This paper describes the design and fabrication of MOD (Mobile Object for Drawing)–a portable instrument for combining analog and digital drawing. MOD is intended for live performance and content creation efforts that mix common analog drawing interfaces (i.e. paper, transparency, pencil, marker) with digital cameras (webcams, scientific imaging cameras, digital magnifiers and microscopes), custom software (for keying, thresholding, looping, layer) and digital projectors. The iteration of the instrument described here combines all of these components into a single portable battery powered pack- age that embeds the computation on a small linux computer, includes a small laser projector, and integrates custom tac- tile controllers. The intended uses of this instrument include experimental performance and rapid content creation; the instrument is intended to be suitable for formal (concert hall, theater) and informal (street performance, busking, parade, protest) settings, classrooms and maker spaces.
Momani, A., McNamara, D. (2018, March). MOD: A Portable Instrument for Mixing Analog and Digital Drawing for Live Cinema. In Proceedings of the Elevent International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction. ACM. (pdf)
I am honored to by invited by Kickstarter to make a contribution to their election issue, a series of online postings, essays, art works and discussion starters. My contribution is a recipe for urban project, in the style of those listed in my Manual for Urban Projection, intended for the days leading up to the election. You can check it out along with the other contributions here.
Honored to be invited to contribute to an upcoming Duke University Press book by Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) and Nancy Hightower, called Digital Fictions: The Future of Storytelling, a text that includes contributions from about 23 writers, artists, architects, journalists, and documentary makers writing about the most recent and groundbreaking ways multimodal writing, art, film and pedagogy are changing the landscape of 21st century narratives.
Honored to receive a grant from the The Grable Foundation to further develop SocialVR, and move toward its integration into Pittsburgh area schools and after school programs. The grant will allow Aparna Wilder, director of community outreach for SocialVR, will lead this planning and strategy development for the upcoming 6 months.
I am honored to be invited to participate in the NEA and Kennedy Center convening In Pursuit of the Creative Life: The Future of Arts and Creativity in America, taking place Friday, November 18, 2016 in Washington, DC.
I am honored to accept the invitation by Jax Deluca, Media Arts Director of Visual Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts, to join the Media Arts Advisory Panel. Looking forward to working together with other panel members to review submission and make recommendations. I will be focusing on the category of creation and education based activities such as production of new work, facilities access, residency programs, workshops, publications, and the development of web portals or mobile apps.
I have been invited to attend the PWL (People We Love) Camp between October 14-16 2016 in Kickstarters Brooklyn Head Quarters. Honored to be included and looking very forward to meeting all the creative makers and innovators.
My bug exhibition “All Around Us” that is on display at the Wood Street Galleries in Pittsburgh will be featured in an interview for The Scientist, “the magazine for life science professionals—a publication dedicated to covering a wide range of topics central to the study of cell and molecular biology, genetics, and other life-science fields” based in Ontario.
I’ve been invited by co-chairs Dave Colangelo and Michael Longford to present my urban projection–including my Manual for Urban Projection–work at the annual Media Architecture Summit. This event will take between September 29 to October 1, 2016 in Toronto.
I’ve been invited to create a new site-specific, large-scale participatory projection work to be performed at the annual Kickstarter Festival. The performance is scheduled for July 30, 2016 at Fort Green Park in Brooklyn. The performance will apply Dranimate to children’s drawings, as Zach Rispoli and I did at the Maker Faire last year at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, to light up the park with surround projection mapping onto the park’s prominent monument. This performance will repurpose our mobile project carts, built for the Statuevision project.
I am honored to be invited by Kim Domanski, Public Art Coordinator at the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, to serve as a jury member for the second annual Light City Baltimore exhibit, to take place in the spring of 2017 and include dozens of illuminated sculptures, projections and performance works, viewed by several hundred thousand viewers.
Dranimate, a gestural animation and digital puppeteering tool created with Zach Rispoli is now a Delaware C-Coorporation. We have received a gap filling grant from Carnegie Mellon’s Technology Transfer Office to engage fastforward.sh in creating our first product: a tablet app that brings Dranimation to the masses.
