Terry Trickett: Digital Artist
Working previously as an architect and designer, Terry Trickett has now become a Digital Artist exhibiting artworks and videos worldwide and performing ‘visual music’ at various New Media festivals. He has embraced the techniques of programming and developed methods for producing moving images as a complement to musical performance. By calling on his skills as a clarinettist, his performances of various compositions for solo clarinet are matched by the simultaneous projection of his visual interpretations of the pieces.
Terry Trickett’s interest in digital art has been influenced in part by his work as an architect but also by his involvement, over many years, in an initiative that succeeded in bringing the disciplines of science and art closer together. With the Wellcome Trust, Terry Trickett invented and instigated a wide-ranging project (Sci-Art) in which scientists and artists, working in partnership, were encouraged to pool their ideas and, thereby, maximise each other’s creative potential. The project ran with considerable success for 10 years (1997 - 2006). The Legacy of Sci-Art
This interest in the dual worlds of art and science pervades Terry Trickett’s cross-disciplinary approach towards creating Visual Music. It was a visit to the V&A’s Decode exhibition in 2010 that first ignited his interest in moving digital imagery. Here, many works were built with Processing – an advanced program for creating movement – which led to Terry Trickett learning the techniques involved and then extending these skills into the realm of Visual Music.
Terry Trickett performed visual music, in June 2015, at the UVM (Understanding Visual Music) Symposium held in Brasilia. Previously, in November 2014, he performed at the 20th International Symposium of Electronic Art held in Dubai, and in August 2014, at DRHA (Digital Research in the Humanities & Arts), Greenwich, United Kingdom.
Last year, Terry Trickett presented and performed 'Turingalila: Turing Patterns as a mechanism for investigating the processes of nature' at Balance Unbalance 2016, held in Colombia. 'Turingalila' also featured in his presentation at EvoMUSART held in Porto, Portugal. 'Revealing the Colours of the Apocalypse' was the subject of his most recent presentations and performances at V&A Digital Futures and EVA (Electronic Visualisatiion of the Arts) 2016, both held in London.
A fascination with the ghost City of Fatehpur Sikri, 40 miles from Agra in North India, has stayed with me ever since I first visited the site in the 1980s. As the centre of the Mughal Empire for a brief period in the 16th century, the City was remarkable for its architecture, art and music. Emperor Akbar established not only an atelier of artists to record every aspect of court life but, also, gathered together musicians from every corner of North India. Hindustani ragas composed at that time are still mainstays in the repertoires of Indian musicians today. 'Ragatime’ is a raga that celebrates both the sights and sounds of Akbar's court at Fatehpur Sikri
During his reign at Fatehpur Sikri, Akbar ordered, for his own delight, regular performances of Hindustani classical music. So as to better understand the complexities of Indian ragas (modal systems of Indian classical music), he himself had undergone some training as a vocalist – enough to develop an an-depth appreciation of the skills of the 30 or so classical musicians he retained at his court. Of these, Mian Tansen, who remains famous to this day, was the Emperor’s favourite musician.
We owe our detailed knowledge of Akbar’s achievements to a contemporary biography, Ain-i-Akbari written, in Persian, by his friend Abul Fazi. As the Emperor was dyslexic and largely illiterate, he placed considerable emphasis on the illustrations included in both the books he commissioned (eg his biography) and those he had read to him. As a result, Indian Miniatures of this period provide a fascinating insight into the life and times of Fatehpur Sikri.
No lesser authority than Pandit Ravi Shankar has explained that the Sanskrit saying – ‘Ranjayathi iti Ragah’- means that which colours the mind is a raga. For this to happen, its effect must be created not only through the notes and embellishments, but also by the presentation of the specific emotion or mood characteristic of each raga. Unlike Western music, nothing is written down, although improvised interpretations must take account of the raga’s ascending – descending structure and also its chalan – the melodic pattern that characterises a particular raga. In my paper, I explain how this is achieved with particular reference to Raga Bilaskhani Todi, composed by Tansen’s son who first performed it at his father’s funeral.
Historical records of Akbar’s 18 year reign in Fatehpur Sikri fail to adequately explain the sudden departure of his court in 1588. But recent research has shown that, at the time, a pattern of severe weather was responsible for a period of famine and resulting economic depression. The conclusion must be that Akbar was defeated by a manifestation of the Little Ice Age.
In the last two years of his life, the great mathematician, Alan Turing, turned his attention to the subject of morphogenesis. He wanted to know how complex biological growth and development could be achieved via simple, natural mechanisms. The result of his research, which is now recognised as a masterpiece of mathematical modelling, enables a wide variety of natural forms to be simulated within the framework of the Turing model. ‘Turingalila’ celebrates this immense achievement.
Alan Turing’s paper ‘The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis’, written in 1952, defines how self-regulated pattern formation occurs in the developing animal embryo. Its most revolutionary feature is the concept of a ‘reaction’ that generates morphogens. These ‘form producers’ are responsible for producing the nearly limitless arrangements of patterns that can be observed in animal and fish markings. My approach, in creating Visual Music on the theme of morphogenesis, is to subject two, entirely abstract, Turing Patterns to a process of continuous change and development. Germaine Tailleferre’s Sonata for Solo Clarinet, similarly develops continuously which enables me to start with a comparatively simple demonstration of growth and development in the first movement and, then, in two subsequent short movements, to produce imagery which becomes more and more complex. My overall aim is to explore the visual ramifications of Turing’s unsurpassable ability to find linking patterns between many separate mathematical and scientific disciplines. .
My title ‘Turingalila’ is a pun on the word ‘Turangalîla’ from Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphonie. The composer derived his title from two Sanskrit words, turanga and lîla, which, roughly translated, mean ‘love, song, and hymn of joy, time, movement, rhythm, life and death’ – in fact everything embraced by the concept of morphogenesis!
Citirama is an experimental performance where the patterns of architecture join the rhythms of music in mutual celebration. The inspiration for creating this piece of Visual Music was one particular building in the City of London - the Leadenhall Bulding, colloquially known as ‘the cheesegrater’. I knew from my first visit onwards that its very individual form of visual expression would offer a rich source of pattern-making material. This is because the cheesegrater makes its mark by revealing structure, services and circulation routes on the outside. The workings of the building are not hidden but, instead, they become the means of expressing its nature and function. It invites people inside rather than presenting a closed façade to the world.
Abîme des oiseaux is the third movement of Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du Temps (Quartet for the End of Time) composed in extraordinary circumstances, in 1940-41, when Messaien was a prisoner of war. It was influenced by the composer’s daily ritual of listening to the chorus of waking birds; Messaien had long regarded the clarinet as the ideal instrument for imitating birdsong which explains why Abîme des oiseaux is written for solo clarinet.
Terry Trickett performed this piece at the UVM (Understanding Visual Music) Symposium held in Brasilia, 2015
SHAPES is a celebration of abstract art (and artists) based on a transcription of J S Bach’s first Cello Suite. The Suite’s six contrasting movements give plenty of opportunity for expressing the intrinsic relationship that exists between music and abstract imagery. My interpretation of each movement, either consciously or unconsciously, has been influenced by the work of abstract artists. It is possible to glimpse, within each movement’s constantly shifting patterns, images that are familiar and identifiable; they bear close resemblance to the work of an individual well-known abstract artist. Nine works of abstract art, in particular, are pinpointed as SHAPES gradually unfolds.
Terry Trickett: clarinet and visual imagery
For ISEA2014 (International Seminar of Electronic Arts), Dubai, the highpoint of my performance of Visual Music was a work produced specially for the event – ‘Three Arabesques’.
In advance of this, I performed
two other works – ‘Memories are Made of This’ and ‘SHAPES
In Three Arabesques I give full rein to my lifelong fascination with the complex geometry of Islam. By playing a mathematical game based on hexagons, I produce patterns which take flight into a realm of geometric fantasy. When performing this work, I play one part of Poulenc's Sonata for Two Clarinets live; the other part is recorded.
This video is based on a demonstration I gave at Electronic Visualisation of the Arts (EVA) 2014, held in London. It shows how, by combining computational design and clarinet playing, I create performances that demonstrate a close affinity between music and visual imagery.
Nothing is more complex than the human brain; the task of
finding out how our brains create and retain memories remains an elusive enigma
and, yet, this is the challenge I’ve set myself in Memories are Made of This. My approach, typically that of an architect, takes geometry
as its start point – in particular, a form of geometry (Islamic) which has often underpinned my
own solutions to complex planning and design problems.
On 22 October 2013, Terry Trickett performed Visual Music at St Janes Theatre, London SW1. He played compositions for solo clarinet matched by the simultaneous projection of his visual interpretations of the pieces. It was an experimental concert that made full use of the advanced technological facilities at St James.
Cosmos, Cavalcade, Dawn Rocks and Gigue were all included.
The title Gigue refers to a movement from J S Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G for cello transcribed for clarinet by Robert L Caravan
Composite stills from Gigue
Cosmos is based on the first movement of Victor Babin’s Divertissement Aspenois for solo clarinet.
storyboard for Cosmos
Cavalcade generates a series of contrasting episodes with a common geometric link - circles. The idea was sparked off by a musical composition for clarinet:
Andalusian Cadence from ’24 clarinet studies from the world’ by Gregory Barrett
storyboard for Cavalcade
storyboard for Dawn Rocks
Pueblo Ghosts at Play
Viral Life 1 Viral Life 2
for a moving version, click here
Viral Life 3
Zumala Zest for movement and sound, click here Abime des oiseaux (Abyss of the Birds)
Abime des oiseaux
composite screen shots
sequence of stills from Belavadi for video, click here
fire water earth air
Rainbow Worlds for movement and sound, click here Pushkarini for movement and sound, click here
Allegro amabile for movement and sound, click here Arabian Night for movement and sound, click here
Quintet for movement, click here Indian World for movement and sound, click here
Olympiad 1,2,3 & 4
Metamorphosis complete with sound, click here Flight for action, click here
Metamorphosis Metamorphosis 1 for action click here
Metamorphosis 2 for action click here Metamorphosis 3 for action click here
Metamorphosen 1 for a moving version click here Metamorphosen 2 for action click here
Slow Strobing Sphere for action click here La Creation du Monde for action click here
Burning Bush for action click here
Boogie Woogie for a Boogie Woogie sequence click here
Japanese Sunrise for a Japanese Sunrise sequence click here
Necklaces for changing colours click here A new kind of art aka. Stephan Wolfram
for a revolving Wolfram, click here
for a continuation of Terry Trickett's Digital Artworks click here
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