Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Brotherton Library Leeds

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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...

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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.

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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

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Computer Graphics Computer Art by Herbert W Franke

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.

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Klee Frieder Nake

Libraries really are great and ill be delving into the depths for more treasures like these and publishing the results here...

Lillian Schwartz

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.
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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).

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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.....

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


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Traveling to Sheffield this weekend to provide sounds and images for V3CTOR at the Lovebytes festival.

"This extensive programme of events aims to explore the relationship between digital and physical environments. The main programme takes place over three days at the Showroom Cinema and includes live music and multi-media performances, film screenings, workshops and exhibitions."

Performances include Fennesz, Francis Dhomont, CM von Hausswolf and Aoki Takamasa. There is also an extensive range of ongoing exhibitions and film screenings. Including one on Saturday afternoon from Seen faves Olson.

We are on Saturday night 9PM - 2AM in the showroom bar.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Vasulkas at Vivid

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Went to the Vasulka exhibition at VIVID in Birmingham.
Lots of video goodness - No 54, Artifacts, C-Trend, Violin Power and The Art of Memory all stood out.

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Violin Power

Remember theres more to come - Part 2 will focus on their installation art and features
Theatre of Hybrid Automata and
Machine Vision.
It runs from 13th April until 6th May at Vivid.

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Theatre of Hybrid Automata

There will also be a talk and workshop by the Vasulkas in April.
More details to follow....

Thursday, March 16, 2006


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Going to birmingham tomorrow to visit
They are showing a series of films by Woody and Steina Vasulka

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"Steina and Woody Vasulka are widely acknowledged to be leading exponents in the field of media art. Their body of work is unique; spanning the entire range of formats and confirgurations of electronic media; single and multiple screen video, live performance, real time processing, installation and interactive technology. From an historical view point (insofar as we can consider the short history of media art) their contribution is evolutionary."

The film screening which finishes on Saturday is part one of an ongoing exhibition.
Part two consists of exhibtions of their installations and culminates in a talk hosted by the artists, followed by a pratical workshop exploring interactivity.
Ive just banged my application in the mail. Fingers crossed.


Over the coming months ill be posting a lot of images from my explorations with the fantastic software - vvvv from Meso.

"vvvv is a toolkit for real time video synthesis. It is designed to facilitate the handling of large media environments with physical interfaces, real-time motion graphics, audio and video that can interact with many users simultaneously. "

It is a modular programming environment with similarities to Max/Msp except its pc only, and free, with a supportive group of practitioners and healthy development scene.

At the moment im mainly learning from hacking existing patches apart and together but as i learn more ill be posting the results and resources up here. For now a few screenshots from my exisiting experiments........

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Perlin Noise

Lately i have become interested in perlin noise, a function which attempts to construct randomly varied values which mimic the naturally ocurring randomness of nature. Many natural phenomena display this random variation from the waves in the ocean to the distribution of grass on a field. Developed by Ken Perlin who used it to control the texture generation in TRON, it is now used in computer graphic applications to produce effects such as fire and clouds.

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an example of perlin noise to create natural environments
rendered with

Using the software
VVVV i have been experimenting with perlin noise - rendering it onto a grid and controlling it with oscillators.

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when moving they appear as natural waves with slowly evolving patterns. Its remarkable how human eyes see nature in numbers.
In future i intend to develop the process to produce a controllable morphing landscape synth.

more pics to follow....