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Limiteazero at Hublab in Milan

By Rhizome

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The work that first attracted my attention in the gallery was Laptop Orchestra, a synaesthetic instrument to perform audio visual compositions in real time. Fifteen laptops are arranged like an orchestral group. On each one is installed a Processing Software consisting in algorithms which activate sounds and visual shapes based on color spectrum. Each laptop has its own sound and its own instructions for the construction of a shape.

Interacting from the conductor podium, just by slightly touching metal stems, you can activate or deactivate each single laptop, permitting the generation of an endless number of different compositions.

The work had been commissioned by Toshiba in 2004. At the time the Milan duo had also developed a very different work using the same laptops. While Laptop Orchestra is very visual and plays on the laptop as a design "product" that is turned into a kind of very simple switch, min_mod [minimum_module] plays with frequencies, vibrations and space.


4 pure frequencies with sinusoidal course are generated by a software installed on 4 laptops. Each laptop transmits the digital sound data to an amplifier which in turn transmits the sound to 4 subwoofer positioned on the floor. On each one of them is positioned a metal plate which amplifies and makes the subwoofer vibrations perceptible. 4 microphones retransmit the sound back to the laptop which visualises its wave shape on the screen.

The installation traces a junction line within the digital dimension in which the sound is generated and its physical impact, identified in the phenomenon of the vibration.

At the heart of Active Metaphore is Carnivore. Developed by the Radical Software Group, Carnivore is inspired by a piece of software used by the FBI to monitor the Internet communications of suspects under its surveillance. The RSG software application listens to all Internet traffic on a specific local network and then feeds this to a series of artist-made interfaces-called "Carnivore Clients"-for visualization and animation. [...]

The data used in Active Metaphore is the ip address, the main data that identifies an internet relationship. The ip address ("aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd") is broken down into four different groups of numbers ("aaa", "bbb","ccc", "ddd"). These elements are used as coordinates for 3D shapes and blending percentages ("x", "y", "z", "blend").

The work lets us see and hear the data flow, which is something that we normally can't perceive. This lets us see the net as a huge data field that is constantly moving, like a digital life-form that feeds itself with human interaction.

The Remains of You is made of a computer assembled in a transparent box, a USB camera and one proximity sensor.

When somebody skims over the steel stick on the front side, it freezes the scene and starts an image subtractive synthesis process till the most elementary shape obtainable by the mix of light and shade. Then, a 3D model of the last step of the synthesis comes to be built, giving the feeling to turn back to a 3D space dimension even if it has been worked out from the most elementary part of the two dimensions captured image.

Other works featured in the exhibition: bb_write and a_mirror.

See 0006_Limiteazero at Hublab Gallery, Via Vigevano 43, Milano (entrance from via Sartirana) until April 10th 2006.

Meet them at Wired NextFest 06, September 28, October 1. [More...]

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