## January 31, 2007

### Studies for Movement

Here are some visual/mechanical ideas I'm tossing around.

Studies for in circles

Study For leg

Study for move me

Study for steps

alone and not alone

How do we manage?

It ticks it talks

Moving you move me

Oscillate

Study for pulse

### Project #1 Finite State Machine

What is a Finite State Machine?

A finite state machine is a model of behavior composed of a finite number of states, transitions between those states, and actions. A state stores information about the past (it reflects the input changes from the system start to the present moment). A transition indicates a state change and is described by a condition that would need to be fulfilled to enable the transition. An action is a description of an activity that is to be performed at a given moment. There are several action types:

Entry action
which is performed when entering the state
Exit action
which is performed when exiting the state
Input action
which is performed depending on present state and input conditions
Transition action
which is performed when performing a certain transition

Move Me (the space between)

I have not finalized a name for my finite state machine. For now, I am calling it "Move Me (the space between)." Formally, I am delighted by the simple and elegant wave formation that is created by the relatively complex mechanism. Aesthetically, it is reminiscent of a music box/piano/kalimba. The motion must be triggered with input from a person turning the knob. The wave can only last as long as the hand can turn, which is physically a maximum of one turn. Hence, the limits of the machine are reflective of the limits of the person.

This machine is a finite state machine. It has entry action (human hand rotating the knob), exit action (motion stops when hand stops rotating the knob), input action (as a result of the entry action, the three circles on the the inner rod rotate repetitively), and transition action (the rotating circles cause the planks to rise and fall accordingly).

Future Development

I intend to further develop this project. I encountered many technical difficulties, primarily with the turning crank/knob. There are also a few minor measurement issues to be addressed. In the next design, I intend for the the piece to be much longer, perhaps 30 planks.

-One input triggers three outputs
-Different inputs imply different concepts -- hand turn vs. crank vs. motor (speed, rotation turns, timing, duration). The output reflects the input.

## January 28, 2007

### Essay : Space of Self

SPACE OF SELF

Thinking about the context of space and how it informs objects, peoples, memories, and time, it is easy to get lost in the dense layers and intersections of meaning. Where does one space end and another begin? What is space physically, mentally, socially and in representation? These questions are explored in site specific art. However, I believe that as we consider these ideas, we instinctually conclude that understanding site specificity is a way of interpreting our relationship with the world around us. We can understand different modes of “self” through the awareness of our own personal space and site specificity.

Valparaiso is dense with spatial layers. On the surface layer, we have a story about a business man taking an accidental flight across the world and then living through the public fame he receives as a result. The site of the play is a theater. The site of the story is in a living room, an office, and on a television set. The site of memories is an airport, plane, car, bedroom, kitchen, and motel. Spaces include the intimate spaces between characters, the invisible spaces with the public audience, the technological spaces of television, sound, and video, and the personal spaces of solitude. These spaces and more weave in and out of each other creating the psychological world and resulting identity of the main character, Michael Majeski.

I like to consider Michael’s identity as folk art. In the same way Ferdinand Cheval built his elaborate Palais Ideal around a simple rock he found, showing how “A single site-specific found element becomes the catalyst for constructing an environmentally all-encompassing, self-reflexive, and multi-focused work.” (Suderburg 11), Michael builds his identity around an odd travel experience. Both naïve to the cultural/philosophical ramifications of communications technology and welcoming of the false stamp of legitimacy offered by fame, he embraces the invisible public’s “need to know” about his travel experience and personal life history. In the telling and retelling of his mundane story, he builds an extensive public identity that reaches out across the atmosphere through radio and television networks. His public identity is site-specific. It originated in the sky on a plane and continues to exist in the temporal space of communication air waves. His public identity is abstract, fleeting, and missing a good honest chunk of his personal identity. He revels in the newness and freshness of his public identity, but it gradually shifts and destabilizes as the layers of public and private space it occupies intersect to become more complicated.

Michael’s fabricated identity performs as it moves through these spaces. Analyzing the performances of The Gutai group, Suderburg remarks on “… reconfiguring the space of art-making through bodily interventions and spatial dissembling. The artist is implicated in the work of art, as he or she becomes content, material, and process.” (p.13) Viewed as a performer, Michael becomes abstract content, material, and process. The retelling of his story as a script, the stage directions of his interviewers, the shifting narrative sequence of events, all add up to the absence of substance. His performance is his words, his words shape his identity, but the words mean nothing. Near the end of the story, he holds no control or jurisdiction over his identity (and sub sequentially his life) which he hands freely over to the public. He is living art through his own verbal dissembling.

Is it possible for us to occupy more than one space at a time and be true to ourselves? Or are we constantly negotiating the different selves we have allocated to different spaces? These are not questions either reading brought up, but when discussing the nature of site-specificity in terms of self identity, it seems we are already assuming that one self can only exist in one particular space. Michael did not want to return to the self identity he had before his flight to Valparaiso. That self was lonely and destroyed. However, as the public space of his post-Valparaiso self began intersect with the private space of his pre-Valparaiso self, he could not blend/balance himself into one person. He performed with his disconnected selves using words while passing through disjointed mental, physical, and social spaces, inevitably beating himself into falsehood, isolation and death. And in the imaginary world of this play, his public identity continues to exist and fluctuate within the electrical currents of technological space.

### Week 1 Notes on Readings

Valparaiso, Don DeLillo
Introduction: On Installation and Site Specificity, Erika Suderburg

The following are some thoughts I had while reading in regards to topics of site specificity. If I am to sum up what I see as the common theme between the two texts, I'd say that "space" (both theoretical and physical) is built and witnessed though intersections. It is at these intersections that real critical dialog takes place.

SUDERBURG

Are we always sensitive to our surroundings?

site vs. scene vs. location vs. space

What is SPACE? What does it consist of? Mental Space (philosophy, math, geometry, linguistics, thought), Physical Space (lived experience, senses, perception), Social Space (habits, routines, rituals, politics, public, private, relationship, communication, internet -- virtual networks), Representational Space (image of the world, photograph of a room), Representation OF Space (art -- painting, sculpture, installation).

Site Specificity is making a point in a designated area. A FOCAL POINT.

Site Specific began with photography perhaps? In capturing the real world environment, the photographer had to make a choice of what he/she was capturing. The reality of it. What story is being told in the space.

Arte Povera, Conceptual Art, Land Art -- all tied together to create/interpret Site Specific concepts. 1970s I think?

Duchamp = awesome.

Joseph Kosuth (?) the chair piece...One and Three Chairs (I think?) -- in exploring ideas of identity, he also explores context, hence themes of "site specificity." --reflection, interpretation, physical, mental, and representational space.

Mirrors. Mirror as physical and as reflection -- concept and abstraction. mirror as dialectic (employed in investigating the truth of a theory or opinion).

Video as mirrors -- or really, any recording. the projected image played a critical role in a new language or representation, as artists used film, slides, video and photographic projection to measure, document, abstract, reflect and transform the parameters of physical space.

memory changes with time -- reimagine place. reinterpret POV. Site is transient.

VALPARAISO:

Theater -- the intersection of architecture and performance -- site is the stage, space is the narrative

story is told after the event

set is one place, story is three places, story is told to millions (imaginary millions, thousands of cities) day and night over and indefinite period of time

layers of space --
space of the home, space of the plane, space of the flight (air, empty), space of the TV (also air, also empty). space around people, space between characters (especially sexual -- do they even know each other?), mental space -- "tell us more, we need to know more, we have to know everything,"

twin journeys -- geographic and public.

spiral into descent where layers of systems splice identity and randomly scatter it into a thousand sound bytes.

the play is recursive. "but first, take us back..." Incantation, habit, falsehood, repetition

talk is performance

invasion of the media both encouraged and wanted by its victims.

WORDS -- a thirsty world for words. "And we have words. Endless melting words. Words spoken expressly to be forgotten." p.91

The play begins wordless. the play ends wordless. 2 hours of banter and flashy vernacular all becomes WORDLESS again. he is murdered.

fate of individual in media saturated society.

media consumes citizen. he is murdered.

What is the modern meaning of life's end? when, how? what is life's value? (ehhh...stopping that train of thought)

public attention gives the mundane life new relevance. but also adds unhealthy vulnerability -- main character loses control and jurisdiction over his life.

Arte Povera -- I think this play has many some qualities of Arte Povera work. Metaphorical imagery culled from contemporary life, idealism about the redemptive power of history and art with a solid grounding in the material world -- clash/reconciliation of opposites as a source of poignancy.

Because somehow, through the "mirror" of video, we look at others and judge ourselves as missing something. -- video can be edited, pov skewed, memory altered to create fiction out of what is sold as reality. "Then you know. How some people manage to live so dynamically. It's a mystery to me how this happens." (p.45)

"we deeply need to know"

## January 27, 2007

### GEARS! 2

I got the first batch of my laser cut gears yesterday (still waiting on more). I am so excited! Looks like they are going to work. It is great to have pretty much created my own box of blocks to play with.

7.5" diameter, 4.25" diameter, 2.5" diameter, hole 5/8"

2" diameter, 1" diameter, hole 1/4"

2" diameter, hole 5/16"

These gears were originally designed in Sketch Up and then fine tuned in Illustrator.

Next step = play. Spent a long time at the hardware store picking up nuts, washers and dowels, etc. I also rummaged up a pile of random metal components to explore integrating with the wooden gears.

First things first, make one gear move another. I plan to start by only small little gear objects before getting carried away with some of my larger scale ideas.

## January 25, 2007

### Gear Templates

After asking Dustyn about where I could find good gear templates, she directed me to these site:

I also researched lots of websites on building with wooden gears and found this one helpful:
http://www.pathcom.com/~u1068740/index.html
Gary Gresham posts the plans for some of his clocks in PDF format (for free!) so you can see the dimensions of his gears.

### GEARS!

Why not?

The clearest final goal I can foreshadow is that I want to build a WALL OF GEARS .. sometime this semester.

So my "plan" is to get some wooden gears cut. However the wood I had chosen is not good for the laser cutter, so now I am using masonite. This is fine. Afterall, it is really just a test. I don't know if the gears I designed will work either by shape OR material (I'm concerned about the friction of the wood -- although wooded gears do exist and function).

So what specifically do I want to make? I don't know! I have a some ideas, revolving around the concept of complexity creating simplicity and simplicity creating complexity. I want to make beautiful narrative machines. Very human-like in their existence. I'm hoping that once I get my "building blocks" I'll be in a great position to start playing with form and function so that I can start to understand my what I am able to build.

### Room Listening

clicking of heat pipes...rattle. tink. clink. metallic. stops. come back again, speed/rate of hits changes, very quiet suddenly, tiniest rattle in the background, a few louder hits, back to quiet. Unpredictable.

hum of refrigerator...warm, soft, buzz, vibration, wave undulating in out in out, steady volume.

there is some sound whose orgin I can not place. almost a hollow knock. water drop perhaps? it is slightly irregular in rhythm.

soft crack of my neck as I lift my head - little after delay pricks

the sound of keys typing. irregular rhythm. plastic, mid-high percussive, soft.

odd gurgle from my inside...strange. Like a quick sound sweep/delay. Range of highs and lows.

soft scratch of my hand on my back. itch.

deep breath, sigh, release. air push. pad.

the sound of air. empty. reverb. full.

whichever sound I focus on becomes the center of the room, supported by all the other background sounds. I can start to imagine a song. Particularly with the refrigerator and the heating pipe. Their frequencies and patterns coexist nicely.

### Pauline Oliveros

Pauline Oliveros is a composer, performer, author and philosopher has influenced American music extensively through her works with improvisation, electronic music, teaching, myth, ritual and meditation. Oliveros coined the term "Deep Listening", which she then applied to her group The Deep Listening Band and to the Deep Listening program of Deep Listening Institute, Ltd. which she founded in 1985. The Deep Listening Band specializes in performing and recording in resonant or reverberant spaces such as caves, cathedrals and huge underground cisterns.

Oliveros developed the musical theory of "sonic awareness" -- the ability to consciously focus attention upon environmental and musical sound, requiring continual alertness and an inclination towards always listening. Sonic awareness describes two ways of processing information, focal attention and global attention, which may be represented by the dot and circle, respectively, of the mandala Oliveros commonly employs in composition. Later this representation was expanded, with the mandala quartered and the quarters representing actively making sound, imagining sound, listening to present sound, and remembering past sound. Practice of the theory creates "complex sound masses possessing a strong tonal center", as focal attention creates tonality and the global attention creates masses of sound, flexible timbre, attack, duration, intensity, and sometimes pitch, as well as untraditional times and spaces for performance such as requiring extended hours or environmental settings.

## January 21, 2007

### Thoughts on Listening

http://www.deeplistening.org/pauline/writings/quantum_listening.html

This is not so much an essay as it is some thoughts on listening. So my response is my own abstract thoughts on listening.

I listen to music with my headphones all the time. Why? The obvious reason is that I love music, but a deeper reason is that the context of audio through headphones creates a sonic "bubble" of space around me. I can go anywhere and have my experiences played out with a soundtrack. My walking has rhythm, the environment I move through has pulse, the people I encounter have energy, and my mind is alive. Although alone in my "sonic bubble." I am more engaged and in tune with the world than if I were to walk in silence. In silence, I "space-out." I do not pay attention to my surrounding so much. I become very self-centered without a meaningful focus on my thoughts. Through my headphones, I look at details and feel them. I am sure that the song I listen to dictates my relationships, but that is inconsequential. What matters is the engagement at all.

Perhaps if I walked through my life paying closer attention to all the "natural" sounds of my environment, my headphone experience would be mimicked. I would start to hear the patterns, the rhythms, the pulses of the actual landscape instead of imposing false sound of recorded music over them. The experience would be different, but no less focused and engaging. Emotional connection would be the greatest difference I imagine.

-----------------------------
ACTIVE LISTENING

"Deep Listening is active."

Listening is a skill like drawing. Drawing we are learning to see. Listening we are learning to hear. We all perceive our surroundings differently -- different levels of sensitivity, different interests, different physical strengths -- but no matter what our levels of perception, we can always get "better." Training. Practice. Focus.

--------------------------
INACTIVE LISTENING

"For audiences the greatest gift is rapt attention."

At some point though, I do not want to think about what I am hearing. I want to be so involved that sound lulls me to sleep...into a state of absolute silence. I do not mind letting myself go. It is not boredom, it is acceptance and release.

-------------------------
META LISTENING

"The Quantum Listener listens to listening."

We listen to the listening of listening to sounds. BLAH! Ok, but seriously, whenever deeply engaged in analyzing our own analysis of an activity or thought, we are running ourselves in abstract circles. And hopefully finding information buried far beneath the surface of the obvious activity. As this goes further, so do the interpretations of sound, our experiences with sound, the ideas of sound design, what we as people should consider in the sound around us, and we end up with statements like this: "Is sound intelligent? Does sound have consciousness?"

--------------------------
SPIRITUAL LISTENING

"Listen to sound disappearing. This meditation that I practice takes one to the border of reality and virtuality. When do you stop hearing the sound? When does memory begin?"

After listening to my headphones, listening to the sounds of life around me, sleeping to the background of sound, and thinking about the listening to the listening of sound... I pause. I stop listening. I feel dense with memory. Sound sculpts my space more than any physical object. It's presence fills my body and I don't know what to say.

### Finite-State Machines

Excerpts from our first class reading.
Book: The Pattern on the Stone
Chapter: Finite-State Machines

- The basic idea of a finite-state machine is to combine a look-up table, constructed using Boolean logic, with a memory device. The memory is used to store a summary of the past, which is the state of the finite-state machine.

-summary of the sequence

-When it reaches its maximum count -- say, 999-- the next advance will cause it to return to zero....I never knew if the cab had travelled 70,000 miles, 170,000 miles, or 270,000 miles, because the odometer had only 100,000 states; all those histories were equivalent as far as the odometer was concerned. This is why mathematicians often define a state as a "set of equivalent histories."

-The next state of the machine depends not only on the previous state but also on the signals that come from the input button.

-Once reason finite-state machines are so useful is that they can recognize sequences.

-Finite-state machines can also be made to recognize sequences that match certain patterns.

-As powerful as they are, finite-state machines are not capable of recognizing all types of patterns in a sequence.

My interest in these excerpts is that they are very "human." Our interactions with the world around us can be compared to finite-machine like behavior. We are the sum of all our memories, working on a "cause/effect" system of inputs and outputs. We stumble upon our own personal dramas which at times can appear complex, but when stripped down to the action without emotion, are simply a pattern of repeated sequences.

We live in developing circles.

## January 14, 2007

### The Ravezooka

The Ravezooka is a musical weapon that shoots a wide range of powerful sounds based on the target's distance from the instrument.

Created with Benedetta Piantella Simeonidis, the Ravezooka was displayed at the 2006 ITP Winter Show. It has received a lot of press including We Make Money Not Art, Boing Boing, Wired Magazine, and Gizmodo.

Software: Max/MSP

Hardware: Arduino, Ultrasonic Range Sensor, Infrared Proximity Sensor, Luxeon LED, amplifier, laptop computer

Sound: Resembles an analog synthesizer manipulating sine wave frequencies with the aggressiveness of a machine gun. User controls include the range of frequencies (based on distance of target), distortion effects (based on handle slider position), volume control (potentiometer dial), and on/off (handle trigger switch).

Design: As a stylish musical weapon of audio destruction, the Ravezooka aesthetic is playfully based on a Bazooka.

How the Ravezooka Works:

The user straps the Ravezooka over his or her shoulders and squeezes the trigger handle to initiate sound and a beam of light. As the user moves the Ravezooka around, he or she will notice a change in the frequency range being played based on the distance of the person or object in front of the instrument. The closer the target, the lower the frequency range. The light emitted from the Luxeon LED will give a rough visual clue as to what person or object is being targeted. The user will also be able to slide the trigger handle back and forth to initiate a change in the distortion effect of the sound. The closer the handle is drawn towards the user, the greater the distortion. The user will also be able to control is volume by turning the potentiometer knob on the side of the Ravezooka. If the trigger handle is not squeezed, no sound will be played.

The sound of the Ravezooka is generated by MIDI data collected from the sensors. Using MIDI as protocol, there are two channels being processed in MAXMSP. Channel 1 is linked to the data collected from the Ultrasonic Range Sensor and Channel 2 is linked to the data collected from the IR Proximity Sensor. Sound output is played through a guitar or bass amplifier from the computer.

Prototype schematic for the Ravezooka: