This piece emerged from a graduate seminar I taught on networked improvisation at Brown University in fall 2010. Networked improvisation is a collaborative form of music making that uses data transmitted and received via a computer network as the basis of musical events. The “network” is defined by any number of individual computers connected to a wired or wireless network, each with its own unique address, and able to share data in real time.
In imperfect transmissions I was interested in exploring the rhythmic implications of what is known as “latency” in the network. Sent messages will always have unpredictable arrival times. The latency, or time delay between the sending and receiving, produces unexpectedly complex rhythms when the values are translated into and heard as musical events. The fluctuating sound of multiple players (and multiple computers) exchanging data over the network offers a poignant metaphor for communication in a technological world.