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Archive for January 2005

Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity

2005-01-31

New book from MIT press by Alexander Alberro:

Conceptual art was one of the most influential art movements of the second half of the twentieth century. In this book Alexander Alberro traces its origins to the mid-1960s when its principles were first articulated by the artists Dan Graham Joseph Kosuth Sol LeWitt Lawrence Weiner and others. One of Alberro’s central arguments is that the conceptual art movement was founded not just by the artists but also by the dealer Seth Siegelaub. Siegelaub promoted the artists curated groundbreaking shows organized symposia and publications and in many ways set the stage for another kind of entrepreneur: the freelance curator. Alberro examines both Siegelaub’s role in launching the careers of artists who were making “something from nothing” and his tactful business practices particularly in marketing and advertising.

Alberro draws on close readings of artworks produced by key conceptual artists in the mid- to late 1960s. He places the movement in the social context of the rebellion against existing cultural institutions as well as the increased commercialization and globalization of the art world. The book ends with a discussion of one of Siegelaub’s most material and least ephemeral contributions the Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement which he wrote between 1969 and 1971.000 Designed to limit the inordinate control of collectors galleries and museums by increasing the artist’s rights the Agreement unwittingly codified the overlap between capitalism and the arts.

York researchers get ready for next generation surround sound

2005-01-28

You probably have to live in Bergen to come up with the idea of creating a street level booth selling umbrellas. The Department of Electronics at the University of York has come up with a more interesting concept:

“We envisage booths in the high street like those used for passport photos where customers can have the shape of their head and ears measured easily. The shape information will be used to quickly compute an individual’s spatial filters.”

Toy Store

2005-01-27

RS components

Diapason

2005-01-27

I’ve found the excuse I need (not that I really need one…) to get back to New York: The Diapason gallery of sound and intermedia.

Praat v.4.3

2005-01-27

Praat version 4.300 is available from www.praat.org for Windows Macintosh Linux and Solaris (versions for HPUX SGI and FreeBSD can be created from the source code).

If you have a slow computer the most salient change is that Praat 4.300 is much faster than version 4.2: the pitch and spectrogram analyses have speeded up by a factor of 2 the intensity analysis by a factor of 10 also Praat now reads or opens sound files five times faster than before (on most computers).

Synthesis and ortogonal functions

2005-01-25

Several synthesis techniques are linked to ortogonal functions in one way or another: Fourier analysis FM synthesis (amplitudes of sidebands can be calculated using Bessel functions) and waveshaping (controlling partials using lookup tables calculated from Chebyshev polynomials).

I wouldn’t be surprised if wavelet analysis also depends on ortogonal functions but I don’t know the theory behind wavelet analysis well enough.

One of the challenges of additive synthesis is how to handle the massive amount of control data required. I’ve been thinking for a while that if combinations of amplitudes of partials could be described as a set of finite (to avoid aliasing) series it should be possible to reduce the amount of control data required significantly and still maintain the ability to create rich sonic events. This could be done by describing a set of weight functions for each of the series and have the weight function varying over time. Maybe it could be raised one level further and describe the weight function themselves according to ortogonal functions. If the zeroth order was a constant the zero order by itself would produce a static spectrum as in organ tones.

Idea for further investigation: If a harmonic sound is made up of a maximum of N partials the spectral development of the sound can be thought of as a function F(t) in a space of N dimentions one dimension for each of the partials. Will it then be possible to approach this function by linear approximation using the method of least squares?

The art of sound synthesis

2005-01-23

The art of sound synthesis is as important for the electronic musician as the art of orchestration is for composers of symphonic music. Both arts deal with creating sonorities for musical composition. The main difference between them is that the former may also involve the creation of the instruments themselves.

