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A piano, played by clouds and sky

We can reinvent the instruments we already have; we can try to steer a pathway to something new. Or we can sometimes imagine a known instrument in a new context. This new short film covers a robotic piano that’s got an unusual angle. Using image analysis, those mechanical fingers transpose patterns of cloud and sky onto the keys. This poetic take on cloud gazing comes from media artist David Bowen. It’s a nice take, I think, on sonification, in that it isn’t just about a stream of data that’s abstracted from its source. It’s really as though the drifting clouds …

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The mash-up of an 808 and the US elections no one asked for

I’d wager at this point 100% of you would rather think about drum machines than the American elections. But somewhere, vintage voting machines – they of the hole punch and hanging chads – await retirement. Here, they get a second lease on life. Instead of gloomily voting for Trump or accidentally for Pat Buchanan, they can produce sliced-up audiovisual jams. (Hey, if you’re going to have to watch debate clips ad infinitum, why not turn it into something you can dance to?) Maybe beat box voting machines would be the answer to get Millennials to the polls. So, basically what …

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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 …

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Robots, Mimicking Bees, Cover a Room in a Drawn, Unbroken Line

MIND OUT : PROJECT LONGARM from e on Vimeo. The idea of technology being apart from nature may be entirely backwards. Patterns and logic in code spring from the organic engine of human brains, and can be at their most effective when they mirror the natural world. And so it is that you can cover the walls and floor of an installation using rules that mimic the flight of bees. Call it cross-pollination. Mattias Jones sends his project, and notes that “all code, engineering and music is bespoke for the installation.” Details: Towards the end of 2012, as part of …

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In Black Droplets, the Monochrome LCD Transformed Into Medium

If previous generations worked in paint, now we can work in monochrome LCDs. That’s the message of a beautiful work entitled IRIS, making use of lowly LCD displays to produce a mirror made of dots. The description: IRIS is a unique media canvas with matrix of conventional information display technology – a monochrome LCD. Through the phased opening and closing of circular-segmented black Liquid Crystal, IRIS can create various patterns and control the amount (size) of passing lights. IRIS is an interactive medium for visual simplicity which uses the passage of ambient light, not emission of light itself. Interactive mirrors …

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Dot, a Winner-less Video Game, Sports Spare, Lovely Retro Audiovisual Art

At first glance, the visuals seem mysterious and almost intentionally obscure. Then, as you watch the dance of pixellated artwork in “Dot,” you see moments of strange, lonely beauty. Brazilian-based audiovisual artist and regular reader Henrique Roscoe (aka vj 1mpar) writes us to describe his work: This is an audiovisual performance with synchronized sounds and images, played by a ‘game console’ built and programmed by the artist, and controlled by retro videogame (Nintendo) joysticks. The instrument is completely autonomous and works without the need of a computer, using only a projector and sound system to play its content. All images …

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sktch, with Artist-Created, Generative Brushes, Comes to iPad

sktch is a different kind of art tool for the mobile app age. For starters, it’s the outgrowth of a media outlet: Creative Applications Network, led by London-based architect, technologist, and curator Filip Visnjic, has already become the go-to site for people interested in making apps into art. The application itself embodies some of that idea: rather than attempt to be a generic tool for drawing, sktch is a kind of generative gallery of works, the compilation of interactive brushes built by a selection of artists. And the whole thing is built on the open source OpenFrameworks toolkit, the C++-based …

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On Toys, Music and Visuals, and Code: Thicket’s Creators Talk iOS Artmaking

What could audiovisual art made for tablets look like? Some dismiss the results as “toys.” The creators of Thicket embrace that very role. Thicket, the product of electronic A/V artists Morgan Packard and Joshue Ott, is intended as a kind of immersive distraction, filling the screen of an Apple handheld or iPad with clouds of abstract color and ambient sound. Free of controls or widgets, playing with Thicket is a bit like sticking your hand into a mist, more gently responsive than overtly interactive. It’s also lovely, and – for the moment – free. As an experiment, Josh and Morgan …

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Interactive Art in Your Browser, Mozilla's Open Web Apps Vision, and Your Butt

iOS has proven some of the appeal of on-demand interactive artwork and audiovisual toys. But even the iPad is limited to a 10″ screen; these days, the biggest screen in the house that isn’t a TV is often attached to a computer. (In fact, I regularly run across people who use a large computer monitor as their TV.) App stores are, indeed, spreading like a virus; on Create Digital Music, we contend with some of the challenges posed by Apple’s upcoming Mac App Store. The major obstacle: far from simplifying access to applications, a proliferation of different stores threatens to …

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Interactive Art in Your Browser, Mozilla’s Open Web Apps Vision, and Your Butt

iOS has proven some of the appeal of on-demand interactive artwork and audiovisual toys. But even the iPad is limited to a 10″ screen; these days, the biggest screen in the house that isn’t a TV is often attached to a computer. (In fact, I regularly run across people who use a large computer monitor as their TV.) App stores are, indeed, spreading like a virus; on Create Digital Music, we contend with some of the challenges posed by Apple’s upcoming Mac App Store. The major obstacle: far from simplifying access to applications, a proliferation of different stores threatens to …

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