsical.  Using his education as an engineer, his art makes use of technology to create interactive displays. Installations he described include

  1. “Poem race” compares classic writers by coding a selection of their writings in Morse code. The dots and dashes control motors that that vibrate a ramp. The first item down the ramp indicates a winning author.
  2. Viewers interact with a Kinect which controls colors illuminating a cluster of balloons. The color changes based on sounds from music and people in the audience and inputs from smart phones.
  3. “Nadia” is a remembrance of the disappearances in Latin America. The viewer moves a physical lighter set to control how the image is “burned”
  4. “two systems” The viewer turns two knobs that control a “fire” which shows pictures of an image being burned.
  5. Wearable cinema done in conjunction with Alba, a designer (, in which materials move and react to heart beats.
  6. A musical instrument controlled by the movement of your head.
  7. Actuators to deform the shape of a rectangular canvas on which an image is projected
  8. The empathy extension which highlights the differences in press coverage between terrorist acts in Kenya and in France. He changes “Kenya” for “France” when you search for “France” on Google.



In the second presentation, #TomRitchford gave a brief summary of Github along with a history of version control/change management software systems.

Source Code Control Systems (SCCS) were the developed in the 1970’s to create a central repository holding the official version of the software source code.

Later a quick way was developed to determine if your code matches that of the central repository: a hash code  which is a compact fingerprint identifier (the SHA-1 hash function is 40 bytes long) quickly shows that two version of the code are the same or different (the delta).

When Linux was being created, there are thousands working on the system, so methods were needed to identify which branches were modified. Git was developed to organize the project. Git hash codes the entire project and the subparts within the project. Development proceeds along branches which are a sequence of commits each with its own hash. In this way, program changes by individuals are a sequence of hash codes. Functions include

  1. Push and pull only works on ancestors to descendents.
  2. You can cherry pick to get changes which are not from the ancestor.
  3. Rebasing – pull the series of changes and plant them on top of another series of changes.

posted in:  Art, Volumetric Society    / leave comments:   No comments yet

Benton C. #Bainbridge, #video #artist

Posted on April 15th, 2015

Volumetric Society, Hardware Hack Lab

04/15/2015 @ThoughtWorks, 99 Madison, Ave, NY


Benton C. Bainbridge talked about his current projects and his development as an artist.

Benton’s father was an engineer at NASA and his mother was an artist, so he grew up playing with discarded NASA electronics hardware in his basement while exploring film making on physical film. He became interested in collaborative film making which eventually lead him to experimentation with manipulating the images on cathode ray tube TVs.

He next talked about early explorations of TV images including plugging an audio input into the video input jack. Other effects, many pioneered by Nam June Pak and others, included magnets to change the path of the electron beam and modifying the video controls to adjust the position, size, brightness of the image, etc. One of his favorite tools was the Rutt/Etra visual synthesizer.

Benton next talked about more recent works. These include the RGBD toolkit which manipulates the image based on inputs from the Kinect. He has used delays on TIVO playback as part of his portrait series. He also talked about an installation with two iPads used as controllers for visual filters and two screens. You can stand in from of one iPad manipulating the image of the person standing in front of the other iPad. The other person is manipulating an image of you.

The best sources for earlier materials are videos on youtube.

The best source for current material is his web site.

posted in:  Art, video, Volumetric Society    / leave comments:   2 comments