Monday, September 27, 2010

Seminar On Sound Installation Wednesday

lights times twoThis Wednesday, 29 September, I will be conducting a seminar at the University of Limerick, based on my last major sound installation. If you are interested, drop by the Computer Science Building Auditorium (room CSG01) at 3pm. This is presented by the Centre for Computational Musicology and Computer Music (CCMCM), which is just in the process of being re-branded the Digital Media and Arts Research Centre (DMARC). Entry is free.

I will discuss the process of creating a site-specific sound installation from initial conception through final product, using as example "The Lights In Room 7", commissioned by curator Elizabeth Hatz (Sweden) for this year's OPEN/INVITED e v+ a 2010 MATTERS exhibition. Practical, technical and theoretical concerns will be addressed, depending on the specific interests of those present.
Friday, September 24, 2010

Programming Blog Now Incorporated

real or fake?My once-separate programming blog, diagrammes modernes has now been folded into this site, as part of the Major Site Reboot. I welcome anyone who has joined us from that website. I took the time to replace each post with a link to the appropriate article here, all 65 of them.

diagrammes modernes was a bit of an orphan site for me. Traffic was low, mostly because my posting was sporadic. The Theatre of Noise already displays schizoid tendencies, so why not add another personality? If you are only interested in development posts, you can access them using the /dev category. And soon there will be separate feeds per category, further streamlining your experience.

In order to make room for that new category I have folded Politics (which included economics) into Media, which has now become something of a catch-all category for arts, culture and so on. Maybe I will rename it.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Castle Fragments

coiledI have never had much luck shooting castles. The ramparts, balustrades and courtyards always seem much more impressive in person. The spaces, so full of the traces of past lives, are difficult to represent in a photo. At least, not without resorting to certain clich├ęs: unusual angles and strange perspectives.

Castle Fragments is the name of my latest set on Flickr, which I shot in King John's Castle here in Limerick, a space I am familiar with almost to the point of boredom. How not to be boring? For me, one way is to concentrate my vision on the small details, the overlooked, what might otherwise be banal.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Major Site Reboot

Dodo at Natural History Museum, LondonIf you are reading this on my website you have no doubt noticed something new at Theatre of Noise. If instead you are reading this through a news reader, head on over to check out the new look! Things were getting stale and I was getting bored. I also had a number of new goals for the site that only a redesign could accomplish. Read on and I'll let you know what I was thinking. Of course I value your input, so comment with any pros and cons. (Things might be a little unstable for about 24 hours as I tweak.)
Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pentax K-5 Pre-Announcement

We are right on the verge of new cameras from Nikon (D7000), Canon (EOS 60D) and Olympus (E5), all of which slot into the APS-C sensor "enthusiast" category. Which is to say that they are good enough to take any picture you want, if you have the skill to use them to their utmost. Same as the last generation of cameras, then.

Will A New Camera Make Me A Better Photographer? That's the title of a different post, one which I haven't written yet. But in this article I want to briefly consider what we can expect in the latest Pentax flagship body, the K-5. It's to be officially announced within 24 hours, but thanks to the leak of the German language spec sheet (on a Dutch site) the information has gone viral. I mention the fictitious article title just so you might keep it all in perspective!
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Revisiting the Sony PCM-M10 versus Olympus LS-10 / LS-11 Discussion

Sony PCM-M10 and Olympus LS-10One of my most popular recent articles is my comparison of two handy portable digital audio recorders. Both the Sony PCM-M10 and the Olympus LS-11 (previous model LS-10) offer the possibility of superior recording quality and flexibility in a unit that fits in a coat pocket and can be carried in one hand. There are many similar units by other manufacturers on the market, but these have the best overall mix of features, ergonomics and sound. Try as I might, I still own both of them -- I just cannot decide which is the ultimate tool. Neither can my readers, a fact which has generated a good amount of conversation around the previous article, both on the web and in private emails.

In this post I will address some of those concerns and articulate my thoughts in a different way.
Sunday, September 12, 2010

Photo of David Toop Published in The Wire

Wire online David Toop articleA photo of David Toop I took this summer has been used to illustrate an article in the online version of The Wire: Adventures In Modern Music. I am sure you will recognise David Toop as one of the foremost authors on contemporary music, not to mention his own significant achievements as a performer and composer. He often writes for this magazine himself.

The photo illustrates an excerpt of Toop reading from his new book, Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship Of The Listener, published by Continuum. Go to The Wire page to hear this for yourself.
Friday, September 10, 2010

New Pentax DA 35mm AL Lens

smc PENTAX DA 35mm F2.4 AL (silver)Pentax is known for its quality prime lenses, second to none and comparable with Zeiss, Leica and Voigtlander. But one thing they have not produced are inexpensive primes for those with less money to spend. That has all changed with the introduction of the SMC Pentax-DA L 35mm F2.4 AL. Is this just a reaction to the Nikon and Sony 35mm primes? Is this too big a compromise for Pentax to make? Is it too little too late?

Read on for my initial analysis, though much will have to wait until an actual lens can be used and tested.
Thursday, September 09, 2010

Pentax K-r Viewpoint

Pentax K-r in goldIn my last article I introduced the K-r, the new "mid-line" body in the Pentax line. Here I'll share my opinions, noting that I had no access to a sample copy. Is this the new Pentax golden boy (as pictured)? Or will it's image tarnish like silver?

Silver or gold, this camera seems like a decent replacement for the K-x, with improvements in some of the areas we might want and others we might instead merely expect. The larger LCD will look lovely and feel less cramped than the smaller predecessor. I would have liked to see an articulated screen, however. This is not just a toy feature, but a good and useful tool for video and macro work especially, but also street shooting and so on.
Thursday, September 09, 2010

Pentax K-r Due In October

K-r in silver (perspective)Pentax has a newly announced camera due on the market in October. The K-r is designed to fit above the entry-level K-x and below the flagship K-7. A new improved model at the top of the range will be announced later. Here I will give a quick overview of the new camera.

The first thing most people will notice is that, like a previous model, the K-r is available in a multitude of colours... at least if you live in Japan. There are 12 body and 10 grip colours, plus the new standard prime lens also comes coloured to your individual preference. So that's 1440 possibilities, many of which would be garish beyond belief! I note with interest that the design site allows you to choose the silver metal FA43 Limited as one of your lenses. Hence my version illustrated here! (As usual, click on all photos to get larger versions in Flickr.)