Six visual music clips for Grandbrothers
August 25th, 2015
How can artistically shaped worlds of images and the live performance of a band be combined into a music video? The motion picture designers WARPED TYPE, who specialize in Visual Music, explored this question. The group, which includes the two Music and Media graduates Andreas Huck and Roland Nebe, and the Audio and Video alumnus Florian Breuer completed a series of clips for the Grandbrothers duo, who also studied at the IMM.
The track Naive Rider marked its video premiere as a pre-release to the Grandbrothers' debut album Dilation on the website of British music magazine FACT TV. The video for the piece Arctica was presented by the US music magazine XLR8R and reviewed in the well-known music blog Stereogum and elsewhere. The images prepared for the clips were also used as visuals during the release concert at Düsseldorf's Salon des Amateurs and at the Contre-temps Festival in Strasbourg.
Filed under: Students
The Clavilux by Thomas Wilfred
August 13th, 2015
Via Modern Mechanix: "The Clavilux has three manuals and a triple light chamber, corresponding respectively to the keyboard and wind chest of the pipe organ. Disk keys appear on the manual, moving to and from the operator and playing color and form almost as the pipe organ plays sound.
There are 100 positions for each key, making possible almost infinite combinations of color and form. The music, or notation, is printed in figures upon a five-lined staff, three staves joined, as treble and bass clefs are joined for piano, to provide a clef for each of the three manuals. A color chord is represented by three figures as, for example, 40-35-60; and movement of the prescribed keys to the designated positions on the numbered scale of the keyboard produces the desired figure.
The artist sits at the keyboard with the notation book before him. He releases the light by means of switches. By playing upon the keys he projects it upon the screen, molds it into form, makes the form move and change in rhythm, introduces texture and depth, and finally injects color of perfect purity in any degree of intensity.
The light is concentrated into a beam which is projected through a form-producing device for depth and texture, then filtered through colored screens. And then in a darkened hall, through the three – dimensional projection of the color organ, the light pours from lenses at the back of the instrument and the flat white screen is made a window into space where fluid light-forms are built up in fantastic compositions. The result on seeing it for the first time is the same as if music had never existed and one were suddenly to hear the strains of a violin."
Thanks to Joost Rekvelt!
Filed under: Visual Music
The awesome work of Ozu Yasujirō
August 11th, 2015
A summer flu gave me the opportunity to watch Ozu Yasujirō films.
Via Wikipedia: „Ozu Yasujirō became widely recognized internationally when his films were shown abroad. Influential monographs by Donald Richie, Paul Schrader, and David Bordwell have ensured a wide appreciation of Ozu's style, aesthetics and themes. Ozu was voted the tenth greatest director of all time in the 2002 British Film Institute's Sight & Sound poll of Critics' top ten directors. [...]
In the Wim Wenders documentary film Tokyo-Ga, the director travels to Japan to explore the world of Ozu, interviewing both Chishū Ryū and Yuharu Atsuta."
Filed under: People
by David Foster Wallace
August 9th, 2015
Via Infinite Summer: "There’s no wrong way to read Infinite Jest: front-to-back, upside-down, cut in half, or skipping around. But here are a few tips for the Infinite Jester.
Read the endnotes: Please. They are not boring bibliographic details, but rather an integral part of the text. And the bouncing back-and-forth is a feature, not a bug.
Use bookmarks: Yes bookmarks, plural: one for the main text and one for the endnotes. Doing so will save you hours of searching, and the aggravation of losing your place several times an hour.
Persevere to page 200: There are several popular way stations on the road to abandoning Infinite Jest. The most heavily trafficked by far is The Wardine Section. Where the opening pages of IJ are among the best written in the book, page 37 (and many pages thereafter) are in a tortured, faux-Ebonics type dialect. 'Wardine say her momma ain’t treat her right.' 'Wardine be cry.' Potentially offensive (if one wants to be offended), and generally hard to get through. Hang in there, ignore the regional parlance, and focus on what the characters are doing. Like most things in the book, you’ll need to know this later. Likewise for the other rough patches to be found in the first fifth of the novel.
