Collecting Portraits: Musicians' Portrait

I invited four musicians to participate the “Musician’s Portrait” section, who are Nick, Seth, Justin and Tigran. I suggested them bring their instruments and gave a simple instruction through email.

ach Musician has 30 minutes to perform. During the process, they will improvisationally compose a 10min-ish continuous piece, and the music piece will influence the visual through different volume, rhythm and intensity.  The final output will be a drawing of their portrait composed by musician simultaneously. At the same time, I drew on top of the composition as a way to use paint brush to reveal this portrait at this very moment. I super enjoyed the whole process, and it reminds of  a term, “in the pocket”, which used to describe a state that two or more musicians perfectly on-beat, never missing a note or going off tempo in any way.

For me, the whole process is amazing. We both give surprises to each other through different approach/path, also expect an unpredictable output from the computational side. 

 Results

Results

Research/Reference:

  • Wassily Kandinsky:

“Music influenced Kandinsky’s art profoundly: he admired the way it could elicit an emotional response, without being tied to a recognisable subject matter. Painting, he believed, should aspire to be as abstract as music, with groups of colour in a picture relating to one another in a manner analogous to sequences of chords in music.” 

(http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/kandinsky-path-abstraction/kandinsky-path-abstraction-room-guide)

Playing with the boundaries between the visual and the musical is an old game. The Pythagoreans were probably the first westerners at it when they declared: “The eyes are made for astronomy, the ears for harmony, and these are sister sciences.”

(http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2006/jun/24/art.art)

“The term “Composition” can imply a metaphor with music. Kandinsky was fascinated by music’s emotional power. Because music expresses itself through sound and time, it allows the listener a freedom of imagination, interpretation, and emotional response that is not based on the literal or the descriptive, but rather on the abstract quality that painting, still dependent on representing the visible world, could not provide.

(http://www.artchive.com/artchive/K/kandinsky.html)

For Wassily Kandinsky, music and color were inextricably tied to one another. So clear was this relationship that Kandinsky associated each note with an exact hue. He once said, “the sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with bass notes or dark lake with treble.”

WASSILY KANDINSKY’S SYMPHONY OF COLORS