Author Archive

domeIn the first week of June, I travelled to Montréal with Ghislaine Boddington and Nick Rothwell of body > data > space (bds) to present a new version of our Collective Reality installation. The new version was specially made for SAT (Société des Arts Technologiques) and their amazing four-storey dome, the Satosphere. This is one of the most highly-specced domes in the world, with seamless 360 degree projection and amazing sound.

We presented the installation and some workshops based on it at the amazing IX (Immersion eXperience) event, which explores VR, AR, immersive environments, spatial audio – next-level stuff. This year’s theme was’Embodied Spaces’, and Ghislaine gave the keynote, on physical presence in VR, strongly related to Collective Reality and other bds projects.

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arnolfiniWe’ve been working further on our VR experiments based on the danceroom Spectroscopy molecular simulation. This time we had another week-long residency at the Arnolfini in Bristol. We developed the multi-user simulation further, and also incorporated various types of sensors – breath, heartbeat and movement.

These workshops were led by choreographer Lisa-May Thomas, and one of her aims here is to counteract the disembodied nature of VR and bring in the whole body, and to help people interacting physically in a way that VR usually discourages. The residency was followed by two work-in-progress showings, at The Edge in Bath and in London’s Science Museum Lates. We’ll keep going on this one, for sure..

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laserFollowing on from my experiments producing Lissajous patterns using analogue signals on oscilloscopes and my beloved MB Vectrex, I’ve gone for the logical progression and started mucking about with lasers!

The International Laser Display Association (ILDA) connection standard is completely analogue, and the strength of the RGB signals and the movement of the galvanometer mirrors that move them around can be driven directly with analogue signals.

After much research (and a few false starts) I’ve bought a decent hand-built laser from Brightlight Laser Equipment in the Netherlands, and cobbled together my own basic ILDA interface. The signals are produced by the Eurorack modular and Max/MSP.

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barbican

January saw the start of a new project – always a good way to kick of the year! I’ve been working with a team of people which is broadly the same as involved in the danceroom Spectroscopy project (but with a few new faces). Key collaborators for me are physicist Dave Glowacki, choreographer Lisa May Thomas, software artist Phill Tew and music technologist Tom Mitchell, but this time we’ve been joined by artist Gemma Anderson, machine learning expert Robert Arbon and programmer Mike O’Connor amongst others.

We were given a week’s residency at the Barbican. The broad aim of the project is to take the molecular simulation into multi-user VR – here you can see two people (we got three working) interacting with the same complex molecule. Exciting stuff!

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kevinpiano

For a few months I’ve been working with film-maker Marie Cecile Embleton on her project ‘Colours of Sound’. This is a documentary following three very talented musicians, who also happen to be blind. It explores in particular their relationships with sound and music. My involvement has been primarily around Victoria Oruwari, who has synaesthesia and sees colourful visions when she sings. My challenge has been to try to represent this for a sequence in the film – I only have her descriptions to go on, and she can never tell me if I’ve got it right! On the the 16th October, the team documented Victoria (with pianist Kevin Satizabal, pictured) singing several arias with my visualisations, and staging an intimate concert with her family (some of whom were flown over specially from Nigeria). It was quite an occasion! The film is still in production – more anon.

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Oh dear.. 2015 hasn’t been a very good year for my website, has it? I’ve been meaning to give it a major overhaul, but never quite had the time. Hopefully in 2016!

In the meantime I’ve been keeping myself reasonably busy – danceroom Spectroscopy at Z-Space, San Francisco and at Stanford University in March, the Understanding Visual Music conference in Brasilia in June and the continued proliferation of my modular synthesiser, now an 8-channel digital/analogue hybrid that produces visuals as well as sound (much more on this in the New Year).

The biggest upcoming news is the next iteration of Seeing Sound – the international event I run at Bath Spa for all things audiovisual, which will take place on the 9th/10th April. Check it out!

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mountain2I’ve been ridiculously busy over the end of January and beginning of February, with three premieres over three successive weekends.

The first two were contemporary dance collaborations – on January 31st it was Unfold to Centre with the Yorke Dance Project, part of their new triple-bill with Robert Cohan, Figure Ground. Then I went over to Den Haag to finish off the highly interactive sensor-based Wild Places: Mountain with Roosna and Flak for the Cadance festival, opening on 6th Feb (Külli Roosna, pictured).

And I’ve just got back from Seia, Portugal, and the Dias De Música Electroacústica, where I curated a programme of videomusuc for the Canadian Electroacoustic Community, including my brand new danceroom-Spectroscopy-bending work Cloud Chamber. Phew!

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vectrexPerhaps inevitably, my recent interest in all things analogue has extended into some tentative forays into analogue video synthesis.

My Christmas present was a Gieskes 3TrinsRGB+1C kit, and I whiled a way some of the Christmas holidays building the thing (rather beyond my skill level – I’m amazed it actually works!). My new favourite thing is an 80s MB Vectrex games console which I’ve hacked into an analogue video monitor (thanks to Andrew Duff for help on this). Makes beautiful organic patterns like this and this. (also pictured). In January I made some visualisations for the upcoming album release by Vessels, which will be released soon. I’m also planning to make an all-analogue visual music piece with it. If like me you are planing to make a music piece and happen to get a lot of stress in the process view this in this website where you will find a simple way of fighting stress.

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I’m in Bangalore, India at the moment for the FACETS choreographic forum.  This is a fantastic international meeting point for 16 young choreographers who are supported by an equal number of mentors.  Each of the choreographers is working for two months in Bangalore to present a new work in the Attakkalari India Biennial 2013 at the beginning of February, several of them with music by (or partly by) yours truly.

The choreographers and mentors are an amazing, and amazingly international bunch. The top image shows the mentors (from left to right):  me, Janet Lilly (US), Thomas Dotzler (Sweden), Nicole Seiler (Switzerland), Gideon Obarzanek (Australia), Meryl Tankard (Australia), Ryoya Fudetani (Japan), Horst Muhlberger (Germany), Jayachandran Palazhy (India), Margie Medlin (Australia). Not in picture: Lars Erik H. Bratlie (Norway), Ong Ken Sen (Singapore), Helena Waldmann (Germany), Sankar Ventateswaran (India), Jatin Vidyarthi (India).

In the bottom image are the choreographers.  From left to right: Deepak Kurki Shivaswarmy (India), Santhosh VS (India), Airi Suzuki (Japan), Paula Rechtman (Mexico), Yola Yulfianti, Isak Immanuel (US), Jade Dewi Tungal Tyas (Australia/Java), Inbal Oshmam (Israel), Aguibou Bougobali (Burkina Faso), Yeon-Woo Na (South Korea), Anoushka Kurien (India). Not in picture: Kristina Soetorp (Norway), Leandro Kees (Germany), Rianto (Indonesia), Surjit Nongmeikapam, Choi Ka Fai (Singapore).

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fischbookIt’s been a brilliant year for pioneering abstract film-maker Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967), with major exhibitions of his work across Europe and the US.  I’m delighted because I think he’s a wonderful and somewhat neglected artist (although that seems to be changing very quickly).  I’m also happy for more selfish reasons – I’ve been researching his work for the last two years, so this all seems very timely.  I’d like to particularly recommend two ongoing exhibitions – the AMAZING multiscreen piece Raumlichtkunst (from 1926!) at Tate Modern and the Oskar Fischinger retrospective at the very shiny new EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam. The former is on until May 2013, the latter until March. Accompanying the EYE exhibition is this rather beautiful and very useful book, with two essays of mine in, which I’m very excited about.  It’s currently only available direct from EYE or to CVM members, but will be distributed by Thames and Hudson early in the New Year.

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