Vector Synthesis Book Update

Posted in Announcement on August 11th, 2019 by admin

Book designer Claire Matthews and I got a Vector Synthesis print proof back last week, and since then we have been working like mad to get this publication ready for the printer. We have made so many improvements to the layout and flow of both the text and images, and I have also done several more rounds of corrections based on feedback from various reviewers. So now we really believe this is the best possible state this book can be in for sending for the final print.

   Over the course of this Kickstarter, the print run jumped from 100 to 700, and with that increase came a bit more concern from me over a few things–namely image permissions. I have sought permission to reprint most of the images in the book which came from other sources (something I would not have bothered with if it had remained a friends-and-family affair). This has lead to some interesting contacts with members of the David Tudor ensemble Composers Inside Electronics, or with Bill Etra’s widow Rozalyn Rouse Etra through the kind assistance of Benton C. Bainbridge. And in other cases I have redrawn or created new artwork from scratch (as with the Vasulka-esque scan processor examples at the start of this update) both to clarify images and to deal with the possibility that some image rights-holders may not answer in time (or ever!). This has caused a bit of delay in the publication process, but honestly I am very happy with the results and think that it is totally worth the wait and work.

  We aim to send this book to the printers in the coming week. Once I have the definitive delivery date, I will arrange for the shipping of the book to all of you, likely in the start of September. Copies of the book can still be ordered through me by sending an email with your postal address to MACUMBISTA at the domain GMAIL dot COM. I thank you all kindly for your patience and support.

   My best wishes from Helsinki,

   Derek Holzer

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Vector Synthesis Book

Posted in Announcement on July 21st, 2019 by admin

A massive thank you to the over 400 backers who supported the Vector Synthesis book Kickstarter. The final print run will be 600 copies. If you are interested in ordering one, please write me at

  • MACUMBISTA at the domain GMAIL dot COM

with the SUBJECT =

  • Vector Synthesis Book

Please include your postal address, and I will reply with further information.

With kind regards! D.

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Vector Synthesis Publication Fundraiser

Posted in Announcement on June 16th, 2019 by admin

PUBLICATION FUNDRAISER:

The VECTOR SYNTHESIS: a MEDIA ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION into SOUND-MODULATED LIGHT book describes my research into the military and techno-scientific legacies at the birth of modern computing, and how early computer, electronic media, and video artists of the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s attempted to decouple these tools from their destructive origins.

It also presents my Pure Data software library and live performance project which employs audio synthesis and vector graphics techniques to investigate direct relationships between sound and image using analog CRT displays. The book is 122 pages long, has 21 illustrations, links to several video examples online, and was fabulously designed by Claire Matthews.

I’m launching this Kickstarter to print and distribute at least 100 copies of the book, to get them to people who have assisted in its creation, and just as importantly to send them to organizations and schools who deserve one. Your support of this publishing project will help make that possible.

Details can be found here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/macumbista/vector-synthesis-book

Thank you for your kind attention!

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Vector Synthesis Oscilloscope+Laser Workshop Helsinki

Posted in Announcement on June 16th, 2019 by admin

VECTOR SYNTHESIS WORKSHOP 12-14 JULY 2019

The Vector Synthesis workshop investigates the direct relationship between sound+image. It draws inspiration from media archaeology and obsolete technologies such as the Cathode Ray Tube monitor, combined with contemporary laser display techniques. This workshop is ideal for musicians, sound artists, and visual artists who want to work with oscilloscope or laser imagery.

Participants will learn how to draw Lissajous figures, render simple two- and three-dimensional shapes, and process photographs and video into vector artwork which can be displayed on oscilloscopes, Vectrex consoles, and ILDA laser displays using audio signals which can also be heard. These vector shapes can also be further modified in real time using external audio sources such as voice, amplified instruments, or electronic synthesizers provided by the participants.

An informal presentation of pieces created in the workshop is planned for the final evening, where participants can show their creations on Vectrex or laser.

You can see examples of what you might do here:
https://vimeo.com/macumbista/

The core of the workshop will be examples written in the Pure Data programming language. Experience with Pure data is not required to participate, beginners are welcome. Detailed instructions on how to install and set up Pure Data, as well as a software oscilloscope emulator so you can see your work without special hardware, will be sent to registered participants.

You can view the Vector Synthesis code here:
https://github.com/macumbista/vectorsynthesis/

The language of this workshop is English. Participants are required to bring their own laptops with software installed according to pre-event instructions sent by email.

