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TOUCH PROJECT PROFILE: Irene Sanz and Markus Heckmann

Internationally unknown German media artists Markus Heckmann and Irene Sanz's work Slicky is featured this summer as part of the Open Doors exhibit at Bauhaus University in Weimar.

Taking shape in the form of an expensive VJ controller that lures visitors into its "veil of deception", Slicky is one in a series of socially and politically unmotivated installations by Sanz and Heckmann. = Interfacing with TouchDesigner via MIDI, the Slicky controller takes Plastikman's CTRL controller to the next level.

"With Slicky, I wish to realistically portray the potential harm of a computer on young kids, and highlight my sewing skills, which I developed while on tour with Rush", says Heckmann.

Alternate-Universe Story 

During the Summer 2005 at Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany, Irene Sanz participated in the Project "Wallpaper - Ornament or Crime". Since the project was not only aimed at students from the Art faculty, but also from the Media Systems faculty, the involved students formed a well mixed group with fundamentally different knowledge and background.

The goal of the project was to create wallpaper that extends the traditional design-pattern and therefore is created through experimenting with material, technical concepts and - foremost - ideas. Irene Sanz's wallpaper is based on the idea of graphical raster as seen in everyday objects like chequered paper or even the imprints on toilet paper. While first designs featured simple repeating patterns, Irene found interest in using and accenting irregularities like printing errors and such.

The pattern used for the "Endless Wallpaper" translates irregularities into a natural cycle of growing and withering. With three different scenes the idea of growing and withering of a flower is extended to the proportionally longer cycle of the life of a tree and that of a house. With each cycle repeating indefinitely, the wallpaper is a depiction of the time itself: the end of one thing always means the beginning of something new.

Although looking almost entirely 2D the driving force behind the installation was TOUCH by Derivative. TouchDesigner software made it possible to do some rapid prototyping which enabled Irene Sanz to work with and add additional content plus implement ideas that came up while seeing the result of each design stage.

Visitors to the exhibition at Bauhaus University where able to control the appearance of the wallpaper by a self-made MIDI Controller that was custom build and decorated for this project. Channelling everything into Touch, anyone could create their own style of wallpaper by altering the pace of the animation, choosing in what order the different scenes are displayed and switching between a day and night-time setting.

Touch brought up new challenges to designer Irene Sanz, who very soon saw these as new possibilities. Where Time as a Factor is so important to the whole concept, Touch as a real-time application made it possible to carry the installations theme into the smallest detail. Although it's endless - it's not looping, just like time.