Friday, January 24, 2014

physical intellectual spiritual transformative adventures



Today (01/24/2014) is the first uncommon day of the year 2014.  There will be five more:  (02/14/2014, 04/12/2014, 04/21/2014, 10/24/2014, and 12/04/2014), dubbed uncommon because the four digits of the month and day mm/dd are permutations of the year's digits 0, 1, 2, 4.

I’ve been working on a phrase to describe the kind of entertaining and educational exercise platform with which I have been developing and experimenting (e.g. the syncopated surfing ring).  I've decided upon the following:


Physical Intellectual Spiritual Transformative Adventure (PISTA*) 



Immersive interactive experience (composed of a  myriad mix of music motion math media.) that combines physical, intellectual, and spiritual elements.  A happening that could take place in miscellaneous and sundry locations such as classrooms, dance studios, centers for fitness, rehabilitation, or recreation, spas, gyms, clubs, arenas, performance spaces, recital halls, theaters; any place within which human beings can resonate with music and motion. 

An essential component of a PISTA is that it is not only a highly interactive event, it must provide an experience that can transform participants in a very positive way, with a specific and deliberate intention to make the world a better place.


*PISTA in Spanish and Italian translates to the following in English:  

pista-noun
track
pista, vía, camino, oruga, trayectoria, rastro
racetrack
pista, hipódromo, autódromo, corredera
runway
pista, pasarela, vertedor
clue
pista, indicio
trail
rastro, sendero, camino, pista, recorrido, estela
lead
plomo, cable, iniciativa, cabeza, paso, pista
rink
pista
path
camino, trayectoria, sendero, recorrido, paso, pista
floor
piso, suelo, planta, fondo, pista
arena
arena, esfera, ruedo, pista, plaza, coso
ring
anillo, timbre, llamada, aro, anilla, pista
tarmac
pista, alquitranado





Monday, December 30, 2013

mod/div and polar piano keyboards: multiplayer instruments for peace

Today is December 30, 2013 which is the last in the series of 7 such "uncommon" dates that occurred this year.  (the definition of an "uncommon" date:  the digits of the month / day 1 2 / 3 0 are a permutation of the elements in the set = { 0, 1, 2, 3 } of digits in the year 2013.

So in commemoration, the mod/div keyboard is hereby unveiled.  There will be more about this posted in 2014, but for now let me just point out that the purpose of this instrument is to promote kindness and good will among human beings, in rings of six players at a time.

Here is a picture of the mod/div keyboard, which features 72 keys that have been remapped so that the first six notes are six octaves of C:  e.g. C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6 and the next six notes are six octaves of C#/Db, and so on up to the last six notes which are six octaves of B.








The idea is to give six players a simple way to divide up 72 consecutive keys equally.  Note that in this linear arrangement, the player on the far left would be responsible for playing all of the C and C#/Db pitches, the player on his/her right would have D and D#/Eb, and so on up to the player on the right who has A#/Bb and B.

Another way to distribute the notes, and thus re-arrange the players, is to half the previous linear set up into two subgroups,




flipping half of the keys onto the opposite (high/top side)



leaving six notes on the other (low/bottom) side.











In this configuration, the same linear distribution of notes is used, with players on the "low" side having  pairs in the "white + black" alternating pattern, while players on the "high" side have pairs in the "black + white" alternating pattern.  (note how the F key has been shaded grey so it fits this pattern).

Alternatively, using the same configuration, the three players on the lower side could each have a low + high pair of notes (aka the "white keys") C + B, D + A, E + G which requires reaching across to get the second of the two note pair.  Similarly, the upper side players would cover the three high + low pairs of F + F#/Gb, G#/Ab + D#/Eb, A#/Bb + C#/Db.

Moving away from the linear arrangement to a circular one, the "polar pan piano" pictured below uses the same distribution as the first and second described above.  In this case all six octaves have been collapsed into just twelve distinct notes  C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G#/Ab, and A#,Bb.




