Art from code - Generator.x
Generator.x is a conference and exhibition examining the current role of software and generative strategies in art and design. [Read more...]
 
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5 Days Off MEDIA: Frozen - Sound sculptures

Fischer & Maus: Reflection, Widrig & Booshan: Binaural

5 Days Off MEDIA: Frozen
Wed 2 through Sat 26 July 2008
Melkweg Mediaroom & Paradiso, Amsterdam

Frozen (part of the 5 Days Off MEDIA festival) is an exhibition of experiments in the representation of sound in media beyond the auditory. It examines the sound signal as a virtual space, presenting possible mappings that visualize or interpret the structures contained within the soundwaves.

Frozen was proposed and commissioned by Jan Hiddink and the 5 Days Off MEDIA festival in Amsterdam, and consists exclusively of original work. It was conceived with Generator.x 2.0 as a conceptual reference (all four artists in the show were also involved in Generator.x 2.0), but with a clearly defined focus: The representation of sound as spatial structures, realized as physical objects through the use of digital fabrication technologies.

For more information, see the documentation in the Frozen Flickr set, Leander Herzog’s FFT set or the blog posts by Benjamin Maus and Andreas Nicolas Fischer.

Frozen: Sound as space
5 Days Off MEDIA: Frozen - Sound sculptures - Herzog, Watz

Leander Herzog: Untitled / Marius Watz: Sound memory (Oslo Rain Manifesto)

Over the past years, there has been an enormous development in the field of live-presented audio-visual performance art. Owing to digital techniques, image and sound are connected in a way that was previously unthinkable. Frozen is headed in the opposite direction. Frozen pulls the plug and presents audio art, prints, and sculptures as independent, but interconnected works of art.

In the Mediaroom at the Melkweg multi-channel sound pieces can be experienced over an advanced speaker setup, accompanied by sound in a "frozen" form: Images and sculptural objects made using sound as input. These artworks use audio analysis and custom software processes to extract meaningful data from the sound signal, creating a mapping between audio and other media. Frozen will feature digital prints as well as four "sound sculptures" created using digital fabrication technology such as rapid prototyping, CNC and laser cutting, which allow for the direct translation of a digital model into physical form.

Frozen arose in collaboration with the Norwegian artist and curator Marius Watz, whose Generator.x project investigates the implications of generative systems and computational models of creation. The recent exhibition Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the Screen brought together artists and architects to explore the potential of this new mode of creation.

‘Audio sculptures’ will be on display by Andreas Nicolas Fischer (DE) & Benjamin Maus (DE), Leander Herzog (CH), Marius Watz (NO) and Daniel Widrig & Shajay Booshan (UK). These sculptures are based on audioworks by Freiband (Nl, Frans de Waard), and Alexander Rishaug (No).

Frozen is presented in the Melkweg Mediaroom and at Paradiso.

5 Days Off MEDIA is part of the 5 Days Off festival for electronic music from Wed 2 through July 6. 5 Days Off MEDIA presents three themes: Crosswire, Frozen and Roots. Locations: Melkweg, Paradiso, Dutch Institute for Media Art and Heineken Music Hall.

 

Paul Prudence: Talysis live in Venice (see also pt. #1 and #2)

Paul Prudence is known as the author of the excellent Dataisnature, but also increasingly for his impressive output of generative artworks. Having migrated from Flash to the more powerful VVVV, he’s now focusing on audio-responsive generative systems that evoke organic 3D spaces. A good example of his work is Talysis, shown above in live performance during the "Tomorrow Now" event at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice, Italy last year.

Talysis mimics analog video feedback systems, recursively transforming a geometric form through a series of render passes until a crystalline form emerges. The patterns produced seem unstable, constantly about to morph into new configurations. The strict symmetry evokes a sense of folding and unfolding movement, as though one was watches fragments of a 4-dimensional form projecting into Cartesian space.

Be sure to read Paul’s own post about feedback: Chaotic fingerprints and space-time labyrinths. There is also a clip #1 and #2.

 

Brandon Morse: Procedural animation

The stark videos of Brandon Morse present the viewer with excercises in tension, set tableaux in which structures morph and twist under physical constraints. Stripped-down architectural forms that ought to exhibit the rigidity of highrise buildings instead engage in a tug-of-war, the result of a string simulation distributing kinetic force through a network of nodes.

Morse seems to delight in setting up scenarios where seemingly ordered constructs rapidly degenerate under the influence of virtual force, which can only be observed through the dramatic effects it exerts. The end result is a state of irrecoverable chaos, brought about by causal simulated chain of action and reaction.

Unlike software-based generative artworks that exhibit endless timelines, Morse’s videos (created in the high-end animation package Houdini) display a clear dramaturgy. But rather than being a side effect of their status as “canned” video, the presence of an explicit beginning and end is here part and parcel of the work’s logic, reinforcing the movement towards the inevitable.

Favorite setups include explosions and collapses, dryly observed through an impartial camera that merely records the inevitable. Work titles like Cumulus_1 and Big Bang refer to physical simulations. Others, like Preparing for the inevitable (a particle system tornado bearing down on a wireframe house), are more explicitly apocalyptic. But while the implication of doom is clear, the image is deliberately kept abstract and artificial. Lacking a focus for projected empathy, the viewer is left with the sense of observing a scientific experiment, a computer-generated Armageddon minus the carnage.

Brandon Morse is represented by Conner Contemporary. For more examples of his work, visit his site Coplanar.org.

The video shown above was posted on Morse’s Flickr stream as a test of the new Video on Flickr feature. Hopefully more videos will start appearing on the Generator.x Flickr pool as a result, although the Generator.x channel on Vimeo is still our official choice for posting animated work.

 
Generator.x 2.0: Disassembled / Theverymany: Aperiodic Vertebrae

Generator.x 2.0: Disassembled / Theverymany: Aperiodic_Vertebrae

Saturday was the last day of the Generator.x 2.0 exhibition at [DAM]Berlin. The occasion was marked with an informal curator talk, followed by Q+A. The 1-month show has had a great reception, proving popular both with the Transmediale crowd and the general art viewing public. While it’s always nice to reach with a community of one’s peers, reaching “regular people” is extra satisfying.

A slightly less enjoyable task was the disassembly of the exhibition in preparation for shipping. It is always bittersweet moment to see an exhibition disassembled and stuck in the back of an old Toyota Corrolla. See the following image to get an impression of this anti-climactic view.

Thankfully, any sadness was alleviated by knowing that 24 hours after being packed into this car, the works arrived safely in Turin, Italy to be part of the SHARE Festival. Bruce Sterling is the guest curator of this year’s festival, the theme of which is “Manufacturing”. After Bruce attended to the opening of Generator.x 2.0 we started discussing the possibility of taking the show to SHARE, a plan that will come to fruition tomorrow when the exhibition re-opens in Turin.

Fabbing workshop at HyperWerk

Works from fabbing workshop at HyperWerk, Basel

A few of the pieces from Berlin won’t be on display in Turin, for instance Aperiodic_Vertebrae by Theverymany aka Marc Fornes and Skylar Tibbits. This ambitious installation turned out to be too complex for the show at [DAM]Berlin, and so we sadly had to display a creative deconstruction of the intricate polygon structure instead of the cantilever bridge-like form it was meant to be. But now there is the exciting news that Skylar and Marc are producing a reworked and more stable version for NODE08 in Frankfurt. We look forward to seeing documentation of it fully built.

A few pieces have been also been added, the results of a fabbing workshop at HyperWerk that followed on the heels of the Berlin workshop and featured some of the same people. Martin Fuchs has provided some intriguing polygon forms in paper and cardboard that he didn’t have time to finish in Berlin, and Leander Herzog has produced a selection of plastic branching structures that point towards an organic exploration of plastic as material.

The big list of Thank you!

As the project now finally winds down, we wish to express our gratitude to everybody who contributed to making Generator.x 2.0 such a great even, in particular the following:

  • Club Transmediale, in particular the curators Jan Rohlf and Oliver Baurhenn who gave the project the green light and supported it wonderfully through its various phases.
  • Anke Eckardt, for being an excellent producer both for the workshop and for the concert evening.
  • [DAM]Berlin and Wolf Lieser, for providing the gallery space and much-needed help in turning a big mess into a presentable exhibition in the space of a single afternoon.
  • The Ballhaus Naunynstrasse and its crew, for providing everything from technical support to much-needed coffee.
  • Lasern and Martin Bauer, for making it possible to have a laser cutter on site, and for helping out with laser know-how.
  • HyperWerk Institute for Postindustrial Design, for fabbing support and for contributing a quota of skilled students.
  • The Office For Contemporary Art Norway for supporting the project financially.
  • Bruce Sterling and Luca Barbeni of the SHARE Festival, for taking the show to Italy and showing it to a new audience.

Finally, we wish to thank all the participants for their enthusiasm and generous sharing of skills during the workshop. It was a pleasure to work with you. We can only hope that Generator.x 2.0 will result in new networks being formed, with interesting projects as a result.

 

NODE08 is a new festival for digital art set to to take place in Frankfurt April 5-12. The near-final programme is now out, and it is shaping up to be a powerful event indeed. While the topic is realtime art in general, the event is loosely based around the VVVV tool, making it the first VVVV-centric festival ever. With a full week of workshops, exhibits, concerts and live visuals, it should be a treat not just for VVVV aficionados, but for anyone interested in digital art.

The lecture program yields heavy-hitting names like Casey Reas, Herbert W. Franke, Paul Prudence, Verena Kuni, Theverymany and Berthold Scharrer. The many workshops will feature hands-on topics like “vvvv for Beginners”, “Shader Programming” and “Microcontroller And Sensor Handling”. Not all the workshops are about VVVV, for instance Casey Reas will give a tutorial on printing-related strategies using Processing. In any case there should be plenty of practical input to take home.

On the performance side of things generative VJs like Onoxo, Desaxismundi and Elektromeier promise to make the evening events interesting. The ever-present VVVV guru David Dessens aka Sanch will be performing under the new project “VA” with Nushitzu.

NODE08 is part of the Luminale light art festival, which will feature works by NODE08 participants. Have a look at the NODE08 web site for details on the programme as well as ticket booking. It’s guaranteed to be an event worth catching.

Clarification regard VVVV: Joreg from the VVVV group has asked us to clarify that VVVV is no longer produced by Meso, but rather by a group of 4 developers known as the “VVVV group” (two of whom work at Meso). This is a change from the early days when VVVV was maintained directly by Meso.

As a total malapropos, Meso has one of the best company mottos we’ve seen in a while: “Unimpressed by technology since 1982″.

 

This evening will see the second part of the public presentations of Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the Screen. While the focus is architecture, the speakers will come at the topic from very different angles, with more focus on virtual environments and parametric form than on housing units and retail space.

Presentations are 19:00-21:00 at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Naunynstrasse 27.

  • Aram Bartholl [DE]
  • Tim Schork – Mesne [DE / AUS]
  • David Dessens [FR]
  • Skylar Tibbits – Theverymany [US]

» Aram Bartholl [DE] trained as an architect, but has since turned his attention towards the intersection of physical and virtual space. Works such as Chat and WoW translate elements of computer culture into literal physical manifestations, enforcing their quality as cultural artifacts while challenging our acceptance of them.

» Tim Schork [DE / AUS] is an architect who explores digital tools within generative design processes, with an emphasis on fabrication and making. One half of experimental studio Mesne, Schork also lectures at RMIT University in Melbourne while pursuing PhD research that examines computational models in architecture.

» David Dessens [FR] has quickly become an inspiration within the VVVV community, known for his dynamic forms and strong graphic style. He will show his realtime performance systems at the Club Transmediale in concert with Fabian Lamar, as well as doing a VJ set.

» Skylar Tibbits [US] is one part of Theverymany, an architectural collective formed by Marc Fornes to explore “protocols of precise indetermination”. Together, they curated the recent Scriptedbypurpose exhibition, an important survey of the current trend of computational architecture. Theverymany is also taking part in the Generator.x 2.0 exhibition with Aperiodic_Vertebrae, a new installation composed of nearly 500 elements.

