Last night, I went to Dorkbot, the arty/geeky show & tell, at the Limehouse Town Hall, meeting up there with masterkill.
The talks were varyingly interesting; the first one was by installation artist Joel Gethin Lewis, who described various interactive installations, using lights, music generators, motion-tracking cameras and floor-mounted displays, which he had built for clients, and showing video of two (one at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2006, involving columns of light and vaguely ambient music which responded to the presence of people, and one in Tokyo, involving computer-rendered shapes on a floor-mounted display responding to kids running around them), which was fairly nifty. The next one was by an elderly computer artist named Harold Cohen, who basically described his life's work. He had started writing LISP programs to draw, and training them to draw human forms, basically by adding lots of rules. Then he moved on to vaguely abstract plantlike forms. Curiously, his later images, riots of only vaguely representational colour, seemed less compelling than the imaginary humans in earlier ones. The final long talk was by a woman named Sarah Angliss, who had built installations with servo-controlled puppets and a carillon consisting of tuned, wirelessly-triggered bells. She had brought some of the bells to demonstrate, but hadn't brought the right program or somesuch, and as such couldn't operate them. Oh, and organiser and musical livecoder Alex's OpenDork presentation was pretty cool; he made a system of mapping different syllables to ways of hitting a (simulated) drum, and demonstrated a script where he typed lengths of syllables like "pakareto _ _ _ ku", which would be transformed into a continuously looping drum tattoo.
When the Opendork presentations at the end came, I gave a brief one about how I went about cracking the proprietary file format of a drum machine plugin. Anyway, I've put the slides up here.