Pure Data patch for Moiré Installation

The installation the group is working on consists on different abstract “moiré” patterns that create an interactive immersive environment. The music that will accompany this installation will also be interactive and consists of three different main materials.

  • Pattern De-synchronizing algorithmic material [Clapping Music]
  • Shepard Tones
  • FM synthesis (long notes) with spectral cross – over.
  • Tremolo effects for each band of the FM cross – over.

This is a short demonstration of the quality of the music with some examples of the visual part of the installation. The program is not yet interactive, as this needs to be worked on with the Kinect, so the video is just a demonstration of the sonorities that will be applied in the piece.

The installation the group is working on consists on different abstract “moiré” patterns that create an interactive imersive environment.

Moiré Effect in Music Patterns

As described in the first submission, the analog effect for Moiré in music is the phase shifting of signals and patterns against each other to produce new patterns. To apply this in our installation, a Pure Data patch has been programed. The patch (or program) generates a small sequence of 12 notes and 12 on or off signals for each of those notes in two separete arrays. These arrays are later read step by step to two FM synthesis module also included in the program. These instruments playback the pitch and rhythm information from the two arrays but one of them de-synchronizes with the other at an interval of one beat every 12 loops of the pattern. This produces musical structures that are stable for the duration of 12 loops before disyncrhronizing one more step. After the 12th desinchronization, the program produces a new sequence and starts the process all over.

This program can change the tempo of the loops and can run endlessly as it generates new music independantely, making it perfect for an installation. See the video of the first stages of the program. Here one can observe the stable moments of the music when one becomes familiarized with the sequence. Every 12 loops, the shift will produce another 12 “bar” stable piece of music and finally it will generate a new sequence to repeat the process.

Moire Pattern Generator

After finishing another course deadline, finally I can make a simple application for windows (sorry mac users ^_^) to generate Moire Pattern. We only need to provide animation images and Moire Pattern will be generated. You can download it here and for you (not windows users), you can see below screen cast.

With this, maybe we can create an animation of audience entering our venue. Using Kinect we can extract audience from background and than with that extracted images we can create Moire pattern. We can show its result near our venue exit.

The Visual Artistic Aspect of Moire Effect

Although Moire effect is produced by overlapping two pattern, it can be achieved in many forms more than just overlapping two flat images simply. Here are some example of artists’ previous work, which using Moire effect.

1.Kinetic sculpture

Nautilus Kinetic Sculpture by David C. Roy 1

David C. Roy spent 40 years to design Kinetic sculpture. His sculptures are based on the Moire effect and engineering theory, by continual motion achieving different visual patterns. His work also have narrative theme, the shapes of Moire pattern often present some realistic objects or metaphysics meanings.

2.Installation art


Stiliana Alexeva is obsessed with Moire pattern. She absorbs the notion of change and the thrill of a balance between permanence and impermanence of shape and form. So in her work, she tries to finding a calm resolution by morphing an object to exhaustion and destruction.[1] She warps some wasted wire and installs them on an parallel pattern. As a result of her trial, people walk around her work will experience mutative Moire effects.

3.Space and projected light

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Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, using projectors and sculptures to create a interactive environment called Uncertain Museum.  It is a circular, translucent room that invites visitors to step inside and cast patterns of projected light and shadows from hanging, mirrored discs. Outside the installation, visitors can watch silhouettes of people moving about inside.[2] He want to illustrate a conception of “seeing yourself sensing”, to encourage people understanding the physical world.

4.Moire Paintings


Milan-based designer Andrea Minini cently drew a series of animals images with moiré patterns, creating an unusual intersection between natural forms and mathematics. By using Moire pattern audiences can easily track the motion of the animals.

So as a conclusion, I think we can combine different forms of Moire art to finish our project, maybe an interactive installation which encourage people to feel the relationship between visual illusion and space is a good choice.


[1]Stiliana Alexeva. 2014. Moire Study. www.stiliana.com/op-art-moire.html

[2]Olafur Eliasson. 2012.OLAFUR ELIASSON: THE UNCERTAIN MUSEUM.nasher.duke.edu/exhibitions/uncertain-museum/

Moiré Effect in Music and Sound art

Carsten Nicolai (aka Alva Noto) – ‘Moiré’

The Moiré Effect is a visual phenomenon that produces a sensation of movement caused by the overlapping of patterns. The effect becomes more evident in digital processing of images and is related to the “aliasing” error. However, the outcome in this case seems to be still while on a moving image, it is evident as a figure changing phenomena.

