After an amazing experience at Day For Night, Ben Guerrette and I decided to team up on our own creative collaboration. We decided to combine our love for geometric design with blinky lights. The structure chosen is the tetrahedron, one of the platonic solids from ancient Greece. Our goal with this ongoing collaboration is to highlight the interplay of music and lights, giving them center stage in a 10 minute performance. Stay tuned for more as the show approaches...
Mechanically Plotted Artwork
After seeing a few amazing examples of art done with pen plotting devices, I purchased the AxiDraw in late 2017. Mechanical plotting, which existed before laser printers came onto the scene, really fascinated me with its mix of precision and limitations. The AxiDraw specifically is incredibly precise, which usually meant my plots looked like prints. I still haven't wrapped my head around making the plots look more hand drawn. Instead I abused the hell out of the precision to see where it would take me.
Processing, Python, and Houdini were used to create plots. Surprisingly I ended up using Houdini for most of the plots, and loved the process. Houdini is an amazing generalist tool that allows for quick iteration and complete control over geometry. I haven't even scratched the surface of its capabilities.
Sea of Sin
First piece to be given out. Created very simply with Houdini.
Plotter in action
Exploring the beauty of mathmatical formulas.
Iteration with Variation
Houdini was used here to build a tool allowing quick iteration and look development.
First plot I made on the AxiDraw. Custom code in Python.
Beginning to play with organic shapes in Houdini. VDBs with remeshing made this fun and easy.
Failed attempt to create an algorithm approximating Cholla husk growth.
Iterating on Cholla algorithm with some more natural results.
Taking a tutorial from Entagma and preparing the output for pen plotting.
Dialing in the mesh density to look right on the plotter. This was trickier than I though it would be.
Starfish or Snowflake?
A plot only a mother can love... maybe.
I've been fascinated by computer graphics ever since seeing Pixar's Toy Story. Since high school I've been working with various 3D technologies such as DirectX and OpenGL. The rise of the programmable GPU pipeline and shader programming has been a boon to the graphics based apps I work on. In 2017 I decided to continue my graphics study by learning a professional VFX package. Houdini is an amazingly versatile piece of software and was surprisingly easy coming from a coding background. The level of control and programability rivals any other professional package such as Maya and Cinema 4D. Houdini is an amazing addition to my creative toolset.
Echoes on the Wire
In 2016, our creative coding group was invited to participate in a show about death and the afterlife entitled Wake. Barry Lockwood and I decided to resuscitate some dead technology for our part of the exhibit. A rotary phone was gutted and rebuilt with modern electronics to allow recording and playback of audio on the phone. Historic moments captured in audio could be dialed up by the participant using the rotary input. Dialing a zero allowed recording of messages that would stay in the phone's memory forever and play back at random moments. Distortion and reverb added extra element to go along with the theme of the show.
An embedded linux computer provided the ability to record and playback audio. Interfacing with the 1960s technology was easier than expected and we were able to not only read the state of the handset but also the exact number dialed. Python was used to capture this input and send it onto Pure Data via OSC. From there PD was in charge of audio generation, capturing, and effects. It was chosen for its ability to run on embedded linux and the quick build time it provided us. The phone has so much more potential that we hope to build upon with future ideas.
They Don't Make Them like They Used To
Working on this old rotary phone was a joy due to the 100% serviceable design. Parts were clearly marked and various online guides filled in when I couldn't figure out something. Very few electronics are made this way anymore.
Brain Transplant Complete
The internal phone hardware was stripped down to the essentials to make room for a new linux based brain.
Installed and ready for the show. We were able to keep the phone in it's original condition, hiding the fact that it housed a computer hundreds of times more powerful than that used in the space missions when this phone was created.
Our "spooky phone" spent a month installed at the exhibit and held up with no problems. Success!
In April of 2017 I challenged myself to create 30 instruments in 30 days. At the time I was interested in the world of analog synthesis and wanted to do a deep dive into how they work. All instruments were digital synthesized versions of analog instruments. Yes, I know that's weird and confusing. It gave me the chance to express the same idea on multiple platforms including MaxMSP, Pure Data, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi.