iARTA News

iARTA Participant Marco Boungiorno Nardelli's MaterialsSoundMusic project creates data-driven music through an algorithm that maps a material’s energy bands onto the 88 keys of a piano. Buongiorno Nardelli, who is now a professor of physics at the University of North Texas (UNT), conceived his project at the time of the Materials Genome Initiative, which the White House launched in 2011 to accelerate the discovery of new materials. As part of this initiative, he participated in the development of AFLOWLIB—an online database cataloging the properties of millions of existing or theorized materials. Researchers around the globe can freely access the database to fish for a superconductor, metal, or ceramic that best suits their application.

In developing this database, Buongiorno Nardelli pondered two questions. The first had to do with sifting through AFLOWLIB’s massive amounts of data. How could the properties of a material be represented so that researchers can quickly perceive and evaluate them? The second was an outreach challenge. Materials aren’t as sexy as black hole mergers or the “God particle.” How could electronic properties or crystal lattices be made more appealing to the public’s imagination? For Buongiorno Nardelli, who’d been playing and composing music since the age of six, the obvious answer to both questions was to use sound...

iARTA Affiliate Seth Shafer's "the machine is the artist is the artist the machine" is an interactive, web-based timeline of art history. This is a collection of artwork and writings about artwork made in collaboration with machines given some degree of autonomy. This art goes by many names – cybernetic art, computer art, telematic art, generative art, algorithmic art, etc. – but share many common features in their use of a machine as an active, creative agent. The machine, too, has many names – the mainframe, the personal computer, the laptop, the microcontroller, the embedded microchip, etc. – but all share the commonality of extending the abilities of human creativity.

Faculty composer Joseph Klein will present an academic paper titled "Practical Applications of D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s On Growth and Form on Musical Materials and Structures" at the On Growth and Form Centenary Conference, 13-15 October 2017 at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland).  The paper includes an analysis of three original compositions that are related to Thompson's research: the road in its unfoldingsOccam's Razor, and Interstices.  

Martin Back is currently involved in an ongoing collaboration with Sean Miller investigating how digital processes which simulate real-world phenomena can reify those phenomena when imprinted onto and/or coupled with physical materials. This work has and will continue to take the form of generative audio-visual installations and the production of objects made with computer controlled industrial tools, such as laser cutters and CNC routers. One of these works Diffusion Imprint has been recently featured in the End and the Beginning group show, curated by Danielle Avram, in the East/West Galleries at Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX.

Marco Buongiorno Nardelli has started the miniature opera project from the idea of making space become an interactive score and of allowing the audience to create unique musical sequences by acting directly on a physical art piece. These installations are designed as a large interactive electronic “game boards” made of numerous “electronic tiles” that can be connected to each other in a completely reconfigurable way. Each tile contains a light sensor that triggers a unique sound event when covered. Among the electronic tiles, we place “word (or guide) tiles”, typically marked with specific words or characters’ names, to provide the participants with a stage for an operatic libretto. The audience is then invited to create connections between guide tiles by placing bean bags on the tiles of their choice, thus activating the light sensor circuit and starting the associated musical gesture. The miniature opera project installations are first and foremost “games” for the audience, whose reward is the creation of a unique piece of music that they will be able to bring home on their own portable device.

David Stout, Cory Metcalf, Reilly Donovan
Premiered at CURRENTS International New Media Festival

Vesica Pisces is a hybrid virtual reality and multi-channel projected video installation that provides a speculative glimpse into an inter-dimensional state where the viewer-participant enters a world nested within a world within a world.  The term, Vesica Pisces refers to a symbol made from two circles of the same radius, intersecting in such a way that the center of each circle rests on the perimeter of the other. The artist team of Donovan, Metcalf and Stout utilize generative techniques in realtime algorithmic image, sound and music synthesis to create a tangible experience that allows the viewer-participant to traverse liminal boundaries.   The work is a continuum of the landscape tradition that explores classical figure ground relationships within a simulated environment that allows for powerfully visceral experiences including extreme fluctuations of scale revealing seemingly infinite heights and horizontal expanses. This vast scale is contrasted by moments of intimate interaction with impossibly small objects that are able to retract into, or emerge out of, a single point within the apparent fabric of reality.

By Alicia Eggert This flashing neon sign cycles through the statements "all the light you see is from the past" and "all you see is past" before turning off completely. It speaks to the fact that light takes time to travel, so by the time it reaches your eyes, everything you are seeing is technically already in the past. Light from the moon left its surface 1.5 seconds ago; sunlight travels for 8 minutes and 19 seconds before it touches your skin. The farther out into space we look, the farther back in time we can see. This sign, perched atop a building that will soon be demolished, is an image of what was. What will be remains to be seen. Curated and photographed by Ryan Strand Greenberg. Supported by Mural Arts Philadelphia, MM Partners, Fairmount CDC, and Gazelle Signs. Special thanks to Basmah Sorathia, Jacob Raeder, Layla Mrozowski, James Bonney, Frank Ramano, Rachel and John Easlea, Evan Inatome, and Joseph Amsel.

Stout and Metcalf lead course at the Pilchuck Glass School

David Stout and Cory Metcalf (NoiseFold) lead a three week workshop intensive focused on the nature of digital transcoding techniques. Students created cinematic installations and performance pieces utilizing glass as an integral aesthetic element. Course activities included basic programming tutorials in MAX/MSP/Jitter, field recording, video and sound editing, projection experiments, hot-glass blowing, painting with enamels, and casting textural surfaces in combination with elements of performance design, staging and collaborative strategies for advancing new art forms that fuse emergent and traditional technologies.

David Stout & Cory Metcalf
Glass and Video Installation at Form & Concept Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Transform Series no.1 is a set of glass sculptures created utilizing a blend of traditional hot glass blowing and generative digital visualization techniques. The visual forms in Series no.1 are derived from a mathematical process, whereby differential equations describing specific 3D geometric shapes are transformed, or morphed, over time from equation A to equation B. In this series, equation A is represented as a sphere and equation B as a double cone. The transformational process results in a fluid morphological evolution of one shape into another. The artists systematically selected key points along this evolving timeline and the chosen forms were then realized in the Pilchuck hot glass studios in northern Washington state.  The finished work consists of the set of glass objects and an accompanying video animation depicting the slow fluid organism-like transformation of these proto-vessels. This work was made possible by the generous support of the Pilchuck AiR program, with gaffers, Jason Christian and Daryl Smith, who were instrumental in the success of this project.


In Partial Visibility, Eggert considers time and language her primary sculptural materials. This body of work struggles to reconcile oppositional concepts of time - the linear and finite nature of human life within the context of a cyclical and seemingly infinite universe. Immaterial concepts are given tangible forms that are manipulated both physically and conceptually. Eggert coopts strategies and mediums associated with commercial signage and advertising, and employs them to encourage thoughtful introspection and reflection. The exhibition's title suggests the presence of something that we cannot quite see or understand and most likely never will. One of the pieces in the exhibition is Above and Beyond was created in collaboration with created in collaboration with Joshua Williams. This sculptural steel staircase is composed of the architectural terms that are used to describe its construction. The basic function of a staircase is to bridge a large vertical distance by dividing it into smaller vertical distances, or steps. Each step has a tread, a horizontal surface that is stepped on and which bears our weight, and a rise, the vertical distance traveled between steps. The words “rise” and “tread,” and the form they create in combination, embody the ideals and efforts necessary for social progress. It was created to inspire and empower the allies and advocates of gender equality, Black Lives Matter, and the LGBTQ+ community.