Author Archives: Pia van Gelder

DORKBOT SYD/ MAY 2016: GUY BEN-ARY & THE NEURAL SYNTHESISER

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WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity
WHEN: Thursday, 26th of May, 6-7pm
WHERE: UNSW Art & Design (formally COFA), room D205
COST: Free!

Dorkbot Sydney is proud to be hosting a special talk by the Perth based artist and researcher from Symbiotica Guy Ben-Ary next week. In Sydney for his upcoming presentation of a new work cellF, the world’s first neural synthesiser, which will be presented at Cellblock Theatre at the National Art School from June 10-12.

The cellF “brain” is made of biological neural networks that grow in a Petri dish and controls in real time it’s “body” that is made of an array of analogue modular synthesizers that work in synergy with it and play with human musicians. It is a completely autonomous instrument that consists of a neural network that is bio-engineered from my own cells that control a custom-built synthesizer. There is no programming or computers involved, only biological matter and analogue circuits; a ‘wet-analogue’ instrument.

There is a surprising similarity in the way neural networks and analogue modular synthesizers function, in that for both, voltages are passed through components to produce data or sound. The neural interface we developed juxtaposes these two networks and in a sense creates a continuum that creates one unified network. With CellF, the musician and musical instrument become one entity to create a cybernetic musician, a rock star in a petri dish.

For more details on the work: guybenary.com/work/cellf/

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Guy Ben-Ary, born in Los Angeles, is a Perth based artist and researcher. He currently works at SymbioticA, an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning and hands-on engagement with the life sciences, which is located within the University of Western Australia.  Recognised internationally as a major artist and innovator working across science and media arts, Guy specialises in biotechnological artwork, which aims to enrich our understanding of what it means to be alive.

Guy’s work has been shown across the globe at prestigious venues and festivals from the Beijing National Art Museum to San Paulo Biennale to the Moscow Biennale. His work can also be seen in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2009, his work Silent Barrage was awarded an Honorary Mention in Prix Ars Electronica (Austria) and also won first prize at VIDA, a significant international competition for Art and Artificial Life.

Guy  specializes in microscopy, biological & digital imaging, tissue engineering. His Main research areas are cybernetics, robotics and the interface of biological material to robotics. Much of Ben-Ary’s work is inspired by science and nature.  His artworks utilize motion and growth to investigate technological aspects of today’s culture and the re-use of biological materials and technologies.

Guy is in town to participate in the exhibition The Patient, curated by Bec Dean for UNSW Galleries. The exhibition opens on 2nd June. The performances of cellF are part of the program for The Patient.

For more details about Ben-Ary’s upcoming Sydney performances go to this eventbrite page.

DORKBOT AT THE MCA : Energies sensed, scavenged, harvested, experienced

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Dorkbot Sydney (“people doing strange things with electricity”) presents a special event at the MCA to coincide with the Energies: Haines & Hinterding exhibition. Join artists Paul Greedy, Emily Morandini, Pia van Gelder and Peter Blamey as they discuss their explorations and experiences in making works that embrace a range of energies: acoustic, chemical, electromagnetic, psychic and beyond. Hear how these artists are engaging with energies in the arts stretching from the tangible to the intangible, via the sonic, therapeutic, geophysical and astronomical.

Thu 16 July, 6.30 – 8pm
Free, bookings essential
MCA Level 2, Veolia Lecture Theatre

Spaces limited, CLICK HERE to book early for this popular event.
Artist bios:

Emily Morandini is a Sydney based media artist, educator, and researcher. Touching upon histories of technology, her work seeks to reimagine intersections between nature, craft, and electronics. Currently she is a PhD candidate at UNSW Art & Design.

Paul Greedy is a Sydney based artist whose practice engages with the phenomenal world and the complexities of physical dynamics. Through works that mediate basic phenomena such as light, sound, air pressure, temperature etc, Greedy creates situations that seek to expand our understanding of how energy manifests and shapes our impressions of the world.

