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Art

Sound Artist Zimoun Channels Frenetic Movement in Expansive Kinetic Sculptures and Installations

November 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

Swiss sound artist Zimoun (previously) harnesses the power of quick, chaotic movements in his large-scale installations and kinetic sculptures. Each artwork is composed of simple materials like cardboard boxes, wooden dowels, and cotton balls, among other common objects. Zimoun assembles multiples of the same configuration—think teetering sticks and metal washers suspended on a wire—and motorizes one portion, causing them to rattle back and forth.

Because each component is made by hand, they have slight differences that prevent them from synchronizing, despite all the motors being connected to a single current. The frenzied movements contrast the calming, whirring sounds the artworks emit, which mimic raindrops or a repetitive drum. This juxtaposition is just one example of the many comparisons the artist draws: chaos vs. order, mass vs. individual, simplicity vs. complexity, and manufactured vs. organic.

Considering this theme, Zimoun names each piece by listing the materials used to connect the discrete components and the whole. For example, a recent project that forms a square on the floor (shown below) is titled “1944 prepared dc-motors, mdf panels 72 x 72cm, metal discs Ø 8cm, 2020.” “In my work, I do not try to transport specific associations but rather to create atmospheric spaces and states that invite us to observe, think, and reflect on various levels,” he says.

In the compilation video above, Zimoun showcases a variety of the sculptures and installations from his extensive body of work, many of which you can explore individually on Vimeo and follow on Instagram.

 

“1944 prepared dc-motors, mdf panels 72 x 72cm, metal discs Ø 8cm, 2020.” All images © Zimoun, shared with permission

“1944 prepared dc-motors, mdf panels 72 x 72cm, metal discs Ø 8cm, 2020”

 

 



Design Music

A Drawing Machine Linked to A Synthesizer Audiates Geometric Illustrations by Musician Lamond Campbell

July 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

Beyond the scratch of the pen on paper, drawing as a practice isn’t thought to be particularly rhythmic or melodic. An inventive machine by musician Lamond Campbell, though, adds a musical component to its looped sketches. The Harmonograph Synthesiser is exactly as its name suggests: Campbell connected a modern, modular synthesizer to an 18th-Century harmonograph, an antiquated apparatus that uses pendulums to render geometric shapes. Two of the swinging mechanisms move linearly with the pen, while the third rotates with the board. Each triggers the synthesizer when movement occurs, which creates the corresponding audio track. An additional microphone picks up the noise of the pen.

Watch the video above to see the intricacies of the modified contraption. Campell is selling a complete, 18-track collection on his site, and you can find more about his multi-media creations on Instagram and YouTube. To see a reverse audio-visual process, check out “Visual Sounds of the Amazon II.” (thnx, Craig!)

 

 

 



Animation Art

Digital Sculptures Visualize Chirps of Amazonian Birds in a Responsive Artwork by Andy Thomas

July 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

Based on an audio recording from a 2016 trip to the Amazon, Australian artist Andy Thomas interprets birds’ trills, squawks, and coos through an animated series of digital sculptures. An extension of a previous project, “Visual Sounds of the Amazon 2” is an abstract rendering composed of bursting dots, billowing fog, and flashes of amorphous forms that correspond to the avian sounds. With each chirp, the fleeting masses contort, grow, and disassemble into a new, vibrant form.

Many of Thomas’s projects explore the intersection of technology and nature, and he tells Colossal that he sees “computers as a hyper extension of evolution.” He expands on the idea by saying:

Humans are changing the biodiversity of the natural world and gradually replacing it with digitized versions, like echoes of the past. I am fascinated with the idea of generating digital art that references the beauty and complexity of nature. I hope this piece will encourage people to research the many amazing varieties of birds that call the Amazon home, and remind us of how fragile and important this place is to us all.

The artist ascribes “Visual Sounds of the Amazon 2” a more urgent context, as well. “This series is dedicated to the people of Brazil and the ecosystem of one of the world’s most amazing forests. The Amazon is known as the lungs of the world and is under constant and ongoing threats of deforestation,” he writes in a statement about the animated project.

Find more of Thomas’s visual explorations on Instagram and Vimeo, and check out the sprawling digital creations he has available as prints in his shop.

 

 

 



Science

A Field Recording by Phil Torres Documents the Waterfall-like Sound of Millions of Migrating Monarch Butterflies

May 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Entomologist and TV host Phil Torres (previously) dives deep into the natural world to document sights and sounds that many of us will never have a chance to experience firsthand. In his most recent video, Torres showcases the sound created by millions of migrating monarchs. The iconic orange and black butterflies convene every year in Mexico, where they overwinter during the Northern Hemisphere’s cooler months. In Torres’ six minute video, monarchs cluster by the thousands on individual tree branches and swarm the forest air, creating a rushing, waterfall-like sound. We highly recommend listening to the video with a pair of earphones to really pick up the subtleties in the audio. You can see more of Torres’ outdoor explorations on his Youtube channel, The Jungle Diaries, and follow along on Twitter.

 

 



Animation Art

A Geometric Light Projection by Joanie Lemercier Invites Viewers to Take a Trip Through the Stars

March 18, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Constellations is a light-based audio-visual installation by Joanie Lemercier that explores the great expanse of our universe through the presentation of morphing geometric shapes and bright glowing orbs. The three-dimensional light work is projected onto water, which gives it a rippling, holographic effect, further intensified by an electronic soundscape produced by Paul Jebanasam. “It’s an exploration of the stars, constellations and the vastness of the cosmos, suggesting the beauty of geometry, simple and complex structures of the universe,” explains Lemercier. The project was first shown in Bristol, UK in March 2018 at Layered Realities in Millennium Square, and is produced by Juliette Bibasse. You can see a full preview of the Constellations in the video below, and follow the tour schedule on Instagram and Twitter.

 

 



Animation Art

Visual Sounds of the Amazon: Digital Lifeforms that Respond to Audio Recorded in the Amazon Rainforest

August 23, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Australian artist Andy Thomas (previously here and here) presents his first installment of Visual Sounds of the Amazon, a responsive artwork that alters its visual shape based on audio Thomas collected from the Amazon rainforest. The animation sequence is one that can hardly be described, as bright bursts of light escape a tangle of blue and yellow helixes each time a bird squeaks, with similarly colored balls orbiting the digitally-composed mass.

Previously Thomas has made responsive artworks to other flora and fauna, specifically using recordings created in Australia and the Netherlands. This particular iteration will be screened at Render, a festival of animated hybridizations in Lima, Peru. You can view/listen to more of his otherworldly and adaptive video work on his website.