patrick harrop

Vortical Filament

Vortical Filament draws its inspiration from a number of historical sources. The photographic series: Geometrie Experimental by the early scientific photographer Etienne Jules Marey, German physicist Franz Melde’s famed experimental device to demonstrate standing waves on a string, and the lost tradition of the Baroque Tornitori (the craft of turning).

Through the phenomenon of persistence of vision and the natural oscillation of rotational fields, the piece seeks to create a field condition of immaterial and ghostly waveforms in constant search for equilibrium within a seemingly unstable system. Vorticose appears as a grotesque / ornamental and somewhat biological presence resulting from a play between a simple logical control of motors and the physical consequences of material, gravity and rotational physics. It has very little planned logic and a minimal electronic program. Vorticose expresses a simple modulation of both behaviour and geometry through the oscillatory movement of a field of motors. The entire system, (structural, electrical and logical) is designed to be in a condition of potential oscillatory movement yet sensitive to even the most minor of perturbations through the compounding of waveforms through tensile structure and movement. It is proposed that a complex natural field, can be delicately perturbed by minimal adjustments in sound, luminosity, movement and time.

Technically, Vortical Filament works with the simplest of principles. A weighted string is suspended from a small motor. As the motor turns, the string contracts itself into a standing wave form. As the motor changes speed, the wave form moves from a chaotic disruption of the change in frequency to find its own equilibrium in a three dimensional standing wave. The piece has been described as a field of three dimensional oscilloscope readings of frequency oscillations.

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While the recipe for this piece is simple: voltage, a motor and string, several minor tweaks and perturbations build dramatically on its behavior. The contraction and expansion of the waveform are highly sensitive to the motor speed, so the slightest change in voltage (speed) will dramatically change its vertical position. As the string is lightweight and compressed, its behavior is that of a highly responsive spring. By carefully selecting lighting conditions and luminous materials, the waveforms have a liquid presence of a ghostly object that is barely there.

The sound is generated directly from the piece as well. As the lightweight string rotates at a high speed it generates a delicate sound of rushing wind. These are numerous and acoustic, rather than amplified. They are modulated by the speed of the motor. In addition, the vibration of the rotations are also amplified and processed through a series of noise gates and tremolos to create an ongoing score of complex variation (see video for sound)..

Vortical Filament has two levels of interaction.

This piece is highly responsive and interactive. Most importantly, its interaction is with the physical engagement of the oscillations themselves. Because it is a simple string, participants can move through the piece easily. Although the waveforms have the ghostly presence of objects, they can be delicately manipulated, modulated and even gently caressed.
As the motors are controlled digitally, there is an opportunity to address each oscillation specifically in response to light, presence and sound. The field may have several states (sleep, agitation and fear) that are a direct response to sensor data. Local photoresistors (for each oscillation) can create individual responses to presence.

The piece thrives on the desire for equilibrium within a network of constant disruptive perturbations. The oscillations have a determination towards the stability of a standing wave and will achieve this state despite the disruptions of manipulation, changes in speed and natural disruption of the string behavior. The dynamic nature of the piece is in the visualization of the physical behavior of the oscillations as they make their transitions from the disrupted state to their equilibrium in a standing wave. Depending on the nature of the perturbation, this transition could take minutes or could be close to immediate. Its only true period of equilibrium is in its sleeping state (a very slow oscillation) when no one is in the piece itself.
The piece also questions several assumptions about electronic art. We are conditioned to understanding that the hidden mechanisms of electronic media are delicate and fragile. Programming, highly sensitive circuitry and complex systems found in many interactive pieces tend to create a condition of fragility that is usually hidden from public view. Vorticose, is robust, simple and easily maintained. Its fragility is openly presented as an invitation for engagement. It is intended to provoke a delicate response of interaction rather than a passive observation. The risk of failure is obvious and in the hands (quite literally) of the participant rather than hidden deep in the fallible lines of code of a microcontroller or max patch. While there are programmed safeguards that deal with possible entanglements in the piece, the responsibility of interaction is returned to the participant as a gesture of trust.
The piece also questions and challenges the visual representation of the electronic medium. Upon first entering, most observers assume that the field of oscillations is a projection. As they move through the piece, the second assumption is that the piece is somehow holographic in nature. The piece exploits the persistence of vision and our phenomenological capacity to create presence by creating an object that is hardly there or only present in its temporality. At rest it is no longer an object, it is only a string.

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patrick harrop

Remedios


Remedios’ Terrarium is a responsive environment. It’s a set of diverse responses to the fable of autopoiesis, imagining living systems as palimpsests of organic plants, woven textile, filament, air, projected video, sound, sensor data, and occasionally, people. Our goal is not to make objects or even particular pieces of media, but events. Its continuously evolving responsive environment changes weather and behavior according to the hour and the day, and according to what’s happening inside or outside its porous boundaries.

The Remedios’ Terrarium is also a philosophical investigation carried out in the form of material experiments made of experimental modes of matter. The main Gallery acts as an alchemical vessel mixing multiple species of matter responding to activity inside and outside the space: calligraphic video and sound, plastic cells, structured light, and in certain moments, performers. Other chambers contain sculptural reflections on the terrarium. We compose the exhibition as two and a half week long event breathing according to clocks as well as contingent states.

Remedios’ Terrarium features works by affiliates of the Topological Media Lab from Special Individualized Programs, Humanities PhD Program, MFA Studio Arts program, Design Computation Arts, Computer Science, Contemporary Dance, Electroacoustics, Theatre, and the University of Manitoba / Department of Architecture, and Pneuma.

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Remedios’ Terrarium is a responsive environment. It’s a set of diverse responses to the fable of autopoiesis, imagining living systems as palimpsests of organic plants, woven textile, filament, air, projected video, sound, sensor data, and occasionally, people. Our goal is not to make objects or even particular pieces of media, but events. Its continuously evolving responsive environment changes weather and behavior according to the hour and the day, and according to what’s happening inside or outside its porous boundaries.

The Remedios’ Terrarium is also a philosophical investigation carried out in the form of material experiments made of experimental modes of matter. The main Gallery acts as an alchemical vessel mixing multiple species of matter responding to activity inside and outside the space: calligraphic video and sound, plastic cells, structured light, and in certain moments, performers. Other chambers contain sculptural reflections on the terrarium. We compose the exhibition as two and a half week long event breathing according to clocks as well as contingent states.

Remedios’ Terrarium features works by affiliates of the Topological Media Lab from Special Individualized Programs, Humanities PhD Program, MFA Studio Arts program, Design Computation Arts, Computer Science, Contemporary Dance, Electroacoustics, Theatre, and the University of Manitoba / Department of Architecture, and Pneuma.

Harrop, Hasdell, Topological Media Lab: FOFA Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal, QC 2008

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patrick harrop

Pneuma | Pneus


Pneus is a responsive pneumatic installation formed from bundles of semi transparent plastic inflated tubular cells interconnected through various low-pressure systems and simple electronic actuators. The system of cells is derived from the micro cellular structures of trees and plants that allow for trees to have a high degree of flexibility and which provide conduits for nutrients. The bundles of cells in Pneus are able to branch, bend, take shape and weave into various configurations. Some cells contained smaller cells with embedded sensors, electronics and pneumatic valves.

Pneus is suspended 3-4 metres above the ground and may penetrate or grow into adjoining interior spaces. The viewer / participant can thereby walk under the installation. Interaction occurs in different ways: constructed from semi transparent polyethelene plastic, the quality of light possible through the installation will make a continually varying shadow play, integral lights within the cells are being considered as a type of photosynthesis feedback system. Further, Pneus is responsive to various natural and man-made physical pressures in the built environment (small shifts in air currents, air conditioner vents, exhaust ducts in buildings, wind, updrafts) as well as various user inputs through pressure squeezable devices within reach (tendrils) and through a variety of sensors and low-level electronic actuators (leaves). Pneus is thus able to shift from one configuration to another through a variety of smaller incremental changes over the course of the exhibition.

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Pneuma | Pneuma


Peter Hasdell and Patrick Harrop were commissioned to produce a public art installation or Folly for Artefact Urban Sculptures 2007 in Ile Ste Hèlene in Montreal as a part of the 40 year anniversary celebrations of Expo 1967. Their installation “Pneuma,” constructed with the help of FAUM students, is sited 100 meters from Buckminster Fuller’s Dome and is a pneumatic structure that derives from Buckminster Fuller, Frei Otto and the biologist Ernst Haeckel (who published “Artforms in Nature”).

Using many interconnected inflated cells Pneuma responds to changing conditions in its milieu. Conceptually the proposal is situated in the context of 1960s Immaterial Architecture, Archigram’s “Blowout” and Yves Klein’s Air Architecture. At present there is a resurgent interest in inflatable’s as responsive and flexible structures. In the context of the Expo 67 site this connection between the counter culture roots of the inflatable movement and today offers a unique potential.

This opportunity to update the inflatable folly able to react, sense and move we saw as providing an interesting comment on the nature of the folly and perhaps to the Expo site itself.

Of interest to us was how to develop indeterminate (open ended), flexible and generative assemblies. We explored the potential of rapid prototyping as a viral proliferator of mutation and fabricated all the cells from vapor barrier. We developed the installation through a generative process, in which all inflatable cell prototypes are continually added to the overall assemblage.

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Pneuma | Dispositive


Pneuma Dispositive is a systemic device exploring the complexities of bipolar interactive systems as well as a projection.

This work is composed of binary systems comprised of embedded inflatable cells and low level BEAM (Biological, Electronic, Aesthetic and Mechanical) robotics as a cellular approach to electronics and responsive systems. Its intention, based on the autopoetic biological model is of a multitude of simple interactive systems whose aggregation produces a complex and often unpredictable responsive system. While a viewer may indeed activiate part of the system through embedded photo resistors, the consequence is outside of the immediate response of behavior. Hence, the user perturbs the system rather than providing an explicit intstruction to the device. The system is intentionally weak, including the precariousness of the structure and the air system.

Harrop, Hasdell: Pneumatic and interactive installation. Galerie, Joyce Yahouda, Montreal, QC. July 2007.

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patrick harrop

Pendule

Pendule is an interactive installation consisting of a series of suspended globes that are in continuous states of oscillation. The piece is an experiential environment in movement, light and sound. Pendule is comprised of a field of oscillating luminous pendulums that are in a continuous state of attracted motion to the participant experiencing the piece. Where an observer would enter the field, the pendulum movement will slowly orient itself in their direction giving a sense that the system is aware of an intervention.

Each oscillatory movement is paralleled in both the light intensity of the globe and the amplitude of the wave modulated sound. Each swing will consist of a oscillation of intensity with the nadir as the most intense amplification of both mediums.

This project was developed in conjunction with Chris Salter’s (Concordia University, Hexagram researcher) sense stage wireless sensing platform. Based on the X bee wireless protocol. Each pendulum contains a wireless node that is part of an expandable (scalable) and open network. Within each node, data streams of light, sound, temperature and acceleration can be posted to a network and made available to a variety of actuation protocols for sound, light and movement.

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The intent is to create an networked interactive system based on feedback loops and self determining behaviors rather than programmed microcontroller scripts. Each pendulum carried a set of eight photosensors that would send data streams of both ambient and direct light from floor mounted par lights. The intensity of this light would do several things: modulate sound waves derived from the data streams through MAX / MSP as well as controlling the intensity of light using DMX (theatre) and MAX protocols. The system is designed to be an interdependent and autopoeitic structure, hence it expresses an networked hive behavior as opposed to a controllable rhythm. The piece tends to have waves of intensity as a network in activity with periods of relative calmed activity only to be revived again from an external pertubation.

While each pendulum may seem to follow a pattern of prescriptive and predictable geometric behavior, each is unique in the data stream that is reproduced. Both the sound and light are modulated by a dense layering of phasing and beats due to the subtle difference of each photo sensor.

This work is currently in development as an outcome of the sense stage workshop held in May of 2009 with Patrick Harrop, Shannon Collis and Andreia Oliviera. It is currently being developed as a collaboration between Pneuma (Peter Hasdell and Patrick Harrop) + Shannon Collis.


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Eg

Enphonic Graphomania is an interactive drawing interface developed as a device for the co structured development of drawing and sound pieces through the gestural and material actions of traditional drawing techniques. The Enphonic Graphomania device is based on a conceptual variant of a surrealist drawing technique known as Entopic Graphomania. Loosely based on this precedent, this work adresses issues of trans media and trans disciplinary production (in this case sound and drawing) through the mediation of two material and temporal conditions by a gestural act specific to the drawing medium.

An often overlooked, and rather difficult venue for the development of gestural interfaces resides in the production of artistic works. This largely is a question of gestural translation of limited frameworks of movement and time intervals in the evolution of works of art such as painting and drawing. Where dance, and performative gestures reside in a sympathetic temporal scale of traditional performance action, the minute and slow evolving act of drawing tend to be ill-suited for an interactive framework. Yet the act of drawing, is one of a haptic interface between body, instrument (a pencil) and a substrate (paper). Most importantly, however the act of drawing is a time dependant, gestural practice that embodies the qualities of precision, rhythm, cadence and emphasis. The challenge then in creating an interactive interchange between sound (music) and drawing is in devising apparatus (both software and hardware) that explore the interchangeable gestures. A device that addresses both of these media in a simultaneous and interchangeable work would parallel the gestural terms of reference in their production such as: intensity, rendering, layering, rubbing, erasing (for drawing) with modulation, additive synthesis, amplification and fading (for sound). This project examines this question through a reciprocal, interconnected and interdependent sound interface || drawing interface.

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As an interface, the Enphonic Graphomania, resembles and behaves as a traditional drawing board. The tools are traditional: pencil, archival paper and an eraser. Like the surrealist game, 32 sensor points are randomly identified on the page, marked with graphite and the drawing exercise consists of developing a density of lines between these points. The conductive nature of graphite presents a variable and highly mutable set of minute voltage differences as the drawing evolves (or rather as the conductive material accumulates on the page). With the evolving (and devolving) conductive material as an input, algorithms and software were developed to interpret these subtle changes using wave modulation, additive synthesis and timed decaying conditions. Rather than developed as a control device, the Enphonic Graphomania attempts to parallel the gradual development of a drawing with the gradual evolution of an algorithmic score. The intention is to create a reciprocal condition of the co structured evolution of a work of art. The drawing is evolved through sonic conditions that are provoked by the gesture, while the conditions of the drawing are evolved to develop the sonic piece. The aim is an interdependent piece, mutually evolved through the craft of a practiced hand.

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Gerard Leckey + Patrick Harrop

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patrick harrop

Capteur | Emetteur

Capteur | Emetteur examines the potential expansion of interactions between the two phenomenological states sense and emission. In its most basic behaviour a reciprocal system of these two states could be as simple as a microphone / speaker, light sensor / light. Yet taking our cue from the oldest of architectural practices (those mostly of an analogue nature), it is the space between capture and emission that creates a meaningful architectural experience.

To cite but one example, the gothic cathedral manipulates the capture of light (clerestory lighting) and transforms its resolution into the complex articulation of both temporality and light in the vaults of the cathedral itself. This longstanding approach to understanding the building envelope as a performative interface of environments introduces a temporal and ornamental agenda in what we simply understand as as a “wall”.

It is in contrast to this, that when we regard an electronic phenomenological interface, such as a camera / imager or microphone / sound amplifier, the schematic nature of an electronic circuit, particularly in its culture of an engineered simplicity, tends to deny the physical expansion in the same way that an architectural system. This has particular implications when we consider the possibility of developing a generation of interactive art, but of an architectural consequence. It is within this that we propose a rather simple conceptual approach as a platform for phenomenological experimentation within the expansive space between sense and emission.

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Capteur | Emmeteur is an interactive responsive system composed of number of very simple and inexpensive environmental interactive devices whose combined composition and functional reconfigurations will create a complex and highly ornamented phenomenological condition. The foundation of these devices is based on the simple conceptual approach of Capteur | Emmeteur, where the starting point of each device is the sensing of a condition and its expression: eg a light sensor directly connected to a light emitter. Or goal is to subvert, expand, delay and mutate the direct relationship of this device both in its behavioural / electronic characteristics (such as light transforming to a lustrous sound) and in its physical construction: wiring, production of ornamental logic boards, sensate materials etc.

Capteur | Emmeteur is a grotesque / ornamental and somewhat biological presence resulting from a deliberate manipulation and elaboration of the electronic / electromechanical / material logic. It has no planned logic, no declared electronic program. Rather it is proposed that a complex nature, completely dependant on the complex perturbations (sound, luminosity, movement and time) of aspecific site that creates its own complex order of sound, luminosity, movement and time on the basis of on its own terms.

Where most interactive and responsive devices are meant to be hidden within an architectural construction, our goal is of a complete physical integration within an architectural context, while being materially explicit, even expressive of its physical presence. In this particular edition, Capteur | Emetteur expresses a simple modulation of both behaviour and geometry through the oscillatory movement of a series of sensor actuated motors. The entire system, (structural, electrical and logical) is designed to be in a condition of potential oscillatory movement yet sensitive to even the most minor of perturbations through the compounding of waveforms through tensile structure and movement.