Subtle Technologies v.14


In 2011, we moved away from a specific theme and returned to our roots. In the early years of the Subtle Technologies Festival we put out a general call to artists and scientists and built the program around the themes that emerged. For this year’s festival, we returned to that model. This gave us the opportunity to program topics that otherwise would not fit into our themes.  Although we didn’t program the festival with themes in mind, some naturally emerged. For example, in some presentations in artists pushed the idea of traditional craft by incorporating technology. We heard about how virtual worlds emerge as a place where both artists and scientists are engaged in new work. Imaging technologies is an important area that we explored as both scientific tools and artistic forms of expression. We learned about some dynamic ways that dance can be used as a rich tapestry for expressing scientific ideas. There were many other themes that unpredictably emerged. Our event provided numerous opportunities for networking and exchange of ideas.

– Jim Ruxton, Director of Programs



Workshop: The Network as Material 

May 28, 29 & 30 from 9 AM to 5:30 PM
DDiMIT, 376 Bathurst Street

Instructor: Julian Oliver

In this workshop, media artist Julian Oliver guided participants through an in-depth study of the network as a medium for creating art. The workshop explored the many tools available for interrogating and manipulating data over both wired and wireless networks. Most of these tools are typically reserved for IT specialists, however this workshop put them in the hands of artists. From sculpting data to turning network traffic into sound, poetry and images, the participant gained a deep appreciation for networks and the vast terrain they provide for artistic intervention and creation.

This workshop was held in partnership with Designing Digital Media for the Internet of Things (DDiMIT).


Workshop: Introduction to DIY Bioplastics 

June 2, 2011
Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Avenue, Toronto

Instructor: Stephanie Phillips 

A hands-on exploration in making your own bioplastics out of simple ingredients you can find in your cupboard. We made various types of plastics and delved into coating textiles. We answered some of the basic questions such as ‘what is a bioplastic?’, and looked into the world of commercially available bioplastics and explored the developments on the horizon in both Material Science and Design.

Workshop Part 1: Presentation of bioplastics and other biomaterials; answering the question of what is a bioplastic, who are the major players in industrial practice as well as creative practices, what are the different types, and how do they differ from each other.

Workshop Part 2: Make bioplastics, and coatings using bioplastics with everyday ingredients – focusing on starch based biopolymers.

PHENOMENA: A Journey Around AudioVisual Art-Science

June 2 from 8 PM to 10 PM, reception at 7 PM
Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue

Curated by Marco Mancuso and Claudia D’Alonzo
Organized by Roberta Buiani

Screening curated by Marco Mancuso for Digicult

The screening, Hidden Worlds, was a critical reflection upon the existing connection between audiovisual art, energy and science at the intersection with cinema, video and the digital.

The Hidden Worlds exhibition celebrated one of the most fascinating yet obscure territories of artistic audiovisual contemporary research: the relation between art and science. The video screening encouraged a critical reflection on the existing relation between audiovisual contemporary artistic research (in relation to cinema, video and digital experiences) and applied sciences.

This project, dealing with different artistic examples which investigate new expressive forms for the representation of the sound-image relation, deliberately avoided focusing on their common aesthetics, as well as on their expressive language. It rather suggested an overview on specific systems for sensorial perception, and emotional mechanisms of “saturation”, achieved through the use of hybrid techniques that today, like never before, expand the tradition of analog experimental cinema and digital audiovisuats.

What is today recognized as “immersive art-science” is a form of creative expression meant to rise above the notion of art as abstract representation, to achieve a multi-sensorial experience. The purpose here was to create aesthetical and fascinating objects as well as to invite the public to go beyond ordinary perception. Immersivity awakens a synesthetic awareness both in the mental and in the physical space. A myriad of vibrant phenomena, usually beyond the observer’s reach, are made reachable through an accurate psycho-physical conditioning. This video screening took the spectators to wonderful “hidden worlds”, illustrated by artists and scientists who more and more often collaborate and share experiences with one another on the research of new expressive potentialities within specific mathematical processes and physical, optical, chemical and electro-magnetic phenomena.


Screening curated by Claudia D’Alonzo for Digicult and Mario Gorni for Docva

Inspired by a 1989 film by Paolo Gioli with the same name, this screening reconstructed the historical and methodological path of the use of the Flickering technique, using a selection of works from the DOCVA and INVIDEO archives, as well as from works of a number of authors connected to the Digicult international network.

The “flicker” is a technique applied to a number of art forms, from the experimental cinema on analog film, light installations and environments, as well as video analog and digital audiovisual. This technique is based on a specific perceptive phenomenon. Our perception of moving images normally happens with a 24 frames per second frequency.

If we decrease this frequency to between 6 to 18 frames per second, we create a visual blinking leading to a direct stimulation of the optic nerve and, thus, to a proto-vision where the visual rhythm becomes directly synchronized with our cerebral waves.

The flicker belongs to what Edmund Husserl defines as perceptive ambiguity, for its potential to go beyond and offer a chance to overcome the habitual conventions that govern our knowledge of the real. This may be achieved through destabilizing – in some cases violently, or traumatically – perceptive common, almost addicted, habits.

Artists experiment with flickering using a phenomenological approach, through the anomalous stimulation of our perceptive apparatus, as well as through the structural analysis of the codes that compose the moving image.

Thanks to the collaboration with the Archive of DOCVA and Digicult, When the Eye Flickers (Quando I’occhio trema) is meant also as a moment of research, a way to conceive the archival material as a dynamic instrument through which to establish relations and exchanges, a point of departure to establish comparisons between historical experiences of the audiovisual experimentation and the most contemporary developments.


Lines of Sight: Toronto Observation  

June 3 from 8 PM to 11 PM
Beaver Hall, 29 McCaul Street.

Curated by Willy LeMaitre
Featuring Annie Onyi Cheung, Risa Kusumoto, Kika Thorne, and Claudia Wittman

Sometimes it’s hard to see the city because we’re already in it. We see the city like we see the artist’s body; by looking at what it does. A body’s engagement with its interior is through its negotiations in its exterior.

The unusual staging of Lines of Sight: Toronto Observation situated three live artists working in disparate locations around the city, each of them visible to the audience gathered on the rooftop observatory of a downtown apartment building. The presentation conflated scientific method with artistic presentation.

At the limits of human vision are aspects of the imagination – intuitive, creative thought that shapes our understanding of what we see. On one level, the event is an opportunity to gaze out over the city and compare what goes on with what we may think goes on. The artist’s work, nestled in this expanded field, was magnified and framed by video equipment. Contrasting the qualities of observation, the situation pit human against machine vision.

Certain biases prevent our recognition of what is truly visible. At all times we should be aware of our own biases, which frame what we are shown – and which distort what is. We cannot separate our sight faculties from nature. However, at the limits of knowledge, perceptual sensing and cognitive representations, there is a split between what happens and what we think happens.

At any level of this world, whether it is the behavior of electrons at the sub-atomic scale or social and aesthetic expressions at the fringes of human scale, the limits of the known are often decried as strange and weird. The limits are set by what is familiar and expected but also by the qualities of imaging technologies that continually redefine the known.

Confirmation bias 

An interpretive mode defines one bias of the observer. Beyond what we can reliably understand to see, we shift into a speculative mode of imagining what we expect to see. Detecting a bias towards a particular outcome of an experiment is a primary concern in evaluating its scientific credibility.

Processing bias

Through the use of computerized instruments, “observations” undergo extensive processing before they are presented to the human senses, posing the question as to where in the data processing chain “observing” ends and “drawing conclusions” begins. This has increasingly become an issue in the use of digitally enhanced images to illustrate experimental data in papers published in scientific journals.

Images were enhanced to bring out features that the researcher wants to emphasize, but this also had the effect of supporting his or her conclusions. This is a form of bias that is difficult to quantify.

INCUBATOR: Propositions Towards New Laboratory Ecologies

Jennifer Willet
Assistant Professor, School of Visual Arts, The University of Windsor

Jennifer Willet introduced the Art/Science Community to her new bioart facility, INCUBATOR Hybrid Laboratory at the Intersection of Art, Science and Ecology at The University of Windsor, Canada. INCUBATOR served as a site for innovative productive and performative imaginings of biotechnology as a technology of the body – a complex ecology – that implicates each of us intellectually and biologically in the continued propagation of the life sciences. In 2011, in collaboration with The Banff Centre, INCUBATOR constructed a portable laboratory in the Canadian Rocky Mountains – bringing 20 artists, scientists, and students together in an innovative art/science project.

Data’s Dark Matter

Julian Oliver 

We put a lot of ourselves into computer networks, much more than our laptops, tablet computers and smartphones will ever admit. In the spirit of engendering a little ‘healthy paranoia’ Julian took the lid off these mysterious objects that are now with us so much of the time, showing that they are a lot Jess loyal than we’d like to think. In doing so he showed how much can be learned about a person merely through sharing a network with them. Finally, Julian discussed a recent tactical media-art project, developed with colleague Danja Vasiliev, that exploits the growing trust we place in computers, networks and the metal and minds that make it all happen.

The Translation of Artforms in Virtual Worlds

Patrick Lichty
Assistant Professor of Interactive Arts and Media, Columbia College Chicago

Within the past decade, virtual worlds have emerged as a prominent factor in technological culture. Virtual economies like *Everquest* have grown to rival gross domestic products of small nations in the early 2000’s. Chinese use of cheap labor in virtual worlds is big business, and is the subject of works like Crouse/Rothenberg’s “Double Happiness” virtual sweatshop in Second Life. Record numbers of users are participating in online games and environments. This has also given rise to the formation of virtual artists’ communities in corresponding online worlds including *World of Warcraft* (WoW), *Second Life* (SL), and *0pensim*. These works include virtual galleries of translated 2D works into 3D galleries, Machinima (video works created from the capture of live action in virtual worlds), performance, and interactive inworld works. In addition, increasing numbers of artists are exploring performance in the vein of Abramovic and Fluxus in Second Life. From these multivalent practices and modes of representation there arise questions of difference, context, audience, and engagement, as well as affect in the case of disembodied performance. In this examination of New Media art practices in virtual worlds, and the online virtual environment *Second Life* in particular, I will examine the aforementioned issues, and consider the context and translation of these works from the tangible to the virtual, the “mixed/cybrid”, affective performance, and the formal work of virtual art to discern its function between modes of existence, and its location within culture.

SynSoma: Exhibition Artists’ Panel 

Steve Daniels, Artist
Robyn Moody, Artist

The artists from the exhibition (SynSoma) discussed their work

Creation Through Vibration 

Deborah Fels
Assistant Professor and Director, Ryerson University

David Bobier
Artist and Educator

The demonstration focused on a collaborative venture between the Centre for Learning Technologies (CLT), Ryerson University and multi-media artist David Bobier investigating how an alternative vibrational technology provides innovative and inclusive means for artistic expression (visual, music, film, performance, audio, etc.). The Centre for Learning Technologies (CLT), Ryerson University has completed a research initiative investigating means of making sound and music more accessible. This project, called the Alternative Sensory Information Display (ASID), is exploring ways to provide the emotional aspects of sound and music through sensory substitution techniques. The Emoti-chair system prototype separated audio signals into discrete vibrotactile output channels that, when presented on the skin surface, creates a highresolution audio-tactile (vibrational) experience.

Lightning talk: Wiring billions of brains together 

Alan Majer
Founder of

Today, brain-computer interfaces allow us to interact and communicate directly with human brains. Take cochlear implants for example: these surgically implanted electronic devices provide a sense of sound to deaf people by interfacing with the human brain. Soon, similar technologies will allow us to begin building bridges between human brains too. For the very first time, this will allow our thoughts, ideas, and senses to be directly shared with each other. This network of brains – and the human supercomputer that emerges from it – will utterly transform the way we live, work and collaborate.

A Myriad of vibrant phenomena. The hidden worlds of audiovisual art-science

Marco Mancuso

Nature is characterized at the root by a matrix of numbers and mathematical expressions involving a series of physical, optical, chemical-physical, electromagnetic and nanometric phenomena influencing its forms, species, colours, sounds and structures. If science is considered an organic complex of knowledge obtained through a methodical procedure, capable of providing a precise description of the real aspect of things and the laws by which the phenomena happen, and if the rules governing such processes are generally called “scientific method”, then the experimental observation of a natural event, the formulation of a general hypothesis about such event and the possibility of checking the hypothesis through subsequent observations become fundamental elements in modern scientific research.

The following works wili be projected in their uncut versions or extract during the presentation:

Hans Jenny – Cymatics Soundscapes (1967, Switzerland)
col., sound 7’15’
Mary Ellen Bute – Abstronic (Usa, 1954)
col., sound, 7′
John Whitney – Permutations (USA, 1971)
col., sound, 7’07”
Semiconductor – Magnetic Movies (USA, 2007) col., sound, 4’47”, 16:9 widescreen

Sensory Augmentation (Parts 1&2) 

Eric Boyd
Chief Cybog, Sensebridge

Wearable electronic devices can augment your interface with the world. We explored North Paw, compass anklet that vibrates to tell you what way is North, and Heart Spark, a pendant that flashes in time with your heart beat. Volunteers wore the devices and reported back to the audience on their experiences at the end of the day!


Synapses: Speed Networking for Artists and Scientists 

June 4 from 5:15 PM to 6:15 PM
Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue

Organized by Leonard Chan

In 1964, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were cleaning “white dielectric substance” (science talk for pigeon poop) off a supersensitive horn antenna. They were looking for radio waves bounced off satellites but there was a constant noise that stymied their efforts.

They were flummoxed for a year until a chance meeting with a fellow astronomer named Bernie Burke, who had just seen a manuscript written by a physicist named Jim Peebles who was being supervised by Robert Dicke, offered an alternate hypothesis for their noise.

They realized that the “noise problem” they were having wasn’t the result of pigeon droppings, but was, in fact, the radiation signature of the Big Bang. They were listening to the beginning of everything. For this momentous discovery, Penzias and Witson were awarded the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physics and none of it would have happened had Arnie Penzias not run into Bernie Burke.

Behold the power of connections. Like speed dating, but without the overt romantic overtones, Synapses gave artists and scientists and opportunity to sit down and talk about their work, their interests, and their whatever else they can cram into seven minutes of face time. When the bell rings, you moved to the next table until you had met everyone in the room. Afterwards, there will be a mixer for people to continue their conversations and hopefully develop new connections, new ideas*, and with any luck, new friends.

Panel: How can we build a city that thinks like the web?

June 4 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue


Cory Doctorow
Mark Surman
Sara Diamond
Dan Misener

Can you remake a city in the image of the web? Can the open, decentralized, real-time spirit of the online world be applied to the places we live to make them more creative and innovative? What are the opportunities and challenges of the so-called “networked city?”

CBC’s Dan Misener led a panel discussion with three of the world’s experts on these questions Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing), Mark Surman (Mozitta) and Sara Diamond (OCAD University).


Opening: June 4 at 7 – 10 PM
Exhibition dates: June 3 – 12

Curated by Michael Alstad and Camille Turner 

SynSoma was an exhibition of kinetic works which explored the relationship between the artificial and organic through subtle mechanical mimicry of natural systems. Both artists utilised light and movement in evocative ways. Robyn Moody’s work resulted in a mesmerizing play of light and emergent patterns. Steve Daniels’ use of light as an interactive element triggered a cross-species gestural engagement.

Steve Daniels 

Steve Daniels’ sessile is a colony of 25 kinetic sculptures that incorporate an open system where each robot responds to changes in ambient tight levels by opening and closing their limbs. A viewer’s shadow becomes a part of the colony’s environment and a medium of interaction. Subtle differences arise from a myriad of factors including small variations in construction, surface imperfections, their orientation to ground and most importantly their internal emotional state. The work creates a dialogue between participant and object where the observed and observer are interchanged.

Power 2: Heart Lake as seen through the eyes of Manley Natland 
Robyn Moody

Robyn Moody’s ‘Power 2: Heart Lake as seen through the eyes of Manley Natland’ adopted a closed system with simple repetitious mechanical functions made up of hundreds of spinning black gears of different sizes embedded with smalt tilted mirrors. Modeled after Heart Lake, a water source within the Alberta oilsands, the dark glistening surface suggests the separation of oil from sand through destructive processes. The varying shapes, sizes and handmade quality of each gear resulted in a complexity of emerging patterns going in and out of phase

Tomographic Imaging and Three Dimensional Perspectives 

Beau Standish
Biophotonics and Bioengineering Lab, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ryerson University

Adrian Mariampillai
Post Doctorate Fellow, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ryerson University

David Bouchard
Ryerson University

This project was a collaboration between researchers at Ryerson University in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the School of Image Arts. Our investigation was twofold. First, we used 3-dimensional volumetric images depicting blood vessels as a basis for the creation of abstract visuals and video loops. Using image processing techniques, we extracted structural information from the blood vessels. These structures then became starting points for the creation of new generative images inspired by the organic qualities of the blood vessels themselves. Second, we developed tablet-based software that enabled users to easily navigate and interact with the 3D datasets and experience the generated images at different stages of processing as well as contrast them with the original data.

Images of Nature:  Collaboration at the Intersection of Nature, Art and Technology 

Shannon C. McCullen
Assistant Professor of Visual and Performing Arts, Purdue University

Fabian Winkler 
Assistant Professor of Visual and Performing Arts, Purdue University

How can artists, scientists and engineers cotlaboratively respond to rapidly changing knowledge about our natural environment and its processes? With the support of the National Science Foundation, the Envision Center for Data Perceptualization and a multi-disciplinary group of Purdue faculty and students, Shannon McMullen and Fabian Winkler have been conducting a pilot study to investigate a local model for creative collaboration. Central to this study is a studio/seminar offered in Spring 2011 in which interdisciplinary student groups created artifacts that addressed the question above.

In their talk, McMullen and Winkler introduced some of these artifacts as well as observations from the interactions among the students and faculty along with resulting recommendations for the next generation of creative collaboration.

New Work in Digital Holography 

Michael Page

Professor, Faculty of Art OCADU and Visiting Professor, Institute for Optical Sciences, U of T

Recent developments in the field of digital holography have made it possible to produce full-colour, large format work from digital media as well as real-world subjects. This presentation covered some of the techniques used and present examples of the work.

Six Impossible Things 

Ben Schumacher 
Kenyon College

Beyond the looking glass, the White Queen told Alice that she often “believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Inspired by her example, we delved into half a dozen of the greatest impossibilities of modern physics, including time machines and time telegraphs, an impossibly powerful computer, a spaceship that can go faster than light or escape from a black hole, and a device that can perfectly duplicate a quantum particle. An amazing lesson awaits us: not only are these things impossible, but the deep principle of Nature that makes them so is exactly the same for each!

