A Conversation with Samson Young and Yao Chung-Han

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The exhibition "Resonance" was initiated in early 2010 as an experiment in the conceptual underpinnings and practical manifestations of sound art as a genre and form in contemporary greater China. Growing out of a series of readings and conversations in Hong Kong with artists as varied as Yan Jun, Feng Jiangzhou, and Zhou Risheng, the final exhibition program included two installations by artists Samson Young, an artist and composer based in Hong Kong, and Yao Chung-Han, a sound artist based in Taipei. This selection of artists allows the experiment to step beyond the mainland sound art and experimental music scene, which is largely incoherent in its current free-for-all exploration of new sonic forms--a site of artistic freedom indeed, but also a difficult territory in which to reflect on the modes of sound already in use in the contemporary art community. Samson Young contributed a piece entitled Beethoven Piano Sonata, nr. 1 - nr. 14 (Senza Misura) (2010), a series of open circuit boards hung in rows on the gallery wall. Each board houses two LEDs and a speaker, each marking the tempo of a single movement of fourteen of Beethoven’s early piano sonatas. In the second gallery room, Yao Chung-Han installed an audiovisual piece entitled I Will Be Broken (2010), a suspended column of circular fluorescent lamps tied together with power cords that illuminates in a semi-random fashion and emits a prerecorded sequence of sounds. The two pieces engage in a dialogue of light and sound that confronts the tension between sound as aesthetic spectacle and sound as conceptual material, opening a productive conversation between styles and historical developments in the trajectory of sound in art. "Resonance" is on view at I/O Gallery in Hong Kong until September 5, 2010.

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Two New Turbulence Commissions

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Networked art non profit Turbulence announced two new (sound-related) commissions yesterday - WWW-Enabled Noise Toy by Loud Objects and Moments of Inertia by R. Luke DuBois, with Todd Reynolds. Be sure to check them out - you can read a bit about the works below.



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WWW-Enabled Noise Toy by Loud Objects (with funds from the Jerome Foundation)

Loud Objects (Kunal Gupta, Tristan Perich and Katie Shima), NYC-based circuit sorcerers, present a wacky way to learn hardware audio programming. The WWW-Enabled Noise Toy invites anyone with a web browser to write their own audio code, program it remotely onto a Noise Toy, and play it live via webcam. In the spirit of “try it yourself” software demos, the website provides a simple environment for experimenting with low-level microchip-generated audio. Load code from the Loud Objects’ own library of performance algorithms, hone your own noise techniques, and add your work to the online archive to share it with other microchip coders and create an open source noise community.



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Moments of Inertia by R. Luke DuBois, with Todd Reynolds

Moments of Inertia is an evening-length performance based on a teleological study of gesture in musical performance and how it relates to gesture in intimate social interaction. The work is written for solo violin with real-time computer accompaniment and video. Moments consists of twelve violin études written for Todd Reynolds - ranging from 1-10 minutes in length - each of which uses a different violin performance gesture as a control input for manipulating a short piece of high-speed film (300 frames-per-second) - of objects and people in motion. Taking its cue from principles in physics that determine an object’s resistance to change, the violinist’s gestures time-remap and scrub the video clip to explore the intricacies of the performed action.

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Interview with Sinan Ascioglu

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"Driving through Iceland” sketch by dotlassie. Winner of Rhizome's Tiny Sketch Competition.

OpenProcessing.org is a site that has built a community around sharing visual coding examples created in Processing. As user number 36, I had the unique privilege of watching the idea take shape, while in a thesis group with Sinan at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. During it’s first two years of activity, the site has grown to host thousands of user-generated sketches and subsequent conversations between artists / programmers, teachers, and students from around the world. Sinan and I escaped the snow recently at a café outside Washington Square Park to discuss OpenProcessing’s origins, Rhizome’s collaboration with OpenProcessing in the Tiny Sketch competition, and what we can expect for the future. - Tim Stutts

Tim: How did you first come up with the idea for OpenProcessing?

Sinan: I guess the first thing to talk about is OpenVisuals, which was my Master’s thesis project at ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York University). I was reading Edward Tufte’s books at the time, and I became very interested in data visualization. In the meantime I was also fascinated with the social revolution that was happening on the web, through a class I was taking at NYU with professor Clay Shirky. Before studying with Clay, I didn’t understand Facebook—I didn’t even have a Facebook account. I knew I was missing some concepts, and wanted to understand what was going on. Through his classes, I decided that my thesis would have a social component. I also discovered ManyEyes, a site where users can upload datasets, and choose between different the visualization methods for augmentation. Users comment on each other’s visualizations, and may even suggest other ways of looking at or representing the dataset. What ...

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Interview with Carey Lovelace and Sharon Kanach

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I had the chance this week to speak with Carey Lovelace and Sharon Kanach, the co-curators behind a new exhibition of composer Iannis Xenakis’s sketches, drawings, scores and plans spanning from 1953 -1984 titled “Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary.” The show opens at the Drawing Center on Friday January 15th and it will run through April 8th. To coincide with the exhibition, a number of arts organizations in New York City organized public programs on Xenakis’s work in collaboration with the Drawing Center, including a virtual reality rendering of Poème Électronique, a three-day colloquium bringing together Xenakis scholars from the Americas, and much more. Please check the full schedule here (scroll to the bottom).

Based in Paris, Sharon Kanach worked very closely Xenakis for two decades, as a translator of his works, as a scholar and as Vice-President of Centre Iannis Xenakis (formerly CCMIX) in France. Carey is an independent curator and writer based in New York. Both are former students of Xenakis.

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Interview with Iannis Xenakis, 1967

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retrouver ce média sur www.ina.fr

In this short clip, which aired on French television on November 12, 1967, Xenakis discusses his work and his influences.

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Iannis Xenakis, Music Biennale Zagreb 1985

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"Mikka, For Solo Violin" by Iannis Xenakis

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Mikka ("small," also named for Mica Salabert, Xenakis's publisher), was completed in 1971 and premiered at the 1972 Festival d'Automne in Paris, soon after the opening of the Polytope de Cluny. The piece's most immediately striking aspect is the solo line that unfolds in continuous fashion from beginning to end. It consists entirely of a single glissando, snaking its way along the registral compass of the violin in a perpetually varying contour. The banishment of vibrato from the music lends a metallic edge to the sound, although Xenakis does vary the timbre through ponticello and tremolo effects. Dynamics, too, play an important role in adding depth to the singular sonority of the glissando, even if quite different from the constantly varying markings of Nomos alpha. After the relatively neutral mf opening, the rest of the score consists of shifts between extreme dynamic levels, usually linked to changes from ponticello (soft) to normal mode (loud).

-- EXCERPT FROM "XENAKIS: HIS LIFE IN MUSIC" BY JAMES HURLEY (PG 76)

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"Psappha" by Iannis Xenakis

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Psappha is a score for solo percussion, and it originally premiered at the London Bach Festival in 1976. Here it is performed by Steven Schick.

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"Pleiades" by Iannis Xenakis

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A composition by Iannis Xenakis, Pleaides was originally commissioned for Les Percussions de Strasbourg, to premiere at the Opera du Rhin in May 1979. A sextet for percussion, it is here performed by the Yale Percussion Group.








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Cloud Chamber Bowls (1950-1951) - Harry Partch

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The cloud chamber bowls themselves are sections of 12-gallon Pyrex carboys, suspended from a redwood frame on ropes. These difficult-to-find and impossible-to-tune glass gongs are played very carefully by a percussionist who risks the anguish of splintered disaster. The original bowls were found at the Radiation Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley, and had been used as cloud-chambers to trace the paths of sub-atomic particles.

-- DESCRIPTION FROM THE HARRY PARTCH INSTRUMENT COLLECTION

Composer Harry Partch demonstrates his Cloud Chamber Bowls in the 1958 documentary Music Studio below:


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