sound work by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Trained as a musician and composer, French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot creates works by drawing on the rhythms of daily life to produce sound in unexpected ways. His installation for The Curve will take the form of a walk-though aviary for a flock of zebra finches, furnished with electric guitars and other instruments and objects. As the birds go about their routine activities, perching on or feeding from the various pieces of equipment, they create a captivating, live soundscape.
(from: Barbican website , show coming up 27 February 2010 - 23 May 2010)

Tsika's Dolls

I just put this amazing work back online... check out the whole lineup here:

This is a series of works I documented for my friend Tsika.
I hope I can visit her again one day.

Tsika receives messages from friends who life off on the planet Earth. They tell her incredible stories and instruct her to create the characters from the stories into a form that can be seen on Earth, so from these tales she makes dolls. Luckily in her town there is a local furniture factory who likes to donate their scraps, and so she has a ready supply of materials.

Her other worldly friends have also shared information with her in the past that has served to solve a Chicago kidnapping case and save a young boy and now the Chigago police still call her sometimes for advice. She's never travelled to America.

I got to visit Tsika a few times in 2006 with my dear friend Neda who gracefully translated hours of tales about each of the dolls.

I hope I can go back and visit soon and maybe with some better cameras this time.

moe-joe cell

oh yeah! I almost forgot to make a link to my friend Moshe Daniel's mindblowing fuel-less energy cell... I don't really believe it... except I actually did see it working...

we shared a Dorkbot

and don't forget to check out Moshe's other 'cosmic' solutions....

counting machines?

Sinclair Wrist Calculator, wearable! (thx r.)

(wtf?!) translation help please chinese friends...

la soucoupe et le perroquet

dispersion, anatomy, carnivals,

this week I got into reading some articles from the Leonardo Almanac series on dispersive Anatomies:

I read:
Sandy Baldwin, "Introduction: the Anatomy of Dispersion"
Andy Clark, "Dispersed Selves"
Alphonso Lingis, "The Inner Cauldron; the Upward Array"

and will read:
Tom Zummer, "A Cartography of Interstices: Some Annotations Toward the Mapping of Biological-Technological Embodiment"

also, I have been finding great texts on the Monoskop log... currently holding:
- Beller, Jonathan - The Cinematic Mode of Production
- Cubitt, Sean - EcoMedia
- Kirschenbaum Matthew G. - Mechanisms: New Media and the Foresic Imaging
- Zielinski, Siegfried - Audiovisions: Cinema and Television as Entr'acts in History

I'll make some posts about how the reading goes...

frontier maquette

field, distance, can't see what lies ahead
horse walking forwards
making maquette, tiny wheelsmaking maquette, tiny camera wagonmaking maquette, tiny camera, on a tiny hot water bottle, for stability, vibration avoidance

making maquette, long wagon, weight is in the back and stability is made by just pulling from the front

Rudy posing for the horsefake scenery setup
fake final image!!!


I'm a student again now.
I just started to study in the MFA program in Media Art and Desing at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany.

The program is 4 semesters and the courses I'm currently following in this first semester include:

Project Module: Follow the Green Rabbit
Professors: Ursula Damm, Sebastian Hundertmark, Bernd Hopfengärtner
Project I'm working on in this course: Noise Structures

Project Module: Electric Friends
Professor: Jan Sieber
Summary: Coming back from the Arduino to basic knowledge in electronics - this physical computing course gets your hands on your electrons! Using old and new construction sets for electronic experiments we want to learn more about: Electronics, Microelectronics, Prorgramming, Construction sets and modular systems, Electronic Sensors, Prototyping of interactive electronic systems
Project I'm working on in this course: Cowboy Counter (some kind of manual counter, using arduino)

Project Module: Space is the Place
Professor: Max Neupert
Summary: Space and its two dimensional projection sky will be our inspiration for this class. Contemporary Artists like Tom Sachs, Olaf Nicolai, Thomas Ruff, Ingo Günther, Olafur Eliasson, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Roman Signer, Rebecca Horn, William Kentridge, Nam June Paik and many others refer to space in their artworks. We will watch satellites, calculate orbits, program controls, define positions, interpret constellations, read horoscopes, understand art, discuss theories and visit an observatory to look through a telescope.
Project I'm working on in this course: Dreams (video)


this is what I'm planning to make:

While watching a western film, the user hits buttons representing each character each time it enters the frame.

the counts are recorded and at the end of the film, when the END button is pressed, a small printout is produced, naming the 'winning' character. The printer will print 3 words : COWBOY, BAD GUY and HORSE. (surprise)

the unit will include:
a wooden box, 3 counter buttons, 1 end button, an incorporated printing mechanism and mechanics for print feedout, it will be battery powered.

SO... I need to write some Arduino code for counting and recording the counts, output for this info, triggering the mechanics and choose solenoids or tiny servo motors and think about how to "print".

