Tag Archives: webcam

World of World (artist’s book)

WOW softcoverWorld of World (hardback)

Left: World of World (paperback); open edition, 20 pages, 8 x10 inches: $50

Right: World of World (hardback); signed, numbered edition of 10 on satin paper with a black linen hardcover, 20 pages, 8.5×11 inches: $500SORRY OUT OF PRINT AND OUT OF STOCK

"World of World" book, p. 5When I created “World of World: The Adventures of Malbec and Player” in 2009, I also made a limited edition artist’s book of the project. At 2×12-feet, that piece was so large I wanted a version that was more portable and that also favored reading over looking. The text in the piece was a crucial part of the project, but it’s the element that gets the least attention in an exhibition setting.

For the book, I wanted to keep the borderless look of the original, that sense of expansiveness and layering, so I took a very simple approach: I divided the piece into 16 roughly equal-sized sections, and each section became a full page in the book, reading from left to right. I had to make some adjustments along the way, mainly to ensure that the text areas didn’t get broken up, so the final book includes about nine-tenths of the original. Fragmenting the piece into book form gave it an explosive quality I hadn’t expected—the images really push the confines of their pages. And as I hoped, the text became a much more central and dominant element.

"World of World" book, p. 10"World of World", 2009 (book)I researched the then-current state of on-demand book printing and made some comparison tests to decide which service created the highest quality books. This edition is printed by Shutterfly, which has excellent printing quality and also gives artists an exceptional amount of control over the final book design (including such matters as whether the company’s logo appears—it does not in this edition). I have also found them very helpful to deal with and responsive to user questions.(I know my full-spread image is not very good, but I wanted to get something up at least temporarily until I can shoot it properly.)

More information about the entire project, as well as the print editions of “World of World”, is over on this page.

“World of World” is also available as:

Posted in 2010, books | Also tagged , , |

Noxiterra (large prints)

All of the above are 13 x 19″ open-edition digital prints on smooth matte-finish fine art paper, signed by the artist.

I created these prints beginning in 2008, as part of a project I did experimenting with the use of webcams for a kind of live performance. (My obsession with webcams goes back more than a decade; I also used them in my “World of World” project, and I’ll be writing about several other projects using them as well.) I also wanted to explore the boundaries of what could be meant by the term ‘virtual world’. We think of this now as something modeled in computer software— a Second Life type of virtual reality. Sometimes the term embraces old-style text-based virtualities like MOOs; sometimes it’s analogized to the parallel universes of fiction or film. But I had been thinking about the physical model worlds that conceptually preceded the virtual kind: everything from orreries and the miniature paper theaters of the 18th century about which Barbara Stafford writes so incisively, to dioramas, Victorian terrariums (also known as ‘Wardian cases’), and especially  tabletop landscapes for war games or model railroading.

For this project I set up a tabletop biome—basically a very large dirt box with plants, sculptures, and other quasi-narrative elements. This would function as my physical stage. I linked it via live webcam feed to the UpStage virtual stage for the international 080808 UpStage Festival of online performance. The key elements for each of the several performances were simple: a roving webcam in the tabletop world and a writer improvising in response to the visual stream.

In essence, I was using the tabletop set with its miniature cameras as a generative system for art and writing. I had no real idea ahead of time what the resulting images would look like. Like a filmmaker, I chose my camera angles carefully to make the world seem bigger than it really was, even boundless. But what surprised me was how difficult it is to resolve the scale of the images—some of them could be microscopic, others look like there is half a mountainside in the viewfinder.

Each of the improvisations was done under different lighting conditions, to give a sense of the passage of time, and each print consists of 9 stills taken from a single performance. Noxiterra 1.4 (stills), for instance, is from the first performance. Within each print, the images are arranged in chronological order reading from upper left to lower right.

For a companion set of small Noxiterra prints, see this page.

Posted in 2010, prints | Also tagged , , , , , |

World of World (large)


12 ft x 2 ft, archival print face-mounted to plexiglass in four contiguous sections.

Edition of 10 signed and numbered by the artist, $9000. A few still available; email me if interested.


opening of "WOW: Emergent Media Phenomenon"

opening of “WOW: Emergent Media Phenomenon” (photo courtesy of Eric Stoner)

“World of World” was originally created in a special limited edition of 10 signed, numbered, and mounted digital prints for the 2009 Laguna Museum show “WOW: Emergent Media Phenomenon” curated by Grace Kook-Anderson. (More information about this project and its open editions can be found on this page.)

World of World (panel A)

World of World (panel A)

Each work in this edition consists of four 2×3-foot panels printed on Fujicolor Crystal Archive paper and face-mounted to plexiglass on a backing of acid-free Sintra. When these panels are hung contiguously, the images flow together to make up a single, seamless 2×12-foot work.

The modular design means that the panels can also be hung individually instead.

“World of World” is also available as:

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World of World, softcover edition

WOW softcover

Recently I created a softcover edition of my World of World book. Check out this page for details and price.

Posted in 2014, latest | Also tagged , |

exploring the miniature

webcam interface (Oculus software)

webcam interface (Oculus software)

I’ve just posted a new page of small Noxiterra prints, so I thought I’d write a post about the process that resulted in these prints. Basically, it’s similar to the way Hollywood uses miniature scale-model sets for catastrophe filming that would be too expensive or too dangerous to film at human scale, and that would be unconvincing if created entirely through computer special effects. I built a tabletop set for Noxiterra in my garage and used an Apple iSight webcam to shoot stills of the set which were streamed to the internet for a series of live online improvisations.

So one obvious difference is that I used just about the lowest-resolution cameras available. Another difference is the amount of accident I allowed in the framing of my shots. Unlike with a movie camera, I can’t see directly through the lens of my webcam. Instead, I see through a software interface to the webcam, in this case a program called Oculus that has a lot of flexibility in terms of file formats, cropping, and streaming uploads. But I was moving my camera around so much—I repositioned the webcam for a new capture about every 10 seconds or so—that the Oculus preview didn’t work very well, so I was never perfectly sure what was in and out of frame.

UpStage interface test

UpStage interface test

In the above screenshot of this interface, you’ll see that I further cropped the full webcam image so that only the small center area was captured. I did this to make sure I was excluding stuff that was supposed to be out of frame, namely, my garage. The center framing gave me a safety margin.

Noxiterra took form as 3 live improvisations during the UpStage 080808 festival of online performance. UpStage is a specially programmed software that allows a browser to become a cyberstage. The image at right shows UpStage during one of our tech tests, with a live feed from my webcam occupying the main ‘stage’ area, and a chat area at right where we could discuss what was happening as we working on solving various issues. Not surprisingly, since UpStage is hosted in New Zealand, and my feeds were coming from California, one of the issues we had to manage was lag.

During each 20-minute performance, I served as director of photography and cameraperson, orchestrating the specific sequence of shots that streamed into UpStage. I had asked a fellow artist or writer to improvise text as the watched the stream; the texts generated during the first and second performances were by Marlena Corcoran, and the third was by Lisa Tucker.  Here is an extract from the second performance:

I have seen many worlds.
I look at this world and see another.
I have seen many beginnings.
I fear for you.
I am the one who presides over beginnings.

I captured the images as I streamed them to UpStage, and these captures formed the basis for the two sets of large and small Noxiterra prints listed under “Open Editions”. I’m now working on a sequel to Noxiterra 2008 that involves building a small world in the round, instead of on a tabletop. Stay tuned…

Posted in 2010, latest | Also tagged , , , |

Chronovacuum (print)


Chronovacuum 2009 (print)

Chronovacuum 2009 (print)

13×19″ open-edition digital print on matte-finish fine art paper, signed by the artist: $175

17×22″ open-edition digital print on matte-finish fine art paper, signed by the artist: $225

This print stems from a 2009 video project of the same title. The print features highlights of a group of webcam images that I collected over three years from servers all over the world. I am fascinated by the fact that although there are now huge numbers of these webcams, their images are mostly auto-archived and rarely ever viewed by humans. Installed in mundane places, looking but not seeing, recording without witnessing, they typify the new datascape. Here is a world of ignored, instantly lost, accidental beauty—haunting traces of all that has been sucked into the vacuum of time.

Chronovacuum 2009

screen shot from the 2009  Chronovacuum video

The original Chronovacuum project was a short single-channel video designed to be viewed on a small monitor or as a small wall projection. Subtitled “a project in involuntary archiving,” Chronovacuum was a slideshow-style montage of dozens of these webcam images

Chronovacuum was accompanied by a digital soundtrack I created that reflects what I imagine is the sound of my connection to the live webcam, distorted by time and distance—the net equivalent of that “open line” sound you used to get on long-distance telephone calls. Play Chronovacuum video (2:28).

Chronovacuum (the video) was included in the 2009 “Out of School” exhibition at the Brea Art Gallery, Brea, California.


Posted in 2010, prints | Also tagged , , |