Description of Artistic Concept

La Dorbanda

as performed by


In our attempt to understand the complexities of this world, mathematicians have devised "models" of living, evolving processes. These models are equations which describe the state of our world, or some small piece of it. at various moments through time. The equations contain certain variables which depend on the environment or the exogenous forces acting on the system: we call these variables "parameters", since they are quantities that we might, conceivably, be able to control, thereby affecting our world. Some of the processes which have interested mathematicians lately, both because of their applicability and because of their intricacies, are those modeling the evolution of life forms, interacting chemical agents, or interacting species. These systems exhibit the beauty of layers upon layers of order, sometimes erupting into chaotic orbits, sometimes ebbing away to nothing.

In our performances we use these models, these mirrors of life, as a way of experimenting with the control of this emergence and decay of chaotic forms. The equations, with their built-in "control knobs", or parameters, are ideal for expressive real-time interaction with algorithmic compositions. The equations generate a series of numbers, and these numbers are then used as source material both for the scores played by the instrumentalist, as well as for the musical material generated by the computer. The instrumentalist, an electric cello, also interacts with the computers by modifying, in real time, the rules of connection and interaction between the machines. Beyond simply the exploration of computer music or visual math/music, we are fascinated by the resonance between the two.

The instrumentation consists of an electric cello, which speaks to a Macintosh computer running MAX programs via a pitch-to-MIDI converter; two LIGHTNING wands, light-emitting MIDI controllers built by Buchla and Associates, which communicates gestural information to both the Macintosh and the Silicon Graphics computer; and the SGI computer, whose operator determines initial conditions of our simulated worlds, and who performs the heaviest of the real-time number crunching duties, generating gorgeous graphics in real time.

La Dorbanda Pictures Click here to see some sample visual bites

Concert Set-up A diagram of a typical stage set-up

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