I’ve invested in two Kickstarter projects so far: The Nature of Code by Daniel Shiffman and B Squares by Jordan McRae. Of these two, I’ve had and will have more use for the former. I’m not a musician, but I’m seriously considering investing in the Motion Synth by AUUG, a device and app to “transform your iPhone or iPod touch into an intuitive and expressive motion-controlled musical instrument.”
The AUUG app converts your iOS device’s motion sensor data into signals for shaping sound, and transfers these signals to other iOS sound apps or external devices. The AUUG app does not produce its own sounds, but instead acts to control other iOS audio apps running on the same device (as well as external devices), thereby giving the user the freedom and flexibility to choose from a much larger range of sounds than a single app could provide.
The AUUG app can be installed on iPhones (4S and up) and iPod touch devices (5th generation and up). It:
- Lets you play notes and alter their sound through motion.
- Is simple to use and can be set-up within seconds.
- Can expressively control a vast array of sounds on your iPhone or iPod touch by ‘playing’ other audio apps.
- Allows you to intuitively shape vocal harmonies and effects in real time by controlling harmonizer hardware devices or effect apps.
- Can wirelessly control software on a laptop or desktop computer.
- Can control non-wireless music hardware via MIDI cable.
- Will allow you to design your own forms of motion-based sound control, and share them with others.
I’ve long been a fan of Laurie Anderson with her vocal pitch adjustments, and body percussion. I don’t know what she uses these days but the sight of her playing back the recording tape on her violin bow was very striking. and this seems to be an excellent opportunity to have a digital equivalent tool.
I was blown away today by the Victor Skipp exhibition at Kettles Yard. Each piece is a word, which makes the exhibition a book. It’s the way the words are arranged that gives it the richness.Visitors have the freedom to read sentences as they wish, read the words in whatever order they wish, in effect creating their own metaphors or imagery.
I particularly like the implied domestic hearth and chimney with bronze figures on either side like fire irons or Glaswegian ‘Wally Dugs’, a drawn ladder apparently disappearing up the inside of the chimney, and leading to a celestial image of stars on a slate:” one hundred holes within one whole, each in its own whole of yet another whole”.
Indeed, text throughout the exhibition is pregnant with potential. These resonated with me particularly:
The Year of Mythical Thinking
The Lost Inheritance
The Binary Business
…space consists of things we do not see, or only half see, in a blurred entirely out of focus way.
I would like to think that as a digital native, I too am in the binary business.
Like a sinister version of Aaron Koblin’s Flight Patterns, Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful time-lapse of every nuclear explosion, mapped and counted by country. I must be either ignorant or naive because I hadn’t realised how many there were during the 1980s. Cue soundtrack of Radioactivity by Kraftwerk:“…Chernobyl, Harrisburg; Sellafield, Hiroshima; Chain reaction and mutation; Contaminated population; Stop radioactivity; Is in the air for you and me.”
Matt Pearson aka zenbullets is a prolific coder and a writer with interesting insights. His 100 abandoned artworks have inspired me to create my own interactive pieces, and I enjoyed working with him on the Erasure exhibition four years ago. His book Generative Art is an excellent introduction to the subject, so it’s wonderful news that he’s recently found a publisher for his latest book, Novelty Waves, already available in eBook form. I, for one, will be getting hold of a paper copy, since that’s my preferred format for reading, but the dead tree version isn’t available quite yet, so I’ll have to go digitally initially. Even so, I think I’ve just found the first item for my Christmas wish list!
inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, with the air of a street magician distracting you from his weight of hand. This 3D interface is so much cooler than those interactive displays in Minority Report where Tom Cruise slides flat images around and summons them to perform at his bidding like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice splitting broomsticks. or his master controlling water.
Continuing the theme of harmonographs, I tweaked one of the weights in my ‘back to basics’ harmonograph, and got this result:
Again, there were slight differences each time the cycle appeared, so this image would have had many more lines in it had I left the sketch to run for longer. In contrast to the previous version (see yesterday’s post), there is an additional ‘level’ becoming apparent in the image, which is an additional level of complexity that has resulted from a minor change in value of one variable (from 0.005 to 0.01).
Making the two weights close in value gave rise to a simpler image:
Again, there is slight variation on each cycle, so the image would have had more lines had it run for longer. I prefer it as it is, however, looking like a complicated knot in ribbon. The differening distances between lines gives it a graceful feel.
Yesterday’s image was simple, partly because the values of variables quickly led to the same output values. Dividing both of the weights, however, leads to slight changes each time the cycle occurs. As a result, what starts as a similarly simple image:
becomes more complex merely by letting the sketch continue to draw for about ten minutes:
It was exciting to see this pattern emerge from a formula that I’d created on my own!
After yesterday’s unsatisfying complexity, I decided to start afresh.
I started with the basic formula for a circle: x = r*sin(theta) and y=r*cos(rho), where r is the radius of the desired circle and theta start starts at 0.0 and is gradually incremented, to provide each point on the circle’s circumference. I gave theta a different to calculate x and y, and added a different weight to each of these formulae, to become x = r*sin(thetaX) + sin(Wx) and y = r*sin(thetaY) + sin(Wy). Note that at this stage, unlike theta, Wx doesn’t vary over time, nor is there a damping effect. This produced the following simple image:
The pen started to repeat itself very quickly, going over exactly the same lines.
In resuming this blog, I’ve discovered a few draft posts that I first wrote a couple of years ago. Here’s the first in a series on harmonographs:
My first memory of harmonographs, although I didn’t realise at the time that that’s what they were called, is of watching Tony Hart on Vision On, using cones filled with either paint or sand and suspended from a pendulum that he would set swinging in two dimensions. (Unfortunately, I can’t find any video of that on the internet to show you what I mean.)
I was reminded of this a couple of years ago when I followed a link from William Latham‘s website to Karl Sims (though the link now seems to have changed to a visual effects software site), who has instructions on how to build a harmongraph. It’s a more complicated version than Tony Hart’s, but the principle is the same, and the sample images he provides are similar.
That got me wondering how to simulate a harmongraph in Processing. There are lots of simulations available on the net, but I wanted to create my own. I found the formula for one version at Paul Bourke’s amazing website, which has lots of information on things like Lorenz Attractors, which I’ve created here and here.
Here are a couple of images from my first attempt. I like the nearly-but-not-quite symmetry:
The concentration of lines towards the centre is the result of damping, which is a simulation of the pendulum gradually slowing down.
The main difference between virtual and physical harmomographs, of course, is that in the former you can note the values of variables that lead to particularly interesting results, and if desired repeat them. In contrast, the latter is completely hit-and-miss. Whether you think that’s a disadvantage or not depends on your point of view.
In my simulation, despite tweaking the values of the various parameters, I can’t find a set that results in anything wildly different. Strangely though, when I used very small values, I came up with this next image, which appears to have a wobbly, hand-drawn feel to it. I suspect this is the result of the relatively low resolution of the work, so that the plotted points are forced steps from one whole number to the next.
A lot has happened in the long interval since my previous post, and I’m referring not just to my stroke- induced temporary paralysis or my permanent partial blindness, but to the continuing rise of Facebook that dented my once-confident conviction that blogging is a valuable and relevant platform.
Recently I attended a couple of drawing and painting workshops at The Art Barn in Gamlingay, the first on portraits and the second on flowers. This follows my unsuccessful partaking in a Watercolours for Beginners class in my local village college. It occurred to me that I wanted to share my thoughts and experiments in a longer and more permanent way than Facebook or Twitter. I’ve also recently ventured into the world of generative art, resuming my use of Processing, to create a mandala based on the turf maze at Saffron Walden. I suspect that this will be the subject of future posts so I won’t pre-empt those, only to say that it involves developing a path-following algorithm, which is a new one for me.
Feeling disoriented in time and space, having just seen the excellent The Day of The Doctor on the big screen. #drwho