Archives for the Month of May, 2009

Sonifyer – Data Sonifications


The Berne University of the Arts has conducted extensive research in the sonification of various data sets, including EEG (electrical signals from the brain) and Siesomological data. The Sonifyer site reveals how complex datasets can be transformed into audible streams in much the same way standard info-visualisations are constructed. Aside from committed projects by the university the site also includes an excellent ‘knowledge’ section collating examples of related work by modern composers. It also allows the download of Sonifyer, a Mac based application, that facilitates work with different sonification methods.

John Cages work Atlas Eclipticus uses a star chart as the underlying component for composition together with the I Ching, reminding us of the concept of Musica Universalis (Music of the Spheres)

Composed in 1978 before the technology was available to realise the piece, Alvin Lucier’s Clocker intended to bring together a ‘performer equipped with a galvanic skin response sensor, digital audio feedback system, amplified clock and a small loudspeaker. His intention was to allow a ‘performer to speed up and slow down time, stopping it, if possible, simply by thinking.’

Link via Emma McNally

Floral Radiography – Revealing the hidden structures of plants.

Floral Radiography

Floral Radiography affords the possibility to take a glimpse into the internal architecture of the leaves, stems and flowers of Plants. Having the structure of fine gossamer, we might recall the delicate meshes of an output from a particle system or render from a Perlin Noise experiment. Pioneers in this specialised field of photography include Albert G. Richards, and more recently Steven N. Meyers. A short paper, Floral Radiography: Using X rays to Create Fine Art by Merrille C Raikes, gives a concise account of the history and techniques involved in this process.

Flickr Fruits #27

DSCN0773 – Tomx2008

Combining symmetrical tessellation, organic and biological forms with an entheogenic colour pallete, Ekiselev’s, work reveals a joyful indulgence in patterns and complexity. Portal Mirror consists of monochromatic modulations of bilateral symmetry resisting perfection and creating liquid morphologies. Elsewhere anthropomorphic forms coagulate into psychedelic scenes, imagine Yellow Submarine informed by Tryptamines as opposed to being Lysergically disposed. Cosmopartie is a good example.

Resourceful ingenuity, an understanding of light to create atmosphere, and the use of found and everyday objects is exploited fully in both Francois Delfosse Antarctica group and tomx2008’s coastline simulations. In the former crumpled plastic bags are alchemically transformed in to glaciers and ice caverns, the latter seascape atmospheres rely on beach combed pieces of glass.

Antartica in a plastic bag – Francois Delfosse

Bower Birdz has a spectacular set of microscopy pictures, as usual, revealing a lexicon of intricate structures, lattice formations and crystalline geometries.

Todo’s Spamghetto project takes spam email messages and regurgitates them into branches and tendrils creating swaying patterns that make up a large wallpaper print. ‘A quick glance at the spam mailbox always provides fresh inspiration: bizarre subjects guides us in the quest for the definitive answer to fundamental humans’ problems’.

Tsopanid’s Cloudspeaker uses rapid prototyping technology to create a speaker unit who’s structure is a a visualisation of sound itself. Data from sound analysis, such as amplitude, is mapped over time and used to generate the 3d form which is them manufactured via a 3d printer.

Pencil Point Creatures – Jennifer Maestre

Jennifer Maestre
Aurora – Jennifer Maestre

Jennifer Maestre creates colourful undulating sculptures reminiscent of anemones, sea urchins and starfish utilising sharpened coloured pencils as a medium. Echoing the way iron filings respond to magnetic fields the pencil points radiate from underlying curved surfaces in swathes of colour. As Jennifer mentions in her statement, the pieces are aesthetically alluring yet court the prospect of apparent danger at the same time. ‘With this tension unveiled, we feel a push and pull, desire and repulsion.’

The clever use of everyday products in sculpture and installation has thrown up some other surprisingly atmospheric forms in recent years, think Tara Donovan’s Styrofoam cup clouds and Scotch tape sculptures, for example.

Collected Tweets #1

Collected Tweets #1
Models – Jenny Myers

Anatomical Surrealismo from Valerio Carrubba.

Imagine a diamond point acting upon a blackened silver film on glass – harmonographic drawings by joseph gould at the ArtOfMemory.

Speculative realism, Deleuze & Guattari, quantum physics, cybernetics, consciousness, AI and more at Fractal Ontology.

The Perceptual Observer – a time-line devoted to perceptually or optically based art.

Seeing Sound – Synchromy No. 4: Escape by Mary Ellen Bute, 1938.

Architecture, Patterns and Mathematics by Nikos A. Salingaros – The recent study of complexity via physics has relevance to architecture.

Phenomenal Transparency. Jenny Myers Architecture blog with roots in utopian ideals.

Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine at

Strange Paths blog. A merge of physics, computation and philosophy.

Möbius Strips & Lorenz Manifolds. Mathematical sculpture from Benjamin Storch.

Colourfield Constructivisms from Richard Schur.

Abandoned architectural wonders of the world at Weburbanist.

Paleofuture – a look into the future that never was.

Maxwell Cade’s Mind Mirror – an early EEG biofeedback machine.

A sound reactive bespoke from Soundsbutter.

Apocalyptic mountainous temple architecture. Paintings from Ricky Allman.

Automatism + Surrealism. The Chimeras of Unica Zurn.

Cerenkovs Dream РEno Henze. Technological objet trouv̩ with 4 Led Panels, power adaptor and image processor.

Earworms, repetunes, humbugs and other phonological loops

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Pixillation – Lillian Schwartz and Ken Knowlton

Pixillation - Lillian Schwartz and Ken Knowlton

Pixillation was one of the first collaborations between Lillian Schwartz and Ken Knowlton during their stint at Bell Labs using Knowlton’s self written computer animation language EXPLOR. Made in 1970 this 4 minute film crams in a spectacular amount of visual information, cutting from geometric sequences reminiscent of Cellular Automata to analogue sequences of organic forms – immersions of liquids and oils so favoured by the West Coast light show fanatacists around the same time. In fact the synergy and similarity between naturally occurring organic patterns and their isomorphic algorithmic counterparts seems to be the key message of this film. Pixillation presents us with forking paths of pixels in an alternating retort to footage of the formation of ice crystals. Schwartz and Knowlton’s work instinctively grasps the convergence between the the natural world and the world of computer simulation.

The film develops staccato modulations between microscopic network alignments and the systematic self-organisation principles derived from simple code – between data and nature. The film could be seen as an unintentional precursor to many of the ideas, experiments, simulations that underline the science of Emergence. Its cellular lattice growth systems perhaps cross reference John Conway’ s famed computational life simulations or perhaps even pre-date it, as both were made public in 1970.

The pace of the film, with its flickering montage, together with the experimental soundtrack by Gershon Kingsley further belies the interest in the perceptual and sensory aspects of the medium at this time.