With ‘This Exquisite Forest,’ Animations That Evolve, Collaboratively

With all this talk about the future of art being in browser windows and such, you might forget to ask the question – why? What will it actually look like? Artist Aaron Koblin has been, perhaps more than any one artist, someone who has pondered what form art made by online crowds might take. His work has often revolved around data – the trails left by masses moving in the air, data set of Thom Yorke’s 3D face given to artists. When the crowd is the source of that data, Koblin has uniquely walked the line between optimism and criticism. …


Music in the Browser: A Soundtrack from a Crowd, A Keyboard for a Mouse

Slowly but surely, the web audio API creeps toward being something that’s usable in more than one browser at a time. In the meantime, we get a glimpse of how generative music could be a part of what’s to come. It’s a long way from those horrid, looping audio files that plagued the Web in its heady 1990s adolescence. Today on Create Digital Motion, I look at the aesthetics of crowd-sourcing in work by Aaron Koblin and Chris Milk – and how the view of the significance of the crowd has changed over time. Substitute “music” for “motion,” and you’ll …


Bob Moog’s Birthday: Learn Synthesis, Benefit Swag, Apps, and a Playable Google Doodle [Videos]

Sound technology pioneer Bob Moog’s birthday is May 23, and just about the whole Web will be in on the celebration. Play Google like a Minimoog: Google’s Doodle, the image you see on their homepage, is one of their best yet: it’s a fully interactive, playable Minimoog synthesizer. You can even record and playback little musical sketches and share with friends. Since the Earth is round, Google Japan gets an early scoop. (Yes, the Moog sun will rise first on the land of Roland, Yamaha, and KORG.) Bonus (for Web nerds): this all uses the Web Audio API, which promises …


Google Maps, Brought to Life, as Human Movement Occupies Digital Space

As ubiquitous in our lives as the digital landscape of sites like Google Maps can be, they’re in some sense private space. They strip our world of human beings (or freeze them in strange, invasive shots taken by roving vans), and put that space in the exclusive hands of private publishers. (Or, at least, one beginning with the letter “g.”) That has helped the groundswell of interest in OpenStreetMaps as an alternative. But looking deeper, we’re reminded of our role in physical and imagined space and what mapping itself can mean. A film by Roel Wouters takes a creative approach …


Clean, Sweet, and Bubbly, SodaSynth in Unexpected Places – Like Chrome Browser Native Client

SodaSynth runs natively in Chrome. With soft synths a dime a dozen, how do you set yourself apart? Defying conventions is a pretty good start, and a team of developers who built the Mixxx open source DJ tool are doing just that. SodaSynth from Oscillicious is a soft synth with a different approach. With no effects and, surprisingly, no filters, SodaSynth is all about the oscillators. But apart from its ready-to-layer sound, the developers are also making their software run in new places: aside from a VST, there’s a version for HP’s defunct TouchPad and, more interestingly, the first major …


Cyber-Illusion: A Digital Magician Unafraid of Revealing Secrets, History, in Google Talk

Cyber-illusionist Marco Tempest speaks in a full length video to the Innovators@Google series at Google’s New York offices. Marco, whose work we’ve followed before, is unique in that his presentation isn’t just a series of visual tricks, however wondrous. He roots his work in the history of magic and illusion, not only technically but as cultural construct. Then, he’s confident enough in his technique to reveal the (often open source) technologies behind the illusions. For me, that makes the effect no less magical; perhaps as a sometimes-coder, it makes it more so. Watch in particular for some wonderful doodle projection …


Les Paul Google Doodle Gives Us… Google Homepage, The Song, by Tim Exile

Electronic musician, vocalist, and inventor Tim Exile is back; while the Google Doodle today of an interactive Les Paul inspired lots of people to invest some time fiddling and hacking, in Tim’s case, it inspired a whole song. And, to my knowledge, it’s the first time the homepage of Google got its own ode. Bet the Googlers didn’t expect this response. All of this serves as a serious reminder: sometimes simple and ubiquitous is good. It also shows the serious value of silliness. Here, here. Previously: Les Paul Google Doodle, Animated – and Scripted with SuperCollider


Les Paul Google Doodle, Animated – and Scripted with SuperCollider

Electric guitar pioneer Les Paul is one of the all-time greats in music instrument invention, so the guy clearly deserves an animated Google Doodle of his creation that you can play. Strum chords, pluck with the mouse, and even record phrases on Google’s homepage. (See video, above.) Since Google Doodles are archived – and since you can look at the code by choosing a View Source feature in your browser – these little novelties also have a life beyond their one day of glory. (Note, you may need to visit the US site if you’re in a part of the …


Androidcontrollerism: Hardware Options on Android, in Detail; Android Player Piano

Adding hardware to tablets, as it has with decades of computing technology, can open up new worlds for software and music. It can animate a conventional piano, or provide new physical interfaces for touching music. But let’s not wait for it to happen; let’s get hacking. Following on today’s line of thinking about hardware-augmented touch, I’d like to look a bit at the recently-transformed landscape on Android. iOS users can connect to external hardware via the Core MIDI protocol or, via official channels, through the Apple Dock Connector. That’s not a perfect situation, however. Hardware developers have to be approved …


Touch, Plus Tactile: In Gaming as in Research, Physical Controls Augment Touchscreens

The gaming industry has made their bet, and it’s that touchscreens go better with tactile controls. Might digital musicians reach the same conclusion? A funny thing has happened on the way to the touch era. The vision of a device like the iPad is minimalist to the extreme: an uninterrupted, impossibly-slim metal slate, as impenetrable as some sort of found alien scifi object. The notion is that by reducing physical controls, the software itself comes to the fore. It’s beautiful conceptually … and then you find yourself tapping and stroking a piece of undifferentiated glass. For navigating interfaces – and …