Blinkenlights: The Aftermath

PressTorontoStar.jpgThis is what we where greeted today with from all the newsstands in town when we went outside to get some peaceful breakfast. What you see there is a still frame from the well recieved symphonie last night. Actually what you see is Willow on the left tower and me on the right tower :) I was very delighted that they choose this particular loop as it symbolizes everything the visual side of the symphony stood for. Love the two towers and the massive amount of blinkenlights - it was my favorite and aparently the editors of the newspaper saw that as well. The performance went very well (so I was not 100% satisfied with my part as per usual) but people apparently liked it a lot as there was lots of cheers and long applause afterwards (which is very unusual for a VJ I might add). I did a bit of an extension (for people wondering why it went on longer then 30 minutes) as the crowd somehow wanted some more :) (so toby as cook dumping his iPod collection on Willows computer was a very timely thing to do as this supplied some more cool music for that unexpected part as all the music was playing from her computer).
I can not state often enough that this thing comes across best when you see it live. The afterglow of the pixels on the night sky backdrop leave you with a smile everytime you see them - its such a huge scale that the light is just brightening the whole area. The towers blinking in rythm to the music is just something otherworldly.

Thanks to everyone involved to make this happen - and especially Ronny and Inge from Kraftfuttermischwerk for the perfectly fitting music - everyone asked me who the music was from - it just fit the atmosphere extremely well.

Now the installation is up for another week. A wide collection of games can be played (and work great even through the simulator (not so much through the live video as the delay is too big)) now and people play like crazy. You can still submit loops that will be added to the playlist and be played on the house and afterwards on the never dying blinkenproxies.

All information as always on

PS: Oh and we recorded everything - its already digitized and we will put it online very soon together in sync with the amazing audio... (soon is the next 2-3 days)


Blinkenlights: VDMX Finalized Layout

I have now finalized my setup and am testing for tonight. I am going with 4 layers. Two of those are what I call "story" layers - mostly video content telling the stereo love story. One layer is rythm loops and typography and the 4th layer is a special "pixel perfect" layer that maps pixel by pixel to the house - so I can adress specific windows without any antialiasing around them. There is one custom plugin that makes all the right connections to the house and lets me readress the output to specific screens on the house and lets me turn off one of the two buildings individually (to compensate for the mirror effect). Also there is a "blink" plugin that cycles through the screen and turns them on and of one after each other.

All in all I produced 220 fresh loops just for the house and repurposed 90 of my old loops (mostly rythm stuff) in just over a week. I donīt know if the story will come through because some of the story loops are just not working on the low resolution but I will make sure it all looks pretty tonight...

I would be more then happy for any feedback after the event.

Blinkenlights: LiveStream

We are now broadcasting live - not the greatest quality on earth (nor the greatest framerate) but at least you can get a feeling of the whole thing directly.

Blinkenlights: StereoLove the Blinkenlights Symphonie

Its 25 hours to go until I will go live and dance with the Blinkenlights. StereoLove the Blinkenlights Symphonie is a 30 minute audiovisual feast on the lovely blinken pixels. The music part is provided by Kraftfuttermischwerk who almost completely produced new soundscapes for this event. Before an after the the live part people will be able to interact in new ways with the house, play games have a wink at the winken cam (oh I know thats going to be extremely popular) or just enjoy being mesmerized by the giant blinking display.

All this as part of the Nuit Blanche here in Toronto with lots of other stuff going on as well.

So if you are in or around Toronto come down to the Nathan Phillips Square and see it all live Saturday October 4th 2008 at 10 pm.

If not - well the simulators are the way to go or wait til sunday to see a live recording of the whole event including the tasty music.

Blinkenlights: The Test in Video

VJTestingHandsCool.jpegThe cheaky buggers filmed me last night without me noticing :) Look at it - its very small part of what you gonna get tomorrow. BTW I didnīt even have a contrast or brightness control in the test setup (besides Tim mentioning that on the blog) - but it helps to have tested on the house with a bad gamma curve the days before to know what works and what not.


Blinkenlights: Animation Submit Form Up and Running

If you are making animations and want to see them displayed on the biggest screen ever with the lowest resolution ever you can roll your own and now also submit them to the team. They will be played throughout the next week starting tomorrow on the house. The sooner you send them in the higher visibility they get so get going.