DURATION

This is one continuous workshop of three days, 6 hours per day including a break to eat.

Participation on individual days is not possible except by special arrangement.

—FRI 12 JULY 12-18:00

—SAT 13 JULY 12-18:00

—SUN 14 JULY 12-18:00

—Max participants: 8

—Lunch (vegetarian/vegan on request) will be served each day.

LOCATION

Kaapelitehdas

Tallberginkatu 1 (Doorway E / 5th floor)

Helsinki, FINLAND

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Vector Synthesis Workshop Berlin 5-7 JUL 2019

Posted in Announcement on May 23rd, 2019 by admin

The Vector Synthesis workshop investigates the direct relationship between sound+image. It draws inspiration from media archaeology and obsolete technologies such as the Cathode Ray Tube monitor, combined with contemporary laser display techniques. Participants will learn how to draw Lissajous figures, render simple two- and three-dimensional shapes, and process photographs and video into vector artwork which can be displayed on oscilloscopes, Vectrex consoles, and ILDA laser displays using audio signals which can also be heard. These vector shapes can also be further modified in real time using external audio sources such as voice, amplified instruments, or electronic synthesizers provided by the participants.


You can see examples of what you might do here:

https://vimeo.com/macumbista/

The core of the workshop will be examples written in the Pure Data programming language. Detailed instructions on how to install and set up Pure Data, as well as a software oscilloscope emulator so you can see your work without special hardware, will be sent to registered participants.

You can view the Vector Synthesis code here:

https://github.com/macumbista/vectorsynthesis/

The language of this workshop is English. Participants are required to bring their own laptops with software installed according to pre-event instructions sent by email.

DURATION
This is one continuous workshop of three days, 5 hours per day. Participation on individual days is not possible.
—FRI 05 JULY 12-17:00
—SAT 06 JULY 12-17:00
—SUN 07 JULY 12-17:00
—Max participants: 14 (50% will be students from Humboldt University, so 7 tickets are available for outside participants)

LOCATION
Signallabor, Humboldt University of Berlin, Georgenstraße 47, Raum 2.26 (2nd floor), Berlin Germany

With kind thanks to Dr. Stefan Höltgen, the Signallabor, and Humboldt University for their generous sponsorship of the event location.

BOOK TICKETS HERE
https://www.eventbrite.de/e/vector-synthesis-pure-data-workshop-berlin-tickets-62307403120

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Vector Synthesis USA Tour FEB-MAR 2019

Posted in Announcement on February 15th, 2019 by admin

I am proud to announce the following confirmed dates, including two public Pure Data workshops for creating audiovisual vector graphics for the oscilloscope, Vectrex, and ILDA laser plus several performances, for my tour of the USA in February and March 2019

25 FEB – 07 MAR ::: Vector Hacking Workshop :::
Dept. of Media Arts and Technology, University of California, Santa Barbara CA
https://www.mat.ucsb.edu/

09-10 MAR ::: Video Vector Synthesis Workshop :::
S1, Portland OR
REGISTER: http://s1portland.com/vectorsynthesis030919/

15-16 MAR ::: Vector Synthesis Performance + Lecture :::
Lafayette Electronic Arts Festival, Lafayette CO
Free entry! http://leafcolorado.org/leaf2019/

19-20 MAR ::: Vector Synthesis Workshop :::
Dept. of Digital + Media, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence RI
http://www.digitalmedia.risd.edu/

21 MAR ::: Vector Synthesis Live :::
With Victoria Shen, Andrea Pensado, and Shawn Greenlee / Mark Cetilia
Machines with Magnets, Pawtucket RI
http://www.machineswithmagnets.com

22 MAR ::: Vector Synthesis Live :::
With Jonas Bers, Mike Sidnam, Paloma Kop, VX Bliss, and Dead Lion
Secret Project Robot, Brooklyn NY
Posted soon at https://www.secretprojectrobot.org

23-24 MAR ::: Vector Synthesis Workshop :::
Harvestworks, NYC NY
REGISTER: http://www.harvestworks.org/vector-synthesis-workshop/

With undying gratitude to Marko Peljhan, Matthew Rempes, Kathy Hardin, David Fodel, Shawn Greenlee, Mark Cetilia, Victoria Shen, Jonas Bers, Mike Sidnam, Paloma Kop, Bob Bellerue, Sofy Yuditskaya, and Carol Parkinson.

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VectorHack 2018 Review

Posted in Documentation on December 25th, 2018 by admin
Robert Henke & Bernhard Rasinger, Zagreb 03.10.18 (photo: Damir Žižić)

My personal and academic research into experimental vector graphics systems culminated in the most significant event of my entire year, the Vector Hack Festival in October 2018. This festival sprung out of discussions Ivan Marušić Klif initiated with me in July 2017, when we both made the first public releases of our Pure Data and Max/MSP code libraries for displaying vector imagery on the oscilloscope using audio signals. Klif and I envisioned the event as a forum where artists creating experimental audio-visual work for oscilloscopes, vector monitors, and laser displays could share ideas, develop their work together, and form an actual community from the disparate artists working in this field, who otherwise only knew each other through the online world. We also curated a public program of open workshops and talks aimed at allowing young artists and a wider audience to learn more both about creating their own vector-based audiovisual works, and about the scientific and artistic history of these techniques from the 1950’s onward, as well as organizing a rich performance program which demonstrated a diverse range of techniques and artistic approaches in action.

Alberto Novello, Ljubljana 07.10.18 (photo: Katja Goljat)
Jonas Bers, Zagreb 04.10.18 (photo: Vanja Babić)

In total, we gathered a group of twenty-three participants, all working as researchers, teachers, developers, and performers in the field of experimental vector visuals, from across the EU, the USA, and Canada. The program was held between two very different locations in two different cities. The first half of the festival in Zagreb, with talks and performances oriented towards a larger public audience, was held in a large hall of the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum from the 2nd to 4th of October. We found it especially significant that this museum was also the site of the fifth and final New Tendencies/Nova Tendencije exhibition in 1973, which had focused on “Constructive Visual Research, Computer Visual Research, [and] Conceptual Art”. There, the keynote and subsequent presentations were very well attended by audiences of between 30-60 people each evening, while the biggest performance night featuring Robert Henke and Bernhard Rasinger drew approximately 300 people. In Ljubljana, the Osmo/za venue was significantly smaller and therefore the program focused more on discussion between the event participants alongside the evening performances from the 5th to the 7th of October. The event was organized locally by Ivan Marušić Klif, the Radiona.org Zagreb Makerspace, the Ljudmila Art and Science Laboratory, and Zavod Projekt Atol. Curatorial duties were shared between myself and Klif, with assistance kindly given by Chris King of the Video Circuits group.

CHA/V workshop, Ljubljana 07.10.18 (photo: Katja Goljat)
Vanda Kreutz, Ljubljana 07.10.18 (photo: Katja Goljat)

One of the highest priorities of the program was given to the sharing of technical know-how with a general audience in both a discursive and a participatory manner. In both cities, Jonas Bers and Philip Baljeu each gave practical electronics workshops focused on building the CHA/V (a “Cheap Hacky Audio/Visual” synthesizer based on the deliberate misuse of a Chinese VGA test pattern generator) and the OGA (“Oscilloscope Graphic Artist”, a circuit developed by technology writer Mitchell Waite and published in Popular Electronics magazine in 1980). Hansi Raber and Jerobeam Fenderson also each gave presentations on different aspects of their OsciStudio software, which may be the most well-known of the ‘oscilloscope music’ platforms, with Raber focusing on the freshly-implemented live coding functions of the application and Fenderson covering its artistic and performative use with a strong nod towards the computer gaming and demo scene.

Derek Holzer, Zagreb 03.10.18 (photo: Damir Žižić)
Keynote audience, Zagreb 03.10.18 (photo: Damir Žižić)

The three other major coding platforms for audiovisual vectors, Pure Data, Max/MSP, and Processing, were demonstrated by my own Vector Synthesis library and Douglas Nunn’s additional Pd research, Ivan Marušić Klif’s REWereHere patch, and Ted DavisXYscope library respectively. Equally important hardware approaches were elaborated by Andrew Duff and Bernhard Rasinger’s discussions of analog modular synthesis for the Vectrex and ILDA laser display, Roland Lioni’s (aka “akirasrebirth”) examples using the Axoloti microcontroller DSP board, Joost Rekveld’s self-built analog computers for the generation of vector-based HD video, and Baljeu and Bers’ presentations of their own oscillographic and scan processing systems inspired by the Rutt-Etra video synthesizer from the 1970’s and Mitchell Waite’s circuits from the 1980’s. Finally, Robert Henke gave an extensive tour through the progressive iterations of his monumental Lumiere performance, along with details of the laser controlling software and hardware necessary to execute them.

Joost Rekveld, Zagreb 04.10.18 (photo: Vanja Babić)
Jerobeam Fenderson & Hansi Raber, Zagreb 02.10.18 (photo: Vanja Babić)

The event also strived to provide a historical context for the contemporary activities it showcased, as well as cities in which we had chosen to work. We were very fortunate to welcome artist-researcher Darko Fritz, who provided a survey of vector-related works from the New Tendencies art movement, which was born in Zagreb and saw its most important exhibitions and publications come together there. And in Ljubljana, the artist and curator Ida Hiršenfelder presented a wonderful overview of Slovene computer art during the Yugoslav era, extending from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. Each of these talks was intended to provide a local artistic frame of reference for the visiting foreign participants, however much of the material was also new to many – in particularly the younger generation of – local audience members as well.

Bernhard Rasinger & Robert Henke, Zagreb 03.10.18 (photo: Damir Žižić)
CHA/V workshop, Ljubljana 07.10.18 (photo: Katja Goljat)

From there, other keynote presentations dug into various particular technologies and their historical applications both in and outside of the art world. Rekveld set out an impressive display of early mechanical and electronic devices used to create physical analogies of real-world phenomena to provide real-time simulation and interaction for scientific and industrial engineering applications, while I gave a window into my own research on the military development of computers as a means of simulating, predicting, controlling, and eventually annihilating unknown ‘others’, and where the legacy of these origins might be found in contemporary computer graphics. Researcher Stefanie Bräuer focused on a very specific historical setting, namely the use of technologies such as oscilloscopic and stereoscopic imagery in the 1950’s films of Mary Ellen Bute, Hy Hirsh, and Norman McLaren which she described as marking a change in focus from mechanical to electronic means of image production in experimental cinema, while Chris King sought to bring together the developments of mechanical drawing machines with concurrent and subsequent experiments in video synthesis and vector graphics.

Andrew Duff, Ljubljana 06.10.18 (photo: Katja Goljat)
Philip Baljeu, Ljubljana 07.10.18 (photo: Katja Goljat)

The majority of participants who gave workshops or talks, as well as laser artist Alberto Novello who could only join us for the last evening, also made performances demonstrating their self-made systems for a public audience. However, for me the most exciting moments lay in the new configurations and collaborations which sprang up during the festival. The first of these collaborations was a sublime conversation between the ethereal sounds of Hrvoslava Brkušić and the geometric vectors of Douglas Nunn in Zagreb. This was closely followed by a completely spontaneous shared set by laserists Rasinger and Henke which illuminated the architecture of the Technical Museum hall with such power that I felt I could still see afterimages in the room the following day. Of note was the contrast between Henke’s usual precision-high-tech approach, which he discussed just that afternoon as originating from the need to be taken seriously within the world of large-scale audiovisual installation and performance, and the relaxed, ‘dirty techno’ improvisational style he easily returned to for his duo with Rasinger in the evening of the same day.

Vanda Kreutz, Ljubljana 07.10.18 (photo: Katja Goljat)
Kikimore, Ljubljana 06.10.18 (photo: Katja Goljat)

Later on, in the more intimate settings of Osmo/za in Ljubljana, we focused on what we had been calling ‘workgroups’ throughout the festival. These workgroups were envisioned as a way of inviting young, local artists to interface with vector and video synthesis techniques for the first time and explore them towards the goal of an informal performance at the end of the festival. We took the extra step of inviting only women to these groups as a way of counterbalancing what I saw as a serious deficiency in female performers in our festival lineup, and of nurturing them into the larger scene of audiovisual vector artists from which we drew our international participants. Croatians Brkušić, who shared the stage with Nunn in Zagreb, and Vanda Kreutz, who presented an inspired solo improvisation arising from her meeting with the LZX Vidiot synthesizer, were joined in the workgroups by members of the Slovene noise collective Kikimore, which was founded in 2016 in Ljubljana out of an initiative focusing on the activities of women in the area of science, technology, and media art. I had given them a basic demo of the Vector Synthesis patches during a residency in Ljubljana in July 2017, and their enthusiastic response guarenteed that I would remember them when we began considering who we might invite. From their collective, Staša Guček took a masterclass in the art of audio-reactive video mixer feedback from Bers, and the trio of Sara Mlakar, Nina Orlić, and Barbara Poček ran the chaotic, noisy signals from their lovingly-handmade electronic sound devices into the laser system of Rasinger, laughing the entire time.

Robert Henke & Bernhard Rasinger, Zagreb 03.10.18 (photo: Damir Žižić)
Alberto Novello, Ljubljana 07.10.18 (photo: Katja Goljat)

Moments such as these workgroup performances went a long way towards fulfilling the community-building goal Klif and I set out during our first conversations, as well as towards that of bringing new artists into this community with an enthusiastic welcome and a wealth of new inspiration. After reading a draft of this post, Jonas Bers pointed out to me how all the participants very quickly got involved in the aspects of community building ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak, by debugging each others’ code; adding features to their own systems by request; loaning, teaching, troubleshooting, repairing, and modifying hardware; donating printed circuit boards; coordinating workshops; creating content for one another; and actively maintaining contact after the event ended. Once the video documentation of the talks and performances are online, we hope that the discussion they stimulate will grow even larger and more inclusive of radically different approaches to the medium. Our next ambition is to organize a followup to this event, perhaps in 2020, which I would like to see go further in directions we only touched on in this edition, i.e. more female participants, more participants from outside Europe, more participatory and entry-level workshop situations for local and visiting artists, a deeper look into different approaches to the laser display from both the established professional and experimental artistic sides, a focus on the currently burgeoning field of digital plotters and mechanical drawing devices, and a new round of media archaeological excavations into the hidden histories of vector technologies and the arts created by them.

–Derek Holzer, Helsinki, 25 DEC 2018

Your hosts Chris King, Ivan Marušić Klif & Derek Holzer, Ljubljana 07.10.18 (photo: Katja Goljat)
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Vector Synthesis Workshop Berlin

Posted in Announcement on June 8th, 2017 by admin

VECTOR SYNTHESIS WITH DEREK HOLZER

http://spektrumberlin.de/events/detail/vector-synthesis-with-derek-holzer.html

WORKSHOP (7hours/1day)
Level: introductory/beginners
Costs: 70 euro
Max number of participants: 12 people
Min number of participants: 4 people
Contact: macumbista@gmail.com
Sign up through this form:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfo-Wn4JIdidSTJuTWmu6mzMFK34VH1d0qDVwMJ9InObAJcig/viewform

OWN COMPUTER AND HEADPHONES ARE NEEDED

DESCRIPTION

The VECTOR SYNTHESIS project is an audiovisual, computational art project using sound synthesis and vector graphics display techniques to investigate the direct relationship between sound+image. It draws on the historical work of artists such as Mary Ellen Bute, John Whitney, Nam June Paik, Ben Laposky, and Steina & Woody Vasulka among many others, as well as on ideas of media archaeology and the creative re-use of obsolete technologies.

SOFTWARE

During this workshop, you will learn how to use a custom library in the Pure Data programming environment to directly control the vertical and horizontal movements, as well as the brightness, of a beam of light. You will then explore Lissajous figures, waveform representations, and other multiplexed, audio-driven visual shapes and forms which can be displayed and manipulated in real time on an XY oscilloscope, Vectrex game console, ILDA laser display, and other analog vector displays using a DC coupled soundcard.

HARDWARE

We will also discuss hardware essentials such as how to modify a normal CRT monitor for vector inputs, how to hack together a cheap DC coupled soundcard, how to use a microcontroller such as the Teensy, Bela or Axoloti as a base for your vector synthesizer, and how to interface with the International Laser Display Association control protocol.

WHAT TO BRING

Please bring your own laptop. If you have a DC soundcard such as the MOTU Ultralight, please bring that as well. Many cheap USB soundcards can be adapted for DC use as well, you can find them on EBay or I will bring several for sale at the workshop. There will be a limited number of displays, so if you already own an analog XY oscilloscope, Vectrex game console, or other vector monitor, that would be very useful to bring. And finally, please get in touch if you have a CRT monitor you would like to see hacked (no guarantees!) during the hardware phase of the workshop. (Additional materials fee applies, we can discuss this.)

LINKS

http://macumbista.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/VECTOR-SYNTHESIS-PURE-DATA-LIBRARY.pdf

https://www.instagram.com/macumbista/

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP HOLDER

Derek Holzer is an American instrument builder and sound artist whose current interests include DIY analogue electronics, field recording, media archaeology and the meeting points of electroacoustic, noise, improv and extreme music.

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