Category Archives: epiVA

James George: Emerging Processes in Video Art

Self and Other:
An investigation in real-time double-duplex telepresence

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
– Lennon-McCartney

Self and Other is a computer mediated double duplex telepresence apparatus to redefine the limits of the sense of self.   — By Peter Terezakis and Vitor Freire based on the research of Henrik Ehrsson

Current work exploits the brain’s need to determine the location of a test subject’s body in physical space in order to recreate a physical identity separate from the actual body. Our goal is to use two subjects who will each experience the other’s body as their own.

Altered States of Consciousness •  Edited by Charles T. Tart • Anchor / Doubleday • Publication Date: 1972Background:

In my junior year of high school Charles Tart’s
Altered States of Consciousness introduced me to a world of academic research into the nature of reality.

A year later I discovered R.L. Gregory’s observations in Eye and Brain. This text introduced me to a nether world where I discovered that it was no longer possible to trust what my brain told me my eyes were seeing.

In 1974 I developed what was to become a life-long friendship with Joseph Shapiro, O.D. who was working on a book whose focus was the distinction between sight and vision. The distinction between those concepts took me nearly thirty years to both appreciate and include in my works of art.

Last semester I wrote an essay which referenced Gregory’s seminal work on vision and consciousness. In it I referenced the physics of image creation as it occurs within the structure of our eyes and how our brains then reinterpret raw data to conform the “observer’s” perception of the physical world (e.g. up and down) in a manner which best allows for the successful negotiation of daily life.
Optical data is both inverted and reversed on interior curve of the eye.  Image under license.

In December of 2012 Joseph introduced me to the research of a friend’s colleague through a YouTube video. The experiment I saw set me thinking about a new feedback and measurement system which might be used to isolate the mechanism which so radically reinterprets – and homogenizes – what we perceive as reality.

Fellow ITP classmate Vitor Freire and I met to discuss possible final project ideas for James George‘s class in Emerging Concepts in Video Art.

After some discussion, I suggested my permutation of Henrik Ehrsson’s (MD, PhD) experimental mechanism as a method to begin to investigate the sense of self. Up until now, researchers have been using simplex communication between a subject and the outside world. Using a lot of DIY, parts from Amazon, and OpenFramworks software, we are constructing a double-duplex VR system designed for two subjects to wear and experience simultaneously.

Each subject wears a VR goggle with cameras mounted on the front, looking out at the other. Subject “A” would be seeing what Subject “B” would be “seeing.” Subject “B” would be “seeing” what subject “A” would show. Simply changing a visual point of reference is not enough to create the condition we seek. If it were this easy, every film would be an out-of-the-body, spiritual experience.

The stressor to the system is to use multiple deceptive cues with as little latency as possible. This is analogous to the reason why jiu-jitsu techniques are so effective. Most joints in the human body are meant to bend in one direction. You can even twist a joint a little and still be within limits. But bend AND twist at the same time, and a visceral wave of panic will flood the body. Through low video latency (bend) and haptic (twist) cuing, it may be possible for the two subjects to experience a transfer of the sense of body awareness from one body to another.

The premise of the experiment is not to pilot a machine with consciousness, or to examine the relationship between consciousness and computational media. We are interested in exploiting some of the cues which the brain uses to determine where it is in physical space in order to create a transference of the sense of self to that of another body.  Experiments will explore the limits of what is currently known. Application of this technology may redefine experiences in play, romance, war, and work.

For this reason we are open to testing on wide segment of the population. Tests with same gender and similar physiognomies would most likely give rise to predictable experiences. For this reason we are interested in documenting same and mixed age, culture (language), gender, race, and physical disability trials.

• Not recommended for children or a mixed adult-child partner.
• Not recommended for individuals with with gender and/or race issues.
• Not recommended for individuals who experience anxiety or panic attacks.
• Not recommended for individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
• Not recommended for fundamentalists (of any persuasion), individuals who are delusional,paranoid, recreational drug-users, schizophrenics, or those under psychiatric or psychological care.



Coo coo ca choo

Tisch School of the Arts

DIY Virtual Reality Goggles ?