1. creation tools
2. submit animations in bml format

Blinkenlights: Live Broadcast Test Successful

blinkenlighttest2.JPGblinkenlighttest2_2.JPGYesterday I was able to conduct the first real live test from the plaza in front of the house wirelessly live to the house and it was bombastic. While inside the headquarter on 4th floor West Tower got my mood a bit down because I couldnīt really see what I was playing couldnīt really sense how the visuals would come through - basically I was thinking nothing works its all doomed. Yet down in front of the building I found a massive lovely vibrant reactive fast screen that worked with 80% of my prepared footage. All my ideas for effects where working, the software hardware side worked and I was massively pleased and could rest well.

Now all thats left for me is making "some" more rythm loops and making my software setup stable and usable (hey I got more then 24 hours for that so p-l-e-n-t-y of time).

Thanks goes out so far to the amazing hard and software gurus in the crew - without them nothing would be possible.

I am going to post some pictures here later (hopefully)...


Blinkenlights: After Debug Screen UpperWest Works

After long debug nights with multiple reflashings of 200 dimmers and only chaotic pixels last night was the big moment where the first of four screens starting to work as intended. On the first picture you see the first homogeneous pixels array on Upper West Screen - the second picture shows a letter loop directly from within VDMX (its originally from my Biometric Passport LoopCast).

Blinkenlights: Content Creation Tools released

BlinkenCreationTools.pngWe have now a whole array of content creation tools for the Blinkenlights house available. There is still one missing that I hope the Coding Monkeys downstairs will be able to pull off in time - its one where you can convert video loops directly into .bml files that can be played on the house - in the meantime so there are already available an extensive set of plugins for Apples Quartz Composer, The classic Blinkenpaint in the Stereoscope Paint edition and an enhanced Simulator with a record function. You can get the apple centric collection here.
Also there is now a Processing Library available. For those not familiar with Processing - its a Programming language for interactive media installations and with the processing blinkenlights library you are able to make programmable animations cross platform.

As said there is still more to come - also for the video peeps out there.


Blinkenlights: iPhone App released

BlinkenLightsiPhoneSim.pngThe Blinkenlights iPhone application is released and available on the appstore so you can watch the stream of pixels as it appears (or should appear ones its working) on the house on you iPhone with different viewpoints.

iPhone BlinkenSim on the Appstore


Blinkenlights: It blinks a bit

The first two days were the East Tower started blinking to the watchfull observer.

Blinkenlights: Jesus in a Blinkenframe

BMLJesus.pngThe Blinkenlights are driven by a protocol thats called bml (blinkenlights meta language) that protocol is actually pretty lovely to look at and I found jesus in it the other day ;)

Blinkenlights: A day off in Toronto

Yesterday the group had an invite to go to the island and have a day off in nature to relax so that we have the strength to go into the most stressful week ahead. Here are some pictures of the trip.



Blinkenlights: Arrival and 4th floor blinking

We arrived yesterday in Toronto which still has a late summer feeling with nice sunshine and t-shirt temperatures. After trying to control sleep deprevation induced breakdowns we also had a short visit to control center in the Toronto City Hall where we were surprised that the 4th floor (the floor that is the headquater) was already blinking (or blinken). Also the iPhone app has reached v1.0 and only needs to be approved by apple to be available on the app store.
The photos you see are my first impressions of the CityHall and the people on the project and the 4th floor blinkencentral.


Blinkenlights: Broadcasting from Kleinmachnow/Germany to Toronto/Canada and beyond

beamaztoBlinkenLightsTheFirstContact.pngTomorrow I will be leaving to London and then from there on Monday to Toronto. But before I even arrive we have managed to send some packets over there - packets of the electronic type that is.
My favorite VJ programm VDMX has gotten a Quartz Composer implant that in turns has a custom programmed implant that takes an input image and sends it out a as a blinkenstream to a proxy server. This proxy server can then be listened to by anyone with an internet connection - so to you or the guys in Tonronto (The CodingMonkeys of SubethaEdit fame - who are hard at work programming the iPhone app at the moment).
This all goes straight out of VDMX without anything in between - very sweet - vjing directly to the world so to say. I must say that this has prompted a bit of a shift in my perception of the artform - I will reflect about that after I am back from Toronto - I think its quite awesome.

As soon as there is an official version of the program that displays the data stream (mid next week) and an official proxyserver (tomorrow?) I will post it here - so you can watch what's on the towers or me practicing (not that much fun I guess)...
I will also post the plugins for quartz composer straight when I have arrived in Toronto.
this blog will see a new Category called "Blinkenlights" for those who are interested in my updates on the project over the course of the next 3 weeks. All quite exiting.

Of course there is also the official Blinkenlights Blog for more current information...