CatSynth pic: Lissette and Micromoog

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Lissette and Micromoog

Another picture courtesy of Regina Cherene via our Facebook page. This one features Lissette the cat near a Micromoog and sundry items.

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APAture 2014 Visual Arts Showcase

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Kearny Street Workshop’s APAture 2014 festival opened last Friday with its visual arts showcase at Arc Gallery. The show featured a diverse collection of works in different media by emerging Bay Area artists.

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Although there were quite a few pieces in the show, the gallery presentation was clean and spacious, which always makes it more inviting to spend time with art. There was also a good balance of three-dimensional pieces in the show, so that it wasn’t confined to the walls.

Situated in the center of the main gallery was a set of stoneware heads by featured artist Victoria Jang.

Victoria Jang

The heads appear artificial, identical fabrications reminiscent of characters in anime. But they were each hand sculpted from a traditional process of stoneware and glaze and contain visible flaws. The glaze accentuates the flaws and brings them out for the viewer.

Another sculptural piece that made strong use of the space was Marya Krogstad’s Stone Hills. This visually simple piece was a bringing together of many elements, including bell heather plants, concrete blocks, mirrors, and homemade telescope.

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Nancy Otto’s large abacus with hand-blown glass beads in visually inviting in itself. But as one gets closer, one realizes the beads each bear a headline related to the effects of climate change.

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It is a bit of a mystery how the form of this ancient computing device and climate change are related.

There were also several video installations in the exhibition, including this rather captivating and colorful video performance by Laura Kim.

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Kim places herself in a space filled with basic colors and shapes, taking on the poses and expressions common in popular music videos and live performance. The geometric quality made it fit well as a contrast with the more organic and soft sculptural works. It was also just plain fun to watch.

Another work that was fun but also very meticulously crafted was Yuki Maruyama’s sticker drawings. One first sees a large nebulous field of small red dots, but as one gets closer one can see that each is an individual drawing in itself.

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The small nature of each drawing and the somewhat comical or suggestive quality in many of them invites the viewer to keep looking at them one by one, and indeed to come back a few times during a visit to the exhibition.

There were of course more traditional two-dimensional hanging works as well, including this watercolor by Cathy Lu entitled Girls Playing (float), a riff on the theme of “boys playing” common in traditional Chinese art.

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A darker and more tragic tone is present in Lana Dandan’s digitally processed photographs depicting buildings in Beirut, Lebanon, bearing scars from that’s country’s civil war.

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Despite the emotional tone, I did find myself drawn to the beauty of the buildings themselves, simple modern forms in concrete.

The mathematical concepts and processes in Vincent Yin’s ink-on-paper works also caught my attention. Yin attempts to answer the question “what does probability look like” by representing numerical data with drops in different ratios of color.

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It is interesting to step back and look at the whole rather than the individual elements.

There are more works at the show beyond what I am able to cover. I recommend stopping by to see it at Arc Studios, 1246 Folsom Street in San Francisco, before it closes this weekend.

As a final disclosure, although I have covered quite a few of Kearny Street Workshop’s programs in the past here on CatSynth, this is the first time I am doing so since joining the organizations board of directors. It’s an exciting role to take on, but I do plan to continue providing reports on APAture and other events.

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Wordless Wednesday: Vertical (MoMA Sculpture Garden)

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MoMA Sculpture Garden

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CatSynth pic: Cleo and Korg Poly 800 II

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Cleo and Korg Poly 800 II

Submitted by Regina Cherene via , where you can submit your own cat-and-synthesizer pics.

I am particularly curious to hear from those who still use the Korg Poly 800 II in their music, but as always any or all comments are welcome :)

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CatSynth video: Singer and attentive cat

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Yes, this is not a cat-and-synth pic, but it is definitely cat-and-music, and too adorable not to post. Via Facebook.

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Wordless Wednesday: Long Island City

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7 IRT el, Long Island City

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CatSynth pic: Cats on Synthesizers in Space

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Cats on Synthesizers in Space - SH 2

From the group Cats on Synthesizers in Space on Facebook. Yes, there is such a thing.

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Snow Leopards and Stone Cats from the Bronx Zoo

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We begin our articles from my recent trip to New York with a special Weekend Cat Blogging featuring some of the cats I encountered at the Bronx Zoo.

Greeting visitors who arrive at the original Fordham Road entrance are two stone cat sculptures.

Anna Hyatt Huntington’s Jaguars

While these sculptures have a very contemporary look about them, they actually date back to 1920s. They are the work of famed sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, who donated them to the zoo in 1937, where they have remained on the stairs between Astor Court and the entrance fountain ever since. You can read more about her work with the Bronx Zoo here.

This was a short and very directed visit, focusing on a few specific animals, and especially those with recent offspring. Among those where this adorable snow-leopard cub.

Cute snow leopard cub

It’s hard not to fall for the cuteness of these cubs. The other one was fast asleep a few feet away.

Sleeping snow leopard cub

Mama snow leopard was sleeping nearby as well.

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In the next enclosure, we met the proud papa, Leo.

Leo the Snow Leopard at the Bronx Zoo

Leo was rescued as an orphaned cub after being found in the mountains of northern Pakistan, and has served as “an ambassador for Pakistan at the zoo since 2006″ (read more here).

The Bronx Zoo, along with the neighboring New York Botanical Garden and the large Bronx Park that contains both institutions, is a gem of a borough that gets an unfair rap. We will have more from the Bronx, including art and photography, in upcoming articles.

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CatSynth pic: Adventures in Electronic Music with Little Cat

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Little cat with final synth

From Charles Petzold’s highly recommended article Adventures in Electronic Music. You can read it in its entirety here.

Turning 90° to the left, you can see the windows in my apartment overlooking Broadway, flanked by steel shelving containing my LP collection and a pair of Polk speakers. My bed is to the left. (Yes, this is a studio apartment.) The edge of my piano can be seen at the far left. Little Cat is on the floor.

The synthesizer in its final form was capable of generating 80 simultaneous sine waves, combined in pairs for simple FM synthesis of 40 tones at a sampling rate of 31,250 Hz. For the multiplication of the sine curve values by the amplitude, I used a massive 64-pin TRY MPY16HJ chip, which could perform a 16-bit by 16-bit multiplication in 50 nanoseconds. (How fast can the microprocessor in your desktop computer perform a 16-by-16-bit integer multiplication?) This dedicated multiplier chip cost $241.

Interesting to think about how computer and DSP technology has changed.

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Wordless Wednesday: Purple High Line

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High line in purple

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