The Harmonic Center of the Universe from Jesse Stiles on Vimeo.

This beautiful, meditative installation of choreographed lights and sound, by way of Rucyl and Saturn Never Sleeps, is the creation of Chris Harvey, Olivia Robinson, & Jesse Stiles. The Harmonic Center of the Universe evidently narrowly escaped destruction last year during a thunderstorm, but perhaps Art is as much repair as it is creation.

Artist Jesse Stiles specializes in such light shows. There’s a clear connection to the polytropes of Iannis Xenakis, with its own cascades of choreographed light – a reminder that lights can still have a place, even in an age of projection. He also writes experimental pop songs and does sound and music for IMAX films. (Yeah, Jesse, you’re someone we need to meet.)

Along similar lines, we saw the gorgeous balloon and music collaboration of Robert Henke and Christopher Bauder, ATOM, last year in Montreal. What strikes me about all these works it that the lit object and sound appear to fuse to an extent that these become either musical sculptures or a kind of sequencer in physical space. It’s remarkable that the digital can make musical structure more virtual, more invisible, or more physical – almost without consideration one way or another.

  • I love Jesse's stuff because it's so listenable. I could sit in that space for a long time. He just did the soundtrack for an experimental game, "Every Day The Same Dream", which has a 45 second loop I enjoyed for a good 12 minutes.

    I think it's interesting that this piece as an installation (i.e., being physically exhibited somewhere) isn't mentioned. It's almost like it's disembodied, existing purely as documentation.

    This also explains some of the inspiration for a piece that's installed here in Troy at RPI right now: "White Light" by Pete Edward (Casper Electronics). It just opened last Friday, but there is already some build documentation online. It's based around three drone synthesis stations that drive the RGB components of a massive diffuse white orb hanging in the center of the room.

  • basics

    'It’s remarkable that the digital can make musical structure more virtual, more invisible, or more physical – almost without consideration one way or another.'

    What is often left out of this wide structural range is the question feeling, grounded in reality.

    The price of infinite choice is a thinning of the feeling of reality.

    Laptop as mousetrap for the actual.

    Eventually, it begins to matter.

  • @basics: musical thought has always offered infinite choice. And, um, musicians have sometimes had a thinning sense of reality (as long as that'ts the only thing that's thinning, I'm pretty happy)

  • Well put, Kyle. All three of the artists have a very approachable aspect to their work which, to me, proves that approachable != dumb, and experimental does not exclude fun and a sense of humor. I wish I could see this in person, as well as Pete's piece.

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