Posts for August 2010

_=- Seascape (2010) - Elna Frederick

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Fata Morgana (2010) - Damon Zucconi

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Days of Our Lives (2009) - Restless People

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Call for Applications

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IRCAM in Paris is seeking applicants for their 2011 cycle. Read more about the opportunity below or visit the original call here. Deadline is September 30th, 2010.

Via the music research residency program, the Department for the Coordination of Scientific and Musical Research seeks to reinforce the interaction between the scientific and musical community by appealing to the computer music community at large. This program offers scholarships to artists and young professionals wishing to take advantage of a period of residency at IRCAM in order to pursue their music research projects in a stimulating collaborative environment.

Each year - via online submission - a limited number of candidates is selected by a panel of international experts based on the following criteria: project content; scientific and artistic motivation; quality and innovative character of the project; mastery of the technologies needed for the project; demonstrated ability to manage a collaborative research project.

Each selected candidate will benefit from a residency at IRCAM for a specific period, associated with one or more of the institute’s project teams. The candidate will receive a scholarship of 1200 euros. IRCAM does not cover travel and lodging expenses.

During the research residency, candidates will work in the context of the Research and Development department in order to pursue their work. They will collaborate with members of one or more teams thus enabling them to deepen the musical and technological issues explored through experimentation as well as participate in the intellectual life of the institute.

At the end of their stay, the selected candidates will be asked to document and share the results of their work via written publications and public presentations given to the IRCAM community as well as the international computer music community at large.

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Required Reading

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The above video is a milestone in consumer electronics history: it was the first recording to document the unwrapping of a new gadget that was titled as an unboxing. While individuals have been gleefully ripping open the packaging of their electronics for decades, unboxing is the relatively new practice of recording these moments and uploading them to video sharing services for public display. The 2006 video embedded above features veteran technology blogger Vincent Nguyen as he unpacks a new Nokia E61 smartphone and related accessories. Nguyen removes the device, displays it to the camera while commenting how thin it is, and then dryly lists off the remainder of the objects in the box. On completion he utters "Basically that's it… ummm, for now."

While Nguyen's removal of a smartphone from its original packaging was decidedly drab, unboxing has become a fixture in online consumer electronics coverage. Major players like Endgadget have entire streams of content populated with seasoned technology experts (almost always male) rifling through waybills, wielding box-cutters and carefully extracting shiny new netbooks, gaming consoles and cameras from their packaging. I've watched about three dozen of these videos over the past few days—scanning for signs of intelligent life—and they are remarkably ritualistic: styrofoam is carefully set aside, manuals are flipped through, battery packs are commented on. In doing this field research I've come up with two hypotheses of what unboxing represents:

1. A practice that has emerged as as extension of page view journalism whereby gadget blogs can get traffic without doing any actual 'reporting'.

2. Glib theatre where adults joylessly reenact moments from their childhood when they received and opened gifts.

While both of these readings of unboxing are equally applicable, I prefer the latter, where each of these tiny ceremonies is ...

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Full Throttle (2010) - Artie Vierkant

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Ongoing series presenting formal recordings of films streaming over the Internet at very slow (throttled) connection speed.

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Ocean (2008) - Michael Guidetti

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Future Crew Documentary

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A few months ago, we posted a week of articles covering the demoscene. This short documentary by Yle New Media Development, originally posted on Motherboard TV, is a nice follow-up to those posts. In this first episode, The Demoscene Documentary interviews the Finnish demo group Future Crew about the backstory behind their legendary demo for PC Second Reality, which premiered at the demoparty Assembly in 1993.

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Conrad Ventur Interview from INSIDE/OUT

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This Is My Life (Shirley Bassey) by Conrad Ventur was one of my favorite pieces in PS1's "Greater New York," so I was delighted to come across this short interview with the artist on MoMA/PS1's INSIDE/OUT blog. Burrowed away in a small room in PS1's basement, the work involves a number of projectors looping performances by singer Shirley Bassey sourced from YouTube. Slowly rotating crystals hang over the lens of the projectors, refracting the images and illuminating the room in a soft, hazey light. Ventur discusses his interest in connecting to the past through repurposing old performance footage and the affective quality of his installations.

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Homebrew Electronics

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Kitteh! Steve’s cats Perrey and Kingsley’s homage to CatSynth

Homebrew Electronics is a series on the Rhizome blog. For these posts, I will be conducting studio visits with artists and inventors who create unique electronic instruments.

Last week, I met with Steven Litt of CrudLabs at his Greenpoint apartment. While a graduate student at NYU’s ITP program, Steve developed a machine known as the CrudBox. Central to his installations and performances, the CrudBox allows users to plug electronic or electromechanic devices into a 16 step, 8 channel step sequencer. While normal sequencers draw from a set bank of sounds, the CrudBox allows one to plug in devices such as turntables or solenoids or power tools, opening up the range of sounds one can sequence.

In his living room, Steve had plugged in seven portable turntables into a CrudBox.

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Portable Turntables plugged into a CrudBox

The exterior of this version of the CrudBox was designed by Steve’s friend artist Panayiotis Terzis, who silkscreened all the imagery on the exterior.

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The CrudBox

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Detail of Panayiotis Terzis's silkscreen on the exterior of the CrudBox

The turntables operate off AC voltage, and the CrudBox runs off DC, so Steve had set up a system of high voltage relays so each turntable can be individually activated without any issues. These relay modules allow any wall powered devices to be easily plugged in and sequenced by CrudBox.

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Close-up of one of the relays

In order to control a turntable, the switch at the top left hand side of the CrudBox must be pointed toward the turntable one wants to start.

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Knob on the top left side of the CrudBox

The sequences are controlled by the bottom row of buttons, and the tempo by the knob. The sequences tell the turntables when ...

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