Melody of Motion—— Works of Macular Art Collective

Curator:Selena Yang

Exhibition Artists:

Joris Strijbos,Matthijs Munnik,Nicky Assmann,Daan Johan,Eric Parren

Duration:September 29, 2018 - December 30, 2018

Venues: The Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan

Curator:Selena Yang

Exhibition Artists:

Joris StrijbosMatthijs MunnikNicky AssmannDaan JohanEric Parren

DurationSeptember 29, 2018 - December 30, 2018

Venues: The Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan

Exhibition Introduction

Exhibition Melody of Motion presented ten recent important installation art works from Macular Art Collective. These works elaborate generative compositions in movement, music and sound, and light and further to challenge different sensory experience of the audience. In this series of works, audience has the opportunity to listen the voice of the inner life of bacterium in a nano scale, or based on the neural networks technology to influence the robotic installations’ behavior of interpretation of light, sound and movement through feedback loops. Interact with sound and melody and motion, abstract color and light created spectacular patterns, these patterns in return created visual music. These works encourage audience to continue the research about sound, motion and light visual limitation and the process that happen at the microscopic level and the cosmic scale, enjoy the atmosphere like beautiful dazzle aurora with mysterious immersion and enter the illusory universe.

The works of Macular Art Collective are attracting a lot of attention in Europe and America.  Macular is an initiative of a group of artists who share a collective interest in art, science, technology, and perception. The members of the collective collaborate on the creation and production of multi-sensorial artworks that are presented at media arts festivals, galleries, and other arts institutions around the world. An important part of the initiative is that the collective functions as a nomadic lab in which the members do research and develop the technology and theory that’s needed in order to create their works.



Fading Shadows

2016 - Now

Joris Strijbos / Nicky Assmann


Fading Shadows is the project name under which Nicky Assmann and Joris Strijbos create kinetic light installations based on the principles of the moiré effect. In their ongoing research the qualities of moiré patterns are investigated in an analogue manner using moving light sources and static grids. The moiré effect is the phenomenon of spatial interferences provoked by the superimposition of two patterns. In this installation the artists tune the phenomenon to the limits of human perception and use the effect as a method for composition. A horizontal static grid is placed against a white background and a kinetic light machine is positioned in front of the grid. The light machine has a circular motion. Depending on the distance of the viewer different field of depths in the visual patterns appear. The screen is transformed into an optical field of interference, showing a hallucinatory choreography of shadow and stroboscopic light.





 Eric Parren


‘Undulator’ is an immersive kinetic installation that explores both the colour and reflective properties of light and the effects of flicker on our visual perception system. In a similar fashion to Thomas Wilfred's Lumia machines from the early 20th century, Undulator is a cinematic display that celebrates light in its purest form. A pulsating pattern of complementary colours and gradients is projected onto a reflective surface, its undulating movement distorts the rays of light. Upon hitting the screen, the light has been folded from a straight beam into a shape that hints at processes that happen at the microscopic level as well as the cosmic scale. The stroboscopic qualities of the projection add a layer of disorientation to the perception of this ever-changing shape.





Matthijs Munnik

In Spectra stroboscopic light fields transform a space into a hallucinatory observatorium. Spectra is a continuation of my research into stroboscopic light. Spectra is a window into a hallucinatory universe, a mysterious world that appears by flashing different colours at high frequencies. The intricate patterns that appear exist only within the mind of the observer, the result of an interference of the stroboscopic light and the way our eyes work. For Spectra artist wrote a composition of stroboscopic patterns, intertwined with still colour gradients, a juxtaposition giving moments of rest. The work is about experiencing colour and light.





Joris Strijbos / Daan Johan  


‘Cycles’ is an audio-visual installation in which the spectator is immersed in an abstract world of light and sound. The installation is largely inspired by the work of Thomas Wilfred who in the 1920s developed his “Lumia”, an abstract form of light use that he saw as a visual music. This input combined with modern technology laid the foundation for “Cycles”. In the piece abstract light patterns are created by shooting laser beams through rotating transparent objects. The constantly varying geometric and organic shapes that occur have a synesthetic relationship with the evolving and real time sound composition. The result is an immersive space in which sound and image come together into a hypnotic experience.



 Liquid Solid


Joris Strijbos / Nicky Assmann


Liquid Solid is a video installation (2015, Full HD, 1920x1080, 18'09"). It is a collaborative project between Nicky Assmann and Joris Strijbos in which they research the cinematic qualities of a freezing soap film. Liquid Solid came about after attending the Ars BioArctica residency at the Biological Research Center in the sub-Arctic Region of Finland. During this residency they shot footage of the freezing process of soap films. Since weather conditions like wind and temperature varied each day, the freezing process differed in behavior and appearance. The video installation Liquid Solid is an eighteen-minute-long film about the freezing process of soap liquid. Soap only freezes at very low temperatures, because the water remains protected by the soap acids for a very long time. Within a number of minutes, the colorful soap slowly sinks down in the film of soap, until a vacuum of a very thin layer of water remains, in which frozen crystals whirl round. The constantly shifting iridescent quality of the liquid soap membrane disappears as it freezes, leaving a solid, crystallized colorless surface. Only at a very low temperature, an accelerated freezing process occurs, during which ice crystals transform into complex fractal-like patterns. Strijbos and Assmann composed the soundtrack with a mixture of soundscapes and recordings of self-made instruments, such as monochords played with electromagnets.



Eric Parren

The synthesis of analog video and analog audio is based on oscillations. Audio uses oscillators at a lower frequency than video, but in general creating the signal for analog audio and video is based on the same principals. Drifting is a study of these oscillations and was created using vintage video synthesis equipment coupled with contemporary audio synthesis modules. In the mid 70s engineer Bill Hearn built the Hearn Videolab after a conversation with video art pioneers Bill Etra and Steve Rutt. The design of the Videolab was based on Don Buchla’s architecture for modular audio synthesizers which he pioneered a decade earlier. The Videolab is a modular voltage controlled video synthesis system that can be used to process and produce a wide range of video. For Drifting the focus was on the synthesis capabilities of the system by combining multiple oscillators to create patterns. These patterns were routed through other video processing modules, such as the Jones Colorizer. By simultaneously routing the video signal into and out of a contemporary Eurorack modular audio synthesizer, feedback and modulation patterns emerged that introduced unpredictability into the signal flow. The unstable nature of the analog system -producing its inherent drifting- became a defining characteristic of the audiovisual instrument.



Joris Strijbos /Matthijs Munnik

In the U-AV series Joris Strijbos and Matthijs Munnik build synaesthetic landscapes from electronic sound structures, generative video and stroboscopic light. The project is the result of a combined research on the side effects of human perception and how the eyes perceive visual complexity in combination with external flicker images and loud pulsating sounds. The stroboscopic light is used at specific frequencies and colors to induce hallucinatory imagery, these images melt together with the stroboscopic patterns generated in the video projection.


Eric Parren

The use of E. coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria in biotechnology and microbiology has been foundational to the development of the field of genetic engineering. The bacteria have a long history in laboratory culture and are one of the most widely studied model organisms. In 1997 the first complete DNA sequence of an E. coli genome was published, and today advanced database tools give anybody the ability to explore this genome with unprecedented ease. Through the PathwayTools software system developed by SRI International an overview of E. coli's metabolic pathways can be generated. This overview was used as a blueprint for A.C.I.D. Individual biosynthesis modules were analyzed for their amino-acid components and chemical reactions, and subsequently transcoded into audio modules using a custom designed granular synthesis technique. Together these modules form a generative audio instrument that plays the inner life of an E. coli bacterium. For the installation the instrument's audio is specialized and played on a nine channel speaker setup. The speakers are distributed through space sculpturally to create a dynamic surround sound environment. This environment gives the visitor the opportunity to experience what it might be like to hear activity on the nano scale.



Joris Strijbos

Axon is a kinetic audiovisual installation consisting of three identical robotic units that communicate with each other and their environment through light, sound, and movement. The presence of an audience in the space has an influence on how this group of robots behaves. In his book “On Intelligence” Jeff Hawkins puts forth a theory that describes how neural networks, such as the human brain, could function. His theory proposes that our entire memory is stored in time patterns, sequences of electrical impulses that shoot through our brains and enable us to analyze, repeat, and change them. According to Hawkins, approaching neural networks from this perspective could eventually lead to the creation of actual autonomous and creative machines. Hawkin’s notion of memory as time patterns which are encoded as interchangeable data streams in our body formed one of the starting points in the development of Axon. Such patterns can be modified by sensory input while simultaneously controlling the output of an actuator. In the installation light, sound, and movement are controlled and interpreted by the system itself. The resulting behavior is generated through feedback loops that are produced between the inputs and outputs of the three separate units and the simple algorithms that control them. This chain reactions sets in motion a generative composition that is written, performed, and conducted by the robotic cluster itself.


Daan Johan

Sound is mostly perceived as a source coming from one point. The hearing mechanism is calibrated to localize and interpret sources and spaces in that way. Line breaks that relation by breaking up the sound at waveform level in 32 pieces. These little bits of sound, pulses of equal amplitude, are being distributed over the speakers. The effect of all this for the audience is that normal sounds become unrecognizable and shoot through space at very high speed.  This will be a work specially made for Yinchuan MOCA Show and will be made for out door use. It will be presented in front of the main gate.