Monday, December 1, 2008

Eyebeam: loads of fun

Eyebeam was by far the most interesting and fun lecture of this semester, despite its length. You knew right away it wasn't going to be anything like the rest of the lectures thus far, or like any lecture you've ever attended, when they started the day by exchanging profanities and discussing how they constantly curse during their lectures. No stuffy, pretentious self-proclaimed art aficionados here. The focus of Eyebeam is to bring art and technology together providing a safe and encouraging environment at their facilities in New York and also to extend their practices to the neighborhood around them. They have after school programs, in which high school students are allowed to use their equipment and space for their own projects and some of the projects that these people discussed required outside participation. One of them put together an event where people, kids mostly, created armor out of cardboard boxes only to destroy them in a massive street brawl. Another of them turned throwing parties into an art form and even held a workshop on how to throw a great party. One of my favorite of the projects discussed was the boozebot, which is a robot that provides party goers with drinks and conversation, and even compliments if you are lucky enough. One of their most impressive endeavors was passing out a fake (but very realistic) issue of the New York Times which proclaimed that the war had ended and issues such as global warming were being solved. It had an appropriate tag line that stated this is the news they wish to print. I was thoroughly impressed by how much work they had put into this project and how far they had taken it by distributing them to people on the streets ( for free, of course). I really enjoyed hearing about the different projects each fellow or resident was working on and how each seemed to incorporate community involvement, be it people in their direct neighborhood or from their virtual neighborhood. Their goal seems to be to bring people together through art and technology, whether to focus on important issues or to just find creative ways to party.

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