Pixelsumo is a blog about interaction, with an emphasis on play, installation, video game culture, playgrounds and toys. Written by Chris O'Shea.
Posted November 19th 2010 under Me
It is with much thought & a little sadness that today I have drawn a line under Pixelsumo and will close this blog. Whilst I will leave the archive online, I won’t be writing any more posts on this site.
Since I arrived in London in 2005, I have worked a crazy number of hours, late nights and weekends. Doing everything from freelance work to personal commissions, curating, exhibitions, writing this blog, co-organising This happened, workshops & lectures. Not only is this tiring, it also means there are many activities demanding my attention. There are only so many hours in a day.
Since my rebrand, I am focussing on what is important to me as an artist, designer and tinkerer. I needed to simplify my working life so that I could concentrate on these goals. My heart isn’t in blogging any more. I will focus entirely on making those installations that I love seeing people play with, and digital toys for a larger audience. What spare work time I have will be spent doing charity work for children’s arts organisations.
You might have noticed my post frequency has dropped and dropped to once every few months. Whilst some readers are ok with this, it’s always a thought niggling in the back of my mind that I should be posting on the blog. Everyday I see projects and research I find interesting, often saved under ‘to blog’ but I never find the time to write about them. My output on Pixelsumo was only ever a small percentage of my research and personal interests. Rather than let it slowly die out I decided to end it now. I didn’t want to take on additional writers as it wouldn’t be personal to me.
Thank you to everyone in various communities for reading and all your support.
Posted October 5th 2010 under Me
Sorry I haven’t been able to post on Pixelsumo, things are hectic.
Today I am pleased to launch my new website & visual rebrand: www.chrisoshea.org
I’d appreciate your feedback whilst I iron out the bugs.
The team that brought us the powerful Reactable have put their work in turning the tangible instrument into an iPhone/iPad app. Reactable Mobile is priced at $10, which in app store world is not the norm these days, but it is a quality product for people serious with their music making.
* Universal App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
* High quality 44kHz stereo sound quality
* Accelerometer and microphone input
* 20 virtual objects
* Import of custom samples and loops
* Save and share your sessions
A set of generator objects:
– loop players, with possibility to upload your own loops,
– synthesizers, with a large range of instruments to select from,
– oscillators, to synthesise pure and complex tones,
– input, to get audio directly from the device’s microphone.
A set of effects to modify generated sounds:
– wave shapers: distortion, compression, and resampling,
– delays: reverb, feedback, and ping-pong,
– modulators: ring modulation, chorus, and flanger,
– filters: low pass, high pass, and band pass.
A set of controller objects to modify other objects parameters:
– sequencers, with step-by-step, matrix, or random modes,
– low frequency oscillators (LFO), with different waveforms,
– accelerometer, to fetch data from the movement of the device.
A set of global objects to modify the settings of the entire table:
– tempo, to change the speed of the table,
– volume, to lower or increase the loudness,
– tonalizer, to change the harmony of the melody.
Last week Yuri Suzuki had his first major show open in London (KK Outlet) until the end of September. Featuring some old works and new ones, each giving a playful physical interaction with sound, such as…
“Colour Chaser detects and follows black line whilst it reads the colour and translate the colour RGB data into sound.” video below.
rec & play
Plus many more sound devices. Photos of the exhibition opening here.
“The arrangement includes six exceptional exhibits from the world of sounds and acoustics. At first sight looking trivial, each object incorporates a very unique ability.
The magical character of each object is accompanied with a little story, almost completely concealing the existence of technical components such as speakers or sensors. Only small connection ports as well as the uniform black finishing point to their unusual abilities.
In form and functionality all these exhibits pursue John Maeda’s „Simplicity“. They are enjoying to use, they are surprising and one wants to explore and investigate them.”
I particularly enjoyed the coffee grinder (shown top), allowing you to scrub through the sounds, the echo bag and the bucket that collects sounds that you pour out. Reminds me a little of Audio Shaker.
