Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Media Archaeology Intervention

Here are some pics of my project in progress, including a facsimile of the goal at the end. From the "upright" example picture, shown to me by Eyebeam's Ayah Bdeir, I will be adopting the umbrella motif, as well as (more importantly, I think) the rug which establishes a sense of place. Updated: take a look at the Instructables piece for the coupling. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any insight on how I ought to proceed.

Bicycle Trailer Hitch - Quick Release hose coupling. - More DIY How To Projects

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Grant Proposals - Draft - Arunan

I have three different grants that I'm working on:

a. The IFA (Indian Foundation for the Arts) -  http://www.indiaifa.org/

b. ScienceGallery.com - http://www.sciencegallery.com

c. location1.org - http://www.location1.org

For the IFA, I need to contact them and decide what they need from me and by when. There are no deadlines as such. Contact person: Sanjay Iyer [sanjay@indiaifa.org]. 

I'm working on getting a site up with details that they are asking for such as 'bio-data' which is kind of like a curriculum vitae, current art practice and a work plan for the project I am proposing. 

The sciencegallery website has a deadline coming up in April for their NANO show later this year [http://www.sciencegallery.com/nano]. I've downloaded the forms and working on defining and refining my proposal right now. 

The virtual residency was another option that I had in mind. It was a kind of novel way to do a residency. Out of the applicants, three artists geographically apart were chosen and the collaborative work they came up with were displayed at Location One in New York. [http://www.location1.org/location-one-virtual-residency-project/]. I think the deadline this year is on April 15th.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Draft Proposal #2

UIC Innovation Center
Proposal Draft

Avatar Dance Theatre
Andrew Oleksiuk

Avatar Dance Theatre is a new media arts centre for live multimedia performance, and production. Its small space has multiple media production and exhibition capabilities afforded by computer vision and display technology. Its production and exhibition philosophy serves artists and patrons by fusing an architectural space with virtual space. As such it could be used both as a production and exhibition space, offering motion capture capabilities in realtime.

Avatar Dance Theatre offers three distinct modalities:
• live performance
• simultaneous virtual and real space interaction
• virtual live performance

Internet TV Studio:
At the heart of the facility is an Internet TV broadcast-capable studio. The three camera setup can be used for live HD streaming as well as offline production capability. A high resolution 105 megapixel display offers a unique and powerful media backdrop that can be used for interviews, lectures or multimedia performance art.

Motion Capture:
The advanced multimedia performance space also features multiple computer vision capabilities for live performance. Performers can control avatar dances with body movement and also use other computer vision techniques to control digital components.

Virtual Worlds:
A virtual world component gives Avatar Dance Theatre adds a separate virtual performance space. It also offers multimodal tools for real time live performance. The visualization capability of 3D online virtual worlds is a underutilized new paradigm for performative virtual art.

Responsive Arts:
Avatar Dance Theatre develops responsive arts through community interaction. The facility's art community programming blurs the boundaries between performer and audience, real and virtual communities, and social media.

The Bitfactory

Bitfactory Exhibition Center by Patrick Lichty
I Am Columbia sim, Second Life
Andrew Oleksiuk

In a discussion of real world and virtual world simulation, several issues come to bear on architecture design in virtual spaces such as Second Life. Patrick Lichty's Bitfactory Exhibition Center design is a good example of some of these issues. The required preamble is when the college heard we were designing a space for our virtual campus, they immediately assumed we would be recreating several buildings along Michigan and/or Wabash avenue in the popular virtual world, Second Life. To the administration's dismay, we replied: no way (see addendum). Ensuing discussions have revealed our propensity for making a hybrid between the real and the virtual. In the virtual spaces of Second Life, anything goes, but a "hook" of reality is required to help us understand it. While highly realistic simulations of "real life" are often desirable, and often done extremely well, there is a limit to that realism and a point of decreasing value of return on investment. So usually a comfortable mix is straight down the middle, where virtual architecture (and other things) have some basis in reality but can be quite fantastic and impossible in real life.

