u19 – create your world 2020

Creating your World to Change our Perspektive – Der Augenblick davor. Damit beschäftigte sich das diesjährige Ars Eletronica für alle u19 Teilnehmer. Bei diesem Vortrag wurden die GewinnerInnen vorgestellt, die im Folgendem aufgeführt sind. Sehr spannend ist dabei zu beobachten, dass sich viele Werke mit Themen beschäftigen, die charakteristische Züge zu der derzeitigen Covid-19 Situation aufzeigen, obwohl die Einreichung der Projekte vor der Pandemie stattgefunden hat. 

Bot Bop | Musical creation and innovation with AI | Concert & Talk | BOZAR x Ars Electronica

To gain more insights about AI in combination with music I’ve chosen the act of Bozar which was marked at the Ars Electronica festival program with a star. „Live coding expert and drummer Dago Sondervan and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Claes team up for an experimental exploration of artificial intelligence in music performance. Armed with an arsenal of specifically developed tools and applications, the duo will train a virtual agent towards musical autonomy and realtime interaction, becoming a trio along the way“ (Palais des beaux-arts de Bruxelles – Musical creation and innovation with AI, 2020)”.

The mixture of human act and AI agents was very interesting to me, because I’ve never seen a performance like that. Starting with the concert, the music sounded very abstract and technical to me, which made it very futuristic. After that the Dago Sondermann, Andrew Claes and Dr. Frederik de Bläser gave an interview about their performance. To create the sounds the artists use a patching software where they record them and programs them within shifts of random notes – that’s the moment where AI comes to play. It gets input with images, shifting notes and messages, which triggers the AI to give outputs. So this is called a combination of generative and adaptive systems and AI. At this point Dr. Frederik de Bläser explains that AI is assisting them and learning from them as a creative partner. The role of the actor is to playing a piece of music and then the intelligent assistant adds its input which creates a feedback loop and kind of a dialog between the artist and the AI. It’s very special kind of music, which cannot be defined as melodically in my opinion because it has many layers of sound and it’s very textured, but the aim of the artists is also to make the music sound like machines. Also the more complex the AI becomes the less it is to control. At this point the whole thing becomes very discussable wether there’s a limit for AI or not. There was also a little discussion with the interviewer and the artists about this, which I found interesting because I’ve never thought about the role of AI in the music sector. But it could be a black box: surprising but also uncontrollable, because due to Bazar it’s sometimes completely wrong what AI understands. It has to have more and more information, but hard to train. You can give it more context but that makes it more difficult to handle. 

In conclusion I can say that AI works good for live performances to show the functionality of it, even with the music sounds not melodic to me. I can imagine it to use it more commercial to make it more accessible to everyone, to create custom-made music and have a individual music experience like already mentioned in the interview. Although it can get hard to handle or expensive at the moment. But maybe this will change due to interests of some companies in the future, because AI is still associated as a scary and unfamiliar tool.

Sources:
Palais des beaux-arts de Bruxelles – Musical creation and innovation with AI. (2020, 13.September). Bot Bop: Musical creation and innovation with AI | Concert & Talk | BOZAR x Ars Electronica [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kOKv8DQ__U

04 – Florian Doppel-Prix

„Is it art or can we toss it?“ Is probably one of the most funny quote in Design, I enjoyed to see how Florian-Doppel-Prix starts his presentation with it. He shows some experimental exhibitions and art installations including himself as a sound engineer. There were also nice examples of galleries specialized on sound arts. This makes me curious to visit once a auditive installation, because usually people just think of visual impressions when visiting a museum or exhibition, so you experience it another way and focus mainly on your hearing senses.

06 – Sylwia Ulicka

Sylwia Witzke is a designer, researcher and professor from Mexiko who is presenting in her talk the idea of design and sustainability by giving some examples of interesting projects. Sustainability is defined by the triangle model of sustainable development which is baed on the three columns society, ecology and economy. This reminds me on the talk I heard before of Prof. Dr. Burcin Cem Arabicioglu where he also mentioned such a kind of model in terms of sustainability. Witzkes aim is to bring more sustainable ways of living closer by defining sustainable development, but she talks also about the challenges to achieving the goals as designer.

