I had the opportunity recently to do some work on a new interactive album from a Philip Glass / Beck collaboration called _REWORK. Good friend David Wicks was hired by Snibbe Studio (of Bjork iOS app fame) to create the app.

I created a series of visualizations in Processing that were used as jumping-off points for several of the tracks on the album. I lucked out and got to spend most of my time on Beck’s 21-minute track NYC—easily my favorite track on the album. The tests above use keystrokes to choreograph connections between independent particle subsystems. Final iterations in the app were rebuilt by David in Cinder to leverage events and information from MIDI, SVG, and XML.

The mouse-reactive flash below was from an older exploration I built for CompostModern with Addis Creson a couple years ago. It provided inspiration for a couple of the other tracks on the album.

The music is amazing, and the app well-worth the spend. My part was small in the much larger effort to produce the app. You can read more about the development process from David at

Purchase the iOS app here.
Purchase the album here.

Binary Face Off

Binary Face Off

Binary Face Off creates a space of creative competition and learning. Participants explore pattern, sequence, and sound in configurations that encourage gesture and cooperation. The piece represents the culmination of ideas learned from the Binary Glove and Binary Pad. The installation was part of the UCLA Design Media Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition: Tell Them Nothing of the Things I Thought About and Created While I Was Sleeping at the New Wight Gallery in June 2011.

The interface uses an Arduino board to communicate with game software written in Processing. The structure was built out of MDF and plexiglass using a router, pin nailer, laser cutter, some good friends and a lot of patience.

Binary Face Off 2

Squid Wall

Another piece from leaving here, being there.

Squid Wall explores the effects of human interaction on natural patterns and processes. A projected particle system reacts to motion detected in front of the wall. When all is still, the particles move freely—flocking and interacting with an underlying mathematical structure. If motion is detected, the particles form a rigid defensive stance, returning to their natural motion only when all is still again.

Many in the gallery missed the flocking patterns completely, but I don’t mind. We miss much in the world around us simply because we’re there.

Based on the behavior of reef squid and other cool creatures. Boid and flocking by Dan Shiffman. Underlying structure from a flash construction by Jared Tarbell, originally inspired from work by Martin Wattenberg.


Here’s another exercise from last quarter’s Processing class with Casey Reas. We were asked to go through the many libraries available in Processing then choose two for the project. I’ve always wanted to play around with computer vision, so I used OpenCV for the webcam stuff and minim for sound. It was surprisingly easy to implement.

OpenCV has built-in blob tracking, face detection, color filters, blur filters and a ton of fun stuff to play with. I blur the webcam feed whenever a face is detected. If you look away or cover part of your face, the video comes in clear and the sound fades in. This way you’re never fully able to see your face on the screen.

Download and play with the code here.

Moody Monsters

Moody Monsters

This is from a series of early exercises in my Processing class with Casey Reas. The assignment was to create a monster, draw it with code, then give it a personality. Fun project. When people ask me how to learn Flash, I usually tell them to build a game—no better way to learn all the ins and outs. In retrospect I think a game is far too daunting for most, even if it is a good teaching tool. The monster project is much better. Accessible, fun and a great way to learn code.

I found it especially interesting to observe Casey’s approach to teaching Processing. To all my students from UVU last Spring: Sorry for doing such a hack job of it. Processing is a far better tool for introducing creative minds to code. Flash is no longer the simple, accessible tool it once was—far too many things going on and enough to scare off beginners before they get started. So far all those out there who want to see what code can do for creativity, give Processing a whirl. It’s well worth it.

Here are my MONSTERS!