On Fashion Runways and Live Shows, Dynamic Visuals from Chile [Featured Work]

Fashion venues in general offer a new opportunity for live visual performance to thrive – even when its growth has sometimes been stunted by over-reliance on clients in clubland and the corporate world. So, it’s fitting that the favorite portfolio example from this week’s featured work comes to us by way of the runway. There, color and texture can dance across surfaces in ways that make light itself an extension of fashion. The example is labeled “projection mapping,” but it’s relatively recta-linear; it’s the content that comes to the fore. Diego Salinas is a visual artist from Telefunken Studio, a …

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Cut From a Different Cloth: Threads and Circuits at MusicMakers Hacklab CTM [Video, Gallery, Pt. 2]

So much is possible when we just open up the materials of musical invention to a range of people – and those materials can be cloth, circuits, acoustic, electronic, light, sound. I was reminded of that yet again last week, thanks to an amazing group of artists, developers, facilitators, and organizers. I’m still recovering – in a good way – from five days last week filled with people sewing and soldering, wearable interfaces and constructed projection-mapped kinetic sculptures and new digital instruments. Native Instruments and Ableton took us inside their development process – and provided hardware, pretzels, pastries, and Club-Mate. …

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Electronic Body Music: Organ Alpha a Sonic Installation That Makes You Into Sound

In an extended fancy on the sounds inside the body “Organ Alpha” is a kind of responsive musical instrument that transforms human input into surround-sound audio. Your body speaks, it listens, and it answers. Sensors watch for movement inside a virtual stomach, as stethoscopes dangle, inviting input. Watch for the kid’s reaction in the video. The project is the work of Israeli-born, UK-based media artist Avi Ashkenazi and Scottish textile designer Marion Lean, for their MA at Goldsmiths. I think it’s worth posting as part of an ongoing series of works that use biological interaction as the basis for music, …

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Animated GIFs, From Ancient Internet History to Modern Digital Fashion

It’s more than nostalgia or retro charm. Somehow, as we reflect on early digital creations through modern filters, we see something oddly new. And so it is with the animated GIF. In an unusually-frenetic video from the USA’s viewer-supported public broadcaster, PBS, you can trace the animated GIF from its early history through some surprisingly-fresh experiments with the medium today. In those short, flickering images, a new kind of stuttering movement emerges. It’s informed, too, by VJ culture and club visuals, by rapid-fire experimental editing, by the interplay in digital realms between the still photograph and the video. I watched …

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Wear Your Visuals: Aurora Dress Sparkles with Swarovski, LEDs

If you were lucky enough to gaze into the northern skies above Earth last week, you might have seen a spectacular light show, as a solar storm bombarded the planet’s atmosphere and lit up the Aurora Borealis. A humble digital reflection of that phenomenon, the Aurora Dress brings sparkling, colored effects in LEDs to something one person can wear. And as live and interactive visuals explore worlds beyond rectangles with techniques like projection mapping, here you glimpse a future in which you can don your electronic imagery as fashion. The work of London-based wearable tech experts CuteCircuit, the Aurora Dress …

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Beatboxing, Crowd-funded Wearable Open Source Beatjazz: Onyx’s Transformation Continues

When we last saw Onyx Ashanti, he was speaking of a grand vision to remake himself into a music-performing Tron. Now, the elements of that vision are coming together, with a crowd-sourced funding campaign that ends today, Friday. Update: Apparently after seeing this story, IndieGogo extended the funding deadline for five days, with the new deadline Thursday, December 1. I knew Onyx back when he was playing more conventional wind controllers. Now, that fingering arrangement is freed from the virtual wind instrument, handheld and movable through space. Because of the plans to open source everything he’s making, you might yourself …

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Wearables: CuteCircuit Turns Katy Perry into Interactive Digital Scenography; Fashion Visualists

Making Katy Perry extraterrestrial, the work of CuteCircuit. Photo by KatyPix.com Digital visual effects need not be limited to projection. CuteCircuit have been one of a select handful of designers pushing the envelope with wearables. Here, Katy Perry becomes their celebrity canvas, in what I expect will be one of the only-ever appearances of American Idol on CDM. The actual costume design, though, is fantastic. Thousands of interactive LEDs are a digital mirror to the countless sparkling Swarovski crystals that festoon the garment, with UK-based sculptor Yasemen Hussein adding her striking Baroque extraterrestrial forms. (She’s not a digital artist, but …

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Brazilian Rhythms Meet Wireless, Wearable Drums in an Artist-Engineer Collaboration

Music made by machines need not turn its back on traditional musical skill – least of all when you literally strap the machines on the back of a master musician. In a fusion of Brazilian tradition and modern wireless, wearable sensor technology, Kyle McDonald shares with us a project that makes drums into an interactive suit. Kyle has plenty to say, including all the details on how to do this in case it inspires a project of your own, so I’ll let him take it away: The project is a wireless drum suit that I built with Lucas Werthein for …

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Onyx Wants to Make Himself Into Helmeted, Wearable-Music-Tech Tron, With Your Help

A helmet and hand units make up the TRON performance system for a style of music artist Onyx Ashanti calls “beatjazz.” And he’s well on his way to making a reality. All images courtesy the artist. Onyx Ashanti is insane – in the special, essential way that makes certain brilliant musicians. An experienced busker, having crossed from the US to Berlin, he’s a rare virtuoso of wind instruments and electronic improvisation, the kind of musically-free soul who can just let loose live. But his latest project really crosses into some new territory. He’s making himself into Tron. No, really – …

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A CDM Holiday Gift Guide: Musical Goodness, All Under $200

Photo (CC-BY) JD Hancock. We users may sometimes gripe, but music technology gives us an impossibly wide variety for which to be thankful. From free (as in beer, as in freedom) to high-end and spendy, from software plug-in to acoustic instrument to solid-state electronics to toy, you’d run out of time and money long before you ran out of exceptional, music-inspiring choices. I think the passion people feel for music is the cause: economics and logic be damned, we’re all glad to make music part of our life, both as makers and consumers. Tools aren’t everything – it can be …

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