Video Readymade: The Trophy Shot

Found footage from Mossback hunting show on The Legend Channel.

Hunting, in itself, is bizarre to me.  I’ve been fishing and I know the primal thrill in those small struggles against another life form, but when you add guns and stalking and distance and camouflage the associations with war and the awareness of killing something sentient become very stark.   So my hours spent mining hunting shows for video assets to use in my Video Readymade Final Project were disconcerting and surreal.  There is a mixture of jubilation and earnest gratitude in this footage that captivates and unsettles me.

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Video Readymade: Version 1


User-testing of my video installation.

In my first Video Readymade post I laid out the concept inspired by Internet Hunting and showed the results of my first experiments.  Once all of the parts arrived, I was able to combine the elements and see what worked and what didn’t.  Unfortunately the endoscopic camera I wanted to use was just too-low-quality to give a compelling effect.  Fortunately I was able to mount a webcam onto the miniature rifle.

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Emotional Readymade: Feral Potter

Feral Potter: a speculative animatronic from Nick Hubbard on Vimeo.

The question that initiated my Emotional Readymade project was “what would happen if books were abandoned to fend for themselves?”  I at first assumed they would be lonely or desperate, but then my classmate Nick Bratton suggested that maybe they would break down mentally, go insane, or feral.  I liked that.  I liked the idea of showcasing a range of potential effects of isolation, from fits and rages to catatonia to hyperlalia.  Almost like the saddest form of retirement home or other neglected institution you can imagine.

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PIT Final: Parallax Scrolling Machine Pt. 2

Functioning planetary gear system.

Matt and I took the original prototype parts for our Parallax Scrolling Machine and made sure that the wheel could rotate and the frame would support it on the shaft we chose.


Once we verified that element of the design, we added the animation frames on the outside to see if the effect would be what we had envisioned.  We discovered that there was a significant visual difference to the arc our wheels were creating vs the left-right scrolling typical in video games and animation,



We tossed around potential conceptual solutions, and since we had continued to come back to the work of artist Marina Zurkow for inspiration (we both have her as a professor for different classes), we decided to make marine cryptozoology our subject and base our animation on the movements of waves.



When we tested our gear system, we realized something immediately.  The ratios were right, the teeth lined up, the gears were rotating, but there was nothing being driven.

The design is such that the central sun gear should drive the planets, which drive the outer ring gear, which is affixed to the wheel.  So the shaft drives the wheel via the planetary system.


What we realized, with the help of our classmate Sam Sadtler, is that one of the elements of the system (sun, planets, or ring) needed to be fixed in place to allow for the others to be driven. We were stumped until I suggested that we could build an external stabilizer that would have shafts holding the parallel, horizontal position of the planets but would not impede the rotation of the central shaft or the wheel.

2nd Wheel Gear Stabilizer

Design drawing by Matt Romein.

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As you can see, the system now operates as intended.  Our next step is to integrate DC Motor control of the shaft rotation.

Anthropocene: Limits Offering 2

FullSizeRenderAll the ingredients for homemade Soylent.


This week for my Daily Practice I am living off of Soylent, a “food-replacement drink” that was developed in Silicon Valley by a trio of guys who didn’t want to have to worry about food.  I’m proposing it as a possible subversion of the industrial food system by limiting ourselves to only the nutrients we need, prepared by us with minimized energy use & waste.  It’s also, potentially, a cost-effective option for basic nutrition.  The original recipe has been critiqued based on nutritional and political grounds, however the recipe was open-sourced, improved, and remixed to suit a variety of tastes and address some of these concerns.


The process of preparing the drink is straightforward and takes very little time.  More on that and also an update on Concept and Experts below.

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Anthropocene: Limits Offering 1

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Living with Limits survey presented to ITP student body. 

I’m trying to keep a sense of play in my final project for the Temporary Expert: Anthropocene Edition, but it’s focus has shifted from the notion of a playground.  The heart of the project is definitely the notion of an OFFERING.  In my last post I discussed my conversation with two Jehovah’s Witness pamphleteers and the way the emphasize PRESENCE and INVITATION.


This week I’ve been trying to find ways to concretize and make more public these engagements.  One attempt was to create a survey — the ITP student body has been bombarded with surveys to fill out thesis projects, and I thought (in an analogy to setting up a stand near a farmer’s market) that I would offer an alternative kind of survey that allowed for reflection, gave as much to the responders as it asked for, and provided the potential for a COMMUNICATION TOKEN to extend the experience into the physical and into the future (in the form of a magnet that any responder could receive).  Only a few students took the survey, but I learned a lot from what they said.  After the break, some of the thoughts people chose to publish:

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Video Readymade: the act of (internet) hunting


I was inspired for our Video Readymade assignment to revisit a provocative blip in the history of the internet.  In 2005 would-be Texas entrepreneur John Lockwood registered, a site devoted to Internet Hunting.  This is the practice of hunting animals remotely via motor-controlled firearms, targeted using webcams.

A photo of Lockwood with his set-up. 

Allegedly Lockwood’s enterprise was the only one of its kind, and it caused such a backlash from all sides of the political spectrum (hunting associations, animal right’s activists, gun control and gun rights lobbyists)  that 48 states now have laws banning the activity.  Lockwood’s defense is couched in a provocative question: “what is the difference in [hunting concealed and camouflaged behind a blind] and clicking a mouse? Nothing. That is the same exact motion, and it takes the same amount of time.”

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Anthropocene: Limits Playground 3

FullSizeRender_2A variety of sticker designs.

This post is an update on my work for the continuation of Living with Limits.  As described in previous posts, I’ve been researching communication and improvisation to expand the notion of subversive play & contemplation that is the heart of my final project.

As part of my Daily Practice, I wore the same clothes for one week. Only our professor noticed.  Not even my wife, until I pointed it out to her!  Profound: there’s a limitation that we could all adapt to (I am aware that ITP, where so many students come-and-go, is a different context than, say, a small office with a small staff, where perhaps the exact same outfit would get noticed — but even if it would, as long as it was clean and professional, would it matter?).  In addition to the Uniform, I also spent last week pursuing my Studies in (dis)Engagement & Annoyance.  I documented people around or on the subway who were performing, soliciting, or simply offering.  Photographs after the break, log of my reflections here.

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Anthropocene: Limits Playground 2

FullSizeRender (4)Concept Map of my topic, “limits to growth”, from this week.


Earlier in the semester I completed a Concept Map around my Temporary Expert: Anthropocene Edition theme of “limits to growth”.   As I stated in last week’s post,  I needed to take this process further as a next step in my project development.  As you can see in that first map below, there is an area in the upper right-hand corner where I identified a gap in research and thinking.


My research and understanding have advanced since then, and armed with those I tried to fill out that missing section of the map.  First of all, I needed to identify the stakeholders whose actions could provide a significant response to the pitfalls of unregulated growth.   I narrowed my list to INDUSTRY, POLICY MAKERS, and the CITIZENRY, with INDUSTRY being the most powerful, ostensibly.

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