Sam Lavery – Looking Outwards – 3

by sam @ 1:28 pm 13 February 2012


Joseph Nechvatal’s viral symphOny is an interesting example of generative music. Working with a team of audio engineers, programmers, and composers, Nechvatal developed artificial life software based on the viral phenomenon model (objects or patterns that are able to replicate themselves or convert other objects into copies of themselves when these objects are exposed to them). viral symphOny is composed in 4 distinct movements that sonically illustrate the replication and repetitive processing of the original “virus.” While I find this kind of music interesting, I can’t say that it is a pleasing thing to listen to. I wonder if there is a reason why I find many generative forms in art and architecture to be aesthetically pleasing but have not yet come across a piece of music written by an algorithm that I though was beautiful.

Les Objets Impossibles – Objet 2 (excerpt) from Abstract Birds on Vimeo.

This visualization of Les Objets Impossibles is really compelling to me because of my interests in architecture and music. The software used to visualize this composition renders and animates the composition in a 3-dimensional form. There are 24 microphones recording the performance and the visualization reacts to each of these unique audio inputs. To me, this visualization goes much further than standard “iTunes visualizations” and actually creates architectural forms with a relationship to the music. The idea of architecture mimicking music and vice versa is not a novel one, but computation can make these connections more apparent and accessible.

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