Category Archives: IT

Chiang Rai, the Golden Triangle Palace: Art, Content, Portraiture

Regarding the retireinchiangrai performance.

What began at the Abby Hotel in Ipoh, Malaysia as a kind of durational art piece has become a form of portraiture for hotels. With the Abby Hotel piece, the goal was to create content for 72 continuous hours, mainly with Facebook Live. Next was a sixty hour project at Symphony Suites, also in Ipoh. Christmas, Penang, 24 hour documentation of food.Then in Bangkok, there was a near continuous three day marathon at La Rivetta.

My latest mix of photography, historical research and interviews/oral history is partially documented at this website:

The intention is to use photography for personal expression, rather than commercial documentation, as well as to create a vocabulary of procedures that allow for spontaneous internet experiences. Plus, the experiences will become a chapter in An Alphabet of Spikes, one of the two books I am currently writing.

In short, we did a lot of stuff and put it online to see what happens in both the art world and the world of people who want to retire in Thailand.

Notes on AR app baby steps

Unless you are an AR geek, a very thorough investor/VC or part of the Bubiko Photo app team, this post may not make is documentation of testing. Later, I will write a post like this.

Samsung J6 Prime (4 months old)

- Unable to open file.

Htc one m8

- Android 6

- Two apps successfully installed. One is a slideshow with a countdown with very nice pictures.

-The other app only starts my camera, but I can't do anything with it. There are no instructions or menus.

-the icon is incomplete

screenshot of apps

Bubiko Foodtour Photo exhibition pp icon test

Would like to redo icon: dimensions?File format?

instructions for use/how to create a marker can be included? Something like this: On a clean white piece of paper(at least 3 x 5 inches/80 x 130mm, write IPOH. Point phone at IPOH and the exhibition will begin.

Description: These 38 images of Ipoh, Malaysia were taken by Bubiko Foodtour, who is little chef from Thailand.The images reflect her love of food and culture as well as the aesthetic influences of artists such as Stephen Shore, Daido Moriyama and Edward Hopper.

This AR photographic exhibition was produced by Stephen Black. Copyright 2017

unusual AR marker

Bubiko Foodtour, a work in progressBubiko Foodtour, behind the scenes, undergoing Photoshop

SB AR Startup GTM Foundation-building

Since June 2017, I have been on a tour of Southeast Asia, building connections for my AR startup. AR is expected to become as common as GPS in late 2018. Until that time, education and relationship-building are necessary for success.

Stephen Black teaching gamemaking in Singapore

At present AR is largely unknown. What follows is a partial list of companies and individuals with whom I have explained, and/or discussed, the possibilities of AR. Nearly all of the following are food-related, and all have been introduced to Bubiko Foodtour.


Dragon Food Inc. "Dragon Food Inc is the largest soybean milk powder products manufacturing enterprises in China, with original fixed assets of more than 100 million, 10 million acres of Non-GMO soybean planting base, world-class testing equipments and advanced laboratory center. Permitted by China Green Food Development Center, we can use trademark of “Green Food” and “Certified Organic COFCC”. We are also certified by BCS OKO-GARANTIE GMBH to use trademark of “Organic Food” in both Europe and the US. Using 31 processes to extract protein from soybean effectively, we ensure the safety and healthy from the seed to dining-table and share with the world. And our products do not contain any chemicals, additives, preservatives, or artificial colors."


Harsho- the award-winning graphic novelist





Elcom Walk

Michael Kato/Japanese Greats

Many others, including associates at companies such as Fuji TV and Sony, as the result of having lived in Japan for over twenty years.


Abby Hotel, Ipoh


Hock Moon Hiong BBQ Meat PLT.

Monash University


Imagineering// second startup venture capital

Meraki tempe, Kuala Lumpur


Numerous experiences with Singapore Science Center, Ministry of Education and other institutions, as a result of a 15 year residence.Plus, extensive experiences in gamemaking and teaching gamemaking.

Singapore Youth Writers Festival 2018 Invited participant, focusing upon the relationship between writing and AR/VR.

TNB Venture Capital

Stelarc: the sound of three hands clapping (#3 in the Haptics series)

Three hands clapping. Maybe the phrase is a cyborg Zen riddle. Maybe it’s not. I can only imagine Stelarc’s reaction upon seeing the phrase. He'll either ignore it and plunge into the heart of the text, or laugh his Aussie-mad-scientist laugh..

This post is casual, a pleasant way to continue my haptics series. So much of writing, art and AR/VR is done in isolation and it is refreshing and important to remember the human side of things. I’m reminded of how unusual the “facts” of my life can be: In Singapore’s Little India, I once had dinner with a man with an ear on his arm.

When I lived in Japan, I was fortunate to document a few of Stelarc’s performances that featured The Third Hand, including his monorail suspension, his "last". Years before that event, I was working in lower Manhattan, not far from where Stelarc suspended himself over 11th Street. Two of my friends rushed in and told me about the “guy who was hanging by fish hooks”. The information caused me to become became pale and deeply confused.

Photo by Toyo Tsuchiya used with permission.

Now, when I meet Stelarc, it is like seeing a dear friend, one who is always stimulating.

Stephen Black as lab rat

effect of low voltage electricity on muscles demonstration

Stelarc ear on arm

LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. With Urich Lau and Steve Dixon. My first and only photobomb.
man, hat, smartphone and dragonfly

Stelarc recording winged body, by Stephen Black

Stelarc has a piece in SPOKEN, a co-production between myself and Eugene Soh, The Dude. The first part of this series is here.

Haptics: Giving VR the Finger (2 of a series)

(The first of my posts on haptics is here. Some posts in this series are technical, some are interviews, some are essays; all are handy and some are touching.)

To truly understand haptics, one must be aware of those glorious, sensitive tools that are always at arm’s length.

Hand performance

from the Mare Vaporum project

"The human hand is an engineering marvel. There is no more impressive example of functional anatomy. It can grab and release, caress and defend. Learn karate, and you can break bricks with it. It’s a mechanism of precision and flexibility. A maestro can play the piano and the violin with the same hand. It’s a way of seeing. Close your eyes, and you can identify almost anything you touch. It’s an organ of sensuality—the fingers have more nerve endings than almost any other part of the body—and an organ of expression and communication. Not for nothing has Dr. Kodi Azari made the hand—its function, its reconstruction, and its transplantation—his life’s work."

hand transplant

hand, transplanted: photo by Michael Lewis for Los Angeles Magazine

“I’m not a religious person, but if there’s any evidence of divine intervention, it has to be the human hand,” he says. “It’s perfect.”

-Amy Wallace writing for Los Angeles Magazine, March 20, 2017. Her article is highly recommended, for anyone. It continues...

Azari, who is 48, is the surgical director of the Hand Transplant Program at UCLA, where he’s worked since 2008. The field is still in its relative infancy. The first hand transplant to achieve prolonged success was performed 18 years ago in Louisville; by 2015, fewer than 85 procedures had been undertaken worldwide. But Azari is at the forefront. He’s traveled the country as one of the lead surgeons in five hand transplants conducted at the University of Pittsburgh and at Johns Hopkins University, including the first double-hand transplant and the first arm transplant performed in the United States. Then, in 2011, he and a team of 16 others did the first hand transplant west of the Rockies, at UCLA. The recipient was Emily Fennell, a 26-year-old single mom who’d lost her right hand in a traffic accident."

The complete article: The Hollywood Exec and the Hand Transplant That Changed His Life In just 30 hours, a superfit reality TV producer went from the top of his game to the precipice of death. What happened next would teach him everything about grace, resolve, and the power of love.

Jersey Finger

Gloves in space: this article, from 2009, details some of NASA’s requirements for hand coverings.

hand performance


Mare Vaporum: Open Source Video Material/Artwork

tribute to Alfred Steiglitz

Artists, musicians, filmmakers, poets, theatre people, CG artists, GIF artist, data scientists, ANYONE...Feel free to use this video for any noncommercial project you like. Let me know how you use it and I will promote your project. Commercial projects: I am sure we can work something out.

SOME POSSIBILITIES: - visuals for ambient, flute, or piano soundtrack/music video - elements for any kind of music video - cutaways or structural elements for a film - theatre backdrops/projections - mashups with other videos - video reformatted into other GIFs (FWIW the file size below is 5.42 megs) - stills accompanying texts, like short stories or poems

Mare Vaporum

    WHAT: Shot on an iPhone near Kuala Lumpur. There was no goal, other than to capture the moment.


    Stephen Black


    I am interested in, and have been writing about, hands and haptics. Also, I am now rewriting a collection of stories and essays called Touching JB, in which tactile sensations figure prominently. And then there are my startup plans... screencaptures

    GIF possibilities created and suggested by algorithms

    The GIF below was created by the algorithms at It was extremely simple. Thanks to this article on Gtricks. I learned how to upload on .
    Gif artwork

    Gif artwork

    This project is a collaboration with the software and algorithms of About the fingernails... they were real. I will write about this later, but they were a personal art project.

Haptics: Giving VR the Finger (1 of a series )

Rethink the body for a moment. The skin; the largest organ. The wondrous organs and processes within this sack of flesh, especially the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. With everything working together, we can do things like jump, speak and button our clothes.

Zooming in on the act of buttoning a shirt, we see a number of interactions. The brain controls muscles related to the eyes, arms and hands. Information about texture and positioning is exchanged between brain and fingers. Muscles and tendons make movements, some obvious, some extremely subtle. Fingertips maneuver the object. Voila! The shirt is buttoned. All parts of the buttoning operation are important. However, from the viewpoint of haptics, the three nerves connected to the fingers deserve a closer look.

The median nerve controls the thumb and wrist. It also gives feeling to the skin around the palm, thumb, middle and index fingers. It runs down the inside of the arm, crosses the front of the elbow and passes through the wrist bones and connective tissue of the carpal tunnel. Compressing the median nerve over a long period can result in carpal tunnel syndrome.

Another nerve, the ulnar nerve, is connected to the muscles that bend the wrist and fingers. It passes behind the elbow. When someone says, “I hit my funny bone”, the correct reply is,”what you are actually saying is that you’ve unexpectedly stimulated your ulnar nerve, resulting in that unusual, wacky tingling sensation”.

Spock rockin' that ulnar nerve/ flexor digitalis superficialis action.

Finally, the radial nerve, which straightens the wrist, thumb and fingers. It gives feeling to the skin on the back of the hand, as well as the index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. Considered by many to be the second most important nerve in the body, the radial nerve is also responsible for bending the elbow.

My interest in haptics is not yet linked to any projects, commercial or artistic. This series of haptics-related blog posts is open-ended, but, the following topics seem likely to follow, in this order: nerve endings, sensors, and haptic-related products. I am especially interested in the intersection of haptics and music. I hope to also again speak with Stelarc about his possible haptics-related projects. I was fortunate to document some of his third hand projects, as well as chat with his prosthetic head. FWIW, I have only knowingly photobombed once:

Stelarc third ear

Stephen Black's first and only photobomb.Stelarc, Uerich Lau, Steve Dixon and ? LASALLE College of the Arts

Black and white photo courtesy of Toyo Tsuchiya, from his No Se No documentation project.

Part two of this series is here.

Four examples of a blog post display on mobile (Instant Article)

Instant Articles by Facebook, created specifically for mobile, are said to offer the advantages of an attractive layout and fast loading time, especially with images and video. On this WordPress blog, I easily installed a plugin called LH Instant Articles, by Peter Shaw. It was highly rated and the descriptions and explanations were simple. At the bottom of this post is text from the description.

Facebook browser Chrome mobile Chrome mobile-friendly Safari ios

Only the Chrome mobile-friendly browser displays the ext and layout as I had expected, but there is no image! My friend Tun sent these these to me, and he is a great IT guy;teaches it in fact. SO I need to ask him the difference between Chrome mobile and Chrome mobile friendly. And thanks also to Stuart Rankin.

Here is the text from the LH Description...

LH Instant Articles

By Peter Shaw

This plugin is a very simple bloat free way of enabling instant articles. At its most basic it creates a facebook compliant RSS feed that allows you to publish Instant Articles to facebook pages. E.G. or . You can and should specify your facebook page id in the settings screen. You can optionally also include additional post types in the instant articles feed. And by the use of many different hooks you can modify the html outputted in the Instant Articles feed. It also supports:

• Adding related posts (see faq) • Adding analytics and tracking (see faq) • Adding advertisments (see faq) • Version: 1.16 • Author: Peter Shaw • Last Updated: 2 weeks ago • Requires WordPress Version: 3.0 or higher • Compatible up to: 4.8 • Active Installs: 300+ • Plugin Page » • Plugin Homepage »


5.0 rating based on 4 ratings

(based on 4 ratings)


Read all reviews on or write your own!

5 stars

4 stars

I wanted to thank Peter Shaw, but doesn't acknowledge my password...and Peter's blog requires me to log in and set up an account...Peter, if you see this, THANKS! It works great, though I wonder why it displays so differently...

SPOKEN project description, reviews, interviews, background of project

collage title page Spoken virtual gallery gallery sgSpoken

A virtual gallery project by Eugene Soh and Stephen Black, Spoken features an eclectic range of artists, including Stelarc, Yasumasa Morimura,Vincent Leow, Christophe Charles and Hans Lagner. Spoken refers to the idea that the curators have spoken to all of the artists, a simple but profound starting point. Documentary writing, flash fiction and metafiction are an important part of Spoken. The exhibition is also the location for He in Spoken, a short machinima film now in preproduction.

ICON Martell Eugene

Note: we are pleased to announce that Eugene Soh is a nominee in the ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu 2014, one of Singapore's most highly regarded photography competitions. This will result in some postponement of the September release, though the text, machinima and internet-related aspects will continue as planned. Eugene's photography work is now on display in Singapore:

About Eugene Soh: A recent graduate of Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design and Media, is recognized as being a pioneer in the Singapore Web Art movement. The Last Kopitiam, Eugene's update of The Last Supper, has been very well received and exemplifies his light-hearted approach to art. The Future Audience: Eugene Soh at TEDxYouth@Singapore< Steve and Eugene In gallerysg square crop Eugene Soh and Stephen Black at the Web Art Show at[/caption]

About Stephen Black

After graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology, began a journey through art, Asia and writing. In Tokyo he worked with butoh dancers, including Kazuo Ono. In Hong Kong he produced promotional videos for Cartoon Network and Turner Classic movies. Art, writing and life experiences in New York and Paris; in 2002, he began working with virtual reality in Singapore. Books by Stephen Black include Obama Search Words, Furikake, Bus Stopping and I Ate Tiong Bahru. Contact With Shadow is becoming unglued. 

Contact With Shadow on Unglue

Overview mindmap

Interior of Gallery, work in progress

Interior of Gallery, work in progress. A gif  artwork by Paul Periera and a painting from the Crime Faces series by Paul Dodd.

-An original concept by Eugene Soh, is unique and entertaining.

-Visitors can easily walk through the gallery and chat with each other.

- Pop up displays provide information about the artists and artworks

- Inspired by the Hawkeye Crates Art Space in Brooklyn, the virtual gallery features numerous architectural details as well as a few surprises.

- the artworks are the starting point for the layout and the gallery is being created specifically for them. Lighting and information displays are dedicated to each individual artwork.

-The artworks are available for sale, prices upon request.

Note: Spoken will be in a completely new space at, which is presently hosting the Web Art show.

How Eugene Soh and Stephen Black met:

List of artists:

Arleen Schloss

Mel Araneta

span style="color: #333333;">David Black

(No internet presence)

Stephen Black

Christophe Charles

Display at Unearthed Exhibition at Singapore Art museum An example of art by the Psychogeographical Society

Detail from "Here Lies the River" by Debbie Ding, on display as part of the Unearthed Exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum.

Debbie Ding

Paul Dodd Paintings: Blog: Free downloadable music:

Andrés García-Peñaés_García-Peña

Morvarid K

Godwin Koay

Hans Lagner

Michael Lee

Vincent Leow

David Severn

Eugene Soh


Lily Su

Liqing Xue

Morimura Yasumasa


Anyone, especially journalists, are welcome to send questions to bookmerah(at)


Depending on test results and feedback I will either continue with this document or start another, hopefully improved, version.



Click here for a list of the artists in SPOKEN, as well as information about them.

SPOKEN open notebook. Click here for email extracts and notes from behind the scenes.
SPOKEN is a project by Eugene Soh and Stephen Black, combining a virtual gallery, a book project and the works of an exciting and eclectic mix of known and emerging artists.

The site of SPOKEN is On display at the moment is The Web Art Show, featuring Singaporean artists. (The present gallery will be completely reconstructed for SPOKEN.)

SPOKEN  references  the fact that one or both of the curators  have spoken to the artists.

Short stories, essays and text related to SPOKEN: click here. Besides being a virtual gallery, SPOKEN  is a book project that combines fact and fiction to present conversations the curators have had with the artists in the exhibition. Online right now are two works-in-progress, a story about meeting Robert Rauschenberg and one about meeting Michael Lee. Note this is a work-in-progress and the texts have not been proofread.
Virtual Art galleries in Singapore, article by Gwen Pew, TimeOut  July 3, 2014 This went up on the morning of  July 1... For now, here is Eugene Soh's TEDx talk about the audience of the future.... and Stephen Black's TEDx talk about words and technology... with spontaneous performances and music.