We are commencing experiments with organisms potentially feeding on digital audio carriers or circuits, therewith changing contents or functionality. Today we have observed and recorded several representatives of Rhyzopertha dominica. Usually they would feed on various cereal grains, but if those are not available, they instead digest also polymers and other technologically interesting substances. We are looking forward to having interesting sonic encounters with them.
We are happy to announce that our paper “Embracing the temporal deterioration of digital audio – A manifesto” has been accepted for publication in the upcoming proceedings of the Politics of the Machines conference on the British Computer Society’s eWic platform.
This paper presents the fundaments and challenges of the Rotting sounds project and expresses the most important theses in the form of a manifesto.
Most of today’s media output, be it audio or video, is produced and stored in the digital domain. Although digital data are adorned by the myth of lossless transmission and migration, everyday experience does prove the existence of degradation and, ultimately, data loss in various forms. This pertains to the physical nature of storage media and playback devices as well as to media formats and software in the context of their technological infrastructure.
We have recently launched the project of artistic research ‘Rotting sounds – Embracing the temporal deterioration of digital audio’, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). Since degradation cannot be avoided by principle, we therein propose alternative perspectives on the nature and the implications of deterioration in theory and artistic practice, specifically for the domain of digital audio.
This manifesto shall represent an introduction to our endeavour, as much as it shall form a guideline for us carrying out the research.
Together with Katharina Hauke, Till will be on a journey to Invisible Worlds at Eden Project in Cornwall, UK. The residency resides under the theme … and then we see if we will be friends and is meant to be an invitation to all curious organisms and life-forms in and around the Eden Project to create sounds and improvised experimental music together (with us).
Small networked music making systems will be set up within the various sites of the Eden Project that feature differing degrees of self-sufficiency and interaction possibilities for both visitors and inhabitants.
We plan to adapt and extend our semi-autonomous platform fielding to both sense and provoke actions of the various actors, inviting them to explore emergent collaborative phenomena. Of course, the (obvious) connection to rotting sounds will be investigated within the residency and related material be collected over at friendly.organisms.de.
Hope to see you there in September!
Along with classical music performances, contemporary circus, ballet and a lecture on the influence of silence on contemporary music, I performed an improvisation piece based on computational deconstruction of silences and their counterparts that I observed around Hoxton Arches.
It was divided into a 30min sound walk and a subsequent livecoding performance based on field recordings I took the day before inHoxton/Shoreditch.
More info at the Artifacter page of TAI-Studio.org.
An interview by Johannes Lau with Thomas Grill on the rotting sounds project has been featured in an article of the Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard.
In Europa hat das Phänomen des Verfalls im Gegensatz zu anderen Kulturen einen grundsätzlich negativen Beigeschmack, sodass wir ständig versuchen, Dinge am Leben zu erhalten. Wir können schwer akzeptieren, dass Dinge verschwinden, obwohl wir eigentlich mit diesem ganz natürlichen Phänomen umgehen können sollten.
Today, we have received the keys to the old abandoned anatomy auditorium located on the campus of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (MDW). This is the last unrenovated part of the whole campus and it will function as a lab and exhibition space for experiments over the course of the whole project. Many thanks to the rector of the MDW for her friendly consent.
Today, May 1st aka “International Workers’ Day” is a national public holiday in Austria. Hence, i have launched the project with my family by hiking down the Kahlenberg and flying kites on the Danube Island.
Thomas Grill and Almut Schilling have put forward a proposal termed “Libre tools and strategies embracing the temporal deterioration of digital audio” for the isaScience 2018 conference with the topic of “Participatory Approaches to Music & Democracy” in Reichenau/Rax to be held on August 10-14.
Our proposal has been accepted by the organizers and we are looking forward to presenting our perspective.
Abstract: Most of today’s media output is produced and stored in the digital domain. The efficiency as well as its ease of use, also in the arts, has led to an overwhelming abundance of data representing audio and video content.
The practice of a digital artist, specifically also a digital musician, is typically bound to a complex ecosystem of commerical hard- and software. End-of-life of one of the tools causes a chain reaction of obsolescence in the entire system, also necessitating the acquiry of new know-how.
On the other hand, published products of digital arts practice appear on media dependent on technological reproduction devices. The material embodiments as much as the logical formats of these representations are subject to deterioration over time, demanding perpetual actions of media migration for successful preservation.
The global accessibility of digitally stored media implies that it is not a scarce good any longer. The cost for the consumer is low, but so is the quality of the experience. The act of music listening has shifted from physically interacting with an audio sculture to subjecting oneself to an infinite succession of “tracks”.
Our project of artistic research “rotting sounds” investigates the causes, processes and ramifications of degradation and technological obsolescence within the domain of digital audio. The hypothesis is that by providing pertinent knowledge and respective means to encounter digital deterioration in a constructive fashion, the inevitable is no longer a source of irritation but rather an æsthetic benefit.
For this, we will put forward open technology fostering self-empowerment and independence for digital artists from commercial constraints. On the other hand, we will propose artistic strategies to work with the fleeting nature of digital data, especially exploring the qualities of ephemerality.
In the context of the isascience conference, we will outline some focal points at this early stage of our project. We hope to open up a discussion on the present condition of digital media arts, and about strategies for regaining control of artistic means of expression in the field.
We have submitted a proposal “Embracing the temporal deterioration of digital audio – A manifesto” for the EVA conference with the overarching topic “Politics of the Machine: Art and After”, held in Copenhagen on May 15-17, 2018.
Our contribution is in the form of a manifesto, targetted to the “Returns of the machine” track of the conference. It has been strongly accepted by the conference comittee.
Today, we have received the news that the 3.5 year project of artistic research rotting sounds has been approved by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) as project AR445-G24.
The core team of Thomas Grill, Till Bovermann and Almut Schilling, as well as the experts of the technical pool and the members of the advisory board are looking forward very much to jointly work on the topic.