Interview with Moritz Simon Geist / Sonic Robots

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MR-808 Drum Robot. Photo: Jürgen Lösel

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MR-808 Drum Robot. Photo: Jürgen Lösel

Moritz Simon Geist is a classical musician and a robotics engineer who builds his own musical instruments and seems to genuinely and tirelessly have fun in the process. The most famous of his creations is the MR-808, an oversized replica of the TR-808 produced by Roland to reproduce drum sounds. This 1980s electronic drum machine imitated the drum so inadequately that it actually created its own sound. The distinctive 'thump thump' became an integral part of hip hop music, gained iconic status with Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing and reached such a cult position within the music industry that even Kayne West paid tribute to the machine in his hit album 808s and Heartbreak.

Geist's TR-808 opens up MR-808's guts and allows us to see how the sounds are mechanically produced. The installation recreates 11 sounds of the TR-808 using mechanical actuators and physical tone generators and displays them inside an oversized wooden replica of the original instrument.

The artist went further with the installation MR-808 Interactive that invites the audience to collectively program the instrument using a touchpad.

His most intriguing creation however is probably the Glitch Robot which uses small robots to move, beat, hit and produce acoustic sounds, emphasizing thus the origin of the sound in a way no conventional medium of electronic music production is able to.

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SONIC ROBOTS at Cynetart, 2014. Photo by David Pinzer

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MR-808 Drum Robot. Photo: Jürgen Lösel

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MR-808 Drum Robot. Photo: Jürgen Lösel


Moritz Simon Geist, MR 808. Filmography: David Campesino

Moritz Simon Geist and his Sonic Robots will be performing at the Rokolective festival in Bucharest on 11th and 12th of September. The weekend of performances is part of SHAPE, a European platform for innovative music and audiovisual art. I thought i'd take the event as an excuse to get in touch with the artist and discover more about his robots, ambitions and passions:

Hi Moritz! First, i've got to ask about the Roland TR-808. What attracted you to the instrument and made you want to develop a work based on it? Did you have one before making robots, for example?

Unfortunately, I never owned an 808, although it was invented in the year of my birth! I started dealing with electronics and robotics when I was quiet young. I started playing guitar at 14 and building my own guitar effects. From there I somehow got to robotics - now you would call it sound art - hacking the vinyl and tape recorder of my parents (the were not amused!). Years later I continued with robotic sound experiments. And then one day - I suppose it was in a bar or under the shower - I had the idea to give all these experiments a "frame" and to take the most famous drum machine of all time was kind of obvious after that. Actually during the building process I was obsessed for some time that somebody might come up with that project before me. Well .. it didn't so happen, maybe the idea wasn't that SO obvious.

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MOM + TYONDAI + SONIC ROBOTS at HAUBerlin

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MOM + TYONDAI + SONIC ROBOTS at HAUBerlin

You are a musician and the musical instruments you create are visually very striking. They are both elegant and playful. What guides the aesthetically choices you make while developing a new machine? And how important is the visual aspect of the robot?

I never studied Design or Arts, so in the beginning I wasn't used to all these fancy design processes, mood boards and the like, and I did most of it just by "well-that feels good / that doesn't".

Still the visual aspect is probably 50% of music robots. If an art piece doesn't convince visually, it loses a lot of its power. People can get an "image" so much easier, where you would need five sentences in text to describe the idea, and attention is the most hard-fought currency.

One might have the best concept and the best idea but in the end it needs an image to get that direct contact to the audience' attention. So design is definitely super important.

When I start building a new machine I try to get an overall picture of what I want. In general in robotics big movements are good. You can see something good when it's moving a lot. But on the other hand this is the most difficult to do - big motors, heavy equipment, long latencies. So you ask yourself: How shall it look like on stage? How can I videotape it? What time shall it refer too (70s, retro futurism, steam punk ..)? Then you can get example pictures and you get an overall idea of how things shall be and you start to design.

Still, in the end, time always runs out and you are hunted by pragmatism, leaving all your design aspects aside. Music Robotics is such a big field - mechanics, electronics, programming, music - so all theses things come before the design when the piece has to be released in two weeks.

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SONIC ROBOTS at Cynetart, 2014. Photo by David Pinzer

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SONIC ROBOTS at Cynetart, 2014. Photo by David Pinzer

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SONIC ROBOTS at Cynetart, 2014. Photo by David Pinzer

I'm very intrigued by MR-808 interactive where the MR-808 is programmed live by the audience. Could you tell us how it works? How can people collaboratively control a robot drum machine without the whole experience turning in to a cacophony?

The idea is that you can make a rhythm (with a step sequencer). But you don't do it alone, it's an open system where everybody can collaborate. Like GoogleDocs for music. Let's jam together - on a big drum robot! Actually you could drive any drum computer with this system it doesn't have to be the MR-808.

Technically speaking its a Node.js server which renders a website that interacts with a SuperCollider Sequencer which spits out midi. We are big fans of open source, you can find the code here https://github.com/Sonicrobots/MR-808

In theory you can interact with as many people as you like. But at our exhibitions only 2 people can play with the robot. For a good reason: Once, I was working with an art group and they developed a simple sketch board where you can write and paint stuff with a projector and it gets displayed in public. We let the people paint for hours, but after less than one hour somebody always would write something obscene of offensive. We called that "Mean Time To Dick". Roughly 30 minutes. So this always happens. Call it cacophony or Media arts vandalism. If you are standing beside the installation for 2-3h you will see that it moves like a wave: at one hour people create something beautiful, then a small group comes in and it gets totally annoying. Than beautiful again.

So in MR-808 interactive, the robot does the music, the audience controls it. What's your role in there?
Do you just sit back and enjoy the show?

Actually - yes! There is not much to do but explaining and fixing if something is broken. And that's actually the idea with robots isn't it? They shall do the work, not me!

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Moritz Simon Geist and the Glitch Robot. Photo: David Campesino

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Moritz Simon Geist and the Glitch Robot. Photo: David Campesino

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Moritz Simon Geist and the Glitch Robot. Photo: David Campesino


Moritz Simon Geist and the Glitch Robot (Live performance at the B-Seite Mannheim festival 2015.) Video: Roman Heller

I was reading in your bio that you are giving talks about the progression of robotics and society. So what's your take on the role that robots will play in our society? nowadays they seem to be used mostly in entertainment or industrial contexts.

Actually, the progression in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning (the "brain" of robotics) is quite fast these days. Google bought several robotic and robot intelligence companies including DeepMind and BostonDynamics, which resulted in fascinating to frightening results. The singularity (when machines reach the consciousness of humans) might be decades away, but a lot of steps have already been taken. You can take random science fiction literature to conceive how the world would look then. Maybe its a dystopia - or humanity will finally listen, when big machines tells them to stop the suicidal party we are currently holding on our planet.

I don't associate robots with fallibility. I thought they were supposed to perform simple tasks impeccably. Yet, you say that with your robots you are interested in introducing more "error" into the music. Could you comment on that? Why are errors so fascinating to you?

And could you give us some example of these errors that the robots made that surprised, inspired or delighted you? (if that's possible to explain in words!)

That's many questions! One big topic is that industrial robots cannot be compared with the "experimental" DIY robots that I am building. Industrial robots are good and well tested and rarely fail. Experimental robots are - experimental! They do stuff you don't plan them to do. They are not tested. They are hacked together from trash and kitchen equipment.

It appears when you play with them. The robotic stick doesn't always hit in the right moment - like a drunken drummer. The piezo microfon moves and suddenly you have a crazy humming on the record. You have sudden and unexpected sound crosstalk. If you play two instruments at a same time a third one will trigger because the electronics is acting weird. A midi note hangs and the whole system is skipping or looping for one second. It's not predictable.

And this is one of the things that I like: Digital art (digital music) is predictable and well calculated. Music robots aren't. The concept behind this is, that if you have a predefined and strict set of creative tools and functions it always gets you to the same result.
You know five chords on the guitar? Super, you can play 80% of rock songs. But what happens if your guitar distunes? If you by error get the wrong note? And the skipping robot might sound really cool while skipping. It might sound shit - or it might give you the creative impulse to need to get off of the beaten track. Error is a creative nucleus for artistic work. The rest is still work.

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Which artists or figures from the music, robotics or art worlds do you find inspiring?

I really adore the work of Julian Oliver. His artistic and theoretic concepts make so much sense together and I am a big fan of the Critical Engineering manifesto. For some time I was also a big fan of Bre Pettis (Founder of makerbot) but he really disappointed everybody, including me. Apart from that - of course - my friends Andi and Jan from Mouse On Mars who taught me a lot about bass, error and how to deal with sound and the mystery of sound in general. Wizard geniuses, both of them!

You are going to participate to Rokolectiv festival in Bucharest this September. What will you be performing/showing there?

I will perform with the MR-808 Robot and some hacked music gear like a game boy and some modded and self build sound sculptures. We have the interactive MR-808 installations but initially it was meant to be an instrument on stage.

Thanks Moritz!

Don't miss Moritz Simon Geist from Sonic Robots at the Rokolective festival which will take place inside the Halele Carol former power station in Bucharest on 11th and 12th of September. The event is part of SHAPE, a dynamic European platform for innovative music and audiovisual art.

Along with Geist's presentation and performance, the festival will also feature sound performances and DJ sets by Raze de Soare, Lorenzo Senni, Sergiu Doroftei, Low Jack, DJ Nigga Fox, RSS Boys, Borusiade and Cote.

More photos of Sonic Robots in action on flickr.

Simulation as Institutional Critique: Lawrence Lek’s ‘Unreal Estate’

 

Lawrence Lek, Unreal Estate (the Royal Academy is yours) (2015; video game still)

Wealth is monolithic: it refutes argument, pointed criticism, direct gaze. The architecture of today's wealth is monolithic, as well: a crucial expression of modern oligarchies' centralized power. Where the estate once served as a neat symbol of riches, our edifices are more diverse and inventive. They are built heavy and tall, as rebuff. They have to symbolize abstract figures, tens of billions of dollars on paper.

Artist Lawrence Lek offers us entry into the monolith in his work Unreal Estate. In it, we, the viewers, are the new billionaire owner of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. To recreate a virtual Royal Academy out of surveyor's drawings, Lek used Maya and Unity, graphics software used in both video game environmental modeling and level design, and in architectural practice as a rendering tool for visualizing elaborate structures. Unreal Estate is the ninth level in Lek's Bonus Levels series; Lek created Bonus Levels as nine "utopian fiction" iterations of different sites in London. ("Bonus levels" are secret, productive, freeform sections in a video game in which the game's rules are suspended.) 

In the film for Unreal Estate, a voiceover reads a training manual by the real daughter of a Russian oligarch named Maria Baibakova. The guide prescribes how to run a household of servants like a corporation. Her tract was widely mocked, and to hilarious effect. In Unreal Estate, Baibakova's text is reworked, here recited in Mandarin by Joni Zhu. The future is for sale to the highest bidder, and it will continue to be. The real Royal Academy is on a lease contract; London's housing crisis, like that in New York City, is largely caused by the ultra-wealthy inflating values by buying up property they barely live in. 

Lawrence Lek, Unreal Estate (the Royal Academy is yours) (2015)

A commercial real estate investor's white flag greets us as I enter the main courtyard: Jones Lang LaSalle: Real Value in a Changing World. The voiceover congratulates me: my bid for Burlington House and 6 Burlington Gardens has been successful. I float on towards a Jeff Koons bunny, cradling, in its left steel arm, a painter's easel: Koons is always good for a solid grotesque reflecting us back to ourselves. All the iconic, massive art brought here is first valued for the cultural capital it represents.

This Royal Academy is, further, reconstructed on a surreal private island. Helicopters clip across the sky, and I am blinded intermittently by the hot pink flashes of a laser alarm system perimeter. Threading through is an exquisite score by Oliver Coates, with cello that swells and retreats as my gaze floats over the uncanny prints and décor of each room, the marble, the CCTV monitors. There is talk of panic rooms.

I had a long conversation with Lek about his work over Skype. He was in his studio in London, sitting before a poster of Rorschach inkblot tests. Lek trained and worked as an architect, and so he deploys its language with ease. He posits his critical game worlds as "three-dimensional essays," inspired by Chris Marker and Harun Farocki's essayistic films. This is, he argues, "simulation as institutional critique."

What is the thesis, then, of this simulation essay? Lek is attempting several highly ambitious projects at once here, among them the gamification of our world to reveal its rules, and a steady critique of art's live-in relationship with banking. He demonstrates how capitalism reproduces itself through spectacular edifices, how it squashes social critique by submitting the mind to awe. The museum enshrines the market's choices of cultural winners.

By placing his viewers, who with all statistical likelihood are mostly not billionaires, in the shoes of one, Lek also plays on the neoliberal ethic of extreme self-sufficiency. Perhaps, we think, if we work unimaginably hard, everything is attainable: land, culture, one of the most respected museums in the world. Through this fantasy of disembodied ownership, the viewer is forced to contend with whether she believes in it in real life. Interestingly, Unreal Estate was shown in the Royal Academy itself. Viewers remarked that they had a new feel for the familiar interior after having experienced the space as "owners."

I listen to instructions on how to manage my "army of servants": the drivers, nannies, maintenance workers, cooks and butlers. The score turns dark and bittersweet as we move down into the vaults. I have to wear a heavy mantle of responsibility to keep my family legacy and dominion intact. My workers will sign confidentiality agreements. I will only hire legally, and all relations must be kept above board. And I have to resist treating maids like "sweet but poor relatives," the monologue continues; it is best to not show anger, as we must only "express our strongest emotions to our equals."

My walk through Unreal Estate is a journey inward. This is the purpose of deploying a first-person, meditative, role-playing experience. I am invited to meditate on my own relationship to the space. I walk deeper into the museum, past gold-leafed borders, up columned stairs. I hear: To become master of your home, you must define its mission. What mission would I give a home this grand?

