Writing and the Digital Avante-garde

The slides are explained here.

TEST READERS WANTED: If you would like to be one of the first to read about ANTIGONE CLOUD, email Stephen Black at bubikofoodtour@gmail.com

Antigone Cloud is a ten-year old girl who is actually an arbot, a softwre program made of light. Antigone, who lives in Singapore, has the body of a ghost and the mind of an emotional computer.

Lida Cloud 1

A gao yord tattoo just below one boxer’s Adam's apple, a tiger on the back of the other. Their bones and muscles glisten beneath the stadium lights like warm, metallic oil. They study each other. They move. Flicker. The fighter in red pirouettes, then launches a punch made of rock. Impact! The crowd roars. Bravely, the one in blue stumbles. He finally gains focus again; his gloves shoot up like a shield. He moves forward. Jabs: left, left, left. An elbow to the right. His eyebrow becomes a dripping red line...

The girl looks bored.

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

The above, or a version of it, is likely the opening of Lida Cloud, the book I am in the midst of writing. Lida is an arbot in the form of a ten-year old girl.

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

The story of Lida is a topic for another day. For now, the image of the boxing ring is symbol for both Life and AR.

I would like to thank Thaifight for allowing me behind the scenes for their recent tournament. I am still compiling my notes on those two days into a documentary type article. Thanks also to Graham Meyer for responding so professionally. The opportunity to write about the tournament happened very quickly, and all I had was an iPhone. Graham magically appeared, thanks to Christian Hogue. Graham's other images of the tournament are are excellent, so much that they would overpower this bit of writing!

Notes on Lida Cloud… a novel featuring an AR character (Augmented Reality)

Lida Cloud is a ten year old girl with a body like a ghost and a mind like a computer. She is an archild, an augmented reality companion. Lida lives in Singapore, but wants to live on a mountaintop. Lida and her two friends, a dolphin named Sinus and a giraffe named Mugi, journey across Southeast Asia looking for the perfect mountain.

I will be talking about Lida Cloud at the Singapore Young Writers Festival. The book is a personal writing challenge and a way to increase my understanding of how markerless AR might work. Though the book is fictional, the AR used in the book is based on a unified light field delivery system which does not yet exist. Unified light field system AR seems to be the basis of Magic Leap's research.

After some thought, I decided that Lida would exist within a 3 meter square space. She can be seen from anywhere, any distance away, but all of her motions must take place within that 3 meter cube.

Lida is projected from a Source. A Source is a fictitious device/app that is like a Kinect, but in reverse. A Kinect is all about recording sound and motion within a 3D space; a Source is about projecting light and sound into a space.

A Source would require huge amounts of battery power. To maintain realism, I am treating battery life almost as though it were part of Lida’s personality. However, Lida is not based on hard science.

Lida is an archild, or an arkid. The words combine AR (augmented reality) with “child” and “kid”. The word “arbot” also appears in the book. After I had been using the word "arbot " for a while, I researched to see if the word is actually being used. I could only find this. Presently, there are, of course, robotic companions. Books have been populated by robots since the playwright Karel Capek created the word “robots” almost one hundred years ago. Physicality may be the biggest difference between robots and arbots. Arbots, though they appear to be three-dimensional, are made of light. This means that they cannot perform actions like picking things up.

“Beings made of light” could be a description of an arbot. The phrase itself is loaded with religious and new age associations. Not a bad thing, perhaps, but Lida will be as "normal" and "human" as she can be, even in fantastic and unrealistic situations.

Lida Cloud and Publishizer are now in discussions about crowdfunding. Please get in touch if you can support, especially if you know of any book clubs or libraries. Lida Cloud will be likely presented as a novel for young adults, but it is also full of information on Southeast Asia. Food too!

The base of the header image is by Tarotski, who is extremely talented.

Year of the Duck

Happy Year of the Duck!

The Bubiko Foodtour rolled into Udon Thani, Thailand!

Thank you to Chumnannit Srisuporn, the Director of Public Health and Environment, and to the Deputy Mayor, Suraphon Jamnootibeecha, for a very pleasant exchange of ideas. We shared information about the Jeff Koons/AR project, and learned the background of the Udon Thani rubber ducks. The ducks were inspired by a sculpture by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. They attract people from around the world and have posed for countless selfies.

We truly enjoyed the tour of the Udon Thani museum! Highlights: Richard Nixon, the history of Udon Thani and how the Thai royalty kept Thailand out of the hands of the French.

