14 November 2017

FaceOff - Kaleidoscope - WA

FaceOff up and runing at Kaleidoscope Festival - Joondalup (WA). Lots of other great things on offer here too. From projection to light installation to inflatable. Seems like the team here have pulled together a pretty diverse and exciting bunch of stuff. Lots of local content too. My bottom line to judging the worth of an arts festival these days is by much effort they put into promoting the local talent and Kaleidoscope delivered on this front with some excelent prjections by local creators.

Dusk - Part 2

A few more photos of Dusk....hard to take shots and run the projections all at once but here you have it.

 The light painting by aerial dancers was probably my favourite thing from any of the shows. Lights on the performers (Abbey and Julia)  tracked and projected back up onto the silos. As they performed their routine the silos slowly filled in. Always a unique thing every time. With further exploration, it feels  like there is almost a whole show to be drawn from this. I have a few videos Ill sort through and post when I get a chance.

31 October 2017

Dusk: Part1

Here are a few blurry shots from rehersals the other night...

still a few days to go to hopefully smooth out a few of the rough edges.

This is a light painting test onthe side of the silos....hard to tel here but thats 2 aerial performers making those wiggly lines.

VR - Slacklining

 An experiment from a few weeks ago when the slackline hit mount arapiles.

We build a rig to try and get our cameras out to capture a 1st person perspective on the slacklining experience.

These a just preliinary tests really working out how to mount the camera and get it smoothly across the line.

Have managed to get this footage into the VR goggles but will still need a lot of tweaking before its done.

Swelter Pt 4 - Install

24 October 2017

Swelter Pt3 - the build

I’ve been working with to build Swelter City this week.  It’s a lot to make but luckily I have a keen and capable team to help bring it together.

04 October 2017

Swelter Pt 2 - Thermal cameras

Looking a bit more closely at the thermal that has become an increasingly integral part of the installation. I haven’t used them before but they seem like a really interesting bit of kit with a lot of potential and I can easily imagine myself using it for all sorts of other projects down the track.  Everything from finding the gaps in the insulation that are letting heat out off the house, through to checking out your circuits and wiring to check if anything overheating.

I did a fair bit of research into cameras before I finally committed to getting a Seek thermal camera, considering a range of factors I thought would be key to this project. There are a host of thermal cameras out there and it seems like you could pretty much pay as much as you lie with no upper limit if you were really keen to spend big.

Price was definitely one factor since it’s going to spend most of its time in the hands of eager youngsters. I decided it was probably better to get something at the more reasonable end of the price rather than hiring a really expensive as there is a distinct risk of it being damaged. Also, buying it outright hand having it for the whole development period rather than just hiring it in for a week at the end is already proving incredibly useful. I’m sure you get what you pay for and the more expensive models are a lot more accurate, but to be honest in this instance, where I’m just after a general impression so exact measurements aren’t really super critical.

Rather than having a screen of its own, plugs into your phone or other device which has the added bonus that you can just take a feed from that and project it up large on the wall so everyone can be a part of that experience.  Many of the other (much more expensive) models didn’t seem to have a way to get a video feed out of them…let alone a wireless one.

There was one other model I seriously considered the Flir One, which works in a very similar way to the Seek in that you use your phone as the screen. This one does a really interesting thing where it combines the low-res thermal image together with a stylised version the phone’s video to give a much higher level of detail (even if the actual thermal info isn’t any more detailed). Visually it may well have been a better option for this project. The reason I decided against it however, was the fact that rather than running off the phone’s battery it has its own internal battery and I wasn’t confident that the battery life was going to cut it for what I need. Given the camera is such an intrinsic component of the work now, I really can’t afford to have it out of the equation half the time while its off being recharged. Given I need it to be working all day long I think I’m still going to be running into battery issues with the Seek but at least Ill be able to swap it onto another device while the first one recharges. I’ve also seen reports of the Flir One batteries not having a terribly good lifespan and not being replaceable when they go which I don’t like just in principal. If anyone has one of these I’d love to hear about your experiences with it, especially on the battery front. 

There are quite a few comparisons kicking around on the internet if you're interested (here's one by cleantechnica) and they both seem to have their pros and cons. You can see in the image above how Flir One's blending of the thermal vision with the normal camera gives the image a lot more definition (even if there isnt actually any more thermal info in there) but for me at least  for the time being the battery thing was what won out in the end. If I’m feeling rich, perhaps I will get one of these as well so I can do a direct comparison. If fact if anyone out there has one that I could borrow to test and would like to support a worthy cause, that would be completely amazing.

You can see in this pic above how even after just a few minutes the black of the printing on the box is starting to show up in the thermal camera just because its dark and heating up faster.

25 September 2017

Swelter Pt1 - The idea

New project. Swelter.

The project is supported by Arts House, City of Melbourne through their Refuge project. http://www.artshouse.com.au/events/refuge/ . This year Refuge is looking at a heat event and with Swelter, I am exploring the concept of an urban heat island in a way that makes it hands-on, accessible and interesting for a younger audience. The basic plan is to build ourselves a room sized cardboard city, inflict a heat event upon it and see what happens.

Swelter will premiere at the Nati Frinj in November this year before heading down to Artshouse in Melbourne the following week for Refuge.  

More of an installation than a show as such, but building on some of those ideas I played with in Balance where you set up a mechanism to model a system and then let the participants come in and change the parameters to see what it does. Although Swelter is more of an installation than a performance, there are definitely some comparisons you could make with Balance. The citizens of Swelter city too, are similarly made of electronic elements and bare more than a passing resemble to the Balance islanders. The citizens of Swelter are built around thermal switch with a buzzer and a blinking LED so that as soon as their temperature crosses a certain threshold they start blinking and buzzing and will need to be rescues by the participants and taken to a refuge where they will be given first aid to bring their core temperature back under control.  From a design perspective its always a fund challenge to take all the elements that are needed to make something work and use these as the key elements of the character design.

The thermal camera that I got to experiment, with is emerging as a key part of making the whole a much more visual, much more immediate and much more intuitive experience (thanks Geordie).

Compared to a thermometer that just gives you a spot temperature at a specific point. The thermal camera gives you a much better sense of what is going on temperature wise across a whole scene. Once the heat cranks up it soon becomes apparent where the trouble spots are.