Blog archive for January 2004
under OS X. This allows legacy MIDI applications that only run in
Classic to successfully communicate with MIDI devices using OS X’s
He also posted a link to an article about Troika Ranch in the March Apple Hot News. Troika Ranch looks interesting and relevant as compared to e.g. what Verdensteatret is doing as well as the Hacker and Cracker projects I’ve been doing with dancer Gitte Bastiansen recorder player Frode Thorsen and video Artist Gisle Frøysland.
Tomorrow I’m giving a presentation to staff and students at KHIB of my project for the Research Fellowships in the Arts.
Rereading the project description and the presentation I did during a two day gathering in October is interesting. I’m going to do a number of collaborations with other artists. For each of the projects I sketched a working process as follows:
- Technical and theoretical research
- Sketching concepts and establish dialog between collaborating artists
- Further development of concepts. Development of material
- Public displays
- Further development and displays
So far this is a pretty good description of what I’ve been doing. The two first
months of the fellowship period has mainly been used for technical research.
I’ve moved to OSX and got to terms with Max OSX. My own Max externals are now
ported to OSX. I’ve also spent some time on Jade
by Tim Place. Jade seems promising as a shell for scripting large scale structures and time based events
in Max patches for performances and installations.
Verdensteatret has started development of the next production. I’ve started
developing material for a collaboration with Jeremy Welsh and also spent some
time with Jana Winderen and Jørgen Træen on an installation for
kids to be premiered early March. Tomorrow Kurt
Ralske arrives in Bergen and we’re going to spend the rest of the week
working on a joint video and sound installation.
One of the abstractions tl.spectrum~ has been completely rewritten and all calculations are now done using Jitter. That was interesting doing. It’s the first time I’ve had the time to investigating how to use Jitter for handling advanced multi-dimensional control data. There’s no doubt that a lot of list treatment can be ported to jitter and the techniques further expanded. I also added the possibility of viewing real-time sonograms.
tl.objects are mainly focusing on a number of math functions and audio processing tools for synthesis purposes. The OSX port will come in handy as I develop material for a collaboration with Jeremy Welsh.
Jeremy Welsh talked about “The bridge” an art and art-based research project that has been functioning as a framework for much of his work the last coupple of years. The upcoming installation at Christiansand kunstforening in collaboration with painter Jon Arne Mogstad is part of that project. I’m going to contribute sound to the installation.
I also had a lenghty talk to Jana Winderen about the framework for the project we’re doing together with Jørgen Træen.
And Kurt Ralske arrived in Bergen today with a heavy jet lag. We’ll spend the next three days talking through concept and framework for our joint work.
No problem finding ways to spend my time at the moment….
In LMJ Peter Manning writes an article on “The Influence of Recording Technologies on the Early Development of Electroacoustic Music”. The article is interesting as it is not only concentrating on Musique Concréte (RTF) and Elektronische Musik (Nordwestdeutcher Rundfunk) but also works by artists associated with Bauhaus in the thirties.
However the abstract makes a statement that I find hard to agree on:
From the earliest experiments with the manipulation of 78-rpm disks during the 1920’s the technology of recording has played a major role in the evolution of electroacoustic music. This has extended not only to the recording and reproduction of material but also to key components of the compositional process itself. Although such influences have become less prominent with the advent of digital technology their impact during the formative years of electronic music was significant and far-reaching…
To me this is a slightly narrow-sighted approach. The recording technology of today is no longer tapes or disks but digital samples that is numbers. Numerical treatment of samples forms the technical basis of a lot off what I and a lot of other artists do. Widening the perspective to include recent approaches to moving images as well software such as Jitter Auvi and the recent conference p1k53l proves that the work of a lot of visual artists is closely related the the digital representation of the media they are working within as well.
The author points out how different the various artists use the medium. the visual artists seems to have a fairly conceptual approach. All of the works are depending on text and to a certain degree a narrative story. This is a fairly rare phenomena in Norway. On the other hand there’s no-one working on electronic or electroacoustic music allthough God dag madam Reinholdsen god aften frøken Flink by author Jon Øystein Flink og composer Trond Reinholdsen relates to electro-acoustic genres.
I heard God dag madam Reinholdsen god aften frøken Flink on a concert held by NoTAM during Ultima last autumn and that is a really funny piece.
Gisle also demoed MøB for Kurt.
The Bridge is a meta project for Jeremy’s investigations of the boarders and relations between painting and video art. Jeremy and painter Jon Arne Mogstad are going to do an installation at Christianssands Kunstforening opening on the 6th of March and has invited me to contribute sound for the installation. Jeremy’s videos are based on still images but abstracted beyond recognition.
My approach is to start of with a bit of brain storming to come up with a catalogue of possibilities. I’ve decided to develop 10 different strategies for creating synthetic sounds based on the videos Jeremy is providing me. Once I have these sketches going I’ll use them for creating instruments. Next I’ll be facing a problem I’ve been dealing with several times before: How to compose with these instruments? When I first started working on sound installations I was so concerned about dealing with sound in itself and felt that I had feed myself from more traditional problems of composition. Later on I came to realize that I still have to think of how different sounds relate to eachother in time and space but I have to develop a different set of techniques for doing so as compared to more traditional note based composition.
