Archive for February, 2011

Alison Knowles: Clear Skies All Week

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Photo of artist courtesy of James Fuentes LLC

James Fuentes LLC, a New York City gallery, is featuring a solo exhibition with Alison Knowles, best known as a founding member and notably the first woman to participate in Fluxus. (Fluxus, an international art movement of artists, composers and designers in the 1960s, blended different media, disciplines and happenings, often described as ‘intermedia.’ Notable pioneers include John Cage and George Maciunas.)

Comprised of sculptural works made from paper and found materials, the exhibition represents over forty years of Alison Knowlesʼ life in New York City. The works entice an extreme interest in paper. Made of raw flax, cotton and abaca fiber, the paper becomes a sculptural element to house an assortment of found objects and the base material for wall panels.

In Knowles own words:

I collect shoe heels ….
I am not hunting usually, just rushing to get somewhere like everybody else, but suddenly,
Unexpectedly, akin to a found item, a found time opens up….
The heel I pick up. …quickly, offhandedly …gets stashed in my pocket.
There is a chemistry peculiar to the mysterious terrain I find myself in at that time….
I love to surf the street….
At home it gets cleaned, studied, it is drawn in silhouette, perhaps screen-printed with the name of an animal….
You know the worn shoe heels cannot be bought. Not for sale anywhere.
Isn’t it special to have recognized the energy expended in a shoe heel.

(Originally quoted in Julia Robinson, “The Sculpture of Indeterminacy: Alison Knowlesʼs Bean and Variations,” College Art Association Journal, 2004.)

The exhibition “Clear Skies All Week” is open February 23 – April 3, 2011
There will be a reception with the artist Alison Knowles on Wednesday, March 9, 6 – 8 PM.
James Fuentes LLC, 55 Delancey Street, New York, NY

BrainDriver: Thoughts Drive A Car

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Image by Raúl Rojas/Freie Universität Berlin

Imagine you could drive your car using only your thoughts. Raúl Rojas a professor of Artificial Intelligence at the Freie Universität Berlin and his team have demonstrated how a driver can use a brain interface to steer a vehicle. Dubbed the ‘BrainDriver’ project, it is part of a larger research project into autonomous driving, which they call “MadeInGermany.”

To record brain activity, the researchers use an Emotiv “neuroheadset,” an electroencephalography, or EEG, sensor by San Francisco-based company Emotiv, which design it for gaming. After a few rounds of “mental training,” the driver learns to move virtual objects only by thinking. Each action corresponds to a different brain activity pattern, and the BrainDriver software associates the patterns to specific commands—turn left, turn right, accelerate, etc. The researchers then feed these commands to the drive-by-wire system of the vehicle, a modified Volkswagen Passat Variant 3c. Now the driver’s thoughts can control the engine, brakes, and steering.

The researchers caution that the BrainDriver application is still a demonstration and is not ready for the road. But they say that future human-machine interfaces like this have huge potential to improve driving, especially in combination with autonomous vehicles. As an example, they mention an autonomous cab ride, where the passenger could decide, only by thinking, which route to take when more than one possibility exist.

This type of non-invasive brain interface could also allow disabled and paralyzed people to gain more mobility in the future, similarly to what is already happening in applications such as robotic exoskeletons and mind-controlled prosthetics.

Watch the researchers road test of the brain-controlled car on YouTube.

Via IEEE Spectrum