Critique #1

Project History : Genetics > Blast > Mutations > Cellular Automata! Stephen Wolfram > Complexity

Moto :
to meditate upon the material /
then dissolve with it: become an enigma /
then crystalize, permutate, combine: within symmetry, asymmetry

Concept : An acoustic musical work for Soprano and 5 Instruments, where the underlying logico-structural and procedural pre-compositional work is rooted within Wolfram’s methodology.

Concretely, both the phonetic and the instrumental materials will undergo simple rule based transformations to produce a coherent yet diverse musical landscape. The role of the composer is twofold : 1. Define the bounds of the system by implementing and writing simple algorithmic rules  2. Intuitively intervene on a surface level to ensure a musically expressive work
About: Complexity / Systems / Thresholds >>>>> Their translation into symbolic form>>>>> A second translation into performance
Background : A New Kind of Science – Stephen Wolfram

The remarkable fact that even though their underlying rules are extremely simple, certain cellular automata can nevertheless produce behavior of great complexity.

Cellular Automata special features:

  • All elements for eg. are arranged in rigid array (however not the case with substitution systems)
  • updated in parallel at each step (however nor the case with mobile automata)

Phenomenon of complexity is universal and independent of the details of the particular systems.

But when does complexity occur ?


  1. Simple > Repetitive behavior
  1. Slightly more complicated > Nesting behavior
  1. Beyond threshold in complexity of underlying rules > Complexity

Going further the complexity threshold, does not translate into more perceivable complexity!!!
Context 2 : Catullus Poem / Post-Tonal Musical language / Cyclical Forms
Context 3 : Computer Science / Complexity Systems

Questions/Impact : Data sonification as too simple/flat of a process; instead appropriation, assemblage, intuitive intervention as the only alternative in an ensemble historical context.
Contribution : Furthering / expanding the CAC body of work. Also at this stage a personal experiment, will it work?

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