E.R. Miranda in preface for Computer Sound Design

Fourier analysis explained

2005-01-23

Fft_explained

Miranda has a good and enlighting explanation on the inner workings of Fourier analysis. Even if I’ve read math theory of Fourier transforms earlier and know what kind of information Fast Fourier Transforms yield this provided new insight:

Fourier analysis detects the harmonic components of a sound using a pattern-matching method. In short it functions by comparing a self-generated virtual signal with an input signal in order to determine which of the components of the former is also present in the latter. Imagien a mechanism whereby the components of the input signal are scanned by multiplying it by a reference signal. For instance if both signals are two identical sinewaves of 110 Hz each then the result of the multiplication will be a sinusoid of 220 Hz but entirely offset to the positive domain. The offset value depends upon the amplitudes of both signals. Thus it is also possible to estimate the amplitude of the input signal by taking the amplitude of the virtual signal as a reference.

The mathematics of the Fourier transform suggest that the harmonics of a composite signal can be identified by the occurrences of matching frequencies whilst varying the frequency of the reference sinewave continuously. The digital version of this method might be simulated on a computer by scanning the input signal at rates that are multiples of its own fundamental frequency. This is basicly how FFT works.

p. 52-53

I made a Max patch to investigate this today. You can download "by clicking the image here.

Lot's of news from C'74

2005-01-21

Lot’s of news from Cycling 74 today. Windows versions of Pluggo and Mode are announced. The part I’m most curious about though is Hipno a new bundle of Pluggo-based plug-ins made by Electrotap. Acording to Tim Hipno is the joint effort of him Nathan Wolek and Jesse Allison.

Letter of support for Electrohype

2005-01-21

A letter of support for Electrohype has been mailed to selected newspapers and politicians in Sweden today. The letter is signed by staff working within the Norwegian production network PNEK the five media labs Atelier Nord BEK io-lab NoTAM and TEKS staff teching new media at Norwegian art academies and by Norwegian artists that has participated in one or more of the Electrohype exhibitions.

Å PENT STØTTEOPPROP FOR ELECTROHYPE

Utstillingen “Electrohype 2004 – biennale for databasert kunst” i MalmöKonsthall er inne i sin siste visningsuke. Temaet for biennalen er – Perspektiv – et tema som passer svært godt til en kunstretning og miljø som de siste årene har akselerert med like stor hastighet som teknologien i samfunnet for øvrig.

Nylig kom meldingen om at Malmökommune ikke ønsker å støtte videre drift av Electrohype. Det ser heller ikke ut som om det er noen vilje eller initiativ til å bevare Electrohype fra regionalt eller nasjonalt nivå og Electrohype har varslet at de nå er tvunget til å avvikle virksomheten. Det er vanskelig å forstå de politiske valgene som her er tatt og den eneste rimelige forklaringen må være at hverken Malmökommune eller andre forvaltningsnivå er i Sverige har forstått hvilken verdi videreføring av Electrohype vil ha lokalt nasjonalt og internasjonalt. Vilkårene for databasert kunst i Sverige vil være kraftig svekket dersom Electrohype må legges ned. Også for kunstnere i resten av Norden vil nedleggelse av Electrohype være et stort tap og vi ber derfor politiske myndigheter lokalt regionalt og på nasjonalt plan i Sverige om å på ny vurdere hva som kan gjøres for å sikre en videreføring av Electrohype.

I forbindelse med åpningen av Electrohype ble det holdt et seminar der vilkårene for elektronisk kunst i Norden ble drøftet. Det ble fort klart at vilkårene for fremming av ny mediekunst varierer varierer mellom landene. På 70- og 80-tallet var det en blomstrende virksomhet i Sverige noe bl.a. Electrohypes utstilling “Digitale pionerer” høsten 2004 dokumenterte. Denne utstillingen er nå på turné til Berlin.

Ved inngangen til 2005 er Norge kanskje det nordiske landet hvor arbeidsvilkå rene for databasert kunst er best tilrettelagt og hvor den kunstneriske virksomheten innen feltet særlig ser ut til å blomstre. Konferansen ga klare indikasjoner på årsakene til de store forskjellene. I Norge har det vært en planmessig strategisk satsing på elektronisk kunst de siste syv årene der Norsk kulturråd har vært en viktig medspiller. Det er etablert velfungerende medieverksteder for profesjonelle kunstnere i Oslo Bergen og Trondheim og disse har et tett og godt samarbeid gjennom Produksjonsnettverk for elektronisk kunst. Databasert kunst krever høy kompetanse både kunstnerisk og teknisk og ensidig satsing på tidsavgrensede prosjekttilskudd er ikke nok til å kunne få til en systematisk utvikling og vekst over tid. Det må også tilrettelegges for drift av små og fleksible organisasjoner som kan fungere som faglig sterke kompetansesentre og prosjektbaser innen feltet.

I Finland eksisterer en rekke mindre kunstnerstyrte prosjektbaser i tillegg til Kiasma som både fungerer som formidlingssted for samtidskunst og som en viktig infrastruktur for skapende kunstnere. Dette er en av grunnene til at det også skapes mye interessant databasert kunst i Finland.

I Sverige og Danmark er det vanskelig å se at det eksisterer noen nasjonal strategi for dette nye og viktige kunstfeltet og det gjenspeiles da også i aktivitetåsnivå. Under Electrohypes konferanse ble 70- og 80-tallet beskrevet som en “gullalder” for databasert kunst i Sverige mens vilkårene i 2005 oppleves som adskillig dårligere. Til tross for dette har den lille kunstnerorganisasjonen Electrohype i Malmöi løpet av de siste årene klart å etablere seg som en av de viktigste formidlerne i Norden av databasert kunst mot et bredt publikum både gjennom fortløpende visninger i sitt eget galleri men særlig gjennom Electrohype biennale. Electrohype og MalmöKonsthall har etter hvert etablert et samarbeid som internasjonalt må sies å være unikt. Det er sjelden å se denne type fruktbart samarbeid mellom små uavhengige kunstorganisasjoner og tunge kulturinstitusjoner. En liten organisasjon som Electrohype kan operere med en fleksibilitet og et internasjonalt nettverk mot unge og nye kunstmiljøer og retninger som er vanskelig å fange opp av tyngre institusjoner. MalmöKonsthall bidrar på sin side med utstillingslokaler rammevilkår og en profesjonalitet og entusiasme i forhold til formidling som Electrohype ikke kunne fått til alene. Electrohype 2004 viser til fulle hvilket potensiale samarbeidet forsløser. Den databaserte kunsten får i utstillingen optimale visningsvilkår men må samtidig bryne seg mot de krav til kvalitet som stilles til andre deler av samtidskunsten. Mens databasert kunst ellers i Europa ofte lever sitt liv på sidelinjen av det øvrige kulturlivet representerer Electrohype en viktig integrering. Dette og de generelle rammevilkårene rundt biennalen gjør at den har potensiale til å etablere seg som en av de viktigste og mest prestisjetunge utstillingene av sitt slag i Europa. I så fall ville den også kunne bli et viktig flaggskip for profilering av Malmösom en moderne kulturby. Besøkstallene for Electrohype 2004 viser at dette også er et utstillingskonsept som et stort publikum er interessert i å oppleve. Vi ber derfor politiske myndigheter lokalt regionalt og på nasjonalt plan i Sverige om å se en gang til på hva som kan gjøres for å sikre en videreføring av Electrohype.

Bergen 21.000 januar 2005

Vennlig hilsen

Trond Lossius – kunststipendiat KHIB deltager Electrohype NIC-2001 og 2004
Janne Stang Dahl – koordinator PNEK – Produskjonsnettverk for elektronisk kunst
Atle Barcley – kunstnerisk leder Atelier Nord
Jana Winderen – produsent Atelier Nord
Jøran Rudi – daglig leder Norsk nettverk for Teknologi Akustikk og Musikk (NoTAM)
Bjarne Kvinnsland – produsent NoTAM
Roar Sletteland – daglig leder Bergen senter for elektronisk kunst (BEK)
Gisle Frøysland – leder visuelle uttryk BEK deltager Electrohype 2002
Thorolf Thuestad leder lyduttrykk BEK
Espen Gangvik – kunstnerisk leder Trondheim elektroniske kunstsenter (TEKS)
Trine Eidsmo – daglig leder TEKS deltager Electrohype 2004 utstiller i Electrohype galleri
Hege Tapio – daglig leder io-lab kunstner og kurator
Kevin Faust – io-lab kunsthistoriker kurator
Jeremy Welsh professor Kunsthøgskolen i Bergen (KHIB)
Kristin Bergaust – professor og prodekan. Kunstakademiet i Trondheim (KIT) deltager Electrohype 2000 og NIC-2001.
Ivar Smestad – førsteamanuensis og instituttstyrer. Kunstakademiet i Trondheim.
Maia Urstad – kunstner deltager Electrohype 2004
Marius Watz – kunstner og designer deltager Electrohype 2004
Reinert Mithassel – produsent Deichmanske bibliotek. deltager Electrohype NIC-2001

Electrohype/elektropoesia review

2005-01-21

I just found a review of the Electrohype exhibition in Stockholms Fria:

Men Trond Lossius och Kurt Ralskes Elektropoesie liksom Trine Eidsmos eMotions lyckas föra det hela ett steg längre i sina videobaserade verk. Med slumpmässig förvrängning i realtid bildar de fantastiska mönster på gränsen mellan abstraktion och verklighet. Genom att sammankoppla datorns kvaliteter med mer traditionella verktyg som video nå r de ett uttryck som är mer fristående ifrån mediet.

Tekniken blir mer transparent och är det inte vad konsten ska eftersträva?

Kanske är det dags att acceptera datorns intåg i konstvärlden så pass att vi kan börja använda den som ett verktyg bland andra och sluta återknyta till dess egenartade karaktär?

Kanske skulle det kunna avhjälpa en inte alltid så positiv marginalisering?

Bad news

2005-01-20

I got some really sad news from Lars and Anna of Electrohype yesterday. They’ve not got the financial support required in order to be able to continue their work and now feel forced to close down the activity.

If that happens it will be a major loss not only locally in Malmöbut for all artists in the Nordic contries and beyond working on new media. Electrohype quickly established themselves as one of the most important exhibitions of new media art in the Nordic counties. The collaboration with MalmöKonsthall is a killer combination and I’m convinced that Electrohype if allowed to continue within the next five years would be established as one of the most important new media festival in Europe.

You can give your support to Electrohype here.

Today I’ve been writing a proposal for a letter of support for Electrohype and mailing it to the media labs in Norway the art academies and all Norwegian artists that has participated in Electrohype exhibitions at some point asking the to join in signing it. The letter will be sent to newpapers politicians etc. in Sweden tomorrow. So far I’ve got 14 signatures.

Below is the press release from Electrohype yesterday.

::::::::svensk version hittar du längre ner:::::::::::::sorry for cross
posting::::

Electrohype throws in the towel

After five years of promoting and advocating computer based art Electrohype
have to close down its activities. It both a sad and strange feeling to have
to close down especially when we are thinking of the fact that we right now
are presenting the large exhibition in Malmo Konsthall. The exhibition
Electrohype 2004 has been visited by more than 27000 person so far and the
reviews have been very good but it might also be the last things we are
organizing. On the positive side maybe we can see it as a beautiful ending.

We had hoped and believed that this exhibition together with previous
exhibitions and other activities should be a positive breaking point for
the organization. But we were wrong.

A couple of weeks ago we were told by the Malmo City Art council that they
turned down our application for funding for our activities for 2005.000 We had
applied for 180 0 sek (20000 euro) to cover basic costs such as rent and
phones etc and a couple of smaller exhibitions. According to our plans
additional funding could be raised for other activities from other sources
during the year.

Electrohypes application for activities was also turned down last year the
period were we were heavily involved in the preparation for the ongoing
exhibition in Malmo Konsthall. This together wit the fact that we also was
denied project funding for the ongoing exhibition itself in Malmo Konsthall
make us really disappointed by the attitude from the City of Malmo.

We should mention that we have been offered a consolation in the form of a
project grant of 110 0 SEK (12 0 EURO) for our activities for 2005.000
This amount is just below the line of what is needed to cover basic
expenses and unfortunately it is another project grant.

During the five years Electrohype has existed we have managed to raise
approximately 4 million SEK ( 450 0 EURO) This has covered all expenses
for the organization including project costs for the three biennials.
Roughly 200 0 Sek (or 22000 EURO) of this total is from Malmo City Art
Council. In other words we have done many projects on very little money. We
are able to do low cost productions but at the same time we do need a
minimum just to exist.

After five years Electrohype has to move from project based to a more
stabile funding situation. The best way to achieve this would be that we
could receive funding for running the organization. It is also ( in Sweden)
that if an organization is granted this kind of funding that it is also seen
as an acknowledgement of the organizations activities. We did not receive
this acknowledgement from the city of Malmo.

During the next days we will have a discussion with the organizations board
to try to make a decision on what to do how to close down nicely. In any
case the organization will not totally cease to exist but in the future
there will be a radical change in the level of activities.
We deeply regret the situation. Not only for ourselves but also for artists
working in the genre and for the art interested audience that has visited
our exhibitions.

If any of you have any spontaneous reaction to this you are welcome to visit
our website and give a comment in the guest book that we have established
for this occasion.
http://www.electrohype.org/support

best regards
Anna and Lars
Electrohype

::::::::Svensk version:::::::

Electrohype kastar in handduken

Efter fem års arbete för att främja ny mediakonst lägger nu Electrohype ner
verksamheten. Det känns både konstigt och sorgligt speciellt med tanke på
att vi just nu visas en stor utställning i MalmöKonsthall. Utställningen
Electrohype 2004 har varit välbesökt 27 0 så långt och fått bra
recensioner men det ser ut till at bli det sista vi gör. Ser man positivt på
det är detta en snygg sorti för organisationen Electrohype.

Vi hade hoppats och trott att denna utställningen tillsammans med tidigare
utställningar och andra aktiviteter skulle vara en positiv brytpunkt för
verksamheten men så blev det inte.

För ett par veckor sedan fick vi besked från MalmöKulturstöd att de avslår
våran ansökan för verksamhetsbidrag för året 2005.000 Summan vi hade ansökt om
var 180 0 kronor en summa som skulle kunna täcka upp baskostnader hyra
telefon samt et par mindre utställningar. Efter vår plan skulle resterande
verksamhet täckas med medel från annat håll medel som vi kan söka under
året.

Electrohype fick också avslag på ansökan om verksamhetsstöd för året 2004
den perioden med tyngst produktionsarbete med den pågående utställningen i
konsthallen. Detta tillsammans med förra årets avslag på projektstöd för
själva utställningen gör att vi mycket besvikna över MalmöStad.

Det skall nämnas att vi har blivit erbjudna ett “plåster på såret” i form av
ett projektbidrag om 110 0 kronor för verksamheten under 2005.000 En summa
som är lite för liten för att säkra grunden för en vettig verksamhet.

Under de fem åren Electrohype har existerat har vi fått in projektstöd på
totalt ca 4 miljoner. Detta har täckt alla utgifter inklusive
produktionskostnader för alla de tre biennalerna. Av detta kommer drygt 200
0
är duktiga på att producera med liten budget men vi måste samtidigt ha ett
minimum att existera på.

Efter fem år måste Electrohype nu komma bort från den projektbaserade
finansieringen och få lite mera stabilitet i ekonomin. Det görs bäst genom
att man blir beviljat stöd för löpande verksamhet samtidigt är formen
verksamhetsstöd ett erkännande av en organisations verksamhet. Detta
erkännande fick vi alltså inte av MalmöStad.

Inom kort kommer vi att ha en diskussion med föreningens styrelse om hur vi
skal avveckla verksamheten. Oavsett kommer inte föreningen att läggas ner
helt men det kommer i framtiden att bli en radikal ändring i
aktivitetsnivån.
Vi beklagar djupt denna situationen. Inte bara för vår egen del men även för
konstnärer som arbetar inom den datorbaserade konsten och för publiken som
har visat sitt intresse för denna konstformen. För de som har någon spontan
reaktion på detta är ni välkomna att besöka våran hemsida och skriva in en
kommentar i vår gästbok som är etablerad för tillfället.
http://www.electrohype.org/support

varma hälsningar
Anna och Lars
Electrohype

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ELECTROHYPE

Ph: +46 40 780 20
Mobil: +46 708 94 57 27

e-mail: anna.kindvall@electrohype.org
URL: http://www.electrohype.org

...different from the one you are in now...

2005-01-18

For a while I’ve been fascinated by the cross-readings offered by listening to several soundfiles at the same time while downloading several mp3s at the sme time using Firefox. Some such remixes has been posted to this blog earlier on:

Just before Christmas another one occured based on mp3 files by and on Alvin Lucier at UBU-web. A few days ago I received permission to use his material from Alvin Lucier so here it is.

Bad luck

2005-01-18

My wife and kids visited her parents in Fredrikstad last week. I came down to Fredrikstad to spend the weekend with them. Yesterday we took the train back to Bergen. At the railway station in Oslo as I bent down to grab a suit case the bag with my laptop fell of my shoulder. Alas one of the joints between the main part and the screen broke. It is still working but it’s probably just a question of time before one or more cables from the computer to the screen breaks. Today I checked what it will cost to fix it: Probably more than 7000 NOK (that’s more than 1000 US$). Hopefully my travel insurance will cover most of it but still: Bad luck.

:-(

Per Roar's blog

2005-01-18

Per Roar recently started bloging on the progress of his fellowhip project. His fellowship projects is to be made up of three dance performance works. One of the interesting things about his blog is that for the current project “Part 2: Life’s End – a study in the Practicalities of Death and Dying” it’s not only Per Roar bloging but also everyone else involved. Today I’ve crossposted my entries about the session last week.

It’s interesting to me to read Per Roar’s description of the session last week. If everyone involved keep contributing to the blog on a regular basis I guess it could become a rare and valuable documentation of the inner processes in the group while developing the project.

Mails and backloging

2005-01-16

Long mail to Gitte and Frode discussing development of new material for the upcoming Hacker v.2 tour that is going to happen in April. Gitte is staying in Buenos Aires at the moment so discussions have to happen by mail. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Apart from that: Backlogging on work previous week and trying to get up to date with mails. When I’m away from home working on projects they tend to consume all of my time and energy. At the same time there’s usually a lot happening so it would take a considerable amount of time to blog properly. After this kind of trips I always need a few days for catching up and general recovery. This time around I was first in Paris and then Oslo and I’m way behind on mails and blog. I’m also very tired right now.

Loudspeaker fetishism

2005-01-14

Loudspeakers used in Oslo this week. We had 8 of them encirling the dance floor. I particularly liked the look of the one in front of the backdrop. It’s clearly stating that it wants to be a prominent part of it all.

From a practical viewpoint the loudspeakers were good working with. Because they are light-weighted and mounted on a standard mic stand they are very easy to move around. A subwoofer was used to enforce the deep frequencies.

Apart from that I have to add: Sometimes you deal with technical staff that really makes life easier for you. Olaf at KHIO is one of them. When I first arrived at KHIO all the gear requested was already set up with all cables required and it took me less then two hours to have it all up and running. The best technicians tend to become transparent to the user but if you’ve been in the game for a while you notice and appreciate it.







