Tag Archives: featured

New look for Producers Club

Producers Club is a fortnightly meetup for sound engineers, professional producers, composers, musicians and general noise makers. Ryadan Jeavons has just taken the reins and has a few changes in store. We sat down for a chat to see what’s planned.

What do you get up to when you are not at The Edge?
My main occupation is as Regional Manager for a Psychology firm that authors online Talent management and Recruitment assessments. Although I’m only new to this company I’ve been in sales for a long time and before that owned two cafes in Sydney.

On the side I compose music for theatre and dance productions as well as short film soundtracks and Documentaries. I do this on a regular basis and even when I’m not being paid for it I still love composing songs for my children or friends or even just for my own ears.

Probably the biggest part of my life outside work is spent with my family. I have two young daughters, 5 and 1 and they keep me busy all the time right up until they go to sleep. I love my girls and my wife and every weekend we will do something musical together like: singing and dancing games, making a song together, going to see a musical at QPAC or playing around with instruments. We are a very musical family so it’s beautiful to see how this impacts on their development.

I am also a classically trained pianist and have been studying since I was six. I got into impro jazz later in life and so occasionally I get together with a group of other funk/jazz guys and we pump out a few recordings completely improvised.

How did you get involved at The Edge?
I stumbled across it through Kyle Mclean, who is founder of Everyone is Happy Productions – an interactive designer in projection mapping. He had me meet him there and I was extremely impressed. I had never heard of it before and thought it was an absolute gem that needs as much publicity as I can give it. I’ve since sent several friends to the site and courses.

For those that don’t know, can you describe what Producers Club is?
Producers Club is a discussion group that meets once a fortnight in Lab 3 (the recording studio at The Edge) and brings together the minds of local artists and engineers to discuss music in general, show pieces of music for feedback, analyses production methods and general music chat. NO POLITICS!

Is there anything else like it in Brisbane?
I don’t believe there is anything else out there like it. There certainly is nothing that I know of that gives people with no idea about where to begin with their musical journey a place to meet other like minded people and professionals AND have access to recording equipment and professional production hardware.

If you are a singer, for example, you have a million song ideas and have no way of getting them down onto something other than you Iphone, you can come along to the producers club and share your idea, get feedback, develop the idea collaboratively, have other artists record other sections and then have a mixer do the post production. You may not be able to get it to a studio level, but you certainly will have a demo that you can then carry around and promote.

The best part about all this is that it is FREE.

What sort of people come to Producers Club?
Anyone is encouraged to come along. We have people with completely different levels of musical knowledge, from professional producers, sound engineers and composers right through to people who just love music and want to dip their feet.

I would encourage everyone to come along if you love music and sit in with us. Even if you think you have no right to judge or critique anyone’s music. I find that people know what they like about certain songs and even though they may not have a deep degree of understanding about why they like it, the feedback that they give can still be very useful.

Just remember, we don’t judge anyone for what they don’t know. Hey, I’m no expert in Production or Mastering so I go along myself to learn from other experts. I think the prerequisite for the Producers Club is that you have to love music.

In a typical night, what would you do at a meetup?
We are going to change the format a bit moving forward. We are going to give everyone an opportunity to introduce themselves to the group and explain what their level of understanding is and what they want to get out of these meetings. If people have things they want to share then we will go through those and allow feedback if they would like and then if anyone has an idea we can look at the steps we go through to produce a song. We will also look at different songs and analyse each section about what makes it work and how production plays a huge part in the song. We will cover music software and what program is best for an individual’s desired outcomes.

If someone is thinking about coming along is there anything they need to bring?
I would say bring along whatever you are working on or any idea you want advice on. If you really don’t want to share we won’t force you so just come along and sit in and see if you like it. If you have an instrument that is portable, bring that along too. We may not get to produce everyone’s work each night but once we get an idea of who is going to come regularly we will set about to map out each person’s project and work on them together over the meetings.

For upcoming Producers Club dates see the Calendar. Meetups are free and no bookings are required.

From Talk to Twitter

You may have noticed a strange, glowing red phone in one the wall at The Edge. While it may look like the Moscow-Washington hotline, it is actually the result of Nathen Street’s residency project, Social Fragments. Social Fragments is an interactive installation that learns how to put together tweets from the words people use when having a conversation with it. We had a chat to Nathen (face to face, not phone to phone) to learn a little more about this project.

Where did you get the idea from?
Last year I was asked to consider ways people could announce to others their arrival in a space; in the same way you can announce your arrival by checking in on Facebook, but on a much smaller scale and in a more local way. I thought at the time social media would be a good way to do this. But I also realised not all people use Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare, so using these services alone would exclude people.

At the time I was also playing around with an idea I had proposed for Experimenta’s current exhibition “Speak to me”. Experimenta were looking for works that explored the idea of how we communicate with each other, so I proposed an interactive work that let people hear and respond to tweets using speech synthesis and recognition. My proposal would have filled a room, so it was a little ambitious. Although I thought it was a good start, the idea matured into what it is now, much smaller.

What clever and crafty things did you have to do to put it all together?
The installation is part software, part physical object. The object part is a wall mounted, pixelated circle, with strip LED lights illuminating through clear resin and a red retro telephone handset hung in the centre. Embedded inside is a Google Android Nexus S handset running custom software written in Java.

The software I wrote uses the Nuance Mobile Developer SDK. This is the same software used on the iPhone that makes Siri. With this I’m able to convert speech to text, so that when you talk to it I can get a transcript of what you say. Likewise I’m able to produce a script and questions that is converted to speech and spoken by a synthesised voice, with a peculiar take on an Australian accent.

I analyse the transcripts of answered questions using a Markov process, which allows me to guess potential word structures based on the way a person answers the question. For example it collects information such as starting words, ending words, words that go before and after certain words. With this information I play a game of chance, essentially rolling for the next word until I reach 140 characters, then tweet the results.

Is this a one off or something that you are developing for ongoing uses?
I would like to make a series of them, given the opportunity. The software supports multiple languages, multiple voices and accents, and different personalities.

More broadly I’m interested in ways we interact with our built environment, how we engage with computers and how they engage with us. My ongoing experiments in this area may bring up different objects over time, I hope this is the start of further investigation and exploration in this area.

What’s the @address for punters to follow the tweets from Social Fragements?
You can follow the tweets on @SocialFragments

Have a project idea that you would like support for? Apply to be our next Resident.

Cosmology program has landed


Cosmology is a big word with deceptively simple meanings. On the surface, it is about the sky, stars, planets, dark matter and gravity; the duct tape that binds the universe together. Dig a little deeper and in cosmology hides philosophical thoughts about the universe and where humanity fits into the grand scheme of a thing that operates on such a scale that I can barely comprehend without hurting my head.

We’ve put together a full program of workshops to help you explore the realm of cosmology with us over the next four months. It will hurt your head in places (as it has ours during the creation process), but we’re looking forward to discovering more about our universe and hope you’ll find the time to join us.

Read all about it.

Animate That! winners announced

It’s taken us a while to get the details sorted, but we can finally announce the winners of our Animate That! initiative. The brief was to come up with projects for installation in The Edge building that were irresistible to the passer-by, a combination of art, technology and science and a means to cleverly connect and collaborate. Commissions were offered for projects at three different levels, $10 000, $3000 and $150, reflecting the size and scope of the projects in each category.

$10 000 commission: Ben Hamley
Ben’s project, The Cloud, centres on the provocation, what if you could curate serendipity and control context? Ben’s installation is an experiment in cognitive psychology, memory, and place making that combines brain-computer interaction technology, contextually responsive environments and biomimicry to create a physical ‘cloud’ in the entrance of The Edge that will capture, remember and display memories of visitors.

$3000 commission: Kati Eyles and Kate Geck
Kate and Kati’s animated digital mural will embody the energy, vibrancy and potential of The Edge. This colourful, animated mural has both non digital and digital media and is designed to welcome The Edge users and to engage them in creating content for their space. Along the walls there will be a series of lenticular printed cards shimmering waves of colour and digital photo frames playing animated GIFs.

$150 commission: Erin Evanochko
Erin’s project, The Monster, has been inspired by the feelings of fear, despair and terror you can feel when faced with a monster and the thought of using the Adobe Production and Design Suite for the first time. Exploring this theme, she will create a series of works combining hand drawn elements with animations create in After Effects and Photoshop, make digital wallpaper for spaces around The Edge.

Keep an eye out over the next couple of months as these projects start to pop up around our building.

Meet Sandra Carluccio

Sandra Carluccio

Joining us in the office for the next couple of weeks is Sandra Carluccio. She is pulling together an interactive, locative theatre piece for the Anywhere Theatre Festival, and I sat down with her to learn a little more about it.

Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
I am a Brisbane based emerging performance artist. I studied Performance Studies at QUT with honours and graduated in 2010. This is around when I began my interest in outdoor, participatory, performance journeys. My first contact with this was from working as an artist’s assistant/audience guide with Melbourne based company One Step At A Time Like This and their piece called en route in 2010. Then I saved my money to complete an internship with world-renowned digital artists Blast Theory in Brighton for a few months last year. This year I was lucky enough to receive a JUMP mentorship to make my own participatory, technology and urban space driven performance piece and get some guidance from my chosen mentor, Steve Bull from the PVI Collective in Perth. The piece is titled This is Kansas City and will have its first public showing at the Anywhere Theatre Festival May 17-19.

How did you get involved with JUMP mentoring?
After getting some experience with more advanced artists, I decided it was time I put my learning into a consolidated project. I also wanted an outside eye to assist with the artistic shaping of the performance. I searched for companies with similar objectives to mine and got an idea of who to choose as a mentor. I was lucky enough to meet someone during my internship in the UK who was on the board of my mentor’s company – The PVI Collective, so she put me in contact with them. I approached Steve and put together an application of what I wanted to achieve with through the program.  With some of the grant money I took a short residency in March in the CIA studios to work on my piece and have daily contact with my mentor. As Steve lives in Perth we do a lot of remote mentorship. The Youth Arts Queensland team, who I seek support from for my state, help with marketing and organise other career development opportunities. The end result is really up to you though.

How did you become interested in performance?
Throughout highschool, Drama class was always a place where I expressed opinions, feelings, personal and meaningful stories, while at the same time having fun.  From then until now, my research, teachers, peers, and other artists have radically changed the way I view and create performances.

How did you end up at The Edge?
I approached Daniel Flood last year when I was still in the UK about possibly having some support for a performance I was creating when I returned home. The concept was driven by an interest in using mobile technology so The Edge seemed like the most appropriate place to put my feelers out.  At the start of this year when I was back in Australia,  I met with Daniel and explained that I wanted to do a location triggered performance journey with mobile technology. He suggested two wonderful people I should talk to, that were around on a Thursday night at an event called Hack The Evening. I met Luke Atherton, and Clinton Freeman (now a Catalyst at The Edge) and have been hanging out at The Edge and working with them since.

Tell us a little more about your show and what makes it different?
This is Kansas City asks participants to enter an augmented reality where a series of phone calls to their mobile phone direct their body, gaze, and imagination around the cultural centre to unravel the story of a criminal only known as The Monster. I would call this piece a performance experience. There are no performers, although audience members who opt to come to the show act as performers by carrying out actions, being involved in the fiction, and also witness the urban space around them with a heightened engagement. The piece guides solo participants through two voices, The Authorities (the voice of the city) and The Monster (the voice of the River, also known as a criminal) who pose moral obstacles, and deliver their versions of reality of Kansas City. The voices were chosen to personify natural, political, cultural, and social events that have occurred in Brisbane’s recent landscape of history.

A performance experience on a mobile phone is not a new form, but it is different because this fiction is my interpretation of this city and its story on a heightened level. I hope that by participants experiencing this story they will take away a new perspective of this city, either physically or imaginatively.

How did you go about pulling together the technology used in the show?
I had a vision, and then I asked the hackers Luke and Clinton to realise this vision. I had them create the location based trigger system for mobile devices. The program works by using the GPS coordinates where I would like key phone calls to occur. When a participant arrives with their phone at the programmed location, a server sends a pre-recorded phone call from “The Monster” or “The Authorities”. This is how the fiction is delivered.

How can people get a ticket?
This is Kansas City
is part of the Anywhere Theatre Festival, and is on from the 17-19 of May. You can purchase a ticket through the website. The performance experience goes for approximately 30 minutes and each session is for a capacity of 6 participants.

Fast four:

First three tabs you open in a new browser window: Gmail, Facebook (just as important for communication as email these days), and ArtsHub for browsing the news articles and reviews.

First mobile phone you ever owned: Nokia for sure. Miss you, Snake game…

The one piece of technology you couldn’t live without: My phone! Basically it’s the handiest tool for creating a site responsive performance, as it is ‘mobile’. It is my Internet, my voice recorder, note taker, picture taker, video taker, locator, and people communicator.

Geekiest habit or hobby: I hang out at the Library far too much, or maybe not enough

Getting to know Catalyst Cameron

Cameron Wilson
I sat down (belatedly) with our bioscience brainiac and Catalyst Dr Cameron Wilson to find out a little more about this scientist of the rad variety.

Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
Who I am is a tricky one to answer without a specific frame of reference, so I’ll put it in terms of what I do. I am a hybrid (mutant?) of artist, biologist and mechanical engineer, now with a twist of science communicator. Working as a Bioscience Catalyst lets me bring all these together for the first time, so I’m a bit excited about it and have been grinning a lot.

Since 2001 I’ve been working on various medical engineering research projects to do with bone repair and implant integration. Most of it has been based in cell culture labs, and I still get a buzz from seeing what’s going on down the microscope. Last year, I took time away from the sciencing to work on a novel (still in progress) and make music (mostly in collaborations). I’m currently working up a couple of new project proposals, focusing on growing organised tissues and functional blood vessel systems in the lab. There will be more about these endeavours in my blog posts over the coming months.

How did you become interested in your field of practice?
It probably started because many of my closest friends studied in biology-related fields when we left school. Then, when my first job as a research engineer with Comalco ended, I started looking at biomedical engineering as an alternative direction that sparked my curiosity. That career direction didn’t bear fruit immediately, but the seed had been sown.

The BHP Wildscience exhibition at Melbourne’s Scienceworks was my introduction to biomimetics – engineering and technology swiping ideas from biology (I’ll be talking more about this, too). The things I remember most strongly from it were the pneumatic-powered elephant and models showing how a fish’s swimming motion is immensely more efficient than a propeller (that is, it gets more motion for a given amount of energy).

Restless in my mechanical engineering job, I went back to biomimetics around 2000, found a mailing list on the internet, and via that, got in touch with Professor John Evans at the Queensland University of Technology. Talking to him was my introduction to bone biology and how implants integrate into the body, and things just rolled along from there. The more I got to talk with people, the more I learned, the more excited I got, so I climbed aboard and started a new career in medical engineering research the next year.

Why did you choose to bring your skills to The Edge?
For starters, the timing was perfect, with me getting set to return to Australia when the call went out. The Catalyst position was a chance to share my enthusiasm for science, but more than that, I was delighted at how The Edge promotes the kind of experimentation and play that is as much part of scientific research as it is art. Yes, I reckon play is a critical part of science! Here I’m not talking about “pin the tail on the lab-rat” or suchlike, but rather, the joy of imagining possibilities and trying things just to see what happens; that often seems to get lost among the mad scramble of grant applications, experiments not working and trying to publish results. I also reckon that, the more engaged our society is with science, the better we’ll get at communicating it, setting policies and priorities and even carrying out research. So what better place than The Edge to bring a bit of bioscience to Brisbaners AND see if I can wriggle a little more playful creativity into bioscience?

What will you be doing during your time as a Catalyst at The Edge?
To start with, I’m eager to get bioscience out of the lab. Even ignoring the fact that we’re living things that need other living things to live (oh dear… and I fancy myself as a writer at times!), biology and biotechnology have been strongly affecting our lives in one way or another since the dawn of agriculture. So I’d like to show how bioscience isn’t just something that happens in gleaming labs (like the “Ponds Institute” in the old ads on TV), carried out by people in white coats: some of it needs nothing more “sciency” than a kitchen or a garden.

DIY Catalyst, Clinton Freeman, and I have started out with a window farm: an open-source hydroponic set-up that means even a tiny home can have a productive garden. I’m aiming to use this as a test system for a few experiments, looking at environmental changes like salt levels in water, and (just because I’m curious) how plants respond to the directions of light and gravity.

Then we get down to some seriously tasty biotechnology: using micro-organisms to transform and preserve food. Again, we’re talking bioscience that goes back thousands of years, but that still plays a big role today. I’m planning a workshop on a couple of different forms of fermentation, and the first couple of ginger beer test-brews have passed the taste test 🙂

But all that aside, I am a researcher, after all: I’ll be taking you all with me as I learn about how tissues are formed in a body, and look at the ways we might be able to rebuild them when the body can’t manage it.

And I’m keen to explore how science might draw on art for inspiration, rather than just the other way around. There is a history of technologies being inspired by science fiction, and I read once about how Dr Philip Kilner‘s giving up his research and taking up sculpture showed him how blood-flow shapes the human heart. Art and science are both experimental, both uncertain, and both ways of understanding the world, so it make sense to me that they can work together. I have an idea for a foray into this direction, but because it needs a little luck in getting supplies and facilities, I’m not going to reveal anything about it just now.

How can Edge users get involved?
Now that we’ve run the workshop on building a window farm, we would love for participants to play with the design at home, experiment with plants, nutrients and growing conditions, and share their discoveries with us. Because window farming is an open source technology, the more people share their experiences, the better the designs and methods get. Anyone interested can get involved in the global collaboration here.

In the fermentation workshop, if all goes to plan (dangerous words in experimental sciences!), we’ll be learning how to make ginger beer and kimchi (kind of a Korean version of sauerkraut). Although with food and drink, safety limits how much we can experiment, we’ll also be discussing here how certain changes in the recipes and techniques might affect the products – things you can try, and things you should definitely avoid!

In both these cases, I’m hoping Edge users will be inspired to find more information and try things for themselves, to know that you don’t have to spend 4-10 years in a university to indulge in a little biotechnology.

But I would also love to see scientists at The Edge and getting involved! When time and funding are always tight, it’s easy for a researcher to lose that delight of wild imaginings, so I’d like to provide scientists opportunities to come together in a playful environment and “dream big”. I want to see Edge users unleashing their inner mad scientist (or rad scientist), to come up with outrageous solutions to bioscience problems big and small (there is an article in a medical journal about ice-cream headaches, after all). And this isn’t purely for fun: letting ideas stray into the realm of “a bit silly” can be a great way of cracking a hard problem, and sometimes even just explaining a problem to someone who knows nothing about it can open up a way to solve it. And that’s one of the exciting things about working at the interface between scientific and other disciplines. Ultimately, my aim in this area is about community: if I can even just plant the seed of a creative community of emerging scientists and interested non-scientists, I’ll be beaming lasers of delight from my eyes.

Do Edge users need any special skills to be involved?
No – mostly just an eagerness to try things, observe and, I hope, to share what they find. I’d love to have people with special skills and knowledge involved, though, to build up a strong community and to keep us all challenged with new questions.

If those playing along at home want to know more about the sort of things that you do, where should they go to learn? (books, websites, specific artists etc)
There are lots of great resources across all media, and I’ll be referring to a few more of these in workshops and my blog posts. But here are a few to get things rolling along nicely, even for the far-flung:

http://www.windowfarms.org/ – the online community whose design we used (more or less) in our window farm workshop.

http://www.bottlebiology.org/ – lots of great biology experiments you can try at home / school / office cubicle… including a combined land & water ecosystem and making kimchi (there’s also a book on kimchi in the State Library: The kimchee cookbook – Open Access, level 2 (G 641.59519 1999).

The ABC’s Gardening Australia magazine for March 2012 has a nice, authentic recipe for ginger beer (that’s the one I’m currently trialling).

My favourite art-science project to date is this: http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/laboratory-life

and I’m particularly intrigued by Andy Gracie’s efforts to interface living things with robotics. There are also some amazing new technologies emerging on this front, as featured in episode one of “Brave New World” on SBS (can be viewed online here: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/2208013170/).

For those of a scientific bent, interested to know where I’m heading, Frederick Grinnell is one name to seek out – in particular his work around 30 years ago on the effects of ascorbate (vitamin C) in cultures of fibroblasts (cells that build soft tissues and play key roles in healing and scarring). He wasn’t the first to report the effect, but has been one of the major players in bringing cell culture into three dimensions.

Also, there is some good stuff on the electric television at the moment: Australia – The Time-Traveller’s Guide (ABC, Sunday 7:30pm), Brave New World (SBS, Sunday 8:30pm), and of course the old standard, Catalyst (ABC, Thursday 8pm). And The Science Show on Radio National (Saturdays at noon, last time I listened in) often has great stuff. Most of these are also accessible online.

Internet gold: CSIRO and ABC. For some more “hard-core” bioscience, stay tuned to The Edge blog!

Fast four:

First three tabs you open in a new browser window
Almost always GMail first; the others depend on time of day and/or what I logged on for (if I can remember). Often it’s Translink, Facebook, Leo (English/German dictionary site) or the (Australian) ABC next, or, if I’m looking for something specific, Google, PubMed or Wikipedia.

First mobile phone you ever owned
My current one! A Samsung S3110. I still feel vaguely embarrassed to have a mobile after so long resisting.

The one piece of technology you couldn’t live without
I was going to say agriculture, because I don’t think I’d last all that long as a hunter-gatherer, but I couldn’t say that without language, and writing in particular: those are technologies I’d be very sad without. So I’m going to go for writing.

