For Looking Outwards 04, I focused on the creation of music, so I’ll use this opportunity to explore sound art.
LINES is an sound art exhibition that allows the audience to create music by interacting with colorful lines on the walls, floor, and ceiling. You can move your hand up and down the lines on the wall to increase or decrease the pitch. You can stand in different places on the lines on the floor to adjust the tempo, and you can move your body up and down the lines hanging from the ceiling to change the dynamics of the sound. You can use checkers to create harmonies with yourself. This exhibit was created by Swedish composer Anders Lind in 2016 and was displayed in Västerbottens Museum in Umeå.
I think this exhibit was very cool because it encourages the audience to interact with the exhibit. There are so many different ways to produce different sounds, so every person will have a unique experience. With regards to the technical side, Lind mentions that sensors and electronics are used to form three novel musical instruments, and I’m sure that there are several algorithms at work to ensure musical beauty. I can definitely tell that Lin had an appreciation for the complexities of sound, the influence of color, and the ways technology can be used to heighten our appreciation of art.
For this post I chose a piece by Laurie Spiegel from her 1970-80s album The Expanding Universe called “East River Dawn.” I’m inspired by this piece because it sounds complex and coherent. I don’t know much about music arrangement, but her work sounds well composed. The Expanding Universe was made in the 70s while Spiegel worked at Bell Laboratories. She used synthesizers and other prototype generation systems. Her reasoning behind using computers for music is that they are an artistic means rather than an end. In addition to being a trailblazer in computer music, her work was included on the Voyager spacecraft’s “Sounds of Earth” section of it’s gold record.
Last week, I attended Jakob Marsico and Chris Carlson’s audiovisual performance titled Body Drift. The work involved video-driven animation and multi-channel sound that created a hypnotising and ethereal effect. I also enjoyed the master class that provided a backstage look at the technologies behind the work, and that is why I chose to discuss Chris Carlson’s “Borderlands Granular,” a new musical instrument for exploring and transforming sound with granular synthesis.
A video of “Borderlands Granular” :
The software allows the user to create musical improvisations and to interact with sonic material on a fundamental level. I also appreciate its fascinating visual aspects, and how it provides a sculptural and spatial approach to making music. It is a work I wish to experiment with in the future.
Though this is technically composed by a band, I very much would consider this piece much more artistic and designed than a musical composition. I think it blurs the line between the two even further because of course this is still meant to entertain.
The project is called “Marble Machine”, and is composed by Wintergatan.
Here’s the video:
You may argue that this instrument is not computational, but the design of the note timing, the construction of the machine’s parts, and the overall structure of the music is absolutely computationally based. It’s a real-world manifestation, but it was definitely created computationally. The design of the notes was then put through a CNC Mill to create the physical note timing.
Laurie spiegel is a composer and computer artist. I choose her not only because she is a female artist in computer art area and also she pioneer of new-music scene in history. I always interested in femail artist in USA since I understand how tough to be female artist and become influential artist. Her early musical experiences were largely self-directed, beginning with the mandolin, guital and banjo-it makes her more special-. Spiegel attended Shimer College and Oxford University. After receiving her AB degree in the Social Sciences, she commuted to london to study guitar, teory and composition.
She has worked at Bell laboratories in coputer graphics and is known her algorithmic composition software Music Mouse. When she continues to support herself through software development, she aims to use technology in music as a means of furthering her art rather than as an end in itself.
Best known for her use of interactive and algorithmic logic as part of the compositional process, she worked experimental and prototype-level music and image generation system. Pursuing her concept of visual music, she was a video artist too. In addition to computer software development, she supported herself by both teaching and by soundtrack composition.
My LookingOutwards post this week is on Softlab’s ‘Volume’ which is an interactive cube of responsive mirrors where light and sound are redirected to reflect the excitement risen from the festival goers. The small changes in the volume of the transparent material let light and sound to move through the space.
I admire that the artist used computational sound to make another form of art. This is especially admirable to me because I thought of sound or music only being used through the use of hearing, but it can also utilize the sight or visuals.
Although I don’t know the exact algorithms used in this specific art piece, I do know that the artist somehow used the sounds generated from the crowd around the art piece, and reflected it.
The artist’s creative sensibilities are manifest through the use of visuals and beautiful lights, when the original main focus was on the sounds.
The artist I am choosing for this Looking Outwards is actually the same from my Looking Outwards 08: Yuri Suzuki. I wanted to explore his projects more in depth and choose another one that drew me in.
Suzuki’s project This Looks Like Music takes a whimsical approach to computational music. Suzuki created an audiovisual installation for Mudam Publics Summer Project – the project consists of a mini robot that detects and follows a black line on paper. The robot responds to colored reference points and translates it into sound. I imagine that the robots sense and calculate the color of the markers (kind of like this week’s assignment) and outputs a sound that corresponds to it.
The best part about this installation is that it invites the audience to co-create the music (the audience includes small children!). Having an interactive installation makes it much more relatable and tangible, especially for something like music.
I found a sound art project to write about because my submission for Looking Outwards 04 was really about music.
Deep Listening Room is a sound installation by Pauline Oliveros at the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Live feed from the main lobby was broadcast onto three walls in a small gallery. The audio from the footage was heavily manipulated and distorted. In addition, Oliveros sat and played a improvised accordion part, matching the doom-like tone of the processed noise from the crowd; the soundtrack became a mixture of low drones, screeches, and vibrating wails. The installation was a commentary on the ubiquity of surveillance. The evil nature of the sound forces the viewer to confront the voyeurism of filming and watching this type of footage.
Link to the Original Video: “https://vimeo.com/36742259”
A piece of computer music that I found to be incredibly interesting was Playable Decagons / MaxMSP by Melissa Pons. The video shows a mouse clicking on a 3D decagon and playing sounds based on where the mouse clicked. I thought that this was an extremely creative way to create music. By the appearance of the setup it appearsthey tried to have the decagon imitate a piano. I find this amazing since I find playing the piano to be hard enough (in fact I can’t play at all), but to play it using an unlabeled polygon is another feat entirely. The code that they used was likely very complicated. I would assume that they mapped certain sounds to the surface of the decagon using if statements involving the mouse. While the project may not seem very creative it bears further examination. I feel that coming up with the idea to do this was incredibly creative, and is something that I wouldn’t come up with in a million years.
For a computational music piece, I decided to look into Agoston Nagy’s work, Atlås—a guided and generative music experience made for iOS. What I really admire about this application is that not only does it let users discover and create music with “interactive sonic sounds”, but it allows users to be transferred to a beautiful digital environment that is visually unlike traditional music. It generates tasks in between spaces that are solved by the application itself within the digital environment ( without the need for users to know how to solve it) which helps to make the application more than just a “music maker.
Agoston Nagy says that he wanted to create something that creates a narrative which would help to guide users through an experience. He wanted to bring up thought provoking questions that are focused on communication between people. He applied these thoughts into the app by bringing up these questions in between the music experiences.