refunct

Art From Trash, as ReFunct Media Makes a Symphony from Obsolete Gear [Videos]

Obsolescence: it seems inescapable, as generations of old gear are replaced with shiny, new ones. But one person’s discarded electronic trash can be an artist’s electronic treasure. ReFunct Media is a collaborative to make something out of all that used junk. In parades of strange, twitching machines and orchestras of electronic noise, gear goes from landfill fodder to art stars. The collective effort has made its way from Ireland (Imoca, RuaRed) to France (Gaité Lyrique) to, most recently, Berlin and the LEAP gallery, where we catch up with it in the form of some raucous video documentation. The artists themselves …

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unravel

FOUND Installation Plays Narration, Robotic Music with Vinyl, Unravels Truth

One perhaps unexpected impact of technology has been to change the way we think about ourselves and our experience. Recording equipment – from photography to phonograph – has given us a new sense that memory itself might be fixed, unchanging, an accurate record of an unmoving truth. Except, of course, neither the recorded object nor the thing it is recording ever quite seems to work out that way. (Ask your local theoretical physicist, or for a more localized, humanized, sociological view, any loved one.) UNRAVEL is an installation that uses just those sorts of technologies to construct a narrative, and …

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musicbox2

The Hand-Cranked, Antique MIDI Sequencer (High-Res Images, Details)

Music, ephemeral and fleeting, to many of us wants tangible embodiment, some physical sense of the tug we feel from its unseen vibrations. We’ve regularly featured the image of the circle as a sequence; even as music software prefers left-to-right piano rolls and scores and tracks, it’s a logical shape. Here, Finnish sound artist Martin Bircher looks to a last-century invention to build a mechanical expression of the sequencer. From an antique music box, comes MIDI, as in the video above. And if that’s too discordant for you, have a look at the original video below. Even in comparison to …

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soundmachines_1

Like a Wheel Within a Wheel: Beautiful Optical Turntables Generate Spinning Rhythms

Music is deeply tied up with motion; seeing that in a machine is somehow satisfying. Soundmachines, from the enigmatically-titled Berlin studio TheProduct*, is an interactive physical installation made from optical turntables. By moving the “tone arm” – really in this case an optical sensor attached to an extended mount – you can change rhythms and sound sweeps. We’ve naturally seen many visualizations, tangible and digital, that make loops into wheels. But it’s worth noting the particular connection to a kinetic experiment by The Books’ Nick Zammuto from the film earlier this week. In fact, my one criticism of this piece …

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bc1_rh

Curating Sound: Exploring Performance and Embodiment, in Live Excerpts and Analysis from BodyControlled

Continuing our insight into this view into electronic music performance and art through the lens of BodyControlled in Berlin, we’re joined by guest writer Kristin Trethewey. Kristin, a Canadian-born video artist and curator, takes another look at LEAP and BodyControlled, on the eve of its second installment. She gets straight at the question of what “BodyControlled” means, and what it can mean for sonic performance and creation. And I wanted to make sure to subtract myself from this write-up, seeing as I was playing – but see the excellent timelapse of the evening, above. -Ed. LEAP is one of these …

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cornford2_leap

A New Partnership, a New Series on Digital Sound and Art in Berlin; First Look at the Artists

Exploring the connection of the mechanical to sound, UK-based artists Stephen Cornford and Paul Whitty make reclaimed tape machines into instruments. All images courtesy LEAP. In performance and art, sound and music constantly pull against the formless abstraction of the computer, to find physical expression and realization. In physical control, in tangible production, and in exploration of space, artists explore techniques new and old to refine the still-youthful medium of electronic and digital sound. That adventure is at the heart of a new series at a gallery space in the heart of Berlin, LEAP – the Lab for Electronic Arts …

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drasko_install

Jamming Live in 3D, a TEDx Toronto Installation, and Call for Your Work

Something crazy going on here. Install image from Drasko V. Drasko Vucevic, Toronto- and Santa Monica (California)-based sound designer and artist/composer, is apparently not only interested in playing alone. His upcoming interactive installation at Toronto’s Royal Music Conservatory will have an audience jamming along live via Twitter. And the artistry is crowd-sourced, too – with a range of artists already onboard, Drasko is calling on musical and visual artists (read: you) to be involved with sounds and visuals. Drasko has sent along extensive notes, so I’m going to let him speak for himself:

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A Kinetic Sonic Organ Sculpture, Made with Cans

In the latest example of kinetic, sound-producing sculpture, an Arduino-controlled organ of moving cans makes eerie, beautiful descending noises. Jakub Koźniewski, a member of the panGenerator collective, sends in details of that group’s work, sponsored in this case by the stuff in the cans: Kinetic audiovisual installation for burn displayed during burn Selector Festival 2011 Movement of the cans is controlled by 9 independent servos connected to the Arduino board while the sound is purely analogue – air pumped by 9 ordinary mattress pumps blows into the “whistles” at the top of plexiglass pipes. Tone is modulated by the current …

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Exquisite Sonic Sculptures, Made with Motors and Cardboard

Granular synthesis, as described by Iannis Xenakis, imagined sound as constructed from elementary elements. In the work of Zimoun, elementary sonic grains are physical. An undulating wall of cardboard rubs surfaces against one another to form a chorus of sound. Cotton balls roll against boxes in throaty clouds of sound. Wires wriggle like some sort of insect antennae. Below, the newest video of his work, in which cardboard petals form an animated wall of rustling noise. The results, powered by simple DC motors in kinetic musical action, recall some kind of natural, organic colony. Assembled in structures sculptural and architectural, …

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Notes Visualized as Beams of Color: New Work, Toshio Iwai

Clavilux 2000 – Interactive instrument for generative music visualization from Jonas Heuer on Vimeo. Think of playing musical notes for a moment, or close your eyes while fingering a piano keyboard. Odds are, some visual – however abstract – pops into your mind. Visualizing musical notes is second nature in the digital realm, once a note and an image can each be represented with numbers. Clavilux 2000 by Jonas Friedemann Heuer is one of the latest works to run with the idea. As you play notes, beams of color drift up from the keyboard. In 3D mode, those beams take …

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