Bitsphere's Weblog

… a bitart weblog

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The Elements Of Design by Patrick Butler

After the recent change in the interior design of the office Bitsphere pinned printouts of the two pdfs “Elements of Design” and “Principles of Design” by Patrick Butler at the pin-board. The documents are available for download at

The elements are not necessarily unknown in the art world as Bitsphere found them back in the photography book “Learning to see creatively” by Bryan Peterson. The principles apply not only to visual arts but are common in music and dance too. During the next few months the pdfs will stay pinned and there may be another post about the “Elements of Design” which are Line, Shape, Form, Colour, Value, Texture and Space.



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Non deterministic or rule based music

What is rule based art?

Non deterministic art has been around quite a while. In the recent decades it started to break out from modern art museums via computer games while inserting itself into business under the name gamification. Rule based art has many forms of appearance.  Be it a painting which is made of several pieces which can be moved by the spectator or an installations which depends on various influences like the sound of this windharp embedded in a natural environment. In this post Bitsphere likes to share some insights into the basics of rule based music creation.

Rules and interconnections

Out of very few rules are generally a lot of possible combinations arising. Imagine the action of driving a car: There are few possibilities: left – right – forward – backward – fast – slow. By applying these rules you may reach more places than you would have time to in a lifetime.

If the driver lined up all his decisions by this rules to describe his way from home to the grocery store it would go like: forward 10m – right 90° – forward 500m – right 75° – forward 400m – left 100° – forward 45m. It is clear that only one alteration in the description led to another outcome (the car stops at the gas station for example) and if altering two or more decisions led to a completely other outcome (the car ends up in a holiday resort abroad).

What we also may keep in mind is that there might be other ways to get to the grocery store. Which says that another application of the rules leads to the same outcome.

Example of rule based music construction

To give you a short example of how to work with rules here is a sample piece of music which is based on two rules:

  1. In each bar the note is shifted up by a third in the diatonic scale (and transposed to a certain range)  g – h – d – f – a – c – e – g
  2. The rhythm in each bar corresponds to a digital number 000001, 00000010, 000000011, 00000100, etc. If there appears a 1 in the number there is sound and if not there is none.

That is how the first eight bars look like in classical score:

Variation II for blog.-2

This is how it sounds like:

If you have anything to say about ruled based art and music – may it be a link to a resource or your personal opinion – drop me a line!

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Oneminute Festival Aarau 2010

Today the oneminute film festival in Aarau, Switzerland starts with a day for kids. Friday will be the day when selections from all over the world will be screened. Saturday and Sunday belongs to the films specially handed in  to be  shown at this festival. There are some more films, installations and an exhibitions accompanying the festival.

Bitsphere has for the second time after 2008 submitted a film to the festival. The film will be in block “Art & Experimental 2.2”. For everyone who cannot visit the festival or likes to view the video again, here it is:

If anyone has questions, suggestions or something to say about the movie use the comment section on the bottom of this posting!

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Oneminute video finished

Finally the oneminute video is finished and sent to the crew of the festival. Most important change to the last post: All cubes are tumbling and an intro and an end title is added.

Have a look at it:

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Adding sound to the oneminute video

Beside the visual part of the video, sound is a important factor. The sound accompaniment of the cubes film are noises which fade in and out when the cubes becomes visible and vanish. The sounds are distributed on the left and right side as the clouds of cubes are. This means they are switching synchronously from left to right and vice versa when the cubes rotate around the center of the screen.

The noises for the oneminute video are generated with a java class which writes down the body of a .wav file. With the freeware tool “Audacity” the files are imported as raw data. After arranging the sounds with “Audacity” they are exported as proper .wav files.

The very powerful command line tool “ffmpeg” allows to mix the video and the sound down to a complete movie. “ffmpeg” allows converting from one format to another. Sure a format will be found to deliver the video to the oneminute team.

Below you see a first mix of sound and vision. As you notice only the blue clouds have sound associated with.