Wednesday, December 30, 2009

in vitro oink

I have completed a mock of in vitro oink, which is for piano, wii controller and electronics. I just finished editing the first complete mock-up. All that remains now is to put the finishing touches on the performance patch. It took a month longer than anticipated, but here it is.


The title derives from the my thinking about this piece being metaphorically connected to genetic manipulation. The basic material is 160 audio files that I created by hand. These are very short and I think of them as the cells, on the microsonic layer. These cells generate a stream of data which is silent until the pianist moves their arm, playing the piano has this side-effect. The movement is captured by the wii (strapped on the are of the pianist) and it communicates this to the computer, where an envelope is triggered, allowing for the audio streams to come through. The mapping of the pianists movement varies throughout the piece. To hear these streams listen to 2 parts mixed and read this earlier post.

It is also interesting to compare pfDINK and pfNOCK with the final piano version, which is my weaving the two materials together. In an email to Keith Kirchoff (the pianist who asked me to write this piece) I articulated some of my thoughts on this piece rather lucidly...

Did I tell you the kidney surgery story? (The story is that Christine told me about how she had to wait several hours for the surgeons to locate a kidney with an endoscope. It turns that we all have kidneys [well most of us] but that they are not always in the same place. The body is organically created and there is a fair amount of local variation).
I am fascinated by the fact that as a human (or any being or living thing) unfolds it is on the basis of a code of make, divide, make, divide, arrange etc... Genetic code starts at the cellular (maybe even sub cellular, I am out of my league here) and when it is done implementing there is a plant or a human. They are remarkably similar to other plants and humans, but they are unique. This is not simply a blueprint enacted by workers, this is a code for the dynamic unfolding of physical structure in time and space. Sound is the dynamic unfolding of sound waves propagated in air moving through time and space, their life span (from what I know) is rather limited (in comparison with the time scale we consider life, based on our human experiences). Your piece is a little closer to the crazy act of matter being arranged into something that is similar but unique, in time and space, with each iteration.

The title seemed to come naturally when I read about in vitro bacon. Can't Wait! Save the piggies. Christine would remind me, "They are so intelligent and have so much personality."


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