Jamie said... "but why?"
Obviously, this will create really useful statistics and a 'game' for while you're watching a film... What's important anyways? Being alive or being the hero at the end of the movie or looking hot in more shots than all the other actors?

noise structures 1 : pristina

❶ noise structure: pristina

(the project I'm working on in my course Follow the Green Rabbit)

at this stage I will just go and make a long recording (number of days) and later decide on the translation/presentation format.

Briefly, the context...
In Kosova, the electricity and water systems are not currently sufficient to service the entire country 24 hours a day. Following a number of visits to Pristina, a surprisingly modern place, with excellent coffee shops, fine dining, a few radio and television stations, large office building and nightclubs, I remarked a continuous cycle of noise in the city. The electricity and water is generally functioning on a cycle of '2 hours on, 1 hour off' during the day and at night, the power and water are mostly turned off. This cycle is the "best and intended" scenario, but most days the power and water cuts are inconsistent and longer.

In every bathroom you find buckets and large jugs of water, ready for flushing when the water is turned off. Every cigarette lighter sold has the double function of being a flashlight. Many coffeeshops have gas generators on the street in front of them, ready to turn on every 2 hours so that the business can run without interruption.

Approximately half of the city's buildings house the offices of a huge number of International organizations. Everywhere you look, you see signs for aid organizations, diplomacy services and social programs. The population of Pristina is approximately 500,000 people, a relatively small city. The city is quite quiet since its primary source of employment consists of jobs related to the diplomatic re-building of the Kosovar state (office jobs) and there are few open or green spaces in the city center. Most gathering happens in cafes.

Many of the international offices housed in the larger buildings and many of their employees, live in certain parts of the city and have built-in generators and cisterns so that their power and water services are never interrupted. Smaller organizations, local businesses and private homes, especially those of local people either rely on small gas generators or simply live without services during the outages. When visiting my local friends, we frequently had to enter the house in the dark, move around with a flashlight and use a bucket of water to flush the toilet. Because of these conditions at home, we spent a lot of time in cafes who run their generators during the outages.

Somewhat rhythmically...
Every 2 hours the electricity and water is cut off. The city momentarily falls dark and quiet as ventilation, music and machinery is shut down. A few seconds later, the common sounds of the city are overtaken progressively as hundreds of gas generators start up. For an hour, the whole city rumbles and those sitting at cafe terraces must yell to each other to be heard over the sounds of the engines. Pedestrians on the sidewalk must step around cables and the scent of burning petrol is everywhere. After about an hour the power returns and, also progressively, the generators shut down. In this moment one can find a second of great silence.

So what I'm doing...
The whole sound scape of the city is changed cyclically. This is an investigation of soundscape as a direct translation of social conditions. The conditions established by the basic functionings (and malfunctionings) of the city infrastructure translate into clearly measurable sonic vacillations. A high quality, long duration recording (planned, 7 days) will be produced and a further work will be prepared from this material.

(thanks to David Drury for helping me be a bit more articulate here...)

- November 16-December 1 : researching and testing equipment for city scape sound and video recording, designing outcome
- December 2-December 8th : arranging equipment for travel to Kosova
- December 28-January 10th : travel to Pristina to record sound cycles as well as interviews with local people on their relationship to the power situation
- January 12-Feb 1st : process recordings, design presentation/installation


- Using an ecological research and synthesizing approach to observing and presenting how processes/individuals/conditions are interrelated.
- What is the significance of electricity and water services for people living in this context?
- What meaning can be found in such patterns in daily life?
- What connections can be made from such life patterns?
- What other patterns can be observed?
- What is the difference between automated and manual pattern recording/ recognition?

- Moving towards generating sound from video (image/movement/colour recognition), with focused research on what patterns have relevance and making relevant combinations between the sound and images. Looking at how these images and sounds can function together/separately. [abstraction+noise]
- What is the significance and effect of this noise cycle?
- What is the effect of noise occurrence in general?
- What is the difference between intentionally generated patterns and 'accidentally' occurring pattern? (aside from the question of 'ir'regularity)

- How to make relationships between the patterns (and timing) for playback and presentation? (ie. cycle in Pristina of sound changes is very long, how could this be translated?)
- Looking for 'natural/patterns', using these patterns to generate further artwork
- How can the 'collection/presentation' of such an (irregular) pattern be useful as a metaphor for other processes/histories? (looking -> emotional/personal histories)

- How 'regular' are daily patterns? What is the meaning of regularity?
- Is it possible to derive an algorithm from this cycle?
- What is the relationship between time and such patterns?

✖ QUESTIONS FOR THE GROUP (others in the course, or you?)

