Golan Levin

Golan develops artifacts and events which explore supple new modes of reactive expression. His work focuses on the design of systems for the creation, manipulation and performance of simultaneous image and sound, as part of a more general inquiry into the formal language of interactivity, and of nonverbal communications protocols in cybernetic systems. Through performances, digital artifacts, and virtual environments, often created with a variety of collaborators, Levin applies creative twists to digital technologies that highlight our relationship with machines, make visible our ways of interacting with each other, and explore the intersection of abstract communication and interactivity. Levin has exhibited widely in Europe, America and Asia.

Levin's work combines equal measures of the whimsical, the provocative, and the sublime in a wide variety of online, installation and performance media. He is known for the conception and creation of Dialtones: A Telesymphony [2001], a concert whose sounds are wholly performed through the carefully choreographed dialing and ringing of the audience's own mobile phones, and for interactive information visualizations like The Secret Lives of Numbers [2002] and The Dumpster [2006], which offer novel perspectives onto millions of online communications. Previously, Levin was granted an Award of Distinction in the Prix Ars Electronica for his Audiovisual Environment Suite [2000] interactive software and its accompanying audiovisual performance, Scribble [2000]. Other projects from recent years include Re:MARK [2002], Messa di Voce [2003], and The Manual Input Sessions [2004], developed in collaboration with Zachary Lieberman, and Scrapple [2005] and Ursonography [2005]; these performance and installation works use augmented-reality technologies to create multi-person, real-time visualizations of their participants’ speech and gestures. Levin's current projects, such as Opto-Isolator [2007] and Double-Taker (Snout) [2008], employ interactive robotics and machine vision to explore the theme of gaze as a primary new mode for human-machine communication.

Levin's work has been presented in the Whitney Biennial, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Kitchen, and the Neuberger Museum, all in New York; the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, Austria; The Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, Taiwan; the NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC) in Tokyo, Japan; and the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, among other venues. His funding credits include grants from Creative Capital, The New York State Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller MAP Fund, The Greenwall Foundation, the Langlois Foundation, and the Arts Council of England.

Levin received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the MIT Media Laboratory, where he studied in the Aesthetics and Computation Group. Between degrees, he worked for four years as an interaction designer and research scientist at Interval Research Corporation, Palo Alto. Presently Levin is Director of the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and Associate Professor of Electronic Time-Based Art at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also holds Courtesy Appointments in the School of Computer Science and the School of Design. His work is represented by the bitforms gallery, New York City.

Panel: WHY?

WHY do we do what we do? WHY should our spaces be infused with the digital? WHY data? WHY code? WHY generative? WHY collaborative?  WHY interactive? WHY color? WHY sound? WHY touch? WHY do frameworks have to be open? WHY design? This is a panel that wonders. Moderated by Tali Krakowsky with panelists Golan Levin, Natalie Jeremijenko, Zach Lieberman.

Session: Gestural Computing and Speculative Interactions

I am interested in the "medium of response", and in the conditions that enable people to experience creative feedback with reactive artworks. This presentation will discuss a wide range of my own projects, with a particular attention to how the use of gestural interfaces, visual abstraction, and information visualization can support new modes of interaction, play, and self-discovery.

This talk takes place at The Cedar Cultural Center. *Bring your Eyeo Festival badge to get in. Doors open at 7:00pm.

Google Map: Cedar Cultural Center

Workshop: Building Interactive Applications with the Kinect in OpenFrameworks (Intermediate/Advanced Level)

The Microsoft Kinect -- the first consumer depth-camera -- has radically altered the landscape of possibilities for the use of machine vision in interactive art and computational design. This workshop introduces libraries and techniques for Kinect programming in OpenFrameworks, a popular arts-engineering toolkit for creative coding in C++. Attendees should bring a Kinect Sensor and a Mac laptop (running OSX 10.6+ and XCode 3.x), and should have some experience developing in OpenFrameworks and/or C++. You'll learn how to access the depth buffer and export a 3D point cloud; how to obtain the "skeleton" approximation of a person with OpenNI; and you'll pick up some helpful computation techniques for working with these expressive new data.

We'll have a handful on Kinects on site, but if you have one, or have been thinking about getting one, this might be the time to buy one and bring it. It's not required for the workshop but it will come in handy. And be sure to bring the power supply for the Kinect - you'll need it.

Workshop: An Introduction to Computer Vision in Processing (Introductory Level)

"Computer vision" refers to a broad collection of techniques that allow computers to make intelligent assertions about what's going on in digital images and video. This workshop offers a practical introduction to using computer vision techniques to create interesting interactions in Processing, a popular Java-based toolkit for arts programming. In this hands-on session, you'll learn about: direct pixel access and image manipulation; detecting and measuring motion; detecting the presence and location of people; and tracking objects and faces. Attendees should bring a laptop with a working webcam and Processing 1.5 installed.