[News from NYC] Eyebeam residencies redux

Exactly one year after hurricane Sandy ravaged New York City two nights before Halloween, flooding much of Chelsea and destroying $250,000 worth of digital archives and technological equipment at Eyebeam Art+Technology Center, the results of its 2013 summer residencies are further proof of the 16-year-old new media center’s resilience.

Eyebeam’s slick glass storefront greets visitors with a traditionally white-walled gallery space, currently exhibiting fellow Katie Torn’s Dream House, featuring digital pigment prints and a 7-hour, real-time 3D machinima animation simulating a biomorphic accumulation of popular consumer products.

Wandering further within, dark spaces are enlightened by the creative sparks of fashion-tech innovation, immersive gaming and LED installation. We encounter the first project displays and demos from Eyebeam’s inaugural Computational Fashion program, which will culminate in a symposium, exhibition and designer’s toolkit by the end of the year.

Bodycrown model by Carrie Mae Rose.

Carrie Mae Rose presents Light as a Feather, wearable models of wings made up of 3D-printed tetrahedrons designed to store energy and visualize electric circulation around the body. Inspired by the research of philosopher Rudolf Steiner, her experimentation with fashionable batteries as sources of both light and power adapted to cosmic environments, in collaboration with battery expert Dan Steingart, is the technical foundation for her series Bodycrowns: Poetic Models of Future Garments for Space Exploration.

Kaho Abe at work on “The Lightning Bug Game”.

In another space, a human-scaled half-dome illuminates a corner. Two people wearing high-tech prostheses face the light, holding hands, as loud electronic laser bursts fill the room. One player’s arm is sleeved in a spiky foam gauntlet to point and aim; the other wears a cylindrical power capsule that collects and stores energy for battle. Both game controllers are embedded with an Android phone and a 1010 board for accelerometered movement and wireless communication. But only when the two players hold hands to close the circuit can the shots be fired at the enemy Dark Clouds beyond the dome.

“Lightning Bug” gauntlet controller prototype (kahoabe.net).

This is Computational Fashion fellow Kaho Abe’s Lightning Bug Game, an interdependent two-person shooter that engages costumed, physical interaction between humans in real space, as part of the artist’s Costumes as Game Controllers project, in collaboration with NYU-Poly Game Innovation Lab director Katherine Isbister. Abe’s largest-scale game environment to date invites players to become their own avatars through cosplay and live-action role-playing.

The most pleasing artwork currently on show is CHiKA’s SHiKAKU 07, a hypnotic, interactive LED sound installation that pulses to a different beat according to where the viewer stands. Based on the concept of a digital Zen garden, SHiKAKU plays on the Japanese word’s various meanings: square, visual, optic angle, blind spot. The focus of attention are two light cube structures surrounded by six-channel speakers, playing different sound patterns triggered by movement captured by distinct sensors, where straight lines of reactive, rippling LEDs represent the basic elements of rocks, trees and water. Sound designed and programmed in collaboration with Phan Visutyothapibal, SHiKAKU mesmerizes, calms and intrigues.

CHiKA talks about her installation SHiKAKU 07:

If Eyebeam can bounce back this brillantly from last year’s flooding in Chelsea, we can’t wait to see what it will do with its new space in Brooklyn in 2016, right down the street from BRIC Arts Media House.


Cherise Fong




wow nice digital art works. I

wow nice digital art works. I liked the patterns, lighting, color and perfect engineering. Well done guys. Your works are truly good.
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