Patrick Lichty's Bitfactory design uses several features prevalent in emergent architecture: capsule design, cargo box design, and rib-like almost tensile structures. The building has a unique navigational structure, pertinent to its virtuality. The capsule design gives the structure a smooth, strong futuristic feel. While not specifically diatomic, aggregate or algorithmic, the capsules are reminiscent of pod-like autonomous units like a space capsule capable of withstanding the vacuum of space. Devoid of decoration their smoothness adds to the perception of strength. By contrast, the box designs are evocative of more typical mechanized, multiple unit prefab converted cargo or dwelling space, and while grid-like in appearance also evoke a fragility in their detail.

The squarish yet rib-like structures that look like building supports poke fun at the fact that there are no specific physical requirements for the maintaining the buildings structural shape and add a light and airy feel to the building. The building is designed to accommodate virtual world avatars, who can fly. This is reflected in the main flyway navigational space, a vertical corridor through which the avatars fly from floor to floor. This is also reflected in the internal signage, "flyway" which recalls instructional navigational aspect of a website, but also suggests not only where to go, but how.

The Bitfactory design is a solid presence in a virtual world where the uninitiated often ask, why have buildings at all? Aside from the hook of reality mentioned previously, the navigational and three dimensional aspect of this design suggests the future of the web. What have web pages? Why not just lump together all the data? The architecture in a virtual world is more reminiscent of a database design, but provides for us a visual analogy of what space might look like in cyberspace.

Addendum: A tinge of realism was added to the campus later in the far more realistic simulation of Chicago's public transit system which runs adjacent to the building, and whose train car also echos the manufactured cargo design.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

funding through residencies

I would pursue funding though residencies via TransArtist to further bring the 'mobile garden', 'bring a plant to work day', and other public art projects and happenings to more cities.

The first two residencies that seem workable and in large enough areas to be able to work on such projects are:

Residency in Japan: http://www.cca-kitakyushu.org/english/research/application.html


Research Program runs from the beginning of September to the end of March. There is a place for 15 - 20 participants of artists, and for a few other of curatorial study.


ARTIST - Artist in his/her 20's - 30's. Fluent in English or Japanese (preferably both languages)
CURATORIAL STUDY - Person who is in his/her 20's - 30's. Work experience in contemporary art or majored in art/art history. Fluent in English(Speaking, reading and writing)


The official working languages of CCA Kitakyushu are Japanese and English. Most of the staff, professors/lecturers speak English. The participants have to be fluent in English, and are also expected to speak enough Japanese in everyday life.


FIRST STAGE EXAMINATION: International committee operates the first selection on the basis of the candidates' application form and materials.
* The interview is usually executed about one month after the deadline for the application form (the deadline is stated in the form).
* Selected candidates are notified the schedule of the interview.
* The results are announced by the same procedure in each stage.
* CCA Kitakyushu does not accept telephone inquiries regarding the result.


THE TUITION: 360,000 Japanese Yen (including fee for the program, use of individual studio, the access to the facilities
THE SCHOLARSHIP: The participants can apply for CCA scholarship, that will be confirmed in the interview. Besides it, foreign students are advised to have a grant from their own country.
THE LIVING COST: Expected living cost in Kitakyushu is about 60,000 - 80,000 yen par month. It may be possible to offer an apartment with reasonable rent.

For further information:

Research Program CCA Kitakyushu
CCA Kitakyushu
2-6-1 3F Ogura Yahata-Higashi-ku
Kitakyushu 805-0059
JapanPhone +81 93 663 1615
Fax + 81 93 663 1610
e-mail mail@cca-kitakyushu.org

Residency in Germany: http://www.akademie-solitude.de/440_fellowship_app.php

Application round is completed / Next Application round

The application round for a fellowship 2009-2011 in the artists residency and the art, science & business program was completed by October 31, 2008.

The applications are currently being registered; the results of the jury selection will not be made public before March 2009. Rejected applications will be returned with a letter of rejection by surface mail in the months following the jury decisions.

The next application round will take place between July and October 2010 for a fellowship during the time period 2011-2013.

Applications sent outside of the application round cannot be considered and the materials will be disposed.

