Thursday, September 29. 2011
Scientists devise a trick to make a material absorb 99 percent of the light that strikes it.
Copyright Technology Review 2011.
I'm already thinking about what kind of new projects and spaces we could do with a material that absorbs 99% of light. Sounds exciting.
Wednesday, September 28. 2011
Via Eye blog
by Eye contributor
When I wrote about BlablabLAB’s ‘Be Your Own Souvenir’ project as part of ‘Tangible Digital’ (Eye 80), I thought I’d missed my chance to be immortalised in a 3D plastic miniature, writes John Ridpath. But eight months on from their first event in Barcelona, the Spanish collective brought their laptops, 3D printers and scanners to London, to take part in the Alpha-ville digital festival.
Above: Video of the original ‘Be Your Own Souvenir’ project, which took place in Barcelona’s La Rambla in January 2011.
Below: ‘Tangible Digital’, opening spread. Eye 80.
To take part in ‘Be Your Own Souvenir’, participants are asked to stand on a small podium and strike a pose for a few minutes while a three-dimensional model of their body is scanned by three Kinects (hacked Xbox 360 interfaces with 3D depth sensors). The data is then passed to a 3D printer, and rendered in low-res plastic from the feet up – all within fifteen minutes.
As I wrote in Eye 80, ‘There is definitely a certain charm to the crude, bright yellow, low-res aesthetic of the figurines – but the real magic is in the immediacy by which the physical turns to digital, then back to physical.’
For their latest installation, BlablabLAB had set up shop in Red Market Square, behind what used to be the Foundry pub in Old Street (see ‘Foundry occupation’). Figurines were now available in orange and blue. After posing (with a companion), I watched the double figurine emerge (above) with curiosity. Next to the printer was a miniature graveyard of statuettes gone wrong – some missing heads and limbs, reaching their bizarre end in a tangle of string-like plastic. Thankfully, we avoided such a fate and walked away with a bright blue, one-off souvenir (below).
Below: Some of the 3D printer’s casualties.
22 > 25 September 2011
Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop. For a taste of the new issue, see Eye before you buy on Issuu. Eye 80 is out now.
We are now in the "post-digital" era according to the festival's theme. Well... it seems then that we are in the post post modern & post digital period. Three posts for one modern and a digital. Which means?
Tuesday, September 27. 2011
de Oscar Lopez
© Bernhard Leitner
“I can hear with my knee better than with my calves.” This statement made by Bernhard Leitner, which initially seems absurd, can be explained in light of an interest that he still pursues today with unbroken passion and meticulousness: the study of the relationship between sound, space, and body. Since the late 1960s, Bernhard Leitner has been working in the realm between architecture, sculpture, and music, conceiving of sounds as constructive material, as architectural elements that allow a space to emerge. Sounds move with various speeds through a space, they rise and fall, resonate back and forth, and bridge dynamic, constantly changing spatial bodies within the static limits of the architectural framework. Idiosyncratic spaces emerge that cannot be fixed visually and are impossible to survey from the outside, audible spaces that can be felt with the entire body. Leitner speaks of “corporeal” hearing, whereby acoustic perception not only takes place by way of the ears, but through the entire body, and each part of the body can hear differently.
- George Kargl, Fine Arts Vienna
© Atelier Leitner - Sound Tube 1971
Bernhard Leitner is considered a pioneer of the art form generally referred to as “sound installation.” He introduced sound to the installation space, allowing the installation space to emerge through the sound. Leitner, who actually studied architecture, has been a visionary ever since the very start of his artistic career. His sculptures—which he refers to as “sound-space objects”—and installations are the result of long, complex processes of development. In precise sketches and workbooks, he first approaches the sculptural, architectural qualities of sound in theory.
© Atelier Leitner - Body Envelope 1970
He undertakes, as it were, foundational scientific research by studying frequencies, volumes, movements and combinations of sounds and their impact on the body, sketching possible spatial figures, such as cubes, corridors, fields, pipes, and exploring the impact of bodily posture on acoustic perception. In 1968 Leitner moved to New York, where he concretely began working on sound-space studies in his studio. He developed multi-channel compositions using sound recordings that were not musically conceived, from which he extracted specific sound material and combined it in work-specific series of sounds. He then notated these series using visual codes that he himself developed consisting of letter combinations on rolls of paper, and transferred them to perforated tape.
© Atelier Leitner - Agoraphon 1993
This resulted in temporary installations of wooden slats on which loudspeakers could be arranged in various geometric arrangements. These were operated individually by way of a control device developed together with a technician, for this was not possible with devices found on the market with the then current state of technology. In this way, Leitner was able for the first time to place sounds and series of sounds in various, exactly performed movements that create “spatial models in an invisible (new) geometry.”
