New 2017 update/rollback

I recently updated to the new WordPress version and it effectively broke my site, the ‘High Art’ theme which was designed by Allan Cole a number of years ago seems to have been the culprit. I guess it’s not being updated anymore. As a result I’ve had to upgrade to a new WordPress theme, it turns out this 2017 theme is quite nice, with a few tweaks it serves up pretty much what I want 🙂

That said I lost all my ‘Exhibits’ from my previous site, which were essentially photographic documentation of various events and exhibitions I’d ran or attended. I think in their place I might make a new ‘Documentation’ page that simply serves this purpose.

So much has happened recently and I haven’t posted here in so long, it’s kinda hard to work out why this ‘blogging’ platform became less important.

I think it’s got something to do with the fact that blogs aren’t networked in many ways, there’s no real feedback, unlike the feedback you receive on social media. It’s fair to say platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have really dominated over the last few years, and a platform like Tumblr is really far more suited to social blogging than WordPress ever was.

In the end WordPress serves me well as an online portfolio, and I guess ‘blogging’ is sort of a remnant of over a decade-old internet practice, that really not many people participate in anymore. Maybe there still are regular bloggers out there, but all the good blogs tended to become pro news outlets.

That said I’ve been somewhat vacant lately from either art making, producing or uploading or exporting stuff to the world and the internet. In general finishing things and being active in local scenes has taken a back seat to regular employment. My Research Masters degree, which has dominated my activity for years, to this day remains incomplete, and still lingers as the current project and the thing I must finish before I can move on to new and better ideas.

Nevertheless I feel something stirring, new ideas and platforms I’d like to use for future projects. I have never been at a stand still for this past year however, with electronic music taking up most of my thoughts and spare time. And to be honest – for the first time in what feels like ever – I’ve taken a few bonafide holidays and vacations – not work holidays or art residencies, just straight up holidays. It’s felt good. This year I went to Indonesia for the first time and it really is wonderful, as are its people. I have some ideas about doing things over there for a while. It could be a really nice place to make art and music while soaking up the sun and the surf.

It’s really crazy looking back over the old posts here – a lot of links are broken and images are missing towards the back end. It makes me wonder at what point are things worth keeping? When should you clear out the old noise and start fresh? [Edit: I’ve just removed 100+ posts from circa pre-2013. It makes sense. Maybe all the most recent posts will get cut soon too, they just look dated and out of place. Maybe it really is time to start fresh? I do think a dropdown of documentation pages is needed soon though, to recap all that lost content. I think it was time to make a break from ‘student-years’ work and thinking – I’ve removed any projects pre-2010 also. Time to move forward with something new as something of an early-career artist.]

I’m still interested in representing certain projects here. But the reality hits you that some projects and thoughts are approaching decade-old ages, it’s almost 10 years ago since I posted some of my first projects here. I think some of them are still relevant, and it may be that fresh, new work comes to push the old out of the spotlight so to speak. In that regard I’ve become very interested in the Unity software lately, primarily for its platform agnosticism and ability to export to a variety of media.

In truth, I’ve mostly been posting on Instagram for the better part of the last year. It’s hard not to feel that typing things here is something of a vacuum or a void that somehow goes unnoticed, activity on social media has much wider reach and impact. I’ll keep adding posts for now, but maybe some things are better kept in the archive rather than on the front page.

🙂

MT

audiovisuology

51ZO052USjL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_i’ve really enjoyed undertaking my research degree at MADA for the past two years. It’s coming to a close, and I’m right into the body of my thesis at the moment. It’s put me into contact with some great texts which really circumnavigate the field as it pertains to audio-visual practice.

in particular dieter daniels and sandra naumann’s ‘audiovisuology compendium‘ really does a great job on bringing together a range of audio-visual practices. out of print for some time, its recently been republished in a new edition that combines the first two ‘see this sound’ volumes. i can’t wait for my copy to turn up in the mail 🙂

also, I discovered ‘the audio-visual breakthrough’ – the whole book is available online as a free pdf so be sure to check it out. but if you’re more into physical copies of books the design of this one is really great and also worth picking up. it’s something more of a treatment of the field of live cinema and its fringes, which is the basis for the current chapter I’m working on.

while i’ve known about live cinema for a while, and have performed my own work in this field before, i never really considered myself a live cinema performer. however the creative work in this new project has really tunnelled down into that direction. and its been great just how much more i’ve learn’t about the field through both the project and the research.

i think i’ve come to be really passionate about live audio-visual performance over the years. its easy for it to get confused with other fields, or it often gets bundled up with vjing. but to me it is a more discrete practice, in general a practice of dealing with both sound and vision in equal measure, rather than being a practitioner of one or the other.

lately however, rather than specifically focusing on the audio-visual as a particular subject for research, i am fascinated by the idea of the ‘runtime’ as it pertains to digital media. to me, live cinema is a form of runtime media which, like video games, pursue the computational medium of computer graphics, sound and control for the development of audio-visual experience.

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Banff Convergence

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I’m super happy to announce that I’ve been selected for the Convergence Residency program, at Banff Centre, in Alberta Canada.

Taking place in a little over two-weeks, Convergence offers a space for ” artists to research, conceive, prototype and present new artistic works, tools, techniques and perspectives for electronic music, sound, and visual creation. “.

There’s some amazing mentors in tow – Robin Fox, Uwe Schmidt, Dasha Rush, Markus Heckmann and Kieth Fullerton Whitman to name a few.

I have to say I’ve always wanted to do a residency at Banff Centre – it strikes me as an amazing place, so I’m super excited to be able to attend the centre with such a relevant residency. For Convergence I hope to write new music and form a link with the visual material I’m currently working on.

Lately here in Australia I’ve been exploring some new music tools over the Summer months, while on break from my Masters.

I recently purchased two Elektron music making machines – the Analog RYTM drum machine, and Analog Four synthesiser. Its been awesome learning them and getting with the Elektron way of working – in particular the Overbridge protocol which allows fully two-way midi communication and control via Ableton Live, and perfect sync between software and hardware. It also allows for full multi-channel recording of the devices – it’s such a great blend of the analog and digital that I am such a fan of. Together with Push 2 which is also a part of my current setup, it makes for such a malleable, flexible music making system thats also just so fun to make music with! Check out Overbridge below:

Once I return from Banff I’ll be right back into the thesis writing phase of my degree, before wrapping up with the final examination exhibition.

Exciting and busy times ahead!

FRAMED 2.0 Arrives

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Well it’s been a long time coming, but it seems Framed 2.0 is finally here! I’ve been following this company since their first digital art screen Framed 1.0, which was a hefty 55-inch unit coming in at close to $15,000 AUD. Since then the prospect of a more affordable 2.0 version has been looming.

Digital art screens are something I’ve dreamed of for years – you can even look back to an old post I wrote in anticipation of ‘Google TV’ (something that never really materialised). Well, Framed 2.0 may just be the Google TV I’d always hoped for.

The concept is simple – digital art has emerged as a notable field in recent years, but there’s never really been a way to display it. Enter Framed 2.0.

It’s a nascent time for the digital art screen. And there are a range of competitors entering the market. But there’s something Framed 2.0 promises to do that none of the others do – and that’s run creative coding frameworks – live software applications such as Processing, Cinder, OpenFrameworks, vvvv, and max/msp – right out of the box.

While that’s certainly no mean feat, Framed also offers similar features to competitor devices: gifs, website display, and fullscreen video. But this offer of native runtime software, if they can pull it off, gives Framed 2.0 an edge I think, one that may appeal to some people in particular, namely – software artists.

Like many others, I backed the Framed 2.0 project in a Kickstarter campaign a little over a year ago, and while there’s been sporadic communication from the creators since then, and the delivery dates have been pushed way back for all, I have to say at this point, upon delivery of three units today (the ‘studio pack’ tier), the wait has been well worth it.

The rest of this post functions as something of a visual ‘unboxing’ for other backers that may be interested (spoiler alert!), and as a review of the device and the system that supports it at this early Beta stage. Because ultimately, that’s currently where this offering sits. It’s clear there’s more to come from the Framed team in terms of an official launch, the native remote control app, artists uploads, and of course native software support – but what exists now is solid, clean, and to be quite honest a joy to use. I was blown away.

The packaging is fantastic – everything is well and safely packed. You get a remote, power supply, usb cable for charging the remote, a wall mount, start up guide and of course the device itself.

Continue reading “FRAMED 2.0 Arrives”

OCD OSC

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I’ve spent the last couple months getting together a basic outline of my thesis, but also trying to get together a workable 3d camera system.

In my research I discovered Vezér, an OSC platform for sending and receiving Open Sound Control messages around various software. It should really be called Open Signal Control, because at the moment I’m not using it to control any sound.

It’s a great application, allowing me to control animation and camera movement with easing and bezier curve acceleration, without the code. Just set up an address, and Vezér does the rest. Initially I looked into duration, but its buggyness and lack of active development motivated me to look for something else. Vezér on the other hand is actively being developed and has great support on the website from its creator.

On the camera side of things, I’m using OCD – Obsessive Camera Direction – a workable camera library for Processing. While I initially started with PeasyCam, it proved too limited in its functionality for my needs. OCD provides basic functionality for moving and aiming multiple cameras, and I found a great hack online enabling me to send multiple camera feeds to seperate graphics layers in Processing (which in itself was its own hurdle).

Along with control from TouchOSC, I now have a workable system whereby I can control camera movements wirelessly with an iPad, record those movements in Vezér, play them back, and see the results directly in Processing in real-time. It’s fantastic.

Not only that, all of Vezér’s controls are OSC addressable, meaning a bit of code in Processing can have you skipping and moving around multiple chapters and compositions, keeping things well mixed up – which is exactly what I want 🙂

It’s certainly been challenging figuring it all out, and not without some help from friends and members of the Processing community. The task ahead now is to begin setting up multiple scenes and multiple cameras, recording camera paths, and finally, creating a whole range of 3d content.

Lots of work ahead >_<

Orbital Systems

Things have moved so fast with my research lately I haven’t really commented on it. But there’s a focus for my current project now. Some of that is visible on my tumblr – prgrms.tumblr.com otherwise here is a bit of an update on where things are headed.

Some of my previous projects used NASA imagery in an animated way – whether that was looking in, via satellite imagery of Earth, or outwards with cosmic perspectives brought to us by the Hubble, I recently realised that this has been a space my work has operated in. To be honest it hadn’t totally hit me – maybe in some ways that’s because I was working with the imagery produced by satellites. But on closer thought I saw that I’d been working with satellites as a subject in and of themselves.

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If Airfield used imagery by satellites pointed directly at Earth, and Noumina was directed outward, this new work comes to be about that middle point – the orbital perspective – as Ron Garan calls it. This new project, which I am tentatively titling EO (as an abbreviation for elliptical/Earth orbit, or earth observation) comes to be about this perspective, the location of satellites and their horizonal views from Low Earth Orbit.

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Airfield arose out of the proliferation of imagery that entered into the public consciousness via technologies like Google Earth. And perhaps Noumina came to be following the 2009 upgrade maintenance mission to the Hubble, which returned it to full functionality, allowing for its highest quality images since launch.

The EO project responds to the images that have been produced aboard the International Space Station, either taken by astronauts, or the recently installed HDEV video camera system which provides a live HD feed of the Earth from the point of view of the ISS. This ‘Orbital Perspective’, I feel, is one that belongs in the lineage of images produced via spaceflight such as Earthrise, the Blue Marble, and Pale Blue Dot.

