Monday, September 28, 2009

Any square can be a cover - take 2?

Just for the sake of what?
Eventually to understand if the image is really relevant.
... to be continued...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In B flat

play these together, some or all, start them at any time, in any order.

Making fun serious

An exhibition at Yamaha Design Studio by RCA Product Design students.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I find far more interesting to bring art to life than life to art.
Art to life is a democratization of art. Is to use public space as a gallery. To allow people to bump into art instead of telling them: you must go to the museum.
Life to art is whatever the artist feels like "puking" to us from his individual way of looking at life. "Don't you see? Don't you understand?"


The telephone box

What to do with the telephone box, one of London's landmark?
They are no longer used for it's original purpose, so maybe they can serve another.
Stop and listen?
Individual in public space?

The red telephone box, a public telephone kiosk designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, is a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingdom, Malta, Bermuda and Gibraltar, and despite a reduction in their numbers in recent years, red boxes can still be seen in many places and current or ex-British Colonies around the world. The colour red was chosen to make them easy to spot.


What is it used for nowadays?
Taking pictures: tourism
Peeing: vandalism
As a trash bin: vandalism
Eventually to make phone calls: original purpose
Snog!: : )

What can it be used for?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Four Calling Birds by Richard Rodney Bennett

"This is an attempt to decipher the mystery that is the song 'The 12 Days of Christmas'. You've come to the page that is concentrating on the line Four Calling Birds, and here's what our Researchers came up with when we asked them what on earth this line meant.
For those of you with an interest in etymology, the term 'calling birds' in the song is a deviation from the original term 'colly' or 'collie bird'. 'Colly' means 'black' and came from the old word for coal, so the four colly birds in the carol are in fact blackbirds. This doesn't really explain why anyone should want to give their true love four blackbirds, but there's no accounting for taste..."

Bird song and music

Some musicologists believe that birdsong has had a large influence on the development of music.[64] Although the extent of this influence is impossible to gauge,[65] it is sometimes easy to see some of the specific ways composers have integrated birdsong with music.

There seem to be three general ways musicians or composers can be affected by birdsong: they can be influenced or inspired (consciously or unconsciously) by birdsong, they can include intentional imitations of bird song in a composition, or they can incorporate recordings of birds into their works.

One early example of a composition that imitates birdsong is Janequin's "Le Chant Des Oiseaux", written in the 16th century. Other composers who have quoted birds or have used birdsong as a compositional springboard include Vivaldi (Spring from the Four Seasons)), Biber (Sonata Representativa), Beethoven (Sixth Symphony), Wagner (Siegfried) and the jazz musicians Paul Winter (Flyway) and Jeff Silverbush (Grandma Mickey).[66]

The twentieth-century French composer Olivier Messiaen composed with birdsong extensively. His Catalogue d'Oiseaux is a seven-book set of solo piano pieces based upon birdsong. His orchestral piece Réveil des Oiseaux is composed almost entirely of birdsong. Many of his other compositions, including Quatuor pour la fin du temps, similarly integrate birdsong.[67]

The Italian composer Ottorino Respighi, with his The Pines of Rome (1923–1924), may have been the first to compose a piece of music that calls for pre-recorded birdsong. A few years later, Respighi wrote Gli Uccelli ("The birds"), based on Baroque pieces imitating birds.

The Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara in 1972 wrote an orchestral piece of music called Cantus Arcticus (Opus 61, dubbed Concerto for Birds and Orchestra) making extensive use of pre-recorded birdsongs from Arctic regions, such as migrating swans.

The American jazz musician Eric Dolphy sometimes listened to birds while he practiced flute. He claimed to have incorporated bird song into some of his improvisational music.

In the psychedelic era of the 1960s and 1970s, many rock bands included sound effects in their recordings. Birds were a popular choice. The English band Pink Floyd included bird sound effects in many of the songs from their 1969 albums Soundtrack from the Film More and Ummagumma (for example, Grantchester Meadows). Similarly, the English singer Kate Bush incorporated bird sound effects into much of the music on her 2005 album, Aerial.

The Music hall artist Ronnie Ronalde has gained notoriety for his whistling imitations of birds and for integrating birdsong with human song. His songs 'In A Monastery Garden' and 'If I Were A Blackbird' include imitations of the blackbird, his "signature bird."[citation needed]

The French composer François-Bernard Mâche has been credited with the creation of zoomusicology, the study of the music of animals. His essay Musique, mythe, nature, ou les Dauphins d'Arion (1983) includes a study of "ornitho-musicology", in which he speaks of "animal musics" and a longing to connect with nature.

The German DJ, techno music producer and naturalist Dominik Eulberg is an avid bird watcher, and several tracks by him prominently feature sampled bird sounds and even are titled after his favourite specimens.[citation needed]

The productions of The Jewelled Antler Collective often use field recordings featuring birdsong.

In 2007, The CT Collective issed two free albums devoted to music made using bird songs (one with human interaction, one without). The project was co-ordinated by looping musician Nick Robinson

looking at "Calling birds"

This is more to do with "bird call". Different from Calling birds. But still, very interesting:
"The distinction between songs and calls is based upon inflection, length, and context. Songs are longer and more complex and are associated with courtship and mating, while calls tend to serve such functions as alarms or keeping members of a flock in contact. Other authorities such as Howell and Webb (1995) make the distinction based on function, so that short vocalizations such as those of pigeons and even non-vocal sounds such as the drumming of woodpeckers and the "winnowing" of snipes' wings in display flight are considered songs.Still others require song to have syllabic diversity and temporal regularity akin to the repetitive and transformative patterns which define music.
Bird song is best developed in the order Passeriformes. Most song is emitted by male rather than female birds. Song is usually delivered from prominent perches although some species may sing when flying. Some groups are nearly voiceless, producing only percussive and rhythmic sounds, such as the storks, which clatter their bills. In some manakins (Pipridae), the males have evolved several mechanisms for mechanical sound production, including mechanisms for stridulation not unlike those found in some insects.
The production of sounds by mechanical means as opposed to the use of the syrinx has been termed variously instrumental music by Charles Darwin, mechanical sounds and more recently sonation. The term sonate has been defined as the act of producing non-vocal sounds that are intentionally modulated communicative signals, produced using non-syringeal structures such as the bill, wings, tail, feet and body feathers."

Things to look at?

Calling the birds

I remember quite well when I was small, my grandfather used to rub a wet cork on a glass bottle to call the birds. At least a couple would appear. This is in a backyard, full of hortenses, in the middle of Coimbra. You wouldn't expect it to be so easy. But then again it was my grandfather doing it.
When the birds got close enough António would catch them with a white sheet. Flying trough the air, as a single wing of a huge bird, it would softly fall on the top of the birds.
The bird's cage were beautiful! All made of wood, just like the ones you imagine as the perfect bird cages. The ones you see in the movies!

At the time that seemed like a truly act of nature. Like one of the most pure thing one could ever do. But then again, it was my grandfather doing it...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Elastic Band

Taking an everyday object to its extreme, we chose the ordinary elastic band. When the band is stretched to certain lengths and then strummed, different notes can be made. When played in a particular order, popular songs from various genres of music can be played using only one elastic band.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

fanzine concept again

Just as punk revealed that anyone can form a band - all you need is to want to make a noise, regardless of musical (in)ability, because your voice is as good as anyone else's - so the discovery of 'zines empowered a generation of literate and lonesome youths.

Those that seized this power tended to reappear later on in the same small indie circuit as musicians or journalists. "Maybe everyone just wanted to be famous anyway?"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

John Cage

Dreams that Money can Buy: a film by Hans Richter with many artists. This is a Duchamp's fragment with music by John Cage.

Nietzsche on music

“Without music, life would be a mistake....
I would only believe in a God who knew how to dance.”

God gave us music so that we, first and foremost, will be guided upward by it. All qualities are united in music: it can lift us up, it can be capricious, it can cheer us up and delight us, nay, with its soft, melancholy tunes, it can even break the resistance of the toughest character. Its main purpose, however, is to lead our thoughts upward, so that it elevates us, even deeply moves us. ... Music also provides pleasant entertainment and saves everyone who is interested in it from boredom. All humans who despise it should be considered mindless, animal-like creatures. Ever be this most glorious gift of God my companion on my life's journey, and I can consider myself fortunate to have come to love it. Let us sing out in eternal praise to God who is offering us this beautiful enjoyment.
Nietzsche in 1858, at the age of fourteen years
"Über Musik" [On Music] (in: "Aus meinem Leben" [From my Life])

I become a better man when Bizet speaks to me, also a better musician, a better listener. Can one even still listen better?
»Ja! Ich habe sie getötet, [Yes, I have killed her]
ich – meine angebetete Carmen!« [I -- my adored Carmen!]

Eve, Peter Gabriel's game

In the 1990s, with Steve Nelson of Brilliant Media and director Michael Coulson, Peter Gabriel developed advanced multimedia CD-ROM-based entertainment projects, creating the acclaimed Xplora (the world's largest selling music CD-ROM), and subsequently the EVE CD-ROM. EVE was a music and art adventure game directed by Michael Coulson and co-produced by the Starwave Corporation in Seattle; it won the prestigious Milia d'Or award Grand Prize at the Cannes in 1996 and featured themes and interactivity well in advance of its time.