I thought these things would have been uber available by now.
VR glasses University of Utah 1971
A couple of companies have goggles, but they are just too expensive for what I have in mind
for the double-duplex out-of-body telepresence experience project for class.
Oculus Rift - Kickstarter product
As the production run for the Oculus Rift goggles (above) was slated for June of last year,
the developer version $300, and they haven’t returned my phone calls, I may have to hack my own
version of Virtual Reality Goggles for this project.The three main components for the VR goggles is the frame or wearable viewing package (holds optics and
electronics in place), the optics used to shrink the distance needed to view the image on the display, and the
display.Found this refresher series on vision useful for basics…
I love the graphics!
I do love the graphics!
Here’s another low tech approach:

Year-long film


Year-Long Film
At any given moment in the history of mankind our sun has been burning 93 million miles away
providing energy for every form of life on our planet.  Changes of climate and geology have moved
at a rate and pace often described as “glacial.”   Up until relatively recently.  Using a calendar based
upon the life of our planet, it was only a moment ago that mankind figured out how to use fire to
stay keep wild animals away, stay warm, and cook food.  With a population of nine billion,
contemporary civilization has changed local landscapes, the chemistries of our atmosphere, drinking
water, and even our planet’s oceans.  During the past twenty-five years dramatic changes in our
planet’s climate and ecosystems have been documented in journals, photographs, videos, first-hand
testimonials, peer-reviewed presentations, and more.

Consumer/rate-payers embrace a culture based upon disposable packaging, ease of use, and lowest cost.
Banking and industry have become the puppeteers of nations as governments work to keep their citizenry in
check.  Prayer has been replaced with insurance premiums: we have become a global culture of “me” without
notions of accountability or preparing our world for subsequent generations.

I came across the graph below when researching concepts for the assignment of creating a “year-long film.”
The NASA website uses CO2 changes as a marker for climate change.
The NASA website uses CO2 changes as a marker for climate change.
I do not understand what the impact of that graph will have on me, my family, or my community.
What I do understand is that the chemistry of our atmosphere has been dramatically altered – within our
lifetimes. It is axiomatic that the business of business is business.  Pandering to unlimited demand, multinational
oil corporations are changing every aspect of our planet with their work – multiplied by a population of nine billion
(and increasing) consumers.
I elected to combine satellite imagery of the sun, video of swimming jelly fish, and an OF generated layer which simulated the rise of CO2 in our atmosphere.  The animation below shows interactivity through mouse movement
– an optimistic approach to reversing Carbon Dioxide levels in our atmosphere. I also chose to use two songs by
seminal performance artist and New Yorker, Laurie Anderson.
This is a good moment to thank Lia Martinez for hours of patient help with OF.  This work wouldn’t have been
completed without her (Thank you, Lia!).
Big oil has been the articulating hand in the sock puppet of more than one U.S. presidency. From Wikipedia:” In 2005, Council on Environmental Quality chairman (and former oil industry lobbyist) Philip Cooney, was accused of doctoring and watering down descriptions of climate research from other government agencies. The White House denied these reports.[27]Two days later, Cooney announced his resignation [28] and conceded his role in altering the reports. “My sole loyalty was to the President and advancing the policies of his administration,” he told the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  In addition, the administration thanked Exxon executives for the company’s “active involvement” in helping to determine climate change policy, including the US stance on Kyoto.

Our federal government’s actions regarding irreplaceable, vital natural resources for the past decades is analogous to putting pedophiles in charge of primary schools.  As long as the taxpayers don’t start screaming rape, the portfolios of the vested will continue to throb, and the unbridled exploitation will continue.

(Quicktime of year-long project above. Click to begin.)

Emerging Processes in Video Art: Video Haiku

I thought that was my haiku (here’s its video). I was wrong. Turns out what I wrote was a six-word story.

Basho’s haiku set the standard of five syllables in the first line, seven in the next, and five in the third. You gotta love the byzantine process of cultural appropriation which has brought an art form developed by a man who died in 1694, half-way across the planet, into a class in OpenFrameworks video art, Manhattan, and the 21st century.   Intellectual dissonance is inspiring.

Edo Manhattan
Across time, men stand and fall.
The same moon rises.

Peter Terezakis

Tisch School of the Arts