From next week till mid July, I'll be showing some new work as part of M∴M∴M∴, over at Hackney's Apiary Studios.
Ordering #1 (Sans/Soleil) is a reworking of Chris Marker’s "Sans Soleil" (1983) in which the film’s frames are sorted in order of luminosity and projected as a loop. It cycles from the black frames of its opening to those of maximal brightness, and again in reverse.
The video stream has been a core part of erase.net for many moons - an ever-changing screening room for the countless nuggets of weirdness and wonder found around YouTube's desolate wastelands. Somewhat sadly, I have realized that it is perhaps time to unlock it contents for future generations by transforming it into a real YouTube channel, with, like, subscriptions and the other stuff that this entails.
In going through the index, it seems that an unnerving 15% of the original videos have been removed by YouTube courtesy of takedown orders and other such things - almost universally music videos, which would almost universally have brought further attention to their artists. See this recent study which indicates, contra to popular beliefs, an overall rise in recording artist revenues over the past few years.
Anyhow, this is life. If you're on YouTube, please do add me to your network and say hello. Original videos coming soon (though most will probably remain on my Vimeo account).
A short sound study in the structure of the number sequence. Each positive integer is broken down into its prime factors, with each factor corresponding to a harmonic partial. We then proceed to count upwards, for each integer only playing those harmonics which correspond to its factors.
As a digital artist working with motion graphics, it's vital to have some method of recording high-quality videos of work for posterity - as a primary form of documentation, and an engaging way to disseminate work for feedback on Vimeo feeds and the like. Processing has recently incorporated the MovieMaker frame-by-frame video recording library into its core, and OS X Snow Leopard has introduced full-screen movie recording via QuickTime X. The shareware Snapz Pro has also provided OS X users with flexible movie recordings since the dawn of time.
So, a solved problem? Not quite. For artists and filmmakers working with CPU-heavy real-time interactive A/V work, each of these approaches has a critical flaw. Screencast tools such as Snapz Pro and QuickTime X have CPU and GPU requirements such that they can drop frames under heavy strain; moreover, QuickTime X's capture seems to be limited at around 10 frames per second, insufficient to demonstrate the whizziness of graphical fireworks. MovieMaker and other internal frame-by-frame grabbers, conversely, won't ever miss a frame, but their encoding process can slow down the framerate of the sketch itself beyond acceptable levels, which is lethal when dealing with real-time interactivity and synchronized audio/video streams.
Up until recently, I've been combating this by connecting a video camera via a Firewire/DV connection, taping the video, then capturing it back to computer (in real-time) before overdubbing the audio and compressing. Functional, but too much hassle to do regularly.
However, there is a better approach. The bad news? it's OS X only, and requires a second Mac for the recording...
A Solution: Virtual DV over Firewire
So, here it is: DV screencasting through Firewire. By rigging up some freely-available software on two Macs, connected by Firewire, it's possible to simulate the DV camera method and record the video output straight into QuickTime X (or Final Cut Pro, etc). Minimal overheads, no framerate or quality loss, straight into a digital video file ready for upload.
I gave it a shot with my personal laptop wired up to an office Mac Mini (running Snow Leopard and Leopard respectively), shooting out 1024x768px video from a Processing sketch that completely saturated the host's CPU and GPU - and lo, out came a 30FPS .mov.
Notes and caveats:
the Firewire data transmission is video-only, so you'll either want to use a 3.5mm jack lead to send your audio output to the recording computer's input, or overdub your audio afterwards (using Soundflower or suchlike to record the host computer's output).
Note that the QuartzComposerLiveDV process should be running on the host computer (ie, not the one doing the recording). I didn't, and encountered much confusion. Also be aware that the VirtualDV instances should be left in their paused state, and not switched to "play".
Here's the video in its re-recording form; compare to the original, created using Snapz Pro and suffering from a low framerate. Sadly, Vimeo's encoding has not been favourable towards it (compare with original .mov); next time, I will see how an .mp4 works out.
Strangely, quietly wonderful, In B flat is the nicest piece of net art I've seen in some time. Takes me back to the dream of a tangible "cyberspace" that would open tiny luminous windows onto distant lives.
The best thing about YouTube is that it has encouraged an entire planet of VHS-hoarders to dig out and digitise terabytes' worth of apparently pointless historical video. And so it is that we are able to peer into the recent past at the trove of hilarity that is the 1970s English public information film. Most are furnished with a tone of utter condescension at their hapless, idiotic and utterly infantile public. We deserve it.
A couple of nice recent glitches. The first is from a crashed version of Conway's Life, written in OpenGL shader language as an experiment in accelerating CA-based simulations via GPU functionality; the second occurred at the start of a YouTube clip.
Signals From The Cosmos is a new monthly residency at 93 Feet East that I am beginning this week (as Ad Hoc), alongside Scott Urlaubshits. Guests this month are the West End Boys, formerly of La Supercool Discotheque. We'll be playing (and I quote) cosmic disco, mutant house, future acid, radiophonic techno and low slung dubbed out grooves.
We're aesthetically angling it somewhere in the retro-futurist continuum somewhere between 1950s American comics and the cold-war Soviet space race. Here's the first flyer of the series...
I was fortunate enough to catch the very tail-end of George Maciunas: The Dream Of Fluxus at the Baltic, Gateshead, a couple of weekends ago. It did a great job of putting Fluxus in its context, revealing a number of things that I had previously had no idea about — George Maciunas' colourblindness, for example, which perhaps goes some way to explain Fluxus' monochromatic aesthetic, and his key role in establishing the New York loft space co-ops which clearly leave their SoHo legacy to this day.
The other floors of this stunning building featured a Yoko Ono retrospective and an instance of Miranda July's unerringly sweet and genuine Learning To Love You More project. Both of these I was aware of previously; they also served to complement each other nicely. I hadn't heard, however, of A Spoken Word Exhibition, taking place at the same time. This group show was startling in its content and delivery: short textual pieces by the likes of Douglas Coupland, Lawrence Weiner, Yoko Ono herself and others, read on request by the gallery attendants dotted around the building.
It was a charming way to access a piece of work, inevitably involving an encounter with the attendant and the side-stories that this entails (one told me of the tourists incessantly photographing her as she sang one of the pieces). I enjoyed the reading of Vito Acconci's tale of conceptual Antarctic architecture, "Halley II Research Station: First Impressions & the Beginnings of a Conceptual Approach", neurotically revising plans for a structure of light.
The first reading I requested, however, was a date-specific piece by the world's favourite tender pervert Momus. He's perhaps my most-read blogger right now, so I was naturally curious to see what he'd written. I didn't expect to be greeted by just a pair of numbers: "2015 and 2058". Years, I presumed, but couldn't make any further connections.
Later investigation revealed that this was the title of an earlier blog post of his, in which he sketches predictions for the near future of 2015. Representing the dislocated title in this way serves to further fragment pieces of this digital fabric, hurling them out into the real world of flesh and speech without an obvious referrent -- a mischievous way to induce koan-like contemplation of naked morphemes.
This whole process reminded me of three things relating to Momus that I have intended to write about but failed.
1. As a festival bestowal just before Christmas, he collated and re-released his 6 early LPs on Creation Records, all free of charge in mp3 format (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). There are some gems on their - particularly some of the nostalgic jungle-influenced sounds from Timelord.
Incidentally, there's a handful of gigs forthcoming at The Dream Machine, Dulwich, featuring other early Creation artists...
2. The below film, a narrated slideshow of boring book sleeves, is one of the funniest things he has produced. Hints of Peter Greenaway and Popper/Serafinowicz.
3. Having spotted some intriguing makeshift-looking storage solutions in a couple of photos of his apartment, I have shamelessly lifted his excellent postmodern storage solution of stacked Ikea Trissa boxes. It's the storage equivalent of lego. I hope this doesn't make me a cyberstalker.
For those on the other side of the North Sea, a new video recording of AtomSwarm is being shown at this weekend's New Media Meeting festival, in Norrköping, Sweden. Aside from an impressive roster of media artists by day, and some hot European techno by night, they've also got a damn fine website - apparently created as part of a web development training exercise!