artist research:

jim bond kinetic sculpture 1The artist Jim bond is pretty neat, he work has its function first, and as such isn’t always pretty. A particular favorite is the “Pin drop”, although “Scratch #1” is more technologically nifty; the pin drop works by having a pin drop into a copper bowl which is recorded and amplified, as such you can actually hear it fall.

There is also John Cage and the Fluxus movement; which is described as “Fluxus artists did not agree with the authority of museums to determine the value of art, nor did they believe that one must be educated to view and understand a piece of art. Fluxus not only wanted art to be available to the masses, they also wanted everyone to produce art all the time. It is often difficult to define Fluxus, as many Fluxus artists claim that the act of defining the movement is, in fact, too limiting and reductive.” John Cage was a composer and conceptual artist, whose work consisted if silence, chance and any sitiuation or environmental happenings into performances. pin drop

There are two artists in a collaboration “Fischli and Weiss” whose most popular and the one I’m particularly in for the kinetic movement chain reaction is “ The way things go“. An installation of 80-100 ft long, using chemical reations, water/fire, gravity to move objects along.

Also, Co-incidentally there is a repeat exhibition of the “Cybernetics and Serendipity” gallery at the Huddersfield library and gallery. cybernetic serendipity poster web_4


Fact and Meaning:

Studying sound has driven me towards looking at speech, and it is painfully obvious that the human race has become complacent, or rather the way that we use words has changed so we end up not saying what we mean. But then what we mean is changed by what we perceive as individuals. I’ve been reading “the philosophy of logic” by W.V.Quine, as is explains how to determine truth by fact and meaning.

He explains that the only things that make truth are fact and meaning; whether what you say corresponds to the situation, and that the words you use mean what needs describing. “The snow is white”, is the example Quine uses, which is fact in the example situation, meaning the statement is true. Although if white meant a different thing; like floating or green, then it wouldn’t be.

It is fitting that a book like this starts with the quote from Lewis Carroll, “”Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s Logic.” Which is a good explanation of deductive logic; although not inductive logic.

The point was that I once read Phillip Pullman’s trilogy of “His Dark Materials” and in the second book they have a machine called ‘The Cave’ which is used as a means of communicating with dark matter or god particles, the main character uses the machine and receives a colorful response, as the surround only human matter, she also comments that it could be made to talk in her language: of pictures, or in english if desired.

The progression in which we learn language is curious too, after being shown the letters we are prescribed to draw them ourselves, before forming single words, then sentences, gradually learning to spew out over 2000 words per whichever topic we want to talk of. It is the same for the reading format; learn single words, pronunciation and phonetic spelling vs actual spelling, before building up stamina to read longer, more complex language.

Non-Newtonian Fluid:

SAM_2592This week was spent setting up and practicing making a non-Newtonian fluid (Cornstarch, water and food coloring) move to music. It’s a pretty simple experiment, one most people have done in their high school education; but it was well worth using it to mess with the translation of color, language and movement. I spent a few hours videoing the results of the movement on a speaker, although I have only posted one video since the quality is so high youtube has trouble processing it. the band Korn was the best music I owned that made the cornstarch move the most, It also mixed the different colors quickest.

I also experimented with drawing with the non-newtonian fluid by painting onto a sheet of paper, its movements were odd, when poured the fluid would bend to itself, creating weird formations of curves as it fell through the air, when on the paper it would bleed, and if prodded it would seep that way. The opposite was also true, trying to drag it out in any way would result in it returning to the opposite direction. The best was when it was dry, it found a wax-like quality that would break easily. It made for some interesting patterns. SAM_2589

I also planned out a drawing machine; where a motor controlled by an arduino (to program the reaction to sound) would move a pendulum. I’m going to experiment with this when the arduino workshop is on next week.


Paper things:

downloadMy tutor recommended something called Cosmicomics after I showed him Joe Sparrow’s “Omnipathy#3.” I‘m in the middle of reading it, it’s a hard thing to explain so I’ve got Wikipedia to d so; “Cosmicomics is a book of short stories by Italo Calvino first published in Italian in 1965 and in English in 1968. Each story takes a scientific “fact” (though sometimes a falsehood by today’s understanding), and builds an imaginative story around it. An always extant being called Qfwfq narrates all of the stories save two, each of which is a memory of an event in the history of the universe. Qfwfq also narrates some stories in Calvino’s t zero.”(

It’s certainly interesting and I’ll about it more when I’m finished.

Also I found another TED talk about paper engineering that’s pretty awesome, at least for someone who’s beginning to realize they know very little about this.

Astronomy research:

After looking at so many records I visited my collection and started with the classic _39866481_cfa_203Beatles “Lucy in the sky with diamonds.” A quick Google search came up with the ‘scientific research’ that found a  diamond that is 4,000km across and sitting a constellation called Centaurus some 50 light years away. It is the heart of old star that was like our sun, it has been dubbed ‘Lucy’ after the Beatles song.

The diamond is actually a crystallized white dwarf, a core of a star that has died after burning up all its nuclear fuel; it also pulses. It produces constants ringing which is how they measured the interior, like how they use measurements of earthquakes to study the interior of the earth.

327324_tumannost_orion_sozvezdie_zvezdy_4000x3252_( that I looked up constellations; I have been an amateur at reading stars for a couple of years; my particular favorite being Orion and where there’s Orion there’s no Scorpion. The legend is that I know is that Orion is the son of Neptune and the huntress Queen Euryale of the Amazons, and he had great strength, and a great ego; he boasted of his power only to be taken out by a tiny scorpion.

The ‘official’ version is that Orion was the lover of Eos, the goddess of the dawn and he bragged that he was a great hunter, and as such would kill every creature on earth. Artemis, the hunting goddess would normally take offense, but had a fondness for him; although her brother, Apollo, the sun god, did not. So he and Gaia, the earth goddess, created a plan; they made a giant Scorpio to hunt the hunter. Orion ran from the Scopio and the Scorpio chased him. The Scorpio killed him. Zeus, the leader of the gods, has seen the whole story play out, decided to place both the Scorpio and Orion in the heavens as constellations, keeping them 180 degrees apart to stop them from fighting. Hence you can never see them in the sky at the same time.

There is a piece of work called ‘Teddy universe’ by Pors & Rao; that is a giant 1_teddyagummy bear shape bear hovering from the ceiling, it is covered in little led lights creating a tiny universe of constellations. It is made to turn the all encompassing power of the universe and its vast enormity into the soft cuddliness of a child’s teddy bear.

Music players:

biscuit 7 single, king buiscuit time project darkI found out about an exhibition at the Local Library that brought together the “quintessential exponents of ‘vinyl disc culture.’” ‘Groove’ is curated by David Briers and uses artists from the 1960s to contemporary, mixing Marcel Duchamp and Cornelia Parker and experimental works by Matt Wand and Project Dark. The exhibition is to presents artists that are “deconstructing and paring down its qualities, questioning its former aspect of commercial replication by making unique objects, or ruthlessly subverting the concept of hi-fi by making intentionally disfigured or bricolaged records.”

I also found out about a neat little music player that ‘thinks’, that is the ‘Aether cone’, chooses music for you after leaning your listening habits and synchronizes with your musical tastes to play you music from the Rdio’s music library and internet radio. It looks at what you skip, what you play and where and when, and there is a wheel that lets you skip songs and genres if you prefer, along with voice commands. Although it does come with the phrase ” the more you use it, the better it learns what you like and plays music that you’ll love.”  kyoueidesign_endless_rain_yatzer_4

Searching through Yatzer, it also threw “The endless Rain Record” by Kyouei Design, that is a vinyl record that plays rain drips and noises nonstop; all written and produced by Kouichi Okamoto from Kyouei Design. The record is made for the RAIN exhibition, which was apparently a part of Taiwan Designer’s Week 2009.

Color research:

colored.notes_I looked up some of methods that have been practiced with translating music; the most obvious is Synesthesia. That is people who have a sensory response to another sensory perception; that is, some can taste words, see colors, feel sounds, etc, there are many different forms that can concentrate on different areas such as ‘Personification’ which is “where ordered sequences, like numbers, days of the week or letters all have particular personalities, and even appearances” or ‘Mirror-touch’ “when you feel the same sensation another person feels.”

I also found a TED talk from a man called Neil Harbisson, a colour- blind artist, who had a chip implated to connect him to an ‘eye’ that allows him to hear color. When a color is shown to the eye is registers it as a tone, hence he can recognise the color by the tone; he has translated speeches and songs, he arranges his food into songs, and wears chords with his clothes, he has categorized faces into tones hence it has changed his perception of ‘beauty’. He has his own translator chip, that works with what he has to upgrade his system.

There is a report by Mike Niederquell from 2010, where he presents Blair Neal’s ‘color translator’, in which he draws on clear acetate and projects it, using a computer to recognize the colors and change them into sound; you can also change the sound that each color corresponds to.

“The interaction is meant to be very simple and playful, hence the major scale. It would be much more difficult for someone to walk up and have fun with a chromatic scale. Like any instrument, one would have to spend a lot of time to make a composition worth listening to and this is just a demo of the sonic abilities/responsiveness.”

There is also a report by Stuart Mitchell from 2011, where he talks about translating DNA into music; “…As the tape passes through the head of the recorder it is ‘read’ and converted into music or other sounds. Thus magnetic markings are ‘translated’ into notes.

When a ‘tape’ of mRNA passes through the ‘playing head’ of a ribosome, the ‘notes’ which are produced are amino acids, and the ‘pieces of music’ which they make up are proteins. Thus DNA as the base code provides the structural framework, thus the notes of amino acids are formed into are proteins or ‘pieces of music’.”

[Douglas Hofstadter. Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.(New York: Vintage Books Edition,(1980)]

He states that just as music is simply defined as “the organisation of sound into a definable audible expression”, DNA works in the same method; as DNA utilizes sound and vibration as a tool for building proteins into cells then into whole beings. The whole idea apparently begins with a Dr. Susumu Ohno, who wrote about connecting the DNA code into a music composition; as it turns out DNA and Sound are just another translation of language.