Posted June 30th 2010 under Games
Sorry I am a bit slow posting this one, but I am really behind on my to-blog list.
British TV station Channel 4 has never shied away from being controversial, and thankfully they are putting money and energy into video game development too.
Enter the recently announced Privates, a game by Zombie Cow Studios for Channel 4, aiming to educate teenagers on safe sex…. “a funky little game about tiny little condom-hatted marines going right up peoples’ rude areas and shooting all the nasty chompy things that tend to live there if you’ve been carelessly putting bits of yourself in silly places”.
“Where pregnant, waddling teenagers take up the full width of the pavement with their oversized triplet pushchairs, unaware that their rampant, perpetual humping has filled them to the brim with all manner of grotty infections.
Privates is a platform twin-stick shooter in which you lead a teeny-tiny gang of condom-hatted marines as they delve into peoples’ vaginas and bottoms and blast away at all manner of oozy, shouty monsters. It’s rude, funny, bitingly satirical and technically pretty accurate if you don’t count the tiny people or the germs with teeth.”
Will it stop teenagers having sex, or educate them on STDs? Who knows. But you could argue that whilst they are busy playing the game, they at least aren’t spending their time having sex ;) The style of game is definitely more suited towards boys. Sort of Earth Worm Jim meets Inner Space. Maybe they will remember the smelly monsters later.
I’m glad this is being made and look forward to having a play on it.
Watch this video, making sure your sound is on, but not too loud :)
Posted June 25th 2010 under Me
Hand from Above is a piece I made last year for an outdoor screen, where a giant hand picks up people from a crowd, and flicks them off the screen (it also squashes them, tickles them).
Today I have been sent this advertising in Time Square, where a giant super model picks up people from the crowd and throws them out of the screen.
Create by ad agency Space150 for Forever21.
Good to see what can be achieved with a better production budget, such a using video for the animation, higher resolution camera and massive screen. There are a few other things it does like take a snapshot Polaroid and picking people out carrying a yellow Forever21 bag.
I’m not by any means suggesting that the creators have seen Hand from Above, but it certainly feels familiar. Maybe inspired by? What do you think?
There had been a heated discussion on Vimeo comments about this and I have now posted my response…
Following on from their successful Fun Theory campaign, Volkswagen create more playful interventions in the name of viral advertising.
An idea that I’ve seen discussed many times before but not put into practice, VW put a slide into an underground train station in Berlin, giving people a fast way down, as this video shows…
As Carsten Holler says in this post, “The slides changed the daily routine of those who experienced them, altering their modes of traveling and their conception of social appropriateness. In the midst of a public space, traveling down a slide like a child in a playground, one loses all sense of control, exactly what one fears in a collective environment”
The 2nd I enjoyed as much, turning a normal elevator into a space rocket…
The third attaches a skateboard to a shopping trolley for potentially dangerous fun…
Back in 2006 I wrote about Tape, an commission by Someth;ng for our Cybersonica exhibition. There is something authentic about playing in an easy way with real audio tape, rather than software and digital interfaces.
Instead of moving the tape over a play head, the tape is fixed stationary to a wall. As a participant, you wear a glove that has the playhead on your finger trip, allowing you to drag your finger over the tape to play the audio.
One of my favorite installations that I’ve experienced is Blind Light by Antony Gormley. The feeling is quite hard to describe, but you had to be there. Disorientating, claustrophobic, exciting, playful, wet, confusing. All from a glass box filled with fog. Forget all this digital stuff.
So, when I saw this on Designboom (where I borrowed these pics from), I wished I was in Beijing to experience it.
Feelings are facts is an installation by Olafur Eliasson & Ma Yansong, at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, “which challenges our everyday patterns of spatial orientation. vision functions as our primary default sense for navigation, but within this installation, insecurity is induced on visitors initially, reducing visibility, suggesting the need to invent new models for perception.”