Friday, September 30, 2005

Here's Ilan, he's teaching us science things:

Here's an example of what goes on in Ilans brain, a few of his tidy equations:

Tonight we went to Chabot Science centre with Wobbly to look through thier telescopes. Every friday you can view for free there , we saw clusters and some Messier objects. Here's one of the telescope domes.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Sun - the documentary

Looked over recordings and interviews we have been making, to get it all backed up and to revisit our areas of interest.

Also, looking at various Solar visual and audio data bases, and downloading and collating alot of 'stuff' to produce a 'Sun documentary'.

We have lots of experiments on the go and in mind. At the moment we're thinking of producing a series of short investigations and results as films, documentaries and drawings.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Steve Mende interview and Space Dust

We interviewed Stephen Mende today. He is one of the leading figures in Aurora sciences. We had specific questions to ask him, and got some great answers for our purposes. Hopefully we can talk to him again as he's very interesting.

Also, thanks to the 'space dust' team we hung out in thier clean space, filming them remove space dust that has been space. We also interviewed Chris Sneade, who gave us the low down on the project.

The image below is Aerogel,very wierd stuff; looks like a special effect in your hand, it's so light and translucent. It's made from silicon and is the lowest density material on earth.
They use this to catch the space dust.

and here's Joe filming....

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Moon rock

You never quite know where you're going to end up at SSL. Today Kuni Nishiizumi opened up his safe and we saw moon rock from the Apollo 16 mission, amongst other cool things Wow! We had a tour around the Aerogel lab, where they bring dust to examine which has been caught off the back of a comet.
So many things to process.

moon rock and a photograph of where it was taken from on the moon!

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Art of interviewing

Filmed our first interview today with Nahide Craig. We explored many subjects, and the results are inspiring.
We have to be clever detectives in our new roles as interviewers. We have to learn to channel the conversation and feed the right questions so we can get the right flavour of answers. A new and intruiging challenge.
More tomorrow.

Also discovered Leonardo back copies are available to us free online at UC Berkeley. Been downloading some great articles. Never knew that Stan Vanderbeek did a residency with NASA 1979-80. He proposed that Nasa convert the Kennedy Space Centre into an artistic "Centre for inner space"...what a dude!

Walked the trail back down to campus:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Bay Trail

went exploring and discovered more cycling routes today - carried on beyond the Berkeley marina and there's the Bay Trail which is a dedicated paved cycle route for as long as you want...

where's the house?!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Pyrotechnic convention

We tried to feed our brains with various books we have acquired; interferometry, shadowgraph techniques and reading about a history of sociologists being sent into science labs to look at not just how the scientists interacted but also looking at how they went about representing their ideas via graphs, diagrams etc. and what factors played a role in this.
Our Dim Sum neighbour dropped round some good reading material to help us on our way.

We were ready for The Boat Show come evening, and headed off to San Francisco to join the crew and listen to Wobbly,Bevin, Jay and Martin play their sounds. We had a tour of the bay, went under the Golden Gate Bridge, edged past Alcatraz and then had an eye popping experience watching cutting edge fireworks as there was a pyrotechnics conference in town: American Pyrotechnic Association convention. The most phenomenal display; fireworks that speeded up, slowed down, filled the sky. It got really silly when they started making cubes and spheres.
There was a great moment when Bevin was playing with the skyline of San Francisco rolling by and five or six silhouettes of pelicans flew behind. Didn't capture that in a photo but heres some others:

the picture above is of the resident sea lions at pier 39.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Magnetism strength

Todays talk was given by Dave Mitchell of SSL about Mars' Bizarre Magnetic Field.
Apparently they didn't think Mars would have a significant magnetic field so they were quite suprised of their results. We learnt lots of other things about Mars that we didn't know before, but failed to understand the actual process that was used to measure it. It went into abbreveations speak. Ilans advice of the day was "the important thing is that they can measure the strength of the magnetism."
People are quite busy making proposals at the moment, so there's lots of activity in various departments. Next week we are doing some interviews with scientists, and will have to persuade them our cause is worthy! We have a honed down list of scientists we want to talk to now, and have devised a plan of action regarding questions.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

signal to noise, schlieren and unseen satellites

Ilan advised us " don't worry about books" but we said "we need some new knowledge" and "it's just a phase in the process we need to go through."
We got our library cards today and hunted down books in the varied libraries spread across campus. We weren't so far off at the beginning of our time here when we said we felt like Anthropologists, as half the books were in the anthropology library.

