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SFPC Fall 2019 — Week 5

blog post by Gia Castello & Esther Bouquet. video by Olivia Ross.

Day 1: On pixel manipulation

Last weekend, a few of us visited Storm King. The giant sculptures were inspiring and the site was so peaceful which was a welcomed break to our daily, noisy, New York City routine.

As Zach was away Monday, Robby Kraft exceptionally taught Recreating the past in Zach’s absence! We started by sharing our programs exploring typography manipulation inspired by Muriel Cooper. We started to see different approaches popping: some attempted to get as close as possible of Cooper’s work while others tried to shape their own interpretations.
Robby then introduced us to Ken Knowlton and Lillian Schwartz who both manipulated the pixels of an image and video feed. We learned that when Ken Knowlton started collaborating with engineers at Bell Labs to create experimental films, he ended up collaborating with Lillian Schwartz. Their collaboration resulted in mixing analog and digital techniques.

Robby used their works to demonstrate how to load an image and to grab pixels or data from the screen in order to manipulate them. In the picture below, he is explaining us how and why we need to skip every three values to get the red, green and blue colors of a video.

For homework, we are to create our own pixel manipulation program inspired by the work of one of those two artists.

Day 2: On our experiences of -veillance

For this week’s class with American Artist, we read the introduction of Simone Browne’s Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness. The text was information rich but we noticed the readings starting to fit together, building on top of each other every week. We read extracts of the text pulling out concepts like airport security as a theatrical performance of unnecessary security measures and the history of the FBI surveillance on black artists, intellectuals and activists to discredit their actions.

After breaking into groups where some of us talked about the shift from physical surveillance to online surveillance, we gathered again to discuss the different types of “veillance” based on Mann’s Surveillance Plan and our experience with each; surveillance, counterveillance, sousveillance and racialized surveillance. This time, American kept track of all our thoughts on the board so we can have more insight at the end of our discussion.

lots of notes!!

Day 3: From logic gates to sequential logic

In Hardware and electronics class, we went back to logic gates. If lots of us hit a wall last week before class with our (non)understanding of logic gates, this week homework results were completely different! Thanks to Taylor’s patience, we all understood how to use them during class and Allison achieved the distinction of building the first calculator ever of all SFPC cohorts!

During the time we reviewed homework, Mathilde, Yuzhu and Francisco demonstrated a boxing glove that lights every time it punches someone, Natalie, Katherine and Esther created a LED compatibility test and Lia, Maxwell and Iain built a LED race with pedals.

Lia, Maxwell and Iain’s racing game on the left. Natalie, Katherine and Esther’s project in the middle. And Zai and Taylor on the right.

The class focused on sequential logic and especially what bi-stable states like latches and flip flops are. The main difference between the two is that time matters for flip flop (synchronous) and not for latch (asynchronous). Taylor introduced capacitors and inductors and invited her friend Josh Levine to give a explanations of the two components and how they work if we use the water analogy for the rest of the class. Josh then gave a short lecture on crystals during the lunch break. This class was more about theory than practice so, we didn’t really put our hands to work but next week’s prompt is “make some noise!” which has already inspired a lot of us!

Day 4: Wrapping folder poetry workshop by unwrapping our folder poems

Thursday was the last day of class with Melanie. She introduced her work and her projects before starting the folder poetry workshop. It was inspiring to see how she balances the collectives she is part of, the art she creates and the pedagogy practice she has developed around her interests. It opens her work to a multitude of opportunities with the possibility to never need to do the same things.
During the second part of the class, we first shared our folder poem with the person sitting next to us then we created our very own distributed ‘cloud’ to share our poems with the entire class by using a raspberry pi, dat:// and ssh.

It was mesmerizing to see the different ways people see and understand poetry. Some of us built a choose-your-own-adventure type of poem by twisting the rules and limiting movements using various scripts, some saw the folders tree as a visual poem by itself. What was common between all the poems was the very personal history or messages they were revealing. People put a part of their heart, past experiences and personality into this assignment and we all felt a strong, shared vulnerability within the group.

Later in the day, Iain (a student) taught a workshop about pixel mapping using TouchDesigner. It was a delight to see him in his element with this software that seems to be super complicated at first sight. He guided us through different options and parameters so we learn how to map a projection on a specific and dedicated 2D area. We also celebrated Halloween with great costumes and went to see the Halloween Parade near SFPC!

Day 5: Field trip!

Grayson Earle talking about his past projects

On Friday, Celine organized a field trip to Red Hook! We started with lunch at Defonte’s and their really big (and emblematic) sandwiches and then we all walked to Pioneer Works together.

Tommy Martinez, the Director of Technology at Pioneer Works gave us a walk through of the current exhibition, “You’re at Home” by Jacolby Satterwhite We also had the opportunity to hear from both Tommy and Grayson Earle, a current resident in artist, about the work of the residents and how Pioneer Works’ mission and programs support an artist’s practice in different ways. It was great to have an inside view of both a residency program and an exhibition space. They were very accomidating and encouraging and many of us felt it might be possible to see our work there some day. We’re all looking forward to being able to visit other residencies programs and see how things are different or similar!

And to end this busy week in a perfect way, we celebrated Gia’s birthday on Saturday! Happy Birthday Gia. :)

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