A Delicate Web in White Lasers: Robert Henke’s ‘Fragile Territories’

Mastery of technology need not be an end in itself, a showcase for mechanical sophistication. It can mean finding the point at which you push a medium to be its most expressive. And I suppose that’s why so many can admire the ongoing work of musician and media artist Robert Henke. The lasers in ‘Fragile Territories’ are not the crude, awkward beams you probably know from kitschy planetarium shows. Instead, they form a spidery lace so exquisite, you could imagine them as being part of something crackling with organic life – or the workings of a fanciful undersea electro-luminescent metropolis. …

READ MORE →

A Delicate Web in White Lasers: Robert Henke's 'Fragile Territories'

Mastery of technology need not be an end in itself, a showcase for mechanical sophistication. It can mean finding the point at which you push a medium to be its most expressive. And I suppose that’s why so many can admire the ongoing work of musician and media artist Robert Henke. The lasers in ‘Fragile Territories’ are not the crude, awkward beams you probably know from kitschy planetarium shows. Instead, they form a spidery lace so exquisite, you could imagine them as being part of something crackling with organic life – or the workings of a fanciful undersea electro-luminescent metropolis. …

READ MORE →
Photo courtesy the artist.

One Laser + Hourglass + Circuits = Crazy Gijs Noise Generator

Now, here’s the way to do an analog noise generator oscillator: use grains of sand. As falling sand interrupts the flow of a laser to a light-sensitive sensor (a photodetector), the circuit produces random oscillations of sound. It’s the latest brilliant creation of mad Dutch scientist Gijs Gieskes, the industrial designer-turned-musician whose inventions often center on some physical and mechanical apparatus. Just for good measure, the project is mounted to a clear frame so it can be fit to a Eurorack modular setup. You can try building this yourself; as with all of Gijs’ projects, the circuit is freely available …

READ MORE →

Touching Beams of Light: An Otherworldly Laser Interaction Prototype

Laser interaction prototype from jayson on Vimeo. Interaction design isn’t just input. Output can transform a simple demo into something that seems to bend reality. Melbourne-based artist Jayson Haebich sends over a laser interaction prototype he’s creating. The results seem like science fiction, as though he’s opening jump gates with his fingers. It’s almost exclusively for aesthetic effect, but that sense of light, sound, and space coming together and then being gently pulled apart is more than enough. Technical details: The software used to control the laser was created using OpenFrameworks and C++ by Jayson Haebich and uses an Xbox …

READ MORE →

You Are the Lazor Music Controller: Kinect + LASERS + Ableton + Max/MSP

Matt Davis [namethemachine] is seen here with Microsoft’s Kinect computer vision / 3D camera controller, plus – stealing the show – lasers. The lasers in question are a rig by Henry Strange, which allows computer control of laser direction using the DMX protocol. (DMX is a protocol similar to MIDI – though actually a bit simpler, if you can believe that – generally associated with lighting and show control.) I could say more, but I’ll let you watch the video and ponder. The ingredients: OpenNI, the “natural interface” not-for-profit standards body and organization that allows drivers across multiple hardware (Kinect …

READ MORE →

Crowd-funded Sculpture, Made by Binder Clips, an Inkjet Printer, and a Lasercutter

Softlab are at it again, with a spectacular, generated architectural volume. I was part of a group show with them last year; then, they worked entirely with the lasercutter. In the spring, they did a small work that switched media, making each piece of the installation with an inkjet printer to apply color. (Hey, it’s wildly expensive thanks to ink costs, but simple – and with photo paper, looks gorgeous.) Now, they’ve put the two together: it’s a large volume, playing with interior and exterior form, it uses the inkjet-printed cards, and it’s held together with binder clips. It’s installed …

READ MORE →

Recalling the Glories of LaserDisc, in 1984 Devo Promo, and the Power of the Past

As a consumer market fails to embrace Blu-Ray and audiovisual options become more complex, if only we had Devo and Ray Charles to guide us through our purchasing decisions. (Alternatively, we could have the folks at Best Buy dress up in Devo’s creepy eyeball masks, but maybe that’s cruel.) Devo Demonstrates LaserDisc – 1984 [Retro Thing] Watching the video, aside from waves of nostalgia, you may mutter to yourself, “you know, Devo have a point.” Fidelity was substantially better on LaserDisc. Recently, on the audio side, audiophiles have lamented the slow forward (or arguably backward) progress of sound. In a …

READ MORE →

LA, Live, Lasers: Ableton Sessions, and a CDM Party Sunday Night in Hollywood

Daedelus joins me for a discussion on performance controllers, as part of an artist lineup ranging from dub pioneer Scientist to beatbox legend Kid Beyond and… a lot of other folks, too. Photo (CC) musiclikedirt. It’s music production. It’s … lasers. If you’re in the LA area, you’ll want to be there. If not, let us know in comments what you most want to see covered / interviewed / videoed for CDM. DubSpot’s Live 8 Sessions Tour heads to Los Angeles this weekend, for a set of workshops, performances, and demos on Hollywood Boulevard. I’ll be out with the crew, …

READ MORE →

Laser Caves, Light Beams Through Architecture, and Suryummy’s Yumminess

Laser Cave Prototype from Suryummy on Vimeo. It’s a testament to the power of digital visuals that flat, 4:3 or 16:9 rectangles can be endlessly fascinating — just as some of the greatest music records of all time were produced in mono. But part of the reason why resources like the Video Projection Tool excite us is that visuals can move from the two-dimensional plane to the three-dimensional surface, from painting and film to sculpture and architecture. Or, to explain why this is all so cool in just two words: LASER CAVE. The visuals are built in favorite semi-modular, Mac-only …

READ MORE →

Laser Caves, Light Beams Through Architecture, and Suryummy's Yumminess

Laser Cave Prototype from Suryummy on Vimeo. It’s a testament to the power of digital visuals that flat, 4:3 or 16:9 rectangles can be endlessly fascinating — just as some of the greatest music records of all time were produced in mono. But part of the reason why resources like the Video Projection Tool excite us is that visuals can move from the two-dimensional plane to the three-dimensional surface, from painting and film to sculpture and architecture. Or, to explain why this is all so cool in just two words: LASER CAVE. The visuals are built in favorite semi-modular, Mac-only …

READ MORE →