Chris McLay.

Designer. Pragmatic perfectionist. Really useful to have around…

Posts Tagged ‘visual score’

Pendulum Music & Fractal Images

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

There is a strong relationship between the question of what makes art, fractal images (see this post) and Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music (see this post).

Both fractal images and Pendulum Music have simple basic straight forward formula’s which define them. Both have a variable element which effects how the “art” is produced: in the case of the music the four performers will start the pendulum in different places each time the piece is played and effect the outcome; in the case of the fractal formulas a seed value for the formula effects the output of the image. Both of these values are often random, but come under some degree of control by the “artists” involved.

I’m still not sure if the outputs of these formulae are actually art, but is certainly interesting and often beautiful and contemplative. To varying degree’s most artists work to a formula or methodology of some kind — it’s the number of variables and the amount of control through a larger range of variables, and the fine control they have over those variables which is different for each artist and/or artwork.

I like the idea of a strict formula or methodology in regard to my own project — it would make working on a long and complex project somewhat simpler, but if the formula or methodology I start out with is wrong then I have no chance of producing anything good… hmmm ???

The Fractal Universe, Benoit Mandelbrot

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

Mandelbrot B., The Fractal Universe , from The Origins of Creativity , ed. Pfenninger K. & Shubik V., pp. 191-212, Oxford University Press, 2001

Mandelbrot starts his article with a quick outline of his education which, for a variety of small accidents, was highly visual in nature. He goes on to explain that during his “killer” entrance exams he was unable to answer many questions involving language and symbolic manipulation, but easily solved some of the hardest questions, “which no human can find algebraically in three hours under exam conditions,” by reasoning directly from the visual and sensory images that came to mind as he was posed the questions.

He goes on to discuss the shift of mathematical language from one of shapes and illustrations to one of written languages and formulas. One French high school mathematics text argued that “the artistic and sensual character of pictures would delude the reader,” so the text contains no illustrations at all.



Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

I’ve been playing around with the whole visual music project idea and I’ve rewritten the objectives I started with to make them a bit clearer and more achievable…

Original Objectives:

My primary aim is to take my study and experience of projection for theatre and apply this to the presentation of live music, primarily instrumental music. Of most interest to me is the lack of a written text in instrumental music, and providing visual support for the music without overpowering or providing “new meanings” to the audience.

New Objectives:

To apply my knowledge and experience of projection in theatre to the presentation and performance of live instrumental music music. In particular:

  • highlighting the lack of a specific written text assocciated with musical performance, and as a consequence the lack of a specific text for the music’s audience;
  • experimenting with visual material that enhances the experience of the performance without disrupting the integrity of the music, or providing a dominant narrative for the audience;
  • working with the data gathered from the first two points to develop visual practices that will constitute the praxis of performance component of the assessment.

Visual Music, Kronos Quartet

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

Seeing this show was supposed to inspire and kick start this whole project, but due to some sort of hardware failure we only got a limited range of visuals projected at the very start and end of the show


Projection at The Verandah

Sunday, February 20th, 2005

The Verandah was this years main music and festival club for the 2005 Festival of Perth. The projection system consisted of a basic rear projection screen behind the main stage. This was hooked up to a video feed (from a camera way back at the lighting desk) and a video generator similar to that found in iTunes in Windows Media Player.