The best of Resonate 2017

by Koen Speelmeijer - July 07, 2017

Each year, technologists and artists alike travel to the city of Belgrade, to celebrate and discuss the latest developments and inspiring cases in the fields of music, visual arts and digital culture. These Days was once again represented this year: with a crew of 4 we dwelled through the streets and venues to educate ourselves on the cutting edge of the contemporary creative industry.

Our top picks from the myriad of presentations and cases given is the humble list below.

Challenging the barriers between reality and virtual reality

VR is not limited to mounting a headpiece and optionally picking up a controller, Pablo Valbuena created a virtual environment within our own reality by using only light and sound. Passengers could experience the feeling of something real passing by, chasing them, via the manipulation of lights and sound.

VR: Going beyond sound and vision

The traditional output for a virtual reality device consists of a headset and VR goggles, which translates to two senses: sound and vision. The other ways of perception (taste, touch and smell) are usually left as is. However, if we aspire to have a full VR experience, we need to augment the current state of VR with these other ways of perceiving your environment.

Ava Aghakouchak & Maria Paneta created a wearable device which uses haptic feedback to add the sense of touch.

Taking this a step further, they constructed an experiment where they removed the other senses (vision and hearing), and only used an on-skin wearable that inflates or deflates to provide information to the wearer. Blindfolded people were asked to navigate through a maze using this on-skin wearable, named SAROTIS.

Making music creation interactive

Rethinking the way we sample and mix preexisting music, the people behind the mmorph experiment designed a tool where users can select their preferred instruments, samples and mix on the fly in an intuitive visual manner by way of touch or through mouse input.

An absolutely inspiring way to look at how we use input devices, and how we can extend their capabilities by looking beyond the industry standards. Have a go at it yourself on the mmorph website.

Smart algorithms and a pinch of delay

Current chatbots are designed to instantly provide the user with feedback or an answer to their question. Even though this helps the user, it is very much perceived as unnatural and non-human. To add a bit of human flavor to a chatbot the people from superscriptjs created a javascript bot engine for creating human like bots.

Live art auction

Jeremy Bailey presented his, a tool developed for artists who want to receive real-time feedback from fans and potential buyers, with a build-in auction engine. The tool allows the artist to paint on a canvas, broadcasting it in real-time, and having potential buyers lined up on the other end of the broadcast, who can express their needs in a chatroom. Brave enough to spoil us with a live demo, we couldn’t withstand the urge to purchase this beauty below:

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The virtual photographer

One of the most epic moments during our 5 days in Belgrade was the art from Alan Butler, a photographer who roams in and around Los Santos (the in-game virtual world of Grand Theft Auto V) and documents the lives of homeless people.

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Taking things a step further, he has taken it upon himself to recreate the cult movie Koyaanisqatsi using only video from GTA games, most of it from GTA V, some from previous GTA games, and about 25% from mod versions of the game.

Bots making art

Matthew Plummer develops simple bots that create their own art, while asking the question “is this art or spam?”.

One of these bots is “Shiv Integer”, which uses Mashup Art. The bot takes three random objects from Thingiverse (the biggest online 3D-Print community) as an input and joins them in a mashup of new 3D sculptures. The names of the newly generated 3D objects detail its heritage, e.g. “Robo Frob containing a Base”. Spam or art? Depends on which comments you read on Thingiverse.

Another topic that is touched upon is copyright, when is a Micky Mouse-based 3D model distinct enough from an actual Micky Mouse 3D model?

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Another bot, Petita Tatata, creates random poetry via Google Voice, which you can listen to on soundcloud.

AGF – voices of protest

We don’t always have to give all the details to get to that emotional layer. Sometimes audio only can have the same, or even greater emotional impact.
AGF found a new way of reaching people through video and audio compilations.
With this audio compilation, she made a mash up of protesters all over the world and enriched it with a beat: anger, frustration, hope all mixed together in her “voices of protest” track, giving us the chance to experience the things we’re used to seeing on TV in an auditorily fashion.

The ethics of community driven platforms

In 2009 the US developed a tool to allow a web community to assist with their border patrol efforts. These types of communities had existed in the past, on platforms such as 4chan and Reddit, but never in this fashion, not stimulated by the government, providing a way to monitor and report the local border patrol or sheriff offices.

During its heyday BlueServo had over 43,000 pairs of eyes from around the world, at any given moment, monitoring the Texas-Mexico border. Now taken offline, but still a topic discussed within the community, this was presented as a technological and ethics case. Opinions varied around vesting this kind of power to “the people”. Where do we draw the line between reporting ad hoc suspicious behavior and actively looking for suspicious behavior, does this come close to vigilantism or is this an honest patriotic contribution?

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Koen Speelmeijer

Performance marketeer