Tag Archives: performance art

Recipe for an iGeneration Party

    Augmented reality glasses, with in-ear phones

  1. The promoters should organize a party, in the following terms:
    1. The party may be either open or private, an entrance fee may be charged or not, it may happen once or may be a regular event;
    2. The participants should be explained the concept and highly encouraged to bring their own set of dance music. To minimize disappointments, the technical requirements (file and device format) should be succinctly but clearly explained;
    3. In the best of the worlds, the participants should be provided the memory device (like a SD Card) or player device and this physical object, adequately branded, would also act as the admission token;
    4. A real-time set should also be provided. At least two DJs should be hired for two simultaneous dance soundtracks and another for a downtempo soundtrack.
  2. Each participant should receive a Personal Party Kit, consisting of:
    1. A pair of augmented reality glasses (or a similar device, like an Eyetap);
    2. A pair of high-quality in-ear phones;
    3. A small device, of the size of a PDA, with a reliable belt-clip.
  3. The device should follow those specifications:
    1. It should allow the participant to insert a memory device or player device and play whatever sound files it contains;
    2. It should allow the participant to connect to one of the soundtracks being played real-time by the DJs;
    3. It should allow the participant to choose another participant and listen to whatever they are listening;
    4. It should allow the participants, optionally, to listen to the background sound, through a microphone;
    5. It should allow the participants to send real time text messages to each other, providing convenient functionalities like emoticons, multiple-people conversations and short voice messages;
    6. In the best of the worlds, if beverages are being sold / served, it should allow the participants to order whenever they want and be tracked by the waiters so to get their order at the floor. It should also keep the tab.
  4. The following augmented reality effects should be provided:
    1. Visual effects, in the form of virtual dancefloor lighting, should be provided. As well as technology allows, those effects should be adequate to the mood of the music being played;
    2. The people with whom one is interacting (listening to their music, texting with, etc.) should be highlighted;
    3. Danger situations (people on path of collision, the borders of the dancefloor, etc.) should be unobtrusively but clearly highlighted;
    4. The arrival of one’s beverage should be unobtrusively but clearly signalled.
  5. Adequate floorspace should be provided for the number of expected participants, following those instructions:
    1. The space can be either indoors or outdoors;
    2. If indoors, prefer a spacious, level open room, with high ceiling and neutral décor. Many settings might work, from a proper nightclub , to an empty warehouse or the central hall of a shopping center;
    3. If outdoors, prefer a spacious, level ground. If the party takes place during daylight, provide adequate shading;
    4. Keep any fixtures and furniture on the borders, out of the main dance space.


  • Be wary of security issues, especially considering the participants will have their perceptions diminished and overwhelmed. Plan beforehand for any emergency situation;
  • It is crucial to have technical personnel available to quickly solve any technical that may arise (replacing faulty personal devices, switching to a backup central processor, etc.);
  • People wearing prescription glasses will have a sub-optimal experience with the augmented reality glasses. Those people may consider wearing one-day disposable prescription contact lenses on the occasion of the party.
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    Recipe for Performance Art

    Punch CardThe Setting

    1. The performance should be held on a large unadorned room, if possible longer than it is wide;
    2. The scene where the performance takes place should occupy approximately half the room in one longitudinal strip;
    3. The public should be kept either on one side of the room, either on both sides (with the scene on the middle strip);
    4. The public should subtly be made to understand that the scene is not to be penetrated (use narrow strip marks on the floor, or different flooring on the scene, or etc.), however physical barriers or different floor levels are absolutely proscribed;
    5. The scene is to be divided into approximately three equal parts, without explicit demarcation:
      1. On one extreme, a minimalist artist’s studio; with a large drawing board, a matching chair and a small support table to hold the artists’ materials;
      2. On the middle, a large table with a stack of finished pieces, an equipment which is a combination of a  large-format scanner + document shredder, and a card punch;
      3. On the other extreme, a dumpster trash receptacle and a warehouse-type steel bookshelf;
    6. If possible, the room illumination should be as follows:
      1. The “studio area” should be bathed in warm, comfortable lighting, with auxiliary lighting for the drawing area;
      2. The “scanning area” should be bathed in strong cold lighting;
      3. The “storage area” should be bathed in very warm lighting (almost red) much fainter than the other two areas;
      4. The rest of the room should be left in the dark, with just enough lighting to ensure the safety of the public.

    The performance

    The performance comprises three moments: The Creation, The Digitization, The Punching and The Storage / Disposal. The three latter form a sequence, but there may be long hiatuses (because the scanning and the punching are potentially slow processes) during which the operators may, in the interest of avoiding unnecessary visual clutter, leave the scene. The Creation, however is quite independent from all other steps, and may be performed either in sequence or in parallel with them.

    The Creation
    1. A large blank sheet of paper or canvas is attached to a drawing board;
    2. One of several invited artists creates an original artwork, using any flat, conventional technique as s/he wishes (charcoal, pastel, acrylic, watercolour, pencil drawing, etc);
    3. Once finished, the artwork is detached from the drawing board and stacked on a pile on the table at the middle.
    The Digitization
    1. Two operators choose a random piece from the pile;
    2. They carefully feed it into a large-format scanner / shredder, which gradually reduces it to small bits just as soon as it digitizes it;
    3. The resulting shreds are collected in a box lined with a black trash bag.
    The Punching
    1. Once the piece is completely digitized, it is processed to fit into a 175 KiB JFIF file;
    2. Operator 1 takes the black trash bag from the shredder and puts it in the chad box of the card punch;
    3. Simultaneously, operator 2 feeds new cards to the punch and instructs it to punch the JFIF file.
    The Storage / Disposal
    1. Operator 1 takes care of disposing of the thrash bag with the chad and the shreds of the original artwork. S/he takes the bag from the card punch, ties it and throws it into the dumpster;
    2. Simultaneously, operator 2 takes care of putting the punched cards into an archive box and handwriting a label with the name of the artist, the name of the artwork, the date of creation and the date of scanning. S/he attaches the label to the box and carefully puts it away on the bookshelf.


    • Artwork: techniques that may prevent the scanning / shredding process should be avoided, which may include collages and thick empâtements. If ink is to be used, it should be fast drying (oil paint, for example, is to be avoided);
    • Operators: no provision is made about specific gestures or costumes, except to stay away from stereotyping and overacting. In particular, the dreadful white lab coat cliché is to be avoided at all costs;
    • Invited artists: they should not be constrained in terms of action or dress. They must, however, agree to refrain for interfering even in the slightest with the action outside “The Creation”;
    • To provide a reference, if  80 column × 12 bit cards are used, each artwork will demand approximately 1500 cards;
    • To keep the performance interesting, it might be advisable to be able to slow down the timing of scanning and punching, in the case technology allows it to proceed too fast. Ideally, each process should take a dozen minutes, so an entire cycle, from “The Digitization” to “The Storage” could take about half an hour;
    • Provisions must be made in the (not unlikely) event of technical troubles, so that the operators can stay in character, and the performance may “fail graciously”.

    This latter issue is so important, that I may want to address it in more specific terms in future versions of this recipe.