Tag Archives: catalysts

Cell Harvesting | My Cells | A catalyst collaboration

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First batch of propagated skin cells

So whilst Fringes Catalyst, Svenja Kratz, travels Northern Europe expanding her bio-arts practice and research, I am continuing to develop the My Cells music video project. Scientist Annette Spierings, and I will be working at IHBI (Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation) next Monday to harvest another range of skin and blood cells for propagation. The initial cell propagation involved pulling out about 100-200 hairs from the root around the hairline (thanks Svenja for stepping in there…)

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Initial cell propagation at the IHBI labs

As hair growth slows with hair length, the skin cells from hair follicles of shorter hair are more viable than longer hair. My hair is relatively long, resulting in weaker cell growth; Svenja’s hair is cropped short and had remarkably higher cell division with her earlier propagations. Next Monday we will be propagating new batches of cells for imaging for the final cut of the My Cells music video. By keying the green screen (see more on the green screen shoot here) the footage of the cell propagation is incorporated into the music video. I will post an excerpt of the video shortly, as I edited the clip for its preview at The Edge Sound Select live event.

 

Mxen

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Sound Hunter I – Field to Sample

the edge Sound Hunter

Following on from our sampling session in Sound Hunter I | Field to Sample, I have broken down our field recordings into over 100 royalty-free samples ready for use in your own sonic constructions! Just follow the Dropbox link for listening and downloading. Over the next week the Sound Hunter Dropbox will hold over 500 royalty free samples for use in experimenting with sound composition.

This series has seen a collection of interested artists, musicians and general experimenters recording sound found along the riverside of South Bank and inside the SLQ precinct. We used a range of recording devices, from the Zoom H4n, Zoom Q3HD, Samsung and iPhone smartphones.  The sounds range from ambient, percussive, incidental, drone-like, noisy, complex and bell-like. I have taken these raw files (featuring a range of quality files from a range of input mics) and cut them up into a range of samples. If you click the Dropbox link you will see they are organised into a range of sonic descriptors such as crackle, noise, tap, kick, crunch, melodic, ambient etc. Feel free to download!

See you soon. Mxen

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Cosmology program has landed

Cosmology

Cosmology is a big word with deceptively simple meanings. On the surface, it is about the sky, stars, planets, dark matter and gravity; the duct tape that binds the universe together. Dig a little deeper and in cosmology hides philosophical thoughts about the universe and where humanity fits into the grand scheme of a thing that operates on such a scale that I can barely comprehend without hurting my head.

We’ve put together a full program of workshops to help you explore the realm of cosmology with us over the next four months. It will hurt your head in places (as it has ours during the creation process), but we’re looking forward to discovering more about our universe and hope you’ll find the time to join us.

Read all about it.


Goodbye!

Well everybody, the time has come for me to bid you all adieu! I have decided to pass the baton on to our fabulous new (ish) VSO Federico (pictured.) NB: I would also like to point out that had Josef Muller also been working today, the ceremonious baton passing would’ve included him.

Thank you to the regulars who come in for keeping our shifts here interesting.  Also a big shout out to my fellow VSOs both past and present. You guys rule.

I hope everyone’s creative projects blossom at The Edge and that you all get as much out of the space as is humanly possible. Get amongst it everybody! Tell your friends. Tell your friend’s friends. Tell your great Aunty Beryl’s niece’s brother’s cousin who is vaguely interested in design. Tell your vet’s receptionist who plays in a band on the weekends. Tell your next door neighbour who you see in his yard taking photos all day.

Tell anyone and everyone who is remotely creative and needs a space to further their education, develop their ideas or collaborate with someone they’ve never met before.

I’m off to Sydney in September but I will hopefully catch some of you around the place before then.

Goodbye and thank you!


The Good News – Music (always) Rocks!

 

Despite the doom and gloom in my last post, this decade will be unique and exciting for music creators and fans alike. But if the web is the death nell for the conventional record business, whats the upside?

