Our mediated communication with each other and our interaction with objects and systems in our environment pass through layers of software. The structure and workings of this fast running software is usually hidden from the user/player by design. The software installation pieces in nullPointerException hide and reveal interpretations of aspects of software code through interaction. These works refer to the fascia/interfaces between human ideas and machine execution. The installation works use the Microsoft Xbox Kinect as its primary sensing and interaction device.

The titles of the individual works are truism which programmers sometimes use as guidelines to improve their skills. The titles also highlight different aspects of software creation: the coding itself, the architectural structures, the creation of multiple versions and the effect of algorithms and logic. There are 4 works in this exhibition: comment_compileinterface_instead, commit_often, init_before
The colours used in the works are sampled from fragments of webcam images of the artist and from the Blue Screen of Death which appears when some computers crash. The exhibition forms part of Grotepass’s Masters in Digital Arts through the Digital Arts Division of the University of the Witwatersrand.



The works run on opensource systems using lubuntu 11.04 as operating system. The PC boots from a usb disk and autoruns the software. The player sensing is done with a Microsoft Xbox Kinect. The Kinect uses an infra-red grid and dual infra-red cameras to detect people in its range of view. The software for each piece was written in C++ using the openframeworks framework and collection of libraries. The Kinect is accessed using OpenNI and PrimeSense libraries. The sound for interface_instead is created using Python soundscape scripts and the soundscape framework. When an event is detected by the C++ software it sends a message to the Python agent using TCP/IP over the network and the sound is adjusted. The sound clips used were obtained from or recorded for this work. All the pieces create a virtual 3D space containing particles using particle addons in openframeworks. The particles obey simple coded laws which control their movement. For the different works the particles are coded to behave and render differently. The code for these works is opensource and is kept in a github code repository.

maia grotepass,
Oct 8, 2011, 9:33 AM