Geekiest habit or hobby
I haven’t for a while, but I occasionally get obsessive about computer programming or mathematics – often, but not always, stemming from my work, but going way beyond what was necessary, either because I want it to be perfect or just because I get a bit carried away. Although the complexities of certain operating systems defy logic often enough, the delightful thing about programming is that it is purely logical, as pretty well nothing else is. And I guess using Homestar Runner quotes in conversation probably counts as quite geeky, too, yes?

Where to go: To edit video

SloshTVJye and Lij are a teenage comedy duo fast making a reputation for their online antics. In just two months, their You Tube channel, SloshTV, has gathered more subscribers than The Edge website, Facebook and Twitter combined, so I sat down to learn a lesson or two from the self-taught salesmen.

It started out as a bit of fun. Typical teenagers, Lij and Jye enjoyed pulling pranks and having a laugh, at themselves and occasionally at the antics of others. With the Gen Y mantra in mind, the pair ensured they had vids, or it didn’t happen.

“Starting out we had no experience in shooting or editing video. Our gear wasn’t great and neither were our skills,” recalls Jye.

“We experimented with a couple of different You Tube channels. Our first managed to interest 80 subscribers, which at the time we thought was great.

“As we realised that this was an easy way for us to get an audience for our opinions, we had a rethink on the topic and format of our videos and started investing a little more time into the footage we were creating.

After asking the locals where one goes to edit video in Brisbane, the duo ended up at The Edge. Now regulars in our Mac lab, Lij and Jye travel from Maleny a couple of times a week to shoot and edit content for SloshTV.

“We got slightly better camera gear and started using the computers at The Edge for editing, instead of Movie Maker on our PCs at home. It’s no great surprise that as the quality of our pieces improved, so did the number of people watching them.”

From the early days of excitement over 80 subscribers, the pair has now learnt to have slightly different expectations. Their current channel has been up for around two months and has had over 80 000 views of its content.

“We tend not to think too hard about what we are trying to do. Once you get us in front of a camera, our minds just go crazy.”


SloshTV is gathering a loyal following of teenage fans. Both Lij and Jye have had moments when their online popularity has collided with their real world reality.

“I was walking down a street in Mackay and I had people I’d never met before waving to me, calling out my name,” said Jye.

“I was in South Bank a little while ago and was mobbed by a group of teenage girls, all wanting photos with me. I freaked out at first, I couldn’t work out what was going on, but it’s not a bad situation to be in,” chuckles Lij.

Currently, the pair is turning their attentions to capitalising on their unexpected success and turning this playful pastime into a paying profession. Theirs is sure to be an interesting career to watch.

A few words with Greedy Hen

Greedy Hen

In the lead up to their master class on tactile animation, we had a chat to Sydeny based animators, Katherine and Kate from Greedy Hen.

Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
Greedy Hen is a multi-disciplinary studio functioning partly as an art collective and partly as a design studio, housing the collaborative works of Katherine Brickman and Kate Mitchell. We devise projects intent on creating imagery eluding to a playful black humour, unwritten fables, or subtle off-kilter sinister elements lurking amongst a kinder-esq beauty.

Our work falls between the boundaries of traditional fields. Our backgrounds are in Fine Arts and so the way we look at things, the way we talk about things conceptually is informed by that. We’re just a couple of Artists that happen to do a whole lot of things and get excited about a number of different mediums. we don’t like to limit ourselves with boundaries; we make art, we illustrate, we work in graphic design, we direct music videos, we make objects, we animate. basically we cover so many different areas it seems a little archaic and stuffy to put ourselves into a box.

But the great thing we’ve discovered about all this kingdom crossing is that for some reason it will always look like a Greedy Hen work no matter what medium.

How did you become interested in tactile animation?
The way that we make artwork is very collage heavy, so it seemed natural for us to make animation in the same way that we make our artworks. Animation is a really exciting way to realise concepts.  We also like seeing the handmade element in animation, as there is so much digital work out there and we’ve never really been interested in the cleanly rendered look of computer graphics.

What are your creative highlights, career to date?
We feel that our biggest creative highlight is that we’re still existing as Greedy Hen! It’s a challenge as a small business working in the arts industry and to survive but what we’ve realised is “beyond mountains, are more mountains”, so we just keep on keeping on.

What can participants look forward to in your upcoming master class at The Edge?
Our aim is to get participants really focused on the conceptual vision they want to demonstrate within their animation, so they can nut out and make their ideas into gold.  We also want to shine a light on some of our favourite artists who inspire our art practice. Demonstrate the various methods in which we work and to bring some old school equipment back into the limelight.

