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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Rule based live music

note_symbol“Audible/Inaudible 2012 -2014”

During the last two years Bitsphere performed an anonymous rule based live piece at a local bar which lies at the entry of the inner city when coming from the Bitsphere office. The piece for piano consists of some rules which will be listed in the next paragraph. The piece described here originated in a spontaneous idea and is an example of artistic intervention in everyday live. With the description of this peace and possible impacts Bitsphere likes to invite others to accoustic involvement in shared living spaces.

The rule set

  1. Every day the player passes the bar he has to enter and play the next tone on a chromatic scale beginning at the lowest note if all the rules apply
  2. The player should play only if he passes alone
  3. The player should be in a proper state for working according to governmental working rules
  4. The Piano shall be unoccupied
  5. No other musician shall play in the bar at the time
  6. Nothing should be purchased when entered to play a tone


By applying this rules it was possible to play all the keys of the grand piano within two years. The bar is usually closed Sunday and Monday but opens early in the morning and does not close before midnight. In the summer time sometimes they close in the afternoon to move to an outdoor location some paths away. Bitsphere only once had the chance to play the tone there (this tone was doubled) when some band installed a keyboard over there.


After a while some of the frequenter where aware that Bitsphere had a certain regulatory and they started to interact after the tone was played. One occasionally applauded and it is quite sure he sort of realized what was going on though Bitsphere tried to hide which means a visitor who only heard one of the tones should have thought there is someone just hitting a key for whatever reason. In general the relation to the waiters was relaxed randomly they tried to sell a beer to Bitsphere after the tone had gone. But this did not apply to rule #6.

Due to rule #2 the piece passed relatively anonymously there were no one told what was going on. It was just like entering – acting – listening – leaving and this kind of loneliness when inserting a sound to the daily noises with a melody only aware to one person in the beginning let to certain reflections about music which may not come easy in other ways. The difference in the player – the spectators – and even the tuning of the piano over the time is observed.

The player in his inner state – sometimes resisting to play though the rules do all apply – sometimes wanting to advance even if one ore more rule is not fulfilled has to remember over the whole span which note has to played at the next occasion which sometimes takes a little longer to come. The spectators were divided in two groups: Some not aware that this is a piece of music as just another one presses one of the keys of the piano, some aware there is someone who comes back regularly to play just one note on the piano which was at least tuned one time over the two years.

What is next?

After this piece Bitsphere wants to do more live events and perhaps faster rule based performances. Please drop some words in the comment box if you have experience in rule based live music or any other thing to say! You may also name some rules here and Bitsphere will try to perform them!


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Listening to two radios

I would like to add a new listening post to the others filed in the category listening. The exercise is simple but it may enhance your ability to distinguish different sounds. It is inspired by John Cages Imaginary Landscape 4.

To start you will have to organize two or more sources of broadcast or playback-media. Best is playback so when in doubt you may reset your setting.

The exercise asks you to play all the sources you gathered at the same time and and while listening take notes on a sheet on what you hear either in quality of sounds or in musical terms. That is all you have got to do.

The longer you do it the more you will be aware of your inner ability to “mute” one sound and focus on the other and to strengthen your force not to do so.

If you have comments on the exercise or own exercises to propose please use the section below this post!

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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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A big draft for content

20130308_duckContent is king

Who actually is adding value to the blogs and twitters we are following? It seems although there are new social sites growing on a daily basis the amount of content out there is stable. In the mid 00’s there was a saying that 90% of the people are consumers where as 10% of the people really add fresh content as images, music or texts to websites. This may or may not be true any more. Most likely the ratio is the same today. But there are many more sharing buttons out there which allows surfers to duplicate links or even whole sources to other sites.

The same content keeps coming back

As the amount of sharing sites increase it is more and more likely that the same content is coming back to us. While there is more or less the same amount of creative people out there to really produce new stuff the number of communication channels increased dramatically in the last 5 years. So if we strip away all the sharing platforms from the content it seems likely that the production of content is stable. While more and more links to that content are circulating.

Some stats

In this visualization we can learn that 40% of all twitter users do not tweet at all and that many of the news are some girl magazine like things. But still there is a huge amount of links to content shared though this is not further specified in the image linked to above.

Keep going

This means that the people working to provide sources for the social nets and the internet are still few among many. Since every link has to end in some web page with user generated content there is today a bigger draft by the increasing number of sharing sites only made to forward articles, images, music or videos like pearltrees or pinterest. They provide an increasing number of users in need for links.

A word to those sharing

Many of you may feel totally alright with sharing only, in fact many people are, and if you are one of them then you are among only 9% of all internet users according to the 1% rule. There is an interesting analogy to that kind of participating and the ready-made, also known as objet trouvé. If you have any other websites designed for “sharing only” apart from the aforementioned, please leave a comment in the form next to this post.

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Listening to the most quiet sound

For November, Bitsphere is describing another listening exercise. Bitsphere advises to begin with the other exercises you find under the category “listening” ( ) but you can start straight away with this one if you like.

The description of this exercise is rather simple but it enables you to listen to surprising many sounds if you get in the habit of doing this for a couple of days or weeks. There are more possibilities to do so than you might think.

This listening exercise goes like this: Listen to what you hear! Notice that sound and then try to listen to a different sound or noise which surrounds you! Whenever you have found something to listen to, mark it “heard” in your inner register and try to find something new to listen to. Search for silence and you will find many subtle sounds!

This is it all. For sure you can do this in many situation in your daily life. As you go ahead with this exercise you will develop an ability to listen to many hidden sounds in your noise environment. Enjoy!

If you would like to share your experience with this exercise or even propose your own one you are welcome to use the comment section!

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27 Types of Tweets in One Image

Recently in the summer sun Bitsphere thought about the right frequency to tweet. To get a human readable feed with some reasonable number of people to follow it turned out that it might be best for the Bitsphere project to produce three tweets a day. This in advancing the thoughts about the right time to post.

Although this is a rather theoretical number for the Bitsphere project and might be too planned, along this thoughts arose another which goes: Breaking down the content of a tweet by the number of three might make sense too.

Bitsphere created a thing like a data cube which allows to sort typical tweets. Obviously there are other kind of tweets not included in the cube but many of tweets even in your time line may easily be put in that rooster:

Types of Tweets

Within this cube there are 27 small green cubes. To each of them there are three values assigned: A type of content value, a type of statement value and a type of privacy level. To provide a cool twitter time line to his followers, Bitsphere thinks one should at least spread his types of tweets among several of the small green cubes.

To make an example: The tweet to announce this blog post will go something like this: “27 Types of Tweets”. To sort it with the cubes this would be a “Business – Link (to) – own content” tweet. For let’s say I tweeted “Finished blog post – going for a walk” Would be a “Personal – statement – own content” tweet. Once you get the idea you can easily invent other 25 tweets matching the other small green cubes.

If you have some thoughts or resources on analyzing tweet behavior please share it in the comment section!