It’s Easter! According to plan the ABC will soon bump out the game and the snot video to make way for others, and rightly so. The Australian Screen and Sound Archive will then archive it all, as well as sevcom.com – which I find I little disturbing as it makes the same sound as a coffin lid being nailed shut. From the inside.
I don’t know how that will work, it’s not like archive.org which does a small snapshot – they will acquire the whole thing, as it stands, and are unlikely to revisit it. This might be for the best as it forces an end point. I do like to improve and tinker
Then Paul Greedy and myself are working on a new model of Clavilux. This device belongs to Thomas Wilfred, and full credit to him. There is however scope to build some new bits into it – we intend to keep everything that is better analogue and revise everything that is best done by computer. I am very aware that Wilfred was a Theosophist and the machine will follow the visual music as set out by his religious beliefs. The device will be on display as part of ISEA.
I’m personally amused the initial brief was for the ‘old artist’ (me) to guide the ‘young artist’ (Paul) in ye olde art techniques. As it is, Paul is much better at analogue design and I am more interested in the software. To the extent that I’m building a software version as well (or at least trying). It also (thank the gods) aligns with my much neglected doctorate.
Coming up soon an exhibition of music paintings – I have made a Ralph Balson as music, and a video to go with it. Can’t show you that until the show is run. If you are in Penrith then:
Visual artists love the word NOISE for some reason. I guess they fear the fighting that goes with MUSIC.
Maybe after these are done I can get a bit of a break. The day job is howling for attention.
But actually, well, I’ve been thinking about HH. You see, I’m not disappointed but I have to admit that the alternative worlds presented by that game were a bit too geometrical. A game built in 3D software has rigidity, it stands up and makes sense. You can render absurdity, but (at least I) can’t quite manage that in real time modelling. When trying to get HH made one theory was to use panoramic photography, and I think that is still the best way to create a more exotic realm, with music.
The music is attached to the photographs and so it’s not mobile or interactive unless I find a way to combine photography and 3D. That is the current research screwing around which I will henceforth call H3. Yep, another game. In the meantime an update on HH is underway.
Look at the people on that page. Jesus what a bunch of mummies.
Fun and games going at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation where the game started leaking out before we were quite ready. Actually not ready. If you have managed to get in and start playing, congratulations, but just keep the URL to yourself a while longer while we squash last minute bugs.
To give you the flavour of the bugs, Frenchbloke reports “a spinning top + evil chicken combo seems to have pushed me into a place I can’t get out of although it is fun listening to the cymbals going in and out of phase”
This is obviously something that needs fixing.
Addendum: I should point out that you are actually supposed be pushed around by chickens but only ducks are a reliable transport.
UPDATE. 10pm on Wednesday the 20th February and I am playing it on the MacBook. Its done. It’s fucking done and so am I.
UPDATE – AH SHIT – FOUND A BUG. And a big stupid one too. I am too used to playing, kept going for the exit… but if you ignore the exit and try run at nothing in particular you can fall into the void. Fixed it, re-supplied to ABC.
I am very tired. Working day at job, night on game. Only a few few more days…
Ah. I just got the tap on the shoulder. Web level of H.H finished today. Full version by Wednesday. That’s it – game over. If you have had a play with the web beta you can find v1.0. in the same places. I would let you have the full version but it’s going to be up soon anyway and ABC are keeping things locked down.
Don’t forget – you need a reasonably recent machine to play this.
I did a phone interview about MIDI this morning. So at least 2 people working in the ABC building this Sunday, sobbing as they try clear their backlog.
I would like to take this opportunity to again thank Apple inc. for making computers with completely fucked-up 3D display gamma that can’t be adjusted. It’s going to take hours to tweak my light levels to look half decent on MacBooks. Great job guys, Dark grey is pretty much black anyway – so why try harder?
Mostly because it’s being debated with a little more intelligence than the usual ‘all musicians are lazy and rich therefore FYGM’. Salon is a funny website. Sometimes you feel so damn relieved to be reading above the usual YouTube moron level. But sometimes the USA Progressive rhetoric is clumsy and shallow. I love the old socialist banter that went with the 70′s post punk bands, but I’m well aware that it didn’t get far past the first record contract. It seems that many of the Salon writers have yet to see it in practice and still have high abstract hopes. Bless them for wanting good for all, that’s a rare thing.
Back to paid music: Curiously the switch from CD to DRM-free download has gone well for me. Sevcom shop has almost reached the point where BandCamp will take a lesser cut, and this on material that has been out and about for years. But the audience are generally sticking with what they know.
It’s good to have statistics, actually it’s disillusioning – both negative and positive meanings of that combined. Biggest seller is City Slab Horror. Biggest download is Return To Barbara Island, although it had already done over 1,000 downloads from MediaFire in the old store. Free stuff will always win. But it emboldens me to make a another new thing and give it away. I have about 9000 free downloads banked up.
In the last two months looks like I’ve had a lot of new customers show up. Again, City Slab Horror, Bigot … one thing is that not everyone buys the entire Adenoids set. True, most of the tracks are in the first package. I just thought they’d be completists.
Now, where do they come from? About half direct dial BandCamp, which shows the virtue of this site. A fifth went to sevcom.com first; would be better if I was more active there. A tenth came from FaceBook; I have no presence there. ALMOST NO SALES COME FROM YOUTUBE. Having people post my music on YouTube does not assist me in any statistically valid way. So fuck that argument. Let’s have the image…
BandCamp allows me to download everyone’s email addresses as a spreadsheet. If I was a good marketer I’d use that to push info at people, but I think I am a better friend to people by not doing that kind of thing. At some point I’ll just send them all a present.
What about iTunes? Well I don’t get too deep into those statistics but it’s basically about a thousand bucks of Dead Eyes Opened every time I get a payment. Yay… zzzzzzzzzz. iTunes is like when you buy a greasy kebab on the way home from the pub… being Dead Eyes.
This week I have to pop down to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. to talk hosting of [H.H]. I don’t think they’ll notice the hit but sensible men want to check bandwidth. I guess if you had a couple of hundred people bashing away at it on opening night and they all tried the same tape recorder it could be nasty, but shit, it’s the ABC.
Not much development on Cavalcade so far. Looks like we don’t have the Mandala systems we thought we did. Anyone got an old Amiga Live card lying around?
For Capra, I’m trying to 3D render a night time city flyover. All those little bright windows are causing the worst Moire pattern, wasted days on that.
As for Opmitter, don’t ask. I just switched over from Jitter to DerivativeTouchDesigner. The desperate move of a drowning man!
This evening the first level of [H.H] is running! Only the bare bones – the main furniture and architecture, with none of the sound toys installed. But you can walk around and explore and the big Universal Time Machine is spinning and announcing the minutes and … other things. Feeling like I might be making the deadline!
I’ve been thinking a great deal about creativity and curation over the last weeks. I’ve always excused my curmudgeonly ways because despite all my vocal distaste for everything – I still create, still add to the cultural storehouse. Only those times when I can’t create does it seem unhealthy.
My acidic views get applied to myself first and usually get the desired effect – more effort. I’ve more often murdered my own trash than let it defame me. Only if there’s no remedy in critique do I back off. This is natural to me but seems others work better on praise and sugarplums.
That creative bargain doesn’t work if you’re curating other people’s efforts. You have to like something or there’s no show. You have to justify the positive to get it included, talk it up, smooth the concerns even if you have them. You can’t just fake it, you really have to warm to things.
If I am ever going to curate, then I have to analyse the negative.
A fundamental problem I have with most art is that it works backwards. It should work like this:
Exploring the means of expression over time brings a solution.
The artwork is birthed in a passion of creation. It takes struggle.
An audience is taken by surprise by this personal act and slowly comes to respect the work even if it doesn’t suit their tastes.
But usually works like this:
A deadline is set for exhibition or assessment by some money keeper.
The artist or curator, who has political ambitions, finds out the current tastes of the audience.
They concoct something that suits the meanest expectations of the event.
