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Bebop SPACES is inspired by the performance entitled Leap Frog , by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. The project is a series of architectural improvisations or “takes” that spontaneously transpose, manipulate, and articulate various links, connections, joints and transitions present in jazz music. The improvisations start with an underlying source that is developed into an extension line network. This vehicle is played as a series of chromatic encodings which take multiple trajectories. The bebop SPACES video is an attempt to represent the tonality of this poetic design process as actions instead of words. Initially, the designer records the live action on the computer screen. The video footage is sped up and edited into a rough demonstration, set to a short out take track of Leap Frog. Through illusory animation and time compression, the video represents what is occurring in the mind of the designer as he creates these works. A second take is created with newer, more extensive footage, as a mostly intuitive and subliminal response to the master take of Leap Frog. The main devices used are speed and repetition with slight variation. The third take attempts to consciously and precisely link the events of the visual compositions to the improvisational structure of the music, building on the knowledge gained from the previous intuitive video takes. -- Bennett Neiman
The project is a series of architectural improvisations or “takes” (fig.1) that spontaneously transpose, manipulate, and articulate various links, connections, joints and transitions present in jazz music.
The bebop space improvisations start with the construction of a simple tracing, that in effect, translates the bit-mapped information of the underlying source image (fig. 2)
… into vectors. (fig. 3)
A period of practice precedes an established direction. Numerous variations of the extension line drawings are generated before arriving at the refined base structure. There is a negotiation between individual moves in the drawing, and the reconciliation of figures relative to other elements and the extension line network. (fig. 4)
The underlying extension-line vehicle is played as a series of chromatic encodings that take multiple trajectories. (fig. 5)
Selected elements and regions are filled with different colors. Each color type (red, blue, black, and gray) represents subliminal systems, sometimes metaphoric, other times structural. The chromatic encoding process does not follow a strict recipe or formula. It is an exploratory search to define primary, secondary and tertiary precincts within the given underlying order. There are numerous experiments produced moving from the original source image to the base extension line drawings to the chromatic encodings. These studies test orientation constants and variables. Other drawings explore figure and ground. (fig. 6)
The work proceeds for a certain period of time, such as fifteen minutes, or a couple hours, or until a sense of balance occurs. At that moment, the improvisation is printed and declared as a take. Then it is put away. (fig. 7)
A new one is started from memory. No attempt is made to replicate a previous improvisation or to consciously redesign it. Each subsequent generation is started entirely from memory with the underlying drawing as a base. (fig. 8)
Bebop spaces is about a construction process. It asks the question of improvisation as a design process. Access to the detail is in the richness of the interpretation. It becomes a question of scale. The designer can interrupt the process at any time to extract ideas into three dimensions. It is seductive and at the same time it provokes you into what it might be or what can be read. (figs. 10, 11, 12)
Wen-Hua Hu, Seeing Music
Mies van der Rohe, maquette of Glass Skyscraper ; Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago