Cosmic.berlin

We are a research and development studio based in Berlin + NYC with a focus on custom networked systems.

Sarah Grant and Danja Vasiliev are practitioners with 30 years combined professional experience. Our specialties include networked systems design, full-stack web and embedded application development, and Linux system administration. As Cosmic.berlin, we are available to provide technical consultancy and research & development for artistic collaborations, projects benefitting the public and culture at large, and strange experiments.

Please write us at info@cosmic.berlin with any questions or to discuss project ideas. We look forward to hearing from you.

Selected projects

DIVINATION

DIVINATION 2016

Divination.cc ↗

Divination highlights the high accessibility to so-called private data and offers an alternative view of information we transmit on a daily basis. By actively operating a network as a performance tool, the artwork interrupts the flow of user experience illuminating the complexity of uninformed consent strategies. Using distributed network of WiFi access points and social media bots, the artwork collects information about its audience and generates audio-visual experience. The Divination performance debuted at Dark Mofo in Tasmania. Watch on Vimeo ↗

Built using:

  • OpenWRT custom route firmware
  • Modified captive portal (Wifidog)
  • Websockets JSON streaming for PureData

Produced in colaboration with Nancy Mauro-Flude & Contemporary Art Tasmania.

YOU ARE HERE

YOU ARE HERE 2015

YouAreHere.network ↗

"You Are Here" is an offline content distribution project, in the context of experimental journalism, created for the Tow Fellowship at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia. The network consists of small, inexpensive, open source devices that host audio content tailored specifically for the site of installation. People can connect to the device's self-hosted wireless network and web server and listen to the curated audio stories and replies recorded by people who have previously connected to the network.

Features

  • Custom Raspberry Pi offline-web server
  • Twilio integration
  • jQuery user interface

Done in collaboration with Amelia Marzec, Dan Phiffer, Susan McGregor, and Benjamen Walker.

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL 2016

Video installation developed for HQ of a large social-media company in San Francisco that displays trending visual messages mapped in real-time to a dynamic landscape. A customized media server was built to interface the installation to the data API. Video, images, and text selected by a user-tuned algorithm are processed and streamed to a video rendering engine for output to a 16 foot wide high-resolution display.

Features

  • Multi-threaded Python FFmpeg controller
  • NGINX HTTP cache/proxy server
  • 32-core CPU Linux server optimized for low-latency
  • jQuery user interface

Done in collaboration with MSA Visuals Company.

VESSEL WORKS

VESSEL WORKS 2016

VesselWrks.com ↗

Vessel is a free public library of stainless steel mugs, with the goal of reducing waste created by disposable paper cups. Our task was to create an inexpensive NFC-enabled device that could be used by Vessel members for checking reusable mugs out and back in to the system. We researched and developed a Raspberry Pi-based hardware prototype, in addition to the supporting back-end web application, databases, and front-end views. The pilot is currently live in café locations across Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Features

  • Custom built Raspberry Pi prototype with NFC reader interface
  • Secure registration flow
  • Email notification system
  • Python powered API
SUPERGLUE

SUPERGLUE 2015

Superglue.it ↗

Superglue is an independent solution for creating and hosting web content at home. It promotes the original Do-It-Yourself ethos of the Internet. The Superglue firmware transforms off-the-shelf device into a personal web hosting platform, while Superglue web authoring tool allows users to create and edit content directly in the web browser. Watch on Vimeo ↗

Techologies:

  • Embedded MIPS server device
  • OpenWRT-based firmware
  • Lighttpd, Lua and Python CGI
  • DynDNS, OpenVPN tunneling

Developed together with WORM, Greenhost and funded by European Commission.

Follow us: @cosmic_berlin | email: info@cosmic.berlin | Cosmic.berlin | Berlin + NYC | © 2017