Everybody gets paid and the audience feels slightly amused for a short time before wandering off to the next thing.
Just about everything I pick on comes from this principle: mindless projection mapping, 8 bit graphics on iPads, Krautrock reunion tours, skateboard ballet and so on. Take for example projection mapping, which starts from having a landmark building to project onto and works backwards to any plausible idea that can be excused for doing so. To find something praise worthy – Amon Tobin’s current light show to the extent that it is supposed be a cubist aeroplane that’s he’s flying – which is a fun idea – but not when the space is just being filled with coloured blocks.
There’s always something recent than you can do, which leads to people that do it in the vague hope of finding a point to it. That was New Media. It died.
Around 2006 I was asked to participate in an exhibition of mobile art – phones and GPS and that sort of thing. I thought about it for a week before I said no, because honestly I had nothing worth saying about mobile phones. The organiser was amazed – that had never stopped anyone before.
Another principle which I find important is that the artwork be bigger than the signature. Take for example a great video that an honours student identified the other day:
It’s a visualisation of human DNA replication that has been done with a great deal of accuracy and artistry by Drew Berry – which has been commissioned by Bjork with the condition that her face be inserted into it around the 4 minute mark. “Oh look this is beautiful! But it will be even more beautiful with MY FACE whacked in there!” Actually, no. There was something that was unique, and then become the equivalent of a Thomas Kincade painting of Jesus in seconds flat. It didn’t need to be made so obviously a vanity project.
Artists will find a trademark and then be terrified to move away from it in case the audience turns on them. In fact finding a trademark – whether a slow motion skateboard or a monochrome Joshua Tree – and being branded for life like a prize steer is the ambition of ‘artists’. Again this is a reverse of the way it should be, where popularity directs the artist like a puppet show. and climbing into the cage is their heart’s desire.
These and other concerns are all to do with the politics of art, and that the art that we get to see most is that which has played the politics. Go to an exhibition and you’ll see the work of the self promoters, the glib tongues and crowd pleasers. The people you really want are invisible. What to do?
Don’t fund art, so that only the passionate will be involved. But that leaves the wealthy, and punishes the poor. It shouldn’t have anything to do with money, plus or minus. Try again.
Only exhibit when there is something to show. That’s better, although a multitude of arts administrators are not going to put up with that. They get a wage from putting things on, as much as possible. Also, there is a public benefit to exhibiting, in that it may bring some joy. So they need to be told.
Get rid of arts administrators. It has a certain charm, but why not get rid of art academics as well? If I am going to get rid of something, then lead by example. (Actually there’s a possibility that I’ll be unemployed soon, so check this space).
Refuse to be involved in the art scene. Um, yeah, that just leaves the toadies. That’s pretty close to doing nothing at all. If you care, then better to be heard than be silent.
These are all bold and not very precise. We can do better.
Make an exhibition which reveals and publicly opposes these problems. Now you’re politicking! First of all, don’t let people know they are in the exhibition. Swoop in and take them by surprise the night before opening. If they think they’re in, they’re out.
Make sure that every second exhibit is actually bought from a service station and pay people to write lavish essays about them in the catalogue. Or actually hold the exhibition in a service station.
If you’re dealing with a known artist refuse their trademark and force them to do something else, for example, the tuba. Make them anonymous. Have every work in the exhibition signed by Ethel Schwug. Or swap tags.
Force everyone to make something called “Piss Christ”. Make everyone work on one single object called “Piss Christ”.
I’m feeling more confident about this curation business already.
The heart of the universe has two chambers – radio WWV in Colorado and radio WWVH Hawaii. They beat as one – the Great Timepiece that Orders All Things. The role once fell to Greenwich Observatory and may one day be with Beijing but for now the artificial voices that sing Coordinated Universal Time are American.
WWV is the oldest continuously broadcasting radio station in the United States, starting with Friday night concerts in the beginning of 1920, months before the first commercial station went to air. You can read the history on NIST’s own web site, although one event that strikes me is (according to the official guide) 440Hz being provided by the station in August 1936 ‘at the request of several musical organisations’ prior to officially becoming A in 1939. Musical tuning continues to be offered by WWV.
I’ve studied the official specification put out by NIST for some time, but as you’d expect the obsessives over at WikiPedia have an even more detailed explanation that you can read. The most important elements are the tick, a data signal at 100Hz, tones that alternate between 500Hz and 600Hz every minute; a conversation between WWV and WWVH. At the start of the hour they both provide 440Hz for any orchestras that might happen to be tuning up at that moment. And the voices. Each of these things has a very definite order – a musical score. For WWVH:
Every second (except the first) + 25ms play the 100Hz tone.
Every second except the 29th and 59th play the click.
Although I made a simulation back in 2007, it’s time to do it properly. [H.H] has at the start a grand chamber in which many noise making machines can be enjoyed, and the grandest of these is to be the Coordinated Universal Time Machine. It will follow through the whole programme of WWVH – which is the one nearest to me and stronger in my fable. But it’s a struggle:
You could: record a whole day and play it through. Horribly large audio file, not likely to download.
You could: program it. If minute = 13 then play 500Hz for 965ms. Maybe, but I don’t trust it. You’d have to hope that the code didn’t get delayed and start drifting. Every couple of seconds you’d have to check the clock and try some maths to drift it back again. Not my cup of tea.
You could:read the blog over at Unity which points out that the FMOD audio library reads MODs. As in, old Amiga tracker MODs. I never bothered to make MODs because life is too short for hexidecimal, and here it is 2012 and I’m staring at something that looked cool on WorkBench 3.0.
Time to party like it’s 1990. The good thing is that I’m just firing off samples every second, so 60 BPM and a division of 24 Amiga ticks places samples one to a cell. Design the tones to meet the microseconds and trim the block of cells to 60. Each minute then gets its own pattern and 60 patterns make an hour. It’s not thrilling work but I can hear how it will go before it hits the authoring software. It also becomes the basis of a possible performance as part of REDACTED. I said possible.
The real WWVH has announcements about storms and sun spots and things that affect shipping in the Pacific. My machine makes announcements that provide clues about the game – who is where, why we are here and so on. The clues are tricky as they refer to clues given somewhere else that are similar to clues in a third story. To be honest the story in [H.H] is writing itself – an element appears, it connects with something else, forces a design decision. There is actually a character in game lore that forces itself into other games, a kind of cuckoo’s egg. I let it into this one and it immediately started to connecting things without telling me why. The player will need to find out where it’s hiding.
I can with all sincerity say that I have no idea why rabbits.
6 Reasons not to buy a new iPad (with no apologies to TIME).
1. Just spent over 400 bucks on reading glasses. That includes a woman photographing the inside of my eyes. Why do I want to buy something that makes everything smaller so I have to go get more glasses to see what I could see well enough before? That sounds like a conspiracy to keep photographing in through my eyes.
2. There is no advantage when playing Dumbass Bubble Popper which is 80 percent of why anyone has an ipad by my own survey or any computer at all. Anyone who is not playing Dumbass Bubble Popper (why?) is browsing the webspace for Twits and FaceBooks. Having a fancier screen doesn’t make your FaceBooks any less embarrassing to read.
3. You can put a bigger camera in it but I still am not going to hold up a stupid big slab of glass when I want to take a photograph. No one with any brains is going to do that. “Hey everybody smile for my dinner tray”. And no, I am not going to edit video on it any more than I would try cut bread with a banana. Making the screen elements smaller while leaving the control resolution the same size? Idiotic. If you want to actually be productive, use a Wacom, not your fingers.
4. YOU TUBE on old ipad.
YOU TUBE on new ipad.
5. Typing on any touch screen is shitful. Increase the screen resolution? Woo, it’s still shitful. When I meet with somebody using this thing for business I will find out who their competitors are, because I want somebody who is actually getting somewhere.
6. How often do I use this thing anyway? The best loved feature is queuing for it like bread in the USSR. Then it goes into the cupboard next to the Commodore 64 and the Furby. The only real upgrade for a toy computer is a real one, not a bigger one.