Archive for June, 2007

Urban Echo in Copenhagen

CopenhagenJ. Anthony Allen and I just received an invitation to install Urban Echo in Copenhagen, Denmark during the International Computer Music Conference in late August.

Each time we have shown this piece (we’re currently on number three at the MMAA), it has taken a different form. We look forward to reimagining the piece for a new audience in Copenhagen.

We are also investigating sources for travel funding. If anyone knows of any sources, let us know. More later …

Flashbelt: Day 3

Day three at Flashbelt was quite enjoyable.

André Michelle showed off some of his AS3 audio projects including 5plice, an online audio editing, remixing and sequencing and sharing suite written in AS3 for Flashplayer 9. I was impressed by the small footprint, responsiveness and sound quality produced by the libraries, but was less interested in the concepts behind 5plice. The need for online audio editing is in question for me — and sites like Freesound fulfill my need for hours and hours of free CC audio.

That brings me to GMUNK. GMUNK is a motion graphics superstar. His motion work might best be described as a detailed, vibrant, seizure-inducing spectacle, propelled by an endless series explosions (literally) — as recorded on a shaky handicam. GMUNK’s presentation was as energetic as his work and he struck a nice balance between showing the work itself and revealing some of his simple animation techniques in Maya.

The day of speakers was concluded by a Zen-like presentation from Jared Tarbell (1,2 and 3). Jared has been producing algorithmic art for some time now and more recently began to focus on his commercial work at Etsy. His presentation was essentially a review of fundamental generative techniques (i.e. repetition, recursion, etc) with some lovely examples. Much of the nature-inspired work he showed was circa 2004 and I’m curious to see what he does next. A brief conversation at the afterparty led me to believe he will be integrating some sculptural elements into his work soon.

All in all, the conference was enlightening. I was left convinced that the meeting would have benefited from less code-sharing and more idea generation and open discussion. Perhaps it is an artifact of my current educational pursuits, but I feel that within such a computer-literate group, direct “show me your code” discussions should be minimized. Instead, I feel that it would be more useful to step back, put down one’s tools (Flash, Processing, etc) and make more room for brainstorming, idea generation, concept discussion and talk of the future. The net and technologies are, and will continue to, change and these are the people that can and should be thinking about how those changes will affect us.

Flashbelt: Day 2

Highlights and thoughts from the second day of the Flashbelt conference:

Tim Armato: Tim presented a brief introduction to Processing. He encouraged attendees to approach Processing playfully. It was good to see the not-a-flash-killer project represented.

Mario Klingemann: Mario presented an interesting piece of software designed to generatively create unique images by examining and responding to salient image features (i.e. line orientation, grayscale levels, cross-correlation, symmetry, etc.). While interesting, it wasn’t clear why he chose to implement the app and its heavy algorithms (e.g. the Hough Transform) in AS3. To me, the final images he produced made me think of the Neue Sachlichkeit movement (e.g. New Objectivity, particularly the work of Max Beckmann. Of course others might disagree, but his images had an unexpectedly rich texture. Interestingly, he sent the digital paintings off to a company in China where they were painted in oil for him.

Flashbelt: Day 1

I’m at Flashbelt this week. Some interesting talks so far. Of particular interest to me on the first day:

  • Craig Swann presented a passionate discussion that concluded with an exhortation to fuse the physical and digital using sensors and microcontroller technologies (Arduino, etc).
  • Jeremy Thorp presented work resulting from his uniquely methodological, biologically-inspired practice and left us with a reminder that developing tools in programs like Processing can help counter big box bloat.
  • Joshua Davis presented work from his beautiful algorithmic design practice. He encouraged us to develop our own tools and resist the temptation to look at other people’s work too much.

    In general I hope speakers will move towards presenting more novel ideas, more illustrative images and less code. Ideas must lead, code will follow.