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What is the significance of the images produced aboard ISS, and how have they altered our perception of the planet and ourselves? While my research project attempts to investigate these questions in part, it is also an abstraction of it. In my project I am using software to create orbital virtual cameras and art ‘satellites’ that rotate around a spherical body. This has put me into contact with a wide range of so-called ‘orbital artworks’ – projects that either use an orbital methodology or process, or works that involve orbital spaceflight and the images it produces.

In the ramp up to the completion of the project I’ll be posting more bite sized chunks of research as they relate to EO and its accompanying exegesis.

Art as Problem Solving

It’s interesting to think of art as problem solving.

Art does this in many ways. And maybe it doesn’t actually ‘solve’ any problems, but kind’ve looks at them, from different angles, exposes problems, considers them, and starts conversations or critiques.

But when something like programming enters the equation (quite literally), the whole process of making becomes a process of figuring out a problem.

In a sense making a work becomes like a puzzle. You put pieces together. But I’m not sure if anyone, in any discipline that uses computer programming, would find that the scope of the work was in some ways made monotonous by computer programming.

Quite the opposite. In programming one always tries to optimise, and along the way is always learning new techniques and ways of doing things that were unknown previously.

I’m sure there are always more things to learn with programming, because every day I try and code something, I get one step further. It might only be a small step, but a step nonetheless, which then becomes part of your veritable tool box of techniques.

And this I find incredibly rewarding, personally. It’s fair to say one never hits the limit of any tool, but the thing about programming is simply being caught as you create. I’ve read or heard elsewhere that this is a blight of programming, that the creative process is halted by a bug or some error. And you get caught in this loop for hours, trying to figure out the tiniest detail.

It’s a strange challenge in the creative process. It’d be like trying to create a chorus for a song your working on on guitar, and then having to fix the guitar halfway through the writing process. I’m sure this isn’t unique to programming, building as you go, learning as you go, and solving problems as you create. But it’s something I find particularly fascinating about the medium.

That creating art becomes a kind of brain teaser. You know what you want, but how do you get there? It reminds me of John Maeda, in his book Creative Code, when talking about this process: “and in a flash of lightning it is suddenly there”.

Visual Research

I’ve created a new visual research blog on the Tumblr platform.

It’s more of an ongoing mood-board, a visual mind-dump of where my current thoughts are at, and visual stuff I create, or find online/IRL.

It’s also a mix of Instagram, and things that go to Facebook. Facebook is a bit of a strange one, because stuff often gets lost, hidden or deleted. I often post there, and in some ways this new blog is an attempt to capture some of whats lost there.

Instagram is great for capturing life moments, in your work or your time off, but I don’t really use Instagram to post other peoples stuff. So this Tumblr will be useful for that. Who knows I may create a second Instagram at some stage. But the Tumblr is a nice archive I think, a mix of all things. .Gifs and videos to come soon, too.

And then there’s just a ream of images I download from the Internet, so a lot of that will go up here.

I thought about creating a physical mood-board, but I guess printing things out and sticking them up on a wall doesn’t really make sense anymore. Digital happened so much more quickly. Maybe a few life-size posters of the major stuff go up in the studio.

I also avoided Tumblr for the longest time. But I don’t think my intention here is to cultivate any kind of network or followers, it’s just a digital visual diary that anyones welcome to look at.

http://prgrms.tumblr.com

MADA Twin Screens

Recent work in Processing on display in the MADA Foyer, on the Twin Screens at Monash University in Caulfield, Melbourne.

Displayed for a short-run across the weekend and to coincide with an in-house Symposium taking place on the Monday following, these works in progress reflect my work with Processing over the course of this year.

Even though its not an official ‘exhibition’, it was nevertheless exciting for me to finally see some work up on a wall, and these two screens had just been replaced with these two shiny new models.

I love the interplay across twin and multiple-screen environments, where slightly varying the content across each display creates shifting arrays of possible combinations.

See pics below: