[-empyre-] Re: Art Stops for the Second Life tour

Hi All,
I'm so sorry I couldn't make it to the pony tour last night, my net connection went down about 9.30pm. I hope it all went well and everyone had a good time.

I was very much hoping to be there to discuss the works, so I thought I'd just jot down a couple of points now my connection is back up.

I've noticed that my work is being referred to as 'sound works' and I'm keen to not have it ghettoised into 'sound art' or any single medium for that matter. I consider my work, and the work of many others in SL, to be post-convergent, that is, it contains a range of media-elements (sound, vision, architecture, data-response/creation, code, network, socialisation etc) working in a symbiotic relationship with each other and with the user to create a greater post-convergent whole. It approaches the medium (ie, realtime 3d multi-user virtual environments, of which SL is just one example) on its own terms. Clearly there are precedents, practices and lessons from all the discrete media forms involved, and these are synthesised into new relationships.

In such a medium, it is inevitable that formalism will play a role, and the degree to which this is true is part of the decision making process of the artist. Architecture, sound, data, networks, coding and socialisation all have rich precedents to draw on in this area. Indeed music itself can be seen as a formalist structure based entirely on engineering restrictions. Similarly, architecture, data, networks, and coding.

Sound is intrinsically important to my work, and indeed the formalist conventions of music and sound art are very helpful in designing post- convergent works. Interestingly, though, since it is a digital medium, it is possible to move away from the engineering restrictions of the Western well-tempered scales, and create rational scales of any form (this is confusingly known as Just Intonation in music theory), which is what I have done in all my works in SL. They all use scales of my own devising based on a fundamental tone of 77Hz (subjectively, the most pleasing-yet-disturbing tone in all the physical world :) proceeding then in ratios of sevens. This is an example of the "engineer" designing a system that allows the "artist" to move away from forms restricted by "engineering" for hundreds of years. Note, though, that I find the distinction between "engineer" and "artist" meaningless in post-convergent work.

Coding is also enormously important to my work, as it is the elastic glue that orchestrates the relationships of all the media-elements. Indeed the majority of time spent on each work is usually time spent coding. While it isn't "code art" the practice of coding is amazingly artistically fulfilling and reminds me in many ways of the process of composing music, only better. It's a shame that many people have the idea that coding is the act of typing commands into a computer. Just as writers and composers spend far more time thinking than actually typing out the words or notes (it's the ideas and relationships that are important), so it is with coding. You can do it anywhere and often you don't even need a pencil and paper.

The next ten years are going to be so interesting in the development of post-convergent media and art. The last ten years have been a drag, but it was worth the effort :)

Apologies for the length of the mail, I really wanted to discuss this live on the Pony tour last night, but my medium let me down :) Will also post this to the list when it re-emerges.

Adam Nash (Adam Ramona)

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