Do Edge users need any special skills to be involved?
If Edge participants have some knowledge of editing that would be useful but it’s not essential as we’ll walk through the whole process. Our style of animation is all about simplifying the processes back it’s bare bones. making movement frame by frame, back to the basics of early animation techniques and really trying to bring your own mark to what you make.

If those playing along at home want to know more about the sort of things that you do, where should they go to learn? Check out www.greedyhen.com , we’ll be sure to post a fun blog recap of the event afterwards.

Fast four:

First three tabs you open in a new browser window: I’m Revolting, VVORK, and Katherine’s scrappy internet findings blog

First mobile phone you ever owned: We used to call them “Lego phones” because they looked like a brick. And if you were being really expressive you could throw it against the wall and then simply put all the pieces back together and it would still work.

The one piece of technology you couldn’t live without: Kate says the iPhone, Katherine says the espresso machine.

Geekiest habit or hobby: Presently Katherine has fallen down the Pinterest pin hole, her username is Katherine Brickman  and Kate is a massive sucker for Instagram, her username is The Girl Crusoe.

High Speed Photography Workshop with Arduino

QUT Phd student Mark Bliandzic ran a High Speed Photography workshop at our 2nd Birthday celebration. He kindly put together this post explaining how it went.

This is a brief summary of the high speed photography workshop I held for the 2nd birthday bash at The Edge

High Speed Photography is a technique for taking pictures of phenomena that are usually too fast to be visible to the human eye. Ever wanted to take a snapshot of a smashing window or exploding water balloon? This is where you’ll need the techniques described below.

In order to understand the required setup for high-speed photography, let’s first recall how a conventional photo camera works. When you press the shutter-release button on your camera, a mechanical system opens the shutter and the sensor or film behind the shutter (depends if you’re shooting digital or analog) captures light from the image you’re taking. The longer the shutter remains open, the more light passes through, hence the brighter your image gets. If the shutter speed is too high (i.e. short exposure time) or too low (i.e. long exposure time), the image will be underexposed (too dark) or overexposed (too light) respectively. Check out this site for more details about how a camera works. In the workshop we use a DSLR camera, but you can do high speed photography with any compact camera that allows you to manually set the exposure time. No, your iPhone will not work…

If you want to freeze moments in a picture, you would normally select a high shutter speed. However, depending on the speed of the object that you are trying to capture, the mechanical system of the camera might be too slow.
Therefore, in high-speed photography settings you can use a little trick: bypass the mechanical shutter, and freeze your image with a flashlight. The downside is that you need to be in a relatively dark environment with as low ambient light as possible.

What’s the setup?
Set the shutter to long exposure, e.g. 5 seconds or longer (it doesn’t really matter as you are in a dark room and no ambient light is captured by the sensor anyways). Now the flash needs to be triggered at the same time the event happens. If you’re throwing lemons into a glass of water for example, and want to capture the moment of the lemon diving in and splashing water, you may be able to do this by manually triggering the flash. You will probably need a couple of test runs, but eventually you’ll manage to trigger the flash simultaneously to the event and get a nice shot.
If you want to play with different light/shadow effects, you’ll need to take that flash off the camera. Check out the “Lighting 101 Series” on the Strobist Blog , it’s probably one of the best and most efficient resources on the web to get started with flash photography. In order to trigger your flash in the manual scenario, I use the Yongnuo RF-602 Wireless Flash Trigger. It has great test results and is the best bang for bucks in amateur-photography world. You’ll find them on ebay for ca. 40 AUD a transceiver/receiver pair.

Arduino microcontroller with laser sensor gateFor capturing faster events, e.g. an exploding water balloon, it’ll be very hard to capture the event by manually triggering the flash. Therefore, you’ll need a microcontroller / sensor installation that fires the flash automatically when it senses an event. For the exploding balloon example, you would probably use a microphone to trigger the flash as soon as it hears the balloon exploding (find a great video tutorial here).
In this workshop I use a laser-light gate to sense when the object passes a particular spot (e.g. when hits the ground), and an Arduino microcontroller, an optoisolator and PC-synch cable to fire the flash automatically according to the laster-gate.
Check out this tutorial on how to control a flashlight through an Arduino, and further schematics and Arduino sketch to fire sensor triggered flash events. The video below shows the first development stage; the flashlight is triggered through an Arduino, by sending it a spacebar character through the computer’s serial port. Later the computer is replaced by a laser light-gate as a trigger input.

