I was getting some feedback on my work at the presentation I gave yesterday. A few comments that I especially find worth picking up on are briefly discussed below. These are obviously my interpretations on these comments. The text that was the basis for the seminar can be downloaded here (etherSound - an interactive soundinstallation, the expanded version)
etherSound is monothematic. Would it not be possible for it to be polythematic and would it not be a better composition if it were?
I find this a relevant comment and it is (in a sense) true that the algorithm is monothematic. It would be interesting to expand it and make room for more than one possible stochastic outcome. The method that strikes me as a possible path would be to have several different algorithms. These would then give thematically (very) different ‘message-compositions’. The choice of algorithm could be based on some property in the received message. There are however issues concerning such a development that needs attention. If the compositional element of this piece gets to be too strong, the influence of the participant may be reduced. Also, the connection between the text and the ‘message-composition’ may be cluttered.
The particpant influence may be greatly enhanced if the instrument properties of etherSound where further developed.
The instrument aspect of this piece could definitely be greatly expanded - I have never really considered it to be an instrument as such. The main difficulty is that the SMS interface does obviously not allow for real time input. There are however ways to deal with this. One way would be to allow each participant to control certain parameters in his/her own ‘message-composition’ by calling a number and pressing keys on the phone, though this would only work if a fairly sofisticated telephone exchange system accepting multiple incoming voice calls. The stripped down version of this would be to allow for one voice call at a time controlling all current message-compositions. This could actually enhance the compositional aspect of SMS sending.
If this seminar is a preparation for the dissertation, should it not have a stronger emphasis on the practice rather than the text?
As self-evident as this may seem, to me, after three months of writing, this comment was a real eye opener. It’s easy to forget what it is we do and focus in on the academic writing. I should spend more time on trying to find forms of presentation that are more closely tied to the practice.