Psyche Inspired: Ranger Liu

Institution: Columbia University

Major: Astrophysics & Computer Science

Psyche Inspired Class: 2021-2022

SPACEROCK: Music From a Metal World

Ranger Liu

November 12, 2021

Major: Astrophysics & Computer Science

Genre/Medium: Experimental instruments and computer music (MaxMSP, Python, Arduino Uno/Feather/Teensy, magnetometer + stepper motors, misc. electrical components, posterboard + acrylic paint, wire + ball bearings, Logic/Premiere/Photoshop)

About the work: SPACEROCK: Music from a Metal World” is an ensemble of four experimental computer music instruments, each inspired by one of the science instruments on the Psyche spacecraft. It plays music according to composition information extracted from an image, and it uses its own custom 16-note scale! Read more…

Full video here.

Listen to full song here.

The Butterfly Effect

Ranger Liu

Ranger Liu

February 21, 2022

Major: Astrophysics & Computer Science

Genre/Medium: Collaborative sculpture + composition; posterboard, cardstock, dowels; Logic/Premiere/Photoshop/After Effects/Illustrator

About the work: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT is a collaborative sculpture that functions both as a composition device (to generate musical notation) and as a musical instrument (to interpret the notation). This dual-nature is inspired by the overloaded meaning of the name “Psyche” , which refers to the asteroid, the mission, the spacecraft, and the goddess simultaneously. The project is also inspired by the goddess Psyche’s connection to butterflies and the “butterfly effect”, which describes how tiny actions that seem inconsequential actually propagate through the world and have major effects. The project demonstrates this principle by having participants perform seemingly simple tasks to build up the sculpture, ultimately determining the physical structure of the sculpture, as well as the musical interpretation. The performative evolution of the project through three phases also reflects the three major phases of the Psyche mission: pre-launch preparation, actual spaceflight and in-orbit period, and data analysis. Read more…

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Circle Chess

Ranger Liu

April 6, 2022

Major: Astrophysics & Computer Science

Genre/Medium: Rockite, iron oxide pigment, aluminum/copper tubes, cardstock, posterboard, acrylic paint

About the work: This chess set and board are inspired by asteroids of the Asteroid Belt and Kuiper Belt. The concentric rings of the circular chess board evoke the idea of orbits. White pieces represent asteroids from the Kuiper Belt, with eight gold bands reflecting the Kuiper Belt’s location outside the eight planets. Black pieces represent asteroids from the Asteroid Belt, with four silver bands on either side of the central sphere reflecting the Asteroid Belt’s location between the eight planets. Each piece bears the astronomical symbol of its associated asteroid on its base. The shapes of the rooks, knights, bishops, queens, and kings are derived from their movement patterns on the circular chess board.
The chosen materials, concrete and metal, represent the rocky and/or metallic composition of asteroids. Subtle imperfections from the casting process also reflect the uniqueness of each asteroid.

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