Call - Simulation and Computer Experimentation in Music and Sound Art

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Call - Simulation and Computer Experimentation in Music and Sound Art

erstellt am 01. Dezember 2018

Orpheus Research Seminar 2019


21–22 March 2019, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, BE




- ‘Music, Thought and Technology’

  (Orpheus Institute, Ghent):

- ‘Algorithms that Matter’

  (University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, FWF AR 403-GBL):


Proposals are invited that critically explore the space spanned by the

different perspectives on simulation and experimental computation

addressing their role in all areas of music, sound art and related

research, in all its possible technical, technological, musicological or

theoretical aspects.


Download call (.pdf):



Computational methods have made their way into most of scientific and

artistic fields; simulation has become a paradigmatic mode in

contemporary practices. In science, in design, in medicine and in art,

simulations of natural, human, technological or abstract systems (or

techniques derived from simulation) are ubiquitous. The development of

new methods of computation and simulation in the natural sciences

initiated an ongoing discussion about the relationship of _in silico_

experiments to empirical or theoretical modes of investigation.


The seminar aims to bring together practitioners and scholars to discuss

the wide-reaching implications of the ‘agential cut’ (Barad) or ‘ontic

cut’ (Rheinberger) – the separation between operationalised model or

abstract theory and perceived or experimentally verified ‘reality’, the

fissure already indicated by Husserl and realised in experimental

computational systems. These introduce a new type of interface between

the machinery and what is implemented, allowing for the ongoing

production of new data and going beyond the traditional atemporal

theoretical models; crucially, simulations also allow new and mobile

perspectives onto the ‘object’ modelled by tracing contingent, situated,

multiple paths through what DeLanda describes as ‘a space of

possibilities’ – alternative realities within a space that displays

stability or consistency at another level. In Rheinberger’s words ‘it

becomes urgent to ask whether computer simulations represent a new

category of epistemic object altogether.’


Computational models afford a way to test theoretical constructs or

observe the consequences of non-physical or even imaginary hypotheses.

One arrives at a critical conception of computation, situating it beyond

the dualism of a deductive, representational approach and an inductive,

empirical approach, acknowledging a speculative quality of algorithms

that ‘are not simply the computational version of mathematical axioms,

but are to be conceived as actualities, self-constituting composites of

data’ and ‘equipped with their own procedure for prehending data.’

(Parisi) The very activity of experimentation and augmenting the

language of artistic creation is exposed through the use of algorithms.


## Call for proposals


Proposals are invited that critically explore the space spanned by the

different perspectives on simulation and experimental computation

addressing their role in all areas of music, sound art and related

research, in all its possible technical, technological, musicological or

theoretical aspects. We invite proposals for presentations in the form

of paper (20 minutes), demonstration or performance, or any hybrid

thereof. We particularly welcome proposals for presentations that

explore the role of simulation in innovative ways.


Proposals (200 words) should be sent to: almat(at) to arrive no later

than 1 December 2018.

We intend to send notification of acceptance by 15 January 2019.


A non-exhaustive list of possible questions and topics might include:


- Do computer simulations represent a new category of epistemic objects?

- The role of metaphor or verisimilitude in terms of the structure or

  behaviour under consideration. Of the brain in neural networks, of

  social or biological structures in A-life systems, for example. At

  what point can the metaphor be abandoned?

- Lines of enquiry suggested by Baudrillard’s distinction between

  simulation and simulacrum. Where, for instance, are the borders

  between reconstructions, interpretations and acts of ‘pure’

  imagination? If an act of ‘projected’ or ‘applied’ imagination can be

  seen in this light, why not one of personal creativity?

- Is there a relationship of simulation between the performance of music

  and the abstract ‘work’? Between the ‘work’ and its ineffable

  motivating impulse?

- Does the new state of science suggest that we rethink our entire model

  of the ways in which we understand the stages and ontologies of music

  production in general, including historical models?

- In which way does a system embody its author’s understanding of the

  phenomenon in question? That is, might it tell us as much about the

  context, the world-view of its own development as about its subject


- The way computation can merge with composition and performance opens

  to question our received understanding of the processes of

  contemporary musical/sonic creation.

- A major value of computation as a tool lies in the possibilities it

  offers for the development of instruments and apparatuses of enquiry

  or experience that would otherwise be impossible. What value do

  simulations of physically ‘impossible’ systems have? What relation is

  there to the tradition of ‘thought experiment’?

- Rather than remaining inert tools, computational processes tend to

  unfold a specific agency, retroacting on the research or creative

  process they are inserted into.

- What kind of materiality do computational experiments develop? If they

  lack the material resistance as part of the experimental arrangement

  (Gramelsberger), could there be a different kind materiality that

  comes into play?

- Computational methods enter in a ‘co-generative’ relationship with the

  entities they interact with: they co-determine the outcome of the

  research or artistic endeavours. Humans and computational processes

  are inextricably entangled in a network of relations, an ecosystem of

  interdependences devoid of hierarchies and separability.

- If there is always already an ‘experimental intelligibility internal

  to computation’ (Parisi) through which the premises of the input data

  are autonomously revised, what are the opportunities in this duality

  of experimentality (intrinsic to computation as well as introduced

  through an experimenter’s design)?

- What are the implications for artistic work if experimental computer

  systems are always the result of a collaborative writing process of

  several authors (Gramelsberger)?


## People


Convenors: Jonathan Impett, Hanns Holger Rutz, David Pirrò

Invited Speakers: Luciana Parisi, N.N.


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