art

CIM401.1 Experimental Project Report

https://verse.com/video/4465-guy-cooper-cim401-1-experimentation/

Please visit the link above to view the video presentation. I have also provided a text version below if any of the voices are annoying or difficult to understand, the links from the video are also available below, as are the references, enjoy 🙂

Guy

CIM401.1
Research Report
Guy Cooper
00015

What is being experimental? Is there anything in art that is truly unique and new to everyone and does that define what experimentation is all about? Is doing something new and unexplored enough to be considered an experiment or is there a deeper discussion that needs to take place in order for a project to be considered truly experimental?

A process is considered an experiment when the outcome has yet to be tested and proven, taking a path that is yet to have a defined outcome. In the arts, perhaps is yet to have a place and purpose in its chosen field.

In music, it is said that.

“Being an experimental artist often means that your music challenges listeners. It’s a beautiful artform where you imagine what hasn’t been done – you explore areas that aren’t traditionally “safe.” In music, and all arts, avant-garde artists are the ones who end up making new genres and creating new movements.”[1]

Part of the experimental process requires you to use your imagination and explore possibilities of things that have yet to be, deliberately moving towards areas that are traditionally unsafe and attempting to challenge the audience into rethinking the concept, field or genre of what they are experiencing. Being experimental and innovative can also be doing something unfamiliar with older familiar things. Taking a well-defined existing process or product and changing the purpose or delivery, innovating with an existing topic and challenging how it is perceived.

“Innovation does not necessarily mean something new. It means doing something unfamiliar, often with old familiar things.”[2]

The combination of art and structure through technology and science can be experimental. In the example of BlingCrete, an experimental light reflecting concrete, an existing and widely used construction material is redefined into a visual art form. A material that was previously used as construction transformed into a living canvas for visual design. While this is not an entirely new concept, it shows a system that involves both the artistic and scientific lines of inquiry in equal measure and promotes dialogue about them.[3]

Perhaps it is that dialogue that is the important aspect of the experimental. Creating a new discourse of thinking from the creation of the art is possibly what ends up defining something experimental. If there is no previous discourse or dialogue about the piece, then its existence is creating a need for a discussion and in part a new definition.

Breaking down experimentation into 4 possible areas we can start to more deeply discuss how we can define being experimental, technology, technique, process and audience.

TECHNOLOGY

Utilising new technology or old technology in a new way is one path to being experimental. The rise of digital processing equipment and in particular its availability to the amateur or home user has opened up many fields of production in the arts to new and younger users. While there has been a focus on redesigning old processes with the new digital equipment, there are some that are using the new technology in different ways. The unconventional learning of the technology and its use in the home setting by nonscholarly artists plays a large role in the outcomes becoming experimental. A more traditionally taught artist would not explore the bounds of their art form as much if they have been taught in a structured way. What is acceptable and what isn’t. They may have a more thorough understanding of what has been done in the past, but they are usually less likely to step outside this structure unless directly asked to be experimental.

Perhaps either stepping out of your comfort discipline or completely redefining how you use the technology around you can help you become more experimental with technology.

TECHNIQUE

Approaching a topic or artform from a different perspective or expanding on the concept could be considered experimental. Developing new ideas and concepts on from a different angle can provide a whole new area of exploration. Often we are directed to the “correct” technique for each art form through our education system. A series of defined paths that lead to the desired outcome that is qualitative for the purpose of definition and grading.

Experimentation in technique is not supported through our western educational system, in music the pre-defined technique of writing or composing using a set structure of chords and notes will typically deliver a mainstream aesthetically pleasing project. Deliberately breaking the rules can start to lead you down a path that opens up to experimentation and something new.

PROCESS

Similar to technique, the process you undertake of making your art, can lead itself to be very experimentational. It may be going about the creation of your project with different tools or executing the creation of the art form in a different way to before. Perhaps the creation of the product is being done live and on the spot, perhaps you can take a new direction right from the start with different elements. Whatever you choose to do you should try and walk the path most unfamiliar to you, what would be the furthest thing from your usual process. How can you change and come at the creation from a different perspective?

AUDIENCE

Redefining the audience’s role or what the audience is expecting to hear, see, feel can also be considered experimental. We have so many preset expectations for art in the modern world. What is it? Why is it? is often already answered long before the audience even engages with the art. A visual canvas in a gallery has already so many predefined expectations, an audio piece you find in Spotify, a video that is delivered in the cinema or on Netflix under the ‘Action Movie’ section. The audience’s expectation of the art based upon it distribution point sets a series of guidelines for what is about to happen and what they may experience. Changing this norm can create an uneasy feeling for the audience and a confusing or misunderstanding and interpretation of the art. But this is where the experimental lives, challenging or forcing the audience to define their own perspective, their own interpretation of the art often engages the audience in a more thoughtful way and leads the piece to a new area of experimentation.

My project this trimester will be based upon multi-disciplinary experimentation. I will be attempting to touch on and pass through all four areas of experimentation and the process of attempting to do so will be an experimentation in the technique itself.

“Pragmatically, cross-disciplinary experimental research demands multi-objective evaluation. It is argued that projects of this nature can easily have multiple modes of success, multiple modes of failure, or an interesting mixture of successes and failures when measured from different viewpoints. These projects are referred to as “multi-component” in the sense that they are composed of elements that work together to create a unity and yet, when separated, each component should still function independently—these projects are therefore amenable to deconstruction.”[4]

Focusing on drawing and poetry as the main driver and then incorporating music and sound along with an interactive and moving image delivery to make the audience redefine how they are receiving the art and what genre or field the art actually fits into will be one of the main focuses. Utilising some possible interactivity with the audience in the form of a choose your own adventure piece and requiring the audience to follow cues targeted at different senses, visual, auditory and emotional. Delivering a poem that is actually a drawing, that could also be considered a song, that is conceptually a moving image and then returning to being a poem. Not designed to be any one art form and its distribution to the audience will be altered and placed in conceptually challenging places. It can be viewed as a poem and drawing delivered on Spotify and youtube and also a song delivered on blogs and Instagram for example.

I have always loved the multi-disciplinary use of story and visuals mixed with music, opera is a very defined process that also incorporates live performance, but also musical storybooks. Stories such as Peter & the Wolf have been delivered in a large variety of different formats and versions, from books to film and symphony, this version[5] from the chamber orchestra of Europe and the Spitting Image Workshop shows a good example of a project that is neither solely music, stage, film or story, but instead incorporates all four. Another favorite of mine is Harry Nilsson’s “Me and My Arrow” from the 1971 movie “The Point”[6]

Recalling back to our google sheet and goals stated for CIM401 and our projects, for us to make the most of this trimester we should be,

Screenshot 2017-09-26 17.51.06.png

Doing something new

-Getting out of our comfort zone

-Keeping it new and sticking to it

-Ignoring the haters

I’ll be Rebuilding society from the ground up and looking if anyone wants to join me. I would like to challenge you all to follow this and really move out of your comfort zone and possibly discipline into an area that forces you to experiment. Something new, not just for you, but so new that you can’t find an existing path to follow. So far out of your comfort zone that you don’t know what you’re doing. Sticking to it and Ignoring any haters including the ones in your head. Don’t doubt yourself that it’s not good or not new…. if you make it with your hands and heart, then it is good.

Rebuilding society from the ground up sounds like a large task, but for me, it is just about starting that avalanche, pushing that tiny stone off the edge into the scary and unknown. Deliberately walking a path that changes the audience’s perception of what your piece of art is, taking the audience into your song or film or story and leading them into something new without their awareness and forcing them to redefine what it is they just experienced.

So right now, I challenge you all to respond to this presentation not only in words but in any way you choose on this google drawing sheet. It might be a color or a shape or a picture or meme you copy and paste, an interpretive dance or pose, or whatever your brain and body is feeling right now. Close your eyes, cross your toes, put yourself in an uncomfortable zone and let flow and define with your expression what experimental means to you.

https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1uM9RNCxB3ym91Eyz24JCFczEmKH3XCc44JDaQ0P8ajE/edit?usp=sharing

And remember no guts, no glory, don’t just step outside your comfort zone, build a giant metal whale and ride that sucker down the main street until you forget where you are supposed to be. Don’t turn around and look back at the haters, smile, breathe and move forward, explore your way past insecurity, scare the fears out of your mind and trust yourself when you are free-falling, the end doesn’t need a definition.

You all remind of the babe, the babe with the power…. You have 4:02 mins of this link playing to respond on the google sheet, Dance Magic Dance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDkp7GysvbY[7]

[1] Sonicbids. “What Separates Experimental Artists Who Get Mainstream Attention From Those Who Don’t?” Sonicbids Blog – Music Career Advice and Gigs. Accessed September 29, 2017. http://blog.sonicbids.com/what-separates-experimental-artists-who-get-mainstream-attention-from-those-who-dont.

