New year, new attempt to maintain this blog. Haven't posted for some months now so consider this a mega post to make up for lost time.
First up taking blogging as an artform - Jodi have created a sprawling monument to the possibilities of misplaced blogger code and a copy paste aesthetic. Jodi is the collective name for the work of Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans who have been experimenting with code based formats for several years now.
One of their earlier projects http://wwwwwwwww.jodi.org/ at first appears impenetrable until you look at the source code in which hides diagrams of various weapons of mass destruction. You can also enjoy several of their unique "games" here More links here, here and here.
Stills from Academy and Play
R. Luke Dubois is a film maker/musician/teacher/programmer/thinker currently residing in New York. He was co-author of super software Jitter. The video pages of his website contain some interesting experiments including each Academy Award best picture winning film condensed into a single minute. Elsewhere on the site you can find every playboy centerfold averaged into short films in an attempt to "fuse the images into a gestalt impression of Playboys ideal of feminized beauty as it has changed over the last fifty years".
Still from Schwarzenbergplatz experiment
'Orte in Zeiten' is a method of compressing time using cine film being developed by Christoph Brunner using a continous iterative exposure of film "as a translation of long time exposure from the field of photography to the field of cinematography". The Oiz website contains early shorts using the process and a short explanation of the process involved. You can also download the software used to create the soundtracks for the films.
Elsewhere, i have added more classic book cover finds to the Judge a Book blog, and have been contributing more images from my ongoing vvvv experiments to the SVVN blog. Hopefully ill apply myself more fully to the whole blogging process this year....who knows.
Haven't posted in a while this summer, as i've been commisioned by Bauman Lyons Architects to make a documentary about the visit and intervention in Leeds by Austrian artist group Wochenklausur. Over a month of embedded reportage followed by at least a month of interviews and editing means im unlikely to get the chance to post for a while yet. However last week i got my hands on the Hutah archive which contains most of my graphic work from 1998 -2002, so to tide the eyeballs over until my next post heres a short selection of what to expect when i get around to capturing/downloading/documenting it.....
Over the period of a single day we took over three thousand photographs from mutiple perspectives, on a series of circumnavigated walks around Joseph Stones House, a new student halls of residence in Leeds town centre. With the images we were able to produce a 10 minute chronological video of the building and its surrounding environment. We then took the colour pattern which has been designed into the window scheme and used it as a score in a custom made patch using Max/MSP.
Our software then edited the film making pre defined edits and alterations controlled by the arrangement of colours in our code, ostensibly getting the building to edit its own film. The results will be played at 3pm on Saturday 17 june at the Architecture Week launch event in Leeds, to an accompanying soundtrack 'Breezeblock' performed live by the Composers Ensemble under the direction of Didrik Ingvaldsen. Joe has put some stills from the film up at his flickr page.
Hypersensitive was a four screen installation for the Screenlab residency program at Leeds City Art Gallery, a collaboration between myself, Joe Gilmore, Alex Peverett and James Brouwer.
Visitors were asked to stand and look into a Sony DVCam video camera for approximately 2 minutes. The resulting footage from these video portraits was then ouput using Max/MSP + Nato. Tiny imperceptible movements in the subjects' faces were revealed by rapid stuttering and repetition between frames. This was achieved by progressively moving through the movie and looping rapidly between 2-15 frames at a time at an accumulated speed of between 2 and 15 milliseconds. The video installation consisted of approximately 30 video portraits which changed every 10mins.
I have a lot of rendering to do this week - so whilst waiting for the counter to reach 100 percent i decided to start a new blog scanning in some my favourite book covers i've bought. Nearly all these books are from second hand shops and i rarely pay more than a couple of pounds for each. I have a real love for many of the pelican and penguin book designs of the 60s and 70s and anyone requiring more information on these should seek out Penguin By Design by Phil Baines
Haven't covered any audio yet so heres a few bits that are floating my boat.
Plank Lush sounds from Leeds resident Joe Gilmore here. Alp is "13 tracks of post-digital minimalist music composed between 2000–2003". 2 of the tracks (PSR 1937+21.1 + PSR 1937+21.2) use recordings of pulsar stars as their source material and evolved from Das Gestern – Ein Interstellarer Bruckenschlag an installation with Marco Reidel in Munich. Joe also contributes to Vend who have released through Line. Vend will also be touring Japan imminentley: details here.
Team Doyobi Joe's collaborator in Vend, Alex Peverett is also one half of Sendai/Hulls very own Team Doyobi. A new 7" Wheels of Anterion features an amazing cover from Leed illustrator Olli Redding and is to be followed shortly by a new album - The Kphanapic Fragments.
