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tag: events

Variable 4 Portland Bill

The fourth edition of Variable 4 will be appearing this autumn, taking meteorology and generative music to the Jurassic coast of the South-West: Variable 4 Portland Bill.

We have also finished a comprehensive overhaul of the overall Variable 4 site, including documentation archives of previous locations and an improved news archive featuring extended miscellanea on weather, art and sound.

A Dove In The Bell Jar

Next month at the Greenwich Gallery, my significant other Julia has a solo exhibition of her photomicrography practice. With a laboratory-grade microscope and digital SLR camera, she explores the hidden microworlds of cellular biology, crystallography, and more.

Alongside a whole series of aluminium-mounted prints, she will be in the gallery on Saturdays and Sundays with the microscope, projecting a live video feed of microscopic specimens onto a plasma display.

You want something teeny looking at? Bring it down.

A Dove In The Bell Jar
Greenwich Gallery
London, SE10 8RS
21 June 3 July 2013

For much more, check out the eponymous blog: A Dove In The Bell Jar

Sho-Zyg: A Goldsmiths sound showcase

Commencing on 21st September is SHO-ZYG, a week-long showcase of the various artists working with sound at Goldsmiths, University of London. As well as contemporary sound installations and compositions, the exhibition will incorporate the historical archives of various prominent Goldsmiths alumni, including Radiophonic co-founder Daphne Oram and pioneering computer musician Hugh Davies.

Taking place in the newly acquired St James' Hatcham Church (SE14 6AD), it is set to be comprehensive in scope, with installations, film programme, and a set of works for Disklavier MIDI-controlled grand piano, alongside a week-long series of evening events. There's some fantastic work on show; don't miss the pieces by Paul Prudence and Francisco Lopez, Ryo Ikeshiro, Emmanuel Spinelli, and Jeremy Keenan.

Debuting at SHO-ZYG, is a new collaborative installation by James Bulley and I: Radio Reconstructions, a piece for 12 repurposed radios and algorithmically-controlled wideband radio tuner. We're putting the finishing touches to the piece right now, and will write more on this shortly.

Incidentally, the name of the exhibition is taken from a sound work by Hugh Davies. The eponymous piece was embedded within a volume of an encyclopaedia, whose contents ranged from Shoal to Zygote.

More info: sho-zyg.com

Maelstrom at FutureEverything

The third iteration of sound installation Maelstrom (James Bulley and Daniel Jones, 2012) can be found from now until June 10th at FutureEverything 2012, in the incredible 175-year-old surrounds of Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry.

Maelstrom at FutureEverything

It generates a continuous piece of music purely using audio fragments taken from YouTube and other media-sharing websites, using new material that is constantly being downloaded, fragmented and categorised based on tonal attributes.

The consequence is that it is an extraordinarily strange system to compose for: we score the dynamics, pitch and spatialisation sequences, but the timbral properties of the sound are constantly shifting beneath us. Each repeat of the same section may thus be radically different, rendering it an ever-changing, amorphous hyper-instrument.

Maelstrom at FutureEverything

The whole of the FutureEverybody exhibition revolves around ideas of collective action and participatory technologies, with many other great works. Ollie Palmer's Ant Ballet draws on ideas from cybernetics and self-organised behaviour to create a multimedia showcase of his experiments with artificial pheromones to influence the movements of real ants, symbolically conducted by a robotic arm.

Jeremy Hutchison's Extra! Extra! elevates Facebook wall postings into analogical headlines, using sandwich billboards from the Manchester Evening News. It's one of those pieces where the actual visual impact is quite different to how it sounds on paper, highlighting the different modes that our mind places itself in when absorbing information from different contexts. The absurd ring of importance that the piece gives to the utterly banal ("Emma Russell: Having An Okay Day").

Visualisation is one of those tricky areas where it's easy to fetishise the beautiful over that which gives real insight, but Stefaner, Taraborelli and Ciampaglia's Notabilia is one of the more . In general, the curation of the exhibition (by Glaswegian Deborah Kell) is top-class, avoiding the typical trappings when staging a show that's firmly tech-centred and focusing on works that are asking significant and engaging questions, resonating deeply with Manchester's history of decentralised growth and social sprawl.

Photographic print at Stitch art auction

Stitch is a not-for-profit organisation set up by a group of young artists, scientists and environmentalists with the aim of raising environmental awareness through art.

They are holding an art auction tonight in the amazing surrounds of the Old Dairy (WC1N), with all proceeds contributing towards environmental causes. I have a framed photograph in the show, Untitled (Isle of Grain).

Untitled (Isle of Grain), C-type 35mm print, 60cm x 42cm, 2011

I have written a short piece of text explaining the background to the image.

The Isle of Grain is a region of marshland in the north of Kent, at the mouthway of the River Thames. In virtue of its astounding biodiversity and variety of habitats, it is classified by ecologists as an "open mosaic" environment, home to a rich tapestry of wildlife. Thirteen of its native species are endangered with extinction, with a further 34 classified as nationally scarce. It is home to Britain's rarest species of native bee.

Its sparse populous, coastal location and proximity to London also make the Isle of Grain a target for industrial development. Formerly home to a BP oil refinery, it is now occupied by the Thamesport container seaport, an oil-burning power station, a Liquefied Natural Gas import facility, and the landing point of the BritNed high-voltage submarine power cable, linking Kent with Maasklakte, Holland. A further gas-fired power station is planned by the National Grid, who own over 700 acres of the surrounding land.

In November 2011, Lord Norman Foster presented a proposal to develop Grain as the radial point of a new high-tech transport system, the "Thames Hub". This would include a four-runway airport with twice the capacity of Heathrow, a Trade Spine to link utility pipes and cables to the north of England, and a high-speed rail station, forecast to become the UK's busiest.

The auction also includes works by the like of Vivienne Westwood, Richard Long, Marc Quinn and Richard Wentworth. The event runs from 6pm.

Hearing Connections at the Royal Institution

K http://www.rigb.org/contentControl

I'm giving a talk next week as part of the excellent-sounding Hearing Connections, an evening of lectures on sonification and networks. It's part of a series of events at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the 200-year-old establishment that Faraday and Medawar once called home. So, no pressure then.

I'll be discussing the relationships between sound and ecosystems, giving a whistle-stop tour of emergence, nested hierarchies and complexity, via Wolfram and Stockhausen, and hopefully culminating in a demo of some exciting new multi-level simulation work that I've been developing.

Here's the abstract:

What does a concerto have in common with a coral reef? The answer is that both are made up of nested hierarchies, in which an individual on one layer contains a population of the one below. An ecosystem comprises of multiple species, each of which contains multiple communities, made up of multiple individuals -- and an individual is itself an ecosystem of organs, cells and microbes. Likewise, a concerto comprises of movements, which comprise of parts, which comprise of notes and harmonies.

This talk is a brief tour around the relationships between music and ecology, and how their similarity can be used as a fruitful way to illuminate both our scientific and artistic practices.

  • Can translating a real ecosystem into sound reveal hidden properties to us?
  • Can the dynamics of an ecosystem be thought of as creative, or teach us about creativity?
  • Can there be a single set of simple rules that unify all of these levels collectively?

Hearing Connections runs from 7pm on Tuesday 15 November.
More information and tickets on the Royal Institution's website.

Maelstrom (2011) at Barbican Lates

Later this month, James Bulley and I will be debuting a new collaborative work at a Barbican Lates event, curated by Off Modern as part of the OMA/Progress exhibition.

Entitled "Maelstrom", it is a multichannel sound installation that uses real-time YouTube uploads as its raw material, using them to resynthesize morphing banks of chord sequences. These are then spun rapidly around the listener by a multichannel system of repurposed speakers, creating a tornado of audio data.

From the press blurb:

Over 48 hours of user-created audio is uploaded to the internet every minute, a figure that is increasing exponentially. Maelstrom is a sound installation that draws on this material in real time, constructing shifting walls of sound from thousands of audio fragments.

By organising these fragments based on their tonal attributes, they collectively form a vast instrument, whose properties are affected by global internet activity. A score composed specifically for this instrument voices an endless series of chord variations, dynamically generated by an array of live processes.

Maelstrom builds a tornado of tonal cluster chords around its spiral speaker system, engulfing the listener in the swirling mass of information that is now an integral part of our day-to-day lives.

Off Modern Late is on Thursday 24th November, in various spaces around the Barbican Centre, from 6.30pm onwards. Entry is free.

More info: The Barbican, Off Modern.

Complexity and Networks meeting on music, beauty and neuroscience

[icon] Prog_19_5_10.pdf

Imperial's Complexity and Networks group are hosting a day-long meeting on music, beauty perception and neuroscience this coming May (Wednesday 19th). With a focus on the neural correlates of creative and aesthetic processes, and the complex dynamics thereof, it's one not to miss for art-and-emergence junkies.

See the attached list of talks (PDF) for more info.

New work at GDS EXPO 2010

The Goldsmiths Digital Studios (GDS) is a new audiovisual interaction laboratory here at Goldsmiths, University of London. We're celebrating its opening with GDS EXPO 2010, a day of seminars, installations and performances taking place next Wednesday (17 Feb).


As part of the launch, I'll be showing a new AV work in the studio's ambisonic space, hooking into the 3D motion capture and projection system. Above is an advance screen grab; more info, video and code coming soon...

Signals From The Cosmos II


In T-minus one week, it's the second edition of our new monthly night of cosmic sounds at 93 Feat East, Signals From The Cosmos.

This month we have joined forces with London record label Thisisnotanexit (responsible for records from artists such as Hatchback, Detachments, Brain Machine and Spectral Empire) to celebrate their latest release, the new Ultralight EP from soon to be massive Canadian duo Parallels. Unfortunately we can't afford to get Parallels to London to play for us, but we do have TINAE label boss Simon A. Carr performing a rare DJ set. Expect future music of the highest order.

In addition we will be giving away a copy of this awesome record to one lucky winner. Best of all, entry is free.


Simon A. Carr (Thisisnotanexit)

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