Another update for Fermentum. In November, I presented a paper at the Society for Literature Science and the Arts at the annual conference in Houston, TX (conference program). SLSA is always a good conference, and this year was no exception. I've gone enough times to have a small circle of connections. This year I presented on a panel titled "Idiot Science," a fantastic title that I take no credit for, that said it's a lovely name under which to present Fermentum.
The response was fairly good, though it was clear that in the context of the panel my work was orthogonal to others. Many of them got the hilarity of the project, but the digital sounds of the project are still too...basic, I guess. I think this prevented some present to really imagine the potential of the project—which is always a problem with works in progress. Similarly, throwing in an artwork, even one that is developed directly in relation to philosophy, is often difficult to discuss when the other papers are more theoretical. (And, to be fair, the papers presented by Adam Nocek, from ASU, and Philip Thurtle, from the UW were phenomenal and cause for much discussion).
Still, the reception to the project is quite good. It's clear to me that the sound has to be much more sophisticated, and so I have stopped developing the project on Arduino and made a platform change. I've decided to go to Phidgets, a proprietary prototyping platform. It is always sad to leave open source behind, but I've spent a lot of time working to get Arduino and Max/MSP to communicate to one another and the troubleshooting has taken away from the actual development of sound—which is the whole damn point. So, development of new iterations has slowed way as I learn a bit more about Phidget-ing and interfacing with Max/MSP (which is way simpler). Someone also gave me some great links to some 20th century sound artists who have some relevance to the project.
The other reason my work has slowed down is my new day job, Interactive Media Design Studio Director & Full-time Lecturer in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at UW Bothell. Teaching two, brand new, courses has been a (wonderful) challenge, but I was quite busy all quarter. I expect similar feelings of overwhelm during the next two quarters, so I'll have to make sure that I get a couple of days of art in during the break. Stay tuned...