DEP program

For 2014/5 was a youth technology program for young people with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)
We coded for websites, games, interactive media and arduinos
made digital art and motion graphics and made dioramas with a 3D printer

You can see the project

It culminated in an interactive project at Nightcliff library on Wednesday 25th November 2015
Tech House

A number of mentors have worked on this project including Panos Couros | Ciella Williams | Billy Torres and Anton Koum

We have a great group of young people in this class who through this year have socially bonded and have developed a real work ethic making these classes very productive and great to be involved with. We have had a busy few months:

  • Preparing for our end of year exhibition
  • Entering the STEM game competition
  • Working on our individual projects
  • Doing group talks and common lessons

We have fostered and pushed the concept of being project driven, all participants are expected and encouraged to be working on a project or task that they have identified as interesting to them. We work pretty much exclusively on participants interests
The classes themselves are flexible and engaging, our program is delivered in an open an informal manner which lends itself to participants giving feedback and articulating what skills they require. In this way we try and keep everybody engaged, our most important metric! We have had only 1 person leave this class so far
Working to the GAS goals has been a little challenging, but we have done our best. This is an abridged collation of these goals:
Robots (6 people!) / Coding (C++ js ) / circuit board/ make friends / create a game / make youtube video clip / video editing- animation
These technology goals all require an extremely varied bunch of skills which is almost impossible to cover with such an eclectic bunch of people. Not to mention these goals often don’t match the skills, interests and abilities of the participants.

Our Solution

We decided to do a grand end of year exhibition for one night called “Tech House”
This flexible concept allows people to work in their own projects to be included in the exhibition but also to collaborate on a common project like we did for the STEM game competition (see below). We aim to tick off the things on their GAS list where appropriate and decided to build a communal robot as it was a stated goal for many participants
What should the exhibition be like? As robot building is a common goal, so we are building a robot to control everything
We did a class session on what is a robot, our class definition:
A robot is a machine that gathers information about its environment (senses) and uses that information (thinks) to follow instructions to do work (acts).
It doesn’t have to look like a human!!! in fact most don’t
So we will have a robot that will control our exhibition, it will take a variety of sensor inputs from the environment, process these to produce outcomes: sounds, motion and visuals
Our control system grows in complexity each week and we are gradually putting the exhibtion together and there’s a real buzz to make something that we’re all proud of.

So far we can measure:
motion / pressure / temperature / humidity / vibration / button (humann input) / dial (human input)
on order: infra red sensor / sound sensor

Individually many people are working on motion graphics (it’s far preferred to coding and even making games) and we will trigger these videos with sensors. It gives us an opportunity for coding electronics and displaying works

Some Examples of our work:

    STEM Game Competition
    This was a major project for us and required a huge amount of effort and energy to get it in. The project is described in the Game Development Diary (download it and have a play!)
    This project was a prototype of the way the group interacts and works collaboratively and is the model for “Night at the Library”. It’s a flexible and means that the coders code, videographers make video, everyone contributes in a way that they can
    Speaker Making

    speaker listening

    Pixel Art Deliverer
    We have built a program that displays our many and varied pieces of pixel art
    A push of the button changes the image
    Our bitmap images are converted into an array using: then uploaded to the arduino which powers the screen. It’s quite a programming feat!!

We try and get as much information on the net as possible. It will be updated and filled out over the next 2 months

Facing Tracy

A commissioned project for the City of Darwin

Facing Tracy was an interactive digital media project to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Cyclone Tracy, December 2014.

The City of Darwin Libraries have designed and built a project that provides an opportunity for all Darwin’s citizens to be involved in their commemoration of Cyclone Tracy. The emphasis is on putting individuals as one component in an image that features the whole community.

The booth toured numerous locations and was used by over 2000 people to images that created the final mosiac people can zoom into see themselves as a part of the image


There are two main interactions with the project:

1) The booth that toured around Darwin

Participants are able to move through images of Darwin and choose an image that they would like to be photographed in. There are many hundreds of historical and modern images, most of which will never have been seen by most people. The images have been generously supplied by NTL (Northern Territory Libraries).

2) The web where people can see the results.

The collected images from the web will be rendered into a picture mosaic of iconic Darwin.

The Booth

A Huge thanks to Steve Hebblethwaite for building this beautiful object. Creating the booth has been a labour of love and we intend to utilize it in many more projects into the future.




We looked at a variety of technologies and methods to deliver the correct information flow and have finessed the application so that it is easy for everyone.

Fitted out, with two touch screen monitors, a 50” plasma TV built in and a super computer powering the whole lot.

We have used a suite of technologies to make it happen:

Maxmsp for the touch screen interface
autoHotKey to script program control
Aolej Mosaic Creator to create the rendered mosiac image
Cloud Web Servers to host the data
Wordpress content management system for web publishing



Facing Tracy was a community engagement project that allowed participants to share in commemorations and be part of a bigger picture of Darwin. The booth allowed people to rifle through selected images from the period and choose an image that resonates with them



Idle screen: Justin Schmidt


Strength Meter

strength test meter (2)

Darwin fringe Festival 2014 / City of Darwin Libraries holiday program 2015

An interactive media project using the projector robot, a sensor picks up how hard you hit and the projector will rise

Designed to go up the side of a skyscraper, hopefully Darwin Festival 2017!

People first designed a self portrait then we projected them up a wall depending on how hard you hit the sesnor

For the outdoor event we used a peanut and a political scale where the real power resides (not where you think!)

Visual Taxi

A project for Bagot Darwin Festival August 2014

Real time VJing for kids

This project was part of work with the Bagot OHSC. We developed media for over a year then made this interactive installation, media included images, multimedia and video all produced and taken by young people

Next we picked up an old abandoned car and cleaned it up and painted it

On the night we popped sensors through the car that would trigger various changes in the imagery

The aim:

To create a video installation using visual material and that the kids of Bagot have created and made
We have hundreds of photos and pieces of media that we’ll mix together to create a multimedia pastiche of the community
All the images and footage has been filmed and created by the kids at the OHSC. One project we asked the kids to write bagot in some way, the results were quite creative!

Drive the Visuals:participants will control the ‘VJ show’ by pressing sensors and turning knobs

How we go about it:

We will use the wonders of masmsp, a visual programming interface and hook it up through an ardunio to a series of sensors


The car:

We grabbed an old car, young people from the community moved the car and cleaned it up to make it kid friendly

Generic library logoCity of Darwin Youth Services is working with the community to make the car spectacular………..


The Content

Grist for the Mill
The kids @ the OHSC have been taking and making images and video for a long time. These videos and images will be used as the source material for the show

The Bagot Festival


Panoramic Projection @ Horse Bazaar

2005 -2012: Horse Bazaar is a hospitality venue built around an innovative projection systems for the display of contemporary visual media.

A video projection surface of 15 metres wraps around the bar providing the perfect surface for experimenting with virtual decor.

The screen comprises 6 video projectors all tiled together by a powerful computer cluster to create a seamless 20m digital canvas. This enables artists, designers and dilettantes to create and exhibit unique panoramic digital art with ease.

We worked with students and artists in Melbourne to create bespoke media for over 5 years.

The idea came from Canvas Documentaries, a book about canvas dioramas that were popular in the 19th Century

The name came from Kirk’s horse bazaar from the 1860’s, We were living in Kirk’s Lane at the time and was the original site for the venue

We also had the MONA horse Bazaar Prize. It ran in 2006 and 2008 and was $5000 cash prize for panoramic content

Click on image for more details

From the Horse Bazaar website 2005:

Screens for the display of moving images in the 20th century evolved, for technical reasons, in a rectangular format. Yet in the previous century huge panoramic painted dioramas were enormously popular sources of visual entertainment, the “virtual reality” centres of their age, these enormous canvasses were installed in their own lavish dedicated buildings and generally depicted historical scenes.

We have drawn inspiration from these popular 19th century entertainments and in the 21st century aim to reacquaint Melbournians with the power of panoramic imagery via a digital projection platform that tiles multiple video sources to create a seamless digital canvas. We hope that our projection installations will invite patrons to reconsider the role that digital imagery has assumed in society. The original 19th century canvas dioramas were not without their political edge, and we also encourage artists to explore digital media and panoramic projection as a forum for social commentary and alternate history, whilst pushing the technology and being innovative with our system.

Visual Tech Overview

A video projection surface of up to 20 metres wraps around the banquette seating at the rear of the bar providing the perfect surface for experimenting with virtual decor

All video signals run through a VGA matrix switch means the visuals can run as a canvas across all proctors or individual projectors can peeled off for individual inputs which is great for live performance. Note the system requires VGA input!

Panoramic projection: The complete screen comprises 6 video projectors all tiled together by a computer cluster to create a seamless 12 metre digital canvas. This enables artists, designers and dilettantes to create and exhibit unique panoramic digital art with ease.

The screen around the bar is in a 90 degree configuration:

  • * the back wall 4.25 metres across (2 projectors: the 1st 2 projectors in the template)
  • * the main wall 10.8 metres long (4 projectors: the next 4 projectors in the template)


Projection at the Horse

We encourage artists to come down to the bar to familiarise themselves with the physical setting and to run their shows up on the system to see how they look and perform

To play across the full screen work should be approximately 4000 by 700 pixels. MPEG2 .m2v codec plays best. Video can be transcoded using your favourite media transocder. Of course it makes sense for artists to use media production prgrams that they’re familiar with but If you are producing a piece for a specific event Watchout can be used

Watchout can’t create your media files for you, it merely offers a way of choreographing the playback of pre-existing media. It is not a live VJ tool, although it is possible to open a live video capture window in the system and digitise live video feeds from laptops running VJ software, video cameras and DVD players. These live feeds can be manipulated and combined like other media types.
You can preview the show in miniature on your computer, then send the consolidated Watchout show to us and we will load it onto our production computer and display your work in the main room of the bar across all projectors.

Remember that the projected shows play in a bar which is a social space that operates primarily at night, and that the visuals are nearly 15 metres in width. Shows that are too bright or have too much white in them can wash out the room. Similarly if there is too much or too rapid movement in the show it can be overwhelming and make people feel seasick. Subtle or small changes generally work best. The system is ideal for experimenting with virtual decor or ambient visuals that are panoramic in scale.

Creating a Watchout Show for the Horse Bazaar system

  • 1. Download Watchout production software (v-3.4.2) and the Manual/Users guide from and install it on your computer.
  • 2. Download the blank Horse Bazaar Template / Watchout show from here and open it in Watchout.

The Stage window represents the visual output of entire projection system. The Media window is were you will import all the media that you will construct your show with.

The Timeline window is where you create the controls and cues that choreograph your media in the stage window.The Red and Blue boxes in the Stage Window indicate the projectors in the Horse Bazaar installation. Dont think of them as separate projectors though. Think of the stage as one long continuous digital canvas. In reality, this wraps around the rear and side walls of the bar. The 2 projectors on the left are on the back wall, the other 4 run up the side wall. Watchout will co-ordinate which part of you image plays on which projector and how many pixels overlap at the edge blends.

Import your media files into Watchout, keeping in mind the media preparation guidelines below. Add your media files by dragging and dropping from their location into the media window, or via the ‘Media’ drop down menu and browsing to the location of your media on your computer. Working with your current production tools, Watchout reads most media file formats.

For example, you can produce text and images in Photoshop, or create and edit video at any resolution in After Effects, Final Cut, or similar software, and combine them into a show in Watchout.

Watchout brings all your media together, adding realtime effects such as motion paths, opacity, scaling, rotation, colorization, cropping and volume. These parameters can all be controlled over time by setting up cues in the timeline. This is where the fun starts. Now you can build your Watchout show, choreographing your media on the stage by setting up the controls in the timeline window.To get your media on screen, you can drag and drop it either directly on to the stage or into a layer on the timeline.

Some central features of the timeline window are:
Layers – The layers in the timeline window allow you to overlay images/media on top of each other. This means that you can do things such as build up layered pictures, or overlay images on video, or move alpha-channeled animation files over a static or video background. Control Cues – these allow you to control the behaviour of the timeline at specific points. They can be used to jump to other positions on the timeline ie. to create loops, or to pause points on the timeline.

Tween tracks – these allow you to control the appearance of your media over time. Simply select you media file by clicking on it in the timeline window, then create the required tween track from the Tween drop down menu. The track will become visible in the tween pane in the lower section of the timeline window. Click in the Tween track to create points that effect change. You can drag these points around in the time line or in the Stage window, or double click on them to change their numerical values, thus changing the behaviour of the media file. The controls for each type of tween track are slightly different, experiement with them or see the Watchout Manual for more detailed information.

In version 3.4, Tween tracks can be created to control:

  • Position – to position or move media files around the stage window over time.
  • Scale – to change size – can be used to zoom in or out. Opacity – to change the transparency of a file – can be used to dissolve or fade in or out or build up images with multiple layers from multiple files
  • Rotation – to rotate media around an anchor point, or to flip it.
  • Crop – to crop images and video from any edge. This can also be used as an effect, allowing an image to be “wiped in” from any edge.
  • Colour – allowing the color of images to be adjusted over time. This works like using a colored light to look at an image, essentially removing all color(s) not part of the specified light, thereby making the image darker.
  • Tint – adding a color tint to the image. In contrast to the Color tween track, the Tint track adds color to the image, making it look brighter and more washed out.
  • Volume – to control the volume of associated audio files if they are included in the show

For more details instructions refer to the Watchout manual, which is automatically downloaded with the software.

This rather simple set of variables and controls is intuitive to use and can be combined creatively for enormous and quite stunning effect. Experiment with them and get a feel for how they work. You’ll find yourself quite adept in no time. Only some of their uses have been flagged here. Push the software to its limits cos we like to be surprised.

Editing – If you want to repeat sets of instructions for different media, or sections of the show, the tween track controls can be simply selected and cut and paste. Or you can drag and drop a different piece of media on top of a set of instructions in the timeline and now those controls will apply to the new piece of media.
Consolidate your show and bring/send it in to Horse Bazaar. Consolidating your show means that the show and all the media used in it are all saved together. This ensures that all files required to play your masterpiece are included when it gets to Horse Bazaar

Preparing your media

Video The Watchout system at Horse Bazaar has some limitations that you need to be aware of. to achieve satisfactory results, or even to get your show to play at all. The most common problem we see involves playing video within a show. Width of Video Clips: You can’t just export a QuickTime movie that is 4500 pixels wide from After Effects (for example) and play it back across all 6 projectors. It will, depending on size and codecs used, potentially overwhelm the system. One option is to split the movie up into say 3 or more separate narrower clips and compose these within Watchout, or to create a single movie around 2000 pixels wide and use Watchout itself to scale it up so it is put across the entire template. Both of these strategies have been used very effectively by artists creating shows for Horse Bazaar.

Compression of Video Clips Even a video clip that is only 720 pixels wide will not play back if it has not been compressed properly. If you export a clip in the DV format (the native format used in Final Cut Pro for example) then it will not play back smoothly and will take too long to transfer from the production computer to the display computers. A good codec to choose for compression is Motion-JPEG or, if you need an alpha channel in your video so that some areas are transparent, then the animation codec, is a good choice. Still Images JPEG or PNG are good choices. There is no point using huge high-resolution TIFF files, they are too big and provide no quality advantage. Watchout cannot display .pdf or .eps so you need to convert those formats to something else. Watchout can display Photoshop .psd files however which can be handy. Remember that the system has only 600 pixels in vertical resolution so unless your are zooming into or panning around still images (a very effective and under utilised technique by the way) then they don’t need to be any bigger than 720 pixels top to bottom.

Finalising the show The other major source of problems with Watchout shows sent to us at Horse Bazaar is missing media files. While the show might play back fine on your computer, with some files on your desktop, some on a Flash drive and some on a CD, people often forget to include all these media when they send off the show. Therefore unless you have a good reason not to, we recommend using the consolidate command in the File Menu to consolidate your show, which ensure that we get all the media files that the presentation requires.

Keep in mind that when you consolidate your show, only media that it actually used in the show is packaged up, so if stuff is in the media window but not used in the timeline then it will not be incorporated into the consolidated show. This is normally exactly what you want. However if you are bringing down a show to fine tune on site before a gig for example or experimenting with a Horse Bazaar prize entry you should ensure that you bring all the media that is yet to be incorporated – or don’t consolidate the show. Which version of Watchout Dataton released Version 3 (currently 3.4) of Watchout for PC, however 2.3 is the most recent version for the Mac which has less functionality and terrible preview (but can be uploaded onto our system) Examples See this work, Antfarm by Jonty Burton, for an excellent example of such an approach. It is innovative and complex use of the software which demonstrates how powerful it can be.

The green path of dots on the stage window map out the motion over time of the selected alpha-channeled ant video in layer 4. The selected file is a little hard to pick, but its the one in layer 4, just in front of (and touching) the green line that runs vertically through the entire timeline window and indicates the play position. At the bottom of the timeline window are the tween tracks for this one piece of media. One controls its position and the other the rotation of the file as the ant video file wanders along the tunnel at the bottom of the ant farm. Each ant in the ant farm is controlled by similar sets of tween track instructions. The mapped out virtual journey takes place in the real world as the ant travels around the walls of the bar at Horse Bazaar. These instructions and files have all been cut and paste numerous times saving the artist from having to map out each individual ant’s travels from scratch.

Another example of an innovative use of Watchout is this show called Ruff Trade by Aaron MacLoughlan.


In this show Aaron has actually used Watchout’s timeline to animate his show. Each layer holds the image of one of the characters. Numerous Photoshop (.psd) files of these characters are placed in succession, each file slightly different from the previous, in effect becoming frames in an animated movie of each character. Thus, as the play progresses down the timeline the slight differences in the image become movement as each character talks and dances.

Watchout content creation summary

  • 1. Download Watchout from
  • 2. Download the blank Watchout show from here and open it in Watchout.
  • 3. Add some media, keeping in mind the media preparation guidelines above.
  • 4. Build your watchout show, choreographing your media on the stage and timeline.
  • 5. Consolidate your show and bring/send it in to Horse Bazaar.
  • 6. If preparing an entry for the Horse Bazaar Prize, follow the guidelines on submitting an entry here

Content for the RPU (rear projection urinal)

The RPU is separate from the Watchout system used in the main bar. We use software called videolan from which plays pretty much any video format so just make your file so you would be happy watching it on your computer and it should play fine on ours. You could send us a DVD (and we will rip it to .VOB) or a CD with an MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 video or a QuickTime movie.

Digital Fringe 2006-10

Digital Fringe: A part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival

The Digital Fringe acquittal can be downloaded here for others to see what we did!

digital fringe

Project overview
Digital Fringe (DF) was conceived as a partner festival to the well-established Melbourne Fringe
Festival. The objective of the festival was to showcase the works of local and overseas artists and
to place visual digital art in a range of non-traditional public contexts. It is an open access
festival that has quickly established itself as the digital arts arm of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
2008 was the third year for DF. DF08 increased its’ exposure, refined its’ systems, further
consolidated the link with Melbourne Fringe Festival and continued to expand its’ associations with
new media artists and public screens across Victoria. DF is about putting emerging screen content
in new places and building a network of existing screens in public to showcase this material. While
there are numerous online repositories of video and new media art on the web, no-one else is
taking this content out into public screens and spaces.
Digital Fringe has 2 distinct aspects:
1. The General Stream – the collating of digital artworks through the Digital Fringe
website, and their screening via the web and numerous public screens
2. The Performative components – MPU, events, workshops and gigs

In keeping with the Fringe Festival charter, Digital Fringe is accessible to emerging and established artists, particularly those working in new media. We provide access to a huge network of public screens for emerging artists to exhibit their work

Uploaded content will be moderated by the Digital Fringe team, it plays online and a curated selection will play on hundreds of screens around the world, from home computers to public screens, from grand urban screens to retail television displays, hospitality venues, galleries and other nooks and crannys around the city and across the globe. This extensive network of screens is seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Artists retain copyright to their works and have access to the creative commons suite of licences.

As a part of Digital Fringe the mobile projection unit was taken out by dozens of melbourne media artists

The Mobile Projection Unit (MPU) van is fitted out with a powerful projector, batteries, inverter, wireless internet, video camera and GPS unit. It is a core component of Digital Fringe but has also grown a life of its own outside of the festival. It is taken over by different crews of artists who take it to various locations around the city and project their works onto the surrounding surfaces of the inner urban built environment on most nights of the festival. This enables different, artists, groups and agendas access to some tech toys to get their message or art works out there in public space. The movements of the van are tracked on a google map, and the onboard camera and projection media are streamed in real time via the Digital Fringe website. Online audiences can also communicate with the van via a text shoutbox on the webpage.

Projector Robot

The PJR allows video and stills to be placed anywhere around the room

a hint of:

  • maxmsp jitter control (the brains and programming)
  • arduino (the link to ‘real’ stuff: making things move and turn on and off)
  • servo motors / cogs / chain
  • moving an image around the room

Digital characters will fly around the room

  • blowfly / balls / paper plane

and they will fly between created projected environments: flowers and landscapes


Media Production

Panoramic Media
We have been tiling projectors and creating panoramic content since 2005.

Snuff Puppets

November 2011

Create visuals for the Snuff Puppet’s end of year performance

A Complex 2 projector setup

    Projector 1 sweeping the across the performance space with alpha-channeled characters with the other projectors providing digital decor

      This ‘FLY’ flew around the area landing on projected faeces, rubbish, buildings to the delight and disgust of the cwowd

    Projector 2 Playing background visuals