2017XOX2

2017XOX2 is a live audiovisual project that explores interlocking chaotic systems as a basis for performance. Three interconnected systems form the basis for this project: a particle and simulation based visual system, a synthesis-based audio system, and a human performer. The human performs on a MIDI keyboard, from which they have access to 49 different notes, each of which will trigger a particle in a different position of the x axis in the visual system. The initial velocity of the particle is determined by how hard the key is struck. The particle is then free within the system. The particle may collide with walls in the system which causes it to break into more particles. Every time a new particle is created it produces a new note in the audio system. The new notes are calculated algorithmically, based on the notes the performer has been playing*. The performer also has access to forces within the particle system, namely chaotic movement along the x and y axes which can be applied individually, or at the same time. These effects are applied by holding down different drum pads. The performer may also change the random seed of the chaotic effect which causes the particles to congregate in different areas. A video feedback system is also at work, this causes the trails behind the particles and buildup of colour. The performer may also wipe the visual system clear of feedback at any time.
The audio system feeds off changes in the visual system, translating visual characteristics of the system to audio via synthesis. Aside from triggering new notes on every new particle birth, the audio system keeps track of the overall brightness of the visuals, producing a sound corresponding to the amount of red green and blue in the image. The audio system also keeps track of the amount of chaotic energy applied to the system and creates an auditory counterpart to the visual effect. The acts of cancelling the visual feedback and changing the random seed of the chaotic forces also have auditory counterparts.
Performance (music, dance, theatre, etc) has traditionally been an act of creating order in a chaotic world. 2017XOX2 embraces chaos as a means of expression. The performer can still shape the audio and visuals expressively and intuitively, but can never full control the outcome of their actions.

For the purposes of this competition I have cut down the performance to 5 minutes because of Vimeo upload restrictions, I have included live audiovisual capture from "within the box", as well as snippets of live video of my actions on the keyboard. I have also included a snippet of myself performing the work with a projector, so the jury may have an idea of how the performance would look live.

*the previous three notes the performer has played are tracked. These notes are then arranged in ascending order of pitch, and the intervallic relationships between each of them are calculated. This set of intervals is then transposed to each pitch in the set, up and down, to generate a set of approximately 10 different notes that could be played when a new particle is created in a collision. The notes are then selected randomly from the set when a collision occurs. This system creates a few interesting musical features that are worthy of noting. The first is that the larger the interval that the performer uses, the greater the range of notes, in terms of pitch, created. This means very high and very low notes can be made by playing very large intervals. The other is that intervals of major and minor thirds, building blocks of western harmony, produce very dissonant pitch sets when played, thus subverting the use of traditional western harmonic structures.

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