Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Interview with Brian Chippendale

July 7, 2010

Vanessa and Matt recently interviewed Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt and Black Pus at his opening at the Cinders Gallery:


Karl Klomp, Video Bender

March 11, 2010

Failter 6 by Karl Klomp

Failter 6 by Karl Klomp

When the term “circuit bending” is brought up, it typically applies to audio: going inside a synthesizer or guitar pedal and tweaking it to produce weirder sounds. Circuit bending is so rooted in audio, that the prospect of “bending” video signals is pretty unheard of.

A Place To Bury Strangers is going on their U.S. tour this month with two projectors, fed from a switchbox that has six iPods feeding video into it. The feeds are selectable, so any two out of the six videos can be projected onto the band from behind. Here is a clip from their current tour:

Although this setup is pretty sweet, it doesn’t require any IC chips or internal circuitry other than switches and jacks. So we did a bit of research to find out if there is anyone out there actually making video effects pedals. Like a guitar pedal, but for video.

If you google “DIY video effects” or “Video Mixer Circuit” you will inevitably stumble upon Karl Klomp. Klomp takes video circuitry like mixers and monitors, and alters them to make interactive video effects. Here is an example:

Though it seems that most of his effects are made from existing video mixers, there are a few easy projects that were constructed using one or two IC chips. The AD8072 is even available from Analog Devices, so I might start there.

Check out Karl’s website for more videos and pictures of his projects. Maybe in a few months I’ll have a video effects box of my own.

Steampunk Workshop

February 19, 2010

A glass of wine spilled on my Macbook put me out of commission for about two weeks, and cost me about $300 plus the price of the wine. Now that I’m back in action, I’ll post the website I was checking out before I lost access to cyberspace:

Steampunk Victorian PC

The Steampunk Victorian All-In-One PC

This Victorian-style computer is one of many projects featured on the Steampunk Workshop, a project-oriented DIY website with a style that is a bit reminiscent of that movie Wild Wild West with Will Smith (remember that huge steam-powered spider?)

There’s some great stuff on there, from lamps to guitars to telegraphs. I may even try my own keyboard out of an old typewriter shell. Anyone looking to get rid of an old typewriter?

5 Innovative Musical Instruments

January 24, 2010

This is copied over from I’ve always been intrigued about creative ways to make musical instruments, and these five are some of the wildest things I’ve ever seen. Watch the videos to hear how they sound.

The Uberorgan

My love for Brazil never ends. The Uberorgan is a stadium-sized sculpture comprised mostly of plastic tubes snaking around the ceiling. Tim Hawkinson is the designer, and also the composer of the music fed through the organ on a sheet of Mylar. The eerie sound is like a bagpipe or a pipe organ. Unfortunately, the large space of the warehouse it’s situated in gives it a sterile resonance.



The Stalacpipe Organ

Featured on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, this “pipe” organ strikes stalactites in a cave with rubber mallets, producing natural tones from the hollow sound of the rock. Leland Sprinkle actually sanded the rock by hand until he produced each note of the scale. The organ has been working for over 50 years in the Luray Caverns in Virginia. Road trip anyone?



The Nano Guitar

This one is not very practical. A guitar smaller than a single cell, this was made in 1997 at Cornell to show emerging technology for manufacturing instruments. Even when played by a force laser, the strings resonate at 40 MHz, a pitch 130,000 times higher than your standard guitar. Needless to say, inaudible to humans. However, producing sound waves at this frequency could be useful for nanotechnology in the future.


The Sea Organ of Zadar

On the coast of Croatia, this organ was constructed with 35 tubes drilled on the surface and opening to the sea. As the waves lap against the stone steps, air is pushed through the openings creating a dissonant drone that changes depending on the power of the wave and position of the tide. Like the stalacpipe organ above, the sea organ is a unique example of man’s use of nature to produce music.



The Viennese Vegetable Orchestra

Carrot flutes, pumpkin basses, leek violins, cucumberophones, you name it. The Viennese Vegetable Orchestra creates their instruments fresh before each performance, and then after the show, a chef makes a giant batch of vegetable soup for the audience after the show. For instruments made from food, they sound amazing, and acoustically natural compared to most instruments today that have been digitized. Some of these take up to 30 hours to make, using drills and sharp kitchen knives. The video below shows much of the preparation and process behind their shows.


Tim Burton at the MOMA

January 7, 2010


Rarely is there an artist buried in his own niche that is able to achieve commercial success in any genre. Someone that can enchant children and terrify adults. His films range from Batman and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Nightmare Before Christmas and Mars Attacks!. He’s had tear-jerkers (Big Fish), biographies (Ed Wood), and musicals (Sweeny Todd). At only 51, Tim Burton already solidified himself as one of the most visionary, imaginative, and horrifying directors of all time.

His work is on display at the Museum of Modern Art from November 18th to April 26th. In addition to half a floor dedicated to his early sketches and short films, all of Burton’s films, in addition to all of his influences, are playing during that same timeframe in the MOMA theatre.

I recently visited the museum for the exhibit and was blown away by the amount of early sketches on display. There were doodles from grade school, high school poetry, and his early short films he made with his friends. There were children’s books, storyboards, and even a version of Hansel and Gretel playing in its entirety. Many of the sculptures on display were of monsters he had created in some of his sketches. Some of them were smaller than action figures, while others stretched across the room. Most had multiple eyeballs and a mouthful of razor sharp teeth. Everywhere we looked were tentacles.

From his films, we saw storyboards, sketches of characters, and even props used in the film. Johnny Depp’s Edward Scissorhands towered above the props with footlong blades for fingers. In a glass container lay the straight razors from a recent throat-slicing barber film. The headless horseman’s cape from Sleepy Hollow was draped over a far wall, ten feet tall.

Though we had been in the exhibit for quite some time, I felt like I could have absorbed much more. Instead, we decided to stroll through the rest of the MOMA, stumbling upon The Persistence of Memory, The Three Musicians, Starry Night, Christina’s World, and Sleeping Gypsy. I was also introduced to a few great artists like Gustav Klimt and Sol LeWitt. On the top floor, there was an exhibit called Bauhaus, centered around a German design school. I think I’ll go back and revisit this one, since it was almost as enthralling as Burton.

If you plan to visit New York and are looking for something to do, the Burton exhibit is on display until April. Get tickets in advance, because it’s going to be crowded. Try to pick a day that’s not the weekend, I’m sure it will be easier to walk around. And hell, if you’re looking for someone to go with, contact me. I’d go see this again.

Blu and David Ellis COMBO Collaboration

January 7, 2010


I love this artist:

COMBO a collaborative animation by Blu and David Ellis (2 times loop) from blu on Vimeo.