Thursday, December 10, 2015

"Full Ride" (final project)

"Full Ride" is a satirical video projection piece about the many costs of attending a university for students and athletes. The only barrier to entry is the high price tag for students anxious to learn while athletes only need physique and embarrassingly low grade point averages. Public universities are no longer institutions whose purpose is academia but are now businesses that capitalize on the "college experience."

This video contains no audio and was projected on the exterior of the University of Nevada, Reno's Lawlor Events Center on December 7th, 2015 as the final project for Art 345: Sound & Image.


Monday, November 9, 2015

60x60 Presenter's Mix (Exhibition Review)

On October 16th, the Fleischmann Planetarium had a video showing called "60x60" that showcased 60 pieces by different artists that were 60 seconds long. The compilation featured works that had been shown in a similar format before.

The videos were created by a handful of artists who didn't work with the sound artists beforehand so the two never really worked in tandem with each other. The sound pieces were really interesting when I closed my eyes but when I looked at the videos on the big screen, they just did not work. The videos were awful. They honestly looked very crude and were worse than the videos our class made. That doesn't mean that they are bad artists because they are talented in what they do, but their videos were just simply atrocious.

I'm curious what the sound artists think of the videos that were tacked on to their pieces. There was also a weird narrative in the middle with a creepy guy and it didn't work with the sound at all. I feel like the animations existed prior to 60x60 as the sound pieces did and someone decided to merge the two in a random chance operation.

Closing my eyes was the only way I could enjoy 60x60. The sound pieces played with panning, dynamics, and effects so well that my emotional state was poly-polar the entire time and I felt on edge. The sound artists has a real grasp on the effect that they were trying to evoke and they inspired me to get better on my own work.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Reno Tour (Sixth Assignment)

My guided tour will take people to hidden gems downtown that have unique histories. These histories are so strange that there's no way that they could possibly exist, and they don't! I will be making up historical events at specific sites. Throughout the tour, I will talk about Reno, the monuments, our culture, and infuse some light music with added interactivity and commentary as the participants tour the town.

This map highlights the route and specific areas of focus.

Soundpainting with Walter Thompson (Lecture Review)

I've never been a fan of the requirement to take MUS100 (Concert Class) but on October 6th, 2015, a change in the schedule was made and Walter Thompson came to give a lecture on soundpainting. Soundpainting is an art form Thompson created as a response to traditional composing and conducting. The conductor composes on the spot and the orchestra performs based on the gestures of the conductor. There are over 1,200 gestures in soundpainting and while that may seem overwhelming, they are simple and intuitive enough that memorizing them is easy.

I'm glad that a music lecture tied in so well with our Sound and Image class because it really ties class together. The improvisation of conducting and the orchestra and audience getting involved made it more of performance art than traditional music. It may also be considered avant-garde because of how unconventional it is.

Thompson spoke about how there are numerous countries all over the world that have adapted soundpainting into their repertoire. There also aren't any language barriers in soundpainting because the gestures are universal and it is similar to basic sign language. Thompson asked the audience to come up on stage if they had an instrument and he gave a demonstration on how soundpainting worked. I was surprised that the orchestra remembered 20 different signs and paid enough attention to be synchronized.

Soundpainting breaks down the walls of traditional music because nothing is written down and everyone has their attention on the conductor. The conductor and orchestra are also really the only ones who understand the signs so an uninitiated audience may think the conductor is overly expressive and the music is just bizarre. Walter Thompson also stresses the importance of fun over accuracy. If one laughs or plays the wrong part, keep going and don't stifle any outbursts. It's spontaneity that Thompson finds most fascinating.

Thompson also got the audience involved with some signs and the fourth wall was broken when the audience and orchestra battled back and forth, playing off each other  and creating some really interesting sound experiences. I found the lecture and demonstration absolutely enthralling and really enjoyed how different the whole thing was. My ideas of music performance were shattered and this new improvised way of composing and playing really opened my eyes to a new world of sound art.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Bury On, Cosby" (Video Diptych) (Fifth Assignment)

This video provides a look into what my two independent videos look like together in a diptych format. In a real exhibition setting, each video plays on its own projector for maximum 16:9 quality.

My clips were chosen from random moments in my daily life. I used Max MSP and various Vizzie settings for the effects. Adobe Premiere was used to compile everything and I picked my favorite clips, chopped them up, and put them in completely random orders. I chose a random order because of the excitement of seeing what could come up when I blindly move things around. The Vizzie settings were intentional and chosen for the unique blends that each made when layered on top of each other.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Clicks & Pops, Sound Art: New Only In Name (Exhibition Review)

Clicks & Pops features sound art by Clint Sleeper, Tohm Judson, Jean-Paul Perrotte & Robert Morrison, and student works such as my own. It is in the Student Galleries South location in the Jot Travis building.

What grabbed my attention walking in was seeing Clint's "We are Singing As Softly As We are Able" video projected on the wall and throwing dirt at musical instruments. Clint plugged in a guitar and bass and manipulated the settings while smearing and chucking dirt at them. Since the dirt sort of scattered when it left his hands, the impact on the electric instruments didn't make as jarring of a noise as I would've expected. They were pretty subtle but it's when he smeared the dirt along the necks was when it could really be heard. The dirt was also pretty muted when it was thrown at the floor tom and snare. It could be heard in the beginning because they were the first things that Clint threw dirt at. The electric feedback drowned out the drums after that point. 

I found the performance piece interesting and view it from a perspective of his annoyance with music. There may be some frustration with music in general and instead of smashing instruments like a rockstar, he's throwing the dirt at it. It could possibly stem from growing up in the Gardnerville area where you're surrounded by dirt and the possible futility of coming from such an agricultural place. I'd really like to see the piece on it's own in a big space because the dome speakers that hung down made it difficult to hear the piece but I understand that it needed to be isolated from the rest of the exhibit. I just wish it were louder or maybe went in its own area like Judson's had. I also liked the installation of the dirt piles, snare, and small amps that replicated his video. Nice touch.

Jean-Paul Perrotte and Robert Morrison's "Structures In Microtonal Harmony" were the next main focus of the exhibit. Morrison cast bronze bowls with minute tuning differences and Perrotte used Arduino technology to get metal to strike the bowls at random times through Max MSP. Both artists were interested in how the bowls' soundwaves combined in space and how interesting they sounded because of their distinction. The random bowl strikes meant that there were thousands of combinations of soundwaves that could coexist and the way they lingered in the space made each sound unique. 

On the opposite wall, Perrotte and Morrison made manual strikers that the audience could interact with. The idea of play and interaction interested both artists and having something tangible that could produce so many varieties of sound was instrumental in making the piece successful. I really liked standing in the middle of the bowls and hearing people play around. The high pitches would make my ears perk up and my eardrums would vibrate and it seemed like I could hear the blood rushing in my ears. It was a weird sensation for sure.

The student pieces were things I've seen before and my work was included. That was pretty neat seeing my own project in there and having my name on the wall. Perrotte's "Composition for EEG and Two Computers" video was interesting because his partner, Caplovitz, would play the brain effects and manipulate them live based on the EEG and through Max MSP while Perrotte would control the audio portions. The original performance was done live and was too long to put in Clicks & Pops so he edited it down to a few essential parts and it was really neat. Definitely one of the most interesting sound/video projects I've ever seen and I got to take a class from this guy; how cool! 

The final piece in the exhibition was a video and sound installation by Carol Burch-Brown and Tohm Judson called, "Salt Marsh Suite." The audio was mixed with intensive detail and each channel originally had its own speaker. In this exhibit, they cut the massive number of speakers down to seven. The video contained overlays of animals, scenery, and rowing down salt marches in North Carolina. The effects were pretty interesting and the way each video interacted with one another had a unique sense of play going on.

I originally thought that the "clicking" sounds were obnoxious and wondered why those were included but Perrotte explained that they were actually recordings inside the marshes and that they were crabs fighting and moving around. That made the sounds cool but sort of removed the "reality" from the piece because the video's perspective of being above water means that you wouldn't hear the crabs below the raft. Regardless, the crab audio added to the record of things that existed in the salt marsh environment before it drys up within the next few decade.

The gallery spaces on campus are pretty small and my only desire would've been to see more. I guess that makes the exhibition effective in instilling in me the desire to seek out more sound art. The pieces were really inspirational and gave me some new outlooks on where I could take my own art and expand my realm of capabilities. I'm honored to be included in this gallery, no matter how small, and even more honored to have had the faith put in me to produce work that is worthy of inclusion with these brilliant minds.

"Bury On, Cosby." (Fourth Assignment)

Our fourth assignment required the class to make a one-minute piece of music based on our previous assignments and including our voice. We were free to use any editing software so I used ProTools. I cut, spliced, panned, and manipulated the audio in a variety of ways to make a unique piece of music.

The title of the piece is a play on words. I thought of "Barry On Cosby" like when artists cover each other's songs and I changed it to "Bury On, Cosby." because of the recent scandals surrounding Bill Cosby and how he has buried his past for his entire life and continues to do so.

I used a Sci-Fi effect, reverb, pitch shift, and reversing effects for Manilow's Lap. The opening is solely reverb and is like the beginning to any old rockabilly song coming out of an old radio.

The Care Bears Christmas album had reversing effects that made the record even scarier than it is in its original state. It sounds like an alien or something. Some of the parts I recorded were so funny forwards and backwards that it was hard to choose which version I should include.

I pitch shifted some of Barry Manilow's lines and took out all of the pops from the recording and put the reverb on it. I solo'd it in the middle because the reverb buried the other records that were combined with it so it almost sounded like the regular record. It made for a cool effect like hearing "Even Now" from down a long hallway. I used a large church reverb.

I cut out all of Bill Cosby's lines and put them together and there are some phrases that are audible and kind of funny. I took out all the pops as well.

My looping song has a small part in this piece because it was difficult to fit it in. It's tough to tell the six sources in it and the humming is what really sticks out.

My voice part came from a funny Snapchat that I sent to Al and decided I could do some fun things with it. I pitch shifted my voice to an augmented fourth above and made the mix at 60% so the original could also be heard. I made "One minute" audible and repeated it because it was constantly running in my head to do as many interesting but coherent things within the time limit. I reversed a portion of the voice because it sounded good with the alien theme from the Care Bears.

The ending finale came from the 3-way record cut where Beethoven's symphony ended and they played the last note. I thought it would be fitting to put it at the end of mine and I'm also glad that that got recorded and that I could pull it out amongst all the other crazy audio.