Oculus Rift at Convergence

Posted: December 27, 2014 at 3:27 pm

The following was originally posted on Google+ on Dec 18th, 2014.

I experienced the Oculus Rift at Convergence in Banff a few weeks ago and meant to post my reflections. First, a little background: I’ve been doing computer graphics since I was a preteen (I used digipaint – 86, Imagine 3D – 86, and multimedia with AmigaVision – ~90, I also tinkered with SGIs running Alias in the early 90s), and I was lucky enough to go to SIGGRAPH in 1995, when I used a VR system of the time. It was so heavy that it was mounted on an armature you moved  around with your hands. (more…)


“Watching and Dreaming (2001: A Space Odyssey) (version 1)” 2014

Installation Video (350MB) | Detail Video (43MB) | Promo Package (PDF)

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An image is a reference to some aspect of the world which contains within its own structure and in terms of its own structure a reference to the act of cognition which generated it. It must say, not that the world is like this, but that it was recognized to have been like this by the image-maker, who leaves behind this record: not of the world, but of the act. (Harold Cohen, What is an image? 1979)

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Basic income and the world’s “carrying capacity”

Posted: December 18, 2014 at 11:21 am

The following is an edit version of a comment posted to Google+ in response to a post by Matthew J Prince discussing the possibility of a basic minimum income to solve the problems of increasing automation and how many people the world can sustain (carrying capacity). (more…)


Convergence: What Are We Converging To?

The following was written as part of a series of posts for the Canada Council Blog from guest bloggers at Convergence: an International Summit on Art and Technology, at The Banff Centre, from November 27–29, 2014.

Self-Organized Landscape #4 (Architectural Study from Video)

Self-Organized Landscape #4, 2009

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Convergence: Art, Technology, Process and Tool

The following was written as part of a series of posts for the Canada Council Blog from guest bloggers at Convergence: an International Summit on Art and Technology, at The Banff Centre, from November 27–29, 2014.

Watching and Dreaming (2001: A Space Odyssey)

Watching and Dreaming (2001: A Space Odyssey), 2014

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A Machine that Dreams: An Artistic Enquiry Leading to an Integrative Theory and Computational Artwork

PDF Document (Institutional Repository)
PDF Document (Local Copy)

[B. D. R. Bogart. A Machine that Dreams: An Artistic Enquiry Leading to an Integrative Theory and Computational Artwork. PhD thesis, Simon Fraser University, 2014.]

What is a dream? What is the relationship between dreaming, mind wandering and external perception? These questions are at the core of this artistic enquiry. In this art-as-research practice, both arts and sciences are defined as practices that construct culturally relevant representations that function as tools exploited in our attempt to make sense of the world and ourselves. Through this research, novel contributions are made to both artistic practices and cognitive science where both are manifest in a computational system that serves as both a generative and site-specific artwork and as a computational model of dreaming — the Dreaming Machine.

Visual mentation is the experience of visual images in the mind and includes visual aspects of perception, mental imagery, mind wandering and dreaming. The Integrative Theory of visual mentation unifies biopsychological theories of perception, dreaming and mental imagery and makes three major hypotheses: Visual mentation (1) involves the activation of perceptual representations, (2) is experienced phenomenologically due to the activation of these representations, and (3) depends on shared mechanisms of simulation that exploit these representations. The Integrative Theory is the theoretical foundation of the model and artwork that generates dream imagery.

The Dreaming Machine is an image-making agent that uses clustering and machine learning methods to make sense of live images captured in the context of installation. Visual images are generated during external perception, mind wandering and dreaming, and are constructed from shared perceptual representations learned during waking. The difference between these processes of visual mentation are varying degrees of activation from external stimuli (exogenous) and feedback in a predictive model of the world (endogenous). As an artwork, the generative methods manifesting biopsychological processes create a rich diversity of imagery that ranges from abstract collage to photo-realism. The artwork is meant to facilitate the viewer’s sense of his/her own fabricated perceptions and consider the relationships between computation, cognitive models and scientific conceptions of mind and dreaming.