Wenqi Li

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Pop Up Synth (The good, the bad, and the dirty)

SHOWCASE
Frequence Sweep #1, babycastles
Dec 17, 2017

3rd Annual NYU World Tour Pop-Up Gallery, Kimmel Center
Oct 25, 2017

World Maker Faire 2017, New York Hall Of Science
Sep 22 - Sep 24, 2017

ITP Spring Show, Tisch School of the Arts
May 16 - May 17, 2017


TOOLS: JavaScript, Web Audio, Webcam
ROLE: Creator, Developer

Pop Up Synth Instrument uses pop-up browser windows as pixels to create visual and sonic experience. Markov Chain algorithm is used to sample color from external source, like webcam capture, fine art paintings and news figures pixel by pixel (one pop-up by one pop-up window). While sampling, generative chords is created based on the placement and size of each pop-up window.


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We like web pages and web applications, but we hate pop-up windows. They are like trash on the internet, we close them immediately once they show up. But browser windows have been an important medium for new media artist to express their statement. Back to 2009, Micheal Demer, have created Color Field Paintings, which generates a series of browser windows, and each with a randomly assigned color based upon parameters established for each piece.

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The color of browser become a basic segment of traditional painting, from which I start to think, for digital age, what's the segment of screen painting. The answer is pixel. In face, Pixel based art has been a special art style in now days, not only just for screen based piece. Street artists Invader, Pantone color artist Nick Smith, have done pixel style painting in their own art practice context.

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Nick Smith, Psycolourgy 2015
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Invader, Sixth Artistic Takeover In New York City

Try to think from another perspective, what if the browser windows are not only the segment of painting, and also sound? What if the the browser windows can perform a show itself? It's a open playground waiting for algorithm and creative interactions. So I made this project, adding placement(dragging), size(resizing), sequences and synths to each of the window, and create a web music toy for children and adult to gain knowledge about browser and it's potential.

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Further more, I realize the browser is becoming the main way for people to absorb knowledge and newsa new and acting like a branding new public space for people to make discourse. The pop up built in animation is naturally strong for shocking news. Our emotion change as we reading online. Music and sound has similiar power, which turn human beings into anonymous agents. To use browser windows as performance elements, I add a data base for my browser toy, which can allow it to fake the shocking news pop up and force the audience to experience the overwhelming and power of this new medium of art.

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