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30 Seconds of Obstructions50:56 with Joshua Davis
In this talk Joshua will follow the process from watching a film by Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth would turn into a process of inspiration creation. This process would lead me to a muse, to the creation of http://praystation.tumblr.com, to Franz Ferdinand, to NIN, to Phantogram.
I usually come up with a theme for each year. 0:03 I give a lot of talks. 0:06 I do one to two talks a month and and I usually try 0:07 to come up with an, a concept and then talk within that concept. 0:11 These are some of the past presentations that I've done. 0:14 This year I'm doing obstructions and obstructions, for me. 0:18 is, is, is basically how I create my work and it 0:23 was kind of an interesting story to hear this morning about 0:26 >> [COUGH] 0:31 >> [UNKNOWN] thing because I feel like that little project that he did. 0:32 Is, is very much in tune with this idea of obstructions, which is, 0:39 you know, I've got a bunch of things that, that don't necessarily work together. 0:44 And I use those obstructions to actually create create content. 0:47 So the theme this this presentation is actually based 0:51 on a movie that you should probably go see. 0:55 It's called, has anyone seen it? 0:57 It's called The Five Obstructions. 0:59 Has anyone seen this film? 1:00 No one raises their hand. 1:02 It's [LAUGH] actually a really, really awesome film. 1:04 It's by Lars Von Trier and Jorgen Leth. 1:08 And the premise of the story is, is that Lars VonTrier loves Jorgen Leth. 1:12 And Jorgen Leth made this movie back in 1967, called the Perfect Human. 1:16 And it's about a 12 minute long film, and Lars Mun sure loves this film. 1:21 He idolizes this guy. 1:26 And he idolizes him so much that he feels that he's somehow has to 1:28 break this man because he can't love this man as much as he does. 1:34 And so he call's up. 1:38 [UNKNOWN] laughed, and says, I've got this idea. 1:40 I think you're amazing and that bothers me. 1:44 Because I have you up here on this pedestal. 1:47 And I, I basically wanna make you fail. 1:49 So that way I can, you know? 1:52 You're now on my level, and you're human. 1:54 And I don't think you're this, this demigod. 1:56 So, he says, I want you to remake this film. 1:59 The Perfect Human. 2:02 but, I want you to remake it five times, and each time 2:04 I'm gonna give you an obstruction that you have to adhere to. 2:07 So Jorgen Leth agrees to this project. 2:13 And, it's a documentary film and, and you watch these, 2:16 these, five different remakes of this film called The Perfect Human. 2:20 And so they sit down, they meat and he says okay, well obstruction one. 2:23 No edit and film can be longer than 12 2:29 frames, which if you know anything about film that's insane. 2:31 It's like 1 and a half seconds. 2:36 Okay, and he says no, no, no edit can be longer than 12 frames 2:38 and so Uregenlef starts to get up and he says homie, I'm not done. 2:43 And he says you have to answer all of the questions that 2:47 you propose in your film and Uregenlef is writing this stuff down and. 2:50 And Lars Vanteur says oh. 2:55 You're cigar smoker? 2:57 And he says, yes, yes. 2:58 I'm cigar smoker. 2:59 And he says, oh. 2:59 What, what do you, what do you smoke? 3:00 And he says, I love these, these Cuban cigars. 3:01 And he says, oh. 3:04 That's great. 3:05 Have you ever, have you ever been to Cuba? 3:06 He says, no, no. 3:08 I've never been to Cuba. 3:09 And he's like, great. 3:09 You have to film the movie in Cuba. 3:10 And for the final obstruction he said, you know, there 3:14 can be no set [UNKNOWN] are part of this dogma 3:17 style film making, this idea of not using constructive sets, 3:21 just filming in natural light out in, in the world. 3:24 And so, this is obstruction one, and the guy has 3:28 to go and remake it's film hearing to these rules. 3:31 And so they shake hands. 3:35 And off he goes. 3:37 Now I'm not gonna show the video because 3:39 you really should rent this movie but it's amazing. 3:43 Because what happens is, is Yurgen Leth goes to Cuba you watch him, you know, set 3:45 up the filming and then he goes back and plays the movie for Lars Von Trier. 3:50 And it's incredible because the first obstruction was, 3:55 no edit could be longer than 12 frames. 3:58 So the then, [SOUND] like the whole film was like that. 4:01 You're like, holy fuck, I'm on acid. 4:07 It's insane. 4:09 And so, you watch this remake of this film, and 4:11 it's amazing, it's beautiful, it's very creative, it's an, it's insane. 4:15 And, large [UNKNOWN] starts to get really pissed off 4:18 because, again, he's trying to make this guy fail. 4:24 So, he progressively gets more and more 4:27 mean through the film, so, for example, like 4:30 obstruction two, he says, you know, what's the worst place you've been to on Earth? 4:33 And he says, oh, you know, the, the worst place I've been is, is Bombay, India. 4:38 The slums of Bombay. 4:42 He says, great. 4:43 You have to film it there. 4:44 But you can't show it. 4:45 Like you have to film it in the most miserable 4:47 place, but you can't show that it's the most miserable place. 4:48 You have to play the man in the film, 4:53 and you have to shoot this like, five-course meal. 4:55 And, of course. 4:58 Lars Von Trier, Jorgen Leth is, is quite sad so he goes 4:59 to Bombay and it's really hard to watch like you see tremendous poverty. 5:04 And people begging for food but what's interesting 5:09 is that how does he design within these obstructions? 5:12 How does he take the limitations. 5:16 Of these obstructions and actually make something interesting. 5:18 So, he decides that he's actually gonna use mylar plastic 5:20 so he gets this thick mylar and builds this frame. 5:24 So that he can film it in a miserable 5:29 place but seeing that it's miserable is not quite viewable. 5:31 So you, you're sort of slightly obstructing. 5:36 This miserable place. 5:40 And so you watch him make this film, you know, and does all sorts 5:42 of things and what's worse is, is that he has to film the meal. 5:46 So here he is in the slums of Bombay, tremendous 5:50 poverty, people are hungry and homie eats a five course meal. 5:53 [LAUGH] it's just really hard to watch. 5:58 Cuz you see these kids like, holy shit 6:01 dude, like throw me a biscuit or something. 6:03 it's, it's really difficult to watch. 6:06 So it's amazing to watch how he solves these problems 6:10 and Lars Venture is pissed off. 6:18 He's not happy. 6:19 But you can see he's got like a smug little look on his 6:21 face because he's determined that he's, he really wants to screw you're gonna laugh. 6:23 And so he says you failed. 6:30 That last thing that you did you failed because I could see those people. 6:33 And I told you that I couldn't see that it was a miserable 6:37 place and I could clearly see that there was miserable people behind that mylar. 6:40 So, in my opinion, the third obstruction is the most cruel. 6:44 And, and here's what he does. 6:50 He says, you either have to go back to Bombay and 6:52 film the entire thing over again, or you have complete freedom. 6:55 And so I'm gonna leave it on this because for me, that's like the worst thing. 7:01 Is complete freedom and what I found is is 7:06 that I think, you know as, as an artist, as 7:09 a digital image maker, the white sheet of paper, 7:11 for me, is the most petrifying thing in the world. 7:14 Because that means that anything is possible and if anything 7:16 is possible then I have no idea where to start. 7:20 So this idea of complete freedom that you can do anything. 7:24 Is a major detriment to the creative process. 7:28 And so, I found that a, a lot of the 7:32 work that I make is built on this idea of obstruction. 7:34 And I won't talk about obstructions four and five, but 7:38 you should really watch this documentary film, it's really amazing. 7:41 So, in my, in my work. 7:45 I'm very interested in this idea of 7:48 setting up things that cause things to happen. 7:53 So create this obstructions and watch what happens within these instructions. 7:58 So, and I did this early on before I 8:02 ever learned how to use computers or work with computers. 8:04 The images on the, the left here. 8:07 I, I'm painting an oil paint, so I'd paint an oil paint 8:11 and then I would varnish these things, and then I would try things. 8:14 Like I would roll them up and I would put them in 8:18 my freezer and I would leave them in there for a month. 8:19 Let me just tell you they, they just get cold. 8:21 Nothing happens. 8:25 But what I found was is that I could bake these in my oven. 8:27 So, I would actually bake these in my oven at 350 degrees seven minutes each side. 8:30 And what would happen is that the varnish would dry faster than the oil 8:35 paint underneath which would cause the varnish on top to shatter, and so for me. 8:38 That randomness that idea of creating a process based 8:44 on rules and boundaries would produce things that were unexpected. 8:49 So, I would get big cracks in the middle, I would get no cracks in the 8:52 middle, I would get a bunch of small cracks, or I'd get cracks on the outside. 8:55 So, I very much liked this idea of not knowing the end result. 8:59 I would just sort of have these obstructions that I would put into place. 9:03 And then whatever hap, would happen would happen. 9:07 Now later I get into computers 9:10 and eventually I self-teach myself programming. 9:12 And now I predominantly use use Java. 9:15 And I still use these obstruction-based exercises. 9:19 To try to come up with things. 9:25 So, this is an exercise that I try to give my self which is and I found like if I 9:27 can be my own Lars Von Trier like, the more 9:31 mean I am to myself, usually the better the outcome. 9:34 So, like here I would say like, okay Josh, you've got this like, small square 9:38 that's only 100 by 100 and, and it's 9:42 divided into you know, subdivision of ten and. 9:44 And how many different patterns can you design within that space, 9:47 you know, and this is, this is where I am at. 9:52 So, this is kind of these ongoing exercises when 9:54 I am constantly trying to make shapes within obstructions. 9:57 And then what I'll do is, is I'll take these ideas 10:01 and I very much like this idea of creating complexity from simplicity. 10:04 So, I'll do these like very simple systems so for example here, I'll it, 10:08 it, it, since you guys are most technical I usually glaze over this stuff. 10:13 Mo, most of this stuff I output to SVG, and, and then and Java can 10:18 load in the SVG and then do all sorts of little, programming things with the SVG. 10:21 So here I'll take SVG assets and I'll 10:26 generate this canvas and say, okay this is min 10:28 scale, this is a max scale, this a random 10:31 rotation and then I'll do something like a kaleidoscope. 10:33 And try to find new patterns made up of these si, simpler patterns. 10:37 And so let's say I like that system in the middle. 10:41 So I can capture this back out to vector. 10:45 And now I have an entirely new shape. 