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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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″.

 

CTM.08­ / Generator.x 2.0: Audio-Visual
Fri Feb 1st, 20:00 – 23:00, Ballhaus Naunynstrasse

  • Alexander Rishaug / Marius Watz
  • Keiichiro Shibuya [JP]
  • alva noto [DE]

CTM.08 and Generator.x present an evening of audiovisual concerts, consisting of three projects that use generative methods for live performance.The artists’ work is based on program code that integrates processes that develop over time autonomously. Music and image are therefore not “composed” in the usual sense of the word; the artists at most structure audio and visual output but without determining its every detail. The visual and acoustic material available to them is not pre-processed; it exists rather, only as matter to be subjected to and modified by certain development principles and rules of transformation in real time. Therefore chance and stochastic processes are major factors, while images can be mapped on audio parameters, and vice versa.

Alongside Alexander Rishaug’s audio miniatures in interaction with Marius Watz’s drawing machines, and Japanese Keiichiro Shibuya’s digital noise based on cellular automata, Carsten Nicolai aka alva noto will present his new project, “xerrox”, in which he explores the artistic potential and unpredictable results of copy processes. Nicolai demonstrates that the act of copying is itself a source of interesting, artistically valuable mistakes and mutations that permit each new generation of a copy to further liberate itself from the original and ultimately become an independent artwork with new meaning. In “xerrox” alva noto works exclusively with samples of Muzak – the wraparound sound ubiquitous in department stores, advertising, film scores and entertainment software – yet uses his own specially developed copying techniques to alter its melodic (micro-)structures beyond recognition.

Generator.x 2.0: Audio-Visual was curated by Jan Rohlf of the Club Transmediale.

[text from Club Transmediale]

 
Apr 23/07
19:03

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

070423_bip.jpg

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
URL: BIP info @ TODO.IT

 
Seelenlose Automaten (VVVV video)

Schmidt / Groß: Seelenlose Automaten

Seelenlose Automaten is a generative music visualization with an unusal approach: Instead of analyzing the music for cues for visual change, MIDI control messages are sent simultaneously to the sound and image generators. Each mapping to a specific visual or sound effect, these messages are a vocabulary of rules giving structure to the composition. All change can be precisely predicted, and as a result the entire composition is perfectly synchronized.

Created in VVVV by Patric Schmidt and Benedikt Groß, the video uses minimalist forms to good effect. Polygons, lines and circles twist and turn in a gray void, responding to the smallest change in sound. Lacking depth cues, the images frequently read as flat 2D, only to become 3D once again upon the next movement. The total impression is of a glitch aesthetic, even though the deterministic nature of the system is antithetical to the glitch philosophy of creative breakdown.

Benedikt Groß is a student at the HFG Schwäbisch Gmünd design school in southern Germany. He recently completed an interactive installation presenting the principles of generative systems.

Ps. Three times is a charm: This is the third post in a week about a project created with VVVV… VVVV might still not be as wide-spread as Processing or Max/MSP, but there is certainly some very high quality work being produced with it. It will be well worth watching in the near future.

 
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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”.

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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.

 
David Dessens: Sanch TV

David Dessens (aka Sanch): Linear / Math surface destrukt

David Dessens’ work with VVVV has been generating a lot of interest since the first appearance of his shell-like objects on the VVVV pages. With the launch of his own blog Sanch TV he displays a range of hugely impressive formal experiments, bursting with voluptuous curves and saturated color. It is proof not only of Dessens’ personal talent, but also of VVVV’s qualities as a production tool.

Most of his experiments involve the use of vertex shaders, filters that affect geometry but which are executed directly by the graphics card (GPU) rather than the computer’s internal processor (CPU). The GPU is a specialized chip dedicated purely to graphics operations, and farming out computation to it results in lightning-fast execution. Some of Dessens’ experiments are based on shader implementations of mathematical "supershape" surfaces. These meshes are then distorted and manipulated further. But even working with standard mathematical formulas as raw material, Dessens manages to produce images with a unique visual style.

At the moment Dessens’ interests lie mostly in live visuals, but it will be interesting to see how his work develops. He is currently artist-in-residence at VVVV developers Meso, which should be a guarantee of more interesting work from him in the near future.

Be sure to see Dessens’ showreel, generated purely in realtime. As an extra bonus for wannabe VVVV hackers, he also posts shaders and patches on his blog.

 
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delire + pix: fijuu / q3apd

The dynamic duo delire + pix have been hacking game engines to produce sound and visuals for some time now. Their projects typically go much further than simple Unreal or Quake hacks. Instead, they use the game engines to create application environments that are either self-running installations or interactive performance systems. The resulting works exploit the aesthetics and interactivity of computer games while presenting new models for realtime performance tools.

fijuu is a sound performance tool based on the Ogre3D open source graphics engine. The user controls sound synthesis by manipulating morphing 3D shapes using a Playstation-style controller. Different shapes correspond to different “instruments”. See the Fijuu video on YouTube and screenshots for examples.

q3apd uses Quake3 and various bots to control realtime sound synthesis in a PureData (PD) patch. Data like bot position, view angle, weapon etc. are sent to PD over the network interface. The PD patch then uses these to control the soundscape that is being continuously generated. The visual component consists of Quake3 with custom made maps and graphics. See a video of q3apd at Lovebytes to get an idea of the result.

Via Pixelsumo. See also Alison Mealey’s Unrealart.

 
Name: Project

Dein Lieblingsgestalter: Generative hip hop visuals

Jannis Kreft has uploaded videos of his generative hip hop visuals (made in VVVV), which was blogged here a while ago. It looked good in pictures, but in motion it really rocks. Massive kudos to Jannis for proving that abstract generative visuals can stand its ground against speculative booty videos. You can find the video over on DeinLieblingsgestalter.de, it’s short but most excellent.

For those who of you who don’t know German, Dein Lieblingsgestalter roughly means “your favorite designer”, but Liebling also means beloved and so is a more ambiguous word. The name is a play on a German rapper whose artist name is Deine Lieblingsrapper. I have no idea if Jannis knows him or not. In any case, the video features a gem of German rap, created specifically for Jannis’ finals show (note that this is transcribed from the video, and my German grammar is dodgy at best):

DeinLieblingsgestalter.de / Monarch und Thec / this is how we do / Ihr hört die Raps von Monarch und Thec / für deinen Lieblingsgestalter / Jannis Kilian Kreft / das ist innovativ / quasi ganz grosses Kino / vergiss alles was du kennst / Wer war noch mal Tarantino?…

Name: Project

Dein Lieblingsgestalter: Generative hip hop visuals

I should say that Jannis is an ex-student of mine from the Universität der Künste, so I am probably biased when looking at this project. But I love the way he has managed to make the hip hop expression effortlessly his own, all the while making no attempts at satisfying any visual clichees from the genre in his visuals. He manages to create visual 3D spaces with sound-responsive input, without it feeling contrived or unoriginal. The colors are good, and he has a solid grasp of graphic vocabulary. Makes me think it would have been an excellent addition to the Generator.x tour.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I was still his teacher I’d be proud. Way to go, Jannis. It’ll be interesting to see what you do next.

 

Our gig in Tromsø last night was a success, possibly the best night on the tour both in terms of audience response and quality of the sets. The audience soaked up sounds and images enthusiastically, and gave immediate positive response. Once again Tromsø audiences prove that they are open to new ideas.

The mood was clearly aided by the intimate setting, Kaos is a small club with low ceilings and we were happy that we managed to set up our two screens without too much trouble. Once up, they really transformed the space.

Our thanks go out to Kolbjørn and his crew at Kaos for support and love, and to Geir Jenssen for playing an eclectic mix between sets and softening up the audience for us. Thanks also to Ny Musikk for supporting the concert. This was a great experience, and we hope to come back to Tromsø in the future. They have several small festivals etc, so there is hope…

Today we play Union Scene in Drammen, tomorrow we go to Tou Scene in Stavanger. In Stavanger we will share the stage with the excellent FE-MAIL, Maja Ratke and Hild Sofie Tafjord. Emi Maeda has played with them before, and we’re looking at a possibility of some sort of jam.

Elsewhere tomorrow, Alexander Rishaug (producer and co-curator of the Generator.x tour) is producing a new version of his Random Cube event at Black Box in Oslo tomorrow, Saturday 29th. Playing are Phill Niblock, Thomas Ankersmit, Moha!, Kevin Blechdom and DJ Erik Skodvin. If you’re in Oslo, you know where to be.

 

The Generator.x concert tour continues. We are now in Tromsø, north of the Arctic Circle and historically home to a significant scene for electronic music. Artists like Biosphere (Geir Jenssen) and Mental Overdrive (Per Martinsen) became an influential force on an international level, with much resulting talk of an “arctic sound”. The arctic tag has since been applied to many Norwegian electronic acts that feature dark, organic beats.

Biosphere in particular is regarded as one of the grandfathers of ambient techno, with albums like “Patashnik” and “Substrata” exploring a restrained and crystalline sound. We are therefore honored to be able to say that Geir Jenssen will be DJ’ing for the Generator.x event tonight. We hope we make it will make it worth it for him to do this rare DJ set. For more information on Biosphere, see his web site or the excellent Wikipedia: Biosphere article.

The concert itself will take place in a small club called Kaos, which variously functions as football pub, concert stage and general hangout. Kaos is an unpretentious venue, but can nevertheless boast of a serious pedigree hosting artists like Röyksopp, Timbuktu, Darren Laws, Tungtvann, etc.

Yesterday we played at Landmark in Bergen, with the support of BEK and Ny Musikk. The Bergen scene is a powerhouse of experimental music and sound art, and Landmark is the centre of much of this activity. Bergen is also home to one of the artists on the tour, Espen Sommer Eide aka Phonophani. Espen originally comes from Tromsø, so today’s concert will be a double home-coming event for him.

Check the Generator.x: The concert tour photo set on Flickr for snapshots of the tour.