A mixture of art and music within an interactive game where you try to change a surreal landscape into a paradise by clicking in the correct spots. The game's story involves Adam and Eve being separated in the Garden of Eden, and Pandora's Box has scattered objects across four game worlds which must be explored and various bits of video and music located to solve the riddle of "the Relationship between man, women and nature."
The 4 worlds: Mud, the Garden, Profit and Paradise (plus Ruin, between Profit and Paradise) are represented by scrolling 360-degree panoramic scenes. The images of the worlds are made up of 120 screens assembled from 22,000 photographs, and each world features a Gabriel song and the artwork of one of four well-known fine artists, Nils-Udo, Yayoi Kusama, Cathy Monchaux, and Helen Chadwick, which gives each world its own unique look.
Many of the interactions are keys to sound loops to collect for three separate IMX (Interactive Musical Xperiences) in EVE that strip down popular Gabriel tunes like "In Your Eyes," "Come Talk To Me" and "Shaking the Tree" to layers of tracks, riffs and dubs and let you goof around with reassembling them, recording your own mixes and translating them into animated videos. Background (or mood) music loops are like accompanying instruments, and flyins are the lead instruments or vocals. For each song there are 12 background loops and 18-21 flyins. Some are available by default, but many have to be found in the worlds of EVE.

Michael Coulson the director of EVE also explains:
With Eve we want to hand the tools over to you and give you a chance to play with the music and pictures, create your own personal interpretation and get lost in the world.

14 Sep Presentation

Ideas to develop
- the participant audience
- the audience as an artist
- the audience in control (barrel-organ; music boxes; karaoke...), maybe wanting to create music without the mediation of the interpreter; as if music would come from the universe and nature directly to the individual listener
- from the heart to the heart
- radio as the new future: radio killed the video star
- how we stop listening to music
- stop and listen
- to understand how the relation image/music works outside the music industry
- getting more spiritual through music
- try to narrow art into design in opposition to elevate design to art
- the way we communicate and share information
- location as the programme, the space as the thrill
- self-knowledge: "not to purge ones feelings but to articulate them."
- produce an event (mixing: video, typography. MUS.A.):
1 to exacerbate music, to maximize the experience of listening
2 to bring the best of both experience of listening to music: the public and the private; individual experience in public domain
3 around the concept: stop and listen
4 music as a spiritual medium
5 build a "temple of music"
6 to give back (ex: to record the sound of people entering the venue and mix that with the sound already there) (people would be given an empty animation sheet to be added to MUS.A and they would be able to see that animation immediately)

- maybe you need your eyes free to free our imagination; in a live event, or at our place listening to music maybe we should just clean our vision so we can actually let our brain/heart engage with the music and transport us to were we should/want/whatever go;
- maybe all we want is a trickery: LIGHT!

- being practical and looking at the market:
"The problem for labels and artists, though, is that their business has long relied on selling music rather than generating money from what people do while they're listening to it. "
"Don't Sell The Music, Sell The Time Spent Listening To The Music"
by Marc Cohen
- be aware that we cannot predict the future: in the 70's we also thought we were predicting the future (start wars, bla, bla,bla) now we look at all that and it all look absolutely 70's, and only that. we are simple creatures.

Before I was trying to dissect music. Know I'm trying to see the big thing.

And for that I think it would be interesting to look at other cultures, other ways of living with music, outside the western world and outside the music industry as well.

To listen it's also to participate. It help us map our emotions.
When a musician is playing he's trying is best to execute well, sometimes in a very rational way. (this is specially true in classical/orchestral music.
Our choices, what we chose to play, to listen, are more to do with emotions.
"A ornithologist knows better than the bird how flying is done, but no one expects him to fly."
"Instrument" was the word enthusiasts used in the 20s and 30s when referring to their phonograph.
Well... I guess I've been training that instrument my all life.

How we learned to stop listening to music, by Steve Guttenberg
I'm talking about listening to music, as opposed to having music serve as background to other activities. "Listening" when you're on the computer, making dinner, reading, driving, running, working, etc isn't the same thing as listening at home without doing anything else.
A friend who owned a record store in the 1980s put it best when he said, "Recorded music is the worst thing that ever happened to music." At first I thought he was kidding, but he explained that before Edison recorded sound most families played music, on their own instruments, at home. Most middle class families had a piano, or at least a guitar and sang and played at home. Involvement was on a whole different level than it is now for most people.
Records changed that, so fewer and fewer people played instruments, but at least they were listening to records. They'd put a LP on the record player, sit down and listen to music. Yeah, I know that seems a little strange in 2008, but people actually did that on a regular basis. Especially when they bought a new LP or 45, when they really wanted to take it in, they listened with their eyes closed.
But when CDs came out people immediately used the format's longer playing times to do other stuff, they were no longer tied to the music and stopped listening. Music was just there, filling up space.
Fast forward to the present and now they don't even have to think about the music they want to play. They hit shuffle and let the iPod program the music. And once music is relegated to the background sound quality is no biggie.

For anyone living in the West today, "background art" and music are virtually unavoidable. Public and business space are often saturated with visual and aural stimulation,
"Muzak" is not simply another term for background music, but the name of an American corporation, and the indicator of something more sophisticated at work. I will consider these two then, as separate phenomena, and also introduce a third variant, Anti-Noise, which while not strictly music, also comes under the umbrella of sound designed to be heard but not listened to.
Muzak is scientifically engineered sound - functional music rather than entertainment. It affects those who hear it but does not require a conscious listening effort.

They all went there to see him playing live

"I dare you, to be real"

It used to happen before. The big difference is that now people share information much easier.

Albion Records circle of music creation

I'm glad Debussy died before he saw this:

What in hell does this add to the music?
It occupies your eyes with stupid rectangles of color, it stops your imagination from running free, exactly the opposite of what Debussy wanted...

Clash and London and ...

I'm glad Debussy died before he saw this:

What in hell does this add to the music?
It occupies your eyes with stupid rectangles of color, it stops your imagination from running free, exactly the opposite of what Debussy wanted...

Claude Debussy

I confess that I am no longer thinking in musical terms, or at least not much, even though I believe with all my heart that Music remains for all time the finest means of expression we have. It’s just that I find the actual pieces — whether they’re old or modern, which is in any case merely a matter of dates — so totally poverty-stricken, manifesting an inability to see beyond the work-table. They smell of the lamp, not of the sun. And then, overshadowing everything, there’s the desire to amaze one’s colleagues with arresting harmonies, quite unnecessary for the most part. In short, these days especially, music is devoid of emotional impact. I feel that, without descending to the level of the gossip column or the novel, it should be possible to solve the problem somehow. There’s no need either for music to make people think! ... It would be enough if music could make people listen, despite themselves and despite their petty mundane troubles, and never mind if they’re incapable of expressing anything resembling an opinion. It would be enough if they could no longer recognize their own grey, dull faces, if they felt that for a moment they had been dreaming of an imaginary country, that’s to say, one that can’t be found on the map.

Letter to Paul Dukas (1901)

I do not practise religion in accordance with the sacred rites. I have made mysterious Nature my religion. I do not believe that a man is any nearer to God for being clad in priestly garments, nor that one place in a town is better adapted to meditation than another. When I gaze at a sunset sky and spend hours contemplating its marvelous ever-changing beauty, an extraordinary emotion overwhelms me. Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul. Around me are the trees stretching up their branches to the skies, the perfumed flowers gladdening the meadow, the gentle grass-carpetted earth, ... and my hands unconsciously assume an attitude of adoration. ... To feel the supreme and moving beauty of the spectacle to which Nature invites her ephemeral guests! ... that is what I call prayer.

As quoted in Claude Debussy: His Life and Works (1933) by Léon Vallas, p. 225

new kind of advertisement for music

Sex Pistols 1976 / "Me" and Sex Pistols

Individualist anarchism refers to any of several traditions that hold that "individual conscience and the pursuit of self-interest should not be constrained by any collective body or public authority" and that the imposition of "the system of democracy, of majority decision" over the decision of the individual "is held null and void." Benjamin R. Tucker, a famous individualist anarchist described by leading European individualist and author of 'The Philosophy of Freedom' Rudolf Steiner as one of the best of libertarians (ref Liberty vol xiii, no 11), held that "if the individual has the right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stop Swap with Brave New Alps at RCA

stop motion animation

A pixelation animation created during a workshop held by Callum Cooper and Mike Please as part of stop. swap
(I'm the diver!) : )

Drawing on film with Silas Money

A short collaborative animation created by drawing on and cutting holes into 16 mm film as part of stop. swap