Trust the author: Around page 50, you’re going to feel a sinking sense of dread, as it dawns on you how much stuff you’ll be asked to keep track of: lots of characters coming and going, subplots upon subplots, page long sentences, and more. You have to believe that what seems at first like a bunch of disconnected vignettes (like The Wardine Section) will in fact come together; that the connections among what seem like radically disparate plot lines really do make themselves apparent in time. But at first, it requires something of a focus on the local plot lines, and a leap of faith in the fact that the global picture will eventually resolve.
Flag, copy, or bookmark page 223: Page 223 of the novel contains some information that you will either need to internalize or refer to frequently to make sense of the narrative. Once you reach it, flag the page with a stickie, dogear the corner, photocopy the material, stick a (third) bookmark there –whatever will ensure that you can find this information when you need it.
Don’t do the thing you’re dying to do right now: Namely, flip to page 223 to see what we’re talking about. David Foster Wallace ordered the book the way he did for a reason, and part of step 4 above is respecting that. In fact, we encourage you to take the fingers-in-the-ears 'LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU' approach to spoilers in general.
Abuse your copy: When you are finished, 223 should be just one of many mutilated pages in your novel. Liberal use of tape flags, post-it notes, highlighting, or your anal-retentive page marking device of choice, as a means of keeping track of key passages you think you might like to come back to (or share with others), is encouraged. (Note: the preceding advice is not recommended for those reading on the Kindle.) If you can’t bring yourself to work over your only copy of Infinite Jest, consider investing in a second.
Keep notes: As if lugging around a book the size of a 2 br. 1¼ bath apartment isn’t enough, you may want to carry a notebook as well. You won’t always have the requisite Oxford English Dictionary within arm’s reach, you know.
Brush up on your Hamlet: It’s no coincidence that the first two words of Hamlet are 'Who’s there?' and the first two words of Infinite Jest are 'I am'. Even the novel’s title was lifted from the play.
As you read, it behooves you keep in mind the relationships between the characters in Shakespeare’s drama (the ghost, poor Yorick, etc.) and the central themes of the play. You can find a brief primer here.
Employ a reader’s guide: There are two companion guides that you may find helpful. One is Stephen Burn’s David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest: A Reader’s Guide. Burn’s guide is rather short (96 pages), but it includes a helpful chronology, as well as sections on the novel’s critical reception and key plot points.
Another guide is Greg Carlisle’s Elegant Complexity: A Study of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. [Full disclosure: Bucher is the editor & publisher of the Carlisle book.] Elegant Complexity is different than the Burn guide in that it offers a summary and exegesis on every section of the novel –and that it’s 512 pages long. Also included are chronologies, family trees, thematic discussions, and a map of the tennis academy.
Use online references: There are copious webpages out there that the first-time Jesters will find useful. Here are a a few:
Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
August 7th, 2015
Via The MIT Press: "Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927) is considered by many to be the first American dadaist as well as the mother of dada. An innovator in poetic form and an early creator of junk sculpture, the Baroness was best known for her sexually charged, often controversial performances. Some thought her merely crazed, others thought her a genius. The editor Margaret Anderson called her perhaps the only figure of our generation who deserves the epithet extraordinary. Yet despite her great notoriety and influence, until recently her story and work have been little known outside the circle of modernist scholars."
Via Wikipedia: "The Baroness was one of the characters, one of the terrors of the district, wrote her first biographer Djuna Barnes, whose book, however, remained unfinished. In Irrational Modernism: A Neurasthenic History of New York Dada, Amelia Jones provides a revisionist history of New York Dada, expressed through the life and works of The Baroness.
The recent biography, Baroness Elsa: Gender, Dada and Everyday Modernity, by Irene Gammel, makes a case for the Baroness’s artistic brilliance and avant-garde spirit. The book explores the Baroness’s personal and artistic relationships with Djuna Barnes, Berenice Abbott, and Jane Heap, as well as with Duchamp, Man Ray, and William Carlos Williams. It shows the Baroness breaking every erotic boundary, reveling in anarchic performance, but the biography also presents her as Elsa’s friend Emily Coleman saw her, not as a saint or a madwoman, but as a woman of genius, alone in the world, frantic.
In 2013, the artists Lily Benson and Cassandra Guan released The Filmballad of Mamadada, an experimental biopic on the Baroness. The story of The Baroness' life was told through contributions from over fifty artists and filmmakers."
