Jeck of all fades

Philip Jeck‘s Suite is a vinyl release which is comprised of various edits and mixes captured from recordings of various live concerts of his. This method of composition is also how he compiles his CDs – reworking and adding new elements where he thinks they should fit. With a mixture of vinyl crackle, old recordings of melodramatic strings, and a panoply of noisy textures all filtered through electronic flecks of grainy quadruplications, you’re transported to some fractionalized cosmic radio broadcast that still retains a near seamless coherence of a logical compositional strategy. Philip Jeck speaks about his work followed by a question and answer session. Also, I’m including an audio recording of his performance in Linz done on the following evening. The LP, Suite: Live in Liverpool, is available from Touch.

 (thanks to Ars Electronica)

Audio MP3

 (thanks to Touch)

FacePunch [Schnitt Fit]

By breaking the constraints and ridiculous social rules put upon Facebook members while cleverly critiquing the invasive data mining that those of us who aren’t members abhor, Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico have created Face to Facebook – the third in their Hacking Monopolism Trilogy. What started as an art-site statement based on a social experiment – retrieving a million “personal” profiles, filtering them using face-recogniton software and then posting them as members of a dating website – soon became a performance activity of just a few days in length. The flood of reactions from unwitting (debatable to some extent) accomplices coupled with over a thousand instances of media coverage suddenly thrust the two of them into a legal fight in which they decided to remove the Lovely Faces dating website, but still keep the F to F site. Following some basic photos I took of the installation and at the Forum, you can watch a video of just one media-based reaction followed by a presentation and an excerpt from the Interactive Art panel discussion that they gave on their award-winning project. Also, check out Alessandro’s publication Neural for a great read.



(thanks to Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico and Ars Electronica)


fixing the facts

“Media is the nervous system of a democracy.
If it’s not functioning well, the democracy can’t function.”
(Jeff Cohen, Director of the Park Center for Independent Media)

Julian Oliver & Danja Vasiliev have created Newstweek as a device for manipulating the news
read by other people on wireless hotspots. Built into a small, innocuous wall plug, the Newstweek device appears as part of the local infrastructure. This allows agents to remotely
edit news read on laptops, phones and tablets without the user being aware of this news alteration. Newstweek emerges as a symptom of our increasingly corporatized and mediated democratic reality. While news is increasingly read digitally, it still follows a traditional, top-down distribution model and thus often falls victim to the same political and corporate interests that have always sought to manipulate public opinion. Newstweek intervenes in this model, providing an opportunity for citizens to have their turn at manipulating the media, “fixing facts” as they pass across a wireless network. In this way, Newstweek can be seen as a tactical device for altering public reality on a per-network basis. Hotspots manipulable by Newstweek include cafes, libraries, hotels, universities and city-wide wireless networks.

Newstweek also signals a word of caution, that a strictly media-defined reality
is always a vulnerable reality. Today, as devices and their networks become ubiquitous,
ignorance as to how they function increases, offering an opportunity for the manipulation
of facts on their journey from source to destination (from server to screen).

Over at Imperica, you can read a little more about the project
as well as see a more in-depth video example of how the hardware works.
The photo above makes them appear mean, but it was the best of what I had taken.
I can assure you that they are very friendly and interesting guys who have done some
great, creative work. Below is their official video followed by their Forum presentation
where they spoke about the development of this project – a project that won them
a well-deserved Golden Nica in the Interactive Art category.


(thanks to Julian OliverDanja Vasiliev, & Ars Electronica)


While sitting here drinking a “handcrafted soda” made by the Thomas Kemper Soda Co.
called “Bumble Berry,” I find myself re-listening to, appropriately, the electroacoustic work, Bee,
by Apostolos Loufopoulos. A work which was inspired by the microcosmos of the kind of insects
which share an intensely energetic flying behavior. Most of the audio material comes from our natural environment filled with summer insects, sea-related sounds, and forest soundscapes, but transformed according to their individual morphologies at multiple levels. An acousmatic work that seems to place the listener right on the back of a bee as it quickly zigzags thru its flowery environment.
The work can be heard in its entirety below the video of Loufopoulos explaining its creation.

 (thanks to Ars Electronica)

Audio MP3

 (thanks to Apostolos Loufopoulos)


Potential questions for the sound artist who captures field recordings: do you already have an idea of what something sounds like before possibly making a great effort to get to the sound in order to record it? If you don’t know what it sounds like, is there some deeper reason to go hunting for such sounds? If you do have a general idea of what the specific sound is like, will an already existing online archive of that particular sound serve your purpose? Once you’ve reached the origin of the sound that you’ve imagined, what happens if it doesn’t exhibit the sound quality that you envisaged? Was your trip a wasted effort? These questions seem reasonable when it comes to trying to understand the motivation of someone willing to, for example, stand on dangerously shifting and melting ice slabs in order to get the sound of 10,000-year-old melting ice.

Jana Winderen‘s background is in chemistry, mathematics and fish ecology. This could provide a peek into her interests in finding sound in the audio topography of the ocean – searching deep into hidden sources in order to present to us the fragility of complex marine ecosystems. Once gathered, sounds of the icy landscape, crustaceans, various fish, as well as sounds of the crackling ice itself are then moulded into descriptive soundscapes that create a fascinating audio snapshot of a frigid world that very few of us will ever experience. Her CD is available thru Touch.

 (thanks to Ars Electronica)

La Chambre des Machines

Machines with gears and cranks are manipulated to produce a sound construction where acoustics and electronics meet. Submerged in surround sound, the audience discovers the interaction between mechanical and synthetic sound. With specifically tailored programming, digital processing enlarges the sound palette of the machines. La chambre des machines, by Nicolas Bernier & Martin Messier, stems from a desire to return to the physical world from an environment of digital creation. This project also refers back to the intonarumoris – the sound machines created by the Italian Futurists at the beginning of the 20th century. These machines contained mystifying mechanisms much in the same way that we may approach computers today as having their own perplexing components.


 (thanks to Nicolas Bernier & Martin Messier)

circle quirks


Winfried Ritsch has placed seven pianos in a circle of 20 meters diameter forming a heptagram. Eighty-eight robotic “fingers” on each of the seven pianos creates the possibility of a mass of 616 parallel notes which can be controlled via Ethernet from a central mixing location. The work, Heptapiano, becomes an organic formation of sound transformed out of more or less chaotic behavior of these robotic pianos where waves of phrases are synchronized and mutated using various algorithms. The first video, by Peter Venus, is of the setup process. The second, from Marian Weger, is a better slow-walk version that what I had filmed, so I’m grateful. The third is only the final section of one of the ones that I made because the beginning moments are so dizzying that I didn’t want you to watch it just in case you had just eaten lunch. Location: entrance to the Lentos Museum.

(thanks to Peter Venus)

(thanks to Marian Weger)



What better way to celebrate a hundred posts than to put up a great fireworks display presented in Linz, over the Donau (Danube) on the 3rd of September. 2011 – Feuerwelt. Eine Science-Fiction, plays with a fascinating idea: an extraterrestrial intelligence that wants only the best for humankind watches over the Earth and protects it. “Feuerwelt” (World of Fire) shows humankind’s search for this intelligence and depicts those moments in which the “aliens” have intervened in human history. This narrative is interwoven with human attempts to explain what cannot be grasped – by means of transcendence, mysticism and religion, as well as with the help of science. The work was inspired by the novel “Childhood’s End” by Arthur C. Clarke. The concept was by Beda Percht, the pyrotechnic visualization by Christian Czech and music by Thierry Zaboitzeff whom you may know from the group Art Zoyd. The video contains an edited 47 minutes. Sit back, in darkness, and enjoy.



(thanks to Manuel Lucca [treparus])

extra-special adept halo




If you’ve visited here more than a few times before, you’ve probably noticed that I’m moved by movement: kinetic art movement especially. Since an early 70’s introduction through books by Guy Brett, John Tovey, and others as well as the wonderful, greatly-missed Arts Magazine, I bought and created, often deceptively (in both opposing senses) simple, kinetic pieces that most often used light as the focal point of the work. Interests naturally expanded into the area of Lumino (retroactively) and later, video art and the creation of video sculpture-based situation-events, so there’s been a continuing and growing attraction for me to this kind of work. I’m mentioning this to point to some of the past posts you may have seen here, but also, to introduce The Particle.

The Particle is a kinetic sculpture that uses a continuous rotation whereby light and speed create “persistence of vision” effects that define the structure of a particular object. It’s as if you are watching an ever-changing but defining pellucid layer that form vacillating inner and outer structures. The sculpture forms and reacts by generating events that modulate the sound and surrounding space which, in turn, changes both the immediate atmosphere as well as one’s perception of the sculpture-event. Because of this formation and reaction of generating events based on continually changing sensory information, the vibrations of color, sound and visual patterns are in flux at one moment or as an encapsulated order during another.

The first video is Alex Posada‘s own explanation of how The Particle was created. The second is a video I made while observing the work. The act of recording video reminded me of how differently one’s eyes react to seeing something wildly kinetic and full of constant color changes. There were clear differences between the color nuance that your brain could interpret and what a camera would catch in a simple recording, but even tho they were different, there’s still a world of visual thrill that you’ll be able to see here. Above are 9 randomly chosen frame shots from the recorded video.

(thanks to Alex Posada)