My name is Ale Fernandez. I live in Barcelona, Spain and I'm Chilean and Italian.
I am a web developer, artist and technical researcher.
I've lived in Scotland, Italy, Spain and England and career-wise I am interested in distributed systems and their applications to improvised performance and ecology.

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9/15/2009

Where's the Salad?


A while ago, I put on an event in which people from Bristol grew and made a salad, based on Alison Knowle's "Proposition No 2":



It was very nice, and I made a preparatory video:



Make a Salad flyer as well as there being a radio interview and a sound art play with radio and some homemade chopping noises(with poet Andres Andwadter), lots of photos of the event itself and some graphics about it. But I want to make this, as well as more audio, this time of the live chopping duet between lollorosso and improvising trio, into a video and tell the story that way. So I'm really sorry, but it's going to take me a while. It was an incredible experience, and thanks to all who came, and to the better food company who gave us loads of tasty tomatos and lettuce. And to everyone else who brought us salad!

9/14/2009

A list of future physical/virtual computing arts projects

I have to write up so much from recent events, but as usual at these times, my head is buzzing with ideas for other stuff to do next (all based on a long weekend of messing with arduinos, robotics, Puredata and Max/MSP), so I thought it best to document that first. So. I would like to make:

  • An enactment of a score I wrote a long time ago, involving dancers/actors performing with a box, that follows different parameters based on what stage the performance is at. It would be a black box, interacting with the movement and words only through sound. It would be capable of "jamming" or following music in some way or other. (Link suggested by Mat)
  • A dance based implementation of the MaxMSP script that my friend Mat quickly put together last weekend, which allows webcams to interpret visual data as audio samples(more on that in the next post). I want to invite a duet of dancers to perform with this webcam audio, in December, but mostly scriptless, just a result of trying things out with the kit and seeing what shapes to pull so the sounds are better!
  • An outdoors sound object capable of sensing it's environment (possibly via sensors able to see light and soil moisture, so a bit like a plant again). It would turn those senses into audio. I would program it with my own samples and prototype it with PD, though so it would sound somehow like my own thing. The main part of it would be that it could play a morning raga: if it's dark, play a generative solo sound. As sound increases, find a melody and vary it, keeping the main bit for later. Percussion joins in when light reaches a certain moment, and follows warmth or moisture. I've got most of the bits of this. I'm wondering how to keep it safe out there in the rain and damp all the time though. And I want to get it solar panels and make it self sufficient, or even read more data from that into music as well!
  • An exhibition, soon, of the musical robot we prototyped and got started this weekend (looking for venues at the moment).
  • The two trees, from the previous post. This will hopefully debut on Burning Man's Second Life incarnation, Burning Life.
  • Maybe in future, a watcher system to protect plants against night time garden pests. It would have a wire going into each plant pot. It would use the noted aversion that slugs and snails have to small electrical charges (this is why they don't like copper), together with a motion sensor or some other sensors, to (gently) zap them whenever they come by. The natural extension of this would of course be a mobile robot that had all these things in it, and a good way of finding it's way around the garden.
So some of these are very real and coming soon if not here already. The Burning Life land grab is tonight (3am! late night tonight for me then) for example, but other things I just want to note down for the future...

9/09/2009

A tree spirit for Opensim / Burning Life


I want to make a self replicating distributed bot + attachment system, which is coupled with a physical computing version of itself which my friend Mat Dalgliesh is making as a physical creation.

Here is the spec:


The tree idea is a reflection of a physical computing tree, created using arduinos, sensors and motors.

Leaves are attachments with a built in fall script. When they fall, they slowly degrade, becoming darker until they become a particle effect and delete themselves. New leaves take donations from users. If they get donations, they grow bigger and live longer. They pass this donation to the trunk who divides it around the rest of the plant.

Here is a little bit of a proto-leafgen script:

// Rez an object on touch, with relative position, rotation, and velocity all described in the rezzing prim's coordinate system.
string object = "Leaf"; // Name of object in inventory
vector relativePosOffset = <2.0,>; // "Forward" and a little "above" this prim
vector relativeVel = <1.0,>; // Traveling in this prim's "forward" direction at 1m/s
rotation relativeRot = <0.707107,>; // Rotated 90 degrees on the x-axis compared to this prim
integer startParam = 10;



default {

state_entry() {
vector myPos = llGetPos();
rotation myRot = llGetRot();

vector rezPos = myPos+relativePosOffset*myRot;
vector rezVel = relativeVel*myRot;
rotation rezRot = relativeRot*myRot;
llSetObjectName("Leaf");
llRezObject(object, rezPos, rezVel, rezRot, startParam);
}

touch_start(integer num_detected) {
llRequestPermissions(llDetectedKey(0), PERMISSION_ATTACH);
}

run_time_permissions(integer perm) {
if (perm & PERMISSION_ATTACH) {
llAttachToAvatar(ATTACH_RHAND);
}
}

}



Fruits are controlled by all the other parts: they accumulate currency, and can spawn more of themselves when small. When big, they have a drop script. It becomes a little ball that gives something nice, like textures, or sim currency when picked. Just before it drops, it transfers any remaining goodness inside it to the trunk



The trunks are all bot avatars, run after being prepared by humans. Each time the tree needs to grow by another bit, another avatar is needed to be attached to a linking attachment. By use of animations, they could even be intertwined with each other. It uses currency to upload textures of it's older self - used in all other parts. If restarted, the bot scripts will start from seedling.

The avatar is heavily made up: it will have trunk and root- like attachments. sounds and animations, and then generators for the fruits and leaves, It is a bot, communicating with the attachments it wears via hidden channels. Maybe that's how a tree spirit should.



Roots are born when the tree is on some land. They could be non physical and locked to a place, so they function as an anchor. It can be engineered that only way it could be moved would be by the addition to the tree of a rooting script, temporarily making the tree physical. Not sure if these will be needed really though.

To kill it, because it can respawn trunks which automatically wear leaves and accumulate money, you would have to ddos all the bots that run it, and they can be connecting from different servers, which could make it quite a resilient little plant.

So this is an opensource project at the moment. It is a cross between content, character design ecology and commerce. It should be fun! Let me know if you'd like to be involved!

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