Thank you to our informative tour guide and to Nattapicha Rachakhang, who gave us a tour of the city.

If you are in Bangkok on Wednesday...

https://feb2018sundowner.eventbrite.com/

The Bubiko Orwell Tour/Startup/Pitchdeck/Presentation

Risk is what differentiates business from entrepreneurship, separates art from craft. It is said that the greater the risk, the greater the rewards. I hope this to be true: last year, my partner and I took the biggest risk we possibly could.

A visa complication presented us with a choice: we could return to our homelands or we could do a research and networking tour of Southeast Asia, focusing on food, AR and VR.

We decided to tour. We had only the clothes we were wearing, no computer, no significant savings. No firm plan, only ideas. That was a year ago.

Now:

- I have completed the first draft of Eating Where Orwell Ate, a collection of stories and essays about Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.

- We have a database of food, restaurants and culinary experiences. A sample. Bubiko Foodtour has been launched on her journey to AR superstardom.

- We have established a physical and digital network of individuals, associations, companies and educational that are genuinely interested in AR.

- We have characters! Bubiko Foodtour, Secret Donut World and The Dobots(with David Severn) and The Dundercats(with permission from the IP owners).

- We’re finalizing the world’s first AR photo exhibition!

In short, the past year has been extremely productive.

I will be giving a presentation at the February session of the Sundowner networking event at the Sasin School of Management. Sasi is an AACSB and EQUIS accredited business school founded in 1982 through a collaboration among Chulalongkorn University and the Kellogg School of Management and the Wharton Business School.

Here is the info:

AR: An Introduction for Entrepreneurs, Adventurers and Artists

There will soon be over a billion AR-friendly phones and devices. This presentation explains what AR (Augmented Reality) is, and discusses noteworthy projects, ideas, business models and artworks. The AR-related investments of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Epson and Facebook have created a frontier full of possibilities. Are you ready?

About Stephen Black

An American who has spent most of his life in Asia, Black has worked for Fuji TV, France 2, Fox, CNN and Cartoon Network, as well as with exceptional musicians, artists and writers. He is experienced with the creation of 3D games, and has taught gamemaking classes. He is also an established visual artist with a BFA in Photographic Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

With Eugene Soh, Stephen curated SPOKEN, a virtual art exhibition. With hiverlab, he wrote, produced and starred in Beach Road, a 360 VR film which was featured at festivals in Brisbane, Las Vegas and Singapore.

Stephen has written eight books, including i ate tiong bahru, a bestseller in Singapore. His next book will be Eating Where Orwell Ate, inspired by his 2017 Southeast Asian AR research tour. Its cover will feature AR.

Stephen enjoys helping Bubiko Foodtour research mango sticky rice. His website is www.blacksteps.tv

Penang Christmas 24 hour food documentation part 3

Part 1 is here.

Penang Christmas 24 hour Food Documentation part 2

Part 1 is here.

Penang Christmas 24 hour Food Documentation

Artist/writer/AR startup founder Stephen Black's photo notes for a story to be featured in Eating Where Orwell Ate. The documentation began about 10PM on December 24, 2017 and lasted for about 24 hours.

Eating Where Orwell Ate is a companion piece to his bestselling book i ate tiong bahru.

Nickolas “Nicco” Mallcott’ s world of watercolors

I' m posting this on the morning of December 15, 2017. Detailed information and photos to be posted soon. A cloudburst and a spectacular sunset added to the atmosphere of the shoot.

19 Crimes AR: the artwork of the millennium (Viva la ARPOP!)

19 Crimes has created the most relevant artwork of the millenium. With it, ARPOP is born. Ponder its relationship with:

- Rembrandt, Dodd, Warhol, and Anderson

- the legacy of black and white photography

- the world becoming MOMA

- the innovations of VR artists

- the act of viewing. AR can become a form of performance art on a private, intimate level

- cinema!

- a companion piece: Duchamp's urinal.

- the "lighthouses"(galleries, theatres and museums) that are no longer the dominant guides for social and cultural navigation. AR, GPS and social media, viewed on glowing phones and tablets, are replacing ivory towers. Decentralization is the future. 19 Crimes exemplifies the future of art.

-ARPOP is born.

I will be discussing ARPOP at ECHA this weekend:

Check Stephen Black on Facebook for details on live broadcasts.