Category Archives: Art & Design

Bonobo “Cirrus”


Bonobo is releasing their album “The North Borders” on
April 2nd. Their music video for the track “Cirrus” really
captivated me. Animated by Cyriak, the video
repurposes archival footage of the 1962 “American Thrift”. The
original public domain footage can be found on The Internet Archive–it
really does provide a wealth of material for aspiring artists to
work with! In “Cirrus”, the vintage footage builds to create
complex machines which surrealistically move to the music. Well
crafted!

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The Sound of Creation

philips-sound-of-creation

A while ago, Philips released an interactive music story called “The Sound of Creation”. This audio-visual project creates a very rich experience. The music for the website was produced in collaboration with chillmave musician Washed Out and director Gustav Johansson–the combination is stunning. Looped samples build and complement each other to create a very dreamy track, a sample of which can be heard on soundcloud. The website introduces each loop individually, and allows the user to interact with them, creating a custom composition each time.

So this is where it begins. The moment just before nothing becomes something.
Inspiration: It’s inside you, but it’s also outside you. Let it in.
The Idea: Find it. Grow it. The abstract takes shape.
Improvise: Make a detour. Make your own rules. Make it up as you go along.
Experiment: Let it go. When you explore the unknown, beautiful things can happen.
Improve: Move the finish line. Reach it. Move it again.
Test: It’s time for science to meet art. For the rational to meet the emotional.
Compete: Set yourself against the rest, but know that ultimately the battle is with yourself.
Perfect: From broad vision to fine details, this is quest for perfection.
Share: Yourself. Your ideas. Your creation.
And as one journey ends, a new one begins.

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Silverfake – Free Font

I’m delighted to have stumbled upon Silverfake, which is available for free download from HypeForType–with a commercial license too! I love a strong slab serif, and this one feels retro. Plus there are lots of alternates. Enjoy!



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Electronic Concentration – Vintage Game

I stumbled upon a website called the “Handheld Games Museum” and found an old game I used to play as a kid. Yes, this particular example was from before my time, but I was very fortunate that my parents held on to a handful of games from their youth. Feast your eyes on vintage packaging design!

Electronic Concentration

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3D Printed Records

Amanda Ghassaei has been experimenting with 3D printed records. The resolution is low in comparison to the quality of the original audio, but it’s exciting to think what can happen when printing capabilities progress! Because of the printing resolution, not as much audio can fit on a disc (note how quickly the stylus travels toward the center). Nonetheless, Ghassaei has printed a handful of demo discs with the following tracklist:

Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
New Order “Blue Monday”
Pixies “Debaser”
Daft Punk “Around The World”
Radiohead “Everything In Its Right Place”
Joy Division “Disorder”
Aphex Twin “Windowlicker”

A whirring noise a strongly prevalent as the stylus makes contact with the groove. The grooves are actually constructed of a series of adjacent triangles, rather than a smooth wavy groove, which may be the cause of the whirring. The file size to make a printed record with a minute of audio is in excess of 200 megabytes (4+ million triangles). She had to develop a special logarithm to convert an audio signal to these shapes. How mind boggling!

Grooves of a printed record.

She does a lot of other audio technology-related projects. The arpeggiator she made is pretty nifty too.

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Onyx Ashanti’s Tron Beatjazz Controllers

How did I not find this artist years ago? Some of my music enthusiasts or interaction design friends might enjoy this. It’s really exciting to see this fellow hone a new craft of music making!

Onyx Ashanti is an innovator of a music genre he calls Beatjazz, which mixes jazz improvisation with sound design and live looping. He performs with two wireless controllers in each hand, as well as a mouthpiece, all of which communicate with radios connected to his computer. The hand-controllers are based on saxophone fingering and include pressure sensitive keys, joysticks, and accelerometers to affect different parameters and effects. The light color indicates which sound is being played.

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Karascope

I recently went to Eastern Washington to visit my grandparents, and Grandma was going through some things and asked if any of them held sentimental value to us. When I was a child, there was always an assortment of fun things to play with, especially puzzles and stuffed animals and objects that stimulated our visual curiosity. I remember one game I frequently played with my sister and cousin. First we’d gather all the bouncy balls we could find. One kid would sit at the base of the staircase with a basket and try to catch as many balls as they could, while the other kids sent them tumbling from the top of the stairs. It was always a contest to see who could consistently catch the most.

Being that we grew out of those games well over a dozen years ago, most of those toys have since been donated. But a small handful remained, my favorite of which being the Karascope.

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It looks like a kaleidoscope, and acts very similarly to one. But the cool part is that it’s asymmetrical and changes colors depending on what angle the pieces are at in relation to the light source. Polarized light is pretty spiffy! I wish I knew more about the science of it.

The tube of the Karascope reads:

The Karascope designed by Judith Karelitz

The Karascope creates an optical fantasy in a tube by polarizing, refracting, and reflecting light. There is no colored glass in the Karascope, only the spectral colors of light itself.

Ordinary white light which vibrates in all directions is polarized along one plane when it passes through the base of the tube. The light then enters clear, colorless pieces of birefringent material and is reorganized by the eyepiece to produce the startling colors that you see. The patterns, unlike those in a kaleidoscope, are asymmetrical.

Hold the Karascope toward the light, rotate the base, and the image changes. A twist of the eyepiece alters the colors of the image and causes the pattern to swirl to or from the eye. The spectrum also shifts as the Karascope is pointed toward different light sources.

Judith Karelitz 1978 N.Y.C.

Further investigations determines that the Karascope was sold in the Museum of Modern Art (NY) back in the 70’s. It’s cool to hold a fascinating piece of visual art history, at the same time I remember some of my childhood wonders. Sorry my camera doesn’t quite do the Karascope justice, but it’s a really fun piece of design!

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