JASON FREEMAN: GRAPH THEORY
Selected by Andreas Brøgger, researcher

Moving music. In Graph Theory you compose music by moving through a network of sixty-one pre-recorded sound fragments. On the elegantly designed web site the sounds of a violin must be explored like passages in a hypertext.

Through their individual choices users collaborate online to the generation of innumerable scores that may or may not be performed by actual solo violinists or cellists. Linking recording, composing, listening and performing, the music of Graph Theory is a result of both collective and personal efforts. Freeman has pre-composed the sound fragments, but the practice of Graph Theory is up to us.

> Download Andreas Brøggers text

CHRISTOPHER BAILEY: SAND
Selected by Natasha Barrett, artist and composer

Christopher Bailey’s work Sand is available in two forms – as an interactive work which “… can be experienced more like one might experience a painting or a sculpture: at one's own pace, examining and taking apart it's sonic events, in any order one wishes,” (Christopher Bailey, from his website) – and also as a 25'-long computer-music composition, listened to from beginning to end. The interactive work was that submitted to Infinite Composing, and my selection of this work is in relation to this version.

To evaluate the works I made a quick preview of all that I received, and then set myself a list of features to look out for during thorough listening and viewing. This list is not in any order:

• The work should be interesting either (a) in itself, (b) through innovation, (c) in the context of genre, or (d) in its comment or reflection on society.

• Note should be made if the span of the work finds meaning over a listener’s perspective of “infinite”. This may be in real temporal terms, or through metaphor within a fixed duration work.

• If a concept or formula is clearly important in the work, then this concept should be fully realized.

• If visual elements are present, does the sound and visual weld into a totality that is greater than the sum of the parts?

• If the work is interactive is the user interface simple to understand while offering a multitude of accessible parameters?

• Is the work technically completed to a high standard?

• Does the work for some other reason stand out above the average in relation to the works I experience as a general member of the artistic community outside Infinite Composing?

• Does the work appeal to me for an unexplained reason?

Out of the works I received there were five that stood above the rest. My shortlist turned into three very different works from which it was difficult to choose. However, Sand was the only work that took its idea as far as possible in terms of sound-type, temporal organization, interaction and thoroughness of its idea (of open-form or ‘flat-form’ as the composer calls it). It was the work that satisfied most of my criteria, particularly those specific to sound, depth of interaction and an idea of ‘infinite’. In Sand, not only the interactive form can be regarded as infinite. The sounds themselves wonder between anonymity, reference, association and surprise without ever finding one constant foothold (apart from the background drone which can be faded out by the user). Yet the materials are similar enough such that over time the user loses track of the real-time span.

Unlike the other works in my top three, Sand does not present the audience with a nicely designed Marcomedia-Flash or animated front-end. In these works this well designed visual aspect ‘drew me in’ and encouraged my interaction. But in some cases I soon found that this control and interest was over a short-term basis. Instead Sand shows a screen full of sliders, number boxes, switches and dials that may take a few seconds to understand, but then offers lengthy interaction at a level of detail decided by the user.

> Download Natasha Barretts text


HANS KNUDSEN: CIGARETTE MAN
Selected by Atau Tanaka, artist and composer

When asked to judge open works or participative works, it seems a near contradiction – while the composers and artists are asked to reconsider traditional hierarchical roles in music, we the jury are asked to conserve them and evaluate them as a kind of "audience". The question becomes not which work to choose, but to understand why certain works are not chosen.

For me as an artist and composer involved in interactive and open works, it is heartening to see the wealth of works submitted as Max or PD patches or Director or Flash based files. However, these are mostly screen and mouse based interactions – the fields of media and interactive art have long moved beyond these modes of interaction.

There are submissions of events inverting the relationship of audience and performer. But have they really gone beyond the Happening art of the 60's or the current narcissism of pop culture?

One conceptually and technically promising submission was a musical composition running in an online multiuser videogame environment, Shintaro Miyazaka’s Avatar Orchestra. While this was perhaps the most pertinent, the actual results did not make musical maximum use of the medium – the avatars barely move, the worlds don't change, and most importantly, one did not get a compelling sense of action and musical result.

With this I defend the choice of Hans Knudsen's "Cigarette Man", a work I was immediately attracted to for its physicality and fun. A kind of musical robot, a dead man in a wheelchair, made of cigarette packs, with light, smoke, somehow churning out music while the sculpture is hacked and modified. Interaction is direct and does not pass by a computer. It is open, because it is open, not a repurposing of prior musical aesthetic into forced participation.

Knudsen's work is nearly repellant, and it is for this that it invites the audience to take the risk, confront the danger, question the taste, ask themselves what is it, and perhaps understand that it is a musical composition that is unique, and could only be made in the way it has come to life.

> Download Atau Tanakas text

NIELS WINTHER: FUTURISTISK MANDALA
Valgt af Morten Søndergaard, inspektør ved Museet for Samtidskunst i Roskilde


Desværre gør der sig en slags æstetisk dovenskab gældende blandt de fleste, der havde sendt forslag ind. Det er som om, der huserer en skrøne om, at man bare skal ”opleve” værket uden nogen form for indgang eller optakt. Som om vi er væsner, der kan forstå noget uden kontekster eller erkende umiddelbart. Det er i grunden ret naivt, og udtryk for en (sikkert godtroende) slaphed vil jeg mene – og måske endda en arrogance – overfor folk. Den kunne jeg godt forestille mig, ville gavne mange kunstnere at komme lidt til livs.

Kunstneren kunne jo spille op til folks intuitive evner. Der er en meget stor forskel på umiddelbar oplevelse af noget og så spille med intuitionen. Hvis man laver værker, eller udstillinger, og ikke kender denne vigtige forskel, mangler der en dimension i ens arbejde. Det er udtryk for en kvalitet, at man – nemlig – kvalificerer sit arbejde i retning af andre mennesker, kommer dem i møde - ikke nødvendigvis med åbne arme, men med et fast håndtryk. Vi vil noget med det her, det er ikke bare selvoptaget lir. Ikke noget der først og fremmest er lavet for en lille elite af kunstnere og kritikere, der er medlem af ”klubben”. Det skal udover rampen, og én af de ting, som alle mennesker har til fælles, er, at de er i stand til at bruge deres intuition – og også gerne vil spille med, hvis de får lov. Mange kunstnere giver ikke folk lov. Nogle få gør.

Det var faktisk – for nu at sige det ligeud – temmelig strabadserende at komme igennem alle værker, især fordi en del drillede teknisk. Men der var heller ikke lagt nogen som helst spor ud hos de fleste. Ingen bud på tekniske løsninger eller forklaringer – kunstneriske konceptuelle overvejelser var en mangelvare. Så der hang man så udspændt mellem et gabende tomt window (kom så, microsoft, for fanden) med en enkelt lille bitte fil i, og så min kontorstol – dirrende af irritation over det 5. forsøg, der mislykkes, efter at diverse obskure downloads har overbelastet mit netværk – med fingeren på musen. Klik – dømt ude!! 

Der bør være en intuitiv vekselvirkning tilstede mellem produktion og bruger, selv når vi opererer på filniveau! Hvor svært kan det være...

Der var dog især et værk, der skilte sig ud, som jeg vil fremhæve her:

Bag ved vurderingsnummer 17 gemte Niels Winther sig med en Futuristisk mandela – en montage af vidt forskellige lyd- og videosekvenser samt en halvpatetisk sang liret af på hjemmeguitar – halvt spansk / halvt Benny Andersen. Langsomt kryber støj fra hverdag og ”jungle” ind, også bagved den hærdede rytme, som brydes op og forvrænges i stadig mere intense sekvenser. ”Det nu, det er lige nu. kvæk, kvæk.” Meget mærkeligt og nærgående. Til tider er panoreringerne rundt i det private arbejdsværelse med opslagstavle og papirer og stempler m.m. næsten som at gå på opdagelse i en af fortidshulerne i Frankrig. Tingene bliver naive og direkte. Får deres egen historie. Tingene lander på din nethinde uden filter. Her udfordres intuitionen og hverdagsbevidstheden. Mystificerende. Fed kombination af billede og lydside! Og en befriende humor blandet sammen med en sort, sort støj.

> Download Morten Søndergaards text (in danish)


Spor 2007 - festival