Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tim Swalling and Jasmin Ward

Tim Swalling

Tim Swalling was up first in this week's forum presentation. Where do you start with this line of work? At times during this talk I found my self understanding on some abstract level, but for most of it I was at sea.

It's probably best to start with the bare facts. Tim's honours project is about Artificial Life in music. He begins by providing us with a mental image of a composer/genius type slumped over a piano with a muse wispering into his/her ear. This was how, the western Christian tradition in particular, have viewed the creative process. Coming down from god (whoever that is), inspirational music comes, or is channelled, from the creator via the human subject. This view, as Tim pointed out, quite clearly devalues of the role of human creativity by giving god the artistic credit (2006).

Darwin had another take on things and his view didn't involve god. Things evolve you see and that's how things get to be the way they are. It takes time too, but eventually life adjusts to its surroundings and the things best suited to those surroundings do the best.

Swallings honours thesis looks at artificial life from a compositional perspective. This in two ways:

1. Through genetic algorithms and selective evolution

2. Through cellular automata

I can't really elaborate on these save to say that they involve the replication of biological processes with mathematics. This involves complex inter-related structures that change and evolve not unlike Gordon Munroe's EVOCHORD (evolving chord) which attempts to evolve into harmony.

It was good to recieve a some information on this talk on a piece of paper. It has helped no end in writing this entry!

Jasmine Ward

Jasmine Ward's project begins with an action of collaborative design intervention (sounds a lot like divine intervention, doesn't it?) which is attempting to address the issue of waste production in and by cities.

The solution that Jasmine's group are pursuing focuses on creating a sustainable alternative to dumping rubbish. They have chosen to try and build a wetland environment to deal with rubbish for a number of reasons which i won't go into here.

My main interest in this project was seeing what role someone like Jasmine could play. I have often wondered what sort of work or jobs are available to sound artists/technicians/composers so it was very interesting to listen to Jasmine. Her role was to try and promote the idea of this action through sound. This is just the type of stuff i like, art with a political end! Jasmine's mission is to penetrate the popular conciousness and create awareness at the same time - no small task!

So far Jasmine has canvassed a number of ideas. From a music concrete work representative of the process, to an interactive Maxmsp application, to some other sort of "functional sound application". I enjoyed the talk, especially being privy to an ongoing thought process.

My only suggestion would be that a soundwork such as a musique concrete one would be ideal for radio - which is still a really good way to reach people.

Swalling, Tim. "Honours Presentation", Electronic Music Unit, University of Adelaide.

Ward, Jasmine. "Honours Presentation", Electronic Music Unit, University of Adelaide.


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