I have a set of "laptop orchestra" pieces, with each entitled "X Genetic Orchestra" where X is the name or identity of the group performing and co-creating the piece.
I say co-creation because each player has a hand in generating the sound material that is used for the piece, then performing with this material using a simple software instrument that I've created for this set of works based on looping and tempo-matching using granular re-synthesis, good for time stretching and pitch shifting.
The underlying premise for each piece in this series is that each person rates the fitness of the collective pool of sound material, which biases the likelihood of said material being selected in the process of sound cross-breeding and mutation - to use the parlance of genetic algorithms. This "human evolutionary algorithm" interacts with a machine algorithm, which selects the material based on the collective desires of the group. My compositional decisions first enter during the mutation and cross-breeding steps by constraining how these proceed.
After generations of evolving this sound material, I use some sound analysis process in order to organize sound materials into groups - drawing on the different generations that begin with very "natural" sounds and leading to often very heavily transformed and "evolved" sounds. Using these groupings, I organize the mutators-turned-performers into groups and write a score that organizes the set of materials in time. Within the confines of the choice of sound material , when to play and how to play using the software instrument, each player has freedom to improvise and let their performative voice be heard.
The process of composing is one of listening to the desires of the ensemble and reacting to this, and about allowing the co-evolution of human and machine decisions to run its course.
This video is of G.O. #6: Deep Listening Genetic Orchestra - a live performance that was streamed on Ustream.tv with camera work by Alejandro Borsani (special thanks to him). It involved the students of Pauline Oliveros' Spring 2011 Deep Listening Class. I was highly impressed with the disciplined execution and sound-making by this group - many of whom had no musical or sound design experience. Note the attentiveness to me as I conduct (left of camera) and the internal mechanisms that the sub groups use for awareness of their own timing.
Finally I think that they achieved a very special ending to the piece!
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