The Arts of Islam Exhibition – Art Gallery of NSW

Posted by jerry on July 15th, 2007 — Posted in History, Journal

The Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney has an exhibition of Islamic art treasures from the collection of Nasser D. Khalili in the UK – one of the largest private collections of Islamic art.

I was enthralled within minutes of entering the exhibition with three things catching my eye – in addition to the large planispheric astrolabe displayed with all the parts separated so you could see the exquisite engraving. The three things were: part two of a thirty part Qur’an (koran) from the 9th century AD in which the text block observes the proportions of the Golden Section, discovered by Pythgoras and reintroduced to Renaissance Italy. But Islamic mathematicians were well aware of the Golden Section, and there is evidence of its use throughout the Islamic world long before the Italian renaissance. The second was an 11th century part of a Qur’an which has disc motifs inserted at key passages in the test, which reference other passages – a form of 11th century hyperlinking.

And the third was an illustration of Noah’s ark under construction, in which most of the woodworking handcraft skills are illustrated – frame saws used to slab timber, planes used to smooth, a bow drill for hole drilling and so on all in wonderful detail.

I could go on about the decorated glassware and delicately carved caskets, but suffice to say it is well worth the entrance fee – we rarely get to see European private collections, and especially those put together with a connoisseur’s eye as well as this one.

The exhibition is on until late September


Brad Kligerman – Artist in virtual residence

Posted by jerry on July 13th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media

In another first for Australia’s ABC broadcaster, a forum was held last night featuring SecondLife Artist-in-Residence Brad Kligerman – a Paris-based architect and new media artist.

Brad Kligerman

As part of the AVAIR (Ars Virtua Artist in Residence) program, which provides sponsorship for new media artists in virtual 3D world SecondLife, this forum provided an opportunity fo rthe artist to share his experience working as an artist-in-residence. The forum was attended by 27 ‘avatars’ (virtual presences) – numbers deliberately limited to reduce lag and traffic pressure on the server providing the ‘space’, and was simaltaneously webcast to where I watched the presentation.

Kligerman has set out to use his architectural sensibility in building both a display space and a series of visual works. He has explored the play of light on virtual objects, and has built an installation called “Hyper-spaces”.

Brad Kligerman

One of the more interesting questions from the floor concerned how he articulated the distinction between the ‘gaze’ of the viewer/avatar and the ‘gaze’ of the camera view – which can be quite separate from that of the avatar.

Brad Kligerman
Brad Kligerman with presenter Funella Kernebone

Both the presentation and the Q&A session were stimulating, and the ABC site will have the vodcast available shortly.


Review: TASCAM US-122L USB Audio/MIDI Interface

Posted by jerry on July 7th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Music, Technology

I’ve never quite been able to get CD-standard recordings out of my computer – until now! Yes it’s a new toy, a TASCAM US-122L – and I really wasn’t sure how it would go when I bought it based on internet reviews – via eBay. So what is this thing? It’s a device to plug your musical instrument or microphone into your computer via USB and it converts your analogue input into MIDI input.


Until now, I had been using a small four channel mixer into the mic input of the iMac. Previously, there has always been a bit of hiss or noise from the desk and effects pedal – always low, but present. This is the first time I have had truly clean signal input via the USB port with a two-channel midi interface.

In the box is the TASCAM US-122L unit, a USB cable (which powers the device as well as provides input-output) three CDs – one to install the driver, one to install Cubase lite and one to install GigaStudio3.0 – for windows machines. I was mainly interested to see how it would perform with Tracktion studio recording software – having just upgraded to Tracktion3.0.

After installing the driver on the mac, I plugged the TASCAM unit in and it lit up straight away. The device can take two inputs – and it has both jack and canon sockets. It also has a switch to provide phantom power for mics that would otherwise need a pre-amp.

There is also a headphone socket so you can hear either the input or the output to the computer – or a mix of the two. The device has almost zero lag or latency, and the sound is very clean – no noise or hiss at all!

The Tracktion studio recording software was able to take the midi input without difficulty and I was quickly able to get some nice clean recordings – so perhaps a CD is not out of the question now. Here is the whole recording studio!


Overall, the device is compact, and it performs its fairly simple function of taking your analogue instrument input and turning it into clean digital signal very well indeed.

Okay, don’t take my word for it – have a listen to my fairly average playing of Ashokan Farewell. I thoroughly recommend this device if you are thinking of recording sound on your computer.


Music – a systemic functional approach – revisited

Posted by jerry on July 5th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Music

I had some wonderful feedback from Frieberg-trained linguist Tamsin Sanderson on my systemic functional music schema and as a consequence have incorporated a number of amendments – this piece is developing rapidly!

I have added a component in the text on the physics of music, and on why pianos are always out of tune – and why THAT is a radical innovation for western music!

Enjoy 🙂


We are the Strange…

Posted by jerry on July 2nd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

It’s amazing what can be done with a couple of macs and three years of extraordinary creative thinking! “We are the strange” is a new-media movie – part game scene part Donnie Darko and part AI – that draws on the mash-up/remix culture to produce a loud colourful and quite hypnotic piece. This is a movie by M-dot-Strange – and it has gained official selection for the Sundance Film Festival.

You can see a preview of it on YouTube – a very appropriate space for it

There’s an excellent review of the movie here by Ondar Skall a new media journalist and SecondLife inhabitant.

Thanks to Angela Thomas, who has a good write-up of it on her blog.