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 Arrived at the Banff Center

March 3rd, 2008

Filed under: CHAMELEON PROJECT,interesting places — Tina @ 2:56 pm

We arrived at the Banff Center yesterday. It was a 3.30 am start in Boston – flight to Toronto, onwards to Calgary, onwards to Banff. A big day, and Pablo wasn’t too happy at the end of the last flight.

But we got here. I am here to take part in the Liminal Screen Residency at the Banff New Media Institute. I will be here for a month, with artists from around the world working on screen based work. This residency splits up my Australian Network for Art and Technology Synapse residency – My acceptance to the program only came through late December/early Jan, way after my acceptance to the ANAT Synapse Grant which came through in July.

I will be heading back to the MIT Media Lab at the end of the month to work further with Rana El Kaliouby. I am then back to London to work with Chris Frith at the Wellcome Department of Neuroimaging and Hugo Critchley at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School for a further six weeks.

The timing of the Liminal Screen Residency is important. Its time to start fleshing out ideas with Chris, Rana and Hugo – and in order to do this, I really need to start producing the visual side of the project. I have access to great production facilities and a supportive team to start working through ideas. It really feels time for my to start some visual experiments as the last month has involved meetings, discussions, dialogue, writing, more meetings, more dialogue – attending a few talks, and more meetings. Its been important to have this tim to digest information, try to understand it better. The ideas I am dealing with, the scientific research is very complex, I need time to work out what is being said. Often, after my meetings with Hugo, I spend about five hours online chasing up what Hugo mentions in passing. Trying to understand the language, the methodologies. Sometimes I feel the more one discusses, writes, discusses, writes, often the poetry of the work can dissipate. The unexpected, the spontaneous seems far away, bottle necked by words, which often feel too limiting. I feel it deep in my bones the need to start producing visually. It will be interesting to see what transpires over the next month. Also, I think some visualizations are needed as a language that all the collaborators can understand. Its been hard to bring all the collaborators together so far.

The Liminal Screen Residency: video-based residency programs: a community of like-minded artists, developers, and researchers engaging in a collective critical inquiry into video as a medium. Liminal Screen invites media practitioners to come to The Banff Centre and experiment, interrogate, and reformulate the art, communications, and distribution of the moving image”.


Hoda Adra
Jeremy Bailey
Ruth Catlow
Marc Garrett
Carlo Ghioni
Tina Gonsalves
Mario Marquez
Michel Panouillot
Natacha Roussel
Celine Semaan
Ute Waldhausen

We have a great apartment style room which we have settled into pretty quickly. The kitchen will be a bonus as the food in the restaurant is hard to live on. Also, Matt, my partner is a chef. So having our own kitchen will be wonderful.

I first came to the Banff Center in 2002, on a new media arts residency from the Australia Council. It was a changing point with my work. At the time, I began feeling constricted by the single channel format. I became more interested in creating embodied art experiences. I began investigating how my artwork could probe the audiences’ emotional body, using their emotions to drive the video narratives. This lead to “Medulla Intimata”, a sensor-based video jewellery prototype that monitored the wearer’s emotional state by using prosody. This lead to more interactive work, and a collaborative methodology. A lot of my collaborations have started from my times at the Banff Center, and many friendships as well.

I have been back about six times, for residencies, co-productions and conferences. Its a fantastic center – a great place to produce work, to meet people, to be very supported. As far as I know, there is no where like it in the world. A team helps you with your projects, your fed, housed, studios and access to great equipment. And the setting is amazing. So, its great to be here.

The residency starts tomorrow

We went for a walk, big shop in the supermarket, chilled out.





post Reflection of my time at MIT

March 3rd, 2008

Looking back on the week there – what do I remember? It was pretty stressful time – I got lost in a computer breakdown, which ate up my time for about two days. The tech team there was fantastic in helping me out, but it was a disappointment – I wanted to spend more time meeting people, and it was hard to do that when I was in the midst of losing so much work. I also needed to get all the technology, new computer, etc, all sorted before I left for the Banff center to the Liminal Screen Residency. At Banff, everything is hours away.


rana el kaliouby, at the affective computing group, MIT

Otherwise, my time was spent sitting on the couch of the group – just working away and talking to whoever past me by. It felt like a pretty exciting place to be – lots of great ideas being developed. A lot of the implementations seem to suffer from lack of an aesthetic input – I think there is a need for more artists in the lab. The lab seemed a very supportive place to work, although everyone seemed to be lost in their own research, the lack of space meant people were always running into each other, talking, sharing ideas. The lab was messy, which felt good, prototypes falling all over the place. Screens and computers everywhere. Groups were constantly meeting, and there seemed to be quite a bit of cross pollination.





There were camera crews, journalists and company representatives constantly touring. Prototypes being demonstrated.

I will be coming to the lab a few times a year to work on the CHAMELEON project and it will be great to get to know the place a bit better.

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 Getting ready to leave

February 16th, 2008

Little pablo has settled into the timezone well – now he tends to sleep for between 8 to 12 hours a night. Tomorrow we will destory it all – We leave tomorrow for NYC for a week. We have an apartment in the upper west side. We then move onto Boston for a week then over to Banff for a month, Back to Boston and then early April we are back in London. Have to pack today – think about all equipment neeeded for Banff. Enough clothes for us all, with out being too loaded with too much luggage.

Met with Sabine at Arts Council England London yesterday to discuss the project. She suggested I put in a small grant – we talked about other funding strategies something about elephant trust, AHRC, etc. She talked about Arts Admin and making contact with them. She suggested putting in an application over the next couple fo weeks and she wil look at the draft.

We all went to the British Library yesterday – great exhibition on about the avante garde through out Europe – shows many of the manifestos and artists books of the time. Its called Breaking the Rules. Fantastic. We then toured through their collection which is always fascinating.

post UCLH Hospital

February 15th, 2008

Met with Guy Noble, the curator at UCLH hospital. We have been in touch over the last few years – Met a couple of years ago at of a series of workshops entitled Touch and the value of object handling – New technologies for enhancing object interpretation: interactives, haptics and interface technologies organised by Helen Chatterjee and Guy. last year he shortlisted me for a commission – in the foyer of the hospital there is a large video screen that they show work on. I mentioned the Chameleon Project – the first stage. Would suit the space, and the health/art area is interesting for the project. He agreed – booked in for May. Great to have something to work towards.

Discussed Haptics. He suggested I talk to Alan Wing / research team member, Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham – am interesting in creating a small touch based interactive peice to work out if we should make touch part of the final work. I think I met get Evan to start working on something, but also they may be a few people to work with at Banff.

Went to the Wellcome Trust gallery – It combines three contemporary galleries, a library and a public forum for science ideas. – Sleep exhibition on. Wellcome have funded Chameleon. Nice space. Great exhibition. Need to make an appointment with James Peto – the curator their about potentailly exhibiting the work.


‘I Can’t help the way I feel’ by John Isaacs, 2003 – an obese figure – more of an emotional portrait.


ancient mummy – wellcome collection, reminds me of Munch’s the scream.

Headed on to the Royal Academy to see the new Russion show. Heaps of Mattises, Kandinsky’s, – the exhibtion was packed – too busy to see the work – but was amazing to see the Mattises – The Dance. interesting – expressionism link to psychophysiological interactivity – both looked to the internal to create the work. Would like to research more about this,

We then headed over to Sketch, was closed for a function. Have been talking to the curator there, Victoria, about showing the project. Shes interested but so far have only tlaked over email. Fantastic space. Headed over to Iniva to see the cuban exhibition – great space and exhibition. Saw some really lovely work.

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 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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