The traditional way to start an instrument-a-day month: with a whistle.
Stuff is going on in February!
* On Wednesday Feb. 6, I’m speaking about @pentametron, my twitter poetry bot, at the Dorkbot NYC lecture series. Pentametron has been running for almost a year now, and has digested about sixteen billion tweets and excreted more than ten thousand rhymed couplets of iambic pentameter. Pentametron got a new burst of press coverage lately, including a feature in TechCrunch, but the best one if you’re curious about how it works is Max Read’s article at gawker.com. Or come to my talk, next Wednesday night at 7! More press coming soon.
* I’m teaching two classes at NYC Resistor – on Saturday the 16th, embroider your own electronic cloth organ, and on Sunday the 17th, make whistles with a laser cutter! Details and pictures and videos at nycresistor.com.
* With NYC Resistor we’re reviving the full moon lantern festival on Sunday February 24 after dark. We’ll hold a lantern-making workshop on Friday or Saturday – watch nycresistor.com for details. Meanwhile, here’s my ancient web page with ancient pictures from the 2002 and 2003 lanternfests.
* And of course, just like every year, I’m planning to make a new musical instrument (or noisemaker) every day of the month. Do you know a good venue where I could perform with a bunch of new instruments in early March? Do you want to join me in making or performing? Get in touch! Everything will be documented at moonmilk and my flickr page, and you can see all the instruments from the last 5 years of Instrument-a-day at on moonmilk.
Farther afield: in March I’m going to Basel for the Metamatic Research Initiative’s symposium at the Tinguely Museum; in May and June I’m joining the mad artists of Flux Factory and Rabid Hands to build a big sound sculpture conglomeration at the Palais de Tokyo Museum in Paris; and in September, it’s back to Tinguely Museum to install my sound piece commissioned by Metamatic. More on that soon, but here’s a teaser image:
preview of Singing Room
My new sound installation Still Space (video) opened Friday September 14th at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was commissioned for the Asian American Arts Alliance’s Locating the Sacred Festival.
Update: Steven Speliotis made this nice video of the installation: vimeo.com/49657504
This Thursday, August 9th, is John Cage Day at the Museum of Modern Art. Lots of great stuff going on – all the info is here: http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/events/15360
My toy piano robot will be playing Satie’s Vexations throughout the day, trying to reach 840 repetitions. Here’s a teaser video:
I hope you can come to John Cage Day!
Other stuff: My sound sculpture for the BWAC Outdoor Sculpture Show is up at East River State Park for another month or so. Here’s a video:
Coming up in September: a sound installation at the Asian American Artists Alliance festival. No video yet, maybe soon…
Things are happening!
* My robot toy piano has a couple of gigs coming up:
This coming Wednesday, June 6, at Roulette in Brooklyn:
Satie and Satie-inspired music from John Cage, Federico Mompou, Toby Twining and Milos Raickovich
Margaret Leng Tan, piano and toy piano
Roberto Rossi, narrator
Ranjit Bhatnagar, sound artist
And then on Thursday, August 9, at the Museum of Modern Art’s John Cage Day:
Celebrate the centenary of legendary artist, composer, philosopher, and writer John Cage with a series of readings, performances, musical compositions, and personal reflections by poets, writers, musicians, and scholars. Participants include writer and editor Richard Kostelantez; Joan Retallack, John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Humanities, Bard College; pianist and toy-piano virtuoso Margaret Leng Tan; and poet, editor, and curator Roger van Voorhees.
* The Music Box, the sound sculpture shantytown I worked on in New Orleans last year, is open to visitors again this summer, and the final performances there are happening soon. If you’re going to be in New Orleans, check it out: http://www.dithyrambalina.com
* My wind-powered sound sculpture, “Trumpet Marine”, will be hanging out in Williamsburg’s East River Park this summer as part of BWAC’s Outdoor Sculpture Show, probably starting in July. More on that soon! Meanwhile, here’s a video of the thing at the Figment Festival last year: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ranjit/5840234686/
* I made a little algorithm that uses Twitter’s Streaming API to read millions of tweets per day (about 500 per second!) in search of the tiny fraction that happen to be in iambic pentameter. Out of those, it selects rhymed couplets and retweets them in an endless crowdsourced sonnet. You can follow it at http://twitter.com/pentametron and http://pentametron.com
Pentametron got some nice coverage from the Poetry Foundation -
And this interview in Gawker explains how it works: http://gawker.com/pentametron/
It even got a tweet from the Globe Theater! https://twitter.com/The_Globe/status/202377080820871168
* In September I’ll have an installation in the Asian American Arts Alliance’s “Locating the Sacred” Festival, and I’ll be doing a residency at Albuquerque Open Space as part of the ISEA electronic arts festival.
* …and I discovered that Electric Violin Lutherie has created a real violin inspired by my amateur 8-bit violin. That’s the kind of thing that makes me love open source design. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:23103
Pentametron, my twitter poetry engine, is now online! An experiment in finding inadvertent art in the internet’s endless outpouring of language, pentametron automatically collects twitter posts that happen to be in iambic pentameter. It processes about five million tweets per day, and finds a few dozen iambic lines in that time.
RT @ginafbabey Thanks for the love and Karma is a bitch. RT @Lweeeeeezy I try and find the good in everyone. RT @ItsMe_Shay_P Some females really get beside themselves RT @6thRosePetals So super disappointed with myself. RT @mordemmy It doesn't really matter anymore. RT @nisaeee This drama motivated me a lot! 안구정화 짱!! RT @jayylyrics she always gotta ruin something good RT @Teeyaanur wow gonna do the #lin tonight again.. RT @TerrySupplyCo I really wanna skate a empty pool. RT @J18mcevoy I wanna see the hunger games tonight RT @IamJabariJ I'M SO EXCITED FOR THE HUNGER GAMES! RT @valerieward95 Wait, does The Hunger Games premiere tonight? RT @_SyMoan Not Even Gonna Entertain The Thought RT @breeannie Last practice of the season. #bittersweet
This isn’t my first effort at crowd-sourcing sonnets through the internet: I organized the Exquisite Sonnet Project almost 20 years ago (!) and did a similar project through twitter for the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2009. But this is the first one that’s entirely automated — and in which the contributors don’t even know they’re participating.
I stuck contact mics onto a bunch of different plates and vessels and put them out on the rain. I like this sound so much that I’m tempted to make a permanent installation that I can plug in whenever it rains. Inspired by Quintron’s Singing House, which I spent a lot of time listening to last year.
This is the last day of Instrument-a-day 2012. Thanks for following along! I’ll be giving a talk about the project at Dorkbot NYC next Wednesday, March 7th, and performing with Andrea Williams, Dan Joseph, and the Glass Bees in Brooklyn on Saturday the 10th.
Turning the click-clack of an old wind up motor into MIDI time code to control the playback of a recording. (I’ll try it on with a video next!)
(Inside the box, the wind up motor has a flapping arm that interrupts a light beam. Each clack of the motor generates a MIDI SPP command which tells the computer how far / fast to move through the recording.)
That harpsichord bit at the beginning kind of sounds like Dead Can Dance, no?
An IR decoder plugged into an Arduino intercepts codes transmitted by remote controls. Simple software uses the manufacturer code to choose a MIDI channel, and the button code to choose a note. It plays a single percussive note for remote codes it can’t understand, like the Bose.
That synthesizer is 25 years old, and the NAD remote control probably almost the same.