Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Because machines want to make music too

The all poweful StumbleUpon has come up gold with the work of Glasgow artist James Houston

Big Ideas (don't get any) from James Houston on Vimeo.

The piece is called Big Ideas (don't get any) and was produced for his graphic design art show. the basic idea was based on the Radiohead track Nude after realising that Radioheads initial public challenge to remix the song was to say the least difficult (its rhythm and tempo clashes with dance music mechanics) he decided to fashion a "band" of sorts out of redundant hardware, in his own words:

"Based on the lyric (and alternate title) "Big Ideas: Don't get any" I grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they're trying their best to do something that they're not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.

It doesn't sound great, as it's not supposed to."

I'd have to say i disagree with Houstons verdict on the piece, I personally thing it sounds amazing and I would love to hear more work done by this "band"

After reading about this piece i was reminded of an old favorite of mine, IBM 1401: the musical.

Wired did an article on 1401 back in 2007 when it was still touring. The piece is the brainchild of Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson who based the piece on work his father Jóhann Gunnarsson did whilst working with the 1401 mainframe in 1964. Gunnarsson noticed that due to a production fault the 1401 would produce an am frequency which could be read as a tone, armed with this information Gunnarsson wrote programs for the mainframe in order to modulate this frequency thus producing one of the earliest Scandinavian electronic instruments. Armed with his fathers work Johannsson teamed up with dance coriographer Erna Omarsdotti to produce a piece based on the 1401.

Musically the 1401 sounds a bit like a Cello with a definite string feel to it not found in the early synthesisers, this sound is used to produce a haunting ghostlike tune as though the Mainframe is talking from beyond the grave, which, considering The University of Manitoba gave there old IBM a burial, it is

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Stronger than my brother

Stronger than my brother, originally uploaded by C0nt1nu1ty.

Photosoc went to Kew a few weeks ago and took are new shiny Sigma 70-300 with us that has a (relatively basic) macro facility on it, this was one of the results.
Artistically it may not be all that (the wilting flower in the background being seen as a bad thing in flower photographing circles) but I think it has character

New Babbage

Second life can charitably be referred to as a wonderland where only the imaginations of its users is the limit and uncharitably referred to as a stuttering rust bucket of a quasi game filled with trolls, furries and griefers.

Nevertheless there are some moments when the old engine can be used for something that will take your breath away. New Babbage is one of those moments. Steampunk is one of the styles that has found a home on Second life allowing enthusiasts a level of freedom not available to them in the real world, here a strange world that comes across as a cross between Rapture and 1890s London emerges from the fog. As well as being an archetectural work the community also works on art, avatars, vehicles etc. There community can be found here

Sunday, 6 July 2008


9 Nine Shane Acker Short Animation
Uploaded by FrFKmeron

As usual Stumble upon has dug up a jewel on the internet in the form of 9, a CGI film created by animator Shane Acker.

As Discribed in an interview with
"Inspired by the work of stop motion animation masters Jan Svankmeyer, The Brothers Quay and the Lauenstein Brothers, I sought to immerse the audience in gritty textural world inhabited by creatures composed of fabric scraps and bits of broken machinery.The fantasy artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski and photographs of European cities destroyed in World War II inspired the scenic design.The non-verbal narrative is loosely based on the old English Poem Beowulf, and relies heavily on pantomime, combined with strong composition and staging to tell the story."

Shane worked on the film inbetween animation gigs for films such as lord of the rings in order to finance the four year production of 9 which he described as an "animation boot camp". 9 has been critical success with nominations a film festivals and even an Oscar nomination.