Whilst on the subject of 8 bit sonics and hull i gotta put a mention in for a true love of mine Rob Hubbard. I dont know of any new releases by him but who cares when most of his 1980s game music compositions are available online. During the home computing craze of the 1980s Rob created dozens of amazing soundtracks to Commodore 64 games utilising the full range of its revolutionary SID chip.
Sanxion Thalamus 1986
To play his tunes you'll wanna grab a copy of Sidplay - i dont know of any mac based player at this time - if anyone does - gimme the heads up... Classics to look out for include - Delta, Sanxion and The Human Race.
2 images from Untitled Gray Ground series 1973 acrylic on linen
During the seventies, Mark Wilson actively exhibited paintings and drawings in New York. His style featured geometric imagery with a distinctly technological flavor. Upon purchasing a computer in the eighties he has refined and expanded his approach to plotted and printed works controlled by software he created.
Untitled 1982 plotter drawing
CTME20 1986 plotter painting
He uses a technique that he calls 'pixel mapping', which is a way of solving the problem, inherent in the early graphic displays, of the mis-match between the display and the plotted print. The plotter is capable of addressing a hugely greater number of points on a large sheet of paper, than the computer screen can display, providing at the same time the potential for much subtler line and area. By using the pixels on screen to represent whole geometrical elements, such as squares or circles, rather than a single dot, Wilson has created his own technique and visual language.
CSQ856 2005 archival ink jet print
With the recent development of Archival Ink Jet printing Mark has been able to create images of increasing complexity and definition.
The Vasulka Workshop took place last friday and although not as hands on as i'd been expecting it was still a fascinating insight into the working practices of the pair. After an initial talk on thursday giving an overview of the evolution of their work, fridays workshop included a detailed look at Woody's Brotherhood series of installations, a performance of violin power by Steina (albeit plucked - she'd left her bow behind!) and an introductory workshop on the software Isadora. There was also lots of home footage which ranged from from a demo of new technologies by Don Buchla to a scouting mission to Black Hole in Los Alamos in search of new toys to play with. Also present were two installations - The Theatre of Hybrid Automata by Woody and Allvision by Steina.
Allvision Steina Vasulka
The workshop was a unique chance to see these pioneers of video art speak lucidly and openly about their artworks and was lightened by the constant joking and fake bickering between the pair. Mad props to everyone at Vivid who made this happen.
Quaternion Julia Set Fractals are a special group of fractals which exist in the 4th dimension. They are an extension of the traditional julia set fractals except they use 4 dimensional numbers as opposed to two dimensional.
When rendered they produce unworldy movements and shapes with a complex ever changing geometry which can be explored and transformed by changing the input of the equation. Thorsten Fleischs film Gestalt blew me away when i first saw it as it explores this landscape of bizarre shapes and transformations. He also wrote a fantastic text introducing this hypothetical dimension.
Gestalt Thorsten Fleisch
Recently Tonfilm has created a patch for vvvv using code by Keenan Crane which renders Quaternion Fractals completely the pixel shaders of modern computer graphics cards. I have been experimenting with this patch and have started posting the results on sisterblog SVVN
Going to VIVID tomorrow to see the talk by the Vasulkas in anticipation of our workshop with them on Friday.
All Vision Steina Vasulka 1972
There is also an ongoing exhibiton fo some of the couples installation based work - including Machine Vision, The Brotherhood Series and Theatre of Hybrid Automata. Exhibition runs 13th April - 6th May, Wed-Sat, 12 - 5.30pm. Should be amazing - ill update on the contents of the visit next week.
Stanislaw Lem the Polish science fiction writer responsible for Solaris and The Cyberiad died on March 27th last week. Lem was able to escape the draconian censorship which plagued wider literature in the then communust eastern europe because of writing in the seemingly innocuous field of science fiction, however many of his works contained subversive and satirical themes not to mention a highly complex sense of humour.
His most well known work Solaris describes the events of a crew observing a planet the surface of which is able to bring figures of the human unconscious to life. It was famously adapted for the screen by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky in 1971, and again by Steven Soderbergh in 2002. Other notable works include - A Perfect Vacuum, The Cyberiad, and His Masters Voice. After the fall of communism in 1989, Lem ceased writing science fiction, instead devoting himself to nonfiction essays on computer crime, as well as technological and ethical problems posed by the expansion of the Internet.
Mutations, Lillian Schwartz and Dream Work, Peter Tscherkassky
More moving image treats in store for Leeds residents this month with another Olson event. The program this time features work by Martin Arnold, Peter Kubelka, Peter Tscherkassky, Lillian Schwartz and various others in the comfy confines of the Hyde Park Picture house in LS6.
