Tag Archives: Resident

Meet Kaitlyn Plyley

We had a tough time choosing Hack Residents this time around. We ended up picking not one, but three, so you can only imagine how amazing each of them must be. The first introduction we need to make is to poet, writer, and storyteller, Kaitlyn Plyley. Everyone, meet Kaitlyn.

What was your role before you came to The Edge? And before that? And before that?
I like to group everything I do under “freelance creative work” (AKA “where’s my next pay coming from, aargh”) but I suppose my main role before I came to The Edge was “Artist in Creative Development” at Metro Arts. I’m a poet and I teach storytelling workshops for Yarn: Stories Spun in Brisbane. I’ve done a bunch of different jobs, including boarding house assistant and student magazine editor. When I first moved to Brisbane I was selling gummy bears while wearing canary-yellow overalls (I have destroyed all the photos).

Have you ever lived overseas? What were you doing?
When I was nineteen, I spent seven months travelling around the world. For a good part of that trip I worked as a lifeguard on a Jewish summer camp in Massachussetts. I got a deep tan and learned the Motzi off by heart. I also worked as a film intern in Colorado; in exchange, the film company let me live in their attic. It was pretty great, except for the ghosts.

I lived in London for a semester abroad while I was at university, which was one of the best things I’ve ever done. After the semester finished, I couch-surfed around Europe until my student visa ran out. Sometimes, when I’m at home in my poorly-ventilated Queenslander and very bored, I remember that I once ice-skated across a frozen lake in Holland; it reminds me what a lucky life I’m leading.

Do you have a piece of advice or a motto that helps you make decisions in life?
The motto that is currently helping me get past my perfectionist tendencies is “done is better than good”. I just try to get things done. When I’m making decisions about which path to take in life, I ask myself, “Would this make a good story?” It’s a pretty helpful decision-making tool, but does mean you sometimes end up sleeping in haunted attics.

Do you have any hobbies or interests? Collections? Unusual ways you like to spend a Thursday evening?
On Sunday afternoons, I co-host a feminist radio show on 4ZZZfm called Megaherzzz. I’m quite interested in feminism, particularly of the fourth-wave, intersectional kind. I love being on the show and take our work quite seriously, but I guess you could say my hobby is to work in as many puns as possible on-air. Also, on my first episode as co-host, I just kept saying the word “butt” to see what I could get away with. So far they’ve found my feeble antics to be mildly entertaining. I hope.

When you open your web browser what are the first three tabs you open up?
Facebook, Gmail, Twitter. Yeah, I’m a social media junkie. I started my Twitter account when I was an Ambassador for National Young Writers’ Month, without any clue or interest in the platform. That was three years ago, and now I’m on Twitter, er, quite a lot. The other day I had my publicist friend, who has a Master’s in social media marketing and works exclusively in that sector, say, “Wow, you spend a lot of time on Twitter”. That was worrying.

Are you in the habit of keeping strange pets?
I rent, so it’s difficult to keep pets, but I do try to adopt the pets of neighbours. Yesterday I held a three-month-old Alsatian puppy in my arms. It was bliss.

Smartphone or snail mail? Either way, any favourite stamps or favourite apps?
I don’t see why we need to choose between smartphones and snail mail – it’s all excellent. I’m a rabid communicator and will use every medium at my disposal. Except Snapchat – that is just ridiculous.

In my spare time I like to watch YouTube interviews with Jennifer Lawrence. I would like to be her best friend one day. I don’t know what my endgame is here; maybe I think, if I watch every public appearance she’s ever made, this will help me befriend her? That is not how I made any of my current friends, but this is a thing that goes beyond logic.

If you were to give me $10 I would spend it on music downloads. That’s right, I still pay for downloads. I’m one of the few remaining idiots. And it’s not just because I enjoy the moral high-ground – I also don’t know how to torrent.

If you were to give me $1000 I would spend it on contact lenses. It’s not that I don’t love my glasses – I do. But you can’t wear frames when you’re snorkelling and I’m really tired of blurry fish.

Mac or PC? Mac. Is this even a question? (I didn’t type that last part; my MacBook has an ‘autofill’ function. I must also type that I heartily endorse Apple and all its products. Damn! I don’t know how to stop this.)

Dog or cat? I adore cats but have found them more likely to attack me, so I prefer dogs. It’s easier to spot an angry dog and avoid it. Cats, on the other hand, are like the Volturi of domestic pets: they seem all civilised and well-spoken, and then they’re ripping your throat out.

Anything else you want to share? After seeing one of my poetry slams, ‘80s music legend Kamahl once told me I was “very good”.

Sound Extrusions: Interview – Power of the Sound with Michal Rataj


After the Second Nature event at The Edge with Hans Tammen, I would like to follow up with an interview exploring acousmatic music.

Michal Rataj is a Czech music composer who steps out of traditional composing and experiments with sound and music composition on his own terms. Multi-channel installations, acousmatic music or orchestral music with realtime signal processing techniques in MAX/MSP are just a few areas he’s currently working on. We met at the music academy located in the Lesser Town, one of the central parts of Prague famous for its picturesque baroque architecture. Besides talking about technical nuances of his projects, another topic, central to Michael’s work, emerged as well: the power of sound.

Can you introduce us to your current project?

The most recent project is called Spacialis (2013) and involves live electronics and classical music ensemble. The space is amplified by an 8-channel audio setup and it becomes a music instrument of its own. The classical music ensemble instruments are processed live in MAX/MSP and they act as a sound source, contributing to the new music instrument, which is the space amplified by the audio processing. It was commissioned by Prague-based orchestra, Berg. I did also some final arrangements at CNMAT, UC Berkeley, California.

Have you always worked with classical orchestras?

Not always, of course, on the contrary. Usually it is the case that the acousmatic music makes you deal with the sound on its own as well as the classical composition techniques. My latest album called Spectral Shapes (2012) was all about the soundscapes of music instruments and live electronics. Also I have done various field recordings. For example I was recording old non-functional organs in abandoned churches. My latest composition called Small Imprints (2013) for Esther Lamneck, is actually a piece for clarinet and live electronics.

What’s the connection between the club electronic music and classical composition? I have gone through the book The Rest is Noise, which you have been editing for the recent Czech edition, and I have noticed surprising direct connections there.

The origin of electronic music experiments can be traced back to music concrète, there were lots of experiments in this field before it entered the pop culture domain.

What would be the contemporary examples of music composers using electronics and classical composition?

For example Philippe Leroux or Jasper Nordin, who is well known composer and author of the great Gestrument application. Gestrument allows for free improvisations in specified scales and rhythms, while using your favourite mobile device.

Could you explain what exactly the acousmatic music and multi-channel audio is about?

Acousmatic music traces back to the Pythagoras, the classic story goes that Pythagoras didn’t want to distract his pupils and was teaching them from behind a screen. The same approach comes from musique concrète, while acousmatic music defines the actual music performance as direct experience of listening to sound. From there, it’s just a small step to multichannel audio setups, which take the sound experience even further.

How to do you treat the compositions in space?

I usually use live spatial distribution controllers. It can be a Wii game controller for example. The spacial attribute becomes an expression on its own in the end. The multichannel sound creates the powerful images in sound.

How would you compare the multichannel and surround sound?

Surround sound is the term usually connected with cinematic sound. It’s more about creating narrative structures, but very few people can work creatively in that environment. Multichannel sound refers more to experimental music and wide verity of sound diffusion concepts, while establishing creative connection between music and specific spatial conditions. Space becomes an instrument itself – that’s the important difference from the so called “surround sound”, which works more as a technological tool.

Thank you Michael for your time!


Introducing Hans Tammen (Harvestworks, NYC)

Hans Tammen, Endangered Guitar

Hans Tammen, Endangered Guitar

In the lead up to the Second Nature talk in early December let me introduce you to Hans Tammen form New York. He will be presenting his project Endangered Guitar and of course his home-base in New York, the Harvestworks, where he acts as deputy director and sound artist. We will do a Skype session with him and also we will listen to showcase of his work on quadro audio setup. I have asked Hans few questions in an online interview to create a short teaser for the event!

Could you introduce us to Harvestworks in NYC?
We were founded in 1977, as a non-profit organisation, helping composers of electronic music. In those times you needed to have a lot of cash to buy a synthesizer, so having an organization buying equipment and renting it out for $3/hr was a great idea. That spirit is still alive at Harvestworks today – we help artists create their artwork. However, today we focus on programming for interactive applications.