Thanks to Swantje Lichtenstein!
Filed under: People
August 4th, 2015
Via TheLucidDreamSite: "One simple yet powerful approach to examining to what extent dream themes vary or are similar across regions, cultures, and time periods is by having sample populations respond to the Typical Dreams Questionnaire (TDQ), a forced-choice list of dream themes. In contrast to Hall and Van de Castle’s (1966) comprehensive dream coding system which scrutinizes complete individual dreams for such criteria as characters, aggression, fortune and misfortune, failures and successes, etc., the TDQ supplies a list of succinct themes which the participant acknowledges as having had or not. Unlike the pain-staking method of coding entire dreams for specific content, the use of TDQ’s in research allows for the rapid acquisition of useful information from many participants. The TDQ can be used to assess the lifetime prevalence of particular dream themes in a population or reveal the frequency for earliest, most personally meaningful, or other types of dreams."
Via Springer Link: "To investigate the dimensional structure of dreams, the Typical Dreams Questionnaire (TDQ) was administered to 1181 first-year University students in three Canadian cities. A profile of themes was found that varied little by age, gender or region; however, differences that were identified could be interpreted as due to developmental milestones, personality attributes or sociocultural factors. Factor analysis produced a solution consisting of 16 coherent factors that were differentially associated with demographic variables and that accounted for 51% of the variance. Women loaded primarily on negative factors (failure, loss of control, snakes-insects), men primarily on positive factors (magic-myth, alien life). Results support the concept of typical dream themes as consistent over time, region and gender and as reflecting the influence of fundamental dream dimensions that may be influenced by sociocultural, personality, cognitive or physiological factors."
Thanks to Stefan Scheer!
Filed under: Wunderkammer
by John Cage
July 19th, 2015
Via John Cage: "I determined to give up composition unless I could find a better reason for doing it than communication. I found this answer from Gira Sarabhai, an Indian singer and tabla player: The purpose of music is to sober and quiet the mind, thus making it susceptible to divine influences. I also found in the writings of Ananda K. Coomaraswammy that the responsibility of the artist is to imitate nature in her manner of operation. I became less disturbed and went back to work. [...]
We are living in a period in which many people have changed their mind about what the use of music is or could be for them. Something that doesn't speak or talk like a human being, that doesn't know its definition in the dictionary or its theory in the schools, that expresses itself simply by the fact of its vibrations. People paying attention to vibratory activity, not in reaction to a fixed ideal performance, but each time attentively to how it happens to be this time, not necessarily two times the same. A music that transports the listener to the moment where he is."
Filed under: People
June 13th, 2015
Faces is an audiovisual room installation based on an Android app for smartphones and tablet PCs. When looking through the tablet PC, four virtual faces appear on a painted wooden cube suspended from a chain. The four faces slowly change their expression and make different sounds which are generated in the device by granulating audio samples. The work investigates the effect emotional expressions of animated faces have on those viewing these faces.
Using face morphing, the faces can assume many different human emotions and expressions and have a disconcerting and sometimes forbidding effect on the beholder due to their size and immaterial quality. The work thus makes reference to the uncanny valley effect, a concept from the psychology of expressive behavior, primarily used in the assessment of animated characters and robots.
The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of aesthetics which holds that when features look and move almost, but not exactly, like natural beings, it causes a response of revulsion among some observers. The valley refers to the dip in a graph of the comfort level of beings as subjects move toward a healthy, natural likeness described in a function of a subject's aesthetic acceptability. In fact, as similarity with humans increases, there is a dip in the level of empathy felt because the observer feels a sense of revulsion. While an observer gauges a subject having a sufficiently realistic likeness to humans based on human standards, if the human likeness no longer fulfills these human standards, the unnatural aspect of this behavior triggers a sense of revulsion.
Filed under: Students
May 14th, 2015
Via Agora Gallery: "As a professional artist, you need to have more than your work to get around in the art world. Along with your portfolio, you should have an artist statement available at a moment’s notice. An artist statement should be considered just as important as your works.
An artist statement is most often the front line of communication between an artist and the public. It will be used when you submit your portfolio to competitions, galleries, and museums. It may sometimes be displayed when people are viewing your works in person or on your website. If it’s online, your artist statement will be read by people from all over the world.
There are many paths to becoming an artist, through school or an apprenticeship, or through inspiration and self-teaching but no matter how you got there, being a professional artist means that you have to have an artist statement. If you have never written a statement before, or aren’t sure that your current statement is up to art world standards, it can be a quite daunting task to compose one. [...]
Here are some valuable tips for writing an artist’s statement."
Filed under: Wunderkammer
by Nick Kolenda
May 12th, 2015
Via Nick Kolenda: "This article is broken up into four parts, with each part containing various strategies and tactics:
Step 1: Determine Your Price
Step 2: Influence Their Perception
Step 3: Motivate Them to Buy
Step 4: Maximize Your Revenue
Filed under: Wunderkammer
May 9th, 2015
The installation and composition WRESTLING! by Milan Schell is an audiovisual music and fight simulation staged in space. The media lamp (visual) and loudspeaker (audio) represent two opponents who can be heard and seen trying to influence each other while attempting to gain the upper hand. The work is an example of anti-synesthetic composition: as the two audio-visual methods synchronicity and analogy are not used to combine stimuli or intensify them but instead used as a mode of interaction by two equal communication systems. The objective is to create audio-visual polyphony through the individuality and interconnection of both media channels, which could also be referred to as separate audio and visual voices. There are five sections planned for the composition.
The video shows the work-in-progress at the time of the bachelor’s degree thesis.
Filed under: Students
Listen to early Soviet synthesizer music
April 6th, 2015
Via Dangerous Minds: "Sometime in the early 1920s the Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy suggested that a new form of music writing could be created from the grooves in phonographic records. He believed experimenting with the groves would enable composers, musicians and artists to produce music without recording any instruments. Long before scratching, Moholy-Nagy also believed the phonograph could become an overall instrument… which supersedes all instruments used so far.
With the arrival of synchronized sound in movies, as seen and heard in the first talkie The Jazz Singer in 1927, Moholy-Nagy refined his idea believing a whole new world of abstract sound could be created from experimentation with the optical film sound track. He hoped such experimentation would enrich the sphere of our aural experience, by producing sounds that were entirely unknown.
In 1929, the Russians produced their first talkie, the snappily titled The Five Year Plan for Great Works. The possibility of synchronized sound inspired a trio of pioneers, composer Arseny Avraamov, animator Mikhail Tsihanovsky and engineer Evgeny Sholpo who were fascinated by the curved loops, arcs and waveforms on the optical soundtrack. The patterns made them wonder if synthetic music could be created by drawing directly onto the sound track. Of course, this they did, at first testing out vase-shapes and ellipses then Egyptian hieroglyphs—all with startling results.
In 1930, Avraamov produced (possibly) the first short film with a hand-drawn synthetic soundtrack. [...]
Legendary Zen Buddhist Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh
April 5th, 2015
Via Brain Pickings: "Sometimes we feel empty; we feel a vacuum, a great lack of something. We don’t know the cause; it’s very vague, but that feeling of being empty inside is very strong. We expect and hope for something much better so we’ll feel less alone, less empty. The desire to understand ourselves and to understand life is a deep thirst. There’s also the deep thirst to be loved and to love. We are ready to love and be loved. It’s very natural. But because we feel empty, we try to find an object of our love. Sometimes we haven’t had the time to understand ourselves, yet we’ve already found the object of our love. When we realize that all our hopes and expectations of course can’t be fulfilled by that person, we continue to feel empty. You want to find something, but you don’t know what to search for. In everyone there’s a continuous desire and expectation; deep inside, you still expect something better to happen. That is why you check your email many times a day! [...]
The essence of loving kindness is being able to offer happiness. You can be the sunshine for another person. You can’t offer happiness until you have it for yourself. So build a home inside by accepting yourself and learning to love and heal yourself. Learn how to practice mindfulness in such a way that you can create moments of happiness and joy for your own nourishment. Then you have something to offer the other person. [...]
