1st interview with Pixel 14/2/2012


Interview 1

Julia Bac (Amsterdam) and Pixel (São Paulo) via Skype

Would you explain a little bit of your project proposal for the residency?

I like to work with “collaborative projects”, where people can participate actively in the project. Initially, I sent the proposal of working on Jandig for the residency.  The organizers saw some similarities between our projects and suggested that we could combine them into one single project.

What do you mean with the term “collaborative project”?

In this context, collaborative projects are open to interference. In Jandig, the collaboration is done through the development of the project and the application. The planning and development of the project was done by people interested in the project proposal and had the will to develop it. This group of people developed the website (http://memelab.com.br/jandig), the software (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.memelab.jandig) and an open call for digital objects. The open call gathered approximately 40 objects. 10 of them were selected and from that were made specific AR markers to each object.

This project can be presented in different ways, depending on the interference of the public. Anyone can access the website, download and print the markers, also the software is available online (including the code). This makes it possible for the ones that are interested to download the content and create an application of the project in a specific context. The markers can be displayed anywhere. They were displayed in a few neighborhoods in São Paulo, and for example at the event Campus Party 2012, we distributed stamps, stickers and T-shirts as markers, in a way that people could choose how they could appropriate and present the project.

One time I was giving a talk about the Jandig project and there was a woman in the audience that collaborated to the project sending one artwork. She said that she liked the idea of having artworks spread in different contexts, not only in front of her computer inside her house.

Would you comment on the images that are displayed at the Jandig website?

Those images were sent through the public call and selected to be part of the project, so there was a kind of curatorship. Because every artwork has a marker, what we see on the website are the artworks and the markers.

Briefly, can you tell how technically this project works?

We developed a program that you can download and then there are “markers”, such as stamps or stickers for example, in which the AR can be accessible. Each marker is related to an artwork that was sent to us. The result is an exhibition, but in a different context, than a galley or museum, for example.

You talked for the first time with the other artist from The Netherlands. What was your first impression and what are your expectations for working together?

I think I will learn a lot working together with Sander. It is also a chance to get to know a different culture and elaborate a project in another country, this is something important for me right now. When we spoke, it was nice to know what he was working on and also the fact that I developed a AR project in which people can download the software before accessing the AR. The way Sander work you need to have Internet access, this is a significant technical difference between our projects. Now we are going to elaborate something combining these two ideas and we will try to create something together.

Did you know about Sander’s work before this residency project?

When I was researching for the Jandig project I saw a guerilla action using AR at the Moma. I didn’t know Sander was part of that project, but when I was talking to Gisela, (one of the organizers of this residency project in Brazil), she told me that he was part of it and I thought was an interesting coincidence.

How come you started to be interested in Augmented Reality?

What triggers me is the fact that augmented reality can be taken to different places, not just inside your house on the computer screen, but on the streets, or anywhere.

My first work with AR was using the game PONG from the 70s and I enjoyed to work with that and decided to explore more.

What are your plans now, before you arrive in The Netherlands?

I think that I will still have a talk with Sander before I leave to The Netherlands. But I think I will start working more intensively when I arrive, on the 28th of February. But for now I am really anxious in going to The Netherlands and also try to be away from all the things I am involved here in Brazil, will be a great challenge. I will try to be really “disconnect” so I can focus on my work over there.

1st interview with Sander Veenhof 06/02/2012


Interview 1

Julia Bac and Sander Veenhof (Amsterdam) via Skype

Could you explain briefly about your AR proposal for this residency project?

Originally I was thinking of creating a sort of system that the pubic could use if they could do a bit of programming, but then they would have to build everything and learn everything. There would be some components ready to be used in a very easy way, but now I think that maybe it should be even easier. We should find use cases that are applicable to the actual need of people. If you want to tell a story then we should do a system that you can do story telling. I think it’s kind of difficult to get people to start with programming.

You talked for the first time with Pixel, the Brazilian artist. What was your first impression and what are your expectations for working together?

Was good to get to know each other and the state of developments that we are involved with. There is a difference in the situation in Brazil and the Netherlands. In Brazil there is not many people with smart phones with Internet connection and in The Netherlands there is a lot of people with it. This is an important difference to understand who is our audience. If we are thinking to do one project we don’t want to make something too complex for Brazil, but we also need to think that in The Netherlands people have access with the smart phone.

Can you explain about the individual “state of developments” that you mentioned?

Pixel is using an open system and I am using another technology.

I am using applications like Layar and Junaio, which for me is also kind of an open technology. These are the two applications that you can use to make Augmented Reality easily.

Maybe we can think of not just developing a whole new system, but to see what Layer and Junaio can offer.

So, your first intention changed a bit a after talking to Pixel…

Well, when you start from scratch you can do it differently than when there is already a lot developed, and goes to a certain direction, so you can make use of that too.

What did change related to your proposal after your talk with Pixel?

Now I think it would be good to take one step back and think what is our purpose, what we want to make. Because Pixel was doing exhibitions, letting people view AR based on a marker that you put somewhere. But now we need to think what we are going to bring to people.

Personally, what I like is that this virtual space is everywhere, the whole world is now having a parallel universe, that it is so flexible and so open to anyone, that can have  endless amount of stories. So, it would be good to make a system that would be interesting for anyone who has a story to tell. Let people tell the stories at the location where they are happening. I think that the work of Pixel is more visual oriented and I was thinking to add texts to it. Have a textual annotation of the streets. We could go to the direction of documenting or story telling. If it’s story telling, as fiction you have the opportunity to include characters, the story could have multiple ends and your main character could make choices. If you are on the streets and you chose left for example, you lead the story to a certain direction. We can either ask people on the streets to tell their story or ask for a writer to create them.

One of the most important things to do first is that we have a basic idea of what we can offer and now is time to find the right use of it. Find good cases where people can use it. Maybe in Brazil we can get in touch with people that has a story to tell. Then would be a “back and forth” way of developing it, because they can say they want to do this or that and then we would have to change the system a little bit.

You are considering now to combine Pixel’s technique, using the markers with your idea. Does the use of a marker change a lot about your first idea of the work?

Well, I think that if you don’t use the markers you are really accessing the whole world, you can add the stories anywhere theoretically. But then the people on the streets don’t know of the presence of the AR. They need to know about it and then the sticker can be useful. It’s a different usage but maybe the two can be combined.

Do you think that you would restrict the public you are reaching in Brazil, based on the fact that most of the people there don’t have access to Internet connection in their phones?

What I like about this reality is that it will continue to be there afterwards, even if you can’t see it. If one person is seeing it at one time, is a fact that it’s there even after the things remain at the location, so maybe afterwards these people will have the phone and will access it. But, in the beginning maybe we would need some of these devices for those people that don’t have the phones yet.

What are your expectations at this moment ?

Its good to see the developments on the other part of the world. And its good to check if the things I am creating are valuable in other parts of the world too.

I will be starting with some dialog with him when he is here to really think about the implementations, not the technical part but more the use case part. Before that time we can already think of the technical things, prepare ourselves a little. We still need to decide a few things. I think there will be still a few calls on skype to see how things are going before he comes.

Preparation… day by day …


The documentation of this project will be shared through this blog.

It is interesting to point it out that an artistic residency doesn’t start when the artists travel, but the whole process and time spent before the residency actually happens since the idealization of the project and the basic structure of it.

At this point, the artists that will participate were already chosen: Sander Veenhof, from The Netherlands and VJ Pixel, from Brazil. As a typical way of dealing with the distance between two far away countries, the first meeting we had was through Skype. It was the first time that both artists actually “met” each other to talk about their individual projects in augmented reality, and the possibility of combining both projects.

Of course the meeting was a bit confusing with different people talking at the same time, breaking the call from time to time. But after this, a date for the residency was set and we all could continue with our individual tasks.

Pixel will come to the Netherlands in March. Then, both of them will continue to work apart and after a period, Sander will go to Brazil.

At this moment, the tickets are being bought and their living and working spaces are being defined.


After Skyping with Sanders, asking a few questions about his project and his expectations I felt the need of researching more about augmented reality. The perspective of the artist is so inspiring when explaining that there is a reality that continues to exist even when we are not actually seeing it.

The significance of this residency is shown when he stated that after talking with pixel he had to rethink his first project proposal. This is a great achievement for an artistic residency since he had a previous perspective that was changed when sharing experience with the other artist. Pixel explained him the specificity of the context in Brazil when it comes to accessibility to internet on smart phones.


Today I tried to reach Pixel through Skype to know more about his expectations on the residency project, but the Skype connection wasn’t good, so we have to re-schedule the meeting.


At this point the artists are reading the contracts and many e-mails were exchanged until all organizers approved the final version of the text.

The tickets were already bought for Pixel to come to The Netherlands in the end of this month.

I am waiting to contact Pixel for our first interview and see what are his expectations and plans for coming to Amsterdam. Annet already found an apartment for his stay and the ticket is already set: 28/02/2012.


The interview with Pixel was done 3 days ago. I lost the recording material. It was important for me to talk to him, because I had understood the Jandig project proposal wrongly. Was also important to understand their different perspectives. Both of them are very concerned with the participation of the public, but in different ways. Sander seams to be concern how the public can use the device and Pixel seams to be concerned with the participation of the public in all the stages of the process. Pixel also seamed very anxious to come to the Netherlands, and in the end of the interview we spent some time talking about his travel, the weather here and what he should bring in the suitcase.


We are still facing some difficulties to create the blog.

I am preparing texts that should be published soon… I hope!

I also worked on the interviews for the artists and sent the text for their approval.

Annet had a meeting with the staff from the Nimk to see where the artists can work and some practical matters. Pixel will arrive next week already.



We have a blog!

Pixel will arrive in Amsterdam tomorrow. It seams not so far away when we all first met through skype. Now is important also to have the artists documentation of the process and I am anxious to know their developments through their own perspectives.

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