This project, called Knight of Infinite Resignation, is a motorized sound installation by Diane Landry, an installation, video, and performance artist from France. It uses bicycle wheels to rotate sand-filled water-bottles (12 on each wheel) that align with the hour of the day and month of the year, with the sound of the sand filling the room as it moves with the motion of the bottles. Although they can be seen as a sort of clock for the human pattern of time, the cold, churring machines evoke an uncanny sense of perpetuality and vastness that also allude to eternity, space, serenity, and the unfathomable spans of time. The algorithm itself must be fairly simple; just programmed to run along a reference to the hour of the day or month of the year. However, the ingenuity of using such regular household items such as the bicycle wheel and plastic water bottle point to the artists’ ability to turn every-day, human objects into something bigger, more vast, more extensive.
This post is regarding Christian Marclay’s works. I really enjoyed his work, ‘The Clock’, in 2010. Christian Marclay worked with fine art and audio cultures, transforming sound and music into a visible, physical form through performance, collage, sculpture, installation, photography and video. His work uses gramophone records and turntables as musical instruments to produce amazing works from sounds. I love the idea that Matclays purposefully damages records to create intentional effects on the music that he creates. In this work I really appreciate the concept of Time being a complex interaction being introduced within his work.
I looked at a critically-acclaimed game called Incredibox, published by So Far So Good, released in 2009. It is an interactive music experience where you drag and drop different sounds for a lineup of 8 beatboxers to produce. You mix and match the sounds and singing options to create songs. Almost all of the sound options sound good together, so it’s nearly impossible to make a song that sounds bad. It’s also a visual experience. In each theme, when you drag a sound icon onto one of the 8 beatboxers, it dresses them in a new outfit. You have 8 different themes to choose from, 4 unlocked and 4 initially locked; Alpha (basic beatboxing), Little Miss (hip-hop), Sunrise (pop), The Love (French house), Brazil (Brazilian music), Alive (Japanese/modern music), Jeevan (traditional Indian), and Dystopia (futuristic). Incredibox has seen a recent resurgence due to the Dystopia theme becoming popular on Tiktok. I find this game very impressive in that there are so many musical styles explored, as well as the musical ability needed to make sure all the sounds combine well with each other, and still there are enough options to create many unique songs. There must be many looping functions as the beatboxers keep making their sound until you pause or change the sound assigned to them.
There is a YouTube channel called “ELECTRONICOS FANTASTICOS!” that features people playing music by scanning barcodes of various lengths and widths. I was amazed by how such a simple tool can be reimagined to create music, and curious about how the scanner was reprogrammed to recognize different barcodes as different sounds. In fact, factors such as pitch and speed appear to be affected by how fast the scanner is moving and how far from the barcode it is.
Ei Wada, a Japanese artist and musician, reinvents such electrical appliances as tools to create electromagnetic music. He modifies the barcode scanners to generate sounds by connecting scanned signals directly to an audio terminal. When hovering over a printed backdrop with different variations of “barcodes”, the scanner senses changes in light patterns between the black and white lines to turns those signals into computer text. The computer recognizes the specific light patterns and emits a beep sound. It is likely that Wada created an algorithm that sets different light patterns to specific sounds so when the scanner goes over different barcodes, it produces a variety of beeps. However, to create music, the artist still has to physically scan the barcodes in a rhythmic way, moving throughout the different barcodes systemically in order to produce a set of sounds with musical qualities.
For this week’s project, I chose a project called “Soundmachines” by Yannick Labbe, which are basically three units, resembling standard record players; and they translate concentric visual patterns into control signals so that a music software can process them. The rotation of these three units / discs, each holding three separate individual tracks, can be synced to a sequencer. I thought that this project was really cool and unique because of how simple it is to use but also the algorithm used to develop this was probably very complicated since picking up data from just a rotating disk and analyzing that data seems like a big task. In addition to this, I was really impressed with how the algorithm was able to combine individual music points from all three discs into one cohesive piece that was audibly pleasing.
Link to “Soundmachines” by Yannick Labbe – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gk9n-2lBb8
I appreciate the works of Trimpin. I originally looked him up because I thought his artist name was neat, but I ended up really enjoying his sculptures. In particular, I enjoy his Klompen sculpture. 120 Dutch wooden clogs are connected to a computer by concealed wires and suspended from the ceiling, which then use small levers hidden inside the clogs to hit the wood of the clogs and create the distinctive rapping wood noises. I find it interesting for the layers of art that are embedded in the sculpture. Firstly, the clogs themselves are art pieces in how they are crafted and then individually painted. Then, hanging them from the ceiling introduces interesting three-dimensional and surrealist aspects. Finally, they make fun music using an unconventional method. You can tell how much digital work went into bringing the sculpture to life. I appreciate that the work isn’t necessarily “deep” or thought provoking, but is fun to look at and fun to listen to, which is all art needs to be sometimes.
Ikue Mori makes interesting music using electronic drums. I love how she collaborates with multiple other artists to combine each of their unique sounds. It allows her to produce different mixtures of music. I also like how immersive it is with headphones. It always amazes me how people can get the “360º surround sound” by having each earbud play different sounds. Integrating this into the music really adds to the ambience. Mori previously used physical drums, but made the switch to electronic music. The partially computer generated sound probably comes from noises the computer makes that are then manipulated by the artist. Although these sounds come from a computer and are not organic noises from a physical instrument, Mori’s unique sound can still be heard across her works.
Michelle Dang (mtdang) Section D
Nigel John Stanford is an artist that created Cymatics, a music video that focuses on chladni plate art. He placed sand on a chladni plate (a sheet of metal) that was attached to a speaker. By playing different tones, the plate is divided into regions that vibrate in opposite directions and the sand shifts to locations where there are no vibrations. This creates symmetrical patterns based on the frequency of the audio. He experimented with different amounts of sand, shapes of chladni plates, and levels of volume as well as what frequencies created the most interesting repeatable patterns. I am interested in how formulaic the relationship is between frequency and the patterns. How does a higher frequency affect the pattern compared to a slightly lower frequency?
The project Forms-string quartet is created by Playmodes. It is a live performance by a string quartet that uses randomly generated graphics as a score. The algorithm uses chance and probability to generate specific graphics that are then played by the string quartet. It is an immersive experience with both electronic music and panoramic visuals. I think that the algorithm uses a set of possible points or graphics and then picks them in random orders for each instrument. The website then says that a synthesis algorithm is used to interpret the vertical fragments of the image and transform them into different aspects of the music. I admire this project mainly because the graphics are very beautiful and to see them and hear the noise interpreted from it is very satisfying. It makes music visually digestible and understandable for the audience which I really enjoy!
Project Name: “FORMS – string quartet”
Project Title: Music For Robots
Year of Creation: 2014
Artists: Squarepusher x Z-Machines
I admire how the robots in this project can together create such exciting and layered music because it’s wildly entertaining despite sounding admittedly quite choppy. I admire the rigid precision of the performances because although such precision is impossible for humans to obtain, it reminds me of what robots in this artwork can’t really obtain, portray or evoke: emotional response. I’m inspired by the innovation and attention to detail, but I must say that the music didn’t leave me feeling a certain way, which in my opinion, music should do. Of course, I don’t think the primary purpose of this endeavor was to make music specifically for people to enjoy. I know that the creators used “custom build mechanics” and Max MSP patches, which lets you connect software and objects with virtual patch cords. Squarepusher’s music interests include electronic, jazz and drum and bass. These artistic sensibilities manifested in the ASHURA (the robot drummer that plays over 20 drums). I could hear how the creator included some free jazz elements into the overall technical electronic experience.