Is there a way for Australian artists or any other international artists to get involved with Harvestworks?
We’re open to anyone, and we had numerous Australian artists in the past working on their projects at Harvestworks, or studying in our Certificate Program. We often helped with recommendation letters to acquire funding.

How would you describe your project “Endangered Guitar” (before we will have the chance to hear part of it at The Edge at Second Nature)?
It’s basically the “interactive guitar”. I don’t see “electronics” as a mere effect, I see it as a class of instruments next to string, percussion or other instrument classes. As such, I like when it is an independent voice in the context of the music, not just some icing on the cake. The guitar is the sound source, but the sounds are heavily processed and altered, creating a different sonic universe.

And it’s interactive, which means the processing is controlled by my guitar playing, in a way that the information from the audio analysis is driving the software routines. I also programmed some “freedom” into the way the algorithms behave, so that I’m often playing “with” the instrument, not “the” instrument.

Have any other exciting artistic projects caught your eye lately?
Interesting question. Probably the easiest is to remember what excited me most, when I saw other people at festivals and concerts. There was Elektro Guzzi from Austria, who play Techno with guitar/bass/drums, and bring a great improvisatory spirit to that music. There was the Nick Bärtsch Ensemble from Switzerland, who show what you can do in Jazz when you apply minimalist strategies – together with the total absence of the show-off solos that are so common in certain music styles it had a degree of subtlety you rarely find in any music. Then Kruzenstern y Parochod, a band from Israel that combined Klezmer and Punk in a great way. Ah!

What’s the best thing about being based in NYC and being able to surf on the multicultural mix of the Big Apple?
You have access to musicians, who are equally great across a wide range of genres and styles, can sight-read like crazy AND are amazing improvisers. And since they all have created or participated in all kinds of odd concepts, nobody says to you “you can’t do that” when you come up with a new idea. Plus, you pay the highest prices for the worst health care in the industrialized countries. Oh, I forgot, most of my musician friends do not have health care anyway.

To hear more from Hans join us on 6 December for the free Second Nature talk.

Sound Extrusions: The Ambisonic Engine



Let’s explore the heart of spatial sound distribution! Before we go on through another interview in the next blog post (and this one will be focused on sound installations with Czech hardware wizard Milan Gustar), let’s have a close look at Ambisonic Engine, which can be run in MAX/MSP. Some of the inspiration in this article will be discussed in the following interview as well.

Ambisonic is a spatial audio representation system developed by Michael Gerzon in the late 70’s. It’s often used in experimental and electro-acoustic music and offers a creative alternative to cinematic surround distribution systems. One of its advantages is it uses only four channels for spacial sound representation (and includes the height dimension of the sound source). This is a big difference compared to regular surround systems 5.1 or 7.1, which are using 6 or 8 audio channel respectively (including the subwoofer submix channel).

Within the Ambisonic world itself, the most used format is called B-Format (.amb format), which is the so called first-order Ambisonic. The soundfield is encoded into four channels in the encode-decode Ambisonic section. The main difference from conventional 5.1 or any other surround setup is, that Ambisonic engine creates virtual sound sources moving in spherical space. This means you can change the number of speakers any time, because it all comes down to representation of sound in spherical space and not within defined sound channels itself as in surround setups.

Ambisonic monitor

Ambisonic monitor

Dedicated soundfiled microphones (SFM) have been around since 70’s. But don’t be mistaken, Ambisonic is also ready for creative use, not just for dealing with captured authentic soundfield recordings or cinematic sound only. And that’s the way I use Ambisonic in my Sound Extrusions project. Basically you can take mono signal sources and position them in space – anywhere! 🙂 The position can be set or dynamically controlled by your own code in MAX. Once you define the speaker positions, the sound sources can be placed where desired. The Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology in Zurich offers MAX/MSP Ambisonic externals for download.

There’s also a great online SOS article You Are Surrounded explaining all the details of Ambisonic engine and its advantages over surround systems and why it didn’t make into commercial success at the time, when it originated.

Just to tease you for the next blog post, we will be discussing with Milan Gustar new DOLBY Atmos sound system under current development, which is also platform independent as the Ambisonic engine.

Connect Everything! (Introduction to MAX/MSP)

Record Player

It’s time to think about the programming bit of the Sound Extrusions project — that will be the other quite adventurous part of the whole project! While I’m away for some weeks to Europe, during great late summer time in Moravia, with all sorts of fruits and berries getting ripe in front of your eyes for later local brandy production … anyway, I’m diving into the programming part right now! The code will create the sound installation behaviour and online data interaction behind the visible porcelain speakers which were discussed previously. Let’s leave the plaster moulds drying out in The Edge basement for now and let’s have a look at the possible solutions of how to put a multichannel audio installation together. The first tool of choice nowadays will be the MAX/MSP or alternatively Pure Data (called Pd) environment.

It’s not so long ago when such a sound installation project would have to be hard-wired and made of specifically designed hardware parts and sound cards. I will discuss this approach with Milan Gustar from Music Academy in Prague soon as he’s one of the very experienced hardware wizards. Also I would like to take advantage of my trip to Europe and introduce a couple of exciting sound artists, using the MAX/MSP environment from the Czech Republic, to The Edge community as well. That’s one more reason to follow up some of the next posts! 🙂

MAX/MSP and Pd environment both originated with research into signal processing by Miller S. Puckette at IRCAM in the late 80s (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique in Paris, which is worth checking out anyway). MAX/MSP was developed into a commercial package later on by a San Francisco based software company called Cycling ’74, founded by David Zicarelli. Recent development saw MAX/MSP (MSP stands for Max Signal Processing) evolving into Max For Live — you guessed right, it became part of the Live Ableton Suite package. This incredibly creative mix of technologies becomes a very cool tool for sound and music production, with heaps of Max For Live effects and instrument presets available right now!

To find out, how such an environment can become a  creative trademark or even change the way we think about music making, please check out some great interviews at the Cycling ’74 website. There’s one interview with Matthew Ostrowski, who’s introducing his interactive sample based live performance technique with a glove controller, while the the second is with Damian Taylor (sound engineer of Bjőrk), who uses MAX/MSP for live stage applications and innovative composition techniques.

We still haven’t mentioned how such an environment works — the whole idea is to use objects in an easy-to-set-up graphic interface, which deliver realtime signal processing. In other words this is incredibly exciting, and a huge leap in instrument development and music performance alone. This approach of connecting specific objects is generally called visual programming (the objects are written in C programming language under the hood, but we are reconnecting them with audio and message virtual cables, so don’t stress out!). The most important objects, and the ones which make you understand how to use MAX/MSP anyway, are the basic objects connecting you to the sound card input and output (adc~ and dac~; the tilde “~” character denotes objects working with audio signals). The important thing is to make a difference between an audio signal connection and a “bang” trigger path, which helps to create specific logic in the code and sends messages instead.

How to structure such an application and how to treat a multichannel setup in MAX/MSP will be covered in some other posts to come, but for now… Thanks for reading!

Sound Extrusions: Porcelain Reloaded

Plaster molds for the porcelain speakers

Plaster molds for the porcelain speakers
Plaster molds for the porcelain speakers

The “hero shot” in this post (above) is a picture of clay models of the porcelain shapes. They were used to create actual plaster moulds. This is one of the first steps towards the final porcelain speaker shells  the main features of the project. The idea behind creating a porcelain object is very straight forward: once we finish a model in clay, we are ready to cast a plaster mould and use it as a negative shape for later porcelain slip casting. This is the most common approach. The beauty of plaster mould is in the fact that we can replicate the objects many times afterwards (3D printing is also pretty good in that regard, as we saw in the last post!), and that we are able to refine our object to finer detail while editing the plaster mould too. But the biggest advantage compared to a direct modelling approach, is the far greater chance of fault free product in the end, thanks to the process of slip casting.

The intriguing story of the Meissen porcelain manufacture workshop, from the beginning of 18th Century, was covered in one of the previous posts. It gave us an unusual introduction to this exciting material. But let’s leave the mystery of European manufacturing behind us for now, and let’s have a look at the process of porcelain making itself!

Making plaster moulds is in fact an art in itself. The reason for this claim is that complicated shapes require plaster moulds to be “assembled” out of many interlocking pieces. The reason for that is that you have to be able to take the mould apart once the object is casted. The only way to achieve this is to divide the clay model into virtual plains and cast the mould step by step, creating separate interlocking pieces as you go. Even some of the finest porcelain makers and designers leave this process to experienced mould makers.

Another step in the production is the magic of porcelain slip casting — in fact it’s fairly simple, but you wouldn’t know unless you knew what to ask for! By pouring liquid porcelain into the plaster mould we create the porcelain slip. But the real secret is in the plaster itself — more specifically, in the porosity of the material. Plaster in fact, is made of a maze of little tunnels and microscopic cavities, which are ready to absorb water. And here the magic starts. By pouring the liquid porcelain into plaster mould, the water in the porcelain gets absorbed into plaster and we are left with thin sediment crust. (Yes, this is already your favorite translucent coffee cup with a dragon!) After a few minutes we are left with a few millimetres thickness of porcelain wall. The rest of the liquid is poured away and the casted slip starts to shrink and pops easily out of the mould.

Sounds simple, but we are not done yet! The secrets of kiln and glaze firing are the most intriguing and guarded secrets. Porcelain firing temperatures reach up to 1280C, while the whole process is divided into two steps — the bisque firing (makes the whole object hard and reveals any material impurities like micro-cracks — oh no!) and the final glaze firing, which gives the porcelain body the glass like qualities and creates the sleek look of the porcelain objects.

In such a short introduction to the material, there was already lots of information. But let’s have a look, for a change, at how the old fashion decorative porcelain concept turns into a challenging adventure in contemporary design!


There’s one more “detail” to porcelain production. While watching a short documentary on Bugatti Veyron L’Or Blanc and the use of unusual porcelain interior decorations, be aware, that porcelain shrinks by 14-16% throughout the whole production. In other words, matching precisely crafted interior car parts with porcelain custom shapes must have been an adventure of its own!

Sound Extrusions: Interview – 3D Printing, Prototyping & Muffins with Mick Byrne

I have come across another obstacle in the proposed porcelain speaker design recently — how to actually attach an inductive speaker onto the interior surface of the proposed porcelain shape … Mick Byrne from The Edge came up with a great idea to use a 3D printer at The Edge to do the job. We found out that it probably won’t print the final piece for the installation (it’s quite fragile and wouldn’t hold the weight properly), but it would be great for making a prototype and help with latex mould creation for later resin casting of the part itself!

After the bold introduction to porcelain making in the last blog post, here’s another topic, yet again very much connected with object design and modelling. This technique, completely new to the creative tool box, is based on recreation of digital models through printing, using various materials.

I have caught up with Mick Byrne for a short interview on 3D printing, just to give you a quick glimpse into this new emerging creative hi-tech universe, mixing computer graphics and design into one. Thank you Mick, for also sharing with us a great document covering the sintering experiment by Markus Kayse. Powered by the sun and using sand as printing material in the Sahara desert, it looks like a great adventure!

How far away are we from printing our muffins for breakfast in the morning, Mick?

In fact the technology is already out there, it just wouldn’t make sense to do it money-wise I would say!

Being in Australia right now makes me think about printing even surfboards on demand!

Yeah, you are right, the scale of 3D printers changed quite a lot recently. There are already some building companies using it for computer controlled injection of materials  which is pretty much the same thing as a filament printing process we do use here at The Edge.

It feels somehow, that 3D printing has a bit too much hype  being this new and seductive an element is an almost fetish approach to technology, don’t you think?!

I would say it’s more about narrowing the technology divide and allowing pretty much everybody to try it out. Not just the big companies with research parks behind them. In a way it’s democratizing the creative industry right now (on-line jewellery boutique shops, etc.). It’s a bit similar to what happened in the movie production some years ago.

This brings me to a tricky question, which has arisen quite recently  the publication of a 3D printed gun on the internet. What’s your point of view on that?

It’s not a real issue from my point of view. It was just a single use gun. It still has to be loaded with regular and controlled ammunition anyway …

Anyway, what is the most intriguing object you have come across concerning 3D printing?

It’s actually a sintering machine powered only by solar heat using mirrors and lenses. That is quite cool!

What’s the sintering process anyway? We have been talking about filament printing, which makes use of liquefied plastic cords what’s the difference then?

It’s a very different printing process: consecutively laid layers of powder on top of each other (which could be anything from plastic to titanium!) are heated in a very precise way with a laser to form the object. The beauty in that is that each layer of the actual powder adds a supportive structure to the originating element. In the end you just blow off the dust & away you go!

Is it very different to traditional production methods, such as mould casting or block subtractive manufacturing?

Sure, big time! You are able to build quite complex even interlocking structures, which are not possible to achieve with traditional industrial design approaches.

What are the current trends in 3D printing?

I know about amazing medical applications  basically you would print a shape of an organ, as an ear for example, out of cellulose. Then you “invite” the cells to grow onto it to form the actual organ, great idea!

Let’s finish off the interview with connection to my actual Sound Extrusion project! What are the workflow ideas in this case for me?!

It’s pretty straight forward  first of all you have to clean your model (we use Tinker CAD, but any other 3D or CAD software will do), export it to 3D printer and print the prototype. The next step would be to cover the printed object in a release agent (to prevent it from sticking to the actual mould) and use a two part latex putty to create a casting mould. Then you can use regular resin to produce the object for real life use.

Thank you Mick, for your time and the workflow ideas!

solar sinster video
Markus Kayser – Solar Sinter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo

Sound Extrusions: Oh Deer! (Introduction to Porcelain)

Porcelain ceramic casting workshop in Brisbane sound experimental ceramic speakers

Porcelain Casting Workshop Brisbane

In the last blog post we went through the overall idea of the Sound Extrusions project at The Edge. Before we dive deeper into some of the more technical issues, such as MAX/MSP programming, this post is dedicated to the introduction of porcelain as an exciting material to work with. All the visible parts inspired by the organic shape of avocados and beans — the actual individual components you saw in the visualisation in the last post — will be casted in porcelain.

Anyway, how cool is that? Crafting your own porcelain shapes! But it wasn’t always as easy as that… European porcelain is a fairly young phenomenon, emerging as late as the beginning of the 18th Century in Meissen, Germany. Before that, porcelain was solely imported from China and bought by European aristocracy at the weight price of gold at times. This is the reason why the creation of porcelain was such sought after technology. The Chinese had long known the secret to making porcelain, with modern style porcelain emerging around the 12th century, thanks to a specific mix of clay readily available in China. The actual research in Europe into recreating white translucent Chinese porcelain would have been a high-tech, top secret enterprise back in 1708 (just like The Edge today!), and only few people would have known about it.

The later Meissen porcelain production was in a self contained workshop with very strict regulations from 1710, when a team lead by Johann Friedrich Böttger made the final discovery. The second wave of porcelain making in Europe started only after a few workshop members “exported” the very secret knowledge to Vienna and started to operate their own businesses.

There’s one irony in the whole search for the real porcelain in Europe — one of the main porcelain material components, the kaolin clay, was always at the fingertips of the aristocracy who were importing the pottery from China at extraordinary prices. And I mean literally — kaolin was mostly used as a facial perfecting white powder back then, in the pale make-up of aristocratic beauties, who were sipping hot drinks from expensive Chinese porcelain — imagine that!

Besides kaolin clay, the other main component is silica. That’s why after the firing, porcelain is closer in consistency to glass than to regular pottery, the most sought after feature being the translucency in the thin walls or edges. This attribute is explored in contemporary design as well — taking the technology to its limits from translucent coffee cups to innovative variations on lamp shades for example. Porcelain is also an inert and very dense material, which makes it ideal to work with sound as well. This feature hasn’t been explored to any greater extent yet and that’s also one of the surprise elements in the Sound Extrusions project at The Edge — the porcelain and sound interaction project feature!

Please stay tuned for other posts to come. The announced interview with Mick on 3D printing is ready as well (Thanks Mick!), but we’ll probably cover the actual porcelain production process next — let’s see how we go anyway. The good news is that porcelain is not a top secret, guarded behind the medieval walls of Meissen any more! We’ll get into an introduction of clay modelling, plaster casting & porcelain slip casting later. Maybe we’ll get even into the process where the porcelain magic actually happens — the kiln firing and glazing. Let the porcelain deer be with you!

Sound Extrusions: Let’s Get Started!

Let me introduce you to the sound residency project at the Edge — the project is called Sound Extrusions and is about creating organic and living sonic elements within The Edge itself. What does this mean? Basically it’s a multichannel sound installation with custom made porcelain speakers. Once it’s up and running it will deliver natural ambient sounds. The actual sounds will be synced to selected natural phenomena through realtime online data flow. We will dive into the details shortly and I will take you through the creative and assembly process in the blog posts to follow. Expect an exciting trip, so please buckle up!

As for the start, expect blog posts in three diverse fields such as: porcelain design, sound design & music technology. There’s also a plan to throw in a workshop on multichannel audio installation setups featuring online lecture entry with Hans Tammen from HarvestWorks in NYC, later on.

In the porcelain design posts I will introduce you to the basic workflow techniques used in ceramic production, namely porcelain. The porcelain slips will be the main visible part of the installation and they will be fitted with solid drive speakers. The sound design and music technology posts will cover a wide range of topics, from sound design concepts to MAX/MSP programming, along with sound & technical issues emerging during the production process of the installation. I would like to get a few interviews done as well, to introduce to you some great artists and musicians you might not have heard about before!

There could also be other themes emerging, for example the use of 3D printing. I have asked Mick from the Edge to do a short introductory text on 3D printing with me already, as we found 3D printing handy for quick prototyping last week.

Stay tuned and the next blog post is going to be dedicated to basic workflow techniques in ceramic production!

Meet our new Sound Resident, Daniel Bartos


Daniel Bartos is our new Sound resident. He’s arrived here in Brisbane from the Czech Republic (via Central America and Arnhem land) to complete his PhD in multimedia. On the side he will be joining us for six months to build and install Sound Extrusions, an organic sonic project combining porcelain crafting with sound design. We sat down for a chat to get to know Daniel a little better.

Can you give us a little glimpse into your background and where you inspiration comes from?

My current focus is on live electronic music blended with an electro-acoustic music. I was originally inspired by the electronic music from the end of 90’s; the new and emerging sounds of Bjork, The Prodigy and even Jimi Hendrix. From there a music technology course in London familiarised me with guitar pedals and tape echo machine building. I then learned C++ programing, and began to create virtual instruments such as a sitar sound string generator based on Karplus-Strong algorithm.  After a while I needed to switch from computers to totally physical music instrument and the Australian didjeridoo came as a natural choice for me. If you look at this instrument, it’s basically an incredible breath controlled synthesizer – playing it is also very addictive!

That was the first time I came to Australia, to see it for myself. My trip to Arnhem Land is another story on its own, but I came full circle few years ago when I started thinking about blending the MAX/MSP environment with my acoustic playing. I got into live electronic music, got inspired by multichannel setups and also had the idea to develop new instruments using porcelain material. From there it’s only a little step from contemplating multichannel installations and using porcelain in the process.

How long will you be at The Edge and what will you be doing?

The Sound Residency with The Edge gives me an incredible six months to work on the installation proposal. It’s pretty much a dream coming true! I have always wanted to be part of such a crazy and creative space with arty and hi-tech flavor. My residency proposal involves sound installation working with set of porcelain design speakers and real-time data sonification patch in MAX/MSP. It’s called Sound Extrusions and it’s basically about creating organic and living sonic element within the realm of the Edge community through visually appealing porcelain installation.

What was your role before you came to The Edge? And before that? And before that?

I’ve always done the things which inspired me, be it five months of private research into yidaki in Arnhem Land or exploring surfing in Central America. I have sound programing and CGI background – there was also a pretty cool job I had in Prague some time ago, that was being part of a digitalization team of Prague’s 18th century paper Langweil model. Another cool job? Probably watching out for satellites, while doing conservation job around North East Arnhem Land! Besides that I’m part of Griffith University as an PhD exchange student here in Brisbane at the moment, in a multimedia collaboration with FAMU (Film School in Prague).

In my spare time I like to… go surfing or cassowary tracking in Northern Queensland. I wouldn’t dare to bother those birds, no worries!

My favourite food is…European style fried potato pancakes, avocados – or sushi with lots of wasabi, of course! I made up new special dish lately: french crapes with avocado and honey (that’s a Brazilian influence, I heard about mixing avos with sugar so I had to give it a go!)

If you were to give me $10 I would spend it on… CD from a street musician… or some unknown tropical fruit from the West End markets!

If you were to give me $1000 I would spend it on… Probably on a sailboat trip to the Pacific islands, while recording the trip on underwater mics… 🙂