Selected for 2014 SIGGRAPH Art Gallery.

I am so pleased to announce that The Evolution of Silence will be included in the 2014 SIGGRAPH Art Gallery this August! The exhibition will take place from August 11–14, 2014 in Vancouver, BC, and is held in conjunction with 2014 SIGGRAPH: an International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.

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The theme of the SIGGRAPH 2014 Art Gallery is “Acting in Translation.” (from their open call) ‘Translation indicates a detached and forward movement from the source. It is also a freeing act, which paradoxically contains a burden of responsibility for the source. Therefore, this movement has limits and fine borderlines, yet it could designate “more” than the source. Translation is a call for other realities and also another way to see other realities. Translation can also blend “fact” with fiction by blurring the difference between them. In this vein, “translation” as a term could be interpreted in multiple ways on different layers of perception. While this term indicates a mechanical act, it may also refer to global and local societal developments such as resistance movements, alternative economies, information leaks, migration flows, mobility, etc.’

All types of work are submitted to SIGGRAPH: 2D and 3D artworks, interactive, electronically mediated Augmented Reality (AR), mixed-media installations and performances, web-based art, responsive media, time-based works, works leveraging mobile technologies, works using digital communities and social media, robotics, touch-screens, wearable art, mediated music, sound and audio.

I am very excited to be showing in this context. Instead of showing it from a monitor screen, this time I will be projecting onto a floating screen constructed at an angle. The goal is that the landscape and map will appear as an extension of the space and the user.

This year’s jury includes:
Basak Senova (curator and designer; the Art Gallery Chair 2014; lecturer at Department of Media and Visual Arts at Koç University),
Mona Kasra (artist and educator; the Conference Chair 2016; digital media scholar at University of Texas),
Amit Zoran (HCI and craft researcher; the Art Gallery Chair 2015; Post-Doc at the Fluid Interfaces Group, MIT Media Lab),
Kate Armstrong (curator, artist and writer; Director of the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University of Art + Design),
Cezanne Charles (artist, designer and policywonk; Co-Director of rootoftwo – hybrid design studio, Director of Creative Industries at ArtServe Michigan), and
Mushon Zer-Aviv (designer, educator and media activist, faculty member at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art).

There will be an opening reception on Tuesday, August 12 from 2–3:30 pm. In addition I will be giving an Artist Talk on Wednesday, August 13. Here is the full schedule of talks and projects:

Tuesday, 12 August 
Art Gallery Talk SESSION 1
Moderator: Basak Senova, Koc University and SIGGRAPH 2014 Art Gallery Chair 
Tuesday, 12 August, 2.00pm -3:30 pm

Art Gallery Panel: On SIGGRAPH Art Gallery: Basak Senova in Conversation Sue Gollifer, Mona Kasra, and Burak Arikan. 

Wednesday, 13 August
Art Gallery Talk SESSION 2
Moderator: Basak Senova, Koc University and SIGGRAPH 2014 Art Gallery Chair 
Wednesday, 13 August, 10.45-12.15 pm 

Points of View
Zohar Kfir
 
Subway Stories 
Alon Chitayat Animishmish Studio/ITP and Jeff Ong ITP, New York University
 
The Evolution of Silence
Rachele Riley

Art Gallery Talk SESSION 3
Moderator: Basak Senova, Koc University and SIGGRAPH 2014 Art Gallery Chair 
Wednesday. 13 August, 2:00pm -3:30pm

Can digital art have the same emotional impact and historical significance as masterworks in painting, drawing, and sculpture?
Joseph Farbrook, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
 
Mother 
Inmi Lee, Kutztown University

Thursday, 14 August
Art Gallery Talk SESSION 4
Moderator: Basak Senova, Koc University and SIGGRAPH 2014 Art Gallery Chair 
Thursday, 14 August, 10.45-12.15
 
On Everyware
Hyunwoo Bang 
Yunsil Heo
Everyware

Technological Error, Power and Metamorphosis
Emilio Vavarella

From Virtual to Reality
Ed Konowal/GraphicsNet

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Thanks again, everyone, for helping me fund my project and enabling me to take it to this level. I am very grateful!

Version 1.

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The Evolution of Silence version 1—www.evolution-of-silence.net

The Hatchfund fundraiser ended in October, and thanks to all my wonderful supporters, I raised $3,827 towards my project!

Part of the funding has already covered the costs of working with web developer, Danniel Gaidula. We have completely revamped and refined the web-based archive. This is a significant programming achievement! ‘The Evolution of Silence’ requires that over 900 individual images be processed at once (to form the aerial tiling of the landscape), and as other image, video, and audio layers are revealed it can become very intense for any system. We developed a unique approach to the design and coding, and I am happy to say that is now live and working!

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I invite you to explore:

www.evolution-of-silence.net

*Refresh your browser cache if you have visited before.
*Works in Chrome (fastest), Safari, Firefox and IE 10. Requires a modern browser.