YouTube: High Speed Photography Setup: Trigger a Flashlight via Arduino
YouTube: High Speed Photography Workshop at The Edge

What’s the picture taking process?
1. Make sure the ambient light is low, ideally you’d be in a completely dark room
2. Set a 10 sec exposure time, and trigger the camera. You can set shorter or longer exposure, just make sure it gives you enough time to trigger the event that you want to capture.
3a. for fast, but not very fast events: Trigger your event and your flashlight simultaneously.
3b. for fast, really fast events: Trigger your event and make sure it crosses the laser light-gate to trigger, which will then trigger your flashlight automatically. In the workshop we used pegs and eggs falling on a table surface and mousetraps. If you use the egg/mousetrap combination, it’s a good idea to cover your sensor components and electronics…

The Arduino code for this workshop is based on Maurice Ribble’s solution. This worked great. However, during setup times the light sensor continued doing it’s job and firing the flash every time something crossed laser gate. I added a little activation button on PIN 2 to activate the flash trigger when it is needed. Here is the extended code:

// Maurice Ribble
// 4-12-2008
// http://www.glacialwanderer.com/hobbyrobotics
// Activation-Button added: Mark Bilandzic, 23/02/2012

// This code is designed to to tune (see PRINT_MESSAGE define) and
// to run a sound sensor and a laser sensor. Both of these sensors
// Are used to trigger a flash. It should be easy to add additional
// sensors if you want.

// These enable the different types of triggers

// The threshhold values for the different triggers.
// These may need to be changed depending on evironment and sensors being used.
// Using PRINT_MESSAGES can help determine the correct value for these.

// This prints messages to the serial port. This is good to enable while determining
// the threshholds for your trigger, but these communications are very slow and
// when using these sensors to actually take pictures this should be turned off.

// The digital pins being used
#define LASER_PIN 5

// The analog pins being used

#define BUTTON_PIN 2
boolean active_flash = false;

void setup()
digitalWrite(CAMERA_FLASH_PIN, LOW);
digitalWrite(LASER_PIN, LOW);

digitalWrite(LASER_PIN, HIGH); // Turn on the Laser

Serial.begin(9600); // open serial

void loop()
int soundVal;
int laserVal;
int button_state = 0;

button_state = digitalRead(BUTTON_PIN);
// check if the pushbutton is pressed.
// if it is, the buttonState is HIGH:
if (button_state == HIGH) {
active_flash = true;
Serial.println(“button pressed”);

soundVal = analogRead(SOUND_TRIGGER_ANALOG_PIN);
//println(“Sound: ” + soundVal);
if (soundVal > SOUND_THRESHHOLD)
Serial.println(“Flash Triggered!!!”);
digitalWrite(CAMERA_FLASH_PIN, LOW);
Serial.print(“Sound: “);
Serial.println(soundVal, DEC);

laserVal = analogRead(LASER_TRIGGER_ANALOG_PIN);
if (laserVal < LASER_THRESHHOLD)
Serial.println(“Below Flash-Threshold!!!”);

if (active_flash == true) {
digitalWrite(LASER_PIN, LOW); // Turn off laser during picture
//Serial.println(“Flash Triggered!!!”);
digitalWrite(CAMERA_FLASH_PIN, LOW);
digitalWrite(LASER_PIN, HIGH); // Turn laser back on after picture

active_flash = false;

Serial.print(“Laser: “);
Serial.println(laserVal, DEC);


Original version of this post published at http://kavasmlikon.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/high-speed-photography-workshop-with-arduino/

Oh, and 3D printers

Catalyst blog








Starting at The Edge as a Catalyst has definitely been one of the better first weeks you could imagine. An awesome bunch of people, a relaxed work environment. Oh, and 3D printers.

Usually when you sit down at your desk at a new job you will typically find a computer, a few pens, a draw full of assorted paper clips and maybe a stapler… if you’re lucky. Sure my desk has these things, but it also has a Cupcake CNC from MakerBot Industries and a freaking RepRap! They need of some TLC and a little programming persuasion, but I am hoping to get these puppies up printing over the next few weeks.

So if you happen to know how to get a RepRap Gen6 Electronics driver singing in RelicatorG, or if you have ever wanted to learn more about this fangmangdangled 3D printing stuff drop my a line on the twitters @clinton_freeman