May 18, 2009

Spark Festival: Impression long time coming

Ray Lee’s Siren:

What I admire most is how Lee designed the sound. By organizing individual tripods to project unique oscillating harmonies—and simultaneously contributing to the collective noise—the sound could be explored and experienced differently throughout the space. This made what might be categorized as an installation, more an interactive sound sculpture/garden.
The small red LED lights significantly altered my experience. With the house lights turned off, the combination of sound and seemingly detached moving light was disorienting. With the exception of the Christmas light guide ropes, there was no longer a sense of enclosed or limited space. This new undefined environment challenged visual interpretation. Although the red lights were spinning, I associated them with radio tower aircraft lights seen from a distance at night; and, since they were spinning, I could imagine them as crazy atomic or cosmic forces at work too.

The overwhelming aesthetic of this work left me reconsidering my notions of how sound and light interact within perceived and imagined space.

Spark Festival

The piece that stood out to me the most was the one in the preformance and install room. It was the projector being displayed on the piece of plexi glass. I think it was a very visual piece, the way the lights from the prjector illuminated the room was extremely sucessfull. I mostly enjoyed the piece becasue it answered some questions that I had about a similar idea.

For a while I had the thought of displaying projections on glass, this was mainly sparked by the work that is being done in the Virtual Reality Lab, there they are trying to look at the design mode in a different way. Instead of setting up at a computer to do 3D visualization they are using a wand that acts as your mouse and control over the drawing, and Virtual Reality headpiece that controls your view. The head piece uses sensors that are on the mask itself, and also arranged in a grid on the cieling. This grid tells the computer where you are at all times, and when you need to see the other side of the building that you are drawing you need to physically walk over the the other side.

They also have a curved screen where they can set up a cave type projection of the room. This is somewhat like what Ryan did in his final. So I have been interested in projecting sceens from the computer and placing them in a 3d enviornment. Now that I know that if the plexi glass is sanded that it will created enough roughness on the surface to be picked up, I would like to take more steps in realizing this idea.

May 17, 2009

How about that Spark Festival?

During the spark festival I was working in the computer lab on capturing some old tapes and I decided to take a break and check out a couple of the installations. The building was almost completely empty as I quietly opened the door to W131, I was then blown away by Jakub Nepras's "Babylon Plant". The piece was so interesting I stood there at a distance, mesmerized by the flow inside what appeared to be a giant leaf. It was so incredibly alive, it became almost eerie as I stood there and studied the illuminated, floating, biological contraption. It was such a great fusion between technology and biology, as I walked closer I realized that it was actual images of people that were moving within the veins of the projected giant leaf. I love dissecting artwork by trying to imagine the mental connections or physical steps that the artist had to make until they were satisfied by their effort. Works like the Babylon Plant are so stunning that I cannot possibly imagine how it was thought up or put together. Every aspect of the piece was not even on my artistic horizon of possibility, I can't wait to see what Jakub Nepras works on next.

April 21, 2009

Better Late Than Never...

Every time I tell anyone that I am taking a Sound Art class, they ask "Isn't that just MUSIC?" It took me a while to come up with a response, but seeing and listening to the clarinet player on the first night of The Spark Festival helped me figure out a way to explain myself better. I cannot recall the name of the performer, but he definitely left an impression on me and helped shape the definition of sound art for me.

It was really bazaar because I found the performance far more enjoyable with my eyes closed. When I was watching him play, I expected to hear a familiar musical sound and I struggled to find a rhythm or melody. Something else happened when I closed my eyes. I began to imagine a colorful scenery with bursts of color and movement. There were so many different sounds mixing together to complete a complete orchestra of organized noise. After I closed my eyes and felt the flow of time through the sounds around me, I opened my eyes and I instantly lost the image in my head and simply say a man gyrating on stage violently playing a winded instrument.

This experience made me realize how important vision and memory are to sound. Once I took the association I had with the instrument the artist was playing, I was able to imagine a beautiful picture with the sounds around me to create a new visual picture.

April 1, 2009


The experience of sirens far surpassed what I expected upon walking onto the giant stage filled with these weird sculptures. It started slow as the first assistant turned one on and then tuned it and then it began to slowly turn. The sound gently whizzed by. Then I turned my head up and the assistants had already turned on two more machines. This would continue until the real climax of the evening when all the sculptures were moving quickly and then the lights went out and there was just this intense harmony of this giant chord almost moving and vibrating throughout the room.

I think this is when the piece really struck me because at this point you were no longer on the stage you were far away in this weird alien space. The flying speakers immediately reminded me of UFO and the sound seem to hit some chord deep inside the body as if you were not listening for the sound but more feeling the sound. I think the show was incredibly worthwhile in providing this existential experience.