10:49 And, with this entirely new shape made from simpler shapes from before, I can do 10:51 feedback loops where I take the shape and put it right back into the same system. 10:56 And I start to get more and more complex forms. 11:00 So, I'll do this kind of recursion and feedback loop stuff from very 11:04 simple very simple forms just as design 11:10 exercises right, so making things within obstructions. 11:14 Now if I make this way more complex, it means that I can sit down 11:18 and take some time, you know over the course of like three or four days. 11:22 And work on illustration. 11:26 This was an illustration based on some Thai carvings. 11:28 And what I'm doing is, is a couple of different things. 11:33 One is I'm writing the little pattern maker things on the far right hand side. 11:37 And then using those to actually make the patterns in the clothing. 11:42 So, this initial illustration didn't have any patterns in the clothing and 11:46 so I would write these kind of like, mini programs to make patterns. 11:49 And then use those patterns as masks for this other illustration. 11:53 So now you're taking something that's like really 12:00 simple and now I've got like, really complex art. 12:01 And, I'll take this complex vector and start to do things like, 12:04 okay let's scrub through al the fills that exist in this art work. 12:10 And randomly color those fills, so it will take a 12:14 piece of artwork and I can, again an obstruction of specifying. 12:17 The crayons that this artwork can get colored by, right? 12:22 And then I can take those things and I can put 12:28 them into this code and I start to get things like this. 12:30 So, again this is how I started initially which was, 12:35 you know using programming to sort of generate these random ascetics. 12:39 And these random aesthetics are infinite. 12:44 So, if I don't like this composition, I can say, hey, you know, do this again. 12:46 And I would get something different. 12:50 And if I didn't like that I could run it again and I would get something different. 12:52 If I didn't like that, I could run it again and get something different. 12:56 So you sort of create this 12:58 tool to create an infinite number of compositions. 13:02 Where as when I was in art school, if I didn't like what I saw on screen. 13:05 I would have to start with a new page and start the process all over again. 13:08 So this idea of using programming to create and art aesthetic I was hooked. 13:12 And later we're gonna get into using hardware 13:20 to help assist making some of these compositions. 13:23 So in the case of this illustration, each one 13:26 of these slivers is the same program randomly generated, right? 13:28 So this idea of using programming 13:35 to make something that would take me a lifetime. 13:41 To do manually. 13:46 I like this idea that, that, programming with, with art 13:46 making, is helped me surpass the human hand, you know? 13:53 I can generate these in seconds. 13:57 Now remember, I have to be I have to be difficult. 13:59 I have to be my larger [UNKNOWN]. 14:03 So I'm cal, like when I make these things I'll say like, okay 14:05 well you know, what are you, what are you gonna do with this? 14:09 You know, how do you, how do you bridge that, and it was nice. 14:12 Josh talked about this idea of bri, bridging, you know, digital to physical. 14:14 And so this, this print was kind of the turning point of 14:19 trying to figure out how to bridge that gap between digital and physical. 14:21 So I started trying a, a couple of different things. 14:25 I thought well, you know, what would happen if I taught 14:27 this workshop where I do it every year up in Aspen, Colorado. 14:30 I take on artists and we program and then 14:34 we output to something that's not on the screen. 14:38 So in the case of this project we actually wrote Java files outputted the 14:40 compositions and then pulled these as silk 14:48 screens so we actually burned silk screens. 14:50 And and everyone, you know would program for four days and the final day we would 14:52 actually burn and pull silk screens and you 14:58 know, what happens when you start taking a digital. 15:01 Composition and then, you know, pulling it through 15:04 something as analogue as a, as a silk 15:06 screen and using ink and there's all sorts 15:09 of accidents that happen when you leave the screen. 15:11 So I'm looking at these things and I'm like oh my 15:16 God, you know either that's he coolest Black Flag logo ever. 15:19 Or those are skate boards and so I'm like yeah, those are definitely skate boards. 15:23 So I wrapped them, this, you know now you can't just say 15:30 they're skateboards and then be like okay, like, you know, I'm done. 15:35 You can't just, just do that so I thought no, 15:38 you know, you have to be your Lars Von Trier, like. 15:41 You have to make skateboards. 15:44 So, I ended up making a bunch of phone calls, 15:46 finding a place out in California that actually makes skateboards. 15:48 And, they sent me I bought like s, seventy blank decks. 15:51 And, I just thought, well, I've gotta make skateboards. 15:56 But, I don't know how to silkscreen like, you know I took that 15:58 class, but in my home studio I don't have the means to do silkscreen. 16:01 So, I thought,. 16:05 Well, I should draw these. 16:05 [LAUGH] Yeah. 16:07 You know, you can hear what I do but don't do what I do. 16:12 I got two of these done and I've got you know, 68 blanks left. 16:18 So I've been coming up with this like. 16:24 You know, these exercises where it's like what 16:26 would happen if I randomly generate something on 16:28 the computer, using programming, and then try to, 16:31 like, get my hand to redraw this stuff? 