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Archive for June 2016

Soft Revolvers is an audiovisual performance by Canadian artist Myriam Bleau. She explores the limits between musical performance and digital arts, creating audiovisual systems that go beyond the screen and integrate hip hop, techno and pop elements.

For Soft Revolver she makes use of 4 spinning tops built with clear acrylic by the artist. Each top is associated with an ‘instrument’ in an electronic music composition and the motion data collected by sensors – placed inside the tops – informs musical algorithms:


With their large circular spinning bodies and their role as music playing devices, the interfaces evoke turntables and DJ culture, hip hop and dance music. LEDs placed inside the tops illuminate the body of the objects in a precise counterpoint to the music, creating stunning spinning halos:

Soft Revolvers was performed during the LEV Festival in Gijon in April and can also be seen at the upcoming Sonar festival in Barcelona at the end of this week.

More information:

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A new laser-and-sound installation by Robert Henke a.k.a. Monolake: Fall.

Fall has apparently been inspired by the drowned Bavarian village Fall, as can be read on Robert’s website:

“In the 1950s the village of Fall in the south of Bavaria slowly disappeared under the rising waters of the newly built Sylvenstein water reservoir. In 2015 the reservoir had extremely low water. Ruins of the old village became visible again; remains of walls forming broken grid-like structures, usually submerged below the water surface. These images became the inspiration for this installation.”

It was premiered at the LEV Festival in Gijon, Spain in April. In his tech blog, Robert Henke explains how it was done.

More information:

Nowadays lots of media artists, musicians and music software and hardware products are dedicated to translating visuals into sounds and vice versa. One of the pioneers in this area of “visual sound” was a British electronic composer called Daphne Oram. She was one of the founders of the famous BBC Radiophonic Workshop in 1958. But after hearing Poème électronique of Edgar Varese at the Brussels World’s Fair, she decided to leave the BBC and start her own electronic music studio a year later, the Oramics Studios for Electronic Composition. In this studio, she made one of the first synthesizers and quite likely the first audiovisual synthesizer in the beginning of the 1960s: the Oramics Machine.

With this (of course) analogue and largely mechanical machine, she drew shapes and waveforms onto a synchronised set of ten 35mm film strips which overlayed a series of photo-electric cells. These cells in turn generated electrical charges to control amplitude, timbre, frequency and duration of sounds generated by oscillators. This audiovisual way of music composition was called “Oramics” by Daphne Oram:

Daphne Oram died in 2003 at the age of 77 and oramics and the Oramic Machine were forgotten. But in 2011 the Oramics Machine has been salvaged and now is part of the collection of the Science Museum in London. The videos below document the rescue of this pioneering synthesizer by the Science Museum and explain some of the groundbreaking audiovisual concepts behind it:

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Intrigued by optical sound, Mariska de Groot [NL] makes and performs comprehensive analog light-to-sound instruments and installations which explore this principle in new ways. Her work often has a reference to media inventions from the past, with which she aims to excite a multi-sensorial and phenomenological experiences in light, sound, movement and space.

CineChine

In CineChine you experience in physical proportions the phenomenon optical sound – an invention of the 1920’s applied in celluloid and synthesizers – where light and sound are a similar. Objects that remind of a disassembled movie machine are positioned in the room. For every exhibition a new side-specific composition is made:

Niburu

Nibiru is a mechanical performative installation wherein simple rhythmical body movements activates a squeaky pendulum drawing machine, that on its turn creates complex mathematical images. Noises of friction are amplified and sound patterns are created by light-sensitive speakers that scan the changing projected geometric line image:

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