Dranimate is an interactive animation system that allows users to rapidly and intuitively rig and control animations based on a still image or drawing using hand gestures. Dranimate combines two complementary methods of shape manipulation: bone-joint-based physics simulation and
the as-rigid-as-possible deformation algorithm. Dranimate also introduces a number of designed interactions created around the metaphor of an image on a tablet screen replac- ing a physical drawing. The interactions focus the users attention on the animated content, as opposed to computer keyboard, mouse, or tablet surface while enabling natural and intuitive interactions with personalized digital content.
ArtBytes is a mobile app designed to accompany art seekers and makers to museums and galleries. The app emphasizes continuity and dialogue across a museum goer’s visits to different galleries, museums and exhibitions over time. During the visit to an exhibition, the app allows visitors to archive works of art they appreciate, in addition to specific elements within each work that are meaningful to the viewer. After the visit, the app provides opportunities for creative interaction with the specific visual elements within an art work; this opportunities include composition of new works through collages, as well as curation and presentation of these compositions to other users, in-real-life (i.e. not online) and outside of the gallery or museum space, using augmented reality techniques. The app aims to help art seekers better understand their own taste, increase access to works of art, extend art consumption activities to by engaging art seekers art making activities, and leverage crowds in helping art seekers discover new aesthetic experiences within and outside of the museum context.
Dranimate is an interactive animation system that allows users to rapidly and intuitively rig and control animations based on a still image or drawing, using hand gestures. Dranimate combines two complementary methods of shape manipulation: bone-joint-based physics simulation, and the as-rigid-as-possible deformation algorithm. Dranimate also introduces a number of designed interactions that focus the users attention on the animated content, as opposed to computer keyboard or mouse.
Momeni, Ali and Zach Rispoli (co-author).“Dranimate: Rapid real-time gestural rigging and control of animation”, demo presented at ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST). Charlotte, NC, 2015.
In this paper, we present a novel near surface augmented reading system that brings digital content to physical papers. Our system allows a collocated mobile phone to provide augmented content based on its position on top of paper. Our system utilizes built-in magnetometer of a smartphone together with six constantly spinning magnets that generate designed patterns of magnetic flux, to detect 2D location of phone and render dynamic interactive content on the smartphone screen. The proposed technique could be implemented on most of mobile platforms without external sensing hardware.
Xu, Ding, Ali Momeni and Erik Brockmeyer (2nd author). “MagPad: A Near Surface Augmented Reading System for Physical Paper and Smartphone Coupling”, demo presented at ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST). Charlotte, NC, 2015.
This paper documents the development of Caress, an electroacoustic percussive instrument that blends drumming and audio synthesis in a small and portable form factor. Caress is an octophonic miniature drum-set for the fingertips that employs eight acoustically isolated piezo-microphones, coupled with eight independent signal chains that excite a unique resonance model with audio from the piezos. The hardware is designed to be robust and quickly reproducible (parametric design and machine fabrication), while the software aims to be light-weight (low-CPU requirements) and portable (multiple platforms, multiple computing architectures). Above all, the instrument aims for the level of control intimacy and tactile expressivity achieved by traditional acoustic percussive instruments, while leveraging real-time software synthesis and control to expand the sonic palette. This instrument as well as this document are dedicated to the memory of the late David Wessel, pioneering composer, performer, researcher, mentor and all-around Yoda of electroacoustic music.
Momeni, A. (2015). Caress: An Enactive Electro-acoustic Percussive Instrument for Caressing Sound. NIME 2015.
This paper documents the development of ml.lib: a set of open- source tools designed for employing a wide range of machine learning techniques within two popular real-time programming environments, namely Max and Pure Data. ml.lib is a cross- platform, lightweight wrapper around Nick Gillian’s Gesture Recognition Toolkit, a C++ library that includes a wide range of data processing and machine learning techniques. ml.lib adapts these techniques for real-time use within popular data- flow IDEs, allowing instrument designers and performers to integrate robust learning, classification and mapping approaches within their existing workflows. ml.lib has been carefully de- signed to allow users to experiment with and incorporate ma- chine learning techniques within an interactive arts context with minimal prior knowledge. A simple, logical and consistent, scalable interface has been provided across over sixteen exter- nals in order to maximize learnability and discoverability. A focus on portability and maintainability has enabled ml.lib to support a range of computing architectures—including ARM— and operating systems such as Mac OS, GNU/Linux and Win- dows, making it the most comprehensive machine learning implementation available for Max and Pure Data.
A pretty comprehensive review and explanation of the Telepuppet.tv installation as part of Participatory City 2014 for Connecting Cities. It includes a media library with photos and video! Read it here.
The “Sound Reasons Festival” for Sound Art and Experimental electronic music took place in Delhi in November 2012 and included our work Serenity and Serendipity. There is more information about my project at Whatsupbharat.
The festival comprised of sound Installations, live music, sound performances and workshops.
Announcement of my project – Animal Warmth (60S EDITION)- on Toistuido website.
“Ali Momeni, self described “builder, composer, and performer,” has been creating Animal Warmth, a serial artwork with arrangements of carbon filament light bulbs and computer generated sound, for several years. With only timed movements of light and sound emanating from the bulbs the artist transforms manufactured, non-living objects into lively, space animating, and audience pleasing beings. “
“Scalpel is a biannual publication created for an exclusive audience of 600 top executives at Pernod Ricard. Its role is to inspire creative collaboration with the best emerging talent in photography, film, art, technology, music, fashion, design, retail and gastronomy.
Scalpel brings together twelve thought leaders, or ‘Surgeons’, from the worlds of photography, film, art, technology, music, fashion, design, retail and gastronomy. Surgeons present a profile of their top five up-and-coming talents who they predict will breakthrough in the next 24 months to inspire creative collaborations between Pernod Ricard and the very best emerging creative talents.
Scalpel is a practical tool. It includes a directory so that the talent featured can be contacted and creative collaborations formed. The publication is supported by a website, events, workshops and an annual creative excellence award.”
“The Tragedy of the Commons consists of a live experiment in the form of an installation, in which thousands of Atta ants – commonly known as leafcutter ants – create a choreography while reacting to certain flavors and smells expertly selected by Robin Meier and Ali Momeni with the help of the Laboratory of Comparative and Experimental Ethology of Paris 13 University.”
Read the full article on “The Tragedy of the Commons” here.
Electronics, Arduino-based micro-controllers, electromechanics (motors, solenoids and servos), dynamic lighting, software and programming (Arduino IDE, Cycling '74 real-time programming and Max/MSP/Jitter).
This workshop takes an interdisciplinary approach to working with live electronics, kinetics, light and imagery. Students explore the basics of electronics work with micro-controllers and strategies for using light and movement to animate a miniature space. The metaphor of a miniature world invites students to integrate their own creative practices (in two- or three-dimensional media) into mixed-media interactive installations.
“Both musical training, Robin Meier & Ali Momeni develop a complex practice where science mixes with a hybrid art form. In real ethologists, and in close collaboration with scientists and laboratories.”
Slash-Paris covered the “Truce”project here at their website.”
Ray Kampmeier (undergraduate EECS student at UMN) and I are working on a robust and complete solution for working with Digi's Xbee modules and Max.
Working with 2.5 Series radios, the present pre-alpha version allows for sending remote messages to a remote-wireless xbee (configured as AT Router/Endpoint) and local-USB-connected xbee (configured as API coordinator).
Below, a document containing an exhustive listing of the "Review of Press" for the 2008 and 2010 ZERO 1 New Media Biennial. The festival was covered by dozens of local, national and internationl channels.
I took MAW to ZERO 1 in 2008 for a number of urban interventions (see videos here). In 2010, MAW and I were commissioned to produce a new work for Absolute Zero: Lavish Martyr/Exquisite Corpse by ZERO 1 and performed in San Jose on Sep. 17th, 2010.
Below, two documents containing an exhustive listing of the "Review of Press" for the exhibition Dynasty, held at Palais de Tokyo and Musée d'Art Modern. Robin Meier and I showed two of our collaborative works Truce and A Tentative Call to the other at the two museums.
