Archives for the Month of December, 2011

Hydrogeny – Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand

Hydrogeny – Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand
Hydrogeny – Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand

Evelina Domnitch and Dmtry Gelfand’s recent work Hydrogeny consists of a tank of ultra-pure water scanned by a white laser sheet. Electrodes at the bottom of the tank liberate hydrogen and oxygen bubbles through the process of hydrolysis. Diaphanous bubble clouds and rise in bifurcating paths to the surface while a penetrating laser sheet reveals the intricate dynamics of the bubble flow matrix. The water is further transduced by sound which generates complex spatial configurations and vortexes within the bubble clouds. The streams appear iridescent as each of the bubble acts as a lens to reflect and refract laser light.

Continent, an new online journey, that attempts successfully to ‘map a topology of unstable confluences and traverse the interstices of alternative culture, theory and art’ has an unmissable article exploring Hydrogeny in greater detail.

Samuel Thomas von Sömmering's
Samuel Thomas von Sömmering’s “Space Multiplexed” Electrochemical Telegraph (1808-10)

An Aside

Hydrolysis was proposed in 1808 by by the German physician, anatomist and inventor Samuel Thomas von Sömmering as method to transfer messages over a distance of a few kilometers. The Electrochemical/Bubble Telegraph receiver’s wires were immersed in a glass tube of water. An electric current was applied in a sequence by the sender through the various wires, each of which represented a digit of a message. At the receivers end the electrolysed water released streams of hydrogen bubbles next to each associated letter or numeral. The telegraph receiver’s operator would watch the bubbles to decode the transmitted message.

Also see:
10000 Peacock Feathers in Foaming Acid
Camera Lucida
Optofonica – Anharmonics, Synthaesthesia & Sound Spatialization

Music Animation Machine – Spatio-temporal Insights into Music

Music Animation Machine - Stephen Malinowski
Music Animation Machine – Stephen Malinowski

The Music Animation Machine is a tool that allows the visualisation of musical compositions (in MIDI form) as an animated time-line of graphical and geometric elements. Rather than presenting music in its traditional format of the score with a standard 5-line staff notation of symbols and note placements, Stephen Malinowski’s software displays notes, voices and tonality in a scroll. Coloured bars and circles are employed using the visual music of Oskar Fischinger as a model. The history of the MAM began in 1974, and having gone through many iterations, Stephen has grappled with the intrinsic problems of representing musical elements such as consonance/dissonance, the history of recently heard notes, the interactions of overtones, and triadic relationships.

Using different graphical metaphors the MAM visualisations reveal the unique spatio-temporal fingerprints of musical compositions – re-configuring time into space through the transcription of notes into visual form..

Debussy’s Arabesque #1 is presented as a flowing node network each note increasing velocity as it reaches its moment while Clair de Lune is presented as a modernest block design. Its interesting to note how the generated graphical configuration feedbacks onto the auditory perception of the music to create new melodic insights.

You can watch more visualisations from Stephen Malinowski’s MAM here.

Data is Nature at the Brighton Digital Festival

Natures - Quayola & Mira Calix

Dataisnature is honoured to have its title used for night of audio visual performances at the Pavilion Dome Theatre, Brighton, for the closing of the Brighton Digital Festival on Friday 30th September. I will be performing two visual music pieces along with a performance by Quayola & Mira Calix. Data is Nature is curated by Lighthouse/Honor Harger.

Here’s a passage from the PR, the full text of which can be found here:

‘Data is Nature features the Brighton première of Natures by renowned musician Mira Calix and visual artist Quayola. In this performance, the organic behaviours of plants become part of an audio-visual world where the natural and the artificial coexist harmoniously.

Data is Nature also includes Paul Prudence, a London-based musician and visual artist, known for his stunning audio-visual performances, which use data visualisation and generative techniques to give us striking new views of nature.’

Quayola – Architectural Augmentation & Digital Constructivism

The Wave – Earth Waveform Oscillations

The Wave (detail)- Weshargrove
The Wave (detail) – Weshargrove

The Wave is a prominent geological feature located on the Colorado Plateau near to the Utah and Arizona border. Composed of striated waves of cross-bedded sandstone, the landscape appears to have the quality of a frozen liquid, its appearance not unlike cooled molten lava fields. The layers of ribboned red coloured rock are in fact generated by what could be described as one of Earth’s many endlessly long doWhile loops – millions of years of precipitation of water and deposition of oxidization minerals. These geological linear patterns of self-organisation generated by this repeating process are know as Liesegang rings and are commonly found in other sedimentary oscillation ‘computations’ – a good example being Banded Agates (There is also a cross-referencing here with the spatio-temporal output of the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction).

Linear Landscape (detail) - Leonardo Solaas
Linear Landscape (detail) – Leonardo Solaas

Both Leonardo Solaas’s ‘Linear Landscape’ set and Jared Tarbell’s ‘Happy Place’ applet have used algorithms to generate artefacts with notable similarities to the geological patterns found at The Wave. The former uses a particle system to create an illusion of three-dimensional organic surfaces, the latter a node system to give rise to broken sedimentary textures.

Further Viewing & Reading
360 degree Panaroma of The Wave
The slot valleys of Antelope Canyon as a hydro-dynamic computation
The Melodies and Megaliths of Pseudocrystalline Terrains

Selected Tweets #13: 12May-29July 2011

Tube – Ara PetersonTube – Ara Peterson

Recent selected tweets from my Twitter stream: @MrPrudence

Ludwig Zeller’s Introspectre, Dromolux & Optocoupler speculate the future of different kinds of information exchange.

The Do-Nothing Machine – Charles Eames’s Kinetic solar toy [Video]. More info can be found at the Airform Archives.

AH // Dissections – Realitat. Illustratively styled computational work using Voronoi and Catmull Clark algorithms.

Structure Series – Marcos Montane. Circular and spirographic Delaunay triangulations.

Any Colour You Like (Pyramid IV) – Dev Harlan. Optical pattern projection-mapping.

Piotr Kamler – Une Mission Ephémère A cryptic, geometric mind-food breakfast.

The Square – Stanley Tigerman and G.L. Crabtree [1975] Kaleidoscopic combinatoric projection drawings at Rndrd.

Vasarely – P. Kassovitz [1960]. Exhibition documentary with music ‘NEG-ALE’ by Xenakis.

Ara Peterson’s laser-cut wood assembled sculptures with time-based properties are featured at DesignBloom.

Felix Turner has created a WebGL emulation of the Rutt-Etra Video Synthesizer [scan-line displacement video effects].

Virus Models [1965] – Ted Klotz including the lamp-like Adenovirus with its 240 nut-shaped units in 20 equilateral triangles.

Emoc’s Paysages -textural compositions from photos by translating pixel colours to deterministic shapes.

Digital Archeology: Excavating the 6502 Chip. Its schematic – one of the last to be hand drawn.

Une Mission Ephémère - Piotr Kamler
Une Mission Ephémère – Piotr Kamler

Visual6502 has some very high resolution images [Die Shots] of early pioneering CPU chips including a Motorola 6800 [75MB!].

The Sun Cutter Project – Markus Kayser. Extreme Solar powered laser cutting.

Digiman discusses the objectivity of his own existence and generative modular synthesis from binary signals.

Flottille – Etienne Cliquet. Micro-origamis unfold via capillary action of water.

The Proof – David Colosi. An interior of a math equation & the laboratory used for its generation as art piece.

Automatypewriter ‘self-reflexive’ & self-typing interface for interactive fiction games.

Piet – A programming language in which programs look like the grid abstractions of Piet Mondrian.

Very Slow Scan Television – Gebhard Sengmüller. TV images encoded into bubble wrap at 1 frame/day.

Microvenus – Joe Davis. ‘feminine’ code inserted into a bacterium and sent into space.

Processing patterns for flyer/poster design including Puddle – Andreas Gysin.

60’s electromechanical calculating machines and rotary calculators photographs – Mark Glusker.

Mechanical Calculators – Kevin Twomley. Intricate/complex/alien gear systems of early calculating machines.

Fans of Zimoun will also enjoy Pe Lang. Multi-form mechanised kinetic-sound sculptures.

Large collection of old Electronic Music Resources at UBU including periodicals and books.

Olaf Stapledon & Lewis Fry Richardson – A Serendipitous Meeting

Illustrations of a Cellular-Numerical Model of Weather imagined by Lewis Fry Richardson (Source unknown)
Illustrations of a Cellular-Numerical Model of Weather imagined by Lewis Fry Richardson – Philip Emeagwali

George Dyson’s ‘Darwin Among The Machines’ published in 1997, is an excellent account of the history of computers and global intelligence through the evolution of machines. As so often with book reading a chain reaction takes place, references in one book lead you to reading other books and so on. And so this was the case with Chapter 11 of Dyson’s book titled ‘Last and First Men’.

