Ajai’s Presentation

March 13th, 2011 by Comments Off
From Bit Streams to LifeStreams-Ajai Narendran-STFF-2011.ppt Download this file

Arduino Wednesday March 8, 2011

March 11th, 2011 by Comments Off
Today we had a proper introduction into the different techniques we are going to explore in the coming days. As guests we had a dream team of techies dressed in nice striped shirts and all wearing glasses.

Rakesh and Alith introduced Arduino, GPS and RFID as tools for building interactive spaces.
They started with a short history of processing platforms. It all started with the development of advanced calculators, devices for memory storage and interfaces to external peripherals. After that the microcontroller was developed in the seventies, a small computer on a single integrated circuit.


Microcontrollers are used in contemporary gadgets like the washing machine and the television. In 2005 the development went into a new phase: Arduino was born. Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It is developed to make programming more easy for artist, designers and hobbyists.


Everything from Arduino is open source and online. You can find it on www.arduino.cc

Before we could look into the programming and use of the Arduino, Rakesh and Alith gave us a crash course in the digital logic of computers. Computers work with a binary code, which consists of series of 0 and 1. To understand how this code works we looked at how colors are represented in the computer by the RGB model.

Representations of 0-10 in binary code:

0 – 0
1 – 1
2 – 10
3 – 11
4 – 100
5 – 101
6 – 110
7 – 111
8 – 1000
9 – 1001
10- 1010

If you have an 8-bit RGB code, Red, Green and Blue are represented by codes of 8 digits, there are 255 possible codes per color.

After the colors we looked at how sound is represented in binary code. Sound consists of pressure differences in air which can be described as waves. The computer records sound in the variation of amplitude in time. The quality of the recording is defined by the number of intervals on which it stores the positions on the graph of amplitude in time. This is expressed in samples per minute. And the more number of bits you have the more precise and clear the sound will be.

As a third example of binary code we looked at how documents are stored as numbers. Every letter has a number. The first standard for coding is the ASCII code (American Standard Code for Information Interchange). Every character is represented in a 8-bit code, mapped in numbers from 0-255 (266 possibilities). For example A = 65, B = 66, C = 67. See for the ASCII table http://www.asciitable.com/


After a small break we talked a bit more about sound and how it is represented by the computer. (Sound recording two)

A human ear can hear 20 Hz – 20000 Hz.
Frequency is the number of cycles per seconds, two cycles per second is two Hz.
Amplitude is the height of the waves.
The Fourier transform is a mathematical operation that decomposes a signal into its constituent frequencies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourier_transform
Claude Elwood Shannon developed

information theory, which provided the tools for translating the continuous variation of sound into discrete ones and zeros, a process known as digitizing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Shannon
It is impossible to store the full sinus waves in your computer because the time and space between two points on the sine wave are infinite, you will never have enough storage space. This is why you have to take samples. Every sample will be mapped trough a binary number.

So far the introduction into digital logic. By this time we where craving for a break and the beautiful lunch on the roof top terrace of the new Srishti building.


After the lunch break we dived into the programming of Arduino.
(Sound recording three)

On the two sides of the Arduino Programming Platform you have two strips of pins (connection points).The pins on the top are digital (14 x  > numbers 0-13) and the pins on the down right corner are analogue (6x) and next to that are a few power pins. You can configure the pins as output or input – the pin is on or off (high or low) or you can write an on state/ off state on it. To these pins you can attach different input generating tools like a switch, a knob, a LDR (light dependent resistor) or a temperature sensor. To the output pins you can attach different tools like a LED (light-emitting diode) or a buzzer.
You can get many different shields to attach different other tools to the Arduino, for example a battery shield which allows the board to run on itself for six hours or a 3G shield to connect it to internet.

If you are making a sketch (a program you are writing in the programming platform) you can copy ready-made programs which you can modify. You can also make use of pre-defined functions, you can find these in the Arduino program under HELP – REFERENCE.

Programming language:
/* between these digits are comments and is not included in the program  */  
// an other way is to start with two slashes, you can write a comment till the end of the line

Variables – entities you use to store something which can be expressed in integer (int) (whole numbers)
Functions – name and operation – a substitution for a set of instructions so you have to write them only one time
Reserved words – if, break, return, etc. You can not use them as a variable and operators
-  +, -, =, etc.

Programming example 1:

int area(int 1, int b)                int area = function name, int = return type, 1 and b                             = valuables
    int a ;
    return a;

int arect;
arect = area (5,3);

Programming example 2 – Hello World:

void setup() {
    pinMode (13, output)    // pin nr. 13 is defined as output

void loop() {
    digitalWrite(13, HIGH);     // set the LED on
    delay(1000);                    // wait for one second
    digitalWrite(13, LOW);    // set the LED off
    delay(1000);                  // wait for a second


The long leg of a LED light is positive, the short leg is negative. You have to connect the long leg to one of the pins (in this example pin 13) and connect the short leg to Ground (GND). To create more Ground (and more space to add things to) add a bread board to the Arduino board.


Programming example 3 (button sensor):

Turns on an LED on for one second, then off for one second, repeatedly.
This example code is in the public domain.

int sw;

void setup() {
    pinMode(12, INPUT);
    pinMode(13, OUTPUT);
void loop() {

    sw = digitalRead(12);

Programming example 4:

The Knob sensor (potential meter) produces output variating between 5V and 0V, defined in a 8 bit number.

int brightness;
int fadeMode = +1;

void setup()
    pinMode(11, OUTPUT);

void loop()
    analogWrite(11, brightness);
    if (brightness = = 255)                // max. brightness
    fadeMode = -1;                          // brightness decreases
    if (brightness = = 0)                  // min. brightness
    fademode = +!;                        // brightness increases

After a small break we talked about art works which make use of Arduino. One interesting example that was mentioned was a work which consists of a projection of google earth on the ground on which you can stand and navigate through changing your position.

Websites with Arduino projects:

We went on with a speed introduction in GPS, Global Positioning System, and RFID, Radio Frequency Identification.
(Sound recording four)

GPS was developed by the American military. It makes use of 24-32 satellites which use
trilateration for locating your longitude and latitude through combining the spheres of three satellites. To define your altitude as well you need to combine the information of four satellites.



The GPS receiver downloads orbital information and correct its clock from the satellite's time signal. It computes the orbital position of the satellites and measures the distance to each of the satellites from the time lag in their signal reception. It performs trilateration and computes the position. It can as well compute other navigation parameters like speed, distance to another point, bearing, etc.

and Applications of a GPS system are position / navigation / object tracking, survey and mapping synchronizing clocks in multiple locations.

GPS doesn't work very well inside, the radio signals are blocked by the concrete. There are more expensive GPS tools which can function inside, but they can still have problems with echoes. Mobile phones with GPS make use of other techniques, like defining the position through making contact with cellphone towers.


Nomadic Milk, GPS art project by Esther Pollak. http://nomadicmilk.net

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a technology that uses communication via radio waves to exchange data between a reader and an electronic tag attached to an object, for the purpose of identification and tracking. RFID is similar to the concept of barcode and is used to identify objects. Next to that it can also be used for time and attendance systems, automatic entry systems and package tracking systems.
Tags come in various shapes and sizes for different applications. There are tags in the form of key rings, chips which you can embed in your body, shirt buttons and smart cards, like door cards or ID cards.
A RFID reader can be attached to an Arduino board, so you don't need to attach it to a  computer. If you add a shield for 3G or GPRS, you can connect the RFID reader to the internet. This allows you to upload or download information to and from the internet.


After this long and very technical presentation Prayas mapped out how we will pursuit with the 'Space the Final Frontier' project. We will form clusters based on concepts, in which collaboration can take place. Everybody gets three yellow chits which stand for time and skills. You have to invest two of these chips into projects initiated by other participants of Space the Final Frontier. This model for collaboration is based on a model developed by Kitchen Budapest, a new media lab.



Waiting for the bus to the hotel.

I will post the sound recordings of the day in the next post.

Vasanthi’s Reading

March 11th, 2011 by Comments Off


March 11th, 2011 by Comments Off

After another night with almost enough sleep, nearly enough time for breakfast and another bumpy busride in the morning sun, we arrived at the Srishti old building. The first speaker of the day was artist and media practitioner Deepak Srinivasan who decided to abandon his original plan of a power point presentation and took us all outside to explore the issues of public space he is dealing with in his own work. Through group activities, first all of us together, later in small groups of three and three, we played with the notion of how we move in public spaces. We were asked to freeze in different situations, within the school campus and outside in the neighbourhood. The small groups of three moved around in the local area, freezing for a few minutes on different locations. Some interesting conversations and situations occurred when passers-by and other people that happened to be around started to interact with the small interventions.

Our next stop on the program took us back to the new Srishti building where guest speaker Rustam Vanja discussed the issues of global ecology vs. human rights. Using some of his drawings as a starting point, he posed his thoughts on how ecology and human rights issues are often tackled separately. But, as intertwined as they are, also with world politics and economics, we should be trying to understand how we should deal with these issues in a unified manner.

He was followed by Smiriti Mehra who is an artist in residence at Centre for Experimental Media Art at Srishti. She showed us a few of her video pieces and work in progress where she is trying to capture the essence of a space. The videos were made in and around Bangalore, where she had followed local markets like Johnson meat market and the flower market, trying to figure out who takes responsibility of these places.


When we gathered after lunch, Prayas Abhinav presented a list with words associated with new media art, and we had a session where he explained the different themes. This led up to an exercise where we formed new groups and in 50 min we had to choose some of the themes and curate a collection of imagery of artists dealing with the chosen subjects.


The day at Srishti ended with a presentation by another artist in residence at the Centre for Experimental Media Art at Srishti, Yashas Shetty. Now based in Bangalore, he is working on a project called Bangalore Metamaps [ http://metamap.in ] which is aiming to create a cheap networked pollution sensors that can send out real time data about air pollution. Previously he had done a project with Medialab Prado making pollution sensors in Madrid, where they put out false data about the level of pollution in the city to not scare away the tourists. He also showed us a very interesting project led by Jeffrey Warren, who is a student at MIT, that is trying to invert the traditional power structures of cartography by letting grassroots mappers making their own low cost community satellites. [ http://grassrootsmapping.org ]

The group split up on the way back, some went to the market and some of us went back to our neigbourhood restaurant and had another lovely meal that left us all too full. Again.

Space the Final Frontier -07.03.11

March 9th, 2011 by Comments Off

After a marvellous Sunday of markets, mapping the city with rickshaws, lovely contact with locals (both photo’s and good food tips) and (thus) great food, we had a short sleep and were up at 6 am. Monday morning. A lucky shower before the water bubbled off, a welcome breakfast and a quick run to catch the Srishti bus. Northwards across the city we arrived at the Srishti building were all the ‘Space the Final Frontier’ collaborators met and the project officially commenced!



We kicked off discussing and logging into the blog, shortly followed by an introduction presentation by Meena Vari, introducing us to the history and different projects of Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology. In this we met the French students of the trans-cultural design program joining our workshop, the CEMA program, AIR; the artist in residence program, curatorial networks, SPORE, the Research programs, R+D, and CEMA PAAR – nomadic media labs, with which we are now working. For more information please see: http://srishti.ac.inhttp://cema.srishti.ac.in/site/



Srishti is located in Bangalore science/health belt, surrounded by institutes such as the Foundation of Revitalisation of Local Health and the National Space Centre. Inspired the Srishti school approached a number of the institutes to engaged in collaborative research programs. With several partners they embarked on the investigative and educational event Kalpaneya Yatre 2010, an astronomy festival. See

Other projects that were introduced to us were Subjective Cartography 2009 in collaboration with Evan Chardonnay and his team and the Bio Art master class biological arts group SymbioticA, Australia. Successful contributions to art and science competition iGEM. And the Think Tank Synchronisations2004, curated by Clementine Deliss which was part of an ongoing international research called Future Academy, involving students and professionals investigating how art practices will evolve and what the future art education might look like over 25 years. Some of the outcomes of this workshop were ideas such as mobile campus’ and roaming workshops, much as the one we’re a participating in now.

Renée Ridgway then introduced the Dutch Art Institute (DAI), a two-year MA fine arts program in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Participating in one of the DAI programs run by Renée, Negotiating Equity, 9 students have come to Bangalore to collaborate in the ‘Space the Final Frontier’ project. Renée introduced the blog of Negotiating Equity, were our guest speakers – artists, theorists and curators – as our discussions are logged. Read more here – http://negotiatingequity.net



Renée and Prayas Abhinav then presented n.e.w.s, (http://northeastwestsouth.net) a collective online platform for the analysis and development of art-related activity, under which Shadow Search Project (SSP) is operating. SSP is concerned with developing an algorithm that would find off-the-radar or stealth activities; how do you see things that don’t want to be seen? In the coming weeks as part of our research into mapping space, we will also be considering alternative means of search, and so, as a meta-project, we will be collecting data and brainstorming some of the concepts of the SSP project.




We then had a dynamic afternoon of presentations from all the collaborating students from Srishti, CEMA, DAI, Chitra Kala Parishath, Kala Bhavan (Shantiniketan) in the Pecha Kucha format. The presentations touched on diverse forms and subjects ranging from urban gardening, bio art, audio-tours, kinetic sculptures, community space, perpetual motion, oral histories, migration, identity and environments. to new teaching models, based on Gandhiji’s: ‘Design for purpose, learning for sustenance.’
After a day of new faces and new ideas we jumped on the bus back to town center, an eventful ride as we almost drove into and tree and shortly after a rickshaw, mmm, the bus driver clearly wasn’t having his day! We headed to MG road were we visited the Blossom bookshop, waaa, we all had great fun buying a.o Indian cook books, a children’s book with explanation of the god’s and much desired city maps! We landed in a great grand-central-esk café, Koshy’s, were we drank Kingfisher and ate a beautiful north Indian cuisine. Satisfied, we headed home, good and ready for the days to come.







Pecha Kucha Ane

March 9th, 2011 by Comments Off
Ane Pecha Kucha.pdf Download this file

non existing exhibition

March 8th, 2011 by Comments Off

Presentation1.pdf Download this file

virtual exhibition in pdf

March 8th, 2011 by Comments Off
_08032011.pdf Download this file


March 8th, 2011 by Comments Off
Presentation1.pdf Download this file

virtual exhibition

March 8th, 2011 by Comments Off
workshop_08032011.rtfd.zip Download this file