MEMO AKTEN

Simple Harmonic Motion #6

source: vimeo

First proof of concept / previz test for the next in series of Simple Harmonic Motion (for 20 performers).

The output is in two formats:

– a super widescreen high resolution film. (3ch HD video, 2ch stereo audio)
– a live performance with 20 performers

In this video you can see multiple instances of me, waving a glowing bottle. The instances of me is replaced by cloaked performers, stepping into and out of tight spotlight from above. The glowing bottle is replaced by a large bell, which chimes as it is swung, and lights up when it chimes.
Patterns, timings and sequence still WIP.
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source: memotv

Simple Harmonic Motion is an ongoing research and series of projects investigating complexity from simplicity; exploring the nature of complex patterns created from the interaction of simple multilayered rhythms. It is inspired by observations of natural physical and mathematical phenomena; as well as works by the likes of Norman Mclaren, John Whitney, Steve Reich, John Cage, Gyorgi Ligeti, Edgar Varèse, Brian Eno.

Simple Harmonic Motion #5:

The project is continually evolving and developing. It is presented in the form of a video and sound installation, with a planned live performance for 30 performers (SHM #7). Different iterations of the project exist as independent pieces which can be presented at different shapes and sizes.

Simple Harmonic Motion #6 Work In Progress:

Behind the different incarnations, at the heart of the project lies the concept of creating complexity from simplicity. Through the use of custom software, a number of ‘agents’ are created and assigned a simple behavior. Each follow an extremely simple repetitive pattern of movement and sound. On their own, each agent is relatively monotonous, basic and mechanical. The repetition duration, motion and sound of each agent is precisely tuned such that the collection of all agents moving together, creates a unique, evolving and complex composition – both visually and sonically.

The seed of inspiration comes from the motion of pendulums and other fundamental oscillatory phenomena which exhibit simple harmonic motion. The project extracts and amplifies these complex patterns, both through visual abstraction and emphasis; and also through sonifying the phenomena and creating musical patterns driven by the same equations that dictate the behaviour.

Our capability in recognising patterns sonically is very different to our capability in recognising patterns visually. On the whole (excluding exceptions), people tend to be more spatially sensitive with their visual perception, while they are more temporally sensitive with their aural perception. I.e. it is easier for most of us to estimate where and how far away something is by seeing it, as opposed to just hearing it. However we are sonically more temporally sensitive, both on a macro scale (e.g. it is easier for most of us to detect whether a pulse is exactly on a beat accurate to a few milliseconds by hearing a repetitive sound, compared to seeing a flashing image) and also on a micro scale (e.g. it is difficult for most of us to detect an exact doubling of frequency in light waves – i.e. hue shift; however an exact doubling of frequency in sound waves – i.e. an octave transpose – is relatively realistic for many humans to detect). By translating patterns between visual and sonic domains; and between spatial and temporal axes, we are able to recognize and realize interesting new relationships previously unnoticed.

By abstracting, emphasising and amplifying the beautiful complex patterns created from the interaction of simple harmonic motion at different frequencies, the project aims to share the enthusiasm, excitement and fascination I personally feel from such observations in nature and fundamental physical and mathematical phenomena. Ultimately hoping to encourage and inspire others to look at the world around them in more detail, with a more interrogatory approach; most importantly learning to find fascination in what they normally would not even have looked at; and even leading them to do more research along similar lines; hopefully in turn encouraging and inspiring others.
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source: memotv

Memo Akten is a visual artist, musician and engineer working at the intersection of art and science. His work covers a range of disciplines including installations, performances, films, music videos, online works and mobile applications. Driven by the urge to make the seemingly impossible, possible; and awaken our childlike instincts to explore and discover; he explores new ways of creating and performing images and sound. Playing at the border between abstract and figurative, he extracts and amplifies the unseen relationships within images, space, movement, sound and time. While his primary crafts include writing software, working with and appropriating new technologies; above all his work focuses on creating powerful emotional and evocative experiences.

He is on the selection committee of ACM SIGGraph, computational consultant on the Architectural Associations’ Design Research Lab and one of the core contributors to the openFrameworks project. A strong supporter of open-source and believer in the sharing of knowledge, he gives lectures and workshops around the world. In 2011 he co-founded Marshmallow Laser Feast; a collective of like-minded artists, designers, engineers.

His work has been exhibited and performed worldwide including Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Royal Festival Hall (London), Creators Project (New York, Sao Paulo, Beijing), Holon Museum (Tel Aviv), Garage Center for Contemporary Culture (Moscow), STRP Biennale (Eindhoven), The Roundhouse (London), National Media Museum (Bradford), Sydney Biennale, File Festival (Sao Paulo, Rio), Aldeburgh Music Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival and more (see http://www.memo.tv/category/dates/ for full details).

Memo was born and grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. Fascinated by the hacker demo-scene of the 1980s, he started programming music & graphics demos at an early age on the 8-bit computers of the era. In 1997, after completing a BSc in Civil Engineering, he moved to London where he worked in the video games industry as an artist, designer and programmer. Leaving the video games industry in 2003 to pursue more emotional experiences, he now balances his time between personal work, collaborations, research and commissions.