Dorks plus electricity plus art equals one hell of a show.
BCBR PRINT | CLOSE WINDOW
2/15/2008 - 1:54:10 PM
Dorkbot creates local 'electronics community'
BOULDER - The continual advances in technology have forced people to think beyond the traditional definition of art.
Dorkbot is a group of affiliated organizations composed of artists, engineers, musicians, students and scientists who are interested in the application of experimental electronics or electronic media to the arts.
Jane Crayton, more commonly known as JanedaPain in the art community, is a new media artist and the lead volunteer organizer for Dorkbot303's Boulder/Denver chapter. She said it is an opportunity to bring together people in the Colorado area who are interested in contributing and participating in the electronic community.
It was in Spain that Crayton first heard of Dorkbot, and after attending an event there decided to start her own Colorado chapter. The Boulder/Denver chapter began in September 2006, and it costs nothing to become a member and attend events.
"Dorkbot provides a forum for educational public outreach," Crayton said. "I started it as a way to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, but make it more interesting so kids want to learn and get involved. I want to open this kind of art up to more people."
The local Dorkbot chapter hosts events on a bimonthly basis at art galleries and coffee shops that donate space. Crayton provides her own sound and video equipment at the events. Donations are accepted and used for equipment or supplies needed during presentations.
Each artist is expected to give an explanation of what they are doing in both the technological and theoretical aspects of the art. After each presentation is completed people have an opportunity to ask questions.
Dorkbot is a global organization that started in New York City at Columbia University with individual chapters around the world. The leader of each group is known as the dark overlord and is responsible for communicating events happening locally and globally. The Dorkbot organization also has a server where artists can post art and podcasts.
"The only way it stays together globally is through the Dorkbot association," Crayton said. "Everyone who is running a Dorkbot is part of an e-mail list, and we communicate and publish information."
Crayton creates electronic flyers for local events and maintains the local Web site. She uses her personal network of artists to share information about Dorkbot303. Locally 17 people are part of Dorkbot303, and anyone is welcome to join. People are also encouraged to submit a proposal to Crayton to present their work at future events.
Presentations have included electronic interactive shadow boxes, hacking into a Nintendo Game Boy, video art, audio blogging and a custom flash player.
John Maushammer, a Dorkbot member from Longmont and an electrical engineer, has created a watch that incorporates the video game "Pong" created by Atari Inc. Each minute the right side scores a point, and each hour the left side scores a point, which equates to the time.
"I wanted to make a watch so I learned the skills to make the case for it," Maushammer said. "It looks like a video game in a watch-size version."
He has been working on the original prototype for a year and continues to make improvements such as incorporating a computer inside the watch. The latest version plays the video game Asteroids and has more functionality.
"I want people to be able to make their own games," he said. "High school or college students could learn more about programming, make their own games and then wear it. The look would be the same and the functionality would be different."
He said Dorkbot events are a good way to present new ideas to people and work on public-speaking skills.
Justin Gitlin, known in the art scene as Cacheflowe, lives in Denver and is part of Dorkbot. He played live electronic music at a Dorkbot event using his laptop to mix sounds from his songs and incorporated visual art that reacted to the sound of the music.
"I use eight channels of audio to mix the sounds live," he said. "Everybody there is interested in art and technology and geeky things - hence the name Dorkbot."
Gitlin said his work uses cutting-edge digital multimedia with technology in both the audio and visual realm.
"Before the performance started I explained the process of how we set up our custom tools," he said. "People may not have any idea what is going on in the computer. The Dorkbot event allows me to remove some of the mystery and spread knowledge and create enthusiasm for digital art."
Gitlin also shared an interactive usable Web site created at his work in Denver at Factory Design Labs. The site had a holiday mixer clients could listen to and mix together popular holiday jingles.
"I am able to incorporate art into what I do commercially, and that could not have been done two years ago," Gitlin said. "Technology keeps on getting better and allows us to incorporate more fun features."
Colorado Music Buzz Magazine • January 2008 • Dorkbot article by Matt "Math You" Downy.
by Janet Perry
Nederland Gazette • September 7th Issue
“dorkbot is a gathering of artists, engineers, musicians, students, scientists and various others interested in the application of experimental electronics or electronic media to the arts. dorkbot303 is a forum to bringing together people in Colorado area who are interested in contributing, and participating with this growing electronic community.” The Colorado chapter of dorkbot was started by Jane Crayton also known as JanedaPain a new resident of Nederland. She reciently made headlines when she married Edwin Penniman in Boulder on the Happy Thursday Cruiser Ride in what she calls a ‘mobile guerrilla wedding’. Jane produces experimental electronic art, she is well known for her audio/visual art in the Colorado music scene. She participates in global new media festivals, often streaming live to them via her local internet connection. This Saturday Jane has brought her technology and boundary breaking electronic arts to Nederland when dorkbot303 comes to the Shining Star Cafe. Jane has been producing dorkbot303 since she visited the Austin dorkbot September 14th 2006. At that time she had already been interested in the global community of electronic artists. After attending the dorkbot in Austin she returned to Colorado and within 72 hours dorkbot303 had been created. Jane works with artist from around Colorado and the world and has a global vision of education. Jane explains, “STEM-A is a term I am trying to coin. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through Art. This is my mission with my art, to help humans reach their technology goals through education of STEM-A. We inspire people to learn STEM by exciting them through Art, if they are inspired to learn, they can expand learning into creative inventive development.” Jane gives circuit benders, hackers and inventors a place to show off their creative ingenious and talk about their work. “Not only do you get a performance, but you get a workshop experience on how the artist applied the technology of electronics into his or her practice.” Past dorkbot303 performances have included artist like Math You who hacks a Gameboy to create live electronic music, or Technic 9 whom animates in Flash or Ocean who uses Lightwave to creat mind boggling 3D images. This Saturday dorkbot303v2.02 will host three artist, the first artist VJ Aeon will demo the Numark NuVJ software and hardware for video mixing. Ahlunama a progressive electronic band will perfrom and discuss their music. And, JanedaPain will do a live performance transmitted live to San Francisco, California for the [:] Plug 3 [:] a Le Placard #9 festival. Jane explains “Le Placard #9 is a set of remote streaming festivals from around the world. The festivals feature global artist streaming from their home countries. There is one location hosting the event which has a physical event to coordinate and feature the global artist. This Saturday I will stream my live audio/visual performance from Nederland, Colorado to San, Francisco. And people around the world will be able to tune-in to the live performances. This is my third streaming performance, the first was to Helsinki Finland, and the second was to Regensburg, Germany, I am glad this time to have a performance in a similar timezone, where I can arrange a satellite event. This is a great opportunity as well for dorkbot, and this gives me the chance to teach people about remote live performances.” Dorkbot303 V2.02 will be a unique event for Nederland, and a complete change from the folk, bluegrass and rock that frequent Ned. Be prepared to experience something much more magnifying and electronic, very experimental and educational. Dorkbot 303, people doing strange things with electricity, this Saturday in Nederland at the Shining Star Cafe.