© Atelier Leitner - Cylinder Space 1974
The visual formulation of Leitner’s installations can be read in the tradition of the aesthetics of New York minimalism in the 1970s. There are echoes of Richard Serra, Carl Andre, or Donald Judd, even if the reduced and strict formal language of Bernhard Leitner enters into a new functional context that “serves to shift attention from the visual to the acoustic level of the installation.” In the moment when the visitor is no longer unnecessarily distracted by visual stimuli, acoustic attentiveness automatically increases.
© Atelier Leitner - Wing Space 1996
At a first glance, the simplest way of characterizing the sound installation as art form would be to describe it as a combination of art exhibition and concert. In reality, however, the sound installation distinctly sets itself apart from both these closely affiliated art forms and begins to disclose itself more and more as an art form capable of overcoming those deficits which one distinctly senses in the case of the conventional exhibition as well as in the conventional concert. Among the most outstanding examples of sound installations are those witnessed in the works of Bernhard Leitner.
© Atelier Leitner - Sound Suit 1975
In an entirely impressive manner, the artist has been pursuing his own unique course by consistently and convincingly experimenting with the sound installation as an art form. Before embarking on a characterization of the particular complex of problems surrounding Leitner’s works with any degree of precision, one must first clarify a number of misunderstandings which would hinder the elaboration of an adequate understanding of the installation as art form.
© Atelier Leitner - Pendulum Platform 2 1995
As a matter of fact, the difference between the installation and other art forms is easy enough to formulate: In the case of the installation the viewer becomes visitor. The installation is a spatial fragment, a spatial volume, which is to be read as a unified object. The central characteristic of this spatial fragment is that it is a space understood as being empty, abstract and purely geometric. And yet, it is precisely this chief characteristic of the installation that poses such a challenge to perception and interpretation.
© Atelier Leitner - Sound Columns 1999
Since the space of installation represents an empty space, it can be all too easily overlooked. As any other space, the space of installation may therefore be filled with diverse objects; it can be entered and offers the possibility to move around freely within it. In this sense, the space of installation would appear as being “immaterial”, indeed,non-existent and thus incapable of assuming the role of a medium of art. It is for this reason that our attention is almost involuntarily drawn away from the empty space itself and rather towards the objects within it. As a consequence, the installation is misunderstood as a specific arrangement of objects within space – and not as the space itself.
© Atelier Leitner - Wall Grid 1972
Thus, the use of sound within the installation space is in no way external to it. Quite to the contrary: the wonder of sound consists in the fact that it fills space. For this reason, sound can best serve as an indicator of holistic space insofar as it is capable of inducing in the viewer the sense of becoming part of the entire space. And it is in just such a way that Leitner’s sound installations function. Here, a single sound does not necessarily fill the entire exhibition space. It is far more that each of these single sounds creates its own space in which the viewer/visitor must enter.
© Atelier Leitner - Large Tuba 2008
In the process, the visitor inevitably becomes aware of his own body as being part of the unified space of the sound installation. Firstly, a specific spatial position or even pose is designated for his body. And secondly, within the sound installation the visitor is given the feeling that the tone, which fills the installation space, also flows through his own body. The limits of his own body are consequenty put into question and relativized – and he begins to perceive himself as part of the space of the installation as a whole.
© Atelier Leitner - Sound Cube 1980
The experience of being physically permeated by sound when listening to sound in one of Leitner’s installations differs decisively from the experience of listening to music in a concert hall, for example. In the concert hall, the music also fills the entire room and yet this space is visually divided in two. In the hall, the listener is territorialized, the music produced on stage. In this case, the usual exhibition or theatrical staging situation is repeated: the listening audience becomes the spectator who finds himself in the position of being in front of the artwork.
© Atelier Leitner - Sound Space Tu Berlin 1984
It is in this way that the listener in the concert hall has the sense of “being seated in front of the music” – even though the music can be heard everywhere within the space. This feeling makes it impossible for the listener to comprehend his own body as being part of the music space, of the sound space. Furthermore, added to this is the temporal limitation of the concert. As a rule, the time frame of the concert is designed with the visitor in mind – the end of the concert is also the end of the music.
© Atelier Leitber - Vertical Space 1975
If one has endured the concert from beginning to end, one knows that one has consumed everything that was possible and necessary to consume. By contrast, the final satisfaction, that familiar feeling of having well and truly heard and seen everything is denied the visitor of Leitner’s installations: here, the sound has already begun before the visitor has taken his seat – and continues even after he has left this seat. The presence or absence of the visitor makes no particular impression on the sound itself – it continues beyond the span of his attention. Hence, the viewer leaves the exhibition with the sense of having only briefly been in the sovereign position of hearing, though not of having taken possession of it.
