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touchstone on the Bosphorus

my collaborator, James Stone and I are back from the trip to present touchstone at the ISEA2011 in Istanbul. the trip was incredible as you might imagine.


At the workshop, we taught the participants skills in a a hands on workshop to build a wearable audio technology, Touchstone. The Touchstone is a mobile and tactical media broadcast platform worn on the hands of performers and activists. Touchstone is a strategy for contesting the urban/performance landscape rather than a product.

The technology of Touchstone is built upon audio exciter circuits embedded in gloves which transform the hands of an agent into broadcast transmitters. Touchstone agents activate objects as temporary/ad-hoc public address systems, by simply pressing their palms against it. Touchstone is a discrete technology platform: (1) it is virtually invisible on the garb of a performer/agent and (2) it is light and flexible; agents or performers can easily move (or escape).

the community in Istanbul and ISEA were a bit reticent in organizing as a group to go out on the streets, so we took the rigs on a ISEA cruise of the Bosphorus and demonstrated the idea.




touchstone

depiction of Touchstone project

i have started another collaboration with James Stone, we have ‘formalized’ our relationship by registering mr-bricolage.us. we have proposed a new phys comp project workshop for ISEA2011 in Istanbul. it item is wearable tech that sonifies objects that are touched by the actor. we see this as a platform for performance and activism.

the proposal:
Mr. Bricolage, Asmuth and Stone, propose a DIY wearable technology workshop at ISEA 2011 for activists, performers, and community members. The workshop will consist of demonstrations, discussions about strategies for use, and most importantly a hands on workshop to build Touchstone devices. The culmination of the workshop will be a local performance and/or action.

Touchstone is a mobile and tactical media broadcast platform worn on the hands of performers and activists. Touchstone is an strategy for contesting the urban/performance landscape rather than a product.

The technology of Touchstone is built upon audio exciter circuits embedded in gloves which transform the hands of an agent into broadcast transmitters. Touchstone agents activate objects as a temporary/ad-hoc public address systems, by simply pressing their palms against it. Touchstone is a discrete technology platform:  (1) it is virtually invisible on the garb of a performer/agent and (2) it is light and flexible; agents or performers can easily move (or escape). Moreover, it is a cinch to produce; the system does not require advanced electronics knowledge and is easily assembled from surplus, inexpensive, and/or widely available consumer technology.

Asmuth and Stone eagerly hope to collaborate with performance and activist groups from Istanbul or the adjacent regions. The team would appreciate any help from the ISEA community in locating organizations that would be interested in utilizing this platform.

Keywords: body; sound; broadcast; collaborative;  hacktivism; low tech; wearable; DIY; tactical media; performance
Authors: James Stone, Thomas Asmuth
Email: info@mr-bricolage.us
Go to mr-bricolage.us for more details

shouldercam

I attended 2010 ZERO1 SJ Biennial as a visitor and spectator. I decided to try to capture as much as possible to bring back to Pensacola. In order to foster this I tried to design a set of mobile broadcast tools in order to record the events and interviews. I purchased a new mobile camera built into a ear worn bluetooth module called Looxcie. I also designed and built a shoulder mounted remote controlled tilt-pan web cam the shouldercam. this is an wearable adaptation of accelerometer controlled pan-tilt unit.

the first design was to build a shoulder pad—sort of like a piece of armor, but I found it too complicated trying to quickly design a harness.

I then realized I could build it into the shoulder strp of my backpack that I would undoubtably wear when I was out.