For the last year or so I’ve been obsessed with real time granulation based on a Max patch created by Ben Thigpen and distributed as part of Ircam-forum. I’m going to use that for this installation as well. I played some of the sketches for Jeremy today and played around with the material I’ve got so far. We also discussed how to deal with video and audio in the room but a lot of this has to be decided when we mount the installation.
The installation is to open on March 6th this year.
kunstakademi at 10:30. The rehearsals has moved from Grusomhetens teater
at Hausmania to Skulptursalen at Statens kunstakademi for the next three weeks.
It feels good to move from a dark cellar to a white room.All windows were of
course covered up as we’re using a lot of video and lighst but the room still
During my previous session in Oslo Verdensteatret had started devellop material
develloping organicly from olne situation onwards. I had the feeling that it
might be difficult to devellop when you do not know in what direction you want
to go. I therefore suggested to start devellop several situations that didn’t
necsessarily have to connect to each other yet. When I came back yesterday
the scenography has develloped and they were working on a different situation
within it. Also a prepared piano with live processing is introduced.
The father of one of the actors Corine was watching most of the rehearsals
and gave a very precise definitioon of what we’re aiming at. This is becoming
a complex world with a lot of simultaneous stories. “If there’s a story
there’s something wrong”. Lisbeth said that Verdensteatret is sometimes
criticised for telling 15 stories at the same time. To me this is a way to come
to terms with the fact that the world is to big and chaotic for us to try making
one theory one history and one point of view that everything should be able
to fit into.
Arild Bomann came in after rehearsals and played us some tapes from the late
seventies a weird kind of jazz using alt sax (Kalle Neumann) and a moog (Arild)
and resembling side 2 of Bowies “Low”. I digitized them but haven’t
had the time yet to clean it up and burn to CD.
Alse Lisbeth me and Piotr (Peter) continued to work into the night testing
out music I was bringing along listening to music Lisbeth and Asle found interesting
and working on some of the videos.
Peter is facing similar problems to what I and Håkon did during the devellopment
of Tsalal: How to handle large Max patches for controlling real time video processing
so that it becomes a setup that is useable in actual performances and at the
same time keeping maximum flexibility during current devellopment? I’ve looked
into Jade earlier on but I don’t think it will suit or needs for video during
this production. We started discussing possible solutions.
I was back at the flat I’m staying at around midnight and set down to create
800×600 JPEGS from the slides I took during the trip to Greenland. It didn’t
take too long to create a batch processing patch for conversion in Max/Jitter.
in new directions. Some of it worked and some of it didn’t but we got some
new ideas. Lars that’s playing in the band When together with Øyvind
came in. In the afternoon we did a jam session/improvisation that gave us several
Improvising on a laptop is less than satisfying. I’m missing the physical hans-on
feeling of ordinary isntruments. For improvisations I’m mainly using radiaL.
It’s a nice program but I’m still stuck with the mouse being able to do only
one thing at a time.Wouldn’t mind getting the Motormix fader but the price
Tsalal I was frustrated about how ideas that were working well were still being
reinvestigated deconstructed and reconstructed over and over again. Little
by little I’ve come to appreciate that we’re not necsessarily jumping on the
first idea that pops up. It’s a way of challenging your current way of thinking
and working getting a deeper understanding of the material and pushing forward
in directions you didn’t think of beforehand. On the other side I also fear
that we keep working on (the first?) ten minuites of the performance for too
long and don’t get the time to put as much attention into the rest of the performance.
A completely different approach would be to make a poor and rough scetch of
the whole performance and then work more and more into the details. It proberbly
wouldn’t work in the case of Verdensteatret though. Something about what we’re
doing reminds me of writing Palestrina excercises during the composition studies:
If you do a change locally in one bar the consequences are global affecting
the whole of the excersise.
Working with Frode Thorsen was the opposite extreme: We had limited time for
devellopment and Frode was really good at forcing us to make decissions and
structures based on the limited number of improvisations we did.
" I only had a few days – and the effect of this is to focus attention.
Less exploration of all the possible journeys you could make more determination
to take one journey (even if the choice of it is initially rather arbitrary)
and make it take you somewhere.“
It’s interesting that Eno seems to believe that this approach gives more
” Working with greater leisure my ideas become much more “reasonable"
and surprise me less.”
(Quotes from Brian Eno: A Year with Swollen Appendices January 12th)
If we had not done this now furter video develloped would have come to a hault as the number of patches (and different versions) would make the system less and less manageable.
Afterwards we met Lisbeth at a bar. Now we’re talking about a really long day but I enjoy it.
So far Tim has develloped Jade to work mainly with mono and stereo audio signals. For the installation I’m doing in collaboration with Jana Winderen and Jørgen Træen we need to be able to use a quadrophonic setup. Today I’ve been tinkering with Tim’s code to be able to create 4 channel modules and now I’m about to start testing if it works as supposed to.
Although it is seldom as fruitless as it feels at the moment I hate it when it happens. Jana Jørgen and me didn’t get time for the important issues due to this today.
To make the day perfect we managed to break a cable we borrowed for linking a Hammerfall DSP PCMCIA card to the breakout box.
- When collaborating on projects you immediately loose control of your own calendar.
- It’s amazing how difficult it is to find time for devellopment that suits all four of us.
Tomorrow a group of people working teaching and researching with or on networked art literature media communication and culture in Bergen meet for an informal “nettverkslunch”. Bergen is big enough so that there’s always something happening and small enough so that you can almost catch it all. That creates a good atmosphere for collaboration that I’m appreciating a lot.
I’m going to ask Jill why she’s putting such an emphasise on blogging in her own teaching.
I was posting a message to several international mailing lists yesterday to announce that BEK survived the recent financial crises. I won’t be surprised if she starts mouning about lawsuits and contact information for members of the board at BEK again. If she googles around a bit she’ll be in for a surprise…
The doormat sensors are simple on/off switches. Most of the time we’ll use them for triggering playback of sound files but one of the modes is based on syncronized playback of a 16 track rytmic loop the doormates controlling which tracks are to be muted at any time. In addition we’re creating a non-interactive background layer giving a sonic fundament that sensor-controlled sounds can act against.
Me and Jørgen tried different combinations of interactive sounds and background stratas yesterday. It’s the most effective demonstration I’ve experienced to this day of how much stronger the total impact becomes when there’s several contrasting musical layers present at the same time. Shepard tones are used for some of the background layers as well as the interactive part. When combining rising shepard tones for background and interaction the interaction was more or less masked by the background. Substituting the interactive sounds for falling shepard tones made it all come out so much clearer. Increasing the difference between the background and interactive layers further improved the overall impact even more.
Still I’d like to create one more background layer that has a more processed and distant quality to add depth to the soundscape. Also I’d like to see stronger fluxtuations in time than at present so that the sounds cape is drifting and turning on itself to a stronger degree. I’ll see what I can do of further devellopment based on the sounds that are already present. I have some ideas of what to do based on granulation delays and an interesting MSP filter that I haven’t tried using before: teeth~. teeth~ is a comb filter with feedforward
and feedback delay control. It’s at the core of the Pluggo FX “Generic Effect” and is used for creating a wide range of effects: delays vibrato chorus flange comb filters etc.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to introduce more material now rather we should try to find different ways of combining and develop what’s there already.
Monday we’re going to run tests with kids at a school in Oslo.
Audio Systems. The main objective is “to significantly contribute to the
advancement of the development of different gesture data analysis and
capture/actuation aspects connected to the control of digital sound and music
The industry of digital musical instruments and devices is well developed in
Europe (particularly so in Italy France Germany and United Kingdom)
however devices taken into consideration by this industrial field do not go much
farther than keyboards and sliders. Extra-European industries (particularly north-
American and Japanese) do reserve deeper attention to different control and
gesture schemes for digital sound devices."
One of the textures we’d been creating was made up of 16 synchronized loops creating a groove. That one didn’t work as well as we hoped to. The soundscape is interesting as the kids jump around trying to become a song proper but not quite making it. As most of the 16 tracks contains a lot of silence and occasional hits blips and blops you loose sense of the interaction. We’ll probably leave this out.
The other technique we’d come up with for interaction was to use the doormats as triggers. As we tested we found out that they should be used as on/off toggles instead. If the sounds continues after you’ve left the mat the interaction becomes weaker. I’ve experienced this several times before as well but it’s very much depending on the situation what kind of sound you’re producing etc. The sounds Jørgen has developed works well. Some of them resemble old computer games. Watching the kids jumping around I got associations of a human pin ball game. The kids loved it.
I did quite a bit of experimentation on the background layer during the day. I ended up applying a lot of granulation effects to sounds Jørgen had been providing effectively creating a different kind of background. It’s more eery open and inviting to the imagination. Also the spectral range is larger exploring dark sounds and creating bright shimmers. Afterwards Jørgen wanted to create some new sounds for the mats in response to what i did. To me this is a good example of what collaboration should be all about. Ideas are thrown back and forth and moulded between us the end result being something none of us could come up with on our own.
It’s clear that the whole situation doing the installation in a gym hall sounds being triggered by the kids moving around etc. do not encourage standing still and listen. It’s the movements and changes that becomes interesting rather than listening for subtle sound qualities. At the end of the day we had 6 kids running and jumping as crazy for 20 minutes. They were completely silent and moving in ways that didn’t create sounds. It was fascinating to see a frantic level of activity and at the same time complete concentration on the sounds they created.
Important rule: No teachers allowed! It’s amazing how difficult they find it to let go of the kids and allow them to experience this on their own.
We do not have a name for the project yet. When Jana initiated the project the title was “Kunsten å gå på vannet” (The Art of Walking on Water). It would be a poetic and playful title but the possible religious associations are unintended and could be a problem.
iLok USB dongle." Personally I’m very sceptic about dongles. I already have problems about available USB slots and a lot of external devices e.g. my MIDI interface won’t work properly if connected to an USB hub.
I’ve been taking a brief look at them today and they look very promissing. I have to make sure that Piotr and Kenneth check them out in case they can be used for the Verdensteatret production.