This week’s research – 06/05/2018

Marco Marchesi – Practical uses of style transfer in the creative industry – I missed this month’s Creative AI Meetup, but the presentation looks interesting. How to use AI style transfer in creative industry projects.

Looking through Arduino projects using audio this week, to ind some techniques that may be useful for the Space Rock interactions:
https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub/projects/tags/audio

Inspired by Active Matter, I am looking at materials for the Space Rock (other than the Jesmonite currently planned), including bits of space junk.

And dug out this cult classic as inspiration for the Space Rock audio content and narrative.

I Hear a New World is a studio concept album written and produced by Joe Meek with the Blue Men, partially released as an EP in 1960. The album was Meek’s pet project. He was fascinated by the space programme, and believed that life existed elsewhere in the solar system. This album was his attempt “to create a picture in music of what could be up there in outer space”, he explained. “At first I was going to record it with music that was completely out of this world but realized that it would have very little entertainment value so I kept the construction of the music down to earth”.

This week’s research – 26/04/18

Very inspired by cuneiform following my visit to the British Museum, especially the Neo-Assyrian circular clay tablet with depictions of constellations (planisphere).

Looking at Living Symphonies by James Bulley and Daniel Jones as possible inspiration for the final Space Rocks musical piece.

Reading Science Fiction for Prototyping: Designing the Future with Science Fiction by Brian David Johnson, researching how to create a narrative around the final Space Rock objects.

And finally got hold of a copy of Active Matter. Currently watching the intro page move as the sun tries to peep out from behind clouds.

Active Matter inner cover
Active Matter inner cover
Active Matter inner cover
Active Matter inner cover

Got me thinking about the material of the Space Rock objects, and also reminded me of the Massive Attack heat-sensitive packaging.

VRLO, Wed, 25 Apr 2018. Surprisingly small space, and only a few demos there. Still struggling with the VR issue that only one person can share the experience at a time, because each person needs the (expensive) headset. However, really (vicariously) enjoyed the CAD in VR demo from Gravity Sketch. Almost worth getting aheadset for, to draw 3D models in a virtual 3D space.

Research and inspiration 27/03/2018

Discovered the artist Amulets this week. He works with cassettes, players, tape loops and effects , creating woozy soundscapes and atmospheres from these simple sources. Of particular interest is the physical aspect of what he does, manipulating the sounds and machines in real time.

Also reading The Oxford Handbook of Interactive Audio, with a view to developing a more theoretical approach to the sound that will be part of my final installation.

Currently experimenting with combining simple tones to make chords / walls of sound, using this for reference: Frequencies for equal-tempered scale, A4 = 440 Hz

Panned version.

Mono version.

Also read this piece recently on FACT – The Sound of Fear, which mentioned the Ghost Tape Number 10, which was unpacked in this podcast a while ago. An interesting example of using sound to play on people’s cultural preconceptions.

During the Vietnam conflict, US troops played a soundtrack known as Ghost Tape Number 10 against the soldiers of the National Liberation Front. Used as part of Operation Wandering Soul, the unsettling tape collage tapped into Vietnamese beliefs that ancestors not buried in their homeland roam without rest in the afterlife. This spooky mix of voice, sound and music was intended to haunt Vietnamese soldiers and encourage them to abandon their cause.

Quite intrigued by this visualisation of sound in space via AR. Discovered this while reading about the Weird Type AR app.

I have also been investigating a few options for networking and interacting with the objects that will be the 3D models in the installation.

One is X BEE – apparently “the Digi XBee3 Series offers design freedom with easy-to-add functionality and flexible wireless connectivity.”

Another is the Google’s Project SOLI, a sensor which recognises hand gestures.

And finally, a MIDI controller ring, The Wave, as featured on TechCrunch.

Sadly the last two will not be available for a few months yet.

Research and inspiration 17/03/2018

Some links and thoughts from the past week.

This episode discusses the emoji-based augmented version of Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights by Carla Gannis, along with the concept of companies and institutions owning the ‘airspace’ or virtual space around  their properties, such as paintings. It also discusses whether we will be able to buy virtual land, as you can already do in Second Life. Particularly poignant in light of this piece I read recently on fastcodesign.com, about ‘digital artists’ hijacking MOMA with AR.

This also sparked some research into RGB-D.
“In the past years, novel camera systems like the Microsoft Kinect or the Asus Xtion sensor that provide both color and dense depth images became readily available. There are great expectations that such systems will lead to a boost of new 3D perception-based applications in the fields of robotics and visual & augmented reality.”

