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Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Every technology has its own accidents. Rosa Menkman is a Dutch media artist who focuses on visual artifacts created by these kind of accidents in digital media. The visuals and installations she creates are the result of glitches, compressions, feedback and other forms of unplanned noise.

Although most people perceive accidents as negative experiences, Rosa Menkman emphasizes their positive consequences. By combining both her practical as well as academic background, she merges her abstract pieces within a grand theory (“glitch studies”), in which she strives for new forms of conceptual synthesis of the two.

Glitch art seems to be an art form which requires a considerable amount of – rather obscure – explanation. According to Menkman, “glitch art is best described as a collection of forms and events that oscillate between extremes: the fragile, technologically based moment(um) of a material break, the conceptual or techno-cultural investigation of breakages, and the accepted and standardised commodity that a glitch can become. […] Glitch genres perform reflections on materiality not just on a technological level, but also by playing off the physical medium and its non-physical, interpretative or conceptual characteristics. To understand a work […] of glitch art completely, each level of this notion of (glitch) materiality should be studied: the text as a physical artifact, its technological and aesthetical qualities, conceptual content, and the interpretive activities of artists”.
and audiences.

If this description confuses you: it is  – more or less! – explained by Rosa when interviewed for the Digital Manifesto Archive:

So much for theory. How does this actually look and/or sound? Below are a few video’s included of works made by Rosa Menkman.

 

Pattern Recognition, Beyond Resolution

This video was apparently commissioned by the Dutch railways to be played on big LED ‘Urban Screens’ in train stations all over the Netherlands. However, when finished it wasn’t used because it was classified by the railway company as being “to strange for train passengers”:

 

DCT:SYPHONING

This installation is part of the Transfer Download exhibition of the Minnesota Street Project in Transfer Gallery in  San Francisco, which ends on September 9, so next week. So you are actually still able to see/experience it if you are living near SF!

According to the Transfer Gallery website this work is inspired by the 1884 novel ‘Flatland’ by Edwin Abbott Abbott. Rosa Menkman tells the story of a father who introduces his son to different levels of compression; they move from dither, to lines, to macroblocks (the realm in which they normally resonate) to the ‘future’ realms of wavelets and vectors.

 

Xilitla

Xilitla is a software game/application for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms which enables you to view the videoscapes of Rosa Menkman in glitchy  way outside the confines of YouTube and Vimeo (or this  blog page..). The app can  be downloaded for free on the Xilitla/Beyond Resolution website. In the About Xilitla video below she explains the goal and concept behind the app:

 

 

All in all, a very interesting Dutch media artist,who combines art theory and practice in her work and has in doing so already produced an extensive body of media art pieces around the concept of “glitch”. Below are some links – in random order, of course – to get you viewing, playing and reading:

More info:

Found on ArtTube.nl: a very interesting documentary (in Dutch, but with English subtitles) about the issues of preserving digital and software driven art works over time.

As these art works are software or make use of software, they age very fast because computers, storage media, operating systems and programming languages develop rapidly. This poses a challenge for museums who buy these art works. The documentary illustrates this problem by discussing the preservation of works of artist Peter Struycken, the Dutch pioneer of 20th century digital art, whose works have been acquired by most Dutch contemporary art museums. An excellent opportunity to get acquainted with this important Dutch artist and some of these Dutch art museums:

 

 

More info:

Tonight the STRP Biennale 2015 will start in the Klokgebouw on Strijp-S in Eindhoven. The STRP biennial brings together art, technology and experimental pop culture and connects them to interested audiences. With its interactive art, light art, robotics, performances, experimental music and films, lectures and workshops STRP offers a glimpse into the near and sometimes distant future of our technology-driven culture. The topic of this edition is “SCREEN ON | NO SCREEN”:  the electronic screen. As is described on the STRP website:

.Screens are all around us, and they’re not only becoming bigger, smarter and more interactive, but also thinner, sharper and more flexible. The STRP Biennial 2015 investigates the thin line between the material and immaterial image. We show how our relation with the images that are moving all around us is getting more and more complex. It’s getting very hard to separate ourselves from them, sometimes we immerse ourselves in them, but at the same time we are getting better at controlling the images.”

 

The festival opens with a performance by Robert Henke (a.k.a Monolake, a regular participant at the STRP festival). He will show an updated version of his Lumiere audio-visual performance, simply called Lumiere II. I will be there to attend it. Four specially crafted lasers are linked to the world-famous Ableton DAW software, that was co-developed by Henke, to create animated patterns aligned to sounds with it.  The video above contains an excerpt of the original Lumiere laser performance.

Be sure to visit STRP 2015 too, if you are interested in cutting edge tech art and are near Eindhoven.

More info:

A rather awkward Dutchlish TEDx talk by Dutch interactive art designer Tim van Cromvoirt on YouTube:

However, the contents of his presentation and his art works are interesting: check his website and work!

More information:

On YouTube I found this video today on the Ondes Martenot: an electronic instrument of the 1920’s which preludes today’s synthesizer. It is most widely known for its use in pieces by French composer  Olivier Messiaen:

I actually own a high quality software emulation of the Ondes Martenot made by VSTi producers Sonic Couture and use it quite often due to it’s distinct sounds. One of the interesting things about the Ondes Martenot was the ribbon controller demonstrated by Jean Laurendeau in the video.

A similar ribbon controller in a modern plexiglas enclosure now made by Eowave is also part of my synth studio. Here the Blade Runner theme is played on a synthesizer using the Eowave ribbon as a controller:

So although the Ondes Martenot may be almost a century old and is not often used as an instrument on its own, it’s sounds and concepts are still alive today.

More information:


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