"Fast Blue Air nr 1" Composed by Elena Kats-Chernin for Roland Olbeter's "Sound Machines"

(0)


Scene designer and robot artist Roland Olbeter developed and crafted the unique ensemble "The Sound Machines," an automated, electrical string quartet with a drum. The four string instruments sound and function like electric guitars, the difference being that each sound machine only has one string.

21 micro-cylinders from Festo are used in each sound machine. The micro-cylinders imitate the mechanical movements of a musician's left hand on the string instruments, determining the pitch of the tone by changing the length of the strings. Various drumsticks and a jazz brush are moved on the drum by micro-cylinders.

"Fast Blue Air," the music composed especially for the Hanover Fair by Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin, explores the range of sounds generated by the sound machines including the noises produced by the pneumatics.

-- FROM THE FESTO WEBSITE

MORE »


Organizing the Unpredictable

(0)

The 2008 works by British artist Tim Knowles and Swiss duo Pe Lang + Zimoun that are teamed up in Unpredictable Forms of Sound and Motion, curated by Steve Sacks at bitforms gallery, leave a bit less to chance than the title implies. The technology-driven pieces in the show take ideas originating in 60s and 70s land art, musical minimalism, and performance art, and situates them within constraints reminiscent of a scientific experiment. The result is that the works emerge as concrete entities, rather than as transient, site-specific or dematerialized experiences.

READ ON »


Interview with Mellotron Documentary Filmmaker Dianna Dilworth

(1)

Reproduction, appropriation, and automation are three major ongoing concerns within contemporary music and art. It’s strange then that relatively few people know about two mid-20th Century musical instruments that embodied all of these methods: the Chamberlin keyboard and its offshoot, the Mellotron, the first instruments built on taped samples of the sounds of others.

In Mellodrama: The Mellotron Documentary, filmmaker Dianna Dilworth takes measure of the many players in the story behind these unruly sound machines, whose very existence ultimately shaped much of popular music. The film is a study in the unpredictability of innovation, and how each extension of the same technology can conflict with the intentions of those that came before it.

The film profiles the creators as well as the instruments themselves, spotlighting their influence on later musical tools and approaches, as well as their overwhelming influence on a wave of pop stars, from the Beatles to 70s progressive rock bands. Mellodrama premiers February 16 at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana.

READ ON »


Influential Activism

(0)

Boris_169small.jpg
Survival Research Laboratories, Amsterdam, 2008 (Photo by Boris VanHoytema)

The word "influencer" is most often used by marketing strategists to refer to cool people to whom other consumers turn to for fashion and food advice. But the organizers of The Influencers, an annual "culture jamming and guerrilla communication fest" brandish this word like a weapon in the fight against the corporatization of culture. On February 5-7, the artist groups d-i-n-a and Eva and Franco Mattes (a.k.a. 0100101110101101.ORG) will present their fifth festival "dedicated to exploring unconventional weapons of mass communication." Their approach grows out of a classical perspective on détournement but is updated by an understanding of networked infrastructures and new forms of mobility and social organizing that effect protest strategies in digital culture. In addition to talks, workshops, and impromptu interventions, the festival's events will revolve around eight commissioned works by Survival Research Laboratories, Ztohoven, BLU, Improv Everywhere, Julius von Bismarck, Wu Ming, Swoon, and Wolfgang Staehle. This is an eclectic group, to say the least, whose work ranges from graffiti to pyrotechnics to comedic group performances to poetic video installations. The group's diversity serves to illustrate the wide reach of commercialism's impact and the wide range of people interested in fighting back in support of the liberties that become threatened by corporate encroachment onto public space and public speech. One goal of the festival will be to map out how these alternative voices can infiltrate the hardlined frontier between public and private, so these artists were thus selected for "their taste for risk, the impulse that moves the authors of these projects to build dangerous machines, act politically incorrectly, use anachronous technology, or simply to defy common sense." It sounds both fun and challenging, but if you can't make it ...

MORE »


Removal Studies (2008) - Michael Kontopolos

(0)


From the artist's statement:

"Removal Studies" are a series of videos made using time-lapse photography. These videos are sleep studies that observe the reaction of the unconscious body to the negative stimulus of removing the covers. The covers are removed by a machine that attaches to the bed and tugs a slight amount off in increments throughout the night. By studying the sleeping body, my aim was to capture something very honest and very animal about human beings. I was interested in this gesture of removal -- and subsequently, exposure -- and how it could function as a larger metaphor.



More work by Michael Kontopoulos

MORE »


"Shifting Polarities: Exemplary Works of Canadian Electronic Media Art Produced Between 1970 and 1991" by Caroline Langill

(0)

In this research project funded by Montreal's Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology, artist, researcher and academic Caroline Langill selected pioneering examples of electronic and new media art produced by Canadian artists from 1970 to 1991. The introductory statement expresses a need to write this report in order to construct an understanding of the greater trajectory of Canadian new media art, whose history has remained under-documented. Langill chose artworks according to their exhibition history, larger recognition in terms of precedence for later artworks and innovation in audience interaction, and their technological contribution. I know little about this subject myself, and I found Langill's series of artist interviews, accompanying essay, and image library quite instructive. I was also impressed by the fact that at least half of the artists discussed here are women, which arguably was not the case in other contexts. See below for a few works from the project, click the link to access Shifting Polarities.

Remote-Control.jpg
Image: Jana Sterbak, Remote Control, 1989

Bicycle-TV.jpg
Image: Nancy Paterson, Bicycle TV: Some Interactive Exercise, 1989.

First-Tighten-Up-on-the-Drums.jpg
Image: Norman White, First Tighten Up on the Drums,1968.

Link »

MORE »


Interface Aesthetics at the Dept. of Rhythmanalysis

(1)

Interface aesthetics seem to push further into public consciousness with each passing month. Consumers are manic about multitouch and contemporary prototypes exploring gesture and performance have hinted at how we will be interacting with technology in the not-so-distant future. This considered, conversations about the desktop metaphor underlying personal computing or Aqua-style might seem archaic, irrelevant in light of emerging tangible media. This is, of course, not the case, and when excavating the idea of interface, one can dig back much further than screen-based interaction and find an extensive lineage of control panels and analog interfaces that prefigure the graphical user interface (GUI). An artist clearly invested in questioning the nature of interface and display is Kevin Hamilton, a researcher and educator based in Urbana, Illinois. Over the last several years Hamilton has been exploring the narrative potential of bare-bones interface and informational systems, quite notably through his ongoing Rhythmanalysis project.

READ ON »


Robot Love

(0)

jeremijenko2.gif

Just in time for the holiday season comes an exhibition inspired by the heartwarming Brian Aldiss short story "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" in which a robotic boy is deceived into believing he's human and loving his fake mom. It's a tale for the ages. And now Bristol's Arnolfini gallery has mounted "Supertoys," a chance for a group of artists to flesh-out the fakery behind humans' relations to their playthings. In fairness, part of the show's agenda is an effort to look at how human/ object relationships can become more reciprocal as robots become increasingly intelligent and the possibility for not only learning but also emotion creeps into the picture. Codemanipulator reflect directly on the eponymous "Supertoys" story and present us with a binary toybox full of zero's and one's, with which viewers can play like building blocks. Natalie Jeremijenko's Robotic Geese and Ducks (2008) and Feral Robotic Dogs (2005) prompt us to remember puppy love and other animal affections while considering the important social roles played by these creatures. Her dogs sniff out pollution, while the fowl illustrate the life of the decoy. Despite most of the American nuclear tests being given macho code names like "Romeo," Dunne & Raby's Huggable Atomic Mushroom (2007) brings out the softer side of these curvy explosions by making cuddly, squishy, femininely-gendered toys. This play of difference highlights the role of machine culture in cultivating or quelling paranoia and false rationality. These and other works by Chris Cunningham, Kahve Society, Alex McLean, Philippe Parreno, Unmask Group, and guest robots Swarm Systems and Heart Robot use the approachability of cute objects to address often untouchable topics, in this exhibition. - Marisa Olson

Image: Natalie Jeremijenko, Feral Robotic Dogs, 2005

Link »

MORE »


Xerox Astronomy and the Nebulous Object-Image Archive (2008) - Joe Winter

(0)

preVis1small.jpg
Pre-visualization of installation

eyebeam1.jpg
Image of installation in the group exhibition "Untethered" at Eyebeam in September and October 2008 (Photo: Christine Butler, courtesy of Eyebeam)

nObj2B.jpg

nObj4B.jpg
Images of Nebulous Objects

More documentation of Xerox Astronomy and the Nebulous Object-Image Archive

More work by Joe Winter

MORE »


The Setting Sun (2007) - Maureen Keaveny

(0)




photocopier, photocopies, light bulb, extension cord, drill, electronics, 2007

More still documentation of The Setting Sun

Video documentation of The Setting Sun

MORE »