Goldsmiths Computing at Ars Electronica 2017

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Goldsmiths Computing staff, students and alumni showed up in force at this year’s Ars Electronica festival of art, technology and society.

The festival, which ran in Linz on 7-11 September 2017, is considered one of the most important international platforms for digital art and media culture.

Senior lecturer Rebecca Fiebrink gave a talk titled Machine Learning as Creative, Collaborative Design Tool in the AI and Creativity session. Her software the Wekinator was also used by Chicks on Speed member Alex Murray-Leslie in a performance titled The Liberation of the Feet.

Memo Akten, IGGI PhD student and 2013 winner of the top prize at Ars Alectronica, exhibited two pieces: FIGHT and Learning To See. He also gave a talk titled Intelligent Machines That Learn: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things?? Let’s Find Out! at the AI Other I symposium.

Creative Computing graduate Terence Broad received an honorary mention for the Prix Ars Electronica in the Computer Animation/Film/VFX category, for his work Autoencoding Blade Runner.

Goldsmiths researchers Prof William Latham and Lance Putnam showed Mutator VR in the festival’s gallery spaces, with continuous queues for 5 days.

Former PhD student Marco Donnarumma received an Award of Distinction in the Prix Forum II – Digital Musics and Sound Art category for his performance work Corpus Nil, which he co-produced during his PhD while working on our Meta Gesture Music project.


OVERLAP Computational Arts degree show 2017

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On Thursday 7 September 2017we launch OVERLAP, the 2017 final degree show for our MA/MFA in Computational Arts.

The weekend-long exhibition explores the exciting new waves originating from the intersection of art and technology. It features installations, interactive virtual and augmented realities, and conceptual works by mixed-disciplinary artists from fields as diverse as fine art, dance, photography, graphic design, puppetry, sound art, and architecture.

On Saturday 9 September, we are running a Computational Arts Family Day, where the artists will demonstrate their work to children, parents, teenagers and teachers.

WHERE
St James Hatcham Building (‘the church’)
Goldsmiths, University of London
New Cross
London SE14 6AD

Opening night
6pm-9pm Thursday 7 September 2017

Exhibition continues
10am–7pm Friday 8 September 2017
12noon–8pm Saturday 9 September 2017
12noon–6pm Sunday 10 September 2017

OVERLAP on Twitter  /  OVERLAP website


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Sat 9 Sept: Computational Art Family Day

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Parents, children, teenagers and teachers are invited to our special family day of Goldsmiths’ MA/MFA Computational Art degree show exhibition.

We all live in a time of incredible technological change. New technologies like 3D printing, dating apps, artificial intelligence, DNA sequencing, virtual reality and big data processing are the way we live and connect with others.

At Goldsmiths, MA/MFA Computational Art students have explored the technological and cultural impacts of computation, and have developed exciting artworks, designs and tools.

This year you’ll encounter interactive sound art, dancing robots, shamanic technology, electronic fabric, glowing crystals, tools for disabled artists & musicians, computer-generated books and jewellery, and a microbiological tour of your intestines.

People of all ages are welcome. Arrive any time between 12noon and 5pm. Please closely supervise children and younger teenagers, as even the most robust artworks are easily damaged.

Where: St James Hatcham Building (‘the church’), Goldsmiths, University of London
When: 12noon-5pm Saturday 9 September 2017
Tickets: Register on Eventbrite

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MA/MFA Computational Arts students exhibiting in 2017

About the exhibition
Overlap is the 2017 final degree show for the MA Computational Arts programme at Goldsmiths College, University of London. The weekend long exhibition explores the exciting new waves originating from the intersection of art and technology. It features ground-breaking installations, interactive virtual and augmented realities, and thought-provoking conceptual works by mixed disciplinary artists from fields as diverse as fine art, dance, photography, graphic design, puppetry, sound art, and architecture.

  • Opening night: Thursday 7 September 2017
  • Continues Friday 9 – Sunday 11 September 2017
  • Exhibition website: overlap.show

Goldsmiths hackathon looms large in BBC1 show on London’s tech pioneers

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A creative hackathon run by Goldsmiths Computing students forms the backbone of a new BBC1 documentary, which screened on Friday 23 June 2017.

The 30-minute programme ‘Invented in London’ uncovers London’s technology pioneers of the past, present and future – with a focus on Anvil Hack III, a Spotify-sponsored hackathon organised by student tech group Hacksmiths.

GoldsmithsThe 2-day Anvil Hack III took place on campus this April, focussing on the creative applications of technology. Supported by Goldsmiths Annual fund, it challenged participants to use their skills “to make something wonderful, arty, musical – anything you build will be awesome.”

Participants competed for a range of prizes including best audio hack (make something interesting using sound), best hardware hack, best visual hack (make a cool project showcasing awesome visuals), as well as best projects using Spotify, Twilio and Autodesk.

The rest of the BBC documentary featured profiles of Deliveroo, computing pioneer Ada Lovelace, an AI personal assistant and an artist who’d hacked a hearing aid to sonify wi-fi coverage.


Automating Soundcloud: distorted song gets clearer the more listens it gets

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A graduate from our Coursera Creative Computing MOOC recently wrote to us about his project to enable songs and playlists on Soundcloud to mutate and grow.

Attila Haraszti – who describes himself as “a self-made third culture kid based in Berlin” – is a producer and DJ with releases under the Rawfare moniker.

“I did the Coursera Creative Computing just for fun during the summer of 2014. It totally changed my perspective of what’s possible regarding creating interactive music applications. The main effect was that it encouraged me to create my own, updated context for music instead of relying on what’s provided by the outdated structure of record labels and typical music platforms. Artists can and should create their own “game”.

After completing the course, Haraszti wrote a rave-tinged track called Pipo, inspired by listening to his neighbour screaming at her pet parrot.

“In many ways, I found it to be a great fit for a fun experiment. I’ve increasingly felt that releasing tracks in a standard, ‘static’ way doesn’t make much sense anymore. It doesn’t ‘work’. The shelf life of a typical release is getting ridiculously short — you get a week, maybe two of peak attention at best. Great works get buried under the avalanche of new content, racking up only a few hundred listens.

“I wanted to reflect this relationship somehow – by connecting the markers everyone seems to care about (play counts etc.) to the content of the track itself. In short, the idea was to make Pipo ‘alive’. Just like the neighbor’s screaming, the track had to be as annoying as possible. I put the final master of the track through some of my favorite tools and ended up with a handful of trashed-up versions.”

Soundcloud Replacer

If you have Pro account on Soundcloud, you can replace the audio file uploaded for the track, without losing any of its statistics. This feature is a godsend in case you make a mistake that needs to be corrected, but, a more interesting use is to CHANGE the track entirely, depending on some feedback.

“With that, my idea was fully formed – upload a completely distorted track to Soundcloud, change it to progressively cleaner versions as more people listened to it, and gradually dial the distortion back if the weekly play counts are insufficient.”

In order to do this, the replacement process had to be fully automated. “My initial thought was to program it using the Soundcloud API, but while you can use it to make programs to upload and delete tracks from connected accounts, it doesn’t allow you to replace them. Luckily there’s a way to make almost anything on the Internet bend to your will — using browser automation. The details took me quite some time to figure out, but as you can see, the process works well. This is 100% automated, ghost-in-the-machine style stuff — I’m not touching anything.”

Songsling: online music as tamagotchi

Having built the Soundcloud Replacer, Haraszti has explored how online metrics – listens, play counts, follows, likes, sign-ups and so on – can be used to grow audience engagement.

“My own tracking engine Songsling.io turns online projects into tamagotchis – virtual pets – that need to be fed by the visible feedback of your audience. All the online metrics I can measure are patched back in to control the artworks themselves. I’ve used it for the first time to present The Bomb EP, which gradually unlocked its tracks as more people listened to them.”


This post is a mash-up edit of Attila’s emails and his detailed blogpost on automating Soundcloud. Thanks for writing to us, Attila.


Steam Greenlight for 2nd year Games Programmer

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A game by 2nd year BSc Games Programming Bashar Saade has won a greenlight on Steam Greenlight, one of the world’s largest digital distribution platforms for PC gaming.

Syrian-Ukranian student Bashar Saade recently developed Fluffy Horde, as part of the three person team Turtle Juice.

Fluffy Horde is a 2D side-scrolling hybrid between real-time strategy and tower defense. According to the blurb, “It revolves around a magical hyper-breeding bunny horde created by a misunderstood Shaman wanderer. After having a dwelling denied in all three kingdoms, the Shaman is willing to take over all of them by force. Can you stop the Fluffy Horde?”

Dr Jeremy Gow, programme leader of Goldsmiths’ BSc Games Programming says: “Steam is the X Factor of indie game development and it’s a big deal for any student to get their work onto it. If Fluffy Horde gets enough votes to be greenlit, it is likely to win considerable attention.”


Call for submission: Goldsmiths hosts International Congress on Love & Sex with Robots

For the second year in a row, we will insert clunky doubles entendres into reports on the upcoming International Congress on Love & Sex with Robots.

Co-organised by Dr Kate Devlin and hosted by Goldsmiths, the conference offers an opportunity for academics and industry professionals to come together and discuss their work and ideas.

When: 19-20 December 2017
Where: Goldsmiths, University of London

The conference is now open for submission of papers on teledildonics, robot emotions & personalities, humanoid robots, clone robots, intelligent electronic sex hardware and roboethics, as well as papers from psychological, sociological, philosophical, ethical, affective and gender standpoints.

On 16-17 December the conference will be preceded by Sex Tech Hack, a 24-hour hackathon organised by Hacksmiths. Last year’s hackers created sexy robot nipples, computer-generated erotica and a fisting machine powered by the stock market.