the trials and tribulations of the Pixel Balloon

Here within lies the record of the life of the Pixel Balloon, it's progress, hopes, and desires. So far the pixel balloon has gone through at least 3 embodiments

stage 1: embryotic stage (or whence the idea was first conceived and has the added association with the metaphor of an egg)

stage 2: perambulator stage (or when baby acquires two parents and is given a proper name)

stage 3: primary stage (or when baby becomes nuisance but is pushed into beauty pagent dispite many shortcomings)

pictures to come.

chapter the first.
Encounter with Max/MSP.

I came to Ravensbourne with limited skills, or indeed even the names of many of the software programmes I would encounter. One of them being the pervious mentioned Max/MSP. I do not try to shield my ignorance in anyway by stating that only 1 other student was acquainted with this software.

"In use worldwide for over fifteen years by performers, composers, artists, teachers, and students, Max/MSP is the way to make your computer do things that reflect your individual ideas and dreams." This is taken verbatim from the company website. (http://www.cycling74.com)

So what exactly is Max/MSP? It is a graphical, object based, programing environment in which you can build interactive applications to control and manipulate events and data streams in real time. Originally developed for manipulation of MIDI signals, it can now process (in real time), video and audio streams, 3d graphics and a host of environmental sensor and computer peripherals infomation.

Many sessions were spent struggling to understand the programme with course disciplinarian Jim Wooden. Personally I was utterly lost and had made very little progress in mastering the software. It was not a few days I would stare at the cat in oversized horn rimmed glasses and mutter obscenities, trying to comprehend the connection between a myopic pussy, egg whisk, and a picture frame.
Months had passed under these conditions until we scholars were finally asked to consider a project using this marvelous software. At this point in my life, I was anxious to get away from screen based work, the only effort users make being that of moving a mouse. Antsy to involve my hands in creating a new object, and in a perverse way of making an object user-unfriendly, I hit upon the idea of a machine that makes communication slow and arduous. In short, break down speech to letters of the alphabet, and make the task of forming the alphabet a labored, backbreaking challenge.

The letters would be formed from an egg carton, which already has a systemic grid of it's own, while balloons or feathers attached to tubing would inflate the assigned dot. What could be easier? So heady was I of my idea, I invited friends and adversaries for omelets.

stage 2: coming soon

note : this is my first blog ever!

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