Often, when we say, I love you we focus mostly on the idea of the I who is doing the loving and less on the quality of the love that’s being offered. This is because we are caught by the idea of self. We think we have a self. But there is no such thing as an individual separate self. A flower is made only of non-flower elements, such as chlorophyll, sunlight, and water. If we were to remove all the non-flower elements from the flower, there would be no flower left. A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower can only inter-be with all of us… Humans are like this too. We can’t exist by ourselves alone. We can only inter-be. I am made only of non-me elements, such as the Earth, the sun, parents, and ancestors. In a relationship, if you can see the nature of interbeing between you and the other person, you can see that his suffering is your own suffering, and your happiness is his own happiness. With this way of seeing, you speak and act differently. This in itself can relieve so much suffering. [...]
The remainder of How to Love explores the simple, profoundly transformative daily practices of love and understanding, which apply not only to romantic relationships but to all forms of “interbeing.” Complement it with John Steinbeck’s exquisite letter of advice on love to his teenage son and Susan Sontag’s lifetime of reflections on the subject, then revisit the great D.T. Suzuki on how Zen can help us cultivate our character."
Filed under: People
Adults Can Be Trained to Acquire Synesthetic Experiences
March 22nd, 2015
Via On Psychology and Neuroscience: "However, participants gained more than these perceptions. Bor et al. (2014) also found that participants who completed training showed an increase in their IQ by an average of 12 points, compared to controls. This suggests that there is something about learning synesthetic links that can result in an enhanced cognitive ability. These results are useful and exciting to explore. It is possible that this training could help individuals at risk for dementia or other diseases that cause cognitive decline."
Filed under: Visual Music
The Self and the Other
March 21st, 2015
Regine Halter invited me to give the 2-day seminar The Self and the Other on March 30th and 31st at the Academy of Art and Design in Basel for their Conceptional Design Masterstudio students.
Have the great pleasure of co-teaching with Ralf Neubauer.
In the two days of the seminar the students critically reflect, analyze and discuss creating an identity for a client in the broader context of corporate identity projects.
Filed under: Talks & Workshops
Dramatic pauses, ironic self-reflection, and storms of emotion
March 20th, 2015
Via Open Culture: "The footage above is from an extremely rare – and unexpectedly entertaining – video of the philosopher and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (1901-1981), giving a lecture at The Catholic University of Louvain in 1972. The film is notable for a couple of reasons:
1. In France, Lacan’s rock star status owed much to his popular public seminars. The charismatic iconoclast had been giving free public lectures for decades, and those lectures were usually packed with students, colleagues, skeptics, young radicals … and fans. The video gives you an idea of what the fuss was all about. Even at 70, Lacan still owns the room, and he has the presence of a stage actor, complete with dramatic pauses, ironic self-reflection, and pitch-perfect storms of emotion (see minute 15:07)
2. At minute 21:37, a politically inspired heckler tries to ambush him. It’s a moment right out of a comedy show, if the comedy show were chic and grainy and edited by Jean-Luc Goddard. Note the grace with which Lacan neutralizes the poor guy, lights his cigar and then concludes the lecture, even though the fallout from their encounter is still stuck in his hair.
Lacan’s ideas have fallen a bit out of fashion in the past two decades, particularly in the U.S., where psychoanalysis has been nudged out of the spotlight by neuroscience and post-structuralism has lost ground to post-colonial studies. But Lacan still has his fans, notably the Elvis of Philosophy, Slavoj Zizek, who dominates YouTube the way his predecessor once did salons."
Thanls to Manu Burghart!
Filed under: People
March 19th, 2015
Via Fast Company: "Perfect end-to-end attribution (or knowing exactly what messages and actions led someone to buy a product) will remain an industry white whale. We’ve been talking about attribution for at least 80 years in marketing. New technology has given us much better data in some places, for instance, end-to-end attribution in search is a current reality. But for the majority of companies who sell goods in stores will still struggle with end-to-end attribution five years from now. New technologies, especially mobile wallets, offer some compelling possibilities for solving the problem, but at the end of the day, we’re still a long way from being able to tie the billboard exposure in Times Square to the bar of soap being purchased in Target.
Technology moves upstream. If you look at how technology has moved through marketing, it started at the edge (distribution of marketing assets) and has continued to move closer and closer to the actual planning and development of marketing itself. Over the next five years we’ll see technology complete this transition and become a part of the core fabric of marketing itself. [...]
Culture will still be king. People will continue to care more about culture than products, so brands that operate on a cultural level will be the winners of the future as they are of the present. [...]
Creative energy will see a shift away from agencies and towards publishers and platforms. An increasing number of the brightest creative minds will abandon standalone agencies for creative divisions of media companies and tech companies, and in turn, these will become the go-to shops for best-in-class brand services."
Filed under: Wunderkammer
by Zach Blas
March 18, 2015
Via Zach Blas: "Contra-Internet describes the emerging militancies and subversions of the Internet. Comprised of multiple series, Contra-Internet critiques the Internet as a hegemonic descriptor for digital networking and premier arena of political control, as well as documents and speculates upon network alternatives that social movements are developing globally, such as autonomous mesh networks, encryption tactics, and darknets. Inspired by the transgender theorist Beatriz Preciado’s Manifesto contrasexual, Contra-Internet is oriented from a feminist and queer perspective, in an effort to unite such political positions with a hacker ethos. Contra-Internet aims to function as an expansive conceptual, practical, and experimental framework for refusing the neoliberal logic of the Internet while building alternatives to its infrastructure."
Via dis magazine: "The Inversion Practices series is comprised of short, performative videos that utilize various conceptual-technical tactics to abandon and subvert the Internet."
Thanks to Carsten Görtz!
Filed under: People
La crevette amoureuse (1967/1975) by Henri Chopin
March 17th, 2015
Via art agenda: "The book is a philosophical parable, consisting of several dialogues between ERnest and MARiette, usually taking place before or after sex. He is characterized as a head of state or head of the world, and peppers his pillow talk with political concerns, the arbitrary laws and decrees of his own domain; his solipsism and arrogance are sometimes spurred on, sometimes discouraged by MARiette. As the book progresses, ERnest’s philosophical boutades appear to be a satire of the intellectualized epistemology of the Descartes-Berkeley-Hume-Kant-Fichte lineage. The text is in fact explicitly dedicated to Kant, whose self-centered brand of skepticism finds an extreme echo in ERnest’s absolutism as a ruler. Increasingly frustrated by the exercise of a power as absolute as it is vacuous (for his theories prevent him from acknowledging the existence of other subjects—both in the philosophical and in the political sense), ERnest ultimately resolves to forsake his name and, thereby, his subjectivity.
This summary, however, does little justice to La crevette amoureuse, which is visual as much as it is textual. Interspersed in its typewritten pages are both abstract and figurative compositions of symbols, reminiscent of Futurist poetry and of typographic art. Even though sometimes illustrative (the book includes portraits of its main characters, as well as geometric patterns), these compositions hardly qualify as illustrations as such, since in a way they are the text itself—they are literally made of the same stuff. The two forms flow into each other with no clear way of separating narration and image; at times Chopin explicitly challenges the meaningfulness of such distinctions, as when he presents a triangular sequence of punctuation marks as the text of one of ERnest’s last decrees. [...]
Chopin’s dactylopoèmes thus appear to be more than witty abstract compositions, or mere (if beautifully crafted) instances of typographic art: in this novel they are legitimate parts of a text. They are not appropriations or misuses of linguistic means to serve a pictorial end: they are extreme instances of their proper use—evolutions, if you like."
Filed under: People
Aruna Ratanagiri talks
March 2nd, 2015
These over 300 talks from the Aruna Ratanagiri Buddhist Monastery in the north of England are an enormous well of deep insides, contemporary pointing, and great humour. Highly recommended for everyday life, and beyond.
Thanks to Michael Edwards!
Filed under: Wunderkammer
Nina Juric, Gregor Kuschmirz and Mareike Ottrand
March 1st, 2015
The first three of my students who emerged from the Motion Design postgraduate program at Germany's leading film school Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg were appointed professor:
Mareike Ottrand is tenured professor for Interactive Illustration and Games at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences' design department.
Nina Juric and Gregor Kuschmirz are visiting professors for Motion Image at the design department of the University of Applied Scienes in Münster.
Had the great pleasure of working with them during their studies in Motion Design, supervised their final exams, and couldn't be more proud! I have been chairing the Motion Design program since 1998, and we will continue to incubate more excellence in design, and teaching.
Filed under: Students