Tag Archives: art

The Haeckel Clock

Check one of the latest art projects to come out of Holler Sydney: The Haeckel Clock (free install). Its unique art direction was inspired by the artistic work of an eminent German biologist, naturalist, philosopher called Ernst Haeckel. Around the turn of the last century he discovered, described and named thousands of new species and drew microscopic creatures with fascinating skill and detail.

Haeckel illustration

Haeckel illustration

Holler’s Mike Hill, himself a zoologist and nature photographer before he entered the interactive agencyscape, is a big fan of Haeckel’s work.

The application is a pretty abstract clock that uses different sized balls to signify hours, minutes and seconds.

Haeckel Clock

Hours floating together

Fittingly for such a scientifically-inspired piece the elements all adhere to the laws of gravity and have their own elastic coherence.

Haeckel Clock

Hours, minutes and seconds separated

The modern genius behind this app is my frequent collaborator Lukasz Karluk, who developed the application in openFrameworks. He describes the project, its interface and technical detail here on his blog. Have a peek at the flow in his screen video and don’t forget to install this free clock on your iPad by going to the app store.

Disclaimer: I was only very partially involved in the clock’s design and development, mainly correcting any typos in German pieces of copy.

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B is for Bruce, V is for Volume

In mid 2000, so almost 11 years ago, I and two other creatives in Germany got invited to create a digital art work for the exhibition Berlin – HongKong. We contributed the most logical thing: an ‘ultra-interactive KungFu Remixer’. We called it “I know where Bruce Lee lives” (a nod to the TV Personalities‘ lyrics of ‘I know where Syd Barrett lives‘).

I know where Bruce Lee lives - by SKOP

I know where Bruce Lee lives - by SKOP

It essentially was a very early mash-up piece, using snippets of Bruce Lee films (animations, fight sounds and loops of the score by genius Lalo Schifrin). Particularly entertaining for us was the hammy gangster dialogue snatched from the German dubbing of said martial arts films. Sprinkled into the mash-up were Chinese characters that mimic some of the sounds you hear. In order to get these right we had asked a Chinese language professor for help – to this day I have no idea what they really mean (see a trailer for the app here).

I know where Bruce Lee lives - by SKOP

I know where Bruce Lee lives - by SKOP

The playful interactivity comes through using your keyboard to ‘make music’ with Kung Fu. There is a longer list of the international festivals and exhibitions (from the US, Brazil, Spain and Holland to Hongkong and Australia) it was part of.

To this day ‘I know where Bruce Lee lives‘ ranks among the top Google search hits for the Asian hero. I still receive emails of people discovering and liking it, among them many martial arts fans but also musicians such as Krautrock-god Holger Czukay of CAN fame. The latest feedback email came through last week, from one of the members of ‘V for Volume‘. They are apparently a very popular Chilean band, coincidentally sporting some half-German members in their line up.

It is kind of hard to see the Bruce Lee connection in this video, maybe I should brush up on my Spanglish. But despite this, it never ceases to amaze me how the internet connects us in different ways at different times with our various tastes and aesthetic sensibilities. Double Rainbow all the way.

Holler plays Fluoro Pong at Bondi Sizzle

If you are in Sydney this weekend, don’t miss Bondi’s first Community Festival called Sizzle. Holler’s Kerry Edward designed the blog/site and contributed a series of illustrations to the Garage Art Exhibition. His series is called “Growth” and reflects on his upcoming fatherhood.

Growth by Kerry Edward

Growth by Kerry Edward

My colleague and frequent collaborator Lukasz Karluk has created a funky interactive game called “Fluoro Pong“. Using colour recognition, the game’s virtual paddles are steered by lifting real rectangular prisms in fluoro colours. Additional face recognition maps a still photo of one of the players onto the playing ball.

Holler flyer at Bondi Sizzle

Holler at Bondi Sizzle

So come on down this Sunday and lift a fluoro paddle and a beer with us.

Fluoro Pong playing at Holler

Fluoro Pong playing at Holler

Laneways by George – looking sideways in Sydney’s CBD

Forgotten Songs

Forgotten Songs


Following on our trip to Melbourne, the Holler creatives ventured outside Surry Hills (gasp!) and into the far northern tip of the CBD. Laneways by George is an initiative by the City of Sydney to bring its historic laneways into focus. A few months ago Holler pitched an idea (together with Arup, SuperCollossal, UTS DAB, the ABC and the Powerhouse Museum) for a series of installations. Sadly it didn’t get the green light, possibly because it proved way too ambitious. Our proposal included covering all the featured laneways with WiFi, connecting the places with an overarching narrative, projecting dynamically onto the walls, bringing historical footage onto the mobile…you can tell, it was the whole digital shebang.

Don’t quite know why we went overboard like this, maybe a desire to catch up with what other cities have done already (did I hear anyone say Melbourne?). Anyway, maybe there are some nuggets of inspiration in it for you – if you can decipher the tiny type.

Seven Metre Bar

Seven Metre Bar


Some installations stand out like the birdcages in Angel Place (“Forgotten Songs“), the flood-simulating trash collage (“Seven Metre Bar“) or the strangely erotic/revolting humming pieces of flesh in Bridge Lane (“I Dwell in the City and the City Dwells in Me“).
Laneways by George

I Dwell in the City and the City Dwells in Me


In the end, the series of installations is worth exploring. Even if the work doesn’t resonate with you – you walk through spaces you didn’t know existed and wouldn’t use (unless you are a delivery man for some of the bars and shops on the high street).
Bridge Lane painted signs

Bridge Lane painted signs

CHILL BOT claims his throne in the Holler office

Late last year, looking at some empty beer cartons lingering around the office, I had the idea of collecting a few and turning them into a Transformer-like robot. I imagined it to be a fun, relatively easy and quick (right!) excercise for all of us in the creative department. But soon the reality of working on commercial projects creeped in and my idea started lingering like the empty cartons.

image by StuRap

image by StuRap

Sonke from Liquid Protocol finally recommended artist Maddi (working as “Kiss Kiss”) to give the project much required dedication and input. Maddi until recently ran online gallery & shop StupidKrap and shares a work space with Ben Frost and others around the corner from our office.

I asked her whether she had ever built a “Beer Robot” before (you never know!). Despite lacking such a robot in her work-to-date, Maddi’s artistic style was such a great fit for the idea – you might have seen her work at 20/20/20, Kids Today or Trailblazers. After some collaborative sessions we put down what a “Beer Robot” actually should look and act like: possessing a very laid-back robotic form of dudeness, definitely a completely chilled-out bot! Somebot who could easily take over the  world, but choses not to. Who instead just kicks back and relaxes with a cold one in his metallic hands.

See full photo set here

So after weeks of Maddi collecting empty  beer cartons from her local bottle shop (thanks Aurora Surry Hills!), and many hours spent constructing, bending, cutting, spraying and glueing, Maddi’s CHILL BOT took centre stage at the Urban Uprising’s new world revolution show on Crown Street in January.

CHILL BOT @ Urban Uprising Gallery

CHILL BOT @ Urban Uprising Gallery

CHILL BOT in flip book style

CHILL BOT in flip book style

Naturally we couldn’t wait to get the CHILL BOT into our own space, yet he lay disassembled for a while after the show.

The CHILLBOT needs a chiropractor

The CHILLBOT needs a chiropractor

Yesterday, Maddi was nice enough to drop by and custom-install him in our office.

Full Glue Alert

Full Glue Alert

Fully armed with her 007 staple gun and glue revolver (and an extra Beck’s carton we had just finished for spare parts) she set him up, ready to chill everyone out.

Extra carton needed to stabilize CHILLBOTs back

Extra carton needed to stabilize CHILL BOT's back

Now CHILL BOT greets all Holler visitors with an impressive physique. My deepest thanks to Maddi for crafting such a great Bot. Our plan is to augment CHILL BOT with proximity sensors, reacting to hectic earthlings who would be in  need to “seriously chill out”.  Update to follow.

Maddi finishing CHILLBOT

Maddi finishing CHILLBOT