- September 5th, 2009
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Since the 1985 ruling by the US Patent and Trademark Office that genetically engineered plants, seeds and plant tissue could be patented, we’ve seen an enormous, but disturbing growth of modified agriculture crops. Privatization and commodification of nature contributing, ultimately, to an unnatural inurement that we can expect to continue in subsequent generations – unless we reach a stage where enough people have had enough when presented with something like a bio-engineered pet.
Genpets are here to help you reconsider.
Here’s a garment that harnesses energy from the natural gestures of the human body in motion. Around the joints of the elbows and hips, there are embedded piezoelectric sensors that generate electric potential in response to the natural mechanical stress of movement. This is then stored in a small battery as voltage and potential energy that can be later coupled with a device needing the charge. This means that you could potentially recharge your iPhone or another small electric device.
Power dressing provided by Amanda Parkes & Adam Kumpf.
The Swiss Federal Statistical Office is Switzerland’s national center for public statistics.
One of the many bits of information that they keep track of is traffic flow –
especially the number of vehicles and their speed –
in areas such as the very well-travelled Gotthard Road Tunnel
which is the third longest road tunnel in the world at about 16 km.
This information has been transformed in real-time by Sabine Haerri & Yvonne Weber
who have transported it to a bench-like structure embedded with speakers and vibrating platform.
As the traffic increases in this Swiss tunnel over 600 km away,
so do the vibrations sent right up your back as you lie flat and happy.
The hotel in the background is quite wonderful too.
(thanks to Haerri & Weber)
Bill Fontana won this year’s Golden Nica in digital sound for his work Speeds of Time, but while listening to this installation along the banks of the Donau, I couldn’t help think how analog an idea this was. It’s a beautiful sculptural sound map of the sound of London’s Big Ben. Imagine tracing the audio imagery of such an audio icon, beginning from the Tower itself and continuing with many microphones spread across special geographic listening points throughout the city. Fontana has been doing these large sound installations emphasizing great distances or the relocation of sound for decades. Spend some time at his website to explore more of these wonderful works.
“My medium is sound. I could create the most interesting piece,
but if it doesn’t translate to the space, it’s worthless.”
(thanks to Bill Fontana)
The TaxiLink Project is an interactive installation that enables users to experience an authentic distant taxi ride. Sitting in the TaxiLink booth, the passengers join a live ride in and around the city of Jerusalem, experiencing personal interaction with a taxi driver screened through a rear view mirror.
(thanks to Lila & Alon Chitayat)
The Ars Electronica Center, in Linz, reflecting on the Danube.
More than 5000 m² of outer glass utilizing 40,000 high-powered LEDs.
A view from a hotel window, after a light rain, of The Hauptplatz – the original market square surrounded by handsome Baroque buildings. It forms the center of the old town. On the eastern side of the square stands the 17th C. Rathaus and opposite it, in the middle of the square, the Trinity Column (Dreifaltigkeitssäule), a 20m/66ft high column of Untersberg marble erected in 1723 in gratitude for the town’s preservation from plague and Turkish attack.
My friend Hermann-Christoph Müller introduced me to a wonderful museum in Köln. Kolumba is the art museum of the Archdiocese of Cologne. The architecture combines the ruins of the late Gothic church St. Kolumba, the chapel Madonna in the Ruins (1950), a unique archaeological excavation (1973-1976), and a new building designed by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.
In one of the rooms, they had a Rube Goldberg-esque construction that produced all kinds of sounds with balls rolling around and dropping down on trays, etc. Known as Marble Maze, it’s creator – Manos Tsangaris – referred to it as a “three-dimensional automatic musical machine as a model of perception.” The best part wasn’t sitting in the chair in the middle and being surrounded by these sounds; it was the fact that being an old church redone as an art museum, there was a large amount of natural reverb inside – especially the last room in the exhibition which had the highest walls – and you could hear the mechanics of this installation gradually blur into a sound mass as you walked away from it while exploring the outer areas of the museum. Sounds would fade in and out and overlap – no distinct beginnings or endings – which made it beautifully contemplative. I sat in this last room for half an hour. Audio of the walk-through can be heard below.