Dawn Chorus

photocell oscillators, live electronics & interactive video
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2018
A primary concern of many audiovisual musical performances is the question of how to relate sound and image: Dawn Chorus offers one solution by mapping each medium to the other in a cross-modal feedback loop. A homemade light-sensitive synthesizer, controlled by the performer, is connected to a computer where its sound is processed and analyzed. Spectral analysis of the signal is used in combination with composed state changes to generate abstract animations, which are projected back onto this instrument. Thus the light-sensitive instrument generates the very light which determines its sound.
The result of this feedback loop is a system in which the physical orientation of the instrument determines its light exposure, and thus impacts the overall audiovisual result. Despite the chaotic potential of this intertwined system, certain alignments of the instrument in space will lead to predictable or even stable behaviors, thus making a simple oscillator into a gestural instrument through the emergent results of the audiovisual processing and the feedback system. Live performance then involves playing along with the composed state changes of the piece while exploring the reactions of the system that are unique to each performance situation.