Many thanks to the staff at the two museums for collecting and sharing the two documents below. It led to priceless finds like this one…
Fall 2019: Art 5490: Make Anything Talk to Anything
Professor: Ali Momeni
This course is intended for visual artists, musicians, designers, computer scientists, engineers and architects (among others) interested in exploring real-time interactive software applications. Such applications allow translations/interactions among various media; examples include sound to video (e.g. music visualizers), gesture to sound (e.g. the theramin, Wii controllers as musical instruments), gesture to video (e.g. motion tracking for interactive visualizations, interactive architecture), interactive sculptures (e.g. sensor controlled mechanics, robotics, lights, LEDs). The Max/MSP/Jitter new media programming environment will be the primary instrument of the course. Max/MSP/Jitter is a graphical programming environment that provides user interface, timing, communication with electronics, communications with the web, MIDI support, real-time audio and video synthesis and processing.
The topic for the semester is “Practice, Research and Teaching”. We explore the subtleties of how creative research intersects with making and teaching through studio based critiques, iterative refinements of personal research and teaching narratives, analysis of local arts organizations/institutions/collectives, stabs at grant-writing strategies, and round table discussions with invited guests.
“Combining science and technology theories, both artists-musicians, Robin Meier and Ali Momeni, reflect the behavior of living acoustic tracks. Their work gives a new freshness to the question often debated, the interaction between man and machine.”
Elisa Hervelin had an interview with Robin Meier and me, it is published here.
This paper documents the development of a new instrument for the creation of experimental music theater. This environment, known as the liminal surface, uses a portable “table-top” design to integrate audio, video, analog and digital sensors, and computer-based control of external media (i.e. musical robotics). This environment will enable the composition of a series of new works exploring interactive computer music, intermodal relationships, and collaborative performance on a visually stimulating and technologically sophisticated platform.
Bithel, David Momeni, Ali. Proceedings from the 12th Biennial Symposium on Arts and Technology, March 4-6, 2010. Ammerman Center for Art & Technology, Connecticut College.
Spring 2010: COLA 3950/5950: Art for the People, Art on Wheels
Professor: Ali Momeni
Art for the People/Art on Wheels is a vehicle for familiarizing and engaging students with the Minneapolis Art on Wheels (MAW) project, as well as a way for students to produce and show works of public art.
Minneapolis Art on Wheels is an on-going public arts initiative. We leverage advanced mobile technology to bring socially engaged art and technology into diverse communities. We aim to use the scale and accessibility of our exhibitions to make the Twin Cities an international leader in socially engaged and technologically enhanced creative projects. We are able to produce moving images up to several hundred feet, outdoors, in public spaces. Our emphasis on mobile devices (i.e. cellular phones) and gestural interaction with media (e.g. laser tag, real-time video tracking and gesture recognition) allows a wide audience to interact with mobile media. The project engages students in creative use of technology and materializes this engagement in the form of community outreach and temporary public art.
Fall 2019: Art 5670/8600: Mechanical Theaters and Toy Orchestras
Professor: Ali Momeni
The paradox of shadows:
"Shadow is all appearance, immateriality, without substance; but at the same time gives a way of avoiding the seduction of surface–often referred to as appearance as opposed to essence."
-William Kentridge, Excerpt from a lecture delivered at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, on the occasion of the exhibition William Kentridge, 20 October 2001-20 January 2002
This class aims to create a collaborative practice based research structure surrounding the history, techniques and critical discourse surrounding automata, mechanical theaters, toy orchestras and shadows. Students and instructore will pursue a literature review whose findings will be shared through in-class presentations and on-line documentation. This research will include past and present-day technologies and aesthetics, as well as the analog and digital means through which the theatrical experience incorporates information.
As the course is intended for students with a primary interest in <em>making</em>, the research methodology will be practice-based and divided into two halves: for the fist half of the semester, students are expected to read, write, research, find, tag, organize, gather. This phase focuses on building a practice in working with mixed media as opposed to creating a finished object/work. In March we will hold mid-term reviewers, where students will lay-out all that they have gathered in their research and get feedback on the materials, directions, aesthetics, references and imagery they have gathered. The 2nd half of the course is dedicated to the creation of a new work.
Since this graduate-level seminar meets only once per week, students are expected to dedicate studio/making-time to this course outside of the class-period. In class studio days will be dedicated to demonstration of and monitored experimentation with the subject matter's instruments and techniques; in-class hours will also be used for group critiques.
This year marked a transitional stage for the Experimental and Media Arts department. Together with my colleagues Lynn Lukkas and Diane Willow, we accomplished the following:
-Official name change from Time and Interactivity to Experimental and Media Arts
-Creation of the EMA area blog with a centralized calendar and online resources for our graduate and undergraduate students
-Conceptualization and initial deployment of a comprehensive space reconfiguration: new sound studio (Regis W131), new advanced video lab (W121, the old space was given to the Regis tech staff to meet their needs), new mixed analog-digital studio shared with painting and drawing (W248)
-Preparation and submission of three major CLA-OIT Tech Fees grants (requesting a total of $150,000) for necessary upgrades of hardware and software in Regis
Between July 27-31, 2009 I taught the 18th annual CNMAT Max/MSP/Jitter night school course (for my 9th time!). All course documentation is kept on CNMAT’s one-of-a-kind new music web portal: there you will find the course outline, video screen shots of some of the lectures, as well as patches and links.
While in Spain for showing Smoke and Hot Air at FEEDFORWARD, I gave a lecture on Minneapolis Art on Wheels as a part of the symposium, on a panel with Eric Kluitenberg, Daniel G. Andújar, Fernando García-Dory, Carlos Motta.
The Symposium Feedforward. The Angel of the History, will take part on October the 23 and 24. A panel of experts and artists in new media art will debate about some of the central topics of the exhibition.
PARTICIPANTS: Christiane Paul, Steve Dietz, Sarah Cook, Margot Lovejoy, Tamiko Thiel, Chris Baker, Jose Carlos Mariategui, Stephanie Rothenberg, Angus Cameron, Tiziana Terranova, Piotr Szyhalski, Naeem Mohaiemen, Barbara Fluxá, Esther Leslie, Hasan Elahi, Konrad Becker y Marco Peljhan, Nonny de la Peña y Peggy Weil, Knowbotic Research, Tom Levin, Jaron Rowan y Clara Piazuelo, Tere Badía, Emmanuel Rodríguez, Graham Harwood, Eric Kluitenberg, Daniel G. Andújar, Fernando García-Dory, Carlos Motta, Ali Momeni.
Fall 2009: ART 1601: Introduction to Experimental and Media Arts
Professor: Ali Momeni
This introductory course explores the fundamental elements of experimental and media arts in general, and electronic art using digital production tools in particular. Students will explore a personal aesthetic and develop a critical framework for their ideas and work. Theoretical/critical readings, lectures, discussions, presentations of film, video, and new media artists are included.
The course is organized around 4 themes:
The weekly schedule follows this themes in order and allows students to explore combinations of media with increasing facility as the semester proceeds.
1. To introduce students to image/video/sound/performance and their digital production tools as a medium of artistic production with a unique visual, aural, and temporal language.
2. To foster the development of a personal aesthetic.
3. To enable students to explore and articulate the connections between digital art processes and more traditional art practices.
4. To explore historical and theoretical aspects of electronic and digital art and integrate that with their interests and creative production.
5. To provide introductory experience with creative coding for artistic creation.
6. To promote and support collaborative working pratices.
I will be representing the Experimental and Media Arts area of the department of art in the GARC committee for the next two academic years.
Primary agenda items to which I will be contributing are:
-space reconfiguration in Regis: working with Marc Knierim and area representatives to identify and reconfigure under-used spaces in Regis. the focus is to create spaces for cross-area collaboration for the graduate students
-coordination of materials for the new art department web-site.
-coordination of EMA incoming graduate student applications
Fall 2009: Development of the new Art Department website is underway. As chair of this departmental committee, I am acting as the main organizer and communications agent between the department, CLA-OIT and the CLA Web Team. All coordination of the department's efforts are organized through this website. First draft of text revisions will be gathered by 12/9/09; in the mean-time, I will be working with area heads and staff members to get all necessary content components in place for the CLA Web Team. For more information about tasks and time-line refer to the above website.
Fall 2010: Development site of the Art Department website is now on-line and being regularly revised. In addition to collecting and generating necessary/missing content for the site I am coordinating a larger effort to the departmental site to a much more visual appearance (by consisten attachment of current stills and videos to various site nodes) as well as a more communally maintainable one (by creating areas/roles within the site/staff).
Title: Make Anything Talk to Anything: Cross-Media Real-Time Programming with Max/MSP/Jitter
This course is intended for visual artists, musicians, designers, computer scientists, engineers and architects (among others) interested in exploring real-time interactive software applications. Such applications allow translations/interactions among various media; examples include sound to video (e.g. music visualizers), gesture to sound (e.g. the theramin, Wii controllers as musical instruments), gesture to video (e.g. motion tracking for interactive visualizations, interactive architecture), interactive sculptures (e.g. sensor controlled mechanics, robotics, lights, LEDs). The Max/MSP/Jitter new media programming environment will be the primary instrument of the course. Max/MSP/Jitter is a graphical programming environment that provides user interface, timing, communication with electronics, communications with the web, MIDI support, real-time audio and video synthesis and processing. The course will be a rigorous boot-camp for this instrument; after the initial introduction in the first third of the semester, the course will be project-based where each student will develop several independent projects/works/experiments. The course is offered as an upper-level undergraduate/lower-level graduate rank. In-class meeting hours will be similar to those of studio courses in the Art Department, i.e. two three-hour sessions per week. Like other studio courses, much of that time will be spent on supervised individual work. In addition to the 6 weekly in-class hours, students are expected to considerable time outside of class mastering this powerful instrument. Students are encouraged to collaborate with one-another; collaborations with the instructor are also possible. Familiarity and comfort with laptop-based technology is a pre-requirement; this includes experience any of a variety of desktop publishing tools (Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, GoLive, QuickTime, Final Cut) as well as a general sense of interest and curiosity in the creative potentials of the laptop and software platforms. Previous programming experience of any kind is welcomed but not required. Similarly, previous experience with Max/MSP/Jitter is not required but also welcomed.
I am the EMA area representative for the visiting artist committee, chaired by Jenny Schmid and Chris Larson. In addition to recommending and reviewing recommendations for visiting artists, my primary goal is to create an online presence for the visiting artist program to 1) coordinate organizational efforts and 2) to make the programs activities more publicly visible.
The visiting artist committee’s new website is here. Committee members are charged with gathering and submitting appropriate content for this site. The new Art Department website will be able to receive feeds from this site in order to make our activities visible on the primary art department website as well.
I was invited by Dave Schroeder (of Pilot Vibe) to give a lecture at the his annual Flashbelt conference. My presentation was primarily on MAW‘s use of a mix of digital and physical technologies to create real-time animation for public projections (i.e. “livedraw”).
This project is a collaboration between Ali Momeni and JP Hunglemann. Ali Momeni’s aLib consists of a set of Max patches for live interaction with audio/video media. Our aim is to develops and extension to aLib that gives a wider community of electronic musicians–represented by JP Hunglemann’s and his extensive work with Ableton Live. Max for Live presents the perfect opportunity.
This class introduces students to the diverse practices of movement and rhythm applied to sculpture. Instead of a literal translation of kinetic sculpture as sculpture that moves, we seek to deconstruct presuppositions about the limits of this practice and its history. By exploring notions of the body, movement, function, gesture and the relationship between objects in motion we will find expansive ways to collaboratively redefine this medium.
Sample Course Syllabi and Student work by Ali Momeni
I am committed to using technology in my teaching. With the help of the pedagogic tools available at the University of Minnesota, I have conducted all of my courses thus-far in a mostly paper-free manner. All course syllabi, reading assignments, references and student works are on-line. Below you will find directed links to my course materials; please use the digital copy of this document with a computer connected to the internet.
As a founding faculty member of the Collaborative Arts program, my colleagues and I have devised the major/minor requirements, established the core curriculum, created the fundamental COLA 1001 course, as well as a number of to-be-permanent course, currently offered as workshops (among the Art for the People/Art on Wheels, the precursor to MAW.