Movement and space III

2005-01-13

Picking up from yesterday we started of continuing the discussion I and Per Roar had yesterday. I suppose this is the way this kind of projects often tend to evolve: One improvisation/session/take raise certain issues that are addressed the next time around. That stirs yet new concerns and so on. It’s not necessarily a straight forward or linear progression. It often more feels like approaching the material from different and new angles gradually digging deeper and deeper into it. The discussion felt useful and necsessary and we agreed to do yet another improvisation on the same sounds but this time the dancers would have to limit themselves to work on one or two different sets of material only. The result was electrifying. After a break and discussion we continued on other kinds of improvisations. The main topic now was for me to use sounds that belong in this project and start exploring the possibilities offered by them. The dancers continued working with the same degree of concentration and presence as during the first session.

Movement and space II

2005-01-12

Yesterday’s session with the dancers lasted 16-21 PM five intense and very productive hours. I was completely exhausted afterwards. I didn’t want to give up on ambisonics yet so I tried the MaxMSP external ambipan~. It worked a lot better than the Bidule/AU setup the day before. We also used binary gating of signals to various loudspeakers. When working on loudspeakers as physical objects this tended to work much better.

Several very good improvisations.

We also continued working on physical movement of sounds. This kind of movements of course are also relating to the physical and gestural character of the sounds. The last thing we did was improvising using the sound I made for the Elektropoesia installation in collaboration with Kurt Ralske. This contains a lot of large and physical movements of sound around the space. Although the sounds of that projects of course do not belong in this project I though it could be useful as an exercise. I was surprised at how well the feeling of the soundscape was maintained in spite of using a completely different loudspeaker setup. It was good hearing it again the week after the opening of Electrohype was so busy that I didn’t really get the time I needed to think back and digest what me and Kurt had done. Listening to it I really missed Kurt’s video they seemed completely linked to each other now.

The final improvisation didn’t work to well. The dancers were supposed to work on certain movements and elements and it seemed to hamper their ability to respond to the room and space suggested by the soundscape.

Today was “the day after”. Everyone felt exhausted. We only did two sessions. During the first one I struggled to create an interesting soundscape and only almost got there by the end. Then we did a session based on the sounds from the Elektropoesia installation again. This time the dancers got a carte blanche to do whatever they felt like. I pressed “go” on the computer and moved somewhere else to see what happened. To me it seemed that the dancers were able to use the room and relate room-wise much better to the sounds than yesterday. That raised new and important questions.

After the end of the session with the dancers I and Per Roar kept discussing. I don’t really know much about dance and there’s obviously a lot that I don’t understand. Still I felt that form was now becoming a big issue. During the improvisation the dancers seemed to search for new material all the time. As soon as they found something interesting they tended to move on to something else never coming back instead of holding on to it and explore it further. The whole of the improvisation felt like a long series of “nows” some of them very interesting other less interesting but with a serious lack of memory or consistence over time. As Per Roar put it the improvisation was to a high degree episodic instead of thematic.

Movement and space

2005-01-11

Yesterday we worked with the dancers for 5 hours and then I kept working into the evening. Technically I’ve been using Spat and ambisonic for spatialisation. For most of the session I used Spat. It works really well and I don’t think I ever before have been able to create by far as convincing illusions of sound coming from a far distance.

In the evening I had the stage room to myself and also wanted to test the ambisonic Audio Unit plugins made by Digenis. As Max doesn’t support Audio Unit plugs at the moment I had to use Plogue Bidule.

I like their way of integrating Audio Unit plugins. You don’t notice any difference of behavior between AU plugs and full fledge Bidule modules. Apart from that patching in Bidule feels awkward as compared to MaxMSP. It might be habits only or not knowing all shortcuts but it takes much longer for me to create patch cords and in addition I’ve not yet found easy and good ways of creating control modules for algorithmic manipulation of audio parameters. I’m not sure if they exist at all at the moment.

I did not manage to get any useful results using Bidule and the AU ambisonic plugs. Either I was doing something wrong or there’s a problem with some of the algorithms. The sound always seemed to be dragged towards the loudspeaker closest to me. Changing the azimuth of the source didn’t seem to work as expected. Azimuth has a range of -180 to 180 degrees but all negative values seemed to produce the same result. My laptop and the mixer is positioned at one of the corners of the space used by the dancers close to one of the 8 loudspeakers surrounding the space. Several times I went out on the floor to see if my experience was caused by a high degree of sensitivity of the listening experience depending on wether you’re standing within the sweet spot or not. Regardless of what I tried I was not able to make any real sense of it.

So much for the technical part of it. The real topic of this work session is how positioning and movement of sound relates to the movements of the dancers. Yesterday we approached this by doing a series of improvisations trying to discuss and summarize what happened and making reflections on that a point of departure for the next improvisation. I guess it all boiled down to three general categories of approaches:

  • Spatialisation as a way of creating room and virtual spaces. – Placing some sounds at a far distance and others really close suggested a big open space expanding far beyond the the borders (walls) of the stage. In one of the improvisations the three dancers got cramped together stepping on each others toes and getting in the way of each other. The contrast between the big soundscape and the uncomfortable small space used by the dancers was one of the most fascinating situations happening.

  • Movement of sound in space as a physical quality. – We didn’t find good ways of approaching this yesterday. If sounds are to move around the space fast in a meaningful and convincing way the kind of source used becomes important. If you use the sound of a train passing it can make sense (easily boring though) but why would e.g. the sound of a church organ keep bouncing around the space? Unless you find the right kind of sound to work on or otherwise a convincing way of doing it it might appear artificial to have sounds moving. Abstract sounds and for instance rhythmic beats works well though. We’ll keep working at this.

  • Loudspeakers as physical objects in the room. – We’re using 8 fairly small loudspeakers mounted on mic stands positioned evenly at the corners and middle of the sides of the space used by the dancers. The loudspeakers become a visual element of the space and some of the really interesting things happening during improvisations are direct physical interaction between the dancers and the loudspeakers: Approaching loudspeakers touching them tilting and moving the loudspeakers etc. Maybe I’m more and more turning into a loudspeaker fetishist but I find it interesting not trying to hide the loudspeakers but instead being able to move back and forth between creating virtual illusions of space and treating loudspeakers as an object and source of sound in itself.

Off to Oslo

2005-01-09

Lots of traveling these days. Today I’ve been taking the train to Oslo. The coming week I’m going to work with Per Roar Thorsnes. He’s doing a similar research fellowship in the arts as me but working on dance coreography. We’re goign to experiment on relations between spatial placement of sound and the spacial movements of dancers.

I took the train from Bergen to Oslo for a change. For most of the trip I was able to have one of the “Komfort” seats with free coffee and a power plug for the laptop. Was there any snow in the mountains? I have no clue I spent the time checking out Spat the Ircam forum spatialisation modules for MaxMSP. It ROCKS!

Crash log howto

2005-01-08

Here’s an explanation of how to interprete Mac OS X crash logs.

AnaBuilder

2005-01-08

AnaBuilder is a freeware program for the creation of stereoscopic photographs (anaglyph parallel crossed …anaglyphs are viewed through Red/Cyan glasses).

Impulse responses

2005-01-02

Fokke van Saane has made a number of impulse responses available for download. The impulses are mainly a bit unortodox samples: speakers telephones a dustbin a bucket flower pots a glass pot of chocolate spread coal hod washing machine vacuum cleaner tube a huge factory hall a small van domestic rooms a small church vintage reverb units a forest etc.

To Paris

2005-01-02

Me Lisbeth Asle and Håkon of Verdensteatret has decided to go to Paris on very short notice to see the Sons et Lumières exhibition at Centre Pompidou before it closes.

 
 
 

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