post At the Nokia Research Labs, Tampere, Finland

May 13th, 2008

I have been in Tampere, in Finland meeting with the Nokia Research Group. Was an interesting time – I pitched a few projects to them and they seem quite supportive of the work. A particular work, “Synchronicity” which has been initially funded by the Australian Arts council Synapse Award (still awaiting Australian Research Council approval) they are interested in.It looks at how prosody can be used to trigger meaningful video/ moving image sharing. I will be working with Christian Jones – who knows a lot about tracking the emotional intonation of voice, and also Andrew Brown, who works a lot with computational systems and sound. Nokia seemed very supportive of this project.

I also pitched a few other projects – “Divulge”, which looks at how psycholinguistics and neuroscientific paradigms can be used to alter and imbue textual conversation. I have been trying to get this project off the ground, taking advantage of  my time in London working on the ANAT Synapse Residency. For the project, I am aiming to work with Pat Healey a very interesting computer scientist running the interdisciplinary lab at Queen Mary,  Jonathon Ginzbirg a computer linguist based at Kings College and also Chris Frith and Hugo Critchley, as well as Nadia Berthouze, who work in emotion HCI evaluation at university of London’s Human computer interaction center.

I also pitched another project exploring serendipity. I pitched to two groups at Nokia Research Labs. It was a long meeting – went for three, but worth the trip.

I am now writing up how I would like them to support the work. 


post empathic organs

March 1st, 2008

Filed under: CHAMELEON PROJECT,interesting art,interesting people — Tina @ 6:54 am

met with Kelly Dobson. We had met in ISEA a few years ago. I have always enjoyed her work. She is working on a series of appendages that sit with your body and entrain you to slow your breath for example – slow your heart rate. Really beautiful stuff. We talked about the synchronicities of the body that happen. Her work is beautifully documented.

“Machines influence self-conception, expression, social perception, and perception of responsibility or action. By accessing and vitalizing the interplay of people and machines through custom interaction design and psychotherapeutic techniques, a social awareness is brought out and individuals are invited to reinvent their own existence.

Wearable Body Organs is a series of very visible, spectacular or carnival even, play-use objects-devices-equipments that both offer context sensitive functionality for their wearer and simultaneously announce their own need for existence by being used in public without being hidden and small as is the trend with consumer gadgets and self-helping devices, hearing aids, PDAs,artificial organs, and colostomy bags. ScreamBody, CryBody, SleepBody, EatBody, HoldBody, FightBody, HideBody, HouseBody… Rather than being hidden and made to go unnoticed, these “products” are designed to be noticed, as this is key in their functionality — they are social-critical activists.

The wearable apparatuses function as transitional objects – they allow bridges between the person’s internal experience and the outside world insituations in which the person would otherwise not be able to make that possible. Each apparatus simultaneously acts to call attention to the social repression addressed by the very need for the existence of the device. Participants access sensorial energy that has been implicitly or explicitly put to sleep by enculturation.”

post The Attention Meter – Jackie Chia-Hsun Lee

March 1st, 2008

Filed under: CHAMELEON PROJECT,interesting people — Tina @ 2:43 am

Met with Jackie Chia-Hsun Lee, affective computing group. He showed me through some of his work that looks at social communication and trust. Interesting stuff. He suggested using someof his software – it basically analyses the real-time video and depending on how many people are in the frame it changes what music it plays. could be interesting to work with using visual algorithms or sounds. sort of mind reading/chatter or something like that. I sent the links to evan.

He is building toys that recognise you and respond to you after you have been nice to them for a while. Nice ideas of how to build trust, and how trust leads to empathy, etc.



post Its a blizzard out there

February 23rd, 2008

Filed under: CHAMELEON PROJECT,interesting art,interesting people — Tina @ 2:17 am

Its morning, and the snow has hit us. Looking out the window to whiteness and the skyline of Manhattan has disappeared.

central park

snow turning into slush

Its been a busy few days. Yesterday we spent hours at the Moma. We then moved on to a lot of art openings in Chelsea. Caught up with Lorie Novak for dinner – a photographer, chair of NYU photography. She has an amazing place in dumbo with the most incredible view. We did a residency years ago at Sway, a little country town in the UK – ArtSway. They have a great international residency at Artsway –

The days have been filled with meeting people and the nights are filled with lots of openings. I have come down with a a very embodied flu, and hopefully it doesn’t spread across the family. Tonight we are catching up with Virgil Wong, a great artist working in genetics/internet/medicine/science. Virgil involved me in is exhibitions over the years.

post catching up

February 21st, 2008

Spending the morning chasing up a lot of links hugo has sent through. Interesting Australian/US company – Emotiv. need to chase up. Would be fantastic for the FEEL SERIES. They seem to be doing beta testing in San Fran. Would be good to go there. And also meet Kathelin and Paul Ekman. possibility.

Getting some words over to Darren Tofts for the Artlink article. Organising talks for next week at the MIT media lab. Looks like I will be talking to the Affective computing Group on Friday. Finished off some words for the IAMAS catalogue for past artist in residents. Trying to organise accommodation in Boston. All seems outrageously expensive. Trying to organise timelines for the Banff Residency. I hope they can provide what I need. Starting to write up a response to Silvia’s questions for the digimag article.

1- how did you arrive to your interest in emotions and their physiological components?
2 – in which ways your works trascend conventional models of interactivity?
3 – I would like to stop a bit on terms like: interface (embodied and transparent); “empathetic envoronments” and awareness. can you define their roe in your work and their meaning?
4 – which kind of relationship can start between an artist and a phycologist and a neuroscientist? who do you work togheter?
5 – can you summarize the results you reached through Feel_trace/inside/insula/perspire, in terms of aestethic and content?
6 – would you like to give me some anticipations around Chamaleon?

Trying to work out how to get equipment support for Apple. its difficult. Bought another laptop. My photoshop is not working with the leopard upgrade. not good. either is final cut pro. Can’t find the battery for my hd camera. need to get a new one before banff.

Also trying to work out how we should approach the next Synapse round. Christian Jones, who is director of a company called affective media – who do interesting work in the area of emotions, speech, interaction and mobile technology, want to propose an arc/synapse. Been in touch with he Research group at Nokia, Tampere – we will meet in April. It would be great to get some sort of interest in the potential Synapse project. Due date for the arts council is a couple of weeks. Need australian partnership, but nothing yet has revealed itself.

I feel like my head is going too fast. Trying to fit too much in – trying to get this project happening. Need to start some visual work as I am getting a bit tired of writing.

post new york city

February 21st, 2008

Been a few huge days in NYC. We have a little apartment up on the upper west side. We are on the twelfth floor and the view over the Manhattan skyline is amazing. Near the museum of Natural history, Central park. The artists, Bobby Previte and Andrea Kleine who own it, are doing a Mcdowell Colony residency upstate. Our days and nights have been long. Pablo’s is jetlagged – we have been up a few times a night, as he is still on London timings.

early morning, NYC

Caught up with artist Justine Cooper out at Brooklyn the other day. Was great to meet with her. She has son, two years now. Talked about work, working with a baby, etc. Her work seems to be going well. I just think she is more efficient with time. Great artist. Yesterday I met briefly with Barbara London, video curator at MOMA. Left her with a couple of DVD’s. We then made our way to Eyebeam and met with Amanda Mcdonald Crowley. fantastic space, seems like there is a lot of interesting stuff going on. vibrant. experimental. They have an open lab – all open source – creative commons – sharing. Rapid prototyping machine and a bit of gear to make a few things. Met with Zach Lieberman, one of the fellows there. Working on a range of tools so that other artists can create work. Great project, and amazing talent. Walked through the production space. Met with a few of the residents. They take about ten fellows a year. Very interesting center. Lots like an inspirational place to create work. Would be great to get involved with it. Seems the fellow program is a lot more open, experimental and not project driven.

We did all the Chelsea galleries – the shirin nishat at the barbara gladstone gallery was beautiful as always. The Mary Boone had a Luis Gispert exhibition – looked like the film was shot on 70 mm. beautifully produced and pretty dark – about a child’s
nightmares/coming of age. Quite surreal.


chelsea, yesterday

Ended up at that diner on 10th Avenue and ran into artist Elio Caccavale who had some working opening last night at the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition at the Moma. We went to the opening last night. Was a great night – packed. Pablo was definitley the youngest guest there. Met a few artist, actors, and all sorts. We were about to head down to the after party near the bowery but better judgement held out. The early starts with Pablo had to be prepared for. I met elio years ago at a conference in Oxford we both talked at called Tomorrows People. Elio has offered to our us through the MOMA exhibition today before it opens to the public.


last night , MOMA


central park on Monday – 12 degrees. was lovely


pablo getting ready for a big day out

post Emotional Contagion at the Dana Center, Science Museum

February 15th, 2008

Dana Event over – went well – was sold out. Was frustrating as I had Matt and Pablo there (I wanted Pablo to be part of the experiment, and they wouldn’t let him in because he was underage and alcohol was being served..). Poor Matt. I had primed him to document the evening with video and cameras and he ended up sitting upstairs with Pablo, not taking part in the evening.

A lot of interest from media. I started with just showing the current version of the prototype. Its pretty simple, needs more work, but it has a nice energy about it. Need to reshoot database.


Chameleon Stage one (still of projected images – interaction using emotional algorithms)

I gave a ten minute talk, about past work, why I am here, what lead to project, where the project is at, where the project is going. Neil talked about emotional contagion, studies in empathy and mimicry, the biological mechanisms. Harry then talked for ten minutes – in an engaging, involving way – In his talk, he talked a lot about big brother (he was the medical advice on “On the Couch with Big Brother” – also a lot about how to pick deceit and lying. How to pick up on the micro expressions. All tlaks were engaging, talked about emotional contagion, social cognition from different view points. Good mix.


Harry Witchell, Neil Harrison (with the yellow badges on)


After the talks we then set up the live experiment which was pretty simple. We had two cameras facing each two members of the audience facing each other. We split the group with members who knew each other and members who didn’t. Evan Raskob was upstairs controlling the event –setting it up, making sure it all worked. Evan also directed the conversation – some were to talk about their mother, some were to talk about the weather. It would have been nice to read more into the imagery – I think its sort of about the pacing – two people didn’t really tell us enough about emotional contagion. I need to make a decision on whether we create a piece that I originally wanted to – working with six web cams – slowing down – out put to video. It’s a lot more investment of time and also buying cameras, cables, hubs, etc.



Evan Raskob

Interestingly, I found what was happening upstairs was much morei nteresting than downstairs. The set up.. the awkward nature of it, people desperately trying to make polite conversation. If we did it again, I would get a few stooges in there – to either entice them, or to act bored, or what ever. It would be good to show the piece again. Maybe in Banff.



It was a good beginning. Harry Witchell was great –talking about how people synchronised, how people didn’t – who was driving the conversations. Who was following. Were they interested? The subtle bits of body language. It didn’t really talk too muh about micro expressions, but probably has much to do with the quality of the image – to keep the stress off the computer, we had to make it pretty low resolution.

Helen from SCAN cancelled at the last minute – she was going to speak about science and art collaborations, etc. Was disappointing that she wasn’t there as I was the only one from the collaborative group present. Hugo is having a baby, Chris is in Denmark, Rana in Egypt. But we pulled it off, and finished the night saying that we will be back next season to show the next stage of the prototype. I will start organising timings as it would be great if everyone was close by this time.

There seemed to be great interesting in the idea of emotional contagion. A lot of questions. I talked to quite a few psychologists, psychiatrists, neuroscientists in the audience. Apparently it was in the Metro which is ashame, because I missed it. Now have to chase it up. Will ring them today.

post how to assess the smaller micro expressions?

February 12th, 2008

Had a chat with physiologist Harry Witchell about the project. To analyse emotional expression he is using “image pro plus” image analysis software. The process for Harry is quite analogue – he applies black dots on face and then analyses. He mentioned an interesting group at Carnegie Melon looking at facial emotion recognition. Harry believes his knowledge of understanding facial expressions is more implicit – he says he can tell you exactly what muscles to move to achieve certain facial expressions – but he believes the people who have the most understanding of the subtleties of expression are the animators. A lot of the technology, though complex can still not make sense of the smaller micro expressions that make up different emotional reactions. Constantly need to keep in mind we are working with fluid, human faces, not static computer models. the fleeting nature of emotions.



still from FERMENT, 3 minute video ,2006

post Nokia Only Planet conference – Espoo, Finland

February 11th, 2008

Great news – they sent Vilja from the Nokia Research Group in Tampere to chat with me – she started to tell me what there interests were and how I could be involved with them with some of my projects/reserch. Fantastic development for the mobile projects. I had put in application last year – Synapse/ARC. We ot the ozco funding but not the ARC funding. We needed more industry links. Working with Andrew Brown and Christian Jones. Christian contacted me a couple of weeks ago saying that he wants to resubmit.

Will fly back to Tampere in April to further meet with them. Sounds really interesting, but hard to talk about with NDA’s etc.

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