All posts in LAB

Urban Immunology

prototype image

 

LAB have undergone a few changes recently. Following our run of workshops throughout Sideshow, our activities and practices were changing and together with a new commission, we decided that it was time for a new name and identity. LAB has now become The Institute for Boundary Interactions, and while the LAB activities and ethos will continue to be a part of what we’re doing, we will also be concentrating on our own creative output.

So, the big new is that we have been awarded a commission by the Broadway Digital Innovation initiative Making Future Work, to undertake our proposed project, Urban Immune System Research. Here’s the opening blurb from our proposal:

Urban Immune System Research [UISR] is a critical design project exploring parallel futures in the emergence of the ‘smart-city’ and the appropriation of humans as data-agents in urban systems.

“Our cities are non-living and yet our cities are growing and we are covering every square inch of this planet which means that we are going to engineer things that we can live with, that give us some value and purpose.”
– Andrew Hessel – The Internet of Living Things

LAB will design, prototype and produce a range of speculative future technologies that will take form as a mixture of wearable and portable devices, mixing consumer electronics, couture fashion, ecological systems and organic components.  These will constitute strategies for creating more fluid interactions between humans, technology and both the built and natural environment .

Re-imagining the urban environment as a multi-cellular living organism, what might threaten or support the health of the city?  If the economy is our digestive tract what is it trying to feed?  If communications networks are the nervous system what is the city trying to feel?  How might we design more sustainable and healthy futures by modelling our cities, peripheral devices and interactions with technology on ecological systems?

We’re really excited about this project as it gives us the chance to further develop our collective practice, and to explore an area of research that we feel has real potential.

Our new site is currently under development, but there’ll be much more information and regular updates on the project available soon, and we’ll be blogging our activities and progress on the Making Future Work site too. There will also be a more comprehensive archive of all the activity from the Sideshow Open Laboratory residency.

Check out the MFW site soon to see the other commissions – there’s going to be some great work coming out.

The Worlds Largest Photobooth

projection

Recently LAB consulted on the production of The worlds Largest Photobooth which has just opened at the Nottingham Contemporary. It’s a free-to-have-a-go interactive installation to promote the current Diane Arbus exhibition. It looks like people are having a lot of fun with it, so if you’re in Nottingham get down there and have a go!

When you sit on the stool a web cam behind the 2 way mirror detects your face and tells a Canon DSLR (also behind the mirror) to take 4 shots of you. These photos are then processed and compiled into a Polaroid style set of 4 images, projected onto the 30 ft wall behind the booth (as shown in the image above), and uploaded to Flickr. The photos are given a title, description and added to a photoset in Nottingham Contemporary’s photostream.

For the most part the booth’s custom software is open source. All the face detection, camera controll and image processing was done by Brendan Oliver (who’s got a more detailed write-up on his blog) using Openframeworks, along with some Flash, PHP and the Canon SDK. A few of us from LAB were involved in implementing the booth’s Arduino controlled flash and an automatic Flickr uploader written in processing.

photobooth

Introducing LAB!

Shortly after moving up to Nottingham I began working with Mat Trivett and Mike Golembewski to set up an open, collaborative collective of creative practitioners in Nottingham. We called it LAB, and we’ve just confirmed our first in a series of workshops based around open source prototyping and collaborative practice:

LAB #1: Processing Workshop – March 16th. 7-10 pm at The Orange Tree (Map).

This’ll be an intro to the Processing development enviroment and programming language. If you’re interested in coming along, you’ll need to sign up, and the link to the registration form can be found in the event post. The reason for this is so that we can get an idea of who’s coming and tailor the workshops appropriately.

We’re in the process of confirming dates for the next two sessions, but the second will be an Arduino workshop, and the third will be a putting-what-you’ve-learned-into-practice project workshop. If you are interested in coming along to either of these you can sign up to the LAB mailing list and we’ll keep you posted, or just keep an eye on the blog for further announcements. Alternatively, if you’re interested in working with us, do feel free to get in touch.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that we won’t be entirely focussed on digital or electronic things. That’s just what we’re kicking of with, so stand by for crocheting and ice-sculpting workshops. Or something.

Exciting times!

Also, it’s worth mentioning that we won’t be entirely focussed on digital or electronic things. That’s just what we’re kicking of with, so stand by for crocheting and ice-sculpting workshops. Or something.