unrender 2: Visuals as Live Medium, in Installations and Performances, in Berlin [CDM presents]

Electronic and digital visuals are expanding in their expressive potential, as live and real-time instruments, performances, and interactive installations. But the venues and contexts for that work remain understood in terms of narrow, older categories: the gallery and video art, the club and “VJing” – and now, increasingly, via commercial patrons (search engines, trade shows). What happens when clubland and art-land, the design world and the music scene can encounter one another in open spaces? unrender is one humble way we get to try to answer that. Hosted and co-curated as a collaboration of CDM with Lehrter Siebzehn, we work …

READ MORE →
turbo-gusli

Play a Russian Folk Instrument with Your Mind, Or Turn Seashell Patterns, Likes Into Generative Art

::vtol:: “turbo-gusli” demo performance from ::vtol:: on Vimeo. Musical instruments: make a move, get a sound. Or, musical instruments: apply an algorithm, get a sound. Read the tattoos on your arm as a score, turn the black-and-white patterning of a seashell into generated audiovisual artwork, apply brainwaves to a folk instrument and let a robot play it… Such are the mental excursions of one ::vtol::, aka Moscow’s Dmitry Morozov. He’s been busy over the past year or so, wearing robots that interface with tattoos to make music and constructing surround sound umbrellas. And we still have more crazy-science goodness to …

READ MORE →

Watch a Tank Make Sound, as Nik Nowak Makes Weapons, Vehicles for Music

In a world of machine weapons, construction equipment waging destruction, mechanized warfare and economic mayhem, maybe giant sound machines are a friendlier alternative. Nik Novak certainly has a way of giving sound physical being. And ironically, if some of his creations might appear to assault the senses, his own sensibilities came from the frightening experience of sonic trauma. He recasts that assault in machines, but also finds ways of working with sound that get past the damage to his hearing. And far from places of fear, the club – and studio – are refuge. (Or, okay, if that description doesn’t …

READ MORE →

The DIY Display: OSCAR is an Open, Ultra-high-res Screen Controller

It’s about time the maker movement tackled display technology. Enter OSCAR (Open SCreen AdapteR). It’s the sort of super high-resolution 9.7″ LCD panel you’d expect trapped inside something like an iPad, but you can connect it directly to a computer via Arduino. Now, the actual “DIY” bit here is pretty simple: it’s just the interface. But even just having the interface is fairly useful. The display tech itself remains mass-market, mass-produced, but by adding that raw display part to the interface, you can build your own projects – and there are clearly some installation and other DIY projects just waiting …

READ MORE →
submerged

Submerged Turntables, Art Phonographs Underwater, and Life After Records

Submerged Turntable from Brian Lilla on Vimeo. Once upon a time, Romantics dreamt of ruined architecture, rubble and stones on hillsides and whatnot. Today, we imagine ruined technology as our artifacts of culture lost. We don’t need a burning library of Alexandria. We can wait until our machines go out of warranty and go kaput. That subconscious seems to flow in the literally-murky pool of “Submerged Turntables,” an art installation by Evan Holm. But the results are oddly beautiful, making the physical quality of the record enduring. And here’s the upbeat bit: in those dark waters, the record still plays. …

READ MORE →

unrender: Celebrating Visual Expression as Something Live; Online and in Berlin Friday

There’s not a word yet for visuals as event. We know it when we see it. And we know it in other media. With music, there’s no question when something becomes performative, when the human element is something you can’t subtract. But in electronic visuals, in light and image, the awareness of what is emerging in the medium seems latent. The narrow view of VJing and club visuals is dated. And disconnecting those media from generative and interactive work misses an explosive and dynamic new craft. Whether it’s clever work with optical analog and overhead projectors, or a delicately-constructed piece …

READ MORE →

City of Light: A Sparkly, Geometric Wonderland at Barneys, by Joanie Lemercier, All-Star Team

No wooden gingerbread houses and fake snow here. Visualist Joanie Lemercier teamed up with a dream team of artists to transform New York’s Barneys into a shining future fantasy. In Light Fragments, the city that never sleeps hosted the electronic artist from the City of Light, along with some very fine friends. The audiovisual installation took over Barneys’ show windows and a pop-up gallery. In “City,” paper, projection mapping, and 3D animation became an imagined skyline, teaming Joanie with artist Davy McGuire. “Quartz,” with digital rockstar Kyle McDonald, produced a parametric crystalline structure that refracts light into constellations of glowing …

READ MORE →

Simulacra, a Video Installation Revealed Through Magnifying Glasses

It’s easy to forget that all video is illusion, a matter of perspective. In 2013’s Simulacra, Germany-based artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski, images seem to merge directly from light in the eyes of the viewer, pulled from space into being by magnifying glasses suspended from the ceiling. Even an element as basic as focus, then, is game for artistic manipulation. Her materials are basic – think monitors and a splitter. But in this as in her other works, physical materiality is a common theme, playing with mapping and light, but also toying with space and objects. It’s interesting in this case that …

READ MORE →

A Tangled Sculpture of Lightbulbs, Stage to Elaborate Synchronized AV Performance

In a tree-like cluster of wooden branches, 60 electronically-fired lightbulbs glow in tightly-choreographed pulses along with music. The light sculpture becomes the setting for a kind of AV dance theater, forming an otherworldly environment for narrative movement. “A Man Named Zero” is the work of Nocte and a team in the UK of performers, pairing DJ with lightbulb accompaniment. Nocte realized the project in the creative coding tool Cinder (C++), which provides both the lightbulb control and slick-looking wireframe visual interface. Interestingly, the audio analysis isn’t just a straight FFT. Instead, using the open LibXtract library, the software “extracts” audio …

READ MORE →

GRID: Kinetic Lighting, in Massive Array, Form Audiovisual Masterpiece [Bauder + Henke]

GRID – teaser from TETRO on Vimeo. Christopher Bauder (White Void) has built a rich body of work developing the medium of kinetic lighting, sending aloft lit orbs and balloons, in dazzling arrays of moving objects. And some of the best collaborations have been with master electronic composer Robert Henke, not only synchronizing sound but aligning process and pattern in each. GRID, the latest Bauder/Henke work, takes the scale of these investigation to a new peak. Some 150 light bars, each of them a custom-built LED fixture, are hung in a triangular grid and are suspended by motorized winches. Using …

READ MORE →