At sunset we hung out on a windy highway bridge in an attempt to see the southern horizon.
A satellite was launched down the coast and it was meant to make an impressive display, but the 16 minute window came and went and nothing happened. It had been launched, but we were not to see it this time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Dim Sum + Ilan tour

We were taken to Walnut Creek and treated to the best Dim Sum by our neighbours.

Ilan took us on an exploration; takingin Tilden park, North berkeley and Cheeseboard.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Exploratorium + CCA

An interesting thing about interviewing scientists is that your getting them to verbalise something which is best represented in another medium.They search for specifc words and appropriate gestures.
The exploratorium is a somewhere you go to perceive science, you see, hear and touch it. Anything I write about it won't do these experiences we had there today justice. Similarly neither will these photos; on the left, cosmic rays we photographed in the cloud chamber and below an artificial aurora.

Here's Scott Arford at the California College of the Arts, performing with his Tvs and amplifying their interference. John Bischoff also played live electronics tonight. Two great performances.

Monday, September 19, 2005

research day

topics of interest:

Representation in scientific practice: Edited by Michael Lynch and Steeve Woolgar
Insights of Genius: Arthuer I Miller
Aesthetics, Representation and Creativity in Art and Science
Arthur I. Miller [Leonardo v28 #3, 1995]

Imaging of articficial aurora in the upper atmosphere: paper by Stephen Mende and al at SSL.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

screech screech

a day for stopping still in our lovely new home;
lstening to squirrels painfully scraping their teeth
on walnuts "screech screech"

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Other Cinema + Prelinger Library

visited SFMOMA and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco today. Great show called “Bay Area Now” at the Yerba which is an annual show of local artists, and some really great work. Wrote some names down to follow up and I seem to have lost the ticket I wrote them on. Hmph. Had our first experience of Craig Baldwins Other Cinema tonight, fantastic community. We will be doing a show here on the 12th November with People Like Us, can't wait.
The film being shown and the lecture being given was exploring covert military complexes; mainly Area 51. As part of the evening Megan Prelinger had selected various documents and books that link in with this theme, presented them in a portable display case and then discussed each item, this was a performance in itself. All the documentation comes from her and Rick prelingers experimental library which houses many incredible volumes and is open by appointment. Anyway there's a picture above is of Megan performing, and one of Rick and Megan in their library:

Friday, September 16, 2005

Themis thermal vacum testing

well here's the picture people have been waiting for, us suited up on part two of Forrests tour:

admittedly we look more like we're going to work in a bakery but I assure you that behind us is the thermal vacum vault in which the Themis instruments are being put through their paces
to make sure they don't fail in extreme temperatures.

here's a couple more images from our tour:

in Forrests office:

humidity monitor:

one of the 5 probes that make up Themis:

Alot more interesting scientists met and to re-meet. Next week we will interview some of the scientists from The Tour: part 1. We have formulated more focused questions around our interests now.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Today was dedicated to moving to our sublet for the rest of our time here. Our hosts are off on holiday for several months and have left us in their charming abode. Definitely don't want to leave now. It took all of about half and hour to move so we went and explored more of Berkeley; mainly bookshops, of which there are many and we picked up some perfect books, especially a Laszlo Moholy-Nagy book called 'Vision in Motion' 1947. " This book is written for the artist and the layman, for everyone interested in his relationship to our existing civilization " (Moholy-Nagy, Vision in Motion, 1947, p.5) He had a desire to witness an inalterable link between art and life and produced great visual and formal paintings, sculpture and photography which linked vision, form and technology. His constuctivist works are great.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Documentation and PFA: part two

Part two of our SSL tour is happening Friday.

Discussing more ideas for documenting our time here. We've become more interested about how scientists interpret and represent their data, visually and aurally. We have compiled questions we want to explore with them rearding this idea, and are finding that we can't help but notice the similarity in many of their working processes compared to ours as artists. Never thought we would find ourselves experiencing this sort of contact with such intruiging thinkers and explorers and finding that we have things in common. We have had some ideas to incoorporate the previously visualisation software into our documentation, as 'Art Experiments', in response to conversations with 'the scientists'. [We are referred to here as 'the artists' so we think it's okay to keep writing 'the scientists'!]

We gave a nice informal talk and presentation of our work at PFA tonight.
Once we start doing series of talks we become more relaxed, and the audience responds more.
Nice to see some familiatr faces there. Lots of interesting feedback and kind responses. We have another talk at San Francisco Arts Institute coming up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

SSL tour part one

We've just been given an inspiring tour of half of SSL by Forrest Mozer
who introduced us to managers of the various missions, and what happens where. We promised to make contact with them again and find out more. He was great in letting them know who we are and how he enjoyed our work!
He's also got us invited to the vibration testing of some of the THEMIS
probes, where we'll have to 'suit up'. Second half of the tour to come tomorrow; what a valuable opportunity.

Also have come across some prototype software for the visualisatioin, analysis, and retrieval of space physics data, produces amazing images and animation. We're going to look at that and explore it's potential. Here's an image from it, very Sonic Inc!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Amazing Light

We signed up today for a symposium that's happening at UC Berkeley: Amazing Light: Vision of Discovery. It's honouring Charles Hard Townes who is 90 and still works at SSL! He won the Nobel Prize for developing the Laser. The symposium sounds great; looking at possibilities for investigating new discoveries about our reality and developing new technology which may open up new advances in experimental physics. We like the sound of that...

we've been passed on this link today on a Sonification project:

we're getting lots of reference points from the scientists, sending us on different journeys of discovery.....
Apparently you can actualy see the San Andreus fault at Point Reys. Definately worth a trip.
Also, not far is Lassen Volcanic National Park! it says; All four types of volcanoes in the world are found in the park. Over 150 miles of trails and a culturally significant scenic highway provide access to volcanic wonders including steam vents, mudpots, boiling pools, volcanic peaks, and painted dunes. !
We are booked in already to go to Yosemite National Park, and will book our trip to JPL soon. Lucky us.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tilden regional park

we took this pic on a cycle ride we did today.
Behind Berkeley hills is Tilden regional park and wildcat canyon, loads of bike trails with amazing views east and west + lots of Buzzards soaring overhead. Quite a hike to get to it, winding up through Berkeley hills, but it's downhill all the way back!
You can go swimming in Lake Jewel too, next time..

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Illuminated corridor

Went to an outside film event tonight in Oakland called Illuminated corridor.
Lots of people with unique set ups; multi 16mm installations, live digital image and sound, live sound ensembles making sound tracks to Melies films, strobing spinning thing with a balloon used to create sound etc. and all in a parking lot next to the docks.

Friday, September 09, 2005


went to a talk at SSL by Reinhard Genzel on The Centre of the Milkyway: home of massive stars and black holes.
Just before the talk started, a scientist came up and whispered, "Do you know about Helioseismology?". Various scientists have been approaching us since our talk suggesting areas we may find interesting as a result of seeing our work. It's exciting that the scientists are feeling motivated to introduce us to space science after seeing what we do.....

went to a music gig at Mills college, Oakland tonight featuring: Matmos /Thomas Lehn and Marcus Schmickler and Femail
Here's a pic of Matmos and peeps: Jons playing 'adding machines' at the front!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Our talk at SSL

Our PFA show tonight went well last night. Dick Hebidge was there although we didn't get to meet him, and the talk he's part of tomorrow clashes with ours at SSL. We got taken for 'bad food' afterwards which consisted of hanging out at the fresh Donut store sharing hot donuts...our initiation.

We talked about and showed our work to the scientists today.
It seemed to go well, and we had good responses. We kept the talk quite tight to give more of an introduction to our work and not to go into too much depth. We had lots of articles and interviews available for people who wanted to know more.
Some scientists quizzed us before hand during a welcome reception about our prescence at SSL, how we came to be here, why we were here etc. I think we passed.
Met lots of enthusiastic and interesting people, we have to make sure we chase up their promises, one of which is to have a proper tour of the laboratories, can't wait.

beam me up scottie! [pre-talk]

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

showing and talking

Shuffling words today.
Preparing for a talk we're giving at SSL to the scientists on our work tomorrow.
Trying decide on the angle we talk about our work. An art bod suggested that we shouldn't
change or simplfy how we talk about our work to a non art crowd, but I feel that we need to give it more of a context than we normally would, to emphasise the considerations in our work that we would normally take for granted. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how our work is taken,and what if any responses we get. It's feeling like a hit or miss situation at the moment, it's our opportunity to interest the scientists in us being here.

First PFA show tonight with us performing Sonic Inc and screening other works.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


finished new sound for Sonic Inc. performance using Jupiter data recrodings today.
here's the animated drawing/sculpture which results from it. It's more organic than others in the way it grows to the harmonies.

We are getting booked up on the talk and performance front.
We will be performing on a double bill with People Like Us at UC Davis
on 11th November and talking soon to a video and conceptual art class here at UC Berkeley.

shuffling data around to prepare for our show at Pacific Film Archive tomorrow.

Monday, September 05, 2005

tree view

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Black Oak books

this weeks blog has spent it's llife in draft, waiting for pictures to be added. So you get to see a weeks antics all in one go. Pretty busy week all in all, talking, showing, meeting, listening and more exploring.

We discovered Black Oak Books today - great second hand and new books, we picked up three gems:
Powers of Ten based around Charles and Ray Eames' film of the same name. A visual exploration of the scale of things in our known universe and our place in it. It looks at different scientific tools for representation at varying magnitudes. Perfect.
Also a book on Sun Earth relationships to brush up on our knowledge for the Lab, and a hefty book called The Science of Sound; detailing everything from sound waves to the effects of noise.
For anyone who knows our work you can see this ties up our interests nicely.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Sun and Earth

In the spirit of SSL missions we will get to see both the bands Earth and Sunn O))) while we're here.
We saw Earth last night alongside Merzbow at The great American music Hall in San Francisco. It's been about ten years since we saw him play at Disobey at The garage in London, he was great then and is even better now, totally appropriate for the space sounds we've been working with this week .

Friday, September 02, 2005


we got to plug our Pacific Film Archive shows on
Berkeleys KPFA free speech radio last night on Barbara Goldens show:
thanks to Blevin Blectum and Wobbly from Sagan who did a great live show
you can hear the archive here:
click on Friday September 2nd show

Sagan of course being a tribute of sorts to Carl Sagan

Went to our first seminar at SSL by Jim Mcfadden titled; Reconnection Energization of Electrons, Dual Lobe Reconnection, and the Formation of the Cold Dense Plasma sheet!! We understood more than we thought we would and are at this point feeling more like anthropoligists as we get to see more of how SSL operates.
see future seminars list

Thursday, September 01, 2005


We have a couple of shows coming up at Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley on the 7th and 14th of September:
As part of the first show we are performing with Sonic Inc; our real time drawing software. This performance currently uses space sounds; recordings from Jupiter and Ganymede to produce the 3d sculptures in real-time. Today we've been sourcing sounds available through SSL and other sonification projects to create entirely new sections for the show next week.