Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘remix’

09 DECEMBER, 2010

Dust Serenade: Interactive MIT Installation Honors Sound Science Pioneer

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In the latter part of the 1800s, German physicist August Kundt devised an ingenious experiment that allowed him to measure the speed of sound in different gases by visualizing its longitudinal waves through fine lycopodium dust — an idea inspired by another German physicist, Ernst Chladni, who in the late 1700s famously visualized sound in solid materials in his seminal sand figures. (Because, as we’ve learned, all creativity builds on what came before.)

This year, a duo of MIT students, Dietmar Offenhuber and Orkan Telhan, and Austrian sound artist Markus Decker teamed up to reenact Kundt’s acoustic experiment in Dust Serenade — an interactive installation consisting of tubes filled with scraps of words and letters — “cut-up theory,” a play on the empirical bravery that made Kandt revolutionary in an era of theoretical inquiry — which turn into figures of dust as sound waves touch them. Viewers can manipulate the frequency of the sound by swiveling a rod to create different sound harmonies, which in turn reconfigure the text in different ways.

‘Dust Serenade’ intends to remind us the materiality of sound. We invite visitors to rethink about the tension between their theoretical knowledge and the sensory experience.”

The project was funded by MIT’s Council for the Arts and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture. It is currently on exhibition at the rather wonderful MIT Museum until December 24 — do stop by if you get a chance.

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07 DECEMBER, 2010

A Creative Commons Christmas Carol

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We’ve examined the absurdities of copyright law on multiple occasions. But hardly anywhere are these more apparent than when it comes to music licensing. (Did you know that every time “Happy Birthday,” the world’s most popular song, is sung in a film, TV show or commercial, someone paid a fee and the song brings AOL Time Warner about $2 million in royalties annually?)

When trying to find holiday songs for their upcoming web series, Scotty Iseri and Matthew Latkiewicz got a first-hand taste for said absurdities. So, to illustrate how copyright law is nipping at the holiday spirit, they rallied some of remix culture‘s greatest advocates — CreativeCommons founder Lawrence Lessig, netcaster Leo Laporte, copyright liberalization crusader Cory Doctorow, Dick DeBartolo (known as Mad‘s maddest writer), Rocketboom’s Zadi Diaz, Wired founder Kevin Kelly, and Mark Frauenfelder of MAKE and BoingBoing fame — to write and record a CreativeCommons Christmas Carol. And it’s just as priceless as you’d expect:

For more on copyright law and remix culture, don’t miss Walking on Eggshells: Borrowing Culture in the Remix Age — the wonderful free documentary from Yale Law & Technology. Meanwhile, please consider putting CreativeCommons on your holiday giving list and support one of the most important movements of our time with a donation.

HT @cheloreilly

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01 DECEMBER, 2010

The Secret of Happiness: A TED Remix

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I recently had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project fame, who inspired me to excavate an old pet project of mine featured here a few years ago: An exploratory story of what happiness is, told in TED soundbites and kinetic typography — a true labor of love that took three weeks to compose, audio-edit and animate. Enjoy!

Speakers, in order of appearance:

For a complementary read, see these 7 essential books on the art and science of happiness.

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