Combining techniques

31 03 2010

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out a way to combine some of my recent experiments in film with the moving image technique I first showed in the Mid Point review. I’ve been fiddling with Final Cut and have come up with the short clip below.

I really like the dimensionality to this work and it has some visual cohesion to the montage aesthetic that I have been developing over the last few years. I like where this is going but now I just have to figure out how long I want these clips to be and how I can visually tie them so that they can link when called upon randomly. My first step will be to build a timeline/architecture on which I can slot in potential clips. I am thinking of using audio as the guide for the time intervals (ie. heartrate) and create my clips accordingly. That also reminds me… I have to get cracking on learning Pure Data as I want to start creating some of my own audio. The current electronic beats that I’ve been using in my experiments have been by Lali Puna and will certainly not be used in the work. By using this music at this point in the project,  it’s been a bit like a suggestion to myself of an audio ‘mood’ that works with the images. I’m thinking that I should connect aspects of ‘Filipinoness’ to the audio as well…


Benito Vergara Jr. and Pinoy Capital

29 03 2010

Lately as I delve into further resarch into the Philippine diaspora I’m coming back to Benito Vergara Jr. Vergara is an Fil-American social anthroplogist who has recently wrote a book called ‘Pinoy Capital: The Filipino Nation in Daly City’ about the largest community of Filipinos in the United States located in California. Vergara interviewed a cross section of the 33,000 population (as a point of reference the Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers estimates there are between 40,000-50,000 Filipinos in London) and several recurrent themes. Vergara identifies a common guilt engendered by the money that the Fil-Am community makes as it is undoubtedly considerably more than members of their families back ‘home’.  He also deconstructs the concept of transnationalism in regards to the Fil-Am community and eplains how this is problematic to true integration. Please see the video below for a partial introduction of the ‘Pinoy Capital’ from Vergara himself at a US book launch.

Pushing the Human Computer Interface

27 03 2010

I thought I’d get a chance to breathe a bit after the assessment but with a scheduled MPhil/PhD interview at Chelsea I have no more time than usual. That said, I want to note down a few interesting projects that are really pushing the envelope of HCI and are making me think about different ways I can push heart rate interactivity and the nature of my practice. I must give credit to colleagues, Leon Barker and Elvia Maria Vasconcelos, respectivey, for passing these on to me:

The first is the work being done by Chris Harrison at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA. They are proposing a skin touch interface which uses the acoustic transmissions made from skin on skin contact as a means of interactivity.

Image taken from "Skinput: Appropriating the Body as an Input Surface" a paper by Chris Harrison, Desney Tan, Dan Morris (Human-Computer Interaction Institute Carnegie Mellon University)
Sensing armband augmented with a pico-projector; this allows interactive elements to be rendered on the skin. Image taken from “Skinput: Appropriating the Body as an Input Surface” a paper by Chris Harrison, Desney Tan, Dan Morris (Human-Computer Interaction Institute Carnegie Mellon University)

In a dream world with unlimited time and budget, I am envisioning a full body interface for my installation that will allow the viewer to touch their heart, foot, head etc. to trigger the image streams. Visuals could be augmented as viewers are picking up the suitcase.  More inmportantly I envsion these image streams to be played out not on a screen but on their bodies using sensor equipment that will keep the projections on target even as viewers move. Kind of like virtual body paint!

This brings me to another set of interesting work being done by Daito Manabe (artist/coder/hacker/VJ) who has been doing some exciting stuff with the body and light (cheers Elvia!)

I really do like the idea of using the body as a canvas for light and interactivity. Projections could bleed onto other tangible objects (like a suitcase) that could link themes of migration in my work.

On another side note I came across a novel way the tongue is being used as an interface for the blind.

Please link here for a technological debut/review article:

I’m wondering if in the future I could incorporate this into my art practice as well? I’m getting dreams of being able to use and refine the electro transmitters in this technology to possibly create interactive visuals (on the tongue) that would coincide with heartrate… lots to dream about as always.  For now I must stop procrastinating and figure out what to say in the 45 minute portfilio review/interview this coming Tuesday…. arrrhhh!

Unit One is Done!

23 03 2010

I have finally completed the Unit 1 Assessment component of this course which required a self-assessment and curation of this blog and my creative practice. I naively thought this would be a relatively simple task as most of the work was already done and it was just a matter of organizing it all and presenting it. What I didn’t realize was the massive amounts of information that I have accumulated since September. The blog format deceptively conceals the work one does in little digestible bits that fit on your screen ready to be scrolled down or linked to. And so in the curation of this blog I have also included an array of links upon links that one can mine for deeper levels of understanding into the project so far.

Please link to the here ( to go through my self-assessment and curation of the work I have done thus far.

Unit 1 Assessment

23 03 2010

1. Develop your Project Proposal to plan a challenging and self-directed programme of study.

The project proposal that I initially applied with ( has developed markedly as a result of this course and the work I have been doing these last few months. Both the proposal and project have become more focused and refined in purpose and practice.

The result of this distillation is the identification of two main aims: digitally visualizing the Philippine-London diaspora and locating points of connection between the transnational and the digital. Furthermore, development of this proposal has allowed me to clearly divide my project (and art practice) into three key areas of research: community fieldwork, technological experiments and academic contextualization. Discerning the essence of this project through the development of a proposal has been an invaluable tool, which I will undoubtedly continue to develop and incorporate in my practice.

By working towards my proposal goals, I have challenged my comfort zones in the media that I work with and have pushed my knowledge of the fields in which my practice is situated. I have been introduced to and influenced by a number of different theorists around the study of digital and transnational art (see points 2,3 & 6). Furthermore I have been experimenting with an array of technologies and open source programming environments that are new to my practice (see points 4 & 6). My current proposal and the steps towards developing it have been a challenging exercise in recording, self-reflection and analysis and has greatly effected the ways in which I work and view my art practice.

Consequently, I have refined my methodology and work plan several times and plan to revisit these sections to allow for a realistic completion within the time that I have remaining. Timing is an issue as I have spent a lot of time contextualizing my practice; an area that I felt was in need of improvement before I started this course. My work plan ( called for an equal amount of time to be dedicated to ‘context’, ‘community’ and ‘technology’ research, but I have found that I underestimated (in regards to allotted time) the breadth of artists and theorists that needed to be researched in order to better contextualize my practice. I intend to revise this work plan so that it better represents a concentration into community fieldwork and the development of technical skills.

2. Demonstrate a critical engagement with practice-based research reflecting on the critical skills and framework presentations.

Deepening my criticality has been instrumental both to the development of this project and to my growth as an artist. Several key examples to this critical engagement can be found in the development of a Research Paper, which served to contextualize my practice and a commitment to expand my research as directed by feedback from two Mid-Point Reviews (MADA and MA TrAIN). Please link to ‘Criticality in Framework Presentations: Curatorial Notes’ for further elaboration (

Research Paper: The development of the research paper was based on my search for ways in which digital art can serve marginal communities as vehicles for representation… link for more.

MA Digital Art Mid Point Review (MADA): In this review I presented the artistic process and research practice that I had been involved with since September as well as… link for more

MA Transnational Art, Identity & Nation (TrAIN) Mid-Point Review: In this review I presented my work in the context of a museum painting…link for more

3. Articulate a clear understanding of methodology and context in your creative practice.

To demonstrate a clear understanding of methodology in regards to this project please link to ‘Methodology of My Creative Practice: Curatorial Notes’ (

To demonstrate a clear understanding of context in regards to this project please link to ‘Contextualizing the Project and My Creative Practice: Curatorial Notes’ (

4. Evaluate and present your Project.

As it is still a work in progress, in order to evaluate the project’s current success/failure it is important to understand all the paths of research undergone (albeit some were divergent dead ends).

For a complete ‘presentation’ of the project please link below.

Project Summary Link (

This ‘Project Summary’ link provides an overview of key events, challenges, and epiphanies throughout these last few months as well as a matrix that illustrates the projects development on a month-based timeline.

To evaluate this project I will elaborate on both the areas that I feel have been successful and in need of improvement.

The project’s notable successes Areas for future improvement
  • Established a good contextual base for the project and my art practice
  • Located and developed theoretical bridges between Digital and Transnational art from involved participation in workshops, seminars and museum visits as well as development of a related research paper
  • Realization of the Open Source ethos and have developed connections with the  phenomena of urban diaspora communities
  • Successfully developing skills around interactive and generative art: Arduino and related programming
  • Initiated professional relationships with H. Beddard (curator at V&A) and David Medalla (London Biennale Founder/Director)
  • Realized a shift in my art practice incorporating rigorous reflection, self-evaluation, recording and action
  • Have grown my art practice into the medium of moving image
  • Confirmed the continuation of my research at the PhD level for this fall
  • need further personal involvement with Philippine Community
  • much time expended on researching technologies that aren’t relevant to the project: lenticular imaging
  • Time spent on learning Flash and Processing may have not have been necessary as I am finding that these programs/ programming languages may not be able to support the intensive graphics and audio of the project
  • Underestimated the time needed to contextualize the project
  • have undertaken an ambitious task of getting a heart rate monitor to work relaibly within the context of a suitcase handle which may require more time than I have
  • time management could have been better utilized if I sooner realized the nature of the final piece so that I could devote focused energy avoiding any tangents
  • the current aesthetic of my work is still a but too fast paced and choppy for my liking, I would really like to improve on my moving image skills to create a good narrative pace

5. Contribute actively to debate and discussion through Pathways and across the Course

My contributions in debate and discussion throughout this course unit were apparent in both structured seminars and Mid-Point reviews as well as discussions outside of the classroom. Since September I have been an active participant in the MA Seminar Series with the TrAIN cohort at Camberwell as well as the required seminars and workhops with the Digital Art cohort. The added TrAIN seminars involved weekly theoretical readings and discussions around seminal texts regarding transnationalism, identity, migration and diaspora ( In these seminars I played a key role in adding a unique Asian-North American opinion to the discussions as well as infusing perpectives that were informed by my research interests in digital culture.

Further contributions were made during two separate mid point reviews; one with  the Digital Art Course and the second with the TrAIN Course.  In these mid point reviews and seminars I have located certain digital artists that could be of interest to fellow colleagues and pushed for further criticality in the group’s analysis of their work. Outside of the classroom, in informal discussions (in person and online) I have given opinions and suggested further directions to better contextualize the practice of my colleagues as well as taking direction from their own advice. I find the cohort in which I have been interacting with to be an invaluable and stimulating asset to this project and I am certain it is because of my active engagement in each debate and discussion opportunity this course has allowed.

6. Be aware of your own personal and professional development.

Since the start of this course I can locate several areas of development in my art and research practice as well as an achievement of key personal goals. My initial hopes for this course were to a) deepen my contextual knowledge in the fields of digital art and transnational art, b) expand my art practice and c) further a trajectory towards professionally recognized research.

a) In the past few months my contextual knowledge has expanded radically. I am now more aware of Open Source digital culture, the anti-proprietary community politic that it represents and its importance to digital art. As a result, I have incorporated many open source projects such as Pure Data, Arduino and Processing into my research and practice. Concurrently I have also been learning about several strains of post-colonial theories that have started from Edward Said’s Orientalism ( Most notable are Fredric Jameson and Homi K. Bhabha’s concepts of hybridity and space.

b) My art practice has developed as a result of theoretical exploration but I have also pushed my art practice into the mediums of moving image, interactive and generative art; a fresh challenge as this was previously unchartered territory for me. Currently I have seen made exciting progress with my Arduino skills ( and which are pivotal to interactivity in my art practice.

c) My intentions to further professionalize and enhance my art practice as a post graduate researcher in London are being realized. I have successfully completed a PhD project proposal ( that will continue my MA research into the following years. Currently I have been awarded a place at the MPhil/PhD Arts & Computational Technology Programme at Goldsmiths College and have been scheduled an interview with the Camberwell Doctoral Admissions Panel (Research Centres: TrAIN and SCIRIA) at the end of March. Furthermore, I have made exciting professional contacts in the field. Most notable are ongoing conversations I am having with David Medalla (artist, founder of the London Biennale and co-founder of Signals Gallery) and Honor Beddard (Victoria & Albert Museum curator of the Digital Pioneers Exhibit). Discussions with Medalla involved identity and positions of Filipinos in art and correspondance with Beddard has given me insight into historical leads into digital art within an Asian context.

Project Summary: Curatorial Notes

23 03 2010

For purposes of the Unit 1 Assessment, I have created a matrix that outlines the development of the project on a monthly basis from September to present. In this grid I have divided the project in to three componenents: Technology, Context and Community and have highlighted any significant developments under each. Please click on the matrix for an expandable view.

My initial intention for this project was to create a series of digital collages of the Philippine-London diaspora that was a continuation of my work from Toronto.

Sample of finished work in Toronto

Sample of experiments in London

As per my engagement with the course, via discussions with cohort and research into space around theories from Lev Manovich and Homi Bhabha, I experimented with creating images that would work as 3D lenticular montages. These images would be viewed under a special lenticular screen that would reveal two perspectives of an image depending on the position of the viewer. I was excited about the prospects of this technology as it didn’t require the standard 3D glasses that are a norm in movie theatres and could potentially distract from audience immersion in an exhibition context. Below is an example of an experiment in developing a working lenticular image. For further information on the process behind making this please link here: (

Leniticular Print Sample (5px interlace)

I soon realized that creating lenticular images would not work on two levels. The first was that a lenticular screen made for plasma screens that would achieve the 3D effects I desired is still not readily available to the public. In a July 2004 issue of Password (Pg 20), Philips had mentioned the new successful research into a multi-view lenticular screen ( with a liquid crystal display and I was able to source the existence of a large 3D lenticular screen ( but obtaining such a screen is not yet evident. Moreover, I quickly realized that visually the 3D aesthetic caused by lenticular technology carried with it a social kitsch that I found distracting to my project.

And so I decided to work primarily work with moving image and redirect my energies into incorporating motion into my practice of digital collaging. The above example was shown at the Mid Point Review and represents a shift in focus towards interactivity in the project. After workshops in Arduino and further reflection on John Maeda’s Creative Code (in which he highlights an array of interactive digital art projects) I realized the theme of ‘home is where the heart is’. The epiphany to use the heart rate as a trigger to moving image was developed at this point and is still a large component of the project (albeit encountering further technical difficulties).

After feedback from the Mid Point Review I deepened my project research by including aspects of cinematic theory. I have been experimenting with different ways to create non-linear narratives. Below are some examples of my experiments:

Link here for more information: (

Link here for more videos and information: (

Concurrently I have been working on developing the technological bridge between the analog and the digital (interactivity) via Arduino and have just got it to work in a very rudimentary way. For more information about the video below please link here: (

Furthermore I have been working on conceptualizing the finished piece and after much deliberation I have realized several working elements and themes that I wish to use in the physical installation. For further information about the picture below and how I came to conceptualize it please link here: (

Although I am quite satisfied with the direction of the project so far, I am experiencing some technical problems in getting the heart rate monitor to reliably work within the context of a suitcase handle within the time I have remaining. As a result I am considering using motion sensors or touch pads as an alternative trigger for interactivity. In the next few months I hope to develop a reliable trigger within the context of a suitcase and hopefully keep the concept of the heart beat intact. I also wish to develop my cinematic language and programming ability such that I can create a random stream of moving image clips that effectively communicate the displacement, transition and assimilation of the London-Philippine diaspora

Methodology of My Creative Practice: Curatorial Notes

23 03 2010

My methodology has been in the process of subtle evolution since the start of this project. As stated in my proposal, I planned to go through a primary stage of data collection;

“In the creation of this work I intend to use images of Philippine storefronts, housing communities, newspaper circulations, online screen grabs of wikis and websites, as well as local advertisements available in the London area.  I will also interview individual community members gathering their views on identity and nationalism…”

a secondary stage of recording and reflection;

“The entire creative process will be documented in a blog which will serve as a venue for recording my field research, displaying my experimentations and facilitating self-reflection…”

and a final stage that involved the creation of a final realized piece;

“I intend to create a series of digital collages of moving images through digital cropping, layering and morphing techniques.”

However as I have worked through this proposed methodology, I have forged spontaneous organic processes that actually have become more significant to my creative practice. I have found that in contrast to the rigid stages of data collection, recording, reflection and creation; I tended to cycle and flow between these stages sometimes within a matter of days and sometimes within a matter of months. Key to the realization of this process is the effort I have put into tenaciously blogging of everything that ‘feels’ relevant to the project.

I stress the verb ‘feel’ as many creative breakthroughs have come through recording and reflecting on seemingly tangential ideas that triggered an intuitive feeling of future relevance. Some examples include connecting a blinking LED to the concept of heart rate interactivity ( and finding a metaphorical link between the integration of Philippine-Londoners with a seemingly random anecdote about the South London Parakeet ( and ).

In addition to the typical structure of ‘research, record and produce’; I have found that a more flexible approach to the creative process has served me well. In fact, validating serendipity is a process I have used time and again in my creative practice but it is only since this project that I have documented it and have realized its importance to the methodology of my creative practice.