As a technical Web of Things proof-of-concept (and to have a little bit of fun with electronics) we've put together a Web Connected Table Football. An Arduino and an openPicus with motion sensors were used as goal detectors that update two different cloud services: Evrythng and Compose. A hacked kindle was then used to display the result coming from an aggregator website. 

This proof-of-concept was developed during the Web of Things workshop hackathon in Zurich, last September!

video by Compose-Project | blog post

project: Web Of Things

We prepared this video as part of a demo of the framework I'm working on for my PhD. In a nutshell, we show a simple Internet of Things example, a brief explanation of how our framework works and how we applied it to the scenario. Hope you enjoy it!

project: Open Objects

Language pushes us toward classification. When we choose between one particular word and another we make a conscious decision to put a certain subject in a certain box. For example, when I say that today the sky was blue, I produce a mental image of a blue sky in your mind. So even if there were some clouds in the sky, I chose to classify it as a blue sky and you pictured a perfect clear sky. So, in a way, language conditions us into putting concepts in distinct boxes and, as we use language as a basis for thought, we, ourselves, become conditioned by classification. We base our morals and our conduct on classification: this is good and that is bad, I like this and I dislike that, this is green and that is blue. But obviously, these classifications, these morals, are different from person to person, from culture to culture. In the japanese language, for instance, the same word can mean both green and blue, therefore, native japanese speakers do not distinguish between the two colours in the same way we, westerners, do.

If we live and swear by language and by these boxes of classification, we often tend to be too reductive and if we don’t see past them, if we don’t look through the classification, we can’t really say that we fully understand a subject. Because both us and the world that surrounds us are so organic, analogue and varied! So all this to say that as I have a special interest for the in-betweens, the grey areas. The extremes are boring! There is a world between white and black, between right and wrong, between I like you and I love you. And those are exactly the places where all the interesting stuff happens! For a few years I have had this idea of capturing the grey areas as a photographic project but I could never make it happen, I could never find the right visual language. This is something that had induced a minor frustration in me. I have this interest, this strong feeling that I want to express but am not able. But from time to time I think about it, so I still think that I will find the right way to do it!

project: Grey Areas

scanning comparison

Well, lets just say I've gotten better at this over the last couple of years. The left image was one of the first I've "scanned" with my DSLR, and the one on the right I've just rescanned using the techniques described below (higher resolution available here). Right now I can get higher resolution and better image quality that what street labs give you on CD.

I've seen many articles on the web explaining the basics of digitising film negatives or transparencies with a digital camera. The basics are quite simple: you take a photo of a negative into a light source and invert. That's it. But that alone led me to scan negatives that looked like the one on the left, above. Because I've never seen one tutorial that told me "the whole story" of how to do it properly, I've decided to put together what I've learnt during the last two or three years of scanning film with my DSLR.

First of all: Why?

  • Street labs can usually scan the film but I’ve got bad scans and missing/cut frames more than once. Also, when you scan, you make some artistic decisions over contrast and colour that are often definitive. By leaving these decisions to a machine or someone else, you are losing control over your creative freedom.
  • I often develop film myself and I don’t own a film scanner. Even if I did, good film scanners cost a fortune and I get better quality from scanning the film with my DSLR than I would if I used an average scanner.
  • Very precise control over colours, highlight and shadow curves, while making use of the vast film dynamic range.

These are my reasons, you may obviously have different ones. Some people do this because it’s faster than using a scanner, but that depends on how much time you spend post-processing, and I do spend a bit more than I would like to admit, but it is a time spent doing something that gives me pleasure, not pressing buttons on a poorly designed software and waiting for a tedious scan.

All the following instructions have the objective of achieving the best possible resolution, colour depth and dynamic range out of the film, while keeping image noise as low as possible. Also, I aimed at keeping the whole process as quick as possible. I think each time I’ve made a scan I’ve got better results than the time before, because I keep improving the process and now I’ve got to a stage I’m quite happy with the results.

I’ve separated this tutorial into five sections, and you may want to skip, or skim through some of these.

Contents

  1. What you will need
  2. Setting up the hardware
  3. Setting up the camera and flash
  4. Scanning the film
  5. Post-processing


project: Photography

Lisdon-A Metropolis by doublexposure

Lisdon the Metropolis:
Which are the differences between the sound landscapes of Lisbon and London? To explore that, nothing better than 'seeing' both cities through the ears of a commuter. Each interchange, each conversation, each door opening and closing, every passenger speeding up its daily routine, is going to be put up to the test in a sonic battlefield.

This is the basic premises of the new project I've done with Amadeu Dias. By overlapping sounds recorded both in London and in Lisbon, we've tried to somehow eliminate the distance and create a metropolitan dialogue, whispered in our ears. The project aired on the 21st of October in Radio Futura, as part of the Future Places festival.

Due to the extensive use of stereo to differentiate both locations, for best results we suggest the use of headphones.

We, as the Double Exposure Collective, are currently exploring a similar concept but with images instead of sounds, by exposing the same 35mm photographic roll twice, once in each city. More on this soon!

project: Double Exposure Collective
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