Month: November 2015

Blynk & Miss

I have revisited this Blynk gateway experiment from October.


Blynk is an app with a digital dashboard where you can build a graphic interface to control virtually the Arduino micro processor. I have set up a simple Arduino sketch, a simple LED light being triggered by a button. After setting up in this case a virtual button in Blynk, You get sent an authorisation token code via email that is pasted into the Arduino sketch, this then enables you to trigger the LED light simply by pressing the virtual button.

The problem was to get the app to talk physically to the Arduino board, I had to get either a wireless or an ethernet shield to act as an online gateway. It would have been better to do it via Wifi but the European Wifi boards were sold out and the ethernet boards were cheaper, so I opted for that instead.


As my studio is in a network in a building and therefore to route it I had to generate special IP addresses and do a lot of fiddling about with ethernet and CAT cables, but after reinstalling Arduino Blynk libraries I finally got it to work. The virtual button triggers the LED on the Arduino board via the web/app.

Note to Self:

  • This is handy If I want to further develop some proper Mobile Locative Media installations.
  • Get a Wifi shield and set it up use that instead.
  • I had rigged up the Arduino board to talk to the Processing app in another experiment, which worked but it seems to mess up all the Ardunio ports and libraries.

Jennifer in Paradise

A few weeks ago an article was mentioned on the course called ‘Situating Post Internet’ by Domenicio Quaranta. One time Rhizome editor Marisa Olson coined the term ‘Post internet’ in 2006, which in a nutshell she defines as;

“A new generation of artists who, while spending a lot of time online, were developing most of their work offline: work that was nonetheless ‘infused with the digital visual language, network aesthetics, and the social politics of online transmission and reception.”[1]

It also mentioned or linked to a jolly faced Dutch man with a great moniker ‘Constant Dullaart’, the second letter ‘a’ almost making it sound like a proper Dutch surname.

I have been reading a lot the last few weeks about the image….Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Ranciere…almost to the point of cerebral overload 🙂 so Dullaart’s take on things brings almost light relief, but with some very interesting concepts and themes bubbling below the surface. His piece from 2014 ‘Jennifer in Paradise’ grabbed my attention.


‘Jennifer in Paradise’, is the first ever photoshopped image.

“…Jennifer was the last person to sit on solid ground, gazing out into an infinitely fluid sea of zeros and ones, the last woman to inhabit a world where the camera never lied.” [2]

The image was taken in 1987 by John Knoll who worked at Industrial Light and Magic, it was of his wife Jennifer. It became the first colour image used to demonstrate the software they had started to call Photoshop.

In Dullaart’s view this photo is of extreme importance in the modern visual vernacular and should be in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC as a key 20th century artefact;

“just from an anthropological point of view I thought it would be interesting to examine what values the image contains. The fact that it’s a white lady, topless, anonymous, facing away from the camera. And that it was his wife. He offers her, objectifying her, in his creation for the reproduction of reality.” [3]

He even asked the Knoll’s to go back to the beach in Bora Bora to recreate the shot, which they politely declined!

“For him Jennifer in Paradise is a key artefact, the original Photoshop meme. As such, he believes, it belongs in the public domain. His misappropriation of it is a protest.”[4]

Hundreds & Thousands Theremin

Last few very quick Arduino experiments…1 little piggy went to the market, 1 little piggy stayed at home


A Photoresistor sensor, as the hand moves closer to the pile of hundreds and thousands the sensor measures the distance, and acts like a Theremin.

Piggy friends were just lying around the studio, so gave them some hundreds + thousands to feed on, as they look for the sensor in the pile.



Note to Self:

  • Sensors: Have been mucking about with various sensors…proximity, light kind of know now, which ones are useful to me going frwd.
  • Need to push into a more focused action research state.
  • Things are now bits + pieces/loose ends, digital sketches, be good to have a few ‘finished’ pieces for my own kick…however small.

Processing 3.0

We had an interesting talk regarding Processing with tutor Ed Kelly a few weeks back. I haven’t had a chance to have a proper investigation until now.


I was very impressed and the possibilities seem endless. I combined some code from various sketches to arrive at this very short test sequence.

The sketch window used is very similar to Arduino.


Note to Self:

  • Arduino/Processing: I wonder is it possible to get Arduino + Processing to talk to each other?
  • Getting kind of bored now tw*tting around with Arduino, I need to see some visual results on ‘the other side’ of the screen, Processing may be another way in?

The Leckeys run out again

There was a recent lecture at UAL by Scouse provocateur Mark Leckey which I unfortunatly missed as I don’t live in Londinium. I don’t know what was discussed at the lecture but his name being mentioned got me thinking. An interesting guy Leckey, looking like some kind of swashbuckling amalgamation of Paul Calf and the Scarlet Pimpernel, a younger generation seem to have latched onto a lot of his ideas, which is great. I remember his piece ‘Fiorucci made me Hardcore’;

Which at first glance seems like some kind of clumsily edited found footage documentary of 70’s Soul Boys, 80’s football casuals, ravers, Northern English scallies and a seemingly random assortment of partying ‘Ne’er-do-Wells’. On repeated viewings this video reveals a kind of brutal nostalgic beauty, a yearning for times past and youth culture as mysticism.

A cultural magpie, he talks of ‘possessing the computer generated image’ or ‘apprehending the object’. There was another later piece at the TATE where he aimed a speaker stack at and sonically blasted one of its best known sculptures, Jacon Epsteins ‘Jacob and the Angel’;

“Leckey told me that it was about trying to apprehend the object, trying to relate to it, but having to do so indirectly, almost tacking towards it, because of the sheer impossibility of grasping it directly. Of course he understood the history of modernist sculpture, intellectually; but on another level the Epstein, completed in 1941, was also as distant to him and as bewildering as, say, an Egyptian artefact. His performance was a way of wooing it, goading it, to speak to him. “I wanted to elicit from it its meaning and intention.” [1]

This brings me in a roundabout way to the IoT, which I am investigating, and a later performance work of his, GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction (2010);

The Fridge stood on a green screen infinity cyc while ‘he coaxed it into revealing its thoughts and actions’. It shows a shiny black Samsung smart fridge pondering its existence and mingling with like objects. In a scientifically-charged description that concerns its inner workings, the fridge’s anguished, robotic first person voiceover renders audible its inner life and its potential dreams. As we create increasingly smarter objects, Leckey predicts a world in which things become sentient, start communicating, and alter our environment into new digital ecosystems.

“Now, instead of wanting to seduce an object into offering up its meaning, Leckey seemed to want the object to consume him. The work began with his inhaling the gases used as coolant for a Samsung fridge: a kind of shamanistic ritual in which, in order to understand the fridge, he took on some of its characteristics. The fridge sang back a kind of mournful plainchant: “See, see, see we assemble. See we assemble. See we assemble; Samsung, Viking, Gaggenau and Whirlpool …” The work, Leckey said, is a kind of fantasy: that he could bring himself into “a state outside of myself, fridge-like, less-human, feeling like an image”. As if he wanted to dissolve into pixels.

You could see the work as nodding to the notion of the internet of things – the technology through which objects, especially consumer appliances, will be connected online (such that a fridge might text you when you are short of milk; or suggest recipes from the ingredients within it). You could see it, more broadly, as a reaction to the fact that technology is triggering strange, disruptive new relationships between humans, objects and images; people, animals and machines.” [2]

Note to Self:

  • Cultural Theorists: In this blog post I have ticked as one of the categories for it to be assigned to is ‘Cultural Theorists’. I wonder if Leckey would like that? 🙂
  • Wonder if anyone has recorded that lecture he gave recently? would be good to see what the scallywag is up to.