Art + Music + Technology


Performing Arts





May 2015
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I recently returned from a Cycling '74 company retreat, and had a chance to spend some time with this week's guest: Rob Ramirez. Rob is an interesting character, fluent in both 3D graphics and conceptual art, and was willing to submit to the podcast. So I took him up on it!

One of the things we talk a lot about is a recent work he was involved in: An Evening With William Shatner Asterisk. You might want to see a bit of it; you can check these out:

The first episode, full experience:

A closeup of the video and captions:

In this discussion, we talk about the technical side of art, but we also talk about the 'soft' side: how the design of a work comes together, what it is like to be showing work in the hothouse of New York, and how attribution happens in a complex work. I think you'll find it quite interesting...


Direct download: podcast_081_RRamirez.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 3:21 PM

This week's chat is very different from most weeks'. In this episode, we talk to Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, a research scientist in the area of material science. Huh? Well, in addition to his role as a scientist, he is also a composer, and he is working on ways to mine the deep databases of science to create interesting compositions - and maybe find new ways of viewing materials as well.

As always, we dive into Marco's background to figure out how someone gets to be both a composer and a scientist. But I also take the time to talk about data-to-music mapping, and how this sort of system can work for both musicians and for non-musical scientists. Very interesting stuff!

Now, after listening to this - or maybe even before - you will want to review his site:

It's full of video, audio and image content that will illuminate the work that he is doing. I hope you enjoy this talk, and that it opens some doors for you in your search for more inspiration!

Direct download: podcast_080_MBNardelli.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 4:18 PM

A few months ago, Paul Rothman from littleBits reached out about a new set of tools they were going to create: a set of audio, MIDI and CV bits that would allow interaction between the littleBits system, a computer and a modular synth. Once I picked my jaw off the ground, I started waving my hands and shouting "Ooh, ooh" to try to work with them. Apparently I made enough of a spectacle of myself; I got an early set of the interface bits and did some video/example work that showed the bits in action.

As part of that project, I got to know a little more about Paul, and was quite intrigued. He let slips some info about a NIME visit, and something about guitar pedals, and something about Max. And in this interview, we find about about his life as a maker, his development of the fridgebuzzz guitar pedals (with the awesomely named Land Of The Rising Fuzz) and more. This was a great dive into the brain of a full-on creator, and I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Sorry for the Skype buzziness, but the content is worth the sound issues. And if you haven't checked out those littleBits, you really owe it to yourself to check out the site, or YouTube videos, or something. They are a blast - but also super useful.


Direct download: podcast_079_PRothman.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 2:36 PM

Jean-Marc Pelletier popped onto my radar some years ago; I was doing my Masters program, and was (of course) paying attention to the work of a lot of people around me. One thing that I noticed was that everyone was using the Kinect hardware, but were also using it in combination with a variety of blob tracking, color tracking and optical flow tools. And doing them in Max...

Digging a little deeper, I found that almost all of these projects were based on a single person's work: the work of Jean-Marc. His library of computer vision objects for Max, called the cv.jit objects, we at the heart of a lot of work. As I started exploring it myself, I found that this library offered an extensive set of functions, but also included help files that were great starting points for my own projects. I was a believer.

Over the years, the cv.jit objects were getting a little creaky - mainly due to changes in the Mac OS and Max itself. Luckily for all, a group of us at Cycling '74 chipped in to rework it into current shape, reformat it for the Max packages system, and generally make it usable in Max 7. The new work, along with some focus on the project that use cv.jit - as well as Jean-Marc himself - can be found on, the site that we've put up to focus on third-party libraries and technologies.

Want to find out more about JMP? You can read his bio, and check out his other work at Enjoy this chat with him, where we explore his obsessions, his interest in both music and visuals, and how he sees the future of mixed media art.

Direct download: podcast_078_MMPelletier.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 1:45 PM

Here, as promised, is part two of the interview with the Vasulkas, where they discuss Buffalo, Santa Fe and the future.


