Category Archives: ARphabet Tour

The educational side of Bubiko Foodtour

From the start, Bubiko Foodtour was meant to be a cross between Hello Kitty and Anthony Bourdain, with a dash of Charlie Chaplin.

Bubiko is a little chef from northeastern Thailand, just outside of Udon Thani. There, growing up, she learned how to make Issan-style food. However, she is also familiar with Lanna cuisine and other regional cooking styles of Thailand. Her favorite dessert is mango sticky rice. (Visit Bubiko's Instagram account to see the many locations where she sampled mango sticky rice.)

An early version of Bubiko, before she became 3D.

Bubiko has researched the food cultures of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Bali and Shenzhen, China. She has also spent time researching in Ventiane, Yangoon, Jakarta, Bandung and Hong Kong. Japan and the US as well. Again, you are invited to look at her Instagram, or search "Bubiko" on this blog.

Heart-shaped cookies in Ohio!

Bubiko's little photo ebook about the food of Ipoh, Malaysia is here, on Amazon. (And, her guide to AR, augmented reality, is here.)

As AR technology continues to improve, Bubiko will make educational AR projects for people of all ages about spices, vitamins, geography, cooking techniques and other concepts related to food.

Bubiko also really likes butterfly pea flowers, and one day will have an AR lesson about them.

Hummingbirdsday
Screen capture from an AR game by Dominique Wu. They are drinking butterfly pea flower tea, and the cake is garnished with butterfly pea flowers.

Butterfly pea flower ( Clitoria ternatea ) is found all over Southeast Asia. It used to make many types of foods and is also great in drinks; by itself or mixed with other ingredients, like macha. It is also used in soap, shampoo and other health care products.

Here is a great recipe for "Blue Surf Cake", on the Unconventional Baker Blog. Additionally, the blog has a number of great resource on where to buy butterfly pea flowers, as well as other natural colorings. Recommended!

Here the entire flowers were used as well. Image from Mario'z Eats blog.

A recipe for Butterfly Pea Flower Crepe cake can be found here, on the Mario'z Eats blog. Also informative, and the instructions are clear and well illustrated.

Finally, a recipe for Butterfly Pea Lemon Cheesecake, by a company called Secret Recipe.

We have no connection with any of the above recipe makers, and have not yet tried the recipes. However, these site "felt" trustworthy, and certainly have great images!

As Bubiko becomes more organized, she will be be creating more informative posts, using her own experiences, videos and recipes.

Oh yes, Bubiko's favorite expression is "aroi mak mak" which, in the Thai language, means "very delicious"!

Leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions for Bubiko, and do keep with her adventures on Instagram.

Bubiko Scrapbook September 2019

Bubiko is a little chef from Thailand who loves AR. Her unusual guide to Augmented Reality is now on Amazon.

This post is an introduction to Bubiko's world.

July, 2017 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Bubiko, the first paper version, based on a doll from Thailand. Bubiko is very knowledgeable about the food of Southeast Asia. Here she studies thunder tea rice.

July 2019 Pierogi Festival, Detroit. Bubiko. 3D version made by Novaby. In the summer of 2019, Bubiko debuted in two formats: Facebook Spark and Facebook Camera. Facebook Camera support by Dana Hagan.

doll with colorful drink
2017: At the Penang Food Festival in Kuala Lumpur. Bandung is the name of a popular drink. Aroi mak mak is Bubiko's favorite phrase. It means "very delicious"" in the Thai language.


https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs4hK_hH8cV/

Bubiko has an Instagram account. She also made one book:

Available on Amazon




Bubiko Foodtour
A guide to the food of Shenzhen, a work in progress.
Shenzhen is the Silicon Valley of China. A story about Shenzhen , written and photographed by Stephen Black for makermag.

ARKit games made with Unity
Presentation at Le Wagon, Shenzhen December 26, 2018 Pictured is an AR game collaborative test with Green Bean Boy, a character by Dominique Wu/Hummingbirdsday Studios.

November, 2018 Shenzhen. Stephen Black, pitching his unicorn idea to VCs at TechCrunch Shenzhen. (The unicorn idea is a separate idea from Bubiko/the Pixar of AR)

Sayuri Okayama, at the 2019 Reality Virtually Hackathon at the MIT Media Lab, sponsored by Magic Leap. 

S O with an early paper mockup of Bubiko. Ipoh Malaysia

A demonstration by Google in Kuala Lumpur.
computer users having fun
Chiang Rai, Thailand May 2018. Stephen Black and Suphakorn Traisrisin testing the HP Reveal AR software with Bubiko Foodtour.
Austin Chronicle, Bubiko Foodtour
A collection of Bubiko's 2019 SXSW blog posts are here.
Stephen Black's Bubiko-themed proposal for SXSW 2020 is here.
Sayuri Okayama's (Food + AR) proposal for SXSW 2020 is here.

Get behind it before it gets past you
Now on tour....Bubiko, Eggy, Ollie and Obasan A! R! Let's go!
Green Bean Boy and other AR characters
The plan: a tour of the US and Canada: readings, food tastings and AR, AR, AR.

SB at MIT. Next presentation by SB: OARC (Open Augmented Reality, Cloud) Munich, October 16, 2019.

Augmented Reality in Asia
Malay Mail article explaining Bubiko and her research about Southeast Asian food.
Bubiko is looking forward to the future, meeting other chefs and discovering new foods.

Bubiko's app is on its way! If you would like to be among the first to play with it, leave a message in the comment section. See you on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram!
BYE!

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs4hK_hH8cV

Augmented Reality + Autonomous Vehicles: Stephen Black @ Collider

Bubiko's guide to AR is now available on Amazon!

