Category Archives: Major Studio – Interface

Final Project – Full Description Posted

I gave my final presentation for Major Studio yesterday, and I made a page on this site with a full description of the project here. In there you’ll find a project desciption, a walk through of each step in the process, provide some examples, and talk about next steps.


I hear my various locations while on the many bike dérives as chords on the earth, and I’m using MaxMSP to represent my GPS data in sound.

I received some great feedback during the critique, and I’m excited about the next steps. Take a look, and let me know what you think.

Final Project – Research – John Cage

After hearing my psychogeographic sound maps, I decided to further investigate John Cage’s work in notation and sound. Dancers on a Plane: Cage Cunningham Johns had detailed discussions of Cage’s work, Concert for Piano and Orchestra, and included many pages of his notation for it. Here are a few examples:

Cage made these notations by outlining the imperfections of the paper he was writing on. These imperfections resembled most of my rides:

Reference
Sontag, Susan. Dancers on a Plane: Cage Cunningham Johns. New York: Anthony D’Offay Gallery, 1990.

Bike Dérive – 13 rides and counting…

Here are details on my last 4 rides:

Dérive #10
Start Date/Time:      06.12.2009 / 13:09:45 EST
Duration:     1hr 20min
Distance:     11.3 km / 3.65 mi
http://gpsed.com/track/5278031126459152558

Dérive #11
Start Date/Time:      06.12.2009 / 20:15:14 GMT
Duration:     1hr 36min
Distance:     18.2 km / 5.87 mi
http://gpsed.com/track/5278031125774376422

Dérive #12
Start Date/Time:      07.12.2009 / 17:48:46 GMT
Duration:     1hr 50min
Distance:     11.4 km / 3.68 mi
http://gpsed.com/track/5278031124756691241

Dérive #13
Start Date/Time:      07.12.2009 / 20:27:48 GMT
Duration:     1hr 59min
Distance:     19.9 km / 6.42 mi
http://gpsed.com/track/5278031124874111167

When returning back from Staten Island, I met Joshua Weinstein on the Ferry. He’s a documentary film maker (Flying On One Engine), and it was great talking with him and his friend. It was the first really cold ride I have done in a while, and the tea that they offered was perfect. It was also great to talk with those guys.  I was exhausted from riding all day (I actually fell off my bike twice while in Staten Island because my legs were just too tired to work up some of those hills), and our conversation woke me back up.

The people on the street were very talkative during yesterday’s rides. There were children screaming everywhere, while I was in random side street in Chinatown a family stopped me and asked which way was Central Park, another driver called me “F*%&#’ing CRAZY!”, and when I moved out of the crosswalk so an elderly man with a cane could get by, he said “Enjoy yourself. That’s what it’s all about.”

Today I ended my ride in the Bronx. I got caught up in what I would call the currents of the city. The avenues (especially in Manhattan) tend to have a sweeping affect, and on several rides in the city, I’ve gotten picked up by the tide and dragged uptown or downtown. This time, I got picked up by St. Nicholas Avenue, and then pushed right into Broadway. I rolled past the GW Bridge without noticing. As my legs got more and more tired, I decided to stop at Lloyd’s Carrot Cake, which is on Broadway right across the street from Van Cortlandt Park. Lloyd’s Carrot Cake is a religious experience, and it was exactly what I needed on the train ride back to Brooklyn.

Psychogeographic Maps – Sound Prototype 1

For my psychogeographic maps of New York City, I have decided to create audio maps. While doing these rides, I became aware of my different speeds, durations, and locations throughout my travels, and I wanted to provide myself a tool so that I (as well as others) could experience the ride in a condensed amount of time but still be made aware of these characteristics of the ride.

I built a patch in Max MSP which uses the GPS data I have been collecting during these rides. Making use of the latitude, longitude, elevation, speed, and duration, I created a midi output engine which expresses these values in sound. I consider my various latitude and longitude positions (or intersecting points) as chords, and I am using the speed at which I was moving and the length of time I was in an area of space to affect how quickly the notes (or chords of latitude/longitude) are played and how long the notes are held.

Here is a sample of my ninth dérive using this sound psychogeography Max MSP patch:

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Here is an image of what the presentation mode of the Max MSP patch looks like that also shows the visualization that I made which illustrates each point as it played.

Bike Dérive – Prototype #9

I did my ninth dérive of New York City today. I started this edition in Manhattan, and I made a conscious decision to head West, but despite my best efforts to head in that direction, I ended up in Queens. Details of my trip are:

Start Date/Time: 04.12.2009 / 12:08:26 EST
Duration: 2hr 35min
Distance: 23.1 km / 7.45 mi
http://gpsed.com/track/5278031126518140522

Here is a series of photographs I took while on the dérive. These buildings caught my attention and reflect the surrounding neighborhoods:

Today felt like a reward for the previous dérive because yesterday afternoon’s ride was rough. The road was choppy, the security was tight, and I felt unwelcome. Today was a beautiful ride that felt relatively effortless. When I felt hungry, one of the best food and coffee stops I’ve made during this whole project (Greenpoint Coffee House) was right there. When I wanted to take a picture, it seemed like the traffic and the sun were cooperating.

Today also was the first time I thought about how these rides feel similar to a movie. Even though I am moving through the urban spaces, it feels as though I am stationary and the bike is just a seat (or the gateway) to see the city as it moves around me. But the landscape (besides the construction sites) are the only things that are not moving, while we constantly wander around it.

But then I felt it was more like simple game play. I ride around, control the movements with the handle bars, the more I pedal….the farther I advance through the board. I snap photographs of the environment for later analysis and reflection. There is no real end, but it usually involves an alarm I set before I start the ride to remind me I need to head to a real destination like class. I would say I’m having fun but better descriptions would be puzzled, frightened, ecstatic, euphoric, and freaked-out.

Bike Dérive – Prototype #8

I did my eighth dérive of New York City today. I started this edition in Manhattan, and I made a conscious decision to head West. Details of my trip are:

Start Date/Time: 03.12.2009 / 14:02:54 EST
Duration: 2hr 11min
Distance: 22.9 km / 7.39 mi
http://gpsed.com/track/5278031126144572038

Here is a series of photographs I took while on the dérive. These buildings caught my attention and reflect the surrounding neighborhoods:

While heading South just before the Port Authority, I heard a teenager screaming at the top of his lungs. He was walking with his friends (2 girls), and they were all laughing. As I stopped at the light, the 3 teenagers approached the street corner. An elderly man standing next to them yells “Shut up, you asshole!” The teenager laughed and said, “It’s OK, sir. We’re all gonna die some day”.

I also was asked in two separate instances not to take pictures of some of the apartment buildings on the Upper West Side. As opposed to other areas of the city that rely on neighborhood “watchers” or the NYPD, this area has the means to supply their own protection.

Bike Dérive – Prototype #7

I did my seventh dérive of New York City today. I started this edition in Brooklyn, and I made a conscious decision to head towards Manhattan. Details of my trip are:

Start Date/Time: 03.12.2009 / 10:15:59 EST
Duration: 1hr 37min
Distance: 15 km / 4.84 mi
http://gpsed.com/track/5278031125465117500

Here is a series of photographs I took while on the dérive. These buildings caught my attention and reflect the surrounding neighborhoods:

In the Brooklyn Heights area I spoke to a woman who was also shooting photographs of the neighborhood. She was born and raised in Brooklyn and has been taking pictures of Brooklyn-area for over 40 years. An unofficial historian of the neighborhoods, she was fascinated in documenting the slow decay and then resuscitation of the local homes and buildings. She recommended the NY Public Library resource of historical photographs. I took a look and found Drugstore Photographs, Or, A Trip Along the Yangtze River, 1999 Lower Manhattan Block-by-Block by Dylan Stone (link). Very inspiring photos.

Final Project – Research – Modern Psychogeography

I’ve been doing research on current methods of psychogeography, and this may be one of the many answers to Colleen Macklin’s question: where is the cool shit?

To start off, the Conflux Festival is an “art and technology festival for the creative exploration of urban public space” right here in New York City, and this led me to many great places and people, such as Elizabeth Streb, who heads up a project called SLAM. In an interview with Streb, she refers to the performers/dancers as “method engineers” and talks about their process of looking at problems and then figuring out the “how” of it. By constantly using adverbs (when, where, how, what), they look at basic questions of movement. Here is a great video that includes part of a presentation and an interview Streb did at the Conflux festival:

I read about the Urban Disorientation Game as well as Pete Baldes and Marc Horowitz’s road trip across the United States from LA to Richmond using Google Maps. Here is a great video discussion about the project, called Google Map Road Trip:

Also looked at the ReMAP project which looks to provide a playful way of exploring satellite maps by appropriating images and remaking them with your own imagery.

Bike Dérive – Prototype #6

I did my sixth prototype for my New York City dérive series yesterday. I started this edition in Manhattan, and I made a conscious decision to head North. Details of my trip are:

Start Date/Time: 02.12.2009 / 15:13:50 EST
Duration: 2hr 33min
Distance: 13.1 km / 4.34 mi
http://gpsed.com/track/5278031126459570242

Here is a series of photographs I took while on the dérive. These buildings caught my attention and reflect the surrounding neighborhoods:

One thing became very apparent during this ride, and it is that people (as individuals and as groups) enjoy green space in the middle of a city. Specifically the green space provided along portions of Broadway from approximately 23rd street and up past 59th street.

While I was shooting pictures, an Irish man approached me and asked me what I was doing. I let him know about the project I am doing, and he seemed to have some fairly strong opinions about the building regulations (or lack there of) in New York City. He was well aware of the William Whyte proposals, but he felt that since Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had passed away, there were no strong voices left to prevent the skyscrapers from ruining the city experience for the average citizen.

Bike Dérive – Prototype #5

I did my fifth prototype for my New York City dérive series today. I started this edition in Brooklyn, and I made a conscious decision to head to the Manhattan area. Details of my trip are:

Start Date/Time:      02.12.2009 / 12:58:53 EST
Duration:     1hr 39min
Distance:     11.4 km / 3.68mi
http://gpsed.com/track/5278031125887536645

Here is a series of photographs I took while on the dérive. These buildings caught my attention and reflect the surrounding neighborhoods:

On this ride I came across a number of interesting characters. I was propositioned by a prostitute. I was taking a picture of a building in the Gowanus area, and she checked to see if I was interested. I rode a few blocks, and an undercover cop asked me for directions. I knew he came off like a undercover, or plain clothes, police officer, but I knew for sure when I later rode past him while he and another officer were handcuffing another guy.

The bridge provided isolated views of the city. Serene quiet followed by the loud rumble of train traffic. The smell of fresh Chinese vegetables and dumplings were strong coming off of Manhattan bridge. Later I witnessed a drug deal, and then just a few blocks later, I heard friendly neighbors great each other. Then on to a great piece of pizza, The Bird. Music played. En Vogue followed by Fela Kuti.