G.H. HOVAGIMYAN on 3 Nov 2000 13:09:28 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] Intro to list

Hi everyone,

I've enclosed a brief narrative about the CICV residency Peter Sinclair and
I did this summer. We are in the process of completing a new piece called
Heartbreak Hotel.  A formal proposal can be accessed at:

Pattern recognition is one of the strengths and pleasures that is at the
basis of most art forms. Pleasure for the artist as well as viewer/ accessor
of any art work occurs when a pattern is perceived and also when new
patterns are created.  In Heartbreak Hotel, the latest work by Peter 
Sinclair and G.H. Hovagimyan the basis of the work is machinic pattern

"Peter and I started at one place and through the process of creating the
work came to a series of realizations.  The initial thought or theme for the
work proposed by Peter was *Cocktail Party*  .  Since part of what we do is
use synthetic voices reading text, the theme seemed open-ended enough to
allow for interaction between characters without the necessity for deeply
articulated and literate text. Part of our overall structure in previous
works (Talker Talker, A SoaPOPera for Laptops, Exercises in Talking, The
Last Noel Avant L'An 2000) has been to use media driven language. The
abbreviated forms of pop song, advertising copy or  soap opera become
elements in an immediately recognizable language pattern.  In a certain
sense these media forms suffer a never ending drive for uniqueness of
expression.  The effect is often the reverse.  Media language tends to be
banal and repetitive because of its mandate to reach the most people in the
simplest manner.  Using such forms as material,  does however create a sort
of "ready-made" structure while undermining the idea of the author's unique
vision or expression through the text. The theme of Heartbreak Hotel is of
course lost love. The characters are generic types; a male yuppie
(dot.comer), a dumb blond, a female rock and roll goth, a
cowboy/survivalist, a male poet and a nun.  So much of modern society and an
individuals identity is filtered through media images that often a person
shapes their identity to fit the flattened icons of media. Heartbreak points
out this flattening.  In a process of removing the author Peter and I sought
to utilize computer programs to generate text .  In this way we could write
dictionaries of words and expressions specific to each character, input
these into the programs and generate the script.  Peter often remarks that
much of what we do is prepare the machines to be creative.  We agree however
that the opposite direction of self-obsessed artistic invention seems a
lackluster alternative. Heartbreak Hotel (Coeurs-Brises)  is partially
fashioned using computer programs. The basic structure is an object oriented
programming language called Max.  Two free text generators one for English
(Janus) and one for French (Corvophraseur) were downloaded from the
internet.  Two different voice synthesizers were used Mbrola for the French
and Vocalwriter for the English. Both were found and downloaded from the
internet.  One of the interesting aspects of the Vocalwriter software is its
ability to use synthesized instruments for voice generation. This locates
the characters in a cartoon-game media format rather than a mimetic natural
voice presentation.  One the French side Peter designed a special program to
pitch track the output of the voice synthesizer and tag the resultant notes
to midi-synthesized instruments.   On the English side Peter fashioned a
midi recorder that reads the inflections in a human voice and turns these
into midi notes. The process is one of transposition or notation rather than
simple recording. The underlying structure of Heartbreak is that of a
database where the phrases each character speaks are stored. They are tagged
and quantified so that a pattern matching search by the Max program will
trigger appropriate conversations between characters. The physical
environment to present the work is a sound deadened chamber in the form of a
giant heart.  The public enters the heart. In the center is a transparent
table surrounded by eight loud speakers.  The public is able to place
statues representing the six characters on the table and move them around. A
video camera placed at the base of the table sees a colored dot on the
bottom of each figure. This causes a specific voice file to trigger. The
audience hears the characters carrying on sing-song conversations. If the
figures are moved around on the table, the corresponding voice traces the
same trajectory in the space via holophon sound spatialization software. The
effect is one of immersion into a hypertextual society.  This can be likened
to a holodeck environment that one sees on the television show Star Trek
Next Generation.  In the case of Heartbreak the holodeck simulation is
realized in its rudimentary form."

FREE Personalized Email at Mail.com
Sign up at http://www.mail.com/?sr=signup

Nettime-bold mailing list