Databending and Knobless Knitting

John Richards gives an overview of his work and shows some of his knobless instruments.

Conversations around control and lack of control take place. Richards argues that such knobless instruments can result in a different music. He cites the piece Spatter Can for Mute Synth as an example. He also talks about his most recent work that explores embedded electronics, tangible coding and the sequencing of analogue feedback using just one pot and one button (an idea initially suggested by Jim Frize). Richards has taken this idea further to the point of a no-knob/button sequencer, where simply touching the circuit board enables the sequencing of the feedback. Short loops are read and written dynamically. A musical characteristic of this approach is the tension that occurs between periodic, looped rhythmic patterns and freer gestures derived from touch (or the one knob). These ideas can be found in his recent projects including the sound/art object Polytik (with Jack Featherstone and Artists & Engineers) and the piece Colossus (for large group and multiple one knob/button programmable devices). Richards suggests exploring a new no knob/button piece for Leicester the following week.

Sam Topley brings out some chunky knitted swatches laced with conductive thread. The act of knitting is discussed and whether we will spend the following week all knitting together. The very quick and easy garter stitch allows for a sizable garment to be ‘built’: a knitted giant knob perhaps. Topley squeezes her knitted woollen hat: a gesture she is keen to explore. Gender issues and the design of electronic objects/instruments arise, particularly in the context of One Knob to Rule Them All.

Sam Topley conductive garter stitch swatch
Sam Topley’s conductive garter stitch swatch

李睿(Lee Ray)  has been Skyping in from Shanghai and a whole range of things are discussed including virtual plastic surgery and databending. She is keen to experiment with the liquefy (or equivalent) technique/filter as found in the Photoshop or Photoshop Fix (the app for fixing selfies). Photoshop Fix liquify offers options to analyse facial features and exaggerate or modify visual aspects of the face. Lee Ray is interested in the impact of this on the way we will view ourselves in the future. Ideas of visualising sound/sonicification of data are mentioned including Evgeny Murzin’s ANS synth.

Lee Ray

Marinos Giannoukakis goes for it! It’s the last presentation and he’s got a lot to discuss. He’s into computer graphics, human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence. For him it is all about one number to rule them all, a form of encapsulation of complex data.

Departing beards (left to right) Luke …, John Bowers, Jim Frize