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

three syncopated surfing rings

Today is December third, two thousand and thirteen.  12/03 2013 is another of the seven uncommon dates that occur this year, distinguished by the fact that the numbers for the month/day are a permutation of the four numbers {0, 1, 2, 3} in the year 2013.

To mark this special occasion, here are images of three rings of a "surfing circus" that will potentially be shown in the near future.

There are three distinct types of surfing taking place within each of the rings.

In the first ring shown below, the assumption is that there is no wind nor waves, hence stand-up paddling is the only means of locomotion.  This relies on the energy input of the surfers to produce propulsion, which ultimately is derived from a solar source, the sun.


In the second ring, the assumption is that the sun has heated the atmosphere leading to significant wind movement, thus allowing windsurfing/kitesurfing/sailboarding to take place.  



This ring uses boomwhackers (which are kind of like wind chimes), and the clear ball in between the boom stands is known as the "atmosphere".  It is probably unnecessary to point out the symbolism here, so I won't insult your intelligence by doing so. 


In the third ring, the winds have swept over the sea long enough to produce substantial ocean waves, in other words:   "surf's up"



The use of blue tarps was suggested by Silvyrene Castillo, who I'd like to thank for the idea.  In addition to colorfully contributing to the visual element in the syncopated surfing rings, the textured surfaces also add sounds that are reminiscent of swooshing waves rolling by.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

circulating syncopated surfing ring

Today is October Twenty-Third, Two Thousand and Thirteen 
                                        10/23, 2013  
another uncommon date, unusual due to the fact that the month and day are permuations of the year, and one of seven total that occur during 2013.   



Here are some photos of my latest whacky educational/entertaining/exercise routine, the circulating syncopated surfing ring. 

Twelve surfers move counterclockwise around the ring, symbolizing the alternating cycle between paddling out to catch a wave (done by dancing along on the blue hexagonal balance cushions) and then surfing in on the black and white surf keyboards.

The modified (surf)keyboard in the middle is meant to be played by foot tapping, one note at a time by one person, which will then sound the bass line, the root of a chord whose other harmonizing notes (e.g. a major 3rd and a perfect 5th above the root) come from the other surfers who produce the appropriate accompanying harmonious tones from among the twelve chromatically-tuned (C, C#, etc) colored tubes that are called boom whackers.




Thursday, March 21, 2013

03/21 2013 the first day of spring has arrived ...

... and very soon, it will be  

 5/4/2013 the date for this year's ImagineRIT !  

Syncopated Surfing Ring + A Pod Calypso is an immersive multimedia production that invites audience members to become "interactors" in playful performances of rhythm and balance routines. Participants can opt to portray either a "syncopated surfing ringer" or "dolphin impersonificationist," where, through the use of novel interfaces and motion capture devices, they control avatars within a virtual aquatic environment. This atypical tropical troupe attempts to reach new depths of intelligent human-cetacean communication via the generation of musical, motional, and mathematical patterns.

come make
waves of interaction between
light, wind, water, dolphins and surfers














Tuesday, March 12, 2013

theatre of peace



03/12/2013  The twelfth of march, two thousand and thirteen.

Another uncommon date, since the numeric representation of the month 03 and day 12 are permutations of the year 2013.   

In my two previous blog postings, I've outlined the idea behind two "interactive musicals" 



An atypical tropical troupe performing a revue* of imaginative scenarios between a curious band of surfers and inquisitive wild dolphins.

*revue: a light theatrical entertainment consisting of short sketches, songs, and dances



The theme for a series of interactive musicals that play with the notions of establishing friendly communication and exchanging knowledge between different forms of intelligent living creatures, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial.



These acts/routines are intended to be the prototypes that define/refine the concept of a "theatre of peace".


Einstein said "the most important question a person can ask is "is the universe a friendly place ?""  The proposed objective for a "theatre of peace" is to propagate kindness and knowledge through the creation of interactive performances that combine the arts & sciences, within an environment that will inspire creativity in the participants (the intention is that there are no mere observers or audiences in attendance) to actively make the world a better place for all.  In so doing, it is believed that a proof is being constructed that the answer to the most important question above is positively a "yes". 

















