My pals at MAKE are doing one of their new Maker Sessions (think: Maker Camp for grown-ups) on robots. The session is called Robot Hacks and it runs from Nov 3- 20. One of the cool things about this program is that they’re providing parts kits to teams/groups that sign up so that they can work along with the sessions. Things kick off on Sunday, Nov 3, with a Google+ HOA. Looks like fun!
People can watch the HOA beginning at 1pm ET on Sunday: http://bit.ly/19THpub
Folks in the Boston area are welcome to join the MAKE team at Olin by RSVPing here.
My friend, Detroit’s ridiculously talented Bethany Shorb, has a new show opening at New York’s Devotion Gallery on Sept. 13 (and running until Oct. 25). I’ve always been fascinated by “Chladni plates,” usually steel plates covered in sand or salt to which soundwaves are applied. The resulting vibrations create cool mandala-like patterns in the material on the plate. Bethany’s work, derived from this method, kicks things up a few zillion decibels. From the show’s press release:
With an adoring nod toward science-fair kitsch, Shorb re-creates classic sonic experiments with a modified sub-woofer, tone generation software, and industrial pigments typically used in the automotive industry. As the input amplitude is increased and a harmonic frequency found, the powdered pigment bounces about on the aluminum plates until settling at nodal points (areas of no movement) and moving away from antinodal points (areas of intense vibration) thereby producing intricate patterns of linear motion and cyclonic rotation which are then immobilized into a single, sonorous visualization. When more plates from the same frequency are tiled together, more of the waveform comes into view, reminiscent of Tibetan Buddhist mandalas; a cenophobic adornment seen through a hyper-colored prismatic, low-rider metallic-flaked lens.
I’m hoping to see this show while I’m in NY for World Maker Faire (Sept 21-22). The show is at another friend, Phoenix Perry’s Devotion Gallery:
Devotion is a Williamsburg gallery focused on the intersection of art, science, new media, and design. We present cross-disciplinary work that draws from architecture, computation, gaming, biology, fabrication, interface design, open-source communities, cloud computing, sound, and complexity. We are always seeking out artists who use new technologies or introduce new paradigms.
Go check it out and support this amazing artist and innovative space.
Bethany Shorb: Painting Machines: Klangfiguren (Sound Figures) OPENING: Opens at Devotion Gallery, Friday September 13, 2013 LOCATION: 54 Majuer St at Lorimer. L to Lorimer, G to Metropolitian WEBSITE:http://www.areyoudevoted.com/exhibitions CONTACT: Phoenix at Press@AreYouDevoted.com or email@example.com
In going through my 1997 book, Jamming the Media, looking for content to pull for Borg Like Me, I came across this little anecdote in the introduction. Blake was FOUR! #borglikeme
My four-year-old son, Blake, and I had just finished a father and son project. He’d created a picture on our Macintosh, using a paint program that he already knows better than I do. We printed the art out on our laser printer and he decided that he wanted to make some additions to it. He didn’t want to make the changes in the paint program, he announced, he wanted to make multiple copies of the art at various sizes and then collage them together. With my permission, he fired up our desktop copier and waited patiently for the green ready light. After reducing and enlarging the image several times and cutting and pasting, he presented the finished art to me. After my obligatory parental praises and head pats, he announced, “I want to fax it to someone!” I racked my brain trying to think of a suitable recipient who knew Blake and had a fax machine. I scribbled down a number on a piece of paper and handed it to him as he confidently padded over to the fax machine. He fed the paper in properly, dialed the number, and sent the fax as he obnoxiously mimicked the high-pitched fax tones. Later, when I was tucking him into bed and telling him how much fun I’d had, I casually added: “By the way, did you know that all of that stuff we used tonight—the computer, the laser printer, the copier, the fax machine—basically didn’t exist just a few years before you were born? It’s all new technology.” He looked genuinely stunned, his eyes darting back and forth, trying to grasp the thought. He managed a simple, distant “Really?” as he rolled over, his eyes still wide and blinking with confusion.
“My God, I think I just blew the kid’s mind,” I thought, as I turned off the light and left the room.
This impressive short film, done in a classic c-punk style, was created by Stephan Zlotescu, who does music video F/X, and a few other industry friends, apparently for little money. It was quickly snatched up by Warner Bros to be turned into a feature. The short, I dig. A feature? Maybe not so much. I guess we’ll find out. [Via John Shirley]
Vice Magazine’s Motherboard did an interview with me last week. You can read it in fill here.
Motherboard: You’ve described yourself as “Cyborg-in-Chief” in the past, and your new book is called Borg Like Me. Why the cyborg label?
