Tuesday, August 09, 2011

"No Input Software" Paper and Concert This Week

The newly-founded Irish, Sound, Science and Technology Association (ISSTA) is having their first Convocation (the ISSTC, naturally) this week, Wednesday and Thursday. This is being run out of the University of Limerick, right on my door-step, so of course I will be taking part. First I'll be delivering a paper and then I'll perform a piece that instantiates the ideas in that text.

Wednesday 10 August 2011 at 11:30, I will be presenting a paper on my current activities: "No Input Software: Cybernetics, Improvisation and The Machinic Phylum". If you are interested you can register for the conference and enter into the dialogue! A total of 40 euro gets you a yearly membership to ISSTA, entry to all the talks and three concerts, so it's rather good value. For more information go to the ISSTC 2011 "Overture" website.

Thursday 11 August 2011 at 21:00 I will be performing in concert at the Ormiston building, 9-10 Patrick Street in downtown Limerick. Also on the bill will be Bryan Quigley, JC Bihanic & Amy Kinlon, John D'Arcy, Stephen McCourt and Aranos (Petr Vasti). Tickets are 12 euros.

Here is the abstract to my paper, as originally submitted. Ongoing research means that things might be slightly different in two days' time!

As a general principle, feedback describes a circuit (electronic, social, biological or otherwise) in which the output or result influences the input or cause. Since Norbert Wiener's Cybernetics instantiated the study of regulatory systems, feedback circuits have been pursued in many contexts, not least of all the musical. Louis Barron, directly inspired by Wiener in 1948, built audio feedback circuits that literally burnt themselves up as they played. By 1972 David Tudor was utilising acoustic feedback between transducers in Untitled. More recently, performers such as Toshimaru Nakamura have pioneered the use of the "no source mixing desk", a simple sound mixer with outputs wired to inputs so that the self-noise of the circuits provide the only sound material. The performer modifies this device through re-patching, equalisation and amplitude control, improvising with the sounds as they come into being.

In a similar manner, the author has recently experimented with "No Input Software" in order to test our faith in the digital realm as a site of perfect representation and replication. The paper traces this arc of cybernetic practice, using the writings of David Borgo, Derek Bailey, Nicolas Collins and Richard Orton to draw out relationships with improvisation. Deleuze and Guattari's concept of the machinic phylum, as further developed by Manuel De Landa, provides a theoretical foundation for the study of the dynamic interplay of structures and substances founded in a double articulation. By stripping away superfluous elements, No Input Software foregrounds the self-organisation of the circuit itself and the emergent intelligence that results from evolving non-linear systems. What is our place in this ecosystem?


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