16:34 So, I've been making a few of these skateboards. 16:36 I have two done. 16:38 The first one that I finished I actually donated to 16:40 the Tony Hawk foundation, and somebody bought it for, like, $450. 16:43 Which is super cool. 16:48 So this branch kind of, left me down this 16:50 kind of, new road of work that I've been making. 16:55 Which is, you know? 16:57 How do I do these workshops or do these 16:59 exhibitions where I'm using technology, but I'm leaving the screen? 17:01 So I've done this a few times where 17:05 I'll do exhibitions and galleries and museums where. 17:08 Again, I'll write this software that generates this 17:11 program, and then I start doing these huge murals. 17:15 But I mostly do these murals in black and white. 17:19 And, the series is called Random Assistant 17:22 because over the course of the exhibition, I'll 17:25 bring in markers and actually let people color in, help me color in the work. 17:28 So it's this nice interesting shift where you know, art's always been don't touch. 17:33 Like you can go in and you can see the art but don't participate in it. 17:39 And so I like this idea of being able to do these exhibitions where 17:43 you actually have to go in and are, you become part of the art. 17:46 So this was the opening night and I would 17:50 usually get started with some color blocking and then. 17:53 People would come in and they would actually help me color the work. 17:56 This, this was up for six months, at the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Museum. 18:03 And at the end of six months, this piece looked like shit. 18:08 It was just a big muddy like, I love Tina. 18:11 It was pretty bad. 18:15 [LAUGH]. 18:15 But it made a lot of people happy. 18:18 This is the first one that I did, was actually in Barcelona. 18:20 And, again this is about 9 feet by 30 feet. 18:23 And, again this took me about three months to draw. 18:28 This is actually all hand drawn on, on paper, an adhesive paper. 18:31 And I would randomly put people to work like I would just grab somebody 18:35 and be like, dude you are orange and you must color all the orange circles. 18:38 You know, I'd give them the instruction and they 18:42 would go in and help me color the work. 18:45 So, the idea of, of using technology to then bring it 18:47 back into the physical world and actually put people to work. 18:52 Letting them be part of the creative process has been something that I've 18:55 really enjoyed making this kind of, work for myself and, and for others. 18:59 So we did it down in Mexico City, this was probably one of the most successful 19:05 ones this was using some Mayan forms that I drew in illustrator. 19:10 And then randomly generated in Java. 19:16 And, this was over the course of one day. 19:18 And, about 1000 people helped me color this. 19:22 And, again, they can do whatever they want. 19:26 That's part of the rule, is that I can't control what people do. 19:28 And Mexico, they were really organized. 19:33 And really colored it quite fantastically. 19:36 Then after a bit of the day is over I'll block it off and 19:40 then just do the black outlining and so this is what the piece looked like. 19:43 So this is literally created in about ten hours or twelve hours. 19:47 So again this is this kind of nice side branch of 19:51 my work and I've been doing these kinda exhibitions with it. 19:55 Where I did this exhibition called the Forty 20:00 Thieves up in Toronto and these are two 20:03 feet by five feet and I thought it was a good idea to make 40 of these. 20:05 About the third one in, I was like this is a terrible idea. 20:10 But I did do have, had this exhibition 40 20:14 of these guys and they came out really well. 20:17 And this is this hybrid of, of using programming to inform analog drawing, 20:19 and this is just, you know, ink marker, and and, and, and brush and washes. 20:25 With a brush. 20:30 And so it's, it's nice to try to take something that typically only exists, 20:32 you know, within code or onscreen and bring it out into the physical world. 20:37 And so, as I'm making more for the screen, I'm constantly trying 20:41 to think of, of new ways to bring it off of the screen. 20:44 And, you know, a lot of times it's just doing collaborations. 20:47 So, like, this is a collaboration with a guy in Florida names Hydro74. 20:52 So I flew him up for a weekend and we ended up he's Illustrator. 20:56 Just does crazy vectors in Illustrator. 21:01 And this is writing some software around using his vectors. 21:04 And then doing things like taking these and just putting them on social media. 21:07 And some guy saying like hey, give me that file and I'll, I'm gonna burn skateboards. 21:11 So this is a guy in Utah on the right who took a 21:15 bunch of the pieces that we did and laser etched them into into skateboards. 21:17 So. 21:22 This kind of research. 21:24 This kind of 21:26 play in obstruction making that I'm engaged in forced 21:29 me to do really crazy client projects like in I 21:34 always have to throw this in there cuz people are 21:38 like, how the fuck is this guy pay his mortgage? 21:39 So I did do IBM's Watson. 21:42 And again, it's, it's taking this kind of creative play but play within obstructions 21:46 and you know, again I'm what people saw on television. 21:52 I designed the, the avatar that played that played Jeopardy. 21:58 And so these are some of the outputs and I love 22:02 showing this because these are some of the, the early steps. 22:05 But the top left one, definitely David Bowie Labyrinth. 22:09 I was on it. 22:12 The top middle one is the lucky charms version, they're magically delicious. 22:14 That one didn't quite make it. 22:20 The other thing that you should note that's kinda, 22:22 and I can totally do this here when I speak 22:24 at design conferences no one laughs, but there are 22:26 42 threads that run across the surface of this sphere. 22:30 >> [NOISE]. 22:35 >> 42 is obviously a reference to Hitchhiker's 22:37 Guide to the Galaxy where they build the computer. 22:39 And the, anyway, it's conceptually hilarious. 22:42 [LAUGH] So these are some of the again 22:46 making design within obstruction putting confines 22:52 on, on how the animation runs and, and again without obstruction I, I find it 22:57 very hard to get to dig deep into the creative creative process. 23:03 And so I'm constantly trying to figure out ways how to 23:09 use technology and programming to surpass the human hand, you know. 23:12 How can I write software that can make that 23:17 concert poster that, you know, no one's ever seen before? 23:21 And so for a long time I was doing 23:25 this kind of stuff, which was just static print. 23:27 Most of these Illustrator files are like 50,000 vectors, 100,000 vectors. 23:31 They're super, super complex, they're hard to open 23:37 [LAUGH] unless you have a lot of RAM. 23:40 But what's nice about programming I, for me, I think from a graphic design 23:42 point of view, is that I can do iteration and variation very quickly, you know. 23:46 So a client will say like oh, I've got a poster that I want you to do. 23:51 And so like, I'll do the purple one and they're 23:54 like, yeah homie, like we're not really feeling purple and orange. 23:56 You know, I'm like, oh you wanna, you wanna change the colors? 23:59 Like holy shit, that's gonna take like two days. 24:02 And I gotta re-color, you know and, and in actuality am just 24:05 changing an array, re-running the program and it re-colors it for me. 24:07 I've done it in 40 seconds. 24:10 I sit in my back yard and I smoke cigars and drink coffee. 24:11 But then I call like a day earlier and I'm like woo! 24:14 I'm finished [LAUGH] and then I'm like I'm the hero. 24:18 Like oh my god he recolored this thing in 24 hours. 24:22 I 24:25 would never do that to you though. 24:27 so, yeah I'm you know, still as, as a personal thing. 24:32 You know, I'm, I'm really interested in, in again 24:36 trying to use programming to surpass the human hand. 24:40 But, you know these ideas, these obstructions that I gave myself. 24:43 They start really simple. 24:47 You know, I, I'll give myself a very simple 24:48 set of rules in order to make things and you 24:50 know, the simpler the, the rules the simpler the 24:54 result and then I can start to mutate from there. 24:56 And then I did, you know, then I make things more complex 24:59 for myself and this is you know, again this is hm, just. 25:02 The harder I am on myself, usually the better the results. 25:06 So I was making this work and at the time I 25:10 was listening to SoundCloud and I found this guy Bonez on SoundCloud 25:12 and I really liked his mixes and I was kind of fooling 25:17 around with L systems and [COUGH] using L systems to make patterns. 25:20 And so I thought, well I wonder if I could take these L systems to make patterns 25:25 and then use that is like here on the left you can see that little like mandola. 25:28 I like copied it up on the top, and then say 25:32 like where the lines intersect like can I make a tight 25:34 face out of that, you know and so I started, you 25:38 know making a tight face out of these little L systems. 25:41 Meanwhile, I'm doing this while I'm listening to this guy SoundCloud mixes. 25:44 And so, I came up with this idea that it 25:48 would be really cool if I just went on to SoundCloud. 25:51 Like, listened to people's mixes and then designed their entire brand packaging. 25:53 And then, like, I'll email the dude and be like, 25:57 hey, my name is Josh Davis, this is your next logo. 25:59 I've got your next album cover. 26:02 You know, this is your next album cover, please don't use blue. 26:04 You know, like, I'll send them, like, a whole brand package for their identity. 26:06 They'll be like, dude, I'm 15. 26:10 You know? 26:12 But oh, I won't use blue. 26:13 [LAUGH] So I like putting myself in these really uncomfortable scenarios 26:14 and, again, most [LAUGH] most of these dudes are just kids, 26:23 and I do their whole brand campaigns for free, which is hilarious. 26:26 So again I, I'm playing and sometimes that 26:31 play doesn't have to be really figured out. 26:34 But I'm shitting this stuff out on social. 26:36 I, you know, put it out on Pinterest. 26:38 I put it out on Tumblr. 26:41 I'm constantly playing and trying to push 26:42 the boundaries of this aesthetic that I'm trying 26:47 to cultivate, and when you do that, when you crap out this content to the universe. 26:50 The secret gets revealed and the secret is the type of work 26:58 you make, is the type of work you'll get higher to do. 27:02 And when you do this stuff, these fuckers call. 27:05 And so, this is Deadmau5 Joel Zimmerman and he you know, I, I know 27:09 that some of you are developers but he is a graphic designer's wet dream. 