May 19th, 2013
Note from the editor (that’s me): Sorry I’m a week late on this, but I got another show (which I’ll be announcing soon!) and got some additional big news to share soon…
Every piece I do, it seems, is its own technical challenge. The Almagest Series was no different. You’d probably think to yourself “this is just like a DVD… no SONAR or infrared or anything… no risk of computers crashing… should be so easy, right?” Nope. The following is, sadly, probably the LEAST technical problems I’ve dealt with on something… gives you an idea of how difficult these things can be.
The challenge with this one was capturing the high-def video. My computer is great at generating the video itself, but trying to capture the video WHILE generating it? No way. Too jerky. I did TONS of experiments… filming my own TV, looking into using another computer to record the output, etc etc… until I found this beautiful baby: HyperDeck Shuttle 2 Designed for uncompressed video capture from DSLR cameras, I instead decided to use it for uncompressed (or close to it) capture straight from my computer.
A ton of research later, I had dropped the $300ish I needed for it, $250 on a compatible solid state hard drive, and $50 on a solid state drive reader to import the files to the computer. A good investment, because I’m probably going to be using it a lot! Finally they arrived and I turned everything on… went to plug in the USB cable into the HyperDeck… nothing. 6 hours of updating firmware/etc later, I realized that the USB port wasn’t properly attached inside the HyperDeck. Back in the mail.
A week later, another HyperDeck. Finally ready to go. Plug it in… nothing. Update the firmware. Bingo! Everything’s… GREEN? More research. Change out my videocard. Change the video color settings. Bingo!!! (YUV vs RGB, if you are ever curious). Ready to go.
I set up my BCF2000 and mapped the faders and knobs to my video controls to record the video and manipulations live. I had long ago mapped out the narrative arc of the piece and was ready to go… recorded everything perfectly in a wonderful high-res codec. Finally I could import the files into Adobe Premiere… oh wait, no I can’t. Premiere Pro CS5 doesn’t support that codec… you need Premiere Pro CS6. Another $300… but wait, they are about to announce the new version of Premiere Pro! Download the demo of CS6, work in the demo for a month, wait for the CS 6.5 or CS7 announcement after my demo expires. Then Adobe announces they are discontinuing the CS series and I will need to pay $50 a month to subscribe to the new version of the software… CS6 disappears, and I can no longer buy it. NOOOOOO!!!! Call Adobe, spend a long time on the phone, finally get the privilege to spend $300 just for a codec incompatibility issue. Am oddly happy about this. Then I finally am able to get to work.
Next week: The Creative Process!
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May 11th, 2013
For those wondering what I’ve been up to, well, a lot of things, but I am pressing very hard to finish a new series of works that will debut this September at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. It’s so incredible to have an opportunity to not only share the museum with works like Brullov’s The Last Day of Pompeii and Malevich’s Black Circle, but I get to debut entirely new work there.
As you can imagine, I am not taking this incredible opportunity lightly, and for months have been hard at work on a new series of works that I have titled The Almagest Series. The Almagest Series is twelve separate (but related) audio/visual paintings. Whereas much of my previous work was about viewer interactivity, these video paintings are my own, crafted in my studio from generative visuals. The visuals and audio are crafted over a specific story arc and follow my own narrative. The delicate balance that these videos show between video paintings and blurry, almost-nebulous movement inspired me to name the series after the treatise on movement of planets and stars.
I will have several posts on my website about creating the series:
Monday, 13 May: How I embraced and conquered the technological challenges of creating the piece
Monday, 20 May: Details on my creative process for the series and incorporating chordal textures from musician Brian Young
Monday, 27 May: A quick preview of the piece for all to see
Looking forward to sharing this with all of you!
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March 31st, 2013
My workspace… I spent a lot of time here!
This past week I had the incredible opportunity to go to the University of Missouri on a grant to collaborate with artist Nathan Boyer on a new project. Nathan and I met in Boston last Fall when we both showed up at the Boston CyberArts Gallery with audio/visual pieces based around SONAR readings… and of course set up right across from each other, messing up each other’s pieces (quick aside: for those who don’t know how SONAR works, it sends out a pulse and waits for it to return, using the timing to calculate distance. Well, both our pieces were pulsing on the same frequency at different rates, so they were causing a pseduo-moire pattern of readings and messing things up). We spent the next few hours putting a wall between our two pieces and talking about what we could do together by embracing the chaos caused by the dueling SONARs/computers.
A quick proposal and grant from the University of Missouri, and next thing you know I’m in Columbia testing it out.
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February 20th, 2013
Me speaking at the CINESONIKA Film Directors Panel on 17 February 2013
I’ve been overseas once before, but that was only to Bermuda… so I don’t know what happened here… I only know that, at some point, Tuesday stopped and Wednesday started, then I was cruising around Dublin in the top of a double-decker bus in a major haze. How do some artists fly out for only a couple days to do festivals? Crazy. I ended up needing like 2-3 days to adjust.
Wagamamas + Ireland = awesome noodles
Oh my god is this place delicious. Look at Emily’s ramen! LEGIT.
Wagamamas + U.S. = Yes please.
Dublin Dubstep = A store that should exist but shouldn’t.
Seriously, every music store had Ableton Live in the window, and then an electronic music section worse than our Guitar Center (and yes, I even checked the Dublin “Guitar Centre”). What’s the deal? On the other hand, I went into some clothes stores with Emily, and the electronic music they were playing was awesome. It was the first time I’ve ever wanted her to clothes shop (so I could keep listening) and she didn’t want to…
Salmon Fish King Prawn Pie = Clump of shrimp and potatoes.
I was too tired to care.
Guinness = Yep.
Pretty good. Although I am so drawn to the darkest beers now that I felt it wasn’t quite dark enough here. Smooth, though.
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January 25th, 2013
As part of the opening night film screening on March 9 in Athens, GA. Here’s the lineup!
Film Screening: “Small Planet” (at Athens Ciné)
Ethnographic and musical explorations from around the world
Selections from “Petites Planètes” (2011-)
Vincent Moon (Paris, France / nomad)
With musical collaborators
“Than” (2010) – North American Premier
Danny Winkler and Emilia Loseva (London, England, UK)
Music by Charlemagne Palestine, David Coulter & Jean Marie Mathoul
“Transit Zone” (2012) – North American Premier
Santiago Parres (EZO) (Valencia, Spain)
“Awakening” (2012) – North American Premier
Will Copps (Alexandria, VA, USA)
Music by Will Copps
More info here: http://www.athensslingshot.com/
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January 5th, 2013
My experimental audio/visual film “Awakening” will premier next month at the CINESONIKA 3 Film Festival at the University of Ulster in Derry, Northern Ireland.
The film screening will be held at the Nerve Centre. I’ll then follow it up by participating on a film director panel at the University of Ulster.
I know I’ve cryptically posted about the film here and on Twitter/Facebook… I completed it in August after several months of composing and filming. My favorite thing about the process was simultaneously developing the audio and video… it led to each component really influencing the other and the creation of some synesthetic elements that I probably wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. CINESONIKA 3 focuses on both the audio and the video of the presented films…it will be the perfect festival for me to debut “Awakening”
Read more about the festival here: www.cinesonika.com
I will obviously be providing more updates soon!
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November 11th, 2012
So, yes, I decided to drive to Boston for my latest show. And, yes, that is a really, REALLY long drive. Especially when facing a ridiculous Nor’easter, snow, and crazy gas restrictions.
But it was absolutely worth it.
Collision18 was put on at the Boston CyberArts gallery by the MIT-born CollisionCollective. And man, they were one awesome group of people! Everyone involved with the show was so intelligent and inspiring… I couldn’t imagine a better group.
This was my first show with the computer in the ceiling… pretty nervewracking, because once you close the ceiling up, you are done making adjustments! It was also nervewracking just because I had to spend a good portion of the day in a flimsy ceiling.
That’s where my computer is now…
This show was also a challenge because I was set up across from an artist (the very cool Nathan Boyer… nathanboyer.net) who was also using SONAR. What are the chances? We were setting up fake walls for a long time to keep our sensors from interfering with each other.
This was also a unique experience because I got to help do the gallery lighting… you never think about how much work goes into just the lighting until you are doing it… bulb types, placement, faulty tracks, blown bulbs, reflections, shadows…sheesh!
Me with my piece
The show runs until December 15. Gallery hours and info can be found at http://bostoncyberarts.org/
A big thank you to Christine and her roommates for letting me stay at their place in Cambridge!
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October 28th, 2012
Excited to announce that Digital Synthetic will be shown at the Boston Cyberarts Gallery from Nov 10-Dec 8 as part of “COLLISION18:Present”
COLLISIONcollective came out of MIT, focused on the intersection of art and technology… this should be an awesome time. Hope to see you at the opening reception from 6-9 on Nov 9!
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October 21st, 2012
A huge thank you to everyone that came out to doris-mae to see “The Passenger Car.” Check out this awesome Q&A “Artists Asking Artists” that the five exhibiting artists did together.
Here are the questions I was asked:
In your video, I sense a desire to go 3D. Do you view working with music as a way of making flat video more dimensional? (Pat Goslee)
I think integration with music does bring an interesting extra dimension, but I explore dimensionality in other ways, too: interactivity, sculpture, and more. It would be fascinating to explore 3D with my video, but for my video paintings, I do currently enjoy working in the 2D format to more closely resemble the paintings that inspire me.
I’ve seen your work in the form of projections, and also on a smaller digital screen (tv or computer etc.). Do the different sizes and different ways these things relate to space and the viewer become an important choice about the work for you? Do you try different ways of display or do you set out with a definite idea that a certain piece needs to be big, projected and another work seen smaller/on a particular kind of screen? (Becca Kallem)
I usually consider the display method as I make the piece. For example, my yet-to-be-published “Self-Portrait” is displayed on two rewired laptop replacement screens that I built into a sculpture of a tree. A tree is central to the video, as well; it was planned as one cohesive vision. Other pieces are slightly more flexible, but I always want to ensure the display will complement my vision instead of fight it. At Doris-Mae, “The Passenger Car” definitely worked best as a wall-to-wall projection. It gave it such a fantastic sense of movement that may not have been possible on the small screen.
Does projection change, in any significant way, how you yourself relate to the work, and if so, how? (William Whitaker)
Absolutely. Using the television as a canvas gives me much more control over the work. While I still need to deal with lighting and the environment with televisions, projection exposes the piece to so many other variables. It also allows the piece to interact a bit more organically with the environment. I love how The Passenger Car works at Doris-Mae because it is where the window should be, giving the whole room a sense of movement that I don’t think I could accomplish on a screen.
Is performance—making a video on stage—more important or interesting to you than the product (the video)? (Paul Pietsch)
Great question—I think it’s a balance. I love the unpredictability of the live performance, which is why I often build generative unpredictability into my pieces as well. But on the other hand I am incredibly detail obsessive in getting the product as right as possible. I think, when people are coming to see a concert where I’m working with visuals, they are expecting it to be an actual performance. In that sense, it’s more important to me that I am doing the video live and feeding off my emotions, the music, and the crowd than it is that the product is refined/perfect.
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