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recent projects
. live cinema | video
: the whalefall
: flussoReflusso
: hylaea : melanoplus
: arthropodaChordataConiferophyta
: hylaea : alcidae
: bn #9: manuMindo
: biological narrative #7:danaus
: microMacroCosm
: biological narrative 1 thru 5

. sonic works
: C. psychrerythraea34H
: crypto:mindo
: opsin
: cytoDoptera

. installations
: speaking to hylaea
: 39˚ 44′ 11″ N x 104˚ 59′ 21″ W
: campephilus
: hylaea (video/print/rare book)
: hylaea : evolutio


: second nature...
: catalogues
: podcasts/scienceSoundEscapes
: reviews / interviews

current investigations
: soniDOME
: projectECAT
: the ocean memory project
: hylaea series

: biological narrative
: tools for life cinema
: field research & expeditions

archive/web works
: primamateria
: macrocosm

tools for life cinema

The “tools for life cinema” project brings the experimental hybridization of digital live cinema and performative bioinformatics into the form of "life cinema" as an investigatory medium into the evolution and sustainability of contemporary biocultural expression. This subgenre of new media/digital cinema builds upon the open-ended multimedia output of interactive cinema; the access/literacy of biological datasets; the bending of biological computing, artificial life, ecological modeling and biomimicry; and the sampling of lost and at-risk ecosystems to deliver sonic derivatives and visual translations of biological and environmental sensibilities into an immersive new media form.

This project seeks to expand the authoring base and voices for new media-based biological narrative creation through the development, distribution and instruction of shareware and opensource new media authoring tools. These tools are both functional and exploratory and can be broken down into the following tools classes:

1) novel performance interfaces:surfaces
2) translators and modifiers of bioinformatic (re)sources to sonic and visual outputs
3) generators of new bionarrative interactions and experiences.

Exemplary tool descriptions and functions follow:

graphite circuit 1, click to enlargeMy objective in developing novel performance interfaces and surfaces is to work with the potential for gestural interactions in combination with biological form, image or surface textures related to the content of the creative composition that are being performatively explored. The exemplary tool configuration which I have arrived at works with the potential to overlay a significant image with circuitry that can transmit an electronic signal i.e. relevant translated or bioacoustically sampled audio or field video, which can be modified or manipulated via performed interactions. The image at the left gives reference to this configuration as an image of a Monarch Butterfly Wing with an overlay of a graphite drawing being used to transmit audio signal along the veination lines of the enlarged wing image. The graphite drawing acts as a performative circuit and interactive surface which can carry electronic signals in relation to the morphology of this insect wing structure. I am currently exploring the outputs from such interface configurations for novel signal interactions of my new audio and live cinema compositions.   

bio2midiEmphasis on this tool class is on the facilitation of techniques for translating and modifying bioinformatic and ecoinformatic sources into meta- and multimedia outputs that can be creatively manipulated by author/artists. Tools of this class previously existed as shareware and opensource ((Bio2MIDI & Protein Music) distributions for the translation of nucleic and amino acid sequences to MIDI sequences. I am broadening this base into a tool bundle that can not only translate interesting DNA/protein datasets to MIDI/OSC outputs (using Max/MSP & Pure Data) but also expand bioinformatic and ecoinformatic translations for expanded outputs and the manipulation of signal equivalents beyond the MIDI paradigm to sample loops, image sequences and enchained sonic ecologies. 

predator prey mixing patchThis tool class uses a process patching/patch programming (Max/MSP & Pure Data) approach to enable new experiential outputs for interactions based upon biological/ecological modeling and complexity engines. The screen at the left shows a video and audio mixing tool whose output is processed through a classic predator-prey population algorithm – the Lotka-Volterra model. In this processing, one video/sonic envelope takes the role of predator and a second envelope takes the role of prey. The two media loops compete for dominance and persistence with cyclical interactions expressed through the alpha channels of the video mix. The channel outputs have the potential to cycle perpetually as a characteristic of an ecological balance or in extreme cases one video envelope can out compete the other resulting in the interdependent extinctions of predator with prey.

Complementary to this technical development, conceptual exploration and aesthetic applicatio is a strategy for “life cinema” tool distribution and instruction through the organization and staging of workshops for the empowerment/extension of authoring of new audio and digital cinematic works. Online distirbutions and forums are being conducted through the Biotica Studio | Laboratory portal. Emphasis on staging of workshops is focusing upon global regions which have the potential to empower new media authoring in ecological sectors where a pro-active approach to biological narrative authoring and dissemination will have an impact on digital media education propagation, new media skill needs and environmental conservation and education.

Project venues for this research thread include:


“Transcoding of Complex Environmental Data to Sonic and Video Output with MAX/MSP / La Transcodificación de Datos Ambientales Complejas a Sonida y Vídeo con MAX / MSP ”, part of the cultural program of the United Nations COP20, Conference on Climate Change, workshop held at Espacio Fundación Telefónica, Lima, Peru
“Transcoding of Complex Data to Sonic and Video Output with MAX/MSP ", Institute of Emergent Technology + Intermedia (ieTi ), Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, WA

Conference, Symposia & Society Presentations
National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) Conference on Art and Science, Engineering, and Medicine Frontier Collaborations: Ideation, Translation & Realization, Irvine, CA (invited)
“Hylaea, el Bioculturalismo y la Recodificación de la Memoria Ecológica/“Hylaea, Bioculturalism and the Recoding of Ecological Memory ”, cultural program of the United Nations COP20, Conference on Climate Change, Espacio Fundación Telefónica, Lima, Peru (invited)
Cambiando mediante el arte/Change Through the Arts”, International Seminar on Art, Technology and Environment, cultural program of the United Nations COP20, Conference on Climate Change, Espacio Fundación Telefónica, Lima, Peru (invited)
“From Life to Afterlife Cinema”,
Machine Wilderness, 18th International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) Albuquerque, NM
“Tools for Life Cinema”, FILE Symposium 2009 (Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletrônica), SESI  Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil
“Biological Narrative #7: Danaus”, 11th Subtle Technologies 2008, Symposium, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
“High Resolution Digital Imaging of Six Extinct (or Possibly Extinct) North American Bird Specimens”, Wattis Foundation Internship Program for Zoology, Research Symposium, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver, CO                          
“Re-wiring the Biological Narrative: Telematic to Biophilia Connections”, Figurations of Knowledge, 5th Biannual European Conference of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts, Center for Literary and Cultural Research, Berlin, Germany
“Authoring the Biological Narrative” & “Artists’ Presentation: microMacroCosm”, Close Encounters: 4th European Biannual Conference of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (European SLSA), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
“Authoring the Biological Narrative”,
New Forms Festival 05 – Ecologies, NFF 05 Conference: “Eco Systems: Negotiating Natural, Cultural and Technological Systems in Post-traditional Ecology”, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada