Creative Time presents Playing the Building, a 9,000-square-foot, interactive, site-specific installation by renowned artist David Byrne. The artist transforms the interior of the landmark Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan into a massive sound sculpture that all visitors are invited to sit and “play.” The project consists of a retrofitted antique organ, placed in the center of the building's cavernous second-floor gallery, that controls a series of devices attached to its structural features—metal beams, plumbing, electrical conduits, and heating and water pipes. These machines vibrate, strike, and blow across the building’s elements, triggering unique harmonics and producing finely tuned sounds.
Note: Last year, Justin Downs wrote an article for Rhizome which outlined the design and fabrication of this project. Read it here.
A Small Migration was a piece first presented as part of the show “Sonic Differences” which was a part of the Biennial of Electronic Art Perth, in 2004. This work is a direct extension of my previous “physical” installations, with this project extending both the scale and complexity of my previous installations, as well as the nature and complexity of my work with hybrid physical/computational systems.
A Small Migration consists of many piano wires strung roughly 8 or 9 feet above the ground across an open gallery or public space. The wires are fixed at the ends with tuning blocks, so that the walls of the gallery then act as a “sounding board” for the piece. Normally these would be attached to the Gallery Walls, but as the Moores Building in Freemantle, where the exhibition was held, is an historic building, the walls were off-limits, so instead, a scaffold-like structure was built supporting the tuning blocks from above.
Wires are stung in parallel, and roughly 3 inches apart, and as long as 30 or 40 feet (depending on the space available). Small motors tap each wire with a striker attached to the shaft of the motor, causing sound. Each motor is sent a series of short electrical pulses by the micro-controller, causing it to strike the wire, which creates a disturbance that generates sound and also visibly shakes the wire. The rhythmic patterns used are those found in nature, and are constantly accelerating and decelerating and are derived from indeterminate processes such as 1/f noise algorithms. The installation contains a great many wires and motors (variable given the space) —the number in this installation being 32 wires and motors.
Performa, New York's super duper mega whirlwind performance biennial, will take over the city for the next month. I thought I'd assemble a list of events that might be of interest to our audience. Before you dive in, I want to mention that one of our 2009 commissions, Brody Condon's Case, is also part of Performa. Case, a six hour performance and installation based on the classic cyberpunk novel Neuromancer by William Gibson, will take place at the New Museum on Sunday November 22nd from 12pm-6pm, so pencil it in!
Condon’s “Without Sun” (2006), is an edited collection of ‘found performances’ - online videos of individuals who recorded themselves while having a psychedelic experience. The 15 minute video will be followed by a performative re-creation featuring the dancer Linda Austin and actor Russell Edge. Utilizing the original video as choreography document and script, the performers simultaneously repeat the gestures of the individuals, the actor mimicking the voices and the dancer matching the body movements. The title connects the references of memory, technology, and travel in Chris Marker’s seminal personal essay film “Sans Soleil” to the dissociation of bodily control and mental function induced by the hallucinogenic experience in the online videos.
BROADSIDE, the collaborative initiative of Alexander Fleming and Alistaire Knox, will broadcast a series of feminist inspired audio performances, including experimental readings, consciousness raising dialogue, presentations and live music. Contributors include Danny Snelson, Strength in Numbers founder Karen Soskin, curator Wendy Vogel, artist Liz Linden, art historian Jen Kennedy, The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Windy and Carl’s Windy Webber, experimental musicians Crown Now, and more ...!--more-->
In the spirit of Raphaël Rozendaal's One Question Interviews, I conducted a "1-bit" interview with Rhizome-commissioned artist Tristan Perich. (I felt the idea was apropos given the artist's interest in the possibilities and constraints of basic forms.) Perich performed earlier this week at bitforms gallery in a benefit for his new album 1-Bit Symphony, which is a 45 minute long, five movement composition for a single microchip. 1-Bit Symphony is currently on display through November 7th at bitforms in New York City, along with Perich's Machine Drawings and his 1-Bit Video. Perich will also kick off a two month, cross-country tour with Lesley Flanigan beginning tomorrow, at the Stone in the East Village. He will be performing his composition for harpsichord and 4-channel 1-bit electronics titled "Dual Synthesis". (Full dates and details here.) I visited his bitforms show today (see photos below) where I had the opportunity to listen to 1-Bit Symphony, and it's truly extraordinary. I encourage readers to stop by. - Ceci Moss
What is your favorite unit of measurement and why?
The first unit of measurement to blow my mind was the parsec, which I came across in middle school in that amazing book, Powers of Ten. It described immensely vast distances, larger than a light year, which was really large. It quantified the universe. It was the first time I realized measurements could actually be cool, really cool. The book also went down to angstroms and fermis and pico fermis, accompanied by colorful illustrations of molecules and atoms. They're the only way we can relate to these huge and small places beyond our perception, essentially meaning, "bigger than you can possibly imagine" or "smaller than you can possibly imagine." A great book called Where Mathematics Comes From goes into how we can ...
The Georgia Tech Center for Musical Technology is hosting a competition for new musical instruments. More information and a link to the original call below.
The second annual Guthman Musical Instrument Competition presented by the Georgia Tech center for Music Technology will award $10,000 to the best novel musical instruments as judged by a panel of experts. There will be a $5,000 grand prize — all participants eligible — given by Sharon Perry Galloway in honor of her husband, Dr. Thomas D. Galloway, Dean of the College of Architecture, 1992-2007.
Any new musical instrument is eligible for the competition. Instruments may generate sound acoustically or electronically, they may exist in physical or virtual manifestations, and they may be played by humans, robots, or computers. They may modify, improve, or extend existing instruments — including the human voice — or they may offer entirely new design paradigms. New instruments which cross over these categories or which defy any such categorization are also welcome.
Submissions will be accepted until November 10
Cybernetics is one of the most widely misunderstood concepts. The word itself seems sinister and futuristic, but the term has ancient roots - the Greek word kybernetes, meaning steersman. Cybernetics was famously defined in more recent times by Norbert Wiener in 1948, as the science of “control and communication, in the animal and the machine.” Words like "control” may seem to have creepy overtones, but at its heart, cybernetics is simply the study of systems. "Cybernetics is the discipline of whole systems thinking...a whole system is a living system is a learning system," as Stewart Brand put it in 1980. Cybernetic systems have been used to model all kinds of phenomena, with varying degrees of success - factories, societies, machines, ecosystems, brains -- and many noted artists and musicians derived inspiration from this powerful conceptual toolkit. Cybernetics may be one of the most interdisciplinary frameworks ever devised; its theories link engineering, math, physics, biology, psychology, and an array of other fields, and ideas from cybernetics inevitably infiltrated the arts. The musician and producer Brian Eno, for example, was a big fan of connecting ideas from cybernetics to the studio environment, and to music composition, in his work in the 1970s.
Improved Geometric Mechanotherapy Cell for Harmonic Alignment of Movements and Relations (2009) - Steven Shearer
The new sculpture I'm making is...based on an old picture of a jungle gym that was constructed out of four-inch PVC sewer pipe. I liked the idea that this utopian object was constructed out of plumbing material and maybe it is now the plumber taking on the role of the social-engineer-- this is his meditation on how to create equilibrium and harmony amongst young people! I first constructed a small-scale model out of half inch copper plumbing pipe that followed the design from as much as I could see in the photograph, and then I extrapolated the rest of the design. The preliminary model sort of took on its own life. We polished it up and there was something jewel-like about it and also something crazy about its endless maze of plumbing fittings. I thought about plating the model after it was done too, but I liked the idea that it was totally Home Depot, just copper plumbing pipe and Brasso. The full-sized PVC version will be about nine square feet, and it will have a sound component to it that will generate subtle vibrations and tones that I plan to make with a bass guitar, kind of like chimes trying to summon people. Speakers along with tactile transducers will be housed within it to create an illusion that the tones become louder when you touch the sculpture. I like the idea of a sculpture that tries to turn people's bodies into instruments.
-- EXCERPT FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST PUBLISHED IN THE CATALOG FOR "DOUBLE ALBUM: DANIEL GUZMAN AND STEVEN SHEARER"
Photo: Vassily Skvortsov
Performed by 386 DX / 4Mb RAM / EGA / 40 Mb HD
Synchronized text-to-speech and midi synthesis