In Bb 2.0: A YouTube Collaboration

Filed Under Art, Websites | 2009-05-14, 11:43

In Bb 2.0

Want to make your own ambient Kutiman mixes? Thanks to the work of Darren Solomon of Science For Girls and several YouTube contributors you can (as long as you like Bb). The project is called “In Bb 2.0″ and can be found at

Darren put out a call for people to post YouTube videos of them playing instruments (or singing) in Bb major. He gave some guidelines on what works best, but left it open for people to be creative. The result is incredibly fun. You can play all of the videos at once, or just a few. Try playing a couple, and then bring in a few more, adjust the volume, start/stop, etc. The resulting sound has an incredibly pleasant ambient quality. Rather than a mash up where things were forced together, it flows incredibly well regardless of which video you play and when you start playing it. I’m also very fond of the spoken word video.

If you want to contribute to the video, Darren outlines the guidelines on the site. He’s not putting every video up because he wants to maintain the feel of the project. I agree with his choice as I’m not sure Rap Chop would really work.

via Jaku

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Zenta’s A-Pod Hexapod Robot

Filed Under Art, Geek, Video | 2009-04-08, 12:35

After seeing the video of Zenta’s hexapod in action I just had to share it. It’s design, fluid movement, and lifelike qualities make it absolutely beautiful. The video just had me saying “wow” every few seconds whether it was picking up a can of soda and not getting thrown off balance, or being dexterous enough to pour a glass of water. As my friend Neil put it, “This robot is so lifelike, it will either have you cooing with delight or running away screaming.”

The creator, Zenta, is no stranger to hexapods or robots, having quite the robot family. If you’re more interested in the construction and parts of the A-Pod, check out his post which is chock full of great photos and how-to info.


YouTube Remixed Into Awesome by Kutiman

Filed Under Art, Movies and Music, Video | 2009-03-04, 13:27


Sorry for the reblog, but I had to share this. DocPop guest posted this over on Laughing Squid:

Thru-You is the new album by Israeli funk musician Kutiman. All of the album’s sounds were painstakingly culled from YouTube videos and masterfully mixed into 7 fantastic tracks. It’s like the “Entroducing…” of the internet! Hurry over to to watch these amazing videos where you can also find the original links to all the sampled tracks by clicking the “credits” button.

Excuse me while I pick up my jaw from the floor. Absolutely amazing stuff! Go check it out


Timescale: A Call For Artists

Filed Under Art, Burning Man | 2009-02-28, 14:06


Timescale is an art project of great magnitude. A mile long, with 27 concrete columns over 6′ high, and a variety of artwork, this piece will be a scaled representation of the history of the Earth. It’s being created by Ardent Heavy Industries, the not-fire-art parent group to Interpretive Arson, which means the people that brought you Dance Dance Immolation and 2pir are working on it. I’m very much involved with this project (guess who did the website?) and highly recommend anyone that wants their art to be on display at Burning Man (and who knows where else) to submit a proposal. You only have until March 18th to get your proposal submitted, so don’t wait! Here’s the official “Call for Artists”:

We are now accepting proposals for all 27 Timescale chapter columns!

Timescale is a journey through 4.57 billion years of planet Earth’s geological and biological evolution, extended across one mile (5280 feet) of open playa. Beginning with the formation of the Earth from a cloud of gas and dust, participants will traverse through time — advancing two million years with each footstep, culminating at the present day.

Twenty-seven chapters in Earth’s growth are highlighted along the way, allowing participants to appreciate the transformation of our planet and the exponential complexity of living things. Each chapter will be marked by an 8-inch square column rising from the playa surface. The 6.5-foot tall column holds a clear box that contains a sculptural representation pertaining to that period of time.

We are actively looking for artists to create column sculptures. Pieces should evoke an event, creature or other aspect of the chosen chapter’s unique story. We will provide a well-lit clear display box eight inches wide and deep, and twelve inches tall. Electricity will be available for your installation if coordinated in advance.

For more information about this Burning Man art project, including display details, a list of chapters, and an artist proposal submission form, please visit the Timescale web site at:


Dracul: Prince of Fire, a Fire Ballet

Filed Under Art, Fire Art, SF Bay Area | 2009-01-09, 16:44

Last night we gathered with a large number of friends for the second performance of “Dracul: Prince of Fire” at The Crucible. We’ve been to several of the previous fire ballets and knew that the tickets were worth every penny. Apparently so did the rest of the Bay Area as the performance quickly sold out.

For those that aren’t familiar, The Crucible is an Oakland based non-profit organization that encourages collaboration of Arts, Industry and Community through training in the fine and industrial arts. You can take classes there on topics such as welding, neon, jewelry making, wood carving, fire dancing, and more. This fire ballet is a celebration/fund-raiser for their 10th year in existence. With your ticket purchase you will get a wonderful show, plus you’ll be helping a great organization.

The show itself was amazing from start to finish. I’m not a fan of ballet personally, but as readers know, I love me some fire. And there was plenty of fire for the evening. I don’t want to give away any parts of the show, but it had me applauding both the performers as well as the people behind the fabrication. In addition there was a lot of amazing aerial performances as well as humorous nods to popular culture.

I highly recommend going if you get the chance. I would recommend wearing warm clothes however, as it is held inside The Crucible’s warehouse, which is not know for its warmth. People will give you envious looks (rather than weird ones) should you bring a warm blanket. The show runs Jan 7th-10th and Jan 14th-17th. There are still several nights left at varying ticket prices, but they will sell out. For more info, check out the page on The Crucible.

The following trailer for Dracul uses footage from previous performances to give you an idea of what to expect:

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Visual Illusion Jewelry

Filed Under Art | 2008-12-28, 23:21

These necklaces and earrings from Tania Hennessy on Etsy are amazing. Not only are they eye-catching, they’re also made from recycled vinyl records! Click over to her store, Aroha Silhouettes, to check out all the different pieces.

via mindhacks


Fire on the White Holly In the Sausalito Yacht Parade

Filed Under Art, Burning Man, Fire Art, SF Bay Area | 2008-12-15, 12:01

For 19 years, the Sausalito Yacht Club has held the annual “Lighted Boat Parade”. Everyone brings their boats out lit up with Christmas lights and cruises around the Bay. This year for the 20th time, they held the same parade, only there was a new entry, the White Holly, which took things a step further by being loaded up with fire art from around the Bay Area.

The White Holly is a “High Endurance, Expedition Vessel” primarily used primarily for research missions. It’s a pretty hardy ship, but one has to wonder if anyone had in mind what it was used for on Saturday. Unfortunately I wasn’t there, but I saw multiple comments on my Twitter stream of friends mentioning going on a boat, needing ear protection, etc. The best being “It’s like we took Crude Awakening and stuck it on a ship. There’s nowhere to run or hide. God help us.” I wasn’t fully aware of what was planned until the next day.

So what was on the White Holly? Well up front there was Epiphany, a 25′ steel sculpture by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito that many remember from the Crude Awakening installment at Burning Man 2007 or maybe Maker Faire 2008. It had a “beating” heart of fire. There was El Diablo, a jet engine repurposed for shooting fire (and being noisy) by Jack Schroll. There were also flame effects built by the Flaming Lotus Girls and Bob Hofman installed on the boat amidst the Christmas lights. Don’t forget the Tesla coil hanging off the side of the boat upside down sending arcs into the water. And to top it all off, the loudest air raid siren ever produced, the Victory Siren, announced to the entire area that the White Holly had arrived.

Videos and photos are still trickling online, but here’s what I’ve found so far:
Wally also posted about it over on Planet Wally
There’s also a good video over here.
Friends Leslie and NetDiva were lucky enough to be on board and have posted their Flickr sets from the White Holly.

The Victory Siren

Tesla Coil Test

Megavolt2′s Video


Khronos Projector: Messing with the concepts of space and time

Filed Under Art | 2008-10-20, 16:55

Prompted by a twitter, I revisited a project I was amazed at several years ago, the Khronos Projector. It’s an incredibly cool project that blew my mind when I watched videos of it back in 2005. I hope to some day catch it in person and get a chance to play with it. I’ve shown people the videos off and on, but realized I never made an actual post about it. So here it is!

Basically the Khronos Projector takes your normal 2 dimensional picture and adds the 3rd an additional dimension of time. You interact via a touchscreen of sorts (depending on the setup) and can rewind/fastforward time in only parts of the image. They’ve also added video input since I’ve last checked up on the project, which really starts to mess with your concept of space & time. It can be a bit difficult to describe in words. Seeing it in action makes it all “click”:

Khronos Projector (few demos):

A new way to interact with a soccer game:

Khronos Projector (live video input + Chromatic Time mode):

While I was looking for Khronos Project online, I came across something else that played with time/space and video with realtime input and altered output. It’s just a proposal from Liam Mclaney as far as I can tell, but it has a really neat video to go with it (his post explains how it works):


Urgent Call to Help Oakland Artists and Organizations

Filed Under Art, SF Bay Area | 2008-10-20, 13:12

An email from Michael Sturtz, the founder of The Crucible, went out recently detailing a threat to the Oakland Arts Community that could significantly affect the Bay Area art community as well. We need to act quickly because the City Council meeting is Oct 21st. I’m reposting below:

Hello everyone,

Please read this message, the future of Arts in Oakland and The Crucible hangs in the balance.

The City of Oakland’s Cultural Arts Funding in about to get cut from the City’s budget. The Crucible has already been awarded two years of funding, that is about to be taken away, due to budget cuts. Our budget has been built around having these funds because they were awarded moths ago and now we will have to severely cut expenses to make ends meet.

Here is how you can help The Crucible and all the other Oakland Arts Organizations:

1.) Forward this urgent email to as many people as possible.

2.) Sign the online petition at

3.) Come to the City Council Meeting on Tuesday October 21st!

4.) Contact a Council Member and let them know how important the arts are to you!

Here is some more info:

Funding for the Cultural Arts and Marketing Department is on the chopping block and will be voted on by the Oakland City Council this Tuesday, October 21. The meeting begins at 6pm and this topic is currently Item 19 on the Agenda, so it could be a long night. Grant funding is in jeopardy, as are all of the staff positions. This is a serious threat to a thriving but already under-funded community. We do understand that the City’s finances are in a dire situation, but the fact of the matter is that the cultural arts department has historically borne more than its share of cuts and now represents only .4% (4/10 of 1%) of the overall city budget, yet serves 6,273 children and youth through the art in the schools program (most of whom would not have access to arts without these programs), and another 957,650 people through performances, events, etc. Not only will department staff lose their jobs: staff an d teachers in the already-fragile arts sector will also lose jobs. The arts are not a luxury! Children and youth who participate in arts programs and learn positive ways to express themselves are less likely to engage in unsafe or criminal activities. Neighborhoods with visual and performing arts venues bring in $$s to the local economy, help prevent crime and violence by “keeping the lights on”, and add to the overall quality of life in our city.

If The Crucible has made a difference in your life or someone you know, please join us to make our voices heard. TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

There are currently three council members who are opposed to cutting arts funding: Nancy Nadel, Jane Brunner, and Desley Brooks. All other council members have indicated that they will vote to cut the program. Please don’t let this happen!! Contact your council person immediately (preferably before Monday) and let them know that cutting the arts program is unacceptable. Also, let the three council members that support the arts know how much you appreciate their support. Below is contact info for each of the district council members:

District 1, Jane Brunner,, (510) 238-7001;
District 2, Pat Kernighan,, (510) 238-7002;
District 3, Nancy Nadel,, (510) 238-7003;
District 4, Jean Quan,, (510) 238-7004;
District 5, Ignacio de la Fuente., (510) 238-7005;
District 6, Desley Brooks,, (510) 238-7006;
District 7, Larry Reid,, (510) 238-7007
At-Large, Henry Chang, Jr.,

Not sure who your council member is? Click here to find out:

Please forward this to your staff, board, friends, students, their parents, your mailing list, etc. It is our responsibility to make our voices heard – and to let the officials know that we represent a larger portion of the public than they think!

Here’s a link to the evite:

I know that you are all really busy and I appreciate your time.
Thank you in advance for getting involved, We really need your help.

Michael Sturtz
Founder / Executive Director

UPDATE: Funding was not cut! :) Thanks to everyone that helped protect the Oakland art scene.

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Jillian McDonald and Creative Commons

Filed Under Art | 2008-10-10, 14:14

Zombies in Condoland - Pieces from Jillian McDonald, Scott Beale, and perhaps others

I post most of my images on Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic license. What does this mean? It means anyone is welcome to share my photos and even remix them as long as they attribute the photos to me and are not using them for commercial use. In addition, if you did want to use the photos without attribution and/or for a commercial purpose, you can contact me and I may waive those requirements for use. Chances are that if you’re an artist and “commercial use” means selling a couple prints, I won’t have any objections. But you have to ask first.

A good friend, Rubin Starset discovered that a portion of a photo taken by Scott Beale (of Laughing Squid) was being used by a Canadian artist (and Associate Professor of Fine Arts) named Jillian McDonald. She had digitally cout-out people dressed as zombies from photos that Scott had taken during one of the infamous San Francisco Zombie Mobs. She had also lifted zombies from photos taken by other photographers and it is unknown whether she had their permission or not. She then incorporated these photos into her own works, and at one point was prepared to sell prints of them.

Scott is an incredible photographer, and generously licenses his work on Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic license. This means you are free to share his photos (with attribution) as long as it is not for commercial use. Oh, but did you notice that “No Derivative Works” part? Yes, that means he is not giving you permission to remix or incorporate your photos into your own artwork. But, you could ask Scott for permission if you had this desire. Had Jillian McDonald asked Scott Beale for permission to use some parts of his photos, chances are he would have said it was fine, but Jillian did not. And to add insult to injury she was trying to sell prints using his work. She has since removed the page in question, but pieces of the photos are found elsewhere scattered on her site.

Perhaps I should just stop here and let the following open letter (posted on Oct 9th, 2008) from another friend, Aaron Muszalski, sum everything up:

Dear Ms. McDonald,

My name is Aaron Muszalski, and I am a San Francisco-based artist. I am also an Instructor at the San Francisco Academy of Art University, where I teach classes in digital compositing and visual effects. Prior to becoming an arts educator I worked at George Lucas’ visual effects facility, Industrial Light + Magic.

I am writing to ask why it is that, nearly a week after having been contacted by the photographer whose work you used as the basis for your “Zombies In Condoland” project, you have yet to take any apparent action. As you have no doubt been informed, those photos were placed on flickr under a Creative Commons license which specified the following:

Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

No Derivative Works. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

Creative Commons (CC) is a grassroots attempt to update copyright laws to better deal with the new types of usage, distribution and re-mixing that digital technology have made so accessible. Where traditional copyright defaults to refusal, eg. “I own this work completely, and no one else can use it in any way without my explicit permission,” Creative Commons allows for nuance and openness, eg. “I own this work, but I’m happy to allow certain kinds of re-use provided certain conditions are met.”

One important thing to note here is that the very act of placing a work under a CC license is an act of generosity; from a content creator’s standpoint, it is far easier to simply assert copyright over one’s work. The very fact that an artist has chosen to use Creative Commons serves as a sign that They Are Not The Enemy; they are not a faceless media conglomerate who “doesn’t get it” when it comes to re-use. Rather, they are us, the content creators. Fellow artists, trying to find a sustainable middle path in an era of increasing conflict between corporations and advocates of open culture.

Such a brave choice deserves to be rewarded with consideration and respect.

In this case, that means respecting Mr. Beale’s request of “No Derivative Works”, something which your “Zombies In Condoland” images clearly are. The central elements of your composites are the photographed zombies themselves (instantly recognizable to any of us who participated in that event, and instantly recognizable as Scott’s photographs) not the backgrounds that you’ve placed them over. And even if this were not the case – say, if you had used fewer pixels of Scott’s photos, or processed them in some way as to be unrecognizable – you would still be in violation of Scott’s “No Derivative Works” license. The lack of attribution (citing the original artists who created the images used in your composites) demonstrates a further lack of consideration on your part.

The irony of all this is that, knowing Scott, had you merely contacted him in advance and provided a brief description of your project, he almost certainly would have consented to having his images used (provided you gave proper attribution of course). It is also very likely that he would have promoted the results on his highly-ranked blog, Laughing Squid. Many items listed on Laughing Squid subsequently get picked up elsewhere, including on such uber-popular sites like Boing Boing. All of this would have been very beneficial for your work. That you did not choose to ask permission makes me wonder: are you inconsiderate, or merely naive, and somehow imbued with the attitude that, “just because I found it on the Internet, I can do anything I want with it”?

Please understand: I am a strong proponent of open culture and creative re-use, and a strong critic of the ongoing attempts to extend copyright and consolidate corporate ownership of our shared cultural heritage. But to architect a truly progressive solution – one that doesn’t rely upon overpriced laywers and onerous legislation – we will have to embrace communication and consent between artists. In this case, Scott did not grant such consent, and you should respect that.

I hope that you will truly consider what I’ve suggested, and promptly revise your “Zombies In Condoland” series so as to remove all of the images you took from Scott’s photographs.


Aaron Muszalski

For the record, Aaron has let me know that Scott himself did not actually contact Jillian McDonald, but rather others have emailed with her.

Here are more photos in question:

There Goes the Hood - Jillian McDonald

And here are some relevant links:
Original post from Rubin Starset
Scott Beale’s original tweet and further discussion of the issue on Scott’s FriendFeed.
Jillian McDonald’s website
Jillian McDonald’s Zombie project page
Google’s cache of the photos on Jillian’s page that started it all

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