Misha's Blog

Cross-platform Mobile App Development with Cordova

Posted in Installations, Projects, Research by Misha on September 2, 2016

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Apache Cordova lets me write a program in JavaScript and it compiles into native iOS and Android apps! Corodva is the open source cousin of Adobe PhoneGap. Caitlin Foley and I are using it to create a phone game version of our Total Jump project in order to let people train for a coordinated world-wide jump, starting in New Haven, CT for our CWOS installation and event commissioned by Artspace New Haven.

The app is coming along and works on Android and iOS. One of our testing devices is an iPhone 4, which runs iOS 7.1.2. It looks like Apple stopped supporting iOS 7 in Xcode, but I found a way around this. Instructions by Martin Raybak told me to download the older Xcode 6.4 and manually adding iOS 7 SDK. But even after setting my deployment target in the info and build settings panels, Xcode still said the phone had an os that was too old. I found that manually changing the deployment target in the Cordova generated build.xcconfig file (in platforms/ios/cordova) did the trick. In conclusion, I draw comfort from the fact that Cordova is managed by the Apache foundation and feel that it is going to be a viable platform going forward.

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The Virtual Reality of the Desert

Posted in Installations, Projects, Research by Misha on May 20, 2015

Pink Noise Hunt VR by Misha Rabinovich & Caitlin Foley

I spent two weeks camping in Andrea Zittel’s A-Z West Wagon Station Encampment in Joshua Tree. My partner Caitlin Foley followed that up by creating a Shellphone Listening Lounge at the High Desert Test Sites Headquarters in the Sky Village Swap Meet. It was an opportunity to try out some Virtual Reality experiments with the good old Google Cardboard VR headset. It was a fun process that included many first-time VR experiences by the participants.

The Shellphones and several other projects we’ve created explore pink noise which is a special energy pattern ubiquitous in systems on earth. We refer to pink noise as the golden ratio of sound. This VR game is based on the Google Cardboard Treasure Hunt example but with pink noise added in order to get people to listen to it without any visual distractions. To make the game more attractive we flocked the headset with pink flocking, which is something we first did at the Pink Noise Salon at the Flux Factory last summer.

People seemed to have enjoyed playing the game. Someone even said that the Cardboard headset was not nauseating like the Oculus Rift. Perhaps it is because it is a tad less immersive due to a smaller range of vision?

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Feminist Data Visualization at LACMA

Posted in Research by Misha on April 13, 2015

I participated in the Feminist Data Collectathon workshop at the Art Plus Technology (#ArtPlusTech) lab at LACMA yesterday. The project was part of Annina Rüst’s residency at the lab and it was also co-lead by Micol Hebron (the head of the Gallery Tally project).

Annina got her hands on some juicy LACMA data, and we played around with different visualization ideas. One idea was to take a look at what the most exhibited artists at LACMA are, and how many of them are female. Please mouse over the bars to get the names of the artists.

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Arduino Cricket Emulator

Posted in Research by Misha on February 20, 2015

Did you know that plants can be stimulated by flashing light, sound, and even electricity and magnetism? Google Electroculture or check out this site for crazy stories of people trying to stimulate plants in funny ways. I am building a plant synthesizer where the plant is cultured by colored moving light. I found out that plants enjoy 3 khz blasts of sound, and luckily Signal Culture had some piezo speakers kicking around that output at that exact rate. I decided to articulate the sound into something humans and plants would be able to relate to: the sound of a cricket. I experimented with an Arduino Uno board and came up with this:


int crickets = analogRead(1) * (5 / 1023.0);
int chirp = 50;
analogWrite(3,crickets);
delayMicroseconds(chirp);
analogWrite(3,0);
delayMicroseconds(chirp);

On analog pin 1 you have a potentiometer that sets the number of crickets (all the way left is none, all the way up is like a whole field of the bugs). It only works if there is no other code being executed due to the subtle interplay between the board, the speaker, the delay, and the PWM pulse. Below is the recording of what it sounds like when the knob is turned from left to right.

Ecology Software

Posted in Research by Misha on October 19, 2014

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Is it possible to interface with the underlying software of ecology using computer algorithms? In a time when our culture seeks a new balance within what Timothy Morton calls “the mesh”, our latest and greatest tools can only help gain the insight of enmeshment.

On a recent trip to Yosemite national park I was struck by the beautiful order and chaos that surrounded me. Termite or woodpecker gnawings of tree trunks resembled text or pictographs. I decided to feed photos of these carvings through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to see what information can be excavated from these traces left by the purposeful algorithmic activity of animals eating their wood (and having it too).

There must be some meaning in this!

There must be some meaning in this!

How to Extract the Color at Collar City Film Festival

Posted in Research by Misha on October 29, 2012

I am excited to have a video being shown in Troy on November 3rd (from 7-9pm at 51 3rd street) along other videos by great artists. The video was first shown in Syracuse, and eventually went on a two month display inside the Journey shipping container installation. The idea for the video began as a syphoning study for Toiletponics, but then took on a life of it’s own.

Germany Travels

Posted in Research by Misha on June 24, 2012

I am part of a group of five guests artists staying at Schloss Solitude in Stuttgard, Germany. We were invited by Jenny Brosinski—a current fellow—to plan a show of our work here next year. I have some time now to reflect on our trip so far, so I wanted to post a little bit of media. Below is an animation made from two photographs I took in Heidleberg which turned out remarkably synced with only slight changes due to wind.

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I took the photos consecutively without a tripod and somehow didn’t really move my hands at all. The wind was very strong, and was pushing the clouds around to affect the light and reshape the trees. I used an animated gradient mask to combine two images into an animation. Before this we went on a day trip which encompassed Frieburg in Germany as well as Colmar and Strasbourg in France. In Frieburg we saw Freiburger Münster with interesting stained glass windows dedicated to specific guilds. Can you guess what kind of guild this one was dedicated to?

Window Inside of Freiburger Münster in Germany

Colmar, France is an attraction for several reasons. My friend Iraklis recommended the Flammkuchen (Tarte Flambée in french) and we indeed ate this thin crusted sour cream pizza. We checked out the museum showing the Grünewald Altarpiece. We didn’t have a chance to checkout the Bartholdi museum though, but we did see a statue of liberty when leaving the place. The Statue of Liberty was gifted by France, though the money to install it was raised by one of the most successful crowd-funding campaigns.

Some other highlights of the trip include a birthday party at a remote south-German village, a visit to the dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel (more on this later), and a trip to visit family in Estonia (photo below).

My newphew Edik (Eduard) performing in Rakvare, Estonia

My newphew Edik (Eduard) performing in Rakvare, Estonia

Live Video Streaming From My Phone to the Internet

Posted in Research by Misha on May 28, 2012

Yesterday I turned my cell phone into a live video streaming camera accessible from around the world. I downloaded and installed IP Webcam on my Android phone. At first, the video stream was only accessible from my home local network. With a little bit of port forwarding, I was able to stream to the Internet. My friend confirmed seeing the live video of my fish tank in Berlin.

IP Webcam is free on the Google Play store. The application grabs the video from your phone camera. It also runs a lite webserver right on the phone. Other computers can connect to this server and watch the stream. The phone and computers all have to be on the same wireless network for this to work. When you run the application on your phone, it tells you the IP address that can be typed into a browser to see the video. This is a private ‘192.*.*.*:8080’ address. However, I configured my home internet router to ‘expose’ this server to the greater Internet. I routed standard web traffic (port 80) to the the video broadcasting server address from IP Webcam (and to the specific IP Webcam port 8080). I then looked up my current IP address (using those free IP lookup sites) and gave it to my friend to test.

Port Forwarding IP Webcam DD-WRT

Installing IP Webcam is a piece of cake. Configuring the router is slightly tricker and is made easier if your router is running a decent router configuration Web GUI. My router runs dd-wrt—an open source routing software—so it was easy to set up. Check out the screenshot of the interface. I was pretty shocked how easy it was to set this up overall. This setup is just a quick and dirty prototype. Registering a static IP is probably required to have this work consistently over time. Still, it was a proof of concept. Soon, there will be streaming video coming from every inch of the globe.