Just as "the arts" can greatly expand the effectiveness of STEM to form a vastly more powerful combination dubbed STEAM (see below),  it is my firm belief that there are many ways that science and mathematics, united with the performing arts (music, movement/dance and theatre**), can produce exceptionally vivid and meaningful events*** that have the potential to be transformative experiences in positive ways. 


I am seeking to investigate using a highly interdisciplinary blend to experiment with developing enhanced learning environments that more fully engage "all sides of the brain" via the expanded sensory stimulation extended to the body, mind, and soul. 

**Storytelling is a powerful creative activity; making up analogies invokes the same abstract reasoning ability as is required in mathematics and science to construct and utilize models, define symbols, and recognize underlying patterns and relationships.  It was the means that early humans used to pass along the most significant and essential lessons learned from experiments and experiences from one generation to the next.

***events can be just about anything, including classroom/lab/studio lessons and routines all the way to much more extensive and extended productions.


The classroom of the future could be envisioned as a "theatre of peace", an interactive multimedia space in which constructive "acts" are played that consist of combinations of lessons and experiments, in which students/audiences become performers, immersed in the rich experience that comes from new discoveries, and in the expression and communication of thought through myriad symbolic forms, including graphic visualization, sonification, and motion.  After all, human beings certainly did not evolve within an environment consisting of boring rooms with tables, desks and seats.  Rather, our ancestors senses were undoubtedly heightened as they were continually challenged to move, balance, observe, listen, and communicate as a group.



Here are several paragraphs from an article that appeared in Scientific American titled  From STEM to STEAM: Science and Art Go Hand-in-Hand 


Mae Jemison, a doctor, dancer, and the first African American woman in space, said, “The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin… or even different parts of the same continuum,  but rather, they are manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity.”
By teaching the arts, we can have our cake and eat it, too. In 2008, the DANA Arts and Cognition Consortium, a philanthropic organization that supports brain research, assembled scientists from seven different universities to study whether the arts affect other areas of learning. Several studies from the report correlated training in the arts to improvements in math and reading scores, while others showed that arts boost attention, cognition, working memory, and reading fluency.


Dr. Jerome Kagan, an Emeritus professor at Harvard University and listed in one review as the 22nd most eminent psychologist of the 20th century, says that the arts contribute amazingly well to learning because they regularly combine the three major tools that the mind uses to acquire, store, and communicate knowledge: motor skills, perceptual representation, and language.
“Art and music require the use of both schematic and procedural knowledge and, therefore, amplify a child’s understanding of self and the world,” Kagan said at the John Hopkins Learning, Arts, and the Brain Summit in 2009.
With this realization in mind, educators across the nation are experimenting with merging art and science lessons. At the Wolf Trap Institute in Virginia, “teaching artists” are combining physical dance with subjects like math and geometry. In Rhode Island, MIT researcher Jie Qui introduced students to paper-based electronics as part of her master’s thesis exploring the use of technology in expressive art. Both programs excited students about science while concurrently fueling their imaginations. A potent blend of science and imagination sounds like the perfect concoction to get our country back on track.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Close Encounters of the Mth Kind: Music Motion Math and Other Meaningful Signs of Intelligent Life



02/13/2013

    the thirteenth of february, two thousand and thirteen  

           another uncommon* date

And so, an opportune moment to introduce another peculiar idea:

Close Encounters of the Mth Kind:  Music Motion Math 

This title describes the theme for a series** of interactive musicals that play with the notions of establishing meaningful communication between different forms of living creatures:  explorations of creative ways to compose signals to convey kindness and knowledge between intelligent beings, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial.

Gracing A Maze




*see previous blog entry for an explanation of an "uncommon" date

**coming soon: a description of the prototype interactive musical entitled "Syncopated Surfing Ring & A Pod Calypso"