The Anti-Smart Phone

 

Apples iPhone 7 has recently launched but if you’ve swiped too quickly through your news feed you might have missed another phone announcement. It’s the called the Light phone. It’s about the size of a credit card and weighs just over an ounce. The interface contains a white-on-white touch screen that displays only a keypad and a clock. 

And here’s the unique part. There are no Apps, no browser, no emails, no text messaging. It just makes phone calls. You put in a SIM card, and press a few buttons.

The Light Phone was created by Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang, who together formed the Light company. They sought out to design a phone that would help disconnect its users from the world.

“We started building this because it became very clear that true happiness means being present. So much of our days are spent connected and staring at screens that we are losing that presence in so many situations. We built the Light Phone as a way for people to find balance with their connectedness. It’s not that we think people should never connect again, it’s just that taking a break is extremely healthy in every sense of the word,” said Hollier.

I’m not sure what the price will be, but I wonder if the concept will catch on.

 

Brooklyn Modular Synthesizer Fair

 

I had a chance to go to the New York Modular Synthesizer Exhibition a few weeks ago. It was a lot of hands-on experimenting with modulars from companies around the world. Also got to see some great workshops and lectures. Fun! Fun! Fun!

 

The Architecture of Francis Kéré

 

I finally had the chance to check out the Creative Africa Exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art a view weeks ago. One of my favorite parts was an exhibition entitled: The Architecture of Francis Kéré: Building for Community. It focused on Diébédo Francis Kéré an award winning African architect known for his cross-cultural approach to design.

Kéré is based in Berlin but his projects are mostly concentrated in Burkina Faso West Africa. His work incorporates local materials and his work makes a strong connection between environmental and economic sustainability. One such project that was featured was the construction of a school in Gando which incorporates local materials found on site, like mud and trees. Local labor is very important to Kérés projects. His goal is to equip people with the tools and skills to construct the next buildings on there own.

The exhibition was designed using site-specific elements such as building materials and immersive projection elements to help visitors imagine the architecture. Study models, photographs, and video were also used in the exhibtion to document his work. 

Outside the gallery was an installation made of colorful parachute cords. The hanging chords were arranged from an overlaid grid pattern that came from same arrangement as the Philadelphia city grid designed by William Penn. The hanging chords were also meant to represent African shade trees.

Francis Kérés work is on the forefront of sustainable design. I'm glad I had the chance to experience his work. 

Who Gives a Crap!

 

The holiday season is around the corner and I thought this was a fun. Who Gives A Crap is an Australian based company. There business: toilet paper made from environmentally friendly materials with 50% of their profits going towards building toilets in the developing world. 

It’s a rather unique business model but to date they've claimed to have donated  over $428,00 to fund hygiene and sanitation projects, saved over 30,000 trees to date using forrest friendly products and avoided 5922 tons of greenhouse gas emissions with there manufacturing process.

Keep your bum clean and save the environment at the same time!

On the set of Bail Out

 

Some pics from the set of Sara Zia Ebrahimi's new web series Bail Out.

 

Intro to VJ Workshop

 

I got an oppurtunity to co-teach an Introduction to VJ and Projection workshop with Rich Wexler at PhillyCAM. It was a three week class and on the third week we had a VJ jam session with the students and invited Dino from Cheap Dinosaurs to come in and perform a set. Here are a few pics.

 

Live performance with R@S

Here is a short video clip of my live performance with EDM band R@ts at the Grape Room in Manayunk Philadelphia, December 20th.

VDMX for live video performances

I've been looking into live video performance software for over a year. I've tried Resolume, module 8 and even a few iPad apps, but after many head scratching hours of playing and taking notes I decided on Vidvoxs VDMX VJ software. 

If you understand the basic principles of video editing/motion graphics, VDMX is like a real time editor with tons of visual effects that can be added on the fly. What I like about the software is that it is very modular so you can create custom on-screen set-ups for any live performance or video installation project. 

It works with any midi controller or OSC device. It’s very flexible, but comes at the price of a fairly high learning curve. It took me a few weeks to figure out some basics functions, but Vidvox has some good tutorials on there website. You can also download a free trial.

I’m currently running it on a Macbook Pro Retina Display, and using the Akai APC 40 as a live controller. I’ve had 2 performances with local Philly EDM band R@s and the software ran very stable.

Large learning curve to get setup, but I was very impressed with the outcome.