<< International Symposium Writing Time and Interaction

Second day


9:30am-10:15am Interactivity Paradigms in Music Performance at IRCAM

We will present an overview of the various interactivity paradigms that have been developed at IRCAM to control or generate electronic processes in music performance.

In the first part of the presentation we will discuss the musical motivation for interactivity and how it led logically to the development of real time technologies for analyzing, transforming and synthesizing sounds on the one hand and performer/score synchronization on the other. These concepts will be illustrated through a musical composition which exemplifies these concerns - Anthèmes 2 by Pierre Boulez.

In the second part, we will present recent works on gestural control of music. Gesture and movement are typically modeled as continuous time processes, which give rise to specific interactivity paradigms. In particular, we will explain our developments on a "gesture follower", corresponding to an extension of the "score follower" to continuous process. Several examples from music and dance will be shown.

10:15am-11am Smooth Time

Western music has created exceedingly varied ways of representing time, from Gregorian neumes to unmeasured and proportional notation, to the complex constructions found in contemporary music. This diversity can be explained through the existence of several categories of time found in music. Pierre Boulez defined these categories particularly well in his publication Penser la musique aujourd'hui (To Think Music Today): smooth time, striated time, and pulsated time.

Today's computers experience no difficulty in managing the striation of time as they function using an extremely precise internal clock. The formal complexity of temporal striation (or what I call hyper-striation) can be controlled, even though our thresholds of perception have long been exceeded. Brought into contact with a structure that is steady, and not too fast, a striage becomes a pulsation that poses no difficulties for a machine.

However, we are lacking tools that smooth time. By this I mean a kind of time that pays no attention to the time kept by a clock. We have to work against machines that cannot function without these clocks. We are  aware that this is just an imitation, like in films, where the illusion of movement is created using a series of still images. Appoggiaturas, ornaments, proportional notation, fermatas have not yet been referenced in technology-assisted musical representation. The machine continually displays its clock while we try to ignore it and create music. "Intelligence" has a long way to come before we reach that point.

One of the greatest problems of the nonexistence of a tool designed for representation comes from the fact that a musician who is making a sound "sees in the future" while a processor can only manage the present and, occasionally, the past. Smooth temporal structures are habitually organized using a predictive process: we imagine a sentence in which the organization is conditioned by its final temporal appraisal. This process, which is quite conventional in music, is completely different from that which is regulated by clocks. Smoothing, curvatures, distortion, and predictions seem to me to be vast fields where work on technology for musical performance should be centered.

I will show several facets of musical notation, I will present problems for that are straightforward for musicians and complex for machines, and I will try to convey my vision of future tools that I dream of having so that my computer-music will have the same organic quality as my orchestral music.

11am-11:30am Break

11:30am-12:15pm Scenario of a Moment

In Seule avec loup the interactive unraveling of events through time, in relationship with choreographic and musical sequences, is shaped like a fairy-tale. The story is double: it is an element of the piece and it also addresses the user, the reader. And it is paradoxical: it gives more freedom to the reader in terms of his perception and at the same time he can anticipate its performance. In privileging the reader's freedom of movement and listening, we imagine capturing an instant in different arenas of movement.

12:15pm-1pm A Platform for High-Level and Real-Time Processing of Interactive Environments: the Meta-EyesWeb Project

This talk introduces the Meta-EyesWeb project at DIST-InfoMus Lab. Meta-EyesWeb can be regarded as both a research project and a software platform.

As a research project it aims at investigating the conceptual aspects involved in the high-level and real-time management of complex, non-linear, distributed, and adaptive interactive narrative structures. As a software platform, Meta-EyesWeb supports users with authoring tools and a real-time system for high-level processing of non-linear, evolving interactive environments.

The seminar introduces the Meta-EyesWeb platform, the software architecture and the computational models adopted. Real application scenarios are used to demonstrate system's features. A number of partial prototypes are at the moment available and demos will be presented. The overall system platform is currently under development.


2:30pm-3:15pm A Potential Writing

Our lives are made up of a relentless updating of an infinite number of possibilities that we leave behind us like a trail: a trail of time. We project time in multiple forms, restricted only by the limits of our attention and imagination, and yet, from this inextricable tangle of future possibilities, we follow only one path. We follow time in a linear manner.

The present is unstable, anxious in regards to the future, anticipation, trepidation or hope... It seems impenetrable when we are called upon urgently, it throws us into the moment in an instant, it seems to expand when its curves smooth themselves, sets emotions free and offers freedom of movement. The "quality" of one's life is not measured merely in terms of its high points, but in the composition of its contrasts. The quality of an interactive narrative experience is judged in much the same way.

So many different combinations of time can be found in dramatic art: revelations, loops, ricochets, outcomes, appeasements, dramatic lysis, etc. Writing time signifies identifying these structures and the relationships they maintain, in order to give them an opportunity to update.

3:15pm-4pm Finding Time

Theater is an art that, by tradition, encompasses a space, an expanse. It involves taking a temporal subject, the text, and making it heard -producing it- within a given space. Our way of performing theater goes against and challenges all other experiences. What are the elements of this experiment?

On one hand, there is a space, a set, a technical and musical system that actors are forced to interact with. On the other, there is a literary score. Through ceaseless experimentation, through successive improvisations, the actors, under our lead, test elements of this score while playing with the stage design/technical constraints. This is how the sequence of the texts, therefore of the performance, were written (let us be understood: the text is not a prerequisite for the performance, it is created through the theatrical work), the length of the sequences are our touchstone. Writing a performance is therefore a question of time. The question is finding the time, meaning finding the right time.

4pm-4:45pm The Digital Expansion of the Cinematic Imaginary

Cinema is a cultural phenomenon whose history is one of technological experiment, spectator-spectacle relations, and production, distribution and presentation mechanisms that yoke it to certain economic, political and ideological conditions. The hegemony of Hollywood's cinematic paradigms is being increasingly challenged by the radical new potentialities of the digital media technologies. These new digital modalities for the production and presentation are creating platforms for the further evolution of the traditions of independent, experimental and expanded cinema. The digital domain is, above all, distinguished by its broad range of new interaction modalities. Contemporary media art practice is formulating many of the central procedures of this emergent domain of the digitally expanded cinema.

In his presentation, Jeffrey Shaw examines artistic developments from expanded cinema to virtual reality over the last thirty years, showing examples of his work that describe various conjunctions of the real and the virtual, and the reformulation of narrative as a situation of emergent interaction.

4:45pm-5:15pm Break

5:15pm-6:30pm Debate

Wednesday, June 14, 9:30am-6:30pm / IRCAM, Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles

  • Access Conditions: REGISTRATION
  • Price: full price 60€ / reduced price 30€
  • Simultaneous translation into French and English

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