Synchromy/Synchromie (1971) - Norman McLaren


Here are pyrotechnics of the keyboard, but with only a camera to "play the tune." To make this film, Norman McLaren employed novel optical techniques to compose the piano rhythms of the sound track. These he then moved, in multicolor, onto the picture area of the screen so that, in effect, you see what you hear. It is synchronization of image and sound in the truest sense of the word.



Call for Applications


Netmage 11, an international live media festival which takes place in January 2011 in Bologna, Italy, is seeking applications for their live media floor. The main section of their program, the live media floor is a platform for "generating and/or mixing images and sound of every type and format." Download the application here. Deadline is September 20, 2010.


Infinite Stream Loop (from the series Laps) (2010) - Art of Failure (Nicolas Maigret and Nicolas Montgermont)



Infinite Stream Loop is an audio stream traveling through the world wide web since the 1st of july 2010

The field of research "Laps" focuses on generating sensible representations of Internet by using it as a broadcasting space. The spatial and geographic properties of the Network are highlighted by broadcasting audio streams that travel and reverberate trough the web. Listening to these audio streams by using specific processes* allows to make audible an infinity of transformations that modify the sound as it circulates on the web. These alterations are comparable to a form of erosion caused by the network space - they are a key to allow different mental representations of this digital topography.
*Very low buffers and no error corrections

PROCESS | A sound is sent out over the network and goes through several locations on the web. Captured at the end of a loop by the original transmitter, the sound is played and then resent out with no additional modification through the web.

SOUND MATERIAL | To emphasize the changes caused by the network, the sound used for the startup is deliberately very simple - pure silence.

SPACE | Similar to a physical & resonant space, the Internet network is here used as a broadcasting space where sound gets more elaborated. The audio signal is modified by the inner properties of the network and becomes an acoustic signature of this space.

ERRORS | The audio transmission process used here allows to keep all the distortions of the original material that occurred during the process (artefacts, transmission errors, missing data...).

TOPOLOGY | The geography of the network is in perpetual motion. Web user's actions have a direct impact on the features of this "resonant space" - the sound that one can hear through Laps constantly crystallises the activity of part of the ...


Memory (2010) - Tabor Robak






Homebrew Electronics


Leon and Brian Dewan Playing the Dual Primate Console

Homebrew Electronics is a new series on the Rhizome blog. For these posts, I will be conducting studio visits with artists and inventors who create unique electronic instruments.

Last week, I met with cousins Brian and Leon Dewan of Dewanatron at Leon’s apartment/workshop in New Rochelle, NY. I first encountered their whimsical, one-of-a-kind instruments at a solo exhibition at Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn a few years ago. Not only do they produce and exhibit their own instruments, they use them in performances and in recordings as well. They split the labor evenly - Leon builds the circuits for each instrument, and Brian crafts the consoles that contain them at his home in Catskill, NY. Despite their jetlag from a recent trip to Los Angeles (Brian had screened his film strips at the Museum of Jurassic Technology’s theater), the Dewans gave me a thorough walkthrough of their work, patiently explaining how each of their creations functioned.

Dual Primate Console


The Dewans use the Dual Primate Console quite a bit in their performances; it also made a starring appearance on their album Semi-Automatic. Built for two operators (or “primates”), each side provides four rhythmically independent voices, which can be programmed using a rotary telephone dial.

Rotary Dial on the Dual Primate Console


They got the idea to use a rotary telephone dial in this fashion from antique Language Lab Machines, which also integrate telephone dials into their interface. The rows of switches control the voices, and Nixie bulbs lining the top of the instrument indicate the different voices selected by the telephone dial. These bulbs were produced from the 1950s through the 1970s and were a precursor to LED displays.

Close-up of Nixie bulbs on the Dual Primate Console

The bottom ...


The Kick Off



Internationally renowned OFFF festival convenes in Paris, France, from today until the 26th at La Grande Halle De La Villette. Born from art collective/art agency Inofffensive, the festival stakes its claim as being the “vanguard of the avant-garde” for digital culture, with a simple mission - to earn “some money by doing commercial works and then spending it on crazy, commercially suicidal art projects.” In keeping this ethos, speakers/performers range: from French artist Patrick Jean, to street art bloggers Wooster Collective to former New York Times art director Steven Heller.

Befittingly, in its tenth year of inception, OFFF looks to reflect on the zeitgeist of nostalgia. Titling this year’s show “Nostalgia for a Past Future”, the festival hits upon a key problem for any designer that John Berger lays out in Ways of Seeing: the promise of the future sold by capitalizing on the longing for the past. Yet, heightened by the speed with which trend cycles move (and even more so with the speed of digital culture), for OFFF this issue is circumvented when we forgo trying to recreate narratives of the past and approach nostalgia as a tool for communication.

So, what can we expect?

In the Processing Pixels workshop, Daniel Shiffman looks to transform the treatment of pixels by reconfiguring the relationship between the coded information and its pixelated representation.

Patrick Jean will give a talk about his work in the Openroom. Inspired by the aesthetic of late 80s/early 90s video games, Jean has made a name for himself across the Internet with the video “PIXELS”.

Bleep Labs have come to the fore with its Thingamaboop instrument. Playful from inception, Thingmaboop, embedded with Arduino programming capabilities, is modulated by movement, light sensing LEDs, and is amenable to most synthesizers. In addition to a demonstration ...


MUTEK 2010 / Montreal



Montreal in June is an explosion of festivals. MUTEK, the annual festival of “digital creativity and electronic music,” is one of the most intriguing. The focus of the festival, now in its eleventh year, is on live experimental electronic music. This year's MUTEK sported an impressive roster -- electronic supergroups like Matmos and Mouse on Mars; cutting-edge UK dubstep producers such as Ikonika; and notable German DJs like Dixon, Henrik Schwarz, and DJ Koze.

Nurse With Wound Live at MUTEK 2010

One of the most anticipated live sets at MUTEK was a rare performance by the trailblazing British group Nurse with Wound. Nurse with Wound is a difficult act to pin down. The band, a revolving cast of characters helmed by the shadowy Steven Stapleton, has been in existence, in some form or another, since 1978. Some call Nurse with Wound "industrial music," but that's a bit of a misnomer. The band does bear some similarities with crusading British bands like Throbbing Gristle, Coil, and Current 93, but their music -- disorienting sound collages, ambient drones, tape edits, noise -- is defiantly anti-genre. Perhaps a better way to describe Nurse with Wound is through their artistic inspirations -- Dada sound poetry and French musique concrète, Futurist rhetoric and Surrealist cinema. The band's third album, released in 1980, was titled "Merzbild Schwet," a reference to Kurt Schwitters and his "Merz" philosophy and series of works; Side One was titled "Futurismo"; Side Two was titled "Dada." (Interestingly, many other musicians of the time were referencing Kurt Schwitters -- Faust, Brian Eno, and later the Japanese noise artist Merzbow -- the "Merzbau" being one of Schwitters' most famous works.)

Nurse with Wound played a haunting set in a dark auditorium against a sinister black-and-white film backdrop. Ambient drones were punctuated with harsh, sudden crashes -- reminiscent of ...


Golden Shield Music (2009) - Marco Donnarumma



Golden Shield Music is a generative composition for eight audio channels. [...] The work is inspired by the Golden Shield Project, sometimes referred to as the 'Great Firewall of China'. [...] Golden Shield Music collects the twelve website’s IP that are most screened by the Golden Shield. Therefore IP numbers are listed in a text file which feeds an automated MIDI polyphonic synthesizer. The latter translates each IP in a single note formed by 4 voices with a specific velocity. Resulting notes are ordered by the amount of pages the Golden Shield obscured for each IP address: the website’s IP obtaining the highest page result on becomes the first note of the score and the others follow in decreasing order. Data organizes the musical notation, establishing an abstract relationship between Internet information and musical algorithms which sounds harmonious and "handcrafted".



soundw(e)ave (2004) - Christy Matson


soundw(e)ave installation1.jpg




[Jacquard Woven Cotton, Each 34" x 54"]


Interview with Katie Paterson


Katie Paterson is an artist whose work spans installation, sculpture, transmission, and sound. Her work presents the viewer with a deeper sense of the passage of time and the evolution of nature and the cosmos. Technology often factors into this line in her practice, where it is used to bring about an awareness of its own restrictions as well as our limited ability to sense and experience natural cycles and movement. She is currently showing History of Darkness in the group exhibition “Cage Mix” at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, up until September 19, 2010. Her series "Every Night About This Time" also opens this weekend at the Whitstable Biennale.