Sebastian Castagna

Sebastian Castagna was our visiting lecturer this week, composer and sound artist, his interest is in electro acoustic music and he enjoys the analysis process when listening to music.

He gave us a short piano piece to start our analysis on, and walked through the first three sections, in the first section there is a repeat of three notes, when we then examined the second section, we could see it was a mirror of the first three notes, instead of going down then up, it went up then down. The third section then had the same note pattern as the first but all of the notes were held twice as long, this was the extended version. This is an interesting mechanic when producing music, more can be created from the material by a simple process of original, mirror, extended.

Sound is not always speaking about itself, but about the room and space it’s in. This is a very poignant line for me, as I need people not only to see relevant audio, but to make them feel they are out in the open, not in an exhibition space.

If mixing sound in stereo the speakers have to be placed correctly to replicate what you want people to hear, ie, for me, the Great Bustard sculpture will have it’s own noise, but when triggered the sound needs to move from the sculpture over the wall and away, so thinking ahead about the placement of speakers is something I must not overlook.

Musical Gestures can add movement to your piece, Texture is a background feeling to the sound, much like Pollocks paintings are a visual texture.

One of the slides showed Sebastians breakdown of sound analysis…


nature sounds (sea, rain, wind, etc.)
city sounds (cars, people, etc)
industrial sounds (machinery, etc)
timbre (colour)
shape (contour)


Spatial Behaviour: foreground/background   –   stereo image/placement


density (layers)
pace (fast, slow)
dynamics (loud, quiet)
spatial treatment

This was great to see it all laid out as a list, things to consider when putting my sound together!

For the last part of Sebastian’s talk we analysed section by section a piece of Javier Alvarez electro-acoustic music called Dorcoba Aureispina. Again breaking it down bit by bit..

Very useful to think about the sound in this analytic way.

He also recommended the Michel Chion book – Audio Vision, Sound on Screen.

Thanks Sebastian!



Painted bustard

Thanks to Seb for this spot…


Warning signs: why street artist ATM is painting London’s endangered birds

The snipe, barn owl and great bustard have appeared on walls around the capital. Caspar Henderson talks to the artist who is capturing the birds that are vanishing from Britain
Unfortunately the image of the Great Bustard doesn’t appear in the full article, but luckily the artist put this one up on twitter… beautiful!

Flight Animation

This short animation about the shapes and forces on a  bird wing gets really interesting after 2 minutes, but introduces stages and extreme keyframes to the bird flight cycle. The only problem is I think it looks like a bat flying at the end, not a bird! This may be due to the size of the body and that the edges of the wing are completely smooth, i.e., not feather like, so this will be something I really need to work out when starting to animate the Bustard, I had hoped to make smooth gestural lines, but if you lose the feather feel, it won’t work. Also the body of the Bustard is huge, it’s 8 foot wingspan needs a lot of effort to lift it…

I have only found one short live piece of footage of a Bustard taking off… it’s low quality and stops at the point of lift-off.. Frustrating..

check out 1:43 to see the start of flight.

I have been in touch with the Great bustard photographer Dave Kjaer and he has no video footage and also says it’s quite tricky to capture them taking off, so it’s going to be tricky…

Mark Making #2

I’m pretty happy with my choice of mark making, charcoal on Newsprint, but I couldn’t miss another opportunity to go to one of the open access life drawing session. I felt that it didn’t go quite so well as before, but, the quality of line and feel of movement, shape and contour are still evident and this reaffirms my media choice.


A short 1 minutes pose


Standing Quick pose



This pose has my favourite type of charcoal mark made, angular, strong, but with a smudge of contour and shape.


My favourite pose, although a little weak in execution compared to others, it has a nice feel to the shapes and definition.

I know need to find some footage of the Great Bustard flying and transpose the technique.

Beautiful Figurative Animation

One of the guys on my course pointed out this animation which the Arctic Monkeys have used for one of their songs, but I wanted to know who had done the original animation.

Turns out a chap called Ryan Woodward created the animation a few years back in 2010 for a personal project.

With a different original song.

The movements are beautiful and the drawing is fluid and simple yet the soft touch of the hand-drawn line brings an element that is indescribable and unattainable through digital drawing, this is just the sort of feel I want for my hand-drawn section.

I love how he plays with the animation and enhances movement with ‘unreal’ and impossible physicalities.

ARtSENSE and Manifest.AR

A great piece from Roger McKinley (Liverpool FACT in conjunction with ARtSENSE and Manifest.AR)


A large section of the cultural heritage sector not usually thought of as Cultural Heritage is the contemporary and temporary art galleries and spaces. Many such institutions do not have traditional collection mechanisms nor permanent artefacts and exhibitions, but rather a rolling programme constantly in flux. This represents a new challenge in terms of a systemised approach to learning and public engagement strategies, but also offers an opportunity to propose new learning and engagement mechanisms through the prism of its one unique selling point– the artistic creative engagement of artists and art practitioners. This paper examines the potential of Augmented Reality for the museum and gallery visiting experience focusing particularly on the ways through which AR as an emerging technology may inform emerging art practices all by encouraging public participation and engagement with art.

Keywords: museum, galleries, New Media Art, Augmented Reality, public engagement, visitor experience

What we find changes who we become. – Peter Morville

1. Augmented Reality, public engagement and new media art

Contemporary and new media art and artists typically occupy an interstitial place with respect to dominant or systematised approaches to heritage culture. As ‘insider-outsiders’ they simultaneously contribute to those structures and practices and critique them. A number of contemporary artists have started investigating the territories normally bound within carefully controlled systems by means of emerging technologies. They are generating new artistic modes of production that provoke and encourage a shift in established ways of creating, exposing, sharing and providing narratives.

Within this more fluid framework, several questions arise: How do we approach the processes of artistic creation in ways that embrace social technologies to personalise the museum and gallery experience? In this context, how does either the “invasive” or lightweight and potentially ubiquitous nature of AR technologies shape contemporary new media artistic creation? Can AR assist in passing from the “I” of the Artist to the “we” of participation to reshape the relationships between the public and the museum and gallery space? How can AR effectively expand the exhibition space outside the gallery’s walls and into the city? And how can all of the above change our perception of what may actually constitute a Museum?

This paper explores the design and curatorial strategy behind the upcoming exhibition, “Turning FACT Inside Out”, featuring multiple mobile AR artworks, interactions and installations conceived by the international artists’ collective, Manifest.AR and commissioned and curated by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool, UK. The exhibition and the work presented in this paper is taking place within the European ARtSENSE research project that explores the potential of Adaptive Augmented Reality for enhancing the museum and gallery visiting experience through the combined use of visual, audio and physiological sensors

read the full piece here…..

R. McKinley and A. Damala, ARtSENSE and Manifest.AR: Revisiting Museums in the Public Realm through Emerging Art Practices. In Museums and the Web 2013, N. Proctor & R. Cherry (eds). Silver Spring, MD: Museums and the Web. Published January 31, 2013. Consulted March 12, 2014 .

Go Bustard!

Thinking about the need for a model of a bustard to put into my exhibition space I was looking online for any sculptures that perhaps others have made and I stumbled across a Go Bustard event which happened in 2012.

Public Art Trail

A community arts project featuring giant great bustard sculptures has been set up to raise the profile of the Wiltshire town of Warminster.

Go Bustards! is organised by Warminster Art Society and the local Development Trust (an affliate of the local Community Area Partnership).

The glass fibre resin sculptures will form an arts trail around the town and the group are looking for businesses to sponsor their own bustard.  Those already taking part include The Organ Inn, the Minster School a handicraft shop Think Outside the Box which is to be decorated with 22kgs of multi-coloured buttons.

Lesley Fudge, project leader said “Our aim is to associate the magnificent great bustard with the lovely market town of Warminster and its surrounding areas . . . The bustard is on the Wiltshire flag and on the guide and scout badges, and they are being reintroduced to Salisbury Plain.”

“We want all different parts of our community to be involved to bring people from Warminster and the surrounding villages together, and raise the spirits in what is such a difficult time for many.

The sculptures will also be used to raise money for charity, as they will be auctioned off when the project is over.

Go Bustards! is set to run throughout 2012 and will be on display in Salisbury for the Queen’s visit.

Unbelievably this was in February of 2012 so I just missed it, but these sculptures were huge!



This Go Bustard is in residence at the stonehenge brewery nicknamed 'DRATSUB'

I contacted Lesley Fudge brainchild of the Go Bustard ART trail in conjunction with the  Warminster Art Society and asked if it was possible that they did a life-size sculpture to base the larger ones on,  but unfortunately they only ever made the giants and a couple of 8″ mini models. But the shape they have is simplified and will work well if I can closely follow it for my own sculpture.

Wiltshire has obviously taken the Great Bustard to heart as it also features the bustard on it’s flag!


Wiltshire’s flag was registered on December 1st 2009, following a declaration of support for the design by the Wiltshire County Council. The flag is the creation of county resident Mike Prior and his daughter Helen Pocock. The flag features a Great Bustard (Otis tarda) at its centre, a bird native to the county, which had been extinct since 1832 but was recently returned as part of an intensive ten-year breeding programme on Salisbury Plain. Several of the elements in the flag were present in the coat of arms awarded to the Wiltshire county Council in 1937


The old crest has a Bustard on it too!