The following are additions that were not discussed at the Detroit meetup.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/edgarsten/2019/08/12/turning-back-seat-boredom-into-a-virtual-theme-park/#712404fc6019

! https://www.thedrive.com/tech/9548/the-biggest-opportunity-everyone-is-missing-in-self-driving-cars

!! https://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/100430 (What Augmented Driving Will Feel Like, a SXSW presentation by Theo Calvin.)

I wish I had known about the projects and gentlemen above before my Detroit talk.

Do read the article by Alex Roy.

Please vote for Teo Calvin's SXSW proposal.

.......................

Presentation

Thank you very much to Jacob, Rahul and Altimetrik for making this happen. It was a blast! A description of the event, and an introduction to Collider is here.

SLIDE 2

Hyperreality by Keiichi Matsuda

https://www.rt.com/news/455341-chinese-hackers-tesla-autopilot/

https://mashable.com/article/nissan-ar-virtual-reality-windshield-display/

The Nissan video features outstanding visuals.

SLIDE 3

https://www.openarcloud.org/reports/sotarc-2019

The above link is a MUST for anyone with a serious investment in AR.

Novaby is the company that did/is doing a great job with Bubiko.

(Yes, all of the research you see is self-funded. If you can help with a donation or a job...get in touch, please. I am also a photographer, artist, videomaker and a writer.

SLIDE 4

You can see all of my adventures with Bubiko elsewhere on this blog. We would be grateful for your votes for two proposals for SXSW.

This is my proposal.

This is the proposal of Sayuri Okayama, my partner.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTE!

SLIDE 5

This book is a "living" book. Meaning if you buy it, you will get the updated editions free.

SLIDE 7

BONNETS! (My Powerpoint looks extremely low tech. As much as I like this look, I have to say I had no choice. I was using my Chromebook , and used the baked in slide show creator. Next time, I might actually have the time to do some design work.)

SLIDE 8

Artivive One of my own Artivive demos is here. Another, here.

Leo

Bubiko Foodtour

Rouvy Augmented Reality Released: First Ride & Explainer.

DC Rainmaker does his usually outstanding job of reviewing a bicycle-related product.Jump into the video at about the 4 minute mark to see some exemplary AR techniques. Click here to see more examples and ideas related to AR+ Bicycles.

Cannondale, for the win! A great example of functional AR in an everyday situation, as opposed to a factory or medical facility.

SLIDE 9

From a presentation I did on AR and bike safety. All of those concepts need to be unified and rethought for the age of AR.

SLIDE 10

Mapillary

LADOT

Superworld

SLIDE 11

The Open Augmented Reality Cloud people are making efforts to establish a geopost standard. If you are serious about AR, follow their efforts, or better join them and let your voice be heard!

What you see is a test I did with Bubiko. While I was in a car, I positioned her in the road ahead. We then drove forward. It is not clear, and I will redo this test.

But what happened is that Bubiko was in front, then she appeared in the car, and then we saw her in the road behind us. She did not move with/in relationship to the car.

This was using Facebook Spark AR. Technical support: the amazing Dana.

Stunt driver: Norm Black.

No AR characters were harmed in the production of this rest.

SLIDE 12

OPEN AUGMENTED REALITY CLOUD

SLIDE 13

The AR Podcast is a must for anyone serious about AR. This is a link to the extremely informative and important interview with four of the people involved with OARC.

SLIDE 14

Thank you Sergei!

https://www.slideshare.net/sergiikozyrev?utm_campaign=profiletracking&utm_medium=sssite&utm_source=ssslideview

SLIDE 15

One style of point cloud rendering.

SLIDE 16

Another way to render a point cloud. There are many ways to create point clouds and they must be interoperable.

https://www.clarissewiki.com/3.6/creating_a_point_cloud.html

SLIDE 17

An example of an organization that has information that would be useful for AR in Detroit. Geographic Information Services… How much of what is under the road do they have records of? This info would be necessary for many AR services,

How do they make pointclouds-or do they even do this yet?

SLIDE 18

One of Magic Leap's views on how the total AR world might look like.

The layers presented include IoT (the Internet of Things, as well as AI. Photo courtesy of Tony at the Skarred Ghost, another person I suggest serious AR/VR people support and follow.

SLIDE 19

Another presentation from Magic Leap on how the total AR Cloud might look. They use the term "Magicverse".

SLIDE 20

A representation by the OARC on what the layers of the cloud would be. My suggested terms would be REAL1 (R1), REAL2 (R2) and REAL3 (R3). R1=the physical world. R2; the layer with few changes; buildings, landmarks, geography. R3 being the part of the AR cloud that changes the most, and has the most segmentation.

This system also lends itself to further classification. R2C22 , for example, could refer to a specific block in Chicago for example, and R2C22E could be the collective "channel" for all organizations utilizing traffic emergency communications for that area.

SLIDE 21

Microsoft Azure Spatial anchor systems. 'Anchor systems' refers to geoposing. There can be an endless number of clouds. Interoperability... Machines reading the world for humans... A browser...AI assisted browsers.

SLIDE 22

This is from the State of the Open AR Cloud 2019 report by the Open Augmented Reality Cloud group. Already some governing bodies are being formed.

The report is free. Get it here.

SLIDE 24

Ed Garten's article on AV safety, for Forbes magazine.

SLIDE 25

The League of American Bicyclists has an active interest in AR and AV.

https://www.bikeleague.org/content/automated-vehicle-overview-box

SLIDE 27

And the amazing BabbleRabbit! https://twitter.com/BabbleRabbit/status/1115271007315615750

SLIDE 28

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314522858_Supporting_Trust_in_Autonomous_Driving

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333645946_The_Impact_of_Autonomous_Vehicles'_Active_Feedback_on_Trust

SLIDE 30

An AV by May.

SLIDE 33

Shenzhen's celebration used the entire city as a canvas. Something like this could be done in Detroit with AR, for much less cost, and with greater detail. AVs could travel on programmed routes... a new form of musical is born!

My report on the maker culture of Shenzhen is here.

SLIDE 34

The Fox Theatre is one of Detroit's cultural assets that could be utilized. This slide shows some of the layers of creation and co-operation that need to be considered.

SLIDE 35

An example of an urban AR project, this one by Snapchat. This article also raises questions about AR in public spaces.

SLIDE 36

Diego! DIA! https://www.dia.org/art/rivera-court

SLIDE 37

http://amirbaradaran.com/2019/works-pages/fml.html

Go to the "0.52" mark to see the actual AR clip. It is very brief.

The video on this site by Artivive showcases some possibilities in regards to AR + flat art. https://artivive.com/walkietalkie/

SLIDE 38

Apple's AR Art program. https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/07/apple-offers-new-augmented-reality-art-sessions/

SLIDE 39

Back to bROADWAY… and we have "discovered" that the Fox Theater is geofenced. Geofencing is a blocking of AR access. Military bases, sensitive areas...the interior of homes. The Fox Theatre is copyrighted, I believe. In this fictional example, Fox may have geofenced their theater to prevent unauthorized AR usage.

SLIDE 40

MOTOWN!

SLIDE 42

Bose AR

So there ya go! Any questions ask below.

I am available for consultation and all kinds of AR producing, as well as photography, video, art and writing projects. Thank you for any ideas and/or opportunities.

And again, please consider voting for our two SXSW presentations:

XR: bike safety, music and Bubiko Foodtour

and

Augmented Reality and Food

THANKS!

onwARd,

Stephen Black

Bubiko Foodtour test: Facebook Spark vs. Facebook Camera

Bubiko's guide to AR is now available on Amazon!

Novaby: 3D Model of Bubiko

Dana De Moreira S Hagan: Technical Support

Bubiko Foodtour's AR life began at the Tech in the Tenderloin event in San Francisco. Since that time, I have conducted tests like this, and this, in order to prepare for AR cinematography projects.

This post presents lessons learned with the Facebook Spark application, and compares Spark to a different AR application called Facebook Camera.

The 3D model of Bubiko is the same in both the Camera and Spark tests. The balloons were slightly modified, as one features Tech in the Tenderloin, and the other feature Reggy, the mascot of the Mascot Hall of Fame.

Color correction was made, in both cases, with the 'auto' function. Spark is brighter than Camera.

Spark allows the camera person to move around the model, as though it were a physical object. Spark also allows the size of the model to become different sizes. With Facebook Camera, the position and size of the model are locked. Only the front of the model can be seen, like a 2D image. Like a postage stamp.

In this case, Dana positioned Bubiko on the bottom right. We checked this position so that it also works in landscape mode. However, landscape mode seems to be unstable, based on my experiences. Fb Camera often enlarges and turns the background scene, like this:

Facebook Camera version (Sometimes using the landscape format works properly, sometimes it doesn't. In this case, I gave up after restarting five times.)
Spark version

Note the size of the pictures in the last two examples. Spark uses the dimensions of a mobile phone, Camera produces a more conventional image.

Finally: saving images. Spark, in my case, saved images directly into the iPad photo album.

Facebook Camera, on the other hand... Unless you actively go into the Facebook Archive feature, and turn it on, the images are only stored for 24 hours! I am hoping there is a way to retrieve some images I made, but so far have not been able to find a way to bring them back. Frustrating, as I am 99.9% sure I pressed "save" on the Facebook Camera app.

All images were created with an iPad.

Happy to reply to any questions or comments. Thanks for stopping by!

..............................................

I have to thank Dana Moreira S Hagan A LOT. For personal reasons, I unexpectedly found myself in Austin on a Tuesday, with the need to have the new version of Bubiko loaded in my tablet by 1PM the following Saturday.

On Wednesday, I went to Facebook, presented them with this letter:

Although I was told they would get back to me, they haven't. After constant searching, including meeting the very helpful PJ and Ramona at Impact Hub, I discovered Capital Factory. There were two events going on that night (Thursday), but two people, Brance Hudzietz and Erin Miller, put my request out on two different networks!

Finally, on Friday, about 6, I discovered Erin Ford at General Assembly. Thanks to Erin, about 7PM I started a phone conversation with Dana. Dana did not have the Mac-with-Mojave that was so desperately needed, but she did come through with the idea to use Facebook Camera which was an even better choice for testing.

Dana is great! https://dhagandev.github.io

Tech in the Tenderloin 2019. Salvation Army Kroc Center, San Francisco

Bubiko's guide to AR is now available on Amazon!

We were honored that Bubiko Foodtour could make her public debut at Tech in the Tenderloin’s 2019 TNT Tech Fest, a very special event in a very special venue in a very special city.

Bubiko went outside for a minute! She was hungry. She found corn dogs. Aroi mak mak!

Niantic, the company that made Pokemon Go and Wizards Unite (the Harry Potter game) was the Community Champion Sponsor!

Tech in the Tenderloin is much more than a one day event.

Exhibitors:

Black Girls Code Imagine. Build. Create.

Techtonica Fintech training for women and NB adults with low incomes

Code Tenderloin

Novaby is a global digital art production company.

TERC Because math and science build futures

Unconscious Bias Project 100% empowerment, 0% guilt trip. Reducing unconscious bias in STEM with fact, tact, art and activism

Tinkertech

Roybi Robot Innovative learning for children. The world's first AI-powered educational robot that makes learning fun for ages 3-7.

Inspire Me Box (website coming soon)

TinkerTech teaches early design and engineering skills through hands-on activities to students ages 4-12 including those from low income communities.

Teentend builds better communities.

NapTime Studio game development

Cookie Run is an online mobile endless running game in the Cookie Run series created by Devsisters. 

DaVinci Club AR makes kids move and explore the real world.

Electronic Frontier Foundation The leading nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation.

SF Environment Getting Food out of the Waste Stream and Into Hungry Households—Where It Belongs.

Recology A World Without Waste

Book Merah

Mission Bit courses are project-based semester-long coding courses, taught by college computer science majors and supported by volunteers who are professional software engineers.

ThrowMotion Bringing the excitement of world sports... home.

NewPathVR VR and AI solutions for psychological and emotional wellness.

Larkin Street Youth Services Since 1984, Larkin Street Youth Services has given more than 75,000 young people a safe place to rebuild their lives.

The Hidden Genius Project trains and mentors black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities.

Academy of Art University

California Community Colleges

Singularity University

With Sayuri Okayama, I would like to thank Novaby for doing such a great job in creating the 3D version of Bubiko. The version on display is a work in progress, and already the reception has been very positive.Thank you Novaby!

Bubiko at SXSW 2019

Bubiko and SXSW... what a time!

music at SXSW
3how Beach Road
If you'd like to know about Bubiko's adventures in Asia, search this blog.
Here is Bubiko's Instagram account.
And, here are Bubiko's adventures in the first part of 2019, including the presentation at MIT.

Will Moths in the Attic play Singapore?

Will Moths in the Attic play in the ghost town of Singapore?

upcoming shows

Logan's Irish Pub

04/19/19

With special guest Tom Gorman

414 S Main St, Findlay, OH 45840

830-midnight

Fins Seafood & Grille

04/20/19

1801 Broad Ave, Findlay, OH 45840

630-930pmVino Bellissimo

04/26/19

2412 Cable Ct, Lima, OH 45805

8-11pmThe Blarney Event Center

04/27/19

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man/Woman of the Year campaign fundraiser

With Rob Vance and Jeff Stewart

601 Monroe St, Toledo, OH 43604

Doors 630; Music 7-10pm

$50 tickets go on sale April 1MIC BGSU - Open Mic Showcase

05/01/19

Bowen-Thompson Student Union multipurpose room, Bowling Green State University

1001 E Wooster St, Bowling Green, OH 43403

8-10pm

More details TBAGrand Rapids Town Hall

05/03/19

Bitter Sweet Music Vine concert series

Across the street from River Lures, 24287 Front St., Grand Rapids, OH 43522

11am-1230pmAmerican Winery, LTD

05/03/19

15119 US 20A, Wauseon, OH 43567

6-9pmThe Ottawa Tavern

05/03/19

With House ToursLord Whorfin & Excellent Enemies

1817 Adams St, Toledo, OH 43604

Doors at 8pm

All ages; Tickets on sale now $5 ($8 under 21)The Bourbon Affair

05/04/19

Kentucky Derby party

wsg Mike Bryce & Beau Hamman

121 E Crawford St, Findlay, OH 45840

9-midnightArt and Performance Center of West Toledo

05/05/19

Songwriters Listening Room Series

2702 W. Sylvania Avenue, Toledo, Ohio

6-7pmNorthside BG

05/05/19

Bowling Green, Ohio

7-10pm

More details TBALogan's Irish Pub

05/10/19

With special guest Mark Poseler

414 S Main St, Findlay, OH 45840

830-midnight

(2nd Friday for this month only)TEDxBowlingGreen

05/11/19

Reception following TEDx event

Open to all TEDx ticketholders (purchase tickets here)

104 S Main St, Bowling Green, OH 43402

530-830pm

Bowling Green Farmers' Market

05/22/19

201 S Main St, Bowling Green, OH 43402

530-630pm

Followed by a set at The Hump Day Revue at The Stones Throw: Tavern & Grill

830-900pmMayflower Arts Center

05/23/19

Cory Breth Album Fundraiser

Zack Fletcher solo performance

with Cory BrethThaddeus Williams & Abbey Bower

9 W. Main St., Troy, OH 45373

7pm; $10 tickets on sale nowFins Seafood & Grille

05/25/19

1801 Broad Ave, Findlay, OH 45840

630-930pmOld West End Festival

06/01/19

Agnes Reynolds Jackson Arboretum stage

2501 Robinwood Ave, Toledo, OH 43610

Noon-1pmLogan's Irish Pub

06/21/19

414 S Main St, Findlay, OH 45840

9-midnightThe Phoenix Brewing Co.

06/27/19

131 N Diamond St, Mansfield, OH 44902

730-1030pmWild Side Brewing Company

07/05/19

24194 Front St, Grand Rapids, OH 43522

7-10pmBowling Green Farmers' Market

07/17/19

With Mark Poseler

201 S Main St, Bowling Green, OH 43402

430-630pm

Followed by a set at The Hump Day Revue at The Stones Throw: Tavern & Grill

830-930pmFirefly Nights

07/19/19

Downtown Bowling Green, OH

600-645pm

More details TBALogan's Irish Pub

07/19/19

414 S Main St, Findlay, OH 45840

9-midnightSummerfest at Southgate Lanes

07/20/19

9700 N Dixie Hwy, Bluffton, OH 45817

Details TBALogan's Irish Pub

08/16/19

414 S Main St, Findlay, OH 45840

9-midnightHoward's Club H

08/23/19

210 N Main St, Bowling Green, OH 43402

Details TBABowling Green Farmers' Market

09/04/19

With Drew Joseph

201 S Main St, Bowling Green, OH 43402

430-630pm

Followed by a set at The Hump Day Revue at The Stones Throw: Tavern & Grill

830-930pmLogan's Irish Pub

09/20/19

With special guests Cory Jolly and Mike Bryce

414 S Main St, Findlay, OH 45840

830-midnightArt and Performance Center of West Toledo

10/06/19

Zack Fletcher solo performance

Songwriters Listening Room Series

2702 W. Sylvania Avenue, Toledo, Ohio

6-7pmLogan's Irish Pub

10/18/19

414 S Main St, Findlay, OH 45840

9-midnightLogan's Irish Pub

11/15/19

414 S Main St, Findlay, OH 45840

9-midnightLogan's Irish Pub

12/20/19

414 S Main St, Findlay, OH 45840

9-midnight

Stephen Black: projects 2002-2019

Stephen Black Author Page on Amazon

Bubiko's debut! Stephen Black and Novaby at Tech in the Tenderloin

Recent news: AR presentation at the Great Ohio Bike Adventure!

Stephen Black is a music/TV/VR producer, writer, visual artist and entrepreneur who is currently focused on AR, specifically a character called Bubiko Foodtour. Bubiko, a co-production with Sayuri Okayama, is blazing trails and creating networks that will result in new, as-of-now-unpredictable projects, as well as planned projects for the Dundercats, Secret Donut World and the Doughbots. Bubiko is being brought to life in 3D by the magicians at Novaby.

This link emphasizes Stephen's AR activities in 2019, including his presentation at the ARIA event at MIT. (Bubiko's Instagram.)

Involvement with AR and VR began in 2016, with the release of the Oculus. Stephen, with Sayuri Okayama, began a nomadic research tour of Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Shenzhen; the topics being Southeast Asian food and AR/VR startup ideas. Eventually, connections with food and drink producers will result in an online sales channel.

During this journey, called the Bubiko Orwell Tour, Stephen kept notes and began writing for a work in progress book called Alphabet Spikes. Also during this time, Bubiko published an ebook of photographs about Ipoh, Malaysia. Also, Stephen gave presentations about AR at the Sasin School of Business (Bangkok), Hong Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong Maker's Faire and at TechCrunch Shenzhen.

Augmented Reality in Asia
article about Stephen Black in Ipoh

Virtual Reality + other movies +

 Beach Road (2015) was written by, and stars, Stephen, who also co-produced with Hiverlab. Featured at VR festivals in Brisbane, Las Vegas and Singapore.

SPOKEN poster

SPOKEN (2011)A downloadable virtual gallery, created by Eugene Soh and curated by Stephen. Features a great variety of artists, from internationally famous to unknown.

Lotus Mountain, shot in Shenzhen, on 8K Obsidian cameras by Kandao. A robot is reunited with her maker, five years after he broke her heart. Featuring a soundtrack by Rei Shimizu and a VR artwork by Scobot. Now in post-production.

10 Bubiko VR Movies for 20K A lighthearted effort to seriously increase the number of non-gaming VR viewers. And yes, the movies can be versioned in 2D also.

Sudden VR Festival (2016) Isetan Department Store. With Lionel Chok, Rachel Jordan, Samuel Chia and others. Chaotic celebration of VR; Singapore's first VR festival.

Norm Black Exhibition (2016) Mettle Art Space. Debut of Beach Road, photo works and thumb-shaped kuehs by Stephen Black, performance by 3how.

Cinematography collaborations with Japanese film legend Kumiko Akiyoshi, including Kiss, Bubu Again and The New york Mystery.

Photography

2018 FIA Drone Championship in Shenzhen

24 hours in the Art World of Singapore

Christmas in Penang

Bus Stopping


Books/Writing

Story about Shenzhen, China's Silicon Valley, for Maker Mag (with photos)

i ate tiong bahru, a bestseller. Ebook, paperback and audio versions available on Amazon. Audio book version feature Mirai Booth-Ong

Bali Wave Ghost on Amazon

Obama Search Words on Amazon

Contact With Shadow

photography as part of book cover design
on Amazon

When I started to write books, I also decided I would do no marketing until I'd written eight books. That time for marketing is here, but at the moment AR comes first. This blog post may interest those who wonder what happens when you don't do marketing. You may be surprised.

Gamemaking

Using the MonjaKids Creative Development Kit, Black taught all ages, including elementary school students, university students and weekend classes at the Singapore Science Center.

The Monja Kids CDK featured about 200 commands, allowing professional gamemakers to creat complex games. However, in the classes, only the basic commands were used.


Art

Text, a few building ideas and some documentation by Black. Collaborations and more with Michael Lee.

Artist in Residence 2015: Grey Projects, Independent Archive

Education

In 2019, Black conducted two workshops and two presentations about AR. In Singapore he taught 3D gamemaking and classes in poetry performance. Black has taught English in Japan. Classes in writing and self-publishing are planned as part of the ARphabet Tour.

Music

Xylophone and organ lessons as a child. In Rochester, photographed and videoed Personal Effects, now Margaret Explosion. In Manhattan, created videos and occasionally performed with Faculty Party.

Unlocking With Ears is a video series about Black's experiences in music.

In Singapore, Black worked frequently with Amith Narayan, musician and head of High on Chai Productions. The two cofounded 3how and co-produced the Riverwalk Session album. 3how was an improvisational music/theatre project that played the Night Festival, the LitUp Festival and the Red Dot Museum. An opera, Big Homer, based on a story by Black was performed. Some of the many talents involved with 3how: Wilson Goh, Justin Bannister, Kala Charan, Dave D'aranjo, Richard Lord and Roman Tarasov .

This resume is outdated, but provides more information.

Birth - 2002

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Stephen received his Associate's Degree at the University of Toledo, then went on to Rochester Institute of Technology, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photographic Illustration.

He then moved to Brooklyn/Manhattan where he worked at Young Filmakers/Video Arts, was in Faculty Party, an operatic band utilizing theatre, phase patterns and rock. Black participated in the Lower East Side Art scene to the fullest. It was here that he became friends, with, among many people, Toyo Tsuchiya. He interviewed Toyo as part of documentation of the LES, and in particular, the legendary No Se No/Rivington School art scene.

1984: Japan. Art, teaching English, photographing, videoing. Finally met, and became life-long friends with Stelarc. Documented, with photography and video, Kazuo Ono, the co-founder of butoh. An art space with Barae, a performer/dancer. Collaborations of all kinds. Work for Sony, Suntory, ABC News, MTV and Philip Morris. Assisted Annie Liebovitz when she came to Tokyo for a monthlong American Express Shoot. This post is about Black's experiences in the Tokyo music scene. It is part of the Unlocking With Ears series that also talks about Singapore, Hong Kong and New York.

In 1994, Black spent the year in Manhattan, working for Fuji TV on the NYGO edutainment series, produced by Cannes award-winning director Toshio Uruta. Writing, producing and directing, Black worked with a number of American and Japanese acting talents, as well as some of New York's funniest comedy writers, including contributors to Saturday Night Live.

1995: Hong Kong. The Handover to China, employed as a promo producer for Cartoon Network and TNT, now called Turner Classic Movies.Art projects continued in the form of exhibitions and Noon, an art space in Black's apartment on Hollywood Road. In 1996 Black traveled to WuTang Shan in China, almost immediately after going to Tokyo to document the Tokyo "tour" of Yamo, a project by Kraftwerk drummer Wolfgang Flür. Black also produced two successful tours by Sadato, a Japan-based band led by Sadato (now Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi), an Iranian sax player/vocalist.

1998- 2001: Tokyo, on air promo producer for News Broadcast Japan, the six channels set up by Fox. Was responsible for hiring, purchasing equipment and co-ordinating with sales and marketing teams.

2001-2002. Tokyo: Exhibitions. Wrote the Agaricus blazei Murrill Notebook, the first book on the gourmet and medicinal mushroom. Also produced and directed Kiss, starring Japanese legendary actress Kumiko Akiyoshi. Pioneering, in that it was one of the first movies on the internet, it received over three million views in its first three months. Later, Black was director of photography on Bubu Again, Akiyoshi's debut as a feature length film director. In 2002, Black moved to Singapore to work as creative director for WalkerAsia/Compudia a visionary gamemaking/user generated content company established by Akihiko Seki.

AR consultants
Poster for Stephen Black's presentations and workshops at Hong Kong PolyU, July 2018
Stephen Black i ate tiong bahru  in Chinese
Augmented Reality Stephen Black in Thailand
poster for Stephen Black's presentation about AR at Sasin School of Business
unicorns in China


Starring John Cusack and the Spirit of Yosh Kawano

Next to me is Mari Goround, probably the only Asian in the audience. We’re in the balcony, the “cheap seats” that cost us a hundred and six bucks. We wish we’d bought drinks. And eaten. Below us are couples and groups of middle-aged Caucasians. Some pink hair, some green hair, some went-to-my-stylist-this afternoon-hair, grey hair, no hair.  To my right, a guy in a tee shirt that says: I can’t keep calm. I’m from Toledo.   

Soon, Grosse Pointe Blank will start. Afterwards, John Cusack, the movie's star and producer, will answer questions. We're hoping John will autograph a book called Ernie Banks, Home Run Slugger. It was the only Chicago Cubs book we could find. Only yesterday did we learn that John would be here.
My hands are still pale red; I just checked the backstage door again, hoping John would be there, and in a good mood. A long shot, I know. All I saw was
the Ohio Turnpike and an empty, long white bus in a parking lot full of nothing but dirty snow and black ice. The wind was freezing.

With that autographed book, Mari hopes to crowdfund a film about Yosh Kawano. Yosh took care of the Chicago Cubs for six decades.
Inside the Ernie Banks book is an envelope containing a paper describing Mari’s documentary idea. Four images on the paper:  Yosh’s famous white fishing hat, now in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Then, a baseball card of the 1958 Cubs, with a yellow circle around Yosh.  Next, Yosh’s smiling face in front of the American flag-- his obituary photo. The last photo: the Manzanar internment camp. Yosh was one of the over 100,000 Americans interned during World War II. Anyone 1/16th Japanese or more was given six days to pack and get on a train, with no destination given. Yosh was released early so he go fight in New Guinea and the Philippines. He won combat medals.

Grosse Point Blank ends and John, seated and wearing a black baseball cap, is answering questions. He’s talked about music, about politics, about the movie business. “They were open to ideas then... Like, we could talk about Dan Akroyd’s character wearing a woman’s Kabuki costume. Wild things like that. Now, committees plan everything. They film different endings and take surveys to decide who gets a happy ending or dies or falls in love or whatever. It’s discouraging. Great art can't be predicted.”

Next,  a woman approaches one of the mikes and suggests to John that he should marry her daughter. Then he’s asked about his most challenging role. “Max,” he answers. An attractive woman asks John if he’d like to meet her and her friends afterwards, in a karaoke bar. The moderator moves things on, points to a man at the mike on the other side of the room.

"John, what about the World Series? I'm a Cleveland fan ".

Even from here we see John’s eyes flash. “Biblical! Grampa Rossy got hit in the face with a ball, comes back with a solo homer! Seventeen minute rain delay before the tenth... it was like Moby Dick!” John starts describing the wild ups and downs of the " most greatest world series ever.” A baseball has 108 stitches. Last time the Cubs won the series was 108 years ago. Coincidence? I think not.”

Mari looks at me. Soon, we will sneak her into one of the lines of people who paid a hundred and twenty five dollars to be photographed next to John. I will then go outside, by the backstage door, and wait.

.............................................................

Hi , I am Stephen Black and I'd like to thank you for reading this.

First, Mari Goround is a fictional character. The idea of crowdfunding a movie about Yosh Kawano is a good one, but I do not know of anyone doing that.  I would be happy to develop the ideas above into a script. For now, I am hoping to write more, as well as develop my ideas about AR software and Augmented Reality movies. I'm also planning to be in Austin for the SXSW festival next month. If you can help keep the balls in the air, or just want to wear an attractive, unusual (and comfortable) tee shirt, click here. THANK YOU!

PS. The story above is was extracted from a longer version, half of which is posted here.

PSS I just discovered Ansel Adams photographed a baseball game at Manzanar! I do not know if Yosh was at Manzanar; I read a newspaper article that a family from Washington State was sent there. As Yosh was born in Washington, perhaps he was sent on a train down there also.


A ball hit a mask

A writing experiment/draft about John Cusack's recent visit to Toledo, my recent visit to Toledo, art, the entertainment industry, the Cubs and Indians World Series, my mom and dad, surrealism and stuff like that.

YOU ARE WELCOME TO READ THE FOLLOWING, BUT A MUCH SHORTER, FINISHED VERSION IS HERE.

............................................................................................................

“This is me breathing.”

A line from Grosse Point Blank


I have always been a bit rebellions.

The typo is big: black letters on a bright yellow background, shown on the movie screen above two empty chairs. The spelling mistake dissolves into a question:

In their family’s living room, the Cusack family once did a production of Cinderella. John played:

a. the evil stepmother

b. Cinderella  

c. the prince

d. the dog.

 Next to me is Mari Goround, probably the only Asian in the audience. We’re in the balcony, the “cheap seats” that cost us a hundred and six bucks. We wish we’d bought drinks. And eaten. Below us are couples and groups of middle-aged Caucasians. Some pink hair, some green hair, some went-to-my-stylist-this afternoon-hair, grey hair, no hair.

Soon, Grosse Pointe Blank will start and then John Cusack will answer questions. And then...

  In Mari’s  purse is a book called Ernie Banks, Home Run Slugger. In the envelope on my lap is an AR ONES tee shirt. Don’t ask me how, but before the night is over, John Cusack will sign her book and wear the shirt. We’ll take photos-- and then: internet here we come!

My hands are still cold; I returned five minutes ago. I went outside again, to the backstage door, hoping to catch John in a good mood. Unlikely that he would be there, I know. All that was there was a freezing, gusting Arctic front, black ice, a long white bus with no lights on and a few cars going east and west on the Ohio Turnpike. I rushed back in, past the no firearms sign on the doors, past the autographed High Fidelity merchandise  and the line of Midwesterners buying beers and little boxes of popcorn. Two guys were standing beside a guy in a wheelchair, all smiling as a woman in torn jeans photographed them in front of the Vet Tix poster.

  Once Mari gets that autographed book, she’ll be able to crowdfund a film about Yosh Kawano, a relative on her mother’s side. Yosh was one of the Cub’s living legends. He took care of the clubhouse, from before World War Two until he retired in 2009. He was interned in one of the camps, and then released so he could fight in the Philippines and New Guinea.He received medals.

  A photo of John wearing my AR ONES tee shirt will help me crowdfund the ARphabet Tour.

The shirt cost me thirty-two dollars and fifty cents at Franklin Park Mall. The last time I was in Toledo, I ate a salad there. It caused me a great inconvenience while I was driving home.

The tee shirt shop had a bunch of shirts with variations of the ‘carry on and remain calm’ meme: Keep calm and rub some bacon it, Keep calm and let me take a selfie, Keep calm and go away etc. I wanted the one that said: I can’t keep calm. I’m from Toledo.   

  We walked through JC Penney and out into the empty parking lots bordered with sad piles of grey snow. The wind was strong. The graffiti on the bus shelter benches was predictable. The warmth of the bus made us lightheaded. ‘Tom Dunn needs a kidney’ it said on a billboard. We saw a truck loaded with nine white cars. The traffic lights were softened by the snow flurries, and again and again I didn’t recognize new buildings. Secor Road, lined with Pizza Huts and Dollar Trees, seemed alien, like I was there for the first time. We passed the University of Toledo, which my grandfather worked on as part of the WPA. We passed one of the high schools I went to.

I know almost nothing about Grosse Point Blank. Something about an assassin coming back to his hometown of Grosse Point, a suburb of Detroit, to do a job and  go to his high school reunion, possibly with the girl he dumped on prom night. John Cusack is in it, of course, and so are Dan Akroyd and Minnie Driver.

Like the assassin, I have  returned to my hometown. Mari is here because John Cusack and I are here. John is here because his market is here. Backlot Productions arranged this; next month William Shatner will be here, because they’re screening Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

I’ve been in this theatre twice before, both times decades ago. The first time, there was a special offer at the Head Shed: spend twenty bucks or more and get a ticket for George Carlin. I bought Stage, a live Bowie cassette. The other time, I saw Kenny Loggins; I shouldn’t have.

  The lights finally go down. The credits start. The audience roars a little happiness that becomes louder when the bubbly perfection of Blister in the Sun starts. The opening scenes set the tone, or more accurately, the tones: film noir + comedy + thriller + boys with guns + high school romance teen flick. John’s sister Joan plays Marcella, his secretary. At one point Martin Q. Blank (John's character) looks at Marcella’s outfit and calls her Sergeant Pepper.

After the  bus lets us off across from The Blade, we walk towards the 31H, the bus that will bring  to the Stranahan. We stop in the bitter cold so I can photograph Mari in one of the dull parking lots, with the grey sky and nondescript buildings behind her. The wind swirls her long uncut hair above the cheap coat we bought in Shenzhen. Her eyes are watering and her nose is red. Beautiful, beautiful.

The 31H takes us past the High Level Bridge, the Maumee River, the Toledo Zoo, and then Monroe and Detroit, where Swayne Field used to be. My grampa, my dad, my mom and Hank the barber have told me stories about the area that is now a shopping plaza. Hank Aaron played there, Casey Stengel coached there. A bunch of guys my dad knew once had a few belts at one of the nearby bars; they ended up trying to have a picnic near right field until they got kicked out. Swayne Field is now a shopping plaza.

  I’m writing this section of Catching Cusack  in the house where my mother lives and my father was born. My father lives in another house. At this moment he is driving to a hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, about 40 miles from here, about 45 miles from Detroit.  Last night, while Mari and I were at the Cusack event, my mom was at a birthday party for a friend she’s known since first grade. Eighty years old. She made him a scrapbook filled with black and white and faded color photos, as well as cartoon illustrations of the greatest inventions of the past eight decades: bottled water, ATM, credit cards, TV dinners and microwave ovens. Right now, my mother is baking something with cinnamon in it.

Baking and dancing are my mom’s favorite things. I’ve gained weight: anyone would. In the past two weeks she’s baked dozens of heart-shaped sugar cookies, a carrot cake, a coffee cake, Irish soda bread, muffins; and cooked all kinds of things for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. For the ARphabet Tour, she made mango sticky rice.  

Last Sunday she told us about dancing at the Bavarian Club. Today, at lunch she told us about her volunteer work with the police, Swayne Field, the Tony Curtis movie she appeared in, and the ice cream store that used to be in front of the Babcock Dairy. Yesterday, for no specific reason, we found ourselves talking about death (as opposed to her finding a name in the obituaries.) Cremation or burial; she has crossed out and rewritten each word more than a few times.

I was in this room on the night of February 12, 1967. That was a Sunday night. My parents dropped me off here so they could go bowling. While my grandparents watched Lawrence Welk on the black and white TV, I sat at that table with crayons and paper. My grampa was sitting here, in the chair that’s now over there. (It was reupholstered by my mom.) My gramma was on the couch. They watched Lawrence Welk. At eight o’clock I came in, sprawled myself on the wheat colored carpet with wooden blocks. The Ed Sullivan show came on, and I didn’t understand it most of the time. But that night was something that seemed natural to me. Now, when I listen to it, I appreciate how revolutionary it was. That night, like millions of Americans, I watched a short video called Strawberry Fields Forever.

My grandparents had very loud conversations. When a car would drive by very fast, one would say, “Someone’s going to the  hospital.” Or, “Where’s that cowboy going?” In the summer my grampa would take me, sometimes my brother too, for a walk down to the store with a concrete floor. We’d buy orange pushups. Sometimes, my gramma made banana cream pie.There was always something good in the fridge.

The Latin name for the biggest tree in the backyard is Liriodendron, meaning ‘lily tree’. The day of the ice storm, the snow was crisp; it sounded like I was walking on a giant white potato chip. I looked up at that tulip tree and saw a few dried flowers, each coated with ice as clear as glass. The tree is very tall, maybe twice the height of the house. Everything, from the wild geometry of the thinnest branches to the trunk, was coated with ice, dangerously so. The wind or another raindrop might have broken a branch, ending my contemplation of tree and sky.

Grosse Point Blank, the John Cusack movie we are about to watch: I know almost nothing about it. Something about an assassin coming back to his hometown near Detroit to do a job and  go to a high school reunion, possibly with the girl he dumped on prom night. Dan Akroyd and Minnie Driver also star.

Like GPD’s assassin, I am returning to my hometown, Toledo. Mari is here because John Cusack and I are here. John is here because his market is here. Backlot Productions arranged this; next month William Shatner will be here, because they’re screening Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

Four or five decades ago, there was a special offer at the Head Shed: spend twenty bucks or more and get a ticket to see George Carlin, here, at the Stranahan. I bought Stage, a live Bowie cassette. I sat down there, in the middle and to the right. The only other time I was here, I saw Kenny Loggins; I shouldn’t have.

  The lights finally go down. The credits start. The audience roars a little happiness that becomes louder when the bubbly perfection of Blister in the Sun starts. The opening scenes sets the tone, or more accurately, the tones: film noir + comedy + thriller + boys with guns + high school romance teen flick. John’s sister Joan plays Marcella, his secretary. At one point Martin Q. Blank (John's character) looks at Marcella’s outfit and calls her Sergeant Pepper.

BLAM BLAM BLAM … Grosse Point Blank has gun scenes, including a John Woo-ish blastathon between Blank and Felix La Poubelle (Benny "The Jet" Urquidez). The massive exchange of bullets takes place in the Ultimart that was built where the Blank home used to be. The Ultimart dies a fireball death, a victim of the old bomb in the microwave trick. This segment, and a few others are heavy handed, so much that the GPB’s tempo is lost, to the point where it feels like a running gag instead of a showcase of clarity, insights and daring. Instead of the richnesses of blacks and whites and reds, GPB’s palette is bubblegum and grey.

However, the  love that went into this movie is obvious. Minnie Driver is perfect; a captivating puzzle of emotions in nearly every scene. The “flying” scene in the bedroom, the simple cutting between the faces of Blank and a baby, and the father’s grave scene are classics. Its high ambitions and daring ideas would have benefited from a bit more polishing, but Grosse Pointe Blank is indeed, a gem.

more to come, of course...