Archive for August 2007

I’m off to Burning Man

Here’s what I’m bringing:

SWARMVideo of same.

EOM

Illumination Village final map

Where many of my friends are staying. What a detailed map, eh?

illumination_village_07_200×400_final.pdf

Being quoted in the second MOBA book

I was asked today if I could be quoted in the next Museum of Bad Art book. Of course, I consented.

From Louise Sacco, Permanent Acting Interim Executive Director of the Museum of Bad Art

Lee,

We’re putting together the second MOBA book.  Of course, we’re recounting the tale of Eileen’s theft and recovery.  May I quote you in the book?  It would be as representative of the reactions of Friends of MOBA to the recovery of our painting.

Also, where do you live?  We would identify you as Lee Sonko, town, state.

Yours in bad art,

+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
Louise Sacco
Permanent Acting Interim Executive Director
Museum of Bad Art     www.MuseumofBadArt.org
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=

>
> The return of Eileen gives me hope for humanity.
>

>

We’re on TV!!

We’ve had a few TV mentions of late :-)

Most notably, there’s a piece on Current.TV and this piece on the local news :-)

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=drive_to_discover&id=5584601

Rswarm-abc7.pngichard Hart and his camera man came by a few weeks ago to do a story on us. Alan Wang of ABC7News.com introduced

Here’s a transcript of the video:

Richard Hart narrating:

This is a robot. Well, actually a roll-bot. It doesn’t even have wheels. It just sort of rolls along. But then it’s not supposed to do much. This robot was born to dance.

Michael Prados – “I think a lot of it came from brainstorming about kinetic art. And a lot of the discussion is centered around dance as an inspiration. And so by thinking about dancers and the way they move, we started to think about how we could have machines that had some of those same aspects.”

At the bottom of the sphere you will see something swinging back and forth. That’s a very heavy battery. By shifting it backward or forward like a pendulum you can force the cage to roll backward or forward, even change direction. On top is a black radome connected to an inexpensive wireless network called Zigbee, connected to a laptop which is connected to a common video game controller. But wait, there’s more. Michael Prados, Lee Sonko and a small team developed this for the art festival in the desert, Burning Man 2007. They are busy fashioning aluminum ribs and electronics for five more robots which will all become dance partners; because the black dome atop the robot contains a GPS unit in addition to wifi. So a half dozen robots will be able to talk to each other and synchronize their dance without needing the remote control. At least that’s the plan.

Michael Prados – “We hope that we can impart at least some small bit of it and suprise and delight people with a new kind of machine behavior.”

With the next roll in bots, Richard Hart, ABC Seven News.

Here’s the text of the article

Bay Area Group Building Dancing Robot

Will Be Used At Burning Man

By Richard Hart

– The Burning Man festival is only one week away, and, in warehouses throughout the Bay Area, artists are rushing to finish performance projects in time for the annual desert event. One of those groups is building a GPS ballet.

This is a robot. Well, actually, a roll bot. It doesn’t even have wheels. It just sort of rolls along. But, then, it’s not supposed to do much. This robot was born to dance. Michael Prados of the Swarmbot Project: “I think a lot of it came from brainstorming about kinetic art. And a lot of the discussion has centered around dance as an inspiration. And, so, by thinking about dancers and the way they move, we started to think about how we could have machines that had some of those same aspects.”

Look closely at the bottom of the sphere, and you will see something swinging back and forth. That’s a very heavy battery. By shifting it backward or forward like a pendulum, you can force the cage to roll backward or forward, even change direction. On top is a black radome connected to an inexpensive wireless network called Zigbee, connected to a laptop, which is connected to a common videogame controller. But wait. There’s more.

Michael Prados, Lee Sonko, and a small team developed this for the art festival in the desert, Burning Man 2007. They are busy fashioning aluminum ribs and electronics for 5 more robots, which will all become dance partners. The black dome atop the robot contains a GPS unit in addition to wi-fi.

So, a half-dozen robots will be able to synchronize their own dance without needing the remote control. At least, that’s the plan.

Michael Prados: “We hope we can impart at least some small bit of it, and surprise and delight people with a new kind of machine behavior.”

Burning Man officially kicks off on August 27, 2007.

——- Links ——-

The Swarmbots project is funded by
The Black Rock Arts Foundation, a part of Burning Man.
www.blackrockarts.org

Home of the SWARM Robots www.orbswarm.com

SWARM Blog blog.orbswarm.com

SWARM Wiki http://wiki.orbswarm.com

How to Enjoy the Burning Man Experience from the Comfort of your own Home

)'(  HOW TO ENJOY THE BURNING MAN EXPERIENCE FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME  )'(

-Pay an escort of your affectional preference subset to not bathe for five days, cover themselves in glitter, dust, and sunscreen, wear a skanky neon wig, dance close naked, then say they have a lover back home at the end of the night.

-Stack all your fans in one corner of the living room. Put on your most fabulous outfit. Turn the fans on full blast. Dump a vacuum cleaner bag in front of them.

-Buy a new set of expensive camping gear. Break it.

-Only use the toilet in a house that is at least 3 blocks away. Drain all the water from the toilet. Only flush it every 3 days. Hide all the toilet paper.

-Set your house thermostat so it’s 50 degrees for the first hour of sleep and 100 degrees the rest of the night.

-Before eating any food, drop it in a sandbox and lick a battery.

-Mail $200 to the Reno casino of your choice.

-Make a list of all the things you’ll do different next year. Never look at it.

-Search alleys untill you find a couch so unbelievably tacky and nasty filthy that a state college frat house wouldn’t want it. Take a nap on the couch and sleep like you are king of the world.

-Shop at Wal-mart, Cost-Co, and Home Depot until your car is completely packed with stuff. Tell everyone that you’re going to a “Leave-No-Trace” event. Empty your car into a dumpster.

-Spend thousands of dollars and several months of your life building a deeply personal art work. Hide it in a funhouse on the edge of the city. Hire people to come by and alternate saying “I love it” and “this sucks balls”. Blow it up.

-Cut, burn, electrocute, bruise, and sunburn various parts of your body. Forget how you did it. Don’t go to a doctor.

-Walk around your neighborhood and knock on doors until someone offers you cocktails and dinner.

-“Downsize” last year’s camp by adding two geodesic domes, a new sound system, art car, and 20 newbies.

-Lean back in a chair until that point where you’re just about to fall over, but you catch yourself at the last moment. Hold that position for 9 hours.

-Don’t sleep for 5 days. Take a wide variety of hallucinogenic/emotion altering drugs. Pick a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend.

-Set up a DJ system downwind of a three alarm fire. Play a short loop of drum’n’bass until the embers are cold.

-Have a 3 a.m. soul baring conversation with a drag nun in platforms, a crocodile and Bugs Bunny. Be unable to tell if you’re hallucinating. Lust after Bugs Bunny.

-Spend a whole year rummaging through thrift stores for the perfect, most outrageous costume. Forget to pack it.

-Read “Dhalgren” by Samuel R. Delany. Read “The City Not Long After” by Pat Murphy. Cut off the bindings, throw all the pages up in the air, and shuffle them back together. Reread “The City After Dhalgren” by Samuel Murphy. Burn it. Read the ashes.

-Listen to music you hate for 168 hours straight, or until you think you are going to scream. Scream. Realize you’ll love the music for the rest of your life.

-Spend 5 months planning a “theme camp” like it’s the invasion of Normandy. Spend Monday-Wednesday building the camp. Spend Thurs-Sunday nowhere near camp because you’re sick of it or can’t find it.

-Bust your ass for a “community.” See all the attention get focused on the drama queen crybaby.

-Get so drunk you can’t recognize your own house. Walk slowly around the block for 5 hours.

-Tell your boss you aren’t coming to work this week but he should “gift” you a paycheck anyway. When he refuses accuse him of not loving the “community”.

-Ask your most annoying neighbor to interrupt your fun several times a day with third hand gossip about every horrible thing that’s happened in the last 24 hours. Have them wear khaki.

-Tear down your house. Put it in a truck. Drive 10 hours in any direction. Put the house back together. Invite everyone you meet to come over and party. When they leave, follow them back to their homes, drink all their booze, and break things.

-Go to a museum. Find one of Salvador Dali’s more disturbing, but beautiful paintings. Climb inside it.

(this is reprinted from the Flaming Lotus Girls mailing list. Sorry, I don’t recall the author)

Off to Burning Man

I’ll be on my way to Burning Man on August 22nd or 23rd. I’ll be in the desert on August 23rd or 24th.  I’ll be leaving on Monday Sept 3rd or Tuesday the 4th.  Back in San Francisco by the 5th for sure.

If you need to reach me in a dire emergency, you should send an email to: 911@burningman.com

It will probably take hours for the message to reach me.

To get the message to me, they will need to know where I’m staying. Tell them I am with the “Swarm” art project and those folks can probably find me. The people at “Illumination Village” also know me. I’m camping in “Low Key Peep Flambe Camp”, an unregistered camp. It has 2 3′ tall peeps in front of it and the address is probably on Coral Reef somewhere between 4 o’clock and 5:30.

Yeah, it probably all sounds like gibberish to you. But that’s where I’m staying. And loving it (if only I could get some sleep before going to the playa. I’ve been out til midnight every night welding and making battery packs and helping and managing others… managing is no fun and keeping the books. Sleep when you’re dead, right?)