1. Atari Punk Console workshop

    A month ago I led a workshop at the Digital Harbor Foundation on building Atari Punk Consoles. 

    The original circuit was developed by Forrest M. Mims III, and published in a Radio Shack booklet: “Engineer’s Notebook: Integrated Circuit Applications” in 1980. It was originally called a “Stepped Tone Generator” but named after the Atari 2600 due to the similar sounds it makes.

    I created a small web page to go along with the workshop which can be found here. I am planning on updated that page before the next time I run this workshop to include easier to understand schematics and more clear instructions.

    The workshop started with building a flashing light circuit using a LED and a 555 timer. After understanding a circuit with one 555 timer students build the APC which uses two 555 timers.  

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  2. Voyager, a time-line
A poster I made for my type 2 final. 

    Voyager, a time-line

    A poster I made for my type 2 final. 

  3. Prague transitions

    Here is a project I worked on last semester while in Prague.  

    The first iterations was set up in a black box theater with multiple projectors and and speakers. The audio piece was a soundscape done by my colleague Lucas Lacámara. In this version the video portion was being manipulated in real time by the audio piece 

    A few days later I set up the same piece in a photography show, moving the piece to a gallery was difficult.

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    I ended up switching up the piece a bit and instead used my phone to control the video piece. As I walked around the gallery I could change up the colors and placement of the video. Even though this installation used the same base content it ended up being a very different piece. 

     

  4. Things are happening! 

    Things are happening! 

  5. jacksorokin:

Braden League, Prague, Czech Republic 2014

Thanks Jack!!!!!!!!!

    jacksorokin:

    Braden League, Prague, Czech Republic 2014

    Thanks Jack!!!!!!!!!

  6. Tram Adventures: Empty Tram

  7. Pure Data: Audio Manipulating Video 

    This is a small patch I put together the other day, it takes the audio levels of a soundclip and mixes two videos together accordingly. I used footage from the 1965 Watts Riots and 1989 Velvet Revolution, there are some nice and interesting moments when you can see both American National Guard units walking and Czech citizens marching at the same time. 

  8. Oh wow so busy!

    In the past few weeks I’ve been pretty busy! Just as I finished getting settled in I had a piece in my first show abroad (that makes me an internationally exhibited artist now). 

    On my trip to Berlin I traveled with Martin Blažíček one of the teachers at FAMU CAS and he asked me if I would like to submit something for the show which was being held at Galerie AMU. A few days after Berlin I prototyped up a piece which involved my head bouncing around on a screen and audio clips of me butchering the pronunciation of various czech words. 

    The night before I went to install in the gallery I made the rookie mistake of updating my HaxeFlixel library which changed the syntax, meaning my code didn’t work anymore. While not an unsolvable problem at 8pm the night before the show I didn’t have time to solve something that I wasn’t sure I could solve in time. I instead starting looking for a new solution. I spent a few hours attempting to remake the entire project in Processing, a programming language which I am much less comfortable, I decided it was time to go low tech. 

    Wanting to stick to the theme of how I as an english speaking American understood Czech I listened to the commentary of the 1998 Winter Olympic hockey game between the Czech Republic and Russia. I then wrote down what I heard as, even though I only understood about three czech words, jedno (one), veteran, and výborný (great). 

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    The show ended up going great despite my last minute change. I saw Czechs with smiles on their faces once they were able to match my jibberish with the actual commentary. Even though it wasn’t my original idea I still consider it a success. 

    Here is an old man looking at my art 

    The night the show opened there were quite a lot of people at the gallery as well as some performances. One of the cooler ones was a drone that was tracked by a kinect in space and as it flew different sounds were generated. There was also a microphone sitting a fishbowl full of water that played back the sounds of the room through water and some speakers attached to long metal poles that distorted the sound.