Much of the chapter is given up to Olaf Stapledon, who’s novel ‘Last and First Men’ chronicles the future history of the human race for the next thousand million years. In the story humans evolve through 18 different species (as well many more subspecies). Thriving in Utopias and then decimating each other in wars, nearly wiping themselves out and then re-adapting. Eventually they explore and colonise the Solar System – mutating along the way. Being well versed in the science of the time Stapledon outlines different evolutionary necessities that each species develops in order to circumnavigate impending catastrophes.

The novel anticipates genetic engineering and proposes a prototype of group-mind – a consciousness composed of many telepathically linked individuals. Eventually humans are able to genetically engineer each subsequent species in order to survive and proliferate in inhospitable environments.

Dyson’s chapter on Stapleton details an encounter with a young professor, Lewis Fry Richardson. Both worked in the Friends Ambulance Unit in France acting as conscientious objectors during the First World War. Richardson, a Meteorologist, was interested, at that time, in mathematical models of weather prediction. Using his own ‘intentionally guided dreaming’ strategy he drafted a cellular-numerical model of weather – ideas of which were published in ‘Weather Prediction by Numerical Process’ after the war. His theory proposed a congregation of 64,000 human computers collectively processing numerical data, each human computing a weather cell of discrete location and calculating interactions with its nearest cellular neighbour. Local interactions would generate large dynamical systems of global weather patterns. It appears as if Richardson was laying the path to what was later to become Cellular Automata, although little credit has been given by later proponents of Cellular Automata systems.

Langton's Ant - Chris Langton
Langton’s Ant – Chris Langton

In ‘Darwin Among The Machines’ Dyson ponders as to how much of Richardson’s cellular weather system theory was imparted to Stapledon during the quieter moments of ambulance duty. The answer to this question might lay in the Stapledon’s ‘Last and First Men’. For from an immense distance of time and space, Stapledon’s story of our species appears as an massive organic tessellation automata. An endless ebb and flow of cells, that interact in complex birth-death oscillations reforming and reconfiguring breeder seed patterns. Dense layers of complex ant-like interactions -human space-filler patterns folding and unfolding.

After the war Richardson dedicated his time to the statistical analysis of conflict. While studying the causes of war between two countries relating to border length part of his research was in the measurement of borders and coastlines. At the time this research was ignored by the scientific community. Today, it is seen as one element in the birth of the science of fractals and was cited by Benoît Mandelbrot in his famous paper ‘How Long Is the Coast of Britain’. It seems as if Richardson’s ‘intentionally guided dreaming’ gave birth to a great many prescient ideas of which have now become some of the most interesting and far reaching areas of modern mathematics. Many of these ideas, embryonic in form, found their way into Stapledon’s books, at times encoded, but never the less highly suffused.

1923 aka Heaven – Max Hattler

1923 aka Heaven - Max Hattler/><br /><em>1923 aka Heaven – Max Hattler</em></p>
<p>The connections between so called outsider art and certain forms of generative/computational art can be intrinsic and implicit. The self-referential motifs and mytho-mathematic patterns that so commonly appear in the work of outsider artists, generated by ‘non-standard’ brain functioning (or whatever the currently accepted catchphrase is), mimic the output of recursive functions, and various iteration species of the mindless algorithm. You’ll will have to wait for a more detailed post on this confluence of seemingly different paradigms – but expect one soon.</p>
<p>In the mean time attention will drawn to the work of Max Hattler, specifically his work <a href=‘1923 aka Heaven’ which was ‘inspired by the work of French outsider artist Augustin Lesage. ‘1923’ is based on Lesage’s painting ‘A Symbolic Composition of the Spiritual World’ from the same year.

In this film loop the viewer is taken on a trajectory through a seemingly infinite architecture of moving pillars, sliding steps and shifting façades, each adorned with glowing primitive shapes – circles and squares. The experience seems to be a well worked out exercise in the geometric resonance of nested complexity, the end result is a building that is a machine – a chapter of Tron occurring in Ancient Egypt. The bilateral symmetry, often also favoured by outsider artists, is employed to yield illusions of totemic forms in a way that those who have a fondness for Rorschach ink blots will appreciate.

Sync - Max Hattler
Sync – Max Hattler

Be sure to check out Max’s related video ‘1925 aka Hell’ for a darker journey into a dystopian mechanized landscape. Also not to missed is ‘Sync’ featured at Instantcinema. Sync is another exercise in periodic movement and relationships between circulating abstract geometric forms.

‘There is an underlying unchanging sync at the centre of everything. All constituent parts are locked into it as the gigantic zoetrope disc’s constant rotation creates all movement’