Blog Archives

Gratitude and a One Year Celebration!

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The last week has been full of beautiful, unexpected alignment so I just wanted to express some gratitude for it! I’m happy to say that I’m more excited about life than I have been in quite some time. Romances are blossoming, a new community project is forming and I just went for coffee with a friend and left with a peaceful west side apartment for the month. THANK YOU!

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The Aware Project and Psychedelic Advocacy

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TONIGHT, on the west side! I’m super proud of Ashley Booth​ of The Aware Project and her team of psychedelic advocates for putting on these unique and thought provoking events. In time they’ll be seen as important catalysts for increasing public understanding around what is still a taboo subject for many. Psychedelics have had a hugely positive impact on my life and allowed me to see things about myself and the world around me from new angles, providing both objective insight and increased awareness. I’m glad this conversation is beginning to be able to be held in the open, thanks to people like Ashley. Out of the closets and into the streets!!

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February 2011 / Updated Website & Very Late New Years Update

 

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After returning from South America in late March 2010, I spent most of the year in sunny California, working on projects surrounding Mindshare LA and Syyn Labs. By late 2010, I decided to turn ProjectFresh away from being a vessel of unabashed self-promotion and toward the community, offering a new series of Los Angeles events called ProjectFresh Presents. Each month we gather people from around our vacuous city for a night of focused, action-oriented discussion; it has already garnered large crowds and a syndicated article from the LA Times. Accordingly, I have updated the ProjectFresh website and clarified its mission and projects – also listed below. My one egoic allowance is a single link to my own bio pageso if you’ve ever wondered about my checkered past and questionable present, I’ve outlined it briefly there.

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The Promoter and the “Reply All” Vote

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Yesterday, a local LA club promoter emailed me about his New Years Eve party… and CCd entire list on the email! In other words, each and every email address was visible to each and every email recipient. I decided that it might be time to teach him a lesson – after all, this was not the first time it had happened. I clicked “Reply All” with the devious plan to email the list with my OWN New Years Eve party details!

Before clicking ‘send’ however, I decided to take a public vote and to put it out on Facebook and Twitter. Within half an hour, 8 votes were in – 7 confirmed that it was a good idea to send the email, and only 1 person said I should not. I went back to the email with my ploy validated, and once again thinking I would press ‘send’.

However, I thought about it one more time and even with public support I chose NOT to send the email. Instead I just sent my cheeky response to the promoter to which he promptly replied with embarrassment and gushing thanks. I told him to have a great NYE and that I was “looking forward to combining forces in 2011” A far wiser move which creates new avenues for opportunity rather than resentment or hurt feelings.

The lesson here is that first of all, be very aware of what kind of energy is behind your actions. Perhaps I wanted to pump my ego, or was feeling greedy for sales of my own. At the very best I would have annoyed him, probably appeared like a spammer to those on the list and maybe got a sale or two. Hardly worth it. Another important lesson is to always be wary in heeding the advice of others – especially those who have the time to partake in votes like this 🙂

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Syyner Eric Gradman Gets Kinect’d

Prolific Maker and Syyner Eric Gradman got his hands on a Kinect CV unit and within hours was “making art”, as he calls it. I always smile when Syyn Labs creators say that sort of thing. As another Syyner Dan Busby once said: “Some of us were trained in art formally, but the rest of us had to learn it on the streets…”. With a history of robotics and computer vision (not to mention fire spinning, circus performing, and professional whistling) Eric has quickly learned the joy of ‘making art’.

Describing one his first custom Kinect project, Illuminous, Eric says: “Remember that scene at the end of the matrix where glowing green symbols traced across an agent’s body? Well, this is just like that, but in realtime. What you’re looking at here is a particle system, where YOU are the source of the particles. Particles (seen on screen as dots) spring into being on the surface of your body. They then traverse the contours of your body until they reach an edge, at which point they’re flung into space and disappear. All this is possible because the Kinect lets me reconstruct the 3d geometry of whatever it sees.” More details here…

The Kinect also adds a new way of interacting with old projects: “Standard Gravity is an existing project of mine that until today pure image thresholding to determine where people are standing. I bought a new Kinect sensor this afternoon, and immediately set about adapting this code to use the new sensor.” More details here…

What will Eric come up with next? Keep in touch with him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/egradman and the rest of the Syyn crew at http://twitter.com/syynlabs.

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Syyn Labs Presents: A Night of Syyn

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Syyn Labs invites you to join us at our new warehouse space near downtown LA for a night of interactive art, DJs and VJs. We’ll be going from 9pm until late – drinks provided. More details at http://syyn.eventbrite.com.


$10-$15 RSVP here… // ABSOLUTELY NO TICKETS AT THE DOOR // REGISTRATION REVEALS LOCATION



Invite your friends via our Facebook event and we hope to see you here on the 6th!

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Mixing Up Bizarre Binaries at Syyn Labs

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A home made glowing liquid. Not safe to drink. At all.

So people often cock their heads and ask “So, what exactly is Syyn Labs?”. Besides the odd spelling the entire organization is odd, and by ‘odd’, I mean quite unprecedented. Hence it is often challenging for outsiders to categorize. In fact, it’s even hard for insiders to categorize, but as the as the Founder and Cruise Director it’s my job to define our mission and to lead us to prosperous new territory. So let me give it a shot:

Syyn Labs is a magical place, full of strange beings who seemed to have been extruded through a character mash-up machine. It’s a land where scientists believe they’re artists, where artists suddenly have the skills or programming and where engineers debate on design philosophy. But this was no random manifestation. Years prior to moving to LA, back in 2002 at Rhode Island School of Design, with impotent foam models of supposed high tech products, I had seen my own short comings clearly. “I wish I had my own R&D group” was my lame retort, as my glued-on buttons fell off in the middle of my project review.

And so, born in the abundant serendiptity of the monthly Mindshare LA, Syyn Labs (ne: Mindshare Labs), began as an informal gathering of creative, but technically gifted characters. Each area of expertise began to be filled, coding, hacking, construction, engineering, applied physics – the team’s technical skills far surpassed anything I could have ever dreamt up and as I led the group in design style brainstorming sessions, the excitement was palpable. Soon I even brought an old RISD friend into the mix, to help me balance things out.

Again, while I’m aware of what I’m good at, I’m also keenly aware of what I’m not good at. In fact, knowing what I’m not good at is one of the things I’m best at. And so, in mid 2009, seeing the limitations of both my time and business experience, I brought in the venerable Adam Sadowsky to lead the charge in turning Syyn Labs into a real business. After officially incorporating Syyn Labs, LLC, and proving his logistical might during early 2010’s OK Go RGM success, Adam has lead the team into profitability and helped attract and win projects that ultimately have allowed us to move into an exciting new home 🙂

And as we define our path, we all know that this is just the start of the fun, and a preview of what we’re capable of. As for defining our mission: Are we educating the public, or playing with them? Are we creating art, or showcasing science? Are we a bunch of friends having fun, or employees in a profitable business? Well, who’s to say that we can’t be doing all of them at the same time?

Read more about the team here…

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A big day of shooting for a client at the new Syyn Labs HQ.

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Brain Scanning for Cash

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One good perk about having a job where you can set your own hours is that you can submit yourself for scientific experimentation without having to answer to anyone but the benefits don’t stop there! In most cases they’ll actually pay you, and in this study my hourly wage was even more than I make at Syyn Labs and Mindshare LA! And finally, the really big perk is that since this study, which centered around implicit decision making (which translated to following dots around a screen ad nauseum), had me answering questions from within a fMRI machine – I got a free brain scan out of it!

Besides a dramatically oversized ‘awesome lobe’, I’m in the clear and in the green!

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Meeting at the New Syyn HQ

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It’s not clean, it’s not too pretty but it’s OURS! With a new wall up, and tool and couches being moved in, we are now holding our meetings in the brand new Syyn Labs HQ! We’re officially ready to begin our first project next week for [redacted] who wants to make a video to bring attention to their new [redacted] project! (Sorry to be elusive, more on that in the coming month or two…) It should be a good video – and even more exciting is that it’s paying us hourly, as well as paying our rent! One humorous fact is that for the last five years I’d lived a couple of blocks away from this warehouse but as of a couple of weeks ago I moved to Pasadena! I guess there rally is no chance for a walkable commute in Los Angeles.

We’ve power washed the floors a few times and they’re still pretty filthy, but at least most of the spilled paint came up. While some of us might be resigned to a life of dusty floors and remnants of the paint factory’s spills, Dan Busby, never to shirk away from work, has announced the floors as his official ‘white whale’. He will not rest until they are spic and span and sealed with epoxy.

Characters like Dan are why Syyn Labs is more than just a drinking club with big ideas 🙂

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Moving in to the New Syyn Labs Space

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EXCITING NEWS! Syyn Labs has officially moved in to a new space at the newest (and largest) creative collective space in LA: Big Art Labs! Just down the street from the brewery Big Art is already home to some of the cities most creative performers, fire spinners and musicians – and now Syyn abs is bringing the tech wizardry and party experience!

But first, this being an old paint factory, it’s time to clean this mess up!

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And of course get some walls built and maybe a little mopping! Big things to come 🙂

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