Notes from Techmeetup//Mashup

Orde Saunders' avatarPublished: by Orde Saunders

My notes from the Techmeetup - Creative Edinburgh joint event.

James Baster: Art

Lots of art of varying quality. If people are faced with art they don't understand they say "that's not art". Site that takes creative commons images and asks people to vote: "is it art?". Is it the picture or the thing in the picture we judge? No scores but compares you against the majority. Reasonably standard bell curve distribution but spikes at 0%, 50%, 66% and 100%.

Paolo: Culture Hack

Running for the last three years. Mixes digital and analogue, creative and technical. Example: making a sculpture representing the membership of the Glasgow sculpture studio.

Richard Clifford: Maklab

Designers interested in how and why people make things - any background. Studio space in Glasgow, exposes people to different and new technologies - how do we use these things. Laser cutters, 3D printers, vinyl cutters and more and have an open door policy. People have built full working prototypes in the lab. Focus on how the process works. As the price goes down it becomes more accessible. 14 year old product designers are more interesting than a 30 year industry veteran. How does a modern apprenticeship work? Teach the teachers. Working with school groups. Teaching holistic design to designers.Collaborate with artists. Break down social boundaries in groups. It is a social enterprise: first Saturday of the month is repair cafe. Part of the Fab Lab - a world wide network that communicates digitally. Plans to open in Edinburgh, Stirling, Newcastle and more. People are asking for this, opening their own studios using the shared resources.

Ewan Sinclair: Eastern Surf

Main hub is a Facebook group used by artists to collaborate remotely. Closed group so it also became quite personal. Exists also and an archive of conversations and decisions. Facebook is becoming a pain in the ass so looking for a new platform. Document things using Google Sketchup - this has become metamodel, an impossible architecture of real places. If you're not quite good enough to master a technology then interesting things happen. Collaborated with Maklab to turn the digital model into a real object. Took the idea of 'render ghosts' that are used to illustrate architectural mockups and hired models to re-create these in a real location (The Quartermile in Edinburgh).

Tommy Perman Autonomous robot band. Comment on social media, googles for its name and uses that to determine its mood. Yesterday turned off until 2016 - not sure how it's going to react to being turned back on. Has an emotion barometer at its heart - posts its emotion to Facebook and Twitter. It's a bit manic depressive and addicted to fame. Won a BAFTA - but not for its creators.

#unravel: Follows on from Cybraphon in that it has automated instruments. Aiden Moffat chose 10 7" records that had a story associated with them, wrote several versions of each story and, depending on numerous external factors, you hear a version of that story soundtracked by the automated instruments. Finished to a higher standard than Cybraphon as the budget was bigger. Now lives at Jura's world of whisky. 160 stories and it's unlikely that anyone's ever going to hear them all.

Great Circle: Virtual souveneer of Scotland for the Commonwealth games. It's a mememto of a place that's not physical - uses GPS to select an audio-visual postcard of the East End of Glasgow. Used convolution reverb technique that is best with short, sharp white noise to capture the acoustics of a space that can be used to sonically emulate that space. The app behaves differently where you are in the world in relation to the arena - the audio and visual remix which reveals the process of drawing. The story of Edinburgh told through water. Uses convolution reverb underwater to collect soundscapes of water in Edinburgh. Underground world of water hinted at by manhole covers.

Tom Bennard: Fractals, Exploring the Infinite

Fractal means detail at any scale, coined by Mandlebrot. They are all around us, such as trees - each branch is a miniature tree. Also mountains, river deltas, lighting and romanesco cauliflower. We have them in our lungs, brain, liver. Fractal behaviour is in heart beats, crowds and the stock market. Simple processes can create enormous complexity. Fractals have a mathematically infinite edge within a finite area.

iOS app: frax. Allows you to interact with a fractal image. Can add effects to highlight the nature of the fractal - creative play. Can zoom in about a trillion times (limit of floating point maths in the hardware). About 100 parameters in each fractal - numerous pre-sets to get you started. Can upload a set of parameters to a Rails app on Heroku to create a very detailed render.

fraxlab: HTML5 webGL, written in coffee script and spine.js. Realtime 3D fractal designer, rendered in the browser. Much harder to render as it needs to render the fractal at each step of the depth - uses the graphics card. Changing just a few parameters can change the whole shape. Renders each pass at a reduced scale and composes final image. Possibility of 3D printing these fractals?