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A New Beginning: A Playground

by on Jun.24, 2009, under Concerts, Events, Media, Projects, Technology, Video

Oliveros_Poster_Small_Version-web

I was very honoured to be asked to produce the film that was shown as the visual component of this concert in the Walter Phillips Gallery, located in the Banff Centre for the Arts.

Pauline Oliveros explained the concept and gave me freedom to develop the 20 minute film using the photos provided and my own digital artworks. Ms. Oliveros was inspired by President Obama’s speech in Cairo and the Codepink efforts to encourage peace by building three playgrounds in Gaza.  I obtained permission to use photos from the Codepink Flikr stream, with attribution, from:

Jean Stevens
National Media Coordinator
CODEPINK Women for Peace

The Codepink  projects are very worthy and I was proud to be able to support them and be associated with an initiative that is intended to bring people together to work for peace.  In addition to the photos of children and playground construction in Gaza, we used photos of American children playing in a playground provided by Ione.  She explained at the concert that she thought it was nice for them to play together. Ione was inspirational in the production of this film as she helped me to gain a more precise understanding of the concept of the musical work.

Many people complimented me on my work after the show and it will remain one of the highlights of my time in Banff. I did document the performance on video and the audio was recorded by the Banff Centre technicians, led by John DS Adams. At some point, I hope that my film, “A New Beginning: A Playground” will be shown during future concerts when Pauline and Ione perform this piece. When the audio is mixed, there are plans to produce a DVD with the soundtrack of the concert.  When it is complete, it will be available from the Deep Listening Institute site.

Tech Notes: All photographs and digital artworks were prepared in open source software, The Gimp. The film was created using Final Cut Studio on a Macintosh workstation owned by the Banff Centre.

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Chris Chafe – Internet Musician

by on Jun.20, 2009, under Media, Open Source, Projects, Technology, Video

0001_chris_chafe-sm Chris Chafe, pictured left, has an office at the Banff Centre and I was completely impressed with his musicianship and improvising talent. I have been informed by Pauline Oliveros that:

Chris Chafe is the director of CCRMA at Stanford University. He is on sabbatical leave and is in residence at Banff Centre until September 2009.

While I was in Banff, he was involved in several Telematic concerts that involved Pauline Oliveros and Ione in the “Chris Chafe, Pauline Oliveros, Ione Trio”.

I was thrilled to find a Ubuntu Linux user and he told me that he was using an application called jacktrip, based on jackd to patch the Telematic communication over the internet.

I will talk more about this later, but I witnessed some very low latency musical interaction between Chris (in Toronto) and Pauline Oliveros and Ione in Banff. This concert could also be experienced live in Second Life, a virtual reality, on-line world. These mixed reality concerts, where avatars are watching concerts that the real person is playing in are a new experience for me.

After he returned to Banff, a rehearsal with Jonas, who I met in WA, and another musician I did not know, both  in NY state;  joined Chris and Pauline in Banff through the internet connection facilitated by jacktrip. They recorded in Banff using Ardour on Ubuntu Linux.

This is a really interesting area to explore in Linux and he will be an invaluable resource to help me develop my move into Open Source music. “The Chris Chafe Trio”, including Chris, Pauline and Ione,  also performed live in the Walter Philips Gallery in Banff and I produced the film that accompanied their musical performance. I will devote a post to this concert, and write much more about all of the exciting work that I was involved in supporting Fleck Fellow, Pauline Oliveros. While I was in Banff, I was too busy doing the work to write about my experiences. I did take photos and will be posting them as soon as I can.

Right now I am at an internet cafe in Calgary and I plan to start my journey home to Vancouver with stops in Banff, and Summerland. More photos and posts as soon as I have reliable internet. Thanks to Pauline Oliveros for the corrections.

Click here for larger map

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EHRES completes studio session in Banff

by on Jun.13, 2009, under Media, Open Source, Projects, Technology, Video

This past week, I have been involved in documenting the programming and rehearsals and finally, the recording of the audio for the musical quartet, EHRES. This is only one of the projects I have been involved in while I have been in Banff, and it has been very exciting to watch the MAX/MSP programmer, Ryan, work on creating a gesture control patch.

John DS Adams not only plays in the group, he was the recording engineer on a hugely complex session that included 36 tracks of recorded audio. I have lots of work to do editing the video and photos and  then editing them to the music that was recorded yesterday and today.  I should have some photos ready to post soon, but I want the group to see them first.

The next steps include processing the photos, editing the video, matching the visuals to the mixed audio and authoring a DVD.  I will be busy for a while doing this.

I have quoted some information about the ensemble sent to me by Norm Adams, composer, cellist and electronics player.

Exteme High Risk Entertainment System (EHRES)

EHRES is Pauline Oliveros, John DS Adams, Ione, and Norman Adams: a quartet of performers employing a groundbreaking system of acoustic and electronic interconnections for live performance. EHRES creates multilayered networks of connections allowing all sounds to be shared, processed and distributed to a multi-channel sound system.

The web of connections begins with the interaction of the artist’s immediate music making process. EHRES balances on the unique qualities of listening, intuition, emotion, timbre, and range that make their individual methods of music making present. Their web extends further into electronic sound, as the musicians process various signals, as the artists interact with one another’s acoustic and electronic sounds and as the sounds move through the performance space, via the immersive, eight channel speaker array.

Musical structures are created spontaneously within each of the performer’s instruments/systems and extends into the interconnections and interactions between the artists and the control of their systems.

EHRES has performed on the suddenlyLISTEN Series in Halifax, Nova Scotia; on the NUMUS Series in Waterloo, Ontario; and at The Lincoln Center Outdoor Festival in New York City.

Tech Notes: I have tagged this post as Open Source because all of the photos will be processed in Ubuntu Linux using various software. Ubuntu software handles RAW conversion with a Gimp plug-in or in RAW Studio.

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Arrived in Banff

by on Jun.06, 2009, under Open Source, Projects, Technology

Mac users click on the first picture to open the slideshow.  See Tech Notes below for known issue with the Cooliris plug-in required to operate the PicLens option.

I have arrived safely in Banff, but not without some adventure.

There is a sacred connection to the mountains for me and the air here is very different. I always feel a profound change when I enter the Rockies. These are serious mountains; they have roots that reach deep and their heads reach into the heights where the air is thin. Riding through them as the clouds gathered and the wind gusted was a real challenge to the spirit and the body.

The final result is that I made it safely. The details will be for another day, but for now, enjoy the photos.

Tech Notes: I am still using the Nextgen photo Gallery plug-in, but they have made some changes and now are compatible with the Cool Iris 3-D Firefox plug-in. I have it working in Ubuntu Linux and it is really an excellent navigational tool, showing the photos in a moving wall. So far, it does not work on the Mac — all I get is a black screen and without the plug-in the PicLens slideshow is low resolution and very pixeled. I may have to change plug-ins to one that is more if this one is not cross-platform /browser friendly. Let me know your experience with the slideshow.

Tech update: If Mac users click on the first photo, a slideshow will open, clicking on the photo will close the slideshow. Full screen does not work. On this Mac it crashes Firefox. I tried disabling the Lightbox Gallery plug-in, but it had no effect. Cool Iris Firefox plugin claims to support mac OSX but it does not seem to be as compatible as the Ubuntu version.

Tech update 2: From the Cool Iris site. This worked for me. Now the PicLens option opens the Cooliris plug-in and the navigation is 3-D.

Some Mac users report launching Cooliris brings up a blank screen and hitting ESC crashes the browser. If you have an Intel-based Mac, turn off Rosetta emulation. To do so, open your applications window, click the browser icon once to highlight it, and then hit Command-I to get an info box. Uncheck “Open using Rosetta.”

Now to try it with Windows and other browsers. Let me know your experience.

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Arrived in Summerland

by on Jun.04, 2009, under Motorcycles, Open Source, Projects

The weather has been absolutely perfect as I left Vancouver and rode my bike to Abbotsford before stopping for gas. I had noticed that gas prices in Vancouver had jumped to $1.06 this morning, so I took a chance that in the valley, the price would be lower. My educated guess paid off and I topped off the tank for $1.04 per litre. After getting back on the freeway I headed towards Hope and took the Coquihalla Hiway. I was very surprised to find that the toll has been removed from the road as I was prepared for the toll booth to appear around the next bend. At first I thought they had been moved, but when Merritt came in to view I knew that the road is now a real “freeway”. I had to drive into town to get gas, so I think there must be a closer station to the turn off. A friendly gentleman with a pickup truck, painted with the name of St. Agnes Hot Springs,  pointed me in the right direction to take the highway to the Okanagan and I passed him on the road. He passed me again when I stopped to take some photos  and was kind enough to check on me to see if I was OK before motoring on.

The highway between Merritt and Peachland has always been a mix of desert and lake areas and I stopped by a slough where I took a photo of a red winged blackbird and some ducks.  The land is all fenced, with cattle gates on the dirt roads that branch off because most of it is still open range land with cattle roaming free until round-up time. It is very high over the pass and there was still a bit of snow near the road as the sun created heat waves off the pavement. The ride was uneventful and I pulled into Summerland very satisfied with the peformance of my Yamaha FJ.

Happily, my hosts here have already discovered Ubuntu and I am remaining open source as I type this post on their computer. I hesitate to work on photos on someone else’s hard drive, so the trip gallery will have to wait until I unload everything and get on line in Banff tomorrow.

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Life and Times

by on May.30, 2009, under Media, Technology

An exciting new space that is not limited to any one project or technological application. Sound+Light+Motion will be my multi-media journal with as much tech as I can squeeze into the screen. My Live More Lightly site will become totally devoted to that project and links to tech notes will lead readers here. I will try to list Tech notes at the foot of each post so those interested in the gritty details will be satisfied. I may collect them on a page sometime so a progression of development can be traced.

I don’t want to get too ambitious, but I find these posts helpful and I like to return the favour. Look for some video and photo gallery action soon. I am also re-theming and updating my Live More Lightly site, so lots of WordPress development right now. IMHO a great content management system with huge potential. I plan to fill out the About page soon so you can find out who is typing these gems of wisdom. Everything seems to be functional so far . . .

Tech Notes:

This is a WordPress install hosted on Dreamhost, installed with their script. They provide a number of themes and I have chosen

Pixeled 1.9.2 by sam

to start with. I have a few issues and might change yet as there are some great free WordPress themes out there now. I have installed Akismet plug-in and a few others that I will talk about as I use them. The facebook post and SEO pack are two favourites.

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