Mildly Sympathetic Conversationalist
Interactive electroacoustic object with realtime music notation
September - October 2013, Stetson University, Hand Art Center
audio only excerpt (1'32")
Microphones attached to the top of the guitar stand provide audio input to a generative sound program running in SuperCollider. This program determines a range of sound synthesis parameters by analyzing the audio input, using that data to update the trajectories of (otherwise) independent algorithmic processes, and then triggering sound generation and output. The sound generated by the computer is reinforced using two tactile transducers (HiWave HIAX25C-8/HS 8-ohm exciters) mounted to the soundboard of the acoustic guitar. In this way, the guitar itself serves as the resonating body for all electronic sounds. The pitches being played by the guitar are also being notated on a computer monitor adjacent to the guitar. This is accomplished by sending OSC messages from the sound synthesis program (SuperCollider) to an application drawing the notes in realtime (as they occur). The notation program was written in Processing.
The guitar's status as a whole, or fully constituted art object is undermined by its own relation to the context of presentation and modalities of visitor access. The guitar is not completely anything; it is not a physical art object, nor a piece of music in and of itself. It is not solely an interactive electroacoustic toy, nor is it a device for musical transcription, and so on. Any one functional determination regarding its being is revealed to be unavoidably incomplete. The work is titled and a (purposefully vague) instruction appears on the gallery pedestal as well, which reads: "Touching Allowed." It is presented as necessarily being in relation to Art given its gallery setting, but the work undermines that very same necessity, by presenting an ontologically fractured nonobjective art. It is not 'really' for our visual consideration, nor is it 'really' a piece of concert music or an instrument to perform upon; it is nothing but our ability to encounter its materiality differently.