Lets start with fans:

To state the obvious, music fans drove labels and artists into the 21st century through creating and participating in massive music sharing networks – or piracy if you come from the other side of the fence. This has created some amazing ways of finding, storing, sharing, buying and streaming music.  On top of this there are fan driven web labels, fan hosted tours and fan-based popularity contests.  Finding, following, collecting, obsessing over and communicating with an artist has never been easier.

For music creators, the big break-through has come in two parts.  Cheap (relatively), digital music production hardware and cheaper (or free) software has fed an enormous market of music creators and is empowering them with tools that where once the sole domain of multi-million dollar studios and recording artists.  Second,  of course, is the mighty promotional/sales/networking/learning/collaboration/ creation/funding all-thing that is the internet. Never before has the power to create so much been in the hands of so many.  We have used it for good, stupidity and evil, but there is no doubt that in our society at least,  music creation in isolation is a thing of the past. There really is no excuse anymore for musicians not to attempt understand or engage with their audience.

I’ll leave you with quote from Danny Barnes, a staunchly DIY indie artist, who can remember buying vinyl on mail order in the 70′s…..

there is more cool stuff out there than we can even keep up with. All these new configurations new riffs and new structures built upon the shapes and forms of the past. or not! perhaps the older forms rejected entirely. it’s all one big giant database and music has never been better. enjoy some today. it’s really the greatest thing we have on the physical plane. so get to jukin’

 

 

 

 


The Good News – Music (always) Rocks!

 

Despite the doom and gloom in my last post, this decade will be unique and exciting for music creators and fans alike. But if the web is the death nell for the conventional record business, whats the upside?

Lets start with fans:

To state the obvious, music fans drove labels and artists into the 21st century through creating and participating in massive music sharing networks – or piracy if you come from the other side of the fence. This has created some amazing ways of finding, storing, sharing, buying and streaming music.  On top of this there are fan driven web labels, fan hosted tours and fan-based popularity contests.  Finding, following, collecting, obsessing over and communicating with an artist has never been easier.

For music creators, the big break-through has come in two parts.  Cheap (relatively), digital music production hardware and cheaper (or free) software has fed an enormous market of music creators and is empowering them with tools that where once the sole domain of multi-million dollar studios and recording artists.  Second,  of course, is the mighty promotional/sales/networking/learning/collaboration/ creation/funding all-thing that is the internet. Never before has the power to create so much been in the hands of so many.  We have used it for good, stupidity and evil, but there is no doubt that in our society at least,  music creation in isolation is a thing of the past. There really is no excuse anymore for musicians not to attempt understand or engage with their audience.

I’ll leave you with quote from Danny Barnes, a staunchly DIY indie artist, who can remember buying vinyl on mail order in the 70’s…..

there is more cool stuff out there than we can even keep up with. All these new configurations new riffs and new structures built upon the shapes and forms of the past. or not! perhaps the older forms rejected entirely. it’s all one big giant database and music has never been better. enjoy some today. it’s really the greatest thing we have on the physical plane. so get to jukin’

 

 

 

 


Colleen’s Data Vis Presentation for LibraryHack

If you couldn’t make it to The Edge’s “Letting The Data Loose” workshop last week, when our Catalyst Colleen gave a lesson on creating data visualisations, fear not. You can watch a video of the workshop here:

Or check out Colleen’s slides from the presentation here:

Library Hack – It’s Time to Let the Data Loose  

Colleen had some great tips that will help you prepare an entry for the Libraryhack competition in no time. And why wouldn’t you enter? You could win up to $6000 in prize money or an iPad2.


I Saw the Sign

If you’ve wandered into our temporary Edge Studio over the last couple of weeks, the first thing you will have seen is this:

At a first glance it might look like any old sign but if you look closely you’ll notice a few differences. It is in fact a moss graffiti, solar-powered LED sign!

