Making art(‘ish) stuff with electronics.

So, I’ve gotten interested in electronics over the past couple of years, this has come about in part from my being surrounded by broken electronic gear whilst working as an art school audio-visual technician. Also in part from my experience in photography, and also in as much as I have developed a fascination with weird noise generators and flashy lights. I’m going to expand on this theme, but for right now, I’m only gonna discus it in passing.

I have headed more and more into an area where I am really interested in using electronics and computational devices as disruptive elements in art projects. Over the past couple of years I’ve made works ranging from geeky to ridiculous.

Picture a digital infrared shot I took on a (crap) 2mp camera and then printed out on a receipt printer to a scale of 4×6 meters, or a midi synth made up to look like old farm equipment to breed cattle breeding programs as sound files (that actually makes sense, I’ll cover it separately). I made a robot which spit coffee beans at people in an art gallery, and odd noise generators which were also hidden in galleries (think bird song, clunks, creaking noises and scrabbling sounds).

It’s not that I am moving away from what I have been doing so much as my interests are expanding. I’m also studying IT again, and I’m probably going to fail the course (again). The IT studies has allowed me to study microcontrollers and robotics (and to seriously piss off a couple of lecturers who think I’m taking the piss). While I do think that programming is useful, and I can do some really cool stuff with it, I’m not of the opinion that it’s any more than a tool.

So I have also started a youtube channel, in this endeavor I’m pretending to create a tech channel so as to lull normal people into a false sense of security before I start making buildings into musical instruments, or board games, or…

I digress.

In these videos I’m currently doing stuff on electronics design, audio, making PCB’s and stuff like that – right now I’m doing a series on 555 timer circuits. The one I’ve started with is this one…

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What this does is flash a light and make a metronomic clicking – the two happening in relation to each other, with the ratio being adjustable. The video I’m making right now (unfinished right now) takes the above and puts it onto a PCB, like so…

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In this version I’m using the PCB version of a breadboard (same track layout) and basically just looking at how the design changes. Next will be a point to point protoboard with headers for changing components, then a custom PCB, surface mount, manhattan, dead bug, and then probably a freeform art piece.

It’s really about different design methods rather than the circuit itself. Because I use different methods of constructing electronics depending on what I’m doing and how I feel I figured i’d do a series using a whole range and discussing the advantages or disadvantages of each.

That’s what I’m up to – more later.

 

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Nice n’ shiny, with thus far unmolested like and subscribe buttons 🙂

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Studio stuff.

My electronics/soldering space today. Ive been doing a timelapse of soldering a project together. 

Working on a cymatic synth. This mess needs to turn into a finished project in about three weeks…
No pressure.

Planes

How close you are to the glass makes a difference, its not just angle, your distance from the glass is what balances the exposures. 

Its multiple exposure photography, just you have to work it all out on the spot by moving your body 🙂

Simplicity

Despite the crazy complicated reflection photos I’m posting right now I really do have a thing for really simple images.

Trying to do too much with an image usually leads to a mess. On the other hand I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say that an image is too simple.

Chaff n’ wheat n’ pearls n’ swine n’ mixed metaphors n’ whatnot. AKA Editing

This isn’t really that attractive a topic to many people, but I really enjoy the process of editing. It could be because I have a gathering methodology of just wandering about and snaffling up whatever takes my fancy – I take a lot of really shite photos, every so often I stumble over a good one. Editing is also a bit like that, it’s an exploration.

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Ominous signpost with a crow – it’s a metaphor… Actually if you look carefully it’s a sign for the loo – must photoshop that some time.

So after a year or three I have some reason to go through a set of my files – So I’ll let you in on a little secret, I take a lot of different photos… No really, I shoot everything from Ultra large format through to micro formats, Digital, film, plastic cameras, infrared, scanners, I’d love to get my hands on a thermal camera. But in this case I’ll talk about mobile phone pics. I take a lot of these, it’s probably the camera type I use most often. I have a particular penchant for an app called Vignette – it’s a bit like having a holga in your pocket (I’m sure there’s a joke in that somewhere).

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It’s not always the ideal tool, but I pretty much always have my phone handy – the helicopter was shaking water off the cherries so as they could be picked and to stop the skins from splitting. Serious business. Cellphone shots of things in the distance often don’t work.

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Big things in the distance on the other hand. Havelock in the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand – it’s acceptably pretty I guess.

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Random Raptors.

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And things which probably only amuse me – I love this sign Smile

Anyhow – Editing…

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I’m aware that these are film…

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and I was talking about cellphones…

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and there’s no segue from cellphones to film, but this is where my methodology comes from. I like to see prints.

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And clunk, back to cellphones – those ‘contact sheets’ on the wall go round three walls by the way & and you can see a second select on the floor where I can walk around on them and kick them about into different patterns – I need to move things and see patterns.

I also use video for the same thing – I make a video from stills and play it at five frames a second – which is just enough for me to gain an impression, but not long enough to ‘look’. It’s interesting how peoples brains work – these methods will be great for a few people, but for many more people they will not work at all, each person is different – you have to try things till something resonates.

Through these methods of selecting, and kicking things around into different patterns I make selections and suchlike – it’s a process of exploration as much as elimination – the irony is that the stand alone images which I really like seldom make it through this stage, they might be nice images, but the don’t play nice with others.

One day I’ll find a use for this image… My favorite chippie in the west end of Brisbane. (Georges).

 

Fiddling

I’ve been playing a fair bit recently with different ideas and antique processes. In large part because I’ve no access to running water in my current studio space, thus my re-visiting physautotype. It’s a nice process for me in that it doesn’t require water at all, and it’s really not terribly sensitive to light (I also have no capacity to black out my space during the day, closing the curtains and working quickly is sufficient ).

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This was a bad pour, the imafe is from a lith negative I had lying about. It was very thin, it seems that physautotype likes thin negs.

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This is from my digital infrared series, I finally found an output from these files that I like.

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This was a test exposure, it gives you a decent idea of what the plate looks like without any special holder. There’s a lot of detail there when it’s displayed correctly.

So the next step is re-jigging my negatives to be a bit thinner, which should preserve the shadow detail.

I’ve also been playing with an idea about dageurrotypes.IMG_20160322_155900

This is as far as I’ve gotten, not so special really. But in this case I’m trying to use cheap silver plated flatware and I’m using iodophor steriliser with a wet treatment to create the sensitive plate, so even this level of success is pretty surprising.

It’s not something I expect to work out very quickly, but it is fairly cheap to do.