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August 23 2014
Every artist hopes to come up with an original idea, to be on the forefront of the next big idea or movement. This is hoping against the odds as the past two centuries have seen an explosion of movements, styles and schools of thought that rained down in Western art like a meteor shower. Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism and many other modern movements would originate, peak and dissipate rapidly, lasting a few decades or less. World Wars arose and crushed other movements like Romanticism or Der Blaue Reiter. There are many forms of art that we can reach into the past and mine: appropriate and carry on with. In fact, schools of American Impressionists are still working in different lineages since the 19th century from William Merrit Chase, John Singer Sargent and other painters. Waves of more recent artists have imitated Picasso and Warhol. For the contemporary artist hoping to create something unique, there is very little chance of inventing something new.
Current technologies are opening the door for innovation. Many times, I am seeing where maker technologies are being used to vary production of traditional physical media arts and crafts. Laser cutters are being used to etch intaglio printmaking plates, textiles are incorporating electronics and lights, robotics are animating sculpture, and digital media is widely available. Video, animation and interactive arts are now accessible to most of the general public. It’s an exciting time to be involved in the hacker/maker culture.
I may have come upon an idea that can become an art style uniquely ours: Laser Collage. I have always enjoyed collage for drawing on images and materials readily available around people. At its most basic level, the only thing needed to create collage art is some form of glue or paste. Good scissors, a razor blade or hobby knife are helpful. Throughout art history, most fine art collage works have followed their siblings in painting and drawing, largely staying within the bounds of a rectangle or square. Contemporary painters such as Elizabeth Murray, Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly set their abstract works free from the tyranny of the rectangular border. Now artists in the hacker/maker community can liberate the collage from the rectangle.
Laser Collage innovates through using two things well loved in the hacker/maker community: digital vector art and laser cutters. By using a vector design, the exterior borders of a collage art can take any form. Art works can have further elements by using raster etching as well as the vector cutting abilities of the laser. Artists can utilize recycled materials. I am excited by the possibilities for this medium. Functional and three dimensional designs are possible beyond flat two dimensional art works. Laser Collage is an art style that frees the collage art to be any size and shape. This is an art form that can be uniquely ours.
My experiments with these samples were basic in materials. I used recycled chipboard (i.e. common food packaging like cereal boxes) and a simple glue stick. I avoided PVA [polyvinyl acetate] “white” glue since it is similar enough to PVC to be a possible problem with dangerous fumes from a laser. Any glycerine and wheat-based adhesive like glue sticks, YES! Paste or acrylic-based adhesive like gel medium should be safe for laser cutting.
Using the Epilog Mini 30W laser, I got an excellent cut through the variable thickness layers of paper and chipboard using a vector setting of speed 15 / power 100 / hz 2500. The edges have a little scorch, so you may want to adjust your cutting power or increase the speed. Raster etches were at speed 40 / power 100. Etching has interesting potential for etching your collage in a fashion that lower layers reveal different colors in the design. My approach was to cover the chipboard surface first in collage elements with my glue stick and then place it in the laser cutter for cutting and etching. The artist controls the materials used, color palette, range of colors, form of the collage pieces, flow of the collage design, number of layers cut by the laser, laser etching elements and the ultimate size and shape of the border.
Creators without access to a laser cutter could use vector designs using an electronic cutter like a software hacked Cricut, a Silhouette cutter or similar machine. I have often seen owners of these tools cut elements to incorporate into collages, artist books and paper arts, yet still retain the linear borders of a square or rectangle. Shaped collages would be restricted by the width of the cutting machine which is usually around 12 – 15 inches, whereas laser cutters tend to have larger cutting dimensions. I am most excited by the potential for the medium through laser cutting technology because a laser cuts details a lot finer than a metal blade can and etching adds more potential depth to the design.
Laser Collage is my humble offering to the continuum of Western art history. Maybe I will be the only one interested in this form but I am putting the concept online hoping other people will want to try it. Mixed media elements including paints, markers, pens and pencils can also be easily incorporated. Feel free to experiment with the process on your own and please respond if you want to show your work in this medium, if you have any discoveries or develop a variation of the technique.
August 20 2014
It’s time for another movie night! This is our third tech-documentary related movie night, and we will be showing Revolution OS. “Revolution OS is a 2001 documentary film that traces the twenty-year history of GNU, Linux, open source, and the free software movement.”-Wikipedia
Since LinuxCon Chicago ends on Friday at 5 PM, this is an excellent after-con event to bring your friends to!
There will be popcorn and feel free to BOYB.
Where: Lounge of Pumping Station: One
3519 N. Elston
When: Friday August 22, 7:30-9:30 PM
Doors open at 7 PM
This event is open to the public.
August 18 2014
NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
Tonight at NERP, Sevin Straus will give an introduction to NVIDIA’s CUDA architecture. CUDA uses a cpu to farm out pieces of a task to the parallel processors in a video graphics chip (GPU). [more below]
[img: large-video-dynamic-parallelism-2-en.jpg nvidia.com]
Nvidia wants lots of developers to know about CUDA. To that end, they have put together a complete development environment. In the best of all worlds, the environment should be usable on Linux after simply running “install.sh”. It’s never really that simple. Sevin has put together a working develpment system targeting the Jeston development board. Tonight he’ll show us how he did it and some of the included demos.