27:14 This guy has so many LEDs in his show, it's amazing to collaborate with this guy. 27:20 And so I've been working with him for about three years now. 27:25 And doing these small kind of exercises, like using programming 27:28 to generate his concert posters, to generate logos that he uses. 27:32 He then did these he, he, headphones with a soul republic, and 27:37 a, so I was tapped to kind of make the, the, the programming for these headphones. 27:43 And you can see a little sample of the strip down at the bottom. 27:49 And this is what the headphones look like. 27:51 And again this is just using SVG and Java and I can print these things out and 27:53 you know this is what the headphones look like 27:59 and, and this dude wore them at the Olympics. 28:01 He's a swimmer [LAUGH] so 28:04 Michael Phelps wore the, my headphones at the Olympics Superbowl. 28:10 But what I realised is, is that Joel was kind of the perfect collaborator. 28:16 Because he in a way, not only did I have to be 28:20 my own Lars Von Trier, but he became kind of a Lars 28:23 Von Trier for me, where he, you know, he would call me 28:27 up and he'd be like, hey I've got this new LED mouse head. 28:29 And I need you to make animations for it. 28:33 But the LED thing is only you know, 56 pixels by 48 pixels, you know. 28:35 So I'm trying to make awesome in the size 28:40 of a postage stamp, and so you could see like 28:43 I would work out these kind of like little 28:45 animations that Joel could trigger while he's playing on stage. 28:46 again, this is in Java. 28:54 And it's a library that's actually up on GitHub. 28:56 It's called the Hype framework. 28:58 Java's kind of an interesting space right 29:01 now because there's a project called Processing JS. 29:03 We can take a lot of this stuff and actually output it to canvas, so 29:07 if I have to go to the web, which I typically don't do I can. 29:10 And by moving into Java, I could do some things that, you 29:15 know, I previously couldn't do when I was doing stuff in flash. 29:20 Like using touchscreens and using the 29:23 league motion, which you heard about earlier. 29:27 The Leap Motion is yeah, I think we're still kind of 29:29 trying to figure out how to use this from a practical sense. 29:32 But from an artistic sense the Leap Motion is an amazing 29:37 tool to use as a painter because it now means, you know, 29:42 I can now capture all five of my fingers and each one 29:47 of my fingers becomes a brush in which I can paint with. 29:49 So here I'm using the Leap Motion to to draw particles. 29:52 And from drawing these particles. 29:57 I can start to come up with the, this new way of making art. 30:00 Which I think is hilarious, because now I'm 30:03 not even making content on the computer anymore. 30:07 I'm literally just waving the air. 30:10 Which I think is hysterical because people will be like hey, we've got 30:12 a new album coming out and we want you to design our album cover, 30:15 and I'll be like okay, just just give me a second here, you 30:18 know, and I'm like doing this kind of shit in front of my computer. 30:20 And you'd be like how about that? 30:23 And they'd be like oh, yeah, we don't really like that. 30:25 Okay, just give me a second here. 30:27 [LAUGH] You know, so for me it's kind of 30:29 presented this new way of, of of making content. 30:32 Again programming an esthetic but now am not even 30:38 using the computer to generate this esthetic any more. 30:41 And undoing all sorts of different things like experimenting with noise. 30:46 Experimenting with sound synthesis. 30:51 So this has been something that I have been doing a lot lately. 30:54 Which is listening to the audio spectrum and 30:57 breaking that up and trying to do beat detection. 30:59 This moves into exciting things with the Kinect. 31:03 Now the body is the brush, you know. 31:06 There's a lot of dance parties in my 31:08 studio, is basically what I'm trying to tell you. 31:10 You know, I find myself doing this all day long. 31:12 This is obviously using the Kinect. 31:18 And so the connect is become a really inter, interesting device because 31:20 now I can start hey y'al I can find all these points. 31:25 And now I can start to actually make geometry, and, and now 31:29 each hand becomes a light source, so there's red, and there's blue. 31:32 So now, using the body as a brush to make art is, is, is, is been amazing. 31:36 Imagine, the Macy's windows at Christmas time could actually track the 31:42 people who are looking at the windows, and so the people 31:50 looking at the windows you know, at, at Macy's during Christmas, 31:52 you know, their, their movements could actually become part of the aesthetic. 31:55 That's gonna happen because I keep talking about it. 32:00 And eventually some fucker's gonna go yes. 32:03 And it, it will be so. 32:05 So again it's, it's the hypeframework.org. 32:08 again, it, it's Java. 32:12 I put my, my website on there. 32:14 Joshuadavis.com because I'm teaching two skill share classes 32:16 so if, if you don't have any Java experience. 32:19 The first class assumes that you've never used Java, you've never used Sublime 32:22 and I, and I walk through the process of, of of creating stuff. 32:26 The second class if about animation. 32:31 Specifically the work that I'm doing in music videos and band performance. 32:33 I do work at Sub Rosa where I take a lot of these things that we build for clients. 32:38 So I'm gonna skip through cuz I'm short on time, 32:44 and I'm gonna skip through a lot of this stuff. 32:46 Again by putting this content out 32:50 there, by creating these obstruction based projects 32:52 people like this call, this is Tim Saccenti who's an amazing video director. 