This virtual Royal Academy, as metonymy of the art world, makes me acutely aware of how successive historical articulations of power and desire can converge in one space. The building, in this context, makes the fantasy of total ownership and real prestige both accessible and understandable. And what, I think, looking up at these totalizing facades, is wrong with desiring protection?  The precariat of earlier ages used his pluck, endurance, and resilience to rise up from the dusty streets into the lit, rolling gardens of the aristocracy. Today's white collar office worker, though a little less smudged and hungry than Pip, still lives in an unsure world. He dreams of security, of safety, of continuity.

Though the simulation and dislocation in Unreal Estate should allow the space to be more fluid and plastic, it is interesting that the systems and symbols of great power are replicated again on the island. The logic and language of titanic ownership inspire potent longing. Wealth is, as ever, anything but just wealth: it is controlling desire, it is channeling anxiety into taste, it is the promise of protecting and supporting future generations.

In the final minutes of the film, I watch the sunlight cut thick gold lines across a smaller, seemingly gold model of the Royal Academy, kept on a dais, in a hall lined with thick maroon carpet. Then, I am up on the roof. I skip past Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate to the helipad. I feel deeply settled as the helicopter lifts up over my property; I survey my new estate for the first time. I think of my banker friends breaking out champagne to laugh at thousands of protesters from the balcony of their investment firm. I think of a young monarch assuming her duty, frozen into the image of the Virgin Queen at the end of the film Elizabeth.

Below, the glass ceilings of the gallery rooms, about fourteen in total, glitter in their gold and stone settings. I see rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, all ensconced, like jewels set in the lid of a tomb.

Simulation as Institutional Critique: Lawrence Lek’s ‘Unreal Estate’

 

Lawrence Lek, Unreal Estate (the Royal Academy is yours) (2015; video game still)

Wealth is monolithic: it refutes argument, pointed criticism, direct gaze. The architecture of today's wealth is monolithic, as well: a crucial expression of modern oligarchies' centralized power. Where the estate once served as a neat symbol of riches, our edifices are more diverse and inventive. They are built heavy and tall, as rebuff. They have to symbolize abstract figures, tens of billions of dollars on paper.

Artist Lawrence Lek offers us entry into the monolith in his work Unreal Estate. In it, we, the viewers, are the new billionaire owner of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. To recreate a virtual Royal Academy out of surveyor's drawings, Lek used Maya and Unity, graphics software used in both video game environmental modeling and level design, and in architectural practice as a rendering tool for visualizing elaborate structures. Unreal Estate is the ninth level in Lek's Bonus Levels series; Lek created Bonus Levels as nine "utopian fiction" iterations of different sites in London. ("Bonus levels" are secret, productive, freeform sections in a video game in which the game's rules are suspended.) 

In the film for Unreal Estate, a voiceover reads a training manual by the real daughter of a Russian oligarch named Maria Baibakova. The guide prescribes how to run a household of servants like a corporation. Her tract was widely mocked, and to hilarious effect. In Unreal Estate, Baibakova's text is reworked, here recited in Mandarin by Joni Zhu. The future is for sale to the highest bidder, and it will continue to be. The real Royal Academy is on a lease contract; London's housing crisis, like that in New York City, is largely caused by the ultra-wealthy inflating values by buying up property they barely live in. 

Lawrence Lek, Unreal Estate (the Royal Academy is yours) (2015)

A commercial real estate investor's white flag greets us as I enter the main courtyard: Jones Lang LaSalle: Real Value in a Changing World. The voiceover congratulates me: my bid for Burlington House and 6 Burlington Gardens has been successful. I float on towards a Jeff Koons bunny, cradling, in its left steel arm, a painter's easel: Koons is always good for a solid grotesque reflecting us back to ourselves. All the iconic, massive art brought here is first valued for the cultural capital it represents.

This Royal Academy is, further, reconstructed on a surreal private island. Helicopters clip across the sky, and I am blinded intermittently by the hot pink flashes of a laser alarm system perimeter. Threading through is an exquisite score by Oliver Coates, with cello that swells and retreats as my gaze floats over the uncanny prints and décor of each room, the marble, the CCTV monitors. There is talk of panic rooms.

I had a long conversation with Lek about his work over Skype. He was in his studio in London, sitting before a poster of Rorschach inkblot tests. Lek trained and worked as an architect, and so he deploys its language with ease. He posits his critical game worlds as "three-dimensional essays," inspired by Chris Marker and Harun Farocki's essayistic films. This is, he argues, "simulation as institutional critique."

What is the thesis, then, of this simulation essay? Lek is attempting several highly ambitious projects at once here, among them the gamification of our world to reveal its rules, and a steady critique of art's live-in relationship with banking. He demonstrates how capitalism reproduces itself through spectacular edifices, how it squashes social critique by submitting the mind to awe. The museum enshrines the market's choices of cultural winners.

By placing his viewers, who with all statistical likelihood are mostly not billionaires, in the shoes of one, Lek also plays on the neoliberal ethic of extreme self-sufficiency. Perhaps, we think, if we work unimaginably hard, everything is attainable: land, culture, one of the most respected museums in the world. Through this fantasy of disembodied ownership, the viewer is forced to contend with whether she believes in it in real life. Interestingly, Unreal Estate was shown in the Royal Academy itself. Viewers remarked that they had a new feel for the familiar interior after having experienced the space as "owners."

I listen to instructions on how to manage my "army of servants": the drivers, nannies, maintenance workers, cooks and butlers. The score turns dark and bittersweet as we move down into the vaults. I have to wear a heavy mantle of responsibility to keep my family legacy and dominion intact. My workers will sign confidentiality agreements. I will only hire legally, and all relations must be kept above board. And I have to resist treating maids like "sweet but poor relatives," the monologue continues; it is best to not show anger, as we must only "express our strongest emotions to our equals."

My walk through Unreal Estate is a journey inward. This is the purpose of deploying a first-person, meditative, role-playing experience. I am invited to meditate on my own relationship to the space. I walk deeper into the museum, past gold-leafed borders, up columned stairs. I hear: To become master of your home, you must define its mission. What mission would I give a home this grand?

This virtual Royal Academy, as metonymy of the art world, makes me acutely aware of how successive historical articulations of power and desire can converge in one space. The building, in this context, makes the fantasy of total ownership and real prestige both accessible and understandable. And what, I think, looking up at these totalizing facades, is wrong with desiring protection?  The precariat of earlier ages used his pluck, endurance, and resilience to rise up from the dusty streets into the lit, rolling gardens of the aristocracy. Today's white collar office worker, though a little less smudged and hungry than Pip, still lives in an unsure world. He dreams of security, of safety, of continuity.

Though the simulation and dislocation in Unreal Estate should allow the space to be more fluid and plastic, it is interesting that the systems and symbols of great power are replicated again on the island. The logic and language of titanic ownership inspire potent longing. Wealth is, as ever, anything but just wealth: it is controlling desire, it is channeling anxiety into taste, it is the promise of protecting and supporting future generations.

In the final minutes of the film, I watch the sunlight cut thick gold lines across a smaller, seemingly gold model of the Royal Academy, kept on a dais, in a hall lined with thick maroon carpet. Then, I am up on the roof. I skip past Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate to the helipad. I feel deeply settled as the helicopter lifts up over my property; I survey my new estate for the first time. I think of my banker friends breaking out champagne to laugh at thousands of protesters from the balcony of their investment firm. I think of a young monarch assuming her duty, frozen into the image of the Virgin Queen at the end of the film Elizabeth.

Below, the glass ceilings of the gallery rooms, about fourteen in total, glitter in their gold and stone settings. I see rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, all ensconced, like jewels set in the lid of a tomb.

Simulation as Institutional Critique: Lawrence Lek’s ‘Unreal Estate’

 

Lawrence Lek, Unreal Estate (the Royal Academy is yours) (2015; video game still)

Wealth is monolithic: it refutes argument, pointed criticism, direct gaze. The architecture of today's wealth is monolithic, as well: a crucial expression of modern oligarchies' centralized power. Where the estate once served as a neat symbol of riches, our edifices are more diverse and inventive. They are built heavy and tall, as rebuff. They have to symbolize abstract figures, tens of billions of dollars on paper.

Artist Lawrence Lek offers us entry into the monolith in his work Unreal Estate. In it, we, the viewer, are the new billionaire owner of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. To recreate a virtual Royal Academy out of surveyor's drawings, Lek used Maya and Unity, graphics software used in both video game environmental modeling and level design, and in architectural practice as a rendering tool for visualizing elaborate structures. Unreal Estate is the ninth level in Lek's Bonus Levels series; Lek created Bonus Levels as nine "utopian fiction" iterations of different sites in London. ("Bonus levels" are secret, productive, freeform sections in a video game in which the game's rules are suspended.) 

In the film for Unreal Estate, a voiceover reads a training manual by the real daughter of a Russian oligarch named Maria Baibakova. The guide prescribes how to run a household of servants like a corporation. Her tract was widely mocked, and to hilarious effect. In Unreal Estate, Baibakova's text is reworked, here recited in Mandarin by Joni Zhu. The future is for sale to the highest bidder, and it will continue to be. The real Royal Academy is on a lease contract; London's housing crisis, like that in New York City, is largely caused by the ultra-wealthy inflating values by buying up property they barely live in. 

Lawrence Lek, Unreal Estate (the Royal Academy is yours) (2015)

A commercial real estate investor's white flag greets us as I enter the main courtyard: Jones Lang LaSalle: Real Value in a Changing World. The voiceover congratulates me: my bid for Burlington House and 6 Burlington Gardens has been successful. I float on towards a Jeff Koons bunny, cradling, in its left steel arm, a painter's easel: Koons is always good for a solid grotesque reflecting us back to ourselves. All the iconic, massive art brought here is first valued for the cultural capital it represents.

This Royal Academy is, further, reconstructed on a surreal private island. Helicopters clip across the sky, and I am blinded intermittently by the hot pink flashes of a laser alarm system perimeter. Threading through is an exquisite score by Oliver Coates, with cello that swells and retreats as my gaze floats over the uncanny prints and décor of each room, the marble, the CCTV monitors. There is talk of panic rooms.

I had a long conversation with Lek about his work over Skype. He was in his studio in London, sitting before a poster of Rorschach inkblot tests. Lek trained and worked as an architect, and so he deploys its language with ease. He posits his critical game worlds as "three-dimensional essays," inspired by Chris Marker and Harun Farocki's essayistic films. This is, he argues, "simulation as institutional critique."

What is the thesis, then, of this simulation essay? Lek is attempting several highly ambitious projects at once here, among them the gamification of our world to reveal its rules, and a steady critique of art's live-in relationship with banking. He demonstrates how capitalism reproduces itself through spectacular edifices, how it squashes social critique by submitting the mind to awe. The museum enshrines the market's choices of cultural winners.

By placing his viewers, who with all statistical likelihood are mostly not billionaires, in the shoes of one, Lek also plays on the neoliberal ethic of extreme self-sufficiency. Perhaps, we think, if we work unimaginably hard, everything is attainable: land, culture, one of the most respected museums in the world. Through this fantasy of disembodied ownership, the viewer is forced to contend with whether she believes in it in real life. Interestingly, Unreal Estate was shown in the Royal Academy itself. Viewers remarked that they had a new feel for the familiar interior after having experienced the space as "owners."

I listen to instructions on how to manage my "army of servants": the drivers, nannies, maintenance workers, cooks and butlers. The score turns dark and bittersweet as we move down into the vaults. I have to wear a heavy mantle of responsibility to keep my family legacy and dominion intact. My workers will sign confidentiality agreements. I will only hire legally, and all relations must be kept above board. And I have to resist treating maids like "sweet but poor relatives," the monologue continues; it is best to not show anger, as we must only "express our strongest emotions to our equals."

My walk through Unreal Estate is a journey inward. This is the purpose of deploying a first-person, meditative, role-playing experience. I am invited to meditate on my own relationship to the space. I walk deeper into the museum, past gold-leafed borders, up columned stairs. I hear: To become master of your home, you must define its mission. What mission would I give a home this grand?

This virtual Royal Academy, as metonymy of the art world, makes me acutely aware of how successive historical articulations of power and desire can converge in one space. The building, in this context, makes the fantasy of total ownership and real prestige both accessible and understandable. And what, I think, looking up at these totalizing facades, is wrong with desiring protection?  The precariat of earlier ages used his pluck, endurance, and resilience to rise up from the dusty streets into the lit, rolling gardens of the aristocracy. Today's white collar office worker, though a little less smudged and hungry than Pip, still lives in an unsure world. He dreams of security, of safety, of continuity.

Though the simulation and dislocation in Unreal Estate should allow the space to be more fluid and plastic, it is interesting that the systems and symbols of great power are replicated again on the island. The logic and language of titanic ownership inspire potent longing. Wealth is, as ever, anything but just wealth: it is controlling desire, it is channeling anxiety into taste, it is the promise of protecting and supporting future generations.

In the final minutes of the film, I watch the sunlight cut thick gold lines across a smaller, seemingly gold model of the Royal Academy, kept on a dais, in a hall lined with thick maroon carpet. Then, I am up on the roof. I skip past Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate to the helipad. I feel deeply settled as the helicopter lifts up over my property; I survey my new estate for the first time. I think of my banker friends breaking out champagne to laugh at thousands of protesters from the balcony of their investment firm. I think of a young monarch assuming her duty, frozen into the image of the Virgin Queen at the end of the film Elizabeth.

Below, the glass ceilings of the gallery rooms, about fourteen in total, glitter in their gold and stone settings. I see rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, all ensconced, like jewels set in the lid of a tomb.

Cell division animation/simulation

I am trying to create a simple animation where you start with a single shape (could be a circle or pixel) and then at a specific time interval that shape will "divide" in two. This will double the amount of shapes at every interval. I have been playing around with the Bouncy Bubbles example since it is really close to what I want in terms of the look and physics, but the division aspect is beyond me. I'm guessing that I cannot just increase the size of the array of objects as time progresses and traversing only a part of the array has so far eluded me. I had a quick look on openprocessing.org but I could not find a working example of what I wanted.

Any help or similar working examples will be greatly appreciated.

submitted by gekko15
[link] [comment]

How to access array data within a class?

I have 'baseCells' that I want to remain as constants, but currently my code allows 'active' cells to be drawn underneath even though they are not displayed.

What I'm trying to do is detect whether the cell clicked is within the 'baseCell' array, and if it is, do not draw an 'active' cell.

Could anyone help me out to make this happen? I am still trying to wrap my head around processing.

Tile[][] tiles; int gridSize = 10; int tileSize = 50; void setup() { size (450, 400); generateGrid(); } void draw() { background (255); display(); } public void generateGrid() { tiles = new Tile[gridSize][gridSize]; for (int i = 0; i < gridSize; i++) { for (int j = 0; j < gridSize; j++) { tiles[i][j] = new Tile((i*50), (j*50), tileSize, tileSize); } } } public void display() { for (int i = 0; i < gridSize; i++) { for (int j = 0; j < gridSize; j++) { tiles[i][j].display(); } } } void mousePressed() { for (int i = 0; i < gridSize; i++) { for (int j = 0; j < gridSize; j++) { println (mouseX/50 +"," + mouseY/50); } } int mx = mouseX/50; int my = mouseY/50; tiles[mx][my].active = !tiles[mx][my].active; // tiles[mx][my].base = !tiles[mx][my].base; println(tiles[mx][my].active); } class Tile { int tx, ty, tw, th; int[] baseCell = { 4, 2, 4, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5 }; color col_default = color(255); color col_base = color(0, 0, 255); color col_active = color(255, 100, 50); boolean active = false; boolean base = false; Tile (int itx, int ity, int itw, int ith) { tx = itx; ty = ity; tw = itw; th = ith; } void display() { stroke(0); fill(col_default); if ( active ) fill (col_active); rect(tx, ty, tw, th); for (int i=0; i<baseCell.length; i+=2) { fill(col_base); rect(baseCell[i]*50, baseCell[i+1]*50, 50, 50); } } } 
submitted by Haking3
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A Scanner, Darkly: On Andrea Crespo’s “polymorphoses”

Andrea Crespo, multi (sensorygates), (2015; detail)

In futurist Ray Kurzweil's early version of the flatbed scanner, angled mirrors feed the image of a document through a series of encoding CCDs. Similarly positioned mirrors are also used in the treatment of amputee victims; the image of an extant limb is projected onto the phantom limb, allowing the patient to engage with this limb's sensory map.

Constantly reflecting on this imagery, Andrea Crespo's recent solo show "polymorphoses" at Hester in New York evokes an environment of clinical intimacy in its aesthetic and conceptual coherence. Similar to an LED screen or scanner, the digital prints on the four poly voile curtains covering the windows are backlit by the sun. Positioned in front of these curtains, an EMDR light bar (used by cognitive therapists to treat post-traumatic stress disorder) replicates a scanner's mobile light in the sculpture polymist: echolalic transponder; its accompanying soundtrack abstracts the diegetic sound of this light's kinetics as low digital tones.

Andrea Crespo, "polymorphoses," exhibition view

A scanner's white light rhythmically appears, segmenting the film parabiosis: neurolibidinal induction complex 2.2. The film's DeviantArt-sourced images of conjoined anime characters appear in bluish-white on a dark background, recalling the emerging effect of minimal boot-up images; they regularly converge, split, and merge again. The visually spare figuration is combined with minimal diagrams of mitochondrial reproduction, suggestive of the biological processes within technology. Through this parallel between biological and technological encoding and multiplication, the film links the scanner's abstraction of materiality into a system of digital circulation and memetic engineering with the production of DNA. Conjoined figures are considered within the interfaces and hardware in which they are embedded: in the film, they are suggested in a chatroom, cycled through on a Gameboy screen, and presented on a twitchy flatscreen monitor.

Furthering this intertwinement of hardware apparatuses and the images they circulate and encode, the show's series of data security boxes, cut to protrude two inches from the wall, schematically sequences this bodily association with data. This is done to great effect in plurisim (incubator), in which a four-prong Nintendo Game Link cable is interwoven with a polymesh fabric behind a reflective glass, its surface lined with a column of conjoined stickers designed in the sprite style of early videogame graphics. Despite the comparatively shallow immediacy of –--––-––-––––-– (encrypted), a data security box with a key in its lock and a UV-print on reflective darkened glass that recalls the smears, dust, and grease that form a scanner's white noise, the piece's necessity within the series becomes apparent in the works somatospasm (disinterface) and teratosyzygy (host). The UV print in the former depicts hands in the midst of grasping or releasing this detritus over a soft-focused digital print of a linen-like fabric. In the latter, the LED lighting of a computer cooling fan only partially illuminates a mesh fabric and a minimal, white etching of a conjoined figure. Fittingly, getting close enough to observe the minutiae of these works often involves avoiding one's own reflection.

Andrea Crespo, plurisim (incubator) (2015)

Andrea Crespo, plurisim (incubator) (2015)

As well as subtly referring to the imagery's use by Autism Awareness groups, puzzle pieces, appearing in the foam tiles of the seating mat for polymist and as vinyl decals on the scanners in the works s-curves (plasticities) and mobility slopes (long-tails 2.2), echo a type of cloud-based, memetic consciousness implied in Crespo's curation of DeviantArt.

Because this type of unpaid content-production is vital to online communities such as DeviantArt and Wikipedia, these conjoined anime characters, in turn, convey a certain malleability of the self that is made necessary by the biopolitics of an information-driven economy. This curation does not simply consider DeviantArt as a theater for wish-fulfillment. Rather, it becomes indicative of how technology encodes the image of the body.

Andrea Crespo, teratosyzygy (host), (2015)

Andrea Crespo, "polymorphoses," exhibition view

A Scanner, Darkly: On Andrea Crespo’s “polymorphoses”

Andrea Crespo, multi (sensorygates), (2015; detail)

In futurist Ray Kurzweil's early version of the flatbed scanner, angled mirrors feed the image of a document through a series of encoding CCDs. Similarly positioned mirrors are also used in the treatment of amputee victims; the image of an extant limb is projected onto the phantom limb, allowing the patient to engage with this limb's sensory map.

Constantly reflecting on this imagery, Andrea Crespo's recent solo show "polymorphoses" at Hester in New York evokes an environment of clinical intimacy in its aesthetic and conceptual coherence. Similar to an LED screen or scanner, the digital prints on the four poly voile curtains covering the windows are backlit by the sun. Positioned in front of these curtains, an EMDR light bar (used by cognitive therapists to treat post-traumatic stress disorder) replicates a scanner's mobile light in the sculpture polymist: echolalic transponder; its accompanying soundtrack abstracts the diegetic sound of this light's kinetics as low digital tones.

Andrea Crespo, "polymorphoses," exhibition view

A scanner's white light rhythmically appears, segmenting the film parabiosis: neurolibidinal induction complex 2.2. The film's DeviantArt-sourced images of conjoined anime characters appear in bluish-white on a dark background, recalling the emerging effect of minimal boot-up images; they regularly converge, split, and merge again. The visually spare figuration is combined with minimal diagrams of mitochondrial reproduction, suggestive of the biological processes within technology. Through this parallel between biological and technological encoding and multiplication, the film links the scanner's abstraction of materiality into a system of digital circulation and memetic engineering with the production of DNA. Conjoined figures are considered within the interfaces and hardware in which they are embedded: in the film, they are suggested in a chatroom, cycled through on a Gameboy screen, and presented on a twitchy flatscreen monitor.

Furthering this intertwinement of hardware apparatuses and the images they circulate and encode, the show's series of data security boxes, cut to protrude two inches from the wall, schematically sequences this bodily association with data. This is done to great effect in plurisim (incubator), in which a four-prong Nintendo Game Link cable is interwoven with a polymesh fabric behind a reflective glass, its surface lined with a column of conjoined stickers designed in the sprite style of early videogame graphics. Despite the comparatively shallow immediacy of –--––-––-––––-– (encrypted), a data security box with a key in its lock and a UV-print on reflective darkened glass that recalls the smears, dust, and grease that form a scanner's white noise, the piece's necessity within the series becomes apparent in the works somatospasm (disinterface) and teratosyzygy (host). The UV print in the former depicts hands in the midst of grasping or releasing this detritus over a soft-focused digital print of a linen-like fabric. In the latter, the LED lighting of a computer cooling fan only partially illuminates a mesh fabric and a minimal, white etching of a conjoined figure. Fittingly, getting close enough to observe the minutiae of these works often involves avoiding one's own reflection.

Andrea Crespo, plurisim (incubator) (2015)

Andrea Crespo, plurisim (incubator) (2015)

As well as subtly referring to the imagery's use by Autism Awareness groups, puzzle pieces, appearing in the foam tiles of the seating mat for polymist and as vinyl decals on the scanners in the works s-curves (plasticities) and mobility slopes (long-tails 2.2), echo a type of cloud-based, memetic consciousness implied in Crespo's curation of DeviantArt.

Because this type of unpaid content-production is vital to online communities such as DeviantArt and Wikipedia, these conjoined anime characters, in turn, convey a certain malleability of the self that is made necessary by the biopolitics of an information-driven economy. This curation does not simply consider DeviantArt as a theater for wish-fulfillment. Rather, it becomes indicative of how technology encodes the image of the body.

Andrea Crespo, teratosyzygy (host), (2015)

Andrea Crespo, "polymorphoses," exhibition view