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Thursday
Nov052009

A New Video Available on YouTube

I've been deeply involved in preparing the new Fractal library for Algorithmic Arts ArtWonk v4, which is due to be released for public beta testing any day now.  While doing this ongoing (sporadic) research, I encounted a patch I made back in March 2007 to implement a chaotic function called the "One Dimensional Chaos Game."  Once I had successfully made it work, getting the usual Sierpinsky Triangles and the like,

 

I thought it would be nice to make a patch which used it more poetically.  Which I did, and then the work stopped there.   I had made a nice sequence of images, and a nicely interactive patch, where I could change the kinds of OneD Chaos images generated in real time, but couldn't see any way to extend the work into a piece, or to document it, etc.  Suddenly, yesterday (Wednesday, 4 Nov.) I encountered the patches again, and saw that they worked really well, and that I could easily extend what the piece was doing into a small video piece.  Which I did.  

The sound was made with the same patch, using Camel Audio's Alchemy softsynth, which I continue to explore with delight.  I used an additive synthesis timbre, which features higher harmonics which come to the foreground after the initial attack of the sound.  This gives the sound that "feel" of a sustained higher changing sound which "trails" the initial attacks.  I also tuned Alchemy into a microtonal scale of my own invention - one based on ideas in Erv Wilson's "Scale Tree" papers. 

(Here are links to three papers, two by Erv Wilson, and one by David Finnamore about the Scale Tree. Wilson One. Wilson Two. Finnamore. A source of endless hours of amusement for those inclined that way.(And yes, one day I promise to post up here my own article on the Scale Tree and my afternoon-long work using it, "Pythagoras Babylonian Bathtub" from 2004.))

Using the same structure for sounds and images may be seen by some as just an extension of the old "'everything from a single kernel" idea that Western classical music has flirted with for centuries (Bach's motives, Beethoven's even more intense use of motives, Wagner's leitmotifs, total serialism, New York totalism, etc), but for me, seeing as how I'm developing these chaotic tools (hopefully for others to use), my impulse to do this is not motivated by "historical necessity" - I simply want to both see and hear the patterns they have the potential to generate.

It's a rather dark piece - and I mean that literally, not emotionally.  I was really attracted to the idea of chaotic images slowly emerging out of darkness, before they quickly faded away - fleeting visions, maybe.  The sound, on the other hand, is up-front, and continuous, although it, too, is changing the kind of gestures it uses continually.  This kind of change of gesture seems to be a lot more easily seen than heard, so the sound seems more mono-structural than the vision.  To my perception, anyway.  Yours may differ.  Here's the piece - I'm sort of pleased that I finally have the tools and abilities to be able to conceive a multi-media piece, realize it in one day, and then disseminate it on the same day.  There will be other pieces that I'll take a lot more time over, but for today, this new found ability is pretty neat.  Enjoy!

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