 

The Generator.x 2.0 workshop is now well underway, with participants starting to get to grips with the laser cutter and CNC mill. To give an idea of what we’re working on we’ve set up a project blog as well a Flickr group specifically for the workshop. Expect to see some early results in the next few days.

The first evening of public presentations saw plenty of Berliners turning up in numbers to hear some very interesting talks. Boris Müller gave an introduction to thinking computationally about design issues, exemplified by his series of projects for Poetry on the Road. A high point was his response to criticism of the 2006 edition, which used poems as datasets to create intricate graphs:

“Creating beutiful [sic] images to impress people is relatively easy, while making visualizations to explore, enable profound insights, and see the invisible, is extremely harder and requires a lot more devotion than this.” – Enrico Bertini

Besides the questionable truthfulness of the notion that creating beautiful images is easy, this criticism misses the point. The intention of Boris’ piece was never to “enable profound insights”, but to provide a visual context for the poetry festival. While his beautiful graphs do in fact constitute decodable data, that fact is all but incidental to their real function: To be visual poetry.

Eno Henze / Satoru Sugihara

Morphosis: Phare Tower / Eno Henze: The Human Factor

Satoru Sugihara presented his computational design work for Morphosis, in particular the Phare Tower in Paris. A 300 meter high skyscraper scheduled to be completed by 2012, Phare Tower will dwarf the nearby Arche de La Défense. Sugihara worked on optimizing the building’s window grid using physical models, taking both cost of construction and energy efficiency into account. The “skin” of the building includes metal plates placed at computed locations and angles, in order to reflect sunshine as well as produce a signature facade pattern.

Last presenter out was Eno Henze [DE], a generative artist whose ambivalence towards the use of computers only serves to give his work a greater depth. While his high-end interaction design for Meso is impressive, his work with spatialized computer drawings like Wirklichkeitsschaum and The Human Factor show a conceptual depth combined with a great attention to formal composition.

The second round of presentations tomorrow Monday should be a worthy followup, featuring Aram Bartholl, Tim Schork, David Dessens and Skylar Tibbits.

 

Generator.x 2.0 kicks off this Thursday with an evening of presentations open to the general public. This is the first of two such evenings, bringing the topics of the workshop to a larger audience and providing a discursive track to an otherwise hands-on event.

  • Keynote: Marius Watz [NO]
  • Boris Müller [DE]
  • Satoru Sugihara – Morphosis [JP/US]
  • Eno Henze [DE]

If you are in Berlin we hope to see you at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse!
 

» Marius Watz [NO] is an artist exploring visual abstraction through generative systems, and has recently started using rapid prototyping to translate his forms into physical space. He is the founder of Generator.x as well as a lecturer at the Oslo School of Architecture and the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO).

» Boris Müller [DE] is Professor of Interaction Design at FH Potsdam. Educated at the Royal College of Art in London, he is a veteran of computational designer. His series of works for Poetry on the Road has received multiple awards.

» Satoru Sugihara [JP/US] is a computational designer at the renowned architecture studio Morphosis, having previously worked with Greg Lynn Form and DR_D (Dagmar Richter). Possessing Master degrees in both computer Sscience and architecture, he uses parametric systems to investigate adaptive solutions to spatial problems.

» Eno Henze [DE] explores the duality between computational and human processes, often combining manual labor with generative systems. Dissatisfied with the screen as interface, he is constantly experimenting with innovative modes of presentation.

 

Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the screen is now only a week away, and we’re busy planning the last details. The call for participants was a definitive success, allowing us the privilege of a strong group of candidates to choose from. Participants were selected for the quality of their work as well as for their diverse approaches to digital fabrication. The result is an interesting mix of artists, architects and designers, united by their use of code-based processes, but showing very different strategies and intentions in their work.

For now the Club Transmediale site has the most complete list of Generator.x 2.0 events. In addition to the workshop and exhibition, there will also be two evenings of public presentations. A precise schedule with more details will be published here in the coming days.

Generator.x 2.0 – List of participants
 

CTM.08­ – Unpredictable
Festival for Adventurous Music and Related Visual Arts

Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the Screen
24 Jan -­ 2 Feb 2008, Ballhaus Naunynstrasse / [DAM] Berlin
Workshop / Exhibition / Performance

071127_gx20_lennyjpg.jpg

Leander Herzog: thePhysicalVertexBuffer

Generator.x in collaboration with Club Transmediale and [DAM] presents Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the screen, a workshop and exhibition about digital fabrication and generative systems.

Digital fabrication (also known as “fabbing”) represents the next step in the digital revolution. After years of virtualization, with machines and atoms being replaced by bits and software, we are coming full circle. Digital technologies like rapid prototyping, laser cutting and CNC milling now produce atoms from bits, eliminating many of the limitations of industrial production processes. Once prohibitively expensive, such technologies are becoming increasingly accessible, pointing to a future where mass customization and manufacturing-on-demand may be real alternatives to mass production.

For artists and designers working with generative systems, digital fabrication opens the door to a range of new expressions beyond the limits of virtual space. Parametric models apply computational strategies to the analysis and synthesis of space, producing structures and surfaces of great complexity. Through fabbing these forms may be rendered tangible, even tactile.

"Beyond the screen" explores these new types of spatial constructs in a hands-on workshop, bringing together artists and designers working with code-based strategies for producing physical form. The workshop will feature public presentations bringing the topics of the workshop to a broader audience, culminating in an exhibition of fabbing works at the [DAM] gallery. In a continuation of the Generator.x concert tour, "Beyond the Screen" will also include an evening of concerts, showing the use of generative systems in audiovisual performance.

071127_gx20_jaredtarbell.jpg

Jared Tarbell: Spheroids and cubes

Call for participants

We are looking for 15 artists, designers and architects who have an existing practice based on generative systems and custom software, and who are interested in investigating physical formats through digital fabrication. The workshop will be practical in nature, and will produce a selection of works that will be included in the exhibition at [DAM]. Participants will have access to an on-site laser cutter, and an introduction to this technology will be part of the workshop.

The workshop is free of charge, but we will not be able to provide support for travel or accomodation. Participants are expected to have experience with programming software that will allow them to produce work suitable for production, such as Processing, VVVV or any other system capable of producing vector output. Previous experience with laser cutting or digital fabrication technologies is a bonus, but not a requirement.

Applications must be in PDF format and should including a CV and a short statement of intent, describing why you want to participate in the workshop and how fabbing relates to your existing practice. You should include a maximum of 5 images of relevant work, with a total file size of 2 megabytes. Feel free to provide links to web sites containing documentation such as videos or downloadable software, but please don’t send such content by email.

Please submit applications by email to generatorx [at] clubtransmediale.de. The deadline for application is December 21, 2007, accepted participants will be notified at the beginning of January 2008.

071127_gx20_theverymany.jpg

Theverymany (Fornes / Tibbits): Tesselated panels

Generator.x & Club Transmediale

Generator.x is a platform for generative strategies in art and design, founded in 2005 to produce the conference Generator.x: Art from Code at Atelier Nord in Oslo. Other events have included a travelling exhibition as well as a series of audiovisual concerts. The Generator.x blog promotes code-based work of an experimental nature, bringing a critical discourse to the field of generative art.

Club Transmediale 2008 is the 9th edition of this international festival for adventurous music and realted visual arts, and takes place in Berlin under the theme “Unpredictable” concurrently and cooperatively with the transmediale ­ international festival for art and digital culture. It is a prominent festival dedicated to contemporary electronic, digital and experimental music, as well as the diverse range of artistic activities in the context of sound and club culture.

Characterised by the title Unpredictable, the 2008 festival investigates artistic concepts that imply the surprising and unforeseeable, accidents, mistakes and coincidences as a means to alter the dynamics of creative processes and to discover new aesthetic forms.

[DAM] Berlin has since its opening 2003 been a leader in the field of digital art, showing pioneers of new media as well as emerging contemporary artists.

Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the screen is supported by The Office for Contemporary Art Norway. We also thank our partners: Institut HyperWerk HGK FHNW and Lasern. .