f(x): An Audiovisual Performance Environment

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Visible and Invisible Actors of Interactive Audiovisual Performance

Presentation Title:

  • f(x): An Audiovisual Performance Environment

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • f(x) is an audiovisual performance environment to enable exploration of 3-dimensional continuous spatial functions derived from the model of continuous spatial cellular automata. The time-varying functions provide the basis for sound synthesis and computer graphics parameter mapping. The audio and the visuals are independent from each other both physically and conceptually and the reciprocal influence flows in both ways in a non-linear manner. The segmentation of the visual space and acoustic time is controlled in the performance by affecting the behavior of the automata world in real time in an attempt to reveal the complex and organic behavioral patterns in three dimensions and modifying the mapping space in response to them. The audio synthesis, computer graphics and the performance interface have all been developed in open source software. Audio synthesis and performance interfaces are implemented in the SuperCollider programming environment, graphics functions in OpenGL and Open Sound Control (OSC) protocol is used for communication between the audio and visual applications.

    Digital technology has provided an incredible variety of opportunities for artistic exploration and has fostered a new perspective on human culture and society. It has forced scientific methods and concepts into the working process and aesthetic framework of an artist due to its very nature. The beginnings of the digital computer are inseparably connected to research into the biology of self-replication and the possibility of artificial life. The work of Alan Turing, John von Neumann, Stanislaw Ulam and many others was essential to the way the modern world operates and the fundamental concepts based on the spectacle of biological evolution and natural selection have been integrated into every piece of digital technology with which we have surrounded ourselves. However, we generally have little understanding of the nature of this technology and the long-term impact it has on every aspect of our existence. f(x) is a performance environment created to reveal some of the aspects and principles of digital technology. It is based on a concept that has only been made possible with the advent of computers – cellular automata – and was born out of research into artificial self-reproduction. It is designed as a live audiovisual experiment in which the performer interacts with a world of 3-dimensional spatial functions defined – analogously with the principles of cellular automata – in terms of each other. The performance is seeking to reveal complex patterns of behavior, generated by relatively simple instructions and rules that would uncover some of the elusive characteristics of digital media surrounding us now in almost every situation.

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