These NYT Video Series Examine How Robots Are Changing Our Lives

At the leading edge of technology, robots are poised to change the way we do business and conduct our daily lives. The New York Times video series, called Robotica, examining how robots are poised to change the way we do business and conduct our daily lives. Top roboticists, researchers and artists bring you into their labs to explore innovations and ask the tough questions about where robots are going.

In its last episode series examined a robotic dog’s mortality with the Aibo, introduced by Sony in 1999. For thousands of people Sony’s Aibo robotic dog was the closest thing to a real canine companion. The beaglelike robots could move around, bark and perform simple tricks. Sony sold 150,000 units through 2006; the fifth and final generation was said to be able to express 60 emotional states.

So when the Japanese company stopped servicing the robots last year, eight years after it ended production, owners faced a wrenching prospect: that their aging “pets” would break down for good. They scrambled to save the robot-dogs that had become part of their families.

Or consider the story of Les Baugh, who lost his arms as a teenager. Engineers at Johns Hopkins are trying to give them back, but better. Mr. Baugh is testing a robotic prosthetic that he can control with his mind.

Engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab have developed a next-generation prosthetic: a robotic arm that has 26 joints, can curl up to 45 pounds and is controlled with a person’s mind just like a regular arm.

Researchers think the arm could help people like Les Baugh. Now 59, Mr. Baugh recently underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins to remap the remaining nerves from his missing arms, allowing brain signals to be sent to the prosthetic.

Since 2006, the lab has been awarded $120 million from a program run by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to help wounded warriors. Now the lab is starting to collaborate with industry partners to explore commercial opportunities.

All episodes availabe at

Let Ideas Take Off with Nonterritorial, a Virtual Complex of Exhibition Zones

Nonterritorial is a complex of exhibition zones where ideas take-off and land. It serves other territories. The relationship between two (or more) territories depends on the nature of a third intermediate space that shares in a common relationship; the intermediate space bears equal importance in relation to other territories. Such spaces have been called ‘rendezvous’, or ‘public spaces’, which are the origins of the place of relationship. This connecting territory is the definition of Nonterritorial, it creates new contexts for exhibitions. It could be described as a ‘device of relation’ or an ‘interface’. Each element tends towards ‘territory-free’ and ‘non-territory’ zones. It’s a ‘space of connection’ between the artist and the spectator.

Using the metaphor of international airspace as a platform, the artist-run project is designed to facilitate the collaboration of artists with each other and with curators, collectors and spectators, to bring an Idea — a work of art, object, installation, performance or other form of creative expression — to an unconventional exhibition space, or multiple spaces at the same time. It’s a gateway that connects artists from a variety of geographies to international space, a bridge linking the different art scenes themselves. It can be understood as an experimental laboratory for artists who forge new principles of art installation and art-viewing, whose works resist convention and are rich with poignancy, intelligence and risk.

Artists may benefit from multiple showings of their work and are offered the opportunity to experiment in a variety of unconventional spaces and contexts.

To participate in the project you must choose you role upon registration:

How to Learn Computer Science by Making Music with EarSketch

There are many ways to get involved in making music, including playing an instrument, writing music, designing sound for film, producing beats, and so on. Computers have greatly expanded these possibilities. The musician’s toolbox has grown, and new skills are needed to use these tools.

In fact, writing computer programs to create music has been an important part of the music industry since the earliest days of computers over 50 years ago, and is at its most popular today. Musicians and programmers write computer code for many exciting uses: from creating new sounds or effects or musical structures, to designing entirely new ways to create and perform music.

In EarSketch, you will write code that the computer understands as a set of instructions, or an algorithm, to make music with. You don’t need to know anything about music or computing. You will learn to code in Python or JavaScript and make music in any style you choose. With Python and JavaScript, two of the most popular computer programming languages in the world, you’ll be able to create and remix music within the same kind of digital audio workstation (DAW) software used throughout the music industry.