Branwyn: I am literally a cyborg. I have a cobalt-chrome and titanium hip, a rebuilt heart, and every six weeks, I go to a Rheumatologist’s office and I sit there for three hours while they slowly drip tweaked mice proteins into me—a biological that’s used to treat a severe form of spinal arthritis.
But I think we’re all actually cyborgs at this point. We wear glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, take all sorts of sophisticated drugs (and in my case, bioengineered proteins) to adjust our biochemistry, we carry a brain annex around, forgotten in our pockets, and we spend many hours of every day soft-wired into the global brain and media spew of the internet.
What a TRIP! Thanks to all my Borgie pals for making this happen. Final total $20, 776. DECENT! I can work with that.
Really touched by all of your generous pledges, your help in getting the word out, and all of the general good vibes I’ve enjoyed over the past 30 days. It means a lot.
I’ll be continuing to update you all from time to time here and will also have my Sparks of Fire Press site up soon. In the meantime, I’ll be here on my blog, and on twitter @garethb2. And hopefully next week, I’ll send out the survey where we’ll be settling up on the extra pledge rewards you may have kicked in for.
Credit Card Processing
The credit card message you’ll get from Amazon has “Kevin Maloof” as the recipient. That’s ME! That’s my *real* name. Shhhh… Only my mother, the IRS, and now YOU know my secret identity. Please don’t let Lex Luthor know.
Several people have asked me exactly what’s going to be in Borg Like Me’s “The Eros Part,” the additional bundle of previously published and new pieces that I’m offering as a PDF (for an $85 Kickstarter pledge). I haven’t finalized the exact table of contents yet, but here’s what I’ve been thinking:
* Confessions of an Amiable Sex Fiend – An experiment in radical honesty that I did for the sex issue of bOING bOING in which I openly wrote about my sexuality. My late wife was thrilled.
* My Date with a Porn Star – OK, it wasn’t really a “date” — I interviewed a well-known porn star for the bOING bOING sex issue and we went out to lunch in LA. We drove in her sports car. She was sweet and funny. She held my hand on Rodeo Drive. I liked her.
* The Red Goddess – A companion piece to “The White Goddess” which will appear in Borg Like Me. The White Goddess is about female beauty, the inspired light and stillness of the moon, and moments of beauty that take your breath away. The Red Goddess will be my attempt at expressing what “sacred sexuality” means to me. Another experiment in radical honesty. I’m scared.
* Lisa Oceanic – An erotic piece I wrote for a girlfriend who was traveling in Europe while I was vacationing on Nantucket. I sat on the beach all day and vividly imagined her there with me. She showed up, in my mind and my words, anyway. It was hot.
* The Psychedelic Book of the Dead – Not sexy, but a love story. My soon-to-be wife and I toke LSD. She went over the edge. Because I was holding her hand, I went over, too. We entered the hellish world of the scary bad trip. It was not fun. Eventually, we made it back to the land of the living and the sane. The experience brought us much closer together. And we never touched hallucinogens again.
That’s what I have so far. I may not publish some of these and may add others. I did a piece for The Industry Standard on the porn industry’s use of technology, the internet, which might still be interesting and relevant, and I wrote a column about keeping married sex fresh for a short-lived NY “literate smut” magazine called CORE (sort of a precursor to Nerve). I might dig those out and slap a new coat of paint on them.
If you want to get The Eros Part, the pledge is $85. It includes everything in the $40 bundle, plus the Eros Part PDF. Or, you can simply add $35 to any pledge $50 or over and you’ll get this bundle.
I’ve decided to do a discounted holiday bundle of books. Here’s the deal:
Buy a Borg Like Me Holiday Bundle! I plan to have my book out for Christmas. Think about giving it as a gift. To make this more enticing, I’m offering a 10% discount on bundles of three books. And you can up your existing pledge (any $15+ pledge level) to add two books to your pledge (of either the ebook or print versions). So…:
If you haven’t pledged already and want to order three books outright, select the pledge pre-order reward you want (ebook, print, or print w/art bookplate) and add:
Ebook: Add $25.50 to your total pledge amount to receive two additional Borg Like Me ebooks. So your total pledge amount would $40.50 with the $15 eBook reward selected.
Print: Add $51 to your pledge amount to receive two additional print versions. So your total pledge amount is $81.
Print w/ autographed art book plate: Add $68to your pledge amount to receive two additional print versions with custom book plates. So your total pledge amount is $108.
If you’ve already pledged to the campaign, just add $25.50 (ebook), $51 (print), $68 (print w/book plate) to any pledge level above $15 and leave the reward selection where it is. At the end of the campaign, you’ll get a survey from me where you can specify what rewards you want for the amount pledged and you can order the two additional books for the extra amount you added. If you have any question, please message me.