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September 07, 2005



Simulating John Cage with Algorithms

The coding of conceptual works through the programming code is a peculiar form of 'digitalization' that implies an important mediatic shift (from a material medium to an immaterial one), even if at the same time it exalts the ideas in the perennial algorithms' output. FontanaMixer is a generative software based on 'Fontana Mix', a conceptual work by John Cage made in 1958, programmed for the Mac OSX platform by the austrian Karlheinz Essl almost 50 years late. The score was made by 'instructions' expressed as full stops, lines, and graphics and juxtaposed through transparent sheets in a casual manner. It calculated six different parameters for very sonic event, letting the interpreter freely choosing the parameters. This anarchic freedom of interpretation with no apparent order, that Cage connected with the liberation from the personal tastes connecting it to the natural events, is reflected in this software with four autonomous channels and parameters that autonomously modifies under the user's eyes. The work's theatricality is disappeared, and also the equipment presence on stage (four tape recorder) then used by Cage. But this work, commissioned by the Wien Modern, realizes a sort of software 'cover' of an historical performance. It preserves (instead of the common 'musical' covers) the inspiring principles that once motivated and animated them. The vagueness, the opportunity and the silence are here again, calculated by a microprocessor fed by the necessary instructions, and protagonist of the same poetic original automation. [via neural.it]

Posted by jo at September 7, 2005 12:56 PM