Monday, 26 April 2010

Artificiel: POWEr

POWEr, brought to us Alexandre Burton and Julien Roy, is an sensory explosion fueled with visceral electric energy. This experimental music display combines the sheer excitement of seeing energy jump through free space with a display which captures it's aesthetic beauty.

The range of emotion which Burton and Roy are able to produce by playing their tesla-coil is quite astounding, from the sheer shock factor of electricity cracking as jumps through the air, with it's incredible percussive element, to it's strangely melodic buzzing. The paradox this leaves us in is quite profound.

Although incredibly exciting, I was surprised to find that POWEr was capable of engaging the audience for a full 30 minuets. The use of high speed cameras and a high quality visual display created from these images makes the show work on many levels.

-Build your own teslacoil here
-Learn more about Nicholas Tesla here
-Visit Alexandre Burton and Julien Roy's Artificiel site here
-Take a look at POWEr below or search you tube for other tesla coil music here

Sunday, 25 April 2010

What is Your Top 5 Podcasts?

I wanna know what people are listening to/watching on their way to work or during those precious moments when you just get to chill with a coffee. These are my favorite intellectual yet digestible podcasts, in order of preference:

- Charles Hodson's brilliantly traces the history of a word a day in the most engaging manner. It's hard not to be seduced by his subtle humor and beautifully crafted etymological investigation, especially when you take into account the depth of knowledge and the sheer amount of research needed to bring these to our ipod day in day out. For Free! 

A brilliant new feature of this podcast is the fact that you can choose to digest it as word a day or 5 words in succession at the end of each week. Great if you have a short attention span or if you've got a bit more time to kill than usual.

- To those who are fans of Radio 4's Comedy Night this needs no introduction. If your like me and hardly ever listen to the radio any more in it's previous guises it's great to be able to get all the best bits delivered straight to your ipod and listen at your own pleasure. For those who arn't as familiar it has Sandy Toksvig in the chair of The News Quiz and Steve Punt, Hugh Dennis in control of The Now Show. It's brought to us weekly and is consistently brilliant.

- Now heres a tricky one, it so easily could have been at the top of my list if it didn't depend on who Nigel Warburton and David Edmonds get into talk. At it's best it is an outstanding portal into the daunting world of philosophy but on occasions it can quickly meander into a big pile of pointless. My favorite guests have included A.C Grayling and Onora O'neill who both benefitted from Nigel Warburton's interviewing technique. 

It must be noted that the shining glory of this podcast is how Nigel Warburton filters the conversation of his guests, which is often saturated in intellectual jargon, and delivers it to the audience in a more understandable form without being condescending. Quite the feat.

- The only Vodcast to make it into my short list because on the whole im not a fan of using the small screen on my phone, but when your looking into the world of a visual artist it helps to see what they're talking about. 

Being produced by the people at Tate your guaranteed the biggest names in the art world and every once in a while they dig out some real treasures that you might not have Heard of otherwise. Usually lacks a little in content but it can really depend on what your looking for art-wise.

Another one from Nigel Warburton and David Edmunds. This time it's these guys are presenting some of the key figures in western philosophy in their trademark way of presenting heavy weight concepts in a  understandable manner. If you really want the comprehensive guide your best getting the accompanying book, Philosophy The Classics, which is a fantastic read and handy reference tool.

If you'd like to get any of these podcasts or just find out more follow the links above or search for them in your itunes.

Sensory Void........

All this talk about the sleep cycle app has reminded me of a talk given by Dr Michael Hastings at The Centre for Life Newcastle about circadian rhythms i.e. our natural sleep cycles. This was part of Newcastle's brilliant science festival which happens every March. Sadly i dont think he covered what alcohol could potentially do to our sleep cycles.

Dr Michael Hastings mentioned an experiment devised and carried out by Michel Siffre where he emersed himself in a sensory void as to find out if our body is programmed to synchronize with the night day cycle or if we use sensory clue such as sunlight. The sensory void he chose to use was a cave, which he spent an incredible 63 days. In an interview with Siffre he mentions how his perception of time was severely altered during his stay in the cave:
The psychologist Elizabeth Loftus conducted an experiment in which she showed people a filmed scene of a bank robbery and asked them to estimate its duration. They overestimated by 500 percent. It seems that our subjective experience of time is highly variable. In the absence of clocks, how did you feel time’s passage?  
There was a very large perturbation in my sense of time. I descended into the cave on July 16 and was planning finish the experiment on September 14. When my surface team notified me that the day had finally arrived, I thought that it was only August 20. I believed I still had another month to spend in the cave. My psychological time had compressed by a factor of two. 

You can read the interview or find out more about Michel Siffre by following one of the links below.

Interview - From those guys at cabinet magazine
Wikki - General information about the guy

Friday, 23 April 2010

Out For The Count.

If any ones familiar with the iphone's sleep cycle alarm clock i thought they might be interested to see what happened to me the first night i used it.

Having bought the app i miraculously still managed to plug my phone in an position it so as to use the app on the first night i had it. Even tho i had been out to The Other Rooms, a club in Newcastle Upon Tyne, and carried on drinking late into the night. The Hawk eyes amongst you may have already noticed that i didn't get to sleep until 7am.

Any way, i thought i'd share the statistics from that night as i think it's interesting to note how drastic surprisingly little i moved until about 9.15 where i suddenly became really restless. Perhaps someone out there has some idea as to what the alcohol did to me during my sleep?

Get the App here

Art Review opens up to radio.

Lend your ears to Art Reviews new Radio series:
"In the first of a new series for ArtReview, artist Charlie Woolley takes his Radio Show to New York. In this episode he is out and about in the city, talking to Kathy Grayson of Deitch Projects and artist, critic and art historian Svetlana Alpers."

If you want to find out more about Kathy Grayson go to and the writings of Svetlana Alpers books can be found at

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Haroon Mirza - Sheffield Based Artist

Haroon is a prolific young artist that often uses iconography from the music industry/world of sound production, sounds cliche but its not. His work really sums up what great installation should be and like i fluttered over before he is interested in the role audio in society, which ticks all the right boxes with me. All considered its not surprising that he has had an amazing amount of press recently in magazines such as Art Review, a-n magazine and NY Arts.

His webiste is well worth a look at:

Monday, 19 April 2010

Beyond crossed senses in synaesthesia

This is a post i stole from one of my favorite blogs

Cognitive Daily coversa super-elegant study that helps us understand whethersynaesthesia is really just a case of 'crossed senses' or whether the perceptual blending effect requires the person to have processed some of the meaning of the triggering experience.
The traditional explanation of most types of synaesthesia is that the brain's sensory areas are overly connected, so activation of one sense triggers activity in another area which causes the experience. However, there has been some recent evidence that synaesthesia doesn't work purely at this basic sensory level.
For example, a recent study by neuropsychologist Jamie Ward and colleaguesreported that letter-colour synaesthetes needed to be concentrating on the letters to trigger colours - seeing them 'out of the corner of the eye' didn't work - suggesting there must be some involvement of focus and concentration and not just a reliance on incoming sensory information.
To test the idea further, it would be ideal to be able to separate out experiences where we process just sensory information and experiences where we also understand meaning but as we tend to deal with both at once, this is not easy to do.
But this new study managed to do exactly this in people with colour-speech synaesthesia, where affected people experience colours when they hear specific words, using a perceptual illusion called the McGurk effect.
It's an intriguing effect that you can see in action on the Cognitive Daily page, but essentially, it shows that seeing someone mouth a word affects what we hear, so if we are played the syllable 'gah', but see someone mouthing 'bah', the brain makes a compromise and we experience hearing the syllable 'dah'.
So the effect is a perfect tool to separate out sensory information and meaning, because the researchers can play exactly the same sound but change what word the participants hear simply by showing clips of people mouthing different words.
If colour-speech synaesthesia works only through crossed-senses then the McGurk effect should make no difference to the colours because the exact same sound is played each time, but if this form of synaesthesia is triggered by meaning, the colours should differ because the McGurk effect changes which words are perceived and understood, despite the identical sound.
This is exactly what the researchers found, providing additional evidence that synaesthesia is not just a sensory confusion, it is based in how the brain understands meaning.
It's an incredibly elegant study and the Cognitive Daily piece covers it equally as elegantly.

Link to CogDaily on 'Synesthesia and the McGurk effect'.
Link to PubMed entry for study.
pdf of study full text.

Nadine Shah @ o2 Newcastle

Nadine Shar was amazing last night at the o2 Accademy. If you get to chance to see her dont miss out because she's an astounding new tallent. If you'd like to her her music you can at:

and her tour with Shakespear Sister continues up and down the contry. Take a look at the dates (on the MySpace) and see if you can make it to any of the shows. You wont regret it.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Northumbria Degree show!

Visual Arts Degree Show - Undergraduate
Dates: 11.06.10 - 25.06.10

The Visual Arts Degree Show presents the work of BA (Hons) Fine Art and BA (Hons) Contemporary Photographic Practice graduates.

The exhibition is the culmination of undergraduate studies for 2010 and, as in previous years, the exhibition will demonstrate an extremely high level of creative achievement with each student cultivating an individual practice that is distinctively their own, and that reflects the diversity of contemporary ideas and culture.

The Visual Arts Degree Show provides graduating students with an opportunity to showcase their work before embarking on careers in the arts and creative industries. Through their individual art works, our graduates demonstrate original and innovative approaches to art practice.

The event is open to staff, current and future students as well as the general public, enabling all visitors to view the new generation of artists as they make their distinctive mark on contemporary ideas and culture.

This popular event, which is eagerly awaited each year, attracts hundreds of visitors.

In 2010 the Visual Arts Degree Show will exhibit over 150 new art works by 70 artists and it is an ideal opportunity to wish our graduates every success in their future careers.

Save the date as this exhibition should not to be missed!

Image: Penny Grennan, graduate 2009, BA (Hons) Fine Art.

Exhibition Tonight!!

Between Us And This

April 17th-18th

Showroom at Curtis Mayfield House
formerly known as Globe Gallery
Carliol Square
East Pilgrim Street

An exciting selection of upcoming artists presenting new work in a variety of media.
The exhibition boasts an array of work over two floors in the Showroom at Curtis Mayfield House.

Artists involved include Rory Biddulph, Thomas Whittle, Theodore Harper-Davis, Robbie Hudson, Paul Kotter, Shona Macpherson, David Teager-Portman, Emily Harper, Fiona Morris, Cliodhna Murphy, Josephine Sutton.
With additional curatorial input from Denise Kwan.

Please join us for a private viewing on Friday 16th of April at 8PM.
Further more we invite you to an open discussion of the work and exhibition on Sunday the 18th of April from 2PM until 6PM, accompanied with tea and biscuits.


can we get it to appear in my site?

Lets get this blog started.x