Direct download: podcast_077b_Vasulkas.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 8:19 PM

I first got to know the Vasulkas through their association with David Stout and Cory Metcalf (of Noisefold), and during one of their visits to University of Denver. I was charmed by them immediately (as so many are...), and we've hung out many times over the subsequent years. They often probe other people about their backgrounds and interests, but often are shy about talking about their own.

During a workshopping visit to Seattle, the Woody and Steina were visiting the Cornish College of the Arts, and we got a chance to get caught up. They were willing to be interviewed for the podcast, so we went forward. But, alas, the damned Tascam recorder didn't work correctly, so the only audio capture that I got was fro the backup laptop. So I'm sorry about the audio quality...

This was a long interview, so - based on listener request - I broke it up into two pieces: the 'early years' (Europe through New York City) and the 'later years' (Buffalo to Santa Fe). This is part one; part two will drop in a few days. In the meantime, enjoy the podcast, and do some digging - learning about the Vasulka's history is well worth it!

Direct download: podcast_077a_Vasulkas.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 2:10 PM

I've know Hans Tammen for quite a while, but almost all of the 'knowing' related to hiw work at Harvestworks in New York. I was surprised, for some reason, when an interview with him was released (and publicized on Facebook) on the Prepared Guitar blog, and I learned a lot about him in just 13 questions.

So I asked about the podcast, and he said "Yes", and here you go!

I really like the way he talks about his work - it's as if he is on a constant search for wonderment and surprise, and I found it really inspiring to hear about the lengths he go to in order to keep himself on the edge of his seat. I also liked hearing about the trials involved in managing *two* large scale ensembles as conductor and composer.

If you want to see/learn more about Hans Tammen, you can check out his work at, and hear/see some of the work embeddded in the Endangered Guitar page.


Direct download: podcast_076_HTammen.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 3:57 PM

My friend David Fodel is an amazing cat. He is a busy artist, constantly creating new artwork. He is also a teacher at UCD (University of Colorady - Denver), currently working with a group of sculpture students. But perhaps most interestingly, he is the creator/coordinator/developer of events and festivals, most significantly the MediaLive festival in Boulder, CO.

I've often been curious about what it takes to create festivals, then have both the strength and faith required to swing the doors open for the public. Since I'm in the process of working at one of Dave's events (Mediatized, April 16, Emmanuel Gallery on the grounds of UCD, Denver CO), I thought I'd connect with Dave for a discussion about his background, his ideas about community, and his vision for his personal art.


Direct download: podcast_075_DFodel.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 4:36 PM

Picking a person to appear on episode 74 was pretty easy once the door was open; during a meeting, David Zicarelli said "Hey, who is going to be podcast #74?", and I said, "Um, how would you like to do it?" When he said "Sure!", it was Game On.

I've known David for a decade-and-a-half, but we'd never gotten a chance to talk about his early years of programming education, how he got into music software development, where Max came from - nor what he thinks are the important core concepts. This kind of stuff doesn't come up very often in day-to-day conversation, so it was great to open that door for this chat.

i hope you enjoy this talk with David Zicarelli, the founder of Cycling '74, and innovator in so many areas of music software and one of the most intelligent people I've ever met. Let's rock!

Direct download: podcast_074_DZicarelli.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 2:29 PM

Margaret (Meg) Schedel's career has blown up since we first talked to her in podcast Episode #3. I caught wind of this by watching her Facebook feed - it seemed like there was a daily barrage of place gone, things being done, and open doors for others to get involved. Meg isn't self-promotional (in fact, we talk about it in this episode...); rather, she's promotional - she helps people see what is going on, and is always willing to swing the door open for others as well as entering it herself.

This episode talks about some of the edgy new stuff that's out there (and that she's documenting), as well as the practicalities of managing a busy, engaged life. We also get a glimpse into the mind of a very busy person, and see how she makes decisions, sets priorities and organizes her efforts. My experience with Meg is that every conversation is packed full of information and ideas - this one is no exception.


Direct download: podcast_073_MegSchedelRevisited.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 2:09 PM

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