Pia van Gelder is an artist and researcher who often makes instruments that generate video and sound for performances or interactive installations. Recently, Pia’s work has been influenced by historical inquiries into esoteric understandings of the body and energy.

Peter Blamey is an artist, musician and researcher. His work explores themes of sound, energy, and the reimagining of technology through questioning accepted notions of connectivity, variability and use. His practice is typically grass roots, establishing interactions between disparate everyday technologies in order to produce performances, artworks and installations that investigate the relationships between people, technologies and their environments

Image: Pia van Gelder, Build Your Own BioSynth workshop, Performance Space, 2013. Photo: Lucy Parakhina

DORKBOT MARCH 2015 : SNIFFING THE RF SPECTRUM + THE INTERNET OF “SHOWBIZ” THINGS + UNSWAD MAKERSPACE

WHAT: “People doing strange things with electricity”
WHEN: Tuesday 31st March, 6-8
WHERE: University of New South Wales, Art & Design (formerly known as Cofa!), Fblock, Room F205 (SEE MAP AT THE BOTTOM)
COST: Freeeeeee!

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 BALINT SEEBER: SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO

Ever wanted to communicate with a NASA space probe launched in 1978, or spoof a restaurant’s pager system? There are surprising similarities! How about use an airport’s Primary Surveillance RADAR to build your own bistatic RADAR system and track moving objects? What sorts of RF transactions take place in RFID systems, such as toll booths, building security and vehicular keyless entry? Wireless systems, and their radio signals, are everywhere: consumer, corporate, government, amateur – widely deployed and often vulnerable. If you have ever wondered what sort of information is buzzing around you, this talk will introduce how you can dominate the RF spectrum by ‘blindly’ analysing any signal, and then begin reverse engineering it from the physical layer up. I will demonstrate how these techniques can be applied to dissect and hack RF communications systems, such as those above, using open source software and Software Defined Radio.

I’ll also look briefly at some other systems that are close to my heart: reversing satellite communications, tracking aircraft using Mode S and visualising local airspace in real-time on a 3D map, monitoring the health of aircraft with ACARS (how many faults have been reported by the next plane you’ll be travelling on, e.g. do the toilets work?), and hunting down the source of an interfering clandestine radio transmission.

– Twitter: https://twitter.com/spenchdotnet
– Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/Cyberspectrum/
– YouTube: adventure around the Bay Area: USRP B200: Exploring the Wireless World

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MICHELA LEDWIDGE: THE INTERNET OF “SHOWBIZ” THINGS

Michela Ledwidge introduces Rack&Pin, a web service platform for managing interactive experience from concept through to operations. This presentation looks at challenges and opportunities for directing creative experience in a networked world. Case studies include the ACO VIRTUAL immersive video installation (Manly Gallery & Museum 27 March – 3 May), the Power of 1 exhibition (Old Parliament House, and remixed for Canberra’s Enlighten Festival) and the dirtgirlworld TV series (ABC, BBC, CBC, PBS Sprout).

Michela is an artist and director creating interactive entertainment and live experiences. She is co-founder of studio Mod Productions and a board member of the Australian Directors Guild.
http://michelaledwidge.com/

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NATHAN ADLER: CREATE, UNSWAD MAKERSPACE

CREATE aims to provide an opportunity for its members to learn practical skills in engineering, invention and design, as well as collaborate on ideas and projects. They run workshops on microcontroller programming, 3d printing, electrical circuit design and UAV development, as well as manage hackerspaces at the UNSW Kensington and Art & Design campuses, provide a 3D printing service and source electronic and robotics components for members.

Nathan Adler, a 6th year combined mechatronics and commerce undergraduate student, is one of the founding members and current president of a student-led society at the University of New South Wales called CREATE, which has grown to over 1500 members in just over 2 years. As a member of CREATE, he specializes in UAV development, microcontroller programming, low energy bluetooth development and CAD modelling for 3D printing. Nathan is the lecturer of a self-designed weekly workshop series at UNSW on Arduino programming and interfacing with hardware and sensors. Nathan partnered with another UAV enthusiast and student Rory San Miguel as part of CREATE to research, design and source affordable autonomous quadcopter kits for interested students, which has since developed into an UAV development team. Along with founding president Sam Cassisi, he also established UNSW’s first robotics and electronics shop, weekly hackerspace and 3D printing service to cater for the needs of students with engineering and design projects.

https://www.artdesign.unsw.edu.au/campus/makerspace

Are you lost? We’re here!
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DORKBOT SUPPORTS: DESIGN LAB: Digital Creative Practice Talks—Anthony Rowe (Squidsoup, UK)

When: Monday, March 2 @ 17:30 – 19:00
Where: ALT2 (Architecture Lecture Theatre 2), Wilkinson Building (G04) 148 City Road, Darlington, 2006
RSVP: Here

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Squidsoup is an international group of artists, researchers and designers (UK/NO/NZ) working with digital and interactive media experiences. Their work combines sound, physical space and virtual worlds to produce immersive and emotive headspaces where participants can take an active role in their experience. They explore the modes and effects of interactivity, looking to make digitally mediated experiences where meaningful and creative interaction can occur.
Their work is regularly shown at festivals, galleries and events around the globe. Recent events include solo shows in Bristol and Oslo, and participation in Mapping Festival (Switzerland), Cinekid (Netherlands), Sundance (USA), TIFF (Canada), Scopitone (France), Ars Electronica Festival and Museum (Austria), Glastonbury and Kinetica Arts Fair (UK). Squidsoup have permanent exhibitions at At Bristol (UK 2012), Royal Society of New Zealand (2012) and Contact Energy New Zealand (2013).
Recognition includes include Core77 Design Awards (Professional Notable Honoree 2013), Architecture Now Interior Awards (Finalist 2013), Best Design Awards (Bronze Award 2013), Prix File Lux (Honorary Mention 2010), a BAFTA nomination (2002) and an International EMMA (2000).

DORKBOT SUPPORTS : DESIGN LAB: Digital Creative Practice Talks : DANIEL JONES : MONDAY February 16

Daniel Jones is an artist and software engineer whose work explores new ways in which sound and technology can illuminate our understanding of the world, producing large-scale sculptural sound installations and systems that translate patterns and processes into musical forms.

Daniel will discuss two recent works — Living Symphonies, a touring outdoor piece that grows in the same way as a forest ecosystem, and Phantom Terrains, a platform that enables its hearing-impaired wearer to hear the surrounding landscape of wifi networks — and argues that these two seemingly disparate outputs inhabit the same creative
spectrum.

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RSVP HERE
When: Monday, February 16 @ 17:30 – 19:00
Where: ALT1 (Architecture Lecture Theatre 1)
Wilkinson Building (G04) 148 City Road, Darlington, 2006

Daniel Jones is an artist and software engineer whose work explores new ways in which sound and technology can illuminate our understanding of the world. This manifests itself in both scientific and artistic output: he has published work on process composition, creativity theory, systems ecology and artificial life, and exhibits his sound work internationally, harnessing algorithmic processes to create self-generating artworks.

Recent works include Phantom Terrains (with Frank Swain, 2014), a platform for ubiquitous sonification of wireless network landscapes; Living Symphonies (with James Bulley, 2014-), a landscape sound work that grows in the same way as a forest ecosystem; Global Breakfast Radio (with Seb Emina, 2014-), an autonomous radio station that broadcasts live radio from wherever the sun is rising; The Listening Machine (with Peter Gregson, 2012), a 6-month-long online composition which translates social network dynamics into a piece of orchestral music, recorded with Britten Sinfonia and commissioned by the BBC/Arts Council’s The Space; Variable 4 (with James Bulley, 2011), an outdoor sound installation which transforms live weather conditions into musical patterns; Maelstrom (with James Bulley, 2012), which uses audio material from media-publishing websites as a distributed, virtual orchestra; Horizontal Transmission (2011), a digital simulation of bacterial communication mechanisms; and AtomSwarm (2006—2009), a musical performance system based upon swarm dynamics.

Daniel’s engineering work includes Chirp, a platform and iOS app for sharing information over sound, shortlisted for the Design Museum’s Designs Of The Year; the 3D audio engine for mobile games Papa Sangre and The Nightjar, nominated for two BAFTAs including “Audio Achievement”. He co-ordinated the technical infrastructure for The Fragmented Orchestra, winner of the prestigious PRSF New Music Award 2008, and was more recently a fellow on the Mozilla Webmaker programme.

DORKBOT SYD : JULY 2014 : Lovid, Systhesisers and Ceramics / Semaphore and Kinect / Megaphones

WHAT: People doing strange things with electricity
WHEN
: MONDAY 28th July, 6-8pm
WHERECollege of Fine Arts, UNSW, Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd Paddington, Outdoor Courtyard, between Block D and Block F (campus map here!)

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LOVID

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LoVid is the NY based interdisciplinary artist duo comprised of Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus. LoVid’s work combines handmade engineering with craft and fine art. Their expansive practice includes immersive installations, sculptural synthesizers, single channel videos, participatory projects, mobile media cinema, works on paper, and A/V performance. LoVid has toured and exhibited in the USA and Europe extensively. Throughout their diverse projects, LoVid continuously explores relationships between technology and the individual human body or contemporary society.

Reaction Bubble is a work in progress by LoVid commissioned by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and produced by Real Art Ways. For this work, LoVid invited a ceramicist and a choreographer to collaborate on an immersive installation where LoVid’s audio/video synthesizer will be encased in ceramic sculptures and activated by performers. Reaction Bubble draws inspiration from the study of proxemics, which is concerned with the distances between people depending on the relationships and contexts in which they interact.

FRANCES BARRETT + SAMUEL BRUCE : FLAGGING

Flagging, Frances Barrett with Samuel Bruce, Live Performance, 2014, Photo: Lucy Parakhina

Flagging is a live performance by Frances Barrett with sound composition and programming by Samuel Bruce. Flagging is a manifesto performed in semaphore code by Frances. Semaphore is a system of sending messages by positioning the arms or two flags according to an alphabetic code. Using a Microsoft Kinect and the softwares Processing and Pure Data, Samuel built a system whereby the computer ‘read’ Frances’ semaphore message, with each semaphore symbol triggering samples and musical phrases.

Links:
http://francesbarrett.com/
http://samuelbruce.net/

Image credit:
Flagging, Frances Barrett with Samuel Bruce, Live Performance, 2014, Photo: Lucy Parakhina

J ALACA, ‘KIT’ : LISTENING VOICE

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The invention of the megaphone allowed for the extension of the human voice to be heard over large areas, its earliest use resolved a means to carry out authority in cases of propaganda and crowd-control. The concept of the megaphone has well progressed from its inception, when human ancestors first cupped their hands and yelled, to even subsiding Edison’s vision. This project is an attempt to activate multi-level relationships of listening between a receiving body and a producing body via experimentation with varying conditions of “noise”, time, architecture and space. Hacking the functions of a 50W megaphone through simple reverse amplification, perhaps could allow us to re-consider ‘listening’ as a phenomenon of production and interpretation than a mere point of response and receiving, an “instrument of listening voices” over an “apparatus for amplified instruction.”

https://www.facebook.com/makersandlaggers Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/makersandlaggers Pre-Dorkbot Event (If curious to listen to megaphone in a 1hour long experimental set): https://www.facebook.com/events/1449537921962784/

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Our usual “show and tell” slot at the end of Dorkbot is an invitation for anyone present something they are working on, thinking of or can’t work out! Sharing is caring.