Once you learn to write computer code, you can take those skills with you to any career you can imagine, whether in the music industry or elsewhere.

There is even a free, massive open online course (MOOC) at on music technology with Reaper and EarSketch you can take right away.

Happy programming & composing!

Immerse Yourself in Digital Grotesque, Human-Scale 3D Printed Space

Digital Grotesque, created by architects and programmers Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger, is the first fully immersive, solid, human-scale, enclosed structure that is entirely 3D printed out of sand. This structure, measuring 16 square meters, is materialized with details at the threshold of human perception. Every aspect of this architecture is composed by custom-designed algorithms.

The resulting architecture does not lend itself to a visual reductionism. Rather, the processes can devise truly surprising topographies and topologies that go far beyond what one could have traditionally conceived.

Digital Grotesque is between chaos and order, both natural and the artificial, neither foreign nor familiar. Any references to nature or existing styles are not integrated into the design process, but are evoked only as associations in the eye of the beholder.

As a fictive narrative space, the Digital Grotesque project is less concerned with functionality than with the expressive formal potentials of digital technologies. It examines new spatial experiences and sensations that these technologies enable. As such, Digital Grotesque is a lavish, exhilarating space, full of details at the threshold of perception, waiting to be discovered and spurring one’s imagination of what is yet to be created.

Digital Grotesque coating process
Digital Grotesque coating process

Being the first human-scale immersive space, Digital Grotesque entirely constructed out of 3D printed sandstone. A complex geometry consisting of millions of individual facets is printed at a resolution of a tenth of a millimeter to dimensions of a 3.2-meter high, 16 square meter large room. Its geometry was entirely designed through customized algorithms.

You can learn more on the project’s design and process at

POOL TanzFilmFestival Open Call for Dance Films

POOL INTERNATIONALES TanzFilmFestival BERLIN invites all dancers, choreographers, filmmakers and artists to apply with dance short films and dance animations to show September 07-10 at DOCK 11, Berlin. Its extended deadline is July 4, 2016.

POOL / Internationale TanzFilmPlattform Berlin Facebook

POOL is a festival for dance films and offers space for the mutual exchange of experiences, development, training, and production prospects. It is a platform for films which picture dance not as a simple documentation, but rather create choreography exclusively for, and with, the camera. POOL focuses on the intense interplay between dance and the techniques of film, exploring the possibilities and boundaries of the art form. In addition, POOL encourages exchange with other creative areas such as fashion, advertising and music.

Films should not be longer than 30 minutes and also not a pure documentation of a dance piece. Links, for example on Vimeo or YouTube, are preferred for the jury screening.

The POOL 16 jury will create a film programme from all submissions and select the winner films, the PEARLS 16. PEARLS are the equal winners of POOL – INTERNATIONALES TanzFilmFestival BERLIN and will be honored with a price (5000 €).

Selected films will be screened on

⇀ Submission form

MoMA Acquires David Tudor’s Rainforest V (Variation 1)

MoMA’s Department of Media and Performance Art recently acquired the immersive installation Rainforest V (Variation 1) (1973–2015) by David Tudor. Conceived by Tudor in 1973, this pivotal early electro-acoustic work was adapted in 2015 by his longtime collaborators, Composers Inside Electronics (CIE).

Courtesy Broadway 1602, New York
David Tudor and Composers Inside Electronics. Rainforest V (Variation 1). 1973–2015. Sound installation of 20 objects, dimensions variable. Installation view, Broadway 1602. Courtesy Broadway 1602, New York

The genesis of Rainforest V comes from the sound score Tudor created for Merce Cunningham’s 1968 dance Rainforest. Premiering at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Cunningham’s performance featured dancers in nude-colored costumes (designed by Jasper Johns) surrounded by helium-filled Mylar pillows from Andy Warhol’s installation Silver Clouds, which floated freely around the stage.

While Tudor created a number of other iterations of Rainforest, the breakthrough moment occurred in 1973 with Rainforest IV, when the work expanded from a sonic composition to a collaborative installation. That summer, Tudor attended a workshop with a group of young artists and composers at a New Music festival in Chocorua, New Hampshire. This group—which included future members of CIE—suggested that he work with larger objects and suspend them freely in space to increase their resonant properties and add a visual element to the work.

“My piece Rainforest IV was developed from ideas I had as early as 1965…. An offer came, which didn’t get realized…I was asked to make a proposal for a park in Washington. The idea was to have a sounding outdoor sculpture, so my mind began turning around. I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful if each sculpture sounded completely different from the other and the whole could be run by one machine . . . .’” – David Tudor

Born in 1926, Tudor was a pianist, composer, and early pioneer of live electronic music. The majority of his compositions utilize custom-built modular electronic instruments, innovations that positioned him at the forefront of postwar music technology. He worked with several members of the artist and engineer collaborative Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), including founding members Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman.

MoMA Collects: David Tudor’s Rainforest V (Variation 1)

Look in the Mirror, You Won’t See Yourself

Photocredit Nemanja Knezevic
Photocredit: Nemanja Knezevic

Created by Gregor Woschitz, “mirror_0.2” is an interactive installation that seeks to replace the installation visitor’s reflection with that of the artist. The visitor stands before a monitor that looks like a mirror. The background is a 3-D scan that resembles the background of the actual space behind the visitor. Plus, the virtual space is slightly distorted in a realistic way to strengthen the illusion of a mirror image. A Kinect installed above the monitor screen registers the position and facial expression of the person standing in front of it. If that person changes his/her expression, posture or distance from the mirror, this is registered by the installation’s software, which then replaces the visitor’s image with the corresponding image of the artist. Instead of seeing their own reflection in the mirror, installation visitors see the artist imitating them.

For this installation, the artist shot approximately 100,000 images of himself with different facial expressions, his head tilted in various directions, and in diverse postures. Software determines which of these photos most closely resembles the appearance of the person standing in front of the mirror and displays that particular photo on the monitor screen.

“mirror_0.2” is part of the “TIME OUT .06” exhibition running at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz starting June 8, 2016.

Help to Republish Daphne Oram’s “An Individual Note…”

This new Kickstarter campaign aims at republishing Daphne Oram’s seminal book “An Individual Note: of Music, Sound and Electronics” and writing Oram back into music history; sharing her vision with new generations of musicians, composers, musicologists and contemporary music lovers.

Daphne Oram (1925-2003) is a pioneer and little-known visionary whose work has been a major influence on the development of British experimental electronic music. Daphne Oram was ahead of her time. She was a remarkable and inspirational woman who should be recognized and remembered as one of Britain’s leading cultural and historically significant figures.

She was the first Director of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which she co-founded in 1958, after years of persuasion and perseverance. She predicted that computers and electronics would revolutionize music decades before they became popular, and invented a new form of sound synthesis – Oramics – which was a significant step towards this revolution.

Daphne Oram Kickstarter Campaign

She was truly passionate and dedicated to her work. She composed a number of radical pieces such as Still Point. She lectured on electronic music throughout her career and, in 1972, she wrote her seminal book, “An Individual Note: of Music, Sound and Electronics”, which was a pioneering explanation of electronics in relation to music and sound.

When Daphne Oram first wrote and published the book, electronic music was still in its infancy. The book’s depth and its exploration was unprecedented, and her ideas and theories radical. Now that electronic music is an established and popular field, it is important that the book is redistributed to allow more people to learn and benefit from reading it.

Daphne Oram Kickstarter Campaign

In 2017 it will be 45 years since Daphne Oram’s book was first published. There are only a handful of copies available to access, and we want to share her story far and wide with future composers, producers and fans.

By donating to the Kickstarter campaign, you’ll be helping to reach the target of £10,000. The revenue that the Trust receives from the project will help to pay for additional print runs, and any future profits generated for the Trust from these additional print runs will be invested by the Daphne Oram Trust into new projects that support the development of electronic music and showcase the work of Daphne Oram, which means your help will write Daphne Oram back into music history.

Please spread the word – share the campaign and help the Trust to reach its goal:

Call for Participation in a Conference on Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities

WEIRD REALITY: Head-Mounted Art && Code

This coming October 6-9, 2016, the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry in partnership with the 2016 VIA Festival, will be hosting “WEIRD REALITY: Head Mounted Art && Code”, a conference concerned with new and independent visions for virtual, augmented and mixed realities. It aims to showcase emerging voices, creative approaches, marginalized perspectives, and critical positions on virtual, augmented, and mixed realities (VR/AR/MR) that depart from typical corporate fantasies and other normative media.

WEIRD REALITY will include artist lectures, speed presentations, workshops, an interactive exhibition, panels, and an audience-driven unconference. If you’d like to participate as a presenter of some kind, please let them know what you have in mind by checking the Notification Signup and Call for Participation.

WEIRD REALITY thrives to create a welcoming event that addresses topics that aren’t being discussed elsewhere, so your thoughts, advice, and suggestions on how to make WEIRD REALITY better are also appreciated.

Guerilla Micro-Device Transmits Poetry through Wi-Fi Networks

CYFEST artist Dmitry Morozov aka ::vtol:: created an autonomous guerilla micro-device which distributes wi-fi masked as wireless network, visible at any gadget such as a smartphone or a laptop. The device is automatically renaming its network every 10 seconds, taking as its name various lines of poems by famous poets. The device is using an information channel which is accessible and visible to everyone through mobile devices, thus being a non-standard transmitter of poetry. There is no possibility to connect to this network (which is actually a dummy disconnected from Internet) – the message being the name of the network. If one would leave the wi-fi settings menu open, then gradually, line by line, all the poems programmed into the object will be revealed.

There are 4 objects in the set, each of them contains poems of one of the poets: Basho, Goethe, Pasternak and Petrarka. In fact, the apparatus is an ironic device in the spirit of hacktivism, searching for alternative ways of distribution of information in the public spaces. Theoretically, these devices can be programmed to transmit messages with any content, they will be visible in a certain space and will be refreshed even if the whole country is disconnected from Internet. These devices can be also called generators of network/information noise which displaces the real network by a fake one, but with a certain aesthetic aim.

Hotspot Poet by ::vtol::

Radius of action of the module is a few dozens meters. The names of networks are shown in a bit different ways on different gadgets: for example, on certain modern android devices, poetic lines are visible only as one network, which is continuously and quickly refreshed; on ios devices there appears a new one, while a few previous ones are still visible, but gradually the new ones replace the old ones; and on mac computers, all names are appearing line after line, and they stay there until the arrow is removed from the network selection menu.

Visit Dmitry Morozov’s website for more interesting works:

Press Play: Collecting New Media Art Now Conversation in New York

Nam June Paik. (Detail) Li Tai Po, 1987. 10 antique wooden TV cabinets, 1 antique radio cabinet, antique Korean printing block, antique Korean book, 11 color TVs. H. 96 x W. 62 x D. 24 in. (243.8 x 157.5 x 61 cm); Duration: continuous loop. Asia Society, New York: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harold and Ruth Newman, 2008.2. Photography by John Bigelow Taylor

On June 8, 2016 Asia Society in New York will present a conversation with collector Harold Newman, founding patron of Asia Society’s Contemporary Art Collection; Lori Zippay, Executive Director of Electronic Arts Intermix; and Michelle Yun, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, on the best strategies for collecting, preserving, and presenting new media art and how to engage audiences with this medium. Moderated by Boon Hui Tan, Asia Society Vice President of Global Arts & Cultural Programs and Museum Director, on the occasion of the exhibition Rewind: Selections from the Harold and Ruth Newman New Media Collection, Asia Society Museum, on view from June 9 to August 7, 2016.

Join conversation at 6:30 PM, June 8 at Asia Society Museum (725 Park Avenue, New York, NY).

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