- What can be the final outcome of this pattern collection? [composition based on the rhythm, composition from this sound, other visualization of this pattern data]
- How will presenting this as simply audio work alongside other noise pattern recordings
- How does this project relate to previous 'long compositions' and soundscape works? (such as Cage's silent performance)

- How to put together the images of the place (street, generators, condition of the city) along with the sound recordings? What does this mean in terms of contextualization? Since the city looks very extreme (mixture of fancy cafes and post-apocalyptic style broken buildings), what message with a visual image convey and what message is desirable?

- How does this work relate to recent works on the topic of "putting the viewer into a foreign context"? Would a live soundscape feed be desirable, beneficial to the project?
- Suggestions for technical tools?
- How important is "reality"?
- Should the sound be recorded with actual sound equipment (looking for the most real representation possible) or record it as data, using another tool and collecting numbers? (probably both, or record as sound first and then can translate to data later, as desired)

- What is the relationship between time and such irregular cycles? How would one record this and make this relation? How much static would need to be collected in order to make a summary/algorhythm out of it (something that could be used to generate further creative works?)
- Suggestions for readings about pattern? Pattern recognition?


complex systems for linking processes and visualising data : abstractions
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang breakfast machine
- Pythagora Switch (chain reactions)
- John Kessler (NYC sculptor)

translating spaces
You Are Not Here – A tour of Gaza through the Streets of Tel-Aviv, By Mushon Zer Avi

Soundshelters - Artist: Samir Ayyad [Gaza], an interactive multi-channel sound space that connects people in Linz and in Gaza. The “real sound” in Linz was overlaid by sound travelling from Gaza to Linz and vice versa.

Space is the Place

I'm taking a project course with Max Neupert called "Space is the Place". He's been introducing a lot of satellite based works and to contrast that, some other worldly takes on outer space, such as the Sun Ra movie that gives the title to the course... psychedellic as hell!

I'm not so into getting obsessed with the big technologies being used for outer space exploration, but I did take a course in Montreal a few years ago about geology on the planets and the most striking thing I can remember is that the professor kept teching us things and then at the end of the lesson he would always say "but all this is only speculative, we really don't know all that much about space and we base our theories on uncertain things"...

Following this lead, I started to think about how space is often something that lives inside our imaginations, how there is a great idea about space, but I'm not really sure where we got this idea.

One common thing I hear is people saying "the whole situation was SO weird, it was like being in outer space!"

Obviously, none of us really know what its like to be in space, but sometimes when we can't orient ourselves, we relate to outer space.

On a kind of side note, I checked out Alice Micelli's artwork taking place in the disaster area of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown (contaminated "exclusion" zone). I started watching some documentaries on the disaster and noted 2 things:

1. the burnt, cleared and radiated areas look like a kind of 'desert', not unlike many gravel pits, mines, dumps and forest fire areas, kind of like a moon landscape

2. in the documentary, people frequently mentioned that they felt like they were 'on another planet/ in outerspace'... it seems like when their bodies felt disoriented because of the appearance of the place, the heavy radiated air that tasted like metal, the heat from the reactor burning and the strange quiet, nothing was familiar and there was a common tendency to feel very far away from the known planet

Link to Alice Miceli's research and artwork about the Chernobyl Disaster

you can find the Dicsovery Channel documentary and much other info...

AND SO... I decided not to obsess about disaster for the moment, but to rather take a shot at another aspect of location/outerspace relation... that of frontier... the distance ahead of one and what one might go towards.

I have started to work on the screenplay for a kind of metaphoric video image... it will move but does not really have any progression, so I see it more as a single image.

keywords: space, frontier, dreams, dispersion, forward, ahead, distance, pathway, vibration, waves, western, cowboy, horse, self, psychedelia, utopia, horizon, beyond

Moving forwards towards towards a frontier.

I will produce a machine for self video recording and then film a short video metaphor.

The image will include a horse walking alone into the distance. In the image, a large rope, visibly attached to the camera point will lead towards the horse, as he is pulling the camera, filming himself.

I will construct a specialized cart for holding and stabilising the camera and a harness for attaching this cart to a horse. The horse will be instructed to walk in a straight line along a road in the countryside. The cart will be made of wood, well oiled.

The music for the video will be an adaptation of Grace Slick's 1980 solo song Dreams. The voice part of the original song will be written into a score for cello and recorded especially for this video.


Stage 1

* designing the camera cart
* training the horse
* testing video equipment and lighting(outdoor conditions)
* looking for a shooting location (stright country road)

Stage 2

* writing the score for the music (musician)
* playing and recording the music

Stage 3

* testing the cart for speed and stability, modifying
* recording the video, editing
* presentation

So maybe it will be called : Dreams : in the direction of the frontier

some links:
Dispersion Relation, wikipedia
Frontier, wikipedia

text I read recently from the Leonardo Electronic Almanac special edition on Dispersive Anatomies:
Sandy Baldwin, "Introduction: the Anatomy of Dispersion