With ‘This Exquisite Forest,’ Animations That Evolve, Collaboratively

With all this talk about the future of art being in browser windows and such, you might forget to ask the question – why? What will it actually look like? Artist Aaron Koblin has been, perhaps more than any one artist, someone who has pondered what form art made by online crowds might take. His work has often revolved around data – the trails left by masses moving in the air, data set of Thom Yorke’s 3D face given to artists. When the crowd is the source of that data, Koblin has uniquely walked the line between optimism and criticism. …


Music in the Browser: A Soundtrack from a Crowd, A Keyboard for a Mouse

Slowly but surely, the web audio API creeps toward being something that’s usable in more than one browser at a time. In the meantime, we get a glimpse of how generative music could be a part of what’s to come. It’s a long way from those horrid, looping audio files that plagued the Web in its heady 1990s adolescence. Today on Create Digital Motion, I look at the aesthetics of crowd-sourcing in work by Aaron Koblin and Chris Milk – and how the view of the significance of the crowd has changed over time. Substitute “music” for “motion,” and you’ll …


MIDI in the Browser: HTML5 + MIDI Document Up for Review, Audio Improving, Too

Hey, why the heck not? (CC-BY-SA) farnea. Imagine connecting to MIDI gadgets – inputs and outputs – and sequencing musical patterns from a browser. (As a developer, imagine doing that from JavaScript. As a user, imagine doing that right inside your browser window with a music app.) For now, such things exist only on a document, but they could be coming to a browser near you. Not bad for a standard that dates back to 1983. The W3C has a document up for discussion, for those of you technical enough to get involved: https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/audio/raw-file/tip/midi/specification.html The news comes from an excellent, …


Bob Moog’s Birthday: Learn Synthesis, Benefit Swag, Apps, and a Playable Google Doodle [Videos]

Sound technology pioneer Bob Moog’s birthday is May 23, and just about the whole Web will be in on the celebration. Play Google like a Minimoog: Google’s Doodle, the image you see on their homepage, is one of their best yet: it’s a fully interactive, playable Minimoog synthesizer. You can even record and playback little musical sketches and share with friends. Since the Earth is round, Google Japan gets an early scoop. (Yes, the Moog sun will rise first on the land of Roland, Yamaha, and KORG.) Bonus (for Web nerds): this all uses the Web Audio API, which promises …


Plink: Play Music with Strangers, In Your Browser; and the Webby Music Goodness Continues

It starts as just another toy to play around with in a few minutes of distraction in your Web browser – as if the Web were short on distraction. But then, something amazing can happen. Like a musical Turing Test, you start to get a feeling for what’s happening on the other side. Someone’s stream of colored dots starts to jam with your stream of colored dots. You get a little rhythm, a little interplay going. And instead of being a barrier, the fact that you’re looking at simple animations and made-up names and playing a pretty little tune with …


Geometric Reactive Audio Visualizations, Now Live in the Browser; How it was Done

Now, tripping out to visuals while you listen to music doesn’t require a separate app. You can do it right in the browser. And this pretty proof of concept not only creates dancing 3D visuals: it also demonstrates just how much is possible with 3D browser capabilities, and how they could interact with music, suggesting much more to come. Los Angeles-based developer Felix Turner of Airtight Interactive shares The Loop Waveform Visualizer. Tested for use in Google’s Chrome, it’s powered by two cross-platform, cross-browser, HTML5-associated technologies, WebGL and the Web Audio API. Give it any MP3 (you can even drag …


Diaspora: On a Fledgling, Open Social Network, Users Gather to Make Noise

Diaspora is an attempt to build a social network that contrasts with the locked-garden vision of Facebook, one built on open source software, open exchange of information, and distributed – rather than centralized – communication. I already let slip that we’ll be rebooting our own social endeavor, Create Digital Noise, in the new year. But it’s also telling to see the first noises emerge on Diaspora. If you wrote off this service when it was in early testing, perhaps overwhelmed by its ambition and crowd-sourced nature, you may be pleasantly surprised. As users gain invites, the service is surprisingly stable …


As Adobe Abandons Mobile Flash; Look for a Renewed HTML5 Video Debate, Leapfrog Tech

You’ve come a long way, baby. In fact, in the midst of this whole debate, consider what phones can do – and what they’ll be able to do soon. As an artist, that’s incredibly compelling. Photo (CC-BY) Fred Benenson. While ZDNet stands behind the story, this should be classified as “rumor” until an official statement has been made, and my comments considered accordingly speculative. Updated: the official announcement. Note what it says – yes, it’s wordy, but there are two pieces here. One is, Adobe is committing to contributing to HTML5, which is to say, to make Web standards do …


Bach Cello Suite No. 1, Visualized in Sweeping Arcs, and the Math Beneath

Alexander Chen, he of Kinect hacks and subways turned to strings, is back with another string visualization. Built in the browser (an interactive version is available), this work makes a visual accompaniment to Bach’s First Prelude from the Cello Suites. If you read music notation fluently, you may find the score itself suffices, but even so, the math to make this work – and the dance of circles across strings – is compelling. Alex, whose day job is with Google’s Creative Lab, talks to us a bit about the mathematics and process. First, his description: baroque.me visualizes the first Prelude …


3D and Animation, Graphical Patching in the Browser, with vvvv – vvvv.js

Imagine access to the power of the modern Web browser – the HTML5 Canvas, hardware-accelerated graphics via WebGL, animation, and more. Now imagine that instead of writing code to access that power, you can connect modules for graphical patching. Windows visualists may recognize the software VVVV. But whereas that tool was restricted to the capabilities of Windows, VVVV.js runs directly in a browser – any modern browser. There’s even (limited) mobile support, which should improve as mobile browsers more closely resemble desktop browsers. Let’s just say that again: you can now make sophisticated visual and animation creations, in 3D, using …