Dorkbot:79 Dorkbot Seattle 0x4F Commercial art


June 6, 2012 - 7:00pm - 9:30pm


Jigsaw Renaissance
815 Airport Way S
Seattle, WA, 98134


Allan's installation at NordstromThis month, we'll have presentations about two radically different sorts of commercial art: an on-site installation that asked people to interact with it through Twitter, and a completely virtual meme manipulation.

Allan Bathurst - Twitter Powered LED Color Wall

The new Nordstrom location at City Creek Center in Utah had its grand opening this past March. As part of the festivities, my development team wrote an application in Processing that allowed anyone with a Twitter account to change the color of an external facing “LED brick” wall, that was built into the store’s facade. This wall was constructed ahead of time by the company that built and designed the store itself. However, Nordstrom, wanted to do something special with it for the opening. During the week following the opening, anyone could change the color of the wall by tweeting to #newnordstrom with a color value such as “hot pink”. The project is over now, but we may do it again in the future given the positive response from customers.

Allan Bathurst is the lead for emerging media projects in Nordstrom’s Interactive Development team. He works with a variety of digital and analog technologies, with the goal of producing interactive work that provides people with a relevant and memorable experience.

Brent Watanabe & Joseph Gray - Culture V!rus

"A meme is an idea that behaves like a virus—that moves through a population, taking hold in each person it infects."
- Malcolm Gladwell

Allan's installation at NordstromCultureVirus is a meta character, or “ghost in the machine”, that monitors its environment and generates responses to it from the data it perceives. The CultureVirus exists as a set of software, a website, a set of social network profiles and hardware inputs in physical space which combine to create a virtual presence that forms a meta-conceptual being, rather than a single concrete entity.

The CultureVirus is given a location, event and/or topic as a restricted realm to work within. It observes public social media that has been tagged with location data, within a set geographic range. It can be set to watch for keywords (for instance a twitter hash tags) in publicly accessible social network messages. It will also watch the streams of those wishing to “follow” it on various social networks.

The CultureVirus then alters and combines the information it observes and posts it back to its own website, its own social network profiles and the profiles/pages of individuals, organizations and events it has been set to observe. Observers of the CultureVirus in turn are then able to share and/or respond to the posts it creates, thereby creating more data-fuel for its engine.

Brent Watanabe has created computer controlled gallery installations and interactive environments for over 10 years. These installations function much like immersive video games, with living, interacting characters and objects, each with their own logic, intelligence, scoring, and goals. These elements may rely on anything from simple light or sound sensors to complex custom programming, circuitry, and Internet networking. His work has been shown in galleries, museums, and film festivals internationally.

Before joining Superfad, Brent worked at Microsoft for 11 years as a User Experience Designer/Developer. He specializes in rapid prototyping, designing and developing products from wireframe prototypes to shipped products. Brent has worked on a wide range of projects, including interactive games, learning authoring systems, apps for mobile devices, and XBOX Live educational games.

Joseph Gray is a Seattle based artist and designer. Joseph earned a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in 1999, focusing in video and sculpture. Since then he has worked with digital art and design practices for both artistic projects and commercial design applications. He began learning programming working in the graphic design industry, which quickly led to creating custom software and hardware tools for art installations and visual performances. He currently works at Superfad in Seattle as their Lead Creative Developer.

Joseph's sculptural and performance work has been exhibited at Unit B Gallery in San Antonio, TX; Meridian Gallery and The Lab in San Francisco, CA and a multitude of venues in the Pacific Northwest including Ghost Gallery, 911 Media, Bumbershoot and the Seattle Art Museum Gallery. Joseph has applied his technical skills to assist other artists as well including SuttonBeresCuller's exhibit PanOptos at the Henry Art Museum and more recently a toolkit for artist Gary Hill to support a performance/exhibition at the Museo MARCO in Vigo, Spain. He has also taught workshops at 911 Media Arts Center, Metrix Create Space and created an online course for O’Reilly Media on Processing and Arduino for creatives.