Dorkbot:23 Technicolour Timekeeping And Ships That Pass In The Night


November 2, 2005 - 7:30pm


Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA
6413 Seaview Ave NW
Seattle, WA, 98107



John Miles, Equinox: Subverting the Dominant Paradigm in Consumer Electronic Design: When John Miles needed a new alarm clock, he did what any normal person would do: he bought a well-reviewed Sony model from Its design gave voice to a longtime suspicion: people who work for consumer electronic manufacturers don't actually use their own products, do they? A lesser dork would have mastered the Sony's twenty un-illuminated buttons and gone on with life... but not John. His Tarantino-grade grudge match with Sony consumed four years of basement R&D time and several thousand dollars. But in art, unlike engineering, the end always justifies the means.

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John's new clock radio boasts a multiuser client-server architecture worthy of a Kleiner-Perkins IPO. It can pick up everything from submarine communications to baby monitors, track Seattle's police and fire departments better than a 911 supervisor can, and wake John up to the KEXP Morning Show with the world's first tactile Nixie-tube alarm clock. On November 2, John will demonstrate his creation to a skeptical dorkbot audience and try as hard as he can to rationalize it all. But is it art? Maybe; maybe not. What would Akio Morita have said? More about John here and below.


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Chuck Harrison, A Smattering of Colo(u)r Science: How do our eyes respond to color in the environment around us? Electronics/optics designer and tech-art collaborator Chuck Harrison will talk about how the spectral composition of light gives rise to our experience of hue, saturation, and brightness.

Secrets of the arcane CIE horseshoe of color revealed! Bring your favorite luminous or colored object to face the spectrophotometer! More about Chuck below.


Steve Safarik, Room Sonar: Steve Safarik is currently studying Control Systems, which if you don't know is one of the coolest subject areas (really), and at some point will most likely become a professional control freak.

Prior dorkbot presenter of the laser-projected computer game Spacewars, he's just built a fun little project he calls Room Sonar - think air-traffic-controller radar, but instead using a little sonar transducer that measures distance up to about 30 feet and gives you a display of the room you're in.

More about Steve at and below.


Open Dork/Show and Tell


Mars Saxman is a veteran of the 2003 People Doing Strange Things With Electricity exhibition. The RAVE-O-MATIC is one of his latest projects: a battery-powered sound-and-light show on wheels: a portable nightclub, a mobile disco. Designed for the harsh conditions and flat terrain at the Nevada desert site of the Burning Man festival, it is battery powered and (just!) light enough to tow behind a bicycle. It exists to spread a dance club experience everywhere, and creates a temporary zone of high-tech multisensory fun, rendered surreal by the contrast with its wilderness environment.



We Want You!

YOU!!! Yes, if you have a project – any project, at any stage of completeness, an idea – any idea, at any stage of bakedness, an artwork – any kind of artwork at any stage of doneness, please do bring it along to the dorkbot meeting and claim your 10 minutes worth of fame after the presenters and before the Rave-O-Matic starts an impromptu dance party!


More about our speakers


John Miles, 37, is an independent software developer and all-around hardware geek. He is the eponymous creator of the Miles Sound System by RAD Game Tools, which has delivered sound-effects and music support for thousands of PC and console game titles since its first release in 1991. Prior to the development of MSS, John worked at Dell Computer Corporation in Austin as a systems software engineer. Going back even farther, he was the lead programmer on Ultima V at Origin Systems, Inc., and contributed to the graphics technology behind Ultima VI and Wing Commander. Although John has achieved a rating of almost 200 on eBay, his mother still wonders if he would have been better off staying in school.

Chuck Harrison is an electronics/optics design engineer whose work has ranged over scientific instruments, motion picture effects gear, visual displays, and tech-art collaborations. His current activities include standards development for color management in Digital Cinema production and display.