It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. It’s hard working in an office all the time! That said, some exciting things have been happening. Not only have things been moving forward at FakeLove (I’m still playing with some really cool toys), but I worked with The Builders Association last week workshopping a new show, tentatively titled “Elements of Oz” at the BRIC. We only had two days to get some ideas on their feet, but we explored some cool ideas. The conceit of the show is that we’ll be implementing some form of augmented reality to bring Oz to life. We were playing with some app sketches developed by the incomparable John Cleater, which used both accelerometer-based effects and marker-based tracking. It was a cool effect, but we’ll really need to answer some dramaturgical questions to implement it well, otherwise its just a stunt. Some of the more productive discussions we had were about all of the different interpretations of The Wizard of Oz over the years. It seems like every generation or cause likes to claim it as a metaphor for their purposes. It’d be cool to use the AR or apps that exists independently on audience phones to deal with that. I spent a lot of the time at the workshop ensuring that we could keep the apps synchronized with the action on stage. I ended up making a web app with node.js and websockets.

One of the things I’m learning both with Builders and at FakeLove is the importance of working quickly and using tools that let you sketch out ideas. In a lot of ways, those tools are more important than developing the highest-quality solution. With Oz, the development process on the app has been slow, and it’s hard to figure out exactly how it’ll fit in without the ability to iterate quickly, especially in a two-day workshop scenario. At FakeLove, we’re working with some really neat toys, but the process has been arduous and a lot of my time has been staring at compiler errors. I’ve been asking myself if the benefits of OpenFrameworks outweigh the rapid prototyping offered by a different development environment. Still trying to answer that.