Archives for the Month of September, 2005


Poetry On The Road Boris Müller

Esono is the online portfolio of Boris Müller, designer, developer and teacher, based in Berlin. The work is housed in a crisp well designed interface and covers disciplines over a large terrain.

Favorite areas include Revamp, an interactive computer based environment for the collaborative composition and performance of electronic music for clubspace, and Poetry on the Road, a set of dynamic graphical visualizations of poems.

Data Visualization is the new #000000

The Shape Of Song
The Shape Of Song

The act of transmutating abstract data into Art seems to be an increasing trend and pastime for many computational artists.

Graz in Realtime is a digital derive that harnesses the potential of mobile phones allowing the city to be sensed and displayed in real-time as a complex contour schematic. The Real-Time City Map will register and visually render the volume and geographic source of cell phone usage in Graz, thus showing a different layer in the use and experience of the city.

Popsketches are a series of generative doodles where simple child-like scribbles are processed from pop songs. A python script analyses the audio and drops note and volume info into a text file. Proce55ing then does the drawing by interpreting the data. The angle at which the line is drawn is determined by the pitch of the note and the length of the line is determined by the volume of the note.

Related: The Shape of Song has been around for a while, here custom software draws musical patterns in the form of translucent arches, allowing viewers to see the shape of any musical composition.

Composite Narratives

Chelsea Girls – Andy Warhol

SoftCinema embraces the idea of editing movies in real time by choosing visual elements from a database utilizing systems of rules defined by the authors. The software pulls in visual data from many different sources, films, dynamic data visualizations, computer-driven installations, architectural designs, print catalogs, and DVDs.

Lev Manovich’s and Andreas Kratky’s ‘SOFT CINEMA: Navigating the Database’ is a DVD-video document of the project with a 40 page color booklet available from MIT Press.

I’ve always liked the composite screen aesthetic and have been utilizing split and quadruple screens in my video art. It’s interesting to see how a third layer of narrative can be built from disparate connections of unrelated footage. It’s the beauty of Lautréamont’s ‘chance meeting of an umbrella and a sewing machine on a dissecting table’ so to speak. Incidentally Lautréamont’s exceedingly incredible Maldoror contains the following line…

‘Arithmetic! Algebra! Geometry! Grandiose trinity! Luminous triangle! Whoever has not known you is without sense!’

….which is a bit of a digression from softcinema – But then Breton hailed Lautréamont’s work as a precursor to surrealism, and surrealism is really a grandfather to softcinema in essence, is it not? So perhaps this ramble is not as unconnected as it might seem.

One cinematic masterpiece that uses the composite/split screen to amazing effect is The Chelsea Girls by Andy Warhol. Chelsea Girls comes with very specific projection instructions detailing the order of reels and starting times (there is a five-minute delay between the start of reels on the left and right side).

‘Andy Warhol would often have dinner at the El Quixote Restaurant downstairs from the Chelsea Hotel with other factory regulars and he got the idea to unify all the pieces of these people’s lives by stringing them together as if they lived in different rooms in the same hotel’

Another personal favorite that uses composite screens is The Andromeda Strain by Robert Wise. I’d like to know if anyone knows of any others?


Brain Mirror

BrainMirror is an interactive experience where the image of the visitors brain appears mixed with his/her mirror image, using natural head movement as an interface to explore volumetric visuals of the human brain.

This Reminds me little bit of the dream recorders in Wim Wender’s underrated ‘Until the end of the world’. In the film, a machine is created that records visual information from one person and reconstructs it in the brains of others – granting the power of sight to the blind for one thing, but even more mystically, enabling a person’s dreams to be recorded.

I suppose we are steps away from doing visualizations that go beyond pure volumetrics of the brain but actually map the shapes of thoughts themselves. Time for some fresh air and then a cup of tea I think.

I am waiting for a train

Alvin Lucier/em>

Announcment Tones & Sonic Indeterminancy on the Northern Line, London Bridge Station – Sept 05 – Performed by unidentified Tube Announcer.

For the last few mornings I’ve been amused and intrigued by some great unintentional sonic experimentation emitted from an unlikely source. A tube guard/announcer, with a badly calibrated loudspeaker/announcement system has transformed his voice into, practically, pure tone. Through feedback, or tunnel resonance, or some unknown analogue aberration, his amplified voice had become a set of musical frequencies. To most of the Bluetooth suits on their way to work I suppose this amounts to nothing more than an annoyance, a few ‘knowers’ smiled. Having spent a lot of time orbiting the outer sonic galaxies searching for all sorts strange music, I was happy to hear this and would like to go back and record the ‘performance’.

The nearest approximation to ‘Announcement tones’ is Alvin Lucier’s, incredible piece, ‘I am sitting in a room’. The instructions for producing the piece are, in fact, the piece itself. The composer sits and describes what will happen, and then it happens. Lucier tapes these instructions then replays that tape into the room, tapes that, plays the second tape into the room, etc., and so on. Little by little, the “natural resonant frequencies of the room” erode the source material, softening hard edges, blurring boundaries between words. The excellent UBU has an MP3 of the original 1969 version for download here as well as an interview with Lucier entitled ‘A Sounds Waves Artist’

Computational Radiolarians & VVVVideo


VVVV is a toolkit for real time video synthesis and physical devices. It is designed to facilitate the handling of large media environments with physical interfaces, real-time motion graphics, audio and video that can interact with many users simultaneously.’

Using VVVV, David Dessens, aka sanch, has crafted a sublime collection of radiolarian and shell-like like objects. Radiolarians, and shells – particularly those adorned with Cellular Automata decoration, are the favored emblems of Dataisnature for obvious reasons.

Check out some more patch-based alchemy from the MESO crew and the User project page to get an idea of what VVVV can do for you. Also enjoy the sound reactive piece, Triko, albeit in a small window, at

Crystal funk.

Crystalpunk Workshop

Perusing the participants involved at the Crystalpunk Workshop organized by the ingenious SocialFiction, I discovered and rediscovered some interesting lattices and rare gems.

Karen Curley of ResolutionIsland has been feeding images of her monitor to her monitor to produce these Op-Art feedback vortexes. Check out the fingerprints and circular labyrinths immerging in this set too. Also in the motion section of her site there are some enigmatic stills and dreamlike textures to be explored.

Related: video feedback article (with links on how to make different types of video feedback)

Manuel Dahm has a new set of works at Dr3 called Linecons that explore calligraphic signatures to produce symmetrical insectoid sculptures.

Tom Carden is documenting his proce55ing experiments here. Toms works ranges from map interfaces to generative works for fashion photography – lots of interesting applets here. It’s also worth noting that Tom has a Proce55ing reblog set up too, Proce55ing recently won a Golden Nica Net Vision award at the Prix Ars Electronica 2005.

We’ve had both Spam and Anti-Gravity poetry mentioned at Natureisdata recently, Megla has explored poetic space by adding a visual dimension, a poetic walk-through where movement of the reader’s body enhances the potency of the work. A different kind of poetry walk-through is expressed at Thomas Laureyssen’s PedestrianLevitation, he says:

‘It visualizes the real movement of people, and adds a virtual movement based on the assumption that the mind of people is not subject to gravity or any other physical limitations.

Irregular white triangles are applied on the sidewalk- for the real movement, and up onto a high empty wall for the virtual movement. The work creates a graphical layer above existing architecture that acts as an interface towards movement of thought. The work flows from the pavement up to the wall of a building or buildings. It creates a visual motion: when you walk into the work, your visual senses are pulled to the directions of the triangles.’

Anti-gravity Psychogegraphy?!

Suffix Tree


4 branching nodes

Organic Meta Http-Equiv


Organichtml turns Html code into splendid triffids and orchids. Enter your favorite URL and wait for a dark flower to be spawned. As touched on by Infosthetics, it’s impossible to know what part of the code is being used from the html structure to generate the flower and u can only guess. Trepryor, however, delves a little bit further with its Flower Battles by exploring plant growth from ‘competing’ URL’s. The above generations are taken from dataisnature and transphormetic. sez a lot!

Ghost Diagrams

Ghost Diagrams

Ghost Diagrams is an application that tessellates sets of tiles with symmetry to produce patterns that echo the work of MC Escher. This is particularly true when it processes Rule 110, a cellular automaton known to be capable of universal computation.

For me the really exciting part is where a fundamental philosophical idea of computer sentience is touched upon. The author of Ghost Diagrams, Paul Harrison, says that:

‘An organism is more than the sum of its organs. When the organs are fitted together, the organism becomes something more. This surprising something more we call “spirit” or “ghost”. Ghost Diagrams finds the ghosts implicit in simple sets of tiles.’