Archive for September, 2006
Today the Bartlett School of Architecture, London will start a new academic year and so I’ve put a little info online about the Interactive Architecture Workshop otherwise known as Unit 14 . Rather than my rather Biased opinion here is a short extract from Building Design Magazine’s review of the Bartlett Summer Exhibition and in particular Unit 14.
"Diploma unit 14 was particularly strong and seemed to exemplify the dean’s claim that Bartlett students “think, write and design all at the same time”. Led by Stephen Gage, the unit’s theme was Architecture is Magic and addressed architecture’s ability to reflect our understanding of the natural world and the way that people perceive objects and spaces. With projects ranging from buildings to machines and performing characters, the unit offers an eclectic range of styles and yet is one of the most coherent exhibits. The standard of work across the units is exemplary and the school continues to set the standard by which others are measured. "
Unit 14 has enjoyed a lot of recent success with the award for ‘Best of Show’ i.e. the best unit exhibition at the Bartlett Summer Exhibition 2005. Two of the Units students Ian Laurence and Karl Normanton were awarded the top two students of the 2005-2006 academic year and we also came runners up in Best of Show at this years Summer Exhibition. On a personal level it has a reputation for being a closeknit Unit that supports each other rather than everyone working independently from home like some of the other Units. We also likes the odd drink to blow off steam after a hard days work. If your a student joining the Bartlett this year, I recommend coming and seeing if its the sort of Unit for you.
Images by Ian Laurence and Karl Normanton
September 25th, 2006
One of my favourite and simplist projects at Ars Electronica was Aram Bartholl ‘s Random Screen.
“Random Screen” is a mechanical thermo dynamic display which does not rely on any electricity.
Each of the 12 by 12 cm pixels is an individual entity. A tee candle lights and controls each pixel. The rising heat of the candle turns a modified beer can which turns the pixel on and off. Each pixel has its own frequence. The more bright a candle shines the faster is the rotaion of the can.
His other project presented at Ars Electronica was Paperpixel
Paper Pixels is a 30 inch, 8 x 8 pixel, manually controlled screen. Each of the 64 pixels is illuminated steadily by a light bulb. Apart from the light bulbs, no further electronic parts are used. The display is controlled by a long paper strip – the data medium – into which have been punched holes arranged along 64 rows or “tracks“. As the strip is pulled by hand between the light sources and the pixels, these holes control each of the pixels individually. When a hole passes directly beneath a pixel it allows light through, illuminating the corresponding pixel.
The ends of the paper strip is are joined so it forms an endless loop which passes around two cylindrical rollers fixed to each end of the display unit. In order that the 64 pixels can be controlled individually, and so that a hole in the paper doesn’t spread through each pixel in a pixel row, the light bulbs are arranged in tilted rows along the direction of the paper’s movement. Exactly the same order is used in the accompanying programming board. 64 steel pens as blanking are fixed in an MDF board, through which the strip of paper to be programmed is pulled. The desired pixels can be activated frame for frame, or the holes can be punched in the paper manually. The diameter of a hole is 6mm. For the next frame, the 54 cm wide strip of paper is moved along about 1cm.
The paper strip formed as an endless loop is approximately 3 m long which allows a programmable capacity of approximately 300 frames. The number of frames per second (fps) is determined by the speed at which the paper is pulled through the screen. The duration of the loop for an 8 x 8 pixel display at 10 fps is approximately 30 seconds.
September 24th, 2006
Hello world is an installation by Yunchul Kim that contains a codified audio signal that circulates in a closed (feedback) system, consisting of a computer, a speaker, 246 meters of copper tube and a microphone. By using the acoustic delay of the tube system, it is possible to store data. The longer the tube, the greater the time delay, which leads to greater memory capacity. In addition to this a screen shows a visual representation of the information traveling around the system. If a participant makes noises near the installation or hits the copper piping it interferes with the audio signal loop. For me what was most interesting was the play on standard architectural materials as a way of transmitting data and the way that anyone can experiment with creating interference within the system by simply making different noises.
September 22nd, 2006
Music for Bodies is a research project linking the sonic mapping of human bodies to architecture, through a practical study of bioresonance and interface building. Its aim is to discover new methods of experimental music making, as well as make new music more accessible to the wider community. It is doing this concentrating on making music to feel rather than just listen to. Currently it is making Sonic Beds around the world; it recently won an Award of Distinction for Digital Music at Prix Ars Electronica
"Kaffe Matthews’ Sonic Bed_London installation consists of a bed equipped with built-in loudspeakers; when installation visitors lie down on it, an endless loop of sounds washes over them. Due to their frequency and intensity, these sounds are perceived not only with the ears but also with the entire body in what is a very pleasant experience. The installation has already been exhibited several times and has proven to be a popular attraction with young and old alike since it harmoniously appeals to several different dimensions of human life. The choice of what is actually a rather intimate object used in everyday life as well as the proximity of other installation visitors opens up a strong social component. On the other hand, the installation also makes it possible to experience sound in a new way and thereby provides access to a new auditory dimension."
September 20th, 2006