ZenMan X Performance for Video at Texas A&M University

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 4.59.24 PMIn fall 2010, German Cellist Ulrich Maiß collaborated with TAMU students to create a full concert of new works using technology and improvisation as part of his ZenMan touring program. (Click here to see that performance.)

In spring 2016, Maiß returned to TAMU on his ZenMan X tour. Inspired by the recent release of performance materials by cellist and performance artist Charlotte Moorman, and reflecting on the fact that her work can now be experienced only through its documentation, often scant and poor in quality, Maiß and TAMU’s students created works of “performance for video”—live performances that consider all aspects of the live moment, created with more than just pitches and rhythms, works that were necessarily written for cello (or cellist) in some way, and whose significant features can still be experienced through its video documentation.

The entire performance is below in program order. Click each composer’s name to read artistic statements and portfolios of research, development, and creative work leading up to the creation of this performance. Continue reading

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Raveshift

The voice of the machine: Listen to the wide variety of timbres, rhythm, and textures that come out of a simple feedback loop and ONLY a 1 second delay—no other processing besides moving my body and objects in front of the speaker.

Developed while in residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, at I-Park, and at the Atlantic Center for the Arts again.

Long raw demonstration video of embedded micro-controller version at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in summer 2016:

Continue reading

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Shankcraft, live audiovisual sampling duo with Joe Hertenstein

Animal arms
At work
Like machines

An immersive audiovisual composed improvisational environment. The performance is structured to juxtapose rubbing (horizontal) and striking (vertical) gestures. All digital sound is sampled from the percussion live during the performance. All video is a live processed feed of the percussionist’s arms at work, exploded into full textures that immerse the audience in the sensation of the actions that are causing the sounds they hear.

Performance at the 2016 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF) at the Abrons Arts Center in downtown Manhattan.

 

Preliminary proof of concept proposal video:

 

CQD for Feedback Mixer and Live Sampling

Audio only:

 

Or with video, using the new live video engine I created for Shankcraft with Joe Hertenstein:

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New on Weblogmusic: Live Sampling Mix

Do you do live sampling in your improvisations? Join us in the Live Sampling mix on Weblogmusic! Just video yourself playing along with the first track (below), using it as your ONLY SOUND SOURCE, post it on YouTube, and send it to us. Details are at http://weblogmusic.org . To keep the mix pure, even the first track is built by using itself as a sound source: simple acoustic feedback.

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Sonic Glimpses Art Installation

Created for the grand opening of our new building at TAMU, built by students, and covered in World Architecture magazine.

Sonic Glimpses is a site specific interactive art installation to celebrate the grand opening of the five-story Liberal Arts: Arts and Humanities building on the prestigious East Quad on the main campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, The building was designed by Brown Reynolds Watford Architects to meet the criteria of the Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design (LEED) silver rating. The opening gala was held April 19, 2013, and the installation remained on display through July 15, 2013.

The art installation was designed to turn a trip up the grand staircase into an audio tour of the research and creative work being done in the building. Sound clips are triggered by traffic on the staircase, sounding near the location of each passerby. Faculty and students in the building contributed clips of their own creative work or the literature they study. Students in the Department of Performance Studies recorded the sound clips, performed some of the voice-acting work, installed the hardware, assisted in calibrating the software settings, and created the video documentation of the project. Creators Jeff Morris and Autum Casey worked with the building proctor, Environmental Health and Safety department, and the Audiovisual Surveillance Technology committee to ensure the installation satisfied concerns of all stakeholders.

The heart of the installation is a secure rack with Apple Mac Mini computer inside, along with multichannel audio interface, amplifier, and rack-mounted keyboard, trackpad, and video display. The computer runs a custom software program created by Jeff Morris in the Max graphic programming environment (by Cycling74). The rack is connected to two analog video cameras for control input (connected to digitizers inside the rack) and six bare speaker cones for audio output.

For aesthetic reasons and also to satisfy Environmental Health and Safety officials, especially since the grand staircase is the primary emergency exit route for most building occupants, we took efforts to keep the hardware minimally invasive. Most notably, we used only two video cameras for motion detection, mounted overhead, instead of sensors mounted on the stairs, such as pressure sensors, infrared tripwires, or infrared or ultrasonic proximity sensors.

The cameras provide vastly more data than such local sensors. This allowed for complex variations in the control data, resulting in the appearance that the artwork responds with a human-like whimsical character, with varying moods. The software turns cameras into motion detectors through frame differencing: calculating the absolute difference between each frame and the next, pixel by pixel, and summing the absolute difference of each pixel to yield a single number corresponding to motion. Since the staircase runs along a large windowed wall, natural light, changing throughout the day and affected by weather, influenced the artwork’s responsiveness over time, and differently so for each color. Further, the color contrasts and patterns of visitors’ clothing, skin, and hair and the ways in which they move each trigger the sounds in unique ways.

Designed by: Jeff Morris and Autum Casey

On the occasion of the Liberal Arts: Arts and Humanities building grand opening April 19, 2013 through July 15, 2013

Content contributors: Jayson Beaster-Jones, Michael Collins, Jeffrey Davis, Rayna Dexter, Mariana Gariazzo, Amy Guerin, Emily McManus’s Music in World Cultures class, Britt Mize, Rohan Sinha, Nancy Warren, Jennifer Wollock, Jaeeun Yi, Costume shop student workers

Content recorded by: Marco Pisterzi, Trent Tate, Casey Gilbert, Priscilla Lopez, Katharine Hinson Installed by Jeff Morris’s Intermedia Performance class and Autum Casey’s New Technology for Designers

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