March 2015, LED light on CNC-cut MDF, white paint, electronics, 16x8'.
Step into a luminous forest growing from floor to ceiling and navigate your way through twisting organic strands and interactive paths where bubbles of light slosh and flow, in this large-scale interactive light sculpture that encourages play, curiosity, and collaboration.
Forest is a creative collaboration between internationally acclaimed visual and new media artist Micah Elizabeth Scott and the New Media program at Ryerson University's RTA School of Media. This work is commissioned by TIFF for the 2015 digiPlaySpace.
While San Francisco-based Scott provided artistic concept and technical leadership, a group of Ryerson New Media students, led by Steve Daniels and David Bouchard, collaborated with Scott to design and fabricate this sophisticated, interactive digital artwork in Toronto.
Project Leads: Steve Daniels, Director of New Media; David Bouchard, Assistant Professor of New Media
Production Manager: Ashley Lewis.
Project Assistants: Sabreea Ahmed, Madeleine Amestoy, Meera Balendran, Alexander Basso, Zachary Botvinnik, Erin Brooker, Melissa Chan , Lindsay Cooper, Erica Cristobal, Ngawang Datok, Joelle Dell'Erede, Chelsea Dodd, Alejandro Flores, Amanda Huang, Tiffani Hui, Hilary Julien, Natali Lasky, Kadrah Mensah, Karina Nicole, Victoria Pietsch, Tess Sutherland, Justice Walz, Julia Wice, Mackenzie Willis, Charmaine Yu, McAlister Zeller-Newman
Photos: Nick Pagee and the artist.
November 2014 and ongoing, reverse engineering and video documentary.
Coastermelt documents the technical process of reverse-engineering a common Blu-Ray disc recorder in an attempt to create a new and widely available form of public art.
In an ongoing video series, Coastermelt methodically deconstructs a piece of technology we take for granted. By creating new software to control the same hardware in a novel way, this project's goal is to create discs encoded with a holographic image. By combining this holographic recording with an inexpensive laser pointer, the technique may lead to widely available and engaging communication through light projections in public spaces.
May 2014 – April 2015, LED light on laser-cut mat board, 4x8'
Site-specific light installation at the Doll House, future home of CounterPULSE in San Francisco's Tenderloin district at 80 Turk, produced in collaboration with CODAME. Opened at the ART+TECH Playground event on May 31st. • Presentation slides, Inside the Ecstatic Epiphany • Source code
Ecstatic Epiphany is a human-scale window into an imaginary space, installed in public behind an existing glass block wall. This piece is for anyone on the sidewalk to watch and control. Walking past it, your movement is amplified into a shift in perspective. Sometimes this is a passive action, other times it can lead to a dramatic change as chaos unfolds in the generative algorithms. The choreography of this mathematical world forms a continuous cyclic narrative of creation, depression, agency, and rebirth. Each moment is unique, echoed but never repeated.
April 2013, Interactive HTML5 raytracer.
Inspired by the artist's experiments with raytracing for LED light design, Zen Photon Garden is an interactive work about sculpting and visualizing rays of light. In its two-dimensional world, Zen Photon Garden visualizes the entire path of a light ray. A minimal interaction model gives the piece a meditative quality, harnessing the calm complexity of scattering light to foster creativity and play.
May 2013, Animation and still image rendering software.
High Quality Zen is a new visual art tool derived from the aesthetic model of Zen Photon Garden, replacing interactive exploration with detailed control and high-resolution rendering intended for skilled software artists. The resulting otherworldly full-color animations range from smooth and lifelike to mathematical and rigid; individual rays can be visible, with stable reflections layering to create solid geometric forms.
The 16-element triangle was originally created in March 2013 as a testbed for LED control algorithms and fabrication techniques to produce highly uniform and discrete panels of light within a laser-cut sculpture.
Triangle Attractor is a generative algorithm based on this triangular form. Bundles of glowing particles fade into existence to be immediately drawn to three attraction points at the corners of the piece. The forces from these competing gravitational attractors chaotically separate the particle bundle, until the algorithm loses interest and the cycle ends. Colors are sampled from a photo taken at the High Desert Test Sites. Negative space in the sculpture is made tangible by a set of triangular plastic cut-outs from each layer.
Released January 2014, Open Hardware product, 0.8x1.25"
August 2013, LED light in zip-tied HDPE plastic shell around custom steel forklift personnel carrier.
The Ardent Mobile Cloud Platform is a mobile 8-bit style cloud, designed to be deployed on a forklift, crane, or telehandler. It carries up to 5 passengers, 100 gallons of water, and a gasoline generator. A multitouch remote app controls sound and light effects, streaming music, rain, and mist.
AMCP was built by the art collective Ardent Heavy Industries for Burning Man 2013. Micah Elizabeth Scott led the lighting design, electronics, and software. The cloud was the first project to use Fadecandy. Photo credits: Micah Scott, Neil Girling, Julia Wolf, Audrey Penven
November 2012, 3D printed plastic, ultrasonic distance sensor, Arduino, reverse engineering, 2.5x2.25"
The radio protocol used by a commercial vibrator was reverse engineered, and a new remote control built with a novel interaction style. Like playing a Theremin, this vibrator responds to hand and body movements.
In addition to this experiment in interaction, the project was an experiment in DIY electronics culture. The "Hacking My Vagina" article and Arduino library intend to empower more women to control their own personal technology.
Selected algorithmic works. Processing, Blender, custom software.
Mixcandy is an experiment that turns music remixing into a synesthetic experience for anyone. Tracks are automatically analyzed for beat and mood information, and mapped to a grid of buttons which instantly seek to beat-aligned positions. This leads to an approachable interaction model for people with no music experience, while still allowing a great deal of room to build skill in the medium and express yourself through increasingly fine control over the remixed sound.
Selected drawings, felt-tip pen.
January 2014 and ongoing, large scale data collection and photo processing. Python, Node, CasperJS.
Emergent Aesthetic began with a question: how can we quantify the unconscious aesthetic decisions we all make? Something as simple as placement of a single dot on a blank canvas, aggregated over millions of people, gives a glimpse into the shape of underlying structures in the collective unconscious.
To collect a massive amount of data about these simple aesthetic choices, Emergent Aesthetic begins by looking at how we frame photos. So far over 800,000 identically sized random photos have been gathered from the Internet and processed into a single high-precision image, like a virtual long exposure. At first, this single image appears to be Emergent Orange. When low spatial frequencies are filtered out and the remainder amplified, phantom details emerge: patterns, ghostly faces, cloth-like textures.
June 2014, Instrument for live performance on piano and lights. Software and concept collaboration with Serene Han.
MIDI data from the digital piano controls real-time LED visuals based on a particle system with springy underdamped physics. Keys to the left of a division on the keyboard produce sinusoidal low-frequency oscillations that modify the behavior of all particles, while other keys emit new particles following an intuitive mapping between pitch, color, and angle.
The chaotic combination of the particle emitters, oscillators, and physics can produce complex and nuanced visuals that are completely under control of the performer. After learning the instrument, a performer may intonate emotion into light and sound simultaneously.
January 2014 and ongoing, concept for interactive music sculpture. Processing, Blender, Max/MSP, fiber optic, analog electronics.
Phyllotaxis Cantata is an experimental sculpture combining plant geometry, collaborative music, and sensory fiber optic lighting. Surrounding a central spiral staircase, numerous glowing fiber optic harp strings digitally tune to a generative chord progression.
The structure was iteratively designed using Processing to combine formulaic curves and intuitive drawing. Python scripts in Blender automated the construction of a 3D model based on parameters from the Processing sketch.
Optic fiber harp strings were prototyped using IR light reflection sensors, side-glow fiber, a modified LED light engine, and Max/MSP patches for pitch shifting.
June 2011, Easter egg hidden inside commercial software. 6656 byte bootable disk image, stored in the floppy disk emulation used by VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation.
In creating commercial software, hundreds or thousands of engineers and designers pour their creativity into something that's expected to be utilitarian and anonymous. Easter eggs are hidden messages embedded into otherwise faceless objects, glimpses of the creativity and individuality that otherwise remain trapped.
This piece amounts to smuggling art out of this commercial software environment by hiding it inside the product. Users who find the egg unexpectedly see a personal message: a single brief connection with one of the many developers who create the tools we use.
October 2008, modified wallclock, reverse engineering, ATtiny microcontroller.
The Kilowatt Clock is a whimsical take on the concept of an information radiator. A modified wallclock ticks once per kilowatt-second. The clock's speed is proportional to the amount of electricity used by an entire household. Elapsed time on the Kilowatt Clock measures energy use, much like an analog power meter.
This piece is based on reverse engineering the data format used by a consumer power monitoring device which transmits energy readings using a power-line modem. The clock is retrofitted with a microcontroller circuit that demodulates data from the power line.