"stop. swap, the sequel of The Skills Workshop, is a week of cross-departmental workshops and talks in the Hockney Gallery at the RCA which we organized in collaboration with our friend Ana Viegas and which took place from the 5th to the 9th of October 2009. It represents an attempt to temporarily lower the various barriers that separate the 20 departments of the college from each other.
stop. swap aims at bringing together students from different fields of practice in order to encourage them to share their methods and approaches to a certain subject. It provides a fertile ground for exchange and, like this, facilitates possible future collaborations between students operating in different though neighbouring fields.
stop. swap is an experiment through which we try to explore a possible path in design education, which is based on the exchange as well as the collaboration between practitioners from diverse fields. We believe that the cross-fertilization this brings along bears a huge potential for innovative projects." Brave New Alps

Here is the program of the week:

9:30 Communal breakfast.
10:30 Jon Ang, Letty Stott and Eiko Azuma from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama share some of the rhythmical patterns they learned in Bali last summer on improvised instruments.
14:00 Meeting Hal Silver , a newborn collective of 9 photography students of the RCA.
16:30 Darragh O’Callaghan talks about Q-Art London , a forum for visual art and visual culture students and graduates from across London’s major art universities.
17:30 Ronan Leyden from BioRegional brings news for product designers from the Olympic Site.

9:30 Breakfast with Tord Boontje , the new Design Products Head of Department.
14:00 Jewelery workshops with Florie Salnot & Billur Turan from Design Products.
16:30 Coffee & Cake.
18:30 Guildhall Musicians come in for a jam. They are looking for people to collaborate with, so come along if you’re interested.

9:30 Communal breakfast.
10:30 Workshops in textile and color with Anaïs Tondeur (Textiles), Marie Paysant-Le Roux (Textiles graduate) and Jrumchai Singalavanij (Textiles).
12:00 Alison Thomson (DI) and Chloë McCormick (Textile Futures, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design) talk about their collaboration and screen their film about colour.
13:00 Presentation Formal with Maki Suzuki and Kajsa Ståhl from Åbäke (who wants to join in should bring a salad ingredient and a question about their practice).
15:00 Across RCA, previously known as Thinking & Practice Group hold one of their sessions in the gallery. Come along to share some thoughts about what you’re currently working on.
18:00 The Acoustic Images group (CA&D / moving image) screen some of their films from 2009.

9:30 Breakfast the department administrators Pam Martins (CA&D), Gail Romanes (School of Communications), Brigitte Lelievre (DI) and Amanda Mansell (GSM&J).
10:30 Linda Brothwell (GSM&J graduate) shows recent works in the Lisbon public realm and shares wood inlay techniques she learned there, showing how to apply them to the Performing Arts Lab old wooden bench.
14:00 Jewellery workshop with Josephine Winther (Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery): how to make a brooch from scratch.
16:30 Green RCA comes for tea.
18:00 History of Design screening: La Chinoise by Godard.

9:30 Breakfast with rector Paul Thompson .
10:30 Adnan Lalani, Silas Money, Callum Cooper and Mike Please from Animation hold different workshops with different techniques: praxinoscopes, drawing on film, pixelation.
14:00 Continuing the morning workshops; Animation Attack with Callum Cooper and friends; Presentation of 3d image facilities at Design London.
16:30 2nd year Animation students show their 1st year films.
+ Celebration of the end of the week at the Art Bar.



Social Soundmachine

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Eating vinyl...

Temple of Music

“The column on the far left shows the Divine Monochord - a device Fludd incorporated in many of his drawings. On the porch is a scene of Pythagoras discovering the harmonic proportions in the blacksmith’s shop. Above this are Crantor’s cosmogonic lamda in explication of the Timaeus (although the engraver got the numbers wrong) and a checkerboard scheme that functions as an aid to musical composition showing which notes harmonize with one another. A clock illustrates the relative time value of the notes, and the columns and rows of bricks teach the scales. Finally a Muse stands in an alcove pointing to a model composition based upon the principles described by the temple.”

The Music of the Spheres, Music, Science and the Natural Order of the Universe by Jamie James, Copernicus, New York, 1993


Music is an art form that involves sounds and silence. Music may be used for artistic or aesthetic, communicative, entertainment, or ceremonial purposes. The definition of what constitutes music varies according to culture and social context.


Without music, life would be a mistake.... I would only believe in a God who knew how to dance. Nietzsche

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.
Victor Hugo

Music is the silence between the notes.
Claude Debussy

When people play good music, people don't listen, and when people play bad music, people don't talk.
Oscar Wilde

We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.
J. Reuben Clark

In order for music to free itself, it will have to pass over to the other side—there where territories tremble, where the structures collapse, where the ethoses get mixed up, where a powerful song of the earth is unleashed, the great ritornelles that transmutes all the airs it carries away and makes return.
Gilles Deleuze