Intriguing short video that makes you wonder if it is CGI or a model / set:
Club Palace (Real or CGI?) – NOWNESS. Inspiration for the ‘set’ around the What Goes Around space objects, perhaps?

Have also been exploring how to network the various sensors that will be attached to the Space Rocks wirelessly, and investigating XBee:
https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoXbeeShield

Also been investigating the Arecibo message…a short radio message sent into space to celebrate the remodeling of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico in 1974.[1] It was aimed at the globular star cluster M13, about 25,000 light years from Earth. M13 was chosen because it was the right size, and was in the sky at the right time and place for the ceremony.


And the response that someone created:

 

 

 

 

And also The Von Neumann Probe (A Nano Ship to the Stars). 
Simply put, a Von Neumann probe is a self-replicating device that could, one day, be used to explore every facet of the Milky Way in a relatively small window of time.

This week’s research and inspiration

Feedback. Am used to creating this physically with amp and sound input device (guitar or microphone), but can the same effect be created with a sensor and digital audio output?

Interesting Fast Co piece “about new, video-generating AI that’s dissolving the line between fact and fiction.”
https://www.fastcodesign.com/90162494/the-war-on-whats-real

OSMO
Saw a talk from Rachel Wingfield of Loop who showed video of OSMO – http://loop.ph/portfolio/osmo-ted2015/ – “an experiment in totally transforming a public space into a place of wonder and tranquility.” My favourite detail about this is that the whole ‘space’ folds up to the size of a suitcase, apparently. Oh, and that it was originally set up under the A13 flyover in Canning Town, London.

Some articles about generative (product) design.

The Alien Style of Deep Learning Generative Design
https://medium.com/intuitionmachine/the-alien-look-of-deep-learning-generative-design-5c5f871f7d10

Autodesk Project Dreamcatcher
https://autodeskresearch.com/projects/dreamcatcher

NASA’s Evolved Antenna, an aerial designed by an automatic computer design program using an evolutionary algorithm. In 2006.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolved_antenna

Audio:
Planning to go through some of the ‘homework’ on Modular Curiosity to get my head around VCV Rack:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnZEv3hADF9ELOIwUNu6RVg

And discovered this Mica Levy piece today, Delete Beach, which inspired lots of ideas for narrative/s for What Goes Around...

Some inspiration from this week (or so)

Love this (free download) series of one minute soundsculptures / loops:
https://machinefabriek.bandcamp.com/album/minuten
Thinking about them left playing all together in a darkened room somewhere.

Also exploring music that is an evocation of place, real or fictional. This is an interesting example. “…a psychogeographic investigation into a world of abandoned Underground stations, Quatermass, eighteenth century secret societies and the footsore reveries of a modern Flâneur.”:

And this beautiful, tactile (if slightly creepy) synth design:
http://www.electronicbeats.net/the-feed/beautiful-occult-synthesizer-lets-conjure-dark-droning-soundscapes/

Interesting Quartz piece about algorithmic accountability. Ties in with the Creative AI talk I attended in January, where there was some discussion about AI being left to run things without checks and balances (tested in versions of the game Civilisation) invariably leading to world destruction:
https://qz.com/1211313/artificial-intelligences-paper-clip-maximizer-metaphor-can-explain-humanitys-imminent-doom/

REALLY tempted to get tickets for this, even though it’s in another country. “A workshop on the radical potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in combination with robotics to change human bodily experience.”:
https://www.eventbrite.nl/e/tickets-workshop-human-machine-configurations-by-marco-donnarumma-and-ana-rajcevic-43197660365

Also an honourable mention to Damon Krukowski, whose talk at Second Home Spitalfields about his new book The New Analog I attended last week. Damon discussed the ways in which the switch from analogue to digital audio has influenced the way we perceive and think about everything from time and space to love, money and power. His use of the sound engineer’s distinction of signal and noise and the difference in a digital world (basically, there is much more signal and less noise in the digital realm) was particularly thought-provoking.

Inspiration for the ‘Space Rock’ audio player

I want to make one of these. Imagining them as a limited edition for a band or artist, loaded with samples of their work, so the user can create their own soundscapes. Could be a version using the Voyager Sounds collection?

And also a nod to the interactive tilt radio by Luka Or, whose shape initially inspired the ‘Space Rock’.
https://www.designboom.com/design/tilt/