Posts for 2009

Computer Art History

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"Fire Organ was a program I discovered in the early '80s working at my father's computer store in Andover, MA (OnLine Computers, 2 Elm Sq. right across the the street from the library). At the time, I didn't realize that Fire Organ was actually a demo disk for a language called CEEMAC developed by Brooke Boering. I just enjoyed the seemingly endless permutations of the scores as they'd cycle through on the old Franklin Ace's or the Apple IIc's we had on display. I also thought it was cool that some of the music I had just started to get into (e.g. Pink Floyd) was mentioned in the liner notes as motivations for some of the scores. These were the forefathers of the visualizations made so popular by Winamp and other current audio players."

-- FROM DESCRIPTION OF CEEMAC AND FIRE ORGAN BY DAMIEN CYMBAL



Other CEEMAC Resources
Damien Cymbal's Fire Organ and CEEMAC Resource
A structured graphics language: Ceemac. - Ed Jackson. (Creative Computing, 1983)
Javascript Fire Organ Emulator by Moonmilk

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Required Reading

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In this paper, we describe and respond to six common misconceptions about platform studies, an approach to the study of computational creativity.

“Platform studies” is a new focus for the study of digital media, a set of approaches which investigate the underlying computer systems that support creative work. In 2009, the first platform-focused book about creative digital media was published: our Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System. This was the first in the new MIT Press Platform Studies series, for which we serve as series editors.

Although platform studies has only recently been introduced as a concept (at the 2007 Digital Arts and Cultures Conference) it has already become popular enough to be misconstrued in a variety of ways in the new media studies community. Detailed citations of these misconceptions are more likely to be offensive than helpful. In the interest of advancing platform studies and allowing us to learn from work that is done along these lines, this paper reviews six recurring misunderstandings about this new concept. We contrast the great potential of focusing on the platform level with these misconceptions.

In so doing, we hope to invite more scholars to do platform studies work and to make this approach even more appealing to even more sorts of readers and authors. We also hope it will advance the discussion of the platform studies concept and will invite substantial, productive, and well-directed criticism of platform studies approaches, aiding in the development of work in this area.

-- INTRODUCTORY DESCRIPTION FROM IAN BOGOST'S BLOG

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Documentation from (RE)MAKE Tutorial # 1 (2009) - Paul Destieu

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(RE)MAKE Tutorial is a multimedia piece entirely based on popular, free and available web found elements: a software for image retouching, an online music listening platform, and a picture found on internet.

Photography or video? This work appears as a “work in progress”, an accidental proposition, similar to a tutorial through its assembling process. (RE)MAKE Tutorial is a low tech adaptation which revisits one of the most traumatizing Hollywood’s cinema production: JAWS. The motionless sea is brought back to life thanks to the simple Photoshop selection tool.

-- FROM THE VIMEO DESCRIPTION

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Light Bulb Music (2009) - Michael Vorfeld

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Michael Vorfeld is a very original German percussionist and sound installation artist. His Light Bulb Music was developed during live performances using a collection of colored amplified light bulbs and electrical apparatus. The electricity is used to make the glass bulbs resonate, however briefly, and the music arises from the multiple clicks and pops of bulbs and electrical switches. Vorfeld plays on the bulb’s fragility on one side, and the danger emanating from his less than secure electric installation on the other.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM "RADICAL GLASS MUSIC #3 ON CONTINUO'S WEBLOG

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Cloud Chamber Bowls (1950-1951) - Harry Partch

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The cloud chamber bowls themselves are sections of 12-gallon Pyrex carboys, suspended from a redwood frame on ropes. These difficult-to-find and impossible-to-tune glass gongs are played very carefully by a percussionist who risks the anguish of splintered disaster. The original bowls were found at the Radiation Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley, and had been used as cloud-chambers to trace the paths of sub-atomic particles.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM THE HARRY PARTCH INSTRUMENT COLLECTION

Composer Harry Partch demonstrates his Cloud Chamber Bowls in the 1958 documentary Music Studio below:


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The Glass Orchestra, Toronto, 1979

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The classic experimental music band, The Glass Orchestra, performs in 1979 with the original members. Eric Cadesky, Paul Hodge, John Kuypers, Miguel Frasconi, and Marvin Green. An excerpt from the CBC-TV show "Music to See."

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Our Lady of Late (Live in Boulder, Colorado, July 23, 1975) - Meredith Monk

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Meredith Monk, composer, singer, director, choreographer, performs "Our Lady of Late" at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado on July 23, 1975. Monk's vocals are accompanied by wine glass and percussion.

Recording from the Naropa Poetics Audio Archives on The Internet Archive. Image above sourced from "Radical Glass Music #3" on continuo's weblog

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microfônico vidros (2009) - Chelpa Ferro

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Shake (2009) - Andrey Yazev

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Note: Works best in Safari

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Last Midi Background (LMB) (2009) - Sebastian Schmieg

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Last Midi Background (LMB) is a project by Sebastian Schmieg, a Berlin-based student focusing on new media and stuff.

It is an internet radio, a cyberspace shuttle, and a kind of archive. LMB takes you on a journey through an almost forgotten web that is loud, colorful, often "personal", and doesn't care about standards. Though it might be forgotten by many, some parts of it are still there, waiting to be explored. And maybe we can learn something along the way.

LMB plays a continous stream of MIDI music. However these aren't just random tunes, instead the songs are taken from websites where they are being played as background music.

While playing a song the LMB cyberspace shuttle flies through a stream of images that have been taken from the website you're (kind of) listening to.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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