Projects and Performances

January, vignette for Who is Bruce Kaufman?, March 1st, 2019

January screenshot
Based on the poem January by Sadiqa Khan, this is part of a larger film about a thriving community of poets in the Kingston Area called Who is Bruce Kaufman?. The 5 minute vignette features audio responsive visuals of a limestone wall transforming into a series of images. The poem was read by Sadiqa herself and recorded by Matt Rogalsky. The music featured various winter field recordings as well as sounds from the 88 Years Tone Generator. It was produced for Skeleton Park Arts Festival as part of the Kingston Canadian Film Festival. The film will be on tour throughout 2019.

Visitations and Revisitations, Matt Rogalsky and friends, October 14, 2018

Visuals were presented for a series of four pieces by Matt Rogalsky from his Visitations and Revisitations body of work. The visuals for the performance featured a number of new algorithms including a circular presentation of audio waveforms as well as flowers based on primitive shapes, such as the "octoflower" featured at left. These algorithms were discussed as part of a panel by Art the Science in collaboration with ArtSci Salon called Paint to Programming, which was several weeks later at the Fields Institute in Toronto.

Solstice Festival, Summer Solstice, June 24th-25th, 2017 and 2018

Our projection mapping software made an all night appearance at the Solstice Festival north of Toronto in June 2017 and then again in June 2018. As one of the festival organizers astutely pointed out: if you are going to perform all night, the summer solstice is a good choice. The sun set late and rose early. The second year featured two disks in addition to the triangles, providing an opportunity to map curved objects.

Electric Circuits, Visuals, April 7th, 2017

Our projection mapping and audio visualization software was used to map 138 vertical slats of wood at the Rehearsal Hall of the Isabel Bader Centre of Performing Arts in Kingston. Each vertical bar worked out to be 6px wide after it was mapped from across the hall. From there the vertical orientation of the bars were used to visualize various FFT algorithms using room audio from the Electric Circuits performers.
HTML5 Projection mapping

Projection mapping of the vertical wooden bars of the Rehearsal Hall at the Isabel Bader

HTML5 Projection mapping

Screen capture of the final map used to project onto the Rehearsal Hall.

The Fences, piano remix, June 4 - 6, 2015

the Fences album cover
This is a piano remix of a track by the Fences, a recording project conceptualized by mental health crisis workers Chris Trimmer and Richard Tyo, who each hold a deep interest in the relation of music to mental health. In this project, they worked with members of their community to write songs about what it feels like to be someone society considers to be suffering from mental illness. Two of these songs were professionally recorded: Emotional Alchemy, and Beyond the Fence, the latter of which is remixed here as a piano edit. Thanks to Zane from NOP studios for the use of his upright piano, tuned by coincidence that very morning. All other sounds sourced from the original recording.

Let us go then, you and I..., Projection Mapping, November 2015

As part of Tone Deaf 14 , a projection show was performed by Decomposing Pianos at the Isabel Bader. For this performance, custom code was developed to map the wooden panels behind the main stage. Each panel became a window in which to stitch together scenes and visual effects or carousel imagery throughout the venue. This code went on to become a versatile tool to present custom algorithms as audio responsive visualizations as is briefly documented here.

HTML5 Projection mapping

The Hollowmen, WASTE AWAY, June 4 - 6, 2015

the Hollowmen
This project features T.S. Elliot's 1925 poem The Hollow Men as read in unison by a trio of computer voices. The audio was produced slowly over the month of April, the accompanying video in May. The performance was conceived and choreographed by Julia Krolik and featured dancers Helena Marks, Meredith Dault and Tracey Guptill. It was part of Chipped Off's Waste Away with Kim Renders at the Black Box Studio Theatre.

Regression, HTML5 live performance, November 2014

Regression Performance
We are ancient machines inhabiting an ever changing infrastructure. Our society is evolving thanks to advancements in technology and yet as human beings we are still much like our ancestors from centuries ago. Scientific evidence suggests our mitochondria are ancient bacteria living symbiotically within us, and perhaps guide our animalistic instincts. We require basic human fulfillment through our friends and loved ones. We are prone to day-by-day changes in the weather, climate change and natural events. As such, the sky in this project is depicted as a bacterial colony, our ancient selves. The noise our collective consciousness, reacting in real time to ever changing stimuli. Our modern world is an unstable sliver in our timeline as a species, forcing us to contend with our future selves. In one scenario, we collectively reach beyond what we as humanity thought we are capable of. In another, we destroy ourselves and are replaced with something unexpected.
Performed by Decomposing Pianos in an empty Modern Fuel ARC 21A Queen Street, just before moving to the Tett Centre.

Cognitive Dissonance, 3D live performance, August 2014

This live code performance took place at the Screening Room as a visual 3D mixer for clips of spoken word on the meaning of music, as collected by my friend and colleague Chris Trimmer. 3D space is navigated using three.js pointer lock controls. Audio is emitted using webAudio panner nodes, each surrounded by a large flat disk. Sound emanating from within the disk is not audible outside the disk. A strong prevalent drone exists throughout the scene, originating from the top of a central tower. Each disk is mixed based on the position of the user. Other audio effects are also employed, such as a low pass filter when below the randomly meshed floor.

Cognitive Dissonance 3D world

HTML5 Visualizer with MIDI Input, Video, April 2013

This visualizer was originally intended to present chords and tones for the Decomposing Pianos project 88 Years. An interactive piano keyboard was made using HTML5 canvas such that sounds could be played and portraits displayed. This evolved into an experimentation phase in javascript, where several abstract visualizations were made to represent each note on the piano keyboard. A third party MIDI plugin was implemented to directly trigger the piano keyboard resulting in this demonstrative video, as screen captured in Firefox 19 using HTML5 Canvas and Audio.

Decomposing Pianos, Experimental, 2009 and onward

Decomposing Pianos was formed in 2009 with Julia Krolik after an old piano resting in our backyard. The action was stiff and unusable, so we removed it and painted the strings for its centennial anniversary. Projects include 88 Years as well as the Piano Trilogy: The Decomposing Piano, Languishing Bellows, and Noise of the Modern Day World. Below is a radio piece on how this came to be, commissioned by NAISA's Deep Wireless Festival and CBC's Living Outloud.

o1sound, Radio Blog 2008-2009, 2012

o1sound was an hour long weekly radio show broadcasting live from CFRC 101.9 FM, Queen's University Campus Community radio during the summer of 2008 and 2009. During the week I recorded incidental events in my life, edited them, and played them back every Tuesday morning at 10:06. The show was a mix of field recordings, hosting, interviews and music. In 2012, the highlights from this show were placed into a custom HTML5 audio player with the goal of being able to mix another show live, but mainly in order to better teach myself javascript.

TimKnightUs, Experimental, 2007-2009

TimKnightUs started as an outlet for experimental music and sound design between friends. When one of its members moved to the West Coast, concerts were performed through Skype as a way of maintaining our long distance relationship. TimKnightUs is about technology bringing people closer together even as they drift further apart. It is about hanging on when all sensible logic tells you it's over. It is about love, friendship and experimental music.

Ethrington Performance, Solo Piano, June 22, 2008

Etherington Steinway Grand
The Agnes Etherington Art Gallery at Queen's University has a Steinway you can play on weekends. One hot afternoon on the summer solstice I paid them a visit. There were two other people in the climate-controlled gallery, and they took to listening near the end of the performance. The piano was captured using a field recorder and broadcast the following Tuesday on CFRC 101.9 FM as part of o1sound.

Disassembly, Experimental, November 25, 2007

Tone Deaf performance still
Tone Deaf, an experimental music festival in Kingston, Ontario organized Disassembly, the slow dismantling of a piano while being played. Performed with Paul Saulnier and Sean One of Vintage Records.

Results of Hermitting, Piano and Voice (tape), March 2006

Results of Hermitting Album Cover
Recorded at a cottage on Buck Lake in early spring. An upright piano is played between skating and wondering in the woods. Two microphones are connected left and right to the channels of my grandfather's tape deck. First experiments in singing since TCC.

Live at the Common Ground, Solo Piano, March 2001

Common Ground Album Cover
Recorded at the Common Ground Café, Queen's University a month before graduating from Applied Science. A grand piano is moved to the second floor for the occasion. All playing recorded to minidisc. Cover illustration by Adam George. Passively still looking for a minidisc player.

The Whispering Gallery, Solo Piano, October 1998

Whispering Gallery Album Cover
The Whispering Gallery was recorded after moving away from home, capturing adolescence. The painting on the cover is Bespoken by Emma Hesse, the jacket design by Don Fernley, Art Director, McClelland and Stewart Ltd. as well as Fernley & Hesse Art and Design. The album is recorded in Peterborough, Ontario on a grand piano by Paul and mastered at Silverbirch Productions, Toronto.