    A couple days after the opening I was able to figure out the HaxeFlixel issue so I submitted the piece to MICAs Taco Night Interactive Arts Juried Show. I will put it online in a few days but here is a screenshot 

    Over the weekend I attended an interactivity workshop where I did my best to build a synth that would make sound depending on your position in a 3D space. I made a sketch of what I wanted to do although pretty quickly realized that two of the sensors would be redundant. 

    Before I could get working on synth working I had to get the arduino to send data to Pure Data. 

    Once I had that working I moved to getting a sensor mapped to some oscillators that I made in Pure Data. Here is some terrible video documentation.  

    And if you are interested the arduino file and pure data patch or on the Git here

    Due to the limitations of the type of distance sensor I had I was never able to place them in the way I wanted by none the less had a lot of fun experimenting with Pure Data. And one of the best parts about the workshop was when my Czech friends made sushi on the last day! 

    busy busy busy! 

  9. Braden League - TRAM JAM 2014 | Facebook →

    There was some sort of traffic jam and all the trams couldn’t move as planned. 

  10. Transmediale

    The Transmediale festival was a great experience and I am really glad I went, considering I was on the edge about going, not wanting to leave Prague so soon. I had barely enough time to unpack and settle in and it was off to Berlin, although there is nothing quite like leaving one place too quickly make you yearn to go back. At least in Czech I can say hello, please and thank you (or most importantly “ještě jedno pivo”).

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    Transmediale itself was incredibly interesting, there were installations and performances but net and new media artists as well as talks by activists, hacktivists and even an ex-NSA analysts. The theme of the conference was “afterglow” or the concept that we are now living in the afterglow of the digital revolution. We are no longer blindly optimistic about the future as we see the realities of vast data mining and the effect of the material mining required to power our computers and smartphones. Some of the talks made me rethink my position about NSA data mining (read here) especially as we begin to see how their quasi-legal collected information has been used outside of matters of national security. I still stand by my idea that tyranny cannot exists in the ultra connected world we are creating and that most of the metadata created is just noise. Despite this I think it is important we have conversations about the ethics of mass data collection. Additionally a lot of talking has been done about cryptography being the answer to data collection but this is a solution for the elite since it requires a proficiency in technology and while hopefully someday that will be mandatory and accessible today is not that day.  I was very happy to hear Dr. Mark Cotè talk about big social data and building a more transparent data culture, an idea that my friends and I have independently discussed.

     One of the more enlightening, inspiring and depressing talks was called “The Media of the Earth: Geologies of Flesh and the Earth” where Sean Cubitt brought some disturbing facts to light. We often don’t think about the power consumption of data but he said that 10% of the worlds power is used for data transfer. Although it is important to remember that this is often replacing less efficient ways of transferring data. Another thing I had not put much thought into was the mineral used to build microprocessors, which was artfully said as

    “We all have a bit of Africa in our pockets”.

    I am not about to give up my smartphone and in a year and a half I am sure I will buy the latest and greatest smartphone but maybe moving forward we as a culture can begin to do something about this planned obsoleteness. 

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    Scattered around the main hall was an installation called “Critical Infrastructure” which combined geological surveying with digital surveying. Monitors compared two seemingly unrelated sets of data such as the price of a bitcoin in euros and the views of Gangnam Style on YouTube. Critical Infrastructure was up for the duration of the festival but some pieces were switched out every day such as a video installation titled The Plastic Garden. This piece was of particular interest to me because it was an example of videogame related art in a gallery setting. The video itself was of an empty Call of Duty map (Nuketown) and had still shots of the strange environment. What I found interesting was how it called attention to things that would otherwise be ignored while playing the game, such as butterflies clipping through solid objects and baked in reflections on objects. That being said I do not think the video would be successful outside a gallery since it was actually quite boring.

    The whole experience was fantastic and it gave me a lot to think about moving forward as I begin my semester in Prague. I hope to create work that deals with some of what I just wrote about but just as importantly I hope to keep up with the Czechs on drinking beer

    ~Čau!                                                                                        

    additional notes: