Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Alternative Freedom Documentary and Soundtrack

Alternative Freedom is a documentary about the invisible war on culture, featuring insights and ideas from Lawrence Lessig, Richard Stallman, Danger Mouse, Bunnie, Jason Shultz, Doseone.

Here's the trailer:

You can buy the ALTERNATIVE FREEDOM DVD/SOUNDTRACK COMBO (2 DISCS) for $12 knowing that $1 of your purchase goes to EFF, a donor-funded nonprofit organization that depends on your support to continue successfully defending your digital rights.

Let The Music Play: Join EFF Today

The Alternative Freedom soundtrack features over 52 minutes of full length songs from:

diabetic elf
high karate
loch lomond
ritchie young

Thursday, December 07, 2006

TagCrowd Visualizations of John Lennon's "Imagine" and Political Media Slant

TagCrowd is a web-application that allows you to enter any text and generate a tag cloud to visualize word frequency. These visualizations can be revelatory due to spontaneous perceptions triggered by displayed patterns in the tag cloud, such as word proximity and weight. Interesting and meaningful connections between keywords emerge including meme-like phrases, concepts and new sentence fragments.

Below we see the contrast in vocabulary between the lyrics of the John Lennon song "Imagine" and politically loaded phrases as used by Democrats and Republicans. See How to speak Republican or Democratic for background information and lists of phrases as compiled in a recent paper by Gentzkow and Shapiro from the 2005 Congressional Record: What Drive's Media Slant?

John Lennon was shot and killed this day December 8, 1980 by Mark Chapman.

John Lennonspeak

created at TagCrowd.com


created at TagCrowd.com


created at TagCrowd.com

Here's a hybrid cloud made from combining the two original political lists to create a Slantscape mashup. In all cases the clouds have been restricted to display a maximum of fifty keywords and the last cloud shows a frequency count for each word.


created at TagCrowd.com

As a tool for working with language the creative possibilities are fascinating. TagCrowd can be applied to a multitude of artistic and interperative situations including blogging, songwriting, sloganeering, poetry, hyper linking etc, and the range of input material is obviously limitless from recipes to religion. More language tools and toys can be found on the REPROMAN sidebar.

TagCrowd created by Daniel Steinbock

The generated code and its rendered image are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

Via Sean Kearney's /patternHunter [/ph] - thanks for mentioning Apophenia, the word really grabbed my attention and on further exploration proved to be very fruitful. In particular to this List of Cognitive Biases and my list of social applications at Web Buzz Explorer.

Language Visualization Resources

ThePowerOfWords - A text analysis of political discourse during times of crisis.

US Presidential Speeches Tag Cloud - Shows the popularity, frequency, and trends in the usages of words within speeches, official documents, declarations, and letters written by the Presidents of the US between 1776 - 2006 AD.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Timothy Leary - how to operate your brain

Timothy Leary massages his message on reprogramming the brain into your brain in this 29 minute video produced by Chris Graves.

Via Bruce Eisner's Vision Thing

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lasse Gjertsen's Hyperactive Video Editing Style

Lasse Gjertsen uses video editing techniques akin to music sampling to create new digital media compositions. In the video below called Amateur he creates a cut-up illusion of himself jamming on drums and piano. In another video he makes an appearance as a human beatbox.

Lasse also creates animations and a good introduction to his creative influences can be found in Jeg går en Tur - A self portrait that you can watch below: In animation, EVERYTHING is possible!

Check out Lasse's music page for some fine electronic tunes.

Via Kottke.org

Amateur - Lasse Gjertsen

Jeg går en Tur - A self portrait by Lasse Gjertsen

Monday, November 13, 2006

Instructional Music Video Mashup

Kel McKeown: Instructional Video

A mashup masterclass and classic example of creative cut-up techniques. Part of the fun is learning how it's done.

Digital Luthiers Develop The Reactable

reactable: improvisation demo

Team designer Marcos Alonso explains:
The reactable, is a multi-user electronic music instrument with a tabletop
tangible user interface. Several simultaneous performers share complete
control over the instrument by moving physical objects on a luminous table
surface. By moving and relating these objects, representing components of a
classic modular synthesizer, users can create complex and dynamic sonic
topologies, with generators, filters and modulators, in a kind of tangible
modular synthesizer or graspable flow-controlled programming language.

This instrument is being developed by a team of digital luthiers (Sergi
Jordà, Martin Kaltenbrunner, Günter Geiger and Marcos Alonso), at the Music
Technology Group within the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain.
More information is available via the Reactable Website which also has a good overview of related tangible musical interfaces. See also Wikipedia reacTable

Here's an organic interface that takes a more fluid approach...

Toriton Plus: Water Surface as Music Controller II

Saturday, November 11, 2006

WGBH Lab: Video Sandbox

The WGBH Lab is an online destination and initiative designed to help independent media makers. Selected video clips from the WGBH Media Library are being cleared for copyright and made available for people to cut, loop and mashup via the Lab Sandbox.

All clips are made available in QuickTime’s native .mov format under Creative Commons license Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 .

Thursday, November 09, 2006

New Perceptions of Self in the Age of Social Media

These four time-lapse videos show human evolutionary processes and cosmetic transformations over varying periods of time. These type of clips became significantly popular via YouTube and other new media outlets during the latter part of 2006.

I have posted the clips here in order of appearance on YouTube, over the 3 months of August, September and October (dates may be innacurate). Each successive video was compiled over a longer period of time apart from the final clip which was shot relatively quickly and digitally manipulated later.

For the first two videos shown below, the viewing figures quickly reached into the millions each and the level of interest was high across many important forms of media dissemination including blogs, social networks and mass media news outlets.

