Vertical Farms for NYC

New York magazine asked four architects to dream up proposals for a lot on Canal Street and Work AC came up with this. “We thought we’d bring the farm back to the city and stretch it vertically,” says Work AC co-principal Dan Wood. “We are interested in urban farming and the notion of trying to make our cities more sustainable by cutting the miles [food travels],” adds his co-principal (and wife) Amale Andraos. Underneath is what appears to be a farmers market, selling what grows above. Artists would be commissioned to design the columns that hold it up and define the space under: “We show a Brancusi, but it could be anyone,” says Wood. (treehugger)

Absolut Quartet

The Absolut Quartet is essentially a marimba played by rubber balls that fall on to the keys after having being shot into the air by 50 miniature robotic cannons. You can “interact” with the quartet using an on-screen keyboard.

But if you think that sounds cute and no big deal, think again.

First, the quartet doesn’t just reflect back what you keyed in. It “creates” its own music based on your composition, and plays that back.

What is more, the music you and the rest of the world hear and see on screen isn’t just the video and sound of the marimba being “played” by flying rubber balls – the quartet’s other no less bizarre instruments are also played at the same time.

They include a number of percussive, drum-like sound-producing devices, and a set of spinning wineglasses rubbed by robotic fingers.

Dan Paluska and Jeff Lieberman are the two US robotics, artificial intelligence and contemporary music developers who built the quartet for Swedish vodka company, Asbolut.

They are seriously off-beat characters, both previously postgraduate students at MIT’s famous artificial intelligence and media labs. Since graduating both have been involved in projects blending art, music and technology.

Paluska, for example, attracted attention with his Holy Toaster, a device that is said to “miraculously produce a perfect imagine of holiness on every piece of toast that emerges from it.” (smh.com.au)

[The Absolut Quartet is available for interaction and viewing online between the hours of 9AM and 11PM EST at http://www.absolut.com/absolutmachines.]

Realtime Art Manifesto

Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn are new media artists who have embraced realtime 3D game technology as their artistic medium of choice. Realtime 3D is the most remarkable new creative technology since oil on canvas. It is much too important to be wasted on computer games alone. This manifesto is a call-to-arms for creative people (including, but not limited to, video game designers and fine artists) to embrace this new medium and start realizing its enormous potential. As well as a set of guidelines that express our own ideas and ideals about using the technology. (Tale of Tales)

Mobile Experience Lab Projects – Summer 08

Cross-media whiz Jim Monroe has recently been working as a consultant and project coordinator at OCAD’s Mobile Experience Lab, and it looks like he’s been in the groove. The Lab’s upcoming suite of projects designed for deployment on and around Queen Street in Toronto are inspiring and often quite humorous. My favorite is “Your News Box,” a newspaper box that contains a screen displaying a fictional newspaper’s front page, which passers-by can alter and customize using their cell phones.

Link: No Media Kings.

Amagatana

Amagatana is a mystical sword for enjoying the blithe feeling after the rain. When you swing Amagatana, you can hear the sound of swords clashing from the headphone. Amagatana seems to be just a plastic umbrella. You also seem just like a cheerful person when you are playing Amagatana. However, the umbrella exists beautifully in your hand as a “sword”. On your way home, Amagatana offers you the world of make-believe. Then, you will be able to get a feel for heroes of comics, cartoon, and video games. It’s your own pleasure, which nobody can notice. (Yuichiro Katsumoto)

Love: Procedural MMO


The idea of procedurally-generated MMOs has appealed to me for a while. I’ve tried to imagine what such a space might look like and how it might work, but a working prototype is really what’s needed to examine the concept in depth. Eskil Steenberg’s “astonishing and somewhat unsettling” procedural MMO, Love, provides a touchstone for future imaginings:

The game itself, dubbed Love (as in For The Love Of Game Development), is an exploration-based moderately-multiplayer FPS with astounding impressionistic visuals and a procedurally generated universe. Since Steenberg is a one man show, he’s relying on clever maths to build the world for him and then clever gamers to come in and help him figure out where to take it, and what to do with it.

So far he’s already populated it with weird animals and wondrous, gaseous visuals, and he intends to build the world into a kind of communal adventure, where gamers work together to furnish a central village, defend it from enemy attack, and explore the surround world and its many dungeons. Players will be able to do things like deform elements of terrain, allowing them to build tunnel networks or walls to defend their property. Items will also be intended for the good of all as Steenberg creates them and drops them into the world. You won’t be picking up rifles in your adventures, but more likely the plans for the rifle-building machine, that can then be utilised by everyone in your village. Part Zelda, part Tale In The Desert, part adventure shooter, and wholly abstract and beautiful, Love looks the kind of amalgam of art, programming and internet savvy that we’ve desired without even being able to imagine. It has the potential, and Steenberg has the huge intellect, for this to be one of the most precious events in PC gaming. (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)

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