baltimore's makerspace for hackers, makers, diy and crafters

Two Artists in August

As part of one of the mini-revivals that we like to do every once in awhile, a bunch of members sat down this week and finally put some workshops on the Calendar. We’ve got beginners soldering classes, a chance to meet a MakerBot, and a command-line boot camp, but I’m going to share a few words about two I’m taking responsibility for that are coming up in the next several weeks.

Neither is really a proper workshop–you know, fees, quizzes, and certificates of achievement–but more a chance to pick the brain of a working programmer/artist who’s doing1 interesting work.

Coming up first on Thursday, August 12 at 7:30 PM we have Jesse Kriss, a specialist2 who recently put together the code and hardware for a public art installation at the San Jose International airport, “Dreaming F.I.D.S.”.

Jesse’s going to talk about and demonstrate computer vision, beautiful code, and reliable architectures for ambient interactive media displays (i.e., “How to Use Processing and Have It Not Fall Apart When You’re Not There”). The talking portion will be brief and it’ll be mingled with Q&A and followed by some time to explore code on your own, so bring your laptop and your brain. This will also be a great chance to get some help with any Processing ideas you have floating around but aren’t sure how to start.

Since the event is falling on one of our open hack nights, feel free to stop by even if you’re not much of a programmer. Open hacks are always a great time to meet people with interests different from yours and get inspired.

Visiting Baltimore a few weeks after that on Monday, August 23 at 7:30 PM is Joshua Penrose, a composer and interactive media artist well versed in Max/MSP3. His recent work includes Remediated Wall an installation at the Urban Arts Space in Columbus, OH. The piece explores Extremely Low Frequency electromagnetic vibrations via, among other components, a 7-foot long induction coil feeding data to pachube, a source for “realtime sensor, energy and environment data from objects, devices & buildings around the world”.

I’ve asked him to share his thoughts on designing, developing, and finally implementing a complex piece of interactive art. What are the tools and processes that have produced success, and what hasn’t worked as well? A lot of us at the Node work in highly precise, customer-oriented technical fields. We get specifications and we turn that into a product without a lot of room to branch off into wildly different worlds of use, re-use, exploration, invention, and discovery. Joshua will share some of his work and we’ll hopefully have a chance to build something new. Max/MSP is a little deep (and expensive) for an introductory class, but it can talk to just about anything, so you can prepare for this session by getting your networking / sensors programming in order4.

Like I said at the beginning, both events are free and open to the public. Just show up. Drop us a line on the mailing list if you have any questions or suggestions.

tl;dr – Events! At the Node!

1 – Node is all about doing.
2 – Jesse is also a practicing DJ (like with records and everything!), so come with ideas for bridging the vinyl/digital divide.
3 – Joshua is a musician too. Be thinking about New Interfaces for Musical Expression.
4 – maybe ask yourself, “how can I attach an accelerometer to this weasel?”. Write down what you come up with and bring it along. We’ll compare notes.