Presenting at ‘Praxis and Poetics’ at the BALTIC in Gateshead, UK.

Presentation at 'Praxis and Poetics: Research Through Design,' September 4, 2013
Rachele Riley presenting ‘The Evolution of Silence’ at ‘Praxis and Poetics’ at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, UK on September 4, 2013. Photo by Dr Joyce Yee.

I traveled to England on September 2 to participate in the conference ‘Praxis and Poetics: Research Through Design.’ The conference was held at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, UK, just over the Millennium Bridge and across the river from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a beautiful university city with a mix of old and new architecture, which I was able to explore one afternoon on foot. I am so happy that I was able to attend this event and thrilled to present and exhibit ‘The Evolution of Silence’ in its newly re-coded format. It was a celebratory week for me and wonderful to share the archive beyond the U.S.

Millennium Bridge and the BALTIC.
Millennium Bridge and the BALTIC.

Here is a post from Vicky Teinaki who blogged about the conference:

“Rachele Riley went beyond whether the truth is out there to the history we forget in ‘The Evolution of Silence.’ Her work is investigating the decades of nuclear testing that went on in the Nevada desert, and through it the changing opinions of nuclear testing…”

Read the full post here.

Link to ‘The Evolution of Silence.’

Installation detail of 'The Evolution of Silence' at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. ©Rachele Riley, 2013
Detail of ‘The Evolution of Silence’ at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. ©Rachele Riley, 2013

Thank you to The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and to my family for travel support, to Danniel Gaidula for revamping the site, and to everyone who generously contributed to my project via USA Projects. The archive looked amazing on the high resolution monitor and received incredible response. There are several conversation threads that linger in my mind; I am now finding time to probe them. Several people expressed an interest in contributing to the archive through its (soon-to-be-developed) participatory layer. It was inspiring to meet designers (mainly from Asia, Europe, and Australia) who are engaged in diverse research and are investigating new modes of delivery. It was an awe-tastic week.

Fundraising at USA Projects.

I just posted ‘The Evolution of Silence’ to USA Projects!

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I have been working on the writing for about two weeks, and just finished the video yesterday. I have one month to fund the project and I need your help. Please consider contributing, and do share the link with others! Thank you!

http://www.usaprojects.org/project/the_evolution_of_silence

About USA Projects: a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for artists and designers to raise money for their independent work. Supported by separate donations, they charge no fee to artists to use their website tool.

BETA Version 1.2

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I am working towards my September 1 launch date. BETA 1.2 is up. I am now taking advantage of the interval pause between the background images (as they fade in and out of one another behind the tiling of the valley) to evoke the sight and trace of atmospheric tests.

Here is the background image in the body of the HTML (behind all the other background images that show the ground level of the landscape). Still fine tuning the timing of those interval pauses.

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From my field notes (2008):

go or no go
goggles
braced for heavy wave of motion
suddenly a great ball of light
ball of orange
a long mass of blue
swirling clouds of desert dust and sand
wonderfully western

Hovering over Annie Test:
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BETA Version 1.1.

The web-based archive of ‘The Evolution of Silence’ will officially launch on September 1, 2013. I have made progress this week and am now sharing the BETA site more widely for feedback. Over the next two months, I will be incorporating more of my research material, writing, and art (solar prints, animations, and coaxial cable drawings, etc.), testing programming and design ideas on my local file, and updating the BETA versions regularly for your feedback.

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Be sure to empty your browser cache each time to view the changes. Currently the site works well in Safari and Firefox.

Instructions for emptying your cache in
Safari:
File > Develop > Empty Caches

Firefox:
Tools > Clear Recent History > Cache

Plans for Part One.

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I finished fixing the coordinates last week, and now the images tile correctly to form a view of every single detonation in Yucca Flat. It is intentional that it is still fragmented, in order to make visually clear that in those areas of the valley no nuclear detonation occurred. These gaps in information are views through the accumulated image, and lead to more and more complex layering of image, text, video. My goals with these layers are to explore the valley over time, convey dynamics and scale, present the ruins of testing, and share documentation of the impact on people’s lives and the environment. At the moment, photographs from the Desert Wildlife Range and the surrounding areas of the Nevada Test Site are visible.
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My plans for Part One (the web-based part):
1. Create a scale that shows proportion and relates the images of detonations to geography.

2. Create more complex and transforming soundscapes.

3. Connect sounds to each detonation that convey their yield or detonation type, or some other attribute.

4. Explore CSS animations to convey yield of detonation.

5. Create more drawings and expressive scans to incorporate as hover captions to detonation images.

6. Create captions that load dynamically for the lightbox images.

7. Animate vector drawings to convey impact and yield of detonation.

8. Create a toggle option to view the project organized by time continuum or by location (currently it is a combination: the atmospheric tests are organized by time and the underground tests by location).

9. Create a text list of every detonation as a way to emphasize the naming of tests and to help viewers locate detonations in the tiling.

10. Create search function so that a viewer’s entry point could be a date, or a name, or an Area of the valley. Currently one travels from most northern part of the valley and heads South.

11. Create a system for showing how the viewer is navigating North, South, East, West.

12. Incorporate other archival research:

USGS photographs of detonation sites (before and after)
images of atmospheric tests from the National Archives
images of mannequins being dressed and set in houses
images of mannequins from the JC Penney advertisement (before and after)
images newspaper articles on the mannequins and other tests
images of houses, cars, furniture, food items, roof tiles, paint samples, animals tested
transcript (or recordings): for example of Baneberry trial
images of protests
images of ephemera and printed material
transcripts of oral histories
notes from two Nevada Test Site tours

13. Create a participatory interface in which viewers can submit their own interpretations or repsonses to form a layer on the site.

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Part Two, as you may remember from earlier introductory posts, is to extend the website into an exhibition. I am hoping to have more time soon to design a proposal and to research ways to translate interactivity for the web into an interactive physical environment.

My presentation at the ‘Remaking Research’ symposium.

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The Emily Carr University of Art and Design has archived the ‘Remaking Research’ symposium online. Here is the link to video documentation of presentations made in ‘Featured Research Projects’ under the theme ‘The Political Economies of Research’ on Friday, November 2, 2012. My presentation is third.

More stills from my presentation. My map of Yucca Flat in detail:
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I love to talk about the research, the data I gathered, and the role my Excel sheet plays in the programming and design. I always show images of it.
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Drawing is often a way to get to know something, and it lives on in my web-based project:
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My vision for the Web: spatial, simultaneous, exploratory.
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Here you can view the opening presentations to ‘Remaking Research.’

Proofing my map.

It’s especially moments like these when I wish I could afford to hire a studio assistant. After hours of mapping Yucca Flat last fall, I realized in proofing details in my code, that some of the coordinates for the map are wrong, and that the web is not translating parts of it correctly. It’s difficult to pinpoint where the mistakes are (with so many images tiled upon another), so I have no other option but to go through each detonation again. I will copy the ‘x’ and ‘y’ coordinates again for each: from my master map in Illustrator into my database in Excel (the file that drives the web map). This is a time-consuming task and, as a result, my other studio plans come to a halt. The map is one of the dominant visual features to the archive and it must be accurate. Starting today, let’s see how long this takes me.

My map in Illustrator (Area 2 and 10 in view):
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The web version where you can see some detonations are not tiling correctly:
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All Areas highlighted in Illustrator:
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The database in Excel, with columns for x and y coordinates isolated:
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Back to web map:
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The subject of my archival research, appreciating Las Vegas.

There are three main threads to my archival research. I am searching for:
(1) any images or textual accounts of the L.A. Darling Co. Mannequins, information on their public display at the downtown J.C. Penney store in Las Vegas and the tour they allegedly made of other cities, confirmation that they were displayed both before and after the March 17, 1953 ‘Annie’ Test, and any leads to their current whereabouts;

(2) newspaper accounts of nuclear testing at Yucca Flat of the Nevada Test Site, any form of visual or textual documentation that provides a supplementary view to that of the Department of Energy, as well as images and films of atmospheric and underground testing activity, subsidence craters, cables, towers, vehicles, structures, and other ruins of testing experiments; and

(3) an analysis of the effects of nuclear testing on people, environment, politics and culture, documentation and records on (for example) the Baneberry venting case, protests at the NTS, and designed exhibits and publications.

Over the course of this project, I have searched the microfilm, manuscript, photo, film, map, book, and military collections of the Library of Congress, the Mercury Core Library and Data Center, the USGS Central Region Library, and the National Archives. This past December in Las Vegas, I spent several days in the archives and libraries of the Cahlan Research Library of the Nevada State Museum, the University of Nevada Las Vegas Special Collections, and the Nuclear Testing Archive. As a result of these hours spent, combing through personal collections, publications, ephemera, newspaper clippings, microfilm, photos, and film reels, I have hundreds of images and notes to add to my findings. This material will give further dimension to the project. In the next several weeks I will be working to interpret these discoveries and incorporate them into the archive and into my exhibition proposal.

I want to thank the people I met in Las Vegas who helped me with my research:
Crystal R. Van Dee, Curator of Manuscripts at the Cahlan Research Library
Karen Green, Curator at the National Atomic Testing Museum
Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator, Historian at the Las Vegas News Bureau Archive
Dan Garrison, Producer at Joshua Tree Productions Inc.
Jennifer Cornthwaite, Director of the Emergency Arts Center
Su Kim Chung, Manuscripts Librarian at UNLV Special Collections
Kelli Luchs, Photograph Archivist at UNLV Special Collections
Delores Brownlee, Library Technician at UNLV Special Collections
Thomas Sommer, University and Technical Services Archivist at UNLV Special Collections and
Dennis McBride, Director of the Nevada State Museum.

Thanks to James Eure for his assistance.

A page out of a scrapbook of clippings regarding Civil Defense, Patricia Lee Collection, Cahlan Research Library.
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