Apr 022016

writ-large-logoWrit Large is an Oakland-based exhibition and screening series and commissioning program for creative work at the intersection of literature, visual arts, and programming. The ongoing series of screenings, installations, and exhibitions features a curated program of text-based artwork in several related genres which go by different names but all share the use of screens rather than (or in addition to) print media or performance as vessel for the written word. These include kinetic typography, motion design and text animation, visual poetry, cine-poetry, and video poems, interactive poetry, text-based digital and new media art, generative and procedural programmed texts, and many forms of what’s known as “e-lit”. The festival gathers the diverse practitioners of these forms under one roof, and coalesces these related movements into a more cohesive whole that demonstrates the potentials of screen-based texts. We also work with writers, designers, animators, programmers, and other artists to commission new works to be featured in festival programs or in site-specific installations.

SUBMIT your ideas to Writ Large: http://www.writlarge.us

Writ Large curators take an expansive view of screen-based writing, and will consider work in many styles, genres, and disciplines — as long as text is an important element in the finished work or the process of its making. All media and formats are accepted, as long as the work can be viewed or accessed on a projection surface, computer, digital display, or mobile device in a screening or exhibition environment. Please submit your work as you intend it to be presented, in the categories you feel are appropriate, and complete all applicable fields. Recommendations for specific submission categories and venues are listed below.


Video Poetry: time-based film/video of poetry, written or read, “cine-poetry” “motion poems”
Interactive Fiction & Poetry: hypertext, writing in games, Twine, Processing, etc.
Animation & Kinetic Typography: web comics, text animation, motion design, title design, visual poetry or “vispo”, Flash, Processing, etc.
Generated and Procedural Texts: generators, chatbots, Twitterbots, etc.
Spoken, Performed, & Social: other texts that involve live reading, performance, in-person or group enactment


UCSC evening screening: a program of shorter (<15 min) time-based works on a large theater screen (May 21 2016)
UCSC exhibition: an exhibition of longer looping videos, installations, projections, kiosks, and interactive works  (May 15 – 21 2016)
Great Wall of Oakland: a program of shorter time-based visual works on a large, outdoor public projection surface (April 2016)
Great Wall off-site installations: longer visual works in various Oakland uptown/downtown storefronts (2016, ongoing)
Writ Large website: online exhibitions of various works that cannot be included in other venues

Writ Large began as a program at the Great Wall of Oakland in 2015.

Commissions and prizes are made possible through generous support by the following:

The Porter Hitchcock Poetry Fund (UCSC, Porter College)
The Zellerbach Family Foundation (Bay Area)
The Clorox Company Foundation (Oakland)

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Nov 232015


header-logoThe cymatic water tank visualizer takes any sound or data in the form of sound files, and plays them through deep bass “Buttkicker” speakers to vibrate a tank full of water. OpenLab Cymatic Wave Tank Visualizer 1Different frequencies excite different modes of vibration of the tank and cause different kinds of patterns in the water.

Higher frequencies make a delicate, wispy, spider-web-like pattern on the surface of the water, while lower frequencies make the water jump as the sound
creates standing waves.

This instructable shows the steps we went through to build the tank, the frame, and the electronics to run the visualizer. This project is part of the work of the University of California, Santa Cruz OpenLab, DANM, designed and constructed by Sean PaceZach Corse, and David Harris.

OpenLab Cymatic Wave Tank Visualizer 2



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Oct 092015

Stanford University, Cubberley Auditorium http://www.lastfestival.org 

Featured Speakers Include:

 Drew Endy, director of a Synthetic Biology lab at Stanford
 Peter Norvig, director of research at Google, on Artificial Intelligence
 Bruno Olshausen, director of a center for Neuroscience at UC Berkeley
 Jennifer Dionne, director of a Nanotech Lab at Stanford
 Chris McKay, planetary scientist at NASA

Art Expo – Interactive Digital Experimental Art (IDEA) 

This expo features a dozen interactive digital installations that break the “Do not touch!” taboo of the traditional museum. In alphabetical order:

  • Jeffrey Bryant
  • Evan Clayburg
  • Cere Mona Davis
  • Robert Edgar
  • Yuan-Yi Fan
  • Michal Gavish
  • Yoon Han
  • Allison Holt & Kadet Kuhne
  • Kinetech Arts
  • Ed Kirshner
  • Robin Lasser
  • Andy Lee
  • Al Linke
  • OpenLab
  • Carl Pisaturo
  • Alex Reben
  • Danielle Siembieda
  • DC Spensley
  • Meredith Tromble


Friday, October 16

Cubberley Auditorium,  Art Expo opens 6pm – 10pm

Saturday, October 17: Cubberley Auditorium:

Symposium – Engineering the Future 1:00pm – 5:00pm:

Art Expo – 1:00pm – 10:00pm

Sunday, October 18th: Li Ka Shing Center – Room 101/102

Homo Digitalis“- 1:00pm-4:00pm


LAST Mission

Creativity does not happen in a vacuum, whether it’s art, tech or science. They all coexist, influence each other and interact. Silicon Valley did not happen in a vacuum, it happened within the intense cultural ecosystem of the Bay Area. The L.A.S.T. festival aims at presenting art, tech and science within the same venue. The art expo features a dozen interactive high-tech installations that break the “Do not touch!” taboo of the traditional museum and that are meant to let you experience something you never experienced before. The symposium features talks on Artificial Intelligence, Graphics/Animation, Nanotech, Space Exploration, Computer Graphics, etc by leaders of today’s science and technology. The Life Art Science and Technology (L.A.S.T.) expo celebrates the confluence of art with the multiplicity of new media technologies and nascent sciences that are transforming sociality and experience in the 21st century.


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Aug 042015

Zach Corse is a UCSC DANM graduate student developing creative research projects for the Art + Astrophysics Lab in the Digital Arts Research Center this summer at UCSC with Nathaniel Ober.

The lab will work closely with OpenLab founding Professors Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Jennifer Parker with support from the UCSC NSF REU- Lamat Summer Research Program, OpenLab, and the SLUG: Supercomputer lab for Undergrduates.

OpenLab_Zach-CorseZach Corse is a seond-year graduate student in DANM currently working toward the visualization of wormholes in digital art.
His background is in theoretical physics. As such, the sciences inform his work as an artist. Conversely, the arts propel and refine his scientific pursuits.

Nathaniel Ober is a new media artist and recent graduate from UCSC DANM. His work crosses disciplines from installation and performance to video and sound. His interdisciplinary works examine concepts of human perception and natural phenomena, sound as vibration, time and space, and the finite versus the infinite.

OpenLab_Nathan_OberWorking with multiple facets of technology, he creates immersive installations that intend to pervade the viewers senses. His

current research is focused on astronomy and astrophysics, which deal with techniques of sonification and processes that attempt to expose our innate connection to the universe.

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Jun 022015


OpenLab_Water Waste and Public Space

Graduate student Andrea Steves opens Thursday night’s panel discussion on water, waste and public space at the UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts Research Center. (Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

SANTA CRUZ >> Underneath the city, snaking unseen through a system of pipes, is a stinky, sticky sludge nobody wants to talk about: human waste.

Until now.

This week, a UC Santa Cruz wastewater research class debuted two public events centered on human waste and how it’s treated. The class led a 5K walk Saturday, attended by around 80, tracing sewage’s route from campus to the treatment facility by Neary Lagoon.

A speaker panel on waste, water and public space was held Thursday at UCSC.

The goal, said Jennifer Parker, associate professor of art, is to spark conversation about the enormous amount of water running through sewers. Parker is head of UCSC’s art department and OpenLab, an interdepartmental collaboration, which both sponsored the events.

OpenLab_Water,Waste_and PublicSpace
Discarded toilets filled with messages about water waste greet visitors to the Digital Arts Research Center at UC Santa Cruz on Thursday. (Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

“We use perfectly clean drinkable water to put our waste in and it’s just that as a primary question — is that the best use of our resources?” Parker said.

The Santa Cruz wastewater treatment facility handles around 10 million gallons of wastewater each day — enough to fill a swimming pool the size of a football field a depth of nearly 50 feet, according to its website. Around half is from Santa Cruz and the rest from Live Oak, Capitola and Aptos.

That’s about 100 gallons of wastewater per person a day, from toilets, showers, washing machines and other domestic sources.

Capitola resident Brenda Livingstone joined the 5K on Saturday looking for exercise, and spent her morning following signs marked with arrows and cartoons of “smiling poop.”

She learned surprising statistics, such as toilets account for 27 percent household wastewater, the largest contributor.

Now she plans to change the way she showers and washes dishes, she said.

“All those little bits help,” said Livingstone.

Digital arts and new media graduate student Andrea Steves, the class’s co-leader, said she’s surprised that waste is not regularly part of discussion on the drought.

“A lot of the time it’s like, ‘Take shorter showers.’ But again, maybe it’s the ‘ick’ factor. People don’t want to talk about poop and people don’t want to talk about flushing the toilet,” Steves said.

Brooklyn, New York-based artist Shawn Shafner was one of four speakers Thursday. He founded the People’s Own Organic Power Project, an art and education sustainable sanitation program.

He began by tracing food’s route through intestines and sphincters, and asking the audience to call out synonyms for “the bodily function that dare not speak its name.”

The goal is to break the taboo, and encourage a shift from thinking of “poop” not as waste, but as a resource.

We don’t have to disassociate from our “poop” and say “That’s not me,” said Shafner.

“It may not be our prettiest part or our best-smelling part, but it is part of us,” he said.

More information about about the project see: http://www.fictilis.com/project/wastewater-walk


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May 182015
The Slugs to Sludge Wastewater 5K is a walk which follows the path of wastewater from the UC-Santa Cruz campus to the Wastewater Treatment Plant at Neary Lagoon. Along the way, participants will learn about the poetics and politics of human waste, and the water required to process it, as they travel through several different hybrid landscapes of wilderness and human infrastructure. The event aims to bring awareness to typically invisible material flows and promote water conservation in a creative, playful way that ties education to lived experience in the physical landscape of Santa Cruz.
All proceeds from the event will benefit Take Back The Tap.
Location: East Remote Parking Lot
Location details: Event begins at East Remote Lot and ends at Neary Lagoon Park.

Registration starts at 9:00 a.m.

Event starts at 9:30 a.m.

Park and meet at East Remote Lot. Course ends at Neary Lagoon Park. Buses run every 30 minutes back to campus.

Admission: Admission Required
Admission details: Pre-registration required via Eventbrite – Early bird registration is free for students!
Sponsored by: Arts DivisionPorter Senate, and OpenLab
Invited Audience: Everyone
Event dates:
05/23/2015 – 9:00am
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May 142015

V e s s e l s

by Pellham Johnston and eve Warnock

Thursday, May 14th, 6-7:45pm, California Academy of Science, San Francisco, CA


Pellham Johnston and eve Warnock help kick off NightLife LIVE this Thursday at California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco with an exhibit in the garden for OpenLab!


In Vessels, water is used to visually and sonically represent biometric data. The visitor’s heart rate is measured by reading blood density in the fingertip, and transposed into a liquid sequence which travels through a tube in the gallery.

This sequence ends as drops onto a resonant steel drum, translating the sequence into sound. The water is collected in a reservoir for recirculation through the system.The visitors see their heart rates visualized in front of them, and can watch the patterns of their hearts as the sequences travel through the tube. This allows for time to reflect on their influences on these rhythms and how these sequences may change with changes in their emotional states.


Details here about NightLight: http://calacade.my/1JVzahE

Vessel Project Infohttps://vimeo.com/127776845

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May 112015


Maker Faire Bay Area 2015



Maker Faire is part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new! As a celebration of the Maker Movement, it’s a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. Faire gathers together tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, food artisans, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. Makers come to show their creations and share their learnings. Attendees flock to Maker Faire to glimpse the future and find the inspiration to become Makers themselves.

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Apr 062015

SciArt Center Featured Member of the Month


David Harris
Science Communicator, Theoretical Physicist, Digital Artist in UCSC OpenLab and DANM MFA program
Interview with Emma SnodgrasseYour portfolio evidences some seriously impressive polymathy! Can you describe briefly what being a ‘science communicator’ means for you?D: The idea of a science communicator has evolved significantly for me over the past 20 years. In the beginning it was akin to science popularizer or translator, but then as I became a journalist, I started asking slightly harder questions of science the institution. Over time and particularly as I have explored my artistic practice, I have come to much better understand the interaction of science in society and feel that there is room for much better dialogue between science and other parts of society (insofar as you can make distinctions between disciplines).

I believe that science has made quite remarkable contributions to society but that it still needs to be questioned in terms of the claims it makes, especially regarding ontology and epistemology. These are not incompatible but merely different aspects of a healthy interaction of science with other fields. To me, a science communicator ought to be exploring that interaction including the facilitation of communication between science and other fields, especially recognizing that both sides in the communication act need comparable stakes in the dialogue.

Too much communication is guilty of subscribing to the ‘deficit model’ in which people believe that others will become sympathetic to their cause if only they knew more about it. This has been shown time and again over the past decades to be a false belief. This false belief is true of most scientists, most artists, and most people in general. Instead of facts as the atomic elements of conversation, I think we need to think in terms of stories and questions as the foundations of what we do. What questions are we asking of nature and culture and how can the process of answering those questions help us to better understanding?


Still from “Three Body Problem” that references Op Art of the ’60s in a representation of three planets in orbit around each other in a donut-shaped universe. Image courtesy of the artist.

PictureA visitor sets off a sequence of light and sound upon interacting with “Neutrino Flux”. Image courtesy of the artist.

E: Your works combine theory, concept, and function in a uniquely straightforward way, resulting in varied entry points for your aesthetic. What do you see as being the role of aesthetics in your work?D: Aesthetics is a tricky term for those of us who originally trained as theoretical physicists! We had our learning infused with the concept of beauty applied to equations, models, and proofs. But we never really tackled anything beyond beauty. Aesthetics is a concept I’ve become increasingly interested in over time, though. A colleague and I have been talking about running a seminar on physics and aesthetics that explores these concepts in various frames.In terms of my own work, I am far more interested in the concept of the sublime, especially Kant’s mathematical sublime. Science tells us an awful lot about the universe that we can only understand through models and analogies. But over time, scientists manage to internalize a personal set of models and analogies that works for them and they start to believe they see truth. I am somewhat leery of that process and try to stay aware of the fact that so much of science is beyond our direct human experience that we have at best an approximate truth at any particular moment. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue scientific means to better the approximation, however! It does mean that there are other truths we have access to as humans.

So, for example, in my piece Neutrino Flux, visitors experience very different things depending on their incoming level of understanding about the science that the piece references (an experiment formed from a cubic kilometer of ice a mile under the surface in Antarctica). Visitors who don’t know much about the science will experience their body moving in space, making occasional interactions with other objects, and causing effects in that space. Their experience might be of beauty and intrigue as they discover the light and sound interactions they cause but perhaps they’ll also feel the displacement from everyday life to that of the clean, clinical nature of scientific exploration in the context of an under-ice experiment. Scientists might notice the buried references to the Antarctic experiment in the geometry, layout, dynamics, and sound of the installation. And from that knowledge deduce that they have taken on the role of the neutrino, an ephemeral, hard to perceive fundamental particle as they pass through the installation reflecting on the various infinitudes and infinitesimals reflected by the piece. One thing I don’t want to do is be too didactic in my presentation of science.

PictureCharlie’s Bear. The proximity sensing (RFID) guts of a teddy bear are inserted, ready to interact via sound with a child’s other toys. Image courtesy of the artist.

E: Digital art is a medium that seems particularly useful for the convergence of art and science. What has the role of technology been in shaping sciart for you?   
D: I am surprisingly uninterested in technology but fascinated by science. So for me, technology is merely a tool I use in the exploration of the questions that drive me. A lot of what passes for sciart (a term I find problematic at best and could write a lot more about) is about technology rather than science and I just don’t find it that interesting. I am interested in work that is credible to both scientists and artists and I just say thanks to the technologists who allow many of my pieces to exist.Now it is true that new technology allows us to think new things and some of those things are things I want to think. But, for me, technology is generally a path to getting there rather than a driver of questions. I tend to adopt technology rapidly and then try not to let the focus be drawn too much by it in my work. I’ve had people suggest to me often that I should expose the electronics embedded in much of my work as they find it aesthetically interesting, but to me it just detracts from the questions the work is really about. I think that is probably something I learned from journalism—don’t let the words get in the way of the concepts and message.

– See more at: http://www.sciartcenter.org/members.html#sthash.CPnQhMGz.dpuf

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