[2] Jameson, A. D. “What Is Experimental Art?” BIG OTHER. March 12, 2010. Accessed September 29, 2017. https://bigother.com/2010/03/12/what-is-experimental-art/.

[3] “BlingCrete: Materials Development as Transdisciplinary Research Process.” BlingCrete: Materials Development as Transdisciplinary Research Process | Studies in Material Thinking. Accessed September 29, 2017. https://www.materialthinking.org/papers/96.

[4] “Multi-Objective Evaluation of Cross-Disciplinary Experimental Research.” Multi-Objective Evaluation of Cross-Disciplinary Experimental Research | Studies in Material Thinking. Accessed September 29, 2017. https://www.materialthinking.org/papers/100.

[5] TheBananaNababa. “Peter and the Wolf: A Prokofiev Fantasy.” YouTube. February 14, 2015. Accessed September 29, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1spGQQg0FA.

[6] MVDEntertainmentGrp. “Harry Nilsson The Point: The Definitive Collectors Edition – trailer.” YouTube. July 15, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2jxFrYR4VU.

[7] Edward982. YouTube. October 17, 2014. Accessed October 01, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDkp7GysvbY.

 

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Guy Cooper’s “Migaloo’s Song” sculpture receives Environmental Awareness award at 2017 Swell Sculpture Festival & “We Become the Fire” single released with Kinetic Wind Harp and Gold Coast Musicians.

https://guy-serotonin.wixsite.com/artgc/migaloo

http://blankgc.com.au/guy-cooper-makes-migaloo-sing-for-swell/

http://blankgc.com.au/migaloos-song-we-become-the-fire/

It’s great to see a big project come to full fruition and this song is the final piece of the sculpture I made for SWELL Sculpture Festival this year, Migaloo’s Song.

Music follows a harmonic structure like that found in nature. We as humans have a connection to our natural world, utilizing acoustics & science, to create harmony with all living things on our planet. Sound is an auditory perception of the brain’s response to vibrational patterns observed by our senses. Art, design and psychoacoustics create a hidden link, that connects all life. Humpback whales are described as ‘inveterate composers’ of songs that are ‘strikingly similar’ to human musical traditions, a kinship we share with these mammals and a shared language.

A giant kinetic wind harp shaped like Migaloo the white whale. An instrument and wind-powered music box that plays a score in 3-part harmony I wrote that correlates to the humpback whales song in E major 7. The piece was honored to also receive the Environmental Awareness award from the Max Fabre Foundation and Leanne Sanderson, the sculptures lights and audio is powered by the wind and sun and brings awareness to the connection between nature, science. The world around us is deeply intertwined, we are responsible for the planet and our government could be doing a hell of a lot more, starting with stopping the Adani coal mine and helping to save the Great Barrier Reef.

The full meaning of the sculpture and why I built it is a symbolic and emotional expression of how I feel. Through a series of unfortunate events, life can deal you some bad situations. This sculpture represents to me the energy and passion to break through that, rise above it for myself and do something epic, challenge myself to do better and bring it to life. You are in control of your actions, sometimes things seem insurmountable, but these are the moments you need to stand up and move forward. You can give into depression and let trauma eat you alive, burning in the flames… or you can become the fire.

Break my heart, break my head, I’m getting stronger.
Throw me around, then turn me upside down.
As we rise, WE BECOME THE FIRE!

Rising-up and making the most of it, shining lights to show me the way,
Raise the globe up with a little love, raise it with your hands each day.

I know I can do better than, better than the way I am,
I know we can do better than, so get up and take my hand.

Love and thanks to all my friends and family and especially the amazing Gold Coast musician souls that helped me write, perform and sing on this track. Please check it out and donate if you feel inspired, all proceeds from the song are going to Sea Shepard Australia to help protect the whales…and Migaloo. Please head to https://humanrecordsau.bandcamp.com/…/guy-cooper-we-become-… to hear the song and donate to Sea Shepherd Australia.

Credits.
Guy Cooper (Charlie Rebel, Mickey, Sook, Reichelt, Too Right Mate) – Lyrics/Melody, Vocals, Keys, Migaloo’s Song Harp, Percussion.
Nick Rebel (Charlie Rebel) – Guitar, Vocals
Chris Torr (Charlie Rebel) – Drums
Teigan Amy Le Plastrier (Being Jane Lane EP) – Vocals
Mickey Van Wyk (Mickey) – Vocals
Ben Le Strange (The Ok Cowboys) – Guitar
Jules Cottonbud (Julia Rose) – Vocals, Bass
Kirk Mesmer (Sook) – Vocals, Guitar
Loustar (Banks of the Beautiful) – Vocals
Benny Danny Willy (Benny D Williams – Music) – Vocals, Percussion
Kate Leopold (Leopold’s Treat) – Vocals
Felicity Lawless (Felicity Lawless) – Guitar
Lecia Louise Mcphail-Bell (Lecia Louise) – Vocals

You can also still vote for #17 Migaloo’s Song in the Swell Sculpture Festival People’s choice award at http://www.swellsculpture.com.au/vote/

Frankensteining a white whale !

Frankensteining a white whale !

Serious construction has begun for the sculpture i’m making for the Swell Festival on the Gold Coast in September this year. Its a 1:1 scale kinetic wind harp shaped after Migaloo the white humpback whale. Tuned to Emaj7 and it will be playing a song I wrote to mimic the humpback whale song.

Sound and music follow a harmonic structure like that found in nature. There’s connection to our organic world utilizing acoustics & science, to create harmony with our surroundings. Sound is an auditory perception of the brain’s response to vibrational patterns observed by our bodies. The combination of art, design, and psychoacoustics creates a hidden link that resonates with nature and all life. Humpback whales are described as ‘inveterate composers’ of songs that are ‘strikingly similar’ to human musical traditions, a kinship we share with these mammals and a shared language.

#migalooguycooper
SWELL Sculpture Festival
https://guyserotonin.wordpress.com/…/migaloos-song-sculptu…/

Migaloo’s Song Sculpture – Whale Shaped Kinetic Wind Harp

Sound and music follows a harmonic structure like that found in nature. There’s connection to our organic world utilising acoustics & science, to create harmony with our surroundings. Sound as humans perceive it, is an auditory perception of the brain’s response to vibrational patterns observed by our bodies. For me the combination of art, design and psychoacoustics creates a hidden link that resonates between nature and all life. Humpback whales are described as ‘inveterate composers’ of songs that are ‘strikingly similar’ to human musical traditions, a kinship we share with these mammals and a shared language. I am building a kinetic wind harp shaped like a whale with 3 rotating wind-powered turbines rotors that will ‘strum’ the strings and play a pre-composed song entitled “Migaloo’s Song” in 3 part harmony. The sculpture is a tribute to and connection of how I perceive art, music and nature in our world.

I2017-03-31 17.54.59 have applied for the SWELL Sculpture Festival in Sept 2017, but I’m moving ahead with the sculpture regardless. I’m making a 9.7 metre long Kinetic Wind Harp & Acoustic Sequencer shaped like Migaloo the White Whale. Construction has begun and I’m looking forward to being able to play this massive instrument. (guycooper.com.au)

For whales, the mechanisms used to produce sound vary from one family of cetaceans to another. Marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises, are much more dependent on sound for communication and sensation than are land mammals, because other senses are of limited effectiveness in water. Sight is less effective for marine mammals because of the way particulates in the ocean scatter light. Smell is also limited, as molecules diffuse more slowly in water than in air, which makes smelling less effective. However, the speed of sound is roughly four times greater in water than in the atmosphere at sea level. Because sea mammals are so dependent on hearing to communicate and feed, environmentalists and cetologists are concerned that they are being harmed by the increased ambient noise in the world’s oceans caused by ships, sonar and marine seismic surveys.

The sculpture is a blend of the acoustic science and art to re-interpret the Humpback whale song and bring some wonder to the topic. I hope that it would inspire some viewers to further understand the interconnected world we live in and how these giant majestic mammals are similar to humans in song.

It’s the biggest instrument I’ve ever made, powered by the wind and it will play a pre-composed song in Emaj7, that follows the structure of the Humpback Whale songs.
Audio example of what it may sound like down here

I plan on tracking the harp when its finished and then getting some local musios onboard to jam and write a song with him and then drop a single and a whale at the same time.

2017-03-31 17.55.00The sculpture will be made of the following materials.

  • Steel harp strings
  • Steel tuning pegs
  • Copper piano wire
  • Steel frame, webbing and stand
  • Aluminium webbing for fins and tail.
  • Steel bells & Brass chime flues
  • Copper kinetic blade turbine
  • Steel washers & bolts
  • Tungsten welds
  • White & Blue UV Paint
  • Acrylic Feathers (white/blue)
  • Battery Powered Black Lights x4

One special whale we all know well on the Gold Coast, Migaloo the white humpback whale is a regular past Currumbin and I am dedicating this sculpture to him and the melody the sculpture produces is harmonically matched as a response to recordings of Humpback whale songs. A popular sight off Australia’s east coast, Migaloo is the world’s first documented all-white humpback whale. Aboriginal elders gave him the name, which means “white fella” in their language.