Cibernetik 5.3 John Stehura
Im particularly looking forward to a rare screening of Cibernetik 5.3 by John Stehura. "Perhaps the first digital computer animated movie ever made and probably the only example of an artificial Intelligence used to simulate a filmmaker. An IBM 7094 computer, after being instructed in genetics and graphics, generated approximately 50 billion machine instructions to design the first 2/3's of the film." In the early 60’s work on Cibernetik 5.3 was inspired by the discovery of DNA by Watson and Crick – the algorithms used to animate the primitive shapes were based on genetic modelling. In evolving spatial environments shapes come into being, organisms made of light. The screening is on April 23 2006 12 - 2pm , what better way to spend a sunday dinnertime. These guys really know their films - and also provide a delectable selection of free cake to enjoy whilst watching the entertainment - superb!
This week sees the return of the Evolution festival run by Leeds arts organisation Lumen. Consisting of film screenings, exhibitions and workshops Evolution gives a timely exploration of avant garde approaches to film, video and sound.
Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain, Tony Conrad
Highlights include performances by Jurgen Reble, Thomas Koner and Tony Conrad, screenings of the work of Michael Snow and Rose Lowder and workshops by LoVid and no.w.here. Screenings take place at Leeds City Art Gallery and a full list of events can be found on the website above.
Quasar, Jürgen Reble & Thomas Köner
Leeds doesnt have too many truely cutting edge events happening very often so anyone in the area please support the cause and get down to some of the events.
Computer art books are not as popular as they used to be...
I have been taking advantage of my access to The Brotherton Library collection and have been using its facilities more recently than when i was a student. I cant speak for the other sections but they certainly have an impressive collection of hard to find art books. Lately i have been exploring the more interesting regions of the catalogue and have uncovered these gems...
Cybernetic Serendipity edited by Jasia Reichardt The accompanying book to the landmark computer art exhibition curated by Jasia Reichardt at the ICA London August 2nd to October 20th, 1968. Featuring articles from Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage, John Whitney, Kenneth Knowlton and many others this was the definitive statement of the emerging computer art aesthetic at a time when a 1 megabyte computer was the size of a small car. The book begins as a statement of intent with series of short essays by each artist outlining their techniques and approaches and then moves on to look at a range and depth of computer art at the time.
Score for Four sacred April rounds by Peter Zinovieff `The computer is only a tool which, at the moment, still seems far removed from those polemic preoccupations which concern art. However, even now seen with all the prejudices of tradition and time, one cannot deny that the computer demonstrates a radical extension in art media and techniques. The possibilities inherent in the computer as a creative tool will do little to change those idioms of art which rely primarily on the dialogue between the artist, their ideas, and the canvas. They will, however increase the scope of art and contribute to its diversity` Jasia Reichardt
Published in 1971 this was one of the earliest comprehensive texts on the subject of computer art. Franke first outlines the basic process of computer programming at the time, and indicates the different uses of digital and analogue computers. There then follows an assessment of methods of producing art and a look at theoretical considerations of the application of aesthetics to this newly developing art form.
Klee Frieder Nake
Libraries really are great and ill be delving into the depths for more treasures like these and publishing the results here...
This is the first post in a new section which looks at heroes and instigators of computer and video art. The series will begin with Lillian Schwartz.
Lillian Schwartz is a pioneer of computer generated art. A trained illustrator and painter, she began experimenting with the computer as a tool for the creation and manipulation of works of art. Throughout the seventies and eighties she created numerous visionary films exploring abstract computer animation usually with killer soundtracks. Over this time she collaborated with other talents such as Kenneth Knowlton, John Claude Risset and Max Mathews as well as other leading scientists, engineers, physicists, and psychologists and developed work with Bell Labs and Experiments with Art and Technology (EAT). I was lucky enough to see many of her outstanding works at Lovebytes festival many years ago and again in Leeds at the Evolution festival a couple of years later. Her work is often incredibly playful and defined an abstract aesthetic which celebrates computer imagery on its own terms.
"Speaking from my own experience, it depends on my mood at the time of editing images into their final film form that decisions as to which of the many elements are brought out of their general order, out of their appointed array, and raised together to a new order and form. Even among the more recent artists Delacroix, Cezanne, and Matisse, the same desire for system and regularity for an ordered universe seem to dominate." Lumen Arts and curator Greg Kurcewicz have put together a touring film and video programme of her work - A Beautiful Virus Inside the Machine - which is still shown occasionally.
Look out for it if it passes through a town near you.....