Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fantastic Planet

Topless Robot - 7 Essential French Sci-Fi Films
This groovy article in Topless Robot brought up an old favorite. I remember coming across Fantastic Planet in the middle of the night on some odd TV station when I was in high school. The stylish yet clunky animation and ominous tone of the film was compelling. I didn't realize it was French, but I'm not surprised. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth the energy to look it up. The soundtrack is something too. So not Disney.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Xylophone Bicycle Bridge: Designboom Contest Entry

Fantastic Xylophone Bicycle Bridge Plays Music As You Ride | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World
Inhabitat posted about this beautiful design for an environmental instrument. As a cyclist rides over the bridge the keys play a tune. The design was an entry in the Designboom's Seoul Cycle Design competition, and the article includes a map with the potential sites in Seoul. I love this not just because I'm a musician and a cyclist, but because it contributes to the sonic landscape in the city.

There's so much noise on the roads here in L.A. During the recent CicLAvia I was struck by the silence of the street full of cyclists. You could hear people talking as they rode along, children laughing, a quiet background of clicks and whirs as chains adjusted and gears shifted. Now and again a bell was rung. The Xylophone Bridge gives the bike and the river a voice to sing together. A crossing is celebrated, and  I think this is art because of the symbolism.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If You Don't Have Time to Knit...

Make: Online : Clock knits, tells time
Make magazine always has cool stuff, but the artist, Siren Elise Wilhelmsen, from Germany has a whole site full of cool. The clock knits a stitch in time (which I suppose saves nine) for a whole year. I love to knit. One of the reasons I find it compelling is the time it takes to make something stitch by stitch. Even though I'm not a slow knitter, the act always seems contempt for the clock. In fact, I often do some knitting just to thumb my nose at a deadline. Currently I'm working on a large shawl, and each long row takes about ten minutes. It's not much time really, but if I make time to work on it, I feel as though I've cheated the rush of modern life.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kinetic Wall Sculptures

O, I love these things. They are decorative machines. They are witty and wooden. The craft of engineering divorced from function becomes art. In the digital age, I miss the gears showing, and I believe people more regress to magic as the mechanics shrink and hide.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sonic Interpretations of Sorting Algorithims

YouTube - What different sorting algorithms sound like: ""
There's a odd sync with music and programming. Audio has been among the first disciplines to abandon traditional interfaces with the livecoding movement, and I've noticed the emergence of several high level languages specifically to manipulate audio. In addition, computers are being harnessed to generate sound in order to better comprehend their processes. While we can see the printed waveform here, perhaps the information is better understood as audio. It seems obvious to listen to the mechanics of the machine, but will we ever listen to computers to enjoy their creations? So far, computer generated music is either contrived or dissonant, in my experience. It's getting better though.