STEIM – Patterns + Pleasure – 2011 Sept 27


Penelope Gouk

  • The Renaissance
  • Entertained and aroused to wonder – technical
  • New musical instruments / private gardens
  • Musical instruments cultivated a significant role of wonder
  • Florence – Medici Family 
    • 15th Century – Platonic Academy
    • Marcilio Ficino
    • Poetry and music as magically effective
    • New translations of plato’s republic
    • Ficcino’s Plotineous – Hermes to invoke gods and cure disease
    • 1489 – Three books on life
      • drawing dawn astral influences through song
      • magical songs – early music impulse (to create music the way the Greeks did)
      • Lira – stringed instrument – Greek orchithera
      • Ficcino’s attempt to recreate a lost sonic world
    • Viol consort – cultivate music in parts – as part of their courtly identity – humanist agenda.  Playing of music associated with stability / social order
  • Roman architect Vitruvius 
    • curious devices which display technical skill at the same time as giving delight
  • Jesuit – Anthanaseus Kircher –
  • Pythagoras – the hearing of a hammer at a blacksmith’s shop
  • 16th Century
    • Clear nexus: Trade / culture / musical practice / philosophical theory underpinning it
  • Antonio Naldi – new double stringed instrument
  • Power of music – comic play – Chitteroni – chithera reproduction
  • Galileo’s dad – correcting Pythagoras –
  • Naturalis – Porta 
    • Sound as a way of transforming the humours ‘at a distance’
  • 16th/17th century – magic was experimental
  • “We have also sound-houses, where we practise and demonstrate all sounds, and their generation. We have harmonies which you have not, of quarter-sounds, and lesser slides of sounds.”
    • a mythical island where sailors –
    • foucauldian panopticon –
  • Bacon – Baroque – courtly musical practice
  • Kircher – 1620s
  • Marin Mersenne – the nature of sound – models of particles
  • Hooke – musical analogies
  • “wonder mongerer”
  • Later part of early modern – a shift away from courtly patronage – towards a more inclusive commercial environment

Guerino Mazzola

  • When Einsteim was asked what time was – he made a gesture of the clock’s movement
  • Formulas <–> Gestures  | Mathematics <–> Music
  • Making music / performing
  • The Topos of Music
  • La Vaerity Du Beau Dans La Musique
  • Flow / Gestures and Space
  • Musical Creativity (Springer)
  • Oniontology of Music
    • Communication
    • Facts – Wittgenstein – the world is everything
    • Processes
    • Gestures
    • American transformational theory
  • Facts – notes chords
  • Processes – form diagrams  (Poeietizes Facts)
  • Gestures – David Lewin transformational theory (Brutah)
  • Apologies for the abstract nature of the talks but the abstract is the concrete – we survive through abstraction
  • Topos theory
    • There are three compound space types
      • Product
      • Union
      • Form (library)
  • Gesture – “the topological category of continuous paths on diagraph”
  • Functions as movement – Bruha – most functions are lies (“mathematicians are liars”) – i.e.: they are transformations from one domain to another

Joel Ryan

  • The Inside-Out Trombone
  • Interface and instruments are different –
  • George Lewis – trombone is a ‘joke instrument’
  • Metalurgy and musical influence – the way that sound lives inside the materiality
    • Mayan creation myth
    • Mechanical systems and models – matter is lifeless
    • Musical model – vitalism – an inner principle
    • Newton – although often thought of as modern –
    • Romantics have a concept of the mechanistic
  • Trombones look and feel like a computer instrument
  • Musical instruments are simpler than they used to be?
  • How to make a flute from a stone
  • Improvised music as audible risk taking
  • Interfaces with no risk – cannot become musical instruments


  • Understanding is the gesture and continuing 
    • The difference between the french and american version of gesture (gesture for americans is a symbol,
    • Japanese knoh theatre – the stage is an instrument
    • Gesture as a measurement of time
  • Every instrument is a stage
  • Representing quantity in language
  • The artist as creating a world – the universal and the local


Koert van Mensvoort (Next Nature)

  • Coevolving with the technological autonomy
  • Our goal: Create Humane Technology
  • Language for complexity – gardening, nurture, growth

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Chris Salter

  • Organisation of material over time and space
  • Notes on composing with complexity
  • Composition within the overflowing of science and technology
  • Complexity – ambiguous
  • Responsive environments – a performative space that responds
  • Perception / Affect – between the body and the environment
  • Mark Weiser – “The Computer and the 21st Century” – the most profound technologies are those which disappear
  • Ubiquitous computing – how computers dissapear into the environment.  Wieser is looking to having many many many computers.
  • NIME – musical expression – mapping
  • Xenakis 
    • Wanderley – mapping is the liason between performer and
    • Poly Topos – Montreal / Pluni – Brownian motion
    • Polytope Beaubourg
    • 1/25th of a second changes – near the fusion rate of the eye
    • A vast audiovisual synthesis previously unattainable and, above all, placed in the realm of Abstraction, which is the natural and indispensable environment to its existence.” (Notes towards a musical gesture)
    • Programmer – Robert Dupuis
  • Rethinking complexity
    • How can temporal patterns be mapped to something that was not envisioned by its designers
    • Dynamical system
  • Complex Systems are made up of a large number of parts – Herbert Simon, “The Architecture of Complexity”
  • What is a complex system?
  • “They are the laws of the passage between complete order and complete dissorder” – Xennakis
  • Defining complexity
  • Defining actions: Nonhuman actors within a system consisting of many similar elements which are interacting in a disordered way and has the potential of forming patterns or structures both internal to itself but also in relationship to the audience’s perception.
  • Symmetrical systems don’t create order – statistical mechanics –
  • Stuart Koffman’s attempt – structure for nothing – asymmetry – the different is the force (cosmological)
  • The time of material technologies versus the time of ‘the human’ – LEDs and strobes have different ‘light up’ times – so become a ‘non-human’ (Latour) kind of time
  • Interaction is never developed in time – but in space – i.e.: in state space

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