I have chosen these two residencies because they appear to be academy and gallery related and not funded privately, though I'm sure that could change. I feel the access through networking may have easier access through these type of institutions.

grants & opportunities

Applying for grants... applying for shows, festivals etc. many of these opportunities looking for proof that someone else prior had taken the risk on the individual applying and was met with positive responses. So in addition to grants and shows I'm also interested and applying for residencies and one work study program at BANFF. Although this particular opportunity doesn't result in large sums of cash for developing personal projects it does provide some stipend to live on (meager) but more importantly provides another place to develop skills, work with people in the field and make additional connections. Aside from the BANFF work study... which i really have to locate my resume for, I'm applying to Ars Electronica this year as well... again another application that isn't a grant but these are what seem to be the best to put energies towards right now.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oleksiuk - Grants Research

Day 1) After searching through and reading many web pages and various websites on grants, I realized the challenge to narrow down prospective funding sources is not easy. My initial round of research led me to look at about 20 different websites, some of which were singular funding sources (potential grant givers) and others were clearinghouse type sites that listed many funders and opportunities. Having a plethora of resources sounded great initially, but I was immediately swamped by the complexity of the task at hand. Each web site looked different. I was kind of hoping for a big button with a glowing green $$$ icon that would cause money to rain down on me just by clicking it. Not the case. Some of the funders' websites were fairly straightforward, but in those cases, my project was ruled out by one or two clicks. I was surprised by the number of sites that specifically did NOT fund student work. Slightly depressed, I decided to give it another round on another day.

Day 2) Armed with my newly found cynicism, I approached the task again with a slightly different approach. Instead of the shotgun method of trying to visit bjillion websites all at once, I decided to take a slower approach. The first funder match I found was the Daniel Langlois Foundation. Not surprisingly, this was listed by Sabrina under "specific links to big grants." So there you go: it certainly helps when the faculty does the bulk of the research for you. What I found interesting about this website is that it was specifically geared for new media, with names like David Rokeby, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and Lynn Hershman Leeson squarely plastered on the front page. further digging found information on Dan Sandin, among others. What I like about this foundation is it is a treasure trove of information on topics such as conserving technology-based art, as well as information on the individual artists and works. This foundation seems to be truly involved in new media in all phases (funding, exhibiting, critical dialog, and preservation). Having said that, concerning grant application funding, the website states "As of January 2008, grants for the Foundation’s programs have been allocated until the end of 2008 and their beneficiaries have been notified. The Foundation will not consider further grant requests before 2009." And it gives an address. So I am going to interpret that as a free form application process and simply contact them. I also signed up for their e-newsletter.

My second find was from the Donors Forum. I used their FunderSource. I found this database very interesting and efficient (in the way that looking at 20+ websites all at once is not). Here I was able to get through multiple listings relatively quickly. Once you get the hang of it, you can see the potential pitfalls here. A lot of the foundations do not grant to individuals or non 501(c)(3)s. Despite the fact that these are not strict rules for this particular project, I decided to tkae a look at someone who would simply und a project by an artist. Some of the hits I got actually had contradictory information (Abbot Foundation listing in the DonorSource lists that the Foundation does give to individuals, but ther website says they specifically do not). After a couple more searches and getting used to the database listings (which dont all have equal information) I hit upon the following: William F. O'Connor Foundation, who is listed as a funder of "Media Arts", which was my criteria. The foundation also accepts unsolicited proposals, and there are no deadlines. The application procedure is: Letter request with copy of tax return and financial statements. There is nothing on the listing that tells me they wouldn't fund my project. Total assets (2006): $42,924,233.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Houseboats and Community Based Design

From the 'Living in Motion' reading I liked the floating house piece by Gerrard Maccreanor and Richard Lovington where it fits within a natural space, a lake in this case. The Shikari dwelling by Eckart Muthesius where it was designed for another special habitat (forest) and a specific purpose (hunting) also caught my attention. My fascination with travel and adventure made me choose these designs. Since, my proposal had a green roof I chose designs that seemed closer to nature.

I wanted to give some real world examples where such designs exist and have been working for hundreds of years. I also want to emphasize the need to design as a community for faster, more beneficial and effective uses. Most of the designs in the reading were done specially for the vital few. I wanted to tend toward designing for the people in the bottom 20% in Pareto’s 80-20 rule.

On one of my travels I saw a whole village that lives on a lake in Cambodia. It is very similar to the houseboat communities in the Lakes of Seattle and the Canals of Netherland. The Tonle Sap is a large freshwater lake in the middle of Cambodia and shares some part of it with Vietnam. A boat ride into the lake is a wonderful experience. Some scenes I remember from there are: Crocodile breeding in cages beneath house boats, basketball courts and classrooms on a moored boat, novelty stores and restaurants for tourists, kids rowing their way with old cardboard boxes while sitting on a household utensil. The reason they build houses on boats is because the lake is inundated for a half a year and loses water for another half. So, people build houses, schools and commercial spaces out of boats. The floating house reminded me of such habitats.

Another example is the backwaters of Kerala down in south India. It’s also known as God's Own Country. They have floating houses and house boats that have been in use for hundreds of years. They double as fishing boats when needed.

I'd like to borrow from such designs that people create as a community by adapting to their habitats' climate, population, resources and even some aesthetic value. In such cases there is no single architect or artist. The designs are passed down through generations. They are tried and tested over time going through a lot of trial and error prototyping stages. The designs are mobile, designed to stand the test of time and have been effective for ages. The artists are anonymous and their designs are used by a living community of people who love and appreciate them.
The materials they use are locally available and very effective for the purpose they serve. I would like to use the same techniques while designing a modular/mobile modifiable space. The environment which the design is going to serve becomes very important.
Questions like:
Do the houses need to have amphibious abilities?
Do the exteriors require special material to cope with different climatic conditions?
Is there a need for scalability based on the number of people occupying the space at any given time?
How flexible and customizable should the design be to serve multiple purposes?
How durable is the building and can it survive another tsunami or hurricane? Etc.
Need to be answered.

Open source architecture is a great way to design as a community for a community. People like Cameron Sinclair have been pushing this idea for quite some time now. Architecture for Humanity (www.architectureforhumanity.org) is one such place where people Give, Get and Share design for mankind’s own good. These projects are challenging and the benefit is global. It is also a place where up and coming designers can showcase their talents and at the same time help a struggling community of people by collaborating with other designers worldwide.
There are some flexible mobile tents that have been used by the UN Refugee Committee to provide for refugees in Africa. They can be folded, transported on the back of a motorcycle, made out of cheap materials and the design came out of the open source architecture initiative.
One of the design entries for modular tent like structure in openarchitecturenetwork.

Photos for Cambodia: flickr(lecercle's photostream)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oleksiuk - Modern Architecture and the Flexible Dwelling, Living in Motion, Robert Kronenberg

In "Modern Architecture and the Flexible Dwelling," a book chapter of _Living In Motion_, author Robert Kronenberg discusses notions of place and home and concludes that these ideas seldom and only tangentially impact construction of typical western residential buildings or houses. Further he states that as the archetypical dwelling, the house as typically static goes against notions of flexibilty and economy. Kronenberg's treatise brings into focus the need for flexible living spaces that are truer to our nomadic past and desire for functionality. He traces some modern architectural experiments and highlights some interesting examples of flexible dwelling. Two specifically mobile architectures inpired me: Eckhart Muthesius' Shikari hunting caravan (p48-49), and the Nhew PAD by OpenOffice(p58-61). In researching these two works I discovered an an interesting Bauhaus-era German architect and a contemporary architecture collective.

I chose two designs that I like the best from the readings to relate what I consider to be important elements of architectural design as reflected by Kronenberg. The first example is Eckhart Muthesius' Shikari hunting caravan for the Maharaja of Indore, 1939, described as "four transport vans converted as bathroom, work space, bedroom and dining room, parked in a cross formation with a connecting tent structure in the middle." This work is mobile, has indoor and outdoor features and a work space. Eckhart Muthesius also built the Maharaja's Manik Bagh palace called "Garden of Jewels" which is now a functional building of the government of India. He also designed the art deco interior of Maharaja's Luxury State Rail Coach

which was an air conditioned train, cooled by ice. It featured an internal telephone system and pink mirrors. While Muthesius train exterior resembles a mobile home (p50-51), the funky exteriors of the caravan units remind me both of the boxy Eastern European cars and Indian Tata brand cars and also vaguely of the American custom vans of the 80's that fueled my adolescent wanderlust.

The second item I found interesting is the Nhew PAD by Open Office. Again, because of its mobility, integration of indoor/outdoor, and though small, emphasizes a work space. The work was photographed in Denmark but there are several locations of Nhew PAD in Europe, North America and Greenland/Denmark. You can custom order a Nhew PAD online and have it delivered, even to a vacation spot. OpenOffice art collective has now split ways, but did a show called Houses X Artists. In this show, artist Stan Douglas's contribution is described as follows:
Stan Douglas’s site-specific house circulates around a central void, into which images of the site at the present and at its inception/construction are simultaneously projected via camera obscura and mirrors engraved with photographs of the original site. Douglas’s plan demands that you consider how the property looked before the house was built.

This is an interesting point of cultural memory that recalls and plays upon Kronenberg's definition of place (pg 21). Interestingly enough, Stan Douglas's house was inpired by Thomas Edison's rotating, sunlit production studio in West Orange, New Jersey. It is widely referred to as "America's First Movie Studio." The studio had rotating windows to always give the maximum amount of sunlight.

What I like about the design of both Eckhart Muthesius'Shikari hunting caravan, and the Nhew PAD by OpenOffice is that they are both fully temporary, mobile and functional, use an indoor as well as outdoor element, and have a workspace. I consider the functional to be a very important part of the "living space" and while it is important to keep work and living separate to some extent, I think the tightly knit harmonizing aesthetic of a combined work/living space is better than the industrial age house // factory aesthetic. I doubly like the idea of a mobile work space because I think travel (like safaris) can and should be stimulating experiences that have immediate crossover for artistic cultural production. Having said that, I am not for a complete abolition of separate, strictly work or living spaces. Sometimes its nice to have a space where work does not intrude on daily living. More often than not, however, work spaces can be less than humane in their lack of support for more than basic human living activity.


Art for Architecture's Sake John J Sulivan, http://architecture.mit.edu/house_n/web/resources/articles/Metropolis%20Feature%20Art%20for%20Articture%27s%20Sake.htm, Metropolis December 1999.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Buildings and Grounds

As previously announced, the next meeting of the UIC Senate Subcommittee on Buildings and Grounds will be held Monday, February 9, 2009, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM in Rm. 110, CUPPA Hall, 412 S. Peoria.

Please note that the location for the 1PM Monday, February 9, 2009 meeting is at Rm. 110 CUPPA Hall, 412 S. Peoria.

Each college or building on campus is encouraged to send a representative to the subcommittee meetings. Students, faculty, and staff are welcome. Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Dr. Joseph Muscarella is scheduled to attend.


1. Follow-up on student concerns concerning washroom security. (10 minutes)

2. Draft outline of the Subcommittee Report on the challenges facing Buildings and Grounds on campus (20 minutes).

3. Update on the federal stimulus package and its possible impact on Buildings and Grounds (5 minutes).

4. Update on BSB building concerns: facilities, networks, telecom, and elevators. (10 minutes)

5. Update on ongoing Subcommittee initiatives: Bus Locator, Harrison-Peoria and other intersections, (5 minutes)

6. Summer Budget Office request for coordination on reporting summer classroom problems as they arise (5 minutes)

7. HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) energy-savings technologies under consideration for future building projects at UIC. (20 minutes)

8. Other topics of urgent buildings and grounds concern: referrals to VCAS. (10 minutes)

NB: Campus Master Plan discussion must be rescheduled for a future meeting. Please watch for announcements.

CUPPA Hall is 1/2 block directly north of the central Peoria St. exit to the Halsted/UIC Blue Line CTA stop. The nearest eastbound campus bus stop is at Peoria and Harrison. The nearest westbound campus bus stops are the Halsted and Harrison or the Morgan and Harrison stops. The nearest campus parking Lot is Lot 9, which can be entered on Morgan just north of

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