“Wow!” (I hear you say).

“How do you create moss graffiti and how does that fantastic colour-changing, solar-powered LED light work?”

They are two very good questions and I will reveal all of my secrets so that you may too create your very own moss graffiti solar-powered LED sign (MGSPLEDS).

Moss Graffiti

I’m the first to admit I am no moss graffiti expert (although I’m happy to say I have met a couple of you lately) and while my failures currently outweigh my successes this is the best recipe that I have come up with so far:

Moss Graffiti Recipe 2.0


  • A few handfuls of moss
  • Half a tub (100g) of natural yoghurt
  • About half a cup of a good yeasty beer (I choose Guinness- great for moss graffiti..not for drinking IMHO!)
  • A teaspoon of brown sugar
  • Two tablespoons of corn syrup (alson known as glucose syrup)
  • I also crushed up a bit of fertilizer (Ozmocote) to give it a little extra grunt

Here’s how it all goes together

Wash as much of the dirt and rocks and stuff away from the back of the moss.

Add the yoghurt

Add the the moss

Test the beer

Add the remaining beer

Add the sugar

Crush some fertilizer and add to the mix (be sure to SERIOUSLY clean your mortal and pestle after this- fertilizer and stomachs don’t mix).

Mix it all together in a blender. Be careful with the corn syrup. Its there to bind everything together however if you use too much (as I have) you’ll end up in a sticky situation (literally). Store it sealed in the fridge until you’re ready to apply it. It should keep for a few days at least.

Making the Sign

Making the sign was trickier than you might think.

Bunnings on a week day is always a treat.

MDF (or custom wood as its also known) is a composite material and is really absorbant, so I had to give it three coats of paint to seal the surface. To transfer the Edge logo to the MDF backing board, I put together a big printed paper version of the Edge logo, stuck it on to the MDF and then traced over it with a ball-point pen, pressing down really hard to leave an imprint of the logo below.

The imprint becomes the outline of where to paint. I then traced over the imprint with a lead pencil to make the outline more visible. Its handy to have an architecture degree at this stage for the set square work, but not essential!

After this I applied the moss graffiti mixture very carefully over the logo. I actually found that using a kitchen butter knife for the fine detail and getting the edges and corners right really helped.

Its also good to do a few coats and try an build up some depth to the mixture so it has a better chance of taking off.

The LED solar-powered light

Connecting the LED colour-changing solar-powered light required a collaborative effort. Mainly because I have only ever soldered guitar parts and tend to get +’s and -’s mixed up. So, thanks to fellow-Cat Colleen and geek in residence Clinton we managed to hook up our solar panel (12V panel max 1.26 W) to a single LED RGB colour changing light.

We mounted the sign to a temporary wall in the new Edge Studio and the solar panel on the adjacent face of the wall with access to sunlight through the glass. Mounting the sign and lining it up with the light took a bit of dodgy gaffer tape engineering but it eventually came together nicely.

The moss part of the sign has been regularly sprayed (twice a day) with a few water concoctions; one with rice water (left over water from boiled rice) and another with Seasol.

Sadly the sign has been up for a few weeks now and the moss has not been entirely forthcoming. We have a theory that the very dry indoor, air-conditioned environment has prevented the moss mixture from retaining the moisture required to propagate. We’ve since transplanted some real growing moss from the gardens outside and it seems to be holding up pretty well.

Also, the LED light and solar panel have been taken down temporarily as we try to pimp up the LED with a super bright Arduino-programmable alternative courtesy of Markus from NICTA. We’re also trying to hook up a battery so that the solar panel can charge it during the day and the light can run at night.

That’s the story of the sign. Come down to the Edge studio and check it out. I’m sure it will find a place when we’re back in the main building soon. I’ll leave you with a time lapse video I did of the drawing and moss painting phase of the sign:

 


Plug-ins. From the ridiculous to the ridiculously expensive…

At the workshop on the weekend I gave a quick overview of writing music with the inbuilt instruments in Pro Tools. We didn’t really have time to explore the world of 3rd party software, so I thought I’d post a few resources for RTAS and VST plug-ins.  These plug-ins are often cross-platform, mac or pc, and whatever program you are using to write music there will be something useful, or at least quirky and fun.

First up is kvraudio, the grandaddy of plug-in sites. Basically if a plug-in exists, then it is on KVR somewhere. This is my favorite place to find whacked out sound creating (and destroying) tools.  There is an unusually useful site search engine here, which can be tweeked to show only free or unreleased plug-ins. Because of this site I was inspired (or fooled) into setting myself the challenge of writing for a kids TV series using only weird and wonderful sounds. I failed of course – but glitch , nutseq, polyiblit and drumatic were the soundtrack to my life for a while.

Cheap and blippy is not to your taste? Fancy yourself as the next Stravinsky? Then have a listen to the ‘Rite of Spring’ made using the Vienna Symphonic Library. Believe it or not, this is entirely programmed on a bunch of fast computers, using the VSL’s enormous, gigantic, huge, monstrously expensive sample library.  How big? Well the largest, most expensive version has over 1 million samples, on 42 DVDs. For the cost of a small car (about $15,ooo AUD) you can have virtual versions of pretty much every single orchestral instrument ever made.  The funny thing is – compared to actually recording a real orchestra of top players, or event the cost of a single good violin, 15k is a bargain.

Obviously, meticulously sampling real musicians is an expensive business, but there are some much cheaper sample libraries out there, like the Miroslav Philharmonik collection. If you hunt around you can find it for 1% of the price of the VSL monster collection, and its definitely not 99% worse.

Before you go installing the lastest crazy find – please remember that some of these freeware plug-ins can be …unpredictable…and its worthwhile taking note of what you’ve installed,  so you can trash it later just in case.

Happy plug-in hunting!


Plug-ins. From the ridiculous to the ridiculously expensive…

At the workshop on the weekend I gave a quick overview of writing music with the inbuilt instruments in Pro Tools. We didn’t really have time to explore the world of 3rd party software, so I thought I’d post a few resources for RTAS and VST plug-ins.  These plug-ins are often cross-platform, mac or pc, and whatever program you are using to write music there will be something useful, or at least quirky and fun.

First up is kvraudio, the grandaddy of plug-in sites. Basically if a plug-in exists, then it is on KVR somewhere. This is my favorite place to find whacked out sound creating (and destroying) tools.  There is an unusually useful site search engine here, which can be tweeked to show only free or unreleased plug-ins. Because of this site I was inspired (or fooled) into setting myself the challenge of writing for a kids TV series using only weird and wonderful sounds. I failed of course – but glitch , nutseq, polyiblit and drumatic were the soundtrack to my life for a while.

Cheap and blippy is not to your taste? Fancy yourself as the next Stravinsky? Then have a listen to the ‘Rite of Spring’ made using the Vienna Symphonic Library. Believe it or not, this is entirely programmed on a bunch of fast computers, using the VSL’s enormous, gigantic, huge, monstrously expensive sample library.  How big? Well the largest, most expensive version has over 1 million samples, on 42 DVDs. For the cost of a small car (about $15,ooo AUD) you can have virtual versions of pretty much every single orchestral instrument ever made.  The funny thing is – compared to actually recording a real orchestra of top players, or event the cost of a single good violin, 15k is a bargain.

Obviously, meticulously sampling real musicians is an expensive business, but there are some much cheaper sample libraries out there, like the Miroslav Philharmonik collection. If you hunt around you can find it for 1% of the price of the VSL monster collection, and its definitely not 99% worse.

Before you go installing the lastest crazy find – please remember that some of these freeware plug-ins can be …unpredictable…and its worthwhile taking note of what you’ve installed,  so you can trash it later just in case.

Happy plug-in hunting!