Concordia Live and
Interactive Electroacoustic
  CLIEC 2011 Logo

Hexagram-Concordia Centre for Research
Creation in Media Arts and Technologies

in collaboration with

Concordia University - Department of Music

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Thomas Ciufo - Improvising with Computers: Conceptual Approaches and Practical Strategies

In this talk, I will explore conceptual and technical approaches to computer-mediated improvisation. Many artists are pursuing a musical practice that combines the roles of composer, performer / improviser, and system / instrument designer. In addition to integrating these often overlapping roles, computation and interactive systems make it possible to redefine the very nature of improvisational performance practice. What specifically does the computer make available and what roles or relationships are implied? Can we attempt a general analysis of computer-mediated performance, while acknowledging the broad range of practices and approaches that are emerging?

In acoustic instrument design, progress has been relatively slow, and is usually a refinement of an existing model or performance technique, rather than a sudden paradigm shift. Current computational technologies make it possible to radically redefine what we think of as the instrument, and therefore substantially alter the improviser-instrument relationship. This often involves designing performance systems that reflect our own idiosyncratic aesthetic and conceptual orientation towards music making, and encoding in the software the features and behaviors that are important to us. I will discuss both conceptual and practical approaches to computer-mediated improvisation, and highlight various design strategies using personal performance projects as examples.

I will discuss the concept of computer-mediated performance, composed instruments [Bahn and Trueman 2001] and show various personal performance projects as examples [Ciufo 2005, Ciufo and Birchfield 2007]. The eighth nerve performance system, a computer enhanced hybrid electric guitar will also be discussed. This extended electric guitar / computer performance system allows me to explore extended playing techniques and sonic transformations provided by sensor controlled interactive digital signal processing.



CLIEC 2011 - Saturday, March 26th 2011
Concordia University - Montreal, Canada