By Katarina Hybenova
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Name: James George
Occupation: Media artist and programmer
Identifying sign: Smiling geeky artist who is not afraid to smash his iPhone to measure the duration 0f the free fall.
Why we think he’s cool: Because of his open source endeavors, and because through complicated programing language he can speak and please the mind of everyone.
James’ Twitter: @obviousjim
James’ Website: jamesgeorge.org
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That’s one thoroughly smashed iPhone.” I’m looking at the iPhone at James George’s desk. Media artist and programmer James has just moved into his brand new studio at 56 Bogart. When he invited me to check out his newest projects and awesome new space in Bushwick, I couldn’t have been more excited. Last time James and I spoke, he was leaving to spend his summer in London to work with a collective of multimedia artists on a permanent audio-visual installation Voyagers at National Maritime Museum.
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In the video from the installation James is showing me, thousands of words collected through interviews with different people about sea are being projected in wave-like movement.
“That’s the only phone that got smashed during the Free Fall Highscore competition,” James is laughing. Free Fall Highscore is a smart phone application that measures the time, during which your phone is experiencing a free fall. The longer, the better. James He presented the Free Fall Highschore app at the Creators Project in DUMBO in October. The bad news is that Apple rejected the application from the App Store with the explanation that Free Fall Highscore is dangerous. The application is now available only to Android users and to the owners of jailbroken iPhones through Cyndia. “You know, I had always been a fan of Apple, but now I actually think Android is cooler, ” James explains. James says that Free Fall Highscore makes you challenge your materialism; it makes you put the beloved expensive toy in danger, and be creative about it. Free Fall Highscore team has organized a “phone drop ” competition recently. The task was to create a smart phone preserver so that it survives a fall from the roof of McKibbin lofts. The competitors were truly creative and came up with all kinds of different preservers from a flowerpot (who won, yay!) to a giant sock monkey. You can watch the videos from the contest here. All the preservers were exhibited at the Creators Project.
White light is radiated from three screens on the desk while James is explaining how the programmers’ community works. The community is using openFrameworks, an open source C++ toolkit for creative programming. James explains that even tough the community creates an open source code, they are is extremely busy to publish it at one spot once they are finished. That’s why it used to be problematic to find previously created code. “It used to be a little bit like folklore. The information about projects was spread through the word of mouth.” That’s why James and his friend Greg Borenstein created a website called ofxaddons.com. The website searches through the Internet for the created code and automatically publishes it there. The community simply finds what has been created before on one spot. “Open source is great. You can use what someone else has created, but at the same time you feel a moral obligation to make your code public,” says James. As a result, the progress in programming is faster and greater.
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