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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″.


Cimatics 2007: Otolab: Op7

Last week was a good week for live cinema buffs in Belgium, thanks to the fifth edition of Cimatics, the Brussels-based festival for live cinema and AV culture. The main programme featured three evenings of audiovisual performances, with names like Ryoichi Kurokawa, Scott Arford, Jeffers Egan w/ Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit, Synken and many more.

There were also plenty of parallel projects, such as the Cimatics Masterclass for Live A/V and the Cinematic Experience conference on live cinema. For a general idea, take a look at these Flickr links: Cimatics 2007,

One very striking performancewas "Op7", a three-screen piece by Italian audiovisual collective Otolab. A long sequence of forms and structures move slowly but inexorably towards the viewer, giving the sense of a forward motion into an abstract landscape. But if this is a landscape, it is barren and alien, devoid of color. If anything, Op7 is reminiscent of early computer graphics, but in a good way. Stripped of gimmicks, the spaces it presents are monumental, architectural in scope. The 3-screen setup reinforces this sensation, creating a sense of immersion and demanding the viewer’s attention.

Op7 sounds as monumental as it looks, with rich bass textures and needling stabs of high frequency noise. The same restraint taken with the graphics is here applied to sound, with only a sparse selection of tones and waveforms that gradually shift back and forth across the spectrum. A steady rhythm is never established, but there is a strong sense of narrative within the soundscape that more than matches the visuals.

According to a short conversation with one of the performers, the graphics were made in 3DStudio Max. It’d be interesting to know if any computational processes were involved. Judging from the way it was performed, it seems likely that the visuals were in fact pre-rendered for the performance in Brussels. But with such a sumptuous presentation, it hardly seems appropriate to niggle about its non-realtime status.

Otolab’s performance at Cimatics was part of a programme of events titled +39: Call for Italy, curated by our friends at Digicult. See the Digicult page about Op7 for more details on the project, including the curatorial text.

This post marks the return of the video category here on Generator.x. After having struggled with the awfulness that is the YouTube GUI, we have decided to go with the excellent (and free) Vimeo for video hosting. Vimeo does not recompress your files, and generally have much higher quality both in terms of image and content.

There’s even a Generator.x Vimeo channel for posting videos related to generative art, audiovisual performances etc. Go have a look if you have a minute or twenty…

Node 08: Digital Arts Forum / Jannis Urle Kilian Kreft: EnBW Lichtspiel

Festival: NODE08 / Jannis Urle Kilian Kreft: EnBW Lichtspiel

VVVV has slowly but steadily been gaining fame as a tool for realtime video synthesis. Artists like David Dessens, Jannis Urle Kilian Kreft (see image above) and Thomas Hitthaler (aka Ampop) have amply proven its maturity as a platform for live visuals, interactive installations and generative graphics. For more proof, take a look at MESO’s media design projects. Their work for Salzzeitreise Berchtesgaden looks spectacular.

Now a group of VVVV users have decided to celebrate their community by setting up a festival called NODE08. Set to take place in Frankfurt next April, the event will be part of the Luminale light art festival. In addition to an exhibition it will feature workshops and lectures on VVVV-related subjects, as well as a club night for the VVVV Fan Club to strut their stuff.

The NODEo8 organizers are currently looking for submissions, so if you’re working with VVVV and light you should head over to their submission page. The participants will have their work shown as part of the Luminale programme, which should give extra attention beyond the usual media art crowd.

Other VVVV posts: Seelenlose Automaten, *#07 video, Reality Foam, Sanch TV, Dein Lieblingsgestalter.


Elements of Chance is a YouTube-based conference, organized by Greg Niemeyer and Meredith Hoy at the Center for New Media, Berkeley:

Elements of Chance. On July 7, 2007, The Center for New Media at the University of California at Berkeley will hold a conference entitled “Elements of Chance”. Seventh in a series of algorithmically timed events, the first of which took place at SFMOMA on 01/01/01, the subject of this conference is the role of chance operations in new media artifacts, such as games, music, simulations, and images. The algorithmic basis of digital media has encouraged a proliferation of projects that explore the generative effects of randomness and probability in the field of art production. When and how do media developers, programmers, and artists choose to allow random or pseudo-random operations to affect the performance of a media artifact?
Instead of traditional papers we solicit video contributions that engage these questions. Each presenter will film either a 7 or a 14 minute video discussing the role of chance in a particular work. We encourage submissions from both art practitioners and art critics/historians. To that end, presenters may speak about their own work or about another artist, as long as the content of the video circulates around the central theme of “chance”.

Deadline: 15 May 2007

Apr 23/07

Call for proposals in Florence, Italy, from our friends at Italian media design agency TODO:


BIP 2007 – BUILDING INTERACTIVE PLAYGROUNDS BIP is an international competition for interaction design projects for public events. Through an international call for works, opened to interaction designers, artists, researchers, architets and students, it aims to select, invite and show interactive installations, specifically conceived for events and public spaces.

Simple and straight-forward projects, involving exploration, irony, play and social relationships, that can intrigue a curious and young audience. Projects that are able to transform festival locations into programmed spaces, active processes, playing with time, space and people.

Deadline: 10 May 2007


This is a follow-up of sorts to the post about Norwich International Animation Festival. One of the few installation works at the festival was a wonderful kinetic sculpture, The Harrachov Exchange.

This sculpture came out of the work on the short film Harrachov, directed by Matt Hulse & Joost van Veen. The film combines live action, stop-frame animation and the mentioned sculpture to describe how an unnamed force assembles an obscene machine out of scrap parts. The film has almost sexual undertones, with implications of seduction and violation underpinning the process of assembly.

Designed and constructed by Guy Bishop, the resulting installation is like a reluctant mechanical jazz ensemble, producing tortured rhythms from thumps and squeaks. See for yourselves..

Video: Harrachov Exchange installation
(Matt Hulse, Guy Bishop and Joost van Veen)


Boredomresearch: f.wish / Leonardo Solaas: La Mosca 2

I have just returned from the Norwich International Animation Festival (NIAF), where festival director Adam Pugh had been courageous enough to present generative art and kinetic sculpture as part of the festival. Interestingly, the claim “I am not an animator” was often heard during the festival, pointing perhaps to a problem of positioning versus an old craft. The juxtapositions created by the festival made this dilemma all the more interesting, for instance as seen in the programme of abstract videos presented by Dietmar Schwärzler from Sixpack Films, with much of the work relating to the Austrian Abstracts blogged here recently.

Two panels on generative art were also presented. The first, chaired by Helen Sloan of SCAN, was an attempt at placing generative art in the context of animation. The panelists were Leonardo Solaas (creator of Dreamlines), Paul Smith Vicky Isley of Boredomresearch and myself. No real conclusion was reached, as none of the three participants would see their work as relating to conventional animation. Nevertheless, the inevitable time-based and performative nature of software does imply that ideas from animation could have an impact on the work.

The second panel (titled “Art on autopilot”) was organized by the Cambridge-based media arts organization Enter_, which will premiere a new international conference and festival next year. Geoff Cox acted as moderator, Geoff is an artist theorist who have written several articles on generative art and co-curated a generative exhibition called Generator. I spoke about the commissioned piece created for generating the festval identity visuals. Paul Brown talked about generative music, copyright and applications in music therapy (see this article). Finally, Dave Miller presented his work with creating an automatic approach to political cartoons. Here the practices of the participants were quite dissimilar, highlighting yet again the potential problems of the broad definition of “generative art”.


Köner & Reble: Quasar / Light Surgeons: Visuals

Quasar is an amazing film-based performance by artists Jürgen Reble and Thomas Köner, presented during the festival at the Norwich Arts Centre. The work starts off with a droning minimal soundspace and two juxtaposted 16mm film projections of crackly images that could be images off far-off star clusters. As it builds, a total of 6 projectors are activated (projecting in multiple directions) and enormous amounts of smoke pumped into the venue. The image is finally obscured, with the presentation transformed from a semi-traditional film to a kinetic space, where both sound and image become volumes rather than simple surfaces. The result was mesmerizing, and again points to the vision of the festival for including unconventional works.

The renowned London-based VJ group the Light Surgeons also presented a performance of integrated sound and visuals, with sampling being the dominant technique. The end result was a kind of video turntablism, as though a scratch DJ like Kid Koala had suddenly expanded to doing videos.


Boris Müller: Poetry on the road 2006

Boris Müller has put online documentation of Poetry on the road 2006, a poetry festival for which he creates a computational design identity every year. A specific text is used as raw material, then treated by Müller’s software in some way to create a visual representation. This visual is then used for posters and other publicity materials, including the book that is released every year.

Eschewing the more magical approaches of previous years, the 2006 edition has seen Müller has gone firmly in the direction of information visualization. Words in a poem are given a numerical code by adding the values of their letters together. This number gives the word its position on a circle, which is marked by a red dot. Gray lines connect the dots in the sequence the words they represent appear in the poem. The diameter of the circle on which the dots are placed is decided by the length of the poem. In this way several poems can be represented in a single image.

To get a feeling for the system, try the interactive demonstration. Click the “write” tab to have a go writing your own text.

Müller has being doing Poetry on the Road since 2002, and the series are a wonderful showcase of computational ways of treating text as more than just typography. This writer’s favorite remains the 2003 edition, where letters were used to control a drawing machine much like the classic turtle graphics used in LOGO.


Call for proposals in Paris and São Paulo:

Festival Emergences. The rendezvous of new artistic forms and new media Emergences brings together French and international artists in Paris within a resolutely trans-disciplinary and original program.

For the fourth edition, we are looking for projects in all disciplines, especially, performances, circus, visual arts, architecture, game art, biotech art, artistic interventions in public spaces, networked performances (in the framework of collaborations with festivals in France and abroad)…

Main artistic themes: Mobility, network and ubiquity | The intimate, the unusual and the strange | The urban and nature | Art in the city
Deadline: 30 May 2006

MOBILEFEST 2006 Symposium Call for Papers & Projects MOBILEFEST is the First International Festival of Mobile Art and Creativity, and will take place in September, in São Paulo, Brazil. In its first edition, it aims to discuss the sociological, cultural and esthetics implications that mobile phones and their technologies have been promoting globally. In fact, the global transformations the world has been gone through have modified the way we realize, interpret and represent reality. [...] MOBILEFEST 2006 seeks paper and presentation proposals responding to the Symposium themes: How can Mobile Technology contribute to democracy, culture, art, ecology, peace, education, health and third-sector?
Deadline: 11 May 2006


Barcelona is always a nice place to be, but the upcoming second week in May may hold particular interest to creatives working with digital media. The reason is the OFFF festival for "Post-Digital Creation Culture". Now in its fifth year, OFFF has moved away from its Flash-oriented roots and embraced the full spectrum of experimental digital work. According to the festival site, OFFF is exploring “software aesthetics and new languages for interactive and visual expression.”

The festival’s biggest pull is probably the presentations by a core of well-known creatives, with names like Kyle Cooper, Weworkforthem, Nando Costa and many more. This year the list is also conspicuously full of names from the computational design and generative art fields: Ben Fry, Golan Levin, Casey Reas, Marcos Weskamp, Zach Lieberman etc. It’s an interesting mix, and while the actual program of events hasn’t been announced yet there are sure to be some good presentations.

A special partner event of OFFF is the EXTEND: Advanced Processing Workshop. Co-produced by OFFF and Hangar (an art centre for the audiovisual arts), the one-week EXTEND workshop will be led by Ben Fry, Casey Reaz, Zachary Lieberman and Marius Watz. The workshop is intended for artists and designers who already know how to code, but who would like to experiment with new topics, learn how to extend the Processing tool itself or just play around in a constructive environment.

The workshop fee is set at a low EUR 50, so it should be accessible to freelancers without design agencies who can bankroll them. The number of places are limited, however. To be accepted, applicants must submit a personal biography and a description of previous experience with Processing.

Application deadline is 21 April. See the following call for more information.

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