© Atelier Leitner - Tuba Architecture 1999
It is necessary to rethink and redefine the term “space”. The boundaries of these spaces cannot be experienced at once, and they are not “dynamic, fluid” spaces in the conventional interpretation. It is space which has a beginning and an end. Space is here a sequence of spatial sensations – in its very essence an event of time. Space unfolds in time; it is developed, repeated and transformed in time.
© Atelier Leitner - Sound Lines Sculpture 1972
Bernhard Leitners’ works deal with the audio-physical experience of spaces and objects which are determined in form and content by movements of sound. The focus is the relationship between built structures of sound and the human body. The scale ranges from small objects directly applied to the body to large-scale architectural spaces.
References: Bernhard Leitner .P.U.L.S.E., Bernhard Leitner Sound : Space, http://www.bernhardleitner.at/en, Boris Groys, George Kargl
Thursday, September 22. 2011
Could Abraham Lincoln have become president of the United States in a world in which poor children lack access to physical books?
By Christopher Mims
Andrew Carnegie's decision to fund free libraries at the turn of the last century -- like this one in Houston -- was inspired by the belief that knowledge and education are public goods
Today Amazon announced that it is finally rolling out Kindle-compatible ebooks to public libraries in the U.S., a much-needed evolution of the dominant e-reading platform. But there's a larger problem that this development fails to address, and it's an issue exacerbated by every part of Amazon's business model.
Access to knowledge has long been seen as vital to the public interest -- literally, in economic parlance, a "public good" -- which is why libraries have always been supported through taxes and philanthropy. (Carnegie's decision to fund 2,509 of them around the turn of the century being an especially notable example of this.)
I challenge anyone reading this to recall his or her earliest experiences with books -- nearly all of which, I'm willing to bet, were second-hand, passed on by family members or purchased in that condition. Now consider that the eBook completely eliminates both the secondary book market and any control that libraries -- i.e. the public -- has over the copies of a text it has purchased.
Except under limited circumstances, eBooks cannot be loaned or resold. They cannot be gifted, nor discovered on a trip through the shelves of a friend or the local library. They cannot be re-bound and, unlike all the rediscovered works that literally gave birth to the Renaissance, they will not last for centuries. Indeed, publishers are already limiting the number of times a library can loan out an eBook to 26.
If the transition to eBooks is complete -- and with libraries being among the most significant buyers of books, it now seems inevitable -- the flexibility of book ownership will be gone forever. Knowledge, in as much as books represent it, will belong to someone else.
Worse yet, there is the problem of the e-reader itself. This issue may be resolved by falling prices of e-readers, but there remains the possibility that the demands of profitability will drive makers of e-readers to simply set a floor on the price they're willing to charge for one and attempt to continually innovate toward tablet-like functionality in order to justify that price.
Unlike books, which are one of the few media that do not require a secondary external device for playback, e-books put additional barriers between readers and knowledge. Some of those barriers, as I've mentioned, consist of Digital Rights Management and other attempts to use intellectual property laws as a kind of rent-seeking, but others are more subtle.
One in five children in the U.S. lives below the poverty line, and those numbers are likely to increase as the world economy continues to work through a painful de-leveraging of accrued debt. In the past, the only thing a child needed to read a book was basic literacy, something that our public education system in theory still provides.
Imagine Abraham Lincoln, born in a log cabin, raised in poverty, self-taught from a small cache of books, being stymied in his early education by the lack of an e-reader. And there are countless other examples -- in his biography, Bob Dylan recounts spending his first, penniless days in New York City lost in a friend's library of classics, reading and re-reading the greatest poets of history as he found his own voice.
Sure, these are extreme examples, but it is undeniable that books have a democratizing effect on learning. They are inherently amenable to the frictionless dissemination of information. Durable and cheap to produce, to the point of disposability, their abundance, which we currently take for granted, has been a constant and invisible force for the creation of an informed citizenry.
So the question becomes: Do we want books to become subject to the 'digital divide?' Is that really wise, given the trajectory of the 21st century?
Copyright Technology Review 2011.
(Page 1 of 4, totaling 16 entries) » next page
fabric | rblg
This blog is the survey website of fabric | ch - studio for architecture, interaction and research.
We curate and reblog articles, researches, writings, exhibitions and projects that we notice and find interesting during our everyday practice and readings.
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