32:56 And he, he asked me if I was interested in doing any stuff for nine inch nails, 33:00 so we started collaborating together on doing some 33:05 stuff for the new nine inch nails album, [SOUND] 33:09 [MUSIC] 33:12 So now while you're looking at this stuff, I 33:36 want you to think, how the hell was it created. 33:38 And how it was created is, is, I wrote all the programs in Java. 33:40 Generated these little black and white things. 33:46 Then we set up a camera in front of a television, a tube television. 33:48 And we actually played back the animations on the tube television, and Tim 33:52 sat in the back and twisted all of the knobs, and I ran magnet. 33:56 Around the side of the television, so this isn't a plug 34:00 in, this is us putting huge fucking magnets on a TV. 34:03 And again it's, like that idea of that bridge between analog and digital, like 34:07 using something like a tube television and, 34:13 and magnets to make these kind of distortions. 34:16 And then the camera is filming what happens on the TV. 34:20 Now if you look at the raw animation files, this is what they look like. 34:24 And so, again, I would give myself obstructions. 34:28 I would say like, okay. 34:30 I can generate these, you know, 30 second pieces. 34:31 They, they can't have color. 34:34 They're only black and white and then I would go through 34:35 these series, like I the first series was oscillation, and, and, 34:38 again like the back to that idea of obstructions, the, the harder I 34:42 am on myself, the more creative process reveals itself. 34:47 The more I know what I can't do and what I can do. 34:53 And so I have just been tearing out 34:56 a ton of these little animations and they actually 34:58 exist on my Tumblr page, I created this whole 35:00 Tumblr page just based on this series of work. 35:02 And these are just a few of them. 35:07 And so I'm making the stuff and, and the Nine Inch Nail stuff went off. 35:09 It went to Trent. 35:13 I don't know what they did with it. 35:14 Off, off they went. 35:15 And I liked this project so much I just kept nurturing it. 35:16 So I kept making new programs and kept outputting new content. 35:19 And it so happened that, that Tim was photographing this 35:23 band called Phantogram, which is kind of a new, indie band. 35:27 And at the end of the photo shoot, Tim said it, 35:30 you know, listen, before you guys go, I wanna try something. 35:33 I've been working with this guy Joshua Davidson. 35:35 I wanna try projecting his artwork on your faces. 35:37 And so on the right is my artwork project, projected on to the band. 35:40 And it ends up being their album cover. 35:46 And, so much so I've been collaborating now 35:49 for the past year with, with, with Phantogram. 35:51 Now I didn't know what a Phantogram was, it's actually a 3D optical illusion. 35:54 I had to, I had to look that up. 35:57 But then that spurred a whole new creation of work. 35:59 I was like well, now I had to do 3D, teach myself 3D. 36:02 So I've been doing these thing with 3D 36:05 forms and using texture maps and creating a 36:09 whole new series of work as a continuation 36:12 of this initial Nine Inch Nails obstruction piece. 36:15 [BLANK_AUDIO] 36:20 So are you guys cool? 36:24 Everybody's having a good time? 36:26 Yeah, well thanks! 36:28 So the band came and said, hey will you do our music video? 36:30 So so me and Tim got a chance to collaborate 36:35 on the music video and I'll just show it to now. 36:38 So this is this entire project 36:42 born on Tumblr as, as 36:49 Phantogram's new music video. 36:54 [MUSIC] 37:01 Hey, what do you think? 40:44 Cool? 40:45 [CLAPPING] Hold on. 40:45 That says three minutes. 40:50 I, I, I'm gonna to buy ten more minutes. 40:51 We go into break, so just roll. 40:54 >> Okay. 40:56 Then another hour, you cool? 40:56 No. 40:58 so, that was kind of my first foray into projection mapping. 41:00 And so, now, I've kind of been doing this 41:05 research on projection mapping, which has been super cool. 41:07 and, and so I'll do these things where like you know, this 41:11 is content from the video, and I would output some of the stuff. 41:14 And again like, you know, I'm interested in, in trying to find that, that unknown. 41:18 So, I'll do like really weird things like okay, I'll print 41:23 all this stuff out on a laser copier and crumple it up. 41:25 And so I would crumple up you know, the pieces of paper and then look at the 41:29 paper and it ended up, when I crumpled up 41:32 the pieces of paper, it would create these triangles. 41:34 So I thought oh, that's, that's really cool. 41:37 You know, I wonder what would happen if 41:39 I you know, did some, some Delaunay triangles. 41:42 And then each of those triangles would be a window into the programming, right? 41:44 So, what's awesome in Java is I can create a, a shape, specify the vertex points, and 41:51 say that that shape is, could be a texture and then map anything as a texture. 41:58 Like another program. 42:04 And so, you know, these obstructions become e, evolution, 42:05 and so, in, involved into this and realized that 42:12 I could use these triangles to now become the 42:15 window into all of this programming I was doing. 42:19 And so, we went to south by south west with the 42:22 intagram, and we did the show down there for 50 people. 42:24 It was a private show. 42:28 And, I'm doing things here with a little MIDI controller called livid instruments. 42:30 And they've got this really great MIDI controller called the base controller. 42:37 And basically, I can set up all of these listeners 42:40 inside of Java, so that when I press the MIDI controller. 