Nancy blogs on Huffington Post about the History of Pendula

  Synchronicity requires the perfect amount of convergence and divergence to happen. I navigate through my life swinging from one place to another, from one role to another, from one project to another, back and forth, back and forth. I'm still here swinging, but for art this time. When I was 10 years old, my best friend and I decided that we wanted to build a tree fort over the summer in her backyard. I had just moved back to B.C. with my mom and sisters from living in busy Shanghai and Taiwan for a year where my parents ended up getting divorced. I was delighted to be back in my old house and with my friends again, but I enrolled in Grade 5 with an immense feeling of uncertainty about my life. Every lunch break, I'd quickly eat my lunch and run for the swing sets at the playground. There was something calming yet thrilling I loved about swinging. Maybe it was the repetition reminding me of being in a cradle, or maybe I found it comforting being able to predict my rise and falls. Maybe it was the experience of zero-gravity and butterflies in my stomach. Our tree fort was built on my friend's cherry tree. That summer, with the help of my friend's dad, I learned how to use different power tools; I learned about knots and materials; and I learned about building and designing hanging apparatuses such as basket pulleys and rope ladders. The skills I acquired that summer, nurtured my ability to become an installation artist. I moved into the city during my university years. My life was consumed by work, and tied down by deadlines and obligations. One day I came across some rope and old skateboard decks in our storage room, and seeing these items somehow triggered fond childhood memories and an urge to build something. Hours later, after testing various knots, my first swing was born. I remember the joy I felt when I first swung on my living room swing -- it was therapeutic. Stressful thoughts shed with each swing, and I knew this was the beginning of something more. A couple months later, I left for an internship in Uganda working at a clinic and filming health-care programs. During my travels, I became hyperaware of an unquantifiable experience of abundance from my simple life there with my host family. I learned how to enjoy myself without electricity, running water, or spending money. I built swings on mango trees in my spare time with my host family using leftover wood from construction sites. Building swings seemed like an extremely "profitable" investment in the sense that the immeasurable feeling of joy and happiness each swing was able to generate for the community was way beyond the low cost of building it. I wanted to do more projects like this. When I got back to Vancouver, I went on a date with an artist and built my first public swing in a forested marshland area near the south arm of the Fraser River. We talked about the quarter-life crisis I was experiencing and my frustration with formal institutions. As we continued seeing each other, and my dissatisfaction with my academic life grew, he encouraged me to pursue art and swing building. A few months later, I quit university and found myself building "interactive street art" in different countries during my travels and throughout different neighborhoods in the Lower Mainland. I have never thought of myself as an artist, but the practice of building swings and working on video projects slowly warmed me up to this new found identity. Simultaneously, I became involved with the electronic music scene in Vancouver as an event organizer, VJ, and installation artist. For one of my events, I installed visual projections over eight swing sets in an area adjacent to the dance floor. I was extremely intrigued by the way people on the swings interacted with each other. Every individual swung at their own pace and direction, but somehow no one was crashing into each other. Instead the swingers moved in rhythmic synchronicity to the music and with each other like an single organism. I found the social observations from this installation profound. I decided I wanted to do more multi-swing installations, but I wanted my visual projections to reflect the social interactions. It was during this event that I first met Kiran Bhumber, an interactive music technology programmer and musician. When I explained my vision of having an interactive swing installation, she immediately expressed interest. Three weeks later, Kiran had designed a program capable of interpreting data from a motion sensor that could be attached to a swing seat. It has now been eight months since Kiran and I started collaborating on this interactive audio-visual 3-swing installation that we now call Pendula. Each swing will trigger discreet audio-visual effects in an immersive environment. With support from BC Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia and VIVO Media Arts Centre, we will be debuting this installation at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival on June 20 and 21, 4-8 p.m. daily, along with a musical performance written for the clarinet, cello, bansuri, tabla and swings. Growing up in Richmond, B.C. -- where trees, parks and playgrounds were easily accessible and outdoor play was encouraged -- was fundamental in providing skills and nurturing my curiosity to create new things. Living in Vancouver, a centre for cultural convergence, having a supportive community, meeting the right people along the way, all contributed to this project as well. However, leaving my home in B.C., to live in other cities and rural villages around the world lent me new perspectives of value of play and simplicity. I think of Pendula as the result of moments, people, and spaces in my life and its coincidental convergences and divergences. For more info on Pendula: http://swingwithpendula.com/. For full details on The Pendula Exhibit headlining the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival's Phase Shift Program: http://www.coastaljazz.ca/pendula_exhibit. Original Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/nancy-lee27/swings-vancouver-pendula-art_b_7622934.html?&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067  

 

Synchronicity requires the perfect amount of convergence and divergence to happen. I navigate through my life swinging from one place to another, from one role to another, from one project to another, back and forth, back and forth. I'm still here swinging, but for art this time.

When I was 10 years old, my best friend and I decided that we wanted to build a tree fort over the summer in her backyard. I had just moved back to B.C. with my mom and sisters from living in busy Shanghai and Taiwan for a year where my parents ended up getting divorced.

I was delighted to be back in my old house and with my friends again, but I enrolled in Grade 5 with an immense feeling of uncertainty about my life. Every lunch break, I'd quickly eat my lunch and run for the swing sets at the playground.

There was something calming yet thrilling I loved about swinging. Maybe it was the repetition reminding me of being in a cradle, or maybe I found it comforting being able to predict my rise and falls. Maybe it was the experience of zero-gravity and butterflies in my stomach.

Our tree fort was built on my friend's cherry tree. That summer, with the help of my friend's dad, I learned how to use different power tools; I learned about knots and materials; and I learned about building and designing hanging apparatuses such as basket pulleys and rope ladders.

The skills I acquired that summer, nurtured my ability to become an installation artist.

I moved into the city during my university years. My life was consumed by work, and tied down by deadlines and obligations. One day I came across some rope and old skateboard decks in our storage room, and seeing these items somehow triggered fond childhood memories and an urge to build something.

Hours later, after testing various knots, my first swing was born. I remember the joy I felt when I first swung on my living room swing -- it was therapeutic. Stressful thoughts shed with each swing, and I knew this was the beginning of something more.

A couple months later, I left for an internship in Uganda working at a clinic and filming health-care programs. During my travels, I became hyperaware of an unquantifiable experience of abundance from my simple life there with my host family.

I learned how to enjoy myself without electricity, running water, or spending money. I built swings on mango trees in my spare time with my host family using leftover wood from construction sites. Building swings seemed like an extremely "profitable" investment in the sense that the immeasurable feeling of joy and happiness each swing was able to generate for the community was way beyond the low cost of building it. I wanted to do more projects like this.

When I got back to Vancouver, I went on a date with an artist and built my first public swing in a forested marshland area near the south arm of the Fraser River. We talked about the quarter-life crisis I was experiencing and my frustration with formal institutions.

As we continued seeing each other, and my dissatisfaction with my academic life grew, he encouraged me to pursue art and swing building. A few months later, I quit university and found myself building "interactive street art" in different countries during my travels and throughout different neighborhoods in the Lower Mainland. I have never thought of myself as an artist, but the practice of building swings and working on video projects slowly warmed me up to this new found identity.

Simultaneously, I became involved with the electronic music scene in Vancouver as an event organizer, VJ, and installation artist. For one of my events, I installed visual projections over eight swing sets in an area adjacent to the dance floor.

I was extremely intrigued by the way people on the swings interacted with each other. Every individual swung at their own pace and direction, but somehow no one was crashing into each other. Instead the swingers moved in rhythmic synchronicity to the music and with each other like an single organism. I found the social observations from this installation profound. I decided I wanted to do more multi-swing installations, but I wanted my visual projections to reflect the social interactions.

It was during this event that I first met Kiran Bhumber, an interactive music technology programmer and musician. When I explained my vision of having an interactive swing installation, she immediately expressed interest. Three weeks later, Kiran had designed a program capable of interpreting data from a motion sensor that could be attached to a swing seat.

It has now been eight months since Kiran and I started collaborating on this interactive audio-visual 3-swing installation that we now call Pendula. Each swing will trigger discreet audio-visual effects in an immersive environment.

With support from BC Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia and VIVO Media Arts Centre, we will be debuting this installation at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival on June 20 and 21, 4-8 p.m. daily, along with a musical performance written for the clarinet, cello, bansuri, tabla and swings.

Growing up in Richmond, B.C. -- where trees, parks and playgrounds were easily accessible and outdoor play was encouraged -- was fundamental in providing skills and nurturing my curiosity to create new things.

Living in Vancouver, a centre for cultural convergence, having a supportive community, meeting the right people along the way, all contributed to this project as well.

However, leaving my home in B.C., to live in other cities and rural villages around the world lent me new perspectives of value of play and simplicity. I think of Pendula as the result of moments, people, and spaces in my life and its coincidental convergences and divergences.

For more info on Pendula: http://swingwithpendula.com/.

For full details on The Pendula Exhibit headlining the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival's Phase Shift Program: http://www.coastaljazz.ca/pendula_exhibit.

Original Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/nancy-lee27/swings-vancouver-pendula-art_b_7622934.html?&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

 

We're on the Georgia Straight!

Equal parts science and art converge to create Pendula

Participatory installation open to the public at Vancouver International Jazz Festival

by Amanda Siebert on June 10th, 2015 at 12:42 PM

Kiran Bhumber and Nancy Lee worked together to create Pendula, a swing installation that interprets the user's movement to generate individualized visual and audio output. The piece utilizes projectors, speakers, swings, and computer software.

When two individuals come together to create a piece of art, the results can be extraordinary. This fact has never been truer for Kiran Bhumber and Nancy Lee’sPendula, a participatory installation that the two women created by combining their contrasting yet complimentary specialties.

The installation, an amalgamation of four speakers, four projectors, three swings, and a whole lot of wiring and computer programming, allows participants to generate individualized musical and visual projections that change depending on how the user moves on the swing. 

“We have a couple of gyroscopes on the swings, and accelerometer sensors, which are attached to an Arduino board that sends data into my computer, which I then translate into the changing parameters of the music and visuals,” said Bhumber in a joint telephone interview with Lee.

Bhumber, a graduate of UBC’s School of Music, has worked on a number of interdisciplinary projects in the past involving engineering students, computer scientists, and other musicians.

The two first met at an electronic music event in 2013, where Lee, a VJ, filmmaker and new media artist, had designed an installation using eight swings that “intended to explore party-goers’ negotiations of social boundaries within the space”.

“I was always really outdoorsy and tomboyish; I built tree forts, rope ladders, and I started using Vancouver parks as public art installation spaces. I’d hang swings in different areas, and that developed into something where I would build swings in indoor spaces,” said Lee of her early projects.

The duo met again at a new media festival in 2014, and began collaborating in October of that year. 

Bhumber’s experience as a composer, performer, and programmer meant that she knew her way around sensor technology and coding, and after hearing of Lee’s idea to create an installation whereby visual projections were controlled by the movement of swings, Bhumber knew instantly how she would go about coding an interface that would send signals to Lee’s software.

“The musical aspect was something that I wanted to incorporate into the project. For me, this was like taking all the tools and experience that I’ve learned to put them together with Nancy,” said Bhumber.

The project debuted at Playland on June 6 on a slightly smaller scale, with fewer swings and no musical component, but Lee said it was well received by the individuals who chose to participate.

“We had people from all walks of life coming through—some people asked about the computer programs, others were just looking at it. We had some families come through too,” she said, adding that it was interesting to observe different people having very different experiences with the piece.

Pendula will also be on display at this year’s Vancouver International Jazz Festival. This time around, the installation will be set up in full, complete with live instrumental performances by musicians Neelamjit Dhillon and Clara Shandler. The visuals will come from video recorded by Lee: video clips taken in various locations around the world, including Vancouver and parts of Asia. 

“That’s the cool thing about this project: we can use different visuals and different sounds in different spaces,” said Lee. 

Bhumber added that “It’s kind of like a convergence of different skill sets: woodworking, electronics, artistic skills, video manipulation, music and sound production, elements of design, and software programming to translate all the data.”

The artists are open to invitations to having their installation at upcoming events, and are interested in attending music and multimedia festivals. For now, you can check outPendula at the Jazz Festival between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on June 20 and 21, outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. For more information, visit www.swingwithpendula.com.

Follow Amanda Siebert on Twitter @amanda_siebert.

Original article: https://www.straight.com/arts/469091/equal-parts-science-and-art-converge-create-pendula

VancityBuzz features Pendula in Free Downtown Jazz Concerts Preview

When: Saturday, June 20 to Sunday, June 21 at 4 to 8 p.m. Where: Howe Street Utilizing swings, sensors, sound, visual projections and programming, Pendula is the brainchild of Vancouver based creatives Nancy Lee and Kiran Bhumber. In Pendula, Lee and Bhumber stage an inhabitable synthesis of technology, movement, and social space by connecting swing sets with a responsive audio-visual apparatus, generating an installation which participants both occupy and co-create. Pendula plays with nascent ambiguities in our definitions of power and agency in the shifting context of digital worlds’ proliferation and integration into physical and social spaces. A special adaptation of Pendula has been created for this year’s Festival and will feature 10-minute musical performances featuring Neelamjit Dhillion and Clara Shandler.  

When: Saturday, June 20 to Sunday, June 21 at 4 to 8 p.m.
Where: Howe Street

Utilizing swings, sensors, sound, visual projections and programming, Pendula is the brainchild of Vancouver based creatives Nancy Lee and Kiran Bhumber. In Pendula, Lee and Bhumber stage an inhabitable synthesis of technology, movement, and social space by connecting swing sets with a responsive audio-visual apparatus, generating an installation which participants both occupy and co-create. Pendula plays with nascent ambiguities in our definitions of power and agency in the shifting context of digital worlds’ proliferation and integration into physical and social spaces.

A special adaptation of Pendula has been created for this year’s Festival and will feature 10-minute musical performances featuring Neelamjit Dhillion and Clara Shandler.