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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Found today while browsing on YouTube: a video of the Parallels installation of Nonotak Studio, one of the highlights of the STRP Festival 2015 edition:

 

Nonotak Studio is a collaboration between illustrator Noemi Schipfer and architect musician Takami Nakamoto. Nonotak was created in late 2011.
In early 2013, they started to work on light and sound installations, capitalizing on Takami Nakamoto’s approach of space & sound, and Noemi Schipfer’s experience in kinetic visual design.

Parallels is an audio visual installation that was commissioned by the STRP festival.  It explores interactions between light, space and people within the room of the installation. The boundaries and notion of space, become abstract as the audience crosses the room, but in doing so, the audience also affects the space by breaking the light. This installation is strongly connected to the space in which it takes place; it lives within it. But as soon as the light hits the walls that define the space, it reaches its limits and stops reproducing itself.

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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.

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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.

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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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I first saw this rather aggressive and intimidating installation of Edwin van der Heide in the Klokgebouw (Eindhoven) at one of the first STRP festivals several years ago. Today, I accidentally stumbled across it while browsing the web on a dull day. Thought I’d share it as a new post:

In this engine-powered installation, a speaker is mounted onto a rotating arm that is several meters long. Like a watchdog, the machine scans the surrounding space for visitors. Closer investigation would be tempting fate, with the rotating arm swinging so powerfully round. You hear the impressive sound of the mighty motor turning faster and faster. You can feel the displacement of air as the speaker whizzes past you, and you better step out of reach. The machine slows down and you start exploring the space, with your movements manipulating the sound it produces.

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At the Dutch Design Week 2015 I bought a Dandelight light made by Studio Drift, a Dutch design studio. Dandelight is a little light made from a real dandelion, which is powered by a 9V battery:

The Dandelight is based on the utopian vision of the amalgamation between nature and technology, a recurring topic in the works of Studio Drift. Actual dandelion seeds are attached one by one to a LED by them, creating a light-emitting dandelion growing out of it’s energy source: the battery. As such, each product is handmade and numbered: I have number 4378. Contemporary “Dutch design” has always explored the borders between art pieces and product design, but is this art or design? For me, it’s definitely an art piece in the “tech art” category. It is an unique art piece, but produced in series and therefore affordable. Maybe it is “design art”.  In this video the “luminous dandelion” concept is taken one step further in their sculpture “Fragile Future III“. It also describes the making process of these kind of design art works with natural artifacts, such as flower seeds:

Studio Drift won a Dutch Design Award with another stunning piece of “design art”,  also on show at the Dutch Design Week 2015 last week and again focusing on the topic of “light sculpture” and flowers: “Shylight“, to be seen (or better: experienced) in a permanent installation of five Shylights at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, NL:

This video by Studio Drift describes the making of Skylight and some of the concepts behind it

So is the work of Studio Drift art or product design? To me it is both: their work displayed during the Dutch Design Week 2015 can also be included in the upcoming GLOW light art festival. So definitely artists/designers to follow if you are interested in these kind of hybrid nature/technology objects, like I am.

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