42:42 They would trigger some function that changes the animation. 42:45 Then the animation itself is using a library called minim. 42:48 So, it's actually listening to the band and the 42:52 audio is reacting to what the band is doing. 42:54 The visuals are reacting to what the band is doing. 42:56 And then, we're pushing this through projection mapping so that 42:58 I could go to a space and literally project this onto 43:02 [MUSIC] 43:06 the room. 43:07 So here you can see. 43:07 the, audio synthesis is, is listening to and changing the graphics. 43:10 And then I'm using the MIDI controller 43:17 to cycle between all of these different animations. 43:18 And the goal here, really is to try to give 43:21 people seizures, like, if somebody has a seizure, we've won. 43:23 And so taking this down to South by Southwest, now, 43:27 you know, the whole room became the experience. 43:33 So not only was I projecting on all the surfaces in 43:37 this room, but I was actually also projecting on the audience members. 43:40 And so this was kind of interesting, because people, 43:44 you know, naturally are taking pictures of the show But 43:45 what they're taking pictures of is the people in front 43:48 of them who also have the texture mapped onto them. 43:51 So, literally, every photograph became, a piece of art. 43:53 Because I was mapping every single surface, in this space. 43:57 So, using all of this hardware. 44:02 Means that doing these kinds of performances for 44:06 bands could become a participatory experience, you know? 44:09 There's no reason why I couldn't use a connect or, or, or even lead motions 44:13 inside the space, so that people in the 44:18 audience actually become part of the art creation. 44:20 So this, this show could be a moment. 44:23 And every show could be different, based on audience participation. 44:27 So I like mutation, you know, so I just finished this stuff. 44:32 And it ended up that I was asked to speak in Montreal. 44:37 And they said, would I make the titles for for this festival. 44:42 And so, I collaborated with this, group in Montreal called, Moment Factory. 44:47 And, we did this little 44:54 credits video for this, for this festival. 44:58 Could you turn the audio up on this cuz it, it's bananas. 45:00 [MUSIC] 45:08 So, this has been fun because I've been using glitch. 46:39 Like I've been using intentional accidents in 46:42 the programming to, to create an aesthetic. 46:44 So just a few last pieces I just did this show in San Francisco with, with Diplo. 46:48 Who's one of the three dudes from, from Major Lazer. 46:53 And this was at a, a Facebook developer's conference called F8. 46:56 And they built this 95-foot sculpture which I was the huge penis in the room. 47:00 That's, that's the balls right there, at the back. 47:08 Nice huge penis at the Facebook show. 47:10 And again, this is using about 8 47:15 projectors to map onto this, onto the surface. 47:17 And so, again I was sort of take now, taking all of these hardware and software. 47:21 And all these possibilities with hardware and software to create 47:26 these these sort of performances for for bands and stuff. 47:29 And again this was a moment. 47:35 This is not pre-canned video, this is video that's reacting to what 47:37 Diplo was doing as well as me doing presses on a MIDI controller. 47:41 So this is, this is what it looked like. 47:46 [MUSIC] 47:52 And I wont' show the whole thing, but this are the pieces on Vimeo that just kind of 48:57 show some of the, audio synthesis stuff and how it reacts to, to audio. 49:02 So, if you want to go into my Vimeo 49:08 page, Vimeo.com/doctordavis you can watch some of this stuff. 49:10 [MUSIC] 49:16 So what's nice is, is that this kind of stuff is now coming back to print. 49:18 You know, that's what's interesting is I was 49:22 using programming in the very beginning to do print. 49:23 And now, I've kind of gotten into hardware, 49:25 and software, and, and, and video installation, and projection. 49:27 But now this stuff is reinforming print again. 49:32 So, again I can use any of this stuff to output back to back into the print medium. 49:34 And so it's, it's been fun to actually 49:39 think about hardware or software animation as frozen moments. 49:41 And then I can capture this in, you know, again 49:46 somebody could use this for a poster or an album cover. 49:49 it's, it's kinda expand a whole new way of making graphic design for me. 49:52 So I know it went a little long, but 49:58 I'm just gonna end with, you know, with this picture. 50:01 Which is you know, I have to remind myself like 50:03 you know, I need to find my Lars von Triers. 50:07 You know, whether it's you guys or whether it's peers that I collaborate with. 50:09 I need people to be pushing me to try new things. 50:14 But at the same time I have to remember that I am also 50:18 both people that you know, I can sit alone you know, inside my studio. 50:20 And do nothing. 50:26 Just play Diablo all day long. 50:29 Which is fine, but not very productive. 50:31 So sometimes I have to be my own Lars von Trier and I 50:35 have to be pushing myself to try to do things that are painful. 50:37 So thanks for letting me go along. 50:41 I'm going to be at that thing later today where you can actually sit down and 50:43 ask me questions, if, if, if you had 50:46 any technical questions that you, you wanted answered. 50:48 And thanks. 50:51 Thanks, thanks for letting me be here. 50:52 [APPLAUSE] 50:56
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