On lava cracks, road ripples and rotating icicles 

Stephen Morris
Department of Physics, University of Toronto

Pattern formation is the branch of physics that deals with spontaneously emergent ordered structures. Columnar joints are uncanny formations of ordered cracks in lava flows, such as the Giant’s Causeway. We made a small version in the lab using cornstarch. Washboard road is the annoying tendency of gravel roads to develop ripples under the action of wheels. We studied these waves both in the laboratory and using computer simulation. The shape and rippling instability of icicles are interesting free growth processes. We grew rotating icicles in the laboratory and observed the motion of their ripples.

Over the Rainbow: the Currency of Images in the Laboratory and the Studio 

Mary Rosengren
La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia

The background to this paper are installations Re-lmaging Nature: Hidden Visions and Ground Truth that draw together the experiences and observations of artists and scientists in sound, image projections and archival print works. With reference to this and the scope of my research: field trips with plant ecoiogists to remote regions of Australia, North West Scotland, the Antarctic Peninsular; scientific collections in Australian and British institutions; Infrared microscopy at the Australian Synchrotron, this paper investigates the plethora of interconnected images in science research and the prominence of auditory, immersive and real time sensory experiences that characterise contemporary visual art practice.

Augmented Ecologies  

Fran Castillo 
Responsive Environments

Augmented Ecologies (AE) is a hybrid, a bioartificial evolvable ecosystem, which explores the notion of life through new machinic agencies consisting of assemblages of units organic and synthetic. AE is’a ‘ simulation software about_the dynamic nonlinear behavior of synthetic substances and aquatic organisms in the context of study. AE is an analytical visualization environment that assesses information levels of integrated ecological systems.

The AE system integrates an organic agent formed by sensor systems and automatic performance automatically. In this unit, the capture and data processing is transferred to the digital ecosystem simulation as imput parameters by computer vision algorithms, with an ecosystem reactive environment variables organic agent, the AE system explores the notion of augmented alife, the dynamic interactions between systems lead to the emergence of an endosymbiotic organism, information flows in and out between multiple systems generate complex forms of interaction, recognizing emergent behavior.

Biomatics Virus – Viral Sound

Riccardo Castagna 
Valentina Margaria 

The aim of our work is to highlight the parallelism between biological and informatics virus, envisioning a futuristic world where the barriers between actual and virtual reality have definitely broken down. We imagined a new form of virus, a BIOMATICS virus, represented at the same time by a biological counterpart and an informatics one. Therefore, the BIOMATICS virus can infect not only eukaryotic cells but can also use personal computers and informatics devices to replicate itself: to this aim the viral information is encrypted into musical files according to our bio-inspired music (BioMusic) translation method. We recently developed a novel BioMusic approach that describes not just the DNA and proteins’ amino acid sequence but even the complexity of their three dimensional (3D) structures and interactions. Consequently, the viral musical files contain all the necessary hints to create and assemble an active biological virus.

After that, the BIOMATICS virus is able to efficiently spread the infection uploading the musical files on the web, colonizing the social networks and looking for computers connected with 3D printers that will be forced to re-generate the biological virus creating a new hotbed of contamination.

In conclusion, in our presentation we will discuss the bioinformatics guidelines of a novel BioMusic translation method applied to a visionary Pandemic Infection where the virus spreading is not only carried by animals or humans but exploits the net to overcome physical and spatial boundaries.


Choreography of the Moving Cell: Self Organization and catastrophe through the lens of embodied artmaking

Robert Hammel
Vice President of Production, Perimeter Productions

Carl Flink
Artistic Director, Black Label Movement

Catastrophic changes constantly occur inside the body, even at the subcellular level of self-assembled rods known as microtubules. As molecules violently collide, microtubules form only to collapse and rebuild again and again. The rise and fall of microtubutes is essential to a healthy cell and to sustain a growing neuron. This cellular process inspired choreographer Carl Flink and biomedical engineer DavidOdde to form a research collaboration at the University of Minnesota Institute for Advanced Study (USA) entitled The Moving Cell Project. Along with Flink’s dance group Black Label Movement, Odde and Flink have worked together for over two years exploring collision, catastrophe and how a dance maker and scientist can substantively impact each other’s individual research and collaborate to create choreography and conduct scientific research.

Presenters Carl Flink and Moving Celt Project documentarian Robert Hammel shared the recent outcomes and video excerpts from the ongoing project; including a potential tool for scientific research called Bodystorming and a discussion of Flink’s new work HIT, an examination of real physical impact between human bodies.

Experimenting with Scientists: A Dancer’s Chronicle 

Gail Lotenberg
Artistic Director, LINK Dance Foundation

Making a dance inspired by ecologists presents opportunities and challenges all along the way. From inception to post-mortem, this talk featured LINK Dance choreographer Gail Lotenberg sharing a sampling from both – the remarkable inspiration drawn from a group of deep thinkers and innovators in scientific thinking, and the pitfalls encountered when matching the sensibilities of artists and scientists. This was a presentation with video excerpts about the making of a dance and the roadmap ahead for furthering the
dialogue between artists and scientists.

Imaginary Selves and Impossible Solutions 

Ted Hiebert 
Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Bothell

There are times when it’s not enough to be realistic – moments when one must exaggerate or overemphasize or even lie in order to accurately represent a question. These are moments that challenge the parameters of possibility, certainty and verifiability – gestures towards the absurd, the impossible and that which shouldn’t happen but seems to anyways. These are also moments when probability as a scientific endeavor fails to represent the poetic actuality of the moment. For these moments, what are required are aesthetic solutions – signaled in part by the manifestation of the improbable – even the impossible – in contemporary art. This might be seen as the extension of aesthetic theory for a digital age, beginning with Aristotle’s formulation of “plausible impossibility” and gesturing outwards, through languages of quantum uncertainty and technoiogicai interaction to find moments where the boundaries between the virtual, the technological and the imaginary begin to blur and intertwine. Part theoretical speculation, part artist talk, this presentation sought to give form to the idea of impossibility as a subtle technology of imaginary practice.

Sociable Technologies: Adaptive Design for Children with Disabilities 

Jason Nolan 
Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) lab, Ryerson University

Noah Kenneally 
Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) lab, Ryerson University

Alison Gaston 
Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) lab, Ryerson University

Sociable technologies are those that foster meaningful social interactions between those who might not otherwise have opportunities to interact. Children with disabilities are often isolated due to the limitations to their disabilities, and required medical devices and the institutionalized nature of their lives often exacerbate the situation. The EDGE Lab is engaged in research into the conceptualization, construction and used of Adaptive Design techniques, developing custom devices and objects children with disabilities. These handmade devices have facilitated remarkable changes in the friendships and autonomous interactions.

Towards the Memory Tower 

Timothy J. Senior 
Jacobs University

The ‘Memory Tower’ was a full-immersion virtual reality environment exploring the neural mechanisms behind the stabilization and reorganization of memory traces during sleep within the brain. The nature of memory formation is reflected through the use of historical, architectural motifs, serving as visual metaphors for both the content and structure of memory traces. By creating a rich cityscape that encompasses more familiar notions of memory from our everyday encounters with the world around us, the work aimed to extend beyond a reductionist, scientific description of memory content and to acknowledge notions of collective human experience and history.

When Crafting Leads to Hacking: magnetism as material 

Jenny Leary
Co-Founder, Puff&Flock Textile Laboratory London
Founder, Ferrofabric Magnetic Materials

What results from the fusion of textiles and magnetic fields? Jenny Leary explored how the aesthetic, tactile and familiar world of textiles can relate to the uncanny, scientific, and invisible world of magnetism. From wallcoverings to performance art, the applications for her research are accordingly widereaching. She presented  work that ranged from ferrous velvet to encrypted floral patterns, and will demonstrate how a simple craft technique can interact with the magnetic stripe of credit cards. We looked at the data code standards that dictate the layout of information along the stripe, and attempt to hack into the pattern.

Calculating the Curvature of Petals: Mating and mutating crochet lace 

Gail Kenning
College of Fine Arts, University New South Wales, Sydney Australia

The growing interest in DIY culture, hacking and user-led or participatory practices in digital media run parallel to a recognisable resurgence of interest in craft-based textile activities. However, many craft participants recycle pre-existing textile concepts, patterns and ways of working. This paper reported on an experimental art research project that develops software applications, to evolve craft-based textile pattern forms. The software applications aim to create tools for creativity for craft-based textile practitioners, to offer a means of exploring digital and computational possibilities for pattern forms, and to be used as an online recreational activity.

Metamorphic Numerals: A multi sensory approach to understanding math 

Mark Jaroszewicz
Multi-media artist

Uniting craft with math can bridge the gap between digital and tactile learning It can also form bonds between all people as we collectively continue to expand toward global understanding.

In this presentation, Mark discussed:

• A brief history of numbers;
• Craft and its reference to vessels and volume;
• A 3-D translation of the most commonly used 2-D Hindu-Arabic numeral system; • Translation of math functions with textures, colours, movements and mass.

Structuring Somnolence: Sleep Science Technology as a Medium for Drawing with the Body at Rest 

Lisa Carrie Goldberg
SymbioticA, The University of Western Australia

In The Sleep of Others, Kenton Kroker states, “what makes sleep an unusual form of experience…is that it is, by definition, an annihilation of experience.” With this quotation in mind, it was my intention to animate a response of the sleeping body. Structuring Somnolence: sleep science technology as a medium for drawing with the body at rest is an investigation into the fields of sleep science and art. By utilizing the toots and technologies of sleep research, a series of artworks were produced at SymbioticA in conjunction with the Sleep Science Laboratory at the University of Western Australia. In December 2010,
three volunteers participated in a two-week sleep study conducted by Lisa Carrie Goldberg. It was through these nocturnal events that the process of employing the body and the mind during sleep as a means of art making was realized. By appropriating scientific protocols and measurement devices to re-purpose them as debunk, non-analytical mechanisms, Goldberg staged a series of performances intended to subvert the contemporary bio-medical tendency to quantify sleep, whilst making use of living material the sleeping body, as a means for construction.

Poster Exhibition: Common Ground 

Curated by Loren Salome 

Scheduled Poster Session: 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM, June 3
Exhibition in place June 3-5

The poster exhibition touches upon many different subjects and ideas analyzing the use of technology and its relation to art practices.There are some recurrent themes in these particular projects such as network processes, augmentation of our senses and data visualizations. We are part of a network. The idea of network is a constant in almost all the works, the importance and power of network systems and virtual communities in contemporary society. Projects that talk about the virtual and the real in the attempt to understanding this ever-changing digital world that we live in. Whendoes the real become virtual or vice versa? There is a call to redefine human interactions with machines, natural environments, urban landscapes, the role of the artist and community. Rediscovering our senses. A chair that translates sounds into vibrations and allows the participant to “feel” sound, opening a whole new sensorial experience. A sound helmet that lets the participant control the sound through breathing. Motion controls visual projections. In these projects, there is a shift in our sensations. We breathe to control sounds, we listen to feel our body vibrate, we move to create visuais. ~ Lorena Salome

During the poster session there was also be a number of demonstrations by presenters who spoke about their work earlier in the day.

Ut pictura poesis: entity-relation drawing into space 

David Griffin
The Glasgow School of Art, PhD candidate, OCAD University instructor

In scientific visualisation practices, node-link graphs have proven to be critically useful tools: their simple. collaborative qualities allow users to bridge theory and practice, to extract some sensibility from otherwise invisible entities. Using the technical instrument of Laser as a marker, and the geometry of space itself as support, the drawings proposed here wilt form a network between our planet and the other planetary bodies in our local space, linking us directly to those seven familiar, mythically charged entities. it is the simplest of modeling systems, in other words, drawn to a scale that is actually incomprehensible.

Responsive Urbanism 

Laura Coucil
Birmingham School of Architecture

Vik Kaushal
Manchester School of Architecture

The future is 2050, but how ideal is it? This work was an exploration of the rules that define how our future, more sustainable, urban landscapes will be shaped. We were concerned with exploring new digital measures that redefine legislative frameworks and hand over the future cultural and sustainabte production of urbanism to citizens. Can urban design through autonomy and technology meet the requirements for a sustainable future?

Design Studio 2S1 62 – Spatial Investigations: The Limits of Design 

Anastasios Tellios
Architect. Dip. Arch. AUTh, M.Arch (Dist.) UCL, PhD AUTh Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Studio 2S1 62 attempted to connect architectural design, as a deep, creative procedure with the broad fields of innovation, the study of structures (biological, technological, etc.), the scientific observation (microscopic, molecular, macroscopic, etc.), as well as other scientific and creative fields, using advanced technologies for digital design and spatial representation. The aim of this course was to understand the dynamics of space and its qualities, the challenging of established building schemes, the experimental process of complex and sometimes unexpected alternative functional programs. The purpose was the final proposal of innovative spatial situations, through comprehensive, synthetic architectural narratives.

Because I am not here: Second Life Based Artists, Four Selected Case Studies 

Francisco Gerardo Toledo Ramirez
PhD Candidate in Media Studies, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario

“My current research interests are Virtual Worlds Aesthetics and issues of subjectivity and self-presentation in virtual art, specifically those produced in Second Life. This on-line virtual world is ‘inhabited’ by avatars that are designed by actual life users. The work of certain artists in SL demonstrates a shift of aesthetic regimes in virtual worlds that rely upon temporalities rather than spatialities. This is known as the distributive ‘aesthetics’ of data. Due to this distinctive attribute, every perceptible digital element in SL is not only an image to be ‘represented’ but, essentially, performed.”

Art fun with Excel! 

Eunsoo Ahn
A Homosapien on Earth making random things

You know when you get bored at your office job? Sick of crunching data and documents and all the spreadsheets? All the dull office softwares? You’re staring at spreadsheets and data for too long and want to vomit numbers? Take a tittle break and refresh yourself by escaping into art. It’s right there in the spreadsheets! Let’s just make art with the office softwares!

Synaesthesia Cultivation Awareness Machine (SCAM) 

Subtle Technologies McMaster 
McMaster University, Arts & Sciences Program

One of the most intriguing examples of blurring boundaries on a neural level is synaesthesia. Due to the cross-wiring of sensory areas of the brain, stimulation of one sensory pathway activates others. Seeing a triangle becomes a task not only for the eyes, but only if you possess the necessary genes. And this is where we come in. Our Synaesthesia Cultivation Awareness Machine (SCAM) removed the genetic barriers that may prevent aspiring synaesthetes from smelling colours. The method to our madness: electrical pulses, which harmlessly divert neural signals to different areas of the brain, creating a synthetic synaesthetic experience.

Balancing Art and Technology: Reflections on Dance.Draw Predictions. 

Danielle Lottridge
Post Doctoral Researcher, Department of Communication Stanford University

The Dance.Draw project is a pioneering collaboration between Computer Scientists and Dance Experts to create productions where the motions of dancers are sensed for input into real-time projected visualizations. This poster shares the insights gained through reflecting on four dance productions over two years, and through running focus groups following each production (Latulipe, Carroll, & Lottridge, 2011). This work illustrated the types of roles possible, and the implications for complex balancing acts such as art-technotogy collaborations.

Re-negotiation of Space and City Through Media Art

Eva Kekou
Research fellow, Panteion University, Department of Communication, Media and Culture

This poster demonstrated how the notions of space and city are challenged through immense possibilities of media art and subsequently locative media projects. It offered a variety of projects which all engage with active audience and encouarge them to express their opinion about life in the neighborhood or city. The aim of this poster was to discuss how such project contribute to the notion of citizenship and expression in modernity.

Belly Brain Wave 

Doug Jarvis 
Artist-in-residence Fellow

Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria, British Columbia
The human body contains millions of brain cells in our gastrointestinal system, neurons that help to control digestion and other essential functions. Building on the idea that this region of the body is also the site of “gut feelings,” intuitive ways of knowing, this project explores the potential of a thinking brain in my stomach and it’s ability to communicate with the thinking brain in my head. ‘Belly Brain Wave” investigates the relationship between my different brains using a variety of media, including brain-wave sensors, as a way to observe the conversation. This project continues my research into the material and non-material ways that we exist as humans and the critical engagement of technologies that challenge and augment the many ways of being in the world.

In Through the Sprout Door  

Micah Donovan
Artist and Food Jammer

The recent evolution in food has been a move from big breweries and big bakeries back to micro and organic, but we still buy much of our food from thousands of kilometers away. Micah shows how producing your own food year round is not only possible, it’s deiicious. Inspired by the surprise success of Micah’s LED Grow Tubes from last year’s Subtle Technologies Conference, he served up an installation’s worth of greens with a couple home made vise-cakes.

SoYummy: real-time temporal semantic compression to further the Synopticon

Misha Rabinovich
MFA Candidate, Syracuse University’s Department of Transmedia

Yogesh Girdhar
phD Candidate, Center for Intelligent Machines at McGill University

SoYummy seeks to develop human mind augmentation through computer vision and artificial intelligence. North Americans spend half their day using some type of media, usually video. It would take 72 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross the Internet in 2014 alone. SoYummy responds to the explosion of digital video with radical temporal compression of meaning. Using the concept of visual surprise, their applications created visual summaries to epitomize everything from underwater survey video to popular movies. SoYummy is a group that includes United States artist Misha Rabinovich and Canadian scientists Yogesh Girdhar and Gregory Dudek.

Libre Graphics magazine: parenting a nascent user community

ginger coons
Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

Libre Graphics magazine services a community which barely recognizes its own existence: the Free/Libre Open Source graphic design and graphic art community. As a publication couched in a nascent community, it not only documents but also pushes the efforts of its readers. This poster explored the methods, trials and successes involved in such a form of activist publishing. It looked at the progression of Libre Graphics magazine from brochure to firm editorial voice, as well as its future as a catalyst for further development in the larger Libre Graphics community.

Geodesic Sound Helmets: a prototype 

Cara-Ann Simpson
Freelance artist

“Geodesic Sound Helmets” is a series of interactive personal sound environments that are controlled by changes in a person’s breathing pattern. The project investigates how an individual’s control over their biological impulse to breathe can be used creatively and in conjunction with the sense of hearing. The sound recordings used as a basis for the compositions were field recordings from various geographic locations. “Geodesic Sound Helmets” creates personalised sound worlds reflecting specific geographical locations where the individual has control over the composition by changing her/his breathing patterns.

The Harmonic Matrix: exploring the geometry of pitch 

Daryn Bond
Bond Institute

Harmonic matrix theory is an approach to the structure of musical pitch applicable to any relational measurement system (distance, mass, energy, temperature, color, time, etc.). This comprehensive synthesis of just intonation and Pythagorean tuning systems relates to and extends the classical lambdoma of the ancient Greeks, exposing the fractal nature of the integer set and the significance of the prime numbers to the human perception of harmony. n-dimensional harmonic structures rendered as 3-d models can be converted to traditional music notation. Video cameras, electronic sensors, accelerometers, multi-touch screens were adapted and mapped for real time input, control and expression.