01 – Andrey Sudarikov

With Andrey Sudarikov we had already our lecture because of our Moscow excursion, which was very interesting to see. He is one of the most known designer from Russia focusing on interactive installations in public spaces like museums, airports and exhibitions. In his lecture he shows some examples which we students were asked to vote the favorite ones. One of my favorite project was the interactive trampoline, where people can fill their waiting time at an airport and playing a digital game by jumping on the trampolines. It was very fun to see how people from all ages tried it, but also getting to know the process behind the whole project from the idea to the realization and the problems including.

02 – Saskia Schmidt

Wie sieh ihr Studium in Österreich an der FH Joanneum begonnen hat. „Kreativität kann man nicht lernen, aber man kann viele Einblicke bekommen.“ Besonders hinsichtlich den Schwierigkeiten beim Programmieren kann ich sie sehr gut nachvollziehen 😀 aber das zeigt auch, dass jedes Problem, dass das Leben mit sich bringt, auch eine gute Chance für einen anderen Bereich sein kann. So ist Saskia dann auf ihr Praktikum bei EnGarde in Graz gekommen, das eine ihrer besten Erfahrungen war. Diese und weitere Arbeiten teilt sie uns in ihrer Präsentation. Besonders beeindruckend fand ich ihr weder & ducré Projekt, das im Stil von Grand Budapest Hotel designed wurde. 

05 – Burcin Cem Arabacioglu

Istanbul has always been a favorite city of mine, I love traveling there because there is always something to discover, especially in terms of design. The talk of Prof. Dr. Burcin Cem Arabicioglu is focusing of achieving a sustainable lifestyle to have a positive impact on the environment. Arabacioglu brings the dangers of our lifestyle towards environmental damaging, which I personally know most of them. But the interesting points of his speech is how he shows the different areas of society and how to implement sustainable projects to counteracting environmental pollution like economics, ecology, culture and politics. Regarding to design he mentioned also interior architecture, which was especially interesting to me because I have my background in this are. I also very liked the the quotes he brings, which underlines the topic and makes people think. Examples: „The whole world will be intelligent, educated, and co-operating; things will move faster and faster towards the subjugation of Nature. In the end, wisely and carefully we shall re-adjust the balance of animal and vegetable meet to suit our human needs“ – Herbert George Wells. and also this was inspiring to me: „We’re at war with nature. If we win, we’re lost.” – Hubert Reeves.

07 – Ursula Tischner

The talk of Ursula Tischner is about designing for sustainability. She has her career background in architecture and industrial design, especially eco design including social impacts. At first there are shown some negative consequences of environmental pollution like overfishing or air pollution. Bringing up facts like Canada being as the country with the most biggest emissions in the world makes it more touchable for the audience to realize the problem. The 3 consumptions domains energy and housing, mobility and tourism, food and agriculture are mentioned the whole talk long, so these are the main topics which people have to focus on when it comes to taking action in sustainability. I personally very liked the interesting examples of the sustainable dance floor in Rotterdam, where more electricity is produced the more people are dancing. A nice outcome of that is to see how the lights change when people are moving around. Also the example of the trash bin witch makes a sound when throwing something away is a nice way of affecting people in their behavior regarding to sustainability. 

NIME – MicroJam

After reading threw some papers in the proceedings archive I decided to go deeper into the MicroJam of Charles P. Martin and Jim Torresen. It is about a mobile app for sharing tiny touch-screen performances, which I tried out by downloading it.

“Touch-screen performances are limited to five seconds, instrument settings are posed as sonic “filters”, and past performances are arranged as a timeline with replies and layers. These features of MicroJam encourage users not only to perform music more frequently, but to engage with
others in impromptu ensemble music making.” I very liked the simple concept of drawing a random shape and getting an auditive feedback from this application. The world section provides the sound drawings of other people while the user can draw by himself in the jam! section. Also the possibility to change the colors of the lines, the background and the sound itself makes the usage more attractive. Other users’ apps automatically download their friends performances, to which they can listen and reply, which makes it more interactive.

The present version of MicroJam is an iOS app written in Swift with web backend provided by Apple CloudKit. The main screen consists of a list of performances downloaded from other app users. These can be selected, played back, and used as the basis for reply performances. New performances can be created by selecting the “+” symbol. The jamming screen then appears, allowing the user to record a new performance. A number of sound schemes can be selected for the performance. As of writing, these consist of a simple theremin-like sound, a keyboard sound, a Karplus-Strong modelled string sound, and a drum set.