Tag Archives: Rhythm

Final Thesis Presentation

May 15, 2011 (Sunday)
Interfacing: Dynamic space as alternative to screen interactions
MFA DT Thesis Symposium
Kellen Auditorium

Above is a video of my final Thesis presentation at Parsons The New School for Design. The panel included Matt Ruby, Brett Burton, Burcum Turkmen / Katie Koepfinger, Bryant Davis, Ashley Ahn, and myself. The talk concluded with a discussion between the panel and two respondents, Daniel Iglesia and Zach Lieberman.

To see the panel in its entirety (which includes a discussion with respondents), click here.

RhythmSynthesis Gallery Installation

This Friday was the first day we could begin installing our pieces in the Kellen Gallery at The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, so I decided to get my project in there early and test it.

A few classmates and I tried it out once I got the amp plugged in. I invited the folks that run the gallery and build most of the displays for the work in Kellen Gallery to test it as well. Watching everyone have such a good time made the long hours over the past few weeks and months all worth it.

Here is a video of a few of the folks who used the piece while I was setting up:

The Gallery show runs from May 7 – 23, 2011 at Parsons The New School for Design (The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, 2 W 13th Street, Kellen Gallery), and it is open to the public so come on by. The opening party is on the evening of May 8th (7pm), and Symposium talks are on May 14 and 15.

For more information on the Thesis show, timing of the talks, and other related events, head to the MFA DT Thesis site here.

RhythmSynthesis Interface tests

I invited Brett Tieman, J. Nicholas Moy, and Jeremy Gough (who I played with in the band, The Mugs) as well as fellow MFA DT students Haeyoung Kim and Matt Ruby to test the interface of my final project.

I incorporated a number of updates to both the software and hardware, which included:

  • play head movement tied to computer clock for more accurate timing
  • “sliders” along the right and left edges to control speed and volume
  • updated oscillators that generate sounds within openFrameworks application
  • new acrylic top that diffuses light more evenly
  • purposefully designed shapes and colors for acrylic pieces used to make sounds

The comments centered specifically on the sounds that were generated by the application, and they also reaffirmed my belief that when the sounds provide more distinctive characteristics (such as range of octaves and speed of attack), users are able to compose without obvious or deliberate visual feedback.

Below is a video demonstration I did of this updated interface as well as images from the final tests. Headphones are recommended (low notes do not play well on computer speakers):

RhythmSynthesis Sound Tests

This past weekend I invited fellow designers, artists, musicians, programmers, friends and family to Parsons to try out the latest hardware and software version of my tangible color music instrument. It had been a few weeks since the last set of tests, and I made a big push to get as many updates included in the hardware and software for this weekends Sound Tests and for final presentations at school.

On the night before the testing, I finished the hardware portion improvements which includes a new aluminum arm for the camera mount and an enclosure for the camera. I removed the PS3 eye from its original encasing and reduced the size of weight and space the camera took up.

The main goals for this weekend was to rigorously test the software to see if it was stable enough for long performances and to see how musicians and artists dealt with the interface. I truly feel that the audio is enough feedback for performers to know where the playhead is, but I needed to put the new hardware in front of people and see. Also, up to this point, the majority of the people testing my project were from the MFA Design and Technology program, and I wanted a fresh set of eyes and ears on the project.

Here are a set of images from both days:



The results were great. I received a lot of feedback (and some encouragement) that will help me with the next steps of this project. The primary comment dealt with how best to provide the musician feedback as to what is actually happening and to help them make decisions on how to use the pieces. Some people preferred more audio feedback, such as more drastic changes between the sounds when pieces are rotated or differ in shape. Others preferred to have more visual feedback so the user would know the location of the rotating playhead.

I put together a brief sample of the performances, and here is the video:

I also put together an extended version that includes all of the performances from the weekend, so if your still feeling like exploring the results from the test, you can see the long player here.

Thesis Prototype – Additive Synthesis and Controls

New musical interfaces are necessary to further explore the complexities of rhythm. RhythmSynthesis proposes a new instrument for composition and performance to continue such exploration. Originating as an investigation into the relationships between rhythm and technology, RhythmSynthesis applies color, shape, and sound to demonstrate how our understanding of visual music, computation, and tangible, audio-visual interactions can be applied as considerations in musical expression.

The goal for this prototype was to introduce updated sound generation and controls in the application. Using additive synthesis code I developed in the course Audio Visual Systems with Zach Lieberman and Zach Gage using openFrameworks, I am analyzing the shape and size of each colored object to determine the sounds that should be made. I also included sliders for changing the rate at which the objects are sensed and played.

Here is a brief demonstration:

You can see other prototypes and relevant write-ups here.

Orbit Player Prototype

In researching for my Thesis on rhythm, I became fascinated with the front cover of the Wire Magazine book “Undercurrents“. It depicts a record player arm on the rings of a tree, so I wanted to do a piece that had the reference of how the needle of the turntable orbits the sounds as well as how sounds change over time.

The general idea was to provide the understanding that our position (or position of objects within a space) have a rhythmic relationship to each other. I understand how far a table might be from me or how close a person walks past me, but I have difficulty fully understanding the simple relationship that all the pieces have together. This piece illustrates how the position of pieces have relationships over time.

The colors of each of the notes depicted in the piece are inspired by I. J. Belomont’s understanding of the scale and each note’s association with color.

Here is a demo of the application:

In this sketch, I have several instruments that age as they are played. Currently they have two state changes (young and old). I hope in future iterations to continue this idea of aging and rhythm, as well as include the idea of movement within a space. I also want to improve performance and program this for the iPad.

If you would like to try it out, you can download the application here. Once you launch it, just press “f” (make sure it’s lower case), to make it full screen. If you do test it out, it would be awesome to hear your feedback, so please post comments. Remember this is a working prototype.

Rhythm and the everyday life

In response to my design question “What are latent rhythmic aspects of our lives that can be revealed through technology?”, I shot this video on the F/G train platform at Smith and 9th Street. I believe that each moment is the intersection of experiences, and my project investigates the interaction between rhythm and technology. The goal is to reveal and encourage the use of technology to understand the multitude of rhythms that surround us.

The movement of the clouds, the traffic on the BQE, the grass on top of the subway station, the breeze in the microphone, the arriving and departing train, and the chatter of the passengers all form the symphony of rhythms of my everyday life.

Les Kurbas and Rhythm

Les Kurbas is a one of the most important figures in Ukranian Theatre and the avantgarde in the early 20th Century. Even while he was imprisoned in labor camps in the mid-1930’s, he led a theatre of other prisoners before he and 1,110 other artists and intellectuals held in the Solovki prison camp were ordered to be killed by Stalin.

Rhythm – Technical Analysis – Part 1

For Thesis, we have begun the formalized research of a set ofspecific modules that relate to our projects: Conceptual, Evaluative, Technical, Social, and Methodological. Based on my Thesis topic (rhythm and technology), I am working on the technical.

The main goal of this research is to gather as much useful information as possible in the next 2 weeks as well as prepare a master presentation on rhythm as it relates to technology.

I started the process by going to NYU’s Bobst Library. I did a search for “rhythm” and “technology” and went through every book, periodical, and paper I could find. Bobst is set-up using the Library of Congress call numbers, so typically I would find my book next two 20 other books discussing and addressing similar topics.

Above on the right is an image of the sleep cycles of a rabbit based on an altered rhythm pattern of light. The chart gave me a sick feeling because it looked way to close to an IC data sheet from Physical Computing.

I laid all the books out on a table and started flipping through them. If they didn’t have the words “rhythm” or “technology” in the Index in the back of the book, the book went bye-bye. If the book did (or if I found something that caught my eye), I took a picture of the pages I liked and the call numbers.

There was a large set of really useful books at the end of this, so I checked out a few out and took pictures of a number of call numbers for the others. Here is a set of books that looked amazing and will probably be destinations for my next trip to Bobst.