Sound art and contemporary music have made use of this effect in different ways. The superimposing of rhythmical patterns is the main process behind North American minimalist music. Steve Reich accomplished complex rhythmical patterns by joining simple ones in his piece “Clapping Music” (1972)[1]. Other similar examples can be appreciated in pieces like “Piano Phase” (1967) but most importantly in the 1965 tape-loop piece “It’s Gonna Rain”. Brian Enno has adopted his generative music approach with this idea of simple patterns growing into complex structures.

In music and sound art, the Moiré effect is also close to the rules of the GESTALT[2]. Dr. Albert Bregman has developed a series of experiments and theories that relate to the Gestalt in his book[3] by using patterns of sounds that can be analogue to the ones in the Moiré Effect. These experiments[4] involve the superimposing of two sequences that at different speed are associated in the brain differently. The Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky used this principal in the violin lines of his “Waltz for Sleeping Beauty” [5]

Screen shot 2015-02-08 at 11.06.06 PM

[1] www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzkOFJMI5i8

[2] developed in the Berlin School [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestalt_psychology]

[3] Auditory Scene Analysis: The Perceptual Organization of Sound

[4] webpages.mcgill.ca/staff/Group2/abregm1/web/#

[5] Forde Thompson, William. “Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences”


The scientific principle of moire pattern

Although mathematicians have their explanation of moire pattern, including the theory of the measurement of refractive index gradients (Oster, Wasserman & Zwerling, 1964), a psychological perspective might be more appropriate for visual designers to understand how this optical effect occurred.

The reason why moire pattern is caught by our eyes results from the way in which people interpret visual sense: “the perceptual magnification of small stimulus differences” (Spillmann, 1993, p303).


In a moire pattern animation (shown in the demonstration video), the change of moire patterns is so fast and pronounced, while the grating just slightly moves. Therefore, the moire patterns stand out and become strong stimuli which are easy to be recognized by the human mind.


(I have paraphrased and summarized the references.)


Oster, G., Wasserman, M., & Zwerling, C. (1964). Theoretical interpretation of moiré patterns. JOSA54(2), 169-175.

Spillmann, L. (1993). The perception of movement and depth in moire patterns.Perception22, 287-308.

There is another interesting example of moire pattern


Vento, a book by Virgilio Villoresi and Virginia Mori

Inspired by techniques that date back to the origins of film, this book pays homage to the intimate relation between image and movement. Virgilio Villoresi’s idea for the book was to animate Virginia Mori’s illustrations using a pre-cinema technique. “Vento” is the outcome of a dialogue between both artists’ imaginations. This project is the first of a series of animated, interactive books whose pages will unfold through time, giving the reader the possibility to construct and deconstruct the plot. As each image unveils its own story, the reader is free to imagine what connections may or may not exist between them.

Virgilio Villoresi was born November 10, 1979 in Fiesole (Florence,Italy).

He learned alchemical synthesis from Harry Smith, structural ontology from Jonas Mekas, how to make art of garbage from Jack Smith, ritual magic from Kenneth Anger. His early inspirations include Poland animator [Jan Lenica, Zbigniew Rybczynski, Walerian Borowczyk, Daniel Schezcura, Jerzy Zitzmann] the European experimental cinema [Patrick Bokanowski, Chris Marker, Straub and Huillet], the American underground [Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Brothers Kuchar], the European avant-garde [Jean Cocteau, Luis Buñuel, Man Ray, Oskar Fischinger] Italian experimental [Paolo Gioli, Alberto Grifi] as well as avant-garde theatre, art and literature. He lives and works in Milan.

Virginia Mori was born in Cattolica in 1981. She lives and works in Pesaro.

She studied illustration and animation at the Art Institute of Urbino, an educational experience that helped her build and consolidate her artistic imagination and allowed her to make her first animation shorts and illustrations. She has participated in many art events in Italy and abroad. In 2008 she won the “SRG SSR idee suisse” at Annecy’s Call for Projects, that allowed her to create the animated short film “Il gioco del silenzio”. The film was subsequently awarded and selected for various international festivals and in 2011 won the “Abbaye de Fontevraud” award. Following this last award she had the possibility to work on her next film during a residency at the eponymous French Cultural Center. The film is currently in production thanks to the support of Ciclic and 25films. Her black ballpoint pen designs have been shown in numerous group and solo shows in Italy and abroad.