Oscilloscope Works 


by Robin Fox. The oscilloscope is in ‘polar’ mode, so instead of scanning left to right, displaying the conventional ‘trace’ of the waveform, the trace orbits the screen.

Melbourne artist Robin Fox’s astounding work with the Cathode Ray Oscilloscope has developed to a point of almost incomprehensible complexity and beauty. For those familiar with Fox’s project, the great pleasure has been seeing it evolve over 2 years. However, at this late stage of development it’s hard not to envy the Auckland audience experiencing the work for the first time.

The technical basis is relatively simple: computer generated audio flows directly into an oscilloscope and the electricity excites a single light photon (a bright green dot) which moves frantically around a phosphorous screen.

American abstract filmmaker Mary Ellen Bute tried something similar in Abstronic (1954) (featured in ACMI’s recent White Noise exhibition), but where she played on her oscilloscope a charming number called Ranch House Party, Robin Fox blasts his machine full of scorching electronic frequencies and shards of fractured noise. He might also have dipped the oscilloscope in pure LSD, because on this occasion the “single light photon” embarks on an ‘innerspace’ trip so ecstatic it makes the climax of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey feel like an uneventful stroll to the corner store.


Source: Real Time



Digital culture is obsessed with synaesthesia, especially sound/image convergence. From club ‘visuals’ to automatic ‘visualiser’ plugins for mp3 applications, there’s an ideal of sensory fusion at work which draws on cyber/psychedelic rave culture, and utopian new media discourse.
Ideals aside, digital media forms do create new potential for varieties of ‘machine’ synaesthesia – automatic mappings between sound and image. Visualiser plugins offer specific and more-or-less arbitrary mappings of image to sound. While they can’t (promise to) induce a synaesthetic experience, they do offer a machine synaesthesia that might challenge, reorder, or at least reflect on, our own audiovisual perception. Yet most synaesthesia machines are little more than bolted-on nozzles that turn all your favourite tunes into generic visual sludge.
By contrast Robin Fox’s Backscatter disc presents a highly specific and refined synaesthesia machine. He has assembled a simple audiovisual synthesizer using simple digitally synthesised audio and an old analog oscilloscope. The oscilloscope is in ‘polar’ mode, so instead of scanning left to right, displaying the conventional ‘trace’ of the waveform, the trace orbits the screen. Waveforms create woven circles, loops, twisting spirals, filigreed knots.
Response is instantaneous, so the screen jumps and twitches in sync with Robin Fox’s audio signature skitters and blips. The sound-vision mapping is supple, the images beautiful and sometimes surprising. The pieces feel quite controlled, even composed, the way they seem to literally reveal new twists and tricks. Overall, the results are staggering. (Mitchell Whitelaw: Earbash)

Source: Real Time


Synchresis DVD is published by ANAT as part of its Embracing Sound [ES]
Program. Curated by Mitchell Whitelaw, authored by Peter Newman and cover
design by Daydream Graphics.

Synchresis is Michel Chion's term for the "spontaneous and irresistible
weld" between synchronised image and sound. This collection presents recent
Australian audiovisuals that fuse, splice, generate and cross-wire sound and
image into startling new wholes.


Source: ANAT



Oscilloscope Works, mittig, real time, flicker / strobe, Interactive


Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (1994) by French critic and composer Michel Chion reassesses audiovisual media since the revolutionary 1927 debut of recorded sound in cinema, shedding crucial light on the mutual relationship between sound and image in audiovisual perception. (Colombia University Press)



Christopher Salter (*1967) is a media artist, performance director and composer/ sound designer based in Montreal, Canada and Berlin, Germany. His artistic and research interests revolve around the development and production of real time, computationally-augmented responsive performance environments fusing space, sound, image, architectural material and sensor-based technologies. Chris Salter collaborated with Peter Sellars and William Forsythe and co-founded the collective Sponge, whose works stretched between artistic production, theoretical reflection and scientific research. Chris Salter’s performances, installations, research and publications have been presented at numerous festivals and conferences around the world. (TASML)

complex composition (2010) by Itaru Yasuda is a generative audiovisual concert piece updated every presentation. All sound and graphics are generated in real time by SuperCollider. (SuperCollider Symposium 2010)

Perceptio (2011) by PMP is an audiovisual concert that investigates the state of our perception towards pollution and climate change in a local context. Perceptio combines cinematics and generative art/ animation with sound and music that is a whole, inseparable from one another. Collecting sound and visual samples from various parts of Singapore, these field recordings are then harmoniously combined with computer generated visuals and sounds to create an immersive experience. (PMP)

Grid Index (2009) by Carsten Nicolai is the first comprehensive visual lexicon of patterns and grid systems. Based upon years of research, artist and musician Carsten Nicolai has discovered and unlocked the visual code for visual systems into a systematic equation of grids and patterns. The accompanying CD contains all of the grids and patterns featured in the publication from the simplest grids made up entirely of squares to the most complex irregular ones with infinitely unpredictable patterns of growth, as editable vector graphic data files. (Gestalten)

Golan Levin (*1972) is an American new media artist, composer, performer and engineer interested in developing artifacts and events which explore supple new modes of reactive expression. Golan Levin's work focuses on the design of systems for the creation, manipulation and performance of simultaneous image and sound, as part of a more general inquiry into the formal language of interactivity, and of nonverbal communications protocols in cybernetic systems. (Golan Levin)