The clips continue to capture the imaginations of millions and it seems fitting to profile the trend in a single post. There's obviously a powerful fascination with the aging process and the technique of projecting these visions of accumulative degenerative processes over time. The fourth clip, possibly influenced by the success of the earlier videos, shows the power of cosmetic / technological practices to promote an image of desirability, albeit dependent on particular cultural perspectives and identification. Click through to the YouTube sources to get further details and comments.

Me: Girl takes pic of herself every day for three years

Noah takes a photo of himself every day for 6 years

Living My Life Faster - 8 years of JK's Daily Photo Project

Dove - Evolution

More about this type of photography at Wikipedia Time-lapse

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bent Circuit Training

Circuit Bending

Students learn the art of Furby reprogramming in a circuit bending workshop with Ben Goldstone. Below, an adept demonstrates the fruits of circuit bending knowledge as applied to a Kawasaki toy guitar.

cicuit bent "Double Neck" kawasaki toy guitar

Kawasaki motorcycle company licensed DSI Toys to use their name on a line of musical products. Unfortunately it's difficult to find online info about these particular electronic toys. If your interested in circuit bending and modifications to electronic sound toys here are some links worth exploring:

Metalriffs.com Guitar Toy Museum - a small picture gallery of electronic guitar toys.
Miniorgan.com - a private collection of rare small music keyboards and vintage musical electronic toys.
WarrantyVoid - the electronic sound toy and keyboard modification site.
Wikipedia Circuit bending - provides info and links to other websites.

If you're looking for online virtual sound toys and interactive music guides see the Museum of Sound Toys.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Recycled Culture: David Ellis and the Art of Double Bass

This work by artist David Ellis combines the body of a double bass with modern day audio hardware and electronics.

SKDubs gold (double bass boombox fiddle)

36 x 50 1/2 x 17"

Medium-modified double bass fiddle, spraypaint, casters, oak, plywood, metal, iPod, two tube pre-amps, B and C mids and tweeters, Electro-voice woofers, JVC tweeters, Crown XLS 602 Poweramp, and Behringer equalizer - 2005.

Via Hulger.org where you can find lots more interesting and arty contemporary designs.

The Double Bass

Along with classical music, the double bass has found its place in genres such as the blues, bluegrass, jazz, rock and roll, rockabilly, psychobilly, drum and bass. It has been used widely in pop and rock music on recordings by artists like Kate Bush, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel and Frank Zappa. A well known example being the Lou Reed song "Walk on the Wild Side" where session musician Herbie Flowers created the distinctive sounding bass hook, by using a mix of old and new sounds. He recorded one part on acoustic upright and then overdubbed a crossing part a major tenth above on electric fretless bass. The song was later recycled by other artists including A Tribe Called Quest who used a sample of it in "Can I Kick it?" - You can just about hear it on the intro of the video remix below. For more examples of recordings using double bass, see this thread from the TalkBass forums discussing Examples of Upright in Pop Music.


David Ellis's work evokes some interesting perceptions through the marriage of old and new world technologies.

At first site the juxtaposition creates a slight element of cognitive dissonance, a clash between the older acoustic culture and the contemporary electronic culture. However, the sense of discomfort is lessened by the idea the two cultures are not completely contradictory. The fundamental function of sound reproduction, for the purpose of music and entertainment, remains intact. In fact the instrument has merely been rewired, the strings replaced by electric wires.

Originally the source of sound was generated by a human drive mechanism. The machinery of bow and fingers controlled the perceived pitch, loudness and tone production. These have been replaced by electronic counterparts. The output of the iPod is the sound source, the amplifier and equalizer control the loudness and tone respectively.

The acoustically resonating wooden body becomes the architecture for the electro-magnetic speakers and electronics which are embedded in the belly. The electronics span a progression of successive developments where each stage builds on the past, from mechanical, to electronic valve, transistor and finally digital micro-chip.

There's much to contemplate in this piece that embraces change and cultural heritage: the new functionality, shape, symmetry, the handle ontop, the missing head/neck, the fact that it's no longer 'upright'.

Detritus.net is a web site devoted to recycled culture. Budding detrivores wishing to make new creative works out of old ones will find it a good source of inspiration.

Wikipedia: Conceptual art

Friday, September 22, 2006

Negativland - Gimme the Mermaid

From nakedrabbit

This piece was commissioned by the experimental sound collage group Negativland for the video compilation, "Our Favorite Things," soon to be released. The track had been cut by Negativland several years before, an audio document of their problems with copyright/trademark issues concerning their "U2" album. Many years and a painful settlement later, they had successfully transformed their experience into even more art, and a little activism besides. This little piece, made on Disney equipment after hours when no one was looking, remains quite popular. San Francisco experimental filmmaker Craig Baldwin has been kind enough to include it in "culture jamming" programs he has organized throughout the US and Europe. Several times has it been used in conferences and on panels about copyright for the legal profession. And it's fun, to boot. The statute of limitations has apparently run out on this piece, and it is now considered perfectly legal. What a relief!

Negativland is a small collective of artists and activists that create music and videos using extensive sampling and collage techniques. Further documentation can be found at Wikipedia Negativland.

Update: WFMU's Beware of the Blog has a series of MP3s with Negativland's Mark Hosler giving a presentation at NYC's New School - Negativeland: Illegal Art

Monday, September 18, 2006

Let Me Tell You What It's All About

Provided By: Realtablist

"I made a little composition here using ableton live, 3 midi controllers and the Rodec scratchbox. The EFX inserts of the Rodec scratch mixer enables me to use ableton as an efx unit, drum machine and loop station."