A sense of what CUDA is about would include these thoughts collected from various parts of the CUDA website:
CUDA® is a parallel computing platform and programming model invented by NVIDIA. It enables dramatic increases in computing performance by harnessing the power of the graphics processing unit (GPU). A GPU consists of thousands of smaller, more efficient cores designed for handling multiple tasks simultaneously.
GPU-accelerated computing is the use of a graphics processing unit (GPU) together with a CPU to accelerate the compute-intensive portions of tan application to the GPU, while the remainder of the code still runs on the CPU. From a user’s perspective, applications simply run significantly faster.
Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is August 18th, 2014.
NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi,
hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping Station One
Years back, I used to throw a lot of cocktail parties. Between myself and two good friends, we owned five cocktail shakers and 35+ martini glasses. During the parties, we’d typically be the only three people shaking martinis for all the guests. Though that’s awesome, it also means we missed out on much of the socializing and mingling during each party.
In preparation for a recent birthday party, the solution came to me: Use Lasers! So, I laser cut ten coaster-sized pieces of basswood and then laser engraved my twelve favorite Martini and Champagne cocktail recipes on them. I also cut stands for them that had a laser engraved “best practices” guide for shaking Martinis – you know, the things that bartenders are typically too busy to do for you: Chill your glass before pouring your drink into it, shaking your drink until it is sufficiently cold, etc. The drinks have recipes that taste better than what most bartenders will make for you, because they include things like an amount of lemon or lime that they’re too busy to squeeze into your drink.
The party was an even more awesome experience for me, because I wasn’t only shaking drinks all night. It was also even more awesome for the guests, as they found that great cocktails are super easy to make! And who doesn’t like to make things? Also, the carbonated Gin & No tonic is real crowd pleaser! See my previous post about home carbonation for more info, and note that all types of inappropriate things can be carbonated: Gin, Ardbeg Corryvreckan, grapes, etc!
TOG Duck is on migration this month to EMF Camp, a 3 day camping for those with an inquisitive mind or an interest in making things: hackers, artists, geeks, crafters, scientists, and engineers. TOG Duck transport costs are being supported by the event shiny fund. Check out some of the other shiny projects too. We are making a host of changes to our duck from its last outing at Dublin Maker. We are adding lights , quacks, position logging and remote control. If you can’t find us roaming the campsite we can be found at our village. Check out some photos of the build in the gallery.
August 17 2014
At 12:30pm on 8/24 we’ll start with a beer tasting (bring your favorite homebrew or craft brew), decide a beer recipe, go shopping for the ingredients, and then do a hands-on brew session with the following steps:
1) malt grinding
7) pitching yeast
8) setting the fermenter temperature and starting the fermentation.
We’ll probably also keg or bottle one of our previous brews.
This event is open to anyone ages 21 and over. No need to RSVP, see you on Sunday!
August 16 2014
We’re planning on setting up a Nerdy Derby track at the upcoming Makerfaire so to that end we are preparing car parts. We recently received a generous donation of filament from Inventables (thank you!) so MegaMax and others went right to work printing wheels for the Nerdy derby cars. The goal is to print 4000 (!) wheels before the Makerfaire.
You would get free entry into the Makerfaire for volunteering, and we’re just looking for people willing to volunteer a few hours; we are going to be at the booth Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM-2 PM. You will have plenty of time to enjoy the Makerfaire:)
Staying in NYC is pricey, but I have reserved a hotel room 2 mi from the Makerfaire and would be willing to split with people (so far the room is split between 2).
Please email me if you are interested in volunteering and representing PS: One at the World Makerfaire!
August 15 2014
It’s definitely a nice looking machine. Professional quality build all around. Matt N. spent some time setting it up and hit “print” on a rather challenging model (with tiny spires and everything!) The first print turned out OK, but as with any 3D printer, there’s probably a bit of tweaking (or reading of the manual) to do.
We’re excited to see what our members can do with this machine, and how it compares to the MakerBot, LulzBot, and Solidoodle we currently have in the 3D Printing Lab.
August 14 2014
Women’s Electronics Workshop: Intro to Arduino is scheduled for Sunday August 24, 2-5pm. Register on the Meet Up page. Here’s the blurb:
Learn to program Arduino using the ATtiny85, a $2 chip that’s perfect for simple projects. You’ll receive your own Tiny Programmer ($20) which uploads your code to the chip, and your first ATtiny85.
We’ll cover basic Arduino syntax, controlling LEDs, and using a photocell as a sensor. You’ll also learn about the best online resources for teaching yourself more Arduino.
***The ATtiny85 is the same chip that powers boards like the Trinket and the Gemma. To learn more about making your own wearable Arduino with the ATtiny85, check out this instructable (pictured above).***
Workshop fee: $30
Materials fee: $30
-BYOB: Bring your own breadboard. If you did the circuit building workshop, you should have one already. Please bring it with you.
This workshop is for participants who identify as female or genderqueer.
About the instructor: Jesse Seay is a professor at Columbia College Chicago, where she teaches electronic art in the Audio Arts & Acoustics Dept. She has an MFA from SAIC and an MA in Communication Studies from UNC Chapel Hill. Find her work online at www.jesseseay.com and blog.jesseseay.com.
August 12 2014
August 11 2014
You’ve probably heard a little bit about MagneTag before if you’ve seen Adam or Jason H. around the space. Adam’s been working on it for a few years now, and Jason H. jumped on board when he saw how awesome it was. The latest in MagneTag news is a call back to the TV show Shark Tank.
Yes, that’s right. Shark Tank. It seems they were in Milwaukee recently scouting ideas for the show and our MagnTag boys impressed them enough to pique their interest, so they’re preparing to wow them again, and we’re pretty sure they’ll succeed!
MagneTag is a bit of a makerspace success story. Adam and Jason H. would agree that without Milwaukee Makerspace, it would not have come this far. Let’s all wish MagneTag luck as they wade into the shark-infested waters of potential investors!
August 08 2014
TOG members and Capital Brewers return to TOG HQ this Saturday. Hearty brews are on the menu, in both brewing with guidance and instructions from the experts, and tasting craft beer made earlier!
A very rough time-line of a brew day is as follows:
- 10:30am – 12pm: Heating water, water treatment and mashing grain
- 12pm – 2pm: Boiling, BBQ, beer tasting from previous brews and visitors beers
- 2pm – 4pm: Cooling and clean up
Every brew day is slightly different with a mix of brewers, recipes and techniques. This weekend Michelle will be brewing a pale ale, similar to something you would get from Sierra Nevada. We will be bottling the mixed berry cider kit that was bottled last month so that should be ready when we meet again in September.
The long term goal would be to get a full set of brewing equipment that TOG members can use themselves at the space and make your own beer, cider or wine whenever you like! All you need are the ingredients. This is a monthly event that usually happens the first/second weekend in a month so if you can’t make this brew day there will always be another opportunity.
Its always a fun and engaging day, the cost is free (donations are welcome) so come along, ask questions and even help with the brewing!
August 07 2014
There seems to be a phenomenon in the workplace – in all workplaces – when you’ve just finished Doing the Thing you’re supposed to do. The moment you lean back for one second, sure enough, the Boss walks by and says, “Why aren’t you Doing the Thing?!?” In honor of this widespread misfortune, my fellow store managers and I developed:
The Barrister Free Mulligan Token
You see, I work at a board game & toy store. In the world of collectible card games, taking a mulligan essentially means putting back the hand you were dealt and drawing a new one. We figured our staff could use a second chance if they were ever caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. With plenty of help from Shane, I was able to laser-cut a bunch of wooden tokens.
Standing up to your boss can be difficult. But there are times when it’s appropriate, and now each employee is well-armed against fickle fortune. Shane called our idea “very forward-thinking.” My favorite part was at last week’s staff meeting, where everyone got do decorate their own personal token:
To expend a token, we simply drop it through the slot in the top of the pencil case, which is bolted to the backplate. Once you take your Mulligan, the boss owes you a second chance, an apology, and (for good measure) a sandwich. Expended tokens may be reclaimed by attending a staff meeting. Who knows how much use they’ll see? Even as just a symbol, it gave us a way to talk about the elephant in the room.
And play with the glitter glue.
August 06 2014
PS:One member Jenny organized a Friday night viewing a few weeks ago of The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. I was thankful to be able to watch that powerful film with others and discuss it afterwards.
To follow on that success, I would like to invite anyone that is interested to join me this Friday night at PS:One to watch the 2012 documentary film:
A documentary on the workings and beliefs of the self-described ‘hacktivist’ collective, Anonymous.
Date: Friday, August 8th
Time: 7:30pm; doors will open at 7:00pm
Location: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL
Room: Lounge or Electronics Lab (depending on concurrent Writer Zen
Who: Open to the Public!
Drew Fustini (@pdp7)
Lucid Dream: any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming.
A few of us got together to discuss lucid dreaming this past Sunday. Among the things we talked about were; the benefits of lucid dreaming, the possible evolutionary explanations for dreaming, and personal lucid dreaming experiences.
We left off with a group challenge to try at home:
1. Wake up earlier than normal.
2. Play ambient tropical ocean sounds. Click here for ambient music or find your own.
3. Go back to sleep with the ambient tropical sounds playing.
With this experiment, we want to see if we can affect our dream’s setting through audio. You may be able to hear the sounds in your dream, which could place your dream on a tropical beach.
I hope to use these meetings as a way to explore how we can use lucid dreaming, with intention and purpose, to improve and explore ourselves. How can we hack our dreams to get more out of them? Can lucid dreaming become part of our creative process? Join us at our next meeting and feel free to try out the group challenge. We will discuss our experiences with this experiment together.
Next Meeting: Sunday, Aug 10 at 7pm in the kitchen
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