Thursday, 26 April 2012


The Symposium on Creative Technologies was held at the Science Gallery, TCD, on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 14:00 - 19:00.  There were many strands of research teams at Trinity College who are involved in research re creative technologies.  The ATRL had a team there to present in relation to Digital Arts.  Matthew Causey, director of the ATRL invited some of us DAH (Digital Arts Humanities) PhD students to present our research in the Digital Arts slot.

I was one of the presenters as well as Neill O'Dwyer, Sharon Phelan, Aidan Delaney.
Cobi and Emma were providing moral support.
I presented on Visual Music!
There were some really interesting presentations, in particular those from Neil, Sharon and Aidan.

For more information, there is an archive link here:

Emma Meehan took this photograph of my presentation, she also took several more, which can be viewed on the facebook page - LINK

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Pina Bausch - Full Moon - Dance Theatre

Tralier From Vollmond Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch 2010 Next Wave Festival BAM Howard Gilman Opera House

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Music and the Body - Symposium - Sonorities Festival 2012

The  Two Thousand + TWELVE
<<< International symposium focusing on music and the body >>>  took place in SARC (the Sonic Arts Research Centre) at Queens University, Belfast on Saturday 24th March, 2012.  Running alongside the symposium was the annual week long Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music, which again focused on the theme of music and the body.

Music and the Body Symposium
I attended the symposium and attended some of the 'open fader' concerts that were held in the SARC center on the sat (23rd) and sun (24th) March.  It was an incredibly interesting and exciting two days, at the cutting edge of technology, performance, music and the body.  Perhaps it gave me a glimpse into the future. 

The idea that the body can emanate music through technology and to then use that body and in particular its inner workings to create musical material in a performance setting, is wondrous.  For me, it brings a mysterious element to the whole performance.  The speakers at the symposium all presented their way of accessing the inner workings of the body, the devices they build to transfer that information into musical material.  Even though the intervention is really very technological, its the ideas that were most fascinating.

Ben Knapp - The Ecosystem of Biosignal Interaction
Ben Knapp works with ways to measure emotion and empathy and that the data generated from these measurements drive the musical material.  He explained the artistic, engineering and scientific underpinnings of "the concept of an Integral Music Controller (a generic class of controllers that use the direct measurement of motion and emotion to augment traditional methods of musical instrument control" (source)

One performance video example he demonstrated of his performance with his Integral Music Controller was really fascinating.  The piece is called Stem Cells, with the music composed by Eric Lyon and Interaction Design and Performance by Ben Knapp.
As he sat on the stage and visibly displayed emotions and agitation and states of calm, which affected the data that was displayed on a projection screen beside him and affected the musical material.  Fascinating that the mysterious inner world of thought and emotion could provide such a variety of reactions that could be measured and used to control a music performance.   It is for the audience, like the 'invisible' controls the music.

Youtube Excerpt of Stem Cells Performance

Ben Knapp on body, signals, and energy

Ben Knapp on body, signals, and energy from STEIM Amsterdam on Vimeo.

All papers were really integrated and followed similar and related themes.

Open Fader Concerts
I went to the two Open Fader Concerts in SARC on the sat 23rd and sun 24th March, 2012.  Each concert was fascinating.  However, the two highlights for me were two performances that took place at the sunday concert, The Biomuse Concert (full programme link: )
BioMusic Concert (Sonic LAB: 1.10pm)
Miguel Ortiz - Dentro
Marco Donnarumma - Music for Flesh II
Conor Barry - BeatBack
Samson Young - I am thinking in a room

Miguel Ortiz - Dentro was an brilliant and exhilirating performance, but all he did was sit on the stage, with subtle controllers attached, a darkened room, and the odd interjection of a video projection of the inner body on his torso.  Fully dressed in black, eyes closed for the full performance.

Miguel emanated a presence, a kind of expectation and performance presence, and yet all he did was sit on a stool with hands on knees, nearly in a meditative pose.  From these poses he performed himself and his inner emotions and physical body into states of calm, repose to states of agitation where you could see his shoulders move up and down.  He was generating these states himself, for an audience the changes were subtle but very perceivable and from these states, he was able to gather the data to generate musical material and wow how powerful that muscial material was as his states moved from calm to agititation, greatly helped by the power of the mutliple speakers  in the auditorium and the sheer physicality of some of the low frequencies, at times, I thought the cage that holds the sarc auditorium together might come apart, so powerful were the sounds.  Yet, Miguel was in the same pose.  This was one of the most thrilling performances I have seen in a long time and the potential for this, is immense.  The idea that ones inner bodies workings can emanate such sounds.
Website: I hope the Sonorities team put a video of this performance on the web soon and that this piece gets to have lots of performances, though Miguel looked visibily exhausted after the performance.

For details about the symposium, here is a link to follow:

Ben Knapp was the keynote speaker - and what a truly fascinating presentation he gave on his Music, Sensors, and Emotion research group work and performances.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Short Presentation on My PhD Research Topic - Visual Music

For the core module - History of Digital Arts, Matthew Causey and Rod Stoneman asked each of the Digital Arts PhD candidates on the DAH programme to prepare a short presentation on our PhD research topic, key ideas and influences presented on the 20th February 2012 in the ATRL, Trinity College, Dublin.  For this presentation, I prepared a powerpoint presentation on My Research is... Visual Music.

My Research is... Visual Music by Maura McDonnell, PhD candidate, Digital Arts and Humanities, Trinity College, Dublin

Slideshow embed of powerpoint slide:

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Marcio Ambrosio - Oups

Marcio Ambrosio - Oups
Interactive Video Installation

"Capturing and tracking camera, animated image integration and projectionCreated in 2007
Oups! was born from the wish to mix new technologies and classic animation in a playful and artistic way.  Each animated sequence has a script and the visitor interacts and transforms himself into an actor of this story.  When the visitor enters in a defined space, a camera records his image and projects it on a screen in front (like a mirror) in real size and time. The visitor sees himself integrated to an animation setting that follow his movements. He founds himself immersed in a creative universe of images and sounds.  The animation sequences that feed this universe are stored in a video library, new animations may be added to enrich the project. Oups! universe is playful and naive, accessible to all publics and ages."

Video embed

Friday, 2 March 2012

Architecture - SUBdv - Sonic Design Studio

"Designed as a rehearsal space for the Lee Konitz Nonet and Blue Seven Jazz ensembles, the design for the Sonic Studio rehearsal space was developed using the algorithmic digital modeling technique of geodetic sub-division. The configuration of ceiling acoustic panels produces multi-directional sound reflections from the variably sized and angled surfaces, creating a diffuse sound landscape within the room. These panels were fabricated using computer numerically controlled laser cutting technology. "

CREDITS subdv: Franklin Lee and Anne Save de Beaurecueil
Contractor: Garra Construcoes: Paulo Chang
Acoustic Engineer: Alberto Ranelluchi
Photograph: Rodrigo Schust

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

SHIRO TAKATANI - La Chambre claire

La Chambre claire © Shiro Takatani (Japan, 2008)
Performance at the Biwako Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Shiga, Japan, 2010.

Youtube Embed

Monday, 27 February 2012

Internet Umbrella


This is so clever - what a wonderful idea to create an internet umbrella.

"Pileus is an umbrella connected to the Internet to make walking in rainy days fun. Pileus has a large screen on the top surface, a built-in camera, a motion sensor, GPS, and a digital compass. The current prototype has two main functions: photo-sharing and 3D map navigation.
The photo function is connected to a major web service: Flickr API. A user can take photo with a camera on the umbrella, and pictures are uploaded to Flickr in two minutes with context tags via a wireless Internet connection. User can also enjoy theirselves watching photo-streams downloaded from Flickr with simple operation of wrist snapping."

Vimeo Embed Demonstration

Pileus Internet Umbrella from Takashi Matsumoto on Vimeo.
Pileus is the internet umbrella to make rainy days fun! Prod. by T. Matsumoto & S. Hashimoto. from Keio University.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Audio Palimpsest

"Audio palimpsest is an interactive sound-based installation which explores applications of indeterminacy and randomness in an interactive platform. Based on a reconfigured cassette recorder, Audio Palimpsest is meant to be viewed indoors, where upon interaction, it will start recording ambient sounds in the space and playing it back simultaneously. Over time and after multiple interactions, content of the magnetic tape builds up, layering previous recordings thus creating a palimpsest of sound."

 Youtube embed

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Luis Buñuel Films

Luis Buñuel Films

The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (Ensayo de un Crimen)

Youtube - Full Film

The Exterminating Angel

Youtube - Full Film


The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Youtube - Full Film


plot descriptions:

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Futurism – Movement and Sensation

by Maura McDonnell

Futurism praised and glorified the energy, speed and danger of machines in art.  The futurists had disgust for and rebelled against the 'relics of the past' (interestingly these relics in museums were ok for the old, the disabled and prisoners - people with no future?).  The new beauty was not the old art of the past, such as the sculptor piece 'Victory of Samothrace', but the beauty of speed.

Victory of Samothrace

How was something so ephemeral and invisible to the eye as speed to be rendered in painting?
Something invisible but felt?

In the two painting manifestos and in particular the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting, added to the futurist list of statements is the celebration of science - 'victorious science'.  Science could reveal what was hidden in nature and to our vision, x-rays had penetrated the 'opacity' and materiality of the body.  Chronophotography and the time-lapse photography of Eadweard Muybridge and Étienne-Jules Marey had provided a means of analysing and seeing movement via  an image by breaking down movement into a sequence of superimposed images, emulated then in futurist painting.

Giacomo Balla, Speed of a Motorcycle, 1913, Oil on Canvas
Invisible phenomenon to the eye such as motion, speed, movement could be revealed through photography and painting and therefore simulated in painting creating a sensation of movement.

Science also provided artists with new knowledge at the time about colour theory and how our eye mixed light.  These related to how the eye responded to light and vibrancy, in particular Michel Chevreul's theory of simultaneous contrast which influenced the divisionist technique in painting and as such divisionism was promoted by the futurists.  Divisionism a form of additive colour mixing, was considered to assist in creating vibrancy and luminosity in a painting.  Here, contrasting colours laid side by side create a new colour and one that is more vibrant than traditional colour mixing.

With such ephemeral, vibrant sensation sought in their paintings, more statements from their manifesto sum up their ideas.  'Movement and light destroy the materiality of bodies' and 'Our bodies penetrate the sofas upon which we sit, and the sofas penetrate our bodies. The motor bus rushes into the houses which it passes, and in their turn the houses throw themselves upon the motor bus and are blended with it'. It is then to this incredible painting that I end my presentation -  The Street Enters The House by Umberto Boccioni.

This very short writing on Futurism was prepared for a presentation on the History and Theory of Digital Arts Seminar on Thursday 8th February 2012, where Mathew Causey asked us to prepare a short presentation on one of a number of topics.  I chose Futurism as I have always been fascinated with the emphasis painters put on motion and sensation in their works.  This short presentation is based on three pieces of art work and based on reading the following futurist manifestos. The Futurist Manifesto by F. T. Marinetti, 1909 Manifesto of the Futurist Painters by Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting by Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini

source images from:

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Dumb Type Memorandum

"Dumb Type, the artists´ collective that was founded in 1987 in Kyoto is almost unparalleled in its fusion of the body and new media. Both artists and audience are transported to border zones of perception between life and death, inner and outer, image and reality. The group asks the question posed by many Performers in East Asia: is the body a projection space for social, economic and political processes which are written into every individual? Or is the body the last core of resistance of archaically anchored identity in a culture?"



Ballet triadico 1970

Reconstruction of Ballet Tradico from the Margarete Hastings sketches.

Part 1

Part 2

A very interesting website (in French) - an online research website of the work of Oskar Schlemmer at:
A really interesting seminar - Rerunning Ballet Tradico Seminar "the seminar is intended as a space for reflection on the creation stage, particularly on what some call "broad-ranging dance reconstruction" and that we are more interested in the processes that determine results, we have called "rerunning" a term that assumes more open as interpreter of anyone who wants to rerun a past stage work."

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Reading Noël Burch Theory of Film Practice - Ch 6

Reading Noël Burch Theory of Film Practice - Ch 6
On the Structural Use of Sound
screengrab from Mizoguchi's The Crucified Lovers 
 Robert Bresson - on his own film practice said,

"sound, because of its greater realism, is infinitely more evocative than an image, which is essentially only a stylization of visual reality. "A sound always evokes an image; an image never evokes a sound...that he replaces an image with a sound whenever possible, thus remaining completely faithful to the principle of maximum bareness and spareness underlying his creative method." (p90)

Gregory Markopoulos - Twice a Man

Gregory Markopoulos - Sorrows

Agnes Varda's La Pointe course 
Part 1

Orson Welles in his Othello (1952) 
- Part 1

Mizoguchi's The Crucified Lovers
Part 7/7

Mizoguchi's The Crucified Lovers

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Reading Noël Burch Theory of Film Practice - Ch 4

Noël Burch Theory of Film Practice - Ch 4 - The Repertory of Simple Structures

Alain Resnais - Marienbad (1961)

Partial Opening scene excerpt with english subtitles

Full film youtube link:

See also information at criterion collection - also short excerpt

Filmmakers listed
L'Herbier, Gregory Markopoulos, Eisenstein, Romm - Boule de suif, Germaine Duluc, Jean Epstein, Abel Gance, Marcel L'Herbier

L'Herbier - El Dorado
sharp focus v soft focus

Eisenstein, Dovzhenko, Romm, Boris Barnett

Yasujiro Ozu - The Only Son


Alain Resnais - Hiroshima mon amour (1959)

Georges Melies - Le voyage dans la lune (1902) 
- hand coloured

Le papillon fantastique (1909) - Georges Méliès

Abel Gance Napolean
Excerpts with commentary

Three screen excerpt youtube

Resnais - Night and Fog
Part 1/3 excerpt
Part 2/3:
Part 3/3:

Monique Lepeuve - Exemple Etretat

Kurosawa - High and Low
critics pick New York times commentary

Jean Luc Godard's - Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle
Coffee Scene

Dovzhenko, Jean-Pierre Melville, Bresson

Stan Brakhage - Reflections on Black

Bruce Conner - A Movie

Ken Jacobs  - Blond Cobra

Dziga Vertov - Man with the Movie Camera
Extract with music soundtrack by Michael Nyman

Dziga Vertov - Man with the Movie Camera
Full version with cinematic orchestra soundtrack

Chris Marker - La Jetée
Part 1 - Excerpt - English Narrator

François Truffaut - Jules and Jim
Part 1

Emile Cohl

Karl Zeman - The Fabulous World of Jules Verne
Part 1

Andre S Labarthe = Cineastes de notre temps series
Part 1

Jean-Luc Godard - Une Femme mariee

Goddard - Pierrot le fou
Part 1/10

Agnes Varda - Opera Mouffe
Part 1

Vilgot Sjoman I am Curious (Yellow)

William Klein Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

Joseph Sternberg - The Salvation Hunters

Marcel Carné - Le Jour se leve

Jean-Marie Straub - Nicht Versohnt

Robert Bresson - Diary of a Country Priest

Robert Bresson - The Trial of Joan of Arc

Renoir - Diary of a Chambermaid

Jean Renoir - La Regle du jeu

Jacques Tati - Mr Hulots Holiday

Jean Vigo - Zero de conduite

Joseph van Sternberg - The Blue Angel
link to full film: 

Kon Ichikawa - The Actor's Revenge

Alain Robbe-Grillet - Trans-Europe-Express

Georges Bataille - Bleu du ciel


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Reading Noël Burch Theory of Film Practice - Ch 3

Chapter 3 - Editing as a Plastic Art

Screen Grab from Eisenstein's The General Line

Films and filmmakers dicussed in chapter 3

Sergei Eisenstein - The Battleship Potemkin - Odessa Steps sequence

Sergei Eisenstein - The General Line - Religious Procession scene

Sergei Eisenstein -  Ivan the Terrible 

Cubism Artist: Juan Gris

Godard's Breathless

Rouben Mamoulia Applause (1929)

Bresson Pickpocket 

Antonioni  La Notte

Orson Welles Othello

Filmmakers references: 

Sam Fuller's films, Abel Gance, Germaine Dulac, Jean Epstein, Marcel L'Herbie, Godard, Resnais, 
Hanoun, Juan-Antonio Bardem

Michael Cacovannis
Woman in Black, 1956, by Michael Cacoyannis


Akira Kurosawa High and Low (1963) - Excerpt

Mikhail Romm Boule de suif  (1934) - Excerpt


Peter Kogler - Installation - Vienna

Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 2010

View video excerpt on his website at:

"Kogler's oeuvre is dominated by the increasing virtualization of our living space. His main motif is the ant, with its symmetrical ornamental body in its organized labyrinth-living."

 Youtube embed of Schirn Kunsthalle

"The Austrian multimedia artist Peter Kogler is a pioneer computer-generated art. With an impressive 360-degree multi-projection of the two-time documenta participant in the Schirn creates an illusionistic space by 12 projectors who commandeers the viewer completely. Lines of a uniform grid lose their fixed coordinates and stretch out into a play of amor-pher figures. All elements are projected in a per-manent transformation of their specific structure and bring the room to vibrate visually. In the vibration of the room sound mix elements of sound artist Franz Pomassl. The sound produced by home-made ​​devices and instruments for the measurement technology and other research fields, in Kogler's installation into a sculptural experience. The viewer imagines himself surrounded by a super-structure, the space in which he stands, in its present form by systematically dissolves impulses: he loses the ground under your feet"
source: youtube text above translated from german to english via google translate!

View really interesting visitor video in exhibition space at MUTOK, Vienna


Image from Peter Kogler website of project

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Rod Maclachlan - Aftertime

Rod Maclachlan - live visuals for music performance

stunning, dramatic visuals

Aftertime ~ Roly Porter with Cynthia Miller. Visuals by Rod Maclachlan. Live at Faster Than Sound from Rod Maclachlan on Vimeo.

"A edited excerpt from a live performance of Aftertime the debut album from Roly Porter (Vex'd) featuring Cynthia Miller on Ondes Martenot. Filmed at The Britten Studio, Snape Maltings as part of Faster Than Sound, 29/10/11. Visuals conjured live by Rod Maclachlan using cameras focused on plants, smoke, rotating coal along with sound reactive dust shaker and dark water contraptions. Video feedback created using video mixers."
vimeo description:

Enchanted Forest - Animated Wallpaper Installation

Enchanted Forest
What a really interesting project - An animated wallpaper installation.
A collaboration between surface designer Natasha Lawless and Antivj label visual artist Joanie Lemercier.

View on Vimeo

The Enchanted Forest from Natasha Lawless Design on Vimeo.

Information from website:

"This is a prototype for an animated wallpaper installation as part of Natasha's ongoing 'Captivate Project' in collaboration with Joanie Lemercier. The piece is inspired by Natasha's favourite Grimm’s fairy tale, ‘The shoes that were danced into holes’ which tells the tale of twelve sisters who descend each night to the underworld, to dance amongst avenues of trees with silver, gold and diamond leaves. 

Designed as a full four-way repeat and intended for a large scale setting, 'The Enchanted Forest' captivates the viewer, creating a meditative atmosphere, as the forest of diamond leaves lights up, as if by magic. The work is a dialogue between illusion and reality. It plays between the seemingly ordinary existence of a printed wallpaper and the sense of magic created when it is brought to life with projection, where the viewer is invited into a real-life fairy tale.

The project is currently open for commission for both commercial and domestic settings."

Link to info about the project:

Monday, 16 January 2012

Staub Leben - Live reactive environment.

Arístides García Staub Leben - Live reactive environment This is quite incredible - in its drama, and visual impact and performance.
 Staub Leben Vimeo Link

Staub Leben from lasal on Vimeo.
Credits for project on vimeo link

 "UdK Berlin, Intermediales Bewegungslabor. Campus-Kollision, Januar 2012, HZT-Uferstudios. Prof. Nik Haffner: Projektleitung. Arístides García: Projektleitung, Konzept, Programmierung. Nikola Pieper: Technische Leitung. Körper: Emilia Pfohl, Marine Bertrand, Hanne Müller, Marieke Hohberge, Swann Nowak. Juan Gabriel Harcha : Tanzer. Hannes Mück : Kamera."

Arístides García - website link