Browsing articles tagged with " David McCallum"
Jan 24, 2008
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Are you ready? (2008)

ARE YOU READY?

David McCallum  is a musician and a media artist from Toronto.  His day job is editor of Musicworks Magazine, his passion is to discover new terrains.  With a background in physics, music composition and new media, he is one of the new breed of explorers that bring science and art together.  McCallum has a diverse body of work that encompasses music, performance, locative media, video, net art and installation.  The motivation behind all of these works is an insatiable curiosity, a desire to experiment and to share his discoveries with diverse audiences.

LOCATIVE ARTS
In the last few years, we have seen numerous projects rooted in geometry, location and psychogeography.  Projects with names like Geograffiti, Sound Mapping, Urban Tapestries, and GPS Drawings.  All of these are locative art, meaning that they use location-based media such GPS or Wi-Fi as the medium.  WARBIKE, one of McCallum’s most important works to date, is such a project.  It is a bicycle with a clear plastic container attached at the front, loaded with electronics that sonify computer wireless networks.   As the bicycle rider cycles around town, the electronics pick up nearby Wi-Fi signals and turn them into squeaking sounds based on the strength of the signals and the encryption status of the network.  There are two types of wireless networks, those that are encrypted and those that are not.  If the initial motivation of McCallum was to draw attention to the level of safety of any network, the most important effect of his project is to make the participants aware of this invisible layer of communications that is floating in our public spaces.  Those invisible networks of information are now ubiquitous in our urbanscapes.  McCallum points out:

“Did you know that almost anywhere that you go in a city you’ll be sharing space with someone’s private wireless computer network?  All of their personal communication—e-mail, love messages, bank passwords, credit card numbers, and bizarre surfing habits—will be passing through your body without your awareness. Who are they, and how do you feel about sharing space with their personal life?”

The image of emails and love messages and even passwords and bank accounts passing through bodies has an undeniable poetic weight but it also raises important questions about privacy and free access to information.  One of the big questions is how can an Open Society be built around private networks?  This concern is also McCallum’s, as a volunteer for wireless Toronto, a not-for-profit group promoting no-fee wireless Internet access.

Popular geotagging software like Google Earth has help fuelled a passion for anything location. Locative arts projects are sprouting everywhere and McCallum continues to question and to negotiate their relevance and problematic.   Can we compare the WARBIKE rider, seeing and feeling what is around, to the fox in the Little Prince?  Is the rider seeing the invisible?  Is the essential located only in the hip downtown core, in the Hotspots of our cities?  Can this abundance of information that is surrounding and enveloping us all the time keep us warm at night?   In a recent email exchange McCallum stated:

“I’m no longer explicitly interested in pursuing purely psychogeographic things. I’d like to focus more on the experience of people within spaces, be they urban or not… There’s also been a bit of a fall out, at least in Toronto, with the psychogeographic community. Those who were only casually interested, like me, are starting to realize that to truly understand the workings of the city, one must look beyond the hip downtown core and into the rather unhip and desolate suburbs. I’m not sure that this is anything that any of the core psychogeographic boosters are terribly interested in, or are even equipped to handle. This isn’t even taking into account the drudgery of city planning where the reality involves budgets and garbage pail infrastructure and other incredibly tedious but necessary components to a city. And then there’s also the slightly cultish nature of public space boosterism, or the class division between those who have the luxury to spend time worrying about public space and those who do not.”

When in 1897, Guglielmo Marconi sent the first wireless communication message over water, he could never have imagined the complexities of our encrypted digital age.  The message, sent from Lavernock Point, South Wales to Flat Holm Island, a distance of 14 kilometres, was simply “Are you ready”.  110 years later, it looks like this message is still resonating through space.  Are we ready?

PD & Do-it-Yourself attitude
David McCallum is coming to Calgary to give a workshop on PD , which he uses for music. PD, aka Pure Data, is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing.  Miller Puckette developed the program in the 1990s for the creation of interactive computer music and multimedia works.  One of the great advantages of Pd over Max Msp, a similar program, which also originated from Puckette, is that Pd is a freeware.

McCallum is an advocate of the open source movement and of the do-it-yourself attitude.  He does have strong convictions about the craft of new media art and the importance of doing the work by himself or with his collaborators.  David sometimes works with the i/o media group, a collective of media artists exploring real-time improvisation performance .  He also is capable of looking at technological apparatus and using it in novel ways.  His performance i swallow  is a good example. The MacBook’s design has the mic and webcam directly beside each other.  McCallum can play the feedback through the microphone while the webcam captures his actions.  This dual process allows the audience to see a connection between the sound and his actions—something, McCallum says is lacking in most electronic music performance.

David will be at EMMEDIA Friday, January 11, 2008 – 7:00 PM to present his project WARBIKE.  He will also be giving a Pure Data Introductory Workshop January 12-13, 2007, Noon – 5:00PM.
For more information call 263.2833

1. David McCallum websites includes:

http://www.mentalfloss.ca/sintheta/projects/?

http://sintheta.blogware.com/

2. On a technical level, the ‘sniffing’ is done by Kismet, a wireless network detector, the audio by Pure Data, and Python is acting as an interpreter between two.
3. David was the editor of the Locative Technologies issue (March 2007), digital arts quarterly magazine, vague terrain.  For more info:http://www.vagueterrain.net/content/archives/journal06/journal06.html
4. Pure Data: http://puredata.info/
5. http://www.mantissa.ca/iomedia/
6. i swallow was presented earlier this year at the Pleasure Dome’s New Toronto Works Show and at Interaccess both in Toronto.
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOknyZ7QHM0

Text published at EMMEDIA Gallery & Production Cociety

This fall Daniel Dugas has been touring his real time network performance Free Market Karaoke in Mexico City and on the East coast.  He was also invited to the Trois-Rivieres Poetry Festival where he read from his latest book ‘Même un detour serait correct’.  Daniel works and lives in Calgary.

 

Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Son neuvième recueil de poésie L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time vient de paraître aux Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas is a poet, musician and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico and Australia. His ninth book of poetry: L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time has just been published by Les Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel Dugas es poeta, músico y videocreador. Ha participado en exposiciones individuales y colectivas, festivals y eventos literarios en Norteamérica, Europa, México y Australia. Acaba de publicar su noveno poemario, L’esprit du temps / The spirit of time (Les Editions Prise de parole).

L’esprit du temps / The Spirit of the Time est un projet de transmutation du paysage publicitaire en paysage poétique. Ce livre est à la fois un livre de photographie, un recueil de poésie et un essai lucide mais ludique sur notre société matérialiste. Il a été produit en numérique et imprimé en quantité limitée.

Date : Décembre 2015
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782894239629

Éditions Prise de parole

http://www.prisedeparole.ca/auteurs/?id=148

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