The sculpture will be playing a pre-composed melody sequence in 3 part harmony on the strings that surround the shape of the whale. 3 internal kinetic wind turbines will rotate with the wind and the outside edge of one will strum the strings as it passes around inside, generating the pre-composed melody “Migaloo’s Song” in the key of Emaj7 (See attached Score and link to Soundcloud example below). The fins and tail will also have wind chimes tuned to Emaj7, and the whole sculpture will sing in the wind. I have made a demo audio example and put it up here for you to listen. It won’t be loud or audible at around 50-60 meters away, but will be slightly louder than a normal acoustic harp up close.

The sculpture I’m building is an actual instrument to be played by the wind and also by people walking past that want to strum the strings and join in. I will be recording the sculpture in August at my studio by hand and with the wind. Then collaborating with a selection of local Gold Coast musicians to write and record a song around it. The track will be released to coincide with the festival and proceeds going to Sea Shepard (http://www.seashepherdglobal.org/)

The designs around the sculpture, the stand and on the turbine blades themselves will be based on patterns from sacred Geometry and the golden ratio.

The golden ratio is often associated with the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.) wherein any number in the sequence divided by its predecessor has an approximate value of 1.618. Moreover, each number in the sequence represents the sum of the two numbers that come before it. The Fibonacci sequence can then be used to graph an infinite logarithmic spiral based on units equated to each number in the sequence. This pattern is found a lot in nature from the arrangement of pedals on a flower to the crystal lattice of material science.

The track titled “Migaloo’s Song” is an original composition from myself and is based on the same structure as the songs from Humpback whales. Our hearing system is much higher in freq, but the whale songs seem to correlates to Emaj7, the key I have written the song in. (see humpback whale harmonic chart in the pics above)

The word “song” is used to describe the pattern of regular and predictable sounds made by some species of whales, notably the humpback whale. This is included with or in comparison with music, and male humpback whales have been described as “inveterate composers” of songs that are “‘strikingly similar’ to human musical traditions”. It has been suggested that humpback songs communicate male fitness to female whales.

The whale songs follow a distinct hierarchical structure. The base units of the whale song (sometimes loosely called the “notes“) are single uninterrupted emissions of sound that last up to a few seconds. These sounds vary in frequency from 15 Hz as a fundamental, but with harmonics reaching up to 9Khz at around 150dB (the typical human range of hearing is 20 Hz to 20 kHz). The units may be frequency modulated (i.e., the pitch of the sound may go up, down, or stay the same during the note) or amplitude modulated (get louder or quieter). However, the adjustment of bandwidth on a spectrogram representation of the song reveals the essentially pulsed nature of the FM sounds.

1200px-Humpback_song

A collection of four or six units is known as a sub-phrase, lasting perhaps ten seconds. A collection of two sub-phrases is a phrase. A whale will typically repeat the same phrase over and over for two to four minutes. This is known as a theme. A collection of themes is known as a song. The whale will repeat the same song, which last up to 30 or so minutes, repeatedly over the course of hours or even days. This “Russian doll” hierarchy of sounds suggests a syntactic structure that is more human-like in its complexity than other forms of animal communication like bird songs, which have only linear structure.

All the whales in an area sing virtually the same song at any point in time and the song is constantly and slowly evolving over time. For example, over the course of a month a unit that started as an upsweep (increasing in frequency) might slowly flatten to become a constant note. Another unit may get steadily louder. The pace of evolution of a whale’s song also changes—some years the song may change quite rapidly, whereas in other years’ little variation may be recorded.

r0_0_1200_675_w1200_h678_fmax

Research taken from,

Frankel, Adam S. “Sound production”, Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, 1998, pp. 1126–1137. ISBN 0-12-551340-2.

Payne Roger, quoted in: Author(s): Susan Milius. “Music without Borders”, p. 253. Source: Science News, Vol. 157, No. 16, (15 April 2000), pp. 252-254. Published by: Society for Science & the Public.

Wright, A.J.; Walsh, A (2010). “Mind the gap: why neurological plasticity may explain seasonal interruption in humpback whale song”. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 90 (8): 1489–1491. doi:10.1017/s0025315410000913

idealized schematic of the song of a humpback whale.
Redrawn from Payne, et al. (1983)