Monday, April 12, 2010

Communikey Festival presents workshops, performances, interactivity April 15-17 in ATLAS

The annual Communikey Festival of Electronic Arts comes to ATLAS Thursday-Saturday, April 15-17, with live performances, workshops and interactive projects. Events in ATLAS include:

Make A Baby

Workshops with Lucky Dragons, Thursday, April 15, ATLAS Black Box theater (Photo 4)

The experimental duo Lucky Dragons, consisting of Luke Fischbeck and Sarah Rara of Los Angeles, use homemade hardware and software to translate data generated by skin contact into visualizations and sound generated by the group interaction.
Only three workshop slots remain open: 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Register for a workshop by e-mailing

Sharing Visual Ideas in Processing

Workshop with composer Peter Kirn, 2-4p.m. Friday, April 16, ATLAS Cofrin Auditorium

Using the free and open source Processing software, Peter Kirn, a faculty member at the Parsons New School for Design and a Ph.D. student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will introduce the basics of using code and will assign sonic and visual elements, and then will share an audiovisual sketchpad in a networked collaboration.

Sonic Chop Shop Workshop

Featuring D Numbers (Photo 3), noon-2 p.m. Friday, April 16, ATLAS Black Box theater

Audience members are encouraged to bring their own instruments, music loops, drum machines, sequencers, mixing boards and their voices to this music fusion workshop. D Numbers, a three-person group from Santa Fe, will blend the sounds into an electro-acoustic music experience.

DIY Headcase

Featuring White Rainbow (Photo 2) and Lucky Dragons, 7-9 p.m. Friday, April 16, ATLAS Black Box theater

Lucky Dragons and White Rainbow, a psychedelic, electronic, experimental music project of Adam Forkner of Portland, Ore., spotlight DIY craftsmanship and aesthetics in a live performance amplified in the high fidelity setting of the Black Box theater.
Tickets, which are $5 for students and $10 for non-students, can be purchased at

Mutek A/Visions

Featuring Artificiel, using an audio-modulated Tesla coil (Photo 1) as a live instrument, 7-9 p.m. Saturday, April 17, ATLAS Black Box theater

Alexandre Burton, Julien Roy and Jimmy Lakatos make up Artificiel, a group based in Montreal, Canada. They will perform their latest project, POWEr, which uses an audio-modulated Tesla coil as a live instrument. Electrical arcs produced by the coil are generated and transformed in an ongoing, real-time audiovisual process. Also featuring Xavier van Wersch from The Hague Tickets for the event are $20 and can be purchased at

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Looking at the iPad and a portal to the future

The new Apple iPad is making me think deeply about how news and entertainment are consumed. That's a bit of a leap for me, because my professional life has involved using computers to create all types of content, from news to still photos to audio and video and interactive content.

Creating versus consuming. The iPad is a device for consuming all types of media. Not by accident, it also provides a pretty easy way to spend money, to buy things, to help satisfy the myriad appetites of all types of consumers.

There's that word again. Consume.

So I've been getting in touch with my consuming side since I picked up the iPad at its debut on Saturday (although I am using the iPad to write this blog and am very pleased with how my typing speed and accuracy are improving).

Time magazine, USA Today (which is only free until July), New York Times Editor's Choice, BBC News, ABC (on-demand choices for just about any fairly recent ABC TV show), NPR, Pandora, YouTube, iTunes, various publication Web sites, books. All of these display beautifully and quickly on the iPad. My favorite for design, graphics, lots of photos and some video is Time magazine. It's just gorgeous. And I can't wait for Wired magazine (see

First-day sales of the iPad were around 300,000, application downloads topped a million and about 250,000 e-books were sold, according to Apple. Worldwide iPad sales estimates for the year range from 2.5 million to 7.1 million, according to the Wall Street Journal (see article here).

Seton Hill University will give every full-time student an iPad starting in the fall ( Locally, Alexandar Dawson School, a private K-12 prep school in Lafayette, will provide iPads for all fifth and sixth graders and is building a curriculum to complement the device (

The iPad looks very much like the tablet computer envisioned by Roger Fidler in the early 1990s. Fidler operated the Information Design Lab from 1992-1995 in Boulder. He prototyped an electronic tablet newspaper and peered into the future of electronic publications. (For a story about the iPad, the lab and to see the lab's original video about the tablet, click here. For a look at what Fidler currently is doing and his review of the iPad, click here.

Ironically, Knight Ridder, the newspaper chain that funded his research lab and at that time owned some 30 newspapers (including the local Daily Camera where I was working at the time), is no longer in business. Newspapers -- and journalism -- are endangered financially in the current electronic era.

Can the iPad make a difference?

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado is hosting a lab that is investigating the future of news in the digital age. It's called the Digital Media Test Kitchen. The effort is being led by Steve Outing, who is well-known in the online media community through his Editor & Publisher Online column called "Stop the Presses.”

The mission of the lab is to take "a cross-disciplinary approach to addressing the market failure in public-interest journalism by testing, advancing and developing new technologies, techniques and business models to reinvigorate and reinvent the news industry as it navigates through a turbulent transition period."

The Test Kitchen invites participation in a number of areas, including research, testing and adaptation of digital/news media, student projects and financial support.

More information about the Digital Media Test Kitchen is at http://test

Bruce Henderson is director of communications at the ATLAS Institute. He worked as a newspaper reporter, photographer and editor for 20 years before becoming an associate professor of journalism at CU, where he taught journalism and new media publishing for a decade.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sound artists Ross Hagen and Jim Permanent present unique mixes of technology, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 10, ATLAS Black Box

"This is my first full-on, immersive, surround-
sound show; I'm pretty pumped about it!"
--Composer/sound artist/performer Ross Hagen

CU College of Music instructor, doctoral student, composer and sound artist Ross Hagen will perform his original works in a surround-sound concert.
Using a combination of acoustic instruments with analog synthesizers, hardware effects units and manipulated field recordings, his sounds will provide audience members with a unique, immersive acoustic experience.
Hagen, under the name "encomiast," has released nine full-length collections on various labels since 1999. One project was featured on a variety of compilations, incorporated into film music and performed live.
A reviewer commented on one of Hagen's works:
". . . [his work] is downright frightening, all creaking moaning low end, deep ominous rumbles, all manner of tiny sounds drifting up out of the inky blackness, cold and sinister, abstract and ephemeral, the overtones drifting like lost specters, voices moan and bellow, the natural room sound [is] as much an instrument as anything else.
"These deep dark drones totally evoke the spirit of that haunted space. . . submerge yourself in these seemingly bottomless sounds." Learn more about Ross Hagen's sound art and his pseudonym encomiast.

Jim Permanent, "turntapelist,"
presents his sound art

Jim Campbell (aka Jim Permanent) calls himself a "turntapelist, for lack of a better word." Inspired by proponents of experimental work with vinyl, both avant-garde and hip-hop, he started to experiment with low-fidelity electronics, primarily relics of the tape age.
Over time, he moved beyond his drum kit and put together a new instrument, a "cassette scratch orchestra," composed of cast-off phrase trainers, self-made scratchbunnies, dictaphone, an analog cassette multitracker and piles of found and self-dubbed tapes.
Campbell works in a variety of contexts, improvising freely, scratching abstract-emotive tone poems on the fly. In addition to composing for theater and dance, he curates the innovative "baender bender" concert series in Dortmund, Germany. Also, he has collaborated with a diverse range of musicians. See his videos and hear his music and sound art.

Tickets are free. Seating is limited.
Reservations are recommended.

Reserve your seats now:

Listen to sound artist Ross Hagen’s work
(under his pseudonym, “ecomniast”)

See sound artist Jim Permanent’s videos: