How Gloves and Wearable Tech Could Change Music Performance: In Depth with Imogen Heap and Team

In fits and starts, musical interface inventors have tried for decades to make manipulating digital music more expressive. But that persistence comes out of a clear goal post. They want the machine’s seemingly-endlessly possibilities to fit the human like a glove. Imogen Heap is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of electronic musical performance, always making it seem as effortless as her songwriting and stage presence. For the Gloves Project, she assembled a super-team of wearable experts, interaction designers, and music researchers, several doctorates between them. This who’s-who have finally unveiled a project they’re ready to make public, and the …

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A Building-Sized Net as Canvas, Overlaid with Light Paintings from Mobile Phones

“Interactive architecture” has long been a phrase, a future echo – something coming – but it’s been tough to say what it would look like when it arrived. In the collaboration of Janet Echelman and Aaron Koblin this month, we see one form it might take. Koblin and Echelman joined forces to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the TED Conference in Vancouver, in a massive 300-foot literal web (and Web) hung high above the water. Koblin is the well-known digital artist, now at Google, but the material of the work is rooted partly in old-world technique. Echelman – here sponsored …

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fl9riff

Wearable Visuals: Little Boots' Dynamic LED Dress, Like Tenori-On Fashion

Digital fashion is beginning to spread. The latest evidence is the dazzling light-up dress for Little Boots, a “Cyber Cinderella” garment that transforms into a blaze of colored LEDs during the encore of her current tour. The Creators Project (VICE) has a short documentary film on the process. Little Boots, an early adopter of the Yamaha/Toshio Iwai Tenori-On grid instrument, here demonstrates that the costume can be an extension of that matrix of lights. (Your next challenge: a wearable monome.) What’s significant about the designer in this case, New York-based Michelle Wu, is partly that she isn’t one of the …

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fl9riff

Wearable Visuals: Little Boots’ Dynamic LED Dress, Like Tenori-On Fashion

Digital fashion is beginning to spread. The latest evidence is the dazzling light-up dress for Little Boots, a “Cyber Cinderella” garment that transforms into a blaze of colored LEDs during the encore of her current tour. The Creators Project (VICE) has a short documentary film on the process. Little Boots, an early adopter of the Yamaha/Toshio Iwai Tenori-On grid instrument, here demonstrates that the costume can be an extension of that matrix of lights. (Your next challenge: a wearable monome.) What’s significant about the designer in this case, New York-based Michelle Wu, is partly that she isn’t one of the …

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Sound of Threads: Music Extended Onto Strands of Icelandic Wool [AV Installations]

Sound of Threads from Bertrand Lanthiez on Vimeo. Satisfying multiple senses at once, Paris-based artist Bertrand Lanthiez shares his “Sound of Threads.” It’s a pair of audiovisual installations – and beautiful music – that combines musical elements with frail beams of light across webs of wool and dangling pieces of cloth. The interaction is simple triggering, but the result transforms his delicate sounds into a textile, material reality. And the music holds up on its own, too – a rarity, to have music from an installation that can also be self-contained.

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hopecover

Hope: In Piano Gestures and Glitches, a Gorgeous Free Compilation from Japan

kaiwa; from mitsuru shimizu on Vimeo. Quietly melancholic piano gestures and reversed piano hammer strokes collide like waves against glitch-infused rhythms in hope3.0, the output of elementperspective. The “sound & design label” from Osaka weaves together a diverse group of promising Japanese artists, showing in many cases sonic maturity that belies their young average age. The balance between minimal, glittering piano prettiness and raw, digital rhythms is perfectly on evidence in the music video at top, for Mitsuru Shimizu’s triumphant “kaiwa;” – a real highlight of the set. The photographer and self-described “sound proposer” produces visuals and sounds alike here. …

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Glitch: Exquisite Textiles, Made from a Circuit-Bent Point-and-Shoot Camera

As winter’s chill sets in, any self-respecting lover of digital visual distortions will no doubt be curling under the protective warmth of a glitch blanket. New York-based artist Phillip David Stearns, himself a kind of guru of glitch, has produced detailed, organic patterns spun out of camera hacks. Via machine knitting and weaving, complex, non-repeating patterns from the cameras produce landscapes of color. While produced by machine malfunction, the results seem strangely natural, cascades of interwoven hues sweeping through the cloth. Stearns, for his part, describes the results as ironic, “a platform for fashioning corrupted memory,” but I think that …

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chronome

Chronome: A monome-inspired Grid, with Color and Pressure Senstivity

Chronome Prototype from FlipMu on Vimeo. The monome is defined as much by what it isn’t as what it is: it’s monochromatic, it uses only on/off binary buttons, and that’s part of its beauty. But what if it weren’t that? What if a monome could do color, and velocity sensitivity? As both engineering problem and design inquiry, that question holds some intrigue. Owen Vallis, who with Jordan Hochenbaum makes up the digital duo FlipMu, shares the Chronome prototype. Like the Arduinome before it, it re-conceives the monome’s brain around the open-source Arduino microcontroller platform – now in the form of …

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Musical Sewing Machines, Electronic Honky-Tonk, and Handmade Music NYC Monday

Sewing together music: designer and techno-textile artist Lara Grant constructs music with a modded sewing machine and Max. Lara is one of the artists playing Handmade Music in New York next week; stay tuned here for more behind the scenes of what those folks are doing. Photo (CC-BY-SA) See-ming Lee. Before evolutionary adaptation comes mutation. Some of the weirdest stuff, in other words, could be the future – just ask biology. That was the conversation I had with folks like artist Rosa Menkman in Old Amsterdam (the one in Holland). So, as we gather back in New Amsterdam (NYC), we …

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