Words That Stick

 

Words That Stick from Oriana Neidecker on Vimeo.

(Rough draft video, final to come with full working suit)

After countless hours spent soldering and coding the final version of our Pcomp/ICM interactive bodysuit is ready.  I have to admit I was nervous about how the project would end up looking but Elizabeth dances so beautifully she really brought everything together.  Tomorrow we present our interactive performance piece.

 

THE CONCEPT

We wanted to create a piece that comments on the unique lexicon that has been cultivated and utilized specifically towards WOMEN & those who experience misogyny, and explore the violent and prohibitive effect it has on their often marginalized or reduced roll in society.

We wanted to focus on the language used during the election (by our President Elect, Donald Trump).  For our project we had a plethora of sound bites to draw from.

In the performance a dancer is lit up and is dancing.  The user has a controller with four buttons that when pressed release Trump sound bites and controls the dance.  In the end the dancer is slumped over on the floor unable to move, before she rises up of her own volition and is no longer affected by the actions of the user.

The Audience members/users are responsible for pressing buttons, which have an immediate impact on the dance. However the dancer is responsible for a fifth button “clear”, that triggers a new set of empowering words by iconic women.

 

TECH DETAILS

We used four neopixel strips, one for each limb that is remotely controlled by a controller that we made and powered by an arduino. There’s a button associated with each neopixel strip and limb.  The strips all start out as blue and then with each button press that strip turns red and then finally turns off.  We achieved this by making a toggle in the arduino code so each button state cycled between colors. screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-1-45-28-am

With each change of the color of a strip the performance is affected.  At blue the dancer has full movement, at red her limb stiffens and she no longer has a range of motion and when turned off it falls limp and is unusable.  When a button is pressed it also serially communicates with p5 and releases a Trump soundbite.

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There is a secret 5th button, the override button, this button (which will ideally be on the dancer herself) repowers all of the strips with white light and renders the other four buttons useless.  With this the dancer regains her agency and ability to dance.

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LaFlaca in Space – Unity Dabbles

LaFlaca in Space from Oriana Neidecker on Vimeo.

For our final animation assignment we were tasked with making a character and a world in Unity.  I’m fascinated by virtual reality and Unity is one of the “easiest” ways to make VR content.  They  also have an amazing asset store filled with content for you to use.

In the future I want to make  surreal dreamy VR, most likely dealing with abstract shapes and patterns but for the purpose of this assignment (and being the midst of finals) I decided to go with something just plain old weird 2D in Unity and raided their asset store.  Baby steps.

I originally made a vampire lady character in Fuse and played around with their built-in add-on but once I entered the space world I went back to a skeleton that I found and tweaked it.

I was surprised to see how much you can do in a little time in Unity, how much is available that you can play and manipulate. It made the experience very enjoyable.  I’m sure the frustration builds with the level of difficulty and once you really build something with the ground-up.  But for the time being I’m very happy and satisfied with my skeleton dancing in space.

 

 

Finals 180

The day after Trump was voted in as the next President of the United States we playtested our Pcomp final idea.  My partner Lindsey and I  looked at our party-wear GPS light locator clothes and were less than enthused.  We couldn’t ignore how we felt, the level of sadness and confusion that our country had voted in a total fear-mongering and hateful misogynist.

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So our Pcomp & ICM project took a 180 as we decided to make an interactive performance piece in response to his win.  We are enlisting the help of a dancer (fellow ITPer Elizabeth White).  Sticking with wearables, she will be wearing a bodysuit with 4 distinct neopixel strips.  They will cycle from red to blue to off.  We are also making a physical controller with four buttons each connected to one of the strips.  When a button is pressed two things occur, P5 releases a Trump audio clip such as “Nasty Woman” or “Grab them by the pussy” and the LED strip tied to the button changes color.  The change in color signals the dancer to alter her dance.  At red she has full movement of her limb, at blue her freedom of range is decreased and when off she can no longer move it.  Nearing the  end of the piece each button will have cycled through the colors to the respective limbs and she will be left without any light, crumpled on the floor.  The dance in response to the button presses and soundbites represents women losing their sense of agency.  However at the end of the piece a secret button is revealed, one that is only available to the dancer herself, which is an override button of sorts.  Once she presses it all of her lights turn white and the  are no longer affected by the external button presses.  Here are some initial mockups of the end visual result and our thinking in how to achieve that.

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The Rabbit & The Moon

I’ve always been fascinated by mythology.  My mother is an archaeologist from Mexico and my bed time stories were usually Mexican myths.  One of my favorites is the story of how the image of a rabbit ended up on the moon.  Perhaps it is the most memorable to me because I so clearly see the rabbit every time I look at the full time (in different orientations in different parts of the world).

In the future I would love to animate myths, fairytales, and the archetypes that derive from them in virtual reality.  I think it would be amazing to experience them in 360.  To me dreams and myths are very related and VR, if done correctly, is  very dreamlike world.

My mom is currently working on a book about one of her sites in Mexico and there are new stories and myths that come from the site.  I promised her I would animate her stories so I used this myth as practice.  This is my first time using After Effects.  I’m not going to lie the first two weeks I was completely paralyzed, I had no idea how to maneuver After Effects and was pretty much sent into existential despair with my perceived incompetence.  But I pulled myself together and sat through 10 hours of After Effects tutorials on Lynda.com (After Effects CC Essential Training by Ian Robinson I highly recommend).  Once I got my basics down I was able to somewhat execute my vision (good enough for my first)!

My only regret is not using the Camera layer in this animation but I’ll focus on that for the next one. I planned on it but half way through creating my project I deleted a composition that I used for all of the movement of the 3rd incarnation of Quetzacoatl (despair round 2). This set me back some hours and hindered my exploration of the camera.  I learned its is super important to ORGANIZE and pretty much don’t delete ANYTHING, at least while learning.

The Rabbit + The Moon

 

Rabbit + Moon Final from Oriana Neidecker on Vimeo.

Characters

This week I finalized all of my character development and the script of my animation but have yet to animate anything.  I’m finding working with key frames and puppeting at the same time very difficult.  I’m also struggling with the concept of time and keep resetting everything.  But…. here are all of my characters and the media I’ll  be using.

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ICM Final

I want to continue upon the idea of the nude and it’s viewer.  I’ve been thinking a lot of the different ways a nude can be shot, and interpreted.  The gaze of a voyeur, a lover, a compatriot, or a family member and how these have evolved and changed over time.

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                The Venus of Urbino by Titian

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Olympia by Manet

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Grand Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and by Lalla Essaydi

woodman_untitled_providence_p064-web– Francesca Woodman

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– Sally Mann

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-Les Krims

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-Flor Garduño

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-Mona Kuhn

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-Lucien Clergue

I want to make an interactive piece where the viewer can change various photographic nudes.  I want to take pieces of some of my favorite photographs and make them features which can be added to other photos.

  • The viewer can add props to the photos to make them more humorous, surreal, sexual or somber.

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  • The viewer can overlay filters: color tints, shadows, fractals and lace.

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  • The viewer can include themselves in the photo (create capture video) in different ways.  They can add their head to the body (similar to the Francesca Woodman image)
  • The viewer can have a caption.

This will allow the viewer to make the frame in which they see the image known (if they wish) or allow them to change the frame in which they see it.

Surreal? Add a fish on their head.  Sexual? Add

 

Quotes

Men act and women appear. Men look at women.  Women watch themselves being looked at.”                   – John Berger, Ways of Seeing

“She is not naked as she is.  She is naked as the spectator sees her.”                                                                     –  John Berger, Ways of Seeing

“To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognized for oneself.  A naked body has to be seen as an object in order to become a nude.  Nakedness reveals itself.  Nudity is placed on display.”                                                                               – John Berger, Ways of Seeing

“Not to say that the artist’s work — similar to pornography isn’t also evocative.  But unlike, pornography, it doesn’t appeal exclusively to our senses or carnal appetites.  It also engages our aesthetic judgement about how this or that figure illustrates and ideal of human beauty.”          – Leon F Seltzer, Psychologist

“The aim of the pornographer is hardly to help his or her (most likely his) audience rejoice in the human form — or in some way honor physical intimacy, or the joys of the flesh.  Rather, the objective (typically leaving little or nothing to the imagination is to “turn on” the viewer…. Admittedly the erotic might end up having the same effect.  Still, the ideal behind erotica is to transcend its literally provocative subject  –to add a third dimension if you will.  In aspiring to celebrate the varieties of sexual bliss, and the universal desire for carnal union (which, deep within, might just carry hints of the divine).”                                                            – Leon F Seltzer, Psychologist

 

 

The Rabbit + The Moon

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I ‘m animating an old Aztec myth about the image of a rabbit on the moon.  In the myth Quetzacoatl, the god of wind and learning, who is often depicted as a feathered serpent, goes down to Earth to observe nature, man and the animals.  On Earth he takes a human form and in this story is wandering through the desert.  He walks under the beating sun day after day and begins to suffer from hunger.  One night he encounters a rabbit eating in the moonlight.  The rabbit asks him what is wrong and he tells him of his hunger.  The rabbit was a kind creature and immediately offered Quetzacoatl some of the grass he was eating but Quetzacoatl refused saying grass isn’t enough to sustain man.  The rabbit asked him what he was going to do and Quetzacoatl told him he would probably die.  The rabbit overcome with sadness offered himself as food to Quetzacoatl.  Touched with the kindness of the rabbit Quetzacoatl revealed his true godly form.  He picked up the rabbit and raised him up to the moon, leaving the rabbits imprint on it.  He told the rabbit that he would be rewarded for his compassion and man would always seem him painted in light on the moon.

My mom’s a Mexican archaeologist and told me this myth at an early age.  I only ever remember seeing the rabbit on the moon.

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I want to recreate this simple story in animation but add more transformative elements.  I want to play with color and movement and make it somewhat psychedelic.

 

 

Watcher

I’ve alway been in love with the nude.  The nude photo is so much more than a nude photo because of all of the associations the viewer brings in the way they perceive it.  For some people nudes are pornographic, for others a celebration of natural beauty and femininity, for me they are more of a representation of freedom.

 

I grew up in a house surrounded by photographs of nudes.  My dad collects them. When I graduated college I moved back home to organize, archive and manage the collection.  Going through hundreds of nudes I began to recognize reoccurring themes: classic shots, surreal shots, breasts as eyes, torsos, flying, floating, sleeping, but my favorite was the shadows.  The french photographer Lucien Clergue was a master of shadow and light and is one of my top 3 favorite photographers (photos below).

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I recently discovered the artist Dani Oliver, also a Parisian, greatly inspired by Lucien Clergue.  He works with the abstraction of light, shadows and color.  Not only does he creates photographs but he produces hypnotic videos of models moving in light projections. I love them.  I used one of his videos as the background for this piece.

As a woman and a lover of nudes I sometimes struggle with the gap in the reception of the images.  What I can perceive as a symbol of beauty and freedom can be viewed in way that totally objectifies and exploits the woman instead of celebrating her.  For my project I made two versions of a viewer watching a moving nude woman. I overlaid a colored webcam filter over the video of a dancing to represent the different point of views.  One is dark and green the other is colorful and playful.

Lights Finale

We decided to continue running with our midterm wearables project.  We’d like to evolve our LED sequences and play with other sensors. We’ve talked about making bracelets and leggings.  I would love to make a jacket as well, time permitting. We’re thinking about working with photocells, sound sensors, pulse and proximity sensors.  For our midterm the temperature sensor was about internal regulation.  For our final we’d ideally like to create a line of wearables, some internal, but to also include more socially interactive wearables.  Preliminary ideas are lights that sync up when you encounter other people wearing them (proximity sensors).  Also actually turning on the LEDs by touching each other, perhaps gloves that light up when you hold hands.  Due to the difficulties we encountered with our midterm we’ll definitely research our hardware more and test them out before committing.  For the microcontroller we’d ideally like to use a wireless or bluetooth microcontroller, like the Flora pictured below, but we’ll see how that works out!

Potential new hardware:

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Inspiration:

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