Collaborating with the Behaving Machine: simple adaptive dynamical systems for generative and interactive music

Eldridge, Alice (2008) Collaborating with the Behaving Machine: simple adaptive dynamical systems for generative and interactive music. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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Situated at the intersection of interactive computer music and generative art, this thesis is inspired by research in Artificial Life and Autonomous Robotics and applies some of the principles and methods of these fields in a practical music context. As such the project points toward a paradigm for computer music research and performance which comple- ments current mainstream approaches and develops upon existing creative applications of Artificial Life research.
Many artists have adopted engineering techniques from the field of Artificial Life research as they seem to support a richer interactive experience with computers than is often achieved in digital interactive art. Moreover, the low level aspects of life which the research programme aims to model are often evident in these artistic appropriations in the form of bizarre and abstract but curiously familiar digital forms that somehow, despite their silicon make-up, appear to accord with biological convention.
The initial aesthetic motivation for this project was very personal and stemmed from interests in adaptive systems and improvisation and a desire to unite the two. In sim- ple terms, I wanted to invite these synthetic critters up on stage and play with them. There has been some similar research in the musical domain, but this has focused on a very small selection of specific models and techniques which have been predominantly applied as compositional tools rather than for use in live generative music. This thesis considers the advantages of the Alife approach for contemporary computer musicians and offers specific examples of simple adaptive systems as components for both compo- sitional and performance tools.
These models have been implemented in a range of generative and interactive works which are described here. These include generative sound installations, interactive instal- lations and a performance system for collaborative man-machine improvisation. Public response at exhibitions and concerts suggests that the approach taken here holds much promise.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Interactive computer music, adaptive systems, complex systems, improvisation, dynamical systems, generative art
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Music
Depositing User: Alice Eldridge
Date Deposited: 19 May 2021 08:59
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:51

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