Category Archives: Experimentation

Grab Webcam Image and Save to HD

The  research definition has raised some questions about how to provoke viewers of art into situations whereby they can be seen to be part of the artwork itself. Initially I am doing this in quite a literal way but attempting to integrate images of the audience/public into the artworks.

One of the components I am developing involves a using sensors through an Arduino to detect certain conditions in the space (e.g distance of view from a work) and when a condition fits a camera will capture an image of the audience.

Today I spent some time working in AS3 and AIR looking for appropriate methods to achieve this. Actually it turned out to be quite trivial and the image below is the first example of an image taken with a web cam and sent straight to the HD. Air provides some useful methods in the FileSystem package enabling you to bypass dialog boxes before writing a file to the local disk. (Like Director 7..sorry had to get that in).

This is an image taken automatically through an Air application and put straight to disk

This is an image taken automatically through an Air application and put straight to disk

Prototype Animation Anticipating Data from BCO

The animation in the link below is a pre-prototype established for the meeting this coming Friday in Blackrock Castle Observatory (BCO).

The animation was created in anticipation of the type of data that might be made available via the telescope at BCO. The information Alan Giltinan showed me on the 6th Feb was a text file containing digits formatted in clusters of 4 values as demonstrated in the linked file. I hope that in the meeting this week I can clarify issues specifically in relation to: the coordinates of the star, black hole or quasar; what the registered values represent specifically; the format of the data itself, that is, decimal, octal, etc..
The purpose of the animation is to anticpate some of the answers to these questions and allow ajustments to be made rapidly on-site in AS3 without taking up too much of Alan’s time.

Black Hole Data Animation

Wind Mast as Data Source

A wind monitoring mast was installed at Cork Institute of Technology on 19th January last , under a joint initiative from a number of departments in the college buildings office. The mast, which is over 50m in height, records sic wind readings at three heights and in two different directions. Over the coming year the data will be analysed by students on the Sustainable Energy Degree programme.

I made contact with Chris Gibbons who is connected with the above programme to see if it was possible to access the data and push it into an artwork. Chris got back today to say it shouldn’t be a problem. Hoping to meet sometime next week to discuss the data formats and how they might be converted to something I can make of.


The mast is 50m in height and captures six wind speeds at three different heights

Data Readings from Black Holes

Had a very intersting visit to Blackrock Castle Observatory last Friday where I met Niall Smith, Head of Research at CIT, and Alan Giltinan a researcher at the observatory. Niall kindly provided an eye opening tour of the castle which had changed dramatically since I was there last (4-5 years back).

The week before last I bumped into Eva Norris a researcher in the Physics Department who I hadn’t seen since she’d taken up a new office space several years back. Got talking about postgraduate study and she mentioned what she and others at BCO were working on. This conversation led to a meeting with Niall which in turn led to last Friday’s visit to the castle. There is an arrangement now for a second visit to see what live data I can get from the telescope and route into an art work.

This is pretty exciting material including energy that folds into a black hole and gets pushed back out from its centre; the telescope picks this up as a fluctuating light value. This is just one of a number of sources of data that could become a driver of behaviours in some of the art works I am beginning to put together now. Tuesday 16th or Friday 19th I will return to the castle to do a mornings work with Alan and see how I can get the data formatted so I can use it in AS3, PHP or Javascript.

Mike Punt mentioned before that important things can happen when you meet someone by chance in a corridor or on a stairwell. This seems to be one of those situations.


I have begun concentrating on some practical work since end of January when I had my laptop replaced by DELL. I have moved over to Actionscript 3 (AS3) which is a great improvement from my previous experiences with scripting in Flash interface. Being able to operate  without any reference to the